Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/344

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332

��SCHUBERT.

��the past may be pleasant to recollect, and the future not alarming to contemplate.' This may pair off with a sentence written by Mozart, in English, in the Album of an English Freemason, which has not yet been printed : ' Patience and tranquility of mind contribute more to cure our distempers as the whole art of medicine. Wien, densoteMarz I78;.' 1

A few clays more saw them again settled in Vienna. Each of the two letters preserved from the journey contains an obvious allusion to some love affair ; but nothing is known of it. He could hardly have adopted a more effectual diversion from such sorrows than the composition of a mass, on an extended scale ; that namely in Ab his 5th which he began this month under the serious title of ' Missa Solemnis ' ; but he seems to have dawdled over it more than over any other of his works ; as it was not finished till Sept. 1822, and contains many marks of indecision.

The most pregnant musical event of this year is the fact that on Feb. 28, 1819, a song of Schubert's was sung in public the 'Schafers Klagelied,' sung by Jager at Jail's concert, at 5 p.m. at the ' Romische Kaiser,' Vienna. It was Schubert's first appearance before the public in any capacity, and is noticed by the Leipzig A. M. Z. in these terms : ' Goethe's Schafers Klagelied set to music by Herr Franz Schubert the touching and feeling composition of this talented young man was sung by Herr Jager in a similar spirit.' Such is the first utterance of the press on one who has since evoked so much enthusiasm ! In the course of this year Schubert appears to have forwarded the three songs, 'Schwager Kronos,' 4 Ueber Thai' (Mignon), and ' Ganymed,' after- wards published as op. 19, to Goethe ; but no notice was taken by the poet of one who was to give some of his songs a wider popularity than they could otherwise have enjoyed, a popularity independent of country or language ; nor does Schubert's name once occur in all the 6 vols. of Goethe's correspondence with Zelter. 2

1820 was again a year of great activity. Owing to Vogl's influence, Schubert was gra- dually attracting the attention of the managers. The ' Zwillingsbriider ' had been written for the Karnthnerthor theatre (see p. 330 6), and it was not long before the regisseur of the rival opera- house, the Theatre an-der-Wien, suggested to him a libretto called the 'Zauberharfe,' or 'Magic harp,' a melodrama in 3 acts, by the same Hofmann who had translated the former piece. To receive such a proposal and to act upon it was a matter of course with Schubert, and the 'Zauberharfe' is said to have been completed in a fortnight. 8 But before this, early in the year, he had met with the works of A. H. Niemeyer, Professor of Theology at Halle, and had adopted the poem of ' Lazarus, or the Feast of the Resurrection' for an Easter Cantata. Easter fell that year on April 2, and his work is dated ' February,' so that he was in ample time.

1 I owe this to my good friend Mr. Pohl, of Vienna.

2 Search should be made in the Goethe Archiv at Weimar for the autograph of these songs, and the letter which doubtless accompanied them. * Autograph in Herr Dumba's collection.

��SCHUBERT.

The poem or drama, for there are seven distinct characters is in three parts, i. The sickness and death. 2. The burial and elegy. 3. The resur- rection. Of these the ist and a large portion of the 2nd were completed by Schubert, apparently without the knowledge of any of his friends. Ferdinand mentions the first part in his list,* but the existence of the second was unknown, till, through the instrumentality of Mr. Thayer, it was unearthed in 1861. These have been 'published, but no trace of the 3rd act has yet been found, and the work was not performed till long after the composer's death viz. in 1863.

On June 14 the 'Zwillingsbriider' or 'Zwil- linge' was produced at the Karnthnerthor theatre. It is a comic operetta ('Posse'), with spoken dialogue, in one act, containing an overture and 10 numbers, and turns on the same plot that has done duty in ' Box and Cox ' and a dozen other farces, the confusion between two twin-brothers, who were both acted by Vogl. The overture was encored on the first night, and Vogl's two songs were much applauded, but the piece was virtually a fiasco, and was withdrawn after six representations. Schubert took so little interest in its production that, like Mendelssohn at the ' Wedding of Camacho,' he did not even stay in the house, and Vogl had to appear instead of him in front of the curtain. The libretto, though overburdened with characters, is sadly deficient in proportion, and contains very little action. Schubert's music, on the other hand, is light, fresh, and melodious, pointed, unusually compact, and interesting throughout. In the concerted numbers there is evidence of great dramatic power. To condemn it, as the critics of the day do, as wanting in melody, and constantly striving after originality, is to con- tradict Schubert's most marked characteristics, and is contrary to the facts. There is possibly more justice in the complaint that the accom- paniments were too loud, though that is cer- tainly not the fault in his masses, his only other published works with orchestral accompaniments anterior to this date. The work has been pub- lished in vocal score by Peters (1872).

On August 19 the Zauberharfe was produced at the Theatre an-der-Wien. It is said to con- sist chiefly of chorus and melodrama, with only a few solos, among them a romance for tenor which was highly praised. There is a fine over- ture (in C), original, characteristic, and full of beauty, which was published before 1828 as op. 26, under the name of 'Rosamunde,' to which it seems to have no 6 claim. The piece was occa- sionally brought forward till the winter, and was then dropped. These three vocal works appear so far to have whetted Schubert's appetite that in the autumn he attacked the more important libretto of ' Sakontala,' a regular opera in 3 acts, by P. H. Neumann, founded on the Indian drama of that name. He sketched 2 acts, and there it remains ; the MS. is in Herr Dumba's possession.

  • N.Z.M. 139 o. 5 In 1866, by Spina.

e The overture played to the Rosamunde music is in D minor, and was afterwards published as ' Alfonso & Estrella.' There is perhaps another in existence. See the letter to von Mosel quoted further on.

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