Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/289

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SCHOOLS OF COMPOSITION.

��his 8-part Anthem, '0 clap your hands,' and his magnificent 'Hosanna to the Son of David,' for 6 Voices, are works which would have done honour to the Roman School, in its most brilliant period ; and, in purity of intention, and truth- fulness of expression, stand almost unrivalled. It is not often that a School ends so nobly : but in England, as in Venice, the last representative of Polyphony was not its weakest champion. No Composer of the period ever wrote anything more \vorthy of preservation than the too-much-for- gotten contents of ' The First Set of Madrigals and Mottets,' * from which we have selected the following passage, as strikingly characteristic of the tender pathos with which this great master of expression was wont to temper the breadth of his massive Harmonies, when the sentiment of the words to which they were adapted demanded a more gentle form of treatment than would have been consistent with the sternness of his grander utterances.

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��It would be manifestly impossible, within the limits of a sketch like the present, to give ex- amples, or even passing notices, of the works of one tenth of the Composers who have adorned the six great Periods of the Early English School. With great reluctance, we must necessarily pass over the names of John Bull, John Mundy, El way Bevin, Ellis Gibbons, John Hilton, Michael Este, and Adrian Batten; of Douland, Morley, Weelkes, Wilbye, Bennet, Forde, and our noble array of later Madrigal writers ; and of many others, too numerous to mention, though much too talented to be forgotten : and we grieve the more to do so, because these men have not been fairly treated, either by their own countrymen or by foreigners.

i London, 1612. No trace of the publication of any Second Set can be discovered.

��SCHOOLS OF COMPOSITION. 277

The former have sinned against their School, by neglecting its monuments. The latter, by con- temptuously ignoring the subject, without taking the trouble to enquire whether we possess any monuments worth preservation, or not. Time was, when a Venetian Ambassador, writing from the Court of King Henry VIII., could say ' We attended High Mass, which was sung by the Bishop of Durham, with a right noble Choir of Discanters.' And, again, 'The Mass was sung by His Majesty's Choristers, whose Voices are more heavenly than human. They did not chaunt, like men, but gave praise 3 like Angels. I do not believe the grave Bass Voices have their equals anywhere.' If an Italian could thus write of us, in the 1 6th century, it is clear that we were not always 'an utterly unmusical nation.' 3 And, if we make it possible that such a character should be foisted upon us, now, it can only be, because we have so long lacked the energy to show that we did great things, once, and can and mean to do them again. English Musicians are very angry, when foreigners taunt them with want of musical feeling : but, surely, they cannot hope to silence their detractors, while they not only leave the best works of their Old Masters unpublished, and unperformed, but do not even care to cultivate such an acquaint- ance with them as may at least justify a critical reference to their merits, when the existence of English Art is called in question. We have an early School, of which we need not be ashamed to boast, in presence of those either of Italy, or the Netherlands. If we do not think it worth while to study its productions, we can scarcely expect Italians or Germans to study them for us; nor can we justly complain of German or Italian critics, because, when they hear the inanities too often sung in our most beautiful Cathedrals, they naturally suppose that we have nothing better to set before them. In a later division of our subject, we shall have occasion to speak of wasted opportunities of later date. But we think we have here con- clusively proved, that, if our Polyphonic Schools have not obtained due recognition upon the Continent, in modern times, the fault lies, in a great measure, at our own door.*

��2 ' Non cantavano, ma glubilavano,' etc.

I ' Vom Anbeginn der Dinge, bis auf den heutlgen Tag. ein durch und durch unmusikalisches Land.' (Ambros, ' Geschichte der Huslk,' Tom. lii. p. 440.) It la true that Ambros gives this, rather as the expression of an universal opinion, on the Continent, than his own ; and, that he afterwards criticises our best writers more fairly than any other German author with whose works we are acquainted. But, his Chapter on English Music Is little more than an exposition of his own opinion of the light thrown, by modern criticism, upon the statements made by Burney and Hawkins. A stronger instance could hardly be given of the Ignorance of the English school on the part of German musicians than the fact that so laborious an investi- gator as Kitner, In his ' Catalogue of republicatlons of antient music ' (Berlin 1871) omits all mention of such important collections as Barnard's 'Selected Church Musick,' Boyce's 'Cathedral Music/ Arnold's 'Cathedral Music,' Novello's 'Fitzwilliam Music,' Hullah't Part Music. Vocal Scores, and Singers' Library: while in his Cata- logue of works printed during the 16th and 17th centuries (Berlin. 1877), Tallls and Gibbons are absolutely ignored, and Byrd is men- tioned only In connection with two Madrigals In the Collection of Thomas Watson.

Since this article was written, we have met with an advertise- ment, mentioning the publication, at Leipzig, of 19 Madrigals, by Dowland, Morley, and other English Composers, adapted to German words, and edited by J. J. Meier.

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