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ter by the author, which should not be omitted by readers who wish to form a just idea of the spirit and interest of the book and the earnestness with which Jahn bent his mind to his chosen task, he defines that task to be "the thorough investigation of the sources available for an exhaustive account of Mozart's life, with special reference to all that was calculated to affect his moral and mental development in the general conditions of his time, and in the local and personal circumstances that influenced him; and in particular, a history of his development as an artist." No side of this task, as he observes, could be treated independently, both the researches and the remarks resulting from them touching now one and now the other and this latter sentence is the key to the general arrangement of the book, in which chapters dealing chiefly with history and social facts, are alternated with chapters devoted to the critical examination of the characteristics of the composer's principal works at the prominent epochs of his musical career. The mere collection of the materials for so complicated a biographical structure must have been no light task; of his assiduity in this respect the author considers he is permitted to boast, and can even summon as a witness old Theresa of the Ox at Salzburg, who forgot his name, but remembered him as the Professor who sat in his room for more than three weeks writing from morning till night," when copying a portion of the Mozart correspondence. Yet in this case the copyist found his work anything but irksome; he could fancy himself, he says, in intercourse with the man himself as he lived his life again letter by letter; could realize the emotions of joy and sorrow which had prompted his words, and even the variations in the handwriting grew to have their own significance. It is my most earnest wish," he adds, that some breath of this feeling may have passed into my own performance, but it would scarcely be possible to reproduce the inspiration which contact with the letters awoke in myself."
It is not without a special reason that I quote this last remark in an article, the main object of which is rather to estimate generally Mozart's character as
man and musician, than to criticise in detail Jahn's biography. This letter must be read for a due appreciation of its full and varied information and suggestiveness, which could not be adequately summarized within my limits. But this vivid interest excited by the letters and memorials of Mozart, to which Jahn alludes, is characteristic of the kind of spell exercised over us by the records of a nature not great or serious in the highest sense, but so human, so kindly, so full of genial enjoyment of life
"An abridgment of all that is pleasant in man :'
a character typified not more in his letters than in the portraits which have preserved for us his vivacious countenance, in which good-humor is blent with a lurking satirical power. And the same characteristics strike us in the musical life of which he was the centre. No too importunate demands for the reasons and the philosophy of the art disturbed disturbed its enjoyment. Sterndale Bennett's remark, after listening to something of Mozart's: "Ah! music was young then!" comes across one's mind again and again in turning over these records of a time when there was no critical" Warum?" lying in wait for the composer; when counterpoint was still a pure joy to the craftsman ; when symphonies might be written in two or three days, or an overture or sonata turned out the evening before an announced performance, with no idea of an object beyond the frank delight in beauty of melody and finish of form and execution; with no demand from the audience for a meaning to the work, and (thank heaven !) no one to flourish the showman's pointer through the pages of a programme raisonné. Fresh woods and pastures new spread then before the minstrel. Music, which had been hitherto principally concerned with realizing clear logical form and scientific tonal construction, and insisting upon thoroughly sound and adequate execution on the part of vocalists, was now to find in the development of instrumental music a new direction for study, a new source of effect. Tonal coloring was to overlay and diversify tonal form; the timid and tentative instrumental execution of the time was to be stimulated
and directed, a more tender and voluptuous expression was to be breathed into melody, the branch of musical utterance which is most directly influenced by varieties of emotional temperament, whether of race or of generation. Haydn may catch sight of the promised land, though too late to profit much by the discovery: “ I have but just learned how to use the wind instruments, and now I must die. Dr. Burney, learned musician and shrewd, though courteous, English gentleman, takes to perambulating Germany with a note-book, when Mozart was sixteen years old, his childhood of exhibition over, and he, no longer a prodigy, somewhat under the shadow of Salzburg provincialism. Burney is quite at home about singing; his house in London had been the resort of all the great Italian singers of the day, and he can criticise ex cathedra the French singers, to whom he devotes a variation of a couplet of Dryden's
"Sound passed through them no longer is the same,
As food digested takes a different name." But his notes on instrumental music reveal to us the nakedness of that part of the land, and the first feeling about for the sources of instrumental expression. He remarks on the comparatively expressive playing of a child who, contrary to custom, had learned on the clavichord only, not on the hard and mechanical harpsichord-the first hint of the revolution the pianoforte was to work. He mentions with interest the effectiveness, in one place, of a passage in which the band played the first chord of each phrase louder than the rest (what would now be called a sforzando), and in speaking of the Mannheim orchestra he mentions their introduction of the crescendo and diminuendo, and here too
the piano (which was before chiefly used as an echo, with which it was generally synonymous), as well as the forte, were found to be musical colors, which had their shades as well as red and blue in painting." What a light this throws on the gulf between the ancient and modern modes of musical expression; what field was left for the development of instrumental effect, when these tentative attempts at contrast of tone could so attract a musician of Burney's comparaNEW SERIES.-VOL. XXXIX., No. 4
tive experience as to seem worthy of special comment and record!
If, however, the rising composer of that day had an inspiriting and tempting task before him, the social relations of his profession were by no means favorable to the development of large views of his art, or the production of original and progressive music. Musicians were still in the leading-strings of the patron. The man who had shown a genius for composition endeavored to obtain a place as kapell meister, originally of course a function concerned literally with the conduct of the chapel music, but which gradually came to be synonymous with that of court musician generally, and included the provision and supervision of court concerts as well as church services. The composer might thus be free from anxiety about ways and means, but he was a paid servant of the court, ranking often with the valets, expected to write to the taste of his patron, which might or might not be a cultivated one, and unable to accept other engagements without special permission. Even under so enlightened an employer as Prince Esterhazy, it is obvious that Haydn, however his musical genius may have been appreciated, ranked in the household only with the superior order of servants. The court to which Mozart was attached during his youth, and of which his father, Leopold Mozart, had been for his lifetime a submissive, though grumbling, servitor, showed the institution of Court musician in its worst aspect, more especially after the accession of Archbishop Hieronymus, who was a typical specimen of the / churl, "by blood a king, at heart a clown," and whose coltish nature seems to have been liable to break through the gilded pale without any restriction as to
seasons. Nor did Salzburg otherwise offer any relief to the picture. About the records of Mozart's youthful tour of prodigy-playing there hangs an aroma which is of the court, courtly; music appears as worshipped amid a bustle of fans and satin dresses and high-heeled shoes, a ritual of jewelled snuff-boxes and diamond rings; a worship shallow enough possibly, but gay and elegant in its mode of display, the hints and memories of which arouse the same kind of mingled, half-melancholy 36
But no such gauds decorated the life of the boorish Salzburg of Mozart's older days. The people themselves had a saying, He who comes to Salzburg becomes in the first year stupid, in the second idiotic, and in the third a true Salzburger." Mozart's contempt for the place and people seems to have been early and lasting; sarcastic references to them abound even in his early boyish letters, and deepen into a more serious tone in the later ones; nor was his father less acid on this point. The Mozarts were evidently in the position of a clever family living among stupid people, and, as often happens in such cases, kept a good deal to themselves and criticised their neighbors pretty sharply; quite a sufficient reason for their apparent unpopularity in the town, perhaps also for the development of that turn for satirical comment which characterized Mozart through life, though it seldom took a really unkind form with him. Both phases of Mozart's early life, howeverhis exhibition through Europe and his temporary obscuration at Salzburg-are of interest in reference to his character, chiefly because they had so little effect upon it. Neither does the childhood of premature exhibition, and of petting and coaxing by princesses, seem to have injured in the least his natural simplicity and modesty of character, nor his want of recognition in the Salzburg Court to have in the least impaired his independence and confidence in his own powers; nor did he ever learn the lesson of timeserving and cringing to patrons inculcated by his father, who has been the object of much ill-bestowed admiration by Mozart biographers. Leopold Mozart, valet and musician in the court of the Archbishop in Salzburg, was a highly respectable, prudent, and pious musical lackey. He seems to have had an instinct for bettering himself, and finding himself blessed with a child of exceptionally precocious genius, he did his best to ruin the boy as man and artist by making a show of him at courts, allowing him to please titled idiots by
showing how he could play just as well with the keyboard covered with a cloth, etc., and advertising his feats in a style anticipatory of Farini, not forgetting to ascribe all to "the glory of God," who had thus performed a miracle at Salzburg which, as he endeavored to persuade the Archbishop in one letter, would, if properly worked, tend to the suppression of Grimm, Voltaire, and other profane persons who denied the possibility of miracles. When young Mozart was grossly insulted by another lackey who happened to have a title (Count Arco), it was his father who persuaded him to submit to the insult rather than resent it with the spirit of a gentleman, as the son seemed dangerously disposed to do; when Mozart became engaged to a girl he loved, but who was poor, it was his father who urged him to jilt her, and snubbed her after her marriage. In short, Leopold was a model man, and naturally excited the enthusiasm of some of the doubtless equally respectable men who have biographized Mozart. Jahn contents himself with pulling the strings and exhibiting the motions of the model, with little comment; he at all events does not attribute Mozart's greatness to the fostering care and educational efforts of the father. On the contrary, whether intentionally or not, he renders it more than ever apparent that Mozart's early exhibition as a prodigy had no connection with or influence on his subsequent career. one thing Mozart does seem either to have learned or inherited from his father was, the artist's feeling for finish of execution. Leopold Mozart, though no composer, was a thoroughly sound and accomplished craftsman in his art; he could tolerate no slovenly execution, and no doubt instructed his son and daughter thoroughly in the mechanism of the art; and the importance which Mozart attached to sound and finished execution throughout his life, as well as his impatience of clumsy and defective manipulation, is constantly apparent in his correspondence and talk; in his satirical descriptions of the defects of various players; his delight in a brilliant bit of vocal bravura successfully executed; his objection to Clementi's show passages in thirds and sixths, as at variance with true delicacy of touch and phrasing on
the pianoforte; his reply to a clarionet player who complained of the difficulty of a passage written for him, The notes are in your instrument, are they not? Well then, it is your business to bring them out. These and other traits, besides what is recorded of the beautiful finish of his own playing, are deserving of note, not only as characteristic of Mozart's view of the art, but also as affording a curious and not uninstructive contrast to the comparative carelessness about executive finish, provided there be feeling and comprehension of the music, which has pervaded recent criticism.
But while we have abundant evidence of Mozart's views as to musical execution, that intermediate art whereby the conception of the composer is brought within range of the sensuous perception of the hearer, the far more interesting question as to his views about the art of music in itself, the ideal which should form the basis of it, and the method of composition, receives no illustrations from his writings or recorded remarks, save in some vague hints, few and far between. One single remark recorded of Haydn, if it be true (I cannot recall the authority for it), that in composing his quartets he was accustomed to diversify their design by imagining to himself the various incidents of an excursion or some such proceeding in real life, gives more insight into the process of intellectual formation of a composition than Mozart ever vouchsafed. Such a remark indicates intelligibly enough the manner in which variety and contrast of real incident may find its reflection, in the mind of the composer, in variety and contrast of tonal incident t; a phenomenon of which there are several acknowledged instances, and probably many more unacknowledged, in the works of Beethoven, whose frequent use, besides, of what is now called poetic basis," in a larger and more important sense, is incontestable. But in regard to Mozart's music, considered apart from words, we are not furnished with even any such general hint as would be implied in Haydn's remark above referred to. In one allegro for the pianoforte, in sonata form, there is an episode in the middle portion quite unconnected with the general design of the movement, in which (in the original manu
script) two opposing phrases are labelled with the names of the two daughters of the house in which he was writing. Probably the girls disturbed him while composing, and he symbolized the incident in the music; but this is a unique instance, and merely renders the composition, as one of his, an exceptional curiosity. It is vexatious to have to note that the very characteristic letter from Mozart to a nameless Count,' who had asked for a description of his system of composing, which was given in Holmes's "Life of Mozart," is pronounced by Jahn to be "unquestionably apocryphal as it stands," though some portions of it are so like what one could imagine Mozart writing that one can hardly believe there is not something of him in it. The statements in it about his composition merely amount to saying that melodies came to him he knew not whence, and that he soon perceived in his mind which of them would work together into a composition, and could mentally hear the combined effects; but that he could give no more reason why his compositions took the particular form which characterized them than why his features had the special expression which made them Mozart's and no other man's. If Mozart did not write this part of the letter, it is a very happy hit; it is precisely in accordance with the reticence of his whole artistic life. Nowhere in his correspondence about his own compositions, and his playing, and the effects produced, is there a hint about the raison d'être of any composition or of the form which it assumed. True, as Jahn observes, abstract reflections on art and its relation to individual artists were not at that time the fashion; yet it is strange to find such a total ignoring of any theory of his art, not only in ordinary family correspondence about his musical doings, but even on such an occasion as his sending to Haydn the six quartets dedicated to the latter,. which he describes as having arisen out of his study of Haydn's quartets, and which were a great advance in that most beautiful and abstract form of instrumental music; but not a word from Mozart as to his aims, his treatment of the instruments, or even as to the special character of any of the compositions. What, then, was Mozart's object in in
strumental composition? We get a hint of one side of it from some of the stories which are related about his tours de force of musical memory and power of combination. To a musician to whom it was an easy matter to play his own part in a new concerted composition without having ever written it down (a feat performed more than once with perfect naïveté and absence of pretence), or while he was writing out a fugue previously conceived, to compose simultaneously in his mind a prelude in perfectly different form-to one who handled his art thus it is evident that musical form, for its own sake, must have been a paramount interest; composition was a form of design, in which successions and proportions of sounds took the place of successions and proportions of lines and spaces. Not less was he engrossed by the pure joy of constructive power. The combination of sounds as music is more or less conditioned by physical laws; how far the conditions are rigorous is matter for an essay in itself; there was tacit conviction on the subject in the time of Mozart, who as to detail bowed indeed nominally to no dicta of musical theorists, but did not deny their major ; sunt certi denique fines. How
to move with ease and a sense of controlling power, then, within these limits? To handle the most complicated combinations of melodies (melody being in itself an organized succession of sounds in mutual relation of tone and rhythm), as if the weaving of such a tonal structure were the most natural effort of the will? There was some pleasure in that, for the sense of power means pleasure.
"On one occasion, at the house of Madame Vidas, he was asked to improvise something. Readily, as his custom was, he complied, and seated himself at the piano, having just been provided with two themes by the musicians who were present. Madame Vidas stood near his chair to watch him playing. Mozart, who loved a joke with her, looked up and said, Come, have not you a theme on your mind for me too?' She sang him one, and he began a most charming fantasia, now on the one subject, now on the other, ending by bringing them all three together, to the intense delight and amazement of all who were present."
When we compare with this account what is said on other testimony as to the "inexhaustible wit" of Mozart's extempore playing, we can imagine what
an exciting kind of performance this was; but we are as far as ever from learning the secret of the exquisite charm of expression, the emotional power in many of his compositions. It was his favorite occupation to sit at the piano extemporizing fantasias, either alone or with one or two chosen hearers; and if the well-known (now unfortunately rather hackneyed) fantasia in C Minor be, as it probably is, a type of the kind of thing he produced on these occasions, we can imagine what passionate outpourings of emotional expression some of these extempore effusions may have been. But of the feelings which should be the fountain of such musical expressions we hardly find a trace in Mozart's outward life and character. The gayety and wit were in his life; the sadness, and longing, and tenderness came out only in his music. Almost the one trait in Jahn's pages which hints at a deep emotional element in his character is the interesting story of his extemporizing, when quite a child, a song on the word perfido, which excited him so much that he struck the clavier like one possessed, and several times sprung up from his seat." There is nothing in the calm, equable development of his mature genius corresponding at all to this trait. His emotions, as expressed in music, were always under the shaping and controlling influence of artistic power. Haydn, indeed, has testified that "he could never forget Mozart's playing-it came from the heart; and his hearers noticed that when seated at the clavier he became another man, his expression serious and abstracted, his whole manner altered. But we have nothing in his own life and in his expressed feelings to account for the deeper qualities of expression in his music; for the pathos of the G Minor Symphony, the exquisite sentiment of the adagio of the E Flat Symphony. Whatever was the groundwork of the emotion thus expressed, it came out in his art alone.
basis of the music is furnished by the In his operas, in which the poetic words and situations, there is, of course, less difficulty in estimating Mozart's feeling and interest as expressed in the music. Their main characteristic, besides the pure emotional beauty of melody, of which they are full, lies in the