J. Cuthbert (James Cuthbert) Hadden.

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deal, Dr. Haydn," said George. " Yes, sire, more than
is good for me," was the reply. " Certainly not ! "
rejoined his Majesty. He was then presented to the
Queen, and asked to sing some German songs. " My
voice," he said, pointing to the tip of his little finger,
" is now no bigger than that " ; but he sat down to
the piano and sang one of his own songs. He was re-
peatedly invited by the Queen to Buckingham Palace,
and she tried to persuade him to settle in England.
" You shall have a house at Windsor during the
summer months," she said ; and then, looking towards
the King, she added : "We can sometimes make music
t$te-a-tete" " Oh, I am not jealous of Haydn," inter-
posed the King ; " he is a good, honourable German."
These pleasantries were all very well, but Haydn was
not inclined to give his professional services even to
royalty for nothing. He sent in a bill for a hundred
guineas for his appearances at Carlton House and
Buckingham Palace, and Parliament thought it ex-
pedient to pay the bill and say nothing. Among the
other favours bestowed upon him during this visit,
mention should be made of the present of a fine talk-
ing parrot, which was sold for 140 after his death.
When he went back to Vienna this time, in 1795,


it was practically to retire from professional and public
life. He had made money, and he could rest on his
laurels. Yet it was after this, when he was sixty-six
years old, that he composed the tuneful and brilliant
oratorio of the Creation, a work which, perhaps, more
than any other, has kept his name before the musical
masses. It seems to have been directly prompted by
the hearing of Handel's oratorios in London. He had
attended the Handel Commemoration in Westminster
Abbey in 1791, and was much impressed with the
grandeur of the performances. When the Hallelujah
Chorus was sung he wept like a child. " Handel is
the master of us all," he said. " Never was I so pious,"
he afterwards wrote, " as when I was composing the
Creation. I knelt down every day and prayed God to
strengthen me for my work." The new oratorio made
an extraordinary effect when first performed in 1798.
The whole audience was deeply moved, and Haydn
confessed that he could not describe his own sensa-
tions. " One moment," he said, " I was as cold as ice,
the next I seemed on fire. More than once I was
afraid I should have a stroke." It is recorded that
Beethoven, alluding to the oratorio, once remarked to
Haydn : " Oh ! dear master, it is far from being a
creation" But the story is very likely an invention.

The success of the Creation led Haydn to try an-
other work somewhat on the same lines, and the result
was the Seasons, a setting of Thomson's poem, which
has been performed by our choral societies times with-
out number. It shows no trace of the " failing power "


of which Haydn had now begun to complain. But the
strain of its composition proved too much for him.
Indeed he always said himself that the Seasons gave
him the finishing stroke. His last years were a con-
stant struggle with the infirmities of age ; and when
his presence was specially desired at a performance of
the Creation in 1808, he had to be carried in an arm-
chair to his place in the concert hall. At the words
" And there was light " he was completely overcome,
and pointing upwards exclaimed, " It came from
thence." He became more and more agitated as the
performance went on, and at last had to be carried out.
People of the highest rank crowded around to take
leave of him, and Beethoven fervently stooped and
kissed his forehead, a pretty act of homage, in view of
certain circumstances of which we shall learn later.

In the following year Vienna was occupied by the
French, thanks to Napoleon's rampage, and one day
while the city was being bombarded a round-shot fell
into Haydn's garden. At the same time Beethoven
was buried away in a cellar, his ears stuffed with
cotton -wool, for he feared that the booming of the
cannon might make his deafness worse. The French
domination was a grief to the patriot Haydn, but he
had no personal fear. Art is independent of nationality.
Haydn's music was well known and appreciated in
France, and the conquerors paid every possible respect
to the dying composer. The pleasing story of the
French officer visiting him and singing " In native
worth" at his bedside is familiar. On the 26th of



May he called his household around him for the last
time, and having been carried to the piano, played his
own Austrian Hymn three times over in the midst of
the weeping listeners. Five days afterwards, on the 3 1 st
of May 1809, Francis Joseph Haydn passed to his rest.
Not long before, he had said regretfully : " I have only
just learnt how to use the wind instruments, and now
that I do understand them, I must leave the world."

They buried him in a churchyard not far from his
house, and the grave remained unmarked for five years,
when one of Haydn's pupils raised a handsome stone
over it. Then, in 1820, Prince Esterhazy ordered the
exhumation of the remains for re-interment near the
scene of Haydn's long labours at Esterhaz. When the
coffin was opened, the startling discovery was made that
the skull was missing. Inquiries were instituted, and
it was proved that the desecration had taken place two
days after the funeral. A wretched " student of phren-
ology " named Peter had conceived the idea of making
a collection of skulls for study. He bribed the sexton
and got Haydn's skull. When he was done with it he
passed it to another person, who buried it in his back-
garden. Then, when he was dying, he ordered it to be
restored to Peter, who in turn bequeathed it to a Dr.
Haller, from whose keeping it subsequently found its
way to the Anatomical Museum at Vienna, where it
still is, and where in fact it formed the subject of a
lecture in the spring of 1909. Its proper place is, of
course, in Haydn's grave.

There have been too many desecrations of this kind.


We have already heard aboutthe alleged Bach skeleton.
When Beethoven's grave was opened in 1863, a medical
man was actually allowed to cut away the ear passages
of the corpse to investigate the cause of the composer's
deafness, while some ghoulish person bolted with two of
the teeth. Donizetti's skull was stolen before the funeral,
and was afterwards sold to a pork-butcher, who used it
as a money-bowl ! Fortunately in these later days we
are more reverential in regard to memorials of the
great dead.

Haydn's figure does not seem to have been prepos-
sessing. His complexion was so dark that one called
him a Moor and another a nigger. He was unusually
pitted with smallpox, a universal disfigurement in those
pre-vaccination times. His legs were short, and he had
a long beaked nose, with nostrils of different shape. But
who does not know Papa Haydn by his portraits?
From these we can almost read his character. That
face is, as Mr. Haweis says, notable quite as much for
what it does not as for what it does express. No soar-
ing ambition, no avarice, no impatience, very little
excitability, no malice. On the other hand, it indicates
a flow of even health, an exceeding good-humour, com-
bined with a vivacity which seems to say : " I must
lose my temper sometimes, but I cannot lose it for
long"; a geniality which it took much to disturb, a diges-
tion which it took more to impair ; a power of work
steady and uninterrupted ; a healthy, devotional feeling
(he was a devout Catholic) ; a strong sense of humour ;
a capacity for enjoying all the world's good things,


without any morbid craving for irregular indulgence ;
affections warm but intense ; a presence accepted and
beloved ; a mind contented almost anywhere, attaching
supreme importance to one thing, and one thing only
the composing of music, and pursuing this object
with the steady instinct of one who believed himself to
have been sent into the world for that purpose alone.
Such was Francis Joseph Haydn.

He told Carpani that at the thought of God his
heart leaped for joy, and that he could not help his
music, even his church music, doing the same. " I
know," he said, " that God has bestowed a talent upon
me, and I thank Him for it. I think I have done my
duty and been of use in my generation ; let others do
the same." He was fond of dress, always liked to com-
pose in his best clothes, and if he meant to do anything
particularly well, he put on a ring which had been pre-
sented to him by the King of Prussia. An entirely
lovable man ; and his music, though some superior
persons would fain call it old-fashioned, is just as


When I was very young, I used to say " I " ; later on, I said
" I and Mozart " ; then " Mozart and I." Now I say " Mozart."

IT is now more than a hundred years since Mozart,
once the pet of all the crowned heads of Europe, once
the idol of the common people, expired, penniless, and
almost neglected, and was laid to rest in a nameless
grave, not one soul whom he had known in life standing
by to see the coffin lowered. The records of musical
history tell of no deathbed scene which leaves so deep
an impression as that of Mozart. He had been com-
missioned to compose a Requiem and it was still un-
completed. His last afternoon on earth had come.
Supported by pillows, though already exhausted by
fits of coughing, he made painful efforts to join his
pupil Sussmayer and one or two other acquaintances
in singing the chorus parts of the unfinished work. The
most vivid imagination cannot picture a more distress-
ing scene than the dying man, unable to speak, extend-
ing his cheeks to indicate to Sussmayer the places at
which the wind instruments should be employed. The
evening wore on slowly enough for the sad, wearied



watchers, and as midnight drew near the dying com-
poser with difficulty raised himself from his bed, opened
his eyes wide, and then, turning his face to the wall,
seemed to fall asleep. It was the last sleep : an hour
later and the perturbed spirit was at rest for ever.

The body lay for the usual time, and as the days of
the old year were slowly dying, Mozart took his last
long journey. A poor, scanty, straggling procession is
observed wending its way from the house to the Cathe-
dral, where a short service is to be held prior to the
interment in the burial-ground of St. Mark, then lying
in the suburbs of Vienna, but now a veritable oasis in
the desert of the enlarged city. As the coffin emerges
from the Cathedral in the pouring rain, some who have
been at the service disappear round the angles of the
building, and are seen no more. Others shelter them-
selves as best they can, and trudge with the remains
along the muddy streets. But even these cannot hold
out to the end. " They all forsook him and fled." And
so, unattended except by hirelings, the body was borne
away into the dismal country, there to be laid with
paupers in a common grave, the exact site of which no
one was to know in the course of a few years. In 1809
some admirers wished to visit the grave, but they were
told that the ashes of the poor were often exhumed to
make room for others, and Mozart was as unknown at
the cemetery as the other fifteen friendless unfortunates
who had been buried the same week. To-day, in that
great necropolis, the monument to Mozart stands over
an empty grave.


Let us see what manner of life was lived by this
immortal master of music, who laid it down under cir-
cumstances so painful before he was thirty-five. If he
had not a long life, he had a long name, for they
christened him John Chrysostom Wolfgang Theophilus
Mozart. The Theophilus was early dropped for the
more euphonious name of Amadeus, and more lately
the John Chrysostom was, in common usage, cut away
entirely. Leopold Mozart, the father, was himself a
professional musician : an excellent violinist and organ-
ist, and Court composer to the Archbishop of Salzburg.
He is pictured with his "old threadbare coat and oaken
stick, a God-fearing, sensible, but somewhat narrow-
minded man." He and his wife, the very model of a
thrifty hausfrau, are said to have been the handsomest
couple in that beautiful old town of Salzburg.

It was at Salzburg, in a very unpretentious dwelling,
that Mozart was born, on the 27th of January 1756.
The parents had seven children, but they all died in
infancy except Wolfgang and Anna Maria, familiarly
called Nannerl, who was to share some of her brother's
triumphs as a musical prodigy. Wolfgang's talent dis-
covered itself at the early age of three, when he would
fix his attention on the harpsichord lessons being given
to the seven-year old Nannerl. Even then, he would
puzzle out little tunes on the instrument. Papa was,
of course, overjoyed, and soon he had Wolfgang shar-
ing Nannerl's lessons. He made special arrangements
of little pieces for him, and wrote them out in a book.
The book remains to this day, with the proud father's


notes about his prodigy's progress. Thus : " Wolfgang
learnt this minuet when he was four," "This minuet
and trio were learnt by Wolfgang in half-an-hour, at
half-past nine at night, on January 26, 1761, one day
before his fifth year." And so on.

The boy must try his hand at composition, too. He
wrote a concerto, and when he was told it was good
but too difficult, he said : " Well, it must be practised
till it is mastered," and then he showed the elders the
way it should be played. Many years later, a young
man asked Mozart to tell him how to compose. The
gentle Wolfgang replied that the questioner was too
young to be thinking of such a serious occupation.
" But you were much younger when you began," pro-
tested the aspirant. " Ah, yes, that is true," Mozart
said, with a smile ; " but then, you see, I did not ask
anybody how to compose." No ! What was the use
of lessons to a boy who would improvise fugues and
then ride-a-cock-horse on his father's walking-stick ?

Well, these wonder-children created such a sensation
in local circles that Papa Mozart began to think he
might make some money out of them. So, when Wolf-
gang was only six, the three started away on a concert
tour. They went to Munich, where the youngsters
astonished the Bavarian Court by their performances.
Then they went to Vienna, where the boy, on their
arrival, "squared" the Custom House officer by playing
him a minuet on the violin. The trio were commanded
to appear at Court, and Wolfgang immediately became
a great pet there. He would jump into the Empress'




lap, throw his arms round her neck, and cover her with
kisses. The future unhappy Queen of France, Marie
Antoinette, was particularly charmed with him, and one
day, when she helped him up after a fall, he innocently
said : " You are good, and when I am a man I will
marry you." It was a pity he didn't !

All this was very gratifying to Papa Mozart, but
he complained that there was no money in it. " If the
kisses bestowed upon Wolfgang could be transformed
into good louis d'or, we should have nothing to grumble
at. The misfortune is that the hotel-keepers have no
desire to be paid in kisses." At another time he wrote :
" We have swords, laces, mantillas, snuff-boxes, gold
cases, sufficient to furnish a shop ; but as for money,
it is a scarce article, and I am positively poor." It was
only when they came to London in 1764, after being
in Paris, that the Mozarts seem to have put money in
their purse.

Here they played before George III. and his Queen,
who gave them twenty-four guineas for each perform-
ance. Wolfgang, too, got fifty guineas for a set of
six sonatas composed and dedicated to the Queen.
There were public concerts also, the advertisements of
which read quaintly enough to-day. Thus one concert
is announced : " For the benefit of Miss Mozart, of
eleven, and Master Mozart, of seven, prodigies of nature.
Everybody will be astonished to hear a child of such
tender age playing the harpsichord in such perfection.
It surmounts all fantasy and imagination, and it is hard
to express which is more astonishing, his execution


upon the harpsichord, playing at sight, or his own
composition." In another advertisement, " ladies and
gentlemen who chuse to come " are told they will find
the wonderful boy at home every day from twelve till
two, and " have an opportunity of putting his talents
to a more particular proof by giving him anything to
play at sight, or any music without a bass, which he
will write upon the spot without recurring to his harpsi-
chord." In a third advertisement it was intimated that
" the two children will play together with four hands
upon the same harpsichord, and put upon it a hand-
kerchief without seeing the keys."

Mozart had been over a year in London when he left
it in July 1765, never to return. The scholastic side of
his training had yet to be seen to, and the boy, making
his way through Holland and France, playing as he
went, now returned to Salzburg, and settled down to
serious theoretical study. It is a matter of debate
among his biographers whether the feverish excitement
of these prodigy exhibitions did not undermine his con-
stitution and help to bring about his early death. It is
likely enough. The precious days of youth should be
devoted primarily to the storing up of health, without
which lasting success is impossible. Nothing is more
harmful to sound physical development and mental
growth than the strain of extensive tours ; and it can
hardly be doubted that Mozart's health suffered a
serious check by the unnatural way in which his talent
was stimulated in his earlier years. Still, it would be
unfair to blame his father entirely, as some writers have



done. Leopold Mozart's after life sufficiently proves
that his desire was unselfish, and that his heart was set
on the welfare of his offspring. " God," he said, " has
endowed my children with such genius that, laying
aside my duty as a father, my ambition urges me to
sacrifice all else to their education."

After the tours, then, the education began in real
earnest. By the time he was fourteen, Mozart was gene-
rally considered to have mastered the whole technique
of his art, and to himself nothing seemed necessary by
way of finishing touch but a journey to Italy. Every
young composer had that ambition in the old days.
Some never realised it ; Mozart did. When he got to
Rome his first consideration was to hear the music in
the Pope's chapel. And here an interesting incident has
to be recorded. Twice a year a celebrated Misereri by
Allegri, an early seventeenth-century composer, was
performed by the choir, but the work, which existed
only in MS., was so highly esteemed that to copy it was
a crime visited with excommunication. Young Mozart
nevertheless determined that he would secure a copy,
and after two hearings he had the whole thing so per-
fectly on paper that next year Dr. Burney, the musical
historian, was able to publish it in London. All the
great composers had wonderful memories, but Mozart
stood pre-eminent. He had a constant habit of playing
his concertos in public without a " bit " of music. In
a concert at Leipzig, some three years before his death,
he performed his concerto in C. The band all in readi-
ness, Mozart sat down to the piano to begin the com-


position. What was the surprise of the audience, how-
ever, to see him place on the desk, not his part, but a
small piece of paper scribbled with a few notes to re-
mind him how some of the passages began. " Oh," he
replied, upon being questioned by a friend, "the piano
part is safely locked up in my desk at Vienna. I am
obliged to take this precaution when travelling, other-
wise people contrive somehow or other to get copies of
my scores and print them while I starve." Of course
all the virtuosi play from memory now, but the accom-
plishment was rarer in Mozart's day.

The young composer's progress through the Italian
cities was a continued triumph. The Pope decorated
him, looking upon his surreptitious copying of the
jealously -guarded Miser eri as too wonderful to be
condemned. Poets made rhymes about him ; medals
were struck in his honour. When he was playing at
Naples, the audience took it into their heads that a ring
which he wore on his ringer was a talisman, and inter-
rupted the performance until he removed it, when he
played more brilliantly than before. Everywhere the
same enthusiasm was manifested. In fact it would
only be wasting valuable space to dwell further on
Mozart's youthful triumphs. The record might be ex-
tended to portentous length, but, as one biographer has
said, apart from the proof which these successes furnish
of his extraordinary precocity, they are of little vital
significance in the great problem of his career, except
so far as they stimulated the marvellous boy to lay a
deep foundation for his greater future.


We may, therefore, pass over a year or two and pick
him up at 1777, when he went to Paris with his mother,
half intending to make Paris his future residence. Un-
happily, soon after their arrival his mother died. Then
he found he could not get on with the French. " The
French are, and always will be, downright donkeys,"
he said. " They cannot sing ; they scream." He de-
clared that their language had been invented by the
devil. He objected also to their coarseness and their
frivolity. " The ungodly arch-villain, Voltaire, has died
like a dog," he wrote. Mozart was deeply religious, and
Voltaire's atheism shocked him. " I have always had
God before my eyes," he once wrote. " Friends who
have no religion cannot long be my friends." And we
recognise the loving unspoiled heart of a boy in the
young man's words, " Next to God comes papa." In
this matter of religious feeling he was like his friend
Haydn. He returned to Germany in 1779, thoroughly
disgusted with French music and musicians. This was
the dawn of his classical period as a composer. And
what hardships he had to endure ! At Mannheim,
where he had settled, lack of money pinched him close.
" J I have only one room," he told his father ; " it is quite
crammed with a piano, a table, a bed, and a chest of
drawers." Yet he, too, like Haydn in similar circum-
stances, proposed to marry ! He had fallen in love, and
the episode makes a very pretty story. At Mannheim
there lived a certain orchestral copyist and stage
prompter named Weber, an uncle, by the way, of the
composer of Der Frei$chtttz. Weber had a daughter,


Aloysia, a girl of fifteen, pretty and musical. Mozart
was engaged to teach her singing, and she engaged her-
self to him temporarily. Mozart was only twenty-
three at this time, and he was still largely dependent on
his father, who advised him to " get the great folks on
your side " before thinking of marriage. But Mozart
would listen to no warning. He even proposed to take
Aloysia to Salzburg "to make the acquaintance of dear
papa " ; hoping, of course, that papa would give way
when he discovered the lady's charms and accomplish-

But papa would have nothing to do with Aloysia,
even when told that she sang divinely and played
sonatas at first sight. In the meanwhile Aloysia had
obtained an engagement at the Munich Theatre. There
she achieved a success, and the success turned her little
head. An impecunious musician for a husband was now
quite out of the question, and she frankly said so.
Mozart bore the trial very well for a sensitive, emotional
young man of twenty -four. He even wrote to his
father : " I was a fool about Aloysia, I own ; but what
is a man not when in love ? " Aye, what not, indeed !

Mozart was not long in making a fool of himself
again. Aloysia had married an actor by this time ; but
copyist Weber had three daughters still on his hands,
and one of them took Mozart's fancy. He could not
help himself. Constance Weber had " a pair of bright,
black eyes and a pretty figure"; she was "kind-hearted,
clever, modest, good-tempered, economical, neat." It
was utterly untrue, as Mozart pere had asserted, that


she was extravagant. On the contrary, she dressed
her own hair, understood housekeeping, and had the
best heart in the world. Mozart loved her with his
" whole soul," and she loved him. Mozart wanted a

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Online LibraryJ. Cuthbert (James Cuthbert) HaddenMaster musicians; a book for players, singers and listeners → online text (page 5 of 17)