Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/364

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348

��WAGNER.

��months. A Sonata in 4 movements Bb, op. I, and a Polonaise for 4 hands in D, op. 2, were printed at Breitkopf & Hartel's straightfor- ward music, solid schoolwork, without a trace of Wagner. A Fantasia in Ffl minor, where Weinlig's controlling hand is less visible, remains in MS.

Whilst this musical work was going on, philo- logy and aesthetics, for which his name was set down at the University, were neglected. He plunged into the gulf of German students' dissipations (curious details are given in the privately printed * Lebenserinnerungen ') , but soon felt disgusted, and worked all the more steadily at music. In the course of 1830 he made a pianoforte transcription of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, which was offered to Messrs. Schott in a letter dated Oct. 6. In 1831, feeling sure of his competency to do such work, he addressed a letter in very modest terms to the Bureau de Musique (Peters) offering his services as 'cor- rector for the press and arranger.' l Dorn (in a contribution to Schumann's ' Neue Zeitschrift,' 1838, No. 7) gives a pleasant account of his en- thusiasm for Beethoven in those early days. ' I doubt whether there ever was a young musician who knew Beethoven's works more thoroughly than Wagner in his i8th year. The master's overtures and larger instrumental compositions he had copied for himself in score. He went to sleep with the quartets, he sang the songs and whistled the concertos (for his pianoforte-playing was never of the best) ; in short he was possessed with a furor teutonicus, which, added to a good education and a rare mental activity, promised to bring forth rich fruit.' A ' Concert-overture mit Fuge' in C (MS.) was written in 1831 ; and another MS. Overture in D minor (Sept. 26, amended Nov. 4) was performed Dec. 25, 1831.

In 1832 (aet. 19) he wrote a Symphony in 4 movements (C major). ' Beethoven,' he says of it, 'and particular sections of Mozart's C major Symphony were my models, and in spite of sun- dry aberrations, I strove for clearness and power.' In the summer of this year, he took the scores of the Symphony and the Overture in C to the 'Music-town,' Vienna probably with a view to some small post. He found Herold's 'Zampa'and Strauss's 'Potpourris' from 'Zampa' rampant there, and beat a hasty retreat. On the way home he stopped at Prague, and made the acquaint- ance of Dionys Weber, director of the Conserva- torium, whose pupils rehearsed the Symphony. The score was then submitted to the Directors of the Gewandhaus Concerts at Leipzig. The managing director, Hofrath Bochlitz, editor of the 'Allgemeine Musicalische Zeitung,' an au- thority in musical matters, invited the composer to call. ' When I presented myself to him, the stately old gentleman raised his spectacles, saying, "You are a young man indeed I I expected an older and experienced composer." He proposed a trial performance at the meetings of a junior in- stitution, the " Euterpe," and a fortnight after-

i Herr Tappert, In his admirable brochure ' Richard Wagner, seln Leben and seine Werke/ gives the entire letter (Aug. 0, 1831).

��WAGNER.

wards (Jan. 10,1833) my Symphony figured in the programme of a Gewandhaus Concert.' The sequel of the story of the work is as follows. In 1834-35, Wagner being on a visit to Leipzig, presented the score to Mendelssohn, 8 who was then conducting the Gewandhaus Concerts ; or rather, he forced it upon him in the hope of getting a critical opinion, and perhaps another performance. Mendelssohn, though repeatedly meeting Wagner later on, never mentioned the score, and Wagner did not care to ask him about it. After Mendelssohn's decease the MS. appears to have been lost, and inquiries proved fruitless. In 1872 an old trunk was discovered at Dresden which had been left by Wagner during the dis- turbances of 1849. I* contained musical odds and ends, together with a set of orchestral parts almost complete, which proved to be those of the missing Symphony in the handwriting of a Prague copyist of 1832. A new score was com- piled from these parts, and after nearly half a century a private performance of the work was given by the orchestra of the Liceo Marcello at Venice on Christmas Eve 1882, Wagner con- ducting. Apart from its biographical interest the symphony has few claims to attention. In 1883, 'for the benefit of the curious,' Wagner quoted a fragment of the Andante, and then dismissed the whole as ' an old-fashioned ouvrage dejeunesse.' 3

Whilst at Prague (summer of 1832) he wrote his first libretto for an opera, ' Die Hochzeit.' * It was of tragic import. A n infuriated lover climbs to the window of the bedroom of his beloved, who is his friend's bride. She is awaiting the arrival of the bridegroom. The bride wrestles with the madman, and precipitates him into the courtyard below. At the funeral rites the bride, with a wild cry, falls dead over the corpse.' On his return to Leipzig he began writing the music. There was a grand septet, which pleased Weinlig ; but Wagner's sister Rosalie disapproved of the story, and the verses were destroyed. An autograph presentation copy to the ' Wiirzburger Musik- verein ' consisting of the introduction, chorus and septet (not sextet), 36 pages, is extant.

With the year 1833 (set. 20) begins Wagner's career as a professional musician. The elder brother Albert, who had a high tenor voice, was engaged at the theatre of Wurzburg as actor, singer, and stage-manager. Richard paid him a visit in the summer, and was glad to take the place of chorus -master with a pittance of ten florins per month. Albert's experience of thea- trical matters proved useful; the Musikverein performed several of Richard's compositions ; his duties at the theatre were light, and he had ample leisure to write the words and music to an opera in 3 acts, ' Die Feen.' The plot of this opera is constructed on the lines of *Gozzi's 'La donna

Details In 'Ges. Schriften,' vol. x. 'Bericht fiber die Wleder- aufftthrung eines Jugendwerkes.' pp. 899-405. a Bericht ttber die Wlederaufftihrung eines Jugendwerkes,' pp.

4 CABLO Gozzi (1722-1806) Venetian playwright ; his pieces, based on fairy tales, were admired by Goethe, Schiller, Slsmondi, etc. Be Turandotte' was translated and adapted for the Weimar stag* by Schiller; Weber wrote music to it In 1809.

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