Musical Memories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 149 pages of information about Musical Memories.

In spite of the enthusiasm of the conductor and the skill and talent of the orchestra, the society led a hand-to-mouth existence.  The sinews of war were lacking.  Weckerlin directed the choruses and I acted as the accompanist at the rehearsals.  Love of art sufficed us, but the singers and instrumentalists were not satisfied with that in the absence of all emoluments.  If Seghers had been adaptable, he might have secured resources, but that was not his forte.  Meyerbeer wanted him to give his Struensee and Halevy wanted a performance of his Promethee.  But this was contrary to Seghers’s convictions, and when he had once made up his mind nothing could change him.  Nevertheless he did give the overture to Struensee and it would have been no great effort to give the rest.  As to Promethee, even if the last part is not in harmony with the rest of it, the work was well worthy the honor of a performance, which the proud society in the Rue Bergere had accorded it.  By these refusals Seghers was deprived of the support of two powerful protectors.

Pasdeloup craftily took advantage of the situation.  He had plenty of money and, as he knew what the financial situation was, he went to the rehearsals and corrupted the artists.  For the most part they were young people in needy circumstances and could not refuse his attractive propositions.  He killed Seghers’s society and built on its ruins the Societe des Jeunes Artistes, which later became the Concerts Populaires.

Pasdeloup was sincerely fond of music but he was a very ordinary musician.  He had little of Seghers’s feeling and profound comprehension of the art.  In Seghers’s hands the popular concerts would have become an admirable undertaking, but Pasdeloup, in spite of his zeal and skill, was able to give them only a superficial and deceptive brilliancy.  Besides, Seghers would have worked for the development of the French school whom Pasdeloup, with but few exceptions, kept under a bushel until 1870.  Among these exceptions were a symphony by Gounod, one by Gouvy and the overture to Berlioz’s Frances-Juges. Until the misfortunes and calamities of that terrible year the French symphonic school had been repressed and stifled between the Societe des Concerts and the Concerts Populaires.  Perhaps they were necessary so that this school might be freed and give flight to its fancies.

CHAPTER XVIII

ROSSINI

Nowadays it is difficult to form any idea of Rossini’s position in our beautiful city of Paris half a century ago.  He had retired from active life a long time before, but he had a greater reputation in his idleness than many others in their activity.  All Paris sought the honor of being admitted to his magnificent, high-windowed apartment.  As the demigod never went out in the evening, his friends were always sure of finding him at home.  At one time or another

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Musical Memories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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