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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 224 pages of information about Great Violinists And Pianists.

Spohr soon gave two important new works to the musical world, the opera of “Faust,” and the cantata, “The Liberation of Germany,” neither of which, however, was immediately produced.  Weber brought out “Faust” at Prague in 1816, and the cantata was first performed at Franken-hausen in 1815, at a musical festival on the anniversary of the battle of Leipsic, a battle which turned the scale of Napoleon’s career.  The same year (1815) also witnessed the quarrel between Spohr and Count Palffy, which resulted in the rupture of the former’s engagement.  Spohr determined to make a long tour through Germany, Switzerland, and Italy.  Before shaking the dust of Vienna from his feet, he sold the Von Tost household at auction, and the sum realized was even larger than what had been paid for it, so vivid were the public curiosity and interest in view of the strange bargain under which the furniture had been bought.  On the 18th of March, 1815, Louis Spohr, with his beloved Dorette and young family, which had increased with truly German fecundity, bade farewell to Vienna.

Two years of concert-giving and sight-seeing swiftly passed, to the great augmentation of the German violinist’s fame.  On Spohr’s return home he was invited to become the opera and music director of the Frankfort Theatre, and for two years more he labored arduously at this post.  He produced the opera of “Zemire and Azar” (founded on the fairy fable of “Beauty and the Beast” ) during this period among other works, and it was very enthusiastically received by the public.  This opera was afterward given in London, in English, with great success, though the opinion of the critics was that it was too scientific for the English taste.

IV.

Louis Spohr’s first visit to England was in 1820, whither he went on invitation of the Philharmonic Society.  He gives an amusing account of his first day in London, on the streets of which city he appeared in a most brilliantly colored shawl waistcoat, and narrowly escaped being pelted by the enraged mob, for the English people were then in mourning for the death of George III, which had recently occurred, and Spohr’s gay attire was construed as a public insult.  He played several of his own works at the opening Philharmonic concert, and the brilliant veteran of the violin, Viotti, to become whose pupil had once been Spohr’s darling but ungratified dream, expressed the greatest admiration of the German virtuoso’s magnificent playing.  The “Autobiography” relates an amusing interview of Spohr with the head of the Rothschild’s banking establishment, to whom he had brought a letter of introduction from the Frankfort Rothschild, as well as a letter of credit.  “After Rothschild had taken both letters from me and glanced hastily over them, he said to me, in a subdued tone of voice, ’I have just read (pointing to the “Times”) that you manage your business very efficiently; but I understand nothing of music.  This is my music (slapping his purse); they understand that on the exchange.’  Upon which with a nod of the head he terminated the audience.  But just as I had reached the door he called after me, ‘You can come out and dine with me at my country house.’  A few days afterward Mme. Rothschild also invited me to dinner, but I did not go, though she repeated the invitation.”

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