The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 06 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 679 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 06.

On one of these days I was also commanded to appear before the grand duke, whom I met in all his simplicity and unaffectedness in the so-called Roman House.  He conversed with me for over an hour, and my description of Austrian conditions seemed to interest him.  Not he, but most of the others, hinted at the desire of acquiring my services for the Weimar theatre—­a desire that did not coincide with my own inclination.

When on the fourth day of my stay I paid my farewell visit to Goethe, he was friendly, but somewhat reserved.  He expressed astonishment at my leaving Weimar so soon, and added that they would all be glad to hear from me occasionally.  “They,” then, would be glad, not he.  Even in later years he did not do me justice, for I do consider myself the best poet that has appeared after him and Schiller, in spite of the gulf that separates me from them.  That all this did not lessen my love and reverence for him, I need scarcely say.

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Associate Professor of Music, Harvard University

The first musician to whom a place among the representative masters of German literature may justly be assigned is Beethoven, and this fact is so significant and so closely connected with the subsequent development both of music and literature that the reasons for such a statement should be set forth in detail.  Although Haydn kept a note-book, still extant, during his two visits to London, and although Mozart wrote the average number of letters, from no one of the musicians prior to Beethoven have we received, in writings which can be classed as literature, any expression of their personalities.  Their intellectual and imaginative activity was manifested almost exclusively in music, and their interest in whatever lay outside the musical horizon was very slight.  In the written words of neither Haydn nor Mozart do we find any reference to the poetical and prose works of Germany or of other nations, nor is there any evidence that their imaginations were influenced by suggestions drawn from literature.  Famous though they were as musicians by reason of their sincere and masterful handling of the raw material of music, there is so little depth of thought in their compositions that many of them have failed to live.  Neither Haydn nor Mozart can be considered as a great character and we miss the note of sublimity in their music, although it often has great vitality and charm.  Beethoven, however, was a thinker in tones and often in words.

[Illustration:  BEETHOVEN]

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The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 06 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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