W. J. (Winton James) Baltzell.

A complete history of music, for schools, clubs, and private readings online

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Online LibraryW. J. (Winton James) BaltzellA complete history of music, for schools, clubs, and private readings → online text (page 32 of 41)
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him. Since then he has visited the United States three times, he has
traveled over all Europe, and has visited Australia with overwhelming
success, financial and artistic. His most noticeable qualities are
a magnetic personality, a virtuoso technic, the color and piquant
rhythm of his playing, and the poetry and deep human intensity of his
interpretations. He has written several sets of pieces for the piano,
a concerto, and a fantasy with orchestra, and an opera. His generous
gift of the endowment of triennial prizes to American composers is an
admirable instance of his warm-heartedness.

=Josef Slavinski=, born 1865, who studied with Stroeble, Anton
Rubinstein and finally Leschetizky, is a pianist of great ability who
came to the United States in 1873, and again in 1901. Other Leschetizky
pupils are =Ossip Gabrilowitsch=, born 1878, also a pupil of Anton
Rubinstein and the St. Petersburg Conservatory, who came to America in
1900 and 1902; =Mark Hambourg=, born in 1879, who first studied with
his father, and after a tour of the United States in 1900, has had
brilliant successes in Europe and England; =Martinus Sieveking=, born
1867, a pupil of Röntgen at Leipzig, who visited America in 1895 and
again in 1896-97 and afterwards went to Vienna. There are many other
brilliant pupils of Leschetizky, but the foregoing are some of the best
known.

Paderewski has not taught, as a rule, since his great triumphs as a
virtuoso, but he has made exceptions. =Sigismond Stojowski=, born 1870,
was a pupil of the Paris Conservatory, where he won first prizes in
piano playing and composition. Later he studied with Paderewski, and
lived as pianist, teacher and composer in Paris. In 1905, he accepted
the position of head of the piano department at the Institute of
Musical Art, New York City. =Antoinette Szumowska-Adamowska= was born
in 1868. She studied at Warsaw, and later, for several years, with
Paderewski. She has made successful appearances in Europe and America.
Later she accepted a position at the New England Conservatory, in
Boston, U. S. A.

Another pianist of great ability who has profited by Paderewski’s
suggestions is =Harold Bauer=, born in 1873. A student of the violin,
as well as of the piano, he did not consider making a career as a piano
virtuoso until encouraged by Paderewski. In 1892, he studied with
Paderewski, although he is largely self-taught, for his individuality
and musical style show slight effects of Paderewski’s influence.
Bauer’s technic is superb, although he is not a virtuoso pure and
simple. His interpretations are healthy and vigorous, and especially
faithful to the composers’ intentions. His repertory is enormous. He
has made several extremely successful tours to the United States. He
has traveled also widely in Europe as well as to South America. Bauer
is one of the most eminent of living artists.

Among Norwegians, =Edvard Grieg=, born 1843, is a remarkable
interpreter of his own individual works. =Christian Sinding= and
=Wilhelm Stenhammar= also deserve mention.

The Italians have not produced many remarkable pianists, nevertheless,
several are well known. Chief among them is =Giovanni Sgambati=, born
1843, a pupil of Liszt. Sgambati has composed charming music for
the piano, as well as chamber-music, a concerto and symphony. He is
director of the Academy of St. Cecilia, at Rome. =Giuseppe Buonamici=,
born 1846, a pupil of the Munich Conservatory and of von Bülow, has
done much to promote music in Florence. He has been connected with
several musical societies in that city, and has been active as a
teacher. His editions of Beethoven’s sonatas, of Bertini’s etudes, and
a treatise on scale playing are of great value to the student. The
most prominent Italian pianist, who has lived a cosmopolitan life, is
=Feruccio Busoni=, born in 1866. Early in life he became a member, as
a pianist, of the Bologna Philharmonic Academy, after a severe test.
In 1888, he accepted a position at the Helsingfors Conservatory. In
1890, he won the Rubinstein prize as composer and pianist. Subsequently
he taught the piano in the Moscow Conservatory, and later he was
connected with the New England Conservatory at Boston. Since then he
has lived in Europe as a pianist and conductor of ultra-modern music.
Busoni has one of the most formidable technics of any pianist living.
He has edited Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavichord,” with many helpful
technical suggestions, also the smaller preludes and inventions; he has
made masterly transcriptions of Bach’s organ works for the piano, of a
fantasy for organ by Liszt, the same composer’s “Mephisto Waltz,” etc.
He re-visited America in 1904.

=Stephen Heller=, born 1814, died 1888, was much influenced by Chopin.
He was a talented pianist, who will be remembered chiefly by his
studies, and a few other pieces, which have decided educational value.

Among other living pianists who escape classification for one reason
or another are =Moritz Moszkowski=, born 1854, a pupil of the Dresden,
Kullak and Stern Conservatories; while a successful pianist and
teacher, he is known chiefly for his fluent and graceful piano music,
although he has composed works in larger forms. =Franz Rummel=, born
1853, died 1901, a pupil of Brassin and the Brussels Conservatory,
toured Europe and visited America several times; he taught at the
Stern Conservatory in Berlin; =Rafael Joseffy=, born 1853, went to
the Leipzig Conservatory, he then studied with Carl Tausig and later
with Liszt; of late years he has taught at the National Conservatory
at New York. His concert appearances have invariably been successful,
although he has devoted himself largely to teaching. A pianist of
especial distinction is =Vladimir de Pachmann=, born in 1848, a
pupil of the Vienna Conservatory; in spite of a brilliant début
he retired for many years’ study; on reappearing he gave concerts
over all Europe, and has made several visits to America; his chief
triumphs have been as the inimitable interpreter of Chopin; =Leopold
Godowsky=, born 1870, appeared as a prodigy at the age of nine; he
studied at the _Hochschule_ in Berlin, made European tours, and studied
with Saint-Saëns from 1887 to 1890; he taught at conservatories in
Philadelphia and Chicago; in 1902, he returned to Europe, where he has
given concerts constantly with phenomenal success. A composer of piano
pieces, he has devised many extraordinary versions of Chopin’s studies.

Among English pianists, =Frederic Lamond=, a pupil of the Raff
Conservatory, of von Bülow and Liszt, and =Leonard Borwick=, a pupil of
Mme. Schumann, are the best known, although there are many pianists of
rising reputation.

Two young pianists deserving of especial recognition are Ernst von
Dohnanyi and Josef Hofmann. =Dohnanyi=, born 1877, is a pupil of
Kessler and D’Albert. In 1898, he won a double success as pianist and
composer with a piano concerto. In 1900, he made a brilliant tour in
America. Since then he has devoted himself largely to composition.
=Josef Hofmann= was a pupil of his father, and later, of Anton
Rubinstein. He played the piano when six years old; in public at the
age of nine. In the following year he gave fifty-two concerts in the
United States. After retiring for study under Rubinstein, he reappeared
a mature artist. He has since visited America several times. Hofmann
has an unusual technic; his individuality is not striking, but he is an
artist of conspicuous merit.


AMERICAN PIANISTS.

The rapid progress of music in America renders it impossible to do
justice to piano playing in this country. However, the pioneer work of
=William Mason=, a pupil of Moscheles, Dreyschock and Liszt, active
as pianist and teacher, the author of “Touch and Technic” and other
technical treatises; of B. J. Lang, a pupil of his father, F. C. Hill,
Salter and Alfred Jaell, an active pianist, teacher, and conductor,
of W. S. B. Mathews, Otto Dresel, Ernst Perabo, and others, was of
great importance. Later =Carl Baermann=, a Liszt pupil, Carl Faelten,
=William Sherwood=, also a Liszt pupil, Carl Stasny, Arthur Whiting,
Edward MacDowell and many others have continued the work so ably begun.
=Edward MacDowell= is easily the most noted American composer-pianist.
His technical equipment, personality, and interpretative gifts justly
entitle him to this distinction. A pupil of Mme. Carreño, Marmontel
and Carl Heymann, he has had thorough training. His pianistic career
has been limited by his efforts as a composer, and by his work as
Professor of Music at Columbia, which position he resigned in 1904, as
well as his activity as a teacher. His studies, concertos and smaller
pieces show great individuality of technical style, besides being
among the most valuable contributions to piano literature since Liszt.
MacDowell has appeared with leading orchestras in this country; he has
given many recitals, including a tour of the United States in 1904.


WOMEN PIANISTS.

Of the many distinguished women pianists since Liszt, the most eminent
was =Mme. Clara Schumann=, a pupil of her father, Friedrich Wieck. She
played in public from the age of thirteen, winning instant recognition.
Her marriage to Schumann diminished her public activity, but after
his death in 1856, she resumed her career. She taught at the Hoch
Conservatory at Frankfort, besides playing in public in Europe and
England. Among other famous women pianists were Madame Clauss-Szavardy,
=Mme. Arabella Goddard Davidson=, and Mme. Sophie Menter. =Mme.
Teresa Carreño=, a pupil of L. M. Gottschalk and G. Mathias, has had
a remarkable career as concert-pianist. =Mme. Essipoff=, a pupil of
Wielhorski and Leschetizky, taught for many years at the St. Petersburg
Conservatory, after brilliant concert tours. Miss Fanny Davies, a
pupil of Reinecke and Mme. Schumann, Mme. Roger-Miclos and Mlle.
Clotilde Kleeberg, pupils of the Paris Conservatory, are all pianists
of distinction. In this country Miss Adele aus der Ohe, a pupil of
Kullak and Liszt, =Mme. Bloomfield-Zeisler=, a pupil of von Wolfssohn
and Leschetizky, and =Mme. Helen Hopekirk=, a pupil of the Leipzig
Conservatory and of Leschetizky, now a teacher at the New England
Conservatory, and =Mme. Szumowska-Adamowska=, before mentioned as a
pupil of Paderewski, are all pianists of great ability.

In conclusion, it may be stated that while Liszt’s pupils have done
much to carry on the traditions which he originated, much has also been
accomplished for the advancement of pianistic art by Leschetizky and
his pupils, a remarkable group of teachers at the Paris Conservatory,
and by such independent pianists as de Pachmann, Busoni, Siloti,
Godowsky, Bauer and Hofmann, while many able conservatories and private
teachers in America are enabling the American pianist to compete
favorably with Europe.


QUESTIONS.

Who is the best-known piano teacher of today?

Name some of his famous pupils. Which one instituted prizes for
American composers?

Name some pianists who have profited by Paderewski’s advice. Which one
has made successful tours of America?

Name the most famous Italian pianists. Which one has made masterly
transcriptions of Bach and Liszt?

What pianist has made a specialty of Chopin?

What young pianist has made an especially brilliant impression in
America?

Name the pioneer pianists of America.

Who is the most famous of American composer pianists?

Name some talented women pianists.


SUGGESTIONS FOR A REVIEW OF LESSONS XLI TO XLVIII.

This period is of great interest to the student, as the greater part of
the piano literature in use today is the work of composers belonging to
the Romantic and Post-Classical schools. It must not be forgotten that
in studying the history of music the object is to learn to know the
music of the best composers, not merely certain facts and dates in the
lives of these composers. The works cited in the lessons give a wide
latitude in the matter of choice and a clear idea of the contribution
of the different composers.

LESSON XLI.—1. Take a composition by each of the composers mentioned
and show its distinctive qualities. 2. Show the deeper, fuller, more
poetic character of the compositions of Field as compared with Clementi.

LESSON XLII.—1. Give a sketch of Schubert the man. 2. Name the special
qualities of Schubert’s music. Why does he belong to the Romantic
school?

LESSON XLIII.—1. What is the nature of Weber’s contribution to music?
2. What are the special qualities of Mendelssohn’s works?

LESSON XLIV.—1. Compare Schumann’s work in the short pieces and in the
large forms. In which was he the more successful? 2. Give an analysis
of some of his short pieces.

LESSON XLV.—1. In what forms did Chopin do his best work? Mention some
pieces as illustrations. 2. In what ways did he show national spirit?
Mention pieces.

LESSON XLVI.—1. Give a sketch of the important factors in the making of
Liszt the pianist. 2. What influence did he exert on music?

LESSON XLVII.—1. Compare Rubinstein and Liszt. 2. What influence did
Brahms exert on music?

LESSON XLVIII.—1. Make a list of the various pianists and classify them
as to nationality and school.




LESSON XLIX.

THE ART-SONG. ORATORIO AFTER MENDELSSOHN.


=Development of the Art-Song Idea=.—A most significant phase of musical
activity is that centred around the art-song for solo voice. In the
period before the opera, choral singing was the principal medium for
vocal music. With the Opera came a style of composition from which
was developed the principle of the Aria, the latter dominating both
Opera and Oratorio for many years, as the form for an art-song for a
solo voice. In this form, as we have seen, the production of vocal
effects, the making of attractive melody, and the opportunity for
virtuosic display were sought first of all. It was not until the
beginning of the 19th century, when Schubert’s peculiar genius asserted
itself, that we meet what can be truly called the art-song, a form of
composition without the artificiality of the operatic aria and with
higher musicianly and artistic qualities than those that mark the
people’s song. Several tendencies contributed to bring this about.
Gluck’s theories and practice led both composers and people to pay
closer attention to the text and to its delivery. The development of
instrumental music, particularly the principles of thematic treatment,
led composers to the inventing of new melodic and rhythmic figures that
should serve as the basis of accompaniments of higher artistic quality
than those founded on some variation of the Alberti bass figure. Piano
technic had greatly improved, and so had the instrument. And it may
also be said that the verse of this period was better suited for a
dramatic musical setting than the formal, often stilted and artificial
lyrics of earlier days, with their shepherds and shepherdesses and
constant reference to pastoral and classical life.

=Italian, French and English Forms=.—A study of musical conditions
in Italy, France, Germany and England shows a different style of the
solo song in each country, each having some distinctive feature that
maintains today, and one that may be said to characterize the song-idea
of that people. The Italians were so taken with the opera and in the
course of its development it so fully embodied the national love for
sweet, graceful melody that a species of art-song apart from the opera
had little or no chance to shape itself. The French _Chanson_ has never
yielded place to the methods which distinguish the modern art-song.
The French language has certain qualities which seem to call for a
treatment that centres the attention in the voice part rather than on
the song as a whole, according to the German idea. Yet French composers
have produced and still make most beautiful and charming songs which
unmistakably embody the national characteristics, clearness, polish
and an effective singing melody. The old English Ballads are pieces of
narrative verse; but the term has been used so freely and for almost
every kind of verse that it is not possible to give it a precise
definition. Thomas Morley, in a work on music, which he published in
1597, mentions “songs which, being sung to a dittie may likewise be
danced”; in 1636, in a book called “The Principles of Musicke,” the
author, Butler, refers to “the infinite multitude of Ballads set to
sundry pleasant and delightful tunes by cunning and witty composers,
with country dances fitted to them.” The principles of musical
construction and the character of the text are such that we do not find
in the English ballad the true germ of the art-song.

=The German “Lied”=, a poem intended for singing, as it came from the
hands of the great poets, such as Goethe and Heine, seems to have
afforded to composers the inspiration to the making of a style of song
that should have the value of a musical setting in full consonance
with the character of the text. As instrumental music developed, the
_Volkslied_, the people’s song, the natural medium for expression,
gradually disappeared. Yet composers made use of it as a medium, such
masters as Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Weber giving attention to it,
although the demand for a simple, clear melody, due to the dominance
of the Italian opera, and for an accompaniment that was always much
subordinated, prevented the art-song (_Kunstlied_) from taking a high
place. Since then the accompaniment has been given more and more
prominence, less attention being paid to pure melody and more to the
value of harmony and rhythm as the means for characteristic color and
expression. Melody, which is made up of a succession of phrases, cannot
furnish a sequence of sharp effects so readily as can well contrasted
chords; hence the old idea of tune changed as harmony became better
understood. The methods of song composers vary, and a classification
is made by German writers: A song that has simple form and tune akin
to that of the Folk-song is called “_Volksthümlich_”; one that has the
same tune to the different stanzas is called strophic; one that is
carefully worked out, the music illustrating every shade of meaning
and emotion is called “_Durchcomponirt_”; a narrative song is called
a “Ballad” or “Ballade.” The great masters in song composition are
Schubert, Schumann, Franz and Brahms.

=Schubert as a Song Writer=.—A consideration of Schubert’s education
and his general make-up shows clearly why he should seek outlet for
self-expression in song rather than in the large instrumental forms. We
find that he was not systematically educated in musical science, like
Mozart, Beethoven or Weber, and that he was by nature very spontaneous
and amenable to external influences. Such a composer is particularly
open to the effect of a poem and will turn to the small song form
rather than to the elaborate instrumental forms. Many of Schubert’s
songs were written on the spur of the moment in response to an impulse
from reading a chance bit of verse. The first reading of the poem
usually gave the complete idea, both tune and accompaniment; whether it
should have the simple folk-song character, a more declamatory style,
strophic or the more elaborate form, depended upon the character of
the text. It is fortunate for music that he was brought into contact
with some of the finest lyrics in the field of poetry, such as called
forth his highest powers in melody, harmony, rhythm, modulation,
declamation and recitative, for he aimed to the very fullest extent
possible to heighten the thought of the text by the emotional power of
music. It is a phase of Schubert’s genius that some of his finest songs
were written before he had reached his majority.

=Schumann and His Songs=.—Schumann brought to song writing a different
type of mind from that of Schubert, more poetic, more gloomy, more
emotional, a fine literary training, a faculty for expression in word
as well as in tone, a fund of new forms of expression in instrumental
music, particularly the piano, so that we find in his songs certain
elements that indicate development toward a more highly organized
structure. Schumann was highly intellectual, hence we find in his
songs a close union of voice and instrumental parts in working out the
fundamental conception of the poet’s meaning; and so deeply does he
carry out this plan that the accompanist must enter most thoroughly
into the singer’s part, and _vice versa_, that the full effect be
brought out; as compared with the songs of Schubert and Mendelssohn we
can say that the latter are the “verses set to tunes, while Schumann’s
songs are poems in music.” The piano part of a Schumann song contains
the atmosphere of the poem, is an attempt to heighten the meaning by
suggesting thoughts and feelings which the words, spoken or sung,
cannot express; sometimes it is an entirely independent composition,
and carries out to a final close the thought left unfinished by the
voice, thus avoiding the conventional ending, by the singer, on the
tonic chord. Schumann’s effort was to express his own reading of the
poet’s lines by the musical means that seemed to him best suited to
the purpose. To this end he refused to allow himself to be bound by
conventional treatment, either of voice or instrument.

=Robert Franz= (1815-1892) combined in his songs the romanticism and
general methods of Schumann, with a polyphonic treatment inspired by
his deep study of Bach. He wrote to various styles of verse, hymns,
love-songs, lyrics of the field, the forest, the hunter, the soldier,
and though his songs lack the tender, passionate, melodious quality
of Schubert’s and the deep poetic feeling of Schumann’s, they are
nevertheless models of perfect, even elaborate workmanship in which
the composer follows with great faithfulness the mood of the poet;
Schumann, on the contrary, seems to project his own interpretation of
the poem into his music, while Schubert seems to grasp the emotion at
its highest moment and the song pours out as the spontaneous expression
of the singer.

=Three Modern Writers=.—Of modern writers, those who contributed most
to the development of the art-song are Wagner, Brahms and Richard
Strauss, the first-named by his style and treatment of the voice and
the instrumental part rather than by his songs, which are few in
number. =Brahms= wrote nearly two hundred songs, varying in character
and quality, and using a highly-developed accompaniment, often
intricate in its construction, complicated in rhythm and restless in
harmonic support, employing all the resources which his mastery of
chromatic harmony placed at his disposal. He frequently wrote in the
style of the Folk-song, making use of its simple melodic quality,
enriching it, however, by his great skill in elaboration in the
accompaniment. Brahms’ songs are great favorites on concert programs.
=Richard Strauss= (b. 1864) is the leading composer of today, and has
used in his songs the principles that distinguish his large works.
These songs are very difficult, both for voice and accompaniment, and
are full of tonal coloring, for Strauss has adapted to the miniature
form of the song the means of harmonic and rhythmic effects which he
uses so powerfully in his orchestral scores. When well sung and well
played, the hearer cannot but be absorbed by the wealth of musical
effects of the highest emotional and picturesque quality displayed in
Richard Strauss’ songs. In a full study of songs and song writers, many
more names would be mentioned; those selected for consideration in this
lesson represent those who have contributed most significantly to the
development of the modern art-song.

=Oratorio Composers after Mendelssohn=.—The later history of the
Oratorio requires some consideration at this point. After Mendelssohn,
many of the leading composers of Europe turned their attention to
this form of composition, influenced, in many instances, by the
splendid opportunities for production offered by the strong choral
organizations and festival associations of Germany and England, as
well as by the great advances made in orchestral playing, which gave
to composers resources far beyond those at the hand of Mendelssohn
and his predecessors. We may mention, among the Germans, =Schumann=,
whose “Paradise and the Peri” was produced in 1843; =Liszt=, who was
much attracted to sacred subjects, wrote two oratorios, “The Legend of



Online LibraryW. J. (Winton James) BaltzellA complete history of music, for schools, clubs, and private readings → online text (page 32 of 41)