Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/344

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328

��VOGLER.

��and an intimate acquaintance with the resources and effects of an orchestra acquired as Kapell- meister at Mannheim. 1 As a composer for the theatre he did not attain any great good fortune. Against the success of 'Castor and Pollux,' and 'Hermann von Unna,' must be set very many failures. 'Samori,' on which he spent the greatest pains, pleased for a while, in spite of its weak libretto and often laboured music ; but Vogler's influence on opera at Vienna was in reality nil. The overture to 'Hamlet,' on the other hand, was the forerunner of the programme overture now almost too common. We are told a that in composing this work Vogler hit on an idea, then new, viz. he first studied the tragedy and then arranged his composition so as to express the principal scenes in music. His clavier music, though perhaps useful as exercises, is unim- portant, and his organ music has not borne the test of time. [PROGRAMME Music, vol. iii., p. 39 a.] His Symphony in C and his Requiem are his best works, and contain original and striking music. The former was played at the Gewand- haus under Mendelssohn in 1838 and 1839, ant ^ by the Euterpe in the season 1844-5. T^ 6 overture to ' Samori,' whose insignificant themes and fine development make it a type of its composer, was performed later still, in 1 847, and the characteristic Pastoral Mass was both popular and impressive. A striking success was achieved by the Psalm 'Ecce quam bonum* at Choron's first Sacred Concert at Paris in 1827, and though the pro- gramme included works by Scarlatti, Marcello, Handel, Haydn, and Mozart, we are told that the honours rested with Vogler. 3

But it was as an organist and theorist that Vogler made most stir. It would be difficult to find an important town in Central Europe in which he had not performed on the organ. He could stretch two octaves with ease, and practice had turned this natural advantage to such good use that he was indisputably the first organist of his age. His quaint eccentricity shows itself here as elsewhere. He would travel about playing in the most ad captandum style such things as Cheu-Tew, a Chinese song,' 'a Hottentot melody in three notes,' ' The Fall of the walls of Jericho,' 'Thunder-storms,' and the like,* as if with the design of concealing his complete command of the highest ranges of organ-playing. His ex- tempore playing never failed to create an im- pression, and in the elevated fugal style he easily distanced all rivals. 'One was amazed at his performance in the severe style,' says Rink; and his study of the construction of the organ gave him an unerring instinct in the selection of stops. The illnatured criticism of Mozart in his letter to his father of Jan. 17, 1778, is by no means generally endorsed by other contem-

1 Christmann mentions that In an orchestra arranged on Vogler's prlncip'es four double basses were used and tuned in four different ways, by which Ingenious device an open string was obtained for every note. In ' Die Scala ' two pairs of kettledrums are used to play a scale passage probably the first instance of the employment of four drums. |Cp. DRUM, vol. i. p. 464 a -, TIMBALES, vol. ill. p. 116.]

2 ."chubart. Aesthetlk. 3 A. M. Z. vol. xxbt. p. 658.

4 Christmann mentions a performance intended to represent ' The Last Judgment according lo Itubeni,' Pictorial Music ha* perhaps uever been pushed beyond this.

��VOGLER.

porary writers. They declare that in transpos- ing and accompanying, Vogler had remarkable readiness and skill, and that as a reader at sight he ' was perhaps unsurpassed and unique.' 5

In organ building, 6 his first practical efforts were made in 1784. Five years later he com- pleted an instrument which he called the Orches- trion, and gave performances on it at various dates at Amsterdam, London, Stockholm, and Prague. It is described as being 9 feet square, 6 feet high on each side, and 9 in the centre. This box contained about 900 pipes, and had shutters for crescendos and diminuendos. The reed-stops were Free Reeds, and variety of power in their case was gained by three canvas screens in the windtrunk. As to the effect produced, opinions were much divided. At Amsterdam it was asserted to be the non plus ultra of organ- building, at Prague it was declared a failure. Vogler was also prepared to 'simplify' old organs. He claimed to work such a metamor- phosis in an instrument in three weeks that its effect would be largely enhanced, though many of the old pipes were removed. The cost of an organ on his system was alleged to be a third of that of one built in the old way. Such pre- tensions were sure to provoke keen opposition. At Berlin he was charged with stealing the pipes removed in 'simplifying' the organ in St. Mary's Church. The falsity of the charge was demon- strated, but it shows the feeling against him.

His proposals were four- fold: viz. (i) To avoid the use of expensive large pipes; (2) To introduce Free Reeds; (3) To arrange the pipes in a different order on the windchest, and (4) To remove Mutation Stops.

(i) The means by which the cost of organs was diminished without depriving them of their resources lay in Tartini's theory that just as a note gives certain harmonics, so the har- monics of a note if combined give the funda- mental note. The first harmonics of a pipe of 32 feet would be represented by pipes of 16 feet and of i of feet. It was therefore possible by employing a pipe of 16 feet and a pipe of io| feet together to obtain a 32-feet sound without having to use a 32-feet pipe. Time appears, on the whole, to have decided in favour of Tartini and Vogler on this point. It is true that some organ-builders and organists still hold that the ' third sound ' is but a poor apology for the real pipe-produced sound, and that every organ of any pretensions still contains large pipes. On the other hand, a Quint on the Pedal Organ is un- doubtedly coming into great favour as an adjunct to or substitute for the 32-feet stop. The reader will find instances of the 'Trias Harmonica' either with or without a 32-feet stop at St. Michael's, Tenbury, Cutler's Hall, Sheffield (Ca- vaille'-Coll), Sheffield church (Brindley & Foster),

8 Once, at least, Vogler met Beethoven, viz. at Sonnleithner's house In the winter of 1803-4. | See BEETHOVEN, vol. 1. p. 183 a.} GAnsbaclier. who then heard both extemporise for the Bret time, admired Bee- thoven, but was perfectly enchanted with the Adagio and Fuyue thrown off by Vogler. So excited was he that he could not RO to bed after It. and knocked up his friends at unseasonable hours to quiet his excitement by describing what be had heard. (Biographic.)

Data zur Akustik.'

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