Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/744
from the second, the stretto of which is full of tune and inspiration. In a word, we recognise in 'Zampa' the hand of a master, who to the spirit of Italian music unites the depth of the German and the elegance of the French school.
It is a curious fact that Hérold's own countrymen rank the 'Pré aux Clercs' (Dec. 15, 1832) above 'Zampa,' while the Germans give the preference to the latter. This arises probably from the criticism to which a French audience instinctively subjects the literary part of an opera. Any want of unanimity between dramatist and composer is felt at once. In 'Zampa' this is very marked; for the book, excellent as it is in the number and variety of the dramatic situations, bears marks of being the work of one who does not believe a word of the story he is telling, and has therefore no sympathy with his characters. Hence there is a want of relation between the librettist who is no true poet, and the composer, who moves others because he is moved himself, and is eloquent because he is sincere. In the 'Pré aux Clercs' on the other hand, the action takes place in a region more accessible to the ordinary run of play-goers, and the drama is a very pleasing national poem, free from incongruities and well adapted for music. In setting it Hérold not only did much to elevate the tone of French opéra-comique, but had the satisfaction of treating a historical subject. We might specify each number, from the overture—as full of warmth and colour as that to Zampa, but forming an independent symphony not built upon the materials of the opera—to the scene of the barque, where the expressive tones of the violas and cellos complete the narrative of the voices, and the whole forms one of the finest effects of pathos ever produced on the stage. The work is characterised throughout by unity of style, variety of accent, and sustained inspiration, always kept within the limits of dramatic truth. The great requisites for a creative artist are colour, dramatic instinct, and sensibility. In colour Hérold was not so far behind Weber, while in dramatic instinct he may be said to have equalled him. His remark to a friend a few days before his death shows his own estimate of his work; 'I am going too soon; I was just beginning to understand the stage.' So modest are the utterances of these great poets, who are the glory of their art and their nation!
On January 19, 1833, within a few days of his 42nd year, and but a month after the production of his chef-d'œuvre, Hérold succumbed to the chest-malady from which he had been suffering for some time; and was buried with great pomp three days after. He died in the Maison des Ternes [App. p.671 "a house in Les Ternes"], which had been his home since his marriage with Adèle Elise Rollet in 1827, and now forms the corner of the Rue Demours and the Rue Bayen, on the side of the even numbers. Here were born his three children: Ferdinand, an able avocat, now a senator; Adéle, married in 1854 to M. Clamageran, now member of the Paris Conseil municipal; and Eugénie, born 1832, a gifted musician, who was carried off in 1852 by consumption.Among the many critical and biographical articles on this eminent composer, we may mention those of Chaulieu, Castil-Blaze, Scudo, Adolphe Adam, a brief but very accurate notice with portrait in the 'Magasin pittoresque' for 1873 (pp. 156–159), and above all 'Hérold sa vie et ses œuvres' by Jouvin (Paris, Heugel, 1868, 8vo), which contains many of his own letters and memoranda. In society he showed himself a brilliant and original talker, though inclined to sarcasm. The best portrait is that in the 'Magasin pittoresque.' His friend David d'Angers made a medallion of him in Rome in 1815; and there are busts by Dantan (1833), Demesmay—now in the foyer of the new Opéra, and Charles Gauthier—in the library of the Conservatoire.
[ G. C. ]
HERMANN, Jacob Z. See Zeugheer.
HERSCHEL, Sir Frederick William, K.C.H., D.C.L. ('Sir William Herschel'), born at Hanover, Nov. 15, 1738, was second son of a musician there. He received a good education, and being destined for the profession of his father, was, at the age of 14, placed in the band of the Hanoverian regiment of guards. He came to England with the regiment about 1757 and was stationed at Durham. He soon became organist of Halifax parish church, and continued so until 1766, when he was appointed organist of the Octagon Chapel, Bath. Whilst residing at Bath he turned his attention to astronomy, and pursued his studies for several years during the intervals of his professional duties. He constructed a telescope of large dimensions, and in 1781 announced the discovery of a supposed comet, which soon proved to be the planet Uranus. He was thereupon appointed private astronomer to the king, with a salary of £400 per annum, and abandoned the musical profession. He removed to Datchet and afterwards to Slough, was knighted, and received an honorary degree at Oxford. In the summer of 1792 he was visited at Slough by Haydn. He died Aug. 23, 1822. He published a symphony for orchestra and two military concertos for wind instruments in 1768.Jacob Herschel, his elder brother, born about 1734, was master of the king's band at Hanover, came to England and died here in 1792. He composed some instrumental music.
[ W. H. H. ]
- Thus too Haydn, at the end of his career, spoke of himself as having just begun to know how to use the wind instruments.
- Halévy completed the unfinished score of 'Ludovic.'