Графични страници
PDF файл

maintained that he had betrayed various symptoms of insanity; and, in fact, he had been seen to skip out of the house, singing merrily, with two hats on his head, and a couple of tuning-forks, stuck like daggers, in his red girdle; his more familiar friends, however, thought nothing at all of this; for these violent irruptions, generated by some inward raging fire, had long been peculiar to the enthusiast.

All inquiries after him proving fruitless, and his friends coming to consult about his small stock of musical and other works, Fräulein von B- came forward, and declared, that it became her alone to take charge of the small property of her dear instructor and friend, whom she would by no means give up for lost. The friends handed over to her, with great pleaşure, all that they had found; and, as upon the unruled pages of many of the sheets of music, short notes were discovered, mostly humourous, rapidly written with pencil, in happy moments, the faithful pupil permitted the friends of the ill-fated Johannes to copy them, and to preserve them as the unpretending productions of momentary excitement.

THE CHAPEL-MASTER'S MISERIES. They are all gone-I might have known it by the whispering, humming, and buzzing through all the keys; it was a true swarm of bees quitting the hive to roam. Gottleib has placed fresh candles, and a bottle of Burgundy before me, upon the piano-forte. Play, I cannot any more, for I am quite exhausted; my old noble friend here upon the music desk is the cause of it, who has now twice carried me through the air, as a Mephistophiles did Faust upon his mantle, and that so high, that I did not see and regard the diminutive sons of Adam below me, notwithstanding they may have made noise enough. A wretched, worthless, ill-spent evening! But now I am well again. However, while playing, I drew out my pencil, and noted, page 63, under the last system, a few good exertions with the right hand, while the left worked on in the stream of the tones. Behind, upon the blank pages, I continue to write-I quit crotchets and intervals, and, with true delight, like the convalescent invalid, who cannot desist from telling what he has suffered, I here minute down circumstantially the hellish torments of the day's tea party. However, not for myself alone, but that all who may delight and edify themselves here sometimes with my copy of John Sebastian Bach's variations for the piano-forte, published by Nägeli, in Zürich, may find my notes at the end of the 30th variation, and turn the leaf over to read them. Such will guess, at once, their true connection; they know that privy counsellor Röderlein keeps a charming house here, and has two daughters, of whom all the beau monde maintain, with enthusiasm, that they dance like goddesses, speak · French like angels, and sing, and play, and draw, like the muses. Privy counsellor Röderlein is a rich man; at his quarterly dinners he produces the finest .wines, and the most costly dishes; all is conducted upon the most elegant scale; and whoever does not enjoỳ himself like a god at his wife's tea parties, has no ton, no spirit, and, above all, no taste for the fine arts ! These are, in fact, always taken into consideration; together with tea, punch, wine, ices, &c., a little music is always presented, and very graciously accepted like the rest. The arrangement is as follows: after each guest has been allowed sufficient time to drink as many cups of tea as he pleases, and the punch and ices have been twice handed round, the servants bring out the card tables, for the elder and graver part of the company, who prefer the playing of cards to that of music, which, in truth, makes not such a needless noise, and where the only sound is the chinking of money.

At this signal, the more youthful portion of the company press round the Demoiselles Röderlein; a tumult arises, in which one may distinguish the words, “Pray, Miss Röderlein, do not'deny us the enjoyment of your neavenly talent'-o do sing something, my dear'—'Cannot possibly'. cold the last ball-practised nothing - pray now'--' pray do'

we intreat,' &c. In the interim Gottleib has opened the piano-forte, and burthened the desk with the well-known music book. Mamma now calls over from the card table, Chantez donc, mes enfans ! that is the signal for my role ; I take my seat at the piano, and the Misses Röderlein are conducted in triumph to the instrument. Now arises a trifling difference : neither will sing first. You know, dear Nanette, how dreadfully hoarse I am.' • Am I less so, then, dear Maria ?' 'But I sing so badly.' Oh do begin, love,' &c. My ingenious idea, (and I have it each time) that both might begin together with a duo, is universally applauded, the book looked through, and the carefully-turned page at length found; and now we commence. • Dolce dell 'anima,' &c.

The Misses Röderleins' talents are not, in fact, contemptible. I have been here five years, and for four years and a half I have been their musical instructor; in this short period of time Miss Nanette has made such progress, that after hearing an air about ten times at the theatre, and practising it, at most, the same number on the piano-forte, she sings it off in such a style, that one knows directly what it is intended for. Miss Maria catches it at the eighth time, and if she be frequently a quarter tone lower than the instrument, one can endure it to the end for the sake of such a pretty face, and such charming rosy lips. After the duet succeeds an universal chorus of applause. Now we interchange ariettas and duettinos, and I hammer away gaily at the accompaniments, for the thousandth time. During the songs and duetts, the Finance Minister's lady has given the company to understand by softly joining in, that she sings too. Then Miss Nanette says, “But now, my dear Eberstein, you must let us hear your divine voice.' There is a fresh tumult. She has a cold-she knows nothing by heart.' Gottleib brings two. arms' full of music. Then for for the bustle of tuning it over and over! At first she will sing Revenge,' &c. then · Hebe see,' then . Alas, I love.' In an agony, I

propose, • A while upon the meadow,' but she is for the superior geure, she wants to exhibit

Constancy' is fixed upon.-Oh bawl, squeak, mew, gurgle, groan, moan, quaver and quiver away right merrily !--I have commenced the fortissimo passage, and shall play myself deaf. O Satan'! Satan! which of thy infernal spirits has entered this throat, to force, and strain, and twist, and tug at all its tones ? Four strings are broken-already one hammer is disabled. My ears ring, my head turns, my nerves tremble. Are, then, all the impure tones of the screeching market-cryers' trumpets concentrated in this one little throat ?It has exhausted me. I take a glass of Burgundy.-Outrageous applause followed Lady Eberstein's performance; and somebody remarked, that the Finance Minister's lady and Mozart had very much heated me. I smiled, with downcast looks, sillily enough, as I am

her powers.


Now all the talents that have hitherto glowed in concealment, begin to burst forth, and wildly clash with one another. Musical excesses are resolved on : ensembles, finales, chorusses, are to be performed. The Canon Kratzer sings a heavenly bass, as a coxcomb remarks, at the same time introducing himself, modestly, as only a second tenor, although a member of several singing academies and clubs. Quickly every thing was organized for the first chorus in Titus. That went off admirably! The Canon, standing close behind my chair, thundered the bass over my head, as if he had been singing in the cathedral with a trumpet and kettle-drum obligato; he hit the notes bravely, but the time he took, in his hurry, was almost as slow again as it ought to be; however, he remained so far true to himself, that throughout the piece he followed at the distance of only half a bar. The others betrayed a decided affection for the Greek music, which, as is well known, the Greeks being ignorant of harmony, moved in unisons: they all sang theupper part, with little variations, occasioned by accidental rises and falls of an inharmonic interval. This, somewhat noisy performance, caused a general tragi-comical tension, which extended itself even to the card tables: for the players could not, as before, join in so melo-dramatically with short phrases interwoven with the music; as for example, Oh I loved''eight and twenty' - was so happy'_' I pass'--' knew not—whilst !''the pains of love'-' the colour,' &c. It had a very pretty effect. I filled my glass. That was the climax of to-night's musical display-now it is over, thought I-so I closed the book, and rose. Then comes the Baron, my antique tenorist, to me, and says, O, my dear chapel-master, you must give us one of your extempore fantasias, and do give us only onea short one only-pray, do.' I replied dryly, that my fantasias are clean gone out of my head; and while we are thus talking about it, a devil, in the shape of an elegant with two waistcoats, has discovered Bach's variations, which were in my hat in the antichamber; he imagines that they are some such things as Nel cor piu. “Ah vous dirai 'je ma maman,' &c. and will have me play them off. I decline : then the rest of the party all fall upon me. Well then, listen, and burst with the blue devils ! thinks I, and so I fall to work.

At No. 3 several ladies-went away, followed by the second tenor. The Misses Röderlein, because it was their master who was playing, held out, without repining, until No. 12, No. 15 put the man with two waistcoats to flight. Purely out of excessive politeness, the Baron remained till No. 30, only drinking a good deal of the punch, which Gottleib had placed upon the instrument for me. I should have concluded happily, but this No. 30, the thema, carried me away with irresistible force. The quarto pages expanded themselves, suddenly, into a gigantic folio, in which a thousand imitations and variations of themes were written for me to play. The notes started into life, and glistened, and swarmed to and fro before my eyes. Electric fire passed through my fingers into the keys the spirit, whence it emanated, outfled the composer's ideas. The whole saloon was filled with a dense vapour, in which the wax lights burned more and more dimly. Sometimes a nose peeped out, sometimes a pair of eyes; but they vanished again instantly. And so I was left alone, with my Sebastian Bach before me, and Gottleib attending me like a spiritus familiaris. I drink. Ought an honest musician to be so tortured with music as I have been to-day, and as I so frequently am tortured ? Truly, with no science is there so much misuse, as with the noble and divine science of music. And how easily is her tender nature profaned!

Have you true talent, and a sincere love for the science ? well; then

learn music; produce something worthy of the science, and give your talent, in due portion, to her consecrated fane. But, if without these requisites—if, in spite of nature, you will be musical—for heaven's sake, be so to yourselves, and amongst yourselves, and do not torture Kreisler, the chapel-master, and others, with your profane attempts.

Now I might go home, and finish my new sonata for the piano-forte; but it is not yet eleven o'clock, and a beautiful summer's night. I'll wager, that at the upper-forestmaster's house yonder, the girls are seated at the open window, screaming aloud the first line of When thine eye beams on me—this they repeat twenty times, till the whole street echos with the tender sentiment. Nearly opposite, one marring the flute, with the lungs of Rameau's nephew, while his neighbour, the horn-player, is trying experiments in accoustics, with tones of wearisome length. The noisy company of canine neighbours becomes unruly, and my landlord's tom-cat, moved by the charming duo aforesaid, is engaged close to my window, (of course my musical and poetical laboratory is an attic chamber), in making tender confessions to his mistress, a fine tortoise-shell cat, mewing up and down the chromatic scale.

After eleven it became more quiet; so long I remain sitting as I haveyet blank paper, and Burgundy before me. There is, as I have heard, an old law, which forbids noisy handicraftsmen from following their occupations near the dwellings of learned men; ought not poor oppressed composers, who are compelled to turn their inspirations to account, in order to spin on their thread of life, to take advantage of this law, and banish screaming girls, and pipers, from their vicinity ? What would the painter say, if, while he was painting an ideal, one held before him sheer heterogeneous caricatures ? If he closed his eyes, he could at least preserve the picture undisturbed, in his imagination; but cotton in the ears is of no avail ; the hideous noises will yet find access—and then the idea !-how they sing, now comes the horn, and the devil runs away with the sublimest thoughts.

The leaf is fully written : I will only yet remark upon the blank space around the title, why I have a hundred times resolved never again to suffer myself to be tortured at the privy counsellor's, and why I have as often broken my resolution. Truly, it is Röderlein's amiable niece who chains me to the house, with bands which science has woven. Whoever has had the felicity to hear Miss Amelia in the concluding scene of Gluck's Armida, or the grand scene of Donna Anna, in Don Giovanni, will comprehend, that an hour with her, at the piano, is heavenly balsam poured into the wounds, which all the false and dissonant sounds of the whole day have inflicted upon a martyred music master.

Röderlein, who has no more soul for the more elevated departments of music, than he has faith in the immortality of the one he does possess, considers her out of place at his wife's parties, as she will on no account sing at them ; while, on the other hand, before common, insignificant persons, as simple musicians, she sings with an unbecoming exertion: for her long, swelling, sostenuto notes, which rival the harmonica, and bear me away to the heavens, she has learned, Röderlein thinks, of the nigh

ingale, a senseless creature that lives in the woods, and ought not to be imitated by man, the reasoning lord of the creation. She carries her indiscretion so far, that she sometimes even permits Gottleib to accompany

her on the violin, when she plays Beethoven's or Mozart's sonatas on the piano-forte. That was the last glass of Burgundy! Gottlieb snuffs my candles, and seems to marvel at my busy writing. They are right when they take this Gottleib for only sixteen years of age. He has a noble, profound talent. But why did his parents die so soon ? and why was the guardian then forced to put the orphan youth into livery ?

When Rode was here, Gottleib used to listen in the antichamber, with his ear pressed against the door of the saloon; and often played whole nights himself; in the day-time he went about the house dreaming, and the red mark on his left cheek is a faithful impression of the solitaire on Röderlein's hand, which, for the reason that it could produce the state of somnambulism, by gentle friction, was admirably well adapted to counteract it by hard blows. I gave him, together with other things, the sonatas of Corelli; he instantly waged war against the niece, on the old piano in the lumber room, till he had destroyed them all; and then, with his master's permission, removed the instrument into his own little chamber. off the hateful badge of servitude, noble Gottlieb! and let me, after a lapse of years, clasp thee to my heart, as the excellent musician that thou mayest become, with thy noble talent, and thy exquisite taste!'

Gottleib stood behind me, and he wiped away the tears from his lids, as I uttered these words aloud. I pressed his hand in silence, and we went up and played over Corelli's sonatas.

W. S. S.

« Cast



The mystery of this lingering pain,

That I so long endure,
Maiden thou canst best explain,

And doubtless find a cure:-
For when I think upon thy name,

I cannot help but sigh;
The very word burns round my heart,
Thou know'st the reason why.

Whene'er I in thy presence come,

I sigh before I speak,
My heart chills in me at thy sight,

And aches as it would break.
My eyes will look on none but thee,

I hear no voice but thine,
There's none in crowds-save thee and me,
Then say what ail is mine.

I think thy talk is all to me,

And turn to speak again,
But see thy face another way,

And feel my folly then;

« ПредишнаНапред »