George Grove.

A dictionary of music and musicians (A.D. 1450-1889) by eminent writers, English and foreign : with illustrations and woodcuts (Volume 4) online

. (page 147 of 194)
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This, then, is probably all that remains of
work of this remarkable man. It is hardly £
ficient to enable us to judge how well fount
his reputation was, but it is enough to show tl
for his time he was a man of remarkable pow
He forms the one link between the early Engl
school which produced the ' Eota,' and the sch
of the early i6th century which produced si
men as Cornysshe, Pigot, and Fayrfax. I
between the two there is a distinct break. 'J
men of the later generation are far infer
to their Netherlandisli contemporaries, wl
Dunstable was equal, if not superior, to Du
and Binchois. This singular fact can only
accounted for by other than purely musical r
sons. The death of Dunstable took place
1453, at the very time when the Wars of
Eoses broke out, and for years England \
thrown into a state of hopeless confusion s
disorganization, which must have stopped
progress of all the arts of civilization.^ Dur:
this period, music, like everything else, m'
have suffered, and it is doubtless for this reaj
that we possess so little of Dan stable's wo
On the re-establishment of order under Hei
VII. the old English school — probably cons:
ing of only a small knot of men — was dispen
or forgotten, and the inspiration of the Co
composers of Henry VII. and of the early ye
of Henry VIII. was distinctly derived from B
gundy and the Netherlands, which had b(
making rapid progress under Dufay's success
• — Olieghem, Hobrecht, and Josquin — wI
England, plunged in the miseries of civil w
had forgotten the art in which she had made
good a beginning. Thus it was that Dunstal
was forgotten. Fuller, when he came across

2 It has been the misfortune of English music to suffer more (
once from political events. The violent interruptions caused by
Iteformation and the Great Rebellion were as disastrous in t
effects upon later schools of English mu<ic as were the Wars of
Eoses upon the school of Dunstable. More peaceably, but no
unfortunately, the advent of the Hanoverian dynasty, with its
man court and Italian opera, crushed the school of English o
which Purcell founded.



DUNSTABLE.



dvo:r1k.



•621



taphs, made meny that a ' person of such per-
tion ' should be so unknown. The epitaphs
. worth reprinting. The first was on his tomb-
ne in St. Stephen's, Walbrook. Stow ^ saj'S
vas inscribed on ' two faire plated stones in the
ancell, each by other.' It runs as follows : —

landit hoc tumulo, qui Crelum pectore clausit
nnstaple I. juris, astromm consciua illo-
adice novit hiramis abscondita pandere coeli.
JO vir erat tua laus, tua lux, tua musica princeps,
uique tuas dulces ^ per mundum sperserat* onus,
nno Jill. Equater, semel L. trias jungito CJiriati.
ridie natale sidus transmigrat ad astra,
ascipiant proprium civem cceli sibi cives.

Che other epitaph is preserved in Weever's
jnerall Monuments' (1631), where it is
)ted from a MS. in the Cottonian Library,
taining a number of poetical epitaphs written
John of Whethamstede, Abbot of St. Al-
.'s:—

pen John Dtmstable, an astiologian, a mathema-

in, a musitian, and what not.

usicus hie Michalus alter, novusque Ptholomeus,

inior ao Athlas supportans robore celos,

»usat sub cinere; melior vir de muliere

unquam natus erat; vicii quia labe carebat,

t virtutibus opes possedit vincus omnes.

IT esoptetur, sic optandoque precetur

jrpetuis annis celebretur i'ama Johannis

anstapil; in. pace requiescat et hie sine fine.

[W.B.S.]
)UPONT, AuGUSTE, born at Ensival near
ge, Feb. 9, 1828, was educated at the Lifege
iservatoire, and after several years spent in
cessful travel as a pianist was appointed
rofessor of the Brussels Conservatoire. His
.•ks for the pianoforte are numerous, and
w a thorough knowledge of the instrument,
iy are cast in a popular mould, and may be
I to belong to the class of drawing-room
sic, but they are free from all that is mere-
ious. A ' Concertstiick ' (op. 42) and a
icerto in F minor (op. 49) both with orchestral
Dmpaniment, are his most ambitious works,
long his solo pieces the best are ' Eoman en
pages ' (op. 48), a set of short pieces showing

influence of Schumann in their structure,
■. ' Contes du Foyer ' (op. 12). A set of songs
|ed ' Poeme d' amour,' contains much that is
|ising and original. His younger brother,
|OSEPH, born at Ensival, Jan. 3, 1838, edu-
ijd at Li^ge and Brussels, has attained great
Linction as an operatic conductor. He has
1 posts of this kind successively at Warsaw,
icow, and Brussels, where he has been pro-
|0r of hai-mony at the Conservatoire, and
ductor at the Theatre de la Monnaie, and at

Association des Artistes Musiciens since
2. In the following year he succeeded Vieux-
ips as director of the Concerts Populaires.
Hng the final seasons of Mr. Gye's manage-
it of Italian Opera, M. Dupont conducted
ay of the most important performances given
Movent Garden. [M.]

)UPORT, Jean Piekee. Add date of death,
;. 31. Add that Jean Louis Dupokt made

d^but at the Concert Spirituel in 1 768, and
1 Sept, 7, 18 19.



tow's Survey, 1633, p. 245.
'tulces' (Fuller).



2 Fuller reads ' ille.'
< 'sparserat artes ' CFuller).



DUPUIS, Dk. Correct date of birth to 1730,
and add day of death, July 17.

DURANTE, Francesco. Line 1 7, for not
£20 read about £55.

DUSSEK, J. L. P. 477 h, in catalogue of
works, add that ' The Captive of Spilburg ' was
written in collaboration with Michael Kelly.
It should of course be spelt Spielberg.

DUSSEK, Sophia. Line 1 1 ,for 1 8 10 reacZ 1 8 1 2.

DY0KAK,5 Antonin, born Sept. 8, 1841,
at Miihlhausen (Nelahozeves) near Kralup in
Bohemia. His father, Franz Dvorak, the butcher
and innkeeper of the place, destined him for
the first of these trades. The bands of itin-
erant musicians who used to come round on
great occasions and play in the inn, roused his
musical ambition, and he got the village school-
master to teach him to sing and play the violin.
His progress was so remarkable that before long
he was promoted to singiug occasional solos in
church, and to playing the violin on holidays.
During one such performance, in Passion tide,
he broke down from nervousness. In 1853 his
father sent him to a better school at Zlonitz,
putting him under the care of an uncle. Here
his musical studies were superintended by the
organist, A. Liehmann, who taught him the
organ and pianoforte, as well as a certain amount
of theory, such as would enable him to play
from a figured bass, modulate, or extemporize
with moderate success. Two years afterwards
he was sent to learn German, and so to finish
his education, at Kamnitz, where the organist
Hancke taught him for a year, after which he
returned to Zlonitz, his father having in the
meanwhile removed there. He prepared a sur-
prise for his relations in the shape of an original
composition, a polka, which he arranged to have
performed on some festive occasion. The musi-
cians started, but a series of the most frightful
discords arose, and the poor composer realised
too late the fact that he had written the parts for
the transposing instruments as they were to
sound, instead of writing them as they were to
be placed! By this time his intense desire to
devote himself to music rather than to the
modest career marked out for him by his father,
could no longer be disguised, but it was not
until many months had been spent in discussions,
in which the cause of art was materially helped
by the organist, who foresaw a brilliant future
for his pupil, that the father's objections were
overcome, and permission given for Anton to go
to Prague and study music, in the hope of
getting an organist's appointment. In Oct. 1857
he went to tlie capital and entered the organ
school supported by the ' Gesellscliaft der
Kirchenmusik in Bohmen.' At the beginning of
the three years' course he received a modest
allowance from his father, but even this ceased
after a short time, and the boy — for he was little
more — was thrown on his own resources. His
violin-playing came in most usefully at this time,
and indeed without it it is difficult to see how

5 The accent over the K indicates the presence of a letter pronounced
as the French J.



G22 DVOMK.

lie could have kept himself alive. He joined
one of the town-bands as viola-player, and for
some three years lived upon the meagre earnings
obtained in cafes and other places of the same
kind. When a Bohemian theatre was opened in
Prague in 1862, the band to which he belonged
was employed to provide the occasional music,
and when that institution was established on a
firm basis, as the National Theatre, Dvorak,
with some others of his companions, was chosen
a member of the orchestra. While here he
benefited by his intercourse with Smetana, who
held the post of conductor from 1866 to 1874.
A kind friend was found in Carl Bendl, a native
of Prague, who after holding important musical
posts at Brussels and Amsterdam, had returned
in 1866 to Prague as conductor of a choral
society, and who gave Dvoi-:lk every opportunity
in his power of becoming acquainted with the
masterpieces of art. His own resources were of
course not sufficient to allow him to buy scores,
and the possession of a piano of his own was not
to be thought of. In spite of these drawbacks,
he worked on steadily at composition, exjDeri-
menting in almost every form of music. As
early as 1862 he had written a string quintet;
by 1865 two symphonies were completed ; about
this time a grand opera on the subject of Alfred
was composed to a German libretto, and many
songs were written. The most ambitious of
these efforts were afterwards committed to the
flames by their author. In 1873 he was ap-
pointed organist of St. Adalbert's church in
Prague, a stroke of good fortune which allowed
him not only to give up his orchestral engage-
ment, but to take to himself a wife. He in-
creased his scanty salary by taking private
pupils, but as jet his circumstances were ex-
ceedingly humble.

It was in this, his 32nd year, that he first
came before the public as a composer, with the
patriotic cantata or hymn, written to words by
Halek, 'Die Erben des weissen Eerges ' (The
heirs of the white mountain). The subject was
happily chosen, and the spontaneous and
thoroughly national character of the music
ensured its success. In the same year one
of two Notturnos for orchestra was per-
formed, and in 1874 an entire symphony in
E b, and a scherzo from a symphony in
D minor were given. Neither of these sym-
phonies appear in his list of works ; they were
not the same as the two earlier compositions,
which were in B b and E minor respectively.
By this time the composer had begun to make
a name for himself, and the authorities of the
National Theatre resolved to produce an opera
by him. When ' Der Konig und der Kohler '
('The King and the Collier') was put into
rehearsal, however, it turned out to be quite
impracticable, owing to the wildly unconven-
tional style of the music, and the composer
actually had the courage to rewrite it altogether,
preserving scarcely a note of the original score.
In this form it was successfully produced, and, the
rumour of his powers and of the scantiness of his



dvokIk.



resources reaching Vienna, he received in the
lowing year a pension of about ^£50 per annum fr
the Kultusmiuisterium. This stipend, increai
in the following year, was the indirect mean
procuring him the friendship and encouragem-
of Johannes Brahms, who, on Herbeck's de;
in i877> was appointed to succeed him on
commission formed for examining the com
sitions of the recipients of this grant. In
way the delightful collection of duets, cal
' Kliinge aus Mahren,' came before the Vienn
composer, and it is not to be wondered at
lie discerned in them all the possibilities
lay before their author. A wonderfully ha]
use of national characteristics is the most
tractive feature of these duets, and a gi
opportunity for again displaying his knowde^
of these peculiarities was soon given him;
received a commission from Siinrock the
lisher to write a series of ' Slavische Tanze
jjianoforte duet. The work, completed in
had almost as great a success as the Hungar
dances of Brahms, published several years befi
The wide popularity which the dances rapi
attained in all parts of Germany led, as
only natural, to the publication of compositi
of every form, which the composer had aln
despaired of ever seeing in print. It was 1
evident to all musicians that a new and fi
developed composer had arisen, not a n
student whose progress from lighter to ir
elaborate forms could be watched and discus;
but a master whose style was completely forn
and whose individuality had, in itsdevelopm'
escaped all the trammels of convention,
long experience of orchestras had served
well, and had given him a feeling for ins
mental colouring such as has been acquired
very few even of those composers whose educa
has been most complete. But though mu;
culture and the constant intercourse with ar
and critics undoubtedly tend to crush distinc
originality, they have their advantages too,
a comi^oser who wishes to employ the clasi
forms with ease and certainty will hardlj
able to dispense with these necessary evils,
judging of Dvorak's works, it must alway
remembered that a large amount of his chac
music was written without any immediate
spect of a public performance, and wit'
receiving any alterations such as judic
criticism might have suggested.

Since the publication of the ' Slavische Tii I,'
the composer has been in the happy positi( of
the country which has no history, or rathe is
history is to be read in his works, not in ij
biogi-aphy. Of late years England has pi ed
an important part in his career. Since he
dances above referred to were arranged W
orchestra, and played at the Crystal Palace ,IW>
Feb. 15, 1879) his name has become fflr
dually more and more prominent, and it ca at
be said that the English musical world ifl^
been remiss in regard to this composer, whaiji*
may be our shortcomings in some other resfjll
An especial meed of praise is due to an am;,i|^



DVORAK.

iciation, the London Musical Society, which
Vlarcl) lo, 1883, introduced to the metropolis
setting of the ' Stabat Mater,' composed as
J as 1876, though not published till 1881.
)lic attention was at once aroused by the
raordinary beauty and individuality of the
sic, and the composer was invited to conduct
jerforniance of the work at the Albert
U, which took place on March 13. In the
umn of 1884 he was again asked to conduct
;t the Worcester Festival, and at the same
e received a commission from the authorities
write a short cantata for the next year's
mingham Festival. This resulted in the
iposition of 'The Spectre's Bride,' to a
lemian version by K. J. Erben of the fami-

• 'Lenore' legend, which, although it was
sented in a veiy inadequate translation of a
mian version, obtained a success as remark-
e as it was well-deserved, carrying off the
3f honours of the festival. This, as well as an
torio on the subject of St. Ludmila, written
the Leeds Festival of 1886, were conducted
the composer himself.

[his is not the place for a detailed criticism of
oif^k's works, nor can we attempt to foretell
at position his name will ultimately occupy
ong the composers of our time ; it may how-
T be permitted to draw attention to the more
^ing characteristics of his music. An ines-
astible wealth of melodic invention and a
a variety of colouring are the qualities which
st attract us, together with a certain unex-
itedness, from which none of his works are
oily free. The imaginative faculty is very
ongly developed, so that he is at his best
en treating subjects in which the romantic
ment is prominent. It must be admitted that
; works in the regular classical forms are the
st favourable specimens of his powers. When
consider the bent of his nature and the
cnmstances of his early life, this is not to be
ndered at ; the only wonder is that his con-
■ted compositions should be as numerous and
successful as they are. As a rule, the interest
those movements in which an adherence to
ict form is necessary, is kept up, not so much
ingenious developments and new presentments
the themes, as by the copious employment of
w episodes, the relationship of which to the
incipal subjects of the movement is of the
ghtest. But in spite of these technical de-
rtures from time-honoured custom, the most
!ni purist cannot refuse to yield to the in-
ence of the firesh charm with which the
mposer invests his ideas, and in most of his
>w movements and scherzos there is no room

• cavil. These two important sections of the
aata or symphony form have been materially
riched by Dvorak in the introduction and
iployment of two Bohemian musical forms,
at of the ' Dumka' or elegy, and the ' Furiant,'

kind of wild scherzo. Both these forms,
-ogether new to classical music, have been
ed by him in chamber music and symphonies,
d also separately, as in op. 12, op. 35, and op.42.



DVORAK.



623



To his orchestral works the slight censure
passed upon his chamber compositions does not
apply. In his symphonies and other works in
this class, the continual variety and ingenuity
of his instrumentation more than make up for
any sucli deficiencies as we have referred to in
the treatment of the themes themselves, while his
mastery of effect compels our admiration at every
turn. Beside the three symphonies, op. 24,' 60, and
70, and the overtures which belong to his operas,
we may mention a set of ' Symphonic Variations '
(op. 40), a ' Scherzo capriccioso ' (op. 66), and
the overtures 'MeinHeim' (op. 62) and 'Hu-
sitska' (op. 67), both written on themes from
Bohemian volkslieder.

Although in such works as the concerto op.
33, the pianoforte quartet in D, op. 23, and
the three trios, op. 21, 26, and 65, Dvorak
has given evidence of a thorough knowledge of
pianoforte effect, his works for that instrument
alone form the smallest and least important class
of his compositions, and it cannot be denied that
though the waltzes and mazurkas contain much
that is piquant and exceedingly original, his
contributions to pianoforte music are by no
means representative.

His songs belong for the most part to the
eai'lier period of his career, but considering the
extraordinary success attained by the 'Zigeuner-
Keder ' on their publication, it is surprising that
the other songs are not more frequently heard.
These 'gipsy songs' show the composer at his
best, uniting as they do great effectiveness with
tender and irresistible pathos. His use of gipsy
rhythms and intervals is also most happy.

In his operas, if we may judge from those of
which the vocal scores are published, his ligliter
mood is most prominent. 'Der Bauer ein Schelm '
(' The Peasant a Rogue ') is fuU of vivacity and
charm, and contains many excellent ensembles.
Both in this and in ' Die Dickschadel ' (' The
obstinate daughter,' literally ' The Thickhead ')
his love for piquant rhythm is constantly per-
ceptible, and both bear a strong affinity in style
to the ' Klange aus Miihren ' duets.

None of his earlier works for chorus gave
promise of what was to come in the 'Stabat
Mater.' The ' Heirs of the White Mountain '
is melodious, and contains passages of great
vigour, and the 'local colour,' though by no
means prominent, is skilfully used; but even
those musicians who knew his previous compo-
sitions can scarcely have expected his setting of
the Latin hymn to be full of the highest
qualities which can be brought into requisition.
Perhaps the most striking feature of his work is
the perfect sympathy of its character with that
of the words. The Bohemian composer has not
only thrown off all trace of his own nationality,
but has adopted a style which makes it difficult
to believe him not to have studied the best
Italian models for a lifetime before setting pen
to paper. We do not mean for a moment to

1 The Symphony in F. written in 1S73. to which the above number
should liave been affixed, has just beeH published as op. 76. The
first performance touk place at the Crystal Palace, April 7, 1888.



624



DVOilAK.



hint at any want of originality, for here, as else-
where, the composer is indebted to no one for
any part of his ideas. But in such numbers as
the ' Inflammatus ' and others the Italian influ-
ence is quite unmistakable. It has been well
remarked that he treats the hymn from the point
of view of * absolute music ' ; that is to say, that
he dwells, not so much upon the meaning or
dramatic force of each verse or idea, as upon the
general emotion of the whole. It is this, no
doubt, which leads him into an apparent dis-
regard of the order and connection of the words
of the hymn, though a more commonplace
reason, must, we fear, be assigned for the not
infrequent false quantities in the setting of the
Latin verse. These eiTors in detail serve to
remind us of the deficiencies in Dvorak's early
training, and to increase our admiration for the
genius of a composer, who, in spite of so many
drawbacks, has succeeded, more perfectly than any
other modern writer, in reflecting the spirit of the
ancient hymn.

In ' The Spectre's Bride ' the composer has
reached an even higher point, and given the
world a masterpiece which is not unworthy to
stand beside those most weird of musical crea-
tions, the Erlkonig and the FUegende Hollander.
The sustained interest of the narrator's part,
more especially after the climax of the story
has been reached, the ingenuity with which the
difficulty of the thrice recurring dialogue be-
tween the lovers has been overcome, the moder-
ation in the use of those national characteristics
which we have mentioned above, so that their
full beauty and force are brought into the most
striking prondnence ; these are some of the
features which make it one of the most remark-
able compositions of our time, to say nothing of
the beauty and power of the music itself, or of
the richness of the orchestral colouring. It
must be felt that the man who could create such
a work as this has everything within his grasp,
and the assertion that no subsequent composition
is likely to equal ' The Spectre's Bride' in beauty
or originality would be premature, though it is
difficult to refrain from making it.

In the longest and most recent of his works,
the oratorio of ' St. Ludmila,' it is evident that
the tastes and prejudices of the English public
were kept too constantly in mind by the com-
poser. A large proportion of the numbers pro-
duce the effect of having been written imme-
diately after a diligent study of the oratorios of
Handel and Mendelssohn. We do not mean to
accuse Dvorak of conscious or direct plagiarism,
but it cannot be denied that the freedom and
originality which give so great a charm to all
his other works are here, if not wholly absent,
at least not nearly as conspicuous as they are
elsewhere. In the heathen choruses of the first
part the individuality of the composer is felt,
and at intervals in the later divisions of the
work his hand can be traced, but on the whole,
it must be confessed that ' St. Ludmila,' even as
it was presented at Leeds, by executants all of
whom were absolutely perfect in their various



DVORAK.

oflices, and under the composer's own direct
proved extremely monotonous.

There is no reasonable cause for doubting i
the composer will soon again give us a w
worthy of ranking with the ' Stabat Mater
' The Spectre's Bride,' Meanwhile, it se
somewhat strange that none of his operas she
have seen the light in England, where the vo
of his compositions has been so remarka
Of his five operas, only ' Der Bauer ein Sche
has as yet been heard elsewhere than in Pra|
having been given at Dresden and Hamburg

The following is as complete a list of Dvor
works as can be made at the present time ;
lacimcB in the series of opus-numbers will poss:
be filled up in the future by some of theearlierc
positions which have not yet been published :

1. 50. Three Neugriecbiscbe

2. Four Songs.

3. Four Songs.

4. DieErbendeswelssenBerges.i

Patriotic Hyma for mixed
chorus, to words by H&lek.
6. Das Waisenkind. Ballad for
Voice and PF.

6. Four Serbian Songs.

7. Four Bohemian Souga.



Silhouetten for PF.
9. Four Songs.
10.

11. Komance for Violin and Or-

chestra.

12. Furiantand Dumka for PF.
13.
14.

15. Ballade for Violin and PF.

16. String Quartet in A minor.

17. Six Songs.

18. String Quintet in G.

19. Three Latin Hymns for Voice

and Organ.

20. Four vocal Duets.

21. Trio in Bb for PF. and String^;.



Online LibraryGeorge GroveA dictionary of music and musicians (A.D. 1450-1889) by eminent writers, English and foreign : with illustrations and woodcuts (Volume 4) → online text (page 147 of 194)