Studies in Modern Music. (Second Series.) Frederick Chopin, Antonin Dvorák, and Johannes Brahms

W. H. Hadow
1895 The Musical Times and Singing Class Circular  
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more » ... from Wagner's " Tannhauser," and said: " The hymn tunes are termed ' sacred.' I cannot, myself, allow that they are ' music ' at all-but, using popular language, I will say that they are ' secular' to the very core, while the example from ' Tannhauser ' is, I maintain thoroughly sacred music, because it is true, pure, inspired music." Surely, the speaker continued, it was an insult to human intelligence to call these hymn tunes "sacred" and the excerpt frozn " Tannhauser " " secular." If two coins appearing to be sovereigns were to be tested, their value was not decided by the fact that both were stamped with a like image, but whether they were made of real gold. So, he maintained, the sacredness of a musical composition was not decided by its title, or whether it were the music of a mass or an opera, but simply by the test whether the composition was really inspired music or c)nly that worthless imitation of real music that often went by the name of "sacred music?" just because it was so-called "Church music," or had a name connected with sacred things on its title-page Music was sacred wherever it was played, be it in church or theatre. REVIEWS Six Easy Piecesfor the Violin, with Pianoforfe Accompani"ent. Composed and Illustrated with Original Drawings on the Stone, by Hubert Herkomer, R.A. [Novello, Ewer and Co.] THIS is a sumptuous publication, most creditable to all who have had to do with it. The musical man if he be in any degree a bibliophile, will give it a place ln the most honourable and best cared-for part of his library, as representing within one cover a notable union of arts and crafts. Professor Herkomer does not now appear for the first time as composer and illustrator. His " Idyll," published a few years ago, was an even more important demonstration oi varied powers than the " Six Easy Pieces." That work however, was costly; its successor, being moderate in price, stands a good chance of achieving popularity, and of preparing the way for other examples in which the union of the Professor's pen and pencil shall be happily exemplified. The solos, respectively entitled " Fruhlingslied,' " Klagelied," " Liebeslied," " IIerbstlied," " Wanderlied," and " Abendlied," carry out the promise of the title in being " easy." They are, for the most part, simple pieces in aria form; but the diversity of the subjects has enabled the composer to secure ample variety of eSect, and, therefore, needful contrast. The entire book might be played through at a sitting without weariness, not only for the reason just stated, but also because Professor Herkomer shows in most instances a fine sense of melodic propriety in relation to the subject dealt with. No purpose would be served by an examination of the pieces in detail. They tell their own unaSected story in a manner that needs no interpreter. There are as many full-page illustrations as songs, all of them boldly drawn and strikingly effective. The artist has secured a certain unity by making in every case save one, the same female figure representative of the idea expressed by the titles. In the " Fruhlingslied 7 this graceful lightly-draped form gathers flowers on a bank. In the ' Klagelied " it stands out from a black background with covered head and drooping face, the arms thrown up in abandonment of grief. In the " Herbstlied ' the autumn wind is blowing the garments and llair into wild confusion. So with the others, the happiest use being made of the significant, even eloquent figure. We commend this publication to amateurs of taste. A limited number of copies are issued with the illustrations on vellum and signed by the artist. Studies i1s Moclern Music. (Second Series.) Frederick Chopinl Antonin Dvorak, and Johannes Brahms. By \\/T. H. Hadow, M.A. [Seeley and Co.] MR. HADOW'S earlier volume of essays-so elegant in style and so acute in perception-inspired the grateful reader with an agreeable anticipation of further favours from the same pen-anticipations which have been fully realised in the volume before us. We are not prepared to say that the book is without faults. One encounters, for example, these, a few bars from Wagner's " Tannhauser," and said: " The hymn tunes are termed ' sacred.' I cannot, myself, allow that they are ' music ' at all-but, using popular language, I will say that they are ' secular' to the very core, while the example from ' Tannhauser ' is, I maintain thoroughly sacred music, because it is true, pure, inspired music." Surely, the speaker continued, it was an insult to human intelligence to call these hymn tunes "sacred" and the excerpt frozn " Tannhauser " " secular." If two coins appearing to be sovereigns were to be tested, their value was not decided by the fact that both were stamped with a like image, but whether they were made of real gold. So, he maintained, the sacredness of a musical composition was not decided by its title, or whether it were the music of a mass or an opera, but simply by the test whether the composition was really inspired music or c)nly that worthless imitation of real music that often went by the name of "sacred music?" just because it was so-called "Church music," or had a name connected with sacred things on its title-page Music was sacred wherever it was played, be it in church or theatre.
doi:10.2307/3364052 fatcat:lwkzu5sv5rffnaxap2tihoufie