Great Italian and French Composers eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 239 pages of information about Great Italian and French Composers.
to beg you to hand that sum to the poor family, who can not fail to be unhappy in their disappointment.  At the same time I send you a power of attorney for M. Guyot, by which I renounce all claims to the parts of my operas which may be represented at the benefit for the celebrated and unfortunate Rameau family.  Why will you not come to Konigsberg at the festival?  Why, in other words, are you not in Berlin?  What splendid music we have in preparation!  As to myself, it is not only a source of pleasure to me, but I feel it a duty, in the position I hold, to compose a grand march, to be performed at Konigsberg while the royal procession passes from the castle into the church, where the ceremony of crowning is to take place.  I will even compose a hymn, to be executed on the day that our king and master returns to his good Berlin.  Besides, I have promised to write an overture for the great concert of the four nations, which the directors of the London exhibition intend to give at the opening of the same, next spring, in the Crystal Palace.  All this keeps me back:  it has robbed me of my autumn, and will also take a good part of next spring; but with the help of God, dear friend, I hope we shall see each other again next year, free from all cares, in the charming little town of Spa, listening to the babbling of its waters and the rustling of its old gray oaks.  Truly your friend, Meyerbeer.


Meyerbeer’s operas are so intricate in their elements, and travel so far out of the beaten track of precedent and rule, that it is difficult to clearly describe their characteristics in a few words.  His original flow of melody could not have been very rich, for none of his tunes have become household words, and his excessive use of that element of opera which has nothing to do with music, as in the case of Wagner, can have but one explanation.  It is in the treatment of the orchestra that he has added most largely to the genuine treasures of music.  His command of color in tone-painting and power of dramatic suggestion have rarely been equaled, and never surpassed.  His genius for musical rhythm is the most marked element in his power.  This is specially noticeable in his dance music, which is very bold, brilliant, and voluptuous.  The vivacity and grace of the ballets in his operas save more than one act which otherwise would be insufferably heavy and tedious.  It is not too much to say that the most spontaneous side of his creative fancy is found in these affluent, vigorous, and stirring measures.

Meyerbeer appears always to have been uncertain of himself and his work.  There was little of that masterly prevision of effect in his mind which is one of the attributes of the higher imagination.  His operas, though most elaborately constructed, were often entirely modified and changed in rehearsal, and some of the finest scenes both in the dramatic and musical sense were the outcome of some happy accidental

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Great Italian and French Composers from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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