Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/149

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law, that Beethoven, that giant among players, came to Prague. At a crowded concert in the Convict-hall he played his Concerto in C (op. 15), the Adagio and Rondo grazioso from the Sonata in A (op. 2), and extemporised on a theme from Mozart's Clemenza di Tito, "Ah tu fosti il primo oggetto." His grand style of playing, and especially his bold improvisation, had an extra- ordinary effect upon me. I felt so shaken that for several days I could not bring myself to touch the piano ; indeed it was only my inextinguishable love for the art, that, after much reasoning with myself, drove me back to the instrument with even increased industry.' Before long, however, the critical faculty returned. After hearing Bee- thoven twice more, he says, 'This time I was able to listen with greater calmness of mind, and though I admired as much as ever the power and brilliancy of his playing, I could not help noticing the frequent jumps from subject to subject which destroyed the continuity and gradual development of his ideas. Defects of this kind often marred those most magnificent creations of his superabundant fancy.' ' Had Beethoven's compositions (only a few of which were then printed) claimed to be classical standard works as regards rhythm, harmony, and counterpoint, I should perhaps have been discouraged from carrying on my self-cultivation ; but as it was, I felt nerved to further effort.' Three years later Tomaschek declared Beethoven to have still further perfected his playing. He himself about this time published some ' Un- garische Tanze ' (without ever having heard a Hungarian air) and Holty's ' Elegie auf eine Rose,' an early specimen of programme-music. Twelve waltzes had a great success at the Prague Carnival of 1797; but these he burnt. He was known as a pianist, and esteemed as a teacher by the principal nobility, but hesi- tated between the profession of music and an official career. Meantime Count Bucquoi von Longueval offered him the post of composer in his household, with such a salary as to place him at ease in money-matters; and this he accepted. Prague continued to be his home, but he made occasional journeys, especially to Vienna. In November 1814 he paid Bee- thoven a visit, of which he has left an account ('Libussa,' 1846) in the form of a conversation. He tells us that Meyerbeer and other artists had put themselves at Beethoven's disposal, for the performance of the ' Battle of Vittoria,' and that Meyerbeer played the big drum. ' Ha ! ha ! ha ! ' exclaims Beethoven, ' I was not at all pleased with him ; he could not keep time, was always coming in too late, and I had to scold him well. 1 Ha ! ha ! ha ! I dare say he was put out. He is no good. He has not pluck enough to keep time.' Pluck was a quality which Meyerbeer never possessed, even at the tune of his greatest successes. A fortnight later Tomaschek repeated the visit, and describes it in even greater detail ('Libussa' 1847). Meyerbeer's 'Two Caliphs'

i This looks as if Beethoven, even in 1814, wuld hear pretty well on occasion.



��was then being performed, and on Tomaschek saying that it began with a Hallelujah and ended with a Requiem, Beethoven remarked, 'Yes, it is all up with his playing.' And again, 'He knows nothing of instrumental music; singing he does understand, and that he should stick to. Besides, he knows but little of composition. I tell you he will come to no good.' Beethoven's prophecy was not fulfilled ; but these notes are interesting records of his opinions, and show a high esteem for Tomaschek.

Tomaschek's house became the centre of mu- sical life in Prague, and the list of his pupils in- cludes Dreyschock, Kittl, Kuhe, Schulhoff, Bock- let, Dessauer, Worzischek, and Wurffel. In 1823 he married Wilhelmine Ebert, remaining in Count Bucquoi's service, though with a house of his own, where he was much visited by strangers, especially by English. He was hos- pitable and pleasant except on the subject of music, on which he was given to laying down the law. In person he was tall, and of a mili- tary carriage. The superficial was his abhorrence. Even in his smaller works there was a technical completeness, which procured him the title of the ' Schiller of music.' His church music includes a Missa Solennis in Eb, and several Requiems, but his predilection was for dramatic music, to which he was led by its connection with the Ballad and the Lied. He set several of Goethe's and Schiller's poems, and also old Czech songs from the Koniginhof MS. 2

Tomaschek played his setting of Goethe's poems before the poet himself at Eger, and was very kindly received. His opera ' Seraphine' (1811) was well received at the National Theatre in Prague, in spite of a poor libretto ; but in spite of this success he declined to permit the appearance of two other operas, 'Alvara' and 'Sakuntala.' He left scenas from Goethe's ' Faust,' and from 'Wallenstein,' 'Maria Stuart,' and the 'Braut von Messina,' as well as other vocal compositions, which were presented with his other remains to the Bohemian National Museum in Prague, by his nephew Freiherr von Tomaschek.

Besides a quantity of smaller works, chiefly Lieder, Tomaschek published no with opus numbers, including the interesting 'Eklogues 1 (P- 35> 39 47. 5 J > 53, 66 and 83) and 'Dithy- ramb ' (op. 65, Prague, Berra), which would still repay the attention of pianists. It is unfor- tunate for Tomaschek's fame that his works were contemporaneous with Beethoven's, but they exercised a material influence on such an artist as Robert Schumann. Is it too much to hope that these lines may direct some musicians to an unjustly forgotten composer ?

Tomaschek died April 3, 1850, and was buried in the churchyard of Koschir, near Prague. [F.G.J

TOMASINI, LUIGI (ALOYSIUS), eminent violin- ist, and distinguished member of Prince Ester- hazy's band under Haydn, born 1741 at Pesaro. In 1757 he became a member of Prince Paul Anton's household at his palace of Eisenstadt in

2 The authenticity of which has been disproved by Sembora, th* great authority on Czech literature.

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