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 53 of 194)
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228



VARIATIONS.



Ex. 24. (Variation 13)
Vivace.



VARIATIONS,







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(10) (xi) (12)



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da)-*- • -*■






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(14)



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ilMzSrilS:



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(15)



(16)



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ffi^S



(17)



Another most wonderful variation is the twen-
tieth, in which again there is a mere suggestion
of the theme woven into mazes of transitions,
passing away from the harmony of the theme in
the less essential points, but always making the
balance even again at the close, melodic and
structural principles being mixed up almost in-
extricably. Example 25 shows the portion of
this variation corresponding to the part of the
theme given in Ex. 23 : —

Ex.25. (Variation 23).
Andante.




In almost all the variations except the fugue
(no. 32) the periods are kept quite clear, and
match the original faithfully ; and this is the
strongest point in helping the hearer or reader
to follow the connection. The free fugue, which
comes last but one, is exactly in the very best
place to break any sense of monotony in the
recurrence of these exact periods, while the last j
variation sets the balance even again in a very ^
distinct and weighty way, in favour of the plan
and melody of the theme.

In connection with the point illustrated by
the fugue in this set, it is noticeable that
Beethoven from the first seems to have aimed
at relieving in some striking and decisive way
the monotony which is liable to result from the
constant recurrence of short sections, and the
persistence of one key. His codas are frequently
very long and free, and often contain extra
variations mixed up with telling passages of
modulation. The early set of variations on »
theme by Eighini (1790) affords one remarkable
illustration of this, and the twelve on the Russian
air from 'Das Waldmadchen ' (1797), another.
In the last movement of op. Ill the same end is
gained by the string of tran sitions in the body of the
movement before the last two variations; a similar
passage occurs in the slow movement of the 9th
Symphony; and in a few instances he gained the
same end by putting some of the variations in a
different key, as in those of the Eb Quartet, which
also contain a modulating episode near the end.

The history of variations seems to be summed
up in the set we have just been considering. In (
the earlier stages of the art the plan of the bass (
and the harmonies indicated by it was generally i
the paramount consideration with composers, t
and great technical ingenuity was expended. In
characteristic sets of the earlier sonata-period
the melody became paramount, and technical
ingenuity was scarcely attempted. In Beetho-
ven's latest productions structural and melodic
elements are brought to a balance, and made
to minister in all the ways that artistic ex-
jierience and musical feeling could suggest to
the development of the ideas which lie in the
kernel of the theme, and to the presentation of
them in new lights.



I



VAEIATIONS.



^^



VARIATIONS.



229



No composer had ever before attempted to
oduce variations on sucli principles as Bee-
oven did, and the art has hardly progressed

detail or in plan since his time ; but several
mposers have produced isolated examples,
aich are really musical and interesting. Schu-
rt is particidaiiy happy in the variations
. the *Tod und Madchen' theme in the D
inor Quartet, in which there is great beauty

sound, charm of idea, and contrast of style,
ithout anything strikingly original or ingenious

principle. Weber produced numbers of very
Pective and characteristic sets for pianoforte.
Mendelssohn left one or two artistic works of
,e kind, of which the ' Variations serieuses '

the best. In this set there are happy instru-
ental effects, and the whole makes an effective
anoforte piece ; but Mendelssohn's view of this
anch of art was only at the level of the simple
indard of Mozart, and not even so free and
ontaneous as Haydn's ; and in his application

melodic and structural principles he is ex-
jmely strict. Far more interesting is Schu-
^nn's treatment of the form in such examples

the Andante and Variations for two pianos,
.d the well-known 'Etudes Symphoniques.'
is view of the art tended to independence as
uch as Mendelssohn's did to rigidity, and at
nes he was even superfluously free in his
adering of the structural aspect of the theme,
is devices are less noticeable for ingenuity than
p the boldness with which he gives a thoroughly
irm, free, and romantic version of the theme,

works up some of its characteristic figures
to a. movement of nearly equal proportions
ith it. — '•

By far the finest variations since Beethoven
e the numerous sets by Brahms, who is akin to
jethoven more especially in those character-
ics of intellect and strong emphatic character,
liich seem to make variations one of the most
,tural modes of expressing ideas. In the Va-
itions and Fugue on a theme of Handel's
[j. 24), the superb set for orchestra cm a
erne of Haydn (op. 56 a), those for four hands
. a theme of Schumann's (op. 23), the two
iganini sets, and the fine set on an original
eme in D (op. 21, no. i), he has not only
own complete mastery and perception of all
oects of the form, but a very unusual power of
ssenting his theme in different lights, and

^ing a most powerful individuality both of
;ythm and figure to the several members of
i;h series. His principles are in the main

jse of Beethoven, while he applies such de-

;e3 as condensation of groups of chords,
' ticipations, inversions, analogues, sophistica-

n by means of chromatic passing notes, etc.,
' th an elaborate but fluent inc::enuity wluch
f netimes makes the tracing of the theme in a
" riation quite a difiicult intellectual exercise.
- 1 analysis almost always proves the treatment
1 be logical, and the general impression is
« Bciently true to the theme in broad outline
J the principle of the form to be intelligible.
.. uses double variations with the happiest



effect, as in those on the theme by Haydn,
wliere the characteristic repetition of halves is
sometimes made specially interesting by building
one variation upon another, and making the
repetition a more elaborate version of the first
form of each half of the variation. Where the
vaiiations are strongly divided from one another,
and form a string of separate little pieces, the
contrasts and balances are admirably devised. In
some cases again the sets are specially noticeable
for their continuity, and for the way in which one
variation seems to glide into another ; while they
are sometimes connected by different treatment
of similar figures, so that the whole presents a
happy impression of unity and completeness.
Brahms is also, like Beethoven, most successful
in his codas. Two very large ones are the fugue
in the Handel set, and the fine, massive coda
on a ground-bass derived from the first phrase
of the theme, in the Haydn variations. Another
on a large scale, but in different style, is that
which concludes the Hungarian set (op. 21,
no. 2.)

In the following examples — which show the
first four bars of the theme, and the correspond-
ing portion of the third variation in the first Paga-
nini set, the nature of several very characteristic
devices, such as anticipation, insertion of new
chords between essential points of the harmonic
succession, doubling the variation by giving the
repetition of each half in full, with new touches
of effect, etc.,^-is illustrated.




^^ Q (2) and \^ Q

^— (4)



230



VARIATIONS.



VATJCORBEIL.



A peculiar adaptation of the Variation-prin-
ciple to the details of other forms of art remains
to be noticed. In this also Beethoven led the
way. A very fine example is the conclusion of
the Marcia Funebre of the Eroica symphony,
where the subject is made to express a terrible
depth of grief by the constant breaks of the
melody, which seem to represent sobs. A
similar device — in that case amounting to a com-
plete variation — is the repetition of the short
'Arioso dolente' in A b minor in the middle of
the final fugue in the Sonata in Ab (op. no).
Here again the object is obviously to intensify
the sadness of the movement by constant breaks
and irregularities of rhythm. Another passage
of the same kind is the end of the overture to
• Coriolan.'

With a similar view Berlioz has given varied
forms of his ' id(5e fixe ' in the ' Episode de la
vie d'un artiste'; adapting it each time to the
changed conditions implied by the movement in
which it appears. Its original form is as fol-
lows : —
Ex. 28.



;^^=i



In the ball scene it takes a form appropriate to
the dance motion : —



-&1



^^=E=



E^^



Another form occurs in the 'Scene aux Champs,'
and in the final ' Nuit de Sabbat ' it is purposely
brutalised into the following : —



Ex. 30.



^^S



E?£E^SS^



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t^



Wagner, carrying out the same method on a
grander scale, has made great use of it in adapt-
ing his ' leitmotiven' to the changed circum-
stances of the individuals or ideas to which they
belong. One of the most remarkable instances
is the change from one of Siegfried's tunes as
given by his own horn in his early days, repre-
senting his light-hearted boyish stage of life —

Ex. 31.

-J-



to the tune which represents him as the full-
grown hero bidding adieu to Briinnhilde, which
is given with the whole force of the orchestia.
Ex. 32.



£' f.rf

Liszt has frequently made characteristic varia-
tions of his prominent figures for the same pur-



'Les



poses, as in the 'Faust' symphony, and
Preludes.'

Among the devices known as ' assthetic,' v. na-
tions again play a most prominent part ; move-
ments of symphonies and sonatas, etc., being
often linked together by different forms of the
s.ame idea. Interesting examples of this are to
be met with in .Schumann's Symphonies in D
minor and C, and again in Brahms's Symphony i
in D. [See Symphony, pp. 35 and 42.] 1

In such a manner the principle of variation
has pervaded all musical art from its earliest
d.ays to its latest, and appears to be one of its
most characteristic and interesting features. In
its early stages it was chiefly a mechanical de-
vice, but as the true position of ideas in music
has come more and more to be felt and under-
stood, the more obvious has it become that they
can be represented indifferent phases. Thus the
interest of the development of instrumental move-
ments in modern symphonies and sonatas is fre-
quently enhanced by the way in whic'a the sub-
jects are varied when they are reintroduced
according to the usual principles of structure
in operas and similar works ever since Mozart'i
time characteristic features are made all th(
more appropriate by adapting them to diffeien
situations ; and it is even possible that after al
its long history the Variation still affords onP
of the most favourable opportunities for tht
exercise of their genius by composers of th
future. [C.H.H.P.

VAESOVIANA. A dance very similar i
character to the Polka, Mazurka, and Eedows
It is probably of French origin, and seems t
have been introduced by a dancing-master name
Desire in 1853. Somewhat later it was muc
danced at the Tuileries balls, and is said to hav
been a favourite with the Empress Eugenie. Tl
music is characterised by strong accents on tl
first notes of the second and fourth bars, co
responding to marked pauses in the dance. Tl
tempo is rather slow. The following is the tm^-
to which the Varsoviana was generally danced:



'\




[W.B.5

VASCELLO-FANTASMA. IL. An Itali
version of Wagner's ' Flying Dutchman.' P
duced at the Royal Italian Opera, Covent G
den, June 16, 1S77. [(

VATJCORBEIL, Augcste Emmancel, wb
real name was Veaucorbeille, born at Rou
Dec. 15, 1 82 1, son of an actor long a favoui
at the Gymnase under the name of Ferville.
entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1835, wh
he was patronised by Queen Marie Amelie, v
made him an allowance. Ilere he studied se'
years, Dourlen being his master for harmo
while Cherubini gave him some advice on ci
position. He took the second solfeggio priziS';^



VAUCORBEIL.

3S. He first tried to earn his living by singing-
isor . As a skilled musician, and man of polished
mi,£rs, he made friends, and became the pet
mposer of certain amateur circles. His first
blication was 22 songs, of which a 'Simple
lanson ' had a well-earned success. His cham-
r music — two string-quartets, some sonatas
• PF. and violin, and one for viola, and

suites for PF. — is well constructed, with
3as at once ingenious and refined, qualities
lich also form the leading features of a 3-act
)era-Coniique 'LaBataille d'Amour' (April 13,
63), and a scena with chorus, 'La Mort de
ane,' sung by Mme. Krauss at a Conservatoire
acert (1870). Of an unpublished opera, 'Ma-
met,' we know only some fragments played in
77, but as far as we can judge, the fire, energy,
owledge of effect, and passion, required for
:cess on the stage were not quahties possessed

M. Vaucorbeil. Finding that composition
ered no prospect, he resolved to try a dif-
ent branch, and in 1872 accepted the post of
rernment commissary of thesubsidised theatres.

1878 he obtained the title of Inspecteur des
aux Arts, and soon after was made director of
; Opera for seven years, entering on his functions
agreement with M. Halanzier, Julj' 16, 1879.
new era seemed to have opened for the first
3ra-house in Paris ; but instead of securing
! services of such artists as Faure, Gayarre,
ne. Fidfes-Devr'fes, etc., he chose his singers
m among the young prize-winners at the Con-
vatoire — a system of * reducing expenses '
ich has not been to the advantage of French
nposers. M. Vaucorbeil himself was a victim
his endeavours to manage this unmanageable
:atre. He died after a short illness Nov. 2,
54. [G.C.]

i^AUDEVILLE, a French word, which has

1 successively four meanings; (i) a popular
ig, generally satirical ; (2) couplets inserted in
play; (3) the play itself; and lastly (4) a
latre for plays of this kind, with songs. Most
mologists derive the word from Vaux de
re, the name given to songs sung in the
leys {vaux) near Vire by a certain fuller and
ig-writer named Olivier Basselin, who died at
re in the 15th century. His songs were col-
ted and published in 161 o by an avocat named
m le Houx, who may virtually be considered
ir author.^ They contain such lines as these:

Faisant ramour, je ne F.iiirais rien dire
Ki rien chanter, sinon un vau de vire,

3thers^ maintain that vaudeville comes from
r de ville, quoting as their authority the
ecueil des plus belles et excellentes chansons
forme devoix de villes' (Paris, 1575) by Jean
ardavoine, a musician of Anjou, but we, with
inage, prefer the former derivation. It is at
f rate certain that the word ' vaudeville ' was
ployed by writers in the 1 6th century to
lote a song sung about the town, with a

rhe ' Vaux de Vire of Jean Le Houx of Vire,' have been recently
lished in English by J. P. Muirhead (London, 1675).
Jee i'ilis. Biographic, under Leroj,' p. 2t0t.



VAUDEVILLE.



231



catching tune. Many lampoons, such as the
Mazarinades, are vaudevilles. The word was
used in this sense, for some time, as is evident
from a passage from Rousseau's 'Confessions':
' A complete collection of the vaudevilles of the
court and of Paris for over 50 years, contains a
host of anecdotes which might be sought in vain
elsewhere, and supplies materials for a history of
France, such as no other nation could produce.*

It was about 1700 that the mere street-song
passed into ' topical ' verses in a di-amatic piece.
The plays at the fairs of St. Germain and St.
Laurent contained vaudevilles, generally adapted
to well-known tunes, so as to ensure their im-
mediate popularity. Occasionally fresh music
was written for them, and the vaudevilles com-
posed by Joseph Mouret (a Proven9al, called by
his contemporaries 'le musicien des Graces'),
Gillier, Quinault the elder, and Blavet, had
great success in their day.

The next step was to conclude the play with
a vaudeville final, in which each character sang
a verse in turn. Of this Beaumarchais's 'Mariage
de Figaro' (1784) gives a well-known example.

The rage for vaudevilles gave rise to pieces
entirely in verse, and parodies of operas, and
largely contributed to the creation of the op^ra-
comique. To distinguish between these different
classes of pieces the name comedies a ariettas was
given to what are now called operas-comiques,
and the others became successively 'pieces en
vaudevilles,' ' comedies melees de vaudevilles,'
then 'comedies- vaudevilles,' and finally 'vaude-
villes,'

II. It is thus evident that the word would
afford material for a book embracing some most
curious chapters in the history of French dra-
matic literature ; for the vaudeville includes
all styles, the comedy of intrigue, scenes of
domestic life, village pieces, tableaux of passing
events, parodies, and so forth. It was there-
fore natural that from having found a home
wherever it could, it should at last have a special
house erected for it. The Theatre du Vaude-
ville was built in 1792, on the site of a dancing-
saloon called 'Vauxhall d'hiver,' or the 'Petit
Panth(?on,' between the Kue de Chartres and the
Rue St. Thomas du Louvre, on the site of the
Hotel Rambouillet, and on ground now occupied
by the Galerie Septentrionale, and by a part of
the new court of the Louvre. This theatre was
burnt down in 1838, when the company removed
to the Theatre des Nouveautes, in the Place de
la Bourse. This new The'atre du Vaudeville
having disappeared in its turn, was replaced by
the present pretty house in the Boulevard des
Capucines, at the corner of the Rue de la
Chauss(le d'Antin. We cannot enumerate here
the authors who have contributed to its success;
suSice it to say that vaudeville, born so to speak
simultaneously with the French Revolution,
crystallised into one of the most characteristic
forms of the old French ' esprit ' ; that later, as
has been justly remarked, it launched boldly
into all the speculations of modern thought, from
the historic plays of Aucelot and Rozier, and



232



VAUDEVILLE.



the Aristophanesqiie satires of 1848, clown to
the works — as remarkable for variety as for
intense realism — of Emile Augier, Dumas fils,
Theodore Barrieie, Octave Feuillet, George
Sand, and Victorien Sardou.

This last period, so interesting from a literary
and philosopliical point of view, is, musically,
wellnigh barren, while the early days of
Vaudeville were enlivened by the flowing and
charming inspirations of Chardin (or Chardiny)
and Wecht, Doche (father and son), Henri Blan-
chard, and others less knowTi. Most of the
vaudevilles composed by these musicians are to
be found in ' La Cle du Caveau' (ist ed. 1807,
4th and most complete, 1872). The airs are
in notation without accompaniment. In the
library of the Paris Conservatoire is a MS. collec-
tion of vaudevilles in 18 vols., with i vol. index,
made by Henri Blanchard. These have an ac-
companinient for four strings.

The Comedie-vaudeville, or vaudeville proper,
has now been abandoned for the Comedie de
genre, but it is not improbable that it may be
revived. At any rate, the couplet is not likely
to die in a land where, as Beaumarcliais said,
everything ends with a song. Since his day
manners in France have, it is true, greatly
changed, but the taste for light, amusing,
satirical verses, with a catching refrain, remains,
and is likely to remain. LTnfortunately the
vaudeville, in the old sense of the word, has
taken refuge in the Cafe-concerts, where the
music is generally indifferent, and the words
poor, if not objectionable. Occasionally in the
Kevues at the small Paris theatres a smart and
witty vaudeville may still be heard. [G.C.]

VAUDEVILLE THEATEE, 404 Strand,
London, was designed by Mr. C. J. IPhipps, and
opened April 16, 1S70. Messrs. H. J. Montague,
David James, and Thomas Thorne, lessees.

It may be useful here to give a list of the
Theatres opened in London since the year 1866.

Alexandra Theatre, Park Street, Camden
Town. J. T. Robinson, architect. OpenedMay3i,
1873 ; proprietor, Madame St. Claire. Afterwards
called The Pabk; burned down Sept. 11, 188 1.

Alhambra Theatre (New), Leicester Square.
Opened Dec. 3, 1883. Peny&Eeed, architects.
Proprietors, the Alhambra Theatre Co., limited.

Aquaridm Theatre, adjoining Westminster
Aquarium, Tothill Street, S.W. Mr. A. Bed-
borough, arcliitect. Opened April 15, 1876;
first lessee, Mr. Edgar Bruce. Is now known
as The Imperial.

AvENDE, Northumberland Avenue, on site
of house or gardens of Northumberland House.
F. H. Fowler, architect. Opened March 11,
1882 ; proprietor, Mr. Sefton Parry.

Charing Cross, King William Street, Strand.
Mr. Arthur Evers, architect. Opened June 19,
1S69 ; first le.ssees, Messrs. Bradwell and Field.
From March 6, 1S82, known as The Folly, and
now as Toole's. Built on the site of the Lowther
Eooms, whei-e Blake's Masquerades were once
held. It afterwards became the oratory of
St. Philip Neri, and there Cardinal (then Dr.)



VAUDEVILLE THEATRE.

Newman preached his famous sermons to Angli-
cans in Difiiculties. It next became a Working
Plan's Club and Institute under the presidency
of Lord Shaftesbury, and in 1S55 was opened by
Woodin as the Polygraphic Hall, for his mono-
logue entertainments, after which it became the
theatre as named above.

Comedy, Panton Street. Mr. Thos. Verity,
architect. Opened Oct. 15, 1881 ; lessee, Mr.
Alexander Henderson.

Court, Sloane Square. Mr. Walter Emden,]
architect. Opened Jan. 25, 1871 ; first lessee,«
Miss Marie Litton. The site was formerly occu-'
pied by a Methodist chapel ; on April 16, 1870, ';
was fii-st known as The New Chelsea Theatre/.
and afterward.3 as The Belgravia.

Criterion, underneath the Restaurant of that
name, Piccadilly. C. J. Phipps, architect. Opened
March 21, 1874 ; lessees, Messrs. Spiers & PoiiJ.

Elephant and Castle, opposite the Chatham t
and Dover Railway Station of that name. MessrsJf
Dean, Son & Co., architects. Opened Dec. 26,1
1872 ; first lessee, E. T. Smith.

Empire, Leicester Square. Mr. Thos. Verity,
architect. Opened April 17, 18 84; proprietor.^, :■
The Empire Co. Limited. Built on the site of '<■
Saville House, which was occupied from Feb. I4,j
1806, to April 23, 1846, by Miss Linwood foi
her Gallery of Needle-work. Saville House afte:
wards became the Eldorado Music Hall and Caf^
Chantant, and was burned down March i, 1865.

Gaiety, Strand. C. J. Phipps, architect.
Opened Dec. 21, 1S6S; lessee, Mr. John Hol-
lingshead. Built on the site of the Stran
Music Hall.

Globe. Mr. S. Simpson, builder. Open©
Nov. 28, 1 868 ; proprietor, Mr. Sefton Parry,
Built on the site of Lyons Inn, an Old Chancei
Inn of Court.

Grand, Islington. Mr. Frank MatchamJ
architect. Opened Aug. 4, 1883 ; first lessees,
ISIessrs. Clarence Holt and Charles WiUmott.
Built on the site of the Philharmonic Music Hall
and Theatre; burned down Sept. 6, 1SS2.

HoLBORN, High Holborn, W.C. Messrs. Finch, 1
Hill & Paraire, architects. Opened Oct. 6, 1866;
proprietor, Mr. Sefton Parry. Afterwards known
as The Mirror and Duke's; burned down
July 5, iSSo.

New Royal Amphitheatre, High Holbom,
W.C. Thomas Smith, architect. Opened May
25, 1867 ; proprietors, Messrs. McCoUum and
Charman. Opened as a circus, but having at the
same time a dramatic licence. Subsequently
called The National Theatre, the Connaught,
the Alcazar ; now The Holborn Theatre.

Novelty, Great Queen Street, Lincoln's Inn.
Mr. Thomas Verity, architect. Opened Dec. 9,
1882 ; proprietors. The Novelty Co. Limited.

Opera Comique, Strand, Holywell and Wych
Streets. F. H. Fowler, architect. Opened Oct.
29, 1870; first lessees, Messrs. Leslie, Steele, and'
Norton.

Prince's Theatre, Coventry Street, Hay-
market. Mr. Thos. Verity, architect. Opened
Jan. iS, 1884; proprietor, Mr. Edgar Bruce.



I



VAUDEVILLE THEATRE.

Queen's, Long Acre. C. J. Pliipps, architect,
jned Oct. 24. 1867 ; first lessee, Alfred Wigan.
lit on the site of St. Martin's Hall. About
'8 it ceased to exist as a theatre, and was sold
I Co-operative Association.
Iavot. C. J. Phipps, architect. Opened Oct.

1881 ; proprietor, E. D'Oyley Carte.
rARiETT, Pittfield Street, Hoxton. C. J.
ipps, architect. Opened March 14, 1870 ;
prietor, Verrell Nunn. [A.C.]



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