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J. Cuthbert (James Cuthbert) Hadden.

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THE LIBRARY

OF
SANTA BARBARA

COLLEGE OF

THE UNIVERSITY

OF CALIFORNIA



PRESENTED BY



MRS. MACKINLEY HELM



HAROLD KCCVKS

Music and Musical Books

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LONDON. W C. 2



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MASTER MUSICIANS





MADAME SCHUMANN



HANFSIAENGL COLLECTION





a book for
Players,
Smgefsg,
Listener's




J.Cuthbert Haddcn

AUTHOR OF ' CHOPIN,' ' HAYDN,'
'THE OPERAS OF WAGNER,' ETC.



T. N. FOULIS

LONDON & EDINBURGH

1911



SA NTA B A,.,^^ RY



//at



TO

MRS. STEWART

OF 23 BLACKET PLACE, EDINBURGH

I DEDICATE THIS BOOK
A TRIBUTE OF AFFECTION AND GRATITUDE



PREFACE

THE only thing requiring to be said by way of
preface to this book is, that it does not pretend to be
critical. Technicalities have been expressly avoided.
It is about the men themselves rather than about
their music that I have chosen to write. Further,
I have had in view the amateur rather than the
professional, and the young reader rather than the
adult ; though I would fain hope that the book may
interest all who love and practise the art of Bach

and Beethoven.

J. C. H.

EDINBURGH, September 1909.



vii



CONTENTS

WHEN Music, HEAVENLY MAID, WAS YOUNG . . I
GEORGE FREDERICK HANDEL : THE MAKER OF

THE MESSIAH . . . . -14

BACH, OLD FATHER OF FUGUE . . . . 32

PAPA AND MAMMA HAYDN . . . . 49

MOZART ! IMMORTAL MOZART ! . . . 69

THE DEAF BEETHOVEN .... . . . 89

FRANZ SCHUBERT : THE MASTER OF THE LIED . 1 1 1
ROBERT SCHUMANN : COMPOSER, EDITOR, AND

ESSAYIST . . 129

FELIX MENDELSSOHN : SINGER OF THE " SONGS

WITHOUT WORDS" . . . . .145

FREDERIC CHOPIN: THE POET OF THE PIANO . 162
RICHARD WAGNER : THE REVOLUTIONARY OF THE

Music DRAMA . . . . . .182

A CLUSTER FROM THE OPERATIC BRANCH

GLUCK ........ 204

WEBER ........ 208

MEYERBEER . . . . . . .212

GOUNOD AND BIZET 215



x MASTER MUSICIANS

PAGE

A CLUSTER FROM THE OPERATIC BRANCH (contd.)



ROSSINI


219


BELLINI AND DONIZETTI .


222


VERDI


224


STARS AMONG THE PLANETS




CLEMENTI


. 229


PLEYEL


. 230


DUSSEK


231


CRAMER ......


. 231


HUMMEL . ....


232


CZERNY ......


233


MOSCHELES . "* .


234


CHERUBINI .


- 235


SPOHR


. 236


BERLIOZ


237


BRAHMS ......


. 242


GRIEG


247


TSCHAIKOWSKY


. 251



ILLUSTRATIONS



MADAME SCHUMANN
HANDEL


Frontispiece

PAGE
24


BACH
HAYDN


40

*


MOZART


72


BEETHOVEN ....


88


BEETHOVEN AND HIS FRIENDS


104


SCHUBERT ....


120


SCHUMANN ....


. . . 136


MENDELSSOHN.


. 152


CHOPIN .....


. 168


WAGNER .....


. 184


LISZT


- 200


VERDI


. 216


GRIEG


. 248



WHEN MUSIC, HEAVENLY MAID,
WAS YOUNG

The study of the history of music, seconded by hearing the
actual performance of the masterpieces of different epochs,
will prove the most rapid and effectual cure for conceit and
vanity. SCHUMANN.

A CELEBRATED musician once declared that nobody
worth considering as a composer lived before the time
of Handel and Bach. Painting, sculpture, architecture,
decorative work of various kinds : all, he said, produced
masterpieces which we still value and admire, though
they are now more than two thousand years old. But
go back even two hundred and fifty years in music,
and we feel as if we were among things crude and in-
complete. That was the celebrated musician's verdict.
In his view, Music, heavenly maid, was born when
Handel and Bach were born then, and not before.

In a sense it is true ; so true that Bach, who, like
Handel, was born in 1685, is often called "the father
of music." But it would never do to ignore entirely
Bach's and Handel's predecessors, unfamiliar though
most of their names are now. There are names of
old masters composers and theorists that every

* B



\)*



x \5fc\ .

7



2 MASTER MUSICIANS

musical amateur ought to know, because of the services
they rendered towards the development of the art.
Art of all kinds is an evolution, and the beginnings of
musical composition carry us to a time a good long
way before that last decade of the seventeenth century
which produced Handel and Bach.

In the earlier days, before Handel and Bach, music
was chiefly in the hands of churchmen, which is readily
explained by the fact that the churchmen were then
almost the only people of education and culture. It
i s ti 1115 ^at St. Ambrose and St. Gregory have come
to be named and honoured in musical history. Am-
brose was Archbishop of Milan from 374 to 397. He
took a keen interest in church music, and did much
for its advancement. It was he who devised a general
system of chanting known from his name as the
Ambrosian Chant. When Ambrose died, church music
again deteriorated.

Two hundred years later, a reformer arose in the
person of Pope Gregory, surnamed the Great. Most
musical people have heard of "Gregorians," a mediaeval
medium of chanting the psalms which is still employed
in some churches where the ritual is "high." The
taste for Gregorians, like the taste for olives, has to
be cultivated. Many share the feeling of the American
who, when he was told that David himself sang his
psalms to Gregorians, said he understood for the first
time why Saul threw the javelin at him ! That, then,
is what we owe to Gregory the Great. It was during
his time also that the Romans reduced their nomen-




WHEN MUSIC, HEAVENLY MAID, WAS YOUNG 3

clature of music to the first seven letters of the alphabet
a nomenclature which has been preserved intact
through the long intervening centuries. They had prac-
tically no musical notation as yet only a system of
dots and scratches which look as mysterious to us as
the hieroglyphics on Cleopatra's Needle or the symbols
on a China tea-chest. The five-line staff was quite T ^^

.
the bosom of the future. &*

It was Guido of Arezzo, in Tuscany, a learned
monk of the eleventh century, and Franco of Cologne,
who flourished about the year 1 200, who, between them,
laid the foundations of our present system of musical
writing. Guido devised a four-line staff, and two of
the lines were coloured. One line was yellow (some-
times green), and its purpose was to fix the place of
the note C. Another line was red, and the red line
fixed the place of F. It is from this practice of the
old monk that our familiar treble and bass clefs are
derived. Nor did Guide's services to music end here.
We may fairly call him the inventor of sol-fa, for he
was the first to employ the syllables ut (now doh\
re, mi, fa, sol, la. These syllables he derived from the
following Latin lines, which he made his pupils sing
to a melody so arranged that each line began with the
note it was used to represent :

Ut queant laxis Famuli tuorum

Eesonare fibris Solve polluti

Mira gestorum Labii reatum.

The syllable si, for the seventh of the scale, was not



4 MASTER MUSICIANS

introduced till so late as the seventeenth century,
but it would never have been introduced, and probably
we would never have had a sol-fa notation at all,
except for Guide of Arezzo.

And what about Franco? Well, his part in the
musical advance applied mainly to the devising of
notes of different shapes to express different time
lengths. Before Franco's day there was no way of
clearly representing time in musical notation ; no way
of showing, for example, the difference between a note
which should be four beats long and one which should
be two beats. It is difficult to imagine such an incon-
venience now, and we have to thank Franco for saving
us from it. The breve (seldom seen) and the semibreve
come down to us from him, though he called them the
"brevis" and the "semibrevis." He invented "rests"
too ; and he was the first to divide time into what we
call " dual " and " triple." Dual time has two beats in
the bar, as in a polka ; and triple time has three beats,
as in a waltz. Franco made this distinction before
anybody else did ; and he had a quaint idea that all
church music should be written in triple time because
its three beats correspond with the Holy Trinity, three
persons in one God.

Thus, then, the world had arrived at a tolerably
clear and intelligible method of representing music to
the eye. Still, there had been, so far, no composers,
as we regard the term. It was not until the sp-called
Netherlands School arose in the fourteenth century
that anything significant was done in musical composi-



WHEN MUSIC, HEAVENLY MAID, WAS YOUNG 5

tion. We may think it curious now that Belgium and
Holland, and not Germany, which has given us nearly
all our really great composers, should have been the
first home of music the modern art. But the wind
bloweth where it listeth, and there were notable musi-
cians in other lands before Germany produced Handel
and Bach.

There was, first of all, Josquin des Pr6s, who, at
the height of his maturity, as much overtopped his
contemporaries as Beethoven overtopped all other com-
posers at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Des
PreYs music is even yet heard occasionally, and accord-
ing to an admirer is " still ravishing to the ear." He
was born at Conde" about 1450, and lived till 1521. He
enjoyed immense popularity in his day, first as a singer
in the Pope's Chapel at Rome, and later as chapel-
master to Louis XII. of France. It was complained
indeed that there was "only Josquin in Italy, only
Josquin in France, only Josquin in Germany ; in
Flanders, in Bohemia, in Hungary, in Spain, only
Josquin." Luther, the great Reformer, said, " Josquin
is a master of the notes ; they have to do as he wills,
while other composers must do as the notes will."
Some historians would have us accept him as "the
first composer of modern music." However that may
be, he was a real pioneer composer, and greatly in-
fluenced the trend and history of the art.

One of his pupils, a Belgian called Adrian Willaert
(1490-1563), is credited with the introduction of the
madrigal. The madrigal, a particular kind of part-



6 MASTER MUSICIANS

song, became exceedingly popular in England towards
the end of the sixteenth century. Nobody writes madri-
gals nowadays, for they are held to be old-fashioned.
But who has not heard of " Down in a flowery vale,"
" In going to my lonesome bed," and " Flora gave
me fairest flowers"? These are all madrigals, and
if we owe them indirectly to Adrian Willaert, then we
owe him a big debt. Willaert had a contemporary who
was much more distinguished. This was Orlando Lasso
(1520-1594), born at Mons, in Belgium. They called
him the " Prince of Music," and he was celebrated all
over Europe, employed and honoured by kings and
nobles. If it be true, as is said, that he wrote 2500
works, he was one of the most prolific composers who
ever lived. Barring one quaintly beautiful madrigal,
nothing of his is heard in public to-day. But he played
a considerable part in the advance of his art, for he
introduced the chromatic element into composition,
and it is from him that we have derived such indis-
pensable musical terms as Allegro and Adagio.

But the real glory of those early times was Palestrina
(1514-1594), who was born to effect a complete re-
volution in the style of musical composition for the
church. H e is the first composer who is treated seriously
by the musical historians, though he is rather a herald
of the really great composers than one of the greatest
in his own person. When quite young, he went by a
variety of names, but, as his fame gradually increased,
he began to be called after the little place near Rome
where he was born. Tourists go to Palestrina to-day



WHEN MUSIC, HEAVENLY MAID, WAS YOUNG 7

to see it just for his sake. It is the type of a hill-town
in the Sabine country. The traveller finds it difficult
of access, but it was meant to be so when it was built,
like so many neighbour cities, on a peak. It carries
Roman mosaics in perfect preservation in an amphi-
theatre on the top of its steep streets, whence you
might drop an apple, or almost, straight into the
Campagna at your feet. Seen thence, the dome of
St. Peter's looks like a dim, clouded pearl on the far
horizon, and you may nearly discern the statues on
the Lateran pricking into the sky. A recent visitor
tells that all the people are poor, most of them beauti-
ful, and the abounding children look as though they
must fall into the plain. Out of this nest of isolated
poverty came the greatest musical genius of his time,
the creator of the true religious style.

As a youth Palestrina had studied music in Rome,
and before he was thirty he was choirmaster in the
chapel of Julius II., the fiery Pope who figures so pro-
minently in the life-story of Michael Angelo. The
composer had married young and happily, yet it
turned out as if he should not have married at all.
" With his wife," says his biographer, " he suffered the
most strait penuries of his life, with her he sustained
the most cruel afflictions of his spirit, and with her
also he ate the hard crust of sorrow." The marriage
became a misfortune in this way : Pope Julius died,
and his successor, objecting to married men as singers
in the chapel, discharged Palestrina, who had to take
a poorly-paid post in another church.



8 MASTER MUSICIANS

But then, in 1 562, came the sittings of that famous
Council of Trent which determined so many points
in church procedure and polity. The Council ex-
pressed itself as dissatisfied with the prevailing style
of church music. It was too frivolous, too much tinged
with secularity, they said. In fact, they condemned
it root and branch, and proclaimed the need for a
higher and purer style. Now came Palestrina's oppor-
tunity. He had proved himself a master of music, and
the Pope suggested to him that he should produce
a Mass in the manner demanded by the Council.
Palestrina jumped at the idea, and by 1 565 had com-
pleted three Masses, which a Commission of Cardinals
declared to be the very thing that was wanted to save
church music from the utter degradation with which
it had been threatened. Casting aside the learned
yet puerile combinations which had been in vogue,
Palestrina wrote in a style pure and serene, free from
agitation or excitement, with no sentimentality and no
affectation. We who live in the strenuous atmosphere
of the twentieth century can hardly get into the con-
dition of mind to understand and feel the almost
angelic beauty and sweetness of his work, though
indeed there are few chances of hearing it. We must
be content to know that, though perhaps not actively
or directly, it continues to influence and correct the
art of all the more serious-minded church composers.
Palestrina died in the fulness of his fame in February
1 594, when Shakespeare was thirty years old, and was
just getting into print for the first time.



WHEN MUSIC, HEAVENLY MAID, WAS YOUNG 9

After Palestrina, and before Bach and Handel, there
are no Continental composers of sufficient note to de-
tain us ; though it was within this period that the great
forms of opera and oratorio sprang into being. Indeed,
the first opera ever written was produced in the very
year of Palestrina's death. This was Dafne> composed
by Jacopo Peri, one of a Florentine coterie of dilettanti.
It was a very primitive kind of work, with only four
instruments (harpsichord, viol di gamba, lute, and harp)
for accompaniment. But it proved a huge success, and
the result was a second opera, Eurydice, produced on
the occasion of the marriage of Mary de Medicis with
Henry IV. of France in 1600. Peri is described as
having " an aureole of notoriously ardent hair," what-
ever that may mean. He was a very avaricious person.
Of noble birth himself, he grew rich on the favour of the
Medicis, and added to his wealth by marrying a fine
lady who brought with her a very handsome dot.

Peri's operas were, of course, mere experiments.
It was left for Claudio Monteverde (1566-1650), a
Milanese musician, to give a pronounced form to the
opera. Monteverde has been glowingly described as
" the first opera composer by the grace of God, a real
musical genius, the father of instrumentation." Less
enthusiastically, we may call him the Wagner of his
time, since in his harmonies and general style he was
so daringly in advance of his age. Thus, in an opera
of 1624, he introduced instrumental effects which were
almost Wagnerian in their attempts to convey to
listeners an idea of the feelings animating the several



io MASTER MUSICIANS

characters. He indicates, for instance, the galloping of
horses and the fierceness of their riders pretty much as
Wagner does in his Ride of the Valkyries. Monteverde
had many competitors in opera, but he easily eclipsed
them all, and in a few years gave opera quite a new
complexion. It is said that he entered the church after
the death of his wife, when he was about sixty-five years
of age. By and by the Neapolitan Alessandro Scarlatti
(1659-1725) burst on the scene and established the
real Italian opera, which has now held sway for so
many years in so many different countries.

What Monteverde did for opera was done for
oratorio by Giacomo Carissimi (1582-1672), who often
wrote for the voices in that broad and simple style
which Handel popularised a whole century later. The
development of oratorio, in fact, progressed side by side
with the development of opera. But oratorio has had a
much shorter active existence than opera. The opera,
like Tennyson's brook, seems destined to go on for
ever, while the oratorio really lives only in the master-
pieces of Handel and Mendelssohn, with an occasional
spurt from Haydn. Practically, as regards its form,
Handel said the last word in oratorio ; whereas the
opera was in a state of evolution right up to the time
of Wagner, if it is not in a state of evolution even
now.

And what was England doing for music all this
time? Not very much that has proved permanent.
England had a host of composers of all kinds, but
their names are, for the most part, altogether unknown



WHEN MUSIC, HEAVENLY MAID, WAS YOUNG 1 1

in the great world of music. Some call this the time
before Handel and Bach the golden age of English
music ; reminding us that in those far-away days
flourished such composers as John Dunstable, Chris-
topher Tye, Thomas Tallis, William Byrde, Richard
Farrant, John Dowland, Orlando Gibbons, John Bull,
Henry Lawes, Jeremiah Clark, and William Croft,
among many more. These names, or some of them,
are interesting enough. Thus Tye was the music-
master of Queen Elizabeth, who prided herself upon
the playing of the virginals, a primitive precursor of
the piano. Byrde, also, was intimately connected with
the Queen, being one of the chief contributors to her
Virginal Book. Tallis survives in the common-metre
church tune bearing his name, as well as in the tune
of the evening hymn, " All praise to Thee, my God,
this night." To John Bull some are inclined to attribute
(and very properly, considering his name) the tune of
" God save the King." Dowland would be worth
mentioning if only because Shakespeare made a sonnet
about him " If music and sweet poetry agree " ; and
Henry Lawes is interesting for a similar reason, namely,
that Milton celebrated him in the lines

Harry, whose tuneful and well-measured notes
First taught our English music how to span
Words with just note and accent.

Jeremiah Clark wrote cathedral music which is still
performed, and William Croft some noble anthems
and some hymn-tunes, such as " Hanover " and " St.
Anne," that are heard regularly in all the churches.



iz MASTER MUSICIANS

Every one of these musicians was born before Handel,
and every one of them did something notable, each in
his own way, though, comparatively, it was a small
way.

There is, in truth, but one really great name in
English music before the days of Handel and Bach.
That is the name of Henry Purcell, who died ten years
after these masters were born. There are those who
contend that Purcell is the only real musical genius
Britain has ever produced. One recent writer calls
him "our last great musician," which is not compli-
mentary to later composers ! He was a sort of musical
Shakespeare of his time, and hardly more is known
of him than we know of the man who wrote Hamlet
and Macbeth. Born in 1658, he lived in the London
of Samuel Pepys, the diarist, and died in 1695, having
written complimentary odes to three Kings Charles
II., James II., and William III. Besides these odes,
he wrote " piles of instrumental music, a fair heap of
anthems and songs, and interludes and overtures for
some forty odd plays." This is really all that we know
about Henry Purcell. But it is mildly interesting to
note that he was made organist of Westminster Abbey
(where he is buried) at the early age of eighteen, and that
he met his death at thirty-seven (such is the story) by his
wife shutting him out one cold winter night because he
came home late. Perhaps it was a feeling of remorse
that led the widow to collect her husband's composi-
tions and publish them with a highly laudatory dedica-
tion. The Abbey epitaph ought to have pleased her



WHEN MUSIC, HEAVENLY MAID, WAS YOUNG 13

at any rate : " Here lyes Henry Purcell, Esquire, who
left this life, and is gone to that blessed place where
only his harmony can be exceeded."

Purcell's works appeal mainly to musicians and musi-
cal antiquaries, for they are seldom performed. He
had a passion for expressing words in notes ; as when,
in his setting of the text, " They that go down to the
sea in ships," he plunges the bass down a couple of
octaves, and then at the words " up to heaven," keeps
him straining his voice on a high dotted crotchet. Com-
posers much greater than Purcell went in for musical
word-painting of that kind. The " plagues" in Handel's
Israel in Egypt are full of far-fetched musical word-
pictures ; Haydn's Creation has " a long and sinuous
worm " and a sportive leviathan ; Mendelssohn tries
to reproduce the bray of the donkey in his Midsummer
Night's Dream ; and even Beethoven introduces a real
cuckoo into his Pastoral Symphony. We should re-
gard this sort of thing as childish now. But Purcell
at least had no idea of being childish. He was per-
fectly serious, and though we cannot possibly agree
with Dr. Burney, the musical historian, that in passion
and expression his vocal music is "as superior to
Handel's as an original poem to a translation," we
must nevertheless admit that this man who was so
prematurely cut off was one of the greatest musicians
England has given birth to. And so, with that com-
forting statement to close our introductory survey, let
us turn to Handel and Bach and the line of masters
who came after them.



GEORGE FREDERICK HANDEL:
THE MAKER OF THE MESSIAH

Remember Handel ? Who, that was not born
Deaf as the dead to harmony, forgets,
Or can, the more than Homer of his age ?

COWPER.

HANDEL and Bach were the earliest of the great com-
posers whose works are regularly performed to-day.
Yet how little the average amateur knows about them !
This is especially curious in the case of Handel, for
Handel was English in everything but the accident of
his birth. He spent nearly all his working life in Eng-
land ; he had himself " naturalised " as an English-
man ; he wrote nearly every one of his notable works
in England and to English words ; and, gathering up
all that had gone before him in English music, he
embodied it in himself, and practically became the
father of modern English composition. His remains
rest with England's own great in Westminster Abbey,
and the recurrent Handel Festivals at the Crystal
Palace, to say nothing of repeated performances of
the Messiah by all the leading choral societies, keep
his name and his music green.

14



GEORGE FREDERICK HANDEL 15

George Frederick Handel was born at the quaint
little town of Halle, about an hour's ride from Leipzig,
in February 1685. His father, then sixty-three years
old, was one of those oft -mentioned barbers who
were at the same time surgeons and dentists. He
meant his George Frederick to be a lawyer, for music
seemed to him an undignified sort of amusement, fit
only for Italian fiddlers and French buffoons. Handel
himself had a reminder of this idea when at Oxford,
many years later, he and his company of fellow-
professionals were described by one of the papers as
" a lousy crew." Barber Handel showed himself very
determined on the point. When his boy evinced an
unmistakable bent for music, the barber did everything
he could to thwart it. All musical instruments were


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