Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/351

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��SCHUBERT.

off to Weber with the score of ' Alfonso and _3trella.' When they had looked through this, Weber returned to Schubert's criticisms on 'Eury- anthe,' and finding that the honest Franz stuck to his point, was absurd enough to lose his temper, and say, in the obvious belief that the score before him was Schubert's first attempt, ' I tell you the first puppies .and the first operas are always drowned. Franz, it is unnecessary to say, bore no malice, even for so galling a speech, and it is due to Weber to state that he took some pains later to have the work adopted at the Dresden theatre. 1

Schubert did not yet know the fate which awaited 'Fierabras'; all was at present couleur de rose ; and the fascination of the theatre, the desire innate in all musicians, even one so self- contained as Schubert, to address a large public, sharpened not improbably by the chance recently enjoyed by the stranger, was too strong to be resisted, and he again, for the third time in ten months, turned towards the stage. This time the temptation came in the shape of 'Rosa- munde, Princess of Cyprus,' a play of ultra- romantic character, by Madame von Chezy, authoress of 'Euryanthe,' a librettist whose lot seems to have been to drag down the musicians connected with her. The book of ' Rosamunde ' must have been at least as inefficient as that with which Weber had been struggling, to cause the failure of such magnificent and interesting music as Schubert made for it. The drama has disappeared, but Kreissle 2 gives the plot, and it is both tedious and improbable. It had moreover the disadvantage of competition with a sensational spectacular piece, written expressly to suit the taste of the suburban house, the Theatre an-der-Wien, at which ' Rosamunde ' was produced, and which, since the time when Schikaneder induced Mozart to join him in the ' Magic 3 Flute,' had a reputa- tion for such extravaganzas. Schubert com- pleted the music in five days. 4 It consists of an 'Overture in D, since published as 'Alfonso and Estrella,' op. 69 ; 3 Entr'actes ; 2 numbers of ballet music ; a little piece for clarinets, horns, and bassoons, called a 'Shepherds' Melody,' of bewitching beauty ; a Romance for soprano solo, and 3 Choruses. The Romance (op. 26), the Shepherds' Chorus, the Entr'acte in Bb, and the Air de Ballet in G, are not only very beautiful but very attractive ; and the Entr'acte in B minor, of a grand, gloomy, and highly imaginative cast, is one of the finest pieces of music existing. The play was brought out on Dec. 20, 1823 ; the overture, though the entire orchestral part of the music had only one rehearsal of two hours, was twice redemanded, other numbers were loudly applauded, and Schubert himself was called for at the close ; but it only survived one more representation, and then the parts were tied up and forgotten till the year 1867, when they were discovered by two English travellers in Vienna.

' K. H. 246 (1. 249) note. 1 Ibid. 285 (1. 288). etc.

3 Produced at the Theatre an-der-Wlen, Sept. 30. 1791. < So says Wilhelm von Chezy, the son of the librettist. \vho was on terms with Schubert. See his Journal. ' Erinnerungen/ etc. 1863. - The autograph is dated ' Dec. 1823."

��SCHUBERT.

��339

��'- The autogri

��Besides the Miillerlieder several independent songs of remarkable beauty belong to 1823. Conspicuous among these are 'Viola* (Schnee- glocklein; op. 123), a long composition full of the most romantic tenderness and delicacy, witli all the finish of Meissonnier's pictures, and all his breadth and dignity. Also the 'Zwerg' (op. 22, no. i), by Matthias von Collin, in which Schubert has immortalised the one brother, as Beethoven, in his overture to ' Coriolan,' did the other. This long, dramatic, and most pathetic ballad, which but few can hear unmoved, was written absolutely A Vimproviste, without note or sketch, at the top of his speed, talking all the while to Randhartinger, who was waiting to take him out for a walk. 6 Equal, if not superior, to these in merit, though of smaller dimensions, are ' Dass sie hier gewesen' (op. 59, no. 2) ; 'Du bist die Ruh' (do. no. 3) ; the Barcarolle, ' Auf dem Wasser zu singen' (op. 72), to which no nearer date than 4 1823 ' can be given. Below these again, though still fine songs, are ' Der ziirnende Barde * (Lf. 9, no. I ; Feb.) ; 'Drang in die Feme' (op. 71 ; Mar. 25) ; ' Pilgerweise ' (Lf. 18, no. I ; April) ; ' Vergissmeinnicht ' (Lf. 21, no. 2 ; May). The fine Sonata in A minor for PF. solo, published as op. 143, is dated Feb. 1823, and the sketch of a scena for tenor solo and chorus of men's voices with orchestra, dated May 1823. The latter was completed by Herbeck, and published in 1868 by Spina as 'Riidiger's Heimkehr.'

Ten works (op. 15-24) were published in 1823. The earliest was a collection of dances, viz. 1 2 Waltzes, 9 Ecossaises, and i7Landler, op. 18, published Feb. 5; the PF. Fantasia, op. 15, followed on Feb. 24. The rest are songs, either solo op. 20, April 10; op. 22, May 27 ; op. 23, Aug. 4; op. 24, Oct. 7; op. 1 6, Oct. 9; op. 19, 2 1 (no dates) or part-songs, op. 1 7, Oct. 9. With op. 20, the names of Sauer & Leidesdorf first occur as publishers.

The year 1824 began almost exclusively with instrumental compositions. An Introduction and Variations for PF. and flute (op. 160), on the 'Trockne Blumen' of the 'Schone Mullerin/ are dated ' January,' and were followed by the famous Octet (op. 166), for clarinet, horn, bas- soon, 2 violins, viola, cello, and contrabass, which is marked as begun in February, and finished on March I. It was written not, let us hope, without adequate remuneration, though that was probably the last thing of which its author thought for Count F. Troyer, chief officer of the household to the Archduke Rudolph, Beethoven's patron. In this beautiful compo- sition Schubert indulges his love of extension. It contains, like Beethoven's Septet, 8 movements ; but, unlike the Septet, it occupies more than an hour in performance. But though long, no one can call it tedious. 7 The Count played the clarinet, and must have been delighted with the expressive melody allotted to him in the Andante. The work was performed immediately after its

Kretssle. Sketch, p. 154 note.

\ 7 Published by Spina in 1854. It Is a great favourite at the Popular > Concerts iu London, having been played 18 times since March 4, IfcoT.

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