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concerning them extant, we come to a work of real importance and interest the Euridice of
Ottavio Rinuccini and Jacopo Peri, Rinuccini furnishing the poem and Peri the music.
True to the spirit of the Renaissance, which in all things studied to apply old principles to
new requirements, the Florentine reformers looked to antiquity for guidance in their innova-
tions, and the following extracts from the prefaces affixed to the work by the poet and the com-
poser indicate, not only the ideas with which they had gone to work on the Euridice^ but also
the general principles which had led their friends to object to the musical arrangements of the
dramatic spectacles they had seen in Venice, and induced them to attempt the establishment
of a better state of things.

Euridice was performed in public at Florence in 1 600, upon the occasion of the wedding
of Maria de Medici and Henry IV. of France. In his dedication to the new queen, Rinuccini

" It has been the opinion of many persons, most excellent queen, that the ancient Greeks and Romans sang their
tragedies throughout on the stage, but so noble a manner of recitation has not, that I know of, been even attempted
by any one till now ; and this I thought was owing to the defect of the modern music, v/hich is far inferior to the
ancient ; but Messer Jacopo Peri made me entirely alter my opinion, when, upon hearing the intention of Messer

* Commomy known as " The Academy."

+ The dramatic pastorals " II Satiro" (1590), " La Disperazione di Fileno" (1590), "II Ginoco della Cicea"
(I595). and " Dame " (1597). The three first named were composed by Emilio Cavaliere, the last by Peri.


Giacomo Corsi and myself, he so elegantly set to music the pastoral of Daphne, which I had composed merely to make
a trial of the power of vocal music in our age, it pleased to an incredible degree those few that heard it. From
this I took courage : the same piece being put into better form and represented anew in the house of Messer Peri,
was not only favoured by all the nobility of the country, but heard and commended by the most serene grand
duchess, and the most illustrious Cardinals dal Monte and Montalto. But the Euridice has met with more favour
and success, being set to music by the same Peri with wonderful art ; and having been thought worthy to be
represented on the stage, by the bounty and magnificence of the most serene grand duke, in the presence of your
Majesty, the cardinal legate, and so many princes and gentlemen of Italy and France ; from whence, beginning
to find how well musical representations of this kind were likely to be received, I resolved to publish these two,
to the end that others of greater abilities than myself may be induced to carry on and improve this kind of poetry
to such a degree, that we may have no occasion to envy those ancient pieces which are so much celebrated by
noble writers."

Peri's prefatory remarks travel on very much the same lines as those of Rinuccini

" I consider that the ancient Greeks and Romans (who, according to the opinion of many, sang on the stage
the entire tragedy), used a harmony which, advancing from that of ordinary speech, arose so far from the melody
of singing, that ifc took the form of something between the two ; . . . and, therefore, abandoning every other kind
of song heard till now, I gave myself wholly to seeking the imitation which is due to the poem."

In these quotations, we have the art-philosophy of the Renaissance in a nutshell truth to
nature, and study of the antique. It is made very plain, what the " Academy " considered a
music-drama should be like; and, disregarding the inevitable crudities of this early opera
(which, after all, are mere matters of detail, so far as we are concerned), let us now see in what
manner it was proposed to put the principles laid down by the "Academy " in practice.

The opera is in three acts. The scene of the first is laid in the country, where Eurydice
and Daphne are discovered amid a group of nymphs. When they leave the stage, Orpheus
enters with two shepherds. Daphne presently returns, and relates to them the death of
Eurydice from the bite of a serpent, and the first act concludes with the lament of Orpheus for
his lost Eurydice. In the second act, Venus leads Orpheus to Hades, in order that he may
beg of Pluto the restoration of Eurydice to life. At first Pluto is obdurate, but at length, after
much intercession, he yields, and the last act depicts the happy return of Orpheus with

The orchestra consisted of but four individuals, Signer Jacopo Corsi, who played the harp-
sichord behind the scenes ; Don Garzia Montalro, who played the chitarone, or large guitar ;
Messer Giovannibatista dal Violono, the viol da gamba ; and Messer Giovanni Lapi, a large
lute. Thus the orchestra employed in this early music-drama amounted to the seventeenth
century equivalent of a pianoforte, a violincello, and two guitars. Throughout the opera there
is not one spoken word ; all the dialogue is expressed in recitative, and the airs themselves
approximate somewhat to recitative, and of this a notable example is the pathetic lament at the
end of the first act. The chorus is also handled in a manner very different from that of older
writers, very apparent efforts being made to render it as spontaneous, seeming, and natural to
the course of the narrative as possible.

A further development of the music drama is displayed in another setting of the story of
Orpheus and Eurydice, by Claudio Monteverde (1568-1643), under the title of Orfeo ; and
after a brief sketch of this work, we must turn to other phases of Renaissance musical art.

Monteverde's Orfeo was first produced at Mantua in 1607, and like Peri's Euridice, its pro-
duction formed part of the festivities of a wedding, in this case that of the young Prince
Francisco of Mantua. This was not Monteverde's first essay as a dramatic composer, for he
had, earlier in the same year, produced a work entitled Ariadne, in which he gave strong proof
of his originality ; his Orfeo, however, affords us a more distinct idea of the advance which the
new dramatic music had made within the comparatively short space of seven years.

In everything Monteverde shows himself of a bolder spirit than Peri. In place of the foor
instruments used by Peri for his accompaniment, Monteverde employs no less than thirty -nine,
and these he uses in a manner which must have startled his contemporaries not a little. We


have seen how the first experiments in dramatic music were largely directed towards character-
isationthe making of music more directly representative and illustrative ; and, with the object
of making this characterisation as strong as possible, Monteverde, in his Orfeo, adopted the idea
of providing each character with a distinct accompaniment of its own. How he carried out his
plan the following list, taken from Sir John Hawkins' " History of Music," will explain. This
list figures in the edition of the opera, published in Venice in 1609 :

Ptrsonaggi. Stromenti.

(a) La Musica Prologo Duoi Clavicembani.

(b} Orfeo Duoi contrabass! de Viola.

(c) Euridice Died Viola da brazzo.

(d) Choro di Unifi e Pastori TJn Arpa doppia.

(e) Speranza , . Duoi Violini piccoli alia Francese.

(/) Caronte Duoi Chitaroni.

(g) Choro di spiriti infernali ..... Duoi Organi di legno.

(//) Prosperina Tre Bassi da gamba.

(') Plutone Quattro Tromboni.

(/) Apollo Un Regale.

I Duoi Cornetti.
(k) Choro de pastori che fecero la Moresco nel fine < Un Flautina alia vigesima seconda.

( Un Clarino con tre trombe sordine.

The lettering has been added in this instance to facilitate reference to the subjoined

Persons. Instruments.

(a) ' The Genius of Music " Two harpsichords.

(b) ' Orpheus " Two string basses.

(c) 'Eurydice" Ten violins.

(d) ' Chorus of Nymphs and Shepherds " . . A harp.

(e) ' Hope " Two small French violins,*

(/) ' Charon " Two large guitars.

(g) ' Chorus of Infernal Spirits " . , . . Two organs with wooden pipes (di legno}.

(A) ' Prosperina " Two instruments resembling violincellos.

(0 'Pluto" Four trombones.

(/) 'Apollo" . ...... A " regal " (small organ).

(k) ' Chorus of Shepherds " Two cornets, a treble-octave flute, a soprano trumpe ;

and three ordinary trumpets united, t

The "cornets" mentioned above deserve a word in passing, inasmuch as a recent writer on
musical history, in commenting on the instrumentation of Monteverde's Orfeo, confounds them
with the modern cornet, and places them accordingly among the brass instruments. As has
already been mentioned (p. 202), these cornets were wooden instruments, and the following
illustrations (p. 205), taken from the " Harmonie Universelle," of Mersennus, published at Paris
in 1636, will show what they really were. J

Orfeo commences with a short orchestral prelude, entitled by the composer " Toccata," and
there is a direction that it should be played three times before the curtain is raised. After the
rise of the curtain there is a ritornello, or interlude for the orchestra. Then the Genius of
Music sings the prologue, which is in verses separated from each other by repetitions of the

* These instruments sounded a third higher than the ordinary violin.

t There were also two flutes, not specified in this list. These performed a duet behind the scenes, in the
second act, as an interlude in a duet for two shepherds, both tenors. Doubtless these flutes were kept out of the
published list of instruments, in order that a more pronounced "effect " might be secured.

^ Their tone would be something like that of the modern clarinet, only very much coarser.



ritornetto. Thereafter the story of Orpheus and Eurydice runs its due course. In the last act
Apollo descends in clouds, and carries Orpheus away with him into the regions of the happy

spirits, and the opera concludes with a short chorus and a dance. Appended is the duet for
Apollo and Orpheus :

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Monteverde wrote a number of operas besides his Orfeo, especially after he settled in Venice as
Chapel-master of St. Mark's ; but of these later works, and those of his disciples, it is not need-
ful that anything should be said. Peri's Euridice represents the experimental stage of opera,
Monteverde's Orfeo the beginning of opera as a settled institution. Both directly and indirectly
music owes many things to one who was so essentially a reformer as was Monteverde. His free
tise of instruments entitles him to be considered one of the fathers of the orchestra ; and from
his extensive employment of instruments it came to pass that the instrumental element was, in
time, largely introduced into Church music, the traditions adopted and extended by Haydn
and Mozart as church composers thus owing their existence in a great part to Monteverde.
His influence on the development of musical instruments must also be recognised; for the
demands he made on the resources of the instruments of his time naturally turned the attention
of men towards their improvement notably so in the case of the violin ; and to the combined
increase in the technical difficulties of instrumental music, and the consequent improvement of
the instruments themselves, we owe the rise of the virtuosi, of whom we may instance Arcangelo
jCorelli (1653-1713), as among the first and greatest, and with the appearance of the virtuosi
the growth of modern violin-playing.

The Oratorio.

Just as the Church, from the earliest times, made use of sculpture and painting as means
of providing object-lessons in faith and morality for the people at large, so also it employed
music and the drama for the same purpose, striving, through these agencies, to convey infor-
mation in such a lively fashion as should fix it in minds but scantily responsive to exhortation,
and of necessity altogether ignorant of books: hence the origin of the Mystery and fhe


In the latter part of the sixteenth century St. Filippo Neri (1515-1595), founder of the Order
of the Oratorians, organised a number of musical and dramatic representations of sacred and
moral subjects. These entertainments, which were the Mysteries and Miracle- plays of earlier
times brought into touch with the requirements of a more enlightened age, were devised with
a view of making the teachings of religion more attractive, and were performed at the Church
of St. Maria in Valicella, at Rome. They were really, after they passed beyond the experi-
mental stage, complete religious operas, requiring for their performance scenery, dresses, and
even dancing.

Starting from small beginnings, the sacred entertainments of the Oratorions developed, as
has been said, into a species of religious opera, and as an example we may cite the work
entitled, La Representazione delF Anima e del Corpo, written by Emilio Cavaliere (1550-1598),
and produced at the church of Valicella in 1600. The following extracts, from the composer's
directions as to the manner of its performance, will give some idea of the nature of the work :

" . . . . After the prologue, Time comes on, and has the note on which he is to begin given him by one of the
players behind the scenes. The chorus, when they sing, are to be in motion, with proper gestures.

" The World and Human Life to be richly dressed ; but when divested of their trappings, to appear wretched,
and, at length, dead carcasses.

During the ritornello the four principal dancers to perform ballet, and to use the galliard, the canary, and the
courant step."

In the hands of Giacomo Carissimi (1604-1674) the Oratorio was wrought into something
more akin to the modern conception of what an Oratorio should be. The Oratorio, however,
made but slow progress in public favour compared with opera; and it is open to question
whether it should be regarded as a genuine product of the Renaissance impulse at all, or
rather as an attempt on the part of the ecclesiastical power to fight the new spirit, in its more
undesirable aspects, at any rate, with its own weapons. Whether its origin, however, can be
legitimately ascribed to the true Renaissance or not, it is, at least, beyond dispute, that its
maturity belongs to the spirit bred of the Reformation.


HAVING briefly sketched the progress of music in Italy under the influence of the Renaissance,
let us now turn to another country Germany, and another intellectual revolution, which
although of itself it added few new forms to the resources of musical art, influenced it mightily
in spirit the Reformation.

Like the Italians, the Germans came under the educative influence of the Flemish masters,
and the work of the German composers of the pre-Reformation period may be roughly summed
up as that of disciples of the Flemings, with, however, a somewhat greater leaning towards
the folk-song than is to be found in other countries. This feeling for folk-music, which was
strong among the people at large, and by no means unknown to the composers of the time,
without doubt owed a great deal to the Meistersingers, who, through the mere force of organi-
sation, preserved popular minstrelsy in Germany as an actual institution until a time* when, in
other lands, it had already become somewhat of a tradition, albeit an honoured one.

German music, of the period immediately anterior to the Reformation, thus presents itself
under a twofold aspect; on the one hand, composers working under Flemish influence, of
wnom Heinrich Isaak (1445-1518), a pupil of Josquin des Pres, may be mentioned as at once
leader and type ; and, on the other, a highly-cultivated folk-song. These two factors formed


what we might call the raw material with which Luther was presently to deal. Martin Luther
himself, it must be remembered, was a musician of respectable attainments. The son of a
poor miner at Eisleben, the possession of a good soprano voice procured his admission to the
local Currende, or choir-school, where he gained a knowledge of the rudiments of music,
doubtless in much the same hard fashion as induced one, who had also been a fifteenth-century
choir-boy, to write

' ' O painefull time ! for every crime
What loosed eares, like baited beares !
What bobbed lippes, what yerkes, what nippes,
What hellish toies !

What robes ! how bare ! what colledge fare !
What bread how stale ! What penny ale !
Then Wallingford how wert thou abhor'd
Of silly boies !

But though the English choir-boys of the time of Henry VIII. were recruited by a species
of press-gang,* they did not, at any rate, sing in the streets in all weathers in order to gain a
few coppers, or food, as did their German brethren of the Currende. Later, as a young
Augustine monk, Luther continued the musical studies begun in the Currende, and when he
came out from the cloister into the world, he brought with him most of what was to be
learned within a monastery in the way of musical knowledge.

In framing the liturgy of the Reformed Church, Luther showed himself liberal-minded and
far-seeing. Whatever his precise musical attainments may have been, he was at least sufficiently
a musician to recognise the value of the music of the Roman Church, and it was his great study
to adapt the Roman Office as far as possible to a service in the vernacular. At the same time,
he was quick to recognise the importance of folk-music, and the enormous advantage to be
gained by adapting it likewise to the service of the Reformed Church. Of the two styles of
music Luther recognised the folk-song as the more spontaneous, and true to nature, so to speak ;
and this recognition found expression in the institution of the Congregational Hymn, and that
other musical form characteristic of the Reformed religion the Chorale or Psalm-tune. Of
these, the hymn may be considered as the direct outcome of the Volkslied, the Chorale as
derived from a combination of the Volkslied and the old cantus firmus.

The first Lutheran hymn-book was published in 1524. It contained eight hymns and five
melodies. In the same year there was also published, at Wittenberg, a "Sacred Song-book,
for three, four, and five voices." This latter publication proves the evident desire of Luther
that the Church music of the reformed religion should be at once more comprehensive, and at
least as artistic, as that of the Catholic Church ; more comprehensive, in so far as it afforded
scope for the participation of the entire congregation, as in the Hymn and the Chorale ; and
as artistic, in that the Reformed ritual should afford the same opportunities for the composer
as the Roman one. Luther shows himself as a broad-minded musician again, in his efforts to
devise a German Mass, and it is difficult to imagine what degree of advancement Protestant
Church-music might not have reached, had it only been possible for it to have progressed
uninterruptedly, and in harmony with the Reformer's own ideas. For a variety of reasons,
however, it was impossible that this advancement should take place. Luther, in this respect,
was a man before his time, and it would have needed a dynasty of Luthers, to have piloted the
Church-music of the Reformed religion, as projected by its founder, into smooth waters. War,
also, made its influence felt, and conduced to a perpetuation of such forms of religious music
as were most adapted to unsettled times, for which reason the Hymn and the Chorale came into

* In the Ashmolean Museum, at Oxford, there is a warrant issued by Queen Elizabeth, which thus concludes
" And we give power to the bearer of this to take any singing men or boys, from any chapel, our own houst
hold and St. Paul's only excepted. Given at Westminster, the 8th day of March, in the second year of our reign."


Beater prominence than ever. When more peaceful times came, the Lutherans had learned
m the days of their adversity to cherish the Hymn and the Psalm-Tune, and they emerged
from the strife with a sterner conception of religion than their founder's, and a certain contempt
for elaborate music to which Luther had been altogether a stranger. Thus it will be seen that
we owe little in the way of new forms to the Reformation ; but it is beyond dispute that to the
spirit of the Reformation we are indebted for much of that which is most excellent in Bach
and Handel.



THE Tuscan music-drama was introduced into France during the time of the Italian ascendency,
when Louis XIV. was still a minor, and the royal power was exercised nominally by the queen-
mother, Anne of Austria, but really by Cardinal Mazarin. The fame of the music-drama had
spread to France; and in 1645 a company of Italian singers came to Paris, on the invitation
of Mazarin, and gave a performance of La Festa Teratuale della Finta Pazza, an opera by
Strozzi and Torelli. The performance was a great success, and two years later a performance
of Peri's Euridice met with a like success.* About this time Corneille and Moliere were
becoming centres of influence as regards the French stage, and from the dramatic revival thus
taking place, and the interest aroused by the music-drama of the Italians, there arose a strong
desire on the part of French musicians to distinguish themselves also in this new region of art
which they beheld thrown open.

The first of these writers was Robert Cambert (1628-1677), organist of the Church of St.
Honore" at Paris. With the same artistic sincerity which had distinguished his Italian precursors,
Cambert appears to have endeavoured to apply those principles which had guided Peri and
Monteverde to circumstances naturally differing somewhat from those existing in Italy, and not
to have been a mere imitator of things fashionable for the nonce. With an evident desire to
work out his conception of opera on lines at once independent and national, he selected as his
models the pastoral plays which had long been popular in France. His first opera, Pomona,
was produced in the early part of 1671, and his second, The Pains and Pleasures of Love,
appeared towards the end of the same year. In a preface to the latter opera he explains the
principles upon which he had based his conception of a music-drama, in very much the same
terms as Peri had employed over half a century earlier, and like Peri and Rinuccini he, too,
has something to say about the ancient Greeks.

Cambert's operas were a great success, and Cambert himself was fortune's favourite, until a
greater man appeared on the scene in the person of Jean Baptiste Lully (1633-1687). It is
impossible to say whether Lully was really a better musician than Cambert or not, for there is
little or none of Cambert's music extant ; but better musician or worse, Lully had many advan-
tages over Cambert, and the old favourite had speedily to give place to the new. Cambert
was an organist : Lully was a great violinist, a good actor, a dancer, and a thorough master of
everything pertaining to the theatre. He had, likewise, all those personal qualities which go
to the making of the eminently successful man, address, resource, vast energy, and a certain
convenient elasticity of principle.

Unquestionably Lully established the French opera on a firmer and more practical basis
than Cambert, and effected many improvements in it These improvements were all of a

* Mazarin is said to have spent enormous sums of money on these operas. The cost of the production of

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