Musical Memories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 149 pages of information about Musical Memories.
style that was rare among librettists, his contemporaries received each of his works with a hostility entirely devoid of either justice or mercy.  Gallet felt this hostility keenly.  He felt that he did not deserve it, since he took so much care in his work and put so much courtesy into his criticism.  The blank verse he used in Thais with admirable regard for color and harmony, counting on the music to take the place of the rhyme, was not appreciated.  This verse was free from assonance and the banalities which it draws into operatic works, but it kept the rhythm and sonorous sound which is far removed from prose.  That was the period when there was nothing but praise for Alfred Ernst’s gibberish, though that was an insult alike to the French language and the masterpieces he had the temerity to translate.  Gallet used the same blank verse in Dejanire, although its use here was more debatable, but he handled it with surprising skill.  Now that this text has been set to music, it shows its full beauty.

Louis Gallet devoted a large part of his time to administrative duties, for he was successively treasurer and manager of hospitals.  Nevertheless he produced works in abundance.  He left a record of no less than forty operatic librettos, plays, romances, memoirs, pamphlets, and innumerable articles.  I wish I knew what to say about the man himself, his unwearying goodness, his loyalty, his scrupulousness, his good humor, his originality, his continual common sense, and his intellect, alert to everything unusual and interesting.

What good talks we used to have as we dined under an arbor in the large garden which was his delight at Lariboisiere!  I used to take him seeds, and he made amusing botanical experiments with them.

He was seriously ill at one period of his life.  He was wonderfully nursed by his wife—­who was a saint—­and he endured prolonged and atrocious sufferings with the patience of a saint.  He watched the growth of his fatal disease with a stoicism worthy of the sages of antiquity and he had no illusion about the implacable illness which slowly but surely would result in his premature death.  A constantly increasing deafness was his greatest trouble.  This cruel infirmity had made frightful progress when, in 1899, the Arenes de Beziers opened its doors for the second time to Dejanire.  In spite of everything, including his ill health which made the trip very painful, he wanted to see his work once more.  He heard nothing, however—­neither the artists, the choruses, nor even the applause of the several thousand spectators who encored it enthusiastically.  A little later he passed on, leaving in his friends’ hearts and at the work-tables of his collaborators a void which it is impossible to fill.

[Illustration:  The First Performance of Dejanire at Les Arenes de Beziers]

CHAPTER VI

HISTORY AND MYTHOLOGY IN OPERA

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Musical Memories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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