Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

a

[ocr errors]

delssohn's concerto in G minor before Fred- Raff, Liszt, and Wagner. Not only were their erick Wieck, the father and teacher of Clara piano compositions on his finger-tips, but still Schumann, the statement marks the difference more surprising were his feats of musical between amateur and professional require- memory as an orchestra and opera conductor. ments.

The Hanover, Meininger, and, above all, the The lack of spontaneity in Bülow's piano Munich Opera-house, furnish a list of the playing was in astonishing contrast to the most incredible achievements of his skill as fire, dash, and freedom of his conducting. a leader of the operatic stage. Will there The orchestra was, in fact, his natural in- ever again be an orchestra trained to play strument, and this explains his passionate the Beethoven symphonies without notes, as devotion to the new school of composition, the Meininger Orchestra played them under which had the development of orchestral Bülow's baton? music as its vital factor. His mental equip- Here, too, the instinct of the teacher shone ment for a conductor was complete. The ear preëminent. He founded the Symphonic Conand memory of musical genius were Bülow's certs in Berlin to offset the Philharmonic in a most astonishing degree. His phenomenal Concerts of Taubert. This successfully acmemory had, in fact, no boundary line. complished, he wrote to a friend: «As I do

I have referred to Bülow's astonishing feat not like to see my work go to pieces, I am of memorizing Kiel's concerto, which the man happy that Hans von Bronsart will be my who wrote it could not accompany without successor in Berlin. I go with pleasure to notes. His accuracy was almost infallible. Munich, where I am sure to find a more conHe was once rehearsing a composition of genial atmosphere. The «atmosphere was Liszt's for orchestra, in that composer's operatic. Als Wagner's operas, regardless of presence, without notes. Liszt interrupted cost, were put on the stage by order of King to say that a certain note should have been Louis, under the direct inspiration of the played piano. «No,» replied Bülow; «it is composer, and the leadership of Bülow. sforzando.» «Look and see,» persisted the Bülow's fame as an interpretive musician composer. The score was produced. Bülow may safely rest upon his conducting of the was right. How everybody did applaud! In works of Wagner and Beethoven. The incomthe excitement, one of the brass-wind play- parable production of « Tristan und Isolde » ers lost his place. « Look for a b-flat in your in Munich in 1865, of the « Meistersinger » in part,” said Bülow, still without his notes. 1868, his training, in 1880, of the hitherto « Five measures farther on I wish to begin.) unknown Meininger Orchestra, with which

I once called on Bülow, by appointment, at he «concerted»all over Germany and Holland, a certain hour. As I waited outside the door, and finally, the Philharmonic Concerts in Berwatch in hand, for the precise moment agreed lin and Hamburg, are immortal in the annals on (it was one of his peculiarities to resent of the conductor's baton. violently any deviation from his hours; to be Bülow's own shortcomings as composer and a moment too early was just as heinous an pianist did not make him blind to the abilities offense as to be a moment too late), I heard of others; but he demanded artistic sincerity. him reading Bach's «Chromatic Fantasie » at Pot-boilers were his abhorrence. «I do not the piano, so slowly conning each note that see how Jaell can play the same piece an hour I knew he was committing it to memory. every morning, year after year," he exclaimed « There,» said he, when I entered, «it's done. indignantly, as he kicked the music under the I am going to play it in a concert to-night, piano after reading (by request) one of this and I 've learned it by heart since dinner. I popular artist's paraphrases. He was just do not like to be so hurried, but I had no time, as ready to extol as to condemn. One day and I am determined to make them hear Bach a foreigner, young and unknown, entered whether they like it or not. Do you know Bülow's music-room as he sat talking over how to be perfectly sure of your piece in business matters with Wagner. The stranger public? Play it over with each hand sepa- presented a letter of introduction, to which rately three times the day before the concert, the artist paid little attention, and sat down and do not play it at all the day you perform. patiently to wait. Wagner continued to talk, Then you are certain not to forget the notes.) and to escape hearing a conversation not

Long before middle life he knew by heart meant for his ear, the visitor approached the even the smallest details of the classical piano. The score of «Rheingold» stood open works of Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, Scarlatti, on the rack. Before he realized it he became Bach, Handel, and those of the modern school, absorbed in the music, began to play it at such as Chopin, Schumann, Brahms, Jensen, first sotto voce, and soon, abandoned to its charm, with a most superb mastery. Wagner, betrayed him into many a salon-stuck. Bülow on the point of taking leave, turned back and even played Raff's concerto, which is brimful stood motionless to listen; the splendid genius of light melody. When Jensen could not obof the player became more and more evident; tain a hearing, Bülow put his music on his and, unable to restrain themselves, Bülow and recital programs, wrote an exquisite critique Wagner rushed to embrace the unknown mu- on his genius, and thereby produced for his sician. It was Camille Saint-Saëns.

favorite a host of admirers. He was always Bülow had barely received his appointment in the opposition. When one battle had been as court pianist to Ludwig I of Bavaria when successfully fought, he turned to find a new the blow fell which ruined his life. Before fray. When the tide of popular fancy turned him stood two alternatives: should he sacri- against Mendelssohn, Bülow hastened to play fice his artistic or his human feelings? To and edit his compositions. His editions of the adhere to Wagner, who had broken up his «Capriccio » (Op. 5), and of the «Rondo » (Op. home, and to the movement to which he was 14), are the most exquisite extant. He always enthusiastically pledged, meant to stamp out found time to write a friendly preface to a every emotion of resentment that is keenest meritorious work, and no paragraph ever in man. Bülow, with incredible self-abnega- emanated from his pen that was not thoughttion, resolved that the progress of music, to ful and suggestive. He concerned himself which he had devoted his life, should not about the little canons of Kunz, the forgotten suffer in his quarrel. He continued to sup- beauties of Scarlatti and Gluck, and the noble port the career of the rising genius, and literature of Beethoven. His name was the never flinched from his resolution to force «open sesame » to popular approval, and it Wagner's success onward until that success was never refused to anything which he bewas absolute. None the less the inner strug- lieved to be of value to music. gle destroyed him. His health never recov- Bülow loved culture passionately. There is ered. His fickleness to friends and benefac- an authentic story of his making a day's jourtors became proverbial. His irritability de- ney to Stockholm with a well-known savant, veloped almost into mania. The naturalsweet- and discussing with him every current topic ness and loyalty of his nature were turned to of politics, literature, science, and art, except bitterness. The cruelty of his epigram set his music. In the evening the traveler was astonpath with enemies. But his work for music ished to find his delightful companion on the went forward unceasingly, and it is impossible platform giving a piano recital. to overestimate what his self-sacrifice has When he made a concert tour, he provided done for it.

himself with the history of the countries he In the early days of the Wagner struggle traversed. He went through Italy one entire Bülow threw the whole weight of his person- season with a history of Rome under his arm. ality into the scale. Musicians and press eyed Undoubtedly the author who had the greatest the Wagnerian innovations askance, and even influence on him was Schopenhauer. To the Bülow's own orchestra, which found its tech- day of his death he could repeat pages of his nic inadequate to the new demands, privately books by heart; when he was in the univerdeclared the Wagnerian effects to be hum- sity he used to sleep with his favorite volume bug. Bülow nursed his wrath as if it had been under his pillow. Once a fellow-student came a personal affront, and one day at a rehearsal in, and playfully threw the book across the of the Meistersinger » he stopped the or- room, to Bülow's intense anger. Schopenhauer chestra just before a peculiarly treacherous is a poor consolation to a man of sorrows, and passage, laid down his baton, and said sar- his influence was no help to Bülow's inner life castically to the delinquent horn-blowers, and feeling. Under his tuition his scholar «Look out, gentlemen; there's (humbugi became a confirmed pessimist. His emotional ahead.»

pessimism, his refractory nervous organizaBülow's part in accomplishing Wagner's tion, his quick and vivid musical intelligence, triumph has prevented recognition of the and his wide and varied culture, all worked breadth of his own views, and of his ultimate together in everything he did, and no estimate freedom from party bias. Brahms is as con- of his influence upon the music of to-day is servative as Wagner is revolutionary, yet it just which does not find each of these elewas Bülow who brought Brahms to the front, ments vital in it. and trumpeted his fame in notes of the most The pathetic part of music is its loneliness. lavish praise and admiration. He was just as Bülow could recognize the genius of Saintuntiring in his efforts to forward the fortunes Saëns because he was great himself. But he of Raff, whose dangerous gift of melody fairly learned early that from his public he could

VOL. LII.-59.

expect no similar recognition. He had not the noble personages, and Bülow was asked to play genial art of emotional, musical speech which into the instrument. When he came to hear his is nature's universal language. He grew to own performance repeated through the tube, hate the laity, which would rather feel than his amazement and horror were boundless. reason about what it listens to. As he became «That machine is n't worth anything,” he exolder, more cold, more intellectual, and more claimed. «It is n't true; I never played like unhappy, his temper toward his hearers grew that, never!» worse and worse. «If you will alter the stage I have said that there was a lack of feline as I propose," he said to Wagner, in my hear- character in Bülow's physique. He was, howing, «we shall lose only a couple of rows of ever, very feline in his nature. When he saw hogs from the auditorium.»

a friend whom he liked in the street, he Social rank did not count in his estimate would run toward him, embrace him, and kiss of values. He broke up an audience of titled him on both cheeks. Within ten minutes his personages assembled to enjoy one of his re- manner would change, and he would say some hearsals, by causing the bassoon players to thing so bitter, so personal, so wounding, that perform their parts alone until the listeners the victim would never forget its sting. all left in disgust. «Now," said he, cheerfully, Months or years after the same man would when the last of his noble hearers had de- perhaps receive, unexpected and unasked, parted, «we 'll go to work. He kicked the some practical advancement in his fortune name-board of a certain piano off the stage that could be traced directly to Bülow's helpbecause it degraded the artist into an adver- ful hand. Bülow's love of helpfulness and his tisement. In the presence of an enthusiastic passion for sarcasm were continually at war. audience he once noticed two laurel wreaths on He not only worked with voice and pen for the piano. He picked them up, looked at them, musicians whose talent constituted their only and then kicked them under the instrument. claim on him, and whom he insulted between He did this because he resented the idea that whiles, but the proceeds of his concerts were musicians should be treated differently from freely spent on artistic interests. One whole other men. He wished music to be a manly tour was made to increase the capital to bring calling. He would not have it degraded into out Wagner's operas. Musicians' widows, a matter of patronage. «Go, take that laurel music societies, monuments, and publishing wreath to Herr Franz Lachner [his predecessor schemes all profited by his generosity. And in Munich), who is on the pension list,» he ex- yet at the end of a century of bitterness, claimed to an usher. «Iam not superannuated.» hatred, and rancor, unparalleled in the his

Like Liszt, Bülow realized with shame that tory of art, this « gospel of music,» as its cult music was an art the exponents of which were fondly called the doctrines which they advothe pets and playthings of noble patrons. Like cated, is, after all, not a final and conclusive Liszt, he asserted the right to live on equal revelation of the laws of beauty. It is but one terms with people of culture-as a private wave of musical development. In the great gentleman. To build music up into the rank ocean of music nothing is lost. The Wagner and standing of an independent profession cult, which has beaten with such fury upon was the dream and struggle of Bülow's life. the shore of art, which proclaimed it to be Every musician who values his own manhood its mission to efface everything old and timeowes to him an opportunity of self-respect worn, has effaced nothing, and a new generaheretofore unheard of.

tion will witness a new development peculiar His naïveté was equal to his insolence. to itself; but into the broad current of the The haute société of Berlin was gathered to world's musical life the passionate, forceful examine a phonograph. There were cylinders nature of Bülow has passed, and there it will of sentiments from the Emperor and various be more and more felt for good.

Bernard Boekelman.

THE VALLEY OF CHILDISH THINGS, AND

OTHER EMBLEMS.

I.

[ocr errors]

pies and sailing paper boats in basins. As for

the lad who had been the favorite companion INCE upon a time a number of of her studies, he was playing marbles with

children lived together in the all the youngest boys in the valley.
Valley of Childish Things, play- At first the children seemed glad to have
ing all manner of delightful her back, but soon she saw that her presence
games, and studying the same interfered with their games; and when she

lesson-books. But one day a tried to tell them of the great things that little girl, one of their number, decided that were being done on the table-land beyond the it was time to see something of the world mountains, they picked up their toys and went about which the lesson-books had taught farther down the valley to play. her; and as none of the other children cared Then she turned to her fellow-traveler, who to leave their games, she set out alone to climb was the only grown man in the valley; but he the pass which led out of the valley. was on his knees before a dear little girl with

It was a hard climb, but at length she blue eyes and a coral necklace, for whom he reached a cold, bleak table-land beyond the was making a garden out of cockle-shells and mountains. Here she saw cities and men, and bits of glass, and broken flowers stuck in sand. learned many useful arts, and in so doing The little girl was clapping her hands and grew to be a woman. But the table-land was crowing (she was too young to speak articbleak and cold, and when she had served her ulately); and when she who had grown to apprenticeship she decided to return to her be a woman laid her hand on the man's old companions in the Valley of Childish shoulder, and asked him if he did not want Things, and work with them instead of to set to work with her building bridges, with strangers.

draining swamps, and cutting roads through It was a weary way back, and her feet were the jungle, he replied that at that particular bruised by the stones, and her face was beaten moment he was too busy. by the weather; but half way down the pass And as she turned away, he added in the she met a man, who kindly helped her over the kindest possible way, « Really, my dear, you roughest places. Like herself, he was lame ought to have taken better care of your and weather-beaten; but as soon as he spoke complexion. she recognized him as one of her old play

II. mates. He too had been out in the world, and was going back to the valley; and on the THERE was once a maiden lady who lived way they talked together of the work they alone in a commodious brick house facing meant to do there. He had been a dull boy, north and south. The lady was very fond of and she had never taken much notice of him; warmth and sunshine, but unfortunately her but as she listened to his plans for building room was on the north side of the house, so bridges and draining swamps and cutting that in winter she had no sun at all. roads through the jungle, she thought to This distressed her so much that, after herself, «Since he has grown into such a fine long deliberation, she sent for an architect, fellow, what splendid men and women my and asked him if it would be possible to turn other playmates must have become! » the house around so that her room should

But what was her surprise to find, on face the south. The architect replied that reaching the valley, that her former compan- anything could be done for money; but the ions, instead of growing into men and women, estimated cost of turning the house around had all remained little children. Most of them was so high that the lady, who enjoyed a were playing the same old games, and the few handsome income, was obliged to reduce her who affected to be working were engaged in way of living and sell her securities at a sacsuch strenuous occupations as building mud- rifice to raise money enough for the purpose.

[graphic]

III.

[ocr errors]

At length, however, the house was turned the river. And as he swam she grew frightaround, and she felt almost consoled for her ened, and dragged him down in her struggles. impoverishment by the first ray of sunlight And the river was deep and wide, and the which stole through her shutters the next current ran fast; and once or twice she morning.

nearly had him under. But he fought his That very day she received a visit from an way through, and landed her safely on the old friend who had been absent a year; and other side; and behold, he found himself in a this friend, finding her seated at her window strange country, beyond all imagining dein a flood of sunlight, immediately exclaimed: lightful. And as he looked about him and

« My dear, how sensible of you to have gave thanks, he said to himself: moved into a south room! I never could « Perhaps if I had n't had to carry her over, understand why you persisted so long in liv- I should n't have kept up long enough to get ing on the north side of the house.»

here myself. And the following day the architect sent

VI. in his bill.

A Soul once cowered in a gray waste, and a

mighty shape came by. Then the soul cried THERE was once a little girl who was so out for help, saying, «Shall I be left to perish very intelligent that her parents feared that alone in this desert of Unsatisfied Desires? » she would die.

« But you are mistaken, the shape replied; But an aged aunt, who had crossed the «this is the land of Gratified Longings. And, Atlantic in a sailing-vessel, said, «My dears, moreover, you are not alone, for the country let her marry the first man she falls in love is full of people; but whoever tarries here with, and she will make such a fool of herself grows blind.» that it will probably save her life.

VII.

THERE was once a very successful architect IV.

who made a great name for himself. At A THINLY clad man, who was trudging afoot length he built a magnificent temple, to which through a wintry and shelterless region, met he devoted more time and thought than to another wrapped in a big black cloak. The any of the other buildings he had erected; cloak hung heavily on its wearer, and seemed and the world pronounced it his masterpiece. to drag him back, but at least it kept off the Shortly afterward he died, and when he came cold. :

before the judgment angel he was not asked « That's a fine warm cloak you 've got,» how many sins he had committed, but how said the first man through his chattering many houses he had built. teeth.

He hung his head and said, more than he « Oh,» said the other, «it 's none of my could count. choosing, I promise you. It's only my old The judgment angel asked what they were happiness dyed black and made over into a like, and the architect said that he was afraid sorrow; but in this weather a man must wear they were pretty bad. what he's got.”

« And are you sorry? » asked the angel. « To think of some people's luck!» muttered « Very sorry,» said the architect, with the first man, as the other passed on. «Now honest contrition. I never had enough happiness to make a « And how about that famous temple that sorrow out of.»

you built just before you died?» the angel

continued. «Are you satisfied with that?» V.

«Oh, no,» the architect exclaimed. «I THERE was once a man who married a sweet really think it has some good points about little wife; but when he set out with her it, - I did try my best, you know, - but there's from her father's house, he found that she one dreadful mistake that I'd give my soul had never been taught to walk. They had a to go back and rectify.) long way to go, and there was nothing for «Well,» said the angel, « you can't go back him to do but to carry her; and as he carried and rectify it, but you can take your choice her she grew heavier and heavier.

of the following alternatives: either we can Then they came to a wide, deep river, and let the world go on thinking your temple a he found that she had never been taught to masterpiece and you the greatest architect swim. So he told her to hold fast to his that ever lived, or we can send to earth a shoulder, and started to swim with her across young fellow we've got here who will dis

« AnkstesnisTęsti »