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through Germany and Russia. His success in both countries has been appealed to by his admirers in proof of his sterling merit. But there is nothing in which the influence of tradition has been longer lived than in the impression of German sincerity and superiority in musical judgment. That there must be still something great, true, and real existing in the country of Bach and Handel, and Haydn and Mozart, and Beethoven and Weber, has been maintained as earnestly as if the story of Art were not a story of periods—of rise and glory and decadence; of a Raphael succeeded by a Battoni; of the northern Cathedrals exhausting, it may be said, the romance, fancy, and constructive variety of Gothic architecture, and superseded by a bastard Palladian school calling itself classical. The young • Germans' have attested their sense, feeling, and knowledge by sneering at the old masters of Art, in favour of the muddy inanities of Schumann, and the presumptuous extravagances of Wagner, whom, by the way, Berlioz criticises with a caustic severity—suspicious to say the least of it, his own practices and performances considered. That the respect for law and order, without which Society becomes a chaos, and Literature and Art drivel and rave, fancying themselves simple or sublime, has been weakened throughout Germany, is a sad and serious truth. It was no wonder, then, that Berlioz should by the destructive party there be regarded as an inspired prophet,-as a new and shining light; and that his productions, aided by his presence, should excite noisy wonderment among those bent, so runs the jargon, on emancipation ; that difficulties should be smoothed in his path, and the great ones of the earth should combine to do him honour. That he took no interest in the music of the country ancient or modern, as compared with his own harps and cymbals and drums, is well known. When he was a visitor at Leipzig he made a show of curiosity concerning the choral compositions of Sebastian Bach, which are preserved in the Thomas Schule there. They were forwarded for his inspection by Mendelssohn. The packet was returned, and with it the judgment of Berlioz. The seals of the packet had not been broken.
The original proofs of Beethoven's C Minor Symphony were in Leipsig during the visit of Berlioz, and examined by him. In these pages it is demonstrated that the excrescence of two bars in the scherzo, which has been so much discussed, was simply a printer's oversight—the composer having cancelled them; and allowing, perhaps because of his deafness, their performance to pass without notice. On this excrescence Berlioz had solemnly dilated in print, as a wonderful stroke of genius, worthy of all praise. It is almost needless to add, that he had not the honesty to withdraw his panegyric; even after the error in his data had been set before him. So, later, when that greatest work of modern times, Mendelssohn's Elijah' was performed in London, Berlioz, who had never heard it before, or heard it after, left the concert-room at the conclusion of the first part, not to return. But he wrote, nevertheless, of the Oratorio.
There is some amusement to be found in his letters devoted to Germany, reporting his successes and his enthusiasms; telling in one place how the hem of his garment was kissed, and in another, how students were suffocated by their adoration, till they were unable to express it. But it is evident that as time went on, these delights palled. It may be conjectured that a gnawing sense of their unreality began to be felt by their object. At all events he became more and more moody and arrogant as years went on-increasingly irritated, his friends tell us, by the slightest question or criticism; closer and more closely wrapped up in the personality, which proved like the garment of Dejanira, a shroud which had within itself distemperature and death.
His last effort of any importance was the completion of his huge opera · Les Troyens,' the text of which was his own. When it was completed Berlioz wrote a letter to the Emperor of the French, entreating his patronage and interference with the authorities of the Grand Opéra, in order to get the work performed, and offering the book of · Les Troyens' to the inspection of his Imperial Highness. On the failure of this bold measure, that energetic and spirited manager, M. Carvalho, was rash enough to produce the second part of Les Troyens,' which is a complete opera in itself, with a lavish expenditure entirely disproportioned to his means. That the opera was carefully and liberally set forth we can bear witness, and it enjoyed what may be called ' a success of curiosity' during a few performances. But, with some indications of grandeur and beauty, the score and the story contained too many passages ridiculous, uncouth, and impossible of execution; and to these, of course, Berlioz clung with an infatuated perversity. No paragraphs in this strange book by him are more instinct with vanity and acrimony than those in which he turns on the manager who had risked so much in his behalf, because, after losses such as no theatre can brave, the opera was abandoned. Its unhappy author took this failure terribly to heart; even to the unsettlement of such reason as still remained to him. From the time of the failure of · Les Troyens 'he renounced composition. On the death of his second wife, he repeated the
extravagances of his boyhood by addressing passionate loveletters to Mde. Estelle, after having for years lost sight of her. That lady-now a grey-haired widow-was naturally more scared than gratified by the rhapsodies of such a suitor, and put them aside with a gentle and womanly pity. Subsequent to this rejection, there was nothing left for the unhappy crazed man. His decay and death were mercifully hastened by an accident; but he was to the last compassionately ministered to, and principally by friends whose patience he had tried to the utmost. The saddest epitaph which can be marked on any gravestone might fitly have been his— He died unregretted.'
The musical value of Berlioz as a composer has, to our thinking, been sufficiently indicated in the tale which has been condensed from the data furnished by himself. To complete the statement of the case, however, it may be as well to hear himself in the matter. Communicating to a friend, late in his life, that which was intended for publication, and setting himself forth as the victim of envy and misconception,
• I have had,' he says, "for many years past, new enemies, owing to the superiority which has been willingly ascribed to me as a conductor of orchestras. The players, by the exceptional talent displayed by them when under my direction, by the warmth of their demonstrations, and by the words which have escaped from them, have in Germany made almost all the orchestral conductors hostile to me. It was for a
so in Paris. My Memoirs show the strange effects of th jealousy of Habeneck and of M. Girard. So, again, in London, where M. Costa has made an underground fight against me wherever he can plant his foot.
On the last falsification of the truth we are in case to offer a distinct denial--if the words of Berlioz are to be relied onhaving heard him express, and seen expressed most strongly in his hand-writing, his thorough appreciation of the zeal and generous assistance which Sir M. Costa, as a conductor, brought to bear on the production of his . Benvenuto 'at Covent Garden Theatre. Not till after the signal failure of that opera before our public, was the mischance ascribed to the malice of an Italian cabal.
To continue our extracts from this wonderful confession of ability, virtue, and honour:
• I have had,” says M. Berlioz, 'to fight with a famous phalanx of enemies, as you will admit. Do not let me forget the singers and the solo players, whom I call to order, rudely enough, when they allow themselves irreverent liberties in the interpretation of master-works; nor the envious, who are always ready to be in a rage should anything produce itself with a certain brilliancy. But this lite of struggle, this opposition, at the time present reduced within reasonable limits, has a
certain charm. I delight, from time to time, to break down a barrier in place of surmounting it. This is the natural effect of my passion for Music—a passion always at white heat, which is never for an instant satisfied. The love of money has never, under any circumstance, been
up with this love of art. I have always, on the contrary, been ready and eager to make every kind of sacrifice in my search for beauty, or to protect myself from the contact of certain miserable conmonplaces which have been crowned by popularity. . . . I perceive, I have not said anything concerning my manner of writing. . . . In general my style is very bold, but it has not the slightest tendency to destroy any of the constructive elements of art. On the contrary, I seek to increase the number of these. I have never thought, as has been so insanely pretended in France, to make music without melody. This school now exists in Germany, and I have a horror of it. It is easy
to convince himself that without even confining myseli to take a very short melody as theme for a piece of music, as often has been done by the greatest masters, I have always taken pains luxuriously to lavish melodies over my compositions. It may be fair to contest the value of these, their distinction, their novelty, their charm—it is not my place to appreciate these—but to deny their existence, is, I maintain, bad faith or stupidity. Only, seeing that these melodies are often of great dimensions, childish intelligences, with their short sight, cannot clearly distinguish their forms, or they are married with secondary melodies, which, according to the same childish intelligences, obscure their contours,- or, to conclude, these melodies are so unlike the little absurdities called melodies by musical people, that one cannot give the same nature to both. The most prominent qualities of my music are passionate expression, inner ardour, rhythmical excitement and unexpectedness. When I say passionate expression, this signifies expression in a frenzy to reproduce the inner meaning of the subject, even when the subject is totally without passion, and the matter in hand is to express soft and tender sentiments, or calms the most profound. It is this sort of expression which persons have found in the “Childhood of Christ," and, above all, in the celestial scene of " Faust," and in the "Sanctus" of my “Requiem."
With regard to the Childhood of Christ'a curious anecdote may be told: its author wrote the second part of the work as it stands (the only one of the three which has any value), professedly in ridicule of the melodists, and palmed it off on the public as the work of a forgotten composer.
The parody pleased more than
of the earnest efforts of its writer had done. Berlioz then conceived the idea of extending it, and added what is now the third portion, namely, the arrival of the Holy Child and His parents in Egypt, a luckless example of his worst manner-grim, confused, pretending, and unmelodious—and conceived his work finished. On mentioning it to an acquaintance, the latter suggested that, to complete the subject, the terror from which the fugitives had escaped should be expressed or narrated. Berlioz caught at the suggestion eagerly; and added that which is now the first part, picturing the madness of Herod and the Massacre of the Innocents. The music to this is simply hideous, and, conjointly with the peroration, smothers the beautiful and delicate simplicity of the central portion of the Trilogy. It is characteristic that a fact like this should have been omitted; but a like disingenuousness runs through the entire record.
Enough has been said of this book; not too much, because it may possibly find readers and believers among the young and the lawless of all countries, and especially because the disease, which has gone far towards destroying a beautiful art in Germany, is spreading among the rising musicians of England. As a body, we are happy to believe and to know that they are far higher and truer in moral tone than Berlioz; but that they are too willing to defend in Art that which is impure and chaotic, specious because it is strange, and easy to produce because small poetic genius is demanded by it, is a fact discouraging to those who conceive progress to mean completion, not destruction. If any are tempted, by the comments here closed, to consider how far health and happiness are insured by such a career as that of Berlioz, we have not written them in vain.
ART. III.- Reports of the Select Committees on the Public
and Private Business of the House of Commons, 1837,
1848, 1854, 1861. THE AE House of Commons may be regarded from two sepa
rate points of view, and as fulfilling the duties of two different and distinct positions. It may be called, on the one hand, a Deliberative, and on the other, a Legislative Assembly. Under the first aspect, it performs functions varied in their character and degree of importance. At one time, it debates and decides upon matters of national, of European, even of world-wide interest; pronounces upon the policy of a Ministry, and expresses by its vote the tendency of public opinion in the nation which it represents. At another moment, it entertains questions of individual grievance, constitutes itself the Bar before which slighted merit or unappreciated talent may plead their cause, and acts as a mighty and farreaching Court of Appeal to which every person who feels himself aggrieved, without legal remedy against the aggressor, may fly for succour and sympathy, if only he can succeed in