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Title: The Masters and Their Music

Author: W. S. B. Mathews

Release date: November 17, 2008 [eBook #25213]
Most recently updated: January 3, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Al Haines











Author of "How to Understand Music," "A Popular History of Music,"
"Music: Its Ideals and Methods," "Studies in Phrasing,"
"Standard Grades," Etc., Etc.

Theodore Presser
1708 Chestnut Str.



When a musical student begins to think of music as a literature and to inquire about individualities of style and musical expression, it is necessary for him to come as soon as possible to the fountainheads of this literature in the works of a few great masters who have set the pace and established the limits for all the rest. In the line of purely instrumental music this has been done by Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Chopin, Liszt, and Wagner. The latter, who exercised a vast influence upon the manner of developing a musical thought and in the selection of the orchestral colors in which it can be expressed advantageously, powerfully stimulated all composers later than himself, nevertheless exerted this influence at second-hand, so to say, never having written purely instrumental movements, but merely dramatic accompaniments of one intensity or another. Hence, for our present purposes we may leave Wagner out altogether. Practically, down to about the year 1875, everything in instrumental music is original with the masters already mentioned, or was derived from them or suggested by them. Hence, in order to understand instrumental music we have, first of all, to make a beginning with the peculiarities, individualities, beauty, and mastership of these great writers. Such is the design of the following programs and explanatory matter.

My first intention has been to provide for the regular study of a musical club, in which the playing is to be contributed by active members designated in advance, the accessory explanations to be read from these pages. I have thought that the playing might be divided between several members, through which means the labor for each would be reduced, and, on the whole, an intimate familiarity with the music be more widely extended in the club. This method will have the disadvantage of leaving a part of every program less well interpreted than the others, whereby it will sometimes happen that valuable parts will not be properly appreciated. The advantages of this method, however, will outweigh the defects, since the awakening influence of a course of study of this character will greatly depend upon having as many members as possible practically interested in it.

While designed primarily for the use of a club, this course is equally well adapted to serve as a manual for individual study, in which case the individual himself will necessarily study every composition upon the list, and advance to a new program only after having completely mastered each and understood its relation to the remainder of the course. The only exception to this rule will be in the case where several programs of increasing difficulty are given. In this case the player should take the easiest; after mastering this, let him go on to the next most difficult, and, having succeeded with this, if possible let him attack the most difficult given. In case the latter should be impracticable for his technical resources, let him at least familiarize himself with the general features of all of the pieces mentioned, and get into their meaning and beauty as much as he can.

The course is also well adapted for use as a text-book in female seminaries and the like. In this case the forms of a musical club or definite musical organization had better be observed, and the meetings conducted weekly or bi-weekly. The teacher should remember that all the most important works, in which the maturity and mastership of the composer come to their fullest expression, should be studied by the most advanced members of the class, according to their ability, and afterward played by the teacher himself, should he happen to possess the necessary technical qualifications. When the maturity of the teacher comes in to supplement the immaturity of the pupil, after the latter has done his best, the best results will be produced.

It will be noticed, and with disappointment to some, that the analyses and comments are free from so-called "poetry," and gush of every kind. Particularly are they free from attempts to connect each piece with a story or poetic idea. In the opinion of the writer, the first step toward musical growth lies in learning to appreciate music, as music. In instrumental music the development of a musical idea, the creation of musical symmetries, figures, and arabesques, and the legitimate building up of musical climaxes upon purely harmonic and rhythmic grounds are the phases of thought which interested the composer and gave rise to the composition. And while we may not attempt to assign limits to the inspiration and uplifting effects of great tone-poetry, it is quite certain that effects and influences of this kind are arrived at in the consciousness of the listener only when purely musical appreciation is active and deep. Without the background of living musical appreciation of this kind, the highest flights of the composer will pass as mere noise and fury, the hearer being in no whit uplifted or inspired. The uplifting which comes from the supposed assistance of a "story" or a poetic idea attached to the composition by some outside person is quite likely to fail of being the same in quality as that intended by the composer. Music is one thing, poetry another. While aiming at like ends,—the expression of spiritual beauty,—they move in different planes, which in the more highly organized minds are not proximate. The hearer specially gifted in music does not need the story or the poem; he finds it a hindrance. The hearer specially gifted in poetic sensibility does not care very much for the music; to him it is merely a foreign speech, trying to say vaguely and imperfectly what the poetry has said definitely and well. To put the immature and unspecialized hearer upon the poetic track as an aid to understanding a piece of music is, therefore, to place him at a disadvantage, leading him to expect phenomena which he will find only in literature; just the same as it would be a mistake to intrude pieces of music as explanations in a course in poetry or imaginative literature.

There is a time in both cases when these accessory or related provinces of mind can be called into friendly activity to the advantage of each other. In a poetic training this might be at the point where the motive of the poem is of that vague, mystical character—a mere soul-mood—which words express so imperfectly; or, in a course of music, when it is a question of a piece in which the composer has definitely attempted to express a poetical idea—as happens often in dramatic music, occasionally in symphonic poems and elsewhere. Here the outside help is needed not so much in order to explain the music as to supplement its shortcomings. But in the earlier stages of musical training in this higher sense, purely musical observation (not so much technical as esthetic) comes first, since without this all our rhapsodies upon the greater works signify nothing.

In the course of the book there are two essays embodied which are very important to the true mastery of the material. They are the essay upon "Moving Forces in Music," the first chapter, and that upon "The Typical Forms of Music," at the end of Part I. The first should be taken up where it occurs. The other may be left to the end or introduced at any stage of the discussion preferred by the student or by the conductor of the class or club.








The importance of Bach in the world of music. Pleasing and
representative compositions.



The importance of Haydn as the creator of the sonata.









































W. S. G. Mathews . . . . . . . . . Frontispiece

Joh. Sebastian Bach, Geo. Fred. Handel

Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang A. Mozart

Ludwig van Beethoven

Franz Schubert, Felix Mendelssohn

Robert Schumann

Frederic Francois Chopin

Franz Liszt





The art of music shows the operation of several moving forces, or motives, which have presented themselves to the composer with sufficient force to inspire the creation of the works we have. The most important of these motives is the Musical Sense itself, since it is to this we owe the creation of the folk-song, with its pleasing symmetries, and the greater part of the vast literature of instrumental music.

Aside from the expression of the musical consciousness as such, the composer has been moved at times by the motive of Dramatic Expression. In opera, for example, a great deal of the music has for its object to intensify the feeling of the scene. Accordingly, the composer carefully selects those combinations and sequences of tones which in his opinion best correspond with the dramatic moment they are intended to accompany. And since many of these moments are of extreme intensity, even tragic in character, very strong and intense combinations of tones are sometimes employed, such as could not be justified in an instrumental composition to be played independently of any illustrative scenery or story.

There is a third motive of composition which also has had a large place in the development of instrumental music—viz., the Expression of the Individual Mood of the Composer; and the further we come down in the history of music, the more unrestricted we find the operation of this motive.

In the order of development, the purely musical is entitled to the first place; and it has also been the principal moving cause in the development of the art of music, from its universality—its power to act upon all grades of musical consciousness according to the ability of the individual musician. For example, the desire to realize in tones agreeable symmetries of rhythm and strong antitheses of melodic sequence has given rise to the folk songs, all of which operate upon what are now very elementary lines, since they never exceed very simple and obvious rhythmic proportions and the most common chords of the key.

Recent investigations of the music of barbarous and half-civilized tribes show that the attainment of symmetry in the folk-song is a somewhat late experience. In many of the songs of the American Indians, for example, the first phrase moves practically along the track of the common chord; the second phrase frequently repeats the first, and in some instances the repetition goes on indefinitely without any answer or conclusion. In other cases a second phrase follows along the track of a closely related chord, but I have never noticed a case in which a third phrase appeared, corresponding to the first, after a digression of the second phrase into another chord. Generally the rhythm runs out with a series of what might be called inarticulate drum-beats, as if an impulse existed still unsatisfied, blindly making itself felt in these insignificant pulsations; an impulse which a finer melodic sense would have satisfied by the proper antithesis in relation to the first phrase, thus leaving the melody and the rhythm to complete themselves together, as always takes place in civilized music.

The art of music seems to be an evolution from the sense of number and the feeling for the common chord, combined with a certain fondness for reverie, which in the earlier stages of the art was perhaps semi-religious in character, and in the later stages is more nearly related to the dance, until finally, in the highest stage, it is a reverie of the beautiful or the pathetic, pure and simple. The existence of the harmonic sense in rude natures, where music has not been heard, seems very difficult to account for, since, while it is true that any resonant tone contains the partial tones constituting the common chord, a resonant tone is very seldom heard among rude surroundings; and the discovery of the instinct of barbarous melodies to work themselves along the track of the chord is one of those unexpected finds of modern investigation which, while at first seeming to explain many things, are themselves excessively difficult to account for.

In a sense, there is no difference in kind between the folk-song and the most complete and highly organized art-music; that is to say, both alike are primarily due to the operation of simple musical instincts working off along the track of rhythmic proportion and harmonic relation. The vast difference in the grade of the results attained is due to the capacity of the composers. The simple man giving himself up to reverie and being gifted with a certain amount of musical feeling, produces a commonplace melody of serious import or of lively rhythm according to the nature of the reverie in which he indulges. This is to him a complete expression of his mood, and it is received as such by others in like state.

A Bach, a Beethoven, or a Schumann, giving himself up to tonal reverie, will also arrive at more or less symmetrical melodic forms proportionate to the mood of the composer and the idea which he is seeking to bring to expression; but instead of his reverie terminating at the end of one or two periods, as is invariably the case with the simple man (an additional idea having to be sought with much diligence and imperfect success), he goes on for a series of periods, and perhaps develops a quite long discourse, all having relation to the simple conception with which he started and to a fundamental mood. It is evident that, owing to the time consumed in writing out a musical discourse, the high composer will not have been able to complete his composition, or at least the written expression of it, at a single sitting; and upon examining it we do, in fact, find it to consist of successive chapters or paragraphs, each one of which might be taken as the expression of a mood, and all having reference to the central mood underlying the beginning, which by the arrangement of material necessarily becomes the characteristic mood of the entire work.

Moreover, Bach, Beethoven, or Schumann, in bringing their tonal mood to expression, will permit themselves all sorts of freedom in bringing together unexpected motives, rhythms, or chords, and the result, consequently, will be of a very different character from that attained by the composer of simple pieces, and will, therefore, be intelligible to those only who have the musical capacity to realize these more remote and less obvious relations.

Our composer also will have embraced in his tonal reverie, or at least in the extreme moments of it, all those extraordinary means of intense musical expression which the dramatic composer may have found out in his effort to represent the tragic and extreme moments of dramatic complication. And thus the tendency of the musical art is constantly toward the complex, and toward the bringing together of relations so subtle as to have been unintelligible to earlier musicians, and unintelligible now, at first hearing, to common ears, lacking in these finer perceptions of advanced musical endowment. It is to be noticed, however, that these extraordinary combinations and relations of the advanced composer occur only at remote intervals in the works of any of the great masters. The extremely intense or dramatic or tragic is not the staple of human life. They are incidents in a checkered and tempest-tossed existence, and the music representing these moods is also a little outside the range of the purely beautiful.

In one department of the higher art of music—viz., that of symphony—there has been a working-out of the taste for the symmetric, the well proportioned, and the agreeable sounding; in other words, the beautiful as to proportion, charm of melody, and the satisfactory in harmony. In symphony the tragic and the extremely dramatic have had but a limited realization, while the purely beautiful in tonal relation has been the main creative motive. This we find in Mozart and Beethoven to a remarkable degree.

The general color of instrumental music, or its increasing complexity and high flavor, has been very much influenced by the writers of songs, as well as by the dramatic composers writing for the stage. There have been a few great geniuses in the art of music who, while gifted with a wide musical fantasy of their own, have taken pleasure in deriving their inspiration from poetry, and have occupied a large part of their time as creative composers in setting to music such lyric texts as interested them. In this way Schubert, for example, wrote something like 700 songs, Schumann a considerable number, and there have been various other composers who have written extensively in this line. The experience of the song-writer has, on the whole, been of great use to instrumental music, since it has tended not alone to diversify the music by encouraging a freer and more graphic employment of tonal forms, but also to retain the melody within the compass suitable to the voice and to preserve the agreeable proportions of phrases, such as we already find in poetic meters. Still, the fact remains that for intensification and for the extravagant element in the higher art of music, the dramatic composer is the influence mainly to be thanked, since in opera all these things are done upon so much larger a scale and with so much greater intensity.

It is not easy in words to point out how extremely large a factor in art-music is the operation of the unconscious. Instinct governed the operation of Bach and Beethoven almost as much as it does the swimming of the swan or the flying of the pigeon. For although the instinct of tonal relations is not one of those universal endowments shared by every individual to the same degree, there have appeared in the art of music a series of remarkable geniuses who seem to have had within themselves the power to turn all kinds of moods and experiences into musical expression. What part of this was due to fortunate heredity, and what to environment, and how much to original genius, pure and simple, it is impossible to say. The nature of genius always remains a mystery. At the same time, the currency which the music of these masters has gained in the world, and still maintains, goes to show that the instinct which governed them in putting together tonal forms for expressing delight, and for operating upon the feelings of the hearer, is not different in essence from that of the common listener; since experience shows that all this music affords gratification to the great majority of individuals who can be brought to listen to it a few times. Of course, it is not to be expected that a casual hearer, inattentive, it may be, and unaccustomed to remembering what he has heard, will be impressed by a long instrumental composition to the same degree as a practised hearer, and especially a hearer who has already followed the composition through several times before; but the longest symphony or sonata always contains a variety of moments which are intensely pleasing to the ordinary hearer listening seriously to them for the first time. The difference between the casual hearer and the more cultivated one is that with practice will come a perception of a larger number of these attractive moments, and finally, at last, the realization of the entire discourse as a one, having a central idea; in the same way as in a sermon a casual hearer notices here and there an idea which strikes him; then he goes off into reverie, and is only recalled by some other striking idea which attracts his attention, while the trained hearer may have followed the discourse entirely, and found it interesting from first to last.

Moreover, the repeated experience of hearing brings out in ordinary listeners a capacity which they had not previously realized—viz., the experience of feeling in connection with the music. We are still very far from understanding the relation between music and feeling. The most that is known about it as yet is that to a listener of even a very slight amount of experience the minor chord suggests unhappiness, while the major chord sounds brighter and more agreeable; a pleasant rhythm, somewhat lively, betokens cheerfulness; a slow and heavy rhythm betokens seriousness, perhaps sadness; but beyond this elementary beginning of musical feeling, which is common to the most insignificantly endowed individuality, there is a vast world of finer sensibilities connected with music. A certain chord, or succession of chords, or especially a certain melo-harmonic phrase, touches the sensitive ear with a peculiar thrill, and this happens over and over again, and continually in the more fortunate works of all the great masters, when followed by sympathetic hearers. The point in this connection which we have to notice is that the capacity of feeling to be touched and awakened by tonal incitations is practically universal as regards civilized man. The extent of the influence which music will exert varies enormously in individual cases, but from the fact that every normal hearer will be touched more and more by music with a little practice in hearing it; that the number of those who are extremely sensitive to this form of spiritual suggestion is much larger than is ordinarily supposed; and from the fact of this capacity in the average individual, and the universality of the admiration awakened by the works of the great geniuses in music, it is a fair conclusion that the future is destined to throw more light upon this obscure part of the psycho-musical capacity of mankind; and it is obvious, as said before, that the great geniuses whose works are demonstrated to contain this power to touch hearers had this endowment in an extraordinary degree, but not to such a degree as need place any bar upon the popular appreciation of their music, if a comparatively small amount of education has been given in hearing.

To sum up, then, the results arrived at in this discussion. The programs and discussions now about to be undertaken have been arranged for the purpose of assisting the listener to a recognition of the peculiarities and individual charms of the works of the masters represented, and also, incidentally, to afford the listener a certain education in the art of hearing, and, by bringing together strongly contrasted musical moments, to afford the musical feeling a strong incitation, in the hope of awakening in every listener this capacity of musical delight, when the sense of the beautiful and of the expressive is appealed to through exquisite tonal incitation.

All the music in these chapters, without exception, has been created upon musical grounds, since it is the instinctive following out of musical ideas which has operated through the greater part of them, while the pursuit of the highly dramatic and strongly marked has had but a small influence.

The higher musical fancy has many ways of expressing itself or of elaborating musical ideas, but there are two of its characteristic modes which the student will do well to observe at the start. These are what I call the "thematic" and the "lyric." The ordinary folk-song, which starts off with a melodic phrase, this phrase being partly answered, followed by a third phrase like the first, and then a final answer, is the general type of the lyric moment. The thematic is generally based upon a short phrase or melodic figure, and this figure is repeated over and over in a variety of ways and different chords and the like until a complete idea is formed from it. These two modes of construction are traced at greater length in the concluding essay in this work on "The Typical Musical Forms," and the student will do well to fortify himself from time to time by reference to that chapter.

In all the programs of this course there is one caution which the student will do well to observe: All kinds of technical analysis of art-works put the hearer in a mood essentially different from that necessary for properly enjoying the works as art. Every art work is intended to awaken an artistic delight after its kind. In painting, a delight in form and color, and in some a kind of suggestion or story by means of them. In music, a delight in tone and tonal relations and rhythm, and always a sense of tonal beauty, with a strong flavor of feeling awakened by means of them. This entire expression of musical masterworks belongs to the unconscious operation of mind, and the hearer who occupies himself with the effort to recognize all the various devices and artifices of the composer, and to follow the form as such, or who occupies himself mainly with the idea of the story which the composer is trying to tell, puts himself in a wrong attitude for deriving the most complete gratification from the work. In a cultivated realization of the beauty of a great musical masterwork, these perceptions of technical skill on the part of the composer no doubt enter to some degree, but they are always more or less in the background, and form a part of the actual pleasure of hearing the symphony or the sonata scarcely more than the capital initials and punctuation marks enter into the enjoyment of a poem. All the incidents of punctuation and typography we take instinctively, and are conscious of them only when some one of them is missing and an error exists in the work. This is the case with music. Symmetry and flow of imagination are presupposed. Hence, whatever analyses may be made in the class as a part of the operation of studying these different master-works, the end to be sought by the student is the enjoyment of the work as music; to take an active and lively pleasure in the melody; to feel the harmony and the rhythm; to enjoy the contrast of the different moods, and so on. Every piece in the entire list is a voice in which the composer speaks to us, and the question is not the How, but the What.




Born March 21, 1685, at Eisenach.
Died July 28, 1750, in Leipsic.

Johann Sebastian Bach was the son of the city musician of Eisenach, and a descendant of about ten generations of musical Bachs. His father having died when the boy was young, the latter's brother, Johann Christoph, gave him lessons for some time, after which he studied with other masters of considerable celebrity, and at the age of seventeen he was engaged as violinist in the private orchestra of Prince John Ernst, of Saxe-Weimar. He held this place, however, for but a few months, leaving it to accept a more desirable one as organist in the new church at Arnstadt. During the time he held this position he made several journeys on foot to Lübeck to hear the famous Buxtehude play, and later paid the same compliment to another eminent organist. The most important of the early positions which Bach held was that of director of chamber music, and organist to the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, and here, after seven years' service, he was made chief concertmeister. In 1717 he left Weimar to accept a position as musical director at Köthen, where he had a better opportunity to express himself with orchestra. In 1723 be became cantor of the St. Thomas School at Leipsic and music director of the university, as the successor of Johannes Kuhnau. In this position he had the direction of the music in the St. Thomas Church, where he had at his disposal an orchestra, organ, and two choirs, besides which he trained the school-children. He here wrote an enormous amount of church music, consisting of a very large number of cantatas for church service, of which first and last he seems to have produced five entire series for every festival Sunday in the year. These cantatas were short oratorios consisting of choruses, solos, recitatives, instrumental movements, and were frequently of considerable elaboration. Many of them are now lost, but a very considerable number remain. He also composed five oratorios for the Good Friday season—Passion music—of which three yet remain, the most famous one being the "St. Matthew's Passion."

Joh. Sebastian Bach, Geo. Fred. Händel

Joh. Sebastian Bach, Geo. Fred. Händel

Bach was married twice, and had, in all, eleven sons and nine daughters, of whom six sons and four daughters survived him. As a practical musician Bach excelled upon the violin, the organ, and the clavier, and he left a very large number of works in all three of these departments, works which still remain the admiration of musicians the world over. His genius was unquestioned in his own lifetime, and the memory of it remained lively even during the fifty years following his death when very few of his works were accessible.

The most complete biography of Bach is the large work by Spitta, in three volumes, in which the entire life-history of this great master, and all the circumstances amid which he worked, his discouragements, and what he accomplished, have been traced with most patient and loving care.

The list of Bach's compositions includes three sonatas and three partitas (generally classed as six sonatas) for violin alone; six sonatas for violin and piano, a large quantity of chamber music of one sort and another, a few orchestral suites, and about ten large volumes of music for the clavier and for the organ.


Born February 23, 1685, at Halle.
Died April 14, 1759, in London.

Händel was the son of a surgeon and it was the wish of his father to educate him to his own profession, but the inclination to music was so strong that it was impossible to prevent him from following it, and, accordingly, he had the best training it was possible to get in the vicinity. When the boy was eleven years old he was taken to Berlin and placed under the instruction of Bononcini and Ariosti, Italian music being then the style at the Prussian court. At the age of sixteen young Händel had obtained a position as organist, and he was also a fine clavecin player and a good violinist. A few years later we find him at Hamburg, where he played the clavecin in the orchestra and was sometimes conductor. Here he produced several operas—"Nero," "Daphne," "Florindo," "Almira"—with so much success that in 1707 he made a journey to Italy for further perfecting himself in the Italian style. Accordingly he spent some months in Florence, three months in Rome, thence back to Florence to produce a new opera, and by the new year of 1708 he was in Venice, where his second Italian opera, "Agrippina," was produced. From Venice he went again to Rome, where he wrote two short oratorios for Cardinal Ottoboni.

He had already made the acquaintance in Venice of Scarlatti, Corelli, and of Antonio Lotti. He accompanied the Scarlattis to Naples and remained with them about a year, and there was great rivalry in regard to the harpsichord playing of Händel and Domenico Scarlatti. This success made Händel's name so celebrated that it led to his being invited to London, where he went in 1712 to bring out some operas. He liked London so well that he remained there all the rest of his life. During a part of this time he was himself the manager of the opera, importing his principal singers from Italy, producing his own operas as well, occasionally, as those by other composers, and experiencing in the vocation of manager the vicissitudes well known to attend it. He made and lost several fortunes; but finally, at his death, had paid up all claims against him and left to charity a very handsome estate.

In London he produced a large number of operas, and then, about 1733, he began to compose oratorios, and in 1741 produced the "Messiah," which had a great success. He also composed a large amount of instrumental music, and was very famous as an organist. He composed a large number of concertos for organ with orchestra, and he was in the habit of playing a new organ concerto in the intermission of an oratorio.

The number of Händel's works is extremely large. All his operas are now forgotten. Nevertheless individual fragments remain, such as the famous alto air, "Lascio Pianga," and many others. From his instrumental works also many charming bits have survived and still please the public, such, for instance, as the famous "Largo." Of the oratorios, his greatest are the "Messiah" and "Israel in Egypt." The most complete biography of Händel is that by Chrysander.

In order to appreciate the importance of Bach and Händel in the history of music, it is necessary to know something of the condition of the world of music when they commenced to work in it. The music-making of the world at that time had come from three original sources, and, in spite of the vast increase in the number of composers and in the volume of musical production, these streams had been kept, and still remained, almost entirely distinct from each other.

At the foundation of all the art of music lies the folk-song—simple melodies which spring up in every country and are easily learned, and pass from one to another until they become current over large extents of territory. The folk-song had its origin, most likely, in the dance; and the dance, in turn, was an artistic evolution from the cadenced chant, accompanied by a measured march, with which the early religious services were performed. The folk-song of the nation naturally disposed itself in the tonality most esteemed by the people, and, accordingly, we find in some countries that most of the folk-songs are in major tonality, while in others minor tonality prevails; the rhythm being determined by the favorite dancing step of the people. Thus, in Germany, many of the folk-songs are waltzes; in Spain, seguidillas; and in Italy, tarantellas. The making of folk-songs must have gone on continually through the spontaneous creation of new melodies by gifted but untaught musicians in all parts of the musical world. These melodies were seldom written down, but were passed from one to another orally; and down to the time of Händel and Bach very little recognition of the folk-song as a possible element in art had been accorded by any trained musician. This is not the place to trace the evolution of the folk-song into more and more symmetrically disposed phrases and agreeable relations of tonality. Enough to say that from the rather slow and minor songs of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, folk-song had blossomed out until, in the time of Bach, it had come to express very much of the simple delights and sorrows of the natural people.

At the opposite extreme from the folk-song were the operations of the thoroughly trained composer. While the folk-song developed itself entirely by ear,—and the ear and feeling of the untaught musician were his sole guide in the production of an agreeable melody,—the trained composer for many centuries entirely disregarded the testimony of the ear, or admitted it in only a slight degree. His principal care was to carry out the rules which he had been taught; and in following this tradition,—the operation of which was almost entirely unchecked by the musical sense properly so called,—the tendency was constantly toward greater and greater elaboration, since only in elaboration could the mastery of the composer be shown. The art of combining tones had been handed down for some centuries almost entirely in the form of what is known as counterpoint, in which the relation of each voice melody to the others was more considered than the chords resulting as the voices moved from one tone to another. This art had its origin apparently in France, and the most promising of the early compositions we know were those produced at the Sorbonne about the eleventh century. By the thirteenth or fourteenth century the pre-eminence had been transferred to the Low Countries, and the Netherlands became the great hothouse of contrapuntal development.

This tendency to extravagant display of learning manifested itself in the Netherlanders in almost every department; and whoever will read the accounts of their receptions and festivals, with the elaborate Latin poems and processions which attended the ceremonies, will find in the music of those times the same qualities brought to expression. Nevertheless, the ear could not be entirely ignored, and now and then a master arose with genius and musical intuition necessitating his pruning his compositions more or less in accordance with the dictates of the ear; and thus there were such masters as Adrian Willaert, who founded a school in Venice somewhere about 1500, and Orlando di Lasso, who founded that in Munich at about the same time. Among the multitudinous works of these men are many which are simple, or at least musical in the proper sense. Nevertheless, as yet, simplicity in this so-called high art was accidental and momentary, and complication was the rule of its being and the measure of its power.

The complication of the works of the contrapuntal school almost passes belief. All kinds of imitations, canons, and fugal devices; inversions of motives, so that an ascending melody was transformed into a descending melody and vice versa; the enlargement or augmentation of a motive by doubling or quadrupling the length of each one of its tones; the diminution of a motive by shortening its tones to a quarter of their original value; modification by repeating its rhythm in the chromatic scale in place of the melodic intervals of the original figure, and even to the extent of reversing motives, so that the melodic steps were made in reversed order from the end to the beginning;—and in the midst of all this elaboration the composer or the trained listener of the time was supposed to enjoy not alone the music as such, but all these complicated devices of the composer.

When these things had been carried out in movements having as many as sixteen voice parts, which was not a phenomenally large number at that time, two results unexpected by the composer almost necessarily came about. The first of these was the production of chord successions which could be felt by the hearer only as such, since sixteen real parts moving within the three octaves of choral compass were necessarily obliged to cross each other continually, whereby the contour of the different voice melodies became lost in the mixture, and only the chords and chord successions came to realization. In this way, perhaps, the perception of harmonic good and evil was very much forwarded where nothing of the kind had been intended. The other result was the practical exhaustion of all these artificial resources for conveying an impression of power in a composer. When everything had been done that could be done, the new composer necessarily had to take a different path and arrive in some other way; otherwise he became merely a repeater of what had been done before.

All the scientific composition up to about the middle of the sixteenth century had been designed for voices, and the great bulk of it for the service of the Church. Presently, however, a distinctly secular music began to be developed, in which, very naturally, lighter principles of composition prevailed. Thus arose a great literature of madrigals, which generally were love-songs or glees, containing many of the devices of the extremely well-taught composer already mentioned, but also having in them a lively rhythm and a pleasant quality which, even after the lapse of three centuries and more, still has power to impress and please our ears. A little later an instrumental music of the cultivated kind began to be developed. The two Gabriellis, in Venice, wrote various kinds of organ pieces of a semi-secular flavor; the violin found its form, and, by the beginning of the sixteenth century, had become an instrument somewhat highly esteemed. The principal instrument still in use among the people, however, was the lute, which had taken the place of the harp, and both these instruments naturally tended to develop a taste for chords, since chords were what might be called their "natural product."

About the year 1600 a new department of musical creation was opened in the discovery of opera. This great form of art, which has now attained so much importance, was an accidental evolution from the effort to recover the Greek drama, in which, owing to the size of the theaters, the lines were chanted or intoned rather than spoken, in order that the voice might carry farther. The first operatic composers sought only a clear expression of the declamation, and intended to give their written notes similar effects to those which a speaker's voice would produce in the emphatic delivery of the sentiments and words of the text. Accordingly, the first opera had no melody, properly so called; but almost immediately, in 1608, there appeared a genius in this new form of composition, Monteverde, who not only introduced melodies, but also made a very intelligent use of harmony, and, above all, showed himself the founder of modern instrumentation by placing the violin at the head of the orchestra. Then ensued in Italy a century of the most animated musical productivity the world has ever seen. Operas followed each other from a great variety of composers, and opera-houses were erected in all the principal cities; opera was played everywhere, sometimes by the support of princes and sometimes by the support of the people themselves.

The development of opera was the most important creative inspiration which had ever come into the art of music, since, in the nature of the case, everything was new. What the music sought to do almost immediately, beginning with Monteverde himself in his opera "Tancred," was to represent the feeling of the dramatic moment. Almost at the very first they began to use music in the melodramatic way for accompanying the critical moments of the action, when the performers were not singing, and the forms of the singing utterance differentiated themselves into recitatives for the explanatory parts and arias for the more impassioned moments; and then, very soon, there came ensemble pieces, in which several performers sang together.

Thus all kinds of emotional situations were presented to music for representation and comment, and thus, upon the expressive side, music received the highest possible stimulation. At the same time, through the competition of composers for pleasing the ear, there was an ever increasing tendency toward symmetry and graceful forms. And so the aria became, after a little, a piece of vocal display, often entirely opposed to the action, and sometimes foreign to the genius of the scene; still, it was heard for the sake of the pleasure which people have in a skilfully managed voice. Toward the end of this century, somebody, whose name I do not at this moment recall, began to introduce into opera occasional moments of which the people's song was the type; short movements which did not aim at display or at immense dramatic expression, but sought to please by simplicity alone. In this way, through the desire of the operatic composers to avail themselves as far as possible of the technical resources of composition acquired by the learned musicians of the contrapuntal schools, and to please their hearers and to astonish them in various ways, all the different forces in music began to exercise themselves and come to expression in opera; but as yet nothing of the sort had made any great progress in instrumental music.

Thus we come to the period of Bach and Händel, both of whom began to write shortly after 1700. In the working out of their respective talents, both these composers show their well-schooled musicianship, according to all the learning of the contrapuntal schools—but with very important differences. Händel had all his life a predilection for diatonic tonality, and it is very rarely indeed that he deals with the chromatic at all, and never with the enharmonic. All the music in which he best expressed himself was written for voices, and as a master of vocal effect he still holds a distinguished position, particularly in the creation of compositions in which a large number of voices can be effectively massed. He also had a distinct flavor of the folk-song in many of his melodies, and in some instances the folk-song is the entire work. Such, for instance, is the case in "See, the Conquering Hero Comes," in "Joshua," and in several of the short instrumental movements in "Joshua," "Solomon," and his other oratorios.

Bach, on the other hand, was of a much more intensely organized musical temperament. His genius was of the greatest possible character. As a virtuoso he not only played upon the organ, the clavecin, and the violin better than most of his contemporaries, and upon the organ probably better than any; he also created works in these three departments which held the attention of his own time to an astonishing degree, considering the meager means of communication among men, works which still remain, in our time, the indispensable corner-stones of the literature of these three instruments. The violinist gets a large part of his mastery through the sonatas of Bach for violin solo, the organist learns his art from Bach, and the pianist finds "The Well-tempered Clavier," and many other works of Bach written for the clavecin of indispensable importance for the development of intelligent playing.

The peculiar importance of Bach to modern music lies in the delicacy of his sense upon the harmonic side and upon his intuition of the emotional value of musical combinations. In the form of his work he always more or less resembled his predecessors, the fugue underlying, probably, something more than half of all the music he wrote. But he also showed a strong tendency to impart to his work the vivacity of the folk-song and the expressive melodic quality which he had already found in the violin. Owing to his intensely sensitive harmonic perceptions, he was never able to confine himself for long to the more obvious chords of the key. The diatonic chords and combinations in which Händel found an ever complete satisfaction are not sufficient for Bach, and we find continually new chords, evasive cadences, and a flowing continuity of thought belonging to the master mind.

Hence to the ordinary student there are two difficulties in the way of appreciating and enjoying Bach. The first one is the somewhat antique flavor of much that he wrote, for it is now almost two hundred years since many of Bach's compositions were completed; and the second is this sensitive and evasive harmonic fancy, which surpasses the capacity of untrained hearers. Hence, such works as the recitatives in the "Chromatic Fantasia," the beautiful modulations and changes in the organ Fantasia in G minor, and scores of other passages that might be mentioned in the larger works of Bach, are the legitimate pleasure of advanced musicians or of those especially gifted; but there is a whole world of Bach which lies nearer, within our reach, and it is this more accessible part of the land of Beulah that the present program will approach.

The importance of Bach in the world of art is further attested by the inspiration which he has been to all great composers since his time. In this respect he is the musician's musician par excellence. There has never yet appeared a master so advanced as not to find delight in the works of Bach, and in the opinion of many, all things considered, he was the most richly endowed genius who has ever adorned the art of music.


  Invention in C major.  From the Two-part Inventions.  No. 1.
  Invention in F major.  From the Two-part Inventions.  No. 8.
  Saraband in D minor.  Fifth English Suite.
  Loure in G major.  Heinze.  Third 'Cello Suite.
  Song, "My Heart Ever Faithful."
  Preamble in E major.  Sixth Violin Sonata.  Heinze.
  Saraband in E minor.  Fifth English Suite.
  Gavotte in E major.  Tours.  Sixth Violin Sonata.
  Cradle song, from the Christmas Oratorio.
  Prelude and Fugue in C minor.  Clavier.  Book I, No. 2.
  "Hope in the Lord."  Arranged by William Mason from the celebrated Largo.  Händel.
  Menuet in D major.  First 'Cello Suite.  Heinze.
  Gavotte in B minor.  Saint-Saëns.

(All the instrumental pieces of this program except the two inventions and the Tours arrangement of the Gavotte in E are in the "Bach Album," Peters edition, No. 1820, fifty cents. The inventions are in the Peters edition, fifty cents. The prelude and fugue in C minor may be had separately, as also the two songs.)

The conditions of being pleased with this program are that it be played in a melodious and expressive manner upon a good-toned piano, and that the songs are reasonably well done.

The selections from Bach in this program are intended to illustrate the lighter and, so to say, more superficial characteristics of Bach's music. Accordingly, the inventions are taken to show his manner of developing a piece from a single motive, which by many repetitions remains as a text all through the movement. The same principle carried much farther will be found later in Schumann.

The sarabands illustrate Bach's method in slow movements. These being written for the clavier, which in Bach's time had little tonal value, are rather meager in their development, but when played with a very sincere, melodic quality of tone, and treated exactly like expressive singing, with the necessary rise and fall of the phrase (varying intensity, as the idea advances or retrogrades), will always please. Moreover, while very short, such is the cleverness of their construction that they interest a musician very much.

The gavottes, being arranged from pieces which Bach wrote for clavier with other instruments, are naturally more free; both because Bach had the benefit of a stringed instrument—violin or 'cello—for intensifying the melody, and because they have been recently arranged for piano solo, and hence manifest more of the modern treatment of the piano.

The song, "My Heart Ever Faithful," is really instrumental in its character. In the second part the melody lies very badly for the voice. It is practically an instrumental piece in which the voice is the sole instrument.

Owing to the length of the program and the relatively greater importance of Bach in the development of music, only one selection is given from Händel—Dr. William Mason's adaptation of the words, "Hope in the Lord," to the Händel largo. This melody is so well known as not to require further comment. In later programs other selections from Bach will be given which will illustrate the larger aspects of his style, and, above all, his intense emotionality. This quality, which was once popularly denied concerning Bach, is now recognized by all musical hearers, and it should be brought out in the playing. Another essential characteristic of a successful Bach interpretation is the due observance of the rhythm, which is always admirably organized in Bach's works. Rubato must be introduced in a very sparing manner, and always in such a way as not to destroy the rhythm of the period as a whole.

If the student is disposed to undertake this work seriously, it will be advantageous to enter into an analysis of one or more of the Bach selections (or better, perhaps, assign each selection to one member for study and report), in order to ascertain exactly in what manner he uses motives to answer each other, when he continues upon the same motive, and when he branches off with other material. The inventions will be easiest for this purpose. It would be an advantageous exercise to play the inventions while the hearers note the number of times the leading idea occurs in each one. The object of this exercise is to lead unaccustomed hearers to note the actual musical idea—motive—instead of remaining passively attentive, taking in the music by contemplation. The latter attitude of hearing is the one best adapted for receiving whatever emotional movement there may be in the music; but since the larger works depend upon the development of musical ideas as such, it is desirable to acquire the habit of attending to them. The passive contemplation may be applied later to more emotional works. With Bach the purely musical is the first object of his work.




Born April 1, 1732, at Rohrau.
Died May 31, 1809, in Vienna.

Haydn came of peasant stock, his father being a wheelwright, and the little Franz Joseph the second of twelve children. At the age of eight his beautiful voice attracted the attention of the director of the choir of St. Stephen's Church in Vienna and he was entered as a choir boy. Here he received a thorough training in singing, in clavier, and violin playing, and also a good education. When his voice broke he managed to sustain himself in an honorable way by various subordinate positions as organist and violinist, playing the organ at an early mass in one church, the violin at a mass an hour or two later in another church, and finally, at eleven o'clock perhaps, reaching his principal position. Thus for several years he passed an extremely industrious and fruitful, but unrecognized, existence.

Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang A. Mozart

Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang A. Mozart

As early as 1750 he had written his first string quintette, and soon after he was twenty years of age he held various positions as musical director in noblemen's houses. In 1761—Haydn being now twenty-nine years of age—he was appointed assistant musical conductor of the private orchestra of Prince Esterhazy. The orchestra consisted of sixteen men. Five years later the senior director died, and Haydn became the chief director and remained in this position until 1790, when, in consequence of the death of the old Prince Esterhazy, his son discontinued the private orchestra and dismissed Haydn upon a pension of 1000 florins a year. He was now invited by a professional manager to make a visit to England, which he did in 1790-92 and again in 1794-95, conducting many concerts there, and composing for the English market a series of twelve symphonies for full orchestra, which are now considered to represent his best work in this line. Still later he turned his attention to oratorios and produced his "Seasons" and the "Creation."

During his long service in the Esterhazy establishment, where he had to produce a constant succession of new and pleasing music, he had the opportunity of trying all sorts of combinations and devices, and in this way he turned out an enormous amount of music, including 125 symphonies, more than 100 compositions for viol da gamba, an instrument of which the old Prince Esterhazy was very fond, and a variety of music of almost every kind then practiced. All of this music reflects Haydn's character, which was simple, unassuming, kindly, and sincere. As a composer he must be considered as the first of what we might call the homophonic writers,—that is to say, he was the father of the modern free style in which the normal form of the musical idea is that of a melody and an accompaniment, as distinguished from the style of Bach, in which the ground form is that of independently moving voices. The following list will give a better idea of the astonishing range of Haydn's activity as composer: One hundred and twenty-five symphonies; 20 clavier concertos and divertisements with clavier; 9 violin concertos; 6 concertos for 'cello, and 16 concertos for other instruments (contra-bass, baritone, lyra, flute, horn, etc.); 77 string quartets; 68 trios; 4 violin sonatas; 175 pieces for baritone; 6 duets for solo violin and viola; 53 works for piano; 7 nocturnes for lyra, and various other pieces for the same instrument; 14 masses; 2 Te Deums; 13 offertoriums; 24 operas.


Born January 27, 1756, at Salzburg.
Died December 5, 1791, in Vienna.

Mozart was the son of an excellent musician, and as soon as the boy began to show his astonishing sensitiveness of ear and bias for music in every direction, his father commenced to give him instruction. His activity as a composer commenced when he could scarcely read, for before he was five years old he showed his father a manuscript of a violin concerto which at first the father took to be mere meaningless marks, but on having them explained by the boy he found there was indeed a musical idea and, of course, a composition.

When he was about six years old his father decided to take the boy and his older sister upon a concert tour, which accordingly he did, visiting the principal courts of Germany, and finally reached Paris November 18, 1763. Here his first compositions were printed—four concertos for violin. In Paris he was very successful, and the tour was continued to London, where he published six additional concertos for violin. By the time he was ten years of age he had written his first oratorio, and now when he was upon a concert tour he was met with skepticism and misrepresentations, the claim being put forward that the compositions being published under his name had really been written for him by his father, since it was evident from the face of them that no boy of his age could have composed so well. To counteract these charges poems were brought to him upon which he had to improvise and fit the music to the words in the presence of the audience. In 1769 he went to Italy, where, being now thirteen years of age and correspondingly mature as compared with his early appearances, he made a most astonishing success. In Bologna and in Rome as well as in Venice he was examined by the most eminent theorists in Italy, and received memberships in the societies of artists, and the Pope made him a Knight of the Golden Spur. His first opera, "Mitridate," was composed in 1770, Mozart being then fourteen years of age. The opera was played twenty times. In Milan, two years later, he composed his opera "Lucio Silla," and the same year his opera "Idomeneo," for Munich. His other celebrated operas followed in fairly rapid succession: "Figaro," 1785; "Don Giovanni," 1787; "Cosi fan Tutte," 1790, and the "Magic Flute" in 1791. His last was his "Requiem." The works of Mozart included thirteen operas, thirty-four songs, forty-one sonatas, thirty-one divertisements for orchestra. The best biography is that by Otto Jahn.

The epoch of Haydn is a very important one in art, since it was in his time, and almost entirely by his own work, that the sonata and symphony, the two most important forms in modern music, were invented or discovered and brought to something like definite form. Practically speaking, a symphony is merely a sonata written for orchestra; but the possibilities of orchestral contrasts and changes in the working out of the part known as "free fantasia" permits the symphonic composer to conduct his work in larger lines and carry it to a greater length than is advisable for the composer of sonatas for a single instrument, in which monotony of tone-color is an element which must not be forgotten.

The "sonata-piece," as the principal movement of the sonata has been called, is one of the great typical forms in music. Its greatness lies in the latitude it permits the composer and the practically unlimited field it gives for the illustration of musical beauty, contrast, sweetness, and musical strength in a single composition. In this respect it binds up in itself some of the most valuable possibilities of the entire art of modern composition. In order to understand what we are to have in the sonatas of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, some of the peculiarities of the form need first to be noticed.

The sonata-piece consists practically of three chapters, of which the third is substantially a repetition of the first, with a few not very important modifications. The first chapter contains from two to four different melodic subjects, of which one comes as principal, and is substantially of a thematic character. The second is almost invariably a lyric subject. In the sonatas of Mozart and Beethoven some very lovely melodies will be found in this position. Between the first and second subjects modulating periods may appear; and after the second there is a concluding subject, which brings up to a close at the double bar, upon the dominant of the principal key. In the older practice there is a repeat sign at this point, and the whole of the first part is gone over again. In modern practice this repeat is often disregarded, since the memory of musical ideas appears more lasting in our day than formerly. After the double bar comes the great characteristic opportunity of this form of art-music, in what the Germans call a working out (Durchführungssatz), in which the composer makes a free fantasia upon any or all of the material introduced in the first division of the work, already described. This working out is often mere play, rarely rising to a seriousness at all approaching that of fugue; still, a clever composer manages to afford many attractive features in this part of a sonata, and still more in the larger opportunities of symphony.

Haydn is entitled to the credit of having given the sonata-piece its main characteristics of form. In this respect it follows the suggestion of the older "binary form," in which sarabands, gavottes, and the like were written by Bach. All of these, being composed upon a single melodic idea, necessarily had to develop this idea by means of sequences, imitations, transpositions, and transformations of one sort and another, employing in this treatment much of the art which fugue had supplied. All the pieces in this old binary form come to a half close at the double bar upon the dominant of the principal key, or upon the relative major if the principal key be minor. After the double bar the development is taken up in the dominant, or in whatever key the preceding part had ended in. Later the principal key is resumed and the work concluded.

Haydn enlarged this form by completing his leading periods generally to a symmetrical length of eight measures, and by adding a second subject and a different melodic material for conclusion, both before the double bar and at the end of the movement.

The style of the Haydn sonata-piece is generally light and pleasing. Only in a very few cases, and in those for a few measures only, does he attempt pathos. Thus the principal movement of the Haydn sonata seems to have been developed from a dance motive, and the carrying out is generally done in regular period forms—the form being substantially verse throughout, the meter regular and not capricious. Haydn arrived at this treatment through his natural fondness for symmetry and order, and through having had for thirty years to produce a constant succession of interesting pieces, mainly orchestral, primarily designed to interest and please his princely patron, the old Prince Esterhazy. The best symphonies of Haydn were written late in life, after he had been called to London to conduct some new works of his. The glance into the outer world, and perhaps the availability of a larger body of players, gave his ideas a freer scope; and these twelve London symphonies belong to a higher type than those of his earlier time.

As yet we have not spoken of the lyric melody, which in the Beethoven sonata forms almost invariably a second subject. This idea appears to have been due to Mozart, whose second subjects not only are sweet and song-like melodies, but many of his first ones as well. Thus the Mozart sonata, while excelling that of Haydn in melodiousness and sweetness, is almost invariably of less musical interest, the development of a musical thought being rarely considered. In the few cases in which Mozart takes a serious mood he succeeds well, notably so in the famous sonata in C minor, the last one in the volume of his works. But in general, particularly in the sonatas, Mozart is melodious in pure lyric pattern. These melodies of Mozart, while of great sweetness and beauty, do not, as a rule, have much depth; they do not sing from the soul. The soul has not "seen trouble," as folks say; it sings with the instinctive sweetness of childhood, and thus fails to touch the feelings of adults. The selections following illustrate these points:


  Sonata in E-flat (entire).  No. 3, Schirmer edition.  Haydn.
  "My Mother Bids Me Bind My Hair."  Canzonetta.  Haydn.
  Sonata in C-sharp minor (entire).  No. 6, Schirmer edition.  Haydn.
  Trio from "The Creation," "Most Beautiful Appear."  Haydn.  Soprano, tenor, and bass.
  Sonata in F major.  No. 6, Peters edition (first movement).  Mozart.
  Air of Cherubino in "The Marriage of Figaro," "Voi Che Sapete."  Mozart.
  Sonata in E-flat (first and second movements only).  Schirmer edition, No. 1.  Haydn.
  Quintette, "Magic Flute," Mozart.  Scene X, Act I, Andante.  "Drei Knaben, Knäbchen jung."
  Aria of Countess from "The Marriage of Figaro," "Dove sono," Mozart.
  Fantasia and Sonata in C minor.  Mozart.
  Trio from "The Creation," "On Thee Each Living Soul Awaits."  Haydn.

(The copies for this program are as follows: Haydn sonatas, Schirmer edition, first volume, paper, seventy-five cents. This is a very elegant and in every way satisfactory edition for study or for the library. Mozart sonatas, Peters edition, $1.50 (retail). The songs are to be had separately. Copies of "The Creation" and "The Magic Flute" will be necessary.)

The selections above are made for the purpose of illustrating the more prominent characteristics of the two composers mentioned. Haydn is now beginning to be undervalued, and, in fact, his works are used mainly for purposes of instruction, and comparatively little for that. This is unjust, for while Haydn does not belong to the class of composers whose music is conceived by them as a message to mankind, but rather is conceived as an intelligent and refined form of delight, he is as musical as Bach himself, and consequently his music remains fresh and interesting despite the comparatively small forms. This will be noticed in every one of the sonatas selected here. The Sonata in E-flat, No. 3, is the one oftenest selected and studied, because it shows Haydn in his most genial mood. The spirit is bright, pleasing, fresh, and not a little vigorous. Practically, every single movement of a Haydn sonata is developed mainly out of one leading motive. In the present instance there is a second idea, of a quasi-lyric importance, introduced in the thirteenth measure—counting each measure from the first bar. In the forty-third measure a closing theme is introduced. The places are marked in the Schirmer copies, so there will be no difficulty in finding them. The second movement, if played in a very singing but not dragging manner, will be found enjoyable, although by no means sensational. The ideas are musical and the spirit earnest. The finale, in the tempo of a minuet, is very pleasing indeed. Here, also, the purely musical idea rules everything. The problem with the composer is to treat an idea which pleased him, and to carry it through all the changes and modifications which occurred to him as attractive.

The Sonata in C-sharp minor (No. 6, Schirmer) is more significant, and approximates the spirit of later works in the same key. The principal subject has a great deal of vigor, and the musical treatment is very fresh and original. The scherzando which follows is a very light movement, and needs to be played with great delicacy and spirit. The whole concludes with a menuetto, moderate in movement, song-like.

To my mind the strongest of the Haydn sonatas is the one which stands first in the Schirmer edition, also in E-flat, a favorite key with Haydn. The principal subject is very forcible, and the treatment varied to a degree. The whole work is one which a musician can play many times through, and always with enjoyment.

The second movement has the remarkable peculiarity of being in the key of E major—a violent modulatory relation to that of the first movement. I should say that this fact indicated that Haydn did not conceive of the three movements of the sonata as constituting a single whole, because if he had he could not have followed a close in E-flat major with an opening in E major, exactly a semitone higher, without the slightest modulation. This proceeding is inexplicable to me, if he expected the sonata to be played through entire at a single hearing. The slow movement, however, is a very strong one, the subject full of musical feeling, and the treatment clever and interesting. All the melodic passages in this movement need to be sung with great feeling. Then the contrast with the lighter portions will produce their proper effect. The finale, presto, is a very light and, one might almost say, insignificant movement, relieved only by a few moments of something better.

The Mozart collections are calculated to show the peculiar and womanly sweetness which Mozart introduced into music. In Haydn, moments of sweetness do indeed occur, and in his "Creation" they are frequent; but in his instrumental works they are not so frequent. The Sonata in F, of Mozart, is full of pleasing melodic ideas, and the first and second periods and the first episode are all very attractive melodies. Note that each of these ideas comes in the form of a fully completed melody, and not in the form of a musical motive of one, or at most two, phrases. Each of the Mozart subjects is eight measures long. The characteristic tone of the Mozart sonatas is this melodic sweetness, and the stronger parts only intensify this fundamental tone. The slow movement is rather meager, but it is also pleasing and well made. The so-called "Alberti" bass should be played in such a manner as to minimize the motion of the sixteenths, and to intensify the chord feeling. This will be done by playing softly with the left hand, bearing down a little, and using the pedal with every chord, except where it will mix up the melody.

The Fantasia and Sonata of Mozart, which concludes the program, is a work which is well worth studying. The fantasia opens with a very serious subject, which is carried through a variety of delightful changes, in a manner indicating a poetic intention. The expression must be carefully observed in the playing, and in the elaboration, where the subject occurs in several keys in connection, the first tone is taken rather strong and with a slight dwelling upon it. The slow melody in D major, as well as the adagio in E-flat, illustrate Mozart's faculty with sweet and rather deep melodies which, while perfectly simple in structure, nevertheless have in them the soul of the artist. The tone has to be full, round, singing, and never loud. There are parts of the fantasia which do not come up to the level of the others; particularly the allegro in G minor, which is inconvenient to play, and almost never played in a musical manner. It has, however, to be gotten over the best one can.

The vocal selections are of peculiar attractiveness. The canzonetta of Haydn, "My Mother Bids Me Bind My Hair," is a fresh, girlish affair, which can not fail to please. The trio, "Most Beautiful Appear," is so sweet that Mozart might have written it.

Then in the Mozart selections, the "Dove sono" is an aria requiring to be sung with a very pure tone and good style. All of Mozart's operatic arias were intended for well-trained Italian singers having a refined and high-bred style of singing. When so done, they are always delightful. The Cherubino air is very fresh, and full of the charm of youth and love. The trio of girls from "The Magic Flute" is given because it is so taking, while involving a succession of implied consecutive fifths. And the great trio, "On Thee Each Living Soul Awaits," concludes the concert in a noble manner. If the resources of the local society should happen to make it easy, it will afford an admirable close to give along with this trio the two choruses, "Achieved is the Glorious Work."

It is to be understood that the selections here offered from these two great masters illustrate but a small part of their individualities. The selection has been determined by the convenience of copies and the likelihood of the resources in every place being equal to their acceptable performance.




Born December 16, 1770, at Bonn.
Died March 26, 1827, in Vienna.

Beethoven was the son of a very dissipated tenor singer of the chapel of the Elector of Cologne, and the family had been musical for several generations. The boy learned to play the viola and violin as well as the piano while he was still very young indeed, and by the age of eleven was regularly engaged as viola player in the orchestra and had gained such proficiency upon the piano that it was popularly said of him that he could have played a good part of Bach's "Well-tempered Clavier" by heart. While still but a lad he succeeded informally to the post of assistant conductor of the orchestra, and it was his duty to prepare the music for the men, making the abridgments, emendations, and rearrangements that might be advisable to adapt old music to the then modern orchestra. In this way he gained, no doubt, much of his marvelous acquaintance with orchestral effect. When he was fifteen he was regularly appointed organist to the private chapel of the Elector, and he was left in charge of the orchestra for months together in the absence of the head director, Neefe.

Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven

He began to compose by the time he was ten, but he did not manifest any especial precocity in this direction: his published compositions with opus number contain only one movement, it is believed, which he wrote before he was twenty or twenty-one years of age. After the death of his father he was left, as he had been practically for some years before, the responsible head of the family, with the care of his mother and his younger brothers. He remained in Bonn, with one visit to Vienna in 1787, until he was about twenty-two years of age, when he left Bonn definitely and took up his abode in Vienna. Here he studied with the best masters attainable—Haydn, then in his prime, Salieri, and others. His first published compositions with opus numbers—three trios—date from the Vienna time.

In Vienna he lived all the remainder of his life—about thirty-five years. In the earlier part of this period he was considered one of the great pianoforte virtuosi of his time; his playing was distinguished for force, strong contrasts, musical quality, and, above all, pathetic expression. Czerny states that it was not unusual for a company of the Viennese aristocracy to be affected to tears by the playing of this master. His published works were generally criticized as being too bold and unconventional.

As Beethoven had the fortune to live to quite a good age, he gradually established his position with regard to the earlier compositions, inasmuch as by repeated hearings they sooner or later commended themselves to the critics as well as to the public; but by the time this had come to pass with the works of a certain period, he had advanced and composed others, which now in turn succeeded to the charge of being too advanced and forced. These in turn were later on accepted, only to leave a still later stratum of his compositions under the same condemnation which had been the portion of the earlier works.

Nevertheless, the want of recognition of Beethoven by his contemporaries has been greatly overrated. He enjoyed a fairly comfortable income, as such things went among the middle-class Viennese of his time, and during most of his career he was esteemed to be probably the most eminent composer living.

As compared with the works of Händel or Bach, those of Beethoven do not make a great display in volume. Nevertheless, there are thirty-two piano sonatas, ten violin sonatas, nine symphonies for full orchestra, five pianoforte concertos, twenty-one sets of variations for piano alone, sixteen string quartets, and a very large mass of chamber music of other sorts. There are two masses, one opera, and above one hundred songs.

As generally stated, the characteristic point of difference between what we call the classical and the romantic in the art of music lies in the feeling actuating the composer, and consequently embodied more or less successfully in his music. In the older practice, especially that of the Netherlandish contrapuntal composers of the sixteenth century, the motive of composition was that of producing a musical piece more elaborate, more imposing, or more sonorous than previous works; or, perhaps, the more commonplace conception of producing a piece as good as previous works. The purely musical (conceived from a technical standpoint) remained the moving principle with the composer. With the invention of opera, about 1597, A. D., and the active development which followed for a century after, a new principle came into operation, namely, the expression of dramatic contrasts and situations, and so at length the expression of intense individuality—the working of strong individualities under the clash of tragic situations.

Along with the invention and development of opera, during the period here mentioned, the mastery of the violin was carried forward with great results to the art of music. About 1685, Archangelo Corelli published his first collection of pieces for the violin, and in these are found what are practically about the first examples of a well-developed lyric melody, of the kind we now mean when we speak of "bel canto"—the type of melody made the very crux of the art of Italian singing. This impassioned, sustained, and expressive melody took with wonderful rapidity and was almost immediately adopted into opera, the ideal of which in the beginning had been that of an artistic and dramatically expressive delivery of the text. Now, melody as such has little to do with the dramatic delivery of the text. In a sustained melody—as in "Home, Sweet Home," to quote a simple type—it is first of all a question of sustained sentiment; whereas in a well-determined declamation it is first of all a matter of effective delivery of the words and phrases from an elocutionary standpoint, allowing the voice all the stops, interruptions, shocks, and variations of intensity requisite for effective delivery. But by the time this sustained melody had been introduced into high art (it seems to have made a beginning earlier in folk-song, although we have no precise indications upon the subject) the mere delivery of a text, somewhat after the manner of a liturgical intoning, no longer satisfied the demands of opera.

Music grew by what it fed upon. The violin, which Monteverde had placed in the position of honor at the head of the orchestra in 1608, had grown upon the ears of the people; and there was a need felt for something more impassioned, but at the same time more distinctively musical, than the mere declamation of the first opera, no matter how sing-song that delivery might be made. Hence arose the aria, which practically is a prolongation of a single moment of the dramatic situation. The Arias, at first and for quite a long time later, had very few words, and these were repeated over and over, as we find still in the well-known arias from Händel's "Messiah." Thus opera came into possession of a simple and sustained melody, patterned after the cantilena of the violin; and it was employed for marking the successive points of the dramatic action. That is to say, as the drama unfolded, one new situation after another developed itself. Each new entrance of a dramatic person made a new complication and a new situation, brought to the attention of the hearer by means of the lines and then enforced by the aria, which the singer of greatest momentary importance had to sing. That these arias very soon degenerated into show pieces for virtuoso singers was an accident due to the popularity of the operatic stage, the development of the new art of singing, and a delight in the human voice as a musical instrument. It has no concern with our present subject.

Moreover, it inevitably happened that as composers multiplied and competed for the favor of the public, they tried more and more to bring out in their music the very innermost passions and passing feelings of the leading individuals in the play; hence the art of expressive music was greatly developed, and the ears of the public learned gradually to feel after and enjoy the human heart-beat in the music. Thus music passed beyond the stage of working for itself as a development of musical forms or science of construction, and became more and more, in opera, the expression of individualities and moods. At the same time that this tendency was working for making the music more expressive, the necessity of pleasing the public tended also in the opposite direction of pleasing the hearer by means of agreeable combinations of tone-colors, delightful symmetries of tone-forms, and the like. So at the very time when composers of one class were laboring in opera for the development of deep expression, those of another class were working no less effectually for making the music merely shallow and pleasing. Light operas dealing with shallow situations—comedy, farce, expressed by means of light and pleasing music—came to occupy more and more the operatic stage, where, after all, the question of amusement will always prevail.

All of these different tendencies came later on to their expression in music purely instrumental. We have seen already how Bach managed to compose truly expressive music which, nevertheless, is first of all strong music, yet highly humoristic and fanciful. Then Haydn and Mozart introduced various types of pleasing and simply expressive melody, but it is only in occasional moments that their music touches the deeper feelings of the heart. It is music to admire for its cleverness, to enjoy at times for its sweetness and tenderness, and its fresh melodic symmetry; but it is only in very rare moments that the accent of emotional individuality is given.

In Beethoven we find this quality for the first time illustrated in instrumental music; and, along with this occasional accent of intensity, we have also a great and inexhaustible variety of moods and manners appertaining to the different sides of the mighty individuality of this great tone-poet. Along with this variety of moods, which in their inner nature must be regarded as representing different facets of individuality, we have also in Beethoven a certain comprehensive element. Everything that he says to us belongs somehow to a larger whole, and that larger whole is the entire man of the composer. It is like the conversation of some highly gifted person, which, while lasting perhaps for only a few minutes, nevertheless affords us a glimpse into a remarkable personality, and appears in our memory as a chapter accidentally revealed out of the entire soul of the talker.

Hence in trying to form an idea of the individuality of Beethoven and of the range and peculiar beauty of his music, we have to learn his most characteristic moods in order to get the range of his genius; and then to see how he combines these widely different moods into a whole—as he does in his sonatas and symphonies. Accordingly, this first program begins with several pieces, comparatively small in compass, but directly illustrating the variety of his humoristic tendencies. All of these little pieces, moreover, have that accent of intense individuality mentioned above—an accent very much more observable in Beethoven than in any of his predecessors, and surpassed only by Schubert and Schumann later. The latter, it may be anticipated, is the most humoristic of all composers of instrumental music.

There are certain conditions of largeness in a piece of music intended to say something without words, and to work up to an imposing climax, which give it a different form from what is practicable in pieces having a text for doing a part of the talking. In order to reach a great effect, an instrumental music piece has to last for some time, and to continue quite a while in the same movement, as to rate of pulsation and frequency of measure accent. It has to work within a single tonality—remain in one key or revolve around one key in such a manner as to preserve its own unity as a single being. Hence arise the long movements of the sonata and symphony. It is not possible to arrive at similar impressions upon hearers by the use of shorter, disjointed movements. Only by carrying a movement on for some time, and so developing it as to impress some one idea as central, and at the same time to arrive eventually at some kind of a climax or goal, can a serious instrumental movement become expressive and effective.

In Mozart these long movements have nothing like the unity of those of Beethoven. A beautiful variety prevails, and the main ideas are repeated a sufficient number of times; but it is for beauty rather than for completing a cycle of moods or a cycle of soul-experiences. Or if a cycle, then a cycle of pleasant and youthful experiences. In Beethoven this is not the case. When he is much in earnest he takes plenty of time for saying his say, and says it so thoroughly that you are quite sure of what he is at. This will be shown in the present program by means of the Sonate Pathetique, and phases of the manner will appear in all the selections.


  Selections of a quasi-lyric character:
    Menuetto in E-flat.  Opus 31, No. 3.
    Menuetto in D major.  Opus 10, No. 3.
    Subject from Allegretto from Sonata, opus 90.  Thirty-two measures.
    Andante from Sonata, opus 27, No. 1.
  Formal Variations:
    Andante and Variations.  Sonata in G major.  Opus 14, No. 2.
    Andante, from Sonata Appassionata.  Opus 57.
  Humoristic Variations and Moods;
    Theme and Variations.  Opus 26.
    Scherzo in C, Sonata in C.  Opus 2, No. 3.
    Allegretto from "Moonlight Sonata."  Opus 27, No. 2.
    Scherzo in A-flat, Sonata.  Opus 31, No. 2.
    Allegro (first movement), from Sonata in G.  Opus 14, No. 2.
    Allegro (first movement), Sonata in F minor.  Opus 2, No. 1.
  Sonata-piece, Impassioned;
    Introduction and Allegro (first movement), Sonate Pathetique.  Opus 13.

The minuet proper, in the first selection, is a simply expressive folk-song throughout its first period. It is only at the beginning of the second period, with the dissonant C-flat, that something different comes to illustration. The distinction of the mood is further illustrated in the trio which follows, where the chords by their skips and their delightful changes afford a most agreeable and charming contrast with the main subject. (It is upon this trio that Saint-Saëns has written his lovely variations for two pianos, four hands.)

The minuet in D, from the very strong Sonata in D major, opus 10, affords very strong contrasts before we pass beyond the minuet proper. The first period (eight measures repeated) is purely lyric and very lovely. The second period starts out with an imitative bit, quite in the manner of fugue, one voice after another responding in a vigorous and spirited manner. When this is completed by the delightful return of the principal subject, we are led to a trio in the related key of G major, which is in a totally different style. It goes like a scherzo, and when it in turn has been completed the main minuet returns with most agreeable effect. At the end, a short coda. Both these selections contain much which is not purely lyric, but rather thematic. This occurs always in the trios, and in the second period of the minuet in D.

The next selection is the beginning of the beautiful closing movement of the Sonata, opus 90. This movement takes the place of a slow movement in this sonata, and it is entirely in lyric style, except where the imperative need of relief has led to the introduction of less connected and sustained matter. The melody itself is one of the best of Beethoven's. The illustration comprises the first thirty-two measures.

In the next division of selections we come upon the Beethoven faculty of diversifying a musical theme in the form of variations. The examples here given represent certain of the simpler phases of this part of his art, and if the student is ambitious in this direction he might read for himself the variations upon the waltz in C, or the famous thirty-two variations, in which endless varieties are obtained from a very simple theme. A still more highly developed example of this art is found in the last sonata of all, opus 111; but these are too difficult for our present use.

The theme and variations in C, from the Sonata in G, opus 14, are easy and pleasing. The theme itself affords a very pretty contrast between the staccato of the first period and the close legato of the second period. Then the sweetness of it is relieved by the strong syncopations which break it up, toward the end (measures 17 and 18). The first variation has the melody in the tenor, unchanged excepting to make it legato. The right hand deals mainly with syncopated repeated notes.

The second variation is much more broken. The left hand plays the bass upon the beat, while the right hand comes in with a chord containing the melody at the half beat. The third variation brings the melody again in the bass, with an accompaniment figure in sixteenths for the right hand. At the end there is a lovely coda of six measures. Throughout these variations the harmony and the melody have not been changed. Only the place of the melody and the rhythm of the accessory accompanying figures have been changed.

A still more remarkable illustration of this phase of the Beethoven genius is found in the andante and variations which form the second movement of the Sonata Appassionata, opus 57. Here the variations are not indicated in the notation, but the player has to find them for himself, which is easy enough, because the two periods of the theme, each of eight measures, are exactly repeated in the following variations.

The theme itself has a church-like character, almost "sacred." This is due to the first harmonic step from tonic to subdominant and back again, in the manner of the "Amen" cadence so well known in anthems. In the second period there is an intense and almost strained expression due to the chord of 4-2, the seventh low in the bass. The first variation plays the melody in the same place as in the theme, and in the same chords; but the bass enters a half beat later and holds over, so that a restless and searching expression results. The second variation, again, is very reposeful. The melody is only suggested in the upper tones of the right-hand part, and the sixteenth motion is intended to have a certain chord-like character; meanwhile the bass has a part somewhat like a melody suitable for 'cello. The third variation brings the melody high in the treble (later changing again to the left hand in the middle range of the piano), while the left hand performs an arpeggio figure in thirty-seconds. At the end a lovely coda of sixteen measures, recalling the theme in its original form. Throughout these variations not only is the harmony and melody of the theme never varied, excepting in time of coming in, but the spirit of the theme is everywhere retained. Observe that the coda is not concluded, but interrupted by the entrance of a diminished chord, leading into the key of F minor. In place of this chord, end with a chord of D-flat, directly after the dominant chord preceding the diminished chord, when the finale is not to be played.

Quite different from the foregoing are the highly humoristic variations of the Sonata, opus 26. These, being designated in the copy, require only mention and characterization. The theme is three periods in length, the second opening with a syncopation. The first variation follows the harmony of the theme, but in a broken manner, not alone in the cutting up into sixteenth notes, but also in changes of position upon the keyboard. This tendency to excitement continues in the second variation, where the melody is in the bass, in octaves broken into sixteenth notes. The third variation changes the mode to minor, and the musical treatment contains strong syncopations, implying much suppressed passion. The fourth variation is a scherzo, bounding from one point of the keyboard to another, like a musical Ariel. The fifth variation returns to the harmony and manner of the theme, but in the first eight measures the melody is held in reserve, suggested rather than fully brought out, in order that the complete appearance of the melody, legato, in the ninth measure shall be more effective. The whole closes with a beautiful coda of fifteen measures. (Count back from the end, if you do not find it at first.)

Still more humoristic is the scherzo from the Sonata in C, opus 2, No. 3. Here the principal subject is quite in fugue style, excepting the order of keys. In place of answering in the fifth, it answers in the octave.

It is unnecessary to add that this is a pure fancy-piece, the imitations being unexpected and capricious, and never for the sake of completing a pattern or form. The trio is a complete contrast, and very free and effective upon the keyboard. Then, after the return of the scherzo, we have a delightful coda of twenty-three measures.

Less pronounced, but very beautiful, is the allegretto from the so-called "Moonlight Sonata," opus 27, No. 2. This is gentle, and designed to mediate between the intense sadness of the first movement and the equally intense and impassioned sorrow and longing of the finale.

The sonata-piece is one of the most serious and diversified movements known to music, and while continuous and characterized by great unity, it is also rather complicated. Hence it will not be properly appreciated except by those who observe the leading ideas as they enter and recall them when they turn up again in the course of the treatment and development. When a sonata is written for orchestra it becomes a symphony, in which form the different ideas are more easily followed because they derive a certain individuality from the tone-color of the instrument first announcing them. When an artist plays a sonata he seeks to intensify the individuality of the leading ideas and thus aid the hearer in recognizing and remembering them.

The first example of sonata-piece is the rather light and pleasing allegro which begins the Sonata in G, opus 14, No. 2. The Principal subject lasts through twenty-four measures, the Second entering in the key of D with the beginning of the twenty-fifth measure. The Conclusion begins with the forty-seventh measure. Counting from the double bar, the Elaboration lasts, including the pedal point upon the dominant which prepares for bringing back the Principal, sixty-one measures. There the first part begins over again.

The first movement of the Sonata in F minor, opus 2, No. 1, is shorter and the subjects less marked than in any other sonata of Beethoven. It also has less "stuffing," the ideas following with very little passage work between them. The Principal lasts twenty measures, the Second beginning with the F-flat in the soprano at the end of the twentieth measure. The Conclusion begins with the C-flat in the soprano, in measure forty-one. The Elaboration lasts sixty-two measures.

The "Sonate Pathetique" begins with a slow introduction, lasting ten measures of very slow time. Then enters the headlong allegro, of which the Principal, with its retinue of modulating sequences, lasts forty measures. The Second enters in measure forty-one, and the Conclusion in measure seventy-nine. The Elaboration lasts sixty-two measures, beginning with a few measures of the introduction.

Time will not be wasted if before playing each of these movements the subjects themselves be played through separately.



The present program brings together a few representative selections from the two greatest masters already noticed, for the purpose of bringing out more clearly the individualities of their style and the predominant flavor of their work. In this comparison we are not as yet undertaking to represent either Bach or Beethoven in their moments of greatest and most impassioned abandon. The so-called "Moonlight Sonata" approaches this point in the case of Beethoven, but if it had been desired to perform the same service for Bach larger works would have been taken, such as the "Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue," the "Fantasia and Fugue in G minor" for organ (arranged for piano by Liszt), and the like. And for Beethoven the sonatas in F minor, opus 57, "Appassionata," the opus 106 in B-flat, and opus 111 in C minor. All these go much farther in the untrammeled expression of deep feeling than any of the works brought together upon the present program, even the "Moonlight Sonata," although the finale of this is distinctly representative of Beethoven in the impassioned and strong. As for Mozart, this headlong passion was not at all in his line. But for the sake of showing the peculiar sweetness of his imagination in contrast with the more concentrated expression customary with Bach and Beethoven, his Fantasia in C minor is here included.

Before entering upon the actual acquaintance with the works in the program, it is advisable for the hearer to be disabused at the outset of certain prepossessions likely to be harmful. The most important of these is that which regards Bach as having had a higher idea of his art than later composers had, and of having intended to illustrate in his works a very high degree of skill, contrapuntal cleverness, and the like. This prepossession is included in the phrase which describes all serious music as "classical," as contradistinguished from that which is merely beautiful and pleasing.

Bach had, indeed, great originality, but he came by it honestly. His mental activity in musical directions was of such a spontaneous character that immediately a theme presented itself all sorts of possible treatment occurred to him. If the theme pleased him he immediately began to develop it, and in the course of this one happy thought after another presented itself, without having been sought for or worked out in the slightest. Thus his highest and largest works have a good deal the character of play, so easily were they composed. True, they do not present to the player of the present day nearly so much of this quality, for the technic required to play them well is not quite that of the ordinary pianist. Bach expects the hands to play melodiously and very fluently, and the player to think in fugue; i.e., be able to follow the answering voices in a fugue without becoming confused when there are three, four, or five, and without losing any one of the threads. This habit of thought—for this is what it amounts to—is not natural to the present generation, since nearly all our music is more or less monodic (having one leading melody and an accompaniment.) Therefore the art of playing Bach has to be diligently mastered by much playing and a great deal of hard study.


  Bach, Prelude and Fugue in C-sharp major.  Clavier, No. 3.
  Beethoven, Sonata in C-sharp minor ("Moonlight"), opus 27, No. 2.
  Bach, Fantasia in C minor.
  Mozart, Fantasia in C minor (from Sonata and Fantasia).
  Bach, Allegro from Italian Concerto.
  Beethoven, Sonata in E minor, opus 90.
  Bach, Prelude and Fugue in G major.  Clavier, No. 15.
  Beethoven, Sonata in D minor (Shakspere's "Tempest"), opus 31, No. 2.

Every art-work, in whatever line, has to satisfy three prime conditions: unity, symmetry, and variety. There can not be an impression of beauty into which these three qualities do not at the same time enter, but the beauty will differ in quality according as one or the other element preponderates. In the successful music of Johann Sebastian Bach (and he wrote unsuccessful music as well as other men) we find all these qualities represented, but not in the modern way. A prelude or a fugue of Bach is essentially a "monody," a composition of one idea, which preponderates so decidedly as to enforce its character and individuality upon the work; nay, it is the work. Variety and symmetry are always present, but the variety is to be found in the modulatory treatment and in the counterpoint—the various accessory ideas which appear in the course of the work for better setting off the leading idea forming the substance of the composition. Hence we have in Bach, along with a unity which pervaded every single idea and every succession of ideas, a variety also going on at the same time (as in the melody of the different voices, rhythm, etc.); and symmetry, which also expresses itself as between ideas heard simultaneously and between ideas and paragraphs introduced successively. A Bach work, therefore, is rather complicated almost always, and needs to be studied a little, and the art of hearing it appreciatively has to be acquired; but once we have mastered it, there are no works in music which are more fresh or permanently pleasing.

The Bach selections upon the present program include three preludes and fugues, those of C-sharp major, C minor, and G major, all from the first volume of the "Clavier." There is no necessary connection between the prelude and the fugue following, except that in Bach's idea they somehow corresponded or contrasted in such a manner that they could be heard agreeably in connection.

The prelude in C-sharp, which opens the program, consists of a long leading idea (eight measures) which is repeated completely six times in the course of the work. After it has been heard four times,—in the keys of C-sharp, G-sharp, D-sharp minor, and A-sharp minor,—it is relieved by a modulatory interlude, constructed out of new material (measures 33 to 46). Then the original theme is resumed in the subdominant of the principal key (F-sharp major) and is given entire in the original key of C-sharp, the repetition being exact. In measure 63 the conclusion begins. It consists of a pedal point upon G-sharp, treated very pleasantly, and relieved and developed in measures 75 to 91 by interesting matter of a more impassioned character. At measure 91 the pedal figure returns, and is abandoned only at measure 101, after which the end speedily follows. (Before playing the piece have the parts played and explained separately, each division as here marked, and then the whole prelude entire.) The work as a whole is singularly light and pleasing.

The fugue is built upon the subject in the soprano at the beginning, running two measures. This subject is repeated entire ten times, and fragments are used over and over again.

In immediate contrast with this work is placed the so-called "Moonlight Sonata"—the title affixed not by Beethoven but by some fanciful writer. The first movement of this is quite as much a monody as anything of Bach's, but with a difference. Little is attempted in the way of modifying the harmony of the theme except to carry it through several different keys, nor is there much accessory matter employed as filling. It is practically a song,—an ode if you like,—of a melancholy, grieving character. Its structure will be understood by aid of the following analysis: It begins with a prelude of four measures, after which the leading idea enters in the key of C-sharp minor, closing in E-major, four measures. After a measure of accompaniment the subject resumes in C major, proceeding immediately to B minor, after a cadence in which an accessory melodic bit is introduced, having the character of suspending the action, eight measures, ending in F-sharp minor. The leading idea now enters in F-sharp, five measures, and three little melodic bits followed by eleven measures of arpeggio matter hold back the action for the return of the theme in measure 42 (first accent in 43). Everything in this movement grows out of the leading melody, and the movement has no skeleton or orderly arrangement of parts except in a very general manner.

The allegretto which follows is practically a sort of scherzo, in song-form with trio. Then comes the very dramatic finale, consisting of three main elements handled in the style of a sonata-piece. The Principal extends to the first beat of the twentieth measure. On the second beat of this the Second enters and runs twenty-three measures. With the second eighth note of this measure a movement of eighth notes in chords enters, which forms the concluding piece. This carries us to the double bar, after which a free fantasia follows upon the same material. The free fantasia extends to two measures of whole notes, thirty-six measures in all, where the original theme returns and the first part is recalled in different keys. At the end there is an added coda of thirty-four measures counting from the end of the piece.

The Prelude in G major of Bach is another pleasing illustration of his manner. It is very simple in construction and needs only to have the first two measures and a half played in advance for defining the subject, and the fourth measure once, to define the second leading idea. Everything else is developed out of these ideas. In measure 11 some new material is introduced and treated with excellent effect.

The fugue is rather an elaborate one. After the subject has been carried through the first time, the subject is introduced in a new form, in inversion (measure 43, alto), all ascending passages in the original being now imitated in downward directions and by the same interval. This taken as a new subject affords ground for much additional development, and later on the fugue becomes very complicated and interesting. When well played, however, the complication is only an incident of a very playful and varied composition. In the entire work there is no lyrical idea; everything comes thematically.

In the Beethoven sonata which I have chosen for contrast, D minor, opus 31, No. 2, the thematic mode of construction is also marked, but the contrast of subjects is very much greater than in the Bach work, and the effect of the whole impassioned to a high degree. Beginning with a slow arpeggio chord (two measures) the first theme follows only to be interrupted in the sixth measure. In the seventh the Principal subject is resumed, and in measure 10 a new motive appears in the vigorously ascending bass theme, which is immediately answered by a soprano counter theme, measures 11, 12, 14. This carries us forward to measure 30, where an episode comes in not unrelated to the first theme, and again in measure 44 a passage of chords practically forming a pedal point, and the conclusion proper in measure 55. In the elaboration these themes are delightfully treated, and the entire movement has much the character of an improvisation. The slow movement continues the rhapsodical spirit of the first movement. The finale is one of the most delightful examples of charming effect reached by means of composition essentially thematic.

The Sonata, opus 90, in E, is one of the most pleasing of Beethoven, and, aside from a certain figure in tenths for the bass (measures 55 to 58, and again later on), it presents no serious difficulties for the player. The second movement is a delightful song, which is carried out at great length.

The first movement of Bach's Italian concerto is much more modern in style than the other pieces of Bach in this program. Without ever quite reaching the modern conception of the lyric, it at least approaches it closely at times, and produces a beautiful effect.

Of the Mozart fantasia there is not room to speak in detail. Note, however, the very clever modulatory treatment of the leading idea in the first two pages, and the entrance of the lovely slow melody in D major near the end of the second page. The latter is Mozart-like in the extreme.




Born January 31, 1797, at Lichtenthal, near Vienna.
Died November 19, 1828, at Vienna.

Franz Peter Schubert, the great song-writer, was born, the son of a parish schoolmaster, at Lichtenthal, near Vienna. The family was musical, and the father and a few of his friends used to hold quartet parties every Sunday afternoon, at which the works for string quartet then current were played, also compositions by Haydn and other good composers. The boy very early showed such talent that his father taught him the violin, and occasionally allowed him to take part with the rest. He had a beautiful soprano voice, which, attracting the attention of the director of the music at St. Stephen's Cathedral, secured him admission to the choir and to the Imperial Convict, or school for educating the choristers for the Court-chapel, where, besides the usual branches of education, he was taught music thoroughly. This continued until his voice broke, whereupon he was turned out to shift for himself. For the three years next following he assisted his father in the school, teaching the lowest class in it, and proved himself, it is pretty certain, a very indifferent teacher. Later he resigned this position, and struggled on during his short life mainly by the assistance of friends, one of whom saw to it that the indefatigable composer was supplied with music paper; another shared his room with him, etc. Between 1818 and 1824 he spent his summers at the Hungarian estate of the great Prince Esterhazy, teaching the daughters music and arranging music for the household. Here many of his works were written. In Vienna he had an orchestra of school-boys for quite a long time, which probably played his works occasionally, as well as those of composers of less complicated works.

Franz Schubert, Felix Mendelssohn

Franz Schubert, Felix Mendelssohn

Schubert began to compose in earnest very early, and by the time he was twenty years of age he had written about 400 of his songs. His works comprise a volume of pianoforte sonatas, several volumes of light works for piano, about 600 songs, nine symphonies, of which two are among the greatest we have, one opera, several masses, and a large number of compositions for chamber music.


Born February 3, 1809, at Hamburg.
Died November 4, 1847, at Leipsic.

He was the nephew of the celebrated Jewish philosopher and reformer, Moses Mendelssohn, and a son of the well-known banker, Abraham Mendelssohn.

The family was Israelitish, but Felix Mendelssohn was brought up a Lutheran. The boy was of a very amiable and thoughtful disposition, and was well instructed in music from his earliest years, his principal teacher having been the celebrated theorist, Zelter. His first appearance in concert was made at the age of nine, in the piano part of a trio by Wolf. A year later he appeared as a singer. His acquaintance with the orchestra commenced very early. There was a small orchestra which met at his father's house on Sunday afternoons, and by this means the compositions of the boy were tried and he himself acquired his experience as a director. His activity as a composer commenced about 1820. In this year he wrote a violin sonata and two clavier sonatas, a little cantata, and an operetta. In 1821 Zelter brought him to the great poet Goethe, who heard his music and conversed with the lad with great interest. The friendship with Goethe continued for many years. In one of his letters Mendelssohn tells of having visited the poet and having had a long conversation with him, in which the poet had given an account of Hegel's lectures on esthetics, which Mendelssohn had heard that winter in Berlin, and in which Goethe was very much interested on account of the novelty of the ideas presented. The first of the important compositions of Mendelssohn to be published and played was the overture to the "Midsummer Night's Dream," which was written in 1826 and played immediately. He seems to have worked this out upon the piano, improvising it piece by piece as he became excited in reading Shakspere's comedy. This overture is of most complete mastery in its working out and of thorough originality, and scarcely anything of his later works surpasses it in merit as a finished composition for orchestra.

It was largely through Mendelssohn's influence that the "St. Matthew Passion" of Bach was brought out and given entire in Berlin, in 1829, just one hundred years after its first production in Leipsic. Mendelssohn was the conductor, and it was given in the Sing-Akademie. This was the work of a boy of twenty. Nothing could speak more plainly of the authority which his genius gave him than that he should conceive and bring to completion an undertaking of this magnitude in a city like Berlin at so early an age. He made many journeys for pleasure and instruction. Full accounts of these will be found in his charming letters, which are among the most delightful contributions of this kind that any literary man or artist has left. During one of these journeys he visited the Hebrides, and afterward produced his overture called "Fingal's Cave," as a memory of that visit.

Mendelssohn attained great celebrity as a pianist and organist, the latter mainly by his improvisations, although he has the credit of having been one of the first to play Bach's fugues in England. The late August Haupt, however, told one of his pupils that Mendelssohn, in his time, never had an adequate pedal technic but played upon a sort of hit-or-miss principle, which generally succeeded from his thorough grasp of the music. He early produced his concerto for pianoforte in G minor, and played it at many musical festivals. He was in great demand as a director for festivals in Germany and also in England. He became director of the Gewandhaus concerts at Leipsic in 1835, and in 1843, with very distinguished artist associates, he founded the Conservatory of Music at Leipsic, which, under his management, became so celebrated. Mendelssohn produced works in almost every department of musical composition, a great variety of chamber music, symphonies, overtures, one opera, and a very large collection of music for the piano-forte and organ. Probably his fame will last longer through the influence of three works—viz., the "Midsummer Night's Dream" overture, which opened the new world of the romantic; the oratorio of "Elijah," which is in very many respects one of the most beautiful ever written, just as it is also fortunate in the selection of subjects and of the episodes for treatment; and the "Songs Without Words" for the pianoforte, which, while not of remarkable depth, are very beautiful and poetic compositions of such quality as to awaken in the musical world a new appetite and a new appreciation of an instrument which has now become the most universal in use.

All the works of Mendelssohn are distinguished for clearness of form, elegance of sentiment, and delicate fancy. They are more feminine than masculine, although at times he has a great deal of strength. His pianoforte writing is not so well suited to the instrument as that of some other composers, such as Chopin and Liszt, and his concertos, although very popular, are not ranked among the master works of this form of composition. Of all the pianoforte music which he produced, the "Rondo Capriccioso" is the one which most completely represents the characteristic range of his imagination.

The two composers for the present chapter have distinguished themselves in almost every walk of composition. Schubert left a large quantity of manuscript, most of it unheard until after his death, consisting of about 700 songs, nine symphonies, various pieces of chamber music, pianoforte sonatas, dances, marches, overtures, one opera, and many miscellaneous compositions. In every department of this vast activity there are a few works which stand out as masterpieces. To begin at the top, his "Unfinished Symphony" and the great Symphony in C are in the very first line of orchestral masterpieces, standing well up alongside the greatest of Beethoven, and with an originality of style and beauty wholly independent of the overshadowing Beethoven, who was, just at the moment of their composition, engaged in his last works, including the immortal Ninth Symphony.

Nevertheless, while Schubert was great in all musical directions, he marked an epoch in one direction, and therefore has a fame peculiarly his own. As a songwriter he was one of the greatest the world has ever known. His fame in this department rests upon two wholly different considerations, the union of which in the same composer forms the epoch-marking peculiarity already mentioned. As a melodist he stands in a rank by himself. His melodies move easily, now within the diatonic mode, and now in the chromatic, but generally, within the limits of each period, in the diatonic mode. The melodies are flexible, well balanced, very singable, and natural. Each comes up, lives its day, and dies away into silence, like a lovely flower unfolding from its own germ in the moment of the year when the sunshine and the showers have brought the time for its appearing. In this case the predisposing external cause leading to the appearance of one of these melodies is found in the poem chosen for text. Whatever Schubert read, if it interested him, immediately called up within him a melodic form. These melodies not only differ from one another by degrees of indescribably delicate gradation, but each as it comes proves itself adapted to the text which gave it birth. These lovely melodies, moreover, are supported by pianoforte accompaniments which at times rise to a co-ordinate rank with the melody itself as part of the expression of the poem. Sometimes the so-called accompaniment is itself almost the main thing. Such cases are found in "The Erl King," "To Be Sung on the Waters," and "Gretchen at the Spinning-wheel." At other times the accompaniment is as simple as the melody, and serves no other purpose than that of supporting the voice. A typical case of this kind is found in "Hedge Roses," and in "Hark! Hark! the Lark." It is another peculiarity of Schubert that, beginning with an entirely simple melody, he sometimes digresses to a remote key, within which for a moment he goes quite as simply, only to return again immediately to the main key. The "Hark! Hark! the Lark" is a case of this kind. (Note the transition to G-flat in the ninth measure.)

The universal type of Schubert's music is the melodic. This we find in the pianoforte sonatas quite as plainly as in the songs themselves. In the minuet and march on the present program the melodic ideas are the main thing. Charmingly naïve are the little waltzes upon the present list. Beautifully simple, delightfully symmetrical, their simplicity relieved by short modulations into neighboring keys, it is not possible to find elsewhere compositions so short, so simple, and yet so beautiful. In spite of their brevity and simplicity, the student will find them worth knowing thoroughly. It is also an excellent exercise for the student to learn some of these by heart and to play them in several different keys.

As an illustration of Schubert's cleverness in treating the pianoforte, which is already sufficiently evident in the dramatic accompaniments of his larger songs, before mentioned, attention is called to the Impromptu in B-flat—the air and variations known as "The Fair Rosamunde," the title due to the appearance of this melody in his opera of "Rosamunde." At least three of these variations display great finesse in treating the pianoforte. The first needs to be done with the utmost delicacy and lightness, the melody suggested rather than brought out. The third has a new rhythm and a melodic secondary figure in the left-hand part, which, taken with the treatment of the variation in the right-hand part, gives this piece a wholly new content and effect. The fourth, again, is equally novel and equally significant for the pianoforte. The remaining variations are of little importance, although, as a matter of course, all are to be played.

Mendelssohn as pianoforte composer represents two very important and characteristic moods—the scherzo and the song without words. It is probable that by the good fortune of the latter name for his collections of little piano pieces Mendelssohn rendered the musical world a greater service than he did even by the elegant quality of his compositions themselves. It was the happy thought of the title which at once puts the listener upon the right track, and disposes him to try to discover what the words of the unworded songs ought to be. It was a fortunate guess rather than a something thought out by reason, and if he had been pressed to assign a reason for including some of these pieces under the name, he would probably have been driven to confess that they were so included because he did not know what else they were.

The "Songs Without Words" embody many types, the most important being the true cantabile—pieces in which there is a flowing lyric melody with a soft accompaniment. These pieces are in effect nothing else than "nocturnes," quite after the manner of Chopin, only less elaborate in treatment and less extended. Among the best types of this class are to be mentioned the first, the two folk-songs in the program following, and the duetto. In all these the connected legato of the melody is of the first importance; and, second, the proper sinking and swelling of the melody in the true manner of impassioned singing. The accompaniment follows closely and shares in the fluctuations of intensity and mood.

Another type of these pieces is illustrated by the eighth, in B-flat minor. This piece, which has the speed and restless movement of a scherzo, has also the true Mendelssohnian flavor of sweet melancholy. It goes at great speed, and often the melody is suggested by an accent rather than fully expressed. Such cases are found in measures 3 and 4, and elsewhere. In these instances there is a fragment of melody in the middle voice.

Somewhat between the cantabile type and the scherzo is to be mentioned the "Table Song," No. 28, in G. This is like a part-song of light and pleasant yet somewhat sentimental character, suitable to be sung at table.

As a composer for voice, Mendelssohn attained a very high rank, producing melodies of great sweetness (yet often also of inherent coldness) and very singable. One of the most beautiful examples of this kind is found in the "O for the Wings of a Dove," first sung as soprano solo and then later for chorus, in his setting of a psalm. Another well-known example for alto is the "O Rest in the Lord." The latter melody derives additional beauty from the contrast it makes with the rather dramatic place in the oratorio where it occurs. Further illustrations of Mendelssohn's powers in this direction may be taken from the list above, which there is not time at present to discuss more fully.

The part-songs of Mendelssohn for mixed voices deserve to be more frequently sung. They are extremely beautiful and delightfully written for the voices. While of moderate difficulty, they belong among the very best of part-songs for unaccompanied mixed voices. The omission of the accompaniment is of very great importance, as these pieces are strictly written in such a manner that the voices have the complete ideas, both melody and harmony, and when given independent of accompaniment it is possible to obtain a purer intonation and better sympathy.

The present program permits a somewhat greater latitude of arrangement of parts than those of the preceding chapters. The works do not contrast with each other exactly as was sought in previous programs, but rather form phases of lyric melody, to be sung in such order and combination as best suits the performers, taking care however, that an agreeable succession of keys is generally observed.


  Schubert: Waltzes.
    Minuet, opus 79.
    March, from four-hand collection.
    "Fair Rosamunde and Variations."
    Songs: "Hedge Roses."
           "Hark!  Hark! the Lark."
  Mendelssohn: Songs Without Words.  The first.
    "Hunting Song," No. 3.
    "Folk-song," No. 4.
    "Gondellied," No. 6.
    B-flat minor, No. 8.
    "Table Song," No. 28.
    Duetto, No. 18.
  Overture to "Midsummer Night's Dream"; four hands.
    "O rest in the Lord."
    "If with all your hearts."
    "It is enough."
    Scene from "Elijah," "Lord God of Abraham," etc.
    "Hunting Song,"                  ) part-songs
    "Farewell to the Forest,";   )




Born January 8, 1810, at Zwickau in Saxony.
Died July 29, 1856, at Endenich, near Bonn.

Schumann was the son of a bookseller and a confirmed music lover. The boy showed marked talent for music, playing to some extent upon the more usual instruments, and even getting together and conducting a small orchestra of the school-boys. For this orchestra he very early composed pieces. His father died when the boy was sixteen and had nearly completed his gymnasium course, and in 1828 Schumann entered at the University of Leipsic as a student of law. After a time he left Leipsic in favor of Heidelberg, where some very celebrated lectures were at that time being given; but at Heidelberg he practically wasted his time, so far as the law studies were concerned, and devoted himself entirely to music. As early as 1829 he made a short vacation journey into Italy, and at Milan heard the famous violin virtuoso Paganini, and then became wholly influenced for music. Schumann's mother was extremely averse to his fitting himself for the musical profession, and it was only with great difficulty that she was brought to consent. Accordingly, his serious musical studies began in 1830, when he came back again to Leipsic and became a music student with Frederick Wieck and Heinrich Dorn. It was Wieck's daughter Clara who afterward became Mme. Schumann.

Robert Schumann

Robert Schumann

Schumann had a great determination to become a piano virtuoso, not so much for the repetition of effects already standard as for the invention of new ones. In this direction he devoted himself to practice with such assiduity that he very soon reached a point where his fingers could not keep up with his imagination. In the effort to impart a greater individuality and strength to the fourth finger of the right hand, he made some experiments which resulted in disabling his finger for a while, and he never afterward regained the use of it to a complete degree. Thus his career as virtuoso was cut short, but the studies he made and the playing he was afterward able to do resulted in very singular and productive discoveries of musical effects possible to the piano, so that it is not too much to say that the piano playing of the present time is more indebted to Schumann than perhaps to any other master in the history of the instrument.

He began his creative career by the arrangement of a collection of Paganini's studies, in which he sought to reproduce upon the pianoforte some of the effects of the famous Paganini caprices for the violin. He made two collections of these, about four years apart, and prefaced the first book with many observations in regard to the methods of practice and innovations of technic. Almost simultaneously with this he began seriously as a composer upon his own account, and, quite characteristically, as a composer of short pieces. The Papillons, opus 2, or "Scenes at a Ball," consist of short pieces of from two to six lines in length, and among them are many of great beauty. Another of these early works is the so-called "Dances of the Davidsbündler against the Philistines." These consist of eighteen short pieces without individual titles. Already, by the time when the composition of this work was undertaken in 1835, Schumann had commenced to write as a musical literary man under two pseudonyms—Florestan and Eusebius, the one representing the sentimental and tender side, and the other the impassioned and vigorously moved. The different numbers in the "Davidsbündler Dances" are signed with one or the other of these initials, and sometimes with both. The name "Davidsbündler Dances" was in allusion to the term Philistine, which, in the German university towns, signified the old fogies, the conservative element, who take things as they find them and want nothing changed. Schumann belonged to the new party, who wanted about everything changed.

Two or three years later a second work of very similar import, called the "Carnaval," was produced, consisting of thirty-one short pieces, each bearing a characteristic title. This work is of a very extraordinary character. The moods of the pieces are extremely individual and marked, and the range of pianoforte expression covered by them is as great as can be found in the compositions of any master for the instrument. Another characteristic set of pieces at this time was the "Fantasy Pieces," opus 12, each of which had its own title; also the "Kreisleriana," a series of queer sayings after the manner of one Kreisler, an eccentric old musician in a novel popular at that time. There are also what he called "Novelettes," a series of eight somewhat elaborate pianoforte pieces.

In 1834 Schumann, in connection with two other young men, founded the "Neue Zeitschrift für Musik" as an organ of musical progress. He remained editor of this for ten years, writing there a great variety of articles, and in 1844 resigned the editor's chair to Brendel and removed to Düsseldorf. It was from Düsseldorf that he wrote his famous article about the newly-risen star of Johannes Brahms.

In 1840 he succeeded in overcoming Wieck's objections to a marriage with the young Clara, who was then a very distinguished piano virtuoso, and in the same year he received a doctorate from the University of Jena. In 1839 and 1840 he composed a very large number of songs—viz., one hundred in all. In 1841 his first symphony was played at the Gewandhaus in Leipsic, and in 1843, upon the founding of the Leipsic Conservatory by Mendelssohn, Schumann was appointed teacher of playing from score. As he was practically no teacher at all, and found the duties irksome, he soon resigned this position and lived for a while at Dresden, and made a number of concert tours to various foreign countries with his wife, his own works forming generally a part of the program. It is told of one of these journeys that at some court or other where they were graciously received, the amiable prince, after complimenting the brilliant young pianist upon the solidity of her work, continued, "And is your husband also musical?" At that time Mr. Schumann was the husband of Clara Wieck, rather than Clara Wieck the wife of Robert Schumann.

Early in 1851 Schumann's mind began to show signs of giving way, and in 1853 he was removed to a retreat for the insane, where he died in 1856.

Schumann's compositions comprise four rather large volumes of piano works, four symphonies for grand orchestra, and a number of chamber works of different kinds, of which the quintet for piano and strings is perhaps the most successful; about 100 songs, one opera, several cantatas, a series of music pieces for "Faust," to be played in connection with the drama, etc.

In his lifetime his piano music had very slight recognition from any quarter, its novelties both in the subject-matter of the music and in the manner of treating the piano making it practically impossible for piano players at that day, and it was only about the time of Schumann's death that his piano music began to attract attention upon a considerable scale. Schumann's Symphony in B-flat had a great success under Mendelssohn's direction in Leipsic in 1841, but it was played in very few other places for a number of years, although it was an extremely bright and interesting production. When William Mason was in Leipsic in 1850 he sent home a score and parts to the orchestra in Boston. They held two rehearsals of this symphony and then laid it upon the shelf in the belief that the composer must have been crazy, and it was only five or six years later that they mustered up nerve to produce the work and were astonished to find that it pleased the hearers.

The universal currency of Schumann's piano music can not be said to have made much progress until the appearance of Rubinstein. In the early days of Schumann's productivity he composed his enormously difficult and beautiful "Fantasie," opus 17, and dedicated it to Liszt. Accordingly, not to be outdone in politeness, Liszt introduced some of Schumann's pieces in his programs once or twice, but the effect of them upon the audience was so much less than that of his own music or of the Chopin pieces which at that time he was very fond of playing, that he discontinued further efforts to aid Schumann's cause, although he wrote him very polite and encouraging letters. The first real Schumann player was Rubinstein, who had the qualities of tone and of emotionality which Schumann's music imperatively required; and since Rubinstein, Schumann's music has entered more and more into the world-current of piano music, until at the present time it occupies a position inferior to none other.

Of a composer so varied in his capacities, so original, so influential upon the later course of development in his art, and so interesting in every way, it is not possible from a single program—no matter how carefully selected the works may be—to gain a complete idea. The most that can be done is to give a glimpse of the man, to bring out a few of his moods, and to observe the more salient features of his style. The following list of selections has been influenced by the same idea as that underlying all the previous programs of this series—namely: A preference for selections of moderate difficulty, both for performer and hearer; and a representation of what might be called the more elementary characteristics of his art.


  Kinderscenen.  Opus 15.
    "From Strange Lands and People."
    "A Curious Story."
    "Playing Tag."
    "Happy Enough."
  Album for the Young.  Opus 68.
    "The Jolly Farmer."
    "A Little Romance."
  Papillons.  Opus 2.
    Polonaise in D major.
    "The Hat of Green."
    "The Wanderer's Song."
  Forest Scenes.  Opus 82.
    "Entrance to the Forest."
    "The Wayside Inn."
    "Prophetic Bird."
    "Farewell to the Forest."
    "He, the Noblest."
  Night-piece in F.  Opus 23.  No. 4.
  Novelette in F.  Opus 21.  No. 1.
    "Thou Ring Upon My Finger."
    "The Spring Night."
  Fantasy Pieces.  Opus 12.
    "In the Evening."
    "End of the Song."

The foregoing selections, as will be noticed, are all for piano and voice; I have thought it better to confine them to these easily accessible sources than to attempt to cover more ground. In a later program more difficult piano selections will be given. All the instrumental selections in this list are in the volume of "Selections from the Works of Robert Schumann," edited by the present writer and published by the publishers of "Music." All the songs are in the collection of Schumann songs published by Boosey and Company.

I have written so many times upon the works and characteristics of Schumann that it would, perhaps, suffice to refer the student to a few of those places, such as "A Popular History of Music," pages 464 to 477. Also in the first volume of "How to Understand Music" there is something to the point, and at various other places in the course of the work, as will be found by looking up the references to Schumann's music given in the index. At the beginning of the collection of Schumann pieces, above mentioned, is an essay upon Schumann and his works which will be found suggestive. One of the best single articles I have seen is Mr. W. H. Hadow's essay upon "Schumann and the Romantic Movement in Germany," which occupies pages 149 to 231 in the first volume of his "Studies in Modern Music." In spite of these I shall add a few observations in the present pages, since it is a peculiarity of the works of any great writer that they grow upon the appreciation, and while their shortcomings and limitations of whatever kind become more apparent as the student grows in years and clearness of thought, the beauties and originalities also press more and more upon our notice, and perhaps, in the case of creative artists of the first order, come out into even greater luxuriance than we at first realized. Such, at least, I find in my own case since my first introduction to the works of Schumann, which practically began with my acquaintance with Dr. Mason at South Bend, Indiana, in the summer of 1870. Before that I had heard but very few of the Schumann works, and these had not been well done and so had failed of making an impression. I was much surprised when Dr. Mason told me that one could not properly understand Beethoven without knowing Schumann. And it was like opening a new world when I began with the Novelette in E, the Fantasy Pieces, opus 12, and the Romance in F-sharp, opus 28.

The most distinguishing quality of the Schumann music, and the one which perhaps demarcates it from other music most strikingly, is its hearty quality, its spontaneity, its headlong driving speed. Another quality almost or quite equally notable is its conciseness. Schumann is above all the poet of the short, the clear, the well-defined. In parallel line with this is his habit of employing fanciful designations for his short pieces, generally poetical titles suggesting a mood or a scene. Examples of this latter peculiarity occur in the present program. The titles were perhaps always put on after the piece had been composed. It is not known with certainty whether Schumann had the idea of the title in his mind in composing the piece. In most cases it serves merely as a suggestion to the player of a proper standpoint for conceiving the work.

Another peculiarity of Schumann's writing is the close unity of each little piece or movement. He develops his period or his two periods out of a single motive or a motive and a counter-theme, and the leading idea is repeated several times. When the first idea gives place to a second idea, this proves to be something totally unlike the idea which it follows, making with it a strong contrast. In the clearness of his moods and their contrast is one source of the vigor of impression which the Schumann music has made and is making upon the musical world.

The first number in the present program contains five pieces from the set called "Scenes from Childhood," written in 1837, when the composer was in the very thick of his somewhat diversified course of true love and had advanced seven years along the pathway of a composer.

Following the "Träumerei" are two popular selections from the "Album for the Young," written some ten years later—the "Jolly Farmer" and the "Little Romance." This program number closes with the Polonaise in D, from the "Papillons," written in 1832. It is a very brilliant and original piece, full of delightful pianoforte effect.

In the second series of instrumental numbers are included four of the beautiful cycle, "Forest Scenes." Each of these is like a little sonnet—brief, picturesque, and individual. In the first we have the vague and shadowy effect of the entrance into the forest, the shimmering leaves, the sunlight and shade, and whatever fanciful explanation one likes of the imaginative tone-sonnet of the author. In the "Wayside Inn" the thematic style of Schumann is well illustrated, and also the variety of effect possible to be obtained from a very small amount of musical material. The reference to the title is not very apparent, since the speed of the piece and its quick and forcible character deprive it of the reposeful "Stimmung" one would anticipate from the title assigned. I do not know the true explanation of the "Prophetic Bird." It is a most lovely little bit, and is now so well known in the concert-room as not to need further discussion.

The "Farewell to the Forest" is one of the most delightful songs without words in the whole Schumann category. Its melody is musical and new, and the changing rhythms, the occasional coming out of a middle voice, and the general effect of the whole are alike interesting and absorbing.

In the next instrumental number we come upon another mood of Schumann, or rather upon two of them. The "Night-piece" is of a lyric quality enjoyable by every one. Nearly all young players object to the speed which Schumann has marked, and many play it much more slowly; this, however, is not warranted, since in the nature of the case Schumann must have known what he intended, and when we have made an allowance for the undue slowness of his metronome at given tempi, we are still not warranted in making this slower than eighty for quarters. To take it still more slowly is to change the character of all the latter part of the piece. If well played it is sufficiently reposeful in the form in which we now have it. In the second part there is some delightful imitative work between the motive in the treble and its answer in the tenor.

With the Novelette in F, opus 21, we come into the domain of what we might call the higher Schumann, for in these works and in those which follow upon this list greater demands are made upon the player, and the music itself is deeper, stronger, more original, and therein more satisfactory. The novelette consists of two main parts. First comes a march-like movement, in which certain very strong chords with occasional triplet octaves in the bass impart a singularly driving and forceful character to the music. After the double bar at the beginning of the fifth measure a new motive appears, which sets in operation a series of sequences, and this period ends in D-flat.

The next period begins in the same manner, but the modulation is differently conducted, and the period now ends in the key of A. Now comes in what he calls the trio, a lovely lyric melody in the key of F. This is developed to quite a length, after which the main theme of the novelette returns, and the period ends in the key of F. Now ensues a curious sort of intermezzo, in the key of D-flat, where one voice starts out with a little melodic subject and another takes it up and imitates it, and this in turn is followed by another, quite in the manner of fugue, only that here the motive itself is very short and the imitations follow so fast, one after another, that only the beginning of each is to be made out. For the rest, it is a question of mystery. When he has carried this as far as he cares, the first subject returns; and after this again the trio, but now in the key of A major. At the end of this, again the original subject, and so finally the end. The most notable features of this novelette are its vigor, the different forms in which the subjects return, and the persistence of the two main ideas—the march and the lyric trio—which form the substance of it. The mystic and fugue-like interlude is merely an interlude. It perhaps represents one of those moments when the mind is too full for clear utterance—a condition more celebrated in fiction than desirable in reality.

The Fantasy Pieces, opus 12, are among the most happy of the smaller works of this composer. Their general character is sufficiently indicated by their titles. "In the Evening" represents one of those mystic moods suitable to twilight. "Soaring" has also been translated "Excelsior," which perhaps more truly represents its spirit. "Why?" is a question, just like the word; nevertheless this has become the greatest favorite of all the smaller Schumann pieces. "Whims" also is well named, since in this quickly moving little piece one mood follows another irrepressibly; among them are some which are highly poetic. Last of all, "The End of the Song"—a very vigorous and strongly marked movement which appeals to every one.

The Schumann songs are so remarkable as to demand separate treatment. Those upon the present list are so placed because they represent in a general way the more noticeable moods of Schumann in this form of art. They can be sung high or low, as the singer's voice requires, but they are more satisfactory if sung by a soprano voice, I think.

The first upon the list is the merry and arch little "Hat of Green," which with folk-tone sweetness and simplicity brings out a situation as old as the world and as new as the morning. The musical treatment is very clever and interesting.

The "Wanderer's Song" is characteristically German, representing the song of the young student as he sets out upon his student career as traveler, for seeing strange lands; or the emigrant who leaves his land to find a better home, but never one so well loved as his own native country. It is full of heart and courage until the middle part, where the intermezzo in the key of E major tells of softer feelings—of longing and homesickness.

"Moonlight," again, represents the peculiarly mystic and dreamy side of the Schumann nature, and there are few songs in the whole world so sweet and so beautiful as this; but it needs a pure, clear, and very true soprano voice, controlled with musical feeling. Thus interpreted it is indeed a dream.

The next two songs upon the list are out of the famous cycle called "Woman's Love and Life"—the poems of no great depth, but the subjects of lasting and universal application and interest. "He, the Noblest" gives a very spirited and sensitive musical setting to the woman's opinion of the loved one; words and music bring to expression one of the most ideal moments of woman's life. The next, "Thou Ring Upon My Finger," tells its own story, but here, again, the music is well worth while for its own sake. It is interesting as an instrumental piece without the aid of the voice. Few songs as musical have been written. The last upon the list, "Spring Night," while out of another cycle,—the so-called "Liederkreis,"—is nevertheless of quite similar excellence to the preceding.

All need to be sung with abandon, and above all with sentiment, poetry, and flexible rhythm, yet always with abounding musical life. To sing such songs well is to be an artist.




Born March 1, 1809, at Zelazowa-Wola, near Warsaw.
Died October 17, 1849, in Paris.

Chopin was the son of a French father who had lived in Warsaw and was teacher in the gymnasium there; his mother was a Polish woman. Chopin's early talent for music was unmistakable, both his parents having been gifted in this direction. The child, therefore, was put at music very young and appeared as a wonder-child at an early age. His teachers were a Bohemian named Zwyny and Joseph Elsner. But the most of his work he must have accomplished by himself, since we find that before he was nineteen he had written his theme and variations upon "La Ci Darem la Mano," and all his works up to and including the Concerto in E minor, opus 11. It is believed that the so-called second concerto in F minor was also completed before this period. This mass of works included not alone the very remarkable variations upon Mozart's air, already mentioned, and the brilliant concertos, with certain rondos and mazurkas and other characteristic illustrations of the Chopin genius, but also the studies for pianoforte, opus 10, which in methods of treating the piano amount to a most astonishing advance over anything which had appeared before them. They are also as beautiful and original from a musical standpoint as they are remarkable from that of piano-forte technic.

Frederic Francois Chopin

Frederic Francois Chopin

Accordingly, when Chopin, in 1828, went upon a concert tour to Paris, Vienna, and Munich, he was received everywhere with astonishing enthusiasm, and was very much surprised to hear himself called one of the first virtuosi of the time, as, indeed, he must have been. At Paris his opus 2 was published (the variations just mentioned), and this was the composition which attracted Schumann's attention and concerning which he wrote such a glowing and enthusiastic account. In 1829 he came to Paris to reside, and immediately became an active member of a small but extremely brilliant art circle, among the members of which were to be found such celebrities as Liszt, Berlioz, Heine, Balzac, Ernst, and Meyerbeer.

Chopin's father having died, he assumed the care of his mother, and supported himself partly by concert playing and partly by teaching. As early as 1838 the symptoms of pulmonary weakness began to appear, and from that time to the end of his life he was more or less an invalid, always in delicate health and sometimes unfit for any exertion. From the brilliancy of his position in Paris, the death of Chopin was a great shock to the artistic world, and he was buried with most impressive ceremonies. His grave is not far from those of Bellini and Cherubini. He was a man of fine wit, aristocratic presence, distinguished manners, and a highly sensitive and poetic nature, all of which qualities reached expression in his music.

The best biography of Chopin is that by Fr. Niecks, in two volumes. The so-called "Chopin," by Liszt, is merely a rhapsody upon his departed friend, having very little biographical but a great deal of critical value, because no one knew better than Liszt how to estimate the innovations which Chopin had made in piano playing.

It will be noticed by the attentive reader that the art of modern piano playing, as we now have it, depends practically upon the works of Chopin, Schumann, and Liszt, with possibly a little advance help from Weber and Thalberg. The three artists first mentioned began to work in their several provinces at about the same time; Chopin and Liszt between 1826 and 1830, and Schumann from 1830 on. Liszt, however, did not produce works of distinguished originality until after the contest with Thalberg in Paris and after hearing Paganini, somewhere about 1834, so that, on the whole, if superior eminence were to be accorded either of these artists in point of priority of invention, we would perhaps give the credit to Chopin; and in point of precocity of genius, considering the astonishing innovations he made, I think Chopin is to be held even in advance of Mozart, Schubert, and Mendelssohn, all of whom created remarkably mature works in new styles at a very early age.

Chopin's works are almost entirely for the pianoforte, and he was the originator of several forms which have now become types; the salon waltz was practically created by him, although Weber's "Invitation to the Dance" opened the way, and the ballads, scherzi, and nocturnes of Chopin were new types, showing his genius in the most beautiful manner.

  PROGRAM I.  (Easy.)

  Polonaise in A major, opus 40, No. 1.
  Polonaise in C-sharp minor, opus 26, No. 1.
  Preludes: Opus 28.  No. 4, E minor.
                      No. 6, B minor.
                      No. 7, A major.
                      No. 9, E major.
  Prelude in D-flat, opus 28, No. 15.
  Waltz in C-sharp minor, opus 64.
  Waltz in D-flat, opus 64, No. 1.
  Nocturne in E-flat, opus 9, No. 2.
  Waltz in A-flat, opus 42.

  PROGRAM II.  (More difficult.)

  Polonaise in A major.
  Fantasia Impromptu in C-sharp minor, opus 66.
  Scherzo in B-flat minor, opus 31.
  Nocturne in E-flat major, opus 9, No. 2.
  Nocturne in G major, opus 37, No. 2.
  Ballad in A-flat, opus 47.

  PROGRAM III.  (Still more difficult.)

  Études: Opus 10, No. 1, C major.
                   No. 2, A minor.
                   No. 3, E major.
                   No. 4, C-sharp minor.
                   No. 5, G-flat (black key).
  Ballad in A-flat, opus 47.
  Romanza from First Concerto, in E minor.  (Reinecke's arrangement or with second piano.)
  Impromptu in A-flat, opus 29.
  Nocturne in D-flat, opus 27, No. 2.
  Polonaise in A-flat, opus 53.

In order to fully understand the individuality and genius of Frederic François Chopin (1809-1849) it would be necessary to study his work from three standpoints. First, naturally, for what it is in and of itself—the moods, the qualities of style, the peculiar individuality of his musical thought; second, with reference to the modifications of pianoforte style inaugurated by this gifted genius—modifications which, while having their source in certain improvements of the mechanism of the pianoforte made immediately before Chopin began to write, would not have come so soon but for his genius and insight; and, third, to study the relation of this master in his style of musical ideas and working out, his fancy, his imagination, his representation of many sides of human nature, to the music of the other composers of the romantic school, and especially to that of Mendelssohn and Schumann, whose compositions were produced contemporaneously with those of Chopin. To cover all this ground is naturally impossible in one, two, or even in several, chapters, wherefore I shall confine myself in the present program to illustrating a few of the characteristic individualities of Chopin and the essential features of his style. There are difficulties in doing this adequately, arising from the fact that as piano virtuoso, Chopin, when fully expressing himself, did so without regard for the convenience of imperfectly-trained hands upon the pianoforte. Hence the works of his which represent his genius at its best are mostly too difficult for any but very accomplished players.

In recognition of this difficulty I have made three programs, each more difficult than the preceding, from which the student may make his choice, since the qualities are mainly the same in all, excepting that his complete treatment of the pianoforte is more perfectly illustrated in the more difficult examples of his style. These, I may add, are no longer the utmost limit of pianoforte difficulty, as they were at the time when written; later writers have passed considerably beyond even the most difficult works of Chopin. But for pianists in general some of the Chopin works still remain along the farthest borders of their art.

Among the most striking peculiarities of Chopin's style are, perhaps: first, melodiousness, combined with a certain melancholy, almost morbid, mood; second, pleasing running work, especially for the right hand, generally overlying an entirely simple bass, or a bass essentially simple upon the harmonic side but broken or modified so as to conceal this fact from the superficial observer. All his later life Chopin was an invalid or semi-invalid, and much of his music illustrates a certain feverishness and morbidness of temperament.

The originality of Chopin shows best, perhaps, in his polonaises, ballads, preludes, and nocturnes; but the two sonatas, while presenting marked differences from those of the older writers, are, nevertheless, tone-poems of strong originality. Practically, he may be said to have invented the polonaise, the nocturne, and the ballad. The preludes are short pieces of marked originality and expression, which have always seemed to me like chips struck off in working at something else. Very likely they may have been beginnings of larger works which were never completed. Possibly they may have never been intended to reach any larger dimensions than those in which we find them. First, his polonaises.

The polonaise, as perfected by Chopin, is a composition in 3/4 measure, having really six beats to the measure, arranged in three twos; the second of these six beats is divided, and there is an extra accent upon the fifth.

Moreover, this rhythm must be kept quite strictly, like a march, for a march the polonaise is in its general characteristics, rather than a dance properly so called. The fanciful description of the polonaise given by Liszt in his memoir of Chopin may be taken as in the main correct. He says:

"While listening to some of the polonaises of Chopin we can almost catch the firm, nay the more than firm, the heavy, resolute tread of men bravely facing all the bitter injustice which the most cruel and relentless destiny can offer with the manly pride of unblenching courage.

"The progress of the music suggests to our imagination such magnificent groups as were designed by Paul Veronese, robed in the rich costume of days long past; we see passing at intervals before us brocades of gold, velvets, damasked satins, silvery, soft, and flexible sables, hanging sleeves gracefully thrown back upon the shoulders, embossed sabers, boots yellow as gold or red with trampled blood, sashes with long and undulating fringes, close chemisettes, rustling trains, stomachers embroidered with pearls, head-dresses glittering with rubies or leafy with emeralds, light slippers rich in amber, gloves perfumed with the luxurious attar of the harems."

The delicacy of Chopin's playing is traditional, but Liszt is authority for the statement that Chopin was fond of hearing his larger and more heroic works played with a power of which he himself was incapable. It is related by some one that upon one occasion a very talented young pianist called upon Chopin, and, being invited to play, did so, the great polonaise in A-flat being the matter. Excited by the work and by the presence of the author, and full of the heroic spirit of the music, he broke several hammers—an occurrence quite common in heavy playing in those days. Naturally, the young man was extremely mortified at this, and endeavored to apologize over and over again. But the composer cut him short. "Say not a word," said he; "if I had your strength I would break every hammer in the piano when I played that piece." This may be one of those "ben trovato" anecdotes which, if not true, ought to be.

Both the polonaises upon the first program illustrate the breadth, impassioned force, and vigor of Chopin's idea to a marked degree, as well, perhaps, as anything he ever composed. The first, commonly known as the "Military Polonaise," is one of those pompous pieces which inevitably suggest some kind of great ceremonial. The movement begins in stately march-like rhythmic swing, and goes on with interruptions of brilliant effect, as if where the cannon and drums add their noisy emphasis. The pomp resumes its march, but presently gives place to a middle part—a trio. This, again, is in the key of D major, with a great swinging melody like a trumpet, the military rhythm going on uninterruptedly below. At length the original movement is resumed, and presently comes the end. In all, it is a matter of pomp, brilliant ceremony, stately march, like some national festival.

The second polonaise is of a wholly different character. The expression is even more forcible than that of the first, but the character is not the same. It is now as if one remembered some of the heroes of Poland. With what fervor enters the leading subject (first four measures)! It is complete in itself. Then comes a softer and more capricious melody, but little more heroic than a nocturne. The second principal idea (measure 25) is mystic, as if some kind of ceremonial were being conducted. The rhythm goes on, but softly and with interruptions. At length the principal idea again. Now comes the middle piece, in the key of D-flat—a beautiful melody, one of the finest of Chopin's, supported upon very delicate and sensitively changing harmonies, full of chromatic and enharmonic modulation. After this a second idea, in which two voices carry on the interest; the upper a soprano, the lower a baritone or tenor, and they have a sort of dialogue (measure 66). Then the soft melody again. In the first editions of this work the da capo was not marked, and for about forty years critics gave themselves headaches in trying to explain why Chopin invented a new form of this anomalous construction,—a first part in the key of C-sharp minor; a second part in the key of D-flat major. "Where," they asked, "was the unity?" And by way of emphasis they spelled the word Unity with a capital initial. At last, however, some Solomon among editors affixed the missing letters "D. C.," and behold! we had our Unity all right. It was simply a case of a middle piece in the major key of the same tonic, with the notation changed enharmonically for the sake of simplicity, the key of D-flat being, for the majority of players, easier to read than that of C-sharp major.

The preludes which follow represent individual moods. The first, in E minor, consists of a slow melody, almost stationary, while against the long tones a chord accompaniment softly pulsates, the harmonies shifting chromatically.

The second, No. 6, in B minor, has a lovely melodic idea in the bass, while the right hand carries a soft harmony and a slow pulsation in the upper voice. The impression of the whole is most mysterious, melancholy, and tender.

No. 7, in A major, is one of the preludes which seems as if it might have been a beginning for a longer composition, perhaps a slow waltz.

No. 9, in E major, a very grave, serious, organ-like movement, in which massive, tremendous chord-successions march onward to a climax through unheard-of modulations. This piece, by the way, has been arranged for organ very effectively by A. W. Gottschalg. In playing it the slow movement, the sustained and deep melody, and the steady rhythm all require careful attention.

The prelude in D-flat represents a larger flight of the Chopin fancy. It begins with a lovely melody, like a nocturne. This exquisite melody gives place to a somewhat broken part in the key of C-sharp minor, in which the remarkable thing is the incessant repetition of the note G-sharp. This continues in eighth-note motion throughout all the measures of this part of the work. It can only be made tolerable by careful observance of the "sotto voce" at beginning and gradually increasing in power up to the fortissimo in the fortieth measure. Again it subsides into pianissimo, and again the crescendo. Finally the original melody in D-flat is resumed—and with what grateful sweetness!—and the piece is carried through to the close.

The waltzes of Chopin are not to be taken too seriously. They are salon music, but of a particularly pleasing character. One of the most charming, although a small one, is that in C-sharp minor, which is built upon three leading motives. First the motive of two measures which opens the work; then the little passage of eighth notes which answers it; and finally the running work beginning in measure 33. Farther along there is a melody in D-flat, which stands in place of a trio. It is a sentimental and lovely melody. The effect of the whole is light, capricious, and musical.

Following this is the little waltz in D-flat, opus 64, so often heard, and so many times built over in all sorts of double notes, thirds, sixths, etc. It illustrates the knack which Chopin had of developing a pleasing whole out of very slight materials. Observe the extreme simplicity of the bass.

The name nocturne was invented by John Field, who wrote twelve pieces with this title (the remaining ones of the twenty usually printed were named by the publishers) which are, in effect, sonnets; little lyric pieces, of greater or less depth, having the general type of a song without words, but preferably of a melancholy or tender character, and the form of a melody with accompaniment. Chopin took up this form and greatly ennobled it. His nocturnes are vastly more beautiful and original than those of Field; they have greater variety, deeper tenderness, and in every way are more distinguished and characteristic. The little nocturne in E-flat, opus 9, is one which is now very generally played upon every sort of instrument capable of singing a soprano melody.

The waltz which concludes the first program is of a more brilliant character than the two little ones earlier upon the list. It begins, after the introduction, with a double rhythm, the right hand playing a melody in double measure, while the left hand goes on in triple rhythm. It should be played with brilliancy, the left hand quite crisp and clear, but light; the right hand rather brilliantly. The syncopation gives place to agreeable running work for the right hand, and this again to another subject in double notes, a very earnest melody. A little later there is another short melody, and the double-note subject returns, and so all the material over again.


The Fantasia Impromptu in C-sharp minor belongs to that class of Chopin's works mentioned in the beginning of this chapter, in which pleasing effects are made by fluent running work, containing more or less changing notes and other forms of dissonance—running work so fast that the ear does not follow each note, but skims along the melodic thread, as it were, the general impression of an "effect" being the form of conscious delight. This kind of effect in music, which depends in part upon the persistence of the pianoforte tone after the keys are released, was original with Chopin; or, if we can not say that he fully originated, he certainly brought it to greater perfection than any of his predecessors ever did. Moreover, the runs of Chopin are more complicated and daring, yet at the same time better adapted to rapid performance than any of those by the older writers for pianoforte. In the present instance, moreover, there is a further unsettling element in the fact that against the six tones of the right hand groups, the left hand plays groups of four tones. This, which was never carried out upon so extensive a scale before, is now perfectly easy to perform, although in Chopin's time it was considered a difficulty. It serves to impart an elusiveness to the effect of the music, entirely in keeping with the name.

The place of "middle piece" in this Fantasia Impromptu is filled by a slow melody which in effect is a nocturne—quite in the manner of the middle piece in the Impromptu in A-flat. The principal ideas in this are also somewhat varied in their repetitions, and light and delicate arabesques occur, which add to the charm. The slow part affords a repose, after which the principal subject returns and the whole comes to a brilliant ending by means of a coda. The entire piece is extremely characteristic of Chopin's genius.

The Scherzo in B-flat minor is more analogous to a ballad than to any one of the varieties of piece known under this title in the classic works of Beethoven. It consists substantially of about four primordial elements. First there is the principal subject, the characteristic expression of which is due to the unexpected answer of the suggestive query of the low notes by strongly accented chords. Still in emphatic mood the second idea comes in (measure 48) with running work.

Then follows a delightful melodic idea (measure 64), which is repeated in different keys no less than five times, the entire period extending to forty-nine measures. The accompaniment of this charming melody is thoroughly Chopinesque, consisting of arpeggio figures generally covering the compass of a tenth. In spirit this passage is much the same as that of the second idea in the Polonaise in C-sharp minor. After the second idea there is a coda concluding this part of the work. It is then repeated with a few very slight modifications. Then follows the middle piece, a melody in the key of A, a novel relation of keys which no doubt troubled the contemporaries of the composer more than it need us, since the key of the piece is properly D-flat, the B-flat minor predominating only at the beginning, and the first part, as well as the last, closing in D-flat major. From this to the key of A, counting by the keyboard, is a major third, and everybody knows that the major third above or below is an agreeable relation of keys; moreover, we have here the music to tell us. This middle part is mystic and truly charming. Several other ideas meet us presently, one of which, with triplets in the alto, is rather troublesome to play and still more troublesome when it occurs again near the end of the piece. Also some very pretty running work, charmingly supported upon a bass containing considerable melody of its own. This running work is afterward given considerable development, as also is the subordinate idea already referred to characterized by the triplets in the alto, and then the first part of the piece is repeated, and so at length the end.

The name "scherzo" in this connection is to be taken as signifying a play of fancy, rather than an especially playful mood in the sense of mirthfulness; in fact, it is not easy to find a rational explanation of the grounds upon which Chopin named his pieces, especially as between the ballad and the scherzo. Probably, however, he called those ballads which begin with a lyric melody and depend for their interest mainly upon the development of lyric melodies, reaching at times a tragic elevation; but even with this explanation the line between the nocturnes and ballads will be very difficult to draw, since the Nocturne in G major, of which we shall speak presently, lacks only a more brilliant treatment in the middle part to raise it to the grade of a ballad. On the whole, we may as well confess that all these names are more or less fanciful and perhaps applied without any very deep reason, but simply because it was necessary to call the pieces by some title in particular.

The Nocturne in G major is one of the most pleasing of all the compositions of this kind in the works of Chopin. It is also rather difficult, since the principal subject runs in thirds and sixths more or less chromatic and in the course of the treatment these figures are carried into a large number of keys, in all of which they have to retain a singing quality of tone in the soprano and a very clean and legato style of performance; but when adequately done the effect is very charming indeed. The middle part again consists of a very beautiful digression, something like a cradle song, or a barcarolle,—a gentle, peaceful, rocking motion,—and then again the principal subject returns. It will be seen that in spite of the quite considerable length to which this nocturne is developed, it never rises to the impassioned diversification which Chopin seems to have considered as belonging to the ballad. For all his ballads, no matter how quiet their opening subject, become more or less dramatic before they are completed.

The Ballad in A-flat is one of the most frequently played compositions of Chopin. It opens with a very pleasing and melodious subject, which, by the aid of various subordinate ideas, is carried out to the extent of fifty-two measures. At this point a new motion begins and a very pleasing second subject, of a more playful character, perhaps, than the first. Later on, in measure 115, some very pretty running work comes in; then again, still farther on, where the signature changes to four sharps, the second subject appears in the treble, somewhat changed, against some very pretty running work in the bass; and then begins a charming and elaborate building up to the climax, when the first subject is brought back in fortissimo form. For the player and for the hearer this piece, when well treated, is one of the most pleasing piano solos possible to mention. I do not know, however, that it is necessary to turn it wrong side out in the effort to find some hidden or recondite meaning. It is pleasing and well made rather than deeply impassioned, and it is a mistake to overdo the contrasts in it.

The studies of Chopin form a literature by themselves. In all, there are twenty-seven published. The first book, opus 10, containing twelve studies, was composed when Chopin was a boy of sixteen or seventeen, and I do not think the history of music shows any similar case of precocity. These studies were vastly more difficult than anything existing at that time excepting the fugues of Bach, and they spring out at once, fully armed as it were, with a well-developed style in melody, in harmonic handling, and especially in the application of the hands to the piano; thus they turned over an entirely new leaf; and what is more significant, and to the credit of the young genius, is that he seems to have divined, by a sort of intuition, the strategic points of modern piano playing as it was to be, so that in spite of these works having now been before the musical world more than fifty years and their having entered into conservatory and boarding-school curricula to an almost universal extent, the pianist who can play them all in the manner in which Chopin intended is already an artist. They belong to the most poetic and sagaciously conceived compositions for the instrument. The five here selected are not particularly better than the five next following, or the last numbers of this same opus, and perhaps no better than those in the second set, the opus 25. The first study, in C major, has for its object to accustom the hand to wide extensions, the arpeggio figure nearly always covering a tenth and sometimes an eleventh. This extension should be accomplished by the fingers themselves as far as possible, and then by slightly turning the wrist. To play this study well betokens first-class execution. The second study, in A minor, has a chromatic scale for soprano with staccato chords below, and its technical object is to impart greater flexibility and usefulness to the fourth and fifth fingers of the right hand. The third, also, is a cantabile in a beautiful singing melody, with some very interesting contrasts in the middle part. Here, again, Chopin addresses himself to the weak fingers of the right hand, since these are the ones which will experience the greatest difficulty in securing a proper effect in this study. No. 4 is a very impassioned presto in C-sharp minor, in which strong single notes and octaves occur, along with an insistent and very rapid sixteenth-note motion. The effect of the whole is very strong and striking, and esthetically considered it belongs to the dramatically conceived moods of Chopin. No. 5, in G-flat major, is commonly known as the "black-key study," and its object is to accustom the hands to the black keys and to very rapid changes from one part of the keyboard to another. It is a charming piece, producing the effect of a delightful scherzo.

It is interesting to note in this connection that all of these studies and many others belonging to this set have, in recent times, been rewritten for the left hand. This has been done in various ways. Mr. Phillippe, of Paris, has simply transferred the right-hand part to the left, and left the right hand with nothing or with but little to do. Mr. Leopold Godowsky, the distinguished Russian pianist, has taken a different course. The first study he has placed with the arpeggio figure in both hands simultaneously, and a heavy melody of chords is also added. The second study gives the chromatic runs to the weak fingers of the left hand. The black-key study also is written for the left hand, while an entirely new part has been composed for the right. One of the most curious of all these arrangements of Chopin's material is that of the late eminent organist, August Haupt, of Berlin, who arranged this fourth study in C-sharp minor for the organ for Mr. Clarence Eddy, by whom it is often played in concerts with an effect extremely remarkable, especially when the pedals have the sixteenth-note motion.

It should not be forgotten that all these five studies, as well as the others in the whole collection, are tone-poems no less than exercises for the pianoforte, and they can not be said to have been played until this poetic sense is derived from them.

The romanza from the Concerto in E minor is a very beautiful nocturne-like movement, and if given with an accompaniment of second piano, or, better still, a very soft accompaniment of organ, it produces the most delightful effect.

The Impromptu in A-flat, opus 29, might just as well have been called a study, since the essential part of it is a rapid movement in eighth notes having for its object, in part at least, the freer and more delicate treatment of the left hand in accompaniments. It will require a great deal of practice to play well, but when so played it produces a very pleasing pianoforte effect. It belongs to the same class of Chopin's works as the Fantasia Impromptu in C-sharp minor, already mentioned. The middle part of this impromptu, as in the case of the other, is essentially a nocturne-like movement.

The Nocturne in D-flat, opus 27, No. 2, is very often played. It is a very beautiful composition, and while representing a number of serious technical difficulties, esthetically considered, it is perhaps sufficiently plain to any student capable of mastering it. In all these cases it is to be observed that Chopin takes the implication of the term "nocturne" somewhat freely, often developing the idea with considerable force and dramatic spirit.

One of the most celebrated of all the compositions of Chopin is the famous Polonaise in A-flat major, which seems in the fullest manner to illustrate the description of the polonaise already quoted above, from Liszt's Chopin. This remarkable work opens with a rather striking introduction, the principal subject entering in the seventeenth measure, very bold and strong. In the forty-ninth measure an extremely forcible and dramatic idea begins which presently, in the fifty-seventh measure, gives place to a more quiet melody. The most remarkable part of this piece, and the one which has had much to do with its use by virtuoso pianists, is the middle part in E major. Here, after a series of heavy chords, a sixteenth-note motion enters in octaves for the left hand, and for the right hand a melody, which is at first soft and afterward built up. This octave middle figure continues without interruption for sixteen measures, and then, after the chords are repeated, is continued again for the same length of time. When this is properly done, the passage begins quite softly and works up by degrees until the very imposing climax at the end, and in the repetition the same thing takes place again. The difficulty consists in this insistent repetition of the same figure in the left hand, and a very clear note of Chopin's genius is seen when he changes this bass figure from E major to E-flat major. This change, although apparently not significant on paper, has the keyboard peculiarity of giving the left hand a rotary motion in the opposite direction from that necessitated in the E major, and in three measures of it the player unwinds himself, as it were, and is ready to begin again with the original figure. Still another pleasing Chopin peculiarity is noted at the close of this strong part, where there is a page or more of very delightful dreamy work, at first in G major, afterward in F minor, and so at length the original subject is resumed and the Polonaise brought to an end. A work of this magnitude admits of being considered in so many different lights as to make any short discussion of it seem fragmentary and suggestive merely, and such, in fact, is the intention of the present comments. Enough that we have in it a poetic suggestion brought to expression.



There are endless selections of compositions which might be made in order to bring together into a single chapter enough of the music of these four great masters to give a taste of their individualities, style, and sentiment. Following are examples:


  Bach, Prelude and Fugue in C minor, Clavier, No. 2.
  Beethoven, Sonate Pathetique, opus 13.
  Schumann, Forest Scenes; "Entrance."
                           "Wayside Inn."
                           "Prophetic Bird."
  Bach, Fantasia in C minor.  Loure in G (Heinze).
  Chopin, Nocturne in G minor, opus 37, No. 1.
  Waltz in A-flat, opus 42.


  Bach, Prelude and Fugue in D major, Clavier, No. 5.
  Beethoven, Sonata in D, opus 10, No. 3.
  Schumann, Fantasy Pieces, opus 12: "At Evening."
                                     "Dream Visions."
                                     "End of the Song."
  Chopin, Nocturne in B major, opus 32, No. 1.
  Ballad in A-flat, opus 47.


  Bach, Prelude and Fugue in C-sharp, Clavier, No. 3.
  Beethoven, Sonata in A-flat, opus 26.
  Schumann, Fantasy Pieces, Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8.
  Chopin, Nocturne in B major, opus 32, No. 1.
       Ballad in A-flat, opus 47.

  PROGRAM IV.  (Regardless of difficulty.)

  Bach, Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue.
  Beethoven, Sonata, opus III.  C minor.
  Schumann, Études Symphoniques, opus 13.
  Chopin, Nocturne in D-flat major, opus 27, No. 2.
       Polonaise in A-flat, opus 53.

To discuss these selections in detail would take us too far, for which reason only those observations will be made which seem more essential. Throughout, the intention is to alternate the thematic work of Bach and Schumann with the lyric or quasi-lyric writing of Beethoven and Chopin. While Beethoven was also at times thematic, his work is generally well balanced as to its structure, and so melodious in comparison with almost anything of Schumann (excepting a few distinctly lyric pieces) or of Bach, that it seems like lyric melody. It was also the intention in these programs to preserve an agreeable succession of keys. The first three programs are of moderate difficulty, although not so easy as might be made. Still, in the present state of piano playing there are few seminaries or private circles where these numbers can not be played well enough to afford pleasure and instruction.

Of the various Bach numbers upon the programs the following distinctions may be made: The preludes and fugues are generally contrasted in respect of the qualities of lyric and thematic writing respectively. The prelude in C minor, for instance, is almost an exercise, being without clearly expressed melody (although the accents in the soprano distinctly suggest a melody), and the whole is rapid and incisive. The fugue, on the other hand, opens with a very sprightly idea, which is carried out delightfully, quite in the manner of a scherzo. The prelude in D major, again, is very light and graceful, yet having a character somewhat between a fancy piece of tone-poetry and an exercise, being capable of receiving either construction, according to the ability and skill of the player. The fugue, on the contrary, is rather firm, resolute, and marked, yet with distinct touches of sentiment—which latter quality is always to be sought for in the playing, but without resorting to rubato. It is not enough to present these selections, they must be made to display the best effect of which they are capable. It is not a question of composers merely, but why we should love and reverence them. The prelude in C-sharp is one of the loveliest in the entire "Clavier." It is lyric in its principal motive, and there is a very pretty interlude of alternating work between the two hands upon the dominant, just before the return of the principal theme, which is quite in modern style. The fugue also is very melodious, yet at the same time rather difficult, and it will be a good player who is able to produce this fugue successfully in anything short of about a month's practice. With the last program we come upon a very different grade of difficulty, especially in the matter of interpretation, for in mere finger work the last Bach piece is not so much more difficult than the fugue in C-sharp major.

The "Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue" is a very curious illustration of Bach's genius. No one knows the circumstances under which it was written nor the time. There is absolutely nothing else in his works which is at all like it, taken as a whole, although each one of its peculiarities may perhaps be found elsewhere in his works. It opens with a bravura run in scale work,—the two hands co-operating interchangeably,—which must have the character of a bold flourish, such as a virtuoso might give upon taking his place and beginning his piece. This is followed with a delicate harmonic passage in which a melody is very distinctly suggested; a very delicate and musical passage it is. Then the bravura run returns, and then the harmonic arpeggio motive as before, but always carried out in different keys and chords. Upon these two elements the first part of the fantasia is constructed.

In the forty-ninth measure begins another chapter, in which we have a series of recitative-like phrases, the most of which end upon diminished chords and contain or suggest enharmonic modulations of extreme modern type. The recitatives are very expressive, and their proper delivery necessitates a high degree of musical sensitiveness and experience in singing. After the recitatives, at measure 76, a coda begins, which brings the fantasia to an end. The coda is perhaps the most beautiful part of this great work. I have here also forgotten to mention the series of arpeggios upon chromatic chords, beginning in measure 27. These Bach wrote merely as chords to be played arpeggio, and it was for a long time a question as to what manner of filling up the time would be nearest his intention. Mendelssohn, in one of his letters, says he wishes that he knew what Bach meant here, and I believe it is generally thought that the carrying out of the arpeggios in Hans von Bülow's edition of this piece is very near the solution suggested by Mendelssohn. At any rate, I advise using the Bülow edition, particularly as the figures are written out in full and the fingering is carefully marked—a very important consideration in one or two places in the fugue.

The fugue also is interesting, and is elaborated to two quite imposing climaxes, the first beginning in measure 60 and the other in measure 140, where the bass has the principal theme in octaves. Mr. Liebling does not regard this fugue as quite up to Bach's standard, inasmuch as Bach has repeated quite long passages in different keys without materially changing the treatment, something which he rarely does, his fertility of fancy being such that he always or nearly always avoids exactly repeating himself, no matter how many times he chooses to bring back the principal theme. The composition as a whole is by far the most modern of Bach, and it is a veritable tone-poem. In order to realize this it will be necessary to hear it several times, its elaboration being so great and the difficulty of playing so considerable that only very good players will have enough sentiment and surplus of technic to interpret it with sufficiently musical quality. But when so played it is one of the surest masterpieces in the entire repertory of the piano-forte. And in consequence of its elevated and poetic sentiment, its caprice and program-like character, it affords one of the best possible studies in Bach's style at its best.

The sonatas by Beethoven named upon the programs are of quite dissimilar value. The "Sonate Pathetique" is a very strong work indeed, and, if we have many times seen its name, we must not forget that after all it is not very often played in any one place. Moreover, new players are all the time coming on to whom this strong and original work is new. The introduction carries out the emotional spirit of the Bach fantasia, as also does the work itself. The headlong allegro, the slow, sustained, and beautiful adagio, and the easy-going finale all have their own beauties, and continue the story, which, as Beethoven thought it, was one story from beginning to end. The least satisfactory part of this work is the rondo, the tempo of which is not altogether easy to determine; I prefer it at rather a slow tempo. There is a unity of movement in this work which is not always observed. In a general way the eighth note in the introduction, the whole note in the allegro, and the eighth note in the adagio, and the half note in the rondo go at about the same rate—approximately, from sixty to seventy-two by the metronome. If any modification is made, take the rondo faster, say about eighty-four.

A very important technical point of the work is the treatment of the chords in the introduction and in the allegro. All must have a melodic quality in their highest tones, since the melody passes through the chord. Neglect of this imparts a brutal and unmusical quality to the tones of chords struck so forcibly. Throughout the work strong contrasts continually occur between the impassioned motive and the pathetic or appealing idea. These two elements struggle for mastery. The adagio is one of those slow movements for which Beethoven was noted; the cantilena is lovely and the sentiment deep and tender.

In some respects the sonata upon the second program is even more remarkable. Its general build is rather light and pleasing, and neither in length nor in dramatic contrast is it to be compared with most of the "Pathetique." Especially is this the case when we confine our attention to the light and pleasing first movement and the finale. The latter, opening with that capricious little motive which seems to say "Why don't you?" is all the way arch, sprightly, and pleasing. But the second movement is one of the strongest and most impassioned in all the sonatas. It opens grave, serious, as if fate herself impended. A very slow and appealing motive is carried out thematically, almost in the modern style of Schumann or Brahms. It is a slow movement which might have been played upon Olympus or in Walhalla—provided the dissipated gods of the old dispensations had been developed to the capacity of remorse and repentance. Out of this profoundly sad, despondent, slow movement grows the tender flower of the delicious menuetto in D major which follows it. This is not to be taken too fast, remembering that we have our fast movement still to settle with later. It is a melodious, tender, gentle movement, which is one of the most characteristic and beautiful of the kind to be found anywhere in the entire list of the sonatas. In point of technical difficulty this sonata presents no very great problems.

The Sonata in A-flat, commonly remembered from the "Funeral March," which takes the place of a slow movement, opens with an air and variations. These were for a long time the most played of anything in the entire collection of sonatas. Lately, under the influence of the greater variations of Schumann and Brahms, they are becoming relegated to the more remote seats in the musical synagogue. They are, nevertheless, very interesting variations, quite in the "character" line, each variation being a new picture, a new mood. Opposed to this kind of variations is the "formal" variation, where, although the theme is varied in its figuration and rhythm, the harmony remains unchanged, and the esthetic character of the successive variations remains practically unchanged. The "Funeral March Upon the Death of a Hero" is one of the famous pieces. It no longer presents material difficulties to the student. The scherzo must not be played too rapidly; the finale is to go about as fast as possible, and with the greatest possible lightness and delicacy.

The great Sonata in C minor, opus 111, is the last which Beethoven composed, having been written after the Ninth Symphony, about a year or two before his death. It is very difficult, technically; very serious in its spirit, and has the curious peculiarity of consisting of two movements only, excepting a short but very profound and serious introduction. The first movement is very impassioned, and the entire movement is developed from one or two short germs, thematically, quite in the manner which Schumann took up and accomplished so much with. The spirit of the allegro is almost like that of the "Sonate Pathetique," but naturally much more mature. The slow movement, again, consists of an arietta of two eight-measure strains—the first in C major, the second in A minor. These two strains alternate throughout the variations, which are of the formal order; but here Beethoven manages to attain a very considerable development of interest, and rises to an imposing climax without ever quite forsaking the peace of the opening measures of the arietta. The variations are quite difficult to play, and the ending is very troublesome to treat in any manner to make it sound as one thinks an ending should. The whole, while perhaps but little more characteristic of Beethoven than the "Sonata Appassionata" or the great sonata for "Hammerklavier," opus 106, is nevertheless a very beautiful illustration of Beethoven's tone-poetry for pianoforte.

The Schumann "Études Symphoniques," here chosen for illustrating this capricious and humoristic master, is also a most astonishing work. It is in the form of a theme and variations, but the variations almost require the newspaper libel-saving reservation "alleged," since the theme in some of them is not referred to at all, while in others it occurs but for occasional measures here and there. Except for the monotony of key, this piece might as well have been called "studies" as variations. Nevertheless it is a most delightful example of Schumann's imagination and of tone-poetry for pianoforte. Each variation or successive movement is a new leaf from the world of the ideal. Nothing more contrasted, no more agreeable succession of moods, no more imposing example of poetic treatment of the pianoforte is to be found in the entire literature of the instrument. It is a work which the more one hears the more one likes it. It is curious, now that this work is so often played, to remember that Schumann wrote concerning it to a friend that he had just been writing a set of variations which interested him very much, but he doubted whether they would ever be played in public. Naturally, he said, it is unfit for such a position; it is for the musician in his closet. Yet of all the Schumann piano works this one probably is oftenest played, the immortal fantasia in C not excepted.

The other pieces here omitted from comment have perhaps already received sufficient attention in the earlier programs where they first appeared.

It will be quite possible for the player to substitute still other numbers in place of some of those here, or to rearrange the matter here presented, for the sake of using pieces which one can play well. In arranging the programs, however, it is desirable to preserve an agreeable succession of keys, a due contrast of moods, and a fitting illustration of the masters concerned.




Born October 22, 1811, at Raiding, Hungary.
Died July 31, 1886, at Bayreuth.

Unquestionably, Liszt was one of the most interesting personalities of musical history. This began to show itself in his early childhood. Born at Raiding in Hungary, the boy had piano lessons at the age of six, his father having been a good musician himself, playing easily and well upon the piano and many other instruments. At the age of nine the boy appeared in concert with such success that, after a repetition of the concert in a neighboring town, the great Hungarian magnates, Prince Esterhazy at their head, united in providing a stipend of six hundred gulden yearly for his proper education. Thereupon Liszt's father resigned his position and attended scrupulously to his son, removing to Vienna and placing him under the teaching of the famous writer of études, Czerny. Liszt was now ten years old, and for two years he studied in Vienna. At the end of this period a farewell concert was given, in which the boy played with such astonishing power that Beethoven, who was present, came upon the stage and embraced and kissed him at the close of the concert.

Franz Liszt

Franz Liszt

Liszt was now taken to Paris, with the intention of entering him at the Conservatory. But Cherubini, who was then head of the institution, was not favorable to gifted children, and admission was refused him on the ground of his being a foreigner. Accordingly Liszt went on by himself, but entered upon thorough private lessons in counterpoint and instrumentation from Paer and Reicha. He attracted attention in Paris at once, his princely letters of introduction giving him admission in circles where a common person could never enter; once entered, his own genius and fascinating personality did the rest. Liszt seems to have been of a very fine and sincere nature, genial, charming in conversation, having plenty of wit as well as sentiment; entirely free from jealousy, yet most likely feeling within himself powers which as yet had not come to expression. He was singularly pure in character and a universal favorite of women as well as men. In 1824 he made his first concert journey to England, and he played everywhere in France and in parts of Germany. In 1827 his father died, and the boy now had the responsibility of supporting his mother. Accordingly he continued to make his home in Paris, and occupied a part of his time in teaching. At this time he was in the habit of playing such concert numbers as the Weber "Invitation to the Dance,"—with perhaps a few cadenzas of his own, but mainly in the original form,—the Concertstücke of Weber, and now and then a sonata of Beethoven. One of his favorite numbers was a sonata by Czerny, and we find a letter in which he says, substantially (I quote from memory): "Dear Master: I wish you would write me another sonata, for nothing pleases so well as the one you formerly wrote for me."

Liszt does not appear to have entered upon any course as pianist which could be called original or marking out a new path until after Paganini came to Paris, in 1831. This wonderful genius performed the most astonishing and unheard-of things upon the violin. More than a year before this time Robert Schumann had heard him in Milan, and was already beginning to try to do for the piano some of the things which Paganini did upon the violin, in his famous "Studies after Paganini."

Paganini's appearance in Paris set the town on fire, musically, and for some time all attention was centered upon him, to the neglect even of such well-tried favorites as Liszt had by this time become. This fact and the inspiration of his novel playing inspired Liszt to new efforts on his own behalf, and he now entered upon the career of original mastery of the pianoforte and the new style which from this time characterized his works. It is probable that some of his famous "Studies for Transcendent Execution" date from this period, but as he rewrote them twice afterward, it is not possible now to say which ones, or to trace the steps by which he arrived at the many new effects in piano playing which later came from his pen in such astonishing and epoch-marking number.

Berlioz, the father of program music, came back from his residence in Italy in 1833, and brought with him his fantastic symphony, "Episodes in the Life of an Artist." This work Liszt set for the piano, and, if I am right, it was the beginning of the enormous number of transcriptions of orchestral works for piano which are to be found in his works. Liszt had already made a certain mark as composer, his operetta of "Don Sancho" having been produced in 1825.

When Liszt turned his serious attention to composition, which he must have done about this time, he entered earnestly into the path of the so-called "music of the future," although this term had not then been invented. Berlioz had shown himself very bold in his modulations, and the learned Fétis had advocated the closer association of keys which distinguishes the harmonic practice of Richard Wagner from the rules of the classic school. So it was with two fixed ideas that Liszt began to write. First (from Berlioz), that music ought to signify something, adhere more or less closely to a poetic or imaginative program; and, second, that in trying to do this, one might go in any direction needed for the desired tonal effect. Meanwhile, upon the keyboard of the piano he had the individuality of manner which had been developed much sooner, and which was now taking on an astonishing range. Add to these influences the ideas of individuality and human freedom which were in the air, and we need not wonder that the talent of this great artist now blossomed out with such luxuriance that its fragrance filled the world.

It was in 1834 that Liszt's first marriage took place, or as soon after as circumstances warranted. The young and brilliant Countess D'Agoult, wearied with a tyrannic and unsympathetic husband, left him and placed herself under the care of Liszt. They lived during the next three years in Geneva, in a semi-private manner, and here also Liszt continued his studies and experiments. Then, in 1836, he entered upon his great career as performing artist, when he astonished Europe from one end to the other by playing the piano in a manner previously unheard of. His art had everything in it. He had enormous facility, his very long hand giving him the same kind of mastery over technical difficulties that Paganini had upon the finger-board of the violin; and, while indulging in long stretches of pianissimo, he diversified his performances by climaxes of prodigious power, under which for a long time piano hammers gave way, so that often there were three or four grand pianos upon the stage, and as soon as one was knocked out in the melée another was rolled forward to be sacrificed in turn. After a few years the piano-makers found ways of strengthening the actions, so that nowadays such a thing as a hammer breaking in a concert never occurs.

In 1839 Liszt did one of those daring things which hardly any other musician has ever done. Hearing that the committee in charge of raising funds for a Beethoven monument at Bonn had found themselves making little or no headway, Liszt wrote them offering to raise the entire missing sum himself. This he did, and in 1847, I think it was, he himself conducted the musical festival with which the monument was dedicated, himself playing the Fifth Concerto of Beethoven in a manner which Berlioz characterized gloriously in his letters from Bonn to the Paris "Journal des Débats."

In this same year Liszt entered upon the restful period of his life in accepting the position of musical director at Weimar, where he lived and kept up a sort of musical court until 1861, and at intervals afterward. In the exercise of his duties here he was able to accept the manuscript of Wagner's "Lohengrin" when that hot-headed young musician had gotten himself mixed up in the revolution of 1848 at Dresden, and Liszt produced the work at Weimar in 1850. From that time forward Liszt was the mouthpiece of the new school, or rather he was a sort of godfather to it, ministering to Wagner's impecuniousness often and again out of resources which were absurdly small when we consider the rank of genius which the salary covered. Liszt's salary at Weimar was about $1100 a year.

In order to appreciate Liszt's standpoint as pianoforte writer more particularly, it is necessary for a moment to glance at his celebrated contemporary, Thalberg. This artist, born one year later than Liszt, was taught by Hummel and Sechter at Vienna, and in 1827 he made his debut as pianist, exciting admiration by the beauty of his tone, his unexampled equality of running work, and perhaps a little later through an effect of which he was the inventor (at least for the pianoforte)—that, namely, in which the melody is carried by the thumbs in the middle range of the instrument, the long tones being sustained by the pedal while the hands carry long and light running passages across the full range of the instrument. The real inventor of this effect was Parish-Alvars, a great virtuoso of the harp, who was born in 1808. Availing himself of the beautiful melodies of his native Wales, and later of suitable operatic melodies of the Donizetti and Bellini school, he created beautiful effects upon the harp, previously unheard, by means of melodies and surrounding variations or accompanying arabesques of runs, both arpeggios and scales. When Thalberg began to be praised for discovering this device in piano playing there ensued a long and acrimonious correspondence between him and Parish-Alvars, the latter claiming the prior invention—and rightfully so.

Thalberg arrived in Paris in 1836, and for some time there was quite a contest between him and Liszt for superiority of art. Thalberg sang a melody beautifully, and his running work was of the most delightfully clear and even description. He was entirely reposeful in his work, never manifesting any uneasiness of bodily position, no matter what the difficulty of his playing might be. Liszt, on the other hand, being of an impassioned and nervous temperament, had a great deal more motion, and in his brilliant climaxes he developed a strength which seemed excessive to the aristocratic hearers constituting the main portion of his audiences. Presently, however, the honors of the competition went to Liszt, where they have ever since remained.

Liszt had the good fortune to divine the future course of piano development, as also did Schumann. Both took for the strategic center of the piano the principle of what has been called the "differential touch," or discrimination in touch, by means of which not only long passages of different kinds were discriminated from one another, as in the Thalbergian melodies and their surrounding arabesques, but the infinitely finer discriminations which take place within the phrase, and especially in chord playing, where at least one tone of the chord belongs to the melodic thread, and as such receives an emphasis, or at least a distinctness of delivery, to which the remainder of the chord has no claim whatever. Moreover, while Thalberg employed the pedal,—and it was, in fact, an indispensable condition of the effect of his pieces,—he did not rightly consider what would be the effect when the piano should be developed to a sonority and continuance of vibration which in his time it did not have. Schumann and Liszt recognized the inner significance of the pedal, and wrote their works with reference to what we might call perhaps a sort of pianoforte chiaro-oscuro (luminous-indistinctness), which inevitably follows when the pedal is rapidly employed in quickly moving chords. In many of the Schumann pieces this is one of the most notable elements of the tonal beauty, and it is the underlying condition of the successful performance of nearly or quite all of the great Liszt transcriptions.

Thus, in the course of the thirty years or more over which his activity as composer extended, Liszt not only inaugurated new principles of playing, but brought them to perfection himself, and illustrated them in a thousand ways in his voluminous works; and, through the charm of his personality and his pleasure in contact with young and promising genius, became the master and the forming influence of all the concert pianists who came upon the stage previous to his death.

No periods can be safely marked in the creative career of Liszt, at least not in so far as relates to the pianoforte. In his "Studies for Transcendent Execution," which appear to have been first written about 1836, advanced principles of playing are illustrated as fully as any that meet us later; and in the first of his serious transcriptions of orchestral works for piano,—the "Fantastic Symphony" of Berlioz,—he set himself as carefully to reproduce upon the piano the orchestral work as he did in his famous transcriptions of the Beethoven symphonies and the later things of Wagner. But, while creative periods can not be affirmed with certainty, there are differences of style. In some of his works he indulges in a variety of piano-playing additions having no essential, or indeed suitable, relation to the musical matter which he purports to be illustrating. In others, on the contrary, he is essentially simple, loyal, and scrupulous to the last degree. The latter is true of his transcriptions of some of the Schubert songs, especially such as "My Sweet Repose," "The Wanderer," "Hark! Hark! the Lark," "The Erl King," "The Ave Maria," "Greeting to Spring," etc. In many of his operatic fantasies, on the contrary, he puts in running work, effect-cadenzas, and interpolations of various sorts. This is illustrated, perhaps better than elsewhere, in his enormously difficult fantasia upon melodies from Bellini's "Sonnambula," which for several years was one of his own concert pieces. In this there is a very difficult part where two melodies are going together, and a long and difficult trill. Other examples of this kind of writing are found in his "Trovatore" fantasias, his "Rigoletto," and the like.

After the production of "Lohengrin," Liszt seems to have entered upon a more serious view of his art than he had previously held, and his works later are generally more confined to musical considerations, and free from display as such. Nevertheless, the "Rigoletto" fantasia can not have been written prior to 1851, for it was in this year that the opera was first produced.

In cataloguing the Liszt works according to the difficulty they present to the piano player, it must first be noted that such has been the advance during the fifty years since the early ones were produced, that compositions which at their first appearance seemed stupendous to ordinary pianists have now, thanks to education and the general advance of art, become practicable to players of little beyond ordinary capacity. In fact, there is a whole world of pieces by Liszt which are more practicable to young players than most of the serious compositions of Chopin. The latter composer demands, above everything else, refinement and delicate finish; Liszt demands musical idea and effect, and, while refinement adds greatly to the charm of the works, it is not absolutely a sine quâ non. In other words, Liszt always wrote with an eye to the stage, and with a certain largeness and ample scope of treatment, in which breadth and genuine musical intention, combined with a certain freedom upon the keyboard, are the main conditions of success. From a modern standpoint, the most difficult of all the Liszt works are, probably, his arrangement of the overture to Wagner's "Tannhäuser,"—which he himself considered by far the most difficult piece ever written,—the "Don Juan" fantasia, and perhaps also the "Sonnambula."

It is, of course, extremely difficult to illustrate powers so varied and ample as those of Liszt in any single program, unless we were to confine ourselves to compositions of the most extreme difficulty, since it is in these that he has shown most fully what he considers possible upon the pianoforte. The following list, however, will afford a good idea of his style, without making upon the player any demands which can not be met by the common run of superior amateurs. At the same time, in consequence of the variety of composers represented, the program presents quite a variety.


  "A Dream of Love."  No. 3.
  "Consolation."  No. 5.
  Polonaise in E major.
  Five Transcriptions from the songs of Schubert.
      "The Wanderer."
      "Greeting to Spring."
      "My Sweet Repose."
      "Hark!  Hark! the Lark."
      "The Erl King."
  Four Transcriptions from Wagner and Paganini.
      March and Chorus from "Tannhäuser."
      Romance of the Evening Star.  "Tannhäuser."
      Spinning Song from "The Flying Dutchman."
      "La Campanella."  (Paganini.)
  Concerto in E-flat.  With second piano.  (Optional.)

The first group of these pieces contains four numbers entirely original with Liszt. The first one, "A Dream of Love," is No. 3 in a series of nocturne-like compositions which are very melodious, picturesque, and full of sentiment. At the same time, toward the end of this third number there is one of those brilliant passages the opportunity for which Liszt could never forego. The second piece on the list, "Forest Murmurs," is a little on the line of the "Forest Murmurs" in Wagner's "Siegfried," except that Liszt operates mainly in the upper range of the piano, whereas Wagner busies himself for a long time with the lower ranges of pitch. When this piece is done with sufficient delicacy, and at the same time with adequate brilliancy and fervor, it produces a most astonishing and gratifying effect. The next selection is one of a set of six called "Consolations." These, again, are nocturne-like in character, and the one here selected is so simple that no explanation is necessary. The Polonaise in E major is one of the most brilliant and satisfactory of the original pieces of Liszt for the piano. The semi-martial chivalry of this style of composition is extremely well reproduced, and while there is a long passage in A minor which requires to be played rather discreetly to prevent its becoming tiresome, there is some lovely cadenza work in the last part in a style thoroughly original with Liszt.

If the player prefers one of the Hungarian rhapsodies, it might be substituted for the Polonaise in E in this group. The Hungarian rhapsodies are written some of them on original melodies in Hungarian style, but most of them probably on well-known Hungarian Czardas. It is difficult to speak with certainty on this subject, as Liszt has left no indications as to which are original and which are quoted. To refer to a very different composition in the same school, it may be mentioned that the famous Hungarian dances of Brahms are composed upon melodies given him by Remenyi, when both were young. These melodies were not traditional Hungarian themes, but were improvised by Remenyi himself.

The next group of pieces consists entirely of transcriptions from Schubert's songs. They are very varied in musical spirit and in manner of treatment, but, with the exception of the long-continued succession of octaves in "The Erl King,"—for which Schubert is responsible rather than Liszt,—they are not very difficult for the player, and the resources of the piano are used with the utmost discretion for producing a musical effect.

In the third group of pieces we have several selections of the Wagner transcriptions, beginning with the very brilliant march from "Tannhäuser," which, however, should not be ended at the first climax, but the intermezzo should be played, and so to the end. The "Romance of the Evening Star" is one of those delightful melodies which it is always a pleasure to hear. These selections conclude with the very brilliant study after Paganini, "La Campanella." In case this should not prove practicable for the player, a Liszt rhapsody might be substituted or the Tarantelle from "Venice and Naples." The program may be regarded as complete at this point, but if it happens to be convenient to give one or more movements of the Concerto in E-flat, a still different idea of Liszt's manner of writing will have been gained. The Concerto in E-flat is very brilliant, but, excepting the third movement, is not very difficult. There are few piano pieces in the repertory which produce so much effect in proportion to the labor of performing them as this. It would be possible to omit the third movement and play the first, second, and fourth.



The fullness with which the characteristics of the different composers have been treated in the preceding chapters of this course leaves little to be said in this final summing up, since the only element of the present program which we have not already had in combination with the others is that of Liszt, itself fully treated in the previous chapter.

We have now arrived at a point where a completely developed recital program, according to modern ideas, can be presented, and this upon a great variety of grades of difficulty. As an illustration, three programs are given. The first contains nothing of greater difficulty than the fifth grade, and is, therefore, within the reach of pianists of very moderate abilities. The second is of a more difficult character, involving technic up to the eighth or ninth grade, and requiring more experience and brilliant capacity. The third program is a fully developed recital, such as an artist might play. In so far as regards the mechanical difficulties of the last program, they are not beyond the reach of the better class of pianists, as we find them almost anywhere; but from an artistic point of view the interpretations require a good deal of musical maturity.

  PROGRAM I.  (Easy.)

        Prelude and Fugue in D major.  Clavier, No. 5.
        Saraband in E minor.
        Loure in G major.  (Heinze.)
        Sonata in G major, opus 14, No. 2.
        Impromptu in A-flat, opus 29.
        Nocturne in B major, opus 15.
        Forest Scenes: "Entrance," "Wayside Inn," "Homeward."
        Nachtstück in F, opus 23, No. 4.
        Spinning Song, from "The Flying Dutchman."

  PROGRAM II.  (Moderate.)

        Prelude and Fugue in C-sharp major.  Clavier, No. 3.
        Sonata in A-flat major, opus 26.
        Fancy Pieces, opus 12: "In the Evening," "Soaring," "Why?"
            "Whims," "End of the Song."
        Prelude in D-flat; Scherzo in B-flat minor.
        "A Dream of Love" (No. 3); Eighth Hungarian Rhapsody.

  PROGRAM III.  (Difficult.)

        Fantasia and Fugue in G minor.  (Organ.)
        Sonata in C minor, opus 111.
        Fantasia Impromptu in C-sharp minor, opus 66.
        Studies, opus 10, Nos. 3, 5, and 12.
        Nocturne in G major, opus 37.
        "Kreisleriana," opus 16, Nos. 1 and 2.
        "Eclogue," "Au Bord D'Un Source."
        "The Erl King."  (Schubert.)

In all these programs, except the second, the order observed is that of Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, and Liszt. When forming a program to be played before those not accustomed to classic music, it is quite practicable to make a combination on a different plan, beginning with a combination of three pieces by Bach, Chopin, and Schumann or Liszt, or Bach, Schumann, and Chopin. These could be followed by a serious Beethoven work, such as one of the larger sonatas; and this again by a few small pieces, in order to relieve the overtaxed attention; the whole concluding with a Hungarian rhapsody or some other brilliant piece. The advantage of this arrangement is that the audience does not have to wait so long before arriving at music which pleases.

In the ordinary arrangement—as that in the programs above—the program follows a systematic development from the beginning to the end, in the direction of greater freedom of expression and more brilliancy and adaptability to the pianoforte; so the music becomes more and more pleasing all the way through, and the only trouble is a fear lest the early pieces may prove too severe to those who are not accustomed to listening to music of this kind. In the case of musical clubs, and other places where the study of art is the principal motive, this fear is not entitled to any weight, since when it is designed to present programs of serious works, requiring to be understood and to be heard several times before their full meaning is apparent to the listener, a certain amount of preliminary analysis or study ought to be done, either by members of the club separately or by the club together in a sort of preliminary rehearsal by a competent person, who will both play the works in fragments and comment upon their peculiarities. As an illustration of a program arranged on the plan last mentioned, the following is presented:

1. Bach, Prelude and Fugue in C-sharp major, Clavier No. 3. Chopin, Fantasia Impromptu in C-sharp minor, Valse in A-flat, opus 42.

2. Beethoven, "Sonata Appassionata," opus 57.

3. Grieg, "Butterflies." Wm. Mason, "Reverie Poetique," "The Silver Spring."

4. Schumann, "Traumes Wirren," "End of the Song," opus 12. Liszt, Second Hungarian Rhapsody.

This could be played in two numbers, pausing after the sonata; or, better, in four, pausing after the Chopin valse, the sonata, and the Mason "Silver Spring." Each number is pleasing by itself.

A certain amount of care has been taken in the easy program to illustrate different phases of all the writers; accordingly, the Bach illustration begins with the Prelude and Fugue in D major, which is a very pleasing one, followed by the short Saraband in E minor, and this again by the Loure in G major. The saraband is of a very serious and melodious turn, and is about as near a sustained lyric melody as Bach ever got upon the piano. In writing for the violin he reaches a higher flight in several cases.

In the most difficult program of all, we open with the Bach-Liszt Fantasia and Fugue in G minor, which, having originally been composed for the organ with a difficult pedal part, becomes very much more difficult when put upon the piano for two hands alone. This is a very remarkable work indeed, the fantasia being full of chromatic changes and very expressive and thoroughly modern modulations and sequences. It is almost as modern a work as the "Chromatic Fantasia." The fugue is remarkable for having a very long subject, which is almost a gavotte in its rhythm; and the splendid subject is developed with charming freedom. It is one of the greatest favorites of all the Bach fugues, and when arranged for orchestra—as has been done by Abert—it is one of the most pleasing numbers in the entire orchestral repertory, never failing of delighting an audience. The Beethoven sonata in this program (opus 111, in C minor) is the last one which that great master wrote. Opinions of artists differ in regard to this sonata; some, like the present writer, holding it to be, on the whole, the most expressive of all the sonatas, or nearly so; others regarding the last movement as practically a failure. The peculiarities of the work which have given rise to these differences of opinion are substantially the following: It begins with a slow introduction, which is full of meditative and dreamy harmonic changes of a very delicate and suggestive character. Then enters the allegro, with a very strong subject, such as would naturally be used for a fugue. The entire first movement is developed out of this subject in a very strong and almost fugue-like manner. In fact, fugal passages occur repeatedly in the course of this development. The effect of the whole is very impassioned and irresistible. It is a very similar vein to that of the allegro movement of the "Sonate Pathetique," a work which Beethoven composed about twenty-five years earlier.

Up to this point it will be seen that the work differs from the usual sonata treatment in not possessing a lyric second subject. The element of song-like repose is entirely wanting in this first movement; it is suggested in the slow introduction, but in the allegro itself we have nothing of it.

The second movement consists of an Arietta, which is in two strains—one in C major, the other in A minor. These two strains are treated with variations through a very long and highly developed unfolding, the necessary relief of key being secured by the alternating tonalities of C and A minor. In my opinion, what Beethoven sought to do was to end this sonata in a more serious and poetic vein than sonatas usually close in. The general character of the sonata form, with a slow movement in the middle, necessarily amounts to an anti-climax. The sonata finale is almost always either a sonata-piece—in which case it is of a very impassioned character, such as we find illustrated in the first sonata and in the "Moonlight Sonata"; or a rondo—an easy-going movement, the principal subject often returning, examples of which we find in the "Pastoral Sonata," the opus 2 in C major, opus 7 in E-flat, and a great variety of others. While the regular finale admits of a serious and effective ending, it precludes the peculiarly elevated and poetic sentiment of the adagio movement. I think Beethoven undertook in the present instance to develop the sonata to the necessary complexity for climax and at the same time to end with the poetic and sentimental spirit. When these variations are played in this mood, they produce a very beautiful and excellent effect, but the close of the sonata is very difficult to treat satisfactorily.

In the Liszt selections at the close of the last program are two pieces very seldom played—an eclogue and "At the Fountain." Both these require delicate playing rather than extremely brilliant, and both are rather difficult, without making a show proportionate to the difficulty of performing them. They are, however, very musical and pleasing. The



By form in music is meant the general plan in accordance with which the ideas composing the piece are arranged; that is to say, if the piece be a short melody of one period, there will be one phrase which is repeated at least twice, and two other phrases which are not exactly alike. In an ordinary simple melody the first phrase has the general character of proposing a subject or of stating a proposition, and the second phrase has the general character of answering that subject, or, in musical parlance, it forms a counter-theme, but as a rule does not fully complete itself on the original key. The third phrase is very often quite the same as the first; thus the original proposition is repeated and emphasized, and the fourth phrase completely answers it and ends upon the principal key. A period of this type is known as a "lyric" form, and this is the general type of all simple melodies.

There is a period of quite a different type, sometimes called "thematic," in which, in place of a single idea extending throughout the first phrase, we have a short idea, or motive, which is repeated or modified in one way or another a sufficient number of times to fill up the rhythm proper to the first phrase of the simple period—viz., two measures. Occasionally, the development of this motive is carried through the first two phrases of the piece, or four measures; after which it is answered by a counter-theme or new material, bringing the whole period to an end on its own or some other key. This type of construction is very common in Schumann's works, and striking examples of it are found in the first period of the Novelette in E major, the first "Kreisleriana," the first period of the "Aufsschwung," and in many other places. Up to this point we might make a scheme of the period forms as follows: Letting a represent the first subject unchanged, a' the first subject slightly modified and b the answering material, and b' the answering material of the counter-theme somewhat modified, the lyric period would present the following schedule:

_a_ plus _b_          _a_ plus _b'_;

and the thematic this:

_a_ plus _a'_          _b_ plus _b'_;

or, more generally:

_a_ plus _b_.

The a and b in this latter case each extend to four measures.

In case a form is to be developed to two periods, new material is often introduced at the beginning of the second period. Designating this new material by c and c', the schedule of the two-measure period would be as follows:

First period: _a_ plus _b_          _a_ plus _b'_.
Second period: _c_ plus _c'_          _a_ plus _b'_.

Thus represented in algebraic formulae, it is easy to see that repetition of the materials designated a, or a and b together, is the source of unity in the period, and the third element introduced, here designated as c, has its only use in serving as variety. The normal dimensions for the two-period form just scheduled would be sixteen measures; but if the motive were two measures, then the period form resulting would be sixteen measures, and the two-period form thirty-two measures. Many examples will be found in the instrumental works of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, and also in Schumann.

This simple form above given serves also as a type of the organization of the larger forms. For example, one of the most numerously represented forms in music is the rondo, which derives its name from the reappearance of the principal subject at intervals, after the manner of a round. Supposing such a principal subject to be a one- or two-period song form like those described above, this entire form would be designated as A; after A, a small amount of passage work might be introduced, and then would enter a second form, B, which within itself, however, would be modeled quite like the two-period form described above. After this second form the first form would then be repeated, and after this a coda would be added. Designating the entire first form or principal subject of a rondo by A, and the second subject or second song form by B, the rondo then will have this schedule:

A plus B plus A plus Coda.

This is the form of the great majority of polkas and waltzes, except that the song forms standing for A and B respectively are very often of three periods instead of two. This form also lies at the foundation of the great majority of salon pieces for the piano.

The only difference between the rondo form and the form last described—the proper designation of which is "song form with trio"—is that the rondo introduces passage work between the subject and the second subject. Should it be desired to develop the rondo to a greater length, the second subject can be repeated after the repetition of the first, and the first subject brought in still again. A third subject can be introduced, and in the longest rondo form the schedule is like this, C standing for the third subject:


A form of this sort might extend to a very considerable length, as happens in the case of Chopin's Rondo in E-flat major, opus 18, which reaches to ten or twelve pages and occupies about ten minutes to perform.

The essential principle of musical form—form in music—is quite analogous to form in literature. As in a poem or article the first consideration is Unity, or the preponderance of a leading idea, and the second Variety, or the occurrence of interesting illustrative matter, and the third Symmetry, or the just relation between the different parts in order that the leading idea may not be obscured by the prolixity of the subordinate ideas, so the same principles prevail in music. Unity also is attained by peculiarly similar means in both cases. As in the article the leading idea is repeated a number of times in order to impress it upon the hearer, but frequently in different language, so in music the principal idea is repeated more times than any other in the course of the piece; and in the small forms, or rather in the molecular construction of a piece of music, the repetitions are in a great variety of speech, exactly as they are in a well-made article. The same idea can be presented in different aspects, and different words may express it. In music this takes place through the appearance of the motive in different chords from those in which it first appeared, giving rise to variations in the melodic intervals and the like.

Symmetry in music is much more exactly observed than in literary composition, even in verse, since music itself is a matter of time and vibration, and the proportionate and mathematical relation of parts belongs to the very essence of the art. Every musical form, therefore, whether large or small, consists essentially of one leading idea and of two or more subordinate ideas, brought in with whatever cleverness of treatment the composer may find convenient, and the whole turned over and diversified according to his fancy.

In certain aspects the musical forms bear a good deal of resemblance to the quasi-geometric figures called arabesques, in which a certain line or form is many times repeated; or to the arrangement of crystals which the frost forms upon the glass of the window, when the simple crystalline form of water is repeated in a great diversity of ways, and larger figures and curious symmetries and suggestions are brought out. In music of a serious construction the leading motives are diversified in a great variety of ways by being made to appear in different chords and intervals from the original form, and by being carried into other keys, whereby the impression upon the ear is very materially modified, at the same time without destroying the unity of the idea.

Musical forms in general may be divided into elementary and complete. The elementary forms are those which are used as structural elements in the larger or complete forms. Thus, a motive repeated becomes a phrase; a phrase repeated or answered by counter-theme becomes a section; a section repeated becomes a period; the period repeated or modified becomes a two-period form or a period group, which may extend to a considerable number of periods. Out of these elementary forms the large forms are constructed. Beginning with the song form as the principal subject, the rondo goes on with a second song form as second subject, and so on to any extent desirable, according to the plan given above. In analyzing a large piece of music to find these leading subjects, the student should begin by first finding the great divisions in the piece, such as, for instance, those where an entirely new melody comes in a change of key, and the like. Having found the larger points of joining, he should then proceed to find the dividing lines in the smaller parts, which, in music, is rendered somewhat more difficult in consequence of the entire absence of punctuation bringing out relations of this kind. Not only are the marks wanting, but the bars confuse the eye and make it more difficult to find the real point where the ideas begin and end. The student, however, accustomed to memorizing his music, and consequently to thinking about it, will soon be able to find it by his intuition, in the same way that the reader knows when the sentence has been completed by the sense and not necessarily by the period which is placed after the last word.

There are a few leading types of form to which all others more or less conform. The first of these, and perhaps, on the whole, the most important, are those which are called unitary forms. A unitary form is a musical form with only one leading melodic idea, out of which the entire piece is developed. This can only be done in one or the other of three ways. Taking the simplest way first, it will be to develop this leading idea into a song form according to the pattern given above, in the beginning of this discussion. This, being sufficiently obvious on the face of it, requires no further attention here. Forms of this kind belong essentially to popular music, although they are not uncommon by way of relief in the more elevated art music.

There are two types of unitary form, however, which enter into and color all instrumental music to a degree, making it indispensable that the pupil thoroughly understand them. The first of these is the fugue. In the fugue a melodic subject of two measures or four, rarely more, is taken by a single voice and is answered by another voice in the dominant, and this again by the third voice in the original key, and so on according to the number of voices performing the fugue. The voice which has completed the subject goes on with the counter-subject or the counterpoint while the second voice is singing the subject. When all the voices have had their turn at the phrase there is an interlude of modulating material, after which the subject comes again and is answered one or more times in the properly related keys, for which the artificer of fugues has his rules already prepared, following the principles laid down by Bach. After this second appearance of the theme in these new keys, another interlude, and then an additional strophe in still a different key and with finer treatment; and thus, according to the fancy of the composer and his skill, the piece is extended to one, two, or even six or eight pages. But during the whole of it the principal subject has reappeared at very short intervals and in a great variety of keys, while the interlude matter has always been of a lighter and less significant character. In order to arrive at an appreciation of fugues, the student perhaps can not do better than to begin with some of the two-part inventions of Bach, which, while not following the fugue form strictly, approximate it very nearly. The first invention and the eighth are perhaps the best for this purpose. After these, an easy fugue in the "Well-tempered Clavier," such as the one in D major or that in C minor; more difficult examples are those in C-sharp major and in G major. In the development of fugues the old masters made use of a great variety of artifices, including all the devices of double counterpoint at the tenth and twelfth, canon and inversion, the latter applied not alone to the relation of the voices but also to the melodic material constituting a voice. "The fugue," Cherubini says, "contains everything which a good composer ought to know," and it is, in fact, the underlying element in all serious moments of modern music except those which are purely lyric. The fugue underlies the elaboration in the middle of a sonata-piece, and, in fact, is the original source, as said before, of nearly all the serious moments in the higher departments of art.

The second serious unitary form is the theme and variation. In this case the theme is itself a complete song form of perhaps two or three periods, and each variation is precisely of the same number of measures, and follows the same harmonic structure in many cases.

There are, however, in modern use, two types of the variation form. One of these, called formal variations, leaves the harmony entirely the same in all the variations, except, perhaps, to change the melody from major to minor of the same key and back again. In the best examples the harmony remains entirely unchanged, but the melody is diversified rhythmically in various ways. Good examples of this type of variations are to be found in the works of Mozart and in the second movement of Beethoven's Sonata in G major, opus 14, and in the second movement of the "Sonata Appassionata" of Beethoven.

The character variation pursues a different course. At times the key is changed and the harmony changes very much. In order to see how this can be accomplished without destroying the identity of the musical idea, it should be remembered that a musical idea consists essentially of three elements: it has a rhythm, a melodic figure, and a harmonic foundation. If the melodic figure is retained, and the harmonic figure, the rhythm can be diversified indefinitely, and, in fact, if any two of these elements are retained the third can be modified very much. In the latest practice of variation writing, two of these elements are changed at the same time, leaving only one element fixed, and in some instances it is difficult to find exactly where any of the original element of the theme remains. Beethoven began the development of character variation in his Sonata, opus 26, the first movement of which is in this form. He also did more or less in this direction in his famous "Thirty-two Variations." The variations of Schumann in the "Études Symphoniques" pass even beyond the bounds here defined. While remaining fast upon the original harmonic foundation, measure for measure, entirely new melodies come in and wholly different rhythms, so that in many instances only a few notes of the original theme are retained in any one variation. The student desiring to explore the most advanced variation writing will find examples ready to his hand in Brahms' variation on a theme of Händel and the two books of variations on a theme of Paganini. These may be considered as at present the ultima thule of variation-making art. The principle of the variation lies at the foundation of very much that meets us in the higher departments of music, even when the variation form is not heard of. All modifications or amplifications of a theme belong essentially to the variation type, and it is liberally applied to all long compositions where the same material is used a number of times.

When a piece of music consists of two fully developed melodic ideas, it is said to be binary in form, and these are all either song forms with trio or small rondo forms. Nearly all of the slow movements of Beethoven in the sonatas are binary forms, the dimensions of which may vary extremely. The student desiring to investigate this part of the subject more thoroughly is referred to the "Primer of Musical Forms," by W. S. B. Mathews (Arthur P. Schmidt & Co., Boston), where the principles are more fully unfolded.

There is one form in modern music which is the type of so large a proportion of extended instrumental movements that the student will do well to master its peculiarities at the earliest possible moment. This is the form sometimes called the sonata form or sonata-piece. The term sonata was originally used in two senses: in its larger sense it indicates an extended musical composition with three or four movements, all which taken together form the sonata. By the term sonata-piece, however, is meant the particular movement of the sonata which gives the name to the whole piece. This, as a rule, is the first movement, but sometimes it is the closing movement, and in some instances there are three of these movements in the same sonata, so arranged with reference to one another as to form the necessary contrasts. The sonata-piece is the form which contains within itself very much of the essence of all the smaller forms. It generally consists of three large chapters, beginning with the principal subject, which may be longer or shorter, according to the fancy of the composer, and may end on its own principal key or on the dominant, and may be followed by passage work or not, to any extent the composer chooses; then comes a second subject. According to Beethoven's almost invariable practice, the first subject of a sonata form is thematic in its character, and in developing this theme many of the principles of variation work are applied. The second subject is almost invariably a lyric melody, sometimes very charming, and always in a different key from that of the first subject, usually in the dominant; or, if the first subject is a minor, this will be in the relative major. Then follows a concluding paragraph of anywhere from six to thirty measures, and a double bar with a repeat sign. This forms the first chapter of the sonata-piece. After the double bar comes the second chapter, which is an elaboration or free fantasia on the material of the first part. At the end of this free fantasia, which may be longer or shorter at the fancy of the composer, comes the recapitulation, or the repetition of the entire first part, the only change being that the second subject is now in the principal key. In the elaboration of the sonata all sorts of musical fancies are liable to appear—queer juxtapositions of motives from the different parts of the first and second subjects, inversions, variations, and so on.

The sonata-piece is the type, not alone of the principal movement in symphonies and chamber quartets and trios, but it is also the type of all serious overtures, and therefore it has been well designated by German theorists as the Principal Form of modern music.

Whether longer or shorter, whether serious or lively, all musical forms have the same conditions to satisfy—viz., those of unity, or the preponderance of a single idea; symmetry, or just proportion of parts; and variety, the proper relief and introduction of new material. If the principal idea is repeated too much, monotony ensues; if there are too many accessory ideas, in place of variety we have looseness and want of unity. And in carrying out these principles in compositions of different lengths and in different styles, the composer has practically unlimited freedom.






According to the original design, this work was completed with the ten chapters in which the great masterworks of the leading composers of the period from 1750 to 1850 were compared and their peculiarities and individualities emphasized.

In response to a wide-spread demand, however, it is deemed advisable to add a few programs of later masters, and a few of the leading American composers, who, although not yet to be mentioned in the same connection as those forming the subject of the original ten chapters, are, nevertheless, of more immediate interest to a large circle of students, and in demand for the use of musical clubs, lecture recitals, and the like. The selection of these later composers has been a matter of no small difficulty, but the names decided upon for the present are Grieg, Brahms, Rubinstein, Tschaikowsky, and a miscellaneous list of the later romantic German composers. The American names included are those of Dr. William Mason, L. Moreau Gottschalk, E. A. MacDowell, Mrs. H. H. A. Beach, Arthur Foote, Ethelbert Nevin, and Wilson G. Smith, with scattering compositions from a few others of the more notable composers of the present time.

Concerning these supplementary programs, it is also to be said that only one name belongs to the high category of great immortals embraced in the first ten chapters—namely, that of Johannes Brahms. Grieg, however, is certainly a composer of rare poetry and originality; and the same is to be said of Rubinstein and Tschaikowsky—even with greater emphasis of the last mentioned. Still, the student will be wise to remember that in the works of these latest composers there is much which, as yet, is imperfectly understood, and its ultimate place in the pantheon of art unascertained. That all these have shown great originality is unmistakable; yet no one of them has written pianoforte music uniting elegance and pianoforte tact with complete originality and success. If any exception is to be made at this point, it should be in the case of Brahms, who has shown, in orchestral and vocal writing, constructive and poetic powers of the very highest order. This fact, taken in connection with his unquestioned mastery of the pianoforte and the epoch-marking originality of his technic and effects upon this instrument, should make us pause before considering anything of his as standing beyond the line of the beautiful. Schumann was condemned for many years after his death, yet at the present time no master stands higher as a pianoforte writer pure and simple. It is more than likely that Brahms will later stand as the maker of an epoch in piano playing not less significant than that established by the works of Liszt, Chopin, and Schumann.

One of our American masters also, Mr. Edward Alexander MacDowell, is held by many to belong to the very highest rank of living composers (1898). Comparisons of this kind have no proper place in a work like the present. The question which these chapters are intended to assist in solving is not as to the highest, the broadest, the most pleasing, but the characteristic individuality of certain composers, of ability so high that they have gained the ears of their own generation and have been found of lasting interest.

"What have these men done?" And "What is the new note which they have sounded in the pantheon of art?" These are the two questions which this little essay is meant to discuss.

Moreover, we may remember that it is one of the laws of gravitation that it increases in proportion to the "square of the proximity," as they say in social science. Composers near to us, and the outgrowth of our own conditions of life and our national heredity, can hardly escape bringing to expression in their works something of the American character and turn of thought. This inner something may well give their works a transient interest for us which better works wanting these national traits might fail to awaken. The programs in these supplementary chapters, therefore, should be taken up after those of the first ten have been fully mastered.

If a word of regret is needed that so little of American matter has been included, the explanation must be that the scope of this work and the present resources of the writer do not afford him the means of treating American music in the broad and comprehensive way possible to epochs in art the works of which are fully finished and catalogued. In the nature of the case the treatment of American writers herein is tentative and incomplete. Later on, additions will be made, as occasion may arise.




The outflow of musical production has become so wide during the last fifty years, and so many composers have distinguished themselves in every part of the world, that it is a matter of no small difficulty to make a selection of names sufficiently representative to illustrate the many-sided individualities of this movement. Dividing the entire list into countries which have produced the composers, or in which they have principally expressed themselves, we have at least four great European provinces or musical centers, viz., Germany (including also Austro-Hungary), Russia, France, and the Scandinavian countries, including Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. To this list of characteristic nationalities in music must be added our own, the American.

As soon as we pass beyond the short roll of the great masters in instrumental music of the first class, we immediately come upon a large circle of composers of such cleverness that they have just missed becoming enrolled in the higher list, and perhaps some of them will, later on, be included among the immortals. The operation of this slow promotion is something like that of the French Academy, where, when one member dies, a new one is elected to take his place. In this way, with forty immortals constantly on duty, as one may say (although as a matter of fact they are rarely elected to that honor until their productive activity has practically ceased), the nation has a long roll of distinguished and honored authors, composers, artists, and the like.

In all this music since Liszt there are curious resemblances and equally curious differences. To speak first of the resemblances, it is an interesting circumstance that by far the greater number of the composers have been educated, at least in part, at the Conservatory of Leipsic, which, ever since it was founded by Mendelssohn, has held a wholly unique pre-eminence among the music schools of the world—a pre-eminence which in many respects it has not deserved, especially upon the technical side of musical instruction; and most emphatically with reference to the pianoforte, where for at least ten years after the death of Schumann nothing of Chopin, Schumann, or Liszt was admitted or permitted to be taught to the students. Then a very grudging reception was given to the works of Chopin, while Schumann had to wait some time longer; and it is only within a very recent period that the peculiar value of Liszt as a writer for the piano-forte has been recognized at all. On the other hand, it is evident that any school able to attract to itself so large a percentage of the highly gifted musicians of the different countries, who have afterward shown themselves to possess creative talent of a high order, must have had about it a quality at least unusual and commanding. Almost all the composers who will be taken up have been educated in Germany, or by teachers who were themselves educated in Germany. Almost the only exceptions to this rule are probably the American, Gottschalk, and the Frenchman, Saint-Saëns. Accordingly, the marks of nationality and of individuality in the music of the different composers are rarely sufficient to prevent the works of any composer from being current in any other country, and, from the mere sound of the works, in a great majority of cases it would be difficult to tell whether they are German or of some other nationality, so strongly does the German influence pervade and underlie nearly the whole of this production.

The opportunity for expressing nationality in music, or, to say it differently, the possibility of national coloring in music, is somewhat narrow. It is only in the case of the nations which are distinctly unmusical that it is entirely easy to recall their peculiarities, and the features by means of which this is usually done amount to parody. For example, when it is a question of something Turkish, much is made of the tambourine, the cymbals, and the fife. In something Persian or Arabic, the triangle cuts quite a figure; but when it is a question between composers of the civilized countries of Europe, music has become a cosmopolitan language among them all, and only a small number of national traits are to be found distinguishing the production of one country from that of another. It would be an interesting study to trace these marks of nationality, but it would take us too far. Suffice it to say that in general, taking German music as representing the purest type of instrumental music, in which the musical idea as such has full sway, the Russians differ from this mainly in their own uncontrollable energy and a certain fondness for a semi-barbaric display of over-coloration. The pigments with which they work and the manner of treating their ideas are not materially different from that of the German composers of the purest type. It is only a question of exaggerating certain features—to judge them from the German standpoint. This is true, in a general way, of the entire list of Russian composers, all of whom have been influenced a good deal from Leipsic, although Russia has had for many years a very strong music school of its own at St. Petersburg, established by Rubinstein in 1862. It was at this school that Tschaikowsky and Glazounow were educated. In the Austro-Hungary empire there are two nationalities which have left quite an impress upon their music productions. They are the Bohemians and the Hungarians. The Hungarian, representing the extreme of the emphasis and caprice; the Bohemian, showing a great deal of impetuosity;—which, however, they lose in their productions in proportion as they become polished and finished writers. Bohemianism, in German music, has more the character of provincialism than of a national mark.

In France there has been a national school this long time in which all the young composers are educated; a school which has turned out men like Berlioz, Gounod, Bizet, Delibes, Massenet, and a great and honored roll of composers and artists. French music differs from German primarily in taking itself less seriously. Everything tends to be shorter; there is a more fanciful and capricious use of passing tones and by-tones of every sort, and its general complexion is that of daintiness and sensuous sweetness, rather than of deep thought. The French school is therefore well adapted for imparting refinement to the style of a performer.

The writers of the Scandinavian peninsula have certain peculiarities in their melody which impart to their work a trait of local color. This one finds in the writings of Grieg, Svendsen, and to some extent in those of Gade. A similar coloring was hit upon much earlier by Mendelssohn in the beginning of the "Hebrides" overture.

America can not be said, as yet, to have attained a national school. We had one genius who might be called self-instructed—viz., Louis Moreau Gottschalk. All of our composers since have been German educated, or educated under teachers who themselves were German taught, and as yet our music is little more than a slightly modified German production, although our composers are beginning to show as much originality and force as the better class of the writers of any country.

Selecting only those names the most prominent in the several countries, and more particularly the composers who have distinguished themselves in pianoforte music, the following seem, on the whole, the most worthy of our attention:

In Germany—Brahms, Dvorak, Raff, D'Albert, Nicode, Moszkowski, Jensen, Reinecke, Paderewski, and Scharwenka.

In Russia—Rubinstein, Henselt, Tschaikowsky, Balakirew, Glazounow, and Karganoff.

In France—Stephen Heller, Saint-Saëns, Pierne, Faure, Widor, Guyrand, and Benoit.

In Scandinavia—Grieg, Gade, Svendsen, Kjerulf, and Meyer-Helmund.

In America—Gottschalk, Mason, Wollenhaupt, Foote, Chadwick, MacDowell, and others.




Born at Hamburg, May 7, 1833.
Died at Vienna, April 3, 1897.

In Johannes Brahms we have a musical master of the first order. His quality as master was shown in his marvelous technic, in which respect no recent composer is to be mentioned as his superior, if any can be named, since Bach, as his equal. This technic was at first personal, at the pianoforte, upon which he was a virtuoso of phenomenal rank; but this renown, great as it is in well-informed circles, sinks into insignificance beside his marvelous ability at marshaling musical periods, elaborating together the most dissimilar and apparently incompatible subjects, and his powers of varying a given theme and of ever unfolding from it something new. These wonderful gifts—for such they were, rather than laboriously acquired attainments—Brahms showed at the first moment when the light of musical history shines upon him. It was in 1853, when the Hungarian violinist, Edouard Remenyi, found him at Hamburg and engaged him as accompanist, and having ascertained his astonishing talents, brought him, a young man of twenty, to Liszt at Weimar, with his first trio and certain other compositions in manuscript. The new talent made a prodigious effect upon Liszt, who needed not that any one should certify to him whether a composer had genius or merely talent. And that Brahms on his own part made the regrettable mistake of falling asleep while Liszt in turn was playing for him his newly completed sonata for pianoforte, is an incident which was important only for the moment. The Liszt circle took up the Brahms cult in earnest, played the trio at the chamber concerts, and the members, when they departed to their homes, generally carried with them their admiration of this new personality which had appeared in music.

William Mason, the New York teacher and pianist, was at Weimar at the time, and when he came back to New York and, with the young Theodore Thomas, opened the celebrated series of chamber concerts,—modeled, as the prospectus said, "after those of Mr. Liszt at Weimar,"—the first program included the Brahms Trio in B-flat. From that time until now, for nearly forty years, Mr. Thomas has paid his tribute to the genius of Brahms, introducing the new works as fast as they have appeared, and repeating the older ones many times.

Johannes Brahms was born at Hamburg, May 7, 1833, the son of a fine musician who was player upon the double bass in the orchestra there. The boy was always intended for a musician, and his instruction was taken in hand with so much success that at the age of fourteen he played in public pieces by Bach and Beethoven, and a set of original variations. At the age of twenty he was a master, and it was in this year that he accompanied Remenyi, made the acquaintance of Joachim and Liszt, and had a rarely appreciative notice from a master no less than Robert Schumann himself, who, in his "New Journal of Music," said:

"He has come—a youth at whose cradle graces and heroes kept watch. Sitting at the piano, he began to unveil wonderful regions. We were drawn into more and more magical circles by his playing, full of genius, which made of the piano an orchestra of lamenting and jubilant voices. There were sonatas, or rather veiled symphonies; songs whose poetry might be understood without words; piano pieces both of a demonaic nature and of the most graceful form; sonatas for piano and violin; string quartets, each so different from every other that they seemed to flow from many different springs. Whenever he bends his magic wand, there, when the powers of the orchestra and chorus lend him their aid, further glimpses of the magic world will be revealed to us. May the highest genius strengthen him! Meanwhile the spirit of modesty dwells within him. His comrades greet him at his first entrance into the world of art, where wounds may perhaps await him, but bay and laurel also; we welcome him as a valiant warrior."

The next few years were spent by Brahms in directing orchestra and chorus at Detmold and elsewhere, and in Switzerland, which always had great attraction for him. In 1859 he played in Leipsic his first great pianoforte concerto; most of the criticisms thereon were, however, such as now excite mirth. In the later years of his life he played in Leipsic again, conducted several of his works, and was greeted with the reverence and enthusiasm due the greatest living representative of the art of music. In 1862 Brahms located in Vienna, where he lived until his death. Mr. Louis Kestelborn, in "Famous Composers and their Works," says: "About thirty years ago the writer first saw Brahms in his Swiss home; at that time he was of a rather delicate, slim-looking figure, with a beardless face of ideal expression. Since then he has changed in appearance, until now he looks the very image of health, being stout and muscular, the noble, manly face surrounded by a full gray beard. The writer well remembers singing under his direction, watching him conduct orchestra rehearsals, hearing him play alone or with orchestra, listening to an after-dinner speech or private conversation, observing him when attentively listening to other works, and seeing the modest smile with which he accepted, or rather declined, expressions of admiration."

The Serenade, Opus 11, in D major, was written before 1859. It consists of six pieces, in form analogous to a suite. The first is marked allegro molto. It is in the key of D, the melody opening for horn. This is followed by a counter-theme of clarinets, after which all the instruments take part. Much is made of a pleasing motive in thirds by the clarinets. There is a charming elaboration containing bold and free modulations, touching such keys as D-flat, B-flat, D minor, etc.

The second movement, scherzo, allegro non troppo, is in the key of D minor and in the style of a Beethoven scherzo, which, again, is a legitimate outgrowth of certain movements of Bach. It opens with an idea for violins and bassoons, and goes on in a very buoyant and vigorous manner, with abundant syncopations, modulations, and unexpected incidents. It is beautifully developed. Then it gives place to a trio in B-flat, in which the violins start with a syncopated rhythm, and later all the orchestral persons take their turn in the development. After this is finished the scherzo is recapitulated.

The adagio opens with a melody for bassoons and basses, which later leads to a very legato and lovely melody for violins, treated at times with very elaborate figuration, especially at the return of the principal theme.

The first menuetto begins with a melody for clarinets, which is developed into a short form. Then follows the second menuetto, which many would have called a trio, excepting that it really is a complete little minuet, the leading idea of which is given by the second violins; after this the first menuetto returns.

Then follows another scherzo, in D major, the subject being given out by the horns, accompanied by the 'cellos.

In the trio the same combination takes precedence, but the 'cello figures are twice as fast.

The work concludes with a rondo, the principal subject of which is very sprightly in character, given out by the clarinets and bassoons, accompanied by the lower strings. This movement is carried out with great spirit. The work as a whole is of singularly genial character.

It happened to the writer to enter the rehearsal once during one of the movements. He was expecting something by Tschaikowsky or Richard Strauss. As he listened, the simplicity and naïveté of the ideas suggested Mozart; but presently there was an earnestness foreign to Mozart, and Beethoven was recalled. Just then the counterpoint took a turn which was plainly not Beethoven, but surely the work of some late master, and the question was, Who could have done a thing of this kind so delightfully, with such reserve? All at once the author's name occurred. "Surely," he said, "it is Brahms"; and it was. It is the beauty of an unpretending work of this character by so great a master that the hearer is able to follow it with so much enjoyment and from purely musical motives, without making himself unhappy in the effort to realize a story or some great and mysterious power. It is genius in its moments of pure enjoyment.

The Symphony in E minor was first published in 1885, and immediately was pronounced by advanced musicians the most significant of Brahms, because showing the composer's nature more completely and, so to say, more spontaneously. This opinion, says Dr. Kretschmar, is based upon the elevation of the work and the fact that in it Brahms for the first time fully displays his many-sided individuality and genius in the province of symphony. "The singer of the great German requiem stands before us." Like its predecessors, it is developed out of a small number of fundamental ideas, but with a degree of complexity beneath its apparent simplicity which makes it a rich field for musical analysis.

The first movement is marked allegro non assai (quick, but not too quick). In spirit it is noble, forceful, yet tender and extremely musical. The opening melody is itself made up thematically out of the first little molecule of two tones, or out of the first four tones, if you please. This is carried through sixteen measures in order to bring it to completion; it is immediately resumed with an added element of rhythmic motion and varieties of harmony, and carried through along to the second idea.

The instruments concerned in the first enunciation of the theme are mainly the strings, the horns having long holding tones, and the wood-wind coming in with accompanying chords upon the off beat. Presently a second or transitional theme enters, of a jolly free character, which brings us almost immediately to a beautiful second theme for the 'cellos, the sustained and song-like character of which well contrasts with the broken character of the leading idea.

The elaboration now follows the jolly little counter-theme in connection with the leading theme, and while the continued treatment of the working out seems simple, it is in fact extremely rich, and well managed for intensifying the elegiac character of the opening subject. Abundance of melodic life meets us in every one of the orchestral voices, and the richness of detail is like that of one of the old cathedrals, where the mighty mass of the whole is no less significant to the distant observer than the patient care with which all the smaller spaces have been elaborated is grateful to the close student. A curious circumstance of this movement is the apparent resumption of the principal theme prematurely in its own key, the development immediately taking a new turn, and when finally the principal theme returns, it is at first in a foreign key, almost at once, however, giving place to the original harmonies.

A movement of this character is not to be judged or studied from a technical standpoint, but from that of enjoyable hearing. It is a musical discourse, in which the first thing to feel is the very patent fact that the author is trying to say something to us; and the second to make out something of what this significance may mean in its general and larger aspects; and, only later than this, what it is in its details.

In two respects this work seems to the student different from the symphonic work of Beethoven on the one hand, and from the earnest orchestral work of later masters on the other. It is thoroughly modern in its thematic handling. Everything grows out of a very few central roots; yet out of these vital germs, as in the stories of Eastern magicians, a mighty tree forms itself before our very eyes. Or, to change the figure, while the actual melodic germ is very small, its development into the leading subject takes it over a considerable range of rhythm and harmony, and brings it to us with almost a song-like character. Then, when we come to a second subject, it is not so completely contrasted as in Beethoven; or, rather, it still partakes of the modern spirit, being, if very legato, nevertheless very appealing and earnest in its harmonic treatment. This is one point where Beethoven always did differently, for his second subjects are almost invariably simple and lyric, with something very like a folk-song turn of melody. Brahms remains upon the elevated plane of musical earnestness which he assumes at starting, and throughout the entire work carries us ever to greater heights.

Again, from the side of tone-color Brahms differs from later writers in not giving himself much to mere lusciousness of tone contrast, but confines himself to carrying out his ideas with those portions of the orchestra best suited in turn, and with more reference to cumulative impression from the treatment than to mere richness and contrast of color. The contrasts do still meet us here, but they are never glaring. It is even a question whether the colors are so strongly contrasted as commonly in Beethoven. But it is not a question whether the music is strong, meaningful, and musicianly. These qualities are patent to even a casual hearing. Equally recognizable is that inner something which has been called the ethical element; a something in the general spirit of treatment, or behind it, which we intuitively feel as consistent with our highest thoughts, noblest moods, and best resolutions. This is distinguished from the merely sensuous, as represented sometimes in Berlioz, Goldmark, Gounod, and the like; and the fantastic, inconsequent, and irresponsible, as represented, for instance, in Richard Strauss' "Till Eulenspiegel."

The second movement, andante moderate, although very strange in certain of its peculiarities, is nevertheless very beautiful, and at the same time novel. The subject is given out first by the horn alone; afterward it is taken up by the oboes and flutes, while the strings have a secondary place and complete the harmony.

Kretschmar says that it reminds one of a story of the olden time, an impression due to the archaic tonality, the first version of the theme being in the Gregorian Phrygian mode—a key of E in which all the notes are naturals. On its repetition it is given a different turn, the scale having a major seventh, but minor third and sixth.

Kretschmar says: "In the middle of this movement, where the triplets begin, the music forsakes this neutral tone and shows a friendly spirit and breaks out into heart-felt lamentations." In other words, a subordinate subject is introduced which Mr. Apthorp characterizes (in the Boston Symphony Orchestra programs) as "a grave, solemn melody, harmonized and scored in the richest coloring."

A third melodic idea still remains to be mentioned. It is the melody for 'cello, which is delicately accompanied by the higher strings. Later the first subject returns in a variety of treatment, always cumulative in its character, and frequently with strange transformations. The impression of the whole is, after all, that already mentioned; it is a story of the olden times, into which a modern thread has been woven, and through which the modern heart still thrills and vibrates none the less powerfully for the strange-sounding accents of the ancient tonality.

The third movement, allegro giocoso (giocoso primarily means jokingly), opens with full orchestra. This movement takes the place of a scherzo. It is earnest, vigorous, and free; at times, as Mr. Apthorp says, "almost fierce"; and for straightforward directness stands in manly contrast to the movements preceding.

The fourth movement, again, is marked allegro energico epassionato (quick, energetically, and passionately). It opens with eight measures for all the brass. The melody lies in the upper voice.

Upon this as cantus firmus Brahms has developed what is known as a passacaglia; originally a rather slow and stately dance, but in musical use denoting a movement developed over a ground bass, or single harmonic foundation, the final result partaking somewhat of the nature of variations; but more of a sort of cumulative playing with musical elements, finally reaching a great degree of complexity, which, if well done, should also be a complexity of idea and a fullness and richness of expression. It was in this spirit that Bach handled the form in his great C minor Passacaglia for organ, now transcribed for orchestra, and played occasionally, if I remember, by Mr. Thomas; and it is in this spirit that Brahms works here. Occasionally the spirit changes to something tender, meditative; but this is only to gain strength. Immediately it resumes, and is carried ever and ever to higher pitches of force and meaning. Melody after melody appears in prominent places, but under every one lies the harmonic foundation of the fundamental subject. There are thirty-two of these variations in all.

The criticism which has been made upon Brahms, that a movement of this kind has no proper place in symphony, is "not competent," as lawyers say; for, setting aside the demonstrated fact that Brahms knew better what could be done in symphony than any of his critics, there is plenty of precedent for doing almost anything one cares to try in the fourth movement of a symphony. The old practice had a rondo for the final movement of the sonata. Beethoven rightly felt the insignificance of this form and its half trivial spirit, and in many directions he sought to get out of it, and to end his sonatas with a climax of the spiritual interest. The same desire is shown in his symphonies and chamber music. Brahms has here given us a manly, vigorous, strongly developed piece. At least, it closes the symphony without loss of vitality—whether with increasing elevation of spiritual meaning is for each hearer to determine according to the measure of his capacity and receptive ness. Inspiration is not a question of light being ready, but of clear glass to shine through.

For virtuoso pianists an entirely new world remains to be conquered in the works of Brahms. Beginning with those of his earliest period, there is even then a marvelous novelty in the combinations and, above all, a peculiarly rich and melodic quality of thought which rarely forsakes him, even in the passages where at first sight it seems impossible to make anything of the music beyond an extremely trying exercise. The melodiousness of Brahms and the complexity of the forms in which beautiful conceptions express themselves is even surpassed by the endless variety of new forms and effects which these works reveal. Passages which to the casual player seem dry and forbidding, when properly interpreted, and played gently and melodiously as Brahms demanded, reveal themselves full of an inner warmth and ideality such as no recent master has surpassed or equaled.

From the piano-playing side these new effects rest upon the utmost equality and suppleness of the fingers, a much wider extension of the hand than any previous composer demanded (save possibly Schumann in the "Kreisleriana" and the "Phantasie"), and a melodic quality in all the voices. When to these are added the necessary discrimination of touch and the clear definition of the contrasting voices, together with a sensitive and changeful use of the pedal, the new worlds open.

Beginning with the most advanced of these technical unfoldings, let us take the variations upon a theme from Paganini, of which there are two books. At first view the variations in the first book seem to address themselves exclusively to technical objects, the first variation containing a succession of sixths in the right hand which is extremely trying, the second variation having the same succession for the left hand. In the third variation a very capricious figure is taken as pattern, and the piano is covered in a new way. In the fourth variation there is a long capricious figure and trills high up in the treble with the weak fingers of the right hand. These trills are afterward transferred to the bass, where the thumb and second finger have them, the design being apparently technical. In the fifth variation a very characteristic trick of Brahms' music is brought out in strong light. It is his way of carrying on together a cantus firmus in two's and a counterpoint in three's. All his writing is full of this expedient, one design of which is to mystify the rhythm and to impart to the music a more flowing and ideal character, and at the same time to concentrate the attention of the player upon the large meter, with which these conflicting two's and three's never interfere. In the sixth variation a syncopated effect. In the seventh, very brilliant octave effects. In the eighth a sort of caprice. In the ninth, an extremely brilliant octave effect. In the tenth, the excitement quiets a little, and the variation begins sotto voce. In the eleventh, we enter the major key, and a very delightful and beautiful effect is here produced. The twelfth, again, begins to contain greater difficulties, and our old friend of the two's and three's greets us. The thirteenth, a very brilliant octave variation, which in the fourteenth is carried to a still higher point, and leads immediately to a finale, which concludes the first book.

In the second book technical discussion of this theme is resumed with some running thirds in the bass, which are very troublesome; and in the course of this second book a variety of highly ingenious technical effects are unfolded, almost any one of which affords practice for a very good player for quite a long time. In fact, from a technical point of view, a moderately accomplished pianist might spend perhaps a year in mastering these variations, and at the end of the time would be unable to play them with any artistic effect, unless exceptionally gifted. At the same time, in spite of the technical complication and the apparent absorption in technical treatment of the instrument which these variations show, they each and every one have a legitimate musical object, and when played with a sufficiently masterly technic—as, for instance, by Joseffy, Godowsky, or Rosenthal—they are among the most interesting examples of the evolution of piano playing.

Similar qualities also show themselves in the earliest set of variations upon a theme of Schumann's, and in the beautiful variations upon an original theme in D major, opus 21; but perhaps even better than anywhere else in the variations upon a theme of Händel, opus 22, where the beautiful, the musically fresh and pleasing, and the technically unforeseen meet and intermingle with one another.

The Händel variations begin somewhat modestly, and as the theme is in the major mode and the harmonies limited almost entirely to tonic and dominant, Brahms was almost compelled to be simple and melodious at times. He contents himself in the earlier variations with rhythmic complications, which are very ingenious and delightful, particularly in the second variation, where a chromatic movement in two's is accompanied in the soprano by a triplet formation. It is doubtful whether any pianoforte work of recent times affords such a brilliant illustration of how much can be done in art by a fortunate combination of constructive ability of the most masterly character with high ideality as Brahms has given in these variations upon the Händel theme. They are, at the same time, musical, melodious, rhythmically interesting. The student will do well if he desires a lesson in musical evolution to refer to the variations in their original form as written by Händel. They can be found in the Händel "Lessons for the Harpsichord," edited by Kohler, in the Peters edition. Händel gives but five variations, and these are all of very moderate difficulty. Nevertheless, while they were written for the use of amateurs, they contain nearly all of the Händel art of variation-making, as the reader can easily satisfy himself by comparing their treatment with that in the famous "Harmonious Blacksmith" variations in E major.

A very remarkable, and at present almost unknown, chapter of the Brahms cult is afforded by his four Ballads, opus 10. These are short,—only about four pages each,—and when properly interpreted are very noble and beautiful. The first, in D minor, has an opening theme of a very serious and almost antique character, like an old ballad. After one page of this a second subject comes, allegro, in D major, very much more dramatic and broken. This lasts about a page; the principal theme is resumed again, with certain variations of treatment, and the whole concludes at the end of the third page. The second ballad is of a softer and more tender character in its principal subject, and very beautiful it is, too; but the second subject, in B minor, is very emphatic in rhythm, and is followed by a middle piece in B major, in 6/4 time, which is rather difficult to play satisfactorily to one's self. Then the second subject returns, and finally the first, in the key of B major, changing afterward to minor, and thus the end. The third ballad is marked intermezzo, and has the character of a scherzo. It is rather difficult. The fourth ballad, again, is a purely lyric composition, and is precisely what its name implies—a story, a melody with a past. The middle piece of this ballad is in F-sharp major, the original key of the whole being B major, and there is a very pretty and reposeful melodic effect. Nevertheless, the tonality of the piece throughout is extremely vague, no key being adhered to for any length of time, but modulations occurring with a free hand. This ballad is carried out to the extent of eight pages, and is the longest of the lot.

A careful study of these ballads will show them to be works of the deepest poetry, which, while never appealing to the player in search of the grateful and effective, nevertheless richly reward the most intimate acquaintance, and show themselves full of ideality and musical suggestiveness. That they are devoid of all kinds of passage work and pianoforte effects, as such, is merely another way of saying that they are entirely and exclusively loyal to the ideal and the poetic; and these elements in them must eventually give them long life.

A lighter side of the Brahms cult is shown in the Waltzes, opus 39. There are sixteen of these, all short, and very poetic and not at all forbidding in their manner of writing. One or two of them are quite difficult; as, for instance, No. 6. Most of them, however, are within the reach of players of medium grade.

The later works of Brahms have already begun to find currency in the more advanced musical circles in Europe, but for some time after their first publication their value was persistently denied, and they are as yet entirely unknown to the amateur. The following works have been selected as on the whole representing the later development of Brahms to the greatest advantage.

The first intermezzo in opus 119 is in B minor, adagio. A very ideal and poetic movement, requiring, however, to be played with great delicacy and a deep and musical tone, which rarely rises to forte. The other intermezzi of this book I do not much care for. In the opus 116, the fourth number, entitled Intermezzo, is also a very beautiful adagio in E major, and it is one of the most poetic and delightful short pieces for the piano of any recent master. Both these pieces are of quite moderate difficulty. Of a somewhat more dramatic and diversified character is the second intermezzo in the opus 116. This is in A minor, with a somewhat capricious middle piece. The great beauty of these short, slow movements of Brahms is the moderation with which they are treated, and, at the same time, the masterly manner in which the interest is kept up to the end. The most fortunate illustration of Brahms' treatment of the piano in the dramatic and highly moved direction is afforded, perhaps, by the second of the rhapsodies, opus 79. These are in no respect to be mentioned in connection with the rhapsodies by Liszt, which, as is well known, are somewhat ad captandum show pieces founded upon popular airs. The Brahms rhapsody is a poetic rhapsody, perhaps such as the rhapsodists of Greece used to deliver; and in this particular case the music is very dramatic and strongly marked, and at the same time the treatment of the piano is free and the effect brilliant. It is, however, considerably more difficult than any of the pieces mentioned above except the Paganini variations.

This program might well be diversified by a few songs of Brahms; and for this purpose selections may as well be made from the first book of songs by this writer as from any other, as they are among his best-known works.

The first volume of selected songs of Brahms contains six. The first one,—

"O sink, O sink thy grief, my child,
To the bottom of the deep, deep sea,"—

is founded upon a poem by Robert Reinick. In the edition which I notice (Schirmer) there are three texts—German, English, and French. This song is of a very serious and impassioned character, the melody somewhat slow and deliberate. The accompaniment, as so often happens in the songs of Brahms, is purposely developed out of a different rhythmic figure from that of the song itself. In this instance the melody runs in pulses and half pulses, whereas the accompaniment runs in triplets; that is to say, the chords in the right hand run in triplets, while the bass preserves the rhythm of the song itself. The entire rhythmic sense is sustained, or nearly sustained, by half-pulse motion, running at the same time with a continually sustained triplet motion, three to a pulse.

The musical handling of this song presents several peculiarities, the most notable of which is the entrance of the bass upon a dissonance, which at the same time is an advance imitation (to speak Hibernically) of the leading motive of the melody. The effect of this combination with the rhythmic figure already noticed gives the song a much more impassioned character than it would otherwise have.

It would be difficult to say why Brahms has so long remained unpopular with singers, considering how well he uses the voice. In the second line, "A stone, alas, in the sea will sink; my grief returns to me," the lower part of the accompaniment is at the same pitch and identical with the melody itself, but the voice breaks through at the emphatic climax of the phrase, "grief." This is taken upon high G-flat, and is supported with full harmony by both hands, giving the effect of a much stronger harmonic climax, and also affording the singer the needed assistance in maintaining the high pitch.

The second song in the series is a very beautiful one, "To a Violet." This is on a poem by Holty, beginning:

"Hide, O flow'ret, within thy blue recesses,
Hide these pale dews of sorrow."

The entire effect of the song and the accompaniment is extremely tender and delicate, one of the important features in the artistic effect being the arpeggios of the accompaniment, which is throughout in sixteenth-note motion, whereas the melody, in 6/8 time, runs in dotted quarters and eighths.

Another very famous piece, which comes in this volume, is, "Like a Blossoming Lilac My Love Is Fair," here written in the fearfully uninviting key of D-sharp minor. It is poetic and lyric in the extreme, and a more charming selection can not be found.

The next song is "The Old Love," on a poem by Candidus. This is a moderate movement:

"The dusky swallow flieth toward her northern home,
The songsters build and flutter beneath the leafy dome;
The morn is warm and cloudy, the sky bedimmed with rains,
My heart awakes from slumber to old forgotten pains."

Then comes "To a Nightingale," and, last of all, "In Summer Fields."

In closing this somewhat extended discussion of the works of Brahms the writer desires to emphasize the importance of this music and its inherent beauty. In consequence of the entire absence of show passages in the Brahms works, and his uniform adherence to lofty and poetic ideals, together with his fondness for deep and somewhat mystical and meditative effects, his nature has been misunderstood by the greater part of the musical world. It has been charged against him that his music is purely mechanical in its construction, and that he took delight in putting together forbidding and repelling figures without regard for the convenience of players or the pleasure of the hearers. The tone of the previous discussion is perhaps sufficiently clear to define the position of the present writer in regard to this notion. Nevertheless, it is perhaps well to say something a little more definite, and this I will do presently.

It is to be observed, further, that the Brahms symphonies have at length made their way, and are heard now with pleasure in all parts of the world where enlightened audiences listen to orchestral music. Even the Fourth, which in some respects is less attractive at first sight than the others, awakened very great popular applause when it was last played by the Chicago Orchestra, and the Second Symphony is universally recognized throughout the world as a very beautiful masterpiece. However, Brahms has written about 100 songs which have more or less entered into the current of concert appearance, and there are not two opinions concerning their general melodiousness, rare musical quality, and exquisitely poetical effect. But they require beautiful and true voices, finished art of the singer, and, from the accompanist, a real mastery of the instrument. That these qualities are, unfortunately, not always provided by our musical education is one of the reasons why the public at large has made the acquaintance as yet of only a limited number of these songs, among which those in the list above are the best known.

In the judgment of the present writer it is as certain as anything in the future can be that the works of Brahms are destined to enter into the pantheon of the classical in musical art; and are entitled to that distinction by the purity and beauty of their style no less than by the intense originality of the ideas themselves and of their treatment. Musical students, therefore, are earnestly recommended not to permit themselves to be discouraged by the difficulties which their first acquaintance with Brahms will reveal. It is, first, to play the pieces; and, second, to play them in a musical way; then, if the instrument itself is of a musical tone, with a good singing quality, the beauties of the works will more and more appear, and the study will become a delight and an inspiration no less than a great technical education.


  Symphony in E minor.  Four hands.  (Schirmer.)
  Waltzes, opus 39.
  Variations upon a Theme by Händel.  Opus 21.
  Four Ballads.  Opus 10.
  Intermezzo, No. 1, opus 119.
  Intermezzo, No. 4, opus 116.
  Rhapsody, No. 2, opus 79.
  Serenade in D major.  Four hands.
  Songs ad libitum.

If it is possible to command the services of capable instrumentalists, very attractive modifications of the foregoing program can easily be made.




Born 1843, at Bergen, Norway.

Edvard Hagerup Grieg was born June 15, 1843, at Bergen, Norway. His musical talent asserted itself early, and fortunately his parents were able to provide him with the best of conditions for its development. The famous violinist Ole Bull was a friend of the family and encouraged him to devote himself to the musical profession. In 1858 Grieg went to Leipsic to study under Moscheles, Hauptmann, Wenzel, and Reinecke. He graduated in 1862, receiving praise for one or two small compositions which were played at the final rehearsal, but he was not considered as marked for certain distinction.

Soon after he went to Copenhagen and studied with Gade. Here he met a compatriot, Nordraak, with whom he struck up a warm friendship. The latter, so it is said, imbued Grieg with the idea of giving form and expression to the national spirit and life, and from that time on he devoted himself assiduously to national music, literature, and folk-lore.

Later he married Miss Nina Hagerup, a popular Norwegian singer, who has helped to make his songs well known in all Europe.

The next few years were spent in travel and study, and later in hard, successful work among his own countrymen. The latter are genuinely proud of him, and he has a firm hold on the affections of the people of his native city, where he now resides. His country home, which is his favorite retreat, is almost ideally located, with a commanding view of the fjord and surrounded by forest and heights.


  Suite.  "From Holberg's Time."  Opus 40.
  Songs for Alto Voice.
      Cradle Song.
      The Poet's Last Song.
  Eight Lyric Pieces.  Opus 12.
      Arietta, Walzer, Wachterlied, Elfentanz, Volksweise, Norwegisch,
          Albumblatt, Vaterländisches Lied.
  Songs for Soprano.
      "Good Morning."
      "Thanks for Thy Hand."
  Suite, Peer Gynt, Opus 46, 1.
      "Morning Mood" (Morgenstimmung).
      "The Death of Ase."
      "Anitra's Dance."
      "In the Halls of the Mountain King."
      "On the Mountains."  Opus 19, No. 1.

NOTE.--In case a good violinist is available, I recommend modifying the
above by omitting the "Holberg" suite and taking the "Peer Gynt" to
begin with; then close with the Sonata for Piano and Violin, Opus 8.

In many respects Edvard Grieg is one of the most interesting composers of the present time. While it is by no means certain that his works will find a place in the classics of the tone poetry of the world, he is entitled, at least, to this much credit—of having, in the first place, found a wider acceptance outside of his native Norway than has fallen to the lot of any Scandinavian composer before him. He has also made a more marked impression, and has brought into the music of the world what might be called, in literary parlance, "a characteristic note." It would be very curious and interesting, if it were convenient, to trace the gradual evolution of this talent, as shown in the successive works which have come from his pen. But for the present it must suffice to speak of a few of them in a more particular manner.

Grieg has written in almost every department of music: chamber music, orchestra suites, overtures, compositions for string quartet, and sonatas for piano and violin, a sonata for piano, concerto for piano, and a very considerable variety of poetic and interesting compositions for piano alone; in addition to these, many songs, some of which have attained a wide currency. In all these works certain characteristic peculiarities of Norwegian music continually make themselves felt, so that there is nothing of Grieg's which could be mistaken for the work of any good German composer. Whether we should regard these national peculiarities in his music as provincialisms, considered from the world's standpoint, or as a fortunate appeal to the ears of his own countrymen and generation, who shall decide?

Grieg belongs to the modern romantic school, conspicuously, in having derived the suggestion or inspiration of many of his pieces from poetic suggestion. One of the most famous and best known of this kind is the first "Peer Gynt" suite. Peer Gynt is a ne'er-do-weel in Ibsen's poem. He had a variety of adventures in the course of his unprofitable life, a few of which are alluded to in the suite here under consideration. For example, it begins with a prelude in 6/8 time—a movement somewhat pastoral in character, designated "Morgenstimmung," or, in English, "The Morning Mood." In this piece the flavor of Norwegian folk-song is only very faintly perceptible, if at all, and is perhaps more to be imagined from the somewhat unusual succession of chords than from anything very characteristic in the melody. The second piece of this suite, "The Death of Ase," is practically a funeral march of a sad and grief-laden character. Ase is the poor mother of Peer Gynt, who was left alone in her cottage on the mountains while her ne'er-do-weel son was off on his travels. At length death overtook her, desolate and alone, on the bleak mountain side. This is the story of the march. The third piece in this suite is entitled "Anitra's Dance." Anitra, in Ibsen's story, was a fascinating minx of the desert, who, when Peer Gynt was masquerading as the prophet, encountered him upon his travels and beguiled from him one gift after another until finally she took from him his rings, spare apparel, and finally his horse, and capered off with them like the winds of the morning, while the pseudo-prophet pursued his sandy and inglorious way on foot. In this music of Grieg we have simply the sparkling lightness of Anitra, the unaccustomed charm which induced her victim to yield so easily to her the things he most valued. To come down from the realm of poetry to the barren facts, it is simply a sort of quick waltz or mazurka, and the connection of Mr. Ibsen's Anitra with it is purely imaginary.

The fourth of these tone pictures is entitled "In the Hall of the Mountain King." It relates to an episode in Peer Gynt's life when, in exploring the mountain, he came upon one of the original owners of the country, quite in the manner that happened later to Rip Van Winkle in the Catskills of New York. The gnome took him into the cavern in the mountain where his people had their home, and it is the queer and uncanny music of these humorous and prankish people that Grieg has brought out in this closing movement of the suite. It is a rapid, dance-like movement which, in the orchestral arrangement, is extremely grotesque in the tone coloring; even on the piano, when sufficiently well done, much of this quality appertains to it.

More closely examined, this suite of Grieg's has a certain resemblance to a sonata. The first movement is somewhat elaborately worked out, the second movement a slow one, the third in the manner of a scherzo, and the fourth a sort of grotesque finale. The order of the keys, however, is different from what would be considered correct in a sonata. The first piece is in the key of E major, the funeral march in B minor, Anitra's dance in A minor, and the finale in B minor again—the whole very pleasing and poetic.

In the collection of pieces called "Aus dem Volksleben," or "Sketches of Norwegian Life," the national coloring is still more marked. This work contains three pieces, the first entitled "On the Mountain," the second a "Norwegian Bridal Procession," and the third "Carnival." "On the Mountain," after an opening of a soft chord or open fifth in A minor, commences with a bass melody in unison, as if played by basses and 'cellos. The rhythm is that of a strongly-marked peasant dance, as is shown by the emphatic half-note at the end of the phrase, as if here the peasant put down his foot solidly. In the sixth measure of this melody another Norwegian peculiarity appears in the minor seventh of the key. This melody, after having been delivered in unison by the basses, is taken up by the sopranos and continued with accompaniment. Later on a soft and rather sweet middle piece in A major comes in, after which the first idea returns with a coda.

The "Norwegian Bridal Procession" is extremely well known. It is a very pretty light march which, when well done, is capable of very charming effect. The "Carnival" is a very sprightly presto, full of hurry and excitement, with occasional moments of softer suggestion, the whole making very considerable demands upon the skill of the player. In the coda the whole work is brought together again as one, since the leading motives of all the parts here occur and intermingle one with the other.

One of the most strongly worked out of the lighter works of Grieg is the "Holberg" suite, the name being derived from that of the famous Danish-Norwegian poet, who lived about the time of Bach. This opens with a "Praeludium," followed by a "Sarabande" and "Gavotte"; the whole ends with a "Rigaudon." This work has very much more the character of a modern sonata than some that bear the name, but, avoiding the name sonata, it is able to go its own way in any form of originality which pleased the composer. The prelude is a musical idea worked out with great bravura, and when well done it makes an excellent effect. There is no particular story suggested in it, any more than in the first prelude of Bach. The second movement, the Sarabande, has a great deal of the peculiar pathos of Grieg. It should be played as if it were being done by a string quartet, as legato and sympathetically as possible. The Gavotte, again, is a charming example of modern antique, short and pleasing. The fourth movement, an "air," is beautifully done, and the last, the Rigaudon, in G major, a very pleasing and sprightly dance effect. This work has less of the distinctly Norwegian character perhaps than many of the earlier ones of Grieg, and it is more seriously worked out in some respects, and therefore extremely satisfactory.

In some of the earlier and smaller works of Grieg the national traits appear, while in others nothing of this sort is to be observed. For example, in the collection entitled "Lyric Pieces for the Piano," Opus 12, there are a charming arietta, a pretty little waltz, a very serious fanciful piece called "Wachterlied," or the song of the watchers in Shakspere's "Macbeth," an elfin dance, a curious peasant mazurka, a quick Norwegian dance, an album-leaf, and a song of the Fatherland. Here are eight little pieces, all comprised within the compass of eight pages. In point of difficulty no one exceeds the fourth grade, yet they are little poems that the greatest artist could play with pleasure.

Perhaps, on the whole, the songs of Grieg show his remarkable talent in its most favorable light, and for this purpose those in the first Grieg Album of Schirmer are as good as any. Accordingly, it is from this that the selections of the illustrative programs are taken. For low voice, "Sunset" and the "Cradle Song" are both very delightful, the latter particularly so. The former might be sung by baritone, but the latter requires an alto. Yet another song for low voice, which would indeed be better for a baritone than alto, is "The Poet's Last Song," a noble lyric of elevated sentiment. For high voice, "Good Morning" and "Thanks for Thy Hand" are both unusually fine songs.

No doubt other examples equally good are to be found in other works of Grieg, of which the house of G. Schirmer publishes four volumes, which, being in the Schirmer Edition, are sold at moderate prices. From these, should it be more convenient, other selections could be made.




For the purposes of the musical amateur and pianist, the two most important of the well-established Russian composers are Rubinstein and Tschaikowsky. It is by no means easy to make up a satisfactory half-program from either composer, and this without in any way disparaging their remarkable genius, which had personal qualities of a very marked character and a richness of musical inspiration in certain directions rarely surpassed. But in both these masters there is an element which is peculiarly Russian; a fondness for force as such, and for stormy passion. Moreover, both composers have in their nature intense contradictions, which render it extremely difficult to compile a short list of pieces in any way satisfactorily representing their individualities.

Anton Rubinstein, as is well known, was one of the most distinguished piano virtuosi who hay appeared since Liszt. He was born, November 28, 1830, at a place called Wechwotynez, and died at Peterhof, near St. Petersburg, November 20, 1894. Soon after his birth his parents settled in Moscow, where his father had a pencil factory. Rubinstein's mother was very musical, and from her he received his earliest instruction, up to his seventh year, when he became a pupil of a local musician named Villoing, who was his only teacher. In 1840 he appeared in Paris, whither his teacher had preceded him, and his talent was fully recognized by the highest authorities, Liszt among others. In compliance with a suggestion of Liszt, he went to Germany to complete his studies, but first undertook a concert tour through Holland, England, Scandinavia, and Germany. In 1844 Rubinstein's parents removed to Berlin in order to give Anton and his younger brother Nicolas a musical education, and the boys became pupils of Dehn, the celebrated contrapuntist. When Anton was about sixteen years old his father's illness recalled the mother to St. Petersburg, and the young musician was left to provide for himself as best he could by giving lessons and by concert engagements, which were very few. In his autobiography he has narrated the dreadful straits to which he was reduced, nearly dying of starvation, and laying the foundation of gastric trouble which lasted him all his life long. In 1848 he settled again at St. Petersburg, where he was so fortunate as to win the patronage of the Grand Duchess Helene. Here he wrote several operas, of which "Dimitri Donskoi" was produced in 1852, and has been performed many times since. In 1863 he founded the Conservatory of St. Petersburg, and remained its director five years. Meanwhile his fame had become very much established as a pianist, through his concert tours in various parts of Europe, and in 1872-1873 he visited America and made a very successful concert tour, a part of which was in association with Theodore Thomas' orchestra. The season in America netted him something less than $60,000, but the tour was a great burden to him in many ways, and after returning to St. Petersburg he resolutely declined most munificent offers to return again to America. He received many favors from the Imperial family of Russia, having been made Imperial Russian Councillor of State and a Knight of the Russian Order of Merit; but after 1890 he declined all public offices, and resided for some years in Dresden.

As a pianist Rubinstein was one of the most remarkable that the history of the instrument has known. He had a beautiful touch, enormous power, and great delicacy. Being of an emotional nature, he sometimes played like an angel, but at other times quite the reverse. It is notorious of him that in the warmth of public performance, false notes were always liable to occur. Yet in spite of them the playing was so essentially musical and genial that it used to be said that the public would rather hear Rubinstein play false notes than hear Bülow play none but right ones.

Rubinstein composed in every department of music. Besides several operas written for the regular theater, he originated a sort of biblical drama, which was, in fact, an oratorio designed to be staged and acted; in other words, a biblical opera. Of Israelitish race, the stories of the Old Testament appealed to him with intense force, and his "Tower of Babel," "The Maccabees," "Sulamith," "Paradise Lost," and, later, "Christus," were very important and interesting works.

He wrote six symphonies, one of which, the famous "Ocean Symphony," was lengthened out from time to time by supplementary movements, so that, at last accounts, it has seven movements, all of which are sometimes played. He wrote a large amount of chamber music and a great many piano pieces of every sort. As a composer for the piano he was extremely unequal. In the vast volume of his works will be found an immense amount of noisy, stormy, unsatisfactory music. Yet many of these works, which as wholes are repugnant to almost every person of good taste, contain beautiful ideas which with a different treatment might have given rise to extremely beautiful productions. He is most successful in his smaller creations, such as the Barcarolle, one or two numbers of the series of portraits called Kamennoi-Ostrow, and that famous Staccato Study. He wrote a large number of songs, some of which, upon Russian subjects, are in queer minor scales. Many of them are extremely beautiful.


Peter Ilitsch Tschaikowsky, all things considered, was the most important and artistically satisfactory composer of the Russian school. He was born December 25, 1840, and died November 5, 1893, at St. Petersburg. He studied law and entered the Government service, but, showing a marked inclination for music, at the advice of Rubinstein he entered the conservatory as a pupil when he was already eighteen or nineteen years of age. Such was his success in his new field that within a few years he was made professor of harmony in the school, a position which he retained for eleven years. From that time he devoted himself entirely to composition. In his earliest tendencies he was extremely Italian, with a fondness for sweet and sensuous melodies with simple harmonies. Later on he developed a more virile vein, and Riemann well says of him that he "was a highly gifted, true musician, but at the same time a good Russian; hence are found in his works thoughts of almost maidenly delicacy and sentiment and of the most refined construction; yet, side by side with them, others of semi-Asiatic roughness and brutality."

Owing to his having resided at times in Switzerland, Italy, etc., his works were quite soon recognized and played, and the University of Cambridge in 1893 conferred on him the honorary degree of Doctor of Music.

Tschaikowsky was the composer of eleven operas, the first having been produced in 1869 and the last in 1893. All of these, as I understand, were performed, and several of them are standard favorites in the Russian repertory, the most important, perhaps, being "Eugen Onegin," which was also produced at Hamburg in 1892. He wrote six symphonies, of which the last, the so-called "Pathetique," was completed shortly before his death. The Fifth Symphony is a more popular and commanding musical work than any other of its class written since Beethoven. According to the idea of Mr. Theodore Thomas, it is too emotional and dramatic for a symphony; but it is extremely powerful and beautiful music, and the world has recognized it and takes pleasure in paying it honor. Among the most satisfactory of the Tschaikowsky compositions are the songs, which are among the most impassioned and beautiful of recent years; the melodies are flowing and thoroughly vocal, while the harmonies have that singular originality and heart-searching fervor of which Tschaikowsky was the greatest exponent. Many of his orchestral works have been cut for the Aeolian, and persons possessing that convenient instrument can easily explore the treasures of them.

His piano compositions present a very curious contradiction; while the composer produced in one instance a concerto for piano and orchestra, in B-flat minor, which contains extremely strongly marked and productive themes worked out exquisitely for the piano and for the orchestra, his works for piano solo are generally not altogether satisfactory. Possibly this may be due to innovations of style and technic which later will become easy to the players; but at present an easy piece by Tschaikowsky requires more or less preparation. The following program, on the whole, seems to represent his peculiarities with some success:


      Tarantelle in B minor.
      "Kamennoi-Ostrow," No. 22.
      Valse Caprice, in E-flat.
      Barcarolle in G major.
      "La Melancholic."
      "Polka Boheme."
      Melodie in F.
      Staccato Study in C major.

      Scherzo from Opus 2.
      Barcarolle in G minor.  Opus 37.  No. 6.
      Song without Words.  In F major.  Opus 12.
      "Weihnachten" Waltz.  Opus 37, No. 1.
      Songs (_ad lib._).
      Polonaise from "Eugen Onegin," arranged by Liszt.  Or
      Waltz from "Eugen Onegin," arranged by Pabst.

Excellent four-hand arrangements are to be had of all the orchestral works by Rubinstein and Tschaikowsky. Address the publishers of this work for particulars.



Among the numerous composers of Germany in recent times, of whom there are a very large number worthy of special notice, there are four who, by reason of their personal qualities and the general directions in which they have expressed their talent, demand special attention. Their names are Adolf Jensen, Xaver Scharwenka, Moritz Moszkowski, and I. J. Paderewski. As will be noticed from the names, three of these artists are Polish in nationality and stock.

Adolf Jensen (born at Königsburg, January 12, 1837; died January 23, 1879) was mainly a self-taught composer, inasmuch as he had only two years' instruction. Nevertheless, at the age of twenty he was sufficiently advanced to be appointed conductor of the orchestra at Posen. Afterward he lived in Russia, and at Copenhagen, and was finally back as teacher in the school of Tausig, in Berlin. Very soon afterward, however, he contracted a pulmonary disease, which was the cause of his death.

Jensen was a very prolific composer in many departments, but especially brilliant as a song writer and as a composer of romantic pieces for the pianoforte. As a song writer, Riemann considers him the legitimate successor of Schumann; and among the hundreds of songs which he produced are many of very great beauty. His piano pieces are elegantly written,—somewhat Schumannesque in point of style, although not nearly so rugged and much more fluent,—and the pieces on the program below give a sufficiently fair idea of the general features of his style in this department. The selection of songs may, perhaps, be left to the convenience and taste of the singers, since it is impossible to designate any two or three songs of his which so fully illustrate his capacity as to be held up as models of all the rest.

The second upon the list is Xaver Scharwenka, born at Samper, January 6, 1850. He was educated at the Kullak School, in Berlin, and at the age of eighteen was appointed teacher in Kullak's Academy. His first concert appearance was made at the age of nineteen in the Sing-Akademie, with great success, and his reputation as a distinguished and accomplished player was almost immediately established, and was strengthened by numerous appearances for years. In 1881 he opened in Berlin the Scharwenka Conservatory, which is still in existence, his older brother, Philip, upholding there the family name.

Scharwenka made a very marked impression on the musical world by his earlier compositions, an impression which perhaps has not been fully reinforced by some of his later works, which seem, somehow, to be wanting in those qualities of spontaneity and innate grace of style which distinguished the earlier pieces. The best work from his pen, undoubtedly, is the first concerto for piano, which is one of the cleverest works in this department of recent years. He is the author of a large amount of chamber music and pieces of different sorts. The most popular of all his compositions is the well-known "Polish Dances." One of the most meritorious is the theme and variations on the program below.

I. J. Paderewski, the famous piano virtuoso, is so well known that particulars are, perhaps, not necessary in his case. He was born November 6, 1859, at Polodien. He has written a considerable number of pieces for the piano and for chamber instruments, and a little for orchestra. His music is melodious and sentimental, occasionally brilliant. Opinions differ very much in regard to the essential originality of his melody, numerous resemblances existing between his successful pieces and others which have been popular some time earlier. At any rate, he is an interesting personality, with a certain natural grace and style which entitle him to consideration. The most highly esteemed of his compositions are the three upon the list below, although no one of the pieces of his which attained American popularity is here included.

The most distinguished of this entire group is Moritz Moszkowski, the well-known composer and pianist, who was born August 23, 1854, at Breslau, the son of a Polish father. He had his early musical training at Breslau and Dresden, and later at Berlin, where for many years he has been established as a teacher. He early attracted attention as a pianist, and very soon also began to be distinguished as a composer. He has produced a large number of piano pieces of various sorts, many compositions for orchestra, songs, etc. His music is melodious and artistic, although, as a rule, of no great depth. Among the more attractive of his works are the pieces on the present list. His fascinating little Serenata in D major for piano will be remembered, as well as a number of more ad captandum pieces which he has turned out at different times.


      Theme and Variations.
      Staccato Étude, E-flat.
      Valse Caprice.
      Nocturne in B-flat.
      Suite a l'Antique.
      Eroticon, No. 3, No. 7.
      Polonaise, D major.
      G-flat Study.
      Barcarolle, G major.
      Moment Musicale, in C-sharp minor.



Owing to the composite character of our American civilization, in which so many different nationalities are mingled, several of which maintain as long as possible their own language and customs, there is a certain crudity in the national life and a want of ripeness which as yet has prevented the development of what properly can be called an American school of musical composition. Almost all our composers have been educated in Germany, many of them at Leipsic, and their compositions do not differ in a striking degree from those of good German composers. Minor traits of individuality and differences of imaginative scope are noticeable and afford marks of distinction; but, essentially considered, there has been very little music composed in this country which is at the same time good and so characteristically American that it could not have been produced under any other circumstances. Nevertheless, there have been at least two American composers who are characteristically American and who could not have been produced under any different circumstances; and a number of others in whom the American traits are well defined.

The two American composers of original and characteristic genius are the late Louis Moreau Gottschalk and the famous march king, John Philip Sousa. As the compositions of Mr. Sousa have shown themselves able to take care of themselves, and as his popularity needs no assistance from this quarter, I will consider his case first, and say that in this son of an Italian father and a German mother, born and raised in the city of Washington, D. C., we have a thoroughly characteristic American, in whom different heredities mingle in a curious way and give rise to a certain originality of temperament and style.

While Mr. Sousa, from his earlier career, and probably by force of his temperament, has naturally taken the position of a popular composer, he has done so almost entirely in consequence of the inherently popular character of the music he has turned out, which, for striking rhythm and melodic piquancy, has taken the ear not alone of the United States but of the whole world, his marches being widely played in all foreign countries, where they are received with the liveliest demonstrations of approval. In fact, very much the same kind of mild excitement that a chic American girl awakens in a foreign reception, the band music of Sousa affords to the travel-worn palates of European bandmasters. It stirs them up and gives them a new sensation. It is a mistake, therefore, to speak of this artist in terms implying an unwillingness to classify him among serious composers. He is entitled to a very honorable place among those who have loved their fellow-men so well that they have made them feel good.


In the year 1829 our two first American pianists were born: Louis Moreau Gottschalk in New Orleans, and William Mason in Boston. The heredity, environment, and training of these two men were as different as it is possible to imagine. Gottschalk was the son of a German who came to New Orleans by way of England, and in this country married a French woman. New Orleans at that time was practically a French city, and the French language was very largely spoken in the family life. The boy, Louis Moreau Gottschalk, showed talent for music at the earliest possible age, and made a number of public appearances of a very interesting and creditable kind, and at the age of thirteen, when he was sent to Paris to go on with his education, he had already established quite a little reputation. In Paris he was educated under the late Charles Hallé and Stamaty, and in 1844, at the age of fifteen, he produced his first two works, called ballads, "Ossian" and "The Dance of the Shades." His concert career in Europe began in 1846, when he was seventeen years of age, and he gave a series of concerts at the Italian Opera in Paris in which he was associated with the celebrated Hector Berlioz.

He made a genuine furor as pianist, and Berlioz, in charmingly turned phrases, speaks of him as follows:

"Gottschalk is one of the very small number who possess all the different elements of a consummate pianist—all the faculties which surround him with an irresistible prestige and give him a sovereign power. He is an accomplished musician—he knows just how far fancy may be indulged in expression. He knows the limits beyond which any liberties taken with the rhythm produce only confusion and discord, and upon these limits he never encroaches. There is an exquisite grace in his manner of phrasing sweet melodies and throwing off light touches from the higher keys. The boldness and brilliancy and originality of his play at once dazzle and astonish, and the infantile naïveté of his smiling caprices, the charming simplicity with which he renders simple things, seem to belong to another individuality distinct from that which marks his thundering energy. Thus the success of M. Gottschalk before an audience of musical cultivation is immense."

His first American tour was made in 1853-54. Then ensued a time of travel in the West Indies, but in 1862 he was back in New York again, and his American tours lasted until 1869, when he went to South America, where he died at the comparatively early age of forty.

There is a disposition at the present time to undervalue the work of Gottschalk. He was a melodist pure and simple, and his distinction from an American standpoint consists in his having given a new note to his music by availing himself of the rhythms and characteristic cadences of negro, creole, and Spanish nationalities in the southern United States and Central America. At the present time of the pianistic day, when very little attracts attention unless it is very difficult, it seems incredible that works so simple in their nature as those of Gottschalk could have attracted the attention they did; but there is more in this simplicity than at first sight appears, even if we admit that from a critical standpoint the introductions and endings are entirely too long for the matter they contain. Gottschalk himself had a way of doing them which made them seem extremely significant, and when he came to the melody itself it was played with such a delicacy and such a masterly touch that it seized the attention and concentrated the interest to a remarkable degree. Harmonically considered, almost all his works are within rather narrow limits, but as compared with the French composers of the day when his works made so much furor in Paris, Gottschalk has nothing to apologize for, since his music has a charm and a distinction of originality superior to almost all of that time or the present.

Many of the things with which Gottschalk made a great effect in his concert tours would not have been composed if he had lived thirty or forty years later. I mean now his four-hand arrangements of the overtures to "William Tell" and "Oberon." These are extremely brilliant and sensational arrangements, and are well worthy the attention of boarding-schools and clubs desiring something out of the ordinary way. It was his custom, in his concerts, to play the upper part himself while the best available local performer played the other part. This gave most of the melody and all of the brilliant work to the masterly fingers of the pianist himself.

The poetic thread or suggestion underlying many of his pieces is very slight. Nevertheless, it is not without value. Take, for instance, the beautiful "Marche de Nuit," a piece which opens with six lines of introduction, amounting practically to an excellent study of crescendo, the idea being to show the effect of the march-music in the extreme distance and its gradual approach. At length we come to the march itself, and it is a pleasant and agreeable melody, and the difficulty of the whole is no more than is now well within the powers of a pupil in the early fifth grade. The famous "Last Hope" is well known to all, and is one of the most persistent melodies which any American composer has produced in instrumental music. The introduction and the coda are both much too long, and can only be saved by a certain distinction in the manner of performing them. Mr. Wolfsohn said that such was the charm of Gottschalk's personality and touch that everything he played impressed itself and you remembered it a very long time. Dr. Mason tells me that in these pianissimo runs in alt, which abound in so many of his works, Gottschalk's fingers were like little steel hammers, the tone being perfectly clear and like a bell, but not pianissimo in the true sense of the term.

It seems puerile now that in his concerts Gottschalk could have made an effect with his famous piece "The Banjo," which is a very realistic transcription of a negro banjo performance, the banjo effect on the piano, in his case, I think, having been accomplished by the touch, whereas many others find themselves obliged to lay a sheet of music on the strings in order to impart to the vibrations the peculiar twang of the original.

Another and more favorable example of his talent is in the beautiful "Slumber Song," which can be had for voice or for piano alone. There is another class of pieces by Gottschalk which seem very peculiar at the present time. They are the rather loud and somewhat difficult concert fantasies called the "Bamboula," or "Negro Dance," and "Jerusalem," the latter being made upon certain melodies in Verdi's "I Lombardi." Another piece of his which made a great effect in his concerts and was a general favorite of students was the "Aeolian Murmurs," a pleasant melody with a lot of fine pianissimo work to represent the murmurs. Speaking of the misleading effect of the Gottschalk performances, I will mention that the well-known piece, "The Dying Poet," was played by him many and many a time in public, to the great pleasure of the audience; yet before we gather up stones to throw at the American concert audiences of the early '60's, let us not forget that within the past few years audiences have shown themselves equally vulnerable to the charm of Paderewski's "Minuet," a work in no respect superior to the slightest of our American pianist. In this case, as in the former, it is a question of the personality and appealing nature of the performer.


The other American pianist born in the year 1829 had a totally different heredity, environment, and education. William Mason also showed his talent at an early age, and was seriously taught the piano under the direction of his father, the late very distinguished and eminent Dr. Lowell Mason, who at that time and for about twenty years later exerted a most commanding influence in Boston and the country at large. Mason's advance was so rapid that by the time he was thirteen or fourteen, or a little later, he appeared in public with orchestra in Boston, playing the Mendelssohn G minor concerto, and I think he had played the Weber "Concertstück." In the season of 1846 and 1847 he played the piano part in the chamber concerts given by the Harvard Musical Association. In 1849 he went to Leipsic and became a pupil in theory of the distinguished Moritz Hauptmann. Upon Hauptmann's death he went to Prague for a year with Dreyschock, and then to Liszt at Weimar. This was in 1851, or thereabouts, and here he remained some time. Returning to America in 1854 he removed to New York, and took the commanding position which he has almost ever since occupied as teacher and as concert pianist. While there are traces of American training in the musical compositions of Dr. Mason, these traces are very few, the general character of his work being distinctly German. His musical talent was strong upon the harmonic side, but upon the melodic side his imagination was not so free. He has produced several volumes of compositions, probably about one hundred in all, almost every one being elegantly written and well made, and many of them of a classical elegance of style. His reputation as a composer has suffered from his limiting his work always to the field of the salon, and especially to the piano. I believe he has never composed an original song, although he has arranged several which have been very useful indeed. It is as a composer for the piano that we have to speak of him.

The most sensational of the Mason pieces is his famous "Silver Spring," which was composed shortly after the late Scandinavian pianist, Haberbier, had visited Weimar and had played many brilliant effects of running work upon the piano, in which the hands were used "inter-locking," as it is called; that is, the left hand taking now and then one or two notes of the run. This method of dividing up a run has the effect of imparting a certain amount of arm element to the touch, whereby the tone becomes considerably heavier and more brilliant. It was thought at Weimar at that time that piano playing would very likely take this direction in future, and that the day of running work in the fingers of one hand alone had practically passed. Accordingly, Mason experimented in these new effects which Haberbier had suggested, and worked out this piece, "The Silver Spring." As he told me, he first had to find out an accompaniment figure which pleased him, and then to discover in which chords it would go most easily, because the location of the black keys with reference to the white plays a very important part when the hand has to fall in its place in rapid motion. When he had ascertained these points, he then had to consider what key would afford the greatest number of chords of this character, and so at last he came to the key of A and the chords he has in "The Silver Spring." When he had arrived at this point it was necessary to provide a melody, and, as the melody had to fit the accompaniment, the melody was made last, and in this way he arrived at the seeming "impromptu" of "The Silver Spring." This is his own story to me many years ago, and it may have had a humorous exaggeration in it, not to be taken too seriously. I mention it because somewhere about the same time when Mason told it to me I had been talking with Dudley Buck one day, and we were speaking of Mason with very great admiration, especially for the elegance of his style as illustrated in some of his then recently composed works, such as his "Cradle Song," his two impromptus, "At Evening" and "In the Morning," his "Romance Étude" and the like, and Buck said, "If Mason ever had an inspiration it was in that beautiful melody in 'The Silver Spring.' I have arranged a church tune from it and my choir sings it with never failing delight. It will not do to undervalue Mason's gift for melody when he has produced a piece like that."

With reference to the trend of piano playing in the direction of this interlocking work, there were several years when it looked as if the Haberbier suggestions would bear no fruit, but latterly in the Tschaikowsky concerto, to some extent, and in the Schytte concerto in C-sharp minor, to a very great extent, the interlocking principle is employed.

One of the first of Mason's pieces which attained anything like persistent popularity was the "Danse Rustique," which, by the way, is one of the best finger studies for piano students in the fourth grade of which I have any knowledge. It is one of those pieces which can always be learned even by a pupil who is not very smart, provided he will practise it carefully and earnestly enough. It is a piece which can not be played well without very careful practice, and which, when well played, produces a good effect. Hence it has a remarkable pedagogic value if the teacher knows when to put it in and how to handle it when it is once there. While this piece makes no very important figure in the esthetic world, it is by no means a composition to be treated with disrespect. There is a great deal of energy in it and the second subject is very pleasing indeed, and the modulating work in the middle of the piece, where the elaboration would naturally stand in a serious work, is of considerable range and ingenuity, and thoroughly characteristic of the author.

One who wishes to know Mason should study some of the lighter aspects of his productions; and first of these, since it is more nearly related to what I have just now been mentioning, is the "Romance Étude" in G minor. This is a pretty melody, often in thirds, in G minor, lying in the convenient soprano range of the piano. Long runs cross this melody, in Thalbergian manner, from one end of the keyboard to the other, and at times the scale business gives place to charming arpeggios, figures which transfer themselves from one hand to the other. The scale is a curious minor scale with a sharp fourth, and is therefore anything but inviting to the fingers at first. The effect of the whole, when well played, is very charming, although it is more the effect of a study than of a poem.

Still lighter in their characteristics are his charming and half-jocose variations on the old French air, "Ah vous dirais-je maman," better known in school circles of my time as "Haste thee, winter, haste away." There is a very playful effect in these variations, and in the title Mason calls them "Variations Grotesques"; but when he sent a copy to Liszt, that amiable critic replied that the word "grotesque" had no place in piano playing—that they should properly be called jocose, or something of that sort.

Thoroughly interesting in every way is the remarkable series of duets for teacher and pupil. Here are eight little nursery melodies which at the time these variations were composed were among the best known in this field, and the pupil, supposed to be a small child, plays them generally with one hand alone, or with both hands in octaves, very rarely in parts. The teacher, meanwhile, adds the harmonies, and wonderfully interesting and highly diversified harmonies they are. And in the same line with these are two other pieces which were originally written for the Mason and Hoadley Method for beginners: a march in which the pupil plays under the five fingers entirely, while the teacher adds the most strange and diversified harmonies, and a waltz in which the pupil still has nothing more than five-finger positions to deal with. I consider these pieces superior to anything of this kind that I have ever seen in point of cleverness and harmonic wit.

It would be a mistake, however, to dismiss the work of Dr. Mason with these half-jocose illustrations of his genius. He has a very elegantly written "Berceuse" which if very well done produces a lovely effect. A trifle more flexibility in the melody would have been an advantage, but it is a beautifully made piece and well worthy attention. He has also a ballad of very considerable dramatic force, and I have always been fond of his "Reverie Poetique," which is very much in the style of Henselt. A melody without a great range, but running in two parts upon rather diversified harmonies, constitutes the first part of this piece, and it is afterward developed or varied in double notes, which are principally sixths, in a very lovely manner. The only drawback, aside from the difficulty of playing it well, is the length to which it is spun out. Undoubtedly it is a little monotonous, owing to the same motive coming over so many times. On the other hand, however, it pretends at the start to be nothing more than a poetic "reverie," and it has the character of a reverie—something which dwells and muses and perhaps never arrives. I mentioned, before, two reveries called "In the Morning" and "At Evening." The first of these is a very clever study, and both are well worth studying.

The works of both these composers have a distinct and pronounced pedagogic value, but in wholly different directions, and both appeal principally to American pianists. The Gottschalk pieces now are mainly used in the earlier stages of instruction for forming good melody habits. They appeal to the poetic sensibility of the players who as yet are hardly ready for Chopin or any of the more elaborate composers. Dr. Mason's works, especially those I have here mentioned, appeal upon the opposite side to the harmonic sense, and to the sense of working out a theme with good consistency and persistency. While the Gottschalk pieces improve the style of melody and the sparkle of the playing, the Mason pieces conduce to system and regularity in study and to a serious and careful treatment of the left-hand part as well as the right, and they have in them some of that quality which belongs to nearly all the works of Bach, when undertaken by students: they promote seriousness and musical feeling.

Hence I propose the following program as on the whole affording a good idea of the works of these composers:


      Overture to "Oberon."  Four hands.
      Amitie pour Amitie.  (Available for four hands if preferred.)
      Air and Variations Grotesques.  "Ah Vous Dirais-je Maman."
      Spring Dawn Mazurka.
      Reverie Poetique.
      Marche de Nuit.
      The Banjo.  (Negro Sketch.)
      Song, "Slumber On."
      Eight Duets for Teacher and Pupil.  (Ditson Co.)  Four hands.
      March and Waltz for Teacher and Pupil.  Four hands.
      Aeolian Murmurs.
      The Last Hope.
      The Tocctina.
      Reverie, "Au Matin."
      "The Silver Spring."
      The Overture to "William Tell."  Four hands.




By general consent of music lovers and connoisseurs, Mr. Edward Alexander MacDowell, or Prof. MacDowell as he should now be called, is the most finished and accomplished writer for the pianoforte that we have. Mr. MacDowell was born in New York on the 18th of December, 1861, and after having some instruction from his mother, who was a good musician, he received lessons for a while from Teresa Carreno. In 1877 he went to Paris and became a pupil of Marmontel and Savard. Later on he went to Frankfort-on-the-Main, where he studied composition with the late Joachim Raff and piano playing with Carl Heymann. In this manner five years of European student-life passed, and in 1888 he was made piano teacher at the Darmstadt Conservatory; he remained there only one year, in 1882 going to Weisbaden, where his position was a very distinguished one. In 1888 he returned to America and located in Boston, where he immediately succeeded to an extremely fine clientele. In Boston Mr. MacDowell naturally found very congenial surroundings. He lived on West Cedar Street, a few doors from Arthur Foote, well down on the slopes of Beacon Hill, a short distance from the Common and not very far from Charles Street. The aristocratic desirability of this particular location in Boston is measured by its remoteness from street cars and all means of public transit. This, however, is a mere detail. In 1896 Mr. MacDowell was appointed professor of music at Columbia University, after negotiations extending over several months.

It is impossible to read over the list of Mr. MacDowell's published works without realizing at once that here we have a composer of no small fertility of idea and great seriousness and ambition of purpose. The list from which I take the following particulars is, no doubt, incomplete, since it reaches only to opus 50, which work was published in 1895. But the list contains four symphonic poems for orchestra, the First Suite, scored for orchestra, and the Second, or "Indian" Suite,—in all, six large works for orchestra. There are two concertos for pianoforte and orchestra, both of which have been played very successfully, the first one many times over by Mme. Carreno and by Mr. MacDowell himself. There is a romance for 'cello and orchestra; two numbers of four-hand pieces, originally so composed; twelve books of songs; and quite a long list of pieces for the pianoforte.

To take the more important of the latter, there are, first, twelve studies, opus 39, which are of various lengths, from two to six pages each; in part fancy pieces for the piano, and in part intended to serve as exercises in different styles of playing. Then there are twelve virtuoso studies, opus 46, much more difficult than the preceding and very interesting and marked in their characteristics. There are six Idylles, opus 28, and quite a number of other small pieces for piano, of no great ambition, but all poetic and seriously done. The most popular of the purely pianoforte pieces, perhaps, is the "Witches' Dance," which has the advantage of being a most excellent finger study. The only drawback to this piece is the rather commonplace character of the melody which serves as middle piece. This, however, is somewhat concealed by the cleverness of the treatment.

Of all the piano works, the three upon which Mr. MacDowell's reputation in the higher musical circles will rest are his First Suite and his two sonatas, the one called "Tragic," the other "Heroic." The First Suite dates from the time when he was with Raff at Frankfort, and it was published in Germany by Breitkopf and Hartel. It is perhaps modeled somewhat on a suite by Raff. The first movement, praeludium, is quite in the old style at first. Presently, a flowing melody in the bass begins against a pianissimo, arpeggiated accompaniment in the right hand, with a very charming and thoroughly pianistic effect, and the praeludium is carried through on this motive. The second movement, presto, is practically a scherzo with a strong flavor of fugue at the beginning. It is very fully developed, extending to eight pages. Then follows the slow movement, andantino and allegretto, bearing a motto, "Per arnica silentia lunae" (Virgil); and "by the friendly silence of the moon" the sweet cantilena goes on, now for soprano, now for tenor. The middle piece is of a more dramatic character perhaps. This is followed by an intermezzo, like a quick minuet, which is very successful; and this in turn by a rhapsody, which bears a motto from Dante's "Inferno," "Those who enter here leave hope behind"—surely not a very inviting suggestion to the student who takes it for the first time. Fortunately the period when hope forsakes the reader is short, being really of only one page, after which a sort of mitigated grief ensues, and in another page this movement ends. Then follows the finale—a fugue in E major, well made and effective but by no means easy to play. At the end of the fugue there is a coda of a stormy character.

This suite, as a whole, is a very brilliant piano piece, and also difficult to play; but it is musical and well done and therefore worth playing.

The latest of his large works in a serious form is the second sonata, called the "Eroïca." This is designated by the composer as a "flower from the realm of King Arthur," and it is dedicated to Dr. William Mason. Beginning very seriously and slowly, it almost immediately rises to intense vigor, which, after a while, gives place to a second subject—a song-melody in the folk-tone; and out of these two ingredients—or three, more properly (the motive of the first page, the second page, and the song-form already noticed)—the movement is carried to completion. It is very difficult to play, but when well done is effective and serious. The second movement is a very playful scherzo, which is designated as elf-like—as light and swift as possible. The third movement is designated "tenderly, longingly, yet with passion"; the hero is now in love, very much so; his being is stirred to its utmost core; his rhythm is shaken up so that two's and three's intermingle in the most inviting confusion; and his harmonic foundations are also subjected to fast and loose experiences very trying to the outsider who would represent all this inner commotion. Nevertheless the movement, when well done, is very lovely. The finale is designated "fiercely and very fast"—a very strong and tumultuous movement.

Throughout his career as a composer Mr. MacDowell has placed great importance upon the advantage a composer gains from a poetic standpoint or conception. He has often maintained that one could write better music if inspired by poetry than when he merely gives rein to his musical fancy, as such; and that, in fact, the only salvation for the modern composer, and his only protection from falling into mere rhapsody, is in having a poetic story in mind to which the music should conform. Accordingly, in all these large works of Mr. MacDowell's, especially in the two sonatas, and perhaps even more so in the second than in the first, the transitions of mood in the music are very noticeable indeed, and the work needs to be played with a great deal of taste as well as mastership in order to prevent it from having a certain fragmentary effect. This, in the production of a composer so masterly in musical treatment as Mr. MacDowell, is rather curious, and I have never been able fully to account for it. The disposition to lean on poetic suggestion is very evident in the books of studies already mentioned. For instance, in the opus 46 there are such titles as "Wild Chase," "Elfin Dance," "March Wind"; and in the former book the "Dance of the Gnomes," "The Shadow Dance," "In the Forest"; in the opus 37, "By the Light of the Moon," "In the Hammock," "Dance Andalusian "; in the opus 32,—entitled "Four Little Poems,"—"The Eagle," "The Brook," "Moonshine," "Winter"; then, again, in the latest of Mr. MacDowell's works which I have seen—the "Woodland Sketches," opus 51—there are ten little pieces, with such titles as "To a Wild Rose," "Will o' the Wisp," "At an old Trysting Place," "In Autumn," "From an Indian Lodge," "To a Water Lily," "From 'Uncle Remus,'" "A Deserted Farm," "By a Meadow Brook," "Told at Sunset." These titles may or may not have been in the mind of the composer at the moment of producing the work. It is quite possible that a significant musical idea, upon being developed, suggested the name, and that the fanciful name was taken for the sake of the student. These "Woodland Sketches" in particular are very simple pieces indeed, rarely presenting difficulties beyond the fourth grade, and all of them musical.

Mr. MacDowell has also shared the opinion of many writers that something new is to be reached by the modern composer from the suggestion of characteristic folk-songs, and in his "Indian" Suite he has made use of themes derived from the North American Indians or suggested by some of their melodies. The "Indian" Suite is undoubtedly a very beautiful and poetic work for orchestra. I can not say that I find it better by reason of its barbarous themes, but the treatment of those themes has in it nothing that is barbarous, but, on the contrary, everything that is highly finished and polished, with a keen sense of the comely and well sounding.

On the whole, therefore, considering the mastery with which he has worked out his different pieces, and the characteristic and modern manner in which his poetical suggestions are realized upon the piano, we are obliged to take Mr. MacDowell very seriously, and to rank him among the first of writers at the present time. As he is still a young man, and has accepted the professorship of music at Columbia primarily for the purpose of having more leisure for composition, other and greater works ought to follow from his pen. I have been informed that he has in hand, or already finished, a symphony for full orchestra, and no doubt his portfolio contains a multitude of other pieces which as yet he is not ready to give to the world. Many of the songs which he has published are upon his own verses, and some of them are very beautiful. In fact, you will rarely find eight songs together so pleasing and well worth knowing in every way as the "Eight Songs" by Mr. MacDowell, opus 47.

At the same time, there is a certain amount of make-believe in these fantastic titles for piano pieces, which, after all, can be nothing else than more or less legitimate developments of certain musical motives, as such; and can be satisfactory only in proportion as the ideas are legitimately unfolded and adequately treated, and contrasted with other material. Even the marks of expression are arbitrary, a very amusing illustration of which I am able to give from my own experience. It happened some months ago that an out-of-town pupil, connected with a musical club, brought me a program of MacDowell's works which she had to play at one of the club meetings, and in the list was the difficult chord study entitled "March Wind." This was marked pianissimo. It is rather a difficult thing to bring down to smoothness, and I spent a great deal of time in getting it played softly, in order to represent the distance of the wind and the rise and fall of the intensity. A few days later Mr. MacDowell played a recital in Chicago, and among the other selections was this same "March Wind," which he played fortissimo throughout. When I saw him the next day I began, in that irreverent manner which critics and composers have with one another (for Mr. MacDowell was not yet a professor): "You're a fine fellow! To mark your own 'March Wind' pianissimo and then play it fortissimo. What's the good of my working two hours with a pupil to get it down fine when you upset everything by playing it in this tumultuous way?" To which Mr. MacDowell answered: "Did I mark that pianissimo? When I got ready to play it I could n't remember whether it was pianissimo or fortissimo, and I said, 'March Wind,' 'March Wind,' that must be very loud and roaring; and so I played it fortissimo."

But however this may be, it can be said of Mr. MacDowell that he has illustrated his talents as a composer in a wide variety of styles, and always in a delicate and finished manner. He is, therefore, a composer to be treated seriously, and to be looked up to as a master, with an expectation of even more beautiful and satisfactory works still to follow.

  I.  First Suite.  Opus 10.
          Andantino and Allegretto.
  2.  Woodland Sketches.
          "To a Wild Rose."
          "Will o' the Wisp."
          "At an Old Trysting Place."
          "In Autumn."
          "From an Indian Lodge."
          "To a Water Lily."
          "From 'Uncle Remus'."
          "A Deserted Farm."
          "By a Meadow Brook."
          "Told at Sunset."
  3.  Two Songs from Opus 33.
          "Cradle Hymn."
  4.  Selections from Opus 39.
          "In the Forest."
          "Shadow Dance."
          "Witches' Dance."  Opus 17, No. 2.
  5.  Eight Songs.  Opus 47.
          "The Robin Sings in the Apple-tree."
          "Midsummer Lullaby."
          "The West Wind Croons in the Cedar Trees."
          "In the Woods."
          "The Sea."
          "Through the Meadow."
  6.  Sonata, "Eroïca."  Opus 30.



There is nothing especial in common between the composers here mentioned that they should be put together in one program, excepting the fact that they both live in Boston; nor, on the other hand, is there anything especially contrasting between them. For this reason I think it better to give the selections of the different composers separately, leaving the superintendent of the concert to arrange the program of selections in any order most pleasing to him.


Arthur Foote was born of a good New England family at Salem, Mass., March 5, 1853. He pursued the usual course of a well-bred New England boy, passing successively through the district school and academy, and at length graduated at Harvard in 1874. He had already made considerable study of music, both upon instruments and in theory, and under the competent instruction of Mr. Stephen A. Emery had made considerable progress in composition.

He now entered seriously upon the study of music, with the intention of making it a life-long profession. His teachers were Mr. B. J. Lang, in organ and pianoforte playing, and Prof. J. K. Paine, in composition. In 1875, after examination, he received from Harvard the degree of A.M. in music. Since 1876 he has been engaged as a successful teacher of the pianoforte in Boston, and since 1878 has been organist of the First Unitarian Church in Boston. In daily work, as an interesting and stimulating instructor in art, Mr. Foote leads an honored life; but he is better known to the outside world by his compositions, which indicate talent of a high order. The range of them and the variety are alike remarkable.

Among his important compositions are to be mentioned an Impromptu (G minor); Gavotte (B minor); Mazurka (G minor); Opus 6, consisting of five pieces; Prelude and Nocturne (F minor and F major); Sarabande (G major); Petite Valse (for the left hand); Polonaise (D major) and Gavotte in C minor (Opus 8, No. 1); Eclogue (Opus 8, No. 2); Suite in D minor (Opus 15), containing Prelude and Fugue, Romance and Capriccio; Sarabande and Courante of J. S. Bach (transcribed); two Pianoforte Pedal Studies; Études Album, a collection of études, selected and arranged in progressive order; and Additions to Buttshardt Method of Pianoforte Technic.

I do not find myself very well prepared to make a program of compositions of Mr. Foote which fully satisfies. The best I can do with the material I have is the following, which is offered to those needing it as a suggestion:


  Five pieces for piano.  Opus 6.
      Prelude and Nocturne.
      Petite Valse.  (For left hand alone.)
  Three pieces for piano.  No opus number.
      Impromptu in G Minor.
      Gavotte in B Minor.
      Sarabande and Courante from the Violoncello Sonatas of Bach.
          Arranged by Arthur Foote.

The pieces here listed will occupy about forty minutes in performance. All of this music is seriously intended, all is well done, and all musical. Naturally, the best pieces are the last, since the experienced composer, Mr. Bach, had already laid the foundation, and his music has had a longer time to ripen and grow a halo.


In addition to the foregoing program of works by Mr. Arthur Foote, following is a selection of songs which can be confidently recommended as attractive and valuable additions to these illustrative programs, and as well worthy the widest possible currency on their own account:

"Into the silent land."
"O my love's like a red, red rose."
"If you become a nun, dear."
"A song from the Persian."
"In Picardie."
"O swallow, swallow, flying south."
"On the way to Kew."
"When icicles hang by the wall."
"Irish folk-song."
"I'm wearing awa'."
"Go, lovely rose."

The first one in the above list is a very lovely quartet for female voices—originally composed for funeral occasions—upon Longfellow's translation of the song by Silas. It is a very beautiful quartet. The "Song from the Persian" is a duet for soprano and alto or baritone, preferably baritone, of an unusual, but on the whole pleasing, character. "O my love's like a red, red rose" is very charming, indeed, but perhaps best of the entire list is the soprano song, "O swallow, swallow, flying south," which is dedicated to Mme. Lilian Blauvelt.

Several of these selections are to be had for a low voice or a high voice, but most of them are for mezzo-soprano or baritone. There is one for bass, "When icicles hang by the wall," and one for alto, "I'm wearing awa'," and of the collection as a whole, I say again, it is an honor to American art. They are songs that are extremely well worth knowing.


Mrs. H. H. A. Beach, whose maiden name was Amy Marcy Cheney, of Boston, was the daughter of a well-known singer and pianist. Her talent for music showed itself in extreme youth, and at the age of six her real study began. Among her teachers were Ernst Perabo, Carl Baerman, and Julius Hill. She is a pianist of accomplished powers and a composer of remarkable talent. It is told of her that on one occasion she played the Schumann concerto with the Boston Orchestra at a week's notice, in place of a soloist who had canceled an engagement at the last moment. On another occasion she played her own pianoforte concerto with the orchestra with splendid effect. Last year her "Gaelic Symphony," in E minor, was played in Boston and also in Brooklyn by the Boston Orchestra. Her instrumentation is said to be excellent and the work a very strong one.

Among the many clever compositions of Mrs. Beach's the following are perhaps the most suitable for our use:

Ballad for the pianoforte, dedicated to Mme. Fanny Bloomfield-Zeisler; a seriously made composition with a beautiful principal melody, cleverly developed, and a good deal of dramatic power in the working out of the middle part. A composition of considerable difficulty for the player, and also capable of very excellent effect when well done.

There are also four sketches—"In Autumn," "Dreaming," "Phantoms," "Fireflies." "In Autumn," a very sprightly composition in F-sharp minor, in a good 4/8 rhythm, capable of very charming effect. "Dreaming," a meditative sustained melody in the key of G-flat, resting upon a triplet motion in the middle part, with harmonies sensitively changing at unexpected places, capable of most beautiful effect; also an excellent study in cantabile. "Phantoms," a scherzo or quasi-mazurka, very sprightly and pleasing. "Fireflies," a very delightful study in thirds for the right hand, with novel and modern fingering; therefore extremely well adapted for study. This, when well done, must be very beautiful, but it is necessary that the thirds be played with the utmost lightness and equality. It is more difficult, and also more extended than either of the preceding, but extremely well worth attention.

There are also three interesting pieces not so difficult in their working out. First, there is a "Barcarolle" in G minor, opus 28, No. 1; a very attractive rhythm and an extremely attractive harmonic treatment. This is a piece to be played with pleasure by any amateur of taste. It is only of moderate difficulty, as, for instance, sixth grade. Perhaps a little less attractive, but more easy of execution, is the "Menuet Italien," No. 2 of the same opus as the preceding. This is remarkably well worked out, however. The third piece in the same opus is a waltz, "Dance of the Flowers," bright, sparkling, evanescent; clever for the piano, and attractive if well done.

Best of all, perhaps, is a "Romance for Violin and Piano," which is dedicated to Miss Maud Powell. This is a very delightful piece, and would make an admirable conclusion to a program. It requires good playing in all the parts.

With reference to these compositions by Mrs. Beach, it deserves to be said that they are not women's compositions. The musical spirit is unquestionable, the technic of developing ideas that of a well-trained artist, and the writing for the instrument that of an accomplished pianist. At the same time, Mrs. Beach makes no effort to be boisterous and to prove that she is a man by the brute force necessary to play her works. Unless I am very much mistaken, her music will have a much wider currency than it has yet received, because it deserves it.



For the convenience of clubs and classes desiring programs not so difficult of performance and not confined to one or two composers, the following is offered, embracing examples from Messrs. Edgar S. Kelley, Wilson G. Smith, Homer A. Norris, E. R. Kroeger, Geo. W. Chadwick, and Mr. William Sherwood. All of these gentlemen have made thorough studies of composition and several of them have exercised themselves in the larger forms, including orchestral and chamber writing. This is particularly true of Messrs. Chadwick, Kroeger, and Kelley.

Mr. Edgar Stillman Kelley was born April 14, 1857. He is a native of Wisconsin, and was formerly a pupil of Mr. Clarence Eddy, after which he studied in Stuttgart. He has produced quite a large number of orchestral pieces but only a small number for the pianoforte alone. I believe that dramatic music is his main delight. He is also a lecturer upon musical subjects, bringing to his task a large amount of knowledge upon the subject and plenty of enthusiasm.

I have here only two examples of his work. The first is entitled the "The Flower Seekers," a very pretty and melodious scherzo, having a motto from Chaucer's "Court of Love":

"Fourth goeth al the court, both moste and leste,
To feche the flowers freshe, and branche and blome."

The second is entitled "Confluentia" and the motto upon it: "Here is the conflux of the Rhine and the Mosel. This led the Romans to call the city 'Confluentia.' These streams—which rise in regions so remote—are here united until they pass into the eternal sea beyond."—Hans van Brechnowski (David Rockwell).

It is a piece in nocturne style with a melodious voice coming in all sorts of forms, a little in the style of the well-known Schumann "Warum."

Mr. Wilson G. Smith is a native of Ohio, educated under Otto Singer in Cincinnati, and at Berlin. He is a pianist and composer and has published a very large number of pieces (something like 150) among which it is quite possible more attractive selections could be found than those upon the present program; still, these are the best I know of his. His work is light, melodious, and pleasant to play. The list from Mr. Smith comprises several very pleasant pieces. The "Valse Menuet," opus 43, No. 1; the "Reverie at the Piano," a sort of song without words; the second, "Polka Caprice," which is very bright and pleasant; and the "Marche Fantastique," opus 73, which is more brilliant and diversified in its style than the others.

Mr. Ernest Kroeger is a native of St. Louis and received his education there. He has written a large number of pieces for the piano (eighty or more), many songs, and quite a list of chamber and orchestral compositions.

I have here three Sonnets. The first one is in G minor, a sort of cheerful nocturne, with nice melody and good musicianship. There is a vein of melancholy about it. The next one, allegretto in B minor, is very charming, and the last one is the strongest of all, I think. If a stronger representation of Mr. Kroeger's art is desired, his first suite for the piano can be taken.

Mr. Emil Liebling is better known as a teacher and pianist than as a composer, but it has been his good fortune to win high commendation for the few works he has published. He made his studies in composition under the late Heinrich Dorn, the same who was the master of Schumann in composition—though this may be no more than a coincidence. Mr. Liebling, although born in Berlin, has resided in the United States for nearly thirty years. He is essentially American. The two Romances represent the most serious side of his work, in addition to which I have put on that very popular little scherzo, "Spring Song," and a very pleasing parlor waltz.

Mr. William Sherwood, the distinguished pianist, is not generally known as a composer, but in any other country than this his strong tendency toward composition would have found encouragement, and he would have been well known and probably as distinguished in this department as he is now in playing. I have placed Mr. Sherwood's compositions last because they are the strongest of any in the list, and also the most difficult; when well played they are very effective and deserve to be better known than has hitherto been the case.

The songs upon this program represent two other composers. At the head of the list are placed some highly impassioned compositions by Mr. Geo. W. Chadwick, of Boston. Mr. Chadwick is one of the most accomplished American composers. From this set of songs, called "Told in the Gates," selections are to be made at the convenience of singers.

The collection, as a whole, is one of the most remarkable of recent times. It would be difficult to find twelve equally stirring songs in the whole repertory. The key-note is set by the very first song, "Sweetheart, Thy Lips are Touched with Flame," and in examining it one hardly knows what to admire most, the symphonic skill of the accompaniment, the placing of the emphasis for voice, or the intimate feeling for musical expression, which enables the composer to arrive at such thrilling effects. At the same time it is not a song for a timid singer or a timid player. The second one, "Sings the Nightingale to the Rose," is of a more quiet and reposeful character, well written. The third, "The Rose Leans over the Pool," a delightful scherzando, in which playful spirit and skilful use of material combine to produce its effect. The fourth, "Love's Like a Summer Rose," is a very charming song indeed for more ordinary occasions; well within the resources of ordinary singers, but with an effect very unusual. The next, "As the Waves without Number," a baritone song with a very elaborate accompaniment and the usual masterly opportunity for the singer. "Dear Love, when in Thy Arms I Lie," a slow and very expressive melody, with a delightful bit of obligato in the first measures, where a 'cello would produce a charming effect; modeled a little after a song of Schumann's, "Poet's Love":

"Was I not Thine when Allah Spoke the Word
Which Formed from Earth the Sky?"

A colossal song for baritone, having in it tenderness and most intense passion.

"In Mead where Roses Bloom," adapted for mezzo-soprano.

"Sister Fairest, why Art Thou Sighing?" a gem adapted for the female voice.

"O Let Night Speak of Me," dedicated to Max Heinrich.

"I Said to the Wind of the South," dedicated to Miss Edmunds. A song for mezzo-soprano, beautifully done.

It is difficult to speak of these songs in any kind of adequate terms, because they represent what very rarely happens nowadays: a very perfect union of music and poetry. The poetry for its own part being singularly impressive and provocative of song; and the music, in turn, sympathetic, masterly, and equal to the occasion; considered, therefore, from an ideal point of view, as to the poetic expression of musical moods or as the musical expression of poetic moods, both alike retaining the deepest and strongest sentiments, nothing lately has pleased so well. All the poems are by Arlo Bates. It is a collection of songs which every American lover of music ought to possess.

The other songs I take from a set by Mr. Homer A. Norris, a young but very talented and promising composer. The first is called "Twilight," and a lovely piece it is.


  Edgar S. Kelley:
      "The Flower Seekers."
  Wilson G. Smith:
      Valse-Menuet, Opus 43, No. 1.
      "Reverie at the Piano."
      Second Polka Caprice.
      Marche Fantastique.
  Homer A. Norris, song:
  E. R. Kroeger:
      Second, Third, and Fourth Sonnets.
  Emil Liebling:
      Romance Dramatique.
      "Spring Song,"
      Madeleine Waltz.
  Geo. W. Chadwick, songs:
      According to the taste and convenience of the singers.
  Wm. H. Sherwood:
      Romance Appassionata, Opus 8.
      Gypsy Dance, Opus 10.
      Mazurka, Opus 6.
      Scherzo Caprice, Opus 9.