Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/44

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��is just these changing conditions that leave a little opening for composers to tread the same path with him. In the millions of the human species there are endless varieties of mental and emotional qualities grouped in different indi- viduals, and different bands or sets of men ; and the many-sided qualities of artistic work, even far below the highest standard, find their ex- cuse and explanation in the various groups and types of mind whose artistic desires they satisfy. Those who are most highly organised in such respects find their most perfect and most sus- tained gratification in Beethoven's works ; but others who feel less deeply, or are less wide in their sympathies, or have fewer or different opportunities of cultivating their tastes in such a musical direction, need musical food more in accordance with their mental and emotional or- ganisation. Moreover, there is always room to treat an accepted form in the mode character- istic of the period. Beethoven's period was much more like ours than that of Haydn and Mozart, but yet it is not so like that a work expressed entirely in his manner would not be an anachron- ism. Each successive generation takes some colour from the combination of work and changes in all previous generations; in unequal quantities proportioned to its amount of sympathy with particular periods. By the side of Beethoven there were other composers, working either on parallel lines or in a different manner on the same lines. The succeeding generations were influenced by them as well as by him ; and they have introduced some elements into sym- phony which are at least not prominent in his. One of the contemporary composers who had most influence on the later generation was Weber; but his influence is derived from other departments, and in that of Symphony his contri- bution is next to nothing two only, so slight and unimportant, as probably to have had no influence at all.

Another composer's symphonies did not have much immediate influence, chiefly because they were not performed ; what they will have in the future remains to be seen. 1 In delightfulness, Schubert's two best works in this department stand almost alone ; and their qualities are unique. In his earlier works of the kind there is an analogy to Beethoven's early works. Writing for the orchestra seemed to paralyse his par- ticular individuality; and for some time after he had written some of his finest and most original songs, he continued to write sym- phonies, which were chiefly a mild reflex of Haydn and Mozart, or at most of the early style of Beethoven. His first attempt was made in 1813, the last page being dated October 28 of that year, when he was yet only sixteen years old one year after Beethoven's Symphonies in A and F, and more than ten years before the great D minor. In the five following years he wrote five more, the best of which is No. 4, the Tragic, in C minor ; the Andante especially being

i As we write, the announcement appears of a complete edition of Schubert's works, published and MS., by Breitkopf A Hartel.


very fine and interesting, and containing many characteristic traits of the master. But none of the early works approach in interest or original beauty to the unfinished one in B minor, and the very long and vigorous one in C major; the first com- posed in 1822, before Beethoven's No. 9, and the second in 1828, after it. In these two he seems to have struck out a real independent symphony- style for himself, thoroughly individual in every respect, both of idea, form, and orchestration. They show singularly little of the influence of Beethoven, or Mozart, or Haydn, or any of the composers he must have been familiar with in his early days at the Konvict ; but the same spirit as is met with in his songs and piano- forte pieces, and the best specimens of his cham- ber music. The first movement of the B minor is entirely unlike any other symphonic first move- ment that ever was composed before. It seems to come direct from the heart, and to have the personality of the composer in it to a most un- usual degree. The orchestral forces used are the usual ones, but in the management of them there are numbers of effects which are perfectly new in this department of art, indicating the tend- ency of the time towards direct consideration ol what is called 'colour' in orchestral combinations, and its employment with the view of enhancing the degree of actual sensuous enjoyment of a refined kind, to some extent independent of the subjects and figures. Schubert's mature or- chestral works are however too few to give any strong indication of this in his own person ; and what is commonly felt is the supreme attractive- ness of the ideas and general style. As classical models of form none of Schubert's instrumental works take the highest rank; and it follows that no compositions by any writer which have taken such hold upon the musicians of the pre- sent time, depend so much upon their intrinsic musical qualities as his do. They are therefore in a sense the extremest examples that can be given of the degree in which the status of such music altered in about thirty years. In the epoch of Mozart and Haydn, the formal elements abso- lutely predominated in importance. This was the case in 1795. The balance was so completely altered in the course of Beethoven's lifetime, that by 1824 the phenomenon is presented of works in the highest line of musical composition depend- ing on the predominating element of the actual musical sentiment. It must be confessed that Schubert's position in art is unique; but at the same time no man of mark can be quite unrepresentative of his time, and Schubert in this way represents the extraordinary degree in which the attention of musical people and the intention of composers in the early years of the present century was directed to the actual material of music in its expressive sense, as distinguished from the external or structural aspect.

The relation of the dates at which more or less well-known symphonies made their appearance about this time is curious and not uninstructive* Mendelssohn's Reformation Symphony was pro-

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