Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/348

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.



��Weber, who spent a few weeks of February and March in Vienna to arrange for the production of his Euryanthe. No particulars of their intercourse on this occasion survive. With Beethoven Schu- bert had as yet hardly exchanged words. And this is hardly to be wondered at, because, though Vienna was not a large city, yet the paths of the two men were quite separate. Apart from the great difference in theirages, and from Beethoven's peculiar position in the town, his habits were fixed, his deafness was a great obstacle to inter- course, and, for the last five or six years, what with the lawsuits into which his nephew dragged him, and the severe labour entailed by the com- position of the Mass in D, and of the Sonatas ops. 1 06, 109, no, and in works which by no means flowed from him with the ease that masses and sonatas did from Schubert he was very in- accessible. Any stranger arriving from abroad, with a letter of introduction, was seen and treated civilly. But Schubert was a born Vien- nese, and at the time of which we speak, Bee- thoven was as much a part of Vienna as St. Stephen's tower, and to visit him required some special reason, and more than special resolution. A remark of Rochlitz's 1 in the July of this year shows that Schubert was in the habit of going to the same restaurant with Beethoven, and wor- shipping at a distance ; but the first direct evidence of their coming into contact occurs at this date. On April 19, 1822, he published a set of Variations on a French air as op. 10, and de- dicated them to Beethoven as ' his admirer and worshipper ' (sein Verehrer und Bewunderer). The Variations were written in the preceding winter, and Schubert presented them in person to the great master. There are two versions of the interview, 2 Schindler's and J. Huttenbrenner's. Schindler was constantly about Beethoven. He was devoted to Schubert, and is very unlikely to have given a depreciating account of him. There is therefore no reason for doubting his statement, especially as his own interest or vanity were not concerned. It is the first time we meet Schubert face to face. He was accom- panied by Diabelli, who was just beginning to find out his commercial value, and would naturally be anxious for his success. Beethoven was at home, and we know the somewhat over- whelming courtesy with which he welcomed a stranger. Schubert was more bashful and retir- ing than ever ; and when the great man handed him the sheaf of paper and the carpenter's pencil provided for the replies of his visitors, could not collect himself sufficiently to write a word. Then the Variations were produced, with their enthusiastic dedication, which prob- ably added to Beethoven's good humour. He opened them and looked through them, and seeing something that startled him, naturally pointed it out. At this Schubert's last remnant of self-control seems to have deserted him, and he rushed from the room. When he got into

i 'FOr Freunde der Tonkunst.' Iv. 352. See the lifelike and touch- Ing picture by Braun von Braun given In Nohl's Beethoven, 111. 682. z Schlndler's 'Beethoven,' ii. 176.


the street, and was out of the magic of Bee- thoven's personality, his presence of mind re- turned, and all that he might have said flashed upon him, but it was too late. The story is perfectly natural, and we ought to thank Beethoven's Boswell for it. Which of us would not have done the same ? Beethoven kept the Variations and liked them ; and it must have been some consolation to the bashful Franz to hear that he often played them with his nephew. Huttenbrenner's 3 story is that Schubert called, but found Beethoven out ; which may have been an invention of Diabelli's to shield his young client.

This autumn Schubert again took up the Mass in Ab, which was begun in 1819; finished it, and inscribed it ' im 7 b 822 beendet.' * Not that that was the final redaction ; for, contrary to his usual practice in fact it is almost a solitary instance he took it up again before his death, and made material improvements 5 both in the position of the voice-parts and in the instru- mentation, as may be seen from the autograph score now in the Library of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde.

This year seems to have been passed entirely in Vienna, at least there are no traces of any journey ; and the imprisonment in the broiling city, away from the nature he so dearly loved, was not likely to improve his spirits. What events or circumstances are alluded to in the in- teresting piece called * My 6 dream,' dated 'July 1822,' it is hard to guess. It may not improbably have been occasioned by some dispute on re- ligious subjects of the nature of those hinted at in his brother Ignaz's letter 7 of Oct. 12, 1818. At any rate it is deeply pathetic and poetical.

During this summer Joseph Hiittenbrenner was active in the cause of his friend. He made no less than four endeavours to bring out the 'Teufels Lustschloss ' at the Josefstadt and Court theatres of Vienna, at Munich, and at Prague. At Prague alone was there a gleam of hope. Hollbein, the manager there, requests to have the score and parts sent to him, at the same time regretting that during a month which he had passed in Vienna, Schubert had not once come near him. Hiittenbrenner also urged Schubert on Peters, the publisher, of Leipzig,, who in a tedious egotistical letter, dated Nov. 14, 1822, gives the usual sound reasons of a cautious publisher against taking up with an unknown composer for in North Germany Schubert was

K.H. 261 (1. 264). 1 b stands for September.

s This was kindly pointed out to the writer by Mr. Brahms, who ha an early copy of the score, made by Ferdinand Schubert from the autograph in its original condition. In this shape Mr. Brahms re- hearsed the mass, but found many portions unsatisfactory, and wa* interested to discover subsequently from the autograph that Schu- bert had altered the very passages alluded to, and made them prac- ticable.-He made three attempts at the 'Cum Sancto' before succeeding, each time in fugue, and always with a different subject. Of the first there are 4 bars; of the second 199; the third is that printed in Schreiber's edition. This edition is unfortunately very incorrect. Not only does it swarm with misprints, but whole pas- sages, and those most important ones (as in the Horns and Trom- bones of the Dona), are clean omitted. The nuances also are shame-

6 First printed by B. Schumann in the ' Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik for Feb. 5, 1839. See also K.H. 333 (ii. 16).

7 K.H. 146 (i. 148).

�� �