Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/479

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SERAPHINE.

a uniform pressure, and a swell was produced by opening a shutter of a box placed over the reeds.

In the year 1841, Mr. W. E. Evans invented the ' Organo Harmonica,' the improvements on the seraphine consisting of thin steel reeds artis- tically voiced, and coiled springs in the reservoir to enable the player to produce a rapid arti- culation with a small wind pressure, and to in- crease the power of tone as the reservoir filled. Eminent musicians, among them Potter, Novello, and Sir George Smart, publicly pronounced Mr. Evans's instrument more valuable than the sera- phine as a substitute for the organ, but neither the one nor the other was capable of what is now known as ' dead expression.'

Patents for various improvements of the sera- phine were taken out by Myers and Storer in 1839, by Storer alone in 1846, and by Mott in the same year. There is further reference to it in patents of Pape 1850, and Blackvvell 1852. About the last-named date it was entirely super- seded by the harmonium. [A.J.H.]

SERENADE (Ital. Serenata', Fr. Serenade; Germ. Stdndcken). Evening song. The Italian word Serenata means, literally, fine weather more especially, that of a calm summer night. Hence, the word has been applied, indiscrimin- ately, to many different kinds of Music, intended to be sung, or played, at night, in the open air : and, so generally has this connection of ideas been accepted, that, by common consent, the term ' Serenade' has identified itself, in many languages, with the Song sung by a lover standing beneath his mistress's window, or the Concert of Instru- mental Music substituted for it by an admirer with ' no"Voice for singing.' This is not, indeed, the only sense in which the term is used : but it is the most popular one ; and, for the present, we shall entirely confine ourselves to it.

To be true to Nature, a Serenade of this kind should be simple in construction, melodious in character, sensuous in expression, and accompa- nied by some kind of Instrument which the lover might conveniently carry in his hand. All these conditions are fulfilled in the most perfect example of the style that ever has been, or is ever likely to be written ' Deh vieni alia fenestra,' in ' II Don Giovanni.' The Melody of this is as artless as a primitive Chant du pays ; yet capable teste Tamburini of breathing the very soul of volup- tuous passion ; and accompanied by a Mandoline. No other embodiment of the type can be com- pared with this ; but * Ecco ridente il cielo,' and the ' Se il mio nome,' in the 'Barbieres' of Rossini and Paisiello, are very beautiful examples.

Stage suiToundings are, however, by no means indispensable to the true Serenade ; nor is there any limit to the amount of earnest feeling, or ven hopeless sadness, that may be thrown into it. Schubert has left us two examples, each of which stands unrivalled, as the exponent of its own peculiar vein of Poetry. Neither scenery, nor costume, are needed, to enforce the tone of chivalrous devotion which raises ' Who is Sylvia' above other Compositions of its class, or to

��SERENATA.

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�� ��deepen the passionate longing of 'Leise flehen ineine Lieder.'

The distance which separates the examples we have quoted from such Compositions as Donizetti's ' Com' e gentil,' or Kiicken's ' Maurisches Stiind- chen* is impassable : yet both are meritorious enough in their way ; and a hundred others will suggest themselves to the reader. From these, however, we must turn to the consideration of the same idea clothed in an instrumental dress. And, let it be clearly understood that we are not speaking, here, of the grand Instrumental Seren- ade which is quite another thing; but of the lover's greeting to his mistress, expressed in instrumental form for lack of voice to sing with.

The most delicious example of this that we possess is the Serenade in Sterndale Bennett's Chamber Trio in A, Op. 27. We have, here, in the sustained Melody for the Pianoforte, accom- panied by the Guitar-like pizzicato of the Stringed Instruments, every essential feature of the vocal Serenade, except the words ; while, in Mendels- sohn's ' Serenade and Allegro Gioioso* for Piano- forte and Orchestra (Op. 43), we may imagine, both the lover's greeting, and the lady's brilliant response from the Pianoforte in her boudoir.

Many more examples will suggest themselves to the reader : but it is not often that the idea is carried out so happily as in those we have mentioned. [W.S.R.]

SERENATA (Ital. Serenata', Fr. Serenade-, Germ. Serenade). Though the terms Serenata and Serenade are generally regarded as inter- changeable so nearly synonymous, that we have no choice but to give the one as the translated equivalent of the other they mean, in musical language, two very different things. We have described the Serenade, in the fort-going article. We have now to speak of the Serenata ; which has nothing in common with its shorter namesake, beyond its assumed fitness for an evening per- formance in the open air. 1

The Serenata may be either vocal or instru- mental. The vocal form is the oldest ; but neither the most common, nor the most clearly defined, as to scope and intention. It may, in fact, be considered as a form of Cantata ; which may be either dramatic, or imaginative, or even a simple Ode on any subject not actually sacred. Handel applied the term to his Italian Pastoral, 'Aci, Galatea, e Polifemo,' written, at Naples, in 1 709 ; to the Ode composed for the Birthday of Anne of Denmark, in 1712 ; and to the English Pastoral. ' Acis and Galatea,' 2 written, at Cannons, in 1 720. It is quite possible that all these works may have been originally performed in the open air : the first, on a calm evening at Naples ; the second, in the Court Yard of S. James's Palace ; and the third, in the Park, at Cannons. But it is equally possible that the name may have been given, in each case, to a Composition supposed to be suitable for performance, al fresco, on a

1 It will, however, be noticed, that, in this case, the word given as the German equivalent for Serenata is not 'Stfindchen,' but Serenade.' The technical terminology of Germany here draws & distinction which Is not perceptible in that of other countries.

2 Called also, in early copies, ' Opera," ' Mask,' and ' Pastoral.'

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