Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/312

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296

��VIOLIN-PLAYING.

��Baillot's characterisation of the modern style of violin-playing as the dramatic style is quite correct.

The two most eminent representatives of the modern French school, DB B^BIOT (1802-1870) and H. VIEUXTEMPS (1820-1881), were of Belgian nationality. The Belgian school of violin-playing is, however, in reality but a branch, though a most important one, of the Paris school. De Ix'riot's style as a composer for the violin seems to have been formed under the influence of the modern Italian opera composers, especially of Rossini, Donizetti, and Bellini; and his Con- certos and Airs varies, which have attained an immense popularity all over the world, share the strong and weak points of modern Italian music. They have plenty of melody, though of a somewhat sentimental kind, and their general style, without affording much difficulty to the player, is most brilliant and effective. If De Beriot's ideas are on the whole superficial and often not free from triviality, they are also unpretentious and unaffected. The same can hardly be said of Vieuxtemps. He certainly was a great violinist, and as a musician decidedly superior to Be'riot. His compositions contain ideas of great beauty and are often cleverly worked out, but at the same time there is in them too frequently an element of theatrical bombast and pretension which is analogous to Meyerbeer's grand-opera style, just as De Bdriot's is to the spontaneous melody of Italian opera. De Be'riot 's treatment of the instrument, though often commonplace, does not go against its nature, while Vieuxtemps not unfrequently seems to do violence to it, and in some of his tours de force oversteps the boun- daries of the beautiful. Both these great artists travelled much, and gained by the great excel- lence of their performances universal success in almost every European country. Vieuxtemps was also the first violinist, of the highest rank, who visited America. De Be'riot, as leader at the Brussels Conservatoire, formed a great number of excellent violinists, the best known of whom are the Spaniard MONASTERIO (born 1836), SAU- RET (born 1852), SCHBADIECK (bom 1846), and HEEBMAN (born 1844). JEAN BECKER (born 1836), and LAUTERBACH (born 1832) also studied for some time under him.

Among Baillot's pupils F. A. HABENEOK (i 78 i- 1849) attained a great reputation as conductor and as teacher. He counts among his pupils SAINTON (born 1813), PBUME (1816-1849), ALABD (born 1815) and L^ONABD (born 1819). The two last, with M ASSART (born 1811), a pupil of Kreutzer, have for thirty years past, as teachers at the Paris Conservatoire, headed the Franco-Belgian school. Alard's most emin- ent pupil is SARASATE (born 1844). MABSICK and M. DENGBEMONT (born 1866) studied under Leonard.

WIENIAWSKI, LOTTO, and TEBESINA TUA, are pupils of Massart. Wieniawski (1835-1 880) was indeed a wonderful player. He possessed a beauti- ful tone, an astonishing technique of the left hand and of the bow, and threw into his performances

��VIOLIN-PLAYING.

an amount of life and warmth which, if it now and then led to some exaggeration, was irre- sistible. The marvellous perfection of Sarasate's playing, and the gracefulness of his style, are too well known to require further comment. The character of his repertoire deserves, however, special attention. It is a very extended one, and illustrates a remarkable general change in the repertoires, if not in the style, of the younger generation of French violinists. Formerly the French violinist, no less than the German one, as a matter of course, wrote his own Concertos or if that was beyond his power, his own Fan- tasias or the like. Unfortunately, French vio- linists, with few exceptions, have not been highly trained musicians. We know that Bode and De Be'riot had even to seek assistance in the scoring of their Concertos. The descent from the compositions of Rode and Kreutzer to those of De Be'riot, Alard, and Leonard, is only too ap- parent. The operatic Fantasias of the last two mark, we may say, the lowest point to which composition for the violin had hitherto descended. Of late years the taste for serious instrumental music has grown more and more universal in France, and a reaction has set in. Not that the public has left off its delight in brilliant technical display. The fabulous successes of some modern virtuosi prove the contrary. But these triumphs have been won as much by their performance of the best Concertos by the best composers as of brilliant show-pieces.

In Germany we find the schools of Cassel, Leipzig, and Vienna taking the lead. Spohr at Cassel had a great number of pupils, but his manner and style were too exclusively individual to form a school. His most eminent pupil was FERDINAND DAVID (1810-1873) who as founder of the Leipzig School exercised great influence on violin- play ing in Germany. It can hardly be said that he perpetuated in his pupils Spohr's method and style. Entirely differing from his great master in musical temperament, enjoying from his early youth close intercourse with Mendels- sohn, and strongly imbued with the spirit of modern music as manifested in Beethoven, he represents a more modern phase in German violin-playing and an eclecticism which has avoided onesidedness not less in matters of tech- nique than of musical taste and judgment gener- ally. He was the first who played Bach's Violin Solos, and all the last Quartets of Beethoven (not even excepting the Fugue) in public. Schubert's Quartets and Quintet were on the programmes of his chamber-concerts at the time when they had, except . perhaps at Vienna, no- where yet been heard in public. [See vol. iii. p. 356 b.] As a teacher his chief aim was to give to his pupils a thorough command of the tech- nique of the violin, and to arouse and develop their musical intelligence. There as elsewhere the classical works of violin literature naturally formed the main stock of teaching-material. At the same time David laid great stress on the study of the modern French masters, maintaining that, irrespective of musical value, their works,

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