Old Scores and New Readings eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 194 pages of information about Old Scores and New Readings.
way which seems like a mere perverse and wasted display of skill.  But let anyone imagine for a moment the solid, leaden, lifeless result of letting all the parts descend together, instead of setting them, as Tschaikowsky does, twisting round each other, and it will at once be perceived that Tschaikowsky never knew better what he was doing, or was more luckily inspired, than when he devised the arrangement that now stands.  Much as I should like to have debated dozens of such points, it is perhaps better, after all, just now to have talked principally of the content of Tschaikowsky’s music; for, when all is said, in Tschaikowsky’s music it is the content that counts.  I might describe that content as modern, were it not that the phrase means little.  Tschaikowsky is modern because he is new; and in this age, when the earth has grown narrow, and tales of far-off coasts and unexplored countries seem wonderful no longer, we throw ourselves with eagerness upon the new thing, in five minutes make it our own, and hail the inventor of it as the man who has said for us what we had all felt for years.  Nevertheless, it may be that Tschaikowsky’s attitude towards life, and especially towards its sorrows,—­the don’t-care-a-hang attitude,—­is modern; and anyhow, in the sense that it is so new that we seize it first amongst a hundred other things, this symphony is the most modern piece of music we have.  It is imbued with a romanticism beside which the romanticism of Weber and Wagner seems a little thin-blooded and pallid; it expresses for us the emotions of the over-excited and over-sensitive man as they have not been expressed since Mozart; and at the present time we are quite ready for a new and less Teutonic romanticism than Weber’s, and to enter at once into the feelings of the brain-tired man.  That the “Pathetic” will for long continue to grow in popularity I also fully expect; and that after this generation has hurried away it will continue to have a large measure of popularity I also fully expect, for in it, together with much that appeals only to us unhealthy folk of to-day, there is much that will appeal to the race, no matter how healthy it may become, so long as it remains human in its desires and instincts.


Richter and Mottl, the only considerable conductors besides Lamoureux whom we had heard in England up to 1896, may be compared with a couple of organists who come here, expecting to find their instruments ready, in fair working order, and accurately in tune.  Lamoureux, on the other hand, was like Sarasate and Ysaye, who would be reduced to utter discomfiture if their Strads were to stray on the road.  He played on his own instrument—­the orchestra on which he had practised day by day for so many years.  Richter and Mottl took their instruments as they found them, and devoted the comparatively short time they had for rehearsal to the business of getting their

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Old Scores and New Readings from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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