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There is no instrument of music made by the hands of man that holds such a powerful sway over the emotions of every living thing capable of hearing, as the violin. The singular powers of this beautiful instrument have been eloquently eulogised by Oliver Wendell Holmes, in the following words:
“Violins, too. The sweet old Amati! the divine Stradivari! played on by ancient maestros until the bow hand lost its power, and the flying fingers stiffened. Bequeathed to the passionate young enthusiast, who made it whisper his hidden love, and cry his inarticulate longings, and scream his untold agonies, and wail his monotonous despair. Passed from his dying hand to the cold virtuoso, who let it slumber in its case for a generation, till, when his hoard was broken up, it came forth once more, and rode the stormy symphonies of royal orchestras, beneath the rushing bow of their lord and leader. Into lonely prisons with improvident artists; into convents from which arose, day and night, the holy hymns with which its tones were blended; and back again to orgies, in which it learned to howl and laugh as if a legion of devils were shut up in it; then, again, to the gentle dilettante, who calmed it down with easy melodies until it answered him softly as in the days of the old maestros; and so given into our hands, its pores all full of music, stained like the meerschaum through and through with the concentrated hue and sweetness of all the harmonies which have kindled and faded on its strings.”
Such, indeed, has been the history of many a noble instrument fashioned years and years ago, in the days when violin playing did not hold the same respect and admiration that it commands at the present time.
The evolution of the violin is a matter which can be traced back to the dark ages, but the fifteenth century may be considered as the period when the art of making instruments of the viol class took root in Italy. It cannot be said, however, that the violin, with the modelled back which gives its distinctive tone, made its appearance until the middle of the sixteenth century. In France, England, and Germany, there was very little violin making until the beginning of the following century. Andrea Amati was born in 1520, and he was the founder of the great Cremona school of violin makers, of which Nicolo Amati, the grandson of Andrea, was the most eminent. The art of violin making reached its zenith in Italy at the time of Antonio Stradivari, who lived at Cremona. He was born in 1644, and lived until 1737, continuing his labours almost to the day of his death, for an instrument is in existence made by him in the year in which he died. It is an interesting fact that the art of violin making in Italy developed at the time when the painters of Italy displayed their greatest genius, and when the fine arts were encouraged by the most distinguished patronage.
As the art of violin making developed, so did that of violin playing, but, whereas the former reached its climax with Stradivari, the latter is still being developed, as new writers and players find new difficulties and new effects. While there are many proofs that orchestras existed, and that violins of all sizes were used in ecclesiastical music, there is still some doubt as to who was the first solo violinist of eminence. The earliest of whom we have any account worthy of mention, was Baltazarini, a native of Piedmont, who went to France in 1577 to superintend the music of Catharine de Medici. In 1581 he composed the music for the nuptials of the Duke de Joyeuse with Mlle. de Vaudemont, sister of the queen, and this is said to have been the origin of the heroic and historical ballet in France.
The progress of violin playing can also be judged somewhat by the compositions written for the instrument. Of these the earliest known is a “Romanesca per violone Solo e Basso se piaci,” and some dances, by Biagio Marini, published in 1620. This contains the “shake.” Then there is a “Toccata” for violin solo, by Paolo Quagliati, published in 1623, and a collection of violin pieces by Carlo Farina, published in 1627 at Dresden, in which the variety of bowing, double stopping, and chords shows a great advance in the demands upon the execution.
Farina held the position of solo violinist at the Court of Saxony, and has been called the founder of the race of violin virtuosi. One of his compositions, named “Cappriccio Stravagante,” requires the instrument to imitate the braying of an ass, and other sounds belonging to the animal kingdom, as well as the twanging of guitars and the fife and drum of the soldier.
Eighteen sonatas composed by Giovanni Battista Fontana, and published at Venice in 1641, show a distinct advance in style, and Tomasso Antonio Vitali, himself a famous violinist, wrote a “Chaconne” of such merit that it was played by no less a virtuoso than Joachim, at the Monday popular concerts in London, in 1870, nearly two hundred years after its composition.
Italy was the home of the violin, of composition for the violin, and of violin playing, for the first school was the old Italian school, and from Italy, by means of her celebrated violinists, who travelled and spread throughout Europe, the other schools were established.
Violin playing grew in favour in Italy, France, Germany, and England at about the same time, but in England it was many years before the violinist held a position of any dignity. The fiddle, as it was called, was regarded by the gentry with profound contempt. Butler, in “Hudibras,” refers to one Jackson, who lost a leg in the service of the Roundheads, and became a professional “fiddler:”
“A squeaking engine he apply’d
Unto his neck, on northeast side,
Just where the hangman does dispose,
To special friends, the knot or noose;
For ’tis great grace, when statesmen straight
Dispatch a friend, let others wait.
His grisly beard was long and thick,
With which he strung his fiddle-stick;
For he to horse-tail scorned to owe,
For what on his own chin did grow.”
Many years later Purcell, the composer, wrote a catch in which the merits of a violin maker named Young, and his son, a violin player, are recorded. The words are as follows:
“You scrapers that want a good fiddle,
You must go to the man that is old while he’s Young;
But if this same Fiddle, you fain would play bold,
You must go to his son, who’ll be Young when he’s old.
There’s old Young and young Young, both men of renown,
Old sells and young plays the best Fiddle in town,
Young and old live together, and may they live long,
Young to play an old Fiddle; old to sell a new song.”
In the course of time the English learned to esteem all arts more highly, and in no country was a great musician more sure of a warm welcome.
Two celebrated violinists were born in the year 1630, Thomas Baltzar, and John Banister, the former in Germany, at Lubec, and the latter in London.
Baltzar was esteemed the finest performer of his time, and is said to have been the first to have introduced the practice of “shifting.” In 1656 Baltzar went to England, where he quite eclipsed Davis Mell, a clockmaker, who was considered a fine player, and did much to give the violin an impetus toward popularity. The wonder caused by his performances in England, shortly after his arrival, is best described in the quaint language of Anthony Wood, who “did, to his very great astonishment, hear him play on the violin. He then saw him run up his Fingers to the end of the Fingerboard of the Violin, and run them back insensibly, and all with alacrity, and in very good tune, which he nor any in England saw the like before.”
At the Restoration Baltzar was appointed leader of the king’s celebrated band of twenty-four violins, but, sad to relate, “Being much admired by all lovers of musick, his company was therefore desired; and company, especially musical company, delighting in drinking, made him drink more than ordinary, which brought him to his grave.” And he was buried in the cloister of Westminster Abbey.
John Banister was taught music by his father, one of the waits of the parish of St. Giles, and acquiring great proficiency on the violin was noticed by King Charles II., who sent him to France for improvement. On his return he was appointed chief of the king’s violins. King Charles was an admirer of everything French, and he appears, according to Pepys, to have aroused the wrath of Banister by giving prominence to a French fiddler named Grabu, who is said to have been an “impudent pretender.” Banister lost his place for saying, either to or in the hearing of the king, that English performers on the violin were superior to those of France.
John Banister lived in times when fiddle playing was not highly esteemed, if we may judge by the following ordinance, made in 1658: “And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that if any person or persons, commonly called Fiddlers, or minstrels, shall at any time after the said first day of July be taken playing, Fiddling, or making music in any inn, alehouse, or tavern or shall be proffering themselves, or desiring, or entreating any person or persons to hear them play ... shall be adjudged ... rogues, vagabonds, and sturdy beggars.”
John Banister seems to have been a somewhat “sturdy beggar,” though not exactly in the sense meant by the ordinance, for he established regular concerts at his house, “now called the Musick-school, over against the George Tavern in Whitefriars.” These concerts began in 1672, and continued till near his death, which occurred in 1679. He too, was buried in the cloister of Westminster Abbey. His son, also, was an excellent performer on the violin, and played first violin in the Italian opera when it was first introduced into England. He was one of the musicians of Charles II., James II., William and Mary, and of Queen Anne.
Henry Eccles, who lived about the end of the seventeenth century, went to France, where he became a member of the king’s band, and William Corbett, who went to Italy to study the violin in 1710, was a player of much ability; but one of the most eminent of English violinists was Matthew Dubourg, born 1703, who played at a concert when he was so small that he was placed on a stool in order that he might be seen. At eleven years of age he was placed under Geminiani, who had recently established himself in London. Dubourg was appointed, in 1728, Master and Composer of State-Music in Ireland, and on the death of Festing, in 1752, he became leader of the king’s band in London, and held both posts until his death in 1767.
An amusing incident is related of Dubourg and Handel. The latter visited Dublin and presided at a performance of the “Messiah.” A few evenings later, Dubourg, who was leader of the band at the Theatre, had to improvise a “close,” and wandered about in a fit of abstract modulation for so long that he forgot the original key. At last, however, after a protracted shake, he landed safely on the key-note, when Handel called out in a voice loud enough to be heard in the remotest parts of the theatre, “Welcome home, welcome home, Mr. Dubourg.”
Dubourg’s name is the first on record in connection with the performance of a concerto in an English theatre.
John Clegg, a pupil of Dubourg, was a violinist of great ability, whom Handel placed at the head of the opera band, but his faculties became deranged by intense study and practice, and he died at a comparatively early age, in 1742, an inmate of Bedlam.
Another very promising young English violinist was Thomas Linley, who exhibited great musical powers, and performed a concerto in public when eight years old. He was sent to Italy to study under Nardini, and through the mediation of that artist he became acquainted with Mozart, who was about the same age. Linley’s career was prematurely closed, for at the age of twenty-two he was drowned through the capsizing of a pleasure-boat.
This completes the list of English violinists of note who were born previous to the nineteenth century. The later ones we shall find in their place in succeeding chapters, but there have been very few violinists of English birth who have followed the career of the “virtuoso.” Even Antonio James Oury, who made a series of concert tours lasting nine years, during which he occasionally appeared in conjunction with De Beriot and Malibran, is hardly known as a “virtuoso,” and was not all English. But there are pathetic circumstances in regard to the career of Oury. He was the son of an Italian of noble descent, who had served as an officer in the army of Napoleon, and had been taken prisoner by the English. Making the best of his misfortunes the elder Oury settled in England, married a Miss Hughes, and became a professor of dancing and music.
The son, Antonio, began to learn the violin at the age of three, in which he was a year or two ahead of the average virtuoso, and he made great progress. By and by he heard Spohr, and after that his diligence increased, for he practised, during seven months, not less than fourteen hours a day. Even Paganini used to sink exhausted after ten hours’ practice. In 1820, we are told, he went to Paris and studied under Baillot, Kreutzer, and Lafont, receiving from each two lessons a week for several successive winters. With such an imposing array of talent at his service much might be expected of Mr. Oury, and he actually made his debut at the Philharmonic concerts in London.
There was another unfortunate officer of Napoleon who became tutor to the Princesses of Bavaria. His name was Belleville. Mr. Oury met his daughter, and, there being naturally a bond of sympathy between them, they married. She was an amiable and accomplished pianist, and together they made the nine years’ concert tour.
During the period in which the art of violin playing was being perfected on the Continent, the English were too fully occupied with commercial pursuits to foster and develop the art. Up to the present day the most eminent virtuoso is commonly spoken of as a “fiddler.” Even Joachim, when he went to a barber’s shop in High Street, Kensington, and declined to accept the advice of the tonsorial artist, and have his hair cropped short, was warned that “he’d look like one o’ them there fiddler chaps.” The barber apparently had no greater estimation of the violinist’s art than the latter had of the tonsorial profession, and the situation was sufficiently ludicrous to form the subject of a picture in Punch, and thus the matter assumed a serious aspect.
England has not been the home of any particular school of violin playing, but has received her stimulus from Continental schools, to which her sons have gone to study, and from which many eminent violinists have been imported.
The word “school,” so frequently used in connection with the art of violin playing, seems to lead to confusion. The Italian school, established by Corelli, appears to have been the only original school. Its pupils scattered to various parts of Europe, and there established other schools. To illustrate this statement, we will follow in a direct line from Corelli, according to the table given in Grove’s Dictionary.
The pupils of Corelli were Somis, Locatelli, Geminiani (Italians), and Anet (a Frenchman), whose pupil Senaille was also French. The greatest pupil of Somis was Pugnani, an Italian, and his greatest pupil was Viotti, a Piedmontese, who founded the French school, and from him came Roberrechts, his pupil De Beriot and his pupil Vieuxtemps, the two latter Belgians, also Baillot, etc., down to Marsick and Sarasate, a Spaniard, while through Rode, a Frenchman, we have Boehm (school of Vienna) and his pupil Joachim, a Hungarian (school of Berlin).
Several violinists are found under two schools, as for instance, Pugnani, who was first a pupil of Tartini and later of Somis, and Teresa Milanollo, pupil of Lafont and of De Beriot, who appear under different schools.
The only conclusion to be drawn is that the greatest violinists were really independent of any school, and, by their own genius, broke loose from tradition and established schools of their own. Some of them, on the other hand, had but few pupils, as for instance, Paganini, who had but two, and Sarasate. Many also were teachers rather than performers. We have to deal chiefly with the virtuosi.
1650 To 1750.
Arcangelo Corelli, whose name is recognised as one of the greatest in the history of violin playing and composition, and who laid the foundation for all future development of technique, was born in 1653, at Fusignano, near Imola, in the territory of Bologna.
He showed an early propensity for the violin, and studied under Bassani, a man of extensive knowledge and capabilities, while Mattei Simonelli was his instructor in counterpoint.
Corelli at one time sought fame away from home, and he is said to have visited Paris, where Lulli, the chief violinist of that city, exhibited such jealousy and violence that the mild-tempered Corelli withdrew. In 1680 he went to Germany, where he was well received, and entered the service of the Elector of Bavaria, but he soon returned to Rome. His proficiency had now become so great that his fame extended throughout Europe, and pupils flocked to him. His playing was characterised by refined taste and elegance, and by a firm and even tone.
[Illustration: ARCHANGE Corelli]
When the opera was well established in Rome, about 1690, Corelli led the band. His chief patron in Rome was Cardinal Ottoboni, and it was at his house that an incident occurred which places Corelli at the head of those musicians who have from time to time boldly maintained the rights of music against conversation. He was playing a solo when he noticed the cardinal engaged in conversation with another person. He immediately laid down his violin, and, on being asked the reason, answered that “he feared the music might interrupt the conversation.”
Corelli was a man of gentle disposition and simple habits. His plainness of dress and freedom from ostentation gave the impression that he was parsimonious, and Handel says of him that “he liked nothing better than seeing pictures without paying for it, and saving money,” He was also noted for his objection to riding in carriages.
He lived on terms of intimacy with the leading artists of his time, and had a great fondness for pictures, of which he had a valuable collection. These he left at his death to Cardinal Ottoboni.
It was at Cardinal Ottoboni’s that Corelli became acquainted with Handel, and at one of the musical evenings there a “Serenata,” written by the latter, was performed. Corelli does not seem to have played it according to the ideas of the composer, for Handel, giving way to his impetuous temper, snatched the fiddle out of Correlli’s hand. Corelli mildly remarked, “My dear Saxon, this music is in the French style, with which I am not acquainted.”
For many years Corelli remained at Rome, but at last he yielded to temptation and went to Naples, where Scarlatti induced him to play some of his concertos before the king. This he did in great fear, for he had not his own orchestra with him. He found Scarlatti’s musicians able to play at first sight as well as his own did after rehearsals, and, the performance going off well, he was again admitted to play, this time one of his sonatas, in the royal presence. The king found the adagio so long and dry that he quitted the room, much to Corelli’s mortification. But greater trouble was in store for the virtuoso. Scarlatti had written a masque, which was to be played before the king, but owing to the composer’s limited knowledge of the violin, Corelli’s part was very awkward and difficult, and he failed to execute it, while the Neapolitan violinists played it with ease. To make matters worse, Corelli made an unfortunate mistake in the next piece, which was written in the key of C minor, and led off in C major. The mistake was repeated, and Scarlatti had to call out to him to set him right. His mortification was so great that he quietly left Naples and returned to Rome. He found here a new violinist, Valentini, who had won the admiration of the people, and he took it so much to heart that his health failed, and he died in January, 1713.
Corelli was buried in princely style in the Pantheon, not far from Raphael’s tomb, and Cardinal Ottoboni erected a monument over his grave. During many years after his death a solemn service, consisting of selections from his own works, was performed in the Pantheon on the anniversary of his funeral. On this occasion, the works were performed in a slow, firm, and distinct manner, just as they were written, without changing the passages in the way of embellishment, and this is probably the way in which he himself played them.
Corelli’s compositions are remarkable for delicate taste and pleasing melodies and harmonies. He must be considered as the author of the greatest improvement which violin music underwent at the beginning of the eighteenth century. These compositions are regarded as invaluable for the instruction of young players, and some of them may be frequently heard in the concert-room at the present day, two hundred years since they were written. Corelli’s most celebrated pupils, Somis, Locatelli, Geminiani, and Anet, settled respectively in Italy, Holland, England, and Poland.
Giovanni Battista Somis was born in Piedmont, and, after studying under Corelli, he went to Venice and studied under Vivaldi. He was appointed solo violinist to the king at Turin and leader of the royal band, and seems scarcely ever to have left Turin after these appointments. Little is known of his playing or his compositions, but, by the work of his pupils, it is evident that he possessed originality. He formed a style more brilliant and more emotional, and caused a decided step forward in the art of violin playing. He was the teacher of Leclair, Giardini, and Chiabran, as well as Pugnani, and he forms a connecting link between the classical schools of Italy and France.
Pietro Locatelli was born at Bergamo, and became a pupil of Corelli at a very early age. He travelled considerably, and was undoubtedly a great and original virtuoso. He has been accused of charlatanism, inasmuch as he overstepped all reasonable limits in his endeavours to enlarge the powers of execution of the violin, and has, on that account, been called the grandfather of our modern “finger-heroes.”
Locatelli settled in Amsterdam, where he died in 1764. There he established regular public concerts, and he left a number of compositions, some of which are used at the present day.
Jean Baptiste Lulli, one of the earliest violinists in France, is perhaps associated with the violin in a manner disproportionate to the part he actually played in its progress. He was a musician of great ability, and his compositions are occasionally heard even to this day. Lulli was born near Florence about 1633. When quite young he was taken to France by the Chevalier de Guise, and entered the service of Mlle. de Montpensier. He was employed in the kitchen, where he seems to have lightened his burdens by playing tricks on the cook and tunes on the stewpans. He also beguiled his leisure hours by playing the violin, in which art he made such progress that the princess engaged a regular instructor for him. Fortunately, as it turned out, his wit led him into composing a satirical song on his employer, and he was sent off, but shortly afterwards secured a post as one of the king’s violinists in the celebrated band of the twenty-four violins. Soon after this a special band called Les Petits Violons was formed with Lulli at their head, and under his direction it surpassed the band of twenty-four.
Lulli found great favour at court, and, indeed, astonished the world with his exquisite taste and skill. That he was firmly established in the favour of the king is shown by the story that, when Corelli came to France and played one of his sonatas, King Louis listened without showing any sign of pleasure, and, sending for one of his own violinists, requested him to play an aria from Lulli’s opera of “Cadmus et Hermione,” which, he declared, suited his taste.
There is little doubt that the principles of the great Italian school of violin playing were, some years later, brought into France by Anet, who was born in 1680, and returned from Italy about 1700, but owing to the jealousies of his colleagues, he found it advisable to leave France in a short time, and he is said to have spent the rest of his life as conductor of the private band of a nobleman in Poland.
Lulli is said to have been very avaricious, and his wealth included four houses, all in the best quarters of Paris, together with securities and appointments worth about $70,000. His death, in 1687, was caused by a peculiar accident. While conducting a performance of his orchestra he struck his foot with the cane which he used for marking the time. The bruise gradually assumed such a serious condition that it ended his life.
Jean Baptiste Senaille, who was a pupil of Anet, was born in 1687, and turned to the Italian school. In 1719 he entered the service of the Duke of Orleans.
Francesco Geminiani was considered the ablest of the pupils of Corelli, and was born about 1680. When about twenty-four years of age he went to England, where his talent secured a great reputation for him, some people even declaring him to be superior, as a player, to Corelli. He lived to an advanced age, and was in Dublin visiting his pupil Dubourg at the time of his death. He was a man of unsettled habits, and was frequently in dire necessity, caused chiefly by his love of pictures, which led him into unwise purchases, and thus frequently into debt.
About the year 1650 three violinists were born in Italy, who all left their mark upon the history of violin playing.
Tommaso Vitali was born at Bologna, and was leader of the orchestra in that city, and later in Modena.
Giuseppe Torelli was leader of a church orchestra in Bologna, and afterwards accepted the post of leader of the band of the Markgraf of Brandenburg-Anspach, at Anspach, in Germany. To him is generally ascribed the invention of the “Concerto.”
Antonio Vivaldi was the son of a violinist, and sought his fortune in Germany, but returned to his native city in 1713. He wrote extensively for the violin, and is said to have added something to the development of its technique. An anecdote is told of him to the effect that one day during mass a theme for a fugue struck him. He immediately quitted the altar at which he was officiating, for he united clerical with musical duties, and, hastening to the sacristy to write down the theme, afterwards returned and finished the mass. For this he was brought before the Inquisition, but being considered only as a “musician,” a term synonymous with “madman,” the sentence was mild,—he was forbidden to say mass in the future.
The most illustrious pupil of Vivaldi was Francesco Maria Veracini, who was born about 1685. He is said to have been a teacher of Tartini, who, if he did not actually receive instruction from him, at least profited by his example.
Veracini’s travels were extensive, for he visited London in 1714 and remained there two years, during which time he was very successful. He then went to Dresden, where he was made composer and chamber virtuoso to the King of Poland.
While in Dresden he threw himself out of a window and broke his leg, an injury from which he never entirely recovered. This act is said to have been caused by his mortification at a trick which was played upon him for his humiliation by Pisendel, an eminent violinist, but this story is discredited by some of the best authorities.
He left Dresden and went to Prague, where he entered the service of Count Kinsky. In 1736 he again visited London, but met with little success, owing to the fact that Geminiani had ingratiated himself with the public. In 1847 Veracini returned to Pisa.
Veracini has been sometimes ranked with Tartini as a performer. He was also a composer of ability. In making a comparison of him with Geminiani it has been said that Geminiani was the spirit of Corelli much diluted, while Veracini was the essence of the great master fortified with l’eau de vie.
Veracini was conceited and vainglorious, and these traits of his character have given rise to a number of rather inconsequential stories. He was a most excellent conductor of orchestra, and Doctor Burney mentions having heard him lead a band in such a bold and masterly manner as he had never before witnessed. Soon after leaving London Veracini was shipwrecked, and lost his two Stainer violins, which he stated were the best in the world. These instruments he named St. Peter and St. Paul.
The name of Giuseppe Tartini will ever live as that of one of the greatest performers on, and composers for, the violin. Born at Pirano, in 1692, his career may be said to have commenced with the eighteenth century. He was not only one of the greatest violinists of all time, and an eminent composer, but he was a scientific writer on musical physics, and was the first to discover the fact that, in playing double stops, their accuracy can be determined by the production of a third sound. He also wrote a little work on the execution and employment of the various kinds of shakes, mordents, cadenzas, etc., according to the usage of the classical Italian school.
Tartini’s father, who was an elected Nobile of Parenzo, being a pious Church benefactor, intended his son for the Church, and sent him to an ecclesiastical school at Capo d’Istria, where he received his first instruction in music. Finding himself very much averse to an ecclesiastical career, Tartini entered the University of Padua to study law, but this also proved distasteful to him. He was a youth of highly impulsive temperament, and became so much enamoured of the art of fencing that he, at one time, seriously contemplated adopting it as a profession. This very impulsive nature caused him to fall in love with a niece of the Archbishop of Padua, to whom he was secretly married before he was twenty years of age.
The news of this marriage caused Tartini’s parents to withdraw their support from him, and it so enraged the archbishop that the bridegroom was obliged to fly from Padua. After some wanderings he was received into a monastery at Assisi, of which a relative was an inmate. Here he resumed his musical studies, but though he learned composition of Padre Boemo, the organist of the monastery, he was his own teacher on the violin. The influence of the quiet monastic life caused a complete change in his character, and he acquired the modesty of manner and serenity of mind for which he was noted later in life.
One day, during the service, a gust of wind blew aside the curtain behind which Tartini was playing, and a Paduan, who remembered the archbishop’s wrath and recognised the object of it, carried the news of his discovery to the worthy prelate. Time had, however, mollified him, and instead of still further persecuting the refugee, he gave his consent to the union of the young couple, and Tartini and his wife went to Venice, where he intended to follow the profession of a violinist.
Here he met and heard Francesco Maria Veracini, who was some seven years his senior, and whose style of playing made such a deep impression on him that he at once withdrew to Ancona, to correct the errors of his own technique, which, as he was self-taught, were not a few.
After some years of study and retirement, he reappeared at Padua, where he was appointed solo violinist in the chapel of San Antonio, the choir and orchestra of which already enjoyed a high reputation. It is said that the performance of Veracini had an effect upon Tartini beyond that of causing him to quit Venice. It made him dream, and the dream as told by Tartini himself to M. de Lalande is as follows:
“He dreamed one night (in 1713) that he had made a compact with the devil, who promised to be at his service on all occasions; and, during this vision, everything succeeded according to his mind; his wishes were anticipated, and his desires always surpassed, by the assistance of his new servant. In short, he imagined that he presented the devil with his violin, in order to discover what kind of a musician he was, when, to his great astonishment, he heard him play a solo so singularly beautiful, which he executed with such superior taste and precision, that it surpassed all the music he had ever heard or conceived in his life. So great was his surprise, and so exquisite his delight upon this occasion, that it deprived him of the power of breathing. He awoke with the violence of his sensations, and instantly seized his fiddle in hopes of expressing what he had just heard; but in vain. He, however, directly composed a piece, which is perhaps the best of all his works, and called it the ‘Devil’s Sonata;’ he knew it, however, to be so inferior to what his sleep had produced, that he stated he would have broken his instrument, and abandoned music for ever, if he could have subsisted by other means.”
This composition is said to have secured for him the position in the chapel of San Antonio, where he remained until 1723, in which year he was invited to play at the coronation festivities of Charles VI. at Prague. On this occasion he met Count Kinsky, a rich and enthusiastic amateur, who kept an excellent private orchestra. Tartini was engaged as conductor and remained in that position three years, then returning to his old post at Padua, from which nothing induced him to part, except for brief intervals. At Padua Tartini carried on the chief work of his life and established the Paduan school of violin playing. His ability as a teacher is proved by the large number of excellent pupils he formed. Nardini, Bini, Manfredi, Ferrari, Graun, and Lahoussaye are among the most eminent, and were attached to him by bonds of most intimate friendship to his life’s end.
Tartini’s contemporaries all agree in crediting him with those qualities which make a great player. He had a fine tone, unlimited command of finger-board and bow, enabling him to overcome the greatest difficulties with remarkable ease, perfect intonation in double stops, and a most brilliant shake and double-shake, which he executed equally well with all fingers. The spirit of rivalry had no place in his amiable and gentle disposition. Both as a player and composer Tartini was the true successor of Corelli, representing in both respects the next step in the development of the art.
Tartini lived until the year 1770. He had, as Doctor Burney says, “no other children than his scholars, of whom his care was constantly paternal,” Nardini, his first and favourite pupil, came from Leghorn to see him in his sickness and attend him in his last moments with true filial affection and tenderness. He was buried in the Church of St. Catharine, a solemn requiem being held in the chapel of San Antonio, and at a later period his memory was honoured by a statue which was erected in the Prato della Valle, a public walk at Padua, where it may be seen among the statues of the most eminent men connected with that famous university.
Jean Marie Leclair, a pupil of Somis, was a Frenchman, born at Lyons, and he began life as a dancer at the Rouen Theatre. He went to Turin as ballet master and met Somis, who induced him to take up the violin and apply himself to serious study. On returning to Paris, he was appointed ripieno-violinist at the Opera, and in 1731 became a member of the royal band, but he, although undoubtedly superior to any violinist in Paris at that time, never seems to have made much of a success, for he resigned his positions and occupied himself exclusively with teaching and composition, and it is on the merits of his works that he occupies a high place among the great classical masters of the violin. Leclair was murdered late one night close to the door of his own house, shortly after his return from Amsterdam, to which place he had gone solely for the purpose of hearing Locatelli. No motive for the crime was ever discovered, nor was the murderer found.
Gaetano Pugnani was a native of Turin, and to him more than to any other master is due the preservation of the pure, grand style of Corelli, Tartini, and Vivaldi, for he combined the prominent qualities of style and technique of all three. He became first violin to the Sardinian court in 1752, but travelled extensively. He made long stays in Paris and London, where he was for a time leader of the opera band, and produced an opera of his own, also publishing a number of his compositions. In 1770 he was at Turin, where he remained to the end of his life as teacher, conductor, and composer.
Felice Giardini, another pupil of Somis, was born at Turin and became one of the foremost violinists in Europe. In 1750 he went to England where he made his first appearance at a benefit concert for Cuzzoni, the celebrated opera singer, then in the sere and yellow leaf of her career. His performance was so brilliant that he became established as the best violinist who had yet appeared in England, and in 1754 he was placed at the head of the opera orchestra, succeeding Festing. Soon afterwards he joined with the singer Mingotti in the management of opera, but the attempt was not a financial success. Notwithstanding his excellence as a performer and composer and the fine appointment which he held, Giardini died in abject poverty at Moscow, to which place he had gone after finding himself superseded in England by newcomers.
Among the pupils of Tartini the most eminent was Pietro Nardini, who was born at Fibiano, a village of Tuscany, in 1722. He became solo violinist at the court of Stuttgart and remained there fifteen years. In 1767 he went to Leghorn for a short time, and then returned to Padua, where he remained with his old master Tartini until the latter’s death, when he was appointed director of music to the court of the Duke of Tuscany, in whose service he remained many years.
Of his playing, Leopold Mozart, himself an eminent violinist, writes: “The beauty, purity and equality of his tone, and the tastefulness of his cantabile playing, cannot be surpassed; but he does not execute great difficulties.” His compositions are marked by vivacity, grace, and sweet sentimentality, but he has neither the depth of feeling, the grand pathos, nor the concentrated energy of his master Tartini.
Antonio Lolli, who was born at Bergamo about 1730, appears to have been somewhat of a charlatan. He was self-taught, and, though a performer of a good deal of brilliancy, was but a poor musician. He was restless, vain, and conceited, and addicted to gambling. He is said to have played the most difficult double-stops, octaves, tenths, double-shakes in thirds and sixths, harmonics, etc., with the greatest ease and certainty. At one time he appeared as a rival of Nardini, with whom he is said to have had a contest, and whom he is supposed to have defeated. According to some accounts, he managed to excite such universal admiration in advance of the contest that Nardini withdrew.
Lolli was so eccentric that he was considered by many people to be insane, and Doctor Burney, in writing of him, says, “I am convinced that in his lucid intervals, he was in a serious style a very great, expressive, and admirable performer;” but Doctor Burney does not mention any lucid interval.
Early in the eighteenth century Franz Benda was born in Bohemia at the village of Altbenatky, and Benda became the founder of a German school of violin playing. In his youth he was a chorister at Prague and afterward in the Chapel Royal at Dresden. At the same time he began to study the violin, and soon joined a company of strolling musicians who attended fetes, fairs, etc. At eighteen years of age Benda abandoned this wandering life and returned to Prague, going thence to Vienna, where he pursued his study of the violin under Graun, a pupil of Tartini. After two years he was appointed chapel master at Warsaw, and eventually he became a member of the Prince Royal of Prussia’s band, and then concert master to the king.
Benda was a master of all the difficulties of violin playing, and the rapidity of his execution and the mellow sweetness of his highest notes were unequalled. He had many pupils and wrote a number of works, chiefly exercises and studies for the violin.
A violinist whose career had a great influence on musical life in England was Johann Peter Salomon, a pupil of Benda, and it is necessary to speak of him because his name is so frequently mentioned in connection with other artists during the latter half of the eighteenth century.
Salomon was born at Bonn in the same house in which Beethoven was born, and of Salomon, after his death, Beethoven wrote: “Salomon’s death grieves me much, for he was a noble man, and I remember him ever since I was a child.”
Salomon became an expert violinist at an early age, and travelled a good deal in Europe before he settled in England, which was in 1781, when he made his appearance at Covent Garden Theatre. He was criticised thus: “He does not play in the most graceful style, it must be confessed, but his tone and execution are such as cannot fail to secure him a number of admirers in the musical world.”
He established a series of subscription concerts at the Hanover Square rooms, and produced symphonies of Mozart and Haydn. In fact, he was connected with almost every celebrity who appeared in England for many years. He was instrumental in bringing Haydn to England, and toward the end of his career he was actively interested in the foundation of the Philharmonic Society. He was noted more as a quartet player than as a soloist, and Haydn’s last quartets were composed especially to suit his style of playing. He was a man of much cultivation and moved in distinguished society. His death was caused by a fall from his horse. He was the possessor of a Stradivarius violin which was said to have belonged to Corelli and to have had his name upon it. This he bequeathed to Sir Patrick Blake of Bury St. Edmunds.
1750 To 1800.
Giovanni Baptiste Viotti has been called the last great representative of the classical Italian school, and it is also stated that with Viotti began the modern school of the violin. In whatever light he may be regarded, he was undoubtedly one of the greatest violinists of all. He retained in his style of playing and composing the dignified simplicity and noble pathos of the great masters of the Italian school, treating his instrument above all as a singing voice, and keeping strictly within its natural resources. According to Baillot, one of his most distinguished pupils, his style was “perfection,” a word which covers a host of virtues.
Viotti was born in 1753 at Fontanetto, a village in Piedmont. His first musical instruction was received from his father, who is severally mentioned as a blacksmith and as a horn player. His musical talent being early noticeable, he was sent to Turin and placed by Prince Pozzo de la Cisterna under the tutelage of Pugnani, and was soon received into the royal band. In 1780 he travelled extensively, visiting Germany, Poland, and Russia, and meeting with great success. The Empress Catharine endeavoured to induce him to remain at St. Petersburg, but without success, and he proceeded to London, where he soon eclipsed all other violinists. In 1782 he went to Paris and made his debut at the celebrated Concert Spirituels. He was at once acknowledged as the greatest living violinist, but soon after this he ceased altogether to play in public. This decision seems to have been caused by the fact that an inferior player once achieved a greater success than he. He was evidently of a sensitive nature, and there is an anecdote told of him which is amusing even if its authenticity is open to question. Viotti was commanded to play a concerto at the Court of Louis XVI., at Versailles, and had proceeded through about half of his performance, when the attention of the audience was diverted by the arrival of a distinguished guest. Noise and confusion reigned where silence should have been observed, and Viotti, in a fit of indignation, removed the music from the desk and left the platform.
In 1783 Viotti returned to Italy for a short time, but the following year he was back in Paris teaching, composing, and benefiting the art of music in every way except by public performance. He became the artistic manager of the Italian Opera, and brought together a brilliant number of singers. In this business he came in contact with Cherubini, the composer, with whom he was on great terms of friendship. This enterprise was suddenly stopped by the revolution, and Viotti was obliged to leave France, having lost almost everything that he possessed.
He went to London and renewed his former successes, playing again in public at Salomon’s concerts, and in the drawing-rooms of the aristocracy. But here his ill-luck followed him, for London being full of French refugees, and the officials being suspicious of them all, he was warned to leave England, as it was feared that he was connected with some political conspiracy.
This misfortune occurred in 1798, and Viotti retired to a small village called Schoenfeld, not far from Hamburg, where he lived in strict seclusion. During this time he was by no means idle, for he composed some of his finest works, notably the six duets for violins, which he prefaced by these words: “This book is the fruit of leisure afforded me by misfortune. Some of the pieces were dictated by trouble, others by hope.” It was also during this period of retirement that he perfected his pupil Pixis, who, with his father, lived at Schoenfeld a whole summer for the express purpose of receiving Viotti’s instruction.
In 1801 Viotti found himself at liberty to visit England once more, but when he returned he astonished the world by going into the wine business, in which he succeeded in getting rid of the remainder of his fortune. As a man of business the strictest integrity and honour regulated his transactions, and his feelings were kind and benevolent, whilst as a musician, he is said never to have been surpassed in any of the highest qualities of violin playing.
At the close of his career as a wine merchant, he returned to Paris to resume his regular profession, and was appointed director of the Grand Opera, but he failed to rescue the opera from its state of decadence, and, finding the duties too arduous for one of his age and state of health, he retired on a small pension. In 1822 he returned once more to England, where he passed the remainder of his life in quietude.
While travelling in Switzerland, and enjoying the beauties of the scenery, Viotti heard for the first time the plaintive notes of the Ranz des Vaches given forth by a mountain horn, and this melody so impressed him that he learned it and frequently played it on his violin. The subject was referred to by him with great enthusiasm in his letters to his friends.
There are numerous anecdotes about Viotti in reference to his ready repartee and to his generous nature. One of the most interesting is that concerning a tin violin. He had been strolling one evening on the Champs Elysees, in Paris, with a friend (Langle), when his attention was arrested by some harsh, discordant sounds, which, on investigation, proved to be the tones of a tin fiddle, played by a blind and aged street musician. Viotti offered the man twenty francs for the curious instrument, which had been made by the old man’s nephew, who was a tinker. Viotti took the instrument and played upon it, producing some most remarkable effects. The performance drew a small crowd, and Langle, with true instinct, took the old man’s hat and, passing it round, collected a respectable sum, which was handed to the aged beggar.
When Viotti got out his purse to give the twenty francs the old man thought better of his bargain, for, said he, “I did not know the violin was so good. I ought to have at least double the amount for it.”
Viotti, pleased with the implied compliment, did not hesitate to give the forty francs, and then walked off with his newly acquired curiosity. The nephew, however, who now arrived to take the old man home, on hearing the story ran after Viotti, and offered to supply him with as many as he would like for six francs apiece.
Violin literature owes much to Viotti, for his compositions are numerous and contain beauties that have never been surpassed. His advice was sought by many young musicians, and among these was Rossini, who was destined to become great. De Beriot also sought out Viotti and played before him, but the old violinist told him that he had already acquired an original style which only required cultivating to lead to success, and that he could do nothing for him.
Viotti was one of the first to use the Tourte bow, and he studied its effects closely, so that the sweep of his bow became his great characteristic, and was alike the admiration of his friends and the despair of his rivals. He died in 1824, after about two years of retirement.
Among Viotti’s most prominent pupils were Roberrechts, Pixis, Alday le jeune, Cartier, Rode, Mori, Durand, and Baillot, also Mlle. Gerbini and Madame Paravicini. Roberrechts became the teacher of De Beriot, who in turn taught Vieuxtemps, Teresa Milanollo, and Lauterbach. Baillot taught Habeneck, who taught Alard, Leonard, Prume, Cuvillon, and Mazas. From Alard we have Sarasate, and from Leonard, Marsick and Dengremont, while through Rode we have Boehm, and from him a large number of eminent violinists, including G. Hellmesberger, Ernst, Dont, Singer, L. Strauss, Joachim, Rappoldi. Some of them we shall refer to at length as great performers, others were celebrated more as teachers.
Rodolphe Kreutzer, who was born at Versailles in 1766, is the third in order of development of the four great representative masters of the classical violin school of Paris; the others being Viotti, first, Rode, second, and Baillot, fourth. With Baillot he compiled the famous “Methode de Violon” for the use of the students at the Conservatoire. Kreutzer’s first teacher was his father, who was a musician in the king’s chapel, but he was soon placed under Anton Stamitz, and at the age of thirteen he played a concerto in public, with great success. This is said by some writers to have been his own composition, though by others it was attributed to his teacher.
Kreutzer made a tour through the north of Italy, Germany, and Holland, during which he acquired the reputation of being one of the first violinists in Europe. On his return to Paris, he turned his attention to dramatic music, and composed two grand operas, which were performed before the court, and secured for him the patronage of Marie Antoinette. He also became first violin at the Opera Comique, and professor at the Conservatoire, where he formed some excellent pupils, among them being D’Artot, Rovelli, the teacher of Molique, Massart, the teacher of Wieniawski and Teresina Tua, and Lafont, who also became a pupil of De Beriot. On Rode’s departure for Russia, Kreutzer succeeded him as solo violin at the Opera, later becoming Chef d’Orchestre, and after fourteen years’ service in this capacity he was decorated with the insignia of the Legion of Honour, and became General Director of the Music at the Opera. In 1826 he resigned his post and retired to Geneva, where he died in 1831. Kreutzer was a prolific composer, and his compositions include forty dramatic works and a great number of pieces for the violin.
In 1798, when Kreutzer was at Vienna in the service of the French ambassador, Bernadotte, he made the acquaintance of Beethoven, and was afterwards honoured by that great composer with the dedication to him of the famous Sonata, Op. 47, which was first played by Beethoven and the violinist Bridgetower, at the Augarten, in May, 1803, either the 17th or the 24th. This is the sonata the name of which Count Leo Tolstoi took for his famous book, though to the vast majority of hearers it will always remain a mystery how the classical harmonies of the sonata could have aroused the passions which form the raison d’etre of the book.
Kreutzer was noted for his style of bowing, his splendid tone, and the clearness of his execution.
With three such masters as Baillot, Rode, and Kreutzer, besides Viotti, who was frequently in Paris, the French school of violin playing had now superseded the Italian.
Pierre Marie Francois de Sales Baillot, who was associated with Rode and Kreutzer in the compilation of the celebrated “Methode du Violon,” was born at Passy, near Paris, in 1771, and became one of the most excellent violinists that France ever produced. His eminence in his profession was not obtained without a long struggle against great difficulties, for at the age of twelve he lost his father, who had kept a school, and became dependent upon friends for his education. His musical talent was remarkable at an early age, and he received his first instruction from an Italian named Polidori. At the age of nine he was placed under a French teacher named Sainte-Marie, whose training gave him the severe state and methodical qualities by which his playing was always distinguished.
His love for his instrument was greatly augmented when, at the age of ten, he heard Viotti play one of his concertos, and from that day the great violinist became his model.
When his father died a year or two later, a government official, M. de Boucheporn, sent him, with his own children, to Rome, where he was placed with Pollani, a pupil of Nardini, under whom he made rapid progress, and soon began to play in public. He was, however, unable to follow directly in the path of his profession, and for five years he travelled with his benefactor, acting as private secretary, and securing but little time for his violin playing.
In 1791 he returned to Paris, and Viotti secured a place for him in the opera orchestra, but on being offered a position in the Ministere des Finances, he gave up his operatic work, and for some years devoted only his leisure to the study of the violin. He now had to serve with the army for twenty months, at the end of which time he once more determined to take up music as a profession, and soon appeared in public with a concerto of Viotti. This performance established his reputation, and he was offered a professorship of violin playing at the Conservatoire, then recently opened.
His next appointment was to the private band of Napoleon, after which he travelled for three years in Russia with the violoncello player Lemare, earning great fame.
Returning to Paris, he established concerts for chamber music, which proved successful, and built up for him a reputation as an unrivalled quartet player. He travelled again, visiting Holland, Belgium, and England, and then he became leader of the opera band in Paris and of the royal band. He made a final tour in Switzerland in 1833, and died in 1842.
Baillot is considered to have been the last distinguished representative of the great classical school of violin playing in Paris. In his “L’Art du Violon” he points out the chief distinction between the old and the modern style of violin playing to be the absence of the dramatic element in the former, and its predominance in the latter, thus enabling the executive art to follow the progress marked out by the composer, and to bring out the powerful contrasts and enlarged ideas of the modern musical compositions. After the time of Baillot and his contemporaries the style of Paganini became predominant in Paris, but the influence of the Paris school extended to Germany, where Spohr must be considered the direct descendant artistically of Viotti and Rode.
Perhaps the most illustrious pupil of Viotti was Pierre Rode, who was born at Bordeaux in 1774, and exhibited such exceptional talent that at the age of sixteen he was one of the violins at the Theatre Feydeau in Paris. He had made his debut in Paris at the Theatre de Monsieur, when he played Viotti’s thirteenth concerto with complete success. In 1794 he began to travel, and made a tour through Holland and North Germany, visiting England, driven there by stress of weather, on his way home. He appeared once in London, and then left for Holland and Germany again. On his return to France he was appointed professor of the violin at the Conservatoire, then newly established. In 1799 ne made a trip to Spain, where he met Boccherini. The following year he returned to Paris, where he was made solo violinist to the First Consul, and it was at this period that he gained his greatest success, when he played with Kreutzer a duo concertante of the latter’s composition. After this he went to Russia, where he was enthusiastically received, and was appointed one of the emperor’s musicians. The life in Russia, however, overtaxing his strength, from that time his powers began to fail, and he met with many disappointments. In 1814 he married, and, although he made an unsuccessful attempt to renew his public career, he may be said to have retired. He died at Bordeaux in 1830.
Of Rode’s playing in his best days we are told that he displayed all the best qualities of a grand, noble, pure, and thoroughly musical style. His intonation was perfect, his tone large and pure, and boldness, vigour, deep and tender feeling characterised his performances. In fact he was no mere virtuoso but a true artist. His musical nature shows itself in his compositions, which are thoroughly suited to the nature of the violin, and have a noble, dignified character and considerable charm of melody, though they show only moderate creative power. He had few pupils, but his influence through his example during his travels, and through his compositions, was very great indeed.
Beethoven wrote for Rode, after hearing him play in Vienna, the famous violin Romance in F, Op. 50, one of the highest possible testimonials to Rode’s ability as a violinist. It is known, however, that he was obliged to seek assistance in scoring his own compositions, and therefore lacked an important part of a musical education.
The most celebrated pupil of Baillot was Francois Antoine Habeneck, the son of a musician in a French regimental band. During his early youth Habeneck was taught by his father, and at the age of ten played concertos in public. He visited many places with his father’s regiment, which was finally stationed at Brest. At the age of twenty he went to Paris and entered the Conservatoire, where in 1804 he was awarded first prize for violin playing, and became a sub-professor.
The Empress Josephine, on hearing him play, was so pleased that she granted him a pension of twelve hundred francs. He became one of the first violins at the Opera, but his special forte was as leader of orchestras, and he held that post at the Conservatoire, on account of his efficiency, until 1815, when the advent of the allied armies caused it to be closed.
Habeneck was instrumental in bringing forward the great orchestral works of Beethoven. He became director of the Grand Opera, and inspector-general of the Conservatoire.
Habeneck is said to have been greatly addicted to taking snuff, and this habit led to an amusing episode with Berlioz, which the latter regarded in a very unfriendly light. At a public performance of the Requiem of Berlioz, the composer had arranged with Habeneck to conduct the music, Berlioz taking his seat close behind the conductor. The work was commenced, and had been proceeded with some little time, when Habeneck (presumably taking advantage of what seemed to him a favourable moment) placed his baton on the desk, took out his snuff-box, and proceeded to take a pinch. Berlioz, aware of the breakers ahead, rushed to the helm and saved the wreck of his composition by beating time with his arm. Habeneck, when the danger was passed, said, “What a cold perspiration I was in! Without you we should assuredly have been lost.” “Yes,” said the composer, “I know it well,” accompanying his words with an expression of countenance betokening suspicion of Habeneck’s honesty of purpose. The violinist little dreamed that this gratification of his weakness for snuff-taking would be regarded in the pages of Berlioz’s Memoirs as having been indulged in from base motives.
Habeneck died in 1849. He published only a few of his compositions.
One of the most eminent violinists of the French school, who flourished during the early part of the nineteenth century, was Charles Philippe Lafont. Besides brilliant technical capabilities he had a sympathetic tone and a most elegant style, and these qualities gave him a very high position in the ranks of performers.
Lafont was born at Paris, December 7, 1781, and received his first lessons from his mother, who afterward placed him under her brother, Berthaume. Under his care he made a successful concert tour through Germany and other countries as early as 1792, after which he returned to Paris and settled down to study under Rudolf Kreutzer.
For a time his studies were interrupted by an attempt to become a singer, and he appeared at the Theatre Feydeau, which had then been opened by Viotti. This diversion being soon at an end, he returned to the violin, but on the outbreak of the revolution in France he left the country and travelled throughout Europe, being absent from Paris, with the exception of a short visit in 1805, until 1815.
During his travels he was made chamber virtuoso to the Czar Alexander, and on his return to France he became first violinist of the royal chamber musicians of Louis XVIII., and musical accompanist to the Duchesse de Berry.
Lafont’s career came to a sudden end by the overturning of a carriage while on a concert tour in the south of France in 1839.
He was one of the numerous violinists who challenged Paganini to an artistic duel, in which he got the worst of it, though his admirers accounted for his defeat by the fact that the contest took place at La Scala, in Milan, where the sympathy of the audience was in favour of the Italian virtuoso.
Lafont was a prolific composer, but few of his works have survived. He was also the owner of a magnificent Guarnerius violin, which is now said to be the property of Adolf Brodsky.
As a composer Spohr probably influenced the modern style of violin playing even more than as a player, for he lifted the concerto to the dignity of a work of art, whereas it had formerly been simply a show piece, though not always without merit. He set a great example of purity of style and legitimate treatment of the instrument, and is considered to have had a more beneficial effect on violin playing than Paganini, who was born in the same year, 1784.
Louis Spohr was the son of a physician, who, two years after Louis was born at Brunswick, took up his residence at Seesen, where the childhood of the future virtuoso was passed. Both father and mother were musical, the former playing the flute, while the latter was a pianist and singer. It is said that young Spohr showed his talents remarkably early, and was able to sing duets with his mother when only four years of age. At five he began to learn the violin and at six he could take part in Kalkbrenner’s trios. He also began to compose music, and under his father’s methodical guidance acquired the habit of finishing everything that he began to write, without erasure or alteration. His instruction in the art of composition was confined to the mere rudiments, and he acquired the art chiefly by studying the scores of the great composers.
Spohr’s first public appearance was at a school concert, and such was his success that he was asked to repeat the performance at a concert given by the duke’s band. More study ensued, and then, at the age of fourteen, he undertook to make his first artistic tour, and set out for Hamburg, carrying with him some letters of introduction.
It seems that the people of Hamburg did not show much enthusiasm over the young artist, for he was unable to arrange a hearing, and, having exhausted his funds, he returned to Brunswick in the time-honoured manner of unsuccessful artists,—on foot. Spohr’s experience seems to have produced upon him the same effect that many aspiring young players have since felt, viz., that he had better go on with his studies. He accordingly presented a petition to the Duke of Brunswick asking for means to carry out his desires. The duke was pleased with him, and not only gave him a place in his band, but also agreed to pay his expenses while he studied with one of the most eminent teachers of the day.
Neither Viotti nor Ferdinand Eck could receive him as a pupil, but by the advice of the latter, young Spohr was placed under his brother, Franz Eck, who was then travelling in Germany. With Franz Eck an agreement was made by the duke, under which Spohr should travel with him, and study en route. During the continuance of this agreement Spohr practised sometimes ten hours a day, and being so constantly with his teacher he made great progress. On his return to Brunswick he was appointed first violinist in the duke’s band, and the following year he once more undertook a concert tour on his own account, travelling through Saxony and Prussia, and meeting with great enthusiasm.
While in Russia he met Clementi and Field, and he was presented with a most valuable Guarnerius violin by an enthusiast. This instrument he lost while on the way to France, where he intended to make a concert tour. Just before entering Goettingen the portmanteau which contained the violin was taken from the coach, and owing to the delays of officialism it was never recovered. The thieves had been seen with the booty in their possession, but in order to arrest them it was necessary to travel some nine miles for the necessary warrant and officer. In the meantime they had disappeared, as thieves occasionally do.
In 1805 Spohr was appointed concert-master in the band of the Duke of Gotha, and while holding this position he met, wooed, and wedded the Frauelein Dorothea Scheidler, an excellent harp player, who for many years afterwards appeared with him in all his concerts, and for whom he wrote many solo pieces as well as some sonatas for violin and harp. In view of this important step the following description of Spohr’s personal appearance may be interesting: “The front of Jove himself is expressed in the expansive forehead, massive, high, and broad; the speaking eyes that glance steadfastly and clearly under the finely pencilled arches of the eyebrows, which add a new grace to their lustrous fire; the long, straight nose with sharply curved nostrils, imperial with the pride of sensibility and spiritual power; the firm, handsome mouth, and the powerful chin, with its strong outlines melted into the utter grace of oval curves. In its calmness and repose, in its subdued strength and pervading serenity, it is the picture of the man’s life in little.” Spohr seems to have been somewhat attractive.
Another authority tells us, in less flowery language, that he was of herculean frame and very strong constitution.
In 1807 he made a tour, with his wife, through Germany, and while at Munich the king showed his gallantry to Madame Spohr in a most gracious manner. The usher had neglected to place a chair on the platform for her, and the king handed up his own gilded throne chair, in spite of her protestations. The anecdote would be more satisfactory if it stated what the king sat upon during the concert, but that is left to the imagination. The king had some bad habits, and, we are told, was very fond of playing cards during the concerts. Spohr was not accustomed to having his audiences indulge in cards, and so informed the chamberlain, absolutely declining to play unless the cards were put aside for the time being. It was a delicate task that fell to the lot of the chamberlain, but he carried it through with the greatest diplomacy, each side making a slight concession: the king on his part promising to abstain from card playing during Spohr’s performance on condition that the violinist’s two pieces should immediately follow each other on the program, and Spohr withdrawing his embargo from the whole concert on condition that the king would abstain from his favourite amusement during his particular performance. The king, however, seems to have put in the last blow, for on the conclusion of the violin solos he gave no signal for applause, and as it would be a breach of court manners for any one to applaud without his Majesty’s consent, the artist was obliged to make his bow and retire amidst deathly silence.
In 1808 Spohr wrote his first opera, but although it was accepted for representation, it was never performed in public.
During this year Napoleon held his celebrated congress of princes at Erfurt. Spohr was consumed by a burning desire to behold Napoleon and the surrounding princes, and went to Erfurt. Here he found that a French theatrical troupe was performing every evening before the august assembly, but only the privileged few could by any possibility gain admittance to the theatre. Spohr’s ingenuity was equal to the emergency, and making friends with the second horn player, he induced that artist to allow him to substitute for him one night. Spohr had never in his life attempted to play the horn, but it was now necessary for him to acquire the art before night, and he set to work with such vim that by the time of the performance his lips were swollen and black, but he was able to produce the requisite tones. The orchestra having received strict injunctions to sit with their backs to the brilliant assembly, probably to protect their eyesight from its dazzling effects, Spohr fitted himself out with a small mirror, and placing this upon his music-rack, he was able to enjoy for a couple of hours the vision of the great Napoleon, who, with his most distinguished guests, occupied the front row of the stalls.
Spohr remained at Gotha until 1813, when he was offered and accepted the post of the leadership at the Theatre an der Wien at Vienna, and while here he composed his opera of “Faust,” which, however, was not produced at that time. He also wrote a cantata in celebration of the battle of Leipzig, which he did not succeed in producing, and not feeling satisfied with his position, and having various disagreements with the management, the engagement was cancelled by mutual consent. During his stay in Vienna Spohr was frequently in contact with Beethoven, and though he admired that great master he criticised some of his compositions very severely, and is said to have remarked that “Beethoven was wanting in aesthetic culture and sense of beauty,” a remark difficult to understand in these later days. It is the more incomprehensible from the fact that Spohr in after years was the very first musician of eminence to interest himself in Wagner’s talent, for he brought out at Cassel “Der Fliegende Hollaender,” and continued with “Tannhaeuser,” notwithstanding the opposition of the court. He considered Wagner to be by far the greatest of all dramatic composers living at that time. In 1815 he made a concert tour in France and Italy, during which he met Rossini and Paganini, playing at Venice a sinfonia concertante of his own composition, with the latter.
On his return to Germany in 1817 Spohr was appointed conductor of the Opera at Frankfort-on-the-Main, where his opera “Faust” was now produced, also “Zemire and Azor.” Owing to difficulties with managers again he left Frankfort after a stay of only two years, and his next venture was a visit to England, where he appeared at the concerts of the Philharmonic Society in London. His success was brilliant, for his clear style and high artistic capacity, added to his reputation as a composer, carried him into popularity, and the artistic world vied with the public in doing honour to him. At his farewell concert, his wife made her last appearance as a harp player, for on account of ill-health she was obliged to give it up, and thereafter she played only the pianoforte.
On his way home from England Spohr visited Paris for the first time, and made the personal acquaintance of Kreutzer, Viotti, Habeneck, Cherubini, and other eminent musicians, who received him with the greatest cordiality. But the public did not seem to appreciate his merits, for his quiet, unpretentious style was not quite in keeping with the taste of the French.
On his return to Germany Spohr settled in Dresden, and remained there until 1822, when he became Hofkapellmeister to the Elector of Hesse-Cassel, and he remained in Cassel for the rest of his life. This position he obtained on the advice of Weber.
In 1831 he completed his great “Violin School,” which has ever since its publication been considered a standard work. The following year the political disturbances interfered with the opera performances at Cassel, and caused him much annoyance. In 1834 he lost his wife, but his work of composition proceeded with vigour.
In 1839 he again visited England, where his music had become very popular, and during the remainder of his career he repeated his visit several times, many of his works being produced by the various societies.
His life at Cassel was not free from cares and friction, and he was subjected to many indignities and annoyances by the elector. Perhaps his sympathy with the revolutionists of 1848 was the chief cause of these petty persecutions. When Spohr married his second wife, Marianne Pfeiffer, the elector objected, and only gave his reluctant consent when Spohr agreed to waive the right of his wife to a pension. All his proposals were met with opposition. “Tannhaeuser” was produced and well received, but a repetition of the performance was not allowed, and “Lohengrin” was ordered to be withdrawn from rehearsal, for Wagner was one of the revolutionists and was obliged to live in seclusion.
America is indebted to this revolution of 1848 for some excellent musicians, for the Germania Orchestra, an organisation of young revolutionists, sought these shores, and after a prosperous career, begun under great trials and discouragements, the various members settled in different cities and became identified with the musical life of the nation.
In 1851 the elector refused to sign the permit for Spohr’s two months’ leave of absence, to which he was entitled under his contract, and when the musician departed without the permit, a portion of his salary was deducted. In 1857 he was pensioned off, much against his own wish, and in the winter of the same year he had the misfortune to break his arm, an accident which put an end to his violin playing. Nevertheless he conducted his opera “Jessonda” at the fiftieth anniversary of the Prague Conservatorium in the following year, with all his old-time energy. In 1859 he died at Cassel.
Through all his long career Spohr had lived up to the ideal he had conceived in his youth. He was a man of strong individuality, and invariably maintained the dignity of his art with unflinching independence. Even the mistakes that he made, as for instance his criticism of Beethoven, bore the strongest testimony to his manly straightforwardness and sincerity in word and deed. He was a most prolific composer, leaving over two hundred works in all. His violin concertos stand foremost among his works, and are distinguished as much by noble and elevated ideas as by masterly thematic treatment, yet there is a certain monotony of treatment in all, and his style and manner are entirely his own.
As an executant Spohr stands among the greatest of all time. In slow movements he played with a breadth and beauty of tone, and a delicacy and refinement of expression almost unequalled. His hands were of exceptional size and strength, and enabled him to execute the most difficult double stops and stretches with the greatest facility. Even in quick passages he preserved a broad, full tone, and his staccato was brilliant and effective. He disliked the use of the “springing bow,” which came with the modern style of playing.
Spohr had a great many pupils, of whom the best known were Ries, Ferd. David, Blagrove, Bargheer, Koempel, and Henry Holmes. He was also considered one of the best conductors of his time, and introduced into England the custom of conducting with a baton.
Amongst the amusing episodes in the life of Spohr was one which took place in London, when a servant brought him a letter desiring M. Spohr to “be present at four o’clock to-morrow evening at the closet of the undersigned,” Spohr had not the faintest idea as to the identity of “the undersigned,” nor the least inkling of that gentleman’s design. He therefore replied that he had an engagement at that time. To this note he received another polite epistle asking him to be good enough to honour the “undersigned” with an interview, and to choose his own time. He therefore made an appointment, which he kept punctually, and on arriving at the house to which he was directed, he found an old gentleman, who was very genial, but who could speak neither French nor German. As Spohr spoke no English the communication between them was of necessity carried on by pantomime. The old gentleman led the way into a room, the walls of which were literally covered with violins, from which Spohr gathered the idea that he was to pick out that which he considered the best. After trying them all he had to decide between the merits of half a dozen, and, when he finally gave his opinion, the gentleman seemed delighted, and offered him a five pound note to compensate him for his trouble. This the violinist declined to accept, for he had found as much enjoyment as his host, and considered it a privilege to be able to examine such a fine collection of beautiful instruments. The gentleman found a way of satisfying his ideas of compensation by buying tickets to the value of ten pounds, for one of Spohr’s concerts.
Among the most talented violinists of the early part of the nineteenth century was Karl Joseph Lipinski, the son of a Polish violin player whose gifts were uncultivated. He was born in Poland, in 1790, at a small town named Radzyn. After learning, with the aid of his father, to play the violin, he took up the ’cello, and taught himself to play that instrument, and in later days he attributed his full tone on the violin to the power which his ’cello practice gave to his bow arm.
Lipinski seems to have been an energetic and original man. He was in the habit of appearing at concerts both as violinist and ’cellist. He was unable to play the piano, so when he was conductor of the opera at Lemberg he directed with the violin, and frequently had to play two parts, which gave him great command over his double stops. When the fame of Paganini reached him he set forth to Italy, that he might profit by hearing the great virtuoso, and when the opportunity came at Piacenza, he distinguished himself by being the only person in the audience to applaud the first adagio. After the concert he was introduced to Paganini, and he did not fail to improve the acquaintance, frequently visiting Paganini and playing with him, sometimes even in his concerts.
Lipinski declined the honour of going on a concert tour with Paganini, as he wished to return to his home. On stopping at Trieste he heard of an old man, over ninety years of age, who had once been a pupil of Tartini, and sought him out in order to “get some points” on Tartini’s style. The old man, Doctor Mazzurana, declared himself too old to play the violin, but suggested that if Lipinski would play a Tartini sonata he would tell him if his style reminded him of the great master. It did not, but Doctor Mazzurana brought out of a cupboard a volume of Tartini’s sonatas having letter-press under the music, and this Lipinski was ordered to read in a loud tone and with all possible expression. Then he had to play the sonata, and after numerous attempts and corrections, the old man began to applaud his efforts. Lipinski ever afterwards profited by these lessons.
Later on he met Paganini again at Warsaw, where they were rivals, for the time being, and different factions waxed warm over their respective merits. Paganini himself, who is said to have been asked whom he considered to be the greatest violinist, replied, with conscious modesty, “The second greatest is certainly Lipinski.”
Lipinski travelled throughout Europe, meeting with great success, until in 1839 he was appointed concert-meister at the Royal Opera in Dresden, where he remained for many years. He also organised a string quartet, and was considered a most excellent performer of chamber-music. He wrote a large quantity of music for the violin, but little of it was of a lasting quality. In 1861 he was pensioned, and retired to Urlow, near Lemberg, where he had some property, and there he died in December of the same year.
The name Paganini stands for the quintessence of eccentric genius,—one of the most remarkable types of mankind on record. Paganini was able to excite wonder and admiration by his marvellous technical skill, or to sway the emotions of his hearers by his musical genius, while his peculiar habits, eccentric doings, and weird aspect caused the superstitious to attribute his talent to the power of his Satanic Majesty. Yet Paganini was not only mortal, but in many respects a weak mortal, although the most extraordinary and the most renowned violinist of the nineteenth century.
[Illustration: Niccolo Paganini]
Nicolo Paganini was the son of a commercial broker, Antonio Paganini, and was born at Genoa, February 18, 1784. He was a child of nervous and delicate constitution, and the harsh treatment accorded to him by his father tended to accentuate and develop the peculiarities of his character. He was a good violinist at the age of six, and before he was eight years of age he had outgrown, not only his father’s instruction, but also that of one Servetto, a musician at the theatre, and that of Costa, the director of
Although Paganini denied ever having taken lessons with Rolla, he nevertheless had frequent discussions with him concerning the new effects which he was continually attempting, and which did not always meet with the unqualified approval of the older musician.
The music which he wrote for his instrument contained so many difficulties that he had to practise unremittingly to overcome them, often working ten or twelve hours a day and being overwhelmed with exhaustion.
In 1797 Paganini made his first tour, with his father, through the chief towns of Lombardy, and now he determined to release himself, on the first opportunity, from the bondage in which he was held by his father. This opportunity presented itself when the fete of St. Martin was celebrated at Lucca, and after much opposition he at last obtained the consent of his father to attend the celebration. Meeting with much success, he went on to Pisa, and then to other places, in all of which he was well received. Being now free from the restraint of his home he fell into bad company, and took to gambling and other vices, the most natural result of his father’s harsh training showing itself in lack of moral stamina.
For a time his careless life had its allurements, but the young virtuoso was frequently reduced to great straits, and on one occasion, if not more, pawned his violin. This happened at Leghorn, where he was to play at a concert, and it was only through the kindness of a French merchant, M. Livron, who lent him a beautiful Guarnieri, that he was able to appear. When the concert was over, and Paganini brought back the instrument, its owner was so delighted with what he had heard that he refused to receive it. “Never will I profane strings which your fingers have touched,” he said, “the instrument is now yours.” And Paganini used that violin afterwards in all his concerts.
This violin was, some time later, the means by which he was cured of gambling, for having been reduced to extreme poverty, he was tempted to sell it. The price offered was a large one. At this juncture he won one hundred and sixty francs, which saved the violin, but the mental agony he endured through the affair convinced him that a gamester is an object of contempt to all well regulated minds.
Paganini won another violin by his ability to read music at sight. Pasini, an eminent painter and an amateur violinist, refused to believe the wonderful faculty for playing at sight, which had been imputed to Paganini, and in order to test it brought him a manuscript concerto containing some difficulties considered as insurmountable. “This instrument shall be yours,” said Pasini, placing in his hands an excellent Stradivari, “if you can play, in a masterly manner, this concerto, at first sight.” Paganini accepted the challenge, threw Pasini into ecstasies, and became the owner of the instrument.
The severe course of dissipation in which Paganini indulged during these days of his youth ruined his health, and caused him frequently to disappear from the public gaze for long periods, throughout his career. With the fair sex he had more than one romantic episode. At one time a lady of high rank fell in love with him and led him captive to her castle in Tuscany. Here the lovers solaced themselves with duets on the guitar, and the violinist attained a proficiency, on that instrument, equal to the expression of the tenderest passion. This adventure brought retribution in after days, and in a most unexpected manner, for as his genius began to excite the wonder of the world, sundry malicious stories concerning him were invented and circulated. One of these stories was to the effect that he had been imprisoned for stabbing one of his friends, another rumour said that he strangled his wife, and that during his imprisonment he had been allowed only the solace of playing his violin with but one string. This story was told in order to account for his wonderful one-stringed performances, and it was absolutely untrue, but the time allotted by rumour to his supposed imprisonment coincided with the period which was really occupied with this romance.
At the end of three years he resumed his travels and his violin playing, returning to Genoa in 1804, where he set to work on some compositions. At this time he became interested in a little girl, Catarina Calcagno, to whom he gave lessons on the violin. She was then about seven years of age, and a few years later she became well known as a concert violinist.
Paganini did not remain long in Genoa, for the following year found him wandering again, and another love affair in Lucca led to the composition of a piece to be played on two strings, the first and the fourth: the first to express the sentiments of a young girl, and the fourth the passionate language of her lover. The performance of this extremely expressive composition was rewarded by the most languishing glances from his lady-love in the audience, but the most important result was that the Princess Elise Bacchiochi, sister of Napoleon, declared to him that he had performed impossibilities. “Would not a single string suffice for your talent?” she asked. Paganini was delighted, and shortly afterward composed his military sonata entitled “Napoleon,” which is performed on the G string only.
At Ferrara he once nearly lost his life through unwittingly trampling upon the susceptibilities of the people, in the following manner. It appears that the peasantry in the suburbs of Ferrara bore ill-will toward the citizens of that town and called them “asses.” This little pleasantry was manifested by the suburbanites in “hee-hawing” at the citizens when fitting opportunity presented itself. Now it happened that Paganini played at a concert, and some of the audience expressed dissatisfaction with the singer, Madame Pallerini, and hissed her. Paganini decided to have revenge, and when about to commence his last solo, he amused the public by giving an imitation of the notes and cries of various animals. The chirping of various birds, the crowing of the chanticleer, the mewing of cats, the barking of dogs were all imitated and the audience was delighted. Now was the time to punish the reprobates who hissed. Paganini advanced to the footlights exclaiming, “This for the men who hissed,” and gave a vivid imitation of the braying of an ass. Instead of exciting laughter and thus causing the confusion of the enemy as he expected, the whole audience rose as one man, scaled the orchestra and footlights, and swore they would have his blood. Paganini sought safety in flight. He was eventually enlightened as to the mistake he had made.
Once, when he was at Naples, Paganini was taken ill, and in his desire to secure lodgings where the conditions would be favourable for his recovery, he made a mistake and soon became worse. It was said that he was consumptive, and consumption being considered a contagious disease, his landlord put him out in the street, with all his possessions. Here he was found by Ciandelli, the violoncellist, who, after giving the landlord a practical and emphatic expression of his opinion by means of a stick, conveyed his friend Paganini to a comfortable lodging, where he was carefully attended until restored to health.
In 1817 Paganini was urged by Count Metternich and by Count de Kannitz, the Austrian ambassador to Italy, to visit Vienna, but several times he was prevented from carrying out his plans by illness, and it was not until 1828 that he reached Vienna and gave his first concert. His success was prodigious. “He stood before us like a miraculous apparition in the domain of art,” wrote one of the critics. The public seemed to be intoxicated. Hats, dresses, shoes, everything bore his name. His portrait was to be found everywhere, he was decorated and presented with medals and honours.
He continued his tour through Germany, being received everywhere with the utmost enthusiasm, and he visited England, after a sojourn in Paris, in 1831.
When he reached home after an absence of six years, he was the possessor of a considerable fortune, part of which he lost by injudicious investments. Some friends induced him to join them in the establishment of a casino in a fashionable locality in Paris. It was called the Casino Paganini, and was intended to be a gambling-house. The authorities, however, refused to grant a license, and it was found impossible to support it by concerts only. After some vicissitudes a law-suit was established against Paganini, who was condemned to pay fifty thousand francs, and to be imprisoned until the amount was paid, but this decision was not reached until Paganini was in a dying condition, and he went, by the advice of his physicians, to Marseilles, where he remained but a short time. Finding that his health did not improve, he decided to pass the winter at Nice, but the progress of his ailment was not checked, and on May 27, 1840, he expired.
By his will, made three years previously, he left an immense fortune and the title of baron, which had been conferred on him in Germany, to his son Achille,—the fruit of a liaison with the singer Antonia Bianchi of Como,—whose birth had been legitimised by deeds of law. His fortune amounted to about four hundred thousand dollars, besides which he had a valuable collection of musical instruments. His large Guarnieri violin he bequeathed to the town of Genoa, that no artist might possess it after him.
During his last illness Paganini, not realising that death was so near, devoted himself to music and to arranging for another concert tour. During his lifetime he had never paid much attention to religion and there were some doubts as to his belief. Although he expressed his adherence to the Roman Church, yet he dallied with its formalities, and when the priest visited him three days before his death to administer the final consolations of religion, the dying man put him off on the ground that he was not yet ready, and would send for him when the time came. Death prevented this, and burial in consecrated ground was therefore denied him. An appeal was made to the spiritual tribunal and in the meantime the body was embalmed and kept in a hall in the palace of the Conte di Cessole, whose guest he was during his last illness.
People now began to come from all parts of Italy to pay honour to the dead artist, and this so angered the bishop and priests that an order was obtained for the removal of the body. Under military escort the remains of the great violinist were taken to Villafranca and placed in a small room, which was then sealed up. And now Paganini became a terror to the ignorant peasants and fishermen, who crossed themselves as they hurried past the spot where the excommunicated remains lay. It was said that in the dead of night the spectre of Paganini appeared and played the violin outside his resting-place.
In the meantime every effort was being made to secure Christian burial. The spiritual tribunal decided that Paganini had died a good Catholic. The bishop refused to accept the decision, and an appeal to the archbishop was unavailing. Eventually the case was brought before the Pope himself by the friends of the dead man, and the Pope overruled the decision of the archbishop and ordained that Christian burial should be accorded to the artist. On the 21st of August, 1843, the Conte di Cessole took away the coffin from Villafranca, and interred it in the churchyard near Paganini’s old residence at Villa Gavona, near Parma. Thus even after death he was the victim of superstition, as he had been during his lifetime.
Paganini resolved not to publish his compositions until after he had ceased to travel, for he was aware that his performances would lose much of their interest if his works were available to everybody. He seldom carried with him the solo parts, but only the orchestral scores of the pieces that he played. His studies were pronounced impossible by some of the best violinists of the day, so great were the difficulties which they contained, and in his mastery of these difficulties, which he himself created, may be found the true secret of his success. People accounted for it in many ways, one man declaring that he saw the devil standing at his elbow, and others stating that he was a child of the devil, and that he was bewitched.
His compositions are remarkable for novelty in ideas, elegance of form, richness of harmony, and variety in the effects of instrumentation. Few compositions ever attained such fame as the “Streghe,” of which the theme was taken from the music of Suessmayer to the ballet of “Il Noce di Benevento.”
While it may be readily admitted that many of the effects with which Paganini dazzled the multitude were tainted with charlatanism, yet the fact remains that no one ever equalled him in surmounting difficulties, and it is doubtful if, among all the excellent violinists of the present day, any of them compares with that remarkable man.
Some of his studies have been adapted to the pianoforte by Schumann and by Liszt, and of the collection arranged by Liszt, consisting of five numbers from the Caprices, Schumann says: “It must be highly interesting to find the compositions of the greatest violin virtuoso of this century in regard to bold bravura—Paganini—illustrated by the boldest of modern pianoforte virtuosi—Liszt.” This collection is probably the most difficult ever written for the pianoforte, as its original is the most difficult work that exists for the violin. Paganini knew this well, and expressed it in his short dedication, “Agli Artisti,” that is to say, “I am only accessible to artists.”
It is doubtful whether any violinist ever lived concerning whom more fantastic stories were told. His gruesome aspect, his frequent disappearances from public life, his peculiar habits, all tended to make him an object of interest,—and interest is sometimes shown in eagerness to hear anything at all about the subject.
He enjoyed conversation when he was in the company of a small circle of friends. He was cheerful at evening parties,—if music was not mentioned. He had an excellent memory for features and names of persons whom he had met, but it is said that he never remembered the names of towns at which he had given concerts. He was very severe with orchestras, and any mistakes made by them would bring forth a tempest of rage, though satisfactory work would be rewarded with expressions of approval. When he came to a pause for the introduction of a cadenza, at rehearsal, the musicians would frequently rise, eager to watch his performance, but Paganini would merely play a few notes, and then stopping suddenly would smile and say, “Et cetera, messieurs!” and reserve his strength for the public performance.
His peculiarities were shown strongly in his arrangements for personal comfort while travelling, for his constant suffering precluded the enjoyment of the beauties of nature. He was always cold, and even in summer kept a large cloak wrapped around him, and the windows of the carriage carefully closed. Before starting he took merely a basin of soup or a cup of chocolate, and though he frequently remained nearly the whole day without further refreshment, he slept a great deal and thus escaped some of the pain which the jolting of the carriage caused him. His luggage consisted of a small dilapidated trunk, which contained his violin, his jewels, his money, and a few fine linen articles. Besides this he had only a hat-case and a carpet-bag, and frequently a napkin would contain his entire wardrobe. In a small red pocketbook he kept his accounts and his papers, which represented an immense value, and nobody but himself could decipher the hieroglyphics which indicated his expenses and receipts. He cared not whether his apartment, at the inns on the road, was elegantly furnished or a mere garret, but he always kept the windows open in order to get an “air-bath,” contrary to his custom while in a carriage.
While the secret of Paganini’s marvellous technique was incessant hard work, to which he was urged not less by his own ambition than by his father’s cruelty, yet in later years he seldom practised, and his playing was chiefly confined to his concerts and rehearsals. There are several good stories dealing with this peculiarity. One man is said to have followed him around for months, taking the adjoining room at hotels, in order to find the secret of his success by hearing him practise. Once, when looking through the keyhole, he saw the virtuoso go to the violin case, take out the instrument, and after seeing that it was in tune,—put it back again.
Sir Charles Halle tells about seeing Paganini in Paris, where he used to spend an hour every day sitting in a publisher’s shop, “a striking, awe-inspiring, ghostlike figure.” Halle was introduced to him, but conversation was difficult, for Paganini sat there taciturn, rigid, hardly ever moving a muscle of his face. He made the young pianist play for him frequently, indicating his desire by pointing at the piano with his long, bony hand, without speaking. Halle was dying to hear the great violinist play, and one day, after they had enjoyed a long silence, Paganini rose and went to his violin case. He took the violin out, and began to tune it carefully with his fingers, without using the bow. Halle’s agitation was becoming intolerable, for he thought that the moment had arrived at which his desire was to be gratified. But when Paganini had satisfied himself that his violin was all right, he carefully put it back in the case and shut it up.
Paganini was notoriously parsimonious, and it was related that one evening in Florence he left his hotel rather late, jumped into a coach and ordered the man to drive him to the theatre. The distance was short, but he felt that it would not do to keep the public waiting. He was to play the prayer from “Moses” on one string. On arrival at the theatre he asked the driver, “How much?” “For you,” replied the Jehu, “ten francs.” “What? Ten francs? You joke,” replied the virtuoso. “It is only the price of a ticket to your concert,” was the excuse. Paganini hesitated a moment, and then handed to the man what he considered to be a fair remuneration, saying, “I will pay you ten francs when you drive me on one wheel.”
At one time Paganini astonished the world by making to Hector Berlioz the magnificent present of twenty thousand francs. Berlioz was at that time almost in a state of despair. His compositions were not appreciated, and he was at a loss to know which way to turn. He made a final effort and gave a last concert, at which Paganini was present and congratulated him.
Jules Janin, the celebrated critic and writer, went into ecstasies over the affair. Paganini, he said, who had been attacked for hard-heartedness and avarice, was present at the concert, and at the end prostrated himself before Berlioz, and shed tears. Hope returned and Berlioz went home in triumph, for he had satisfied one great musical critic. The next day he received a note from Paganini enclosing twenty thousand francs, to be devoted to three years of repose, study, liberty, and happiness.
In Sir Charles Halle’s biography, however, this story receives important modifications. It appears that Armand Bertin, the wealthy proprietor of the Journal des Debates, had a high regard for Berlioz, who was on his staff, and knew of his struggles, which he was anxious to lighten. He resolved, therefore, to make him a present of twenty thousand francs, and to enhance the moral effect of this gift he persuaded
Paganini created the difficulties which he performed. He had a style of his own, and was most successful in playing his own compositions. In Paris, when, out of respect to the Parisians, he played a concerto by Rode, and one by Kreutzer, he scarcely rose above mediocrity, and he was well aware of his failure. He adopted the ideas of his predecessors, resuscitated forgotten effects and added to them, and the chief features of his performance were, the diversity of tones produced, the different methods of tuning his instrument, the frequent employment of double and single harmonics, the simultaneous use of pizzicato and bow passages, the use of double and triple notes, the various staccati, and a wonderful facility for executing wide intervals with unerring accuracy, together with a great variety of styles of bowing. The quality of tone which he produced was clear and pure, but not excessively full, and, according to Fetis, he was a master of technique and phrasing rather than a pathetic player,—there was no tenderness in his accents.
It is said that Baillot used to hide his face when Paganini played a pizzicato with the left hand, harmonics, or a passage in staccato. Dancla, in his recollections, says: “I had noticed in Paganini his large, dry hand, of an astonishing elasticity; his fingers long and pointed, which enabled him to make enormous stretches, and double and triple extensions, with the utmost facility. The double and triple harmonics, the successions of harmonics in thirds and sixths, so difficult for small hands, owing to the stretch they require, were to him as child’s play. When playing an accentuated pizzicato with the left hand, while the melody was played by the hand of the bow, the fourth finger pinched the string with prodigious power even when the other three fingers were placed.”
There are anecdotes told of Paganini’s artistic contests with rival violinists, chief among whom were Lafont and Lipinski, both of whom he eclipsed, and of his playing a concerto in manuscript at sight, with the music upside down on the rack.
Of his appearance we are told, in an account of a concert in London: “A tall, haggard figure, with long, black hair, strangely falling down to his shoulders, slid forward like a spectral apparition. There was something awful, unearthly in that countenance; but his play! our pen seems involuntarily to evade the difficult task of giving utterance to sensations which are beyond the reach of language.” After detailing the performance, the account continues: “These excellencies consist in the combination of absolute mechanical perfection of every imaginable kind, perfection hitherto unknown and unthought of, with the higher attributes of the human mind, inseparable from eminence in the fine arts, intellectual superiority, sensibility, deep feeling, poesy, genius.”
In regard to this accomplishment of playing on one string, a critic said: “To effect so much on a single string is truly wonderful; nevertheless any good player can extract more from two than from one. If Paganini really produces so much effect on a single string, he would certainly obtain more from two. Then why not employ them? We answer, because he is waxing exceedingly wealthy by playing on one.” Paganini seems to have reasoned from the opposite point, viz., that if the retention of two strings be regarded with such wonder, how much greater the marvel will be if only one is used.
To offset these suggestions of charlatanism, or perhaps rather to show that, with all his charlatanism, Paganini was a marvel, we may see what effect his playing had upon some men who were not likely to be caught by mere trickery. Rossini, upon being asked how he liked Paganini, replied: “I have wept but three times in my life; the first, on the failure of my earliest opera; the second time, when, in a boat with some friends, a turkey stuffed with truffles fell overboard; and thirdly, when I heard Paganini play for the first time.”
Spohr, after hearing him play, in 1830, said: “Paganini came to Cassel and gave two concerts, which I heard with great interest. His left hand and his constantly pure intonation were, to me, astonishing; but in his compositions and his execution I found a strange mixture of the highly genial and the childishly tasteless, by which one felt alternately charmed and disappointed.”
George Hogarth, the musical critic, writes about Paganini’s “running up and down a single string, from the nut to the bridge, for ten minutes together, or playing with the bow and the fingers of his right hand, mingling pizzicato and arcato notes with the dexterity of an Indian juggler.” It was not, however, by such tricks as these, but in spite of them, that he gained the suffrages of those who were charmed by his truly great qualities,—his soul of fire, his boundless fancy, his energy, tenderness, and passion; these are the qualities which give him a claim to a place among the greatest masters of the art.
Perhaps the finest description of Paganini is the one written by Leigh Hunt:
“So play’d of late to every
With finest change (might I but half as well
So write) the pale magician of the bow,
Who brought from Italy the tales, made true,
Of Grecian lyres; and on his sphery hand,
Loading the air with dumb expectancy,
Suspended, ere it fell, a nation’s breath;
“Of witches’ dance, ghastly
with whinings thin,
And palsied nods—mirth, wicked, sad, and weak;
And then with show of skill mechanical,
Marvellous as witchcraft he would overthrow
That vision with a show’r of notes like hail;
Flashing the sharp tones now,
In downward leaps like swords; now rising fine
Into some utmost tip of minute sound,
From whence he stepp’d into a higher and higher
On viewless points, till laugh took leave of him.
“Then from one chord of his amazing
Would he fetch out the voice of quires, and weight
Of the built organ; or some twofold strain
Moving before him like some sweet-going yoke,
Ride like an Eastern conqueror, round whose state
Some light Morisco leaps with his guitar;
And ever and anon o’er these he’d throw
Jets of small notes like pearl.”
1800 To 1830.
Paganini was an epoch-making artist. He revolutionised the art of violin playing, and to his influence, or through his example, were developed the modern French and Belgian schools. While Paganini was a genius, a great musician, and a wonderful violinist, he combined with these qualities that of a trickster, and the exponents of the modern French school adopted some of the less commendable features of Paganini’s playing, while the Belgian school followed the more serious lines, and became a much sounder school.
Alard, Dancla, and Maurin were exponents of the French school, while in that of Belgium we have De Beriot, Massart, Vieuxtemps, Leonard, Wieniawski.
Lambert Joseph Massart was born at Liege in 1811, and was first taught by an amateur named Delavau, who, delighted with the remarkable talent displayed by his young pupil, succeeded in securing for him, from the municipal authorities of Liege, a scholarship which enabled him to go to Paris.
On his arrival at the Conservatoire, Cherubini, who was splenetive and rash, refused him admission without assigning any reason for his decision, but Rudolph Kreutzer took upon his shoulders the task of forming the future artist.
Notwithstanding Massart’s great talent and excellent capabilities as an artist, he never became a success as a concert player, because of his inordinate shyness, but as a teacher few have equalled him.
Sir Charles Halle, in his autobiography, tells a good anecdote concerning Massart’s shyness and modesty. Massart was to play, with Franz Liszt, a program which included the Kreutzer sonata. Just as the sonata was begun a voice from the audience called out “Robert le Diable,” referring to Liszt’s brilliant fantasia on themes from that opera, which he had recently composed, and had played several times with immense success. The call was taken up by other voices, and the sonata was drowned. Liszt rose and bowed, and presently, in response to the continued applause, he said: “I am always the humble servant of the public. But do you wish to hear the fantasia before or after the sonata?”
Renewed cries of “Robert” were the only reply, upon which Liszt turned half around to Massart and dismissed him with a wave of the hand, but without a word of excuse or apology. Liszt’s performance roused the audience to a perfect frenzy, but Massart nevertheless most dutifully returned and played the Kreutzer sonata, which fell entirely flat after the dazzling display of the great pianist.
Few teachers have formed as many distinguished pupils as Massart, for in 1843 he was appointed professor of violin at the Paris Conservatoire, where his energy, care, exactness, and thoroughness brought him an immense reputation. Lotto, Wieniawski, Teresina Tua, and a host of other distinguished violinists studied under him: among them also was Charles M. Loeffler, of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Massart was also an excellent quartet player and gave many delightful chamber concerts, with his wife, who was a pianist. He died in Paris, February 13, 1892.
Charles Auguste de Beriot, who holds a position of great importance in the history of violin playing and composition, was born in 1802 at Louvain. He had the misfortune to be left an orphan at the age of nine. His parents were of noble extraction, but at their death he was left entirely without fortune, and was taken in charge by M. Tiby, a professor of music, who had noticed the little boy’s love of the musical art, and had already taught him to such good purpose that he was able even at that time to play one of Viotti’s concertos in public so skilfully that he received the hearty applause of the audience. He also took lessons of Roberrechts, one of Viotti’s most noted pupils.
De Beriot was a youth of contemplative mind and of high moral character. He formed the acquaintance of the scholar and philosopher Jacotot, who imbued him with principles of self-reliance, and exerted an influence over him which lasted throughout his life.
De Beriot learned from his guide, philosopher, and friend that “perseverance triumphs over all obstacles,” and that “we are not willing to do all that we are able to do.”
At the age of nineteen De Beriot went to Paris, taking with him a letter of introduction to Viotti, who was then the director of music at the Opera, and he succeeded in gratifying his greatest ambition, which was to be heard by that illustrious violinist.
Viotti gave him the following advice: “You have a fine style. Give yourself up to the business of perfecting it. Hear all men of talent, profit by everything, but imitate nothing.”
De Beriot applied himself assiduously to his studies, entering the Paris Conservatoire and taking lessons of Baillot. In a few months, however, he withdrew from the Conservatoire and relied upon his own resources. He soon began to appear in concerts, generally playing compositions of his own, which won him universal applause by their freshness and originality as much as by his finished execution and large style of cantabile.
In 1826 he went to London from Paris, his first appearance taking place on May 1st, before the Philharmonic Society. Wherever he appeared, either in London or the provinces, he was greeted with enthusiasm, and he established a lasting reputation.
His appearance in England antedated that of Paganini by about five years, and it has been questioned whether the impression which he made would have been less if he had appeared after instead of before the great Italian. It seems, however that De Beriot continued to meet with success even after the advent of Paganini. His playing was distinguished by unfailing accuracy of intonation, great neatness and facility of bowing, grace, elegance, and piquancy.
After travelling for some years he returned to Belgium, where he was appointed solo violin to the King of the Netherlands. He had held the position but a short time when the revolution of 1830 broke out and deprived him of it.
He returned to Paris, and now began the most romantic portion of his life. Madame Malibran, whose brilliant career was then at its height, was singing in opera, and De Beriot became acquainted with her. The acquaintance ripened into the most intimate friendship, and in 1832 a concert company was formed, consisting of Malibran, De Beriot, and Luigi Lablache, the celebrated and gigantic basso. They made a tour of Italy, meeting with the most extraordinary success.
De Beriot and the beautiful Madame Malibran were now inseparable. Malibran had for some years been living apart from her husband, an American merchant, who, with the view of supporting himself by her talents, had married her when on the brink of financial collapse. In 1835 she succeeded in securing a divorce from him, and then she married De Beriot.
A few months after their marriage Malibran was thrown from her horse and sustained internal injuries of such severity that she died after an illness of nine days, and De Beriot became frantic with grief.
More than a year elapsed before he could at all recover from the effects of his irreparable loss, and his first appearance in concert, after this tragic event, was when Pauline Garcia, the sister of Madame Malibran, made her first debut in a concert at Brussels given for the benefit of the poor.
In 1841 De Beriot married Mlle. Huber, daughter of a magistrate of Vienna. He returned to Brussels, and became director of the violin classes at the Conservatoire, after which he ceased giving concerts. He remained in this position until 1852, when failing eyesight caused him to retire, and he died at Louvain in 1870.
Before his acquaintance with Madame Malibran, De Beriot was a suitor for the hand of Mlle. Sontag, and her rejection of him threw him into a state of despondency, from which it required the brilliancy and wit of Malibran to rouse him.
De Beriot left a number of compositions which abound in pleasing melodies, have a certain easy, natural flow, and bring out the characteristic effects of the instrument in the most brilliant manner. There are seven concertos, eleven “airs variees,” several books of studies, four trios and a number of duets for piano and violin. His “Violin School” has been published in many languages and used a great deal by students.
Delphin Jean Alard was at one time a favourite violinist in France. In 1842 he succeeded Baillot as professor of violin at the Conservatoire in Paris. He was first soloist in the royal band, to which post he was appointed in 1858, and he was presented with the Cross of the Legion of Honour.
Alard was born at Bayonne in March, 1815, and was well taught from his earliest youth. He appeared in concerts at the age of ten, and at twelve entered the Paris Conservatoire, where he became a pupil of Habeneck, while Fetis taught him composition. He was the winner of numerous prizes, and he also wrote a great deal of music for the violin. His greatest pupil was Sarasate.
Alard married the daughter of Vuillaume, one of the best violin makers of France, and through him became the owner of one of the most beautiful Stradivarius violins. Alard died in Paris, February 22, 1881.
Hubert Leonard was born at Bellaire, near Liege, in 1819, but unlike the majority of violinists he did not appear in concerts at an early age, nor did he enter the Paris Conservatoire until he was seventeen. At this time the wife of a wealthy merchant in Brussels took interest in him and provided the means necessary for him to go to Paris. In 1844 he appeared at Leipzig, and created a deep impression by the beauty of his tone and his elegant performance. He travelled through Europe and played chiefly his own compositions, of which there are a great many, but his greatest fame was earned after he was appointed professor at the Brussels Conservatoire, where he had many pupils, of whom the most celebrated is, perhaps, Martin Marsick.
Concerning the merits of Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst there seems to be a wide difference of opinion between various commentators. He was a man of warm, impulsive nature, whose playing was distinguished by great boldness in the execution of technical difficulties of the most hazardous nature. His tone had a peculiar charm, and at the same time his fiery, impetuous nature and uneven disposition led to certain occasional errors in technique and faulty intonation. Nevertheless, he was one of the most welcome performers in the concert halls of Europe for a number of years. He was a thorough musician and a good composer, though his works are so full of technical difficulties as to be almost impossible of performance. Indeed it is said that some of them contained difficulties which even he could not always overcome.
Born in Moravia at the town of Bruenn in 1814, he entered the Vienna conservatory, and in 1830 made his first concert tour through Munich and Paris. Paganini was at that time travelling in Europe, and Ernst, in the desire to learn something from this great artist, followed him from town to town, and endeavoured to model his own playing upon the style of the Italian virtuoso, an effort which seems to have brought down upon him the censure of some critics, but which others have considered highly praiseworthy.
In 1832 he settled in Paris, where he studied hard under De Beriot, and played in concerts frequently. After 1844 he lived chiefly in England, where he was highly appreciated, until the approach of his fatal disease made it necessary for him to give up, first, public performances, and then violin playing of any kind. He died at Nice after eight years of intense suffering, in 1865.
When Ernst died the critic of the Atheneum compared him with other players of his day in the following words: “Less perfection in his polish, less unimpeachable in the diamond lustre and clearness of his tone, than De Beriot, Ernst had as much elegance as that exquisite violinist, with greater depth of feeling. Less audaciously inventive and extravagant than Paganini, he was sounder in taste, and, in his music, with no lack of fantasy, more scientific in construction.... The secret, however, of Ernst’s success, whether as a composer or a virtuoso, lay in his expressive power and accent. There has been nothing to exceed these as exhibited by him in his best days. The passion was carried to its utmost point, but never torn to tatters, the freest use of tempo rubato permitted, but always within the limits of the most just regulation.”
Among the violinists of this period (those who were born between 1800 and 1830) will be found those who first visited the United States. In 1843 Ole Bull found his way to these shores, and in the following year both Vieuxtemps and Artot were giving concerts in New York. A kind of triangular duel took place, for the admirers of Artot and Vieuxtemps, who were chiefly the French residents of the city, endeavoured to belittle the capabilities of Ole Bull, who nevertheless appears to have been very successful, and if anything, to have benefited by the competition. Musical culture was, at that time, in a very low state in America, and one may judge somewhat of its progress by the press criticisms of the artists who visited the country from time to time. It will be seen that those who, like Ole Bull, Sivori, and Remenyi, applied their talents to the elaboration of popular airs and operatic themes were able to elicit the warmest praise. Vieuxtemps appears to have appealed to the cultured minority and was understood and appreciated by very few.
Flowery language was used without stint, and was frequently misapplied in the most ludicrous manner, as will be seen by the following extract:
“Since the death of his great master, the weird Paganini, Ole Bull had been left without a rival in Europe. Herwig, Nagel, Wallace, Artot, and De Beriot can only ‘play second fiddle’ to this king of the violin. His entrance upon the stage is remarkably modest, and after the Parisian graces of Artot seems a little awkward; a tip of his bow brings a crash from the orchestra. He then lays his cheek caressingly on the instrument, which gradually awakes, and wails, and moans, like an infant broken of its slumber. Every tone seems fraught with human passion. At one time he introduces a dialogue, in which a sweet voice complains so sadly that it makes the heart ache with pity, which is answered from another string with imprecations so violent and threatening that one almost trembles with fear. We fancied that a young girl was pleading for the life of her lover, and receiving only curses in reply.
Page 42At the close of the first piece, the ‘Adagio Maestoso,’ there was one universal shout of applause, which afforded an infinite relief to a most enthusiastic house that had held its breath for fifteen minutes. Ole Bull came before the curtain and bowed, with his hand upon his heart. There is something different in his performance from that of any other artist, and yet it is difficult to describe the peculiarity of his style, except that he touches all the strings at once, and plays a distinct accompaniment with the fingers of his right hand. But the charm is in the genius of the man and the grandeur of his compositions. He knows how to play upon the silver cord of the heart which binds us to a world of beauty, and vibrates only when touched by a master hand.”
The sentiments and emotions aroused in the breast of this critic appear to have been those with which Paganini inspired his audience, when he played a duet on two strings, as related in an earlier chapter. Ole Bull was a child of nature, he gave his audience a description of the beauties of nature, and behold! it is interpreted as a story of human passions,—a high tribute to descriptive music.
The following criticism seems more in keeping with the ideas known to have been held by the violinist, and almost leads one to imagine that the critic was fortunate enough to obtain an interview with the virtuoso before writing his account:
“To what shall we compare Ole Bull’s playing? Was it like some well-informed individual who has seen the world and who spices his tales of men and things with song and story—now describing the beauties of Swiss scenery, now repeating the air which he caught up one moonlight night on the Bosphorus, and anon relating a stirring joke which he gleaned on the Boulevard. Such a man would create an impression on any small tea-party, but that violin did more—the comparison fails. There might be to him who chose to give rein to his fancy a vision at one moment of the old ivy-covered church and the quiet graveyard, the evening sun streaming through the rich stained glass, the organ faintly heard through the long aisles and the deep chancel, and around and about the singing of some bird of late hours, and the hum of the bee as he flew by, well laden, to his storehouse of sweets.
“Then the clouds flew fearfully, and the wind moaned through the boughs of the old oak-tree in its winter dishabille, and so down to the seashore, when it rushed over cliffs and crags and knocked off the caps of the mad waves and sped on like a tyrant, crashing everything in its way and rejoicing in its might. And so we glided oddly but easily enough into the ballroom, where mirth and laughter, bright eyes, fairy feet, and all that was good and pleasant to behold flitted by. It was not all music that Ole Bull’s violin gave out. There were old memories and pleasant ones, ideas which shaped themselves
Page 43into all manners of queer visions; and the main difference between Ole Bull and those I have heard before him seemed to me to consist in this—that whereas many others may excite and hold by the button, as it were, the organ of hearing and the mind therewith immediately connected, Ole Bull awakens the other senses along with it and occupies them in the field of imagination.”
In 1846 came Sivori, and in 1848 Remenyi, both artists whose desire to please their audiences took them far from the path of the highest musical standard. It may be said with truth that the country was hardly ready for musicianship of the highest quality, and even in 1872, when Wieniawski came with the great pianist and composer, Rubinstein, the two were accepted on their reputation rather than on their merits, which were understood by a comparatively small proportion of their audiences.
Although several violinists endeavoured to copy Paganini’s style, or at least to learn as much as possible from hearing and seeing him play, there was only one, excepting Catarina Calcagno, who received direct instruction from him, and on whom his mantle was said, by his admirers, to have fallen. That one was Camillo Sivori, born at Genoa, June 6, 1817.
[Illustration: CAMILLO SIVORI]
The connecting link between Sivori and Paganini began very early in the career of the former. Indeed it is said that the excitement of his mother, on hearing Paganini play at a concert, caused the premature birth of the future disciple of the great artist. Marvellous stories are told of Sivori’s infancy. At the age of eighteen months, before he had ever seen or heard a violin player, he continually amused himself by using two pieces of stick after the manner of the violin and bow, and singing to himself. It is fair to say that similar precocity in other children has not always resulted in virtuosity. A case might be cited of a very young person who amused himself by inverting a small chair, and imagining that he was a street organist, but he grew to maturity without adopting that profession.
At two years of age, the account continues, he cried out lustily for a violin, and when his father, reduced to submission by the boy’s importunity, bought him a child’s violin, he at once began to apply himself, morning, noon, and night, to practising on this instrument, and without any aid he was able in a short time to play many airs he had heard his sisters play or sing. His renown spread through Genoa, and he was invited everywhere. At concerts and parties he was placed upon a table to play, and he was frequently called upon to perform before the king and the queen-dowager. He must have been a most wilful and embarrassing child, for the account goes on to say that he would not enter a church unless he heard music; but on the other hand, if he did hear music he insisted on going in, or else he would scream and make a terrible scene.
These anecdotes, told by an effusive admirer, seem rather ridiculous, but when Paganini visited Genoa, and Sivori was six years old, the virtuoso took a great deal of interest in the little fellow and gave him lessons. He also wrote a concerto for him, and six short sonatas with accompaniment for guitar, tenor, and ’cello, and these the young artist soon played in public. In six months Paganini left Genoa and desired to take his young pupil with him, but this was not allowed by the parents, and Sivori was placed under the tuition of Costa. Three years later Paganini returned to Genoa, and by his advice his protege was placed under M. Dellepaine, who taught him taste and expression, his lessons with Costa in technique continuing. In 1827 Sivori made a concert tour with M. Dellepaine, and visited Paris, where his playing at the Conservatoire won him great applause. He also appeared in England, after which he entered upon another serious course of study for several years, and perfected the tone which enraptured the world for so long, and at the same time he studied composition under Serra.
In 1839 his concert tours began again, and he visited Germany, Russia, Belgium, and Paris, where he played at the Conservatoire concerts and received the medal of honour.
Sivori now set out on extensive travels, and, after visiting England, proceeded, in 1846, to America, travelling through the United States, Mexico, and various parts of South America, spending eight years in these peregrinations, and amassing a considerable fortune. During this great tour he met with many adventures, frequently travelling on horseback, and at one time being at death’s door with yellow fever. On his return to Europe he shared the fate of many musicians who have achieved financial success, and lost his money by unfortunate investment, which made it necessary for him to resume his travels. He therefore visited Great Britain, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Portugal, etc.
He was, of course, compared to many of the great violinists of his time, who all had their special merits. One criticism, in which Sivori is compared with Spohr, may be interesting: “Spohr is of colossal stature, and looks more like an ancient Roman than a Brunswicker; Sivori is the antithesis of Spohr in stature. Spohr has the severe phlegmatic Teutonic aspect; Sivori has the flashing Italian eye and variability of feature. Spohr stands firm and still; Sivori’s body is all on the swing, he tears the notes, as it were, from his instrument. Spohr’s refinement and polish have been the characteristics of his playing; in Sivori it is wild energy—the soul in arms—the determination to be up and doing—the daring impulse of youthful genius. Spohr’s playing is remarkable for its repose and finish; Sivori electrifies by the most powerful appeals to the affections.”
Sivori was a man of generous impulses, and was seldom appealed to in vain to assist in a good cause. When his teacher, M. Dellepaine, was taken ill and was unable temporarily to fill his post of first violin at the theatre, and of director of the conservatoire at Genoa, Sivori replaced him in both and gave him the entire benefit of his services. After two years the teacher died, and Sivori still held the two places an entire year for the benefit of the widow, until a situation was procured for her which enabled her to live without further assistance.
At one time Sivori felt that the instrument which he played was not so perfect as to satisfy him. He asked Paganini to sell him one, and the reply was, “I will not sell you the violin, but I will present it to you in compliment to your high talents.” Sivori travelled to Nice to receive the instrument from his master’s own hands. Paganini was then—it was in 1840—in a deplorable condition, and could hardly speak. He signified a desire to hear his pupil play once more, and Sivori, withdrawing to a room a little way off, so that the sound of the instrument would not be too loud, played whatever Paganini called for. About two weeks later Paganini died.
In 1851 Halle wrote of him as follows:
“Sivori was here lately, but caused little furore; such rubbish as the man plays now I had never heard, and really, as an artist, felt ashamed of him.”
Sivori continued to play in public until 1864, when he visited London and played at the Musical Union and elsewhere, but his triumph in Paris in 1862 must not be forgotten. On that occasion he executed Paganini’s B minor concerto, and aroused immense enthusiasm, although he played immediately after Alard, who was at that time a prime favourite. During his later years Sivori lived in retirement, and he died February 18, 1894.
He was the first person allowed to play on the celebrated violin which Paganini bequeathed to the city of Genoa. He was also the first to play, with orchestra, Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in England. This performance was at the Philharmonic Society concert, June 29, 1846.
Henry Vieuxtemps was one of the greatest violinists of his time. He was born at Verviers, in Belgium, in 1820, and was brought up in a musical atmosphere. So early did his talent develop, that he played a concerto of Rode in public at the age of six, and the following year made a tour with his father and his teacher, Lecloux, during which he had the good fortune to meet De Beriot, before whom he played. During four years he remained a pupil of De Beriot, and when that artist left Paris, in 1831, Vieuxtemps went to Brussels, where he practised hard, but without a teacher, until 1833, when he again set out on a prolonged concert tour.
From this time on he seems to have spent the greater part of his time in travelling, for which he had a passion. He visited all parts of Europe and met most of the celebrated musicians of the day. Spohr, Molique, Schumann, Paganini, Henselt, and Richard Wagner were among the celebrities whom he met, and in his tours he was associated with Servais, Thalberg, and other well-known artists.
Not content with Europe as a field for conquest, he visited America in 1844, and again in 1857 and in 1870.
He was offered many excellent positions, some of which he held for a time and others he declined. In 1845 he married Josephine Eder, an eminent pianist of Vienna, and shortly after was appointed solo violinist to the Emperor of Russia, relinquishing that post six years later in order to travel again. He was professor at the Brussels conservatoire from 1871 to 1873, and in 1872 he was elected a member of the Academic Royale of Belgium, on which occasion he read a memoir of Etienne Jean Soubre.
In 1868 he suffered a double bereavement through the deaths, first of his father, and a short time later of his wife, and, to divert his mind from these troubles, he undertook a tour which lasted three years. During 1873 his active career was cut short by a stroke of paralysis which disabled his left side. He now travelled for health’s sake, and went to Algiers, where he lived quietly for several years. His life was brought to an end by a drunken Arab, who threw a large stone at him while he was riding in his carriage one day, striking him on the head.
As a violinist Vieuxtemps possessed a wonderful staccato, both on the up and down bow. His intonation was perfect. He was fond of strong dramatic accents and contrasts. As a composer for the violin he had wider success than any one since Spohr, but while some of his works contain really fine ideas worked out with much skill, others are merely show pieces of no particular value.
As a man Vieuxtemps had a gay and restless disposition. He was not easily depressed by trifles, and he enjoyed the freedom of a life of constant change and travel, and it was during his travels that most of his best compositions were written.
During the last few years of his active life, after his paralytic stroke had prevented his playing, he suffered much from his inability to demonstrate to his pupils the way in which certain passages should be played. Frequent outbursts of rage ensued, of which his pupils were obliged to bear the brunt, even to being prodded with his iron-shod stick. Sometimes scenes more amusing would occur, as when some grandees would visit the class, and Vieuxtemps would change his manner from smiles and affability while addressing them, to scowls and grimaces while talking to his pupils, the latter, of course, being invisible to the visitors.
When Vieuxtemps visited America in 1857, he was associated with Thalberg, the pianist, and together they visited many towns and cities. Amongst the gems of American newspaper criticism they no doubt took with them several copies of the following, which appeared in the local paper of a town in Tennessee, and was headed “Thalberg and Vieuxtemps:”
“These distinguished individuals are now at Nashville, giving high pressure concerts, and selling tickets at two dollars apiece, when convenient. A stage-load and a half or two stage-loads of ladies and gentlemen went down from this place to hear them. Thalberg is said to be death, in its most horried shape, on the piano, and it is probably true; while Vieuxtemps is represented as a fiddler of considerable skill, considering his opportunities, which he no doubt is. We haven’t heard either of them since they were quite small, and unless they come out here and reduce the price of their tickets to their value,—say about sixty-two and a half cents a dozen,—it is possible that we sha’n’t hear them any more. When we ride forty miles, at an expense of at least ten dollars, extras not included, to hear a couple of itinerant Dutchmen torture a brace of unoffending instruments into fits, until the very spirit of music howls in sympathy, if some one will cave in our head with a brickbat, we will feel greatly obliged.
“But seriously, Thalberg and Vieuxtemps have never done us any harm that we know of, and we don’t suppose they intend to. We wouldn’t much mind hearing their music, for no doubt it is nearly, if not quite, as good as that of the average common run of Dutchmen, which, as the latter will tell you, is saying a good deal.”
And yet musical culture was said to be in its infancy in America at that time!
In Boston, Vieuxtemps, after an absence of fourteen years, was criticised thus: “We cannot see in M. Vieuxtemps the spark of genius, but he is a complete musician, and the master of his instrument. Tone so rich, so pure, so admirably prolonged and nourished, so literally drawn from the instrument, we have scarcely heard before; nor such vigour, certainty, and precision, such nobility and truth in every motion and effect. We recognise the weakness for sterile difficulties of extreme harmonics.”
Vieuxtemps was also subject to comparison with Sivori, rather to the former’s disparagement. “The one plays the violin like a great musician, the other like a spoiled child of nature, who has endowed him with the most precious gifts. Intrepid wrestlers, both, and masters of their instrument, they each employ a different manner. M. Vieuxtemps never lets you forget that he plays the violin, that the wonders of mechanism which he accomplishes under your eye are of the greatest difficulty and have cost him immense pains, whereas M. Sivori has the air of being ignorant that he holds in his hands one of the most complicated instruments that exists, and he sings to you like Malibran. He sings, he weeps, he laughs on the violin like a very demon.”
The following paragraph is a good sample of New York musical journalism in the year 1844:
“Vieuxtemps’s first concert on Monday night was a very stylish jam. He is a small, puny-built man, with gold rings in his ears, and a face of genteel ugliness, but touchingly lugubrious in its expression. With his violin at his shoulder, he has the air of a husband undergoing the nocturnal penance of walking the room with ’the child’—and performing it, too, with unaffected pity. He plays with the purest and coldest perfection of art, and is doubtless more learned on the violin than either of the rival performers [Ole Bull and Artot], but there is a vitreous clearness and precision in his notes that would make them more germane to the humour of before breakfast than to the warm abandon of vespertide. His sister travels with him (a pretty blonde, very unlike him), and accompanies him on the piano.”
Vieuxtemps also visited America in 1870, with the celebrated singer Christine Nilsson.
Among the celebrated violinists of this period must be mentioned Bernhard Molique, of whom Sir Charles Halle says that he was a good executant, knowing no difficulties, but his style was polished and cold, and he never carried his public with him. “Ernst,” he continues, “was all passion and fire, regulated by reverence for and clear understanding of the masterpieces he had to interpret. Sainton was extremely elegant and finished in his phrasing, but vastly inferior to the others. Vieuxtemps was an admirable violinist and a great musician, whose compositions deserve a much higher rank than it is the fashion to accord them.”
Molique was the son of a town musician of Nuremberg, and became a composer whose works have stood the test of time. He was a pupil of Kreutzer and of Spohr, and held the position of director and first violinist of the royal band at Stuttgart. He had a number of excellent pupils, of whom John T. Carrodus was the best known. He died at Stuttgart in 1869.
Henry Gamble Blagrove was a musical prodigy, who began the study of the violin at the age of four, and appeared in public a year later. He was born at Nottingham in 1811, and at six years of age played at Drury Lane. He studied abroad with Spohr, and appeared in Vienna in 1836, but the greater part of his life was spent in England, where he was soloist in several of the best orchestras. He was a man of refreshing modesty, and was held in high esteem. He died in London in 1872.
Jacob Dont, of Vienna, and Jean Dancla, a French violinist, both belong to this period, and were teachers of reputation.
“A typical Norseman, erect of bearing, with a commanding presence and mobile, kindly face, from which the eyes shone clear and fearless as the spirits of old Norway hovering over his native mountains. He was a man to evoke respect and love under all conditions, and, when he stepped before an audience, roused an instantaneous throb of sympathy, of interest, before the sweep of his magical bow enthralled their souls with its melodious measures.” Such is an excellent pen picture of Ole Bull, who during the middle of the nineteenth century was known far and wide as a great violinist.
Among the celebrated musicians of all nations, Ole Bull will always remain a striking figure. As a musician, none so eminent has been so essentially a self-made man, none has grown up with so little influence from outside, none with a technique so essentially self-discovered. As a son of his country, none has retained so sturdy a sense of patriotism; none has, amid the more brilliant surroundings of a life spent in the gayest cities of the world, refused to be weaned from the poor northern, half-dependent state from which he issued a penniless lad.
Olaus Borneman Bull was born at Bergen, in Norway, February 5, 1810, and was the eldest of ten children. His father was a physician and apothecary. He was musical, as were several other members of his family, and little Ole’s love for music was fostered to a great degree at home by the Tuesday quartet meetings, at which his Uncle Jens played the ’cello.
In the early part of the century, the proverb, “Spare the rod and spoil the child,” was regarded as the foundation of education in most countries, and few children were allowed to spoil. All childish desires which conflicted with parental ideas were promptly suppressed by “the rod,” until by sheer strength they proved to be unsuppressible. Then they became great virtues. It was thus with Ole Bull. His first desire to hear the quartet music, which he gratified by hiding under sofas or behind curtains, was rewarded with the rod,—for he should have been in bed. After a time a concession was made through the intervention of Uncle Jens, and Ole was allowed to become familiar with the best music of the day.
Uncle Jens used to amuse himself with the small boy’s susceptibility to music, and would sometimes shut him up in the ’cello case, promising him some candy if he would stay there while he (Uncle Jens) played. But Ole could never endure the ordeal for long. He had to come out where he could see and hear.
His first violin was given him by Uncle Jens when he was five years old, and he soon learned to play it well without any instructor. He was not allowed to practise music until his study hours were over, and occasional breaches of this rule kept “the rod” active.
Ole Bull’s first instructor was a violinist named Paulsen, a man of convivial temperament, who used to come and enjoy the hospitality of Ole’s father and play “as long as there was a drop in the decanter,” with a view to educating the young artist, as he said. But Ole’s parents were thinking of prohibiting the violin altogether on the plea that it interfered too much with his studies, when the tide of affairs was changed by the following incident.
One Tuesday evening, Paulsen, who played first violin in the quartet, had been so convivial that he was unable to continue. In this unfortunate dilemma Uncle Jens called upon Ole, saying, “Come, my boy, do your best, and you shall have a stick of candy.” Ole quickly accepted the challenge, and as the quartet was one which he had several times heard, he played each movement correctly, much to the astonishment of all present.
This happened on his eighth birthday, and the event marked an epoch in his life, for he was elected an active member of the Tuesday club, and began to take lessons regularly of the convivial Paulsen.
There is a pathetic story of how Ole induced his father to buy a new violin for him, and, unable to restrain his desire to play it, he got up in the night, opened the case, and touched the strings. This furtive touch merely served to whet his appetite, and he tried the bow. Then he began to play very softly; then, carried away with enthusiasm, he played louder and louder, until suddenly he felt the sharp sting of his father’s whip across his shoulders, and the little violin fell to the floor and was broken.
From 1819 to 1822 Ole Bull received no violin instruction, for Paulsen had left Bergen without explanation, though it has been hinted that Ole Bull had outgrown him, and on that account he thought it wise to depart.
In 1822 a Swedish violinist came to Bergen, and Ole took lessons of him. His name was Lundholm, and he was a pupil of Baillot. Lundholm was very strict and would admit of no departure from established rules. He quite failed to make the boy hold his instrument according to the accepted method, but his custom of making his pupil stand upright, with his head and back against the wall while playing, no doubt gave to him that repose and grace of bearing which was so noticeable in later years. Lundholm was, however, quite unable to control his precocious pupil and a coolness soon sprung up between them, which appears to have culminated in the following incident.
On a Tuesday evening, at one of the regular meetings, Lundholm played Baillot’s “Caprizzi,” but Ole Bull was much disappointed at the pedantic, phlegmatic manner in which he rendered the passionate phrases. When the company went to supper Ole found on the leader’s music-rack a concerto of Spohr’s, and began to try it over. Carried away with the music, he forgot himself, and was discovered by Lundholm on his return, and scolded for his presumption.
“What impudence!” said the violinist. “Perhaps you think you could play this at sight, boy?” “Yes,” was the reply, “I think I could.” His remark was heard by the rest of the company, who were now returning, and they all insisted that he should try it. He played the allegro, and all applauded except Lundholm, who looked angry. “You think you can play anything,” he said, and, taking a caprice of Paganini’s from the stand, he added, “Try this.” It happened that this caprice was a favourite of the young violinist, who had learned it by heart. He therefore played it in fine style, and received the hearty applause of the little audience. Lundholm, however, instead of raving, was more polite and kind than he had ever been before, and told Ole that with practice he might hope to equal him (Lundholm) some day.
Years afterwards, when Ole Bull was making a concert tour through Norway, and was travelling in a sleigh over the snow-covered ground, he met another sleigh coming from the opposite direction, of which the occupant recognised him, and made signs to him to stop. It was Lundholm. “Well,” shouted he, “now that you are a famous violinist, remember that when I heard you play Paganini I predicted that your career would be a remarkable one.”
“Oh,” exclaimed Ole Bull, “you were mistaken, for I did not read that piece, I knew it before.” “It makes no difference,” was the reply, as the sleighs parted.
As young Ole approached manhood, and developed in strength and stature, we find him asserting his independence. His father, who intended him to be a clergyman, engaged a private tutor named Musaeus, who, when he found that Ole’s musical tastes conflicted with his studies, forbade him to play the violin, so that the boy could only indulge at night in an inclination which, under restraint, became a passion. Ole and his brothers had long and patiently borne both with cross words and blows from this worthy pedagogue, and at length decided to rebel. Accordingly when one morning at half-past four the tutor appeared and dragged out the youngest from his warm bed, Ole sprang upon him and a violent struggle ensued. The household was aroused, and in a few moments the parents appeared on the spot in time to see Musaeus prostrate upon the floor and suing for peace. Contrary to his expectations, Ole found himself taken more into his father’s confidence, and as a result he became more desirous than ever of carrying out his father’s wishes.
In 1828 he went to the university in Christiania, where, in spite of the best intentions, he soon found himself musical director of the Philharmonic and Dramatic Societies, a position which gave him independence, and somewhat consoled him for his failure to pass his entrance examinations for the university. His father reluctantly forgave him, and he was now, in spite of everything, fairly launched upon a musical career.
He was not long contented to remain in Christiania. His mind was in a state of restless agitation, and he determined to go to Cassel, and seek out Spohr, whose opinion he desired to secure. He accordingly left Christiania on May 18, 1829. His departure was so hurried that he left his violin behind, and it had to be forwarded to him by his friends. This suddenness was probably caused by the fact that he had taken part in the observance of Independence Day on May 17th, a celebration which had been interdicted by the government.
On reaching Cassel he went to Spohr, who accorded him a cold reception. “I have come more than five hundred miles to hear you,” said Ole Bull, wishing to be polite. “Very well,” was the reply, “you can now go to Nordhausen; I am to attend a musical festival there,” Bull therefore went to Nordhausen, where he heard a quartet by Maurer, of which Spohr played the first violin part. He was so overwhelmed with disappointment at the manner in which the quartet was played by the four masters that he came to the conclusion that he was deceived in his aspirations, and had no true calling for music.
Spohr was a most methodical man, and had no appreciation for wild genius. He saw only the many faults of the self-taught youth, and coldly advised him to give up his idea of a musical career, declining to accept him as a pupil. Some five years later, Bull having in the meantime refused to accept this advice, which did not coincide with his own inclinations, Spohr heard him play, and wrote thus of him: “His wonderful playing and sureness of his left hand are worthy of the highest admiration, but, unfortunately, like Paganini, he sacrifices what is artistic to something that is not quite suitable to the noble instrument. His tone, too, is bad, and since he prefers a bridge that is quite plain, he can use A and D strings only in the lower positions, and even then pianissimo. This renders his playing (when he does not let himself loose with some of his own pieces) monotonous in the extreme. We noticed this particularly in two Mozart quartets he played at my house. Otherwise he plays with a good deal of feeling, but without refined taste.”
After his discouraging interview with Spohr, Ole Bull returned to Norway, making, on the way, a short visit to Goettingen, where he became involved in a duel.
Feeling that his own capabilities were worth nothing, after what he had seen and heard in Germany, Ole Bull returned home in a despondent state of mind, but, on passing through a town where he had once led the theatre orchestra, he was recognised, welcomed, and compelled to direct a performance, and thus he once more fell under the influence of music, and began to apply himself vigorously to improvement.
In 1831 he went to Paris in order to hear Paganini, and if possible to find some opportunity to improve himself. He failed to enter the Conservatoire, but he succeeded in hearing Paganini, and this, according to his own account, was the turning-point of his life. Paganini’s playing made an immense impression on him, and he threw himself with the greatest ardour into his technical studies, in order that he might emulate the feats performed by the great Italian.
His stay in Paris was full of adventure. He was hampered by poverty, and frequently in the depths of despair. At one time he is said to have attempted suicide by drowning in the Seine. There is also a story told to the effect that the notorious detective, Vidocq, who lived in the same house with him, and knew something of his circumstances, prevailed upon him to risk five francs in a gambling saloon. Vidocq stood by and watched the game, and Ole Bull came away the winner of eight hundred francs, presumably because the detective was known, and the proprietors of the saloon considered discretion to be the better part of valour. It was a delicate method of making the young man a present in a time of difficulty, but one of which the moral effect could hardly fail to be injurious.
At one time, when he was ill and homeless, he entered a house in the Rue des Martyrs in which there were rooms to let. He was received and treated kindly, and was nursed through a long illness by the landlady and her granddaughter.
He tried to secure a place in the orchestra of the Opera Comique, but his arrogance lost him the position, for when he was requested to play a piece at sight, it seemed to him so simple that he asked at which end he should begin. This offence caused him to be rejected without a hearing.
Fortune, however, began at last to smile upon him when he made the acquaintance of M. Lacour, a violin maker, who conceived the idea of engaging him to show off his violins. Ole Bull accordingly played on one of them at a soiree given by the Duke of Riario, Italian charge d’affaires in Paris. He was almost overcome by the smell of assafoetida which emanated from the varnish, and which was caused by the heat. Nevertheless, he played finely, and as a result was invited to breakfast the next morning by the Duke of Montebello, Marshal Ney’s son. This brought him into contact with Chopin, and shortly afterwards he gave his first concert under the duke’s patronage, and with the assistance of Ernst, Chopin, and other celebrated artists.
He now made a concert tour through Switzerland to Italy, and on reaching Milan he played at La Scala, where he made an immense popular success, but drew from one of the journals a scathing criticism, which, however humiliating it may have been, struck him by its truth.
“M. Bull played compositions by Spohr, Mayseder, and Paganini without understanding the true character of the music, which he marred by adding something of his own. It is quite obvious that what he adds comes from genuine and original talent, from his own musical individuality; but he is not master of himself; he has no style; he is an untrained musician. If he be a diamond, he is certainly in the rough and unpolished.”
Ole Bull sought out the writer of this criticism, who gave him valuable advice, and for six months he devoted himself to ardent study under the guidance of able masters. In this way he learned to know himself, the nature and limitations of his own talent.
We now arrive at the point in Ole Bull’s career at which he became celebrated, and this was due to accident. He was at Bologna, where De Beriot and Malibran were to appear at one of the Philharmonic concerts. By chance Malibran heard that De Beriot was to receive a smaller sum than that which had been agreed upon for her services, and in a moment of pique she sent word that she was unable to appear on account of indisposition. De Beriot also declared himself to be suffering from a sprained thumb.
It happened that Madame Colbran (Rossini’s first wife) had one day heard Ole Bull practising as she passed his window, and now she remembered the fact, and advised the Marquis Zampieri, who was the director of the concerts, to hunt up the young violinist. Accordingly, Ole Bull, who had gone to bed very early, was roused by a tap on the door, and invited to improvise on the spot for Zampieri. Bull was then hurried off, without even time to dress himself suitably for the occasion, and placed before a most distinguished audience, which contained the Duke of Tuscany and other celebrities, besides De Beriot, with his arm in a sling.
His playing charmed and captivated the audience, although he was almost overcome with exhaustion. After taking some food and wine he appeared again, and this time he asked for a theme on which to improvise. He was given three, and, instead of making a selection, he took all three and interwove them in so brilliant a manner that he carried the audience by storm. He was at once engaged for the next concert, and made such success that he was accompanied to his hotel by a torchlight procession, and his carriage drawn home by the excited people.
Ole Bull continued his triumphant course through Italy. At Lucca he played at the duke’s residence, where the queen-dowager met with a surprise, as Ole refused to begin playing until she stopped talking. At Naples he experienced the misfortune of having his violin stolen, and he was obliged to buy a Nicholas Amati, for which he paid a very high price. After playing and making a great success in Rome, he returned to Paris, where he now found the doors of the Grand Opera open to him, and he gave several concerts there.
In 1836 he married Felicie Villernot, the granddaughter of the lady in whose house he had met with so much kindness during his first stay in Paris.
Following the advice of Rossini, he went to London, where he made his usual success, notwithstanding the intrigues of certain musicians, who endeavoured to discredit him. Such was his popularity in England that he received for one concert, at Liverpool, the sum of L800, and in sixteen months’ time he gave two hundred and seventy-four concerts in the United Kingdom.
He now decided to visit Germany, and on his way through Paris he made the acquaintance of Paganini, who greeted him with the utmost cordiality. He went through Germany giving many concerts, and visited Cassel, where he was now received by Spohr with every mark of distinction. He played in Berlin, where his success was great, notwithstanding some adverse criticism. He also played in Vienna and Buda-Pesth, and so on through Russia. At St. Petersburg he gave several concerts before audiences of five thousand people. He now went through Finland and so on to Sweden and Norway, where he was feted.
Although closely followed by Vieuxtemps and Artot, Ole Bull was the first celebrated violinist to visit America, and in 1843 he made his first trip, landing in Boston in November of that year and proceeding directly to New York, playing for the first time on Evacuation Day. “John Bull went out on this day,” he said, “and Ole Bull comes in.” He remained two years in the United States, during which time he played in two hundred concerts and met with many remarkable adventures. During his sojourn he wrote a piece called “Niagara,” which he played for the first time in New York, and which became very popular. He also wrote “The Solitude of the Prairies,” which won more immediate success.
He travelled during these two years more than one hundred thousand miles, and played in every city of importance. He is estimated to have netted by his trip over $80,000, besides which he contributed more than $20,000, by concerts, to charitable institutions. No artist ever visited the United States and received so many honours.
In 1852 he returned to America, and this time he was destined to meet with tribulation. It was his desire to aid the poor of his country by founding a colony. He therefore bought a tract of land of 125,000 acres in Potter County, Pennsylvania, on the inauguration of which he stated his purpose: “We are to found a New Norway, consecrated to liberty, baptised with independence, and protected by the Union’s mighty flag.” Some three hundred houses were built, with a store and a church, and a castle on a mountain, which was designed for his permanent home. Hundreds flocked to the new colony, and the scheme took nearly the whole of his fortune.
Ole Bull now started on a concert tour together with little Adelina Patti, her sister Amalia Patti Strakosch, and Mr. Maurice Strakosch. Patti was then only eight years old, and was already exciting the wonder of all who heard her.
When crossing the Isthmus of Panama his violin was stolen by a native porter, and Ole Bull was obliged to remain behind to find his instrument, while the company went on to California. He was now taken down with yellow fever, and owing to a riot in the town he was entirely neglected, and was obliged to creep off his bed on to the floor in order to escape the bullets which were flying about. On his recovery he set out for San Francisco, but the season was too late for successful concerts. He was miserably weak, and when he played his skin would break and bleed as he pressed the strings.
He now heard that there was some trouble in regard to his title to the land in Pennsylvania, and, hastening to Philadelphia, he was legally notified that he was trespassing.
It transpired that the man who had sold the land to Ole Bull had no claim to it whatever, and had perpetrated a barefaced swindle, and now, having the money, he dared his victim to do his worst. The actual owner of the land, who had come forward to assert his rights, became interested in the scheme, and was willing to sell the land at a low price, but Ole now had no money. He instituted legal proceedings against the swindler, who, in return, harassed the violinist as much as possible, trying to prevent his concerts by arrests, and bringing suits against him for services supposed to have been rendered. It is even stated that an attempt was made to poison him, which only failed because the state of excitement in which he was at the time prevented his desire for food.
Ole Bull now set to work to retrieve his fortunes, but ill luck still followed him, and he fell a victim to chills and fever, was abandoned by his manager, and taken to a farm-house on a prairie in Illinois, where he endured a long illness. For five years he continued his struggle against misfortune, and during that period he made hosts of friends who did much to help him in one way and another. Nevertheless, when he gave his last concerts in New York, in 1857, he was still so ill that he had to be helped on and off the stage.
He now returned to Bergen, where the air of his native land soon restored him to health. On his arrival, however, he found that the report had been circulated that he had been speculating at the expense of his countrymen, and that they were the only sufferers by his misfortunes.
For a short time he assumed control of the National Theatre, but before long he was again on the road, giving concerts in various parts of Europe. While he was in Paris, in 1862, his wife died.
The year 1867 found him again in the United States, and during this tour he met at Madison, Wis., Miss Sara C. Thorpe, the lady who was to become his second wife. He also took part in the Peace Jubilee in Boston, in 1869.
When he sailed for Norway, in April, 1870 (he was to be married on his arrival), the New York Philharmonic Society presented him with a beautiful silken flag. This flag—the Norwegian colours with the star-spangled banner inserted in the upper staff section—was always carried in the seventeenth of May processions in Bergen, and floated on the fourth of July.
The remaining years of Ole Bull’s life were spent in comparative freedom from strife and struggle. He spent much of his time in Norway, but also found time for many concert tours. His sixty-sixth birthday was spent in Egypt, and he solemnised the occasion by ascending the Pyramid of Cheops and playing, on its pinnacle, his “Saeter-besoeg.” This performance took place at the suggestion of the King of Sweden, to whom the account was duly telegraphed the next morning from Cairo.
In Boston Ole Bull was always a great favourite and had many friends. He felt much interest in the Norsemen’s discovery of America, and took steps to bring the subject before the people of Boston. The result of his efforts is to be seen in the statue of Lief Ericsson, commemorative of the event, which adorns the Public Gardens.
In March and April, 1880, Ole Bull appeared at a few concerts in the Eastern cities, with Miss Thursby, and in June he sailed, for the last time, from America. He was in poor health, but, contrary to all hopes, the sea voyage did not improve his condition, and much anxiety was felt until his home was reached. A few weeks later he died, and, at the funeral, honours more than royal were shown. In the city of Bergen all business was suspended, and the whole population of the city stood waiting to pay their last respects to the celebrated musician and patriot.
Ole Bull was a man of remarkable character and an artist of undoubted genius. All who heard him, or came in contact with him, agree that he was far from being an ordinary man. Tall, of athletic build, with large blue eyes and rich flaxen hair, he was the very type of the Norseman, and there was something in his personal appearance and conversation which acted with almost magnetic power on those who approached him. He was a prince of story-tellers, and his fascination in this respect was irresistible to young and old alike, and its effect not unlike his violin playing.
In regard to his playing, his technical proficiency was such as very few violinists have ever attained to. His double stopping was perfect, his staccato, both upward and downward, of the utmost brilliancy, and though he cannot be considered a serious musician in the highest sense of the word, he played with warm and poetical, if somewhat sentimental, feeling. He has often been described as the “flaxen-haired Paganini,” and his style was to a great extent influenced by Paganini, but only so far as technicalities are concerned. In every other respect there was a wide difference, for while Paganini’s manner was such as to induce his hearers to believe that they were under the spell of a demon, Ole Bull took his hearers to the dreamy moonlit regions of the North. It is this power of conveying a highly poetic charm which enabled him to fascinate his audiences, and it is a power far beyond any mere trickster or charlatan. He was frequently condemned by the critics for playing popular airs, which indeed formed his greatest attraction for the masses of the people. He seldom played the most serious music, in fact, he confined himself almost entirely to his own compositions, most of which were of a nature to meet the demand of his American audiences.
When Ole Bull played in Boston in 1852, after having been absent for several years, during which time other violinists had been heard, John S. Dwight wrote of his performance thus: “We are wearied and confused by any music, however strongly tinged with any national or individual spirit, however expressive in detail, skilful in execution, and original or bold, or intense in feeling, if it does not at the same time impress us by its unity as a whole, by its development from first to last of one or more pregnant themes. As compositions, therefore, we do not feel reconciled to what Ole Bull seems fond of playing.... He cannot be judged by the usual standards, his genius is exceptional, intensely individual in all its forms and methods, belongs to the very extreme of the romantic as distinguished from the classical in art. He makes use of the violin and of the orchestra, in short of music, simply and mainly to impress his own personal moods, his own personal experience, upon the audiences. You go to hear Ole Bull, rather than to hear and feel his music. It is eminently a personal matter.... Considered simply as an executive power, he seems, after hearing so many good violinists for years past, to exceed them all—always excepting Henri Vieuxtemps.”
It may be said with truth that Ole Bull achieved his reputation at a time when it was comparatively easy to do so. There was very little musical cultivation in this country when he first appeared here, as may be easily imagined by a glance at the extracts from criticisms, given here and there. By his strong personality, apparent mastery of his instrument, and by being practically the sole occupant of the field, he became famous and popular. He prided himself
1830 TO 1850.
One of the most noticeable features of the biography of the violin virtuoso is that he invariably displays great talent at an early age and plays in public at any time from eight to twelve years old. There are doubtless more who do this than are ever heard of at a later day, for the idea of the infant phenomenon is alluring. The way of the violinist is hard. He has many years of study and self-denial before him, if he is to excel as a musician. Therefore the infant who can be exploited in such a manner as to make money provides for his future education, unless hard work or flattery kill him physically or intellectually before he is ripe. Many prodigies sink into oblivion,—some few rise to celebrity. It will be noticed that the violinists who played in public while very young have invariably settled down afterward to serious study, and at a more mature age have thus been able to take their place in the musical world.
Year by year, too, the demands upon the violinist have been greater. A virtuoso is judged rather by the standard of Beethoven’s concerto than by his ability to perform musical gymnastics with operatic selections. Nevertheless, it is a fact that many of the best known violinists were those who catered to the taste of the multitude, while many better musicians have been comparatively unknown.
Among celebrated violinists few have led more romantic or adventurous lives than Edouard Remenyi, whose name is not yet forgotten in this country. Born at Hewes, in Hungary, in 1830, he possessed the restless spirit of his race, fought in the insurrection of 1848, escaped to the United States when the insurrection was crushed, but was received into favour again a few years later, on his return to his native land.
From his twelfth to his fifteenth year he studied the violin at the Vienna Conservatoire under Boehm, who was also the teacher of Joachim. In 1848 he became adjutant to the distinguished General Goergey, and fought under Kossuth and Klapka in the war with Austria. Then came the flight to America, where he made a tour as a virtuoso, but in 1853 he visited Weimar, and sought out Franz Liszt, who at once recognised his genius and became his friend and guide.
In 1854 he went to London and was appointed solo violinist in the queen’s band, but when in 1860 he obtained his amnesty and returned to Hungary he was created solo violinist in the band of the Emperor of Austria.
His restless disposition would not allow him to remain long in one place, and in 1865 he once more began to travel. He visited Paris, where he created a perfect furore, and then continued his triumphant course through Germany, Holland, and Belgium. After settling in Paris for about two years, he returned in 1877 to London, where he repeated his Parisian successes, appearing, as in Paris, chiefly in the salons of wealthy patrons. During this visit to London he appeared in public only once, at Mapleson’s benefit at the Crystal Palace, when he played a fantasia on themes from the “Huguenots.” The following year he went once more to the United States, and on his way played at the promenade concerts in London. In America he remained for some years, and then proceeded in 1887 to the Cape of Good Hope and Madagascar. While on this voyage it was reported that his ship was wrecked and that he was drowned, and numerous obituary notices of him appeared in the newspapers throughout the world.
In 1891 he was once more in London, and played at the house of the late Colonel North, “the Nitrate King.” He now returned to the United States, where he passed the remainder of his days. His powers were, however, failing, and other violinists had brought new and perhaps higher interest to American audiences.
When Remenyi visited the United States in 1878, he arrived a few weeks after Wilhelmj, and notwithstanding the fact that the two violinists were widely different in temperament, ideas, musicianship, in fact in every particular, they were frequently made the subjects of comparison. At this time Remenyi played an “Otello Fantaisie,” “Suwanee River,” “Grandfather’s Clock,” etc. He was well sketched in a journal of the time, which said:
“Remenyi is gifted with a vivacious, generous, rather mocking disposition which rebels against monotony, and whose originality shines through everything, and in spite of everything. He is fluent in five or six languages, and entertains with droll conceits, or with reminiscences of famous artists and composers.... In the wild rhythms of the gypsy dance, in the fierce splendour of the patriotic hymn, the player and audience alike are fired with excitement. The passion rises, the tumult waxes furious; a tremendous sweep of the bow brings the music to an end; and then we can say that we have heard Remenyi.”
The gypsy dance and the patriotic hymn! And yet he was weighed in the balance with Wilhelmj, who played the grandest and best music in the most refined, musicianly manner, and whose tour in America marked an epoch in the musical life of the country.
In his prime Remenyi was the master of an enormous technique, and the possessor of a strongly pronounced poetic individuality. His whole soul was in his playing, and his impulse carried him away with it as he warmed to his task, and it carried the audience too. His greatest success was in the playing of Hungarian music, some of which he adapted for his instrument, but the stormier pieces of Chopin which he arranged for the violin were given by him with tremendous effect. In the more tender pieces, such as the nocturnes of Field and of Chopin, he played with the utmost dreaminess.
His individuality showed in his playing. He was impulsive and uncertain,—a wandering musician, who, when the whim took him, would disappear from public view altogether. When he made a success in any place his restless nature would not allow him to follow it up, so that when his prime was past, instead of having formed connections which should have lasted him for the rest of his life, he was still the wandering musician, but without the marvellous powers which he had wielded only a few years before.
During his long career he toured Australia and almost all the islands of the Pacific, also Java, China, and Japan; in fact, he went where few, if any, violinists of his ability had been before.
Once upon a time the representative of a London newspaper went to interview Remenyi, and was surprised to find that the violinist was not only willing to tell him much, but even proposed questions which he should answer. He said that he had played in the 60’s before the natives of South Africa, and had been shipwrecked, after which he had the pleasure of reading some very fine obituary notices. In New Zealand he found the Maoris perfectly reckless in their demand for encores, and instead of playing six pieces, as announced on his programmes, he frequently had to play sixteen.
In South Africa he discovered thirty out of his collection of forty-seven old and valuable violins. Most of them were probably the property of the Huguenots, who after the edict of Nantes went to Holland and thence to South Africa, to which place they were banished by the Dutch government.
It was related by Remenyi that when he was a young man in Hamburg, in 1853, he was to appear at a fashionable soiree one night, but at the last moment his accompanist was too ill to play. Remenyi went to a music store and asked for an accompanist. The proprietor sent Johannes Brahms, then a lad of sixteen, who was struggling for existence and teaching for a very small sum. Remenyi and Brahms became so interested in each other that they forgot all about the soiree, and sat up till four the next morning chatting and playing together. Remenyi’s negligence of his engagement resulted in the loss of any further business in Hamburg, and together with Brahms he set out for Hanover, giving concerts as they went, and thus earning sufficient funds to carry them on their way.
At Hanover they called upon Joachim, who arranged for them to play before the court. After this they proceeded to the Altenberg to see Liszt, who received them warmly, and offered them a home. During all this time Brahms received little or no recognition, in spite of Remenyi’s enthusiasm in his cause, neither did he find very much favour with Liszt, although the latter recognised his talent. He therefore returned to Hanover, where Joachim gave him a letter to Schumann, and it was Schumann’s enthusiastic welcome and declaration that a new genius had arisen that established Brahms’s reputation in musical circles.
Remenyi said that Brahms, shortly after his arrival at the Altenberg, offended Liszt and his pupils by comfortably sleeping during one of the famous lessons, which were in the nature of a general class. This breach of manners Brahms justified on the score of being exhausted by his previous journey.
The death of Remenyi, which occurred on May 15, 1898, created a sensation throughout the country. He had, after many misgivings, consented to appear in “vaudeville.” The financial inducement was large, and he soothed his artistic conscience with the argument that his music would tend to elevate the vaudeville rather than that the vaudeville would tend to degrade him. It was at the Orpheus Theatre in San Francisco, and it was his first appearance. He played one or two selections, and being tremendously applauded, and correspondingly gratified, he returned and answered the encore with the well-known “Old Glory.” He was in his best vein, and played as one inspired. The audience literally rose with him, leaving their seats in their excitement, and the applause lasted several minutes. He came forward, and in response to another burst of applause commenced to play Delibes’s “Fizzicati.” He had played but a few measures when he leaned over as if to speak to one of the musicians in the orchestra. He paused a moment, and then fell slowly forward on his face. One of the musicians caught him before he touched the stage, and thus prevented his rolling off. All was over.
Remenyi left a widow, a son, and a daughter, who lived in New York. His health had been failing for some time, for in 1896, for the first time in thirty years, he had, while in Davenport, Iowa, been compelled to cancel all his engagements and rest. It is said that Remenyi’s real name was Hoffmann.
The name of Miska Hauser is seldom mentioned in these days, and yet it was once known all over the world. No virtuoso of his time travelled more extensively, and few created more enthusiasm than did Hauser. He was born in Pressburg, Hungary, in 1822, and became a pupil of Boehm and of Mayseder at Vienna, also of Kreutzer and Sechter. He is said to have acquired more of Mayseder’s elegant style and incisive tone than of the characteristics of his other teachers, but his talent was devoted to the acquisition of virtuoso effects, which appeal to the majority rather than to the most cultivated.
As a boy of twelve Hauser made an extensive and successful concert tour. In 1840 he toured Europe, and ten years later went to London, and thence to the West Indies and the United States, where he made quite a sensation, and was a member of Jenny Lind’s company. He afterwards visited San Francisco, where he got himself into difficulties on account of Lola Montes. Then he went to South America, visiting Lima, where passionate creoles languished for him, Santiago, where a set of fanatics excited the mob against him, declaring that he was charmed by the devil, and Valparaiso, where he suffered shipwreck.
He then proceeded to the Sandwich Islands, where he played before the royal family and all the dusky nobles. They listened solemnly, but made no sign of approbation, and Hauser felt that he was sinking into a mere nothing in their esteem. In desperation he tore the strings from his violin and played, with all his power, several sentimental songs on the G string only. Then he gave them Paganini’s witches’ dance. This succeeded, and they gave a yell of joy and wanted more. They particularly delighted in harmonic effects, and before long were willing to do anything for the foreigner who could pipe on the wood as well as any bird. He became a hero at Otaheite, but was obliged to continue on his journey. He next visited Australia, and while in Sydney he made such a success that he was presented with the freedom of the city and thanked by the government for his playing.
In 1860 he reached Turkey, where he played before the Sultan, who beat time to his music and seemed highly delighted. Hauser had many amusing stories to tell of his travels, and especially of his experiences in the Sandwich Islands and Turkey, Cairo and Alexandria. His adventures, which were numerous and thrilling, were published in two volumes, in Vienna.
Hauser was not the possessor of a great technique, but there was something characteristic and charming in his tone and mannerisms, which were especially pleasing to the fair sex. He was a man of restless, and, in some respects, dissatisfied nature. Some of his compositions are still to be found on concert programmes, and these he used to play exquisitely. Hauser lived in retirement in Vienna after concluding his travels, and in 1887 he died practically forgotten.
Few violinists succeeded more completely in captivating their audiences than Henri Wieniawski, whose impetuous Slavonic temperament, with its warm and tender feeling, gave a colour to his playing, which placed his hearers entirely under his control, went straight to their hearts, and enlisted their sympathy from the very first note. Both fingering and bowing were examples of the highest degree of excellence in violin technique, and difficulties did not exist for him. At times his fiery temperament may have led him to exaggeration, and to a step beyond the bounds of good taste, but this was lost sight of in the peculiar charm of his playing, its gracefulness and piquancy.
Wieniawski’s tour in America, which took place in 1872, when he accompanied Rubinstein, may be said to mark an era in the musical life of this nation. These two great artists revealed the possibilities of the musical art to a people who, while loving music, were still in their infancy as far as musical development is concerned.
Wieniawski, like nearly all the great performers, showed his talent while very young. He was born in 1835 at Lublin, in Poland, where his father was a medical man. He was taken to Paris by his mother when he was only eight years old, and he entered the Conservatoire, where he soon joined Massart’s class, and when only eleven gained the first prize for violin playing.
After this he made a concert tour in Poland and Russia, but soon returned to Paris to renew his studies, especially composition. In 1850 he went again on the road, and with his brother Joseph, a pianist, he gave concerts in most of the principal towns in the Netherlands, France, England, and Germany. In 1860 he was appointed solo violinist to the Emperor of Russia, and held that position for twelve years, residing chiefly at St. Petersburg.
It was at the conclusion of this engagement that he made his tour in the United States with Rubinstein, who was his intimate friend, and when the great pianist returned to Europe Wieniawski remained in America and succeeded in making a large fortune, travelling all over the country and creating a furore by his performances. This tour was cut short toward the end of 1874 by a telegram from Brussels offering him the position of professor of violin at the Conservatoire, during the illness of Vieuxtemps.
He remained in Brussels until 1877, when, Vieuxtemps becoming convalescent, Wieniawski set forth once more on his travels.
At this time his health was failing, and an incident took place at Berlin which is well worth recording. During a concert he was seized with a sudden spasm, and was compelled to stop in the middle of a concerto. Joachim was amongst the audience, and came to the rescue, taking up Wieniawski’s violin and finishing the programme, thus showing his friendship for the sufferer and earning the enthusiastic applause of an appreciative audience.
Notwithstanding his sufferings, Wieniawski continued his tour, but at Odessa he broke down altogether.
It has been stated that he died unknown and friendless in the hospital at Moscow, and was buried by public charity; but his son, Jules Wieniawski, has contradicted this, and states that he died in the house of the Countess of Meek, and was buried by the Czar Alexander III., of whom he was the friend as well as the favourite violinist.
Wieniawski was a man of somewhat enthusiastic nature, and his actions were not always tempered by the most perfect wisdom. It was said that just before his marriage to Miss Hampton he took a run up the Rhine, not, like a wise man, waiting until he had some one to take proper care of him. The consequence was that he must just take an hour’s look into Wiesbaden to see several old friends, and this led naturally to passing an idle moment looking at the green table doings. Here the excitement became too great for one of his temperament, and he felt compelled to stake a small sum. A small sum led to a larger amount, and when he left the place he was poorer to the tune of forty thousand francs, and he came away to his bride a sadder and wiser man.
Although a great gambler, Wieniawski owed the loss of a large part of his fortune to the failure of a New York banking firm in 1873, rather than to his favourite propensity.
The friendship between him and Vieuxtemps was very strong, in fact it was described as being ideal. Once, while Wieniawski was playing at a concert, Vieuxtemps was among the audience, and, at the conclusion of one of the violinist’s solos, Vieuxtemps called, at the top of his voice, “Bravo, Wieniawski!” This drew attention to Vieuxtemps, who was immediately recognised by the audience and enthusiastically welcomed.
Wieniawski’s compositions number two and twenty. As a proof of the old adage that “doctors do not always agree,” we are told by one excellent authority that his D minor concerto, the two polonaises, and his “Legende” will probably never vanish from the violinist’s repertoire, and by another that Wieniawski’s compositions are not of much importance. Both statements are no doubt true, for there are many fascinating concert pieces which, from the strictly classical point of view, are not important additions to musical literature.
An American critic wrote of him, after his first appearance: “In Wieniawski we have the greatest violinist who has yet been heard in America.... Of all now living Joachim alone can claim superiority over him.”
This sweeping enthusiasm was not universal, for a critic more difficult to please wrote as follows: “Wieniawski’s playing is as perfect as a faultless technique, artistic culture, great aesthetic sensibility, and perfect mastery over himself and his instrument can make it But with all its perfection we cannot but feel that the great original, heaven-and-earth-moving master-soul is wanting.”
He was also severely scathed by a critic in New York in 1872, who wrote: “Some people like pure, clear tone,—others don’t. Those who admire scratching and false stopping, together with sundry other things of the same nature, would have experienced wild joy upon hearing Beethoven’s “Violin Concerto” as it was played by Wieniawski; but for those who regard a correct intonation as a thing of primal importance, it could not have been pleasing. Wieniawski belongs to that school of which Ole Bull is a prominent member, whose first article of belief is that genuine passion and fervour is signified by rasping the strings.”
Other criticisms of the same concert, however, were of a very different tenor, and when, a week or two later, Wieniawski played the same concerto in Boston, John S. Dwight praised the performance highly, and took occasion to specially record his disagreement with the eminent critic in New York.
While not technically the equal of one or two of his contemporaries, Wieniawski played with so much fire, and knew so well how to reach the heart of his audience by methods perfectly legitimate, that he must be ranked among the greatest violinists.
Don Pablo Martin Meliton de Sarasate is a name known throughout Europe and America, if not throughout the civilised world. Sarasate was born in Spain, in Pampeluna, the chief city of Navarre. He was a youthful prodigy, and played before the court of Madrid at the age of ten, when Queen Isabella was so delighted with him that she presented him with a fine Stradivarius violin.
A couple of years later he was sent to Paris, where he entered the Conservatoire, and was admitted into Alard’s class, while M. Lassabathie, who was then administrator of the institution, took him into his house and boarded him. This arrangement continued until the death, about ten years later, of M. Lassabathie.
In the course of a year after entering the Conservatoire, Sarasate won the first prize for violin playing. From the first he manifested remarkable facility in mechanical execution, and his playing was distinguished for elegance and delicacy, though nothing indicated that his talent would become extraordinary.
For ten years after gaining the prize Sarasate remained a salon violinist, of amiable disposition, a ladies’ virtuoso, with a somewhat mincing style, who played only variations on opera motives, and who was an entire stranger to classical music.
Then came a complete change; the character of his playing becoming serious, a large and noble style replaced the mincing manner which he had previously affected, and, instead of the showy trifles which had filled his repertoire, he took to the works of the great masters. By hard work he developed his technical ability, so that he reached the limit beyond which few, if any, violinists succeed in passing. And all this he accomplished without losing anything of the elegance of his phrasing or of the infinite charm of his tone.
Although Sarasate made Paris his home, he began to travel as early as 1859, and in 1872, when he played in Paris, he was welcomed as a new star. When his prestige was well established in Paris his friends advised him to go to Germany, but he feared that so soon after the Franco-German war he, who by long residence was practically a Frenchman, would not be welcome. At last, however, the entreaties of his friends prevailed, and when Sarasate appeared at Leipzig he produced an immense sensation. Then followed a series of tours in Germany, Russia, Austria, England, and Belgium, which lasted three years, and brought him much glory and pecuniary gain.
In Vienna the celebrated critic, Hanslick, wrote of him as follows: “There are few violinists whose playing gives such unalloyed enjoyment as the performance of this Spaniard. His tone is incomparable,—not powerfully or deeply affecting, but of enchanting sweetness. The infallible correctness of the player contributes greatly to the enjoyment. The moment the bow touches the Stradivarius a stream of beautiful sound flows toward the hearer. A pure tone seems to me the prime quality of violin playing—unfortunately, also, it is a rare quality. Sarasate’s virtuosity shines and pleases and surprises the audience continually. He is distinguished, not because he plays great difficulties, but because he plays with them.”
Both in France and Germany Sarasate has always been a great favourite, and is always sure of a large and enthusiastic audience, even though he has passed the zenith of his powers. He has never taken pupils, but has confined himself to concert playing only, and he has been called the highest-priced player in Germany, where it was said that he received three thousand marks for a concert, while even Joachim received only one thousand. He has received many valuable gifts during his career, and these he has presented to his native city, Pampeluna, where they have been placed in a museum by the municipal council. The collection includes articles of great worth from the Emperor William I. of Germany, Napoleon III., the Emperor of Brazil, and the Queen of Spain, and its value is estimated at one hundred thousand francs.
Sarasate has visited the United States twice, and won great favour, for his playing is of the kind which appeals to the fancy, graceful, vivacious, and pure toned, and he plays Spanish dances in a manner never to be surpassed.
He has been compared with some of the most eminent violinists thus:—Vieuxtemps was an artist with an ardent mind, and a magnificent interpreter of Beethoven; Joachim towers aloft in the heights of serene poetry, upon the Olympic summits inaccessible to the tumults of passion; Sivori was a dazzling virtuoso; Sarasate is an incomparable charmer.
There are doubtless many who remember the tour of August Wilhelmj, the celebrated violinist, who visited the United States about twenty years ago. He was considered second to no artist then living in his general command over the resources of his instrument, and he excelled in the purity and volume of his tone, no less than in the brilliancy of his execution. He did not possess the warmth and impulsiveness which constituted the charm of Wieniawski, but his performances appealed to his audiences in a different and more legitimate manner. He was even a greater traveller than Remenyi, and visited almost, if not quite, every civilised country. His travels took him throughout Europe, America, Australia, and Asia. He was, in 1885, invited by the Sultan of Turkey to perform in his seraglio, the only violinist to whom such a compliment had ever been paid. The Sultan on this occasion decorated him with the Order of the Medjidie, second class, and presented him with some beautiful diamonds.
August Wilhelmj was born in 1845 at Usingen, in the Duchy of Nassau, and, showing his aptitude, was placed under Konrad Fischer, a violinist of Wiesbaden, at the age of six. His progress was so rapid that when nine years old he played in a concert in Limburg and received great applause. Wilhelmj’s father was a lawyer of distinction and a wealthy vine-grower, and, in spite of the boy’s progress, he did not favour the idea of allowing him to take to the violin as a profession, for he felt that the majority of infant prodigies fail as they reach manhood. But the boy had received much encouragement, and persisted in his desire. Henrietta Sontag, the celebrated singer, heard him play Spohr’s ninth concerto and “The Carnival of Venice,” and was so charmed that she said he would become the German Paganini.
In the course of time Wilhelmj succeeded in obtaining a concession from his father:—he was to get the judgment of a musical authority on his capabilities, and, if favourable, no objection should be made to his becoming a virtuoso. On the recommendation of Prince Emil of Wittgenstein, the young violinist went in 1861 to Liszt at Weimar, and after playing to him Spohr’s “Scena Cantante” and the Hungarian fantasia by Ernst, he was asked to play several pieces at sight. At the end of this trial Liszt sprang from his seat, calling out in a loud voice, “Ay! indeed you are predestinated to become a violinist—so much so that for you the violin must have been invented if it had not already existed.” This judgment satisfied the father, and a few days later Liszt himself took the boy to Leipzig and introduced him to Ferdinand David, saying, “Let me present to you a future Paganini. Look well to him!” For three years Wilhelm; was a pupil of David, and at the same time studied the theory of music with Richter and Hausmann. In due course he passed his examinations at the Leipzig Conservatory, playing Joachim’s Hungarian concerto.
In 1865 he began his concert tours, travelling through Switzerland and Holland to England, and from this time he seems to have been almost continually travelling. During 1869, 1870, and 1871 he made a long tour in England with Charles Santley, the great singer. In 1876 he led the violins at the Nibelungen performance at Bayreuth, and the Wagner concerts in London, at the Albert Hall, in 1877, were due to his representations. In 1882, after travelling all over the globe, he spent some time in Russia, but presently returned to Germany and established a violin school at Biberich, which, however, he abandoned after a time.
From time to time he continued to play in public, but gradually withdrew and lived in retirement at Blasewitz, near Dresden. Eventually he went to London, where he was appointed professor at the Guildhall School of Music. Unfortunately, his powers have been on the wane for some years past, but though the days of his public performances are past, he is known as a most patient and painstaking teacher. The high esteem in which he has been held was quaintly expressed by an eminent musician, who referred to his decadence in these words: “Ah, if Wilhelmj had not been what he is, Joachim would never have been what he is.” By which one may infer that Wilhelmj was, in some respects, a greater man than Joachim.
In 1894 Wilhelmj married Marcella Mausch-Jerret, of Dresden, a distinguished pianist.
Wilhelmj’s first appearance in America took place on September 26, 1878, in New York, and his playing caused an unusual demonstration. He was described in the following words: “His figure is stately, his face and attitude suggest reserve force and that majestic calm which seems to befit great power.... A famous philosopher once said that beauty consists of an exact balance between the intellect and the imagination. The violin performance of Wilhelmj exhibits this just proportion more perfectly than the work of any other artist of whom we have personal knowledge. Wilhelmj himself has said, ’After all, what the people want is intellectual playing,’ that is, playing with a clear under standing.”
Neither his character nor his playing was of such a nature as to appeal to the great mass of people in the way in which Remenyi and Ole Bull won their hearts. Wilhelmj was massive in person and in tone. He stood for dignity in his actions, appearance, and playing, and was honoured by the more cultivated and educated portion of the people.
He is regarded by musicians as one of the greatest violinists who ever visited America, and at the present day visiting artists are spoken of as “one of the best since Wilhelmj,” or, “not to be compared with Wilhelmj,” and by many Ysaye is regarded as “the best—since Wilhelmj.”
Martin Pierre Joseph Marsick, who was born at Jupille, near Liege, on March 9, 1848, is one of the foremost solo and quartet violinists of the day, with a remarkable technique and admirable intelligence, power, and fire.
When eight years of age he was placed at the music school at Liege, where in two years he gained the first prize in the preparatory classes. In 1864 he secured the gold medal, which is awarded only to pupils of extraordinary talent.
[Illustration: MARTIN PIERRE JOSEPH MARSICK]
He now entered the Brussels Conservatoire, where his expenses were met by a lady who was a musical enthusiast, and he studied for two years under Leonard, working at the same time in composition under Kufferath. In 1868 he went to Paris, where he studied for a season under Massart.
In 1870 Marsick proceeded to Berlin, where, through the instrumentality of a government subvention, he was enabled to study under Joachim. After that he began to travel, and soon acquired a great reputation. He was said to equal, if not exceed, Sarasate in the wonderful celerity of his scales, and in lightness and certainty. His tone is not very full, but is sweet and clear. His playing is also marked by exceptional smoothness, scholarly phrasing, and graceful accentuation, but, in comparison with some of the other great players, he lacks breadth and passion. He appeals rather to the educated musician than to the general public, and for that reason many people were somewhat disappointed when he played in the United States in 1896. He was compared with Ysaye, a player of an entirely different stamp, and he suffered in popular estimation by the comparison.
To this period also belong a number of excellent violinists whose names are seldom heard in America. Edmund Singer, a Hungarian, born in 1831, by dint of hard work and talent reached a high position. He became celebrated as a teacher, and was for years professor of violin at the conservatory in Stuttgart. He was also largely instrumental in the establishment of the Musical Artists’ Society of that place.
Ferdinand Laub was a virtuoso of high rank who was born in Prague in 1832. He succeeded Joachim at Weimar, but two years later became violin teacher at the Stern-Marx conservatory in Berlin, also concert-master of the royal orchestra and chamber virtuoso.
Heinrich Karl de Ahna was an excellent artist, and was for some years second violin in the famous Joachim quartet. At the age of fourteen he had already made a successful concert tour, and become chamber virtuoso to the Duke of Coburg-Gotha. He then abandoned the musical profession and entered the army, fighting in the Italian campaign as lieutenant. After the war he returned to his profession, and became leader of the royal band in Berlin and professor at the Hochschule. He died in 1892.
Russia also produced an excellent violinist, Wasil Wasilewic Besekirskij, who was born at Moscow, and after a career as virtuoso in the west of Europe returned to his native city. He is the composer of some good violin music and has formed some excellent pupils, of whom Gregorowitsch is perhaps best known.
In England, John Tiplady Carrodus and the Holmes brothers attained high rank. Carrodus was a native of Keighley, Yorkshire. His father was a barber, and it was only by the most constant self-denial and incessant hard work that the boy succeeded in securing his education. He walked with his father twelve miles in order to hear Vieuxtemps play, and to take his lessons he walked each week ten miles to Bradford, usually getting a ride back in the carrier’s cart. He became a pupil of Molique, and eventually one of the best known violinists of England, where his character as a man was always highly respected.
Alfred Holmes was born in 1837 and his brother Henry in 1839. They appeared together at the Haymarket Theatre in 1847, but immediately withdrew from public life and continued their studies for six more years. In 1853 they again appeared in London, and then made a long concert tour through the north of Europe. Finally they settled in Paris, where, nine years later, Alfred died. Henry Holmes became the chief professor of violin at the Royal College of Music in London, and has been also active as a composer and editor of violin works.
Jacob Gruen, too, who was born in 1837 at Buda-Pesth, and who, after a career as concert soloist in Europe, became a teacher in the Vienna conservatory, should not be forgotten. Several of his pupils are now holding valuable positions in the United States, and he is an excellent teacher, besides being popular and kind-hearted.
Eduard Rappoldi, the leader of the Royal Court Orchestra at Dresden, has a high reputation as a sound and earnest player and excellent teacher. He was born in Vienna in 1839, and was at one time a teacher in the Hochschule at Berlin, but went to Dresden in 1877.
Joseph Joachim is one of the musical giants of the nineteenth century. He will be remembered as one whose life has been interwoven with the lives of the greatest musicians of his day, as one of the greatest educators in his line who ever lived, and as the embodiment of the purest and highest ideas in public performance.
[Illustration: JOSEPH JOACHIM]
Joachim is called the greatest violinist of modern times, and no better words can be found to describe his characteristics than those of Wasielewski, who says: “Joachim’s incomparable violin playing is the true chef-d’oeuvre, the ideal of a perfect violinist (so far as we present-day critics can judge). Less cannot, dare not, be said, but, at the same time, more cannot be said of him or of any one, and it is enough. But that which raises him above all other contemporary violinists and musicians generally is the line he takes in his professional life. He is no virtuoso in the ordinary sense, for he is far more,—before all he will be a musician. And that he unquestionably is,—a magnificent example to young people, who are to some extent possessed of the demon of vanity, of what they should do and what they should leave undone. Joachim makes music, and his preeminent capabilities are directed toward the serving one true, genuine art, and he is right.”
Joachim was born on June 28, 1831, in the village of Kittsee, in Hungary, within the small radius which has produced three other great musicians,—Haydn, Hummel, and Liszt. He began to study the violin when he was five years old, and was placed under Servaczinski, leader of the opera orchestra at Pesth. In two years he made his first public appearance at a concert at Pesth, when he played a duet concerto for two violins and orchestra with his master, and a solo on a theme by Schubert, with variations. He was now (1841) sent to Vienna, where he entered the conservatoire and studied under Boehm for two years. At the end of this time he went to Leipzig, where he met with Mendelssohn and played in a concert of Madame Viardot’s. A few months later he appeared as a finished artist in a Gewandhaus concert, and played Ernst’s “Otello Fantasie.” Leipzig was then, under Mendelssohn’s guidance, in the zenith of its fame, and for a boy of twelve to appear in a Gewandhaus concert and earn, not only the applause of the audience, but also the praise of the critics, was something very unusual. But a still greater honour was in store for him,—the following year he took part, in a Gewandhaus concert, in a concertante for four violins by Maurer, the other performers being Ernst, Bazzini, and David, all violinists of renown and very much his seniors.
Joachim remained in Leipzig until 1850, studying with Ferdinand David, while Hauptmann gave him instruction in composition, though during this time he occasionally travelled in Germany and elsewhere to play in concerts. Thus in 1844 Mendelssohn brought him to England, where he played in public for the first time at a benefit concert of Mr. Bunn’s at Drury Lane, in March, 1844, and in May of the same year he appeared at the fifth Philharmonic concert and played Beethoven’s concerto with very great success. In this year two other violinists of note made their first appearance at the Philharmonic concerts,—Ernst and Sainton, also Piatti, the great violoncellist. Joachim visited England again in 1847, and since that time so frequently that he became one of the regular features of musical life in that country, where he has been so highly honoured.
Joachim’s first appearance in Paris was made in 1849, when he spent two months in that city, and began his successes by playing in an orchestral concert given by Hector Berlioz. About this time Franz Liszt, who had heard of Joachim’s rapidly increasing reputation, invited him to go to Weimar and lead the orchestra which he conducted. Joachim accepted the invitation and remained in Weimar two years. He could never be brought to see the beauty of the new school of music, and while he recognised the extraordinary gifts, and admired the personality and brilliant qualities of Liszt, he could not be prevailed upon to remain in Weimar longer than two years.
In 1854 he accepted the post of conductor and solo violinist to the King of Hanover, a position which he retained for twelve years, during which time he enhanced his reputation as a musician, and married Amalia Weiss, a celebrated contralto singer. In 1866 the troubles which enveloped Germany brought Joachim’s engagement in Hanover to an end, but two years later he entered upon what has proved to be the most important part of his career, when he was appointed professor of violin at the Hochschule for music in Berlin. This school was a new branch of the already existing Academy of Arts, and was to be a high school for musical execution, as apart from composition.
Joachim threw his whole heart into the new work before him, and the branch of the school under his direction soon rivalled any similar school. Various branches were added to the school,—in 1871 a class for organ, in 1872 classes for brass instruments, double-bass, and solo vocalists, in 1873 a chorus class. In 1875 the Royal Academy of Arts was reorganised and became the Royal High School for Music, with Joachim as director. That Joachim had earned a very high position as early as 1859 is shown by an extract from the Musical World of London, in that year.
“So long as virtuosi walked (or galloped) in their proper sphere, they amused by their mechanical tours de force, charmed by their finesse and did no great harm to musical taste. They were accepted cum grano salis, applauded for their dexterity, and admired for the elegance with which they were able to elaborate thoughts in themselves of every slight artistic worth. But recently our ‘virtuosi’ have been oppressed with a notion that, to succeed in this country, they must invade and carry by storm the ‘classics’ of the art, instead of adhering exclusively as of old to their own fantasies and jeux de marteaux. One composition after another by the great masters is seized upon and worried. If they were things of flesh and blood, and could feel the gripe, be conscious of the teeth, and appreciate the fangs of these rapid-devouring ‘virtuosi,’ concertos, sonatas, trios, etc., would indeed be in a pitiable condition. Happily, being of the spirit, they bleed not, but are immortal.
“One great result attending Herr Joachim’s professional visit to London is, that it enables both professors and amateurs opportunity after opportunity of studying his manner of playing the works of the giants of music. How Herr Joachim executes these compositions—how differently from the self-styled ‘virtuosi,’ how purely, how modestly, how wholly forgetful of himself in the text he considers it an honour being allowed to interpret to the crowd—we need scarcely remind our readers. Not a single eccentricity of carriage or demeanour, not a moment of egotistical display, to remind his hearers that, although Beethoven is being played, it is Joachim who is playing, ever escapes this truly admirable and (if words might be allowed to bear their legitimate signification) most accomplished of ‘virtuosi.’”
As an example of Joachim’s conscientiousness, the following little anecdote will serve to give an idea. Joachim once introduced into the point d’orgue of Beethoven’s concerto a cadence terminated by a trait en octave, which caused an extraordinary effect. People spoke only of this cadence; it was the event of the evening wherever he played. This success wounded his feelings of artistic probity; he considered it unbecoming that people should be more taken up with the skill of the executant than with the beauties of the music, and the cadence was suppressed.
During the many years of his connection with the Hochschule, Joachim’s personal influence has been exerted upon a large number of pupils, in fact almost every well-known violin player has been to Berlin to seek his advice and instruction, and the players he has perfected are almost without number. Many anecdotes are told concerning his kindness to his pupils, but so greatly is he sought after that comparatively few of the hundreds who flock to Berlin are able to reach him.
Joachim’s early training and education developed his character both as a musician and as a man. The influence of Mendelssohn, whose friendship ended only with his death, of David, Schumann, Liszt, Berlioz, and Brahms, who was largely indebted to Joachim for the introduction of many of his works to the public, brought out the thorough uprightness, firmness of character and earnestness of purpose, and that intense dislike of all that is artificial or untrue in art, which have made him a great moral power in the musical world.
He combines in a unique degree the highest executive powers with the most excellent musicianship. Unsurpassed as a master of the instrument, he uses his powers of execution in the services of art, and represents the perfection of a pure style and legitimate school, with breadth and fidelity of interpretation. His performances undoubtedly derive their charm and merit from the strength of his talent and of his artistic character, and are stamped with a striking originality of conception; at the same time fidelity to the text, and careful endeavour to enter into the spirit and feeling of the composer, are the principles of executive art which Joachim has invariably practised.
In the rendering of Bach’s solos, Beethoven’s concertos and quartets, he has no rival, and for the revival of many great works the musical world is indebted to him. Of these, one instance may be cited, viz., the violin concerto (Op. 61) of Beethoven, which was first played by Clement, December 23, 1806. This concerto bears evidence of having been written in a hurry. Clement played it at sight without rehearsal, and, as a consequence of its being brought forward in such a slipshod manner, it was very seldom heard until its revival by Joachim. The MS. shows that the solo part was the object of much thought and alteration by the composer, but evidently after the first performance.
As a composer, Joachim has contributed work of value to the literature of the violin. His “Hungarian Concerto” is a creation of real grandeur, built up in noble symphonic proportions. Most of his works are of a grave, somewhat melancholy character, and all of them are marked by earnestness of purpose and a high ideal.
The jubilee of Joachim’s life as a violin player was celebrated in Berlin with great ceremony and with unusual honour, and in England a demonstration was made in his honour by the public, who subscribed a sum of about $6,000, with which was purchased an instrument of wonderful beauty, a celebrated “Red Strad,” which was presented to him at a public meeting held at the conclusion of the Monday Popular Concerts, in 1888.
This celebration was, however, quite eclipsed by that of the sixtieth anniversary of his first public appearance, which was held at Berlin on April 22, 1899. A grand concert was given at the Philharmonie, with an orchestra consisting of two hundred performers. There were ninety violins, thirty violas, twenty-one ’celli, and twenty double-basses, and of these all except the double-basses had been pupils of Joachim, the violas and ’celli having been his pupils in chamber music. They had come from all over Europe to take part in the festival. Nearly half of the violins were concert-masters, and many of them famous soloists, as Carl Halir, Henri Petri, Jeno Hubay, Willy Hess, Gustav Hollaender, Gabrielle Wietrowitz, Marie Soldat, and others.
Joachim entered the hall at half-past six, and was greeted with a deafening fanfare played by the combined trumpeters of the military bands stationed in Berlin. The audience rose in a body and added its cheers to the noise of the trumpets. A large armchair, beautifully decorated with flowers and wreaths, was reserved as a seat of honour for the great musician.
The seventh number on the programme was left vacant, but when it was reached the orchestra began the introduction to Beethoven’s concerto. No soloist was in sight, but Gabrielle Wietrowitz and Marie Soldat, his most celebrated women pupils, came slowly down toward Joachim’s chair, one carrying a violin and the other a bow, which they placed in his hands. Joachim, however, did not wish to play, and did not yield except under the force of persuasion, and then he said: “I have not had a violin in my hands for three days; I am in no mood to play; moreover, there are many in the orchestra who can play it better than I, but I don’t want to refuse.” So Joachim played the great concerto, and received an ovation such as had probably never been accorded to him before. Then he conducted Bach’s concerto in G major for strings, which was played by sixty-six violins, fifty-seven violas, twenty-four ’celli, and twenty double-basses, and this brought the concert to a close.
The concert was followed by a banquet at which there were eight hundred guests, and the festivities lasted until four o’clock the next morning. No violinist was ever more respected or beloved by his pupils, nor did one ever wield a more powerful influence in the musical world. To be put forward by Joachim gives one a high standing in the musical world to begin with, but few indeed are those who receive this privilege in comparison with those who desire it.
Joachim is not a builder of technique or a teacher of beginners. Pupils who are accepted by him must be already proficient technicians, and it may be stated that the teacher who can prepare pupils for Joachim stands high in the profession. Joachim is a great adviser, a former of style, and a master of interpretation, to whom pupils flock two or three years too early, and feel aggrieved if they are not at once accepted.
“What else can you do?” he once asked of a young man who desired to become a great violinist, and had sought Joachim’s advice.
“I think I would like to study for the ministry,” was the reply.
“It is much better to be a good minister than a poor violinist,” said Joachim, looking him full in the face.
His liberality is proverbial, and after a long and successful life, during which he has received high salaries, he is not rich. He seldom refuses to play gratis for any really worthy object, and the anecdotes of his kindness toward his pupils are without number.
Few men have shone with such an even, steady lustre, through a long life. Others have come up, flourished, and sunk into oblivion, but the light of Joachim has shone steadily for more than sixty years, and as an interpreter of the classics he has never been excelled, and perhaps never will be.
VIOLINISTS OF TO-DAY.
In these latter days the number of good violinists seems to have increased greatly. A season seldom passes without witnessing the debut of some half-dozen aspirants for public approbation, but the great majority of them settle down into some special field of labour, and do not acquire world-wide fame as virtuosi.
Virtuosity to-day depends very largely on the art of advertising. In the old days of Viotti and Spohr, the violinist would remain in a city for months, make acquaintances, and gradually acquire a reputation which would justify his giving some concerts. A tour lasting from three to six years would cover a comparatively small amount of territory.
To-day the concert agent searches among the new lights for one or two who seem, in his judgment, likely to please the audiences to whom he caters, and who will justify the curiosity roused by the wholesale advertising done in their behalf.
The violinist is rushed from one place to another with mechanical precision, and flits from Maine to California and from Canada to the Gulf in a few short weeks. There are more soloists, more concerts, more musical organisations than ever before.
It does not follow by any means that the travelling virtuoso is one of the greatest violinists of his time. There are, in every city of Europe and in many cities of America, violinists who equal or even excel many of those who are exploited as virtuosi. The great violinists are not to be found every day. In the past twenty years, perhaps, not more than two can be recalled who have visited the United States as mature, great artists,—Wilhelmj and Ysaye. Many violinists of excellent ability have been heard, and to some of them some day the adjective great may be applied. The fact that they have devoted their energies to concert work, and have been favourably received by the most important musical organisations, makes them celebrated, but the word great can apply but to few.
Adolf Brodsky, who came to America in 1892, and who is a violinist of much ability, with a beautiful tone, facile and brilliant technique, but somewhat lacking in elegance and polish, did not come to tour the country as a virtuoso. He was engaged by Mr. Walter Damrosch as concert-master for the New York orchestra, but during his stay in this country he appeared in many of the most important concerts, and was considered one of the best violinists who had ever come to live in America.
Brodsky was born in 1851 at Taganrog, in Southern Russia, and was one of those who found his profession at the age of four, when he bought a violin at a fair, and began to pick out Russian folk-tunes.
For four years he was taught music at home, and made good progress. Then a wealthy gentleman was attracted by his talent, hearing him play at a concert at Odessa, and provided the funds necessary for him to go to Vienna and study under Hellmesberger. He became second violin in the celebrated Hellmesberger Quartet, and thus gained a great reputation as a quartet player.
After travelling all over Europe for four years, he was appointed second professor of the violin at the Conservatory of Moscow, where he remained another four years. Then followed more study and more travel until, when Schradieck accepted the position of violin teacher at the Cincinnati conservatory, Brodsky was appointed to fill his place at Leipzig. In 1892 he was called to New York, but, owing to troubles which arose in the musical profession, he returned to Europe the following year, and, after a short sojourn in Berlin, received the appointment of director of the Royal College of Music at Manchester, England, where he succeeded Sir Charles Halle.
Emil Sauret is well known in America, for he visited the United States in 1872-73, and made a tour which was so successful, that it was repeated in 1874, when he travelled with Ilma di Murska, the great singer, and his wife, Teresa Careno, the pianist.
[Illustration: EMIL SAURET]
Sauret began his public career at the age of eight. He was born at Dun-le-Roi, in the department of Cher, in France, in 1852, and at the age of six entered the conservatory at Strasburg, after some preliminary instruction at home. In two years he began his travels, and for several years he divided his time between study and travel.
As a boy he was taken up by De Beriot, who was much interested in his welfare. He studied under Vieuxtemps in Paris, and in 1872 was one of the artists engaged for the tour organised by the President of the French Republic for the relief of the sufferers by the Franco-German war.
In 1879 ne was appointed teacher at the Stern Conservatory in Berlin, a post which he relinquished on being offered the position made vacant in the Royal Academy of Music, London, by the death of Sainton.
M. Sauret is pronounced conservative and conscientious to the last degree in handling the classics, and, although he has great individuality, passion, and fire, he would consider it a sacrilege to obtrude his own personality upon the listener. He is distinguished for elegance rather than perfection of technique. He may be considered a representative of the extreme French school.
In temperament he is quick and somewhat impatient. He expects much of his pupils, and is the very opposite of the painstaking, phlegmatic Wilhelmj.
In 1896 M. Sauret again visited the United States, when it was admitted by those who had heard him twenty years before that he had grown to a consummate and astounding virtuoso. His tone was firm, pure, and beautiful, though not large. Marsick and Ondricek had preceded him by a few weeks, but Sauret did not suffer by comparison.
One of the most remarkable violinists of the present day is Cesar Thomson, who was born at Liege in 1857. He entered the conservatory of his native place, after receiving some instruction from his father, and had completed the regular course by the time he was twelve years of age, after which he became a pupil of Leonard.
At the age of eighteen he made a concert tour through Italy, and while there became a member of the private orchestra of the Baron de Derwies. In 1879 he became a member of the Bilse Orchestra, and in 1882, having won distinction at the musical festival at Brussels, he was appointed professor of the violin in the Liege conservatory.
Most of his travelling has been done since that time, and he has acquired an immense reputation in Europe. In Leipzig, at a Gewandhaus concert in 1891, he made a phenomenal success, and in 1898 at Brussels he received five enthusiastic recalls from a cold and critical audience, for his magnificent performance of the Brahms concerto.
M. Thomson’s command of all the technical resources of the violin is so great that he can play the most terrific passages without sacrificing his tone or clearness of phrasing, and his octave playing almost equals that of Paganini himself. Yet he is lacking in personal magnetism, and is a player for the musically cultivated rather than for the multitude, though his technique fills the listener with wonder. He visited the United States in 1896, and was, like Marsick, compared with Ysaye, who at that time swept everything before him and carried the country by storm.
In 1897 Cesar Thomson left Liege, owing, it is said, to disagreements at the Conservatoire, and made his home at Brussels.
The greatest of Belgian violinists of to-day is Eugene Ysaye, who possesses that magnetism which charms alike the musician and the amateur, because of his perfect musical expression. He possesses the inexplicable and inexpressible something which takes cold judgment off its feet and leads criticism captive.
Ysaye was born at Liege in 1858, and, after studying at the conservatories of his native town under his father and at Brussels, entered that of Paris, where he completed the course in 1881, and immediately afterward started on a series of concert tours. Ysaye’s eminence as a violinist has been gained by hard work. He did not burst meteor-like upon the world, but he earned his position in the violin firmament by ten years of concert touring, during which time he passed successively through the stages of extreme sentimentality until he reached the “sea” of real sentiment.
It was in 1873 that Ysaye, after preparation given chiefly by his father, made his way to Brussels and sought out Wieniawski, then professor at the Conservatoire. Wieniawski was teaching, when a note was brought to him marked “private and important.” The servant was told to show the bearer in, and Ysaye, then about fifteen years of age, timidly entered the room carrying his violin. After a little preliminary conversation which allowed the youth to tell his history, Wieniawski asked him what he would play, and in reply he placed on the piano desk a concerto of Vieuxtemps. The result of his performance was that he at once became a pupil of Wieniawski, with whom he remained some three years, during the period in which Vieuxtemps was recovering from his paralytic shock. In 1876 Vieuxtemps heard him at Antwerp, and through his influence the Belgian government was induced to grant Ysaye a stipend in order to allow him to pursue his studies at Paris. There he was the pupil of Massart, who had also been the teacher of Wieniawski, Ysaye’s master at Brussels. Vieuxtemps is said to have expressed the desire, while in Algiers during his latter years, to have Ysaye stay with him to play his compositions, but Ysaye was at that time in St. Petersburg. When Vieuxtemps died and his remains were brought to Verviers, his birthplace, Ysaye carried in the procession the violin and bow of the virtuoso on a black velvet cushion fringed with silver.
When Ysaye first appeared in America he was a mature artist, the recognised leader of the Belgian school of violinists, the first professor of violin at the Brussels Conservatoire, and the possessor of many decorations and honours bestowed upon him by various royalties.
Before he had been in America a month he was acknowledged to be the greatest violinist who had visited this country for many years.
A man of large and powerful physique, he plays with a bold and manly vigour, and yet with exquisite delicacy. He is a master of phrasing and of all beauties of detail, has a wonderfully perfect technique, but that quality which places him at the head of all rivals is his musical feeling, his temperament. He has been compared to Rubinstein and to Paderewski. He inspires his hearers, or, as it was once expressed, very neatly, “he creeps up under your vest.” He disarms criticism, and he seems to be more completely part of his violin and his violin of him than has been the case with any other player who has visited these shores for some years. He has given the greatest performance of the celebrated Bach chaconne ever heard in America. He has been declared to be not inferior to Joachim in his performance of this work, though he has not so broad a tone as the latter, nor as Wieniawski. He combines Sarasate’s tenderness of tone and showy technique with more manliness and sincerity than Sarasate gives.
The student, perhaps, can learn more from Cesar Thomson than from Ysaye, but he will receive from the latter the greater inspiration.
Ysaye is noted, too, for sincerity of purpose and seriousness such as few of the virtuosi have possessed. He is free from all traits of charlatanism and trickery. Once, when in California, he was asked for an autograph copy of a few measures of his original cadenza to the Beethoven concerto (an embellishment which all violinists seem obliged to compose), but he declared that he did not like the idea of an original cadenza to Beethoven’s work, that it was much better to omit it, as it formed no part of the concerto. “In original cadenzas by virtuosi,” he said, “we find too much violin and too little music,” for which confession from such an artist the world may be truly grateful.
When Ysaye came to America in 1894 he was prepared with a repertoire consisting of ninety-one pieces. Of these, fourteen were concertos, seventeen sonatas, and eleven were compositions of his own.
He made a second tour in America in 1898, when he confirmed the opinions already formed as to his wonderful qualities.
In March, 1899, he went to Berlin, which city he had not visited for several years, and appeared as soloist of the tenth Nikisch Philharmonic concert, when he played the E major concerto by Bach, and scored an overwhelming success. At the end of the concert he was recalled some fifteen times, and had completely exploded the idea so firmly held in Berlin, that the Belgians cannot play the classics.
Of late years M. Ysaye has made his mark as a conductor, and has given a series of orchestral concerts in Brussels. He organised and managed this enterprise entirely by himself, without any guarantee fund, and the concerts were so successful, financially as well as artistically, that at the end of the season it was found that they had paid all expenses, and this, as all who know anything about the financial side of orchestral concerts, is a most remarkable showing.
Few, if any, artists have been made the recipients of more ridiculous adulation from women Paderewski perhaps being the only exception, and at the conclusion of his concerts scenes have been witnessed which are simply nauseating. This fashion is not confined, by any means, to the United States, for there are anecdotes from all countries illustrative of the manner in which members of the fair sex vie with each other in the effort to do the silliest things.
Ysaye has a home near the Palais de Justice in Brussels. He is married to the daughter of a Belgian army officer, and has several children. He is a man of much modesty, and is devoted to his family. As a violinist he may be considered to rank next to Joachim.
Carl Halir, who visited America in 1896, was born in 1859 at Hohenelbe in Bohemia, and was first taught by his father. He entered the conservatory at Prague at the age of eight, and remained there until he was fourteen, studying under Bennewitz, after which he went to Berlin and became a pupil of Joachim.
For some time he was a member of the Bilse orchestra, and then went to Koenigsberg as concert-master, after which he held a similar position for three years at Mannheim, and then at Weimar, where he married the well-known singer, Theresa Zerbst.
On his first appearance, at the Bach festival at Eisenath, he played with Joachim the Bach double concerto, and was very successful. He has made concert tours throughout the greater part of Europe, and while in America he was recognised as a broad artist. He is no virtuoso in the ordinary sense of the word, but a classical, non-sensational, well-educated musician, whose playing was not dazzling or magnetic, but delighted by its intellectuality. He has an even and sympathetic tone, and inspires the greatest respect as an artist and as a man, and, while other players may make greater popular successes, Halir stands on a high artistic plane which few can reach.
Franz Ondricek, who visited the United States also in 1896, was born at Prague in 1859, the same year as Halir, but is an artist of an entirely different stamp. In his early youth he was a member of a dance music band, and his father taught him to play the violin. It was not until he was fourteen years of age that he was able to enter the conservatory of his native town. Three years later he was sent, through the generosity of a wealthy merchant, to Paris, where he became a pupil of Massart. He shared with Achille Rivarde the honour of the first prize at the Conservatoire, since which time he has been a wandering star, and has never sought any permanent engagement. His playing is marked by individuality and dash, but he does not show to the best advantage in the interpretation of the classics.
Charles Martin Loeffler, who shares the first desk of the first violins in the Boston Symphony Orchestra with Mr. Kneisel, is a musician of the highest ability.
He was born in Muhlhausen, Alsace, in 1861. He enjoyed the advantages of instruction under Joachim, in Berlin, after which he continued his studies in Paris, with Massart and Leonard, studying composition with Guiraud. While in Paris he was a member of Pasdeloup’s celebrated orchestra, and was afterward appointed first violin and soloist in the private orchestra of Baron Derwies, at Nice, of which orchestra Cesar Thomson was also a member.
In 1880 Mr. Loeffler crossed the Atlantic, and took up his residence in New York, but the following year he was engaged as second concert-master and soloist in the Boston Symphony Orchestra, a position which he has held ever since, and in which he has had opportunity to display his exceptional talents.
As a violinist he plays with largeness of style, boldness of contrast, and exquisite grace. He has a technique equalled by few, and his performances have been confined to music of the highest class. Mr. Loeffler has never made a tour of the country as a virtuoso, but as soloist of the orchestra he has been heard under the best conditions in most of the large cities of the United States, and has shown himself to be a virtuoso in the best sense of the word.
As a composer Mr. Loeffler is distinctly original and imaginative. His works are both poetical and musical, and they display high thought and exceptional knowledge. His compositions include a sextet, a quintet, and an octet, also a suite for violin and orchestra, “Les Veillees de l’Ukraine;” a concerto for violoncello, which has been played by Mr. Alwyn Schroeder; a divertimento for violin and orchestra, and a symphonic poem, “La Mort de Tintagiles.” Besides these large works he has written a number of songs, of which five are with viola obligato. These works have been performed by the Kneisel Quartet and the Symphony Orchestra, the solo parts of the suite and divertimento by the composer himself, and they have gained for him a reputation as a gifted and scholarly tone artist.
One of the most promising young violinists of the century was a native of Brazil, Maurice Dengremont, who was born in Rio Janeiro, in 1867. He was the son of a French musician who had settled in Brazil, and who gave him his first lessons to such good effect that, when only eight years of age, he gave a concert, and the Brazilian orchestra was so delighted with his playing that its members presented him with a medal, to which the emperor added an imperial crown, as a recognition of his talent.
He now became a pupil of Leonard, and after three years’ study he appeared in many concerts, travelling throughout Europe and England, and being received with enthusiasm. About 1880 he visited America, but his career ended shortly after, as he fell a victim to dissipation.
Dengremont was compared with Sarasate and Wilhelmj, but all that could be said about him was that he might have developed into a player of their rank. As it was, he disappointed his admirers, and died while still quite young.
Of the many violinists who have made their home in the United States there are few whose accomplishments better entitle them to a position among celebrated violinists than Mr. Franz Kneisel.
Mr. Kneisel was called to Boston to fill the position of concert-master of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1885, and has held that place for fourteen years, during which time he has done much toward the cultivation of musical taste in America.
He was born in Roumania, of German parents, in 1865, and gained his musical education at Bucharest and at Vienna, where he studied under Gruen and Hellmesberger. He then received the appointment of concert-master of the Hofburg Theatre Orchestra, after which he went to Berlin to fill the same position in Bilse’s orchestra, following Halir, Ysaye, and Cesar Thomson.
When he was called to Boston, at the instance of Mr. Gericke, who was then the conductor of the Symphony Orchestra, he was only twenty years of age. He played, on his first appearance as soloist, the Beethoven concerto, and was at once recognised as a violinist of remarkable ability.
Mr. Kneisel has never toured the country as a virtuoso, but has been heard in many of the great cities of America, as solo violinist with the Symphony Orchestra, and as first violin of the Kneisel Quartet.
He is a master of technique, and surmounts all difficulties with ease; his tone is pure, and, though not large, is satisfying, and in his interpretation of the great works he never attempts to enforce his personality upon the hearer,—in short, he is a true artist. As a conductor he has marked ability, and as a quartet player he has made a reputation which will live in the history of music in America, if not in the whole world.
Charles Gregorowitsch, who visited America in 1898, has risen in a very short time to a place among the leading violinists of the world.
He was born in 1867 at St. Petersburg, and, his talent making itself manifest in the usual manner, he was taught by his father until he was of an age to be sent to Moscow, where he studied until his fifteenth year, under Besekirskij and Wieniawski. From Moscow he was sent to Vienna, where he became a pupil of Dont, and finally he studied under Joachim in Berlin, where he gained the Mendelssohn prize.
Gregorowitsch was the last pupil of Wieniawski, and that master was so impressed with the great promise of the boy that on first hearing him he offered to take him as a pupil gratis. Few violinists have had the advantage which has fallen to the lot of Gregorowitsch, of receiving instruction from so many great teachers.
Gregorowitsch has travelled extensively throughout Europe, has been highly honoured in Russia, where the Czar granted him exemption from military service, and decorated by the King of Portugal. In London he made his first appearance in 1897, at the Queen’s Hall Symphony concerts.
M. Gregorowitsch is remarkable for a large tone, and in the smoothness and finish of his playing he has been compared with Sauret and with Sarasate.
A far greater sensation was caused in America by Willie Burmester than by Gregorowitsch.
Burmester was born in Hamburg in 1869, and received his first instruction from his father. He owned his first violin when he was four years of age, and it came to him from a Christmas tree. This served to show the talent which he possessed, and the next year he received a better violin, and began to study in earnest.
When he was eight years old his father took him to Berlin to consult Joachim, who was, and is, regarded as the oracle for violinists. Joachim gave some encouragement to the parent, although he does not seem to have given much to the boy, who in consequence felt somewhat bitter. Four years later he was again taken to the Berlin Hochschule, to pass his entrance examination. On this occasion he received the recognition of the jury, and was admitted to the school, where he began a rigorous course of technical study. At the end of four years’ study under Joachim he was refused a certificate, for some reason not stated, and he went to Helsingfors in Finland, where he worked according to his own ideas, which were to unlearn all he had studied, and begin afresh. During this period he worked with the greatest perseverance, practising nine or ten hours a day, and thus developed the wonderful technique which has astonished the world. For three years he continued this work, supporting himself meanwhile with a modest appointment which he had obtained.
Before he left Berlin he had worn down the end of his first finger to the nerve. This troubled him to such a degree that he had several operations for the purpose of removing it, but the result was not wholly satisfactory.
Emerging from his retirement in 1894, he went to Berlin again, and gave a recital in which he met with the most remarkable success. It was written at the time: “Mr. Burmester comes from an obscure town, unheralded, and, in the face of indifference, prejudice, and jealousy, conquered the metropolis off-hand. For nearly half an hour recall followed recall.”
The following season he created an equal impression in London, and shortly afterward in America.
His technique has been described as “marvellous, almost diabolical.” Difficult pizzicato passages and runs in thirds and tenths at top speed are but as child’s play to him. His left hand pizzicato is marvellous, and he makes runs in single and artificial harmonics as quickly as most violinists can play an ordinary scale. He plays harmonics with a vibrato (Paganini played a double shake in harmonics), and his staccato volante is developed to an astounding degree of perfection.
When Burmester played in London his success was at once attributed to Joachim, and he resented it, in view of the fact that he had been denied his certificate and had narrowly escaped musical suffocation at the hands of that great master. He had already made the same statement in Berlin, referring to the fact of his retirement to Helsingfors, and the development which he had acquired there in solitude.
This announcement brought forth a deluge of letters from “pupils of Joachim,” and in a couple of weeks Burmester wrote another letter stating that he did not know the Hochschule had as many pupils as those who had claimed Joachim as their teacher, and who were all unknown. “If one known pupil of Joachim,” he wrote, “will appoint a meeting to interview me on the subject, I shall be glad to continue it.” But the one known pupil did not come.
The complaint of Mr. Burmester, that the one idea at the Hochschule is technique, is not new by any means. In every school there are students with great talent, who find it difficult to subject themselves to the rigid discipline required by the teacher. It is the stumbling-block on which many fall. It is, nevertheless, a fact that without a solid technique the highest perfection in playing cannot be reached, and it is usually regarded as a hopeless case when the pupil antagonises the teacher. Many pupils are apt to try and run ahead of their technical ability, and do not find out their mistake until it is too late. The argument that Paganini was self-taught leads many a young violinist into error.
If Burmester is to be judged by his playing of the Beethoven concerto in Boston, good musicians will declare that Joachim was right in refusing the certificate, for while his technique was brilliant it appeared to lack foundation. Time may justify the stand which the young virtuoso has taken in opposition to his teacher, for he is still young and has time in which to develop. He has undoubted musical talent and great ability, but while he may be a celebrated violinist he can hardly yet be considered a great one, notwithstanding the furore which he caused in Berlin.
Burmester plays with unassuming simplicity and without cheap display. He is sincere, but without authority or distinction of style. His tone is warm and pleasing, but not large, his intonation is not always sure.
One of Burmester’s earliest musical friends was Hans Von Buelow, and the friendship extended over a period of three and a half years, until Von Buelow went to Cairo shortly before his death.
Von Buelow had inaugurated a series of orchestral concerts in Berlin, and as they interfered with the Philharmonic series every effort was made to put a stop to them. Musicians were forbidden to play for Von Buellow, and many obstacles were placed in his way. Von Buellow’s temperament was such as to intensify the hostility rather than succumb to it. Burmester was then only sixteen years old, but his sympathy was with Von Buellow, and he wrote a letter to him offering his services, and expressing his contempt for the injustice to which he was being subjected. Von Buellow invited him to attend the rehearsals, and printed the letter which he had received. Burmester accepted the invitation, and, going to the rehearsal, found vacant a seat amongst the first violins, which he took.
The rehearsal was about to commence when Von Buellow paused and asked, “Which of you gentlemen is Burmester?”
The young fellow approached Von Buellow, who had motioned him to come.
“Mr. Burmester,” he said, “I have no desk in the first row to offer you or it would be yours. Gentlemen,” he added, turning to the musicians, “I wish to introduce to you the guest of honour of my orchestra, Mr. Burmester.”
This was the beginning of a friendship, through which the young violinist showed unswerving loyalty, and it is now one of his greatest desires to reach a point of independence which will enable him to build a monument to Von Buelow’s memory.
In 1893 a sensation was created in America by the visit of Henri Marteau, a young French violinist whose excellent playing and charming personality delighted all who heard him. Marteau was called “the Paderewski of the Catgut,” and he met with a most cordial reception among musicians.
Marteau was born at Reims in 1874. His father was an amateur violinist and president of the Philharmonic Society of Reims. His mother was an accomplished pianist, a pupil of Madame Schumann. He therefore had every advantage in his early youth for the development of musical taste. When he was about five years of age Sivori paid a visit to the family, and was so charmed with the little fellow that he gave him a violin, and persuaded his parents to let him become a professional violinist. Marteau now began to take lessons of Bunzl, a pupil of Molique, but three years later he went to Paris, and was placed under Leonard. In 1884, when ten years of age, he played in public before an audience of 2,500 people, and in the following year he was selected by Gounod to play the obligato of a piece composed for the Joan of Arc Centenary celebration at Reims, which piece was dedicated to him.
In 1892 Marteau carried off the first prize for violin playing at the Paris Conservatoire, and Massenet, the celebrated French composer, wrote a concerto for him.
When Marteau played in Boston at the Symphony concerts he received twelve recalls, and immediately became the idol of the hour. The concerto selected was that in G minor by Bruch, and it was played without a rehearsal, a fact which reflects great credit on the orchestra, which was at that time conducted by Mr. Arthur Nikisch.
In the following year Marteau again visited America and brought with him a concerto composed for him by Dubois. This was played for the first time by the Colonne orchestra, with Marteau as soloist, at Paris, on November 28, 1894, and again on the following Sunday. It was next given at Marseilles on December 12th, and the next performances were at Pittsburg, Louisville, and Nashville during the second American tour.
Marteau’s tone is large, brilliant, and penetrating. His technique is sure, and he plays with contagious warmth of sentiment and great artistic charm.
The violin which he used during his American tours was a Maggini, which once belonged to Maria Theresa of Austria. She gave it to a Belgian musician who had played chamber music with her in Vienna. He took it to Belgium, where at his death it became the property of Leonard, who, at his death, gave it to Marteau.
Alexander Petschnikoff, the son of a Russian soldier, is the latest violinist who has created a furore in Europe. When he was quite young his parents moved to Moscow, near which city he was born, and one day a musician of the Royal Opera House happened to hear the boy, who had already endeavoured to master the difficulties of the instrument, and he used his influence to get the lad into the conservatory. Petschnikoff now became a pupil of Hrimaly, and devoted himself to hard work, earning some money by teaching even at the age of ten.
In due course he won the first prize and the gold medal at the conservatory, and was then offered an opportunity to study in Paris, which he declined. For a time he earned his living by playing in a theatre orchestra, but fortune smiled upon him, and he became an object of interest to the Princess Ourosoff, who heard him play at a concert. Her influence was exerted in his behalf, and he was soon noticed and courted by the nobility. The princess also made him a present of a magnificent violin, which formerly belonged to Ferdinand Laub, and is said to be the most costly instrument in existence.
When he made his debut in Berlin, in 1895, his success was unprecedented, inasmuch as it covered four points,—the artistic, popular, social, and financial. He has created a furore wherever he has appeared, and has been recalled as many as sixteen times. So great has been his success that he is said to have received the highest honorarium for a single concert ever obtained by a violinist in Europe.
He is described as a man of commonplace appearance, with dull, expressionless eyes, sluggish movements, and slow, affected manner of speech. His technique is not astonishing, but he has a full, penetrating, sympathetic tone. There is no charlatanism or trickery in his playing, nor any virtuoso effects, but the charm of it rests in his glowing temperament, ideal conception, and wonderful power of expression. He has been regarded as phenomenal, because he can move the hearts of his hearers as few other violinists are able to do.
Petschnikoff has been given an introduction to America, through Mr. Emil Paur, by Theodor Leschetizky, couched in the most glowing terms, and is called by him “an artist of the very first rank and of inconceivable versatility.”
One might prolong the list of violinists to a tremendous extent, and yet fail to mention all those of great merit. In England, John Dunn appears to be acquiring a great reputation. On the Continent, such names as Hubay, Petri, Rose are well known. In America, we have Leopold Lichtenberg, a good musician of admirable qualifications. Bernhard Listemann, now of Chicago, has done much toward forming musical taste in America, and was concert-master of the Boston Symphony Orchestra during the first few years of its existence. But space does not permit of a mention of more than has been attempted, and a few pages must be given to lady violinists and to a few words about celebrated quartets.
WOMEN AS VIOLINISTS.
During the past forty or fifty years the violin has become a fashionable instrument for ladies, and has become correspondingly popular as a profession for those who are obliged to earn a living.
Formerly, for many years, it seems to have been considered improper, or ungraceful, or unladylike,—the reasons are nowhere satisfactorily given, but the fact remains that until recently few women played the violin.
From the year 1610 until 1810 the list of those who played in public is extremely short, numbering only about twenty, and of these several were gambists.
That women did, once upon a time, play on the violin, or the corresponding string and bow instruments which were its ancestors, there is evidence.
On the painted roof of Peterborough Cathedral, in England, which is said to have been built in the year 1194 A.D., there is a picture of a woman seated, and holding in her lap a sort of viol, with four strings and four sound-holes. This seems to indicate that in very early days ladies sometimes played on stringed instruments, if only for their own amusement.
Among the accounts of King Henry VII., dated November 2, 1495, is the following item, “For a womane that singeth with a fiddle, 2 shillings.”
Anne of Cleves after her divorce comforted herself by playing on a viol with six strings. Queen Elizabeth, also, amused herself not only with the lute, the virginals, and her voice, but also with the violin.
These, however, were amateurs, and the earliest professional violinist known was Mrs. Sarah Ottey, who was born about 1695, and who about 1721-22 performed frequently at concerts, giving solos on the harpsichord, violin, and bass viol. Previous to her there was one Signora Leonora Baroni, born at Mantua about 1610, but she played the theorbo and the viol di gamba.
The next is “La Diamantina,” born about 1715, who is referred to by the poet Gray in 1740, when he was at Rome, as “a famous virtuosa, played on the violin divinely, and sung angelically.”
Anne Nicholl, born in England about 1728, played the violin before the Duke of Cumberland at Huntley in 1746, and her granddaughter, Mary Anne Paton, also, who was better known as a singer and who became Lady Lenox, and afterwards Mrs. Wood, was a violinist.
The celebrated Madame Gertrude Elizabeth Mara, one of the greatest singers of her time, was a violinist when young. Her father took her to England, hoping by means of her playing to get sufficient money to give her a thorough musical education. She was then a mere child, and as she grew to womanhood her voice developed and she became one of the celebrities in the history of song. There is no doubt that the training in intervals which her practice on the violin gave her proved invaluable as an aid to her in singing. In later days several of the most celebrated singers have been also good violinists, as, for instance, Christine Nilsson and Marcella Sembrich.
Maddalena Lombardi Sirmen, born about 1735, had an almost European reputation toward the end of the eighteenth century. She visited France and England about 1760-61, and was so good a player that she was looked upon almost as a rival of Nardini. She will always be celebrated in history because of the letter which was written to her by Tartini, and which is not only one of the rarities of musical literature, but constitutes also a valuable treatise on the use of the violin.
This letter, which has been printed in almost every book on the violin, would take up rather more space than can be afforded in this sketch. It is admirably clear and is divided into three parts, the first giving advice on bowing, “pressing the bow lightly but steadily, upon the strings in such a manner as that it shall seem to breathe the first tone it gives, which must proceed from the friction of the string, and not from percussion, as by a blow given with a hammer upon it,—if the tone is begun with delicacy, there is little danger of rendering it afterwards either coarse or harsh.” The second section of the letter is devoted to the finger-board, or the “carriage of the left hand,” and the last part to the “shake.”
Maddalena Sirmen received her instruction first at the conservatory of Mendicanti at Venice, after which she took lessons from Tartini. She also composed a considerable quantity of violin music, much of which was published at Amsterdam. About 1782 she, emulating the example of Madame Mara, appeared as a singer at Dresden, but with comparatively small success.
Regina Sacchi, who married a noted German violoncellist named Schlick, was celebrated for her performances on the violin. She was born at Mantua in 1764, and educated at the Conservatorio della Pieta at Venice. This lady was highly esteemed by Mozart, who said of her, “No human being can play with more feeling.”
When Mozart was in Vienna, about 1786, Madame Schlick was also there, and solicited him to write something for the piano and violin, which they should play together at a concert. Mozart willingly promised to do so, and accordingly composed and arranged, in his mind, his beautiful sonata in B-flat minor, for piano and violin. The time for the concert drew near, but not a note was put upon paper, and Madame Schlick’s anxiety became painful. Eventually, after much entreaty, she received the manuscript of the violin part the evening before the concert, and set herself to work to study it, taking scarcely any rest that night.
The sonata was played before an audience consisting of the rank and fashion of Vienna. The execution of the two artists was perfect and the applause was enthusiastic. It happened, however, that the Emperor Joseph II., who was seated in a box just above the performers, in using his opera-glass to look at Mozart, noticed that there was nothing on his desk but a sheet of blank paper, and, afterward calling the composer to him, said: “So, Mozart, you have once again trusted to chance,” to which Mozart, of course, graciously acquiesced, though the emperor did not state whether he considered Mozart’s knowledge of his new composition, or Madame Schlick’s ability to play with him unrehearsed, constituted the “chance.”
The next virtuosa was a Frenchwoman, Louise Gautherot, who was born about 1760, and who played in London and made a great impression about 1780 to 1790, and about the same time Signora Vittoria dall’ Occa played at the theatre in Milan. Signora Paravicini, born about 1769, and Luigia Gerbini, about 1770, were pupils of Viotti, and earned fame. The former made a sensation in 1799 by her performance of some violin concertos at the Italian Theatre at Lisbon, where she played between the acts.
Signora Paravicini attracted the attention of the Empress Josephine, who became her patroness and engaged her to teach her son, Eugene Beauharnais, and took her to Paris. After a time, however, the Empress neglected her, and she suffered from poverty. Driven to the last resource, and having even pawned her clothes, she applied for aid to the Italians resident in Paris, and they enabled her to return to Milan, where her ability soon gained her both competence and credit. She also played at Vienna in 1827, and at Bologna in 1832, where she was much admired.
Catarina Calcagno, who has already been mentioned as a pupil of Paganini, was a native of Genoa, born about 1797, and had a short but brilliant career. She disappeared from before the public in 1816.
Madame Krahmer and Mlles. Eleanora Neumann, and M. Schulz all delighted the public in Vienna and Prague. Miss Neumann came from Moscow, and astonished the public when she had scarcely reached her tenth year. Other names are Madame Filipowicz, Madame Pollini, Mlle. Zerchoff, Eliza Wallace, and Rosina Collins, who all played publicly and were well known.
In 1827 Teresa Milanollo was born, and in 1832 her sister Marie, and these two young ladies played so well, and were in such striking contrast to one another, that they proved very successful as concert players. They were natives of Savigliano, in Piedmont, where their father was a manufacturer of silk-spinning machinery. Teresa, the elder, was taught by Ferrero, Caldera, and Morra, but in 1836 she went to Paris and studied under Lafont, and afterwards under Habeneck, going still later to Brussels, where she took lessons of De Beriot, and received the finishing touch to her artistic education,—faultless intonation. Her career as a concert player began when she was about nine years of age. When Marie was old enough to handle a violin Teresa began to teach her, and in fact was the only teacher Marie ever had.
The two sisters, who were called, on account of their most striking characteristics, Mlle. Staccato and Mlle. Adagio, travelled together through France, Holland, Belgium, Germany, and England, and were everywhere received with the greatest interest. They played before Louis Philippe at Neuilly, and appeared with Liszt before the King of Prussia. They also created a furore at Vienna and Berlin.
Marie, the younger, who was of a happy and cheerful disposition, was not strong, and in 1848 she died in Paris. Teresa, the elder, after a long retirement, resumed her travels, and, having matured and improved, she played better and excited more interest than before. In 1857 she married a French officer, Captain Theodore Parmentier, who had seen service in the Crimean War, and she abandoned the concert stage.
From 1857 until 1878 she followed the fortunes of her husband, who became a general and a “Grand Officier de la Legion d’Honneur,” and her public appearances were limited to such places as the vicissitudes of a military life took her to. Since 1878 Madame Parmentier has lived quietly in Paris, where she is still to be met by a few fortunate persons in select musical and social circles.
During the lifetime of Marie, the sisters had already put themselves into direct personal relations with the poor of Lyons, but after Teresa had roused herself from her mourning for her sister she established a system of “Concerts aux Pauvres,” which she carried out in nearly all the chief cities of France, and part of the receipts of these concerts was used for the benefit of the poor. Her plan was to follow up the first concert with a second, at which the audience consisted of poor school-children and their parents, to whom she played in her most fascinating manner, and, at the conclusion of her performance, money, food, and clothing, purchased with the receipts of the previous concerts, were distributed.
From 1830 there has been a constantly increasing number of ladies who have appeared as concert violinists, but few have continued long before the public, or have reached such a point of excellence as to be numbered amongst the great performers.
Mlle. Emilia Arditi, Frauelein Hortensia Zirges, Miss Hildegard Werner, Miss Bertha Brousil, and Madame Rosetta Piercy-Feeny were all born during the decade 1830 to 1840, and were well known, but in 1840 and 1842 two violinists were born who were destined to hold the stage for many years and to exert a great influence in their profession. Wilma Neruda, now known as Lady Halle and Camilla Urso are the two ladies in question, the former exerting her influence chiefly in England and on the Continent, and the latter in America.
Miss Werner has played an important part in advancing the art amongst women, having for many years conducted a school of music at Newcastle-on-Tyne, in England. She was also the first woman ever to address the Literary and Philosophical Society, when in 1880 she delivered an address on the history of the violin. There is little doubt, however, that the success of Teresa Milanollo gave the first great impulse toward the study of the violin by women.
Lady Halle was born at Bruenn, March 21, 1840. Her father was Josef Neruda, a musician of good ability, and he gave her the first instruction on the violin, and then placed her under Leopold Jansa, in Vienna. Wilhelmina Maria Franziska Neruda made her first appearance in public in 1846, at which time she was not quite seven years old. On this occasion her sister Amalie, who was a pianist, accompanied her, and shortly afterwards her father took her, with her sister Amalie and one of her brothers, on an extended tour. The family consisted of two sons—a pianist and a ’cellist—and two daughters—a violinist and a pianist.
In 1849 they reached London, where the young violinist played a concerto by De Beriot, at the seventh Philharmonic concert of that season. By the critics at that time she was said to be wonderful in bravura music, in musical intelligence, and in her remarkable accuracy.
As time went on, and her playing matured, she became known throughout Europe. In 1864 she married Ludwig Norman, conductor of the opera at Stockholm, and for a time she remained in that city and became a teacher at the Royal Music School.
Before long she was again busy with concert playing, and in 1869 she again appeared in England, where she became a great favourite, and has appeared there regularly almost, if not quite, every season since. Hans von Buelow spoke of her as Joachim’s rival, and called her “the violin fairy.”
Joachim has always been a great favourite in England, but Madame Norman-Neruda, or Lady Halle, as she became later, has fully shared his popularity. What Joachim is to the sterner sex, just the same is Lady Halle to the gentler.
Joachim was indeed one of the first to recognise the fact that he had in Mlle. Neruda a rival, for in the days when she was earning her reputation he heard her at some place on the Continent, and remarked to Charles Halle, who afterwards became her husband, “I recommend this artist to your careful consideration. Mark this, when people have given her a fair hearing, they will think more of her and less of me.”
Ludwig Norman died in 1885, and three years later Madame Norman-Neruda married the pianist, Charles Halle, who had long been identified with all that was best musically in England, and who was knighted in recognition of his services to the cause of art.
Sir Charles Halle established a series of orchestral concerts at Manchester in 1857, and by means of these concerts brought before the English public the works of many composers who would have remained unknown perhaps for years but for his efforts. In this work he was ably supported by this talented violinist, afterwards his wife, and with her he made many tours all over the British Isles.
In 1890 Sir Charles and Lady Halle made a tour in Australia, which was highly successful. Five years later they went to South Africa, where they met with a flattering reception. In his memoirs, Sir Charles Halle tells of a curious compliment which they received at Pietermaritzburg. The mayor invited them to play at a municipal concert to be given one Sunday afternoon. The concert began, and after an organ solo and a song had been given by other musicians, they played the Kreutzer sonata. At the conclusion of the sonata, a member of the corporation came forward, and said that after the impression just received he thought it would be best to omit the remainder of the programme, upon which the audience cheered and dispersed.
In 1895, shortly after their return from the South African tour, Sir Charles Halle died, and Lady Halle went into retirement. At this time her numerous admirers in England presented her with a valuable testimonial of their appreciation.
Throughout her career she has fulfilled the prophecies made of her in her youth, for her talent and musicianship developed as she grew up, and her genius did not burn itself out as that of many infant prodigies has done. She has never endeavoured to secure public applause at the expense of her real artistic nature. Her performances are and always have been synonymous with all that is good in musical art, and nothing but that which is of the best has ever been allowed to appear upon her programmes.
She is celebrated no less as a quartet player than as a soloist, and was for many years first violin of the Philharmonic Quartet in London.
In 1898, Lady Halle had the misfortune to lose her son, Mr. Norman Neruda, who, while scaling a difficult place in the Alps, slipped and was killed.
In the following year she emerged from her retirement and visited the United States, where her playing was highly appreciated by unbiassed critics. There was a feeling, however, that she might have made the journey many years before, and allowed the American public to hear her in her prime, when she would have received not only a very warm welcome, but would have been judged rather by her merits than by her history, and she would not have challenged comparison with the violinists of the rising generation.
Camilla Urso has been for many years one of the best known violinists in the United States. She was born at Nantes, in France, in 1842, of Italian parents. Her father was Salvator Urso, a good musician, and son of a good musician, so that the young violinist inherited some of her talent. In 1852 the family crossed the Atlantic and settled in the United States, and almost immediately the little girl began to appear at concerts. Camilla Urso began to study the violin at the age of six years, and her choice of that instrument was determined by her hearing the violin and being fascinated by it during a celebration of the Mass of St. Cecilia. She was taken to Paris for instruction, for which purpose her father abandoned his position at Nantes. She entered the Conservatoire and became a pupil of Massart.
She made a tour through Germany, during which she met with immense success, and then returned to Paris to continue her studies.
She was fresh from Massart’s instruction when, in October, 1852, she made her first appearance in Boston, where her playing and her style called forth eulogies from the critics of those days. John S. Dwight wrote to the effect that it was one of the most touching experiences of his life to see and hear the charming little maiden, so natural and childlike, so full of sentiment and thought, so self-possessed and graceful. Her tone was pure, and her intonation faultless, and she played with a “fine and caressing delicacy,” and gave out strong passages in chords with thrilling grandeur.
For three years she continued to travel and delight American audiences, and then for a period of about five years she retired into private life, and did not resume her professional career until 1862, from which time she frequently made concert tours in America until she returned to Paris. It was about the period of these tours that her influence upon young women began to be felt, for she was at an age when womanly grace becomes evident, and her manners and character were as fascinating as her playing.
In Paris she so pleased M. Pasdeloup that he begged her not to allow herself to be heard in public until she had played at his concerts. “You may count upon a splendid triumph,” he said. “It is I who tell you so. Your star is in the ascendant, and soon it will shine at the zenith of the artistic firmament.”
The result justified the prophecy, and Camilla Urso was the recipient of great honours in Paris. She was presented by the public with a pair of valuable diamond earrings, and was treated almost like a prima donna.
In March, 1867, Mlle. Urso received a testimonial from the musical profession in Boston, where a few years later she had a curious experience. She was playing a Mozart concerto, at a concert, when an alarm of fire was given, and caused a good deal of excitement. Many of the audience left their seats and made for the door, but the violinist stood unmoved until the alarm was subdued and the audience returned to their seats, when she played the interrupted movement through from the beginning.
In 1879 she made a tour to Australia, and again in 1894.
In 1895 she was in South Africa, and achieved great triumphs in Cape Town, besides giving concerts at such out-of-the-way places as Bloemfontein. She has probably travelled farther than any other violin virtuosa.
For the past few years she has lived in New York, and has practically retired from the concert stage.
Teresina Tua, who was well known in the United States about 1887, was born at Turin in 1867. As in the case of Wilhelmina Neruda and of Camilla Urso, her father was a musician, and she received her early musical instruction from him. Her first appearance in public was made at the age of seven, and up to that time she had received no instruction, except that given her by her father. During her first tour she played at Nice, where a wealthy Russian lady, Madame Rosen, became interested in her, and provided the means to go to Paris, where she was placed under Massart.
In 1880 Signorina Tua won the first prize for violin playing at the Paris Conservatoire, and the following year made a concert tour which extended through France and Spain to Italy. In 1882 she appeared in Vienna, and in 1883 in London, where she played at the Crystal Palace. Wherever she went people of wealth and distinction showed the greatest interest in her, and when she came to America in 1887 she appeared laden with jewelry given her by royalty. Her list of jewels was given in the journals of that day,—“a miniature violin and bow ablaze with diamonds, given by the Prince and Princess of Wales; a double star with a solitaire pearl in the centre, and each point tipped with pearls, from Queen Margherita of Italy.” Besides these, there were diamonds from the Queen of Spain and from the Empress of Russia and sundry grand duchesses. No lady violinist ever appeared before an American audience more gorgeously arrayed. “Fastened all over the bodice of her soft white woollen gown she wore these sparkling jewels, and in her hair were two or three diamond stars,” said the account in Dwight’s Journal of Music. Yet with all this the criticisms of her playing were somewhat lukewarm. The expectation of the people had been wrought up to an unreasonable pitch, and Signorina Tua, while she was acknowledged to be an excellent and charming violinist, was not considered great. After a time, however, as she became better known, she grew in popular estimation, and before she left America she had hosts of admirers.
On returning to Europe she made another tour, but shortly afterwards she married Count Franchi Verney della Valetta, a distinguished Italian critic, and retired into private life, though from time to time she was heard in concerts in Italy.
In 1897 she was again on the concert stage, and played at St. James’s Hall, London, after an absence of eight years, and it was considered that her playing had gained in breadth, while her technique was as perfect as ever.
Of the three hundred or more pupils of Joachim, there have been several ladies who have attained celebrity, of whom Miss Emily Shinner (now Mrs. A. F. Liddell) has been for some years the most prominent in England, while the names of Gabrielle Wietrowitz and Marie Soldat are known throughout Europe, and Maude Powell and Leonora Jackson are among the brightest lights from the United States.
Miss Emily Shinner has been in many respects a pioneer amongst lady violinists, for in 1874, when quite young, she went to Berlin to study the violin. In those days pupils of the fair sex were not admitted to the Hochschule, and Miss Shinner began to study under Herr Jacobsen. It happened, however, that a lady from Silesia arrived at Berlin, intending to take lessons of Joachim, but unaware of the rules against the admission of women to the Hochschule. Joachim interested himself in her, and she was examined for admission. Miss Shinner at once presented herself as a second candidate, and the result was that both ladies were accepted as probationers. In six months Miss Shinner was allowed to become a pupil of Joachim, and thus gained the distinction of being the first girl violinist to study under the great professor.
Again in 1884 Miss Shinner, having acquired a great reputation in musical circles in England, was called upon at very short notice to take Madame Neruda’s place as leader to the “Pop” Quartet, on which occasion she acquitted herself so well that an encore of the second movement of the quartet was demanded. Since that time she has been always before the public, and has taken special interest in chamber music and quartet playing, the Shinner Quartet of ladies having acquired a national reputation.
Her marriage to Capt. A. F. Liddell took place in 1889.
Marie Soldat was born at Gratz in 1863 or 1864, and was the daughter of a musician, who was pianist, organist, and choirmaster, and who gave her instruction from her fifth year on the piano. Two years later she began to learn the organ, and was soon able to act as substitute for her father when occasion required her services. Until her twelfth year she studied music vigorously, taking violin lessons with Pleiner at the Steier Musical Union at Gratz, and composition with Thierot, the Kapellmeister, at the same time keeping on with the pianoforte.
She played the phantasie-caprice by Vieuxtemps in a concert at the Musical Union when she was ten years of age, and at thirteen she went on a tour and played Bruch’s G minor concerto.
Soon after this she had the misfortune to lose her father, and a little later her violin teacher, Pleiner, also died, so that her progress received a check. Joachim, however, visited Gratz to play at a concert, and the young girl went to him and consulted him as to her future course. As a result of the interview she began to take lessons of August Pott, a good violinist at Gratz, and the following year (1879) she again went on a concert tour, visiting several cities in Austria.
During this tour, she made the acquaintance of Johannes Brahms, who took a great deal of interest in her, advised her to devote all her energies to the violin, and succeeded in arranging for another interview with Joachim, the result of which was that she was enabled to enter the Berlin High School for Music. Here she pursued her studies until 1882, after which she still continued her studies and took private lessons of Joachim.
At the high school she gained the Mendelssohn prize, and from that time commenced her career as a virtuosa, touring extensively throughout Europe. One of her greatest triumphs was when, in 1885, at Vienna, she played Brahm’s violin concerto with Richter’s orchestra.
Her career has been marked by hard work and continual practice, which have enabled her to overcome many obstacles, and have placed her on a level with the very best violinists of her sex.
The Ladies’ String Quartet, which she formed in Berlin, consisting of herself as first violin, with Agnes Tschetchulin, Gabrielle Roy, and Lucie Campbell, had a creditable career, and appeared in several German cities.
In 1889 Marie Soldat married a lawyer named Roeger, but did not retire from her profession. She is now known as Madame Soldat-Roeger.
Gabrielle Wietrowitz was born a few years later, in 1866, at Laibach, and was also a pupil at the Musical Institute at Gratz. Her father was a military bandsman who had some knowledge of the violin, which enabled him to give his daughter elementary instruction on that instrument.
After a few years he left Laibach to settle in Gratz, and Gabrielle took violin lessons from A. Geyer (some accounts say Caspar). On entering the Musical Union she made a sensation by playing brilliantly at a concert before a large audience. She was then eleven years of age, and from that time she made the most rapid progress, taking first prize at the annual trial concert. In consequence of her great promise Count Aichelburg, who was a member of the Directorate of the Musical Union, presented her with a valuable violin, and the Directorate assigned her a yearly salary which enabled her to go to Berlin and enter the high school, where she became a pupil of Joachim in 1882.
At the high school her career was as brilliant as it had been in Gratz, for at the end of her first year she succeeded in capturing the Mendelssohn prize, which brought her 1,500 marks, and at the end of her third year she took it for a second time.
She remained at the high school three years, after which she began a splendid career by playing the concerto by Brahms at the St. Cecilia Festival at Muenster. Then followed a series of concert tours, which resulted in securing her a reputation as one of the most brilliant stars amongst women.
Miss Wietrowitz plays with the most consummate ease the greatest works of the modern school. She has a powerful and brilliant tone, with sweet tenderness and sympathy, which appeal to the soul of the listener, and she confines her repertoire to the highest class of musical compositions. She has recently succeeded Miss Emily Shinner as first violin in the quartet which that talented lady established in England.
The most recent star of Europe is Madame Saenger-Sethe, whose appearances are invariably followed by eulogies from the critics. In Berlin, when she appeared at the Singakademie, in November, 1898, where she was assisted by the Philharmonic Orchestra, one critic declared that no violin playing had been heard to compare with it during that season, with the exception of Burmester’s performance of the Beethoven concerto. “Such wealth and sensuous beauty of tone, such certainty of technique, such mental grasp of the work, and at the same time such all-conquering temperament have not been heard in Berlin at the hands of a female violinist during several years.” After many recalls, she gave, as an encore, a rousing performance of a Bach sarabande.
Mlle. Irma Sethe was born on April 28, 1876, at Brussels, and such was her early aptitude for music that at the age of five she was placed under a violinist of repute, named Jokisch, who in three months from the start taught her to play a Mozart sonata. Five years of hard study enabled her to appear at a concert at Marchiennes, when she played a concerto by De Beriot and the rondo capriccioso by Saint-Saens. The following year she played at Aix-la-Chapelle, and made such an impression that several offers of concert engagements were made, but were declined by her mother on the score of the child’s health, and for three years after this she never appeared at a concert.
One summer, during the holidays, she met August Wilhelmj, who was charmed with her talent, and devoted his mornings for two months to giving her lessons daily. At the end of that time he emphasised his appreciation by making her a present of a valuable violin. She still continued her regular studies with Jokisch, until, acting on the advice of her friends, she obtained a hearing from Ysaye, and played for him Bach’s prelude and fugue in G minor.
Ysaye at once recognised her immense ability, and advised her to enter the conservatoire at Brussels, which she did, with the result that in eight months she carried off the first prize, being then only fifteen years of age. She continued her studies for three more years, and was frequently employed as a substitute for Ysaye, as professor, to teach his classes while he was absent on concert tours.
In 1894 she appeared with him at a number of important concerts, and shortly afterwards made her first concert tour, visiting many of the principal towns of Germany. In November, 1895, she made her first appearance in London, where she was pronounced to be, with the exception of Lady Halle, the most remarkable lady violinist who had ever appeared before the public in England, and where her excellent technique, perfect intonation, warmth of feeling, and musical insight were highly, almost extravagantly, praised.
In August, 1898, Mlle. Sethe married Doctor Saenger, a litterateur, and professor of philosophy at Berlin, but she continues her career as a violinist, and has made several tours of Europe. She has been compared to Rubinstein, inasmuch as her remarkable musical temperament and irresistible impulsiveness carry her at times almost beyond the limits of her instrument, but these are the very qualities by which she captivates and carries away her hearers.
Among other European ladies who have made their mark as violinists, and whose stars are in the ascendant, may be mentioned Sophie Jaffe, who has been called the greatest of all women violinists, and Frida Scotta.
Although many years behind the continent of Europe in musical life, and with a musical atmosphere not nearly as dense as that found in almost any village of Italy, France, or Germany, America has contributed to the musical world many shining lights during the past few years. Mlle. Urso has been claimed as an American violinist, though she was born in Europe and was a good violinist before she reached these shores, but in 1864, in New York, Anna Senkrah was born, who for a few years rivalled Teresina Tua.
The real name of Arma Senkrah was Harkness, which for professional purposes she “turned end for end,” as the sailors would say, and dropped an “s.” After Miss Harkness had been taught the elements of music by her mother, she went to Brussels to study under Wieniawski, and then to Paris, where she became a pupil of Massart She is said also to have taken lessons of Vieuxtemps and of Arno Hilf.
In 1881 she won the first prize at the Paris Conservatoire, a feat which always stamps the winner “artist.” From 1877 to 1880 Arma Senkrah travelled a great deal throughout Europe, and in 1882 she played, under her proper name, at the Crystal Palace, London. She was created, at Weimar, a chamber virtuoso, by the grand duke. Here she met and shortly afterwards married a lawyer named Hoffman, and disappeared from the concert platform.
New York has contributed other stars to the violin firmament, for Nettie Carpenter and Geraldine Morgan are names which have become well known.
Miss Carpenter went abroad at an early age, though not until she had appeared in concerts in her native city, and created considerable interest.
On going to Paris, she was successful in passing the entrance examinations for the Conservatoire, and in 1884 won the first prize for violin playing. In 1882 she appeared in London at the promenade concerts, and again in 1884, when she confirmed the reputation which she had made two years previously, at the same concerts. From that time on she went through the usual routine of the concert violinist, with considerable success.
In 1894 she married Leo Stern, the violoncello player, but the union did not continue for long, Mr. Stern becoming about four years later the husband of Miss Suzanne Adams, the opera singer.
Miss Geraldine Morgan is the daughter of John P. Morgan, who was for some years organist of Old Trinity Church, New York. She studied in her native city under Leopold Damrosch, besides which she received much instruction from her father. Then she went to Leipzig, where she studied with Schradieck, after which she was the pupil in Berlin of Joachim, under whose guidance she remained eight years. She was the first American who ever gained the Mendelssohn prize.
Miss Morgan has made tours through the Continent and Great Britain, and had the honour of playing the Bach double concerto with Joachim at the Crystal Palace. In 1891 she appeared in New York under the auspices of Walter Damrosch.
A lady who holds a high position among the violinists of the world is Miss Maud Powell, who was born in Aurora, Ill., in 1868. Her father is American and her mother German. She began her musical education at the age of four, by taking piano lessons. At eight she took up the violin, and made such excellent progress that, when she was thirteen years old, she was taken to Leipzig, where she studied under Schradieck, and received her diploma in a year, playing also at one of the Gewandhaus concerts.
[Illustration: MAUD POWELL]
She next went to Paris, where she was the first selected out of eighty applicants for admission to the Conservatoire. In the following year she accepted an engagement for a tour in England, and had the honour of playing before the royal family. While in London Joachim heard her, and expressed his approval of her capabilities by inviting her to go to Berlin and become one of his pupils, which she accordingly did, and remained with him for two years.
In 1885 she made her debut in Berlin at the Philharmonic concerts, when she played the Bruch concerto, which she also played in Philadelphia later in the same year. Her performance in America brought her much praise, and she was declared to be a marvellously gifted woman, one who in every feature of her playing disclosed the instincts and gifts of a born artist, though she had not yet reached the heights of her ability. Since that time she has gained in breadth, and has become a mature artist.
Miss Powell has appeared in the best concerts throughout America, and has gained a reputation second to no American violinist. By many she is declared to be the equal of Soldat and Wietrowitz in tone, technique, and interpretative power. She has an immense repertoire, and is also a student of literature. She also is said to have been the first to establish a female quartet in America.
The latest American lady violinist to gain honours abroad is Miss Leonora Jackson, who won the Mendelssohn state prize at Berlin, in 1898, and who has gained a great reputation by her performances before the most important musical organisations in Europe.
Miss Jackson was fortunate enough to attract the attention of Mrs. Grover Cleveland, who admired her talent, and, with Mr. George Vanderbilt, sent her abroad. For two years she studied in Paris, and then went to Berlin, where she became a pupil of Joachim. In Berlin she made her debut in 1896, with the Philharmonic Orchestra, which was conducted by Joachim on that occasion. Shortly afterwards she was commanded by the Empress of Germany to play at the Royal Opera House, in Berlin, and she soon earned for herself a position amongst the best of the rising violinists of the day.
When she appeared in London, in 1898, she surprised and delighted the audience, displaying a fine tone, natural musical feeling, and complete technique. Few violinists can play with such quiet, intense sentiment. Miss Jackson, though but twenty years of age, is already a veteran concert player, for she has appeared in many cities of Europe, and was already known in America before she went to Berlin. She played in July, 1899, before the Queen of England at Windsor Castle, and again in August at Osborne House, in the Isle of Wight.
The time has long since gone by when mere showy technique would earn a reputation for any violinist, male or female, and she who expects to be numbered with the great violinists must be first of all a musician, capable of interpreting the greatest works. If in addition to this she has “the divine spark,” she will be truly great.
Quartet playing is at once the delight and the despair of the amateur, who finds no greater pleasure than an evening spent in endeavouring to unravel the intricacies of chamber music, nor any keener disappointment than the realisation that it is capable of far better interpretation.
For the professional there are many influences which cause him to hesitate before he launches forth upon the quicksands of public performance. The first necessity in professional quartet playing is the devotion of a large amount of time to the acquisition of a perfect ensemble. A quartet may be likened unto a family, in which the members learn to know one another by being brought up together, and few are the professionals who can sacrifice the time necessary for the acquisition of this perfect ensemble.
Apparently very little was done previous to the nineteenth century in the way of quartet concerts, but Baillot founded a series of quartet concerts in Paris, which were highly spoken of, and about the same time Schuppanzigh, an excellent violinist and teacher in Vienna, established a quartet which became famous. In this quartet Mayseder played, in his younger days, second violin. Mayseder was considered the foremost violinist in Vienna, but he never travelled as a virtuoso.
When Spohr went first to Leipzig and was unknown, he had to find a way by which he could attract attention to himself,—in those days the advertising agent was not much in evidence,—so that he might give a concert with a reasonable prospect of success. The rich merchants, to whom he had brought letters of introduction, knew nothing of him and received him coldly. “I was very anxious to be invited to play at one of their music parties in order to draw attention to myself,” Spohr says in his autobiography, “and my wish was fulfilled, for I was invited to a grand party and asked to play something. I chose one of the loveliest of the six new quartets of Beethoven, with which I had often charmed my hearers in Brunswick. But
This little episode shows that Beethoven was not fully appreciated, and it also shows that quartet playing was regarded at that time in an entirely different light from that in which we are accustomed to think of it to-day. We do not consider the first violinist a soloist and the rest merely his accompaniment, but each member of the quartet is practically of equal importance.
Lambert Joseph Massart, the eminent teacher of Paris, is said to have been an excellent quartet player, and often, with his wife, an admirable pianist, he gave delightful chamber concerts.
Few violinists have been more closely associated with quartet playing than Ferdinand David, in his way one of the most celebrated violinists. Little is known of his early youth except that he was born at Hamburg in 1810, and was there at the time of the French occupation. It has been said that he played in a concert at ten years of age and at thirteen became a pupil of Spohr at Cassel. He made a concert tour with his sister, Madame Dulcken, and in 1827 entered the orchestra of the Koenigstadt Theatre at Berlin. Here he became acquainted with Mendelssohn, with whom he was from that time on terms of the greatest intimacy. While in Berlin he was heard by a wealthy musical amateur named Liphart, who lived at Dorpat, and who maintained a private quartet. He engaged David, who eventually married his daughter, to lead this quartet, and for several years the young violinist remained in Dorpat, though he found opportunity to make some concert tours through the north of Europe.
When Mendelssohn was appointed conductor of the Gewandhaus concerts at Leipzig, he sent for David and made him concert master, which post he occupied from 1836. Seven years later the conservatory was founded by Mendelssohn, and David became professor of violin, in which position his influence became great and beneficial.
In Leipzig David established a quartet, which was one of the best, if not the very best, in its day, though it may have been surpassed later by the Florentine Quartet and those of Joachim, in London and Berlin, and possibly by Brodsky’s later Leipzig quartet.
David died in 1873, beloved and respected, and will be remembered as one of the most refined musicians and admirable teachers of the century.
Josef Hellmesberger, one of the most brilliant violinists and noted teachers of Vienna, founded, in 1849, a quartet which achieved an immense reputation. His associates were Heissler, Durst, and Schlesinger. Hellmesberger made a point of finding works of merit which had sunk into oblivion, but which were worthy of a hearing. Hellmesberger spent the whole of his life in Vienna, with the exception of a tour in 1847, and he held the highest musical office in the Austrian Empire, that of director of the Imperial Band.
A story which is told of him bears testimony to his remarkable musical instinct. Teresa Milanollo, in 1840, took a new manuscript by De Beriot to Vienna. She wished to keep it for her own use, and did not show it to anybody. Hellmesberger heard it played at two rehearsals, and then went home and wrote out the whole work from memory.
No small portion of the immense influence which Joachim has wielded in the musical world has been directed toward quartet playing, and he has established a quartet in London and another one at Berlin, which both bear an enviable reputation. His chamber music classes, too, at the Berlin High School, tend to develop admirable quartet players; thus we find Marie Soldat organising a ladies’ quartet which had a good career, and Gabrielle Wietrowitz taking the place of first violin in the excellent ladies’ quartet formed in England by Miss Emily Shinner. Miss Shinner, whose efforts in the artistic world have been of great value, and whose quartet has an immense reputation in England, was also a pupil of Joachim.
[Footnote 1: The Shinner Quartet consisted of Miss Emily Shinner (Mrs. F. Liddell), first violin, Miss Lucy H. Stone, second violin, Miss Cecilia Gates, viola, and Miss Florence Hemmings, violoncello.]
The “Florentine Quartet” was founded by Jean Becker, a violinist of excellent ability, who made his mark in Europe about the middle of the nineteenth century. Becker was travelling in Italy in 1865, and settled in Florence for a time, during which he organised the above-mentioned quartet, with Masi, second violin, Chiostri, viola, and Hilpert, violoncello. In Florence there existed a society for the performance of chamber music, which had been established by a wealthy professor named Bazzini, a violinist and composer who travelled much, and whose influence in Italy, in the cause of German music, was of great value. Bazzini was born in 1818 and died in 1897.
From time to time this society gave subscription concerts, and Becker was invited to lead ten such concerts during the winter of 1865-66. He consented to do so, but found the quartet in a state of dissolution. He brought Hilpert with him, and engaged Masi as second violin, Chiostro being the only member of the original quartet. Masi was not accustomed to chamber music, but Becker took him in hand and he improved rapidly. In order to still enhance his value in the quartet, Becker presented him with a Stradivarius violin. They remained in Florence until their ensemble was absolutely perfect, and then began a series of tours which took them all over Europe. In Vienna the quartet was subjected to comparison with those of Hellmesberger and of Joachim, for the former had just given six chamber concerts, and the latter three. The first concert given by the Florentine Quartet was thinly attended, but the report of its excellence brought an overflowing audience to the second concert, and in all ten were given during the remainder of the season.
About 1875 Hilpert withdrew, and his place was filled by Hegyesi, who remained with the quartet until it was disbanded in 1880.
An excellent series of quartet concerts was founded in Stuttgart by Edmund Singer, who was appointed professor of violin in the Conservatorium, leader of the court music, and chamber musician, in 1861, after a distinguished career of some ten or more years as a virtuoso. These concerts met with triumphant success.
Georg J.R. Heckmann founded a quartet at Cologne and travelled through Europe, but it was surpassed by the Florentine Quartet, and did not gain the highest reputation.
A quartet which has been pronounced to be one of the best in existence is that which is led by Jeno Hubay, in Pesth, and in which Hegyesi, formerly of the Florentine Quartet, is the ’cellist.
Adolf Brodsky, who for a time resided in New York, founded a string quartet at Leipzig, with Hans Becker, son of the founder of the Florentine Quartet, Hans Sitt, and Julius Klengel, the ’cellist, and this quartet was said to have no superior in Europe, and not more than one equal,—the Joachim Quartet of Berlin. In 1891 Brodsky went to New York, where he also established a quartet, but with little success. The organisation was received with respect, owing to Mr. Brodsky’s European reputation, but it was admitted on all hands that superior organisations existed in America. Before Mr. Brodsky had time to bring his quartet to a high degree of proficiency, he returned to Europe, and, after a brief stay in Germany, accepted a position in England, where he has established another quartet.
He was succeeded in the quartet at Leipzig and at the conservatory by Arno Hilf, a distinguished violinist with an enormous technique, who was born in 1858 and was taught by David, Roentgen, and Schradieck.
Quartet playing in public was established in England in 1835, when the admirers of Joseph Dando, an excellent violinist, opened a subscription for the purpose of giving some concerts in which the chamber music, and especially the quartets of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Spohr, etc., should be performed. The first concert was given at the Horn Tavern, Doctors’-Commons, in London, on September 23d of that year, and being highly successful, a second was given on October 12th, and a third on the 26th, each proving more attractive than its predecessor. These concerts lasted for two seasons, when a new quartet was formed, with H.G. Blagrove and Henry Gattie as first and second violins, Mr. Dando, viola, and Mr. Lucas, ’cello, for the more perfect study and presentation of quartets and other chamber music. These concerts were given at the Hanover Square rooms, and on account of the care bestowed upon the rehearsals (of which they held seven or eight for each concert), they threw all previous performances into the shade.
The tide of public favour had now set in, and other quartets were formed, but none reached such excellence as that headed by Blagrove, which was invited to play at the Philharmonic concerts, where it produced a great sensation.
About the end of the seventh season Blagrove withdrew, but the quartet continued in existence for many years, Mr. Dando playing first violin, and Mr. Loder, the viola, and the concerts were given at Crosby Hall in the city, instead of the Hanover Square rooms.
At St. Petersburg a quartet was formed by Leopold Auer, an excellent violinist, who at the death of Wieniawski was appointed professor of violin at the Conservatoire. Auer was born in Hungary, and became a pupil of Dont at Vienna, after which he had a brilliant career as a virtuoso in Europe. His St. Petersburg quartet was founded in 1868, and became one of the leading musical organisations of the Russian capital, until the death of Davidoff, the violoncellist, who was one of its members, in 1890.
Auer has been very active in the musical life of St. Petersburg, and is very highly esteemed both as a man and as a musician, teacher, and performer.
A quartet which has gained a great reputation in Europe during recent years is the Bohemian Quartet, consisting of Carl Hoffmann, first violin, Joseph Suk, second violin, Oscar Nedbal, viola, and Hanus Wihom, violoncello. They play with a great deal of vim and abandon, and the ensemble is remarkable.
At Hanover Richard Sahla has established a quartet, with Meneke, Kugler, and Loeleberg, and Arnold Rose’s quartet, of Vienna, has travelled in Hungary, Italy, and other countries, gaining a good reputation.
In the United States there have been well meant efforts to found good quartets, and these have all had a beneficial influence. In Boston Mr. Bernhard Listemann, some twenty years ago, established a quartet which gave some very delightful concerts, but the past decade has witnessed the rise of an organisation which is able to bear comparison with any quartet in the world.
The Kneisel Quartet was organised in 1885, the year in which Mr. Franz Kneisel accepted the position of concert-master to the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Henry L. Higginson invited him at the same time to organise a quartet, and a series of concerts was given that season in Chickering Hall. While the excellence of the quartet was apparent from the start, there were comparatively few people in Boston who took much interest in chamber music, and the audiences were, as a rule, small. Year by year they have increased, and for the past few years it has been necessary to give the concerts in Association Hall, which has a seating capacity about twice as large as that of the original hall.
The second violin is Mr. Otto Roth, a native of Vienna, who played for three years under the baton of Hans Richter, and came to Boston to play first violin in the Symphony Orchestra.
[Footnote 2: Mr. Roth retired from the quartet in 1899 and his place was filled by Mr. Karl Ondricek.]
Mr. Louis Svecenski, an excellent artist, who studied in the Vienna Conservatory, under Hellmesberger and Gruen, plays the viola, and the ’cellist is Alwyn Schroeder, an artist, who had achieved a high reputation as a ’cello virtuoso, before he came to America.
After a few years the Kneisel Quartet began to appear in other cities, and now gives regular series of subscription concerts in New York, Washington, Baltimore, Hartford, and Worcester, also Harvard, Yale, and Princeton Universities, besides occasional performances in more remote cities. In 1896 the quartet had given over eight hundred concerts since its formation.
[Illustration: FRANZ KNEISEL]
At the end of the Symphony season in Boston, in 1896, the Kneisel Quartet made a visit to London and gave several concerts. In London it was obliged to stand comparison with the finest quartets in existence. The Joachim Quartet and the Bohemian Quartet gave concerts the same season, but the unanimous verdict was to the effect that none could equal the Kneisel Quartet in absolute ensemble and perfection of detail. While the Bohemian Quartet played with a great deal of abandon and enthusiasm, and the Joachim Quartet contained players of a greater reputation in Europe, yet the Kneisel Quartet simply confirmed the reputation it had acquired in America. “It would, indeed, be impossible to conceive greater perfection in the matter of ensemble, precision, delicacy, and all the qualities requisite for the proper interpretation of chamber music.”
In the spring of 1899 the Kneisel Quartet made an extended tour in America, and found the musical condition of the great cities in the United States, as evidenced by the appreciation of music, fully equal to that of the European centres. Brahms and Beethoven were played in Denver and in San Francisco to audiences who were fully equal to the enjoyment of the highest class of music, and everywhere the quartet was greeted with enthusiasm.
The success of the Kneisel Quartet is due to the long and arduous practice which the members have enjoyed together, for perfection in quartet playing is only possible through long association.
While virtuosity is not essential for quartet playing, good musicianship is very necessary. Patient and self-denying practice are absolute requisites.
The love of chamber music is apparently growing in the United States, for in many of the large cities quartets have been established by good musicians, and the opportunities for hearing fine interpretations of the best chamber music are increasing each year. It is a branch of musical art which appeals only to cultivated taste, for it is necessarily free from sensationalism and individual display. Therefore, the love of quartet playing may be considered to be a true index of the growth of musical culture.
CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE OF FAMOUS VIOLINISTS.
“c” indicates that the date given is only approximate.
------------ NAME. | Place and Date | Place and Date | | of Birth. | of Death. | ------------------------------------------------------------
------- Alessandro, Romano | Italy c1530 | ? ? | Baltazarini | Italy c1550 | ? ? | Farina, Carlo | Italy c1580 | ? ? | Alberghi, Paolo | Italy c1600 | ? ? | Biber, Henry J. | England c1600 | ? ? | Cortellini, Camillo | Italy c1600 | ? ? | Madorus, Giovanni | Venice c1600 | ? ? | Manoir, Guillaume | ? c1600 | ? ? | Baltzar, Thomas | Lubec 1630 | London 1663 | Bannister, John | England 1630 | London 1679 | Lulli, Jean Baptiste de | Florence 1633 | Paris 1687 | Strunck, Nicolas Adam | Germany 1640 | ? 1700 | Laurenti, Bartolomeo G. | Bologna 1644 | ? 1726 | Vitali, Tomasso | Bologna c1650 | ? ? | Eccles, John | London 1650 | London 1735 | Marini, Carlo Antonio | Bergamo c1650 | ? ? | Corelli, Arcangelo | Italy 1653 | Rome 1713 | Aschenbrunner, Christian H.| Alstettin 1654 | Jena 1732 | Bassani, Giovanni B. | Padua 1657 | Ferrara 1716 | Vivaldi, Antonio | Venice 1660 | ? 1743 | Eccles, Henry | London 1660 | London ? | Bannister, John, Jr. | England 1673 | London 1735 | Albinoni, Thomas | Venice 1674 | Venice 1745 | Hesse, Ernest Christian | Germany 1676 | Darmstadt 1762 | Somis, Lorenzo | Piedmont 1676 | ? 1763 |
Page 106Aubert, Jacques | ? 1678 | Paris 1753 | Geminiani, Francesco | Lucca 1680 | Dublin 1762 | Alberti, Guiseppe Matteo | Bologna 1685 | ? ? | Veracini, Francesco | Florence c1685 | 1750 | Senaille, Jean Baptiste | Paris 1687 | ? 1730 | Pisendel, Johann Georg | Karlsburg 1687 | Dresden 1755 | Birckenstock, Johann A. | Hesse 1687 | Eisenach 1733 | Montanari, Francesco | Padua ? | Rome 1730 | Matheis, Nicola | ? ? | ? 1749 | Gentili, Georges | Venice 1688 | ? ? | Valentini, Guiseppe | Florence 1690 | ? ? | Castrucci, Pietro | Rome 1690 | London 1769 | Tartini, Guiseppe | Pirano 1692 | Padua 1770 | Locatelli, Pietro | Bergamo 1693 | Amsterdam 1764 | Rothe, August Friedrich | Sonderhausen 1696 | ? 1784 | Leclair, Jean Marie | Lyons 1697 | Paris 1764 | Graun, Jean G. | Germany 1698 | Berlin 1771 | Francoer, Francois | Paris 1698 | ? 1787 | Abaco, Evaristo F. Dall | Verona c1700 | ? ? | Anderle, F.J. | ? c1700 | ? ? | Bitti, Martini | ? 1700 | ? ? | Borghi, Luigi | ? ? | ? ? | Brown, Abram | ? ? | ? ? | Carbonelli, Stefano | Rome c1700 | London ? | Dalloglio, Domenico | Venice c1700 | Russia 1764 | Guignon, Jean Pierre | Turin 1702 | Versailles 1775 | Dubourg, Matthew | England 1703 | London 1767 | De Croes, Henri Jacques | Antwerp 1705 | Brussels 1786 | Guillemain, Gabriel | Paris 1705 | ? 1770 | Czarth, Georg C. | Deutschbrod 1708 | Mannheim 1774 | Benda, Franz | Albenatky 1709 | Potsdam 1786 | Girauek, Fernandino | Bohemia 1712 | Dresde 1761 | Benda, Johann | Albenatky 1713 | Potsdam 1752 | D’Auvergne, Antoine | France 1713 | Lyons 1797 | Clegg, John | Ireland 1714 | ? c1750 | Hempel, George C. | Gotha 1715 | Gotha 1801 | Fritz, Caspar | Geneva 1716 | Geneva 1782 | Giardini, Felice | Turin 1716 | Moscow 1796 | Mozart, Leopold | Augsburg 1719 | Salzburg 1787 | Stamitz, Johann Carl | Bohemia 1719 | Mannheim 1761 | Bini, Pasqualino | Pesaro 1720 | ? ? | Morigi, Angelo | ? ? | Parma 1788 | Lemiere | ? ? | Paris 1771 | Pagin, Andre Noel | Paris 1721 | ? ? | Abel, Leopold A. | Cothen c1700 | ? ? |
Page 107Festing, Michael C. | London ? | London 1752 | Ferrari, Domenico | Piacenza ? | Paris 1780 | Enderle, Wilhelm C. | Bayreuth 1722 | Darmstadt 1793 | Nardini, Pietro | Tuscany 1722 | Florence 1793 | Lefebre, Jacques | Prinzlow 1723 | ? 1777 | Van Malder, Pierre | Brussels 1724 | Brussels 1768 | Glaser, John Michel | Erlangen 1725 | ? ? | Hattasch, Dismas | Hohenmant 1725 | Gotha 1777 | Gavinies, Pierre | Bordeaux 1726 | Paris 1800 | Gow, Neil | Strathband 1727 | Inver 1787 | Pugnani, Gaetano | Turin 1727 | Turin 1803 | Manfredi, Filippo | Lucca 1729 | Madrid c1780 | Gallo, Domenico | Venice 1730 | ? ? | Cannabich, Christian | Mannheim 1730 | Frankfort 1798 | Lolli, Antonio | Bergamo 1730 | Sicily 1802 | Vachon, Pierre | Arles 1730 | Berlin 1802 | Goepfert, Charles F. | Weissenstein 1733 | Weimar 1798 | Raimoni, Ignazio | Naples 1733 | London 1802 | Lahoussaye, Pierre | Paris 1735 | Paris 1818 | Haranc, Louis Andre | Paris 1738 | Paris 1805 | Celestine, Eligio | Rome 1739 | ? ? | Weigl, Franz J. | Bavaria 1740 | Vienna 1820 | Tomasini, Luigi | Bohemia 1745 | Gotha 1805 | Jarnowick, Giovanni M. | Palermo 1745 | St. | | | Petersburg 1804 | Navoigille, Guillaume J. | Givet 1745 | Paris 1811 | Paisible | Paris 1745 | St. | | | Petersburg 1781 | Salomon, Johann Peter | Boenn 1745 | London 1815 | Cambini, Giovanni G. | Leghorn 1746 | Bicetre 1825 | Gervais, Pierre Noel | Mannheim 1746 | Bordeaux 1805 | Stamitz, Carl | Mannheim 1746 | Jena 1801 | Ghirett, Gaspar | Naples 1747 | Parma 1827 | Leduc, Simon | Paris 1748 | Paris 1787 | Mestrino, Niccolo | Milan 1748 | Paris 1790 | Guerillot, Henri | Bordeaux 1749 | Paris 1805 | Navoigille, Herbert J. | Givet 1749 | ? ? | Obermeyer, Joseph | Bohemia 1749 | ? ? | Bagatella, Antonio | Padua 1750 | ? ? | Almeyda, C.F. | ? c1750 | ? ? | Fuchs, Peter | Bohemia 1750 | Vienna 1804 | Henry, Bonventure | ? c1750 | ? ? | Kriegck, J.J. | Bebra 1750 | Meiningen 1813 | Sirmen, Maddalena | Venice c1750 | ? ? | Woldemar, Michael | Orleans 1750 | Clermont- |
Page 108| | -Ferrand 1816 | Barthelemon, Francois H. | Bordeaux 1751 | ? 1808 | Campagnoli, Bartolomeo | Cento 1751 | Neustrelitz 1827 | Lamotte, Francois | Vienna 1751 | Holland 1781 | Berthaume, Isidore | Paris 1752 | St. | | | Petersburg 1802 | Kasska, Wilhelm | Ratisbon 1752 | Ratisbon 1806 | Brunetti, Gaetano | Pisa 1753 | Madrid 1808 | Janitsch, Anton | Switzerland 1753 | Westphalia 1812 | Lem, Pierre | Copenhagen 1753 | ? ? | Fiorillo, Federigo | Brunswick 1753 | ? c1800 | Stamitz, Anton | Mannheim 1753 | Paris ? | Viotti, Giovanni B. | Piedmont 1753 | London 1824 | Kranz, Johann F. | Weimar 1754 | Stuttgart 1807 | Mosel, Giovanni F. | Florence 1754 | ? ? | Leduc, Pierre | Paris 1755 | Holland 1816 | Fauvel, Andre Joseph | Bordeaux 1756 | ? ? | Lacroix, Antoine | Remberville 1756 | Lubeck 1812 | Wranitzky, Paul | Moravia 1756 | Vienna 1808 | Haack, Karl | Potsdam 1757 | Potsdam 1819 | Rolla, Alessandro | Pavia 1757 | Milan 1841 | Galeazzi, Francesco | Turin 1758 | Rome 1819 | Liber, Wolfgang | Donanworth 1758 | Ratisbon 1817 | Weberlin, Jean F. | Stuttgart 1758 | Stuttgart 1825 | Bruni, Antonio B. | Piedmont 1759 | ? ? | Gautherot, Louise | ? 1760 | ? ? | Guiliani, Francois | Florence 1760 | ? 1819 | Haack, Friedrich | Potsdam 1760 | ? ? | Krommer, Franz | Kamenitz 1760 | Vienna 1831 | Neubauer, Franz C. | Bohemia 1760 | Bueckeburg 1795 | Jarnewicz, Felix | Wilna 1761 | Edinburgh 1848 | Wranitzky, Anton | Moravia 1761 | Vienna 1819 | Wessely, Johann | Bohemia 1762 | ? ? | Bonnet, Jean Baptiste | Montauban 1763 | ? ? | Danzi, Franz | Mannheim 1763 | Carlsruhe 1826 | Peshatschek, Francois | Bohemia 1763 | Vienna 1816 | Alday, P | Perpignan 1764 | ? ? | Lorenziti, Bernado | Wuertemburg 1764 | ? 1813 | Schlick, Regina (Sacchi) | Mantua 1764 | ? ? | Cartier, Jean Baptiste | Avignon 1765 | Paris 1841 | LaCroix, Antoine | ? 1765 | ? ? | Hampeln, Karl von | Mannheim 1765 | Stuttgart 1834 | Eck, Johann F. | Mannheim 1766 | Bamberg 1809 | Hunt, Karl | Dresden 1766 | ? ? | Kreutzer, Rudolph | Versailles 1766 | Geneva 1831 |
Page 109De Volder, Pierre Jean | Antwerp 1767 | Brussels 1841 | Romberg, Andreas | Vechta 1767 | Gotha 1821 | Pauwels, Jean E. | Brussels 1768 | Brussels 1804 | Spagnoletti, P. | Cremona 1768 | London 1834 | Valmalete, Louis de | Rieux 1768 | ? ? | Grasset, Jean J. | Paris 1769 | Paris 1839 | Paravicini, Signora | Turin 1769 | ? ? | Boucher, Alexandre Jean | Paris 1770 | Paris 1861 | Gerbini, Luigia | ? 1770 | ? ? | Girault, August | Paris 1770 | Paris 1806 | Hoffmann, Heinrich Anton | Mainz 1770 | Mainz 1842 | Baillot, | | | Pierre M.F. de Sales | Passy 1771 | Paris 1842 | Festa, Guiseppe M. | Naples 1771 | ? 1839 | Labarre, Louis J.C. | Paris 1771 | ? ? | Vacher, Pierre Jean | Paris 1772 | Paris 1819 | Lottini, Denis | Orleans 1773 | Orleans 1826 | Vaccaro, Francesco | Modena 1773 | Portugal 1823 | Eck, Franz | Mannheim 1774 | Strasburg 1804 | Rode, Pierre | Bordeaux 1774 | Loire-et- | | | Garonne 1831 | Eberwen, Traugott M. | Weimar 1775 | Rudolstadt 1831 | Libon, Philippe | Cadiz 1775 | Paris 1838 | Schuppanzigh, Ignace | Vienna 1776 | Vienna 1830 | Dobrynski, Ignace | Volhyna 1777 | Warsaw 1841 | Giorgis, Joseph | Turin 1777 | ? ? | Kieserwetter, Cristophe G. | Anspach 1777 | London 1827 | Moralt, Johann B. | Mannheim 1777 | Munich 1825 | Paravicini, Mme. | Milan 1778 | ? ? | Blanchard, Henri L. | Bordeaux 1778 | Paris 1858 | Radicati, Felice A. | Turin 1778 | ? 1823 | Weiss, Franz | Silesia 1778 | ? ? | Bridgetower, George A. | Poland ?1779 | ? c1850 | Mueller, John Henry | Koenigsberg 1780 | ? ? | Habeneck, Francois A. | Mezieres 1781 | Paris 1849 | Lafont, Charles Philippe | Paris 1781 | Tarbes 1839 | Polledro, Giovanni B. | Turin 1781 | Turin 1853 | Mazas, Jacques F. | Beziers 1782 | ? 1849 | Puppo, Felice A. | Turin 1778 | ? 1823 | Bohrer, Anthony | Munich 1783 | Hanover 1852 | Linke, Joseph | Silesia 1783 | Vienna 1837 | Paganini, Nicolo | Genoa 1784 | Nice 1840 | Spohr, Louis | Brunswick 1784 | Cassel 1859 | Zocca | Ferrara 1784 | ? ? | Fontaine, Antoine N.M. | Paris 1785 | St. Cloud 1866 |
Page 110Lafonde | ? 1785 | ? ? | Eberwen, Karl | Weimar 1786 | Weimar 1868 | Granafond, Eugene | Compiegne 1786 | ? ? | Pixis, Friedrich, Wilhelm | Mannheim 1786 | Prague 1842 | Cudmore, Richard | Chichester 1757 | Manchester 1841 | Guhr, Charles | Militsch 1787 | Frankfurt 1848 | Berwald, Johann F. | Stockholm 1788 | Stockholm 1861 | Fesca, Friedrich E. | Magdeburg 1789 | Carlsruhe 1826 | Maurer, Ludwig | Potsdam 1789 | St. | | | Petersburg 1878 | Mayseder, Joseph | Vienna 1789 | Vienna 1863 | Wery, Nicolas L. | Liege 1789 | Luxemburg 1867 | Femy, Francois | Ghent 1790 | ? ? | Klose, J. | London 1790 | London 1830 | Lipinski, Karl Joseph | Poland 1790 | Urlow 1861 | Goetz, Jean N.C. | Weimar 1791 | ? 1861 | Benesch, Joseph | Batelow 1793 | ? ? | Pichatschek, Francois | Vienna 1793 | Carlsruhe 1840 | Filipowicz, Elizabeth M. | ? 1794 | ? ? | Jansa, Leopold | Bohemia 1794 | Vienna 1875 | Krahmer, Mme. Caroline | ? 1794 | ? ? | Parmy, Joseph | Austria 1794 | Mainz 1835 | Batta, Pierre | Maastricht 1795 | Brussels 1876 | Bohm, Joseph | Pesth 1795 | Vienna 1876 | Drin, Finlay | Aberdeen 1795 | Edinburgh 1853 | Lacy, Michael R. | Bilbao 1795 | London 1867 | Giorgetti, Fernandino | Florence 1796 | Florence 1867 | Mori, Nicolas | London 1796 | London 1839 | Calcagno, Catarina | Italy 1797 | ? ? | Collins, Isaac | ? 1797 | London 1871 | Girard, Narcisse | Nantes 1797 | Paris 1860 | Mueller, Karl Friedrich | Brunswick 1797 | ? 1873 | Roberrechts, Andre | Brussels 1797 | Paris 1860 | Rolla, Antoine | Parma 1797 | Dresden 1837 | Tolberque, Jean B.J. | Belgium 1797 | Paris 1869 | Coronini, Paolo | Vincenza 1798 | ? 1875 | Batta, Pantaleon | Paris 1799 | Paris 1870 | Rudersdorff, J. | Amsterdam 1799 | Koenigsberg 1866 | Gattie, Henry | ? 1800 | ? ? | Hellmesberger, Georg | Vienna 1800 | Newaldegg 1873 | Meerts, Lambert | Brussels 1800 | Brussels 1863 | Mueller, Theodore Heinrich | Brunswic 1800 | ? 1855 | Nohr, Christian F. | Thuringia 1800 | Meiningen 1875 | Schulz, Mlle. L. | ? 1800 | ? ? | Wanski, Johann N. | Posen c1800 | ? ? |
Page 111Kalliwoda, Johann W. | Prague 1801 | Carlsruhe 1866 | Saint Lubin, Leon de | Turin 1801 | Berlin 1856 | De Beriot, Charles | Louvain 1802 | Brussels 1870 | Ella, John | England 1802 | London 1888 | Labitzky, Joseph | Schoenfeld 1802 | Carlsbad 1881 | Molique, Wilhelm Bernard | Nuremburg 1802 | Stuttgart 1869 | Ries, Hubert | Bonn 1802 | Berlin 1886 | Lomagne, Joseph | Perpignan 1804 | Perpignan 1868 | Magnien, Victor | Epinal 1804 | Lille 1885 | Kudelski, Karl Matthias | Berlin 1805 | Baden-Baden 1877 | Pollini, Mme. | ? 1805 | ? ? | Dando, Joseph H.B. | London 1806 | ? 1894 | Hartmann, Franz | Coblentz 1807 | Cologne 1857 | Panofka, Heinrich | Breslau 1807 | Florence 1887 | Sauzay, Moritz | Moravia 1808 | Breslau 1885 | Bessems, Antoine | Antwerp 1809 | Antwerp 1868 | Mueller, Franz F.G. | Brunswick 1809 | ? ? | Bull, Ole Borneman | Bergen 1810 | Bergen 1880 | David, Ferdinand | Hamburg 1810 | Switzerland 1873 | Ganz, Leopold | Mainz 1810 | Berlin 1869 | Ghys, Joseph | Ghent 1810 | ? 1848 | Blagrove, Henry Gamble | Nottingham 1811 | London 1872 | Hamm, Johann V. | Winterhausen 1811 | Stuttgart 1834 | Sainton, Prosper Philippe | Toulouse 1813 | London 1890 | Ernst, Heinrich Wilhelm | Bruenn 1814 | Nice 1865 | Alard, Delphine J. | Bayonne 1815 | Paris? 1888 | Artot, Alexandre J.M. | Brussels 1815 | Paris 1845 | Dont, Jacob | Vienna 1815 | Vienna 1888 | Sivori, Ernest Camillo | Genoa 1815 | Paris 1894 | Zerchoff, Mlle. | ? 1815 | ? ? | Batta, Alexandre | Maastricht 1816 | ? ? | Prume, Francois Herbert | Liege 1816 | Liege 1849 | Deldevez, Ernest | Paris 1817 | Paris 1897 | Goebel, Johann Ferdinand | Baumgarten 1817 | ? ? | Bazzini, Antonio | Brescia 1818 | Milan 1897 | Dancla, Jean B. C. | Bagnieres de | | | Bignon 1818 | ? ? | Kramer, Traugott | Codburg 1818 | ? ? | Eller, Louis | Graz 1819 | Pau 1862 | Hering, Karl | Berlin 1819 | ? 1889 | Leonard, Hubert | Bellaire 1819 | Paris 1890 | Batta, Joseph | Maastricht 1820 | Dreyschock, Raimund | Bohemia 1820 | Leipzig 1869 | Keler-Bela | Hungary 1820 | Wiesbaden 1882 | Neumann, Louise | 1820 | |
Page 112Vieuxtemps, Henri | Verviers 1820 | Algiers 1881 | Wallace, Eliza | England 1820 | | Gautier, Karl | Vaugirard 1822 | Vaugirard 1878 | Hauser, Miska | Presburg 1822 | Vienna 1887 | Dancla, Leopold | France 1823 | 1895 | Gaertner, Karl | Stralsund 1823 | | Hermann, Constant | Douai 1823 | | Eichberg, Julius | Duesseldorf 1824 | Boston 1893 | Hullweck, Ferdinand | Dessau 1824 | Blasewitz 1887 | De Kontski, Apollinari | Warsaw 1825 | Warsaw 1879 | Bott, Jean Joseph | Cassel 1826 | 1895 | Collins, Rosina | 1826 | | Hauser, Maurice | Berlin 1826 | Koenigsberg 1857 | Kundinger, August | Kitzengen 1827 | | Milanollo, Teresa | Turin 1827 | | Mollenhauer, Edward | Erfurt 1827 | | Hellmesberger, Georg | Vienna 1828 | Hanover 1853 | Hermann, Frederick | Frankfort 1828 | | Huber, Karl | Varjas 1828 | Pesth 1885 | Hellmesberger, Joseph | Vienna 1829 | Vienna 1893 | Roentgen, Engelbert | Holland 1829 | | Adelburg, August R. Von | ? 1830 | ? 1873 | Arditi, Emilia | ? 1830 | | Garcin, Jules A. S. | Bourges 1830 | ? 1896 | Hennen, Friedrich | Heerlen 1830 | | Remenyi, Edouard | Hungary 1830 | SanFrancisco1898 | Zirges, Hortensia | 1830 | | Bargheer, Karl Louis | Bueckeburg 1831 | | Joachim, Joseph | Kitsee 1831 | | Kassmayer, Moritz | Vienna 1831 | Vienna 1884 | Koempel, August | Bavaria 1831 | Weimar 1891 | Singer, Edmund | Hungary 1831 | | Laub, Ferdinand | Prague 1832 | Tyrol 1875 | Lauterbach, Johann C. | Bavaria 1832 | | Milanollo, Maria | Turin 1832 | 1848 | Becker, Jean | Mannheim 1833 | Mannheim 1884 | Bennewitz, Anton | Privat 1833 | | Graff, Carl | Hungary 1833 | | Filby, Heinrich | Vienna 1834 | | De Ahna, Heinrich K. H. | Vienna 1835 | Vienna 1892 | Jaffe, Moritz | Posen 1835 | | Monasterio, Jesus | Potes (Spain)1835 | | Strauss, Ludwig | Pressburg 1835 | | Wieniawski, Henry | Poland 1835 | Moscow 1880 | Besekirskij, Wasil W. | Moscow 1836 | |
Page 113Carrodus, John T. | Keighley 1836 | London 1895 | Holmes, Alfred | London 1837 | Paris 1876 | Gruen, Jacob | Buda-Pesth 1837 | | Brousil, Bertha | ? 1838 | | Piercy-Feeny, Mme. | 1838 | | Neruda, Wilhelmina (Lady | | | Halle) | Bruenn 1838 | | Werner, Hildegard | 1838 | | Holmes, Henry | London 1839 | | Jacobsohn, Simon | Mittau 1839 | | Rappoldi, Edouard | Vienna 1839 | | Bargheer, Adolph | 1840 | | David, Peter P. | Leipzig 1840 | | Lotto, Isidor | Warsaw 1840 | | Gobbi, Aloys | Pesth 1844 | | Heermann, Hugo | Hulbroenn 1844 | | Sarasate, Pablo de | Pampeluna 1844 | | Auer, Leopold | Hungary 1845 | | Singelee, Louise | 1845 | | Castellan, Mlle | 1845 | | Wilhelmj, August | Usingen 1845 | | Courvoisier, Carl | Basle 1846 | | Schradieck, Henry | Hamburg 1846 | | Papini, Guido | Florence 1847 | | Walter, Benno | Munich 1847 | | De Bono, Victoria | 1848 | | Heckmann, Georg J. R. | Mannheim 1848 | Glasgow 1891 | Marsick, Martin P. J. | Jupille 1848 | | Drechsler-Adamson, Mme. | 1849 | | Gibson, Alfred | Nottingham 1849 | | Drechsler-Woycke, Mme. | ? 1850 | | Brodsky, Adolph | Taganrog 1851 | | Hagen, Adolph | Bremen 1851 | | Sauret, Emil | Dun-le-Roi 1852 | | Boulanger, Mlle. | 1853 | | Meyer, Waldemar | Berlin 1853 | | Zajic, Florian | Bohemia 1853 | | Ferrari, Signora Elvira | 1854 | | Hermant, Mlle. | 1854 | | Drechsler-Hamilton, Mme | Agnes 1855 | | Hollaender, Gustav | Silesia 1855 | | Sahla, Richard | Graz 1855 | | Kess, Wilhelm | Dordrecht 1856 | | Petri, Henri Wilhelm | Utrecht 1856 | |
Page 114Thomson, Cesar | Liege 1857 | | Barcevicz, Stanislaus | Warsaw 1858 | | Hilf, Arno | Saxony 1858 | | Huber, Eugen (Jeno Hubay) | Budapest 1858 | | Halir, Karl | Hohenlohe 1859 | | Hess, Willie | Mannheim 1859 | | Ondricek, Franz | Prague 1859 | | Ysaye, Eugene | Liege 1859 | | Loeffler, Charles Martin | Alsace 1861 | | Rossi, Marcello | Vienna 1862 | | Wolff, Johannes | Hague 1862 | | Rose, Arnold | Roumania 1863 | | Soldat, Marie | Gratz 1863 | | Prill, Carl | Berlin 1864 | | Senkrah, Arma | New York 1864 | | Eissler, Marianne | Bruenn 1865 | | Kneisel, Franz | Roumania 1865 | | Carpenter, Nettie | New York 1865 | | Dunn, John | Hull 1866 | | Wietrowitz, Gabrielle | Laibach 1866 | | Dengremont, Maurice | Rio Janeiro 1867 | ? c1887 | Gregorowitsch, Charles | St. | | | Petersburg 1867 | | Tua, Teresina | Turin 1867 | | Powell, Maud | Aurora, Ill. 1868 | | Sapellnikoff | Odessa 1868 | | Burmester, Willy | Hamburg 1869 | | Petschnikoff, Alexander | Moscow 1873 | | Marteau, Henri | Reims 1874 | | Saenger-Sethe, Irma | Brussels 1876 | | Jackson, Leonora | Boston 1879 | |
Adams, Suzanne, 339.
Ahna, H.K. de, 240.
Aichelburg, Count, 331.
Alard, D., 68, 135, 144, 145, 161, 226.
Alday le jeune, 68.
Alexander, Czar, 81.
Alexander III., 222.
Amati, Andrea, 13.
Amati, Nicolo, 14.
Anet, B., 28, 35, 39, 40.
Arditi, Emilia, 312.
Artot, 149, 150, 169, 192.
Auer, Leopold, 359, 360.
Austria, Emperor of, 206.
Bacchiochi, Princess Elise, 112.
Bach, J.S., 254, 275, 277, 334, 340.
Baillot, P.M.F. de S., 26, 68,
71-75, 129, 144, 177, 346.
Baltzar, Thomas, 19, 20.
Banister, John, 19, 20, 21.
Bargheer, C.L., 97.
Baroni, Leonora, 302.
Bassani, G.B., 30.
Bazzini, 247, 354.
Beauharnais, Eugene, 307.
Becker, Hans, 356.
Becker, Jean, 353, 354, 355.
Calcagno, Caterina, 111, 154, 308.
Campbell, Lucie, 330.
Careno, Theresa, 265.
Carpenter, Nettie, 338.
Carrodus, John T., 170, 241.
Cessole, Conte di, 117, 118.
Cherubini, 62, 93, 136.
Chiabran, F., 36.
Chopin, F., 187, 210.
Clegg, John, 24.
Clement, 254, 255.
Cleveland, Mrs. G., 342.
Cleves, Anne of, 301.
Coburg-Gotha, Duke of, 240.
Colbran, Madame, 189.
Collins, Rosina, 308.
Corbett, William, 22.
Corelli, A., 28, 30, 31-35, 36, 38,
40, 50, 52, 59.
Costa, G., 105, 157.
Cumberland, Duke of, 302.
Cuzzoni, F., 53.
Damrosch, Leopold, 339.
Damrosch, Walter, 263, 340.
Dancla, C., 129, 135, 171.
Dando, J., 357, 358, 359.
David, Ferd., 97, 234, 247, 253, 350, 351, 357.
Dellepaine, 157, 159.
Dengremont, M., 68, 281, 282.
Derwies, Baron, 268, 279.
Diamantina, La, 302.
Dont, Jacob, 68, 171, 285, 359.
Dubourg, M., 22, 23, 40.
Dulcken, Madame, 350.
Dunn, John, 299.
Dwight, J.S., 201, 225, 320, 324.
Eccles, Henry, 22.
Eck, Ferdinand, 85.
Eck, Franz, 85.
Eder, Josephine, 163.
Elizabeth, Queen, 301.
England, Queen of, 343.
Ericsson, Lief, 198.
Ernst, H., 68, 146-149, 169, 187, 233, 246, 247.
Farina, Carlo, 15, 16.
Festing, M., 53.
Fetis, 129, 145.
Field, 86, 210.
Filipowicz, Madame, 308.
Fischer, Konrad, 232.
Florentine Quartet, 353-355, 356.
Fontana, Giovanni B., 16.
Garcia, Pauline, 143.
Gattie, Henry, 358.
Gautherst, Louise, 307.
Geminiani, F., 23, 24, 28, 35, 40, 43.
Gerbini, Luigia, 68, 307.
Gericke, W., 283.
Germany, Empress of, 343.
Geyer, A., 331.
Giardini, F., 36, 53.
Goergey, General, 206.
Gotha, Duke of, 86.
Gounod, C., 294.
Graun, 49, 56.
Gregorowitsch, C., 241, 284, 286.
Gruen, Jacob, 242, 283, 362.
Habeneck, 68, 78-80, 93, 145, 309.
Halir, Carl, 256, 276-278, 283.
Halle, Lady (Mme. Norman-Neruda), 312-319, 323, 327, 335.
Halle, Sir Charles, 124, 125, 127, 136,
160, 169, 265, 315-317.
Hampton, Miss, 222.
Handel, G.F., 23, 32.
Hanover, King of, 248.
Hanslick, E., 229.
Harkness, A., 337.
Hauser, Miska, 215-218.
Haydn, J., 58, 245, 358.
Heckmann, G.J.R., 356.
Hellmesberger, G., 68.
Hellmesberger, J., 264, 283, 352, 355, 362.
Henry VII., King, 301.
Hess, Willy, 256.
Higginson, H.L., 361.
Hilf, A., 357.
Hoffmann, 215, 360.
Hogarth, G., 133.
Hollaender, G., 256.
Holmes, Henry, 98, 241.
Holmes, Alfred, 241.
Hubay, J., 256, 299, 356.
Huber, Mlle., 143.
Hunt, L., 133.
Isabella, Queen, 226.
Jackson, Leonora, 326, 342, 343.
Jaffe, Sophie, 336.
Janin, Jules, 126.
Jansa, L., 313.
Joachim, J., 16, 27, 29, 68, 206, 212,
213, 224, 231, 234, 236, 238,
240, 244-260, 277, 279, 285,
286, 287, 289, 290, 315, 325,
326, 328, 329, 331, 341, 351, 353, 355.
Joachim Quartet, 357, 363.
Joseph II., Emperor, 306.
Josephine, Empress, 78, 307.
Kannitz, Count de, 114.
Kinsky, Count, 43, 49.
Klengel, J., 356.
Kneisel, F., 279, 282, 361-364.
Kneisel Quartet, 281, 284, 361-364.
Krahmer, Madame, 308.
Kreutzer, Rodolphe, 26, 68-71, 76, 93,
128, 136, 170, 215.
Kreutzer Sonata, 137, 138.
Lablache, L., 142.
Lafont, C.F., 26, 29, 70, 80-82, 130, 309.
Lassabathie, M., 226, 227.
Laub, F., 240, 297.
Leclair, J.M., 36, 51, 52.
Lenox, Lady, 302.
Leonard, H., 68, 136, 145, 238, 268,
282, 294, 296.
Leschetizky, Th., 298.
Lichtenberg, L., 299.
Liddell, Capt. A.F., 327.
Lind, Jenny, 216.
Linley, Thomas, 24.
Lipinski, K.J., 100-103, 130.
Listemann, B., 299, 361.
Liszt, F., 120, 137, 206, 213, 233,
Malibran, 25, 142, 143, 144, 168, 188.
Mara, G.E., 302, 305.
Margherita, Queen, 324.
Maria Theresa, 296.
Marini, B., 15.
Marsick, M., 28, 68, 146, 237-239, 267, 269.
Marteau, H., 293-296.
Massart, 70, 136-138, 238, 278, 320, 323, 349.
Maurer, 182, 247.
Mausch-Jerret, M., 236.
Mayseder, 188, 215, 346.
Mazzurana, Doctor, 101.
Meck, Countess of, 222.
Mell, D., 19.
Mendelssohn, 161, 246, 247, 278, 279,
329, 331, 342, 351.
Metternich, Count, 114.
Milanollo, M., 310.
Milanollo, T., 29, 68, 309, 313, 352.
Molique, B.H., 70, 162, 169, 241, 294.
Montes, Lola, 216.
Montebello, Duke of, 187.
Morgan, Geraldine, 338, 339, 340.
Mozart, L., 54.
Mozart, W., 24, 58, 306, 307, 322, 323, 358.
Murska, Ilma di, 265.
Musaeus, 180, 181.
Napoleon, 89, 90, 112.
Napoleon III., 230.
Nardini, P., 24, 49, 50, 54, 55, 73, 303.
Neruda, J., 313.
Neruda, Norman, 318.
Neumann, E., 308.
Nicholl, Anne, 302.
Nickisch, A., 275, 295.
Nilsson, C., 169, 303.
Norman, L., 314, 315.
North, Colonel, 208.
Occa, Victoria dall’, 307.
Ondricek, F., 267, 278.
Ottey, Sarah, 302.
Ottoboni, Cardinal, 31.
Ourosoff, Princess, 297.
Oury, A.J., 25.
Paderewski, I., 273, 276.
Paganini, Achille, 116.
Paganini, Antonio, 105.
Paganini, Nicolo, 26, 29, 75, 82, 92, 100-134,
135, 141, 147, 148, 150, 151, 154, 156,
157, 160, 161, 162, 180, 183, 184, 185,
188, 191,200, 217, 233, 269, 288, 308.
Pallerini, Mme., 112.
Paravicini, Mme., 68, 307.
Parmentier, Captain, 310.
Pasdeloup, 280, 321.
Paton, Mary Ann, 302.
Patti, Adelina, 194.
Patti, Amalia S., 194.
Paur, Emil, 298.
Petri, Henri, 236, 299.
Petschnikoff, A., 296-298.
Pfeiffer, Marianne, 95.
Piercy-Feeny, Mme., 312.
Pixis, 64, 68.
Portugal, King of, 285.
Pott, A., 329.
Powell, Maude, 326, 340-342.
Prussia, King of, 310.
Pugnani, G., 28, 29, 36, 52, 61.
Quagliati, P., 15.
Rappoldi, E., 68, 242.
Remenyi, E., 150, 154, 205-215, 232.
Riario, Duke of, 187.
Richter, Hans, 234, 330, 362.
Rivarde, A., 278.
Roberrechts, 28, 68, 139.
Rode, Pierre, 28, 68, 70, 71,
75-77, 120, 162, 348, 349.
Rolla, 105, 106.
Rose, A., 299, 360.
Rossini, 67, 92, 191.
Roth, O., 362.
Roy, Gabrielle, 330.
Rubinstein, Anton, 154, 219, 220, 273.
Russia, Czar of, 285.
Russia, Empress of, 324.
Sacchi, R. (Schlick), 305, 306, 307.
Saenger-Sethe, I., 332-336.
Sahla, R., 360.
Saint-Saens, C., 334.
Sainton, C.P., 169, 247.
Salomon, J.P., 57, 63.
Santley, C., 234.
Sarasate, P., 28, 29, 68, 226-231, 238.
Sauret, E., 265-267.
Scarlatti, A., 33, 34.
Scheidler, D., 86.
Schradieck, H., 265, 357.
Schroeder, A., 281, 362.
Schubert, F., 246.
Schulz, M., 308.
Schumann, 120, 162, 213, 253.
Schumann, Mme., 293.
Scotta, Frida, 336.
Sembrich, M., 303.
Senaille, J.B., 28, 39.
Senkrah, A., 337.
Shinner, E. (Mrs. Liddell), 325-327, 332, 353.
Shinner Quartet, 327, 353.
Singer, E., 68, 239.
Sirmen, Maddalena, 303.
Sitt, Hans, 356.
Sivori, C., 150, 153, 154-161, 167, 168, 231, 294.
Soldat, M., 257, 326, 327-330, 342, 353.
Somis, 28, 29, 35, 51, 53.
Sontag, H., 143, 233.
Soubre, E.J., 163.
Spain, Queen of, 230, 324.
Spohr, L., 26, 75, 82-99, 158, 159, 162,
170, 178, 182, 183, 184, 188, 191,
233, 261, 346-349, 358.
Stamitz, A., 69.
Stern, Leo, 339.
Stradivari, A., 14.
Strakosch, M., 194.
Strauss, L., 68.
Suk, J., 360.
Svecenski, L., 362.
Sweden, King of, 198.
Tartini, G., 29, 43, 44-51, 52, 54, 101, 304.
Thalberg, 163, 165, 166.
Thomson, C., 267-269, 273, 279, 283.
Thorpe, S.C., 197.
Thursby, Emma, 198.
Tiby, M., 139.
Torelli, G., 41.
Tschetchulin, Agnes, 330.
Tua, Teresina, 70, 138, 323-325, 337.
Turkey, Sultan of, 217, 232.
Tuscany, Duke of, 189.
Urso, Camilla, 312, 319-322, 323, 337.
Urso, Salvator, 319.
Valetta, Count F.V. della, 325.
Vanderbilt, G., 342.
Veracini, F.M., 42, 43, 46, 47.
Viardot, Madame, 246.
Vieuxtemps, H., 28, 68, 136, 149, 162-169, 192,
202, 221, 223, 231, 241, 271, 328, 337.
Villermot, F., 191.
Viotti, G.B., 28, 56-68, 72, 73, 75,
81, 85, 93, 140, 261, 307.
Vitali, T., 16, 40.
Vivaldi, A., 36, 41, 42, 52.
Wagner, R., 92, 162.
Wales, Prince of, 324.
Wales, Princess of, 324.
Wallace, Eliza, 308.
Weiss, A., 249.
Werner, H., 312, 313.
Wieniawski, 70, 136, 138, 154, 218-226, 231,
270, 271, 273, 285, 337.
Wietrowitz, G., 257, 326, 330-332, 342, 353.
Wihom, H., 360.
Wilhelmj, A., 208, 209, 231-237, 263, 267, 282, 334.
William I, Emperor, 230.
Wittgenstein, Prince Emil of, 233.
Wood, Mrs., 302.
Ysaye, 237, 239, 263, 269, 276, 334, 335.
Zampieri, Marquis, 189.
Zerbst, Theresa, 277.
Zerchoff, Mlle., 308.