UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
AT LOS ANGELES
S ANGELES. C
IN TWO VOLUMES. VOL. II.
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CONTENTS OF VOLUME II.
MATTHESON ON HANDEL
The Awful Deception ...
The Indefatigable Fiddler
The Effectual Expedient
The Old Chorale
The Haunted Mansion...
The Mode Asbein
The Changeling ... 33
The Vendish Sorcerer 36
The Rat-Catcher of Hameln 37
The Exquisite Organ ... 39
COMPOSERS AND PRACTICAL MEN
Music AND MEDICINE
POPULAR STORIES WITH MUSICAL TRADITIONS
The Royal Music-Master 115
The Handsome Minstrel 115
The Daisy Lady ... 116
The Invisible Flute-
Player ... ... 118
The Banished Musician 119
The Walriderske ,.. 120
The Jew in the Thicket 122
The Pope's Wife ... 126
The Two Hunchbacks 128
DRAMATIC Music OF UNCIVILIZED RACES
A SHORT SURVEY OF THE HISTORY OF Music ...
CHRONOLOGY OF THE HISTORY OF Music
THE MUSICAL SCALES IN USE AT THE PRESENT DAY
The Parson's Advice
Relics of the Goblins
The Golden Harvest
Gipsies ... ... ... 137
The Nautch-People ... 139
The Monk of Afflighem 141
The Plague in Goldberg 142
Fictions and Facts ... 145
MATTHESON ON HANDEL.
THE biographical notices of Handel's youth transmitted
to us are but scanty and unsatisfactory. The same might,
however, be said of most of our celebrated musicians, and
the cause of the meagreness is, as we have seen in another
place, easily explicable.* Of Handel's musical pursuits
before his arrival in Hamburg, at the age of eighteen, we
know scarcely more than that he was a pupil of Zachau, an
organist at Halle, where Handel was born ; that, as a boy,
he paid a short visit to Berlin, where his talent attracted
some attention ; and that subsequently he studied Law, at
the University of Halle. The latter fact indicates that the
choice of music as a profession was not hastily determined
in his childhood ; and this surmise accords with the stated
reluctance of his father, a medical practitioner in Halle, to
have his son brought up as a musician.
Arrived in Hamburg, in the year 1703, Handel soon
made the acquaintance of Mattheson, an intelligent and
industrious young musician, who was competent to ap-
preciate the genius of Handel, and faithfully to record the
progress of the promising youth during his sojourn in
Hamburg, which lasted about three years. Mattheson was
four years older than Handel, a difference which, between
two lads of twenty-two and eighteen, is not without some
weight in their mutual intercourse, especially if the
elder is already enjoying a certain success, while the younger
is a new comer, intent upon gaining a footing. Mattheson's
observations about Handel, although occasionally tinged
* Vol. I., p. 94.
2 MATTHESON ON HANDEL.
with jealousy of his talented brother artist, are therefore
particularly noteworthy in the biography of the great
Johann Mattheson, born in Hamburg, in the year 1681,
was at the time of Handel's arrival tenor singer and musical
composer at the theatre of the town, and teacher of singing,
the harpsichord, and thorough-bass. When, in the year
1705, an increasing deafness compelled him to relinquish his
engagement as singer and actor in operas at the theatre, his
accomplishments, combined with commendable habits of
industry and punctuality, induced the British Ambassador
at Hamburg to engage him as tutor for his son, and
afterwards to appoint him his secretary. During an active
life of unusual duration, he died in the year 1764, at the
age of 83, Mattheson published a great number of treatises
on musical subjects, some of which still possess value as
books of reference. His vanity, not unfrequently exhibited
in his writings, may in some measure have been nourished
by his many flatterers among his musical contemporaries,
who evidently feared his sarcastic pen all the more because
they did not possess the literary ability to engage success-
fully in a controversy with him when they disagreed with his
As regards the musical compositions of Mattheson, we
know from his own statement, in his autobiography, that
his operas were greatly admired by the public ; but this
favourable opinion is hardly supported by such of his
compositions as have appeared in print. A collection
of twelve Suites for the harpsichord, the manuscript of
which he sent to England, where it was published in two
volumes, in the year 1714, bears the title : ' Pieces de
Clavecin, en deux Volumes, consistant des Ouvertures,
Preludes, Fugues, Allemandes, Courentes, Sarabandes,
Giques et Aires, compose~es par J. Mattheson, Seer.
London, printed for J. D. Fletcher.' The work is prefaced
by an address to the musical public, written by the editor,
J. D. Fletcher, in which he says : " Britain may now hope
to return those arts with interest, which she borrowed from
other nations ; and foreigners in time may learn of those
MATTHESON ON HANDEL. 3
whom their forefathers taught .... As the harp-
sichord is an instrument yet capable of greater improvement,
so the following pieces claim a precedence of all others of
this nature ; not only that they are composed by one of the
greatest masters of the age, in a taste altogether pleasing
and sublime ; but, as they are peculiarly adapted to that
instrument, and engraven with an exactness that cannot be
equall'd by any of their nature yet extant." Sir John
Hawkins, who probably had not seen these Suites, relates :
" Mattheson had sent over to England, in order to their
being published here, two collections of lessons for the
harpsichord, and they were accordingly engraved on copper,
and printed for Richard Meares in St. Paul's Church-yard,
and published in the year 1714. Handel was at that time
in London, and in the afternoon was used to frequent
St. Paul's Church for the sake of hearing the service, and of
playing on the organ after it was over ; from whence he and
some gentlemen of the choir would frequently adjourn to
the Queen's Arms tavern in St. Paul's Church-yard, where
was a harpsichord. It happened one afternoon, when they
were thus met together, Mr. Weely, a gentleman of the choir,
came in and informed them that Mr. Mattheson's lessons
were then to be had at Mr. Meares' shop ; upon which
Mr. Handel ordered them immediately to be sent for, and
upon their being brought, played them all over without
rising from the instrument." Still more odd appears
Hawkins' statement that Handel "approved so highly of the
compositions of Mattheson, particularly his lessons, that he
was used to play them for his private amusement."*
If Handel really could amuse himself by playing these
lessons, which are in no respect superior to the usual
productions of the mediocre musicians of his time, it pro-
bably was only from feelings of curiosity and kindness
towards a former friend. Mattheson composed a great deal,
and made at last even his own Funeral Anthem, which after
his death was performed to his honour, and which,
if report speaks correctly, sounded truly miserable ; and this
* Hawkins's ' History of Music,' Vol. V., p. 253.
4 MATTHESON ON HANDEL.
may well be believed, considering that when he composed
the music Mattheson had been deaf for nearly thirty years.
Still, though he was but a poor composer, he possessed
ample musical knowledge and practical skill to enable him
to judge the works of his superior contemporaries. His
jealous disposition, however, sometimes prevented him from
forming a just opinion. His disparaging critique of an
early work of Handel, in his * Critica Musica,' Hamburg,
1725, at a time when Handel had become a resident in
London, was evidently influenced by jealousy, and the same
is more or less observable in his other writings. Neverthe-
less, he took every opportunity to keep up a correspondence
with Handel, and to boast of his former familiarity with the
celebrated man. Mattheson, having solicited Handel's
opinion upon a certain theoretical question on which he was
in dispute with some German musicians, and having also
expressed the hope that Handel might favour him with
some biographical notices, Handel, at the conclusion of his
letter in reply, excuses himself for not complying with the
second point in question :
" Pour ce qui est du second point, vous pouvez juger
vous meme qu'il demande beaucoup de recueillement, dont
je ne suis pas le maitre parmi les occupations pressantes,
que j'ai par devers moi. Des que j'en ferai un peu debarasse,
je repasserai les Epoques principales que j'ai eues dans le
cours de ma Profession, pour vous faire voir 1'estime et la
consideration particuliere avec laquelle j'ai 1'honneur d'etre,
Votre tres humble et tres
G. F. HANDEL.
A Londres, Fevr. 24, 1719."
In the year 1740, Mattheson published his Grundlage
einer Ehrenpforte (' Foundation of a Triumphal Arch ')>
which contains a series of biographies of the celebrated
musicians of his time, Mattheson's included. During the
preparation of this work, he addressed another request to
Handel to supply him with materials for a correct biography.
MATTHESON ON HANDEL. 5
He also dedicated twelve fugues of his own composition to
Handel, of which he sent him a copy to ensure prompt
attention. Handel's reply was again evasive :
" A Londres ce 29 de Juillet, 1735.
II y a quelque terns que j'ai recu une de vos obligeantes
lettres; mais a present je vien de recevoir votre derniere
avec votre ouvrage. Je vous en remercie, Monsieur, et je
vous assure que j'ai toute 1'estime pour votre merite, je
souhaiterois seulement que mes circonstances m'etaient plus
favorables pour vous donner des marques de mon inclination
a vous servir. L'ouvrage est digne de 1'attention des
connoisseurs, et quand a moi, je vous rends justice.
Au reste, pour rammasser quelque epoque, il m'est
impossible puisqu'une continuelle application au service de
cette cour et noblesse me detourne de toute autre affaire.
Je suis, avec une consideration tres parfaite, etc."
Handel was at this period in circumstances by no means
flourishing, his operatic enterprises having failed. Mat-
theson's request came therefore at a very inopportune time,
since it would have been only painful to Handel to occupy
his mind with recollections of events of his earlier life, and
with the record of expectations which he now found were
not to be realized.
It is singular that almost all Handel's letters to Ger-
mans which have been preserved, including those to his
brother-in-law in Halle, are written in French. Besides,
they are so extremely formal and ceremonious, even those
to his nearest relations ! This may be in great measure
accounted for by the usages of his time, and by the circum-
stance of his coming frequently into contact with persons of
a higher position in society than himself. But, however
reserved he may appear in his letters, evidences are not
wanting testifying to his kindheartedness and generosity.
When Mattheson found that it was useless to endeavour
to elicit information direct from Handel for his ' Ehrenpforte,'
he compiled a biography interspersed with recollections of
6 MATTHESON ON HANDEL.
their mutual experiences during the years of their inter-
course in Hamburg. The following extracts from Mat-
theson's gossip are translated as literally as possible :
" In the summer of the year 1703 he came to Hamburg,
rich in abilities and good intentions. I was almost the first
acquaintance he made, and I took him to the organs and
choirs of the town, and to operas and concerts. I also
introduced him to a certain family where all were extremely
devoted to music."
In another place Mattheson records that he made Han-
del's acquaintance accidentally at the organ of the church
of St. Mary Magdalen, and that he took him at once with
him to his father's house, and paid him every possible
attention. Mattheson further relates :
" At first he played the second violin in the orchestra of
the opera, and seemed as if he could not count above five ;
in fact, he was naturally much inclined to dry humour.
But, one day, when a harpsichord player was wanted, he
allowed himself to be persuaded to take his place, and
showed himself a man, when no one but I expected it. I
I am sure if he reads this he will laugh in his sleeve, for
outwardly he seldom laughs. Especially will he laugh if
he recollects the pigeon-dealer who once travelled post with
us to Liibeck ; likewise, the son of the pastry-cook who had
to blow the bellows while we were playing the organ in the
church of St. Mary Magdalen of this place. This was on
the thirtieth of July, 1703, after our having been out on the
water on the fifteenth."
" He composed at that time very long, long airs, and
almost endless cantatas, which, although the harmonious
treatment was perfect, nevertheless had not the requisite
fitness ; nor did they exhibit the proper taste. However,
the high school of the opera soon put him on the right
" He was great upon the organ, greater than Kuhnau
in fugues and counterpoint, especially in extemporizing.
However, he knew but very little of melody before he had
to do with the operas in Hamburg. On the other hand,
Kuhnau's pieces were all exceedingly melodious, and suited
MATTHESON ON HANDEL. 7
for the voice, even those arranged for playing. In the pre-
ceding century scarcely any one thought of melody ; all
aimed merely at harmony."
"At that time he dined almost daily by invitation with
my father, and in return opened to me some particular
manoeuvres in counter point. On the other hand, in dramatic
style I have been of no little service to him ; so that one
hand washed the other."
" On the seventeenth of August, in the year 1703, we
travelled together to Lubeck, and in the carriage composed
many double-fugues, da mente non da penna. I had been
invited there by the President of the Privy Council, Magnus
von Wedderkopp, in order to choose a successor for the
excellent organist, Dieterich Buxtehude. I took Handel
there with me. We tried almost all the organs and harpsi-
chords in Lubeck ; and, with regard to our playing, we
arranged between ourselves that he should play exclusively on
the organ, and I on the harpsichord. We also heard with
due attention the above-mentioned artist in his St. Mary's
Church. But when we found that a certain marriage, for
which neither of us had the slightest inclination, was a
stipulated condition with the appointment, [the successful
candidate had to marry the daughter of Buxtehude] we
departed thence, after having received much honour, and
having enjoyed many entertainments. Johann Christian
Schieferdecker subsequently accommodated himself to the
requirements, conducted the bride home, and obtained the
" In the year 1704, when I was in Holland, intending to
proceed to England, I received in Amsterdam, on the twenty-
first of March, a letter from Handel in Hamburg, so obliging
and pressing, that it at once induced me to return home.
The letter, which is dated March i8th, 1704, contains,
among others, these expressions :
' I much desire your highly agreeable conversation, the
privation of which will soon be repaired, as the time
approaches in which it will be impossible to undertake any-
thing in the way of operas without your presence. I therefore
pray you obediently to inform me of your departure, that I
8 MATTHESON ON HANDEL.
may have the opportunity of showing my obligation by meet-
ing you with Miss Sbiilens,' etc., etc."
These extracts from Mattheson's ' Ehrenpforte ' are
quoted here because they throw light upon some occur-
rences alluded to in the remarks with which Mattheson has
interspersed his German translation of Mainwaring's
'Memoirs of the Life of the late George Frederick Handel;
to which is added a Catalogue of his works, and observations
upon them ; London, 1760.'
Mainwaring was a young clergyman, whose admiration of
Handel induced him to collect as much material for the com-
pilation of a biography as he was able to obtain. His work,
published anonymously a year after Handel's death, much
as it has been disparaged on account of its chronological
inaccuracies and its want of musical erudition, is certainly
valuable as containing the fullest account of Handel's life in
England written by a contemporary of the great musician.
Mattheson's German translation, with annotations, is entitled
Georg Friderich Handel's Lebensbeschreibung, nebst einem Ver-
zeichnisse seiner Ausilbungswerke und deren Beurtheilung ; ilber-
setzt, auch mit einigen A mnerktmgen, absonderlich ilber den ham-
bur gischen Artikel, versehenvon Legations-Rath Mattheson. Ham-
burg. Auf Kosten des Uebersetzers, 1761. (' George Frederick
Handel's Biography, with a list of his Compositions, and a
critical examination of them ; translated, and annotated with
some remarks, especially upon the part relating to Hamburg,
by Mattheson, Councillor of Legation. Hamburg. Published
at the expense of the translator, 1761.') The book is now
scarce. Victor Schoelcher, in his ' Life of Handel,' London,
1857, notices it only with the remark : " My endeavours have
hitherto been in vain to obtain a copy of this in Germany, and
it is not to be found in the British Museum." At any rate, it
is not likely to be known to many English musicians. A trans-
lation of Mattheson's annotations is therefore offered here.
As regards the Introduction with which Mattheson has
prefaced his translation, it is so diffuse, and contains so little
about Handel, that few musicians now would care to read it
entirely. It is headed by a quotation in English, from the
Tatler (No. 92) : " Panegyricks are frequently ridiculous, let
them be addressed where they will."
MATTHESON ON HANDEL. Q
Mattheson aims more at impressing the reader with his
own merits than with those of Handel. He says, for
instance : "In describing an artist's life, it is not sufficient
to represent the man only as an artist ; the artist must
rather be considered also as a man ; for thus only can his
merits be properly understood. However, no one is able
to know or to do everything in his vocation. Thus,
in music, one performer excels on the organ-pedals,
while another surpasses him on the harpsichord. The first
may be called coarse ; the second, delicate. The first may
be only appreciated by connoisseurs ; the second, by every-
one. A company of artists if any such exists is like a bunch
of different keys. No one of these is to be extolled before
the other but only in so far as it opens an important lock
which encloses a treasure. One musician is not only a
player, but also a singer ; another never opens his mouth to
sing nay, not even to laugh. The former, besides being
able to compose, to sing, to play, and to dance, acts a prin-
cipal character on the stage ; the latter, with his quantity
of musical scores, has taken care not to appear upon the
boards of the theatre. Indeed, he would have cut a funny
figure had he done so. Here, some one who occupies him-
self with music, and also with various sciences, in a superior
manner, works at the same time for kings and princes ;
there some one employs his gifts principally in the service
and for the amusement of the subjects. From this it is
clear that each in his particular line may deserve honour
and laudation ; not properly on account of his person, but
on account of his achievements. ..... No mere
Musicus practicus ecclesiastico-dramaticus, who took a high
rank as a director of the orchestra, and a still higher rank
as an organist, but who was neither a singer nor an actor,
and least of all a mathematician has ever, before Handel,
attained to this, that without his help a special book of a
considerable size on his life has been written, and supplied
with instructive observations still more, that his biography
has been translated into another language by a brother-
artist by no means of the common class. Competing succes-
sors do not feel hurt by these stimulating spurs !"
10 MATTHESON ON HANDEL.
In order to render the following annotations by Matthe-
son properly intelligible, the statements of Mainwaring to
which they refer are inserted with them. The latter are
copied exactly as they were originally written ; while
Mattheson's annotations are translated from the German.
Mainwaring (P. i). " George Frederick Handel was born
at Hall,* a city in the circle of Upper-Saxony, the 24th
February, i684,t by a second wife of his father, who was
an eminent surgeon and physician of the same place, and
above sixty when his son was born."
Mattheson. " The author is wrong in calling Halle a town
of Upper-Saxony. It lies in the Dukedom of Magdeburg,
which belongs to Lower-Saxony. Handel was, therefore,
no Upper-Saxon, but rather a Lower-Saxon."
Mainwaring (P. 6). " It may not be unpleasant to the
reader just now to remind him of the minute and surprising
resemblance between the early periods of Handel's life and
some which are recorded in that of the celebrated M. Pascal,
written by his sister. Nothing could equal the bias of the
one to Mathematics but the bias of the other to Music ; both
in their very childhood out-did the efforts of maturer age ;
they pursued their respective studies not only without any
assistance, but against the consent of their parents, and in
spite of all the opposition they contrived to give them."
Mattheson. " Almost the same was the case with Tycho
Brahe, and with the translator of this biography, each in
Mainwaring (P. 15). " Zackaw [Zachau] was proud of
a pupil who already began to attract the attention of all
persons who lived near Hall [Halle], or resorted thither
from distant quarters. And he was glad of an assistant who,
by his uncommon talents, was capable of supplying his
place whenever he had an inclination to be absent, as he
often, was, from his love of company and a cheerful glass."
Mattheson. "Could not the life of Handel have been
written without aspersing the brave tone-artist Zachau
forty years after his death on account of a glass of wine ?"
* Halle. f Should be 1685.
MATTHESON ON HANDEL. II
Main-waving (P. 15). " It may seem strange to talk of an
assistant of seven years of age, for he could not be more, if
indeed he was quite so much, when first he was committed
to the care of this person."
Mattheson. " The author appears to have not the least
scruple in committing the most palpable anachronism by
making his hero the younger the taller he grows. This
will presently appear evident."
Mainwaring (P. 16). "We have already hinted at some
striking coincidences of life and character which are found
in him and the famous Pascal. In this place we may just
observe that the latter at the age of twelve compos'd a
treatise on the propagation of sounds, and at sixteen another
upon conic sections."
Mattheson. " But it must be remembered that afterwards
he entirely gave up mathematics. See Bayle."
Mainwaring (P. 18). " It was in the year 1698 that he
went to Berlin. The opera there was in a flourishing con-
dition under the direction of the King of Prussia (grandfather
of the present), who, by the encouragement which he gave
to singers and composers, drew thither some of the most
eminent from Italy and other parts."
Mattheson. " Anno 1698 there wa*> no King in Prussia ;
the first dated from 1701. Handel has, therefore, seen no
king in Berlin. That the author is as bad a genealogist
and politician as he is a chronologist. is proved by his mis-
taking the grandfather of the present king for the father, and by
his always mentioning the then reigning Elector as the King."
Mainwaring (P. 20). " Attilio's fondness for Handel
commenced at his first coming to Berlin, and continued to
the time of his leaving it. He would often take him on his
knee, and make him play on his harpsichord for an hour
together, equally pleased and surprised with the extraordinary
proficiency of so young a person ; for at this time he could not
exceed thirteen, as may easily be seen by comparing dates."
Mattheson. "He was born anno 1684.* He arrived in