Great Violinists And Pianists eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 224 pages of information about Great Violinists And Pianists.
of the music, the splendor of his voice, and the refinement of his vocalization in the character of Ugo....  The Mephistopheles of Herr Formes was a remarkable personation, being truly demoniacal in the play of his countenance, and as characteristic as any one of Retsch’s drawings of Goethe’s fiend-tempter.  His singing being specially German was in every way well suited to the occasion.”  In spite of the excellence of the interpretation, Spohr’s “Faust” did not take any hold on the lovers of music in England, and even in Germany, where Spohr is held in great reverence, it presents but little attraction.  The closing years of Spohr’s active life as a musician were devoted to that species of composition where he showed indubitable title to be considered a man of genius, works for the violin and chamber music.  He himself did not recognize his decadence of energy and musical vigor; but the veteran was more than seventy years old, and his royal master resolved to put his baton in younger and fresher hands.  So he was retired from service with an annual pension of fifteen hundred thalers.  Spohr felt this deeply, but he had scarcely reconciled himself to the change when a more serious casualty befell him.  He fell and broke his left arm, which never gained enough strength for him to hold the beloved instrument again.  It had been the great joy and solace of his life to play, and, now that in his old age he was deprived of this comfort, he was ready to die.  Only once more did he make a public appearance.  In the spring of 1859 he journeyed to Meiningen to direct a concert on behalf of a charitable fund.  An ovation was given to the aged master.  A colossal bust of himself was placed on the stage, arched with festoons of palm and laurel, and the conductor’s stand was almost buried in flowers.  He was received with thunders of welcome, which were again and again reiterated, and at the close of the performance he could hardly escape for the eager throng who wished to press his hand.  Spohr died on October 22, 1859, after a few days’ illness, and in his death Germany at least recognized the loss of one of its most accomplished and versatile if not greatest composers.

VI.

Dr. Ludwig Spohr’s fame as a composer has far overshadowed his reputation as a violin virtuoso, but the most capable musical critics unite in the opinion that that rare quality, which we denominate genius, was principally shown in his wonderful power as a player, and his works written for the violin.  Spohr was a man of immense self-assertion, and believed in the greatness of his own musical genius as a composer in the higher domain of his art.  His “Autobiography,” one of the most fresh, racy, and interesting works of the kind ever written, is full of varied illustrations of what Chorley stigmatizes his “bovine self-conceit.”  His fecund production of symphony, oratorio, and opera, as well as of the more elaborate forms of chamber

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Great Violinists And Pianists from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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