Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/697

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HUEFFER.
681
HUMOROUS MUSIC.

in the 'Academy,' of which he became assistant editor. At a time when England hesitated to acknowledge the genius of Wagner, Mr. Hueffer brought home to amateurs the meaning of the modern developments of dramatic and lyrical composition by the publication, in 1874, of his 'Richard Wagner and the Music of the Future.' Mr. Hueffer was in 1878 appointed musical critic of 'The Times,' and consistently followed up his advocacy of the modern in art by supporting the claims of living English musicians. He has also written librettos for several of our rising composers. Thus 'Colomba' and 'The Troubadour,' were written for Mr. Mackenzie, and 'The Sleeping Beauty' for Mr. Cowen. He has lately undertaken the English version of Boito's 'Otello,' where his task has been to translate the adaptation of Shakespeare's play as made by the young Italian poet and composer for Verdi's opera.

As early as 1869 Mr. Hueffer had published a critical edition of the works of Guillem de Cabestanh, which gained him the degree of Ph. D. from the University of Göttingen, and led to his election to the 'Felibrige' or Society of modern Troubadours, of which Mistral (the author of 'Mireijo'), Theodore Aubanel, and other distinguished poets are the leading spirits. 'The Troubadours,' a history of Provençal life and literature of the middle ages, appeared in 1878; and a series of lectures on the same subject was delivered at the Royal Institution in 1880. A collection of 'Musical Studies' from the 'Times,' etc., was published in 1880, and soon appeared in various translations; 'The Life of Wagner,' the first of the 'Great Musicians' series, in 1881; 'Italian and other Studies,' in 1883. The 'Correspondence of Wagner and Liszt,' a translation, followed soon after the publication of the 'Briefwechsel,' by Breitkopf & Härtel in 1888. No more than a brief reference can be made to Mr. Hueffer's occasional contributions to the Quarterly and other reviews, and to some songs composed by him from time to time. [App. p. 819 "Date of death, Jan. 19, 1889."]

[ L. M. M. ]

HÜNTEN, Franz. Line 3 from end of article, for date of death read Feb. 22.

HÜTTENBRENNER, Heinrich. P. 755b, add that he wrote the words for at least two of Schubert's pieces—'Der Jüngling auf dem Hügel,' op. 8, and the part-song 'Wehmuth' (op. 80, no. 1).

HULLAH, John. Line 6 of article, for 1832 read 1833. P. 756a, l. 10, for 1840 read 1839; l. 20, for Feb. 20 read Feb. 10. Add date of death, Feb. 21, 1884.

HUMFREY, Pelham. P. 757a, line 3 from bottom, for produced read printed. (It had been performed in 1667.)

HUMOROUS MUSIC. The element of humour in music is far from common, and though easy to recognize when encountered, is rather difficult to define. Nor is this difficulty lessened by calling to mind a number of examples and endeavouring to generalize therefrom. Such a course shows us only that our title is either too comprehensive or too limited for the name of one particular kind of music, embracing on the one hand all scherzos, all comic-opera and dance-music, and on the other hand including only serious music in which a sudden and momentary change of mood appears. It is evident, however, that the title is inapplicable to merely light, gay or frolicsome music. On the other hand, to pronounce Beethoven the sole exponent of musical humour is to do away with the necessity for making a 'class.' How then shall we limit our definition? Will it be of any use to remember that there are various kinds of humour, such as high and low, comedy and farce? We fear not. Schumann indeed, writing on this subject, says:[1]—'The less educated minds are usually disposed to perceive in music without words only the feelings of sorrow or joy, but are not capable of discerning the subtler shades of these sentiments, such as anger or remorse on the one hand and kindliness or contentment on the other; a fact which renders it difficult for them to comprehend such masters as Beethoven and Franz Schubert, every condition of whose minds is to be found in their music. I fancy that I can perceive behind some of the Moments musicals of Schubert certain tailors' bills which he was not able to pay, such a Philistine annoyance do they express.' The poetic temperament may be permitted to indulge itself in fantasies like these, for which there may or may not be any actual foundation, but Schumann's words must not be taken literally. The scientific musician in his calmer moments is forced to admit that the expression in music of any emotion or sentiment whatever—beyond the elementary sensations of gloom and gaiety—is purely a matter of convention, depending for its effect upon the auditor's previous musical experiences. A Chinaman would not be thrilled by the strains of the Marseillaise, and a European finds nothing pleasing in the Javanese Gamelan. The National Anthem of one country is seldom rated highly by a foreigner, but let an Englishman hear 'Home, sweet home!' a Scotchman hear the skirl of his native instrument, or a Swiss be reminded of the Rans des Vaches, and each will be moved to the very soul. Gaiety and gloom in music are discernible by all human beings alike; for this reason—joy is usually accompanied by an inclination to dance; therefore, by a natural association of ideas, music which has short brisk dance-rhythms excites lively emotions, while slow long drawn sounds connect themselves with tranquillity, repose and gravity of spirit. The Introduction and Vivace of Beethoven's A major Symphony afford an excellent illustration of our meaning; the broad slow phrases of the opening would impress the veriest savage, while the frisky rhythm of the main movement must gladden every heart that hears it.

We have, however, wandered from our point, which is not what kinds of humour can be

  1. Schumann. Ges. Scbrift. b. 1: Das Komische in der Musik.