Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/293

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SCHOOLS OF COMPOSITION.

from which every Italian Composer, from Mon- teverde to Rossini, has drawn his most graceful inspirations, and his most captivating effects. Let us be equally thankful for both ; while, by a careful study of their respective histories, we strive to attain the power of justly appreciating their respective merits.

XXIII. Jean Baptiste Lulli, the founder of THE FRENCH SCHOOL OP THE i7TH CENTURY, though an Italian by birth, was so thoroughly a Frenchman in taste and feeling, as well as by education, that his actual parentage may well be forgotten, in his attachment to the country of his naturalisation. His style, though resembling in certain technical points that of the Monodic School of Italy, differs so widely from it in character and expression, that it can only be fairly judged as an original creation. Moreover, his instrumental works, and especially the Over- tures to his dramatic pieces, prove him to have attained considerable proficiency in the modern- ised form of Counterpoint called Part-writing, and to have known how to use it with so much originality of form, and breadth of effect, that the particular type of Orchestral Prelude which he undoubtedly invented, soon came to be regarded as an indispensable introduction to the Lyric Drama. Technically, this Fugued Prelude brought him into somewhat close relation with the German Schools ; yet, his manner was even less German than Italian. In truth, his obliga- tions to the great Masters of other countries were so slight, that the style he gave to France may be described as, in every essential particular, his own. That he trained no body of admiring disciples to follow in his steps will not seem sur- prising to those who have read his biography; and so it happened, that, for nearly half a cen- tury after his death, very little, if any progress was made : yet, he none the less gave France a national School, in which her own children were not slow to distinguish themselves, at a later period. Both the 'Opera Comique,' and the ' Vaudeville,' though moulded into their now universally accepted forms at a period long subse- quent to his decease, owe much of their distinctive character to the impress of his genius ; which also exercised a remarkable influence upon the development of the ' Grand OpeVa,' not only in its earlier stages, but even after it had made considerable advance towards maturity. Indeed, the principles upon which he worked have under- gone wonderfully little radical change since the close of the i/th century; while the general characteristics of his School are clearly recog- nisable in works which have long been accepted as embodiments of the popular taste of a far more modern epoch. For instance, the following bright little Melody from his once popular Opera, ' Roland,' breathes the spirit of Lutetian gaiety no less freely than many a set of Couplets by Boieldieu, or Harold, though it was written more than a century before even Gluck's first Appearance in Paris. 1

i MS. Scores of 8 of Lulli's Operas will be found In the Dragonetti Collection, in the British Museum.

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XXIV. THE ENGLISH SCHOOL OP THE I7TH CENTURY was, in many respects, a very advanced one ; though its triumphs were of a varied charac- ter. Orlando Gibbons cannot be reckoned among its Masters, because, although he lived until the year 1625, his method, his style, and his predilections, were wholly with the cinquecen- tisti. The period which followed was not pro- mising. The disturbed state of the kingdom, during the reign of Charles I., and the progress of the Great Rebellion, necessarily exercised a fatal influence on the development of Art ; yet, the latter half of the century was extraordinarily productive, and the period which we shall dis- tinguish as that of THE SCHOOL OF THE RESTORA- TION gave birth to a distinct race of Composers of more than ordinary talent, as well as to a new style, which owes so many of its distinguishing features to the political and social changes of the period, that, without recalling these, it would be impossible to explain how it ever came into existence at all.

The healthy and universal love for Art, which, in the beginning of the century, led to the recog- nition of the Madrigal as a national institution, and the Anthem as an indispensable feature in the Services of the Church, died out completely, during the short but eventful period of neglect and confusion interposed between the death of King Charles I. and the Restoration. The Puri- tans hated the Music of the Anglican Church most cordially. They regarded the destruction of every Organ and Office-Book which fell into their hands, as a religious duty ; and, to the zeal with which they carried out their infamous system of spoliation, we are indebted for the loss of many a treasure bequeathed to us by our older Schools. Condemning all aspirations after the Beautiful as snares of the Evil One, they would not even suffer their children to be

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