Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/340

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328

��SCHUBERT.

��translated into musical language? Numberless examples may be named, but I will only mention The Erl King, Gretchen, Schwager Kronos, the Mignon and Harper's songs, Schiller's Sehnsucht, Der Pilgrim, and Die Biirgschaft.'

This extract shows how justly Vogl estimated Schubert, and how, at that early date, his dis- cernment enabled him to pass a judgment which even now it would be difficult to excel. The word clairvoyance, too, shows that he thoroughly entered into Schubert's great characteristic. In hearing Schubert's compositions it is often as if one were brought more immediately and closely into contact with music itself than is the case in the works of others ; as if in his pieces the stream from the great heavenly reservoir were dashing over us, or flowing through us, more directly, with less admixture of any medium or channel, than it does in those of any other writer even of Beethoven himself. And this immediate communication with the origin of music really seems to have happened to him. No sketches, no delay, no anxious period of preparation, no revision, appear to have been necessary. He had but to read the poem, to sur- render himself to the torrent, and to put down what was given him to say, as it rushed through his mind. This was the true ' inspiration of dic- tation,' as much so as in the utterance of any Hebrew prophet or seer. We have seen one instance in the case of the Erl King. The poem of the Wanderer attracted him in the same way, and the song was completed in one evening. In a third case, that of Goethe's 'Rastlose Liebe,' the paroxysm of inspiration was so fierce that Schu- bert never forgot it, but reticent as he often was, talked of it years afterwards. 1 It would seem that the results did not always fix themselves in the com- poser's memory as permanently as if they had been the effect of longer and more painful elaboration. Vogl 2 tells an anecdote about this which is very much to the point. On one occasion he received from Schubert some new songs, but being other- wise occupied could not try them over at the moment. When he was able to do so he was particularly pleased with one of them, but as it was too high for his voice, he had it copied in a lower key. About a fortnight afterwards they were again making music together, and Vogl placed the transposed song before Schubert on the desk of the piano. Schubert tried it through, liked it, and said, in his Vienna dialect, ' I say I the song's not so bad ; whose is it ?' so completely, in a fortnight, had it vanished from his mind ! Sir Walter Scott attributed a song of his own to Byron ; but this was in 1828, after his mind had begun to fail. 3

1817 was comparatively an idle year. Its great musical event was the arrival of Kossini's music in Vienna. 'L'Inganno felice* was pro- duced at the Hof theatre, Nov. 26, 1816, and 'Tancredi,' Dec. 1 7 ; 'L'ltaliana in Algeri,' Feb. i, 1817, and ' Giro in Babilonia,' June 1 8 ; and the en- thusiasm of the Viennese like that of all to whom

i Bauerafeld, W.Z.K. 2 i n Krelssle. 119 (i. 123).

3 Lockhart's Life of Scott, vll. 129.

��SCHUBERT.

these fresh and animated strains were brought knew no bounds. Schubert admired Rossini's melody and spirit, but rather made fun of his orchestral music, and a story is told not impossi- bly * apocryphal of his having written an over- ture in imitation of Rossini, before supper, after returning from ' Tancredi.' At any rate he has left two ' Overtures in the Italian style ' in D and C, dated Sept. 5 and Nov. 1817 respectively, which were much played at the time. Schubert made 4-hand PF. arrangements of both, and that in C has been since published in score and parts as op. 1 70, and has been played at the Crystal Palace (Dec. i, 66, etc.) and elsewhere. Its caricature of Rossini's salient points, including of course the inevitable crescendo, is obvious enough ; but nothing could transform Schubert into an Italian, and the overture has individual and character- istic beauties which are immediately recognisable. The influence of Rossini was no mere passing fancy, but may be traced in the 6th Symphony, mentioned below, and in music of his later life in the two Marches (op. 121), the Finale to the Quartet in G (op. 161), and elsewhere.

A third Overture in D belongs to 1817, and though still in MS., has also been played at the Crystal Palace (Feb. 6, 69, etc.). It is in two move- ments, Adagio, and Allo. giusto, and the former is almost a draft of the analogous movement in the overture known as 'Rosamunde' (op. 26), though really the ' Zauberharfe.' There the re- semblance ceases. What led Schubert to the pianoforte this year in so marked a manner is not known, but his devotion to it is obvious, for no fewer than 6 sonatas belong to this period. Of these, 3 are published op. 122, in Eb ; op. 147, inB (August); op. 164, in A minor. 7 Those still in MS. are in F, Ab, and E minor (June).

Schubert's 6th Symphony, in C, 8 completed in February 1 81 8, appears to have been begun in the preceding October. It is the first one which he has marked as ' Grand ' ' Grosse Sinfonie ' though hardly with reason, as both in form and orchestra it is the same as the early ones. It is an advance on the others, and the Scherzo shows the first de- cided signs of Beethoven's influence. Passages may also be traced to Rossini and the Italian opera.

The catalogue of the instrumental compositions

��number of the vocal compositions of 1817 there is an equal falling off. Rossini's popularity for the time shut the door against all other composers, and even Schubert's appetite for bad librettos was compelled to wait. Not only, however, are there no operas this year, there is no church music, and but 47 songs (32 printed, and 15 in MS.). In quality, however, there is no deterioration in the

4 K.H. 129 (1. 133).

5 Kreissle says May. September Is Mr. Nottebohm's date: but there is another Overture in D, and it seems doubtful which of the two is dated May. and which September.

6 Autograph in possession of Mr. Brahms.

7 Published, by Spina, as '7th Sonata. 1

8 Adagio and Allegro in C ; Andante in F ; Scherzo in C, and Trio in E major ; Finale in C.

9 In B b. Played at the Monday Popular Concert of Feb. 15. 1869.

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