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 93 of 194)
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WALTZ.



WALTZ.



385



WALTZ. The origin of the Waltz is wrapped
1 even more obscurity than is usually the case
ith the best-known dances. The immense
jpularity which it has achieved in the igth
intury — a popularity which has had the effect
•almost banishing every other dance — has given
se to a dispute as to the historical genesis of
le waltz, into which national antipathies have
) a certain extent entered. It would have been
iought that French writers could not ignore
le evidence of a German origin given by the
a,me waltz, derived from ivaltzen, to turn ; but
1 the face of the etymology of the word an
igenious theory has been invented by which it

sought to prove that the dance and the name
ere originally borrowed by Germany from
ranee, and then reintroduced, as a foreign in-
sntion, from the former to the latter country.

This theory apparently was first propounded
Y Castil Blaze, and has been adopted by F^tis,
ittre, and Larousse. The French account of
le origin of the waltz is that the dance is a
Bscendant of the Volta — known to the Eliza-
sthans as Lavolta — a dance described by Thoinot
.vbeau in his Orchesographie, and said to have
sen a native of Provence, whence it was intro-
uced into Paris under Louis VII. It remained
I fashion up to the i6th century, at which
eriod it was (according to Larousse) introduced
ito Germany, the name Volta being changed
ito Walzer. The obvious Italian origin of the
ord ' volta ' has been overlooked by the French
Titers. The German authorities, on the other
and, trace the waltz back to the DreJitanz, or
jrning dance, a modification of the old form of
ances which (like the English country dances)
'ere danced by couples standing face to face, or
olding one another by one hand only. Crabb
lobinson's account of the way in which he saw
; danced at Frankfort in iSoo is somewhat dif-
jrent. ' The man places the palms of his hands
ently against the sides of his partner, not far
:om the arm-pits. His partner does the same,
nd instantly with as much velocity as possible
bey turn round, and at the same time gradually
lide round the room.' ^

Great confusion exists in the German accounts of
hese early dances. The Volta, the Langau s , and
he AUemande are all mentioned as being the an-
iestors of the waltz, but none of these seems to be
atisfactorily connected with the modern dance,
rhat the volta and the spring-tanz were identi-
:al seems pretty certain : in both the indecency
)f the performance seems to have been a cha-
acteristic feature, as a comparison of the de-
criptions in Thoinot Arbeau's Orche'sographie
md Johann von Miinster's 'Traktat vom un-
;ottseligen Tanz ' (1594) clearly shows ; but this
feature is different from that which was held up to
•eprobation in the waltz in later days by Lord
Byron and other English writers on its introduc-
;ion into England. The German dances, like
;he French, in the 15 th and i6th centuries,
svere either of a solemn or slow character, or
3onsisted in unseemly leapings and jumpings ;
1 Diary, i. 76.
VOL. IV. PT. 4.



as Chapman in his 'Alphonsus Emperour of
Germany ' makes one of his characters say : —

We Germans have no changes in our dances,
An Almain and an upspring that is all.

In course of time the latter became so objection-
able that it was not only preached and written
against, but was made the subject of local edicts,
notably in the towns of Niirnberg, Amberg, and
Meissen. The Almain or AUemande was intro-
duced into France after the conquest of Alsace
by Louis XIV., but the dance had nothing in
common with the modern waltz, and the spring-
tanz, which, as has been mentioned, was identical
with the volta, no longer occurs in the 17 th and
1 8th centuries. This break in the imaginary
genealogy of the waltz has not been made clear
by the writers who have treated the subject. It
is generally admitted that the modern dance
first made its appearance about the year 1780,
and the only attempt at connecting the old and
the new dances is the suggestion that because
the song 'Ach du lieber Augustin ' (which was
one of the first tunes to which walzes were
danced) was addressed to a wandering musician
who lived in 1670, therefore the modern dance
was contemporary with the tune. The attempts
at tracing the waltz from such a widely-spread
dance as the volta or spring-tanz has led to
further confusion with regard to the humble
Landler or Schleifer, which is its real ancestor.
That it springs from a class of country dances,
and not from the ancient stock of the volta, must
be obvious upon many grounds. The dance itself
is first heard of in Bohemia, Austria, and Bavaria
in the latter part of the 18th century: in Bohe-
mia it seems first to have become fashionable, since
on March 18, 1785, it was forbidden by an Im-
perial edict as 'sowohl derGesundheit scbadlich,
als auch der Siinden halber sehr gef ahrlich,' in
spite of which it found its way to Vienna, and
was danced in the finale to Act ii. of Vicente
Martin y Solar's ' Una Cosa rara ' by four of the
principal characters (Lubino, Tita, Chita, and
Lilla). On its first appearance in Vienna the
music of the waltz was played quite slowly : the
tempo in Martin's opera is marked Andante con
moto, but in Vienna the character of the dance
was changed, and a Geschwindwalzer was intro-
duced which finally led to a Galoppwalzer in
2-4 time. But in spite of the changes that the
dance underwent, what it was originally like can
still be seen at any Austrian or Bavarian village
festival at the present day, where it will be
found, perhaps called a Landler or Schleifer,
or some other local name, but still danced to
the old slow rhythms which were imitated by
Mozart, Beethoven, and (to a less degree) Schu-
bert, in their waltzes written for the Viennese
in the early days of the dance's fashionable career.
In England the name and the tune of the dance
made their first appearance about the year 1797.
The collection of Preston's Country Dances pub-
lished at that date contains 'the new German
Waltz ' and ' the Princess of Wales's Waltz,'
both of which are real waltz tunes, though how
different the dances were may be gathered from

Co



386



WALTZ.



WALTZ.






the directions for dancing the former : ' Set and
hands iicross and back again, lead down the
middle up again to the top, turn your partner
with the right hand quite round, then with the
left, hands 4 round at bottom right and left.'
Tlie same collection also contains a dance called
' Miss Simpson's Waltz,' the tune of which is
written in common time. It was not until 181 2
that the dance in its modern form made its ap-
pearance in England, when it was greeted with
a storm of abuse as ' a fiend of German birth,'
'destitute of grace, delicacy, and propriety,' a
' disgusting practice,' and called forth a savage
attack from Lord Byron.^ In spite of this recep-
tion it seems to have won a speedy victory, and
is at the present day certainly more in favour
than ever. In France the waltz made its ap-
pearance during the war with Germany (17Q2-
1801) which ended with the Peace of Luneville,
after which it was said that the Germans had
ceded even their national dance to the French.
It was first danced at the opera in Gardel's
ballet ' La Dansoinanie' (1800), for which Mdhul
wrote tlie music. Beyond the changes introduced
in Vienna by Schubert, Strauss, etc., and adopted
all over Europe, the form of the dance has not
undergone any material alteration in France,
though it was probably there that the misnamed
' Valse k deux temps ' (i. e. a faster form of the
danse, containing six steps to every two of the
waltz 'k trois temps') was first introduced to-
wards the middle of the century.

The music of the waltz originally consisted of
two sections, each consisting of 8 bars in 3-4 or
3-8 time. Good examples of these primitive
forms will be found in Beethoven's and Mozart's
Deutsche Tanze. The next development of the
music was the stringing together of several of
these i6-bar waltzes, and the addition of trios,
and a coda. This was first effected by Hummel
in a waltz in 9 numbers, which he wrote in
1808 for the opening of the Apollo Saal in
Vienna, but this isolated example cannot have
hud much influence upon the development of the
waltz, since it is not until the time of Schubert
that it possesses any intrinsic musical value.
The dances of this composer form really the
basis of modern waltz music. Though in the
main they adhere to the old l6-bar form, yet
the beginnings of development are apparent in
them, not only in their immense musical supe-
riority to any of their predecessors, but also
in the numerous extensions and improvements
of the original form which are to be found
in them, and which have since become the com-
monplaces of every writer of dance music. For
instance, in op. 96, Waltz No. 15, instead of
having an 8-bar phrase repeated in each section,
has two sections of 16 bars each. The next
number (16) has two introductory bars of bass
solo before the 16-bar. melody begins — a device
which is nowadays too familiar to be noticed,
though when Schubert wrote it was probably
absolutely novel. A careful analysis of these
beautiful compositions would probably reveal

I "The Waltz : an apostrophlc hyma' ; published 1818.



i



man}' such points of departure ; indeed, in c
paring them with the works of his contempi
ries, such as Lanner and the elder Strauss, i
extraordinary to find how Schubert anticipa
their effects. But if Schubert had so great
influence on the Viennese school of dance C(
posers, it is to Weber that the waltz
what, musically speaking, is its most import
development. The composition of the ' A
forderung zum Tanz ' marks the adoption of
waltz-form into the sphere of absolute mui
and prepared the way for the stream of pia:
forte and vocal waltzes, not intended as accc
paniments to dancing, the best examples of wh
are the waltzes of Chopin and Rubinstein, thou
this form of composition has been adopted
most writers of 'brilliant' music. Of late ye
a tendency has shown itself to revert to wl
may be called the Schubert type of waltz,
this class belong the waltzes of Brahms, Ki
and other modem German composers. Brah:
indeed may be said to have introduced a n
class in his ' Liebeslieder ' for pianoforte d\
and vocal quartet ; but the original type of th«
is the same as Schubert's dances.

In the early part of the present century t
composition of waltzes for dancing was alm(
entirely in the hands of the Viennese coraposei
Johann Strauss the elder introduced the habit
giving names to waltzes, and it was at Vienn
under the Strauss family, Lanner, Labitzky, ai
Gungl, that the waltz became fixed in the for
in wliich we now know it, i. e. an introducti<
generally in a slow tempo, foreshadowing tl
principal motive of the composition, and follow*
by five or six separate waltzes ending with a co<
recapitulating the best numbers. Vienna ha
moreover, always preserved the tradition of pla;
ing what a modern writer aptly describes i
' those irresistible waltzes that first catch the ea
and then curl round the heart, till on a sudden the
invade and will have the legs.' France has pi^
duced a few good waltzes, but more for operatic d
vocal purposes than for dancing, while England ;
very far below either country in composidons (
this kind. The waltzes which achieve ephemenl
popularity in England are generally beneall
contempt as music, and as accompaniments t
dancing are a long way behind the production
of Vienna.

With regard to the tempo of a waltz no sti
rule can be given. In England the time
which waltzes are played and danced diflS
almost from year to year according to what i
supposed to be 'the fashion.' The Viennesi
tradition of introducing rallentandos and ac
celerandos into waltzes, charming though it is t(
a musician, has never been caught by any Eng
lish conductor of dance music, and probabb
would be found impracticable in England, when
dancers may be seen exhibiting their lack of th(
sense of time and rhythm by waltzing to th(
music of a polka. Cellarius gives the propei
tempo of a waltz ' k trois temps' as p = 66, anc

\\v .a.o.



'k deux temps' as (^ =88.



I



WATSON.



WEBER.



387



l^ATSON, Thomas, put forth in 1590 'The
; sett of Italian Madrigalls Englished, not to

sense of the originall dittie, but after the
ction of the Noate. By Thomas Watson,
ire are also heere inserted two excellent Ma-
falls of Master William Byrd's composed after

Italian vaine at the request of the sayd
imas Watson.' It is dedicated in a Latin
xical epistle to Robert Devereaux, Earl of
ex, and there is also a similar epistle ad-
iseil to Luca Marenzio, the celebrated Italian
Irigal composer, from whose works 23 of the
madrigals included in the publication were
3n. Many of these madrigals are still well
wn. Watson is conjectured to have been iden-

1 with Thomas Watson, a native of London,
> after studying poetry for some time at Oxford,
irned to London to study law, and died about
2. A collection of sonnets by him entitled
jcatompathia, or Passionate Centurie of Love,'

licensed in 1581, and some poems by him
e inserted in the collection called ' England's
icon,' 1614. [W.H.H.]

rEBBE, Samuel, bom in 1740 in Minorca,

the son of a Government officer, who died
ienly, leaving his family in straitened cir-
istances. He was therefore, at 11 years of
, apprenticed to a cabinet-maker, but upon
expiration of his time quitted that calling

commenced the study of music under Bar-
dt, organist of the Bavarian ambassador's
pel. He also studied the Latin, French, and
ian languages. He first appeared as a com-
3r about 1763, devoting himself chiefly to the
iuction of unaccompanied vocal music. In
6 the Catch Club awarded him a prize medal
his canon, ' that I had wings,' and in sub-
uent years 26 other medals for the following
ipositions : — 'The man and the woman,'
;h, 1767 ; ' From everlasting,' canon, and ' A
erous friendship,' glee, 1768; 'Alzate O
be,' canon, 1770; ' Iddio i quel che mi
JO,' canon, 1771 ; 'Discord, dire sister,' glee,

2 ; ' To the old, long life,' catch, and ' Who
express,' canon, 1774 ; 'Now I'm prepared,'

'> 1775J 'You gave me your heart,' and
is beauty calls,' glees, 1776; 'Glory be to
Father,' canon, and ' Rise, my joy,' glee,
7 ; 'Great Bacchus,' and ' Hail, music,' glees,
8; 'Neighbours, come,' catch, and 'O all
works,' canon, 1781 ; 'My Lady Rantum,'
3h, 1782 ; 'To Thee all angels,' canon, 1783 ;
hen youthful Harriet,' catch, and ' The fra-
nt painting,' glee, 1784 ; ' Lord, shew Thy
rcy,' canon, and ' Swiftly from the mountain's
w,' glee, 1788; 'Juliet is pretty,' catch, and
on fidi al mar,' glee, 1790; and 'Tell me,'
ch, 1794. More than half of these composi-
is are catches and canons that have now
,rly passed into oblivion, and but three of the
Bs can be ranked among Webbe's best. His
ist works, — his glees ' When winds breathe
;,' ' The mighty conqueror,' ' Come live with
,' 'Thy voice, Harmony,' ' To me the wan-
girls,' and ' Hence, all ye vain delights,' and
catches, ' Dear father, the girl you desire me



in marriage,' and ' Would you know my Celia's
charms,' — are not to be found in the list of his
prize compositions. On the death of Thomas
Warren Home in 1784 he became secretary to
the Catch Club, and held the office until his
death. On the establishment of the Glee Club
in 1787 he became its librarian, and wrote and
composed for it his glee ' Glorious Apollo,' which
during the whole existence of the club enjoyed
the distinction of being the first glee performed
at every meeting. He was also organist of the
chapel of the Sardinian embassy. He published
in 1792 'A Collection of Motetts or Antiphons,'
and 'A Collection of Masses for small choirs,'
principally composed by himself. He published
at various periods, commencing 1764, nine books
of glees, etc., which were subsequently repub-
lished with additions in 3 vols, folio. 25 glees, 36
catches, and 9 canons by him are included in
Warren's collections. He also composed several
excellent songs, of which ' The Mansion of
Peace ' enjoyed a long-continued popularity. He
died at his chambers in Gray's Inn, May 25,
1 8 16, and was buried in Old St. Pancras church-
yard. William Linley wrote an ode upon his
death for the best setting of which a prize was
offered. Seven competitors entered the lists,
viz. William Beale, Lord Burghersh, James (?)
Elliott, C. S. Evans, William '"Hawes, William
Knyvett, and William Linley ; the prize being
won by Evans. Webbe stands in the foremost
rank of glee-writers, and his works will maintain
their position as long as a taste for that style of
composition shall endure. As a man he was
much beloved and respected for his social vir-
tues,

Samuel Webbe, jun., his eldest son, was born
in London about 1770. He studied principally
under his father and became a good pianist and
organist. Like his father he early devoted him-
self to the practice of vocal composition, and in
1 794 obtained from the Catch Club prizes for a
catch, ' Ah Friendship,' and a canon, ' Resonate
Jovem,' and in 1 795 for a canon, ' Come follow
me.' About 1 798 he settled in Liverpool and
became organist of the Unitarian Chapel, Para-
dise Street. About 181 7 he returned to London
and joined Logier in teaching on the latter's
system, and became organist of the Spanish am-
bassador's chapel. Some years afterwards he
again settled in Liverpool, where he became
successively organist of St. Nicholas Church and
of St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Chapel, Toxteth
Park. He composed many glees possessing great
merit (among which * Come away, Death,' is
conspicuous), songs, motets, etc. He edited the
collection of glees, etc., entitled ' Convito Ar-
monico.' He died Nov. 25, 1843. [W.H.H.]

WEBER, Cakl Maria Friedkich Ernest,
Freiherb von, was one of those musicians in
whose family music was long an hereditary gift.
As far as we know, there is but one German
musician with a musical pedigree longer and
more widely spread than Weber's — Sebastian
Bach, Like Bach too, Weber touched the
highest point in the special branch cultivated.

Co3



388



WEBER.



by previous generations on both sides. With
Bach this was Protestant church music in its
noblest form, with Weber, national opera in its
most brilliant if not its most perfect develop-
ment. The earliest known member of the family,
JoHANN Baptist, a man of property in Lower
Austria during the latter half of the i6th cen-
tury, was made Freiherr by the Emperor Fer-
dinand II in 1622. The family was, and still
is, Roman Catholic. We know nothing of Jo-
hann Baptist's musical tastes or faculties, but
his younyer brother, Joseph Franz Xaver,
apparently living in Upper Swabia, is said to
have been a great amateur of music and the
drama. The title of the elder brother was not
transmitted till 1738, and of the younger one's
descendants, one, Fkidolin, was in the service
of Freiherr von Schiinau-Zella, near Freiburg ini
Breisgau, in the iSth century, and died in 1754.
He was passionately devoted to music — sang, and
played the violin and organ. Of his two sons,
the elder, also a Fridolin (and also a singer
and violin player) became the father of Mozart's
wife Constance ; and, as is well-known, she,
and in a still greater degree her sisters, Josepha,
Aloysia, and Sophie, were excellent, and almost
distinguished singers. Constance's father suc-
ceeded his father as manager of the Schonau-
Zella estates, and apparently dropped the von,
which was not borne by Mozart's wife.

His younger brother, Franz Anton von
Weber, born 1734, became the father of Carl
Maria, who was thus connected by marriage with
Mozart. Franz Anton must have been a violinist
of more than common ability, as we find him
included, by those qualified to speak, amongst
the most distinguished viola players of the time.^
He was also a virtuoso on the double-bass. He
took military service with the Elector Palatine,
Carl Theodore, at Mannheim, on the understand-
ing that he was to assist in the celebrated court
baud. He fought against Frederic the Great
at Rosbach (1756) and was slightly wounded,
after which he left the army, and entered the
service of the Elector Clement Augustus at
Cologne. In 1758 he became Steward to the
Prince-Bishop, and Court-Councillor at Steuer-
wald, near Hildesheim. His devotion to music,
which was such that he would even play the
violin while walking in the fields with his
family, caused him to neglect the duties of his
office, and he was deprived of it. From 1768
to 1773 he lived at Hildesheim as an ordinary
citizen, and there decided, despite his age and
numerous family, on becoming a practical mu-
sician. He appears to have started on a tour
as a viola-player,^ and then settled in Lubeck,
where he published ' Lieder mit Melodien
fiirs Clavier' (1774), compositions apparently
not without talent, as they were noticed nine
years after.^ In 1778 he was musical director

1 Forkel's Musikalischer Almanach for 1783, p. 93.

2 Gerber's Lexicon, ii. 771.

3 Ffrkel. p. 68. and elsewhere. M. M. von Weber, in his biography
of his father (LebensbilJ) i. 13. conjectures that Franz Anton had
played under an assumed name up to 1778, as no trace of him is found
before. Apparently he did not know of the passage in Forkel's
Alma.iich. UerLier also mentions as compositions of Franz Anton's a



WEBER.

of the theatre at Lubeck, and from 1779 tc
Capellmeister to the Prince- Bishop of Eu
In 1784 he went to Vienna, made acquainta
with Joseph Haydn, and entrusted to him
two eldest sons, Fkitz and EDiiUND,both ofwh
showed talent for music [see vol. i. p. 708
In 1785 he married again in Vienna, returi
to Eutin, and undertook the post of director
the town-band.

At Eutin was born in 1786 the first child
his second marriage, Carl Maria von Web
His birthday was most likely Dec. 18, but th
is no absolute certainty of the fact. The fat'i
had always longed to have a child that she-
turn out a prodigy, such as Mozart had be
All his children, daughters as well as sons, show
talent for music and the stage, and his t
eldest sons became really good musicians. Hay
was specially attached to Edmund, and wz-ote
bis album

Fear God, love thy neighbour, and thy

Master Joseph Haydn who loves thee heartily.*

Estoras [sic). May 22, 17

But Franz Anton could not disguise from hii
self that so far none of his children surpass
mediocrity, and he was all the more anxious
discern in Carl Maria talent of a higher ord(
Inconstant by nature, his character was an 01
mixture of vanity and a pretentious vein
comedy with the most brilliant and versatile gifi
forming a most unsatisfactory whole. Such
disposition was little adapted to the training
a gifted child. Carl Maria was early set to lea;
music, principally under his father, who after i
was but an amateur. The talent, so ardent
longed for, however, would not appear in tl
delicate, nervous child. There is a tradition thi
after taking great pains with him in vain, h
elder brother Fritz exclaimed on one occasioi
'Carl, you may become anything else you lik
but a musician you never will be.' The fatht
now tried him with the plastic arts, and pi



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 93 of 194)