My Angel Lassie. Song
The Musical Times and Singing Class Circular
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... S.--NOVEMBER I, I875. TEIE MUSICAL TIMES.--NOVEMBER I, I875. TEIE MUSICAL TIMES.--NOVEMBER I, I875. TEIE MUSICAL TIMES.--NOVEMBER I, I875. 275 275 275 275 maticaI correctness, they aIready besiege the publisher. They have neither time nor perseverance to go through the necessary preliminary, earnest studies. They are all geniuses (much abused title !), and geniuses do not need they think to study." The eariy history of music is exceedingly well treated and much interesting information is given respecting the gradual rise of the " Oratorio." When the Mystery and Miracle plays passed from the hands of the priests and monks into those of the people, we are told, for instance that " instead of sacred hymns, impudent street-songs resounded before the altar of the Church-and the most important person in the Miracle plays was the devil. He was very popular with our forefathers. They dressed him up in the most fantastic, extravagant, and alarming manner. In France not less than four devils had sometimes to appear in one play. He did not yet represent the bad principle; but his parts were those of a clown, or a poor abused imbecile. He always got the worst of it." Yet when we see that many of our modern art-forms emerged from these ridiculous popular ceremonies, we learn to look with toleration upon the peculiar humour of our ancestors. Before speaking of Bach and Handel Professor Ritter gives some very excellent remarks upon the musical culture of Protestant Germany since the Reformation, and although his observations upon the more modern composers are somewhat sketchy, it must be remembered that he professes to write rather more of principles than of persons, and aims at deducing from the works and the workers, as he says in his Introduction "their individual importance as influencing and directin the growth of life and art." It is always interesting to see what a foreigner thinks of our own countrymen, and more particularly so when, as in the present instance, he appears by no means a biassed Judge. Speaking of the English operas of Bishop, Balfe, Wallace, Barnett and Rooke, he says, " Though these composers Ecossessed much natural facility of melodic inventiveness, a good deal of experience and knowledge of scenic and orchestral resources, their productions lack, in general, originality of form, style, and dramatic fire and expression. The operas of these composers are cleverly-put-together conglomera tions of English ballads Italianized arias and French romances. They are consequently wanting in unity of style and colouring." This is severe perhaps; but we fear that even the composers themselves would have admitted the truth of it, for a positive style appears to have been scarcely even aimed at. We may say, how ever, that as a compensation for this harsh criticism, he freely admits that Sterndale Bennett, Macfarren, Sullivan and H. Smart would "with the necessary opportunity," be highly successful on the operatic stage. This " opportunity " is, we now hope, drawing nearer and nearer. STANLEY LUCAS, WEBER AND CO.