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

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ital branch of their art.

t is equally safe to assert that no special form
be declared to be the only one suitable for
•ed music, and that even Bach and Handel
te their masterpieces as they did, because
t was the then universally accepted style of
iposition. There is certainly something in
stilo fugato nobler and sterner than in a
ely melodic composition ; still, we repeat
; even simple melodies rouse high and
le feelings, and we see no objection to the
ses of God being sung in melodies, instead
chorales,' or 'fugatos,' or Gregorian themes.
idi's Requiem, it has been said, puts the
irer too often in mind of the stage ; its
|odies would do ss well for an opera; its airs,
its, and concerted pieces would be wonderfully
Utive in 'Rigoletto,' 'Trovatore,' and 'Aida,'
I .ire therefore too vulgar to be admitted in a
i ed composition, in which everything that has
1 connection with earth must be carefully
I ded. But this is our judgment and not the
poser's. Did Palestrina choose for his sacred
He a different style from the one in which he
lite his madrigals ? Did not Handel in the
Lssiah' itself adapt the words of the sacred
^ to music that he had previously written with
tr intentions? And why should not Verdi be

allowed to do as they did, and give vent to his
feelings in the way that is most familiar to him?
Of all branches of art there is one that must
necessarily be in accordance with the feelings of
the multitude, and that is religious art ; and on
that ground we think that Verdi has been right
in setting the Requiem to music in a style that
is almost entirely popular. Whether it was pos-
sible for him, or will be possible for others to do
better while following the same track, we wil-
lingly leave the musical critics to decide.

As an operatic composer, we have already said
that Verdi is the most popular artist of the
second half of the present centurj' — we might
say of the whole century, because, not in quality,
but in number, his operas that still enjoy the
honour of pleasing the public, surpass those ex-
tant of Bellini, Rossini, and Donizetti. How
he won his popularity in Italy can be easily
explained ; how his name came to be almost a
household word amongst all music-loving nations,
is more difficult to understand when we think
that no less men than Wagner, jSIeyerbeer, and
Gounod were, at the same time, in the full bloom
of their glory — the last two, of their activity:
for this widespread popularity there are however
very good reasons, arising entirely from Verdi's
intellectual endowments and not from fashion, or
mere good fortune.

Though Italian operatic composers may be
reclconed by scores, yet after Rossini, Bellini,
and Donizetti, only one man has had power
enough to fight his way up. After Donizetti's
death Verdi remained the only composer to up-
hold the glory of Italian opera, and from 1845
to this day nobody in ' the land of music ' has
shown any symptom of rivalling him, with the
exception of Arrigo Boito, and he, notwithstand-
ing the promise of his Mefistofele, has as yet
brought out no other work.

As regards Italy, the attention of foreign
audiences was naturally enough concentrated
on Verdi. But on the other side of the Alps
there were men who could stand comparison
with him on every ground, viz. Wagner, Gounod,
and Meyerbeer. To run the race of popularity
with these men, and win the prize, would seem
to require even a greater power than that of
Verdi ; still, by looking carefully at the peculiar
qualities of each composer we may be able to
discover why the Italian maestro, with endow-
ments and acquirements perhaps inferior to those
of the German and French artists, has left them
behind as far as public favour is concerned.

The opera or musical drama considered from
a philosophical point of view, is undoubtedly the
highest artistic manifestation of which men are
capable. All the most refined forms of art are
called in to contribute to the expression of the
idea. The author of a musical drama is no
more a musician, or a poet, or a painter : he is.
the supreme artist, not fettered by the limits of
one art, but able to step over the boundaries of
all the different branches of a;sthetic expression,
and find tlie proper means for the rendering of
his thought wherever he wants it. This was



W'aopier's aim, and the ' Niebelungen Ring,' or
still better ' Tristan and Isolde," are tlie actuation
of this theory, or at le:ist are works showing
which is the way towards the aim. Unhappily
the grand scheme has not been carried out by
the great ai-tist, nor is it probable that it will
ever be so ; because if a man has the power t<3
conceive the type of ideal beauty, it is very
doubtful whether he will find the practical means
for expressing it ; and as the opera or musical
dnvma is at present, we must reckon it to be the
most impressive and most entertaining branch
of art, but the least ideal, and the farthest;
from ihe ideal type of perfection. Let musical
critics and philosophers say what they will,
audiences in every quarter of the world wdl
unanimously declare that the best opera is the
one that amuses them best, and requires the least
intellectual exertion to be understood. Taking
this as the standard it is undeniable that Verdi's
operas answer perfectly to the requirement.

To deliver a lecture on Astronomy before a
select number of scientific men is quite a diflerent
thing from holding a course of lectures on As-
tronomy for the entertainment and insti-uction
of Large and popular audiences : if one means
to give something to another, one must give
what that other is able to receive, and give
it in the fittest way. And this is what Verdi
did during all his musical career ; and his manner
of thinking, feeling and living made it quite
natui-al to him. Verdi felt much more than he
leamt, that rhythm, the human voice and brevity,
were the three elements apt to stir, to please
and not to engender tatigue in his audiences, and
on them he built his mivsterpieces. In the choice
of his libretto he always preferred plot;s in which
the niajori:y of the public could take an interest.
Wotan protecting Hunding against Siegmund's
sword, with the spear on which the laws of the
ifniverse are cut in eternal runes, is certainly
one of the highest dramatic situations that can
be brought on the stage ; but unhappUy it is
not a thing whose real meaning can be caught
by everybody ; while in the poems of * Tra^nata,'
'Rigoletto,' "Trovatore,' etc., even the most im-
leamed men will Lave no trouble in bringing
home to themselves the feelings of the dramatis

Tliree different styles have been distinguished
in Verdi's operas — the first fix>m 'Oberto Conte
di S. Bonifacio' to 'Luisa Miller'; the second
from ' Luisa Miller ' to ' Don Carlos " ; while the
third comprises only 'Don Carlos' and 'Aida.'
[See too the able remarks in vol.iii. p. 301 of this
Dictionary.] We tail to recognise these three
<liftVrent styles. No doubt there is a great diSer-
ence between 'Attila,' 'Emani." 'Kigoletto,' and
'Aida' : but we submit that the ditference is to
be attributed to the age and development of the
composer's mind, and not to a radical change in
his way of rendering the subject musically, or to
a different conception of the musical drama. The
more refined expression of ' Aida ' compared to
■ II Trovatore.* and of ' II Trovatore ' compai-ed
to 'Nabucco' or 'I Lonibardi.' answers to the '


refinement of musical feeling which audiend
gradually underwent during the forty years oft
artistic career of the great composer ; he spo
a higher language, because that higher langua
had become intelligible to the public ; but wl
he s,aid the first day is what he .nlways said, a
what he will say again, if he should eN'er break 1
long silence. Amongst living composers Verdi
undoubtedly the most universally popular : wl
posterity will think of this judgment passed
Verdi's contemporaries we do not know, 1;
certainly he will alw.<iys rank among the great
con^.posers of operatic music of all ages a
amongst all nations, because seldom, if ever, is
be found such truth and power of feeling
pressed in a clearer or simpler way.

We subjoin a complete catalogue of Sig
Vei-di's works.


SlifelUo.XoT.lS. ISSa Trlest
Bisoletto. Mar.ll. 1S51. Ven
n Trovatore. Jan. 19. ISoS. K
La Traviata. Mar. 6. 1S5S. Ve:
Les V^pres SiciUeiines, Jun

1S55. Paris.
Simon Boccanesra. 3Iar. 13,

Aroldo.s Aug. 16. 1S57. Kimi
ITn ballo in Maschera. Fet

1857. Kome.
La forra del Destine* So^

1S«». St. Petersburg.
Macl>eth (revisedi, Apr. 21.

Don Carlos, Mar. 11. ISi"
Aida.5 Dec. 24, ISn. Cairo.
S. Boccanegra (revised ) Apr.


Oberto Conte di S. Bonifacio, Xot.

17. 1<S!J. Milan,
rn giomo di Kegno. I Sep. 5k 1S40.

Kabucodonosor, March 9, 1S12.

1 Lombard!. Feb. H, 1S43. Milan.
Kruani, Mar. 9. 1S44. Venice.
1 due Foscari. Nov. S. ISM. Borne.
Giovaniia d" Arco, Feb. 15, 1S45.

.\ljin, Aug. 12, 1S45. Iiaples.
Attila. Mar. 17. 1S46. Venice.
Macbeth. Mar. 12. 1S47. Florence.

I Masnadieri. July 22.1S47. London.
.lcrusalem.2 Xov. 2(5, 1S17. Paris.

II Corsaro, Oct. 25. ISiS. Trieste.
La battaglia di Legnaco, Jan. 27,

lSi9. Borne.
Luisa Miller, Dec S, 1S49. Naples,

Sei Eomanze.— Xon faccostaie all' Guards che bianca lona,
flauto obbligato.

uma. More Eli.^a, lo stanco

poeta. In solitaria stanza.

Neir orror di notte oscui».

Perduta ho la pace. Deh pie-

L° esale. a song for bass.
La Sedurioue. a song for bass.
Xottumo a tre tocL S, T. B.

Album di sei Bomanxe.

monto. La Zingars.

Stella. Lo spaiza camin

mistero. Brindisi.
n Foveretto. Bomania.
Tu diet che Qon m'amL


Composed on the occasion of the London Exhibition, am
formed at Her Majesty's Theatre on May 24, ISiie,

For tvro violins, Tiola and violoncello : written at Naples, i
formed in the author's oivn drawing-room on April L 1S7S.


Messa da Beqniem. Performed Ave Maria, soprano and st
in S. Marlis church in Milan, Both performed for th
May ii^ 1S74. time at La Scala of HU

Pater Xoster. for 2 soprani, con- .\pril IS, ISSO.
tralto, tenor, and bass.

"Verdi wrote a great many compositioms
tween the ages of thirteen and eighteen,
is, before coming to Milan. Amongst their
Marches for brass hand, short Symphonies
Concertos and Variations for pianoforte, whi<
used to play himself: many Serenate, Can
Arie, and a great many Duetti, Terzetti,
Church compositions ; amongst them a ' S<
Mater.' During the three years he renu

1 This opera was performed in some theatres under tha

' II finto Sianislao.'
- This opera is a re-arrangement of ' I Lombardi.'
^ This is an adaptation of the music of 'Stitelliu ' to a newp
* Beproduced, with alterations and additions, at LaScaltkb

Feb. ai. 1S«9,
^ The first performance in Europe was on Feb, 8. 1S72, at I

of Milan.




6. EightPsalmsbySweeIinck(ed.

K. Eitner), with Life by F.
H. L. Tiedeman (1876).

7. Chanson by Sweelincic (ed. E.

Eitner, IsTT).

8. Selections from Jcliannes

"Wanning's ' LII Sententiae *
(ed. E. Eitner. 1878).

9. Mass 'Fortuna Desperata,' by

.Tacob Obrecht (ed. E.Eitner,
10. Old Dutch Dances arranged
for piano (4 hands), by J, C.
M. van Biemsdijlc (1882).

Milan he wrote amon.^st other things two
Diphonies which were performed there, and
Cantata. Upon his return to Busseto, he
ote a 'Messa' and a 'Vespro,' three Tantum
gos, and other sacred compositions, as well as
jruses to Alessandro Manzoni's tragedies, and

cinque Maggio.' Everything is lost with the
jeption of a few symphonies that are still per-
med at Busseto, and the music to Manzoni's
3ms, which is now in the writer's posses-
n. [G.M.]

tion for the History of Dutch Music) is the
jrary branch of the national Society for the
Ivancement of Music (Maatschappij tot be-
:dering der Toonkunst). It was separated in
5S-9 for the purpose of collecting and publisli-
f materials for the musical history of the Dutch
itherlands, especially during the period ex-
iding from Obrecht (1450) to Sweelinck (1621 ).

publications are as follow : —

jreelinck's Eegina Coeli (ed.
H. A. Viotta. 18G9).

Id Dutcli Songs, from the lute-
booic of Adrianus Valerius
(ed. A. D. Loman, 1871).

rgan compositions, by Swee-
linck and Scheldt (ed. E.
Eitner, 1871).

'welve Geuzeliedjes, songs of
the Gueujc during the Span-
ish oppression (ed. A. D.
Loman, 1872).

'hroe madrigals by Schuijt,
and two chansons by Swee-
linck (ed, E. Eitner, 1873).

e Vereeniging has also published a volume

titled ' Musique et Musiciens an XVII^ Sifecle.

rrespondance etCEuvre musicales de Constantin

lygens publi^es par W. J. A. Jonckbloet et

P. N. Land' (1882). Besides these works,

ree volumes of transactions have appeared,

der the title of ' Bouwsteenen ' (issued for

mbers only, 1869-72, 1872-4, and 1874-81).

each is prefixed a short 'chronicle' of the

)ceedings of the association. The contents

! principally (i) materials for a dictionary

Dutch musicians, most valuable for local

tistics and bibliography, (2) catalogues of

ile-known musical collections, (3) particulars

pecting the organs, carillons, etc. of Holland,

[ miscellaneous contributions to the antiquities

i Dutch music. The 'Bouwsteenen' are now

hersededby a regular journal ('Tijdschrift '),

I which two numbers have appeared (1882,

J53). The secretary is Dr. H. 0. Rogge, uni-

Isity librarian at Amsterdam. [R.L.P.]

{/ERHULST, Johannes Josephus Heeman,

5 born March 19, 1816, at the Hague, and

J one of the earliest students at the Royal

i.ool of Music there, where he learned violin

I theory. He afterwards played in the or-

stra of the French Opera under Charles

1 assen, and wrote many pieces, amongst others

B Overture in B minor which was published bj;

t> Society tot Bevordering der Toonkunst. An

el'wance from the King enabled him to go first

t Cologne, where he studied with Joseph Klein,

• . then to Leipzig, where he arrived Jan. 12,

1838, and was well received by Mendelssohn,
and soon after made Director of the important
' Euterpe ' Concerts. There and in Germany he
remained till 1842, when he returned to the
Hague and was at once decorated by the King
with the order of the Lion and made Director of
the Music at Court. Since then he has resided
at Rotterdam and the Hague, and at Amster-
dam, where for many years he has conducted
the Felix Meritis Society, and the Cecilia
Concerts, as well as the Diligentia Society at
the Hague. As a conductor he is very famous in
his own country. His compositions comprise
symphonies, overtures, quartets, much church
music (amongst other pieces a Requiem for men's
voices is much spoken of), songs and part-songs,
to Dutch words. Verhulst's music is little known
out of his own country. In England the writer
only remembers to have heard one piece, an
intermezzo for orchestra called ' Gruss aus der
Feme,* performed occasionally at the Crj'stal
Palace. Verhulst's friendship with Schumann
was one of the great events of his life. How
close and affectionate it was may be judged
from the many letters given in Jansen's ' Die
Davidsbiindler,' and especially the following note
written at the end of one of Schumann's visits to
Holland :

Dear Verlmlst,— Good-bye. It delighted me to find
you in your old spirits. Unfortunately you cannot say
the same of me. Perhaps my good genius may yet bring
me back to my former condition. It delighted me too to
find that you have got so dear a wife : in that matter we
are both equally fortunate. Give her a nice message
from me, and take a hearty greeting and embrace for
yourself from your old KOBEET Sch.

Scheveningen, Sept. 8, 1852.

Schumann's ' Overture, Scherzo, and Finale '
(op. 52) is dedicated to Verhulst, who possesses
the autograph, with the following inscription.'

J. J. Verhulst

tibergiebt die Partitur des alien Opus

mit alten Sympathien.

Eotterdam d. 18 Dec. 1853. E. Schumann.


Lost). Russian sacred opera in 3 parts ; words
from Milton, music by Rubinstein (op. 54). Pro-
duced at St. Petersburg Dec. 17, 1876. [G.]

VERNON, Joseph, originally appeared at
Drury Lane as a soprano singer in 1751. On
Feb. 23 he sang in 'Alfred' (music bj' Arne
and others), and on Nov. 19 performed the part
of Thyrsis in Dr. Boyce's ' Shepherd's Lottery.'
In 1754 he became a tenor singer. In the early
part of 1755 he married, at the Savoy Chapel,
Miss Poitier, a singer at Drury Lane. There
was some irregularity in the performance of
the ceremony which infringed the law for the
prevention of clandestine marriages, and Wilkin-
son, the chaplain of the Savoy, and Grierson, his
curate, the actual celebrant, were tried, convicted
and transported. Vernon had been compelled to
appear as a witness against Grierson upon his
trial, and the public, unjustly suspecting him
of having instigated the prosecution, refused to

1 See Jansen's 'Die DavidsbOndlcr.'



allow him to appear upon the stage. His en-
forced retirement lasted until the end of 1756,
when he was permitted to return, and became
an established favourite. He had an indifferent
voice, but sang with such excellent taste and
judgment as to render his organic defect almost
imperceptible. He was moreover an admirable
actor, and was constantly allotted parts in whicli
no tinging was required. This rare union of the
qualities of singer and actor peculiarly fitted him
for such parts as the Clown in ' Twelfth Night,'
and Autolycus in ' The Winter's Tale,' in both
of which he excelled. He was the original
Cymon in Michael Arne's opera of that name.
Lin ley composed for him the well-known song
ill 'Tlie School for Scandal.' He was for many
years a favourite singer at Vauxhall. He com-
posed, and about 1762 published in a. volume,
'The New Songs in the Pantomime of The
Witches ; the celebr.ated Epilogue in the Comedy
of Twelfth Night ; a Song in The Two Gentle-
men of Verona ; and two favourite Ballads sung
by ]Mr. Vernon at Vauxhall.' He died at South
Lambeth, March 19, 1782. [W.H.H.]

V!1&R0N, Louis Desire, born in Paris, April
5, 1798, died there Sept. 27, 1867; the son of
a stationer, studied medicine on leaving school,
and took his doctor's degree in 1823. He had been
intimate with the chemist Regnauld, and on his
death bought the patent of his 'Pate Regnauld,'
and made a fortune. In 1828 he gave np doctor-
ing, and took to writing for the press. In 1S29
he founded the ' Eevue de Paris,' and became
a personage of importance. In spite of this, how-
ever, he gave up journalism, and became (March
2, 1 831) director of the Opera for five years, v,'ith
a subsidy of 810,000 francs for the first year,
760,000 francs for the second, and 710,000 francs
(respectively £32,500, £30,500, and £28,500) for
the last three. Thus at his ease in money matters,
with an excellent body of artists, and an able
coadjutor in Edmond Duponchel (born 1795.
died 1 868), who looked after the mise-en-scinc,
his usual luck did not fail him, for the first
work he produced was 'Robert le Diablo'
(Nov. 21, 1S31). The success of Meyerbeer's
lirst masterpiece is well known, but it is not
so well-known that the manager of the Opera
exacted from the composer a large sum in con-
sideration of the expenses of mounting the oj^era.
With much energy and tact, A^'eron at once set
to work to vary and renew the repertoire, as
the following list of the works produced for the
first time under his administration will show : —
In 1S32 ' La Sylphide,' with Taglioni ; the op^ra-
ballet ' La Tentation,' with a very original
march-past of demons ; Auber's ojjera ' Le Ser-
ment,' of which all that remains is the lively
overture, and a coquettish air sung to perfec-
tion by Jlme. Damoreau ; and ' Nathalie,' a
ballet for Taglioni. In 1833 ' Gustavo III,' with
its masked ball ; Cherubini's last opera ' Ali
Eaba ' ; and ' La Revolte au Serail,' a smart and
witty ballet. In 1 834 ' Don Juan' ; and ' La Tera-
pete,' in which Fanny Elssler made her debut.
And finally, Feb. 23, 1835, «La Juive,' with


Falcon, Nourrit and Levasseur — his gi-eatcsl
success after ' Robert,' and a greater aid tf
his reputation than any other work. Conteul
with his enormous gains, and unwilling to risl
losing them, Dr. Veron I'elinquished his licence
to Duponchel, and took to politics. Failinc
to secure his election as a Deputy in T83S
he returned to journalism, and became in turi
manager, editor, and sole proprietor (1844
of the ' Constitutionnel.' This is not the plac
in which to dilate on the important part playei
by this paper till Dr. V^ron gave it up in 1862
but it admirably served the interests of its pre
prietor, who was twice elected a member of th
Corps Ldgislatif. While attending the Chambc
he found time to write his own life under th
title of ' MiJmoires d'un Bourgeois de Paris
(Paris 1854, 6 vols. Svo.), which obtained
succes de cuiiosite, and encouraged its author
further works, 'Cinq cent mille francs de rent(
(1855, 2 vols. Svo.) a novel of manners; a sequ
to the 'Memoires' (1856); a political treatis
' Quatre ans de regne. Oil allons-uous V (1857
and, finally, one' coming more within the sco
of this Dictionary, ' Les Theatres de Paris, frc
1806 to 1S60' (i860, 8vo.). These books
all forgotten, but ' Mimi V&on ' (his nicknat
at the Opera balls), the man of busini
and purveyor of pleasures under Louis Philip]
was a characteristic personage in his day, anc
typical ' Bourgeois de Paris,' both in his indus
and his vanity. [G.

VERSCHIEBUNG (Ger. literally shov.
aside). The mechanism acted upon by the
pedal of the pianoforte, by means of which
hammers are shifted slightly to the right, so
to strike one or two strings instead of three, 1
producing a weaker tone of a peculiarly delic
quality. The word is employed in pianoft
music to indicate the use of this pedal ; thus
directions mit Verscldehung, oJine Verschieli
are synonymous with the Italian ad una coi
a tre corde. [See Pedals ; Sordini ; U. C]
charming effect is obtained by Schumann in
slow movement of his Sonata for piano
violin in D minor, op. 121, where he makes
piano play mit Verschiehnng, accompanied by
violin am Slerj, that is, close to the bridge,
producing a veiled quality of sound which
admirably with the refined tone of the pi
forte. [i

spirators) — a one-act play, with dialogue, ada
by Castelli from the French, and composei
Schubert. The MS. in the British Museum ha
date April 1823 at the end. The title was cha
by the licensers to the less suggestive one of
hausliche Krieg' {i.e. The Domestic Stru|
but the piece was not adopted by the manager
and remained unperformed till March i, ;
when Herbeck produced it at a Musikv
concert. It was brought out on the stajl
Frankfort Aug. 29, 1S61; inParis, as'LaCroj
des Dames,' Feb. 3, 1868; at a Crystal P|[
Concert ('The Conspirators') Mar. 2, 73. "











Vol. VI. {Index), separate, $2.


)f this Work the London Saturday Iteview says : —

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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 59 of 194)