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of operas originally written to an English Paris is now the great art-producing text by composers of whatever nationality. center that it is because the French in all Bearing in mind the undoubted influence matters pertaining to art are intensely naof a language on the conception and ex- tional. To a Frenchman, French art is pression of a composer's thought, the con- better and more perfect than any other sideration of English opera opens an en- art, and it cannot be doubted that this tirely new range of artistic suggestion. national confidence in a national ability However opinions may vary as to the de- has everything to do with the productive sirability or suitability of opera in English, vitality which is characteristic of French there can be at the present time only one art in all its branches to-day. It is also opinion as to the positive necessity of Eng- beyond question that the lack of this conlish opera as the readiest means to our fidence is the principal cause why we in hand not only to stimulate and develop America are to a great extent a nation of American musical art and the American adapters and imitators rather than originacomposer, but also to encourage and in- tors and creators, artistically speaking: crease that much needed national confi- why, from a dramatic point of view, our dence in native musical possibilities which theatrical managers reproduce rather than begets a national art and the love and produce; why at any of our principal respect of a nation for it.
opera-houses unknown German, I believe confidently that, were opera Frenchman, or Italian has a better chance to be generally sung in English, the ap- of having an unknown and untried work preciation for this form of art and of produced than an American; why, strictly music in general by the public at large speaking, we have had hitherto no national would be notably increased. Such in- drama, no national music, and far too litcreased appreciation, I further believe, in tle national pride or interest in national its turn and by degrees would foster and endeavor in any branch of art. develop that national interest in and feel- It is perhaps not surprising that our ing for music as an art which we still lack, musical productiveness has not been on a and which we instantly need in order that par with, or attained equal eminence or this art with us may assume in the minds distinction with, our achievements in other of the people the position and national sig- branches of art and literature. nificance which it enjoys abroad, and to The American composer, largely owing which it owes its influence and importance. to the difficulty of obtaining anything like
My friend the late Mr. MacDowell was an adequate and comprehensive musical always very impatient at being put for training in this country, has been by eduward as an American composer, and was cation, association, environment, sympathy, wont to declare with some heat that he and acquired tradition in thought and feelwould rather not be heard at all than to be ing, in method and practice, essentially known simply as a composer whose works foreign rather than distinctively American. were exploited for purely national reasons. We do not possess in this country the While one may understand his reluctance folk-music which makes the music of counto be judged as a composer seeking for tries like Spain and Italy, Russia and Sweinternational reputation by merely local den, Germany and the Czech countries. standards and because of local indulgence, so individual and so characteristic, whereI think that his attitude in this matter was with a composer may begin to build up a wrongly taken. The greatest music known national school of music; for it is idle to to the world to-day is so strongly marked allege, despite the efforts of Dr. Dvořák and influenced by distinctively national and others, that the folk-music-Indian. characteristics and feeling that it may al- negro, and Creole-which undoubtedly most be set down as axiomatic that music, exists in this country is really valuable as to be great, must in a sense be national; a basic foundation for a school of music for the history of music shows that the that could be considered in any sense nabest music, that music which has shown tional. the greatest permanence, has been written If folk-music be an inevitable necessity by the composers of those countries where for the foundation of a national school of the greatest amount of national feeling music, we are only now beginning to be prevails.
that nation which could find a vent for its emotions or feelings in such a form. I country of the size and wealth of Ameram not one of those who decry or cavil at ica, when opera, through being sung in the enormous and heterogeneous crop of the vernacular, shall attain that measure so-called popular music, be it rag-time or of popular interest and appreciation which what you will, which is characteristic of will render it an essential part of the inmusic in America to-day. In bringing tellectual and artistic life and enjoyment music as a fact and a pleasurable feature of the people here, as it is in Italy to-day. of daily life to people who had previously Were such a condition of opera-giving never considered or known it at all, this ever to obtain in this country, as is by no music has achieved a definite result and means unlikely, we should have permaworked an enduring benefit. Because of nent opera companies not only in our three it, and for the first time in our musical principal cities, but in a score, a consehistory, musical culture has been begun, quent increased demand for English operas as it should begin, from the bottom up; by native composers, and an added incenfor publishers of popular music are respon- tive for our composers to work in a field sible for the statement that the popular whose present harvest is principally glory; song has vastly improved in character and while the thousands of young American artistic quality in the last decade, and that singers now barn-storming in opera in fora song of merit sufficient to obtain a vogue eign countries, singing minor rôles at starand wide-spread popularity five years ago vation salaries, would have the needed is now no longer good enough to secure and much to be desired opportunity of general popular sympathy and recognition. being heard and appreciated in the counSo it is possible that this popular music of try where they belong, and from which the day, ephemeral though it is, may con- this present lack of opportunity has to a tain the germ of the folk-song, that un- great extent exiled them. There are toconscious soul utterance of the people day hundreds of thousands of young men which some day will make American mu- and women studying singing in this counsic as distinctively national as that of other try, waiting, hoping, and too often in vain, nations.
for the hardly won chance to show their What the American composer now most talents to the public, and thus justify the needs, in order to secure that national con- labor, time, and money spent in cultivatfidence and pride in his abilities which will ing them. Now that it is possible as never in time render a distinctively national before to obtain in this country a compeschool of music a possibility, is to be heard. tent and thorough vocal training, there is Opera in any one of its numerous forms all the more need for those who elect to or varieties, grand, lyric, light, or comic, gain an education here to be heard here would seem to afford him the needed op- without being first compelled to go abroad portunity; and if he writes opera at all, to obtain the reputation which now seems he must write English opera. Hence the necessary to secure them even a hearing at vast importance of English opera and home. The fact that the diction of many opera in English.
of our native-born singers is faulty and But any argument in support of English imperfect in English has been due largely opera and opera in English would be only to the necessity of singing almost excluhalf stated, any discussion on the bearing sively in foreign languages consequent of opera in the vernacular on music in upon their having been trained abroad. America and the American composer It is certain, and I cannot make the conwould be incomplete and half-hearted, tention too emphatic, that with proper without reference to the importance of study any intelligent person can sing the the influence of such opera upon the Amer- English language intelligibly. The fact ican operatic singer. If a country of the size has been proved over and over again, and of Italy can support, as it does to-day, more should therefore no longer be cited as a than sixty theaters and opera-houses where principal and prohibitive objection to the original opera is produced, think of the English language as a language of opera possibilities of operatic production in a
THE GOLDEN TEMPLE OF
BY E. F. BENSON
FROM the day when King Solomon
bud that flowered into the golden temple laid the foundation-stone of the tem- drew its sustenance, the most gorgeous of ple of the Lord of Hosts at Jerusalem un- all the tropical and Orient blossoms of til its crowning domes and pinnacles were gold and precious stones and marble, the all complete, the building rose silently, most marvelous and most inexplicable. without noise of hammer or chisel. Stone We feel that it must have grown as after stone, already graven and prepared, silently as the temple of Solomon, burgeonwas laid in its appointed place, and all ing with dews and sunshine ; and even as about, while the visible signs and abiding- its growth was silent, mystical, and hidplace of the Lord's glory became daily den, uncharted by measurement or drawn more manifest, there reigned the stillness design, so must have been the conception of sanctuary and consecration. No car- of it. No brain reduced to line and scale ver's tool was heard to fashion the knops so magical a dream; no skill of architect and open flowers of cedar, or chisel to en- or stone-cutter decreed its myriad-petaled grave the feathers of the wings of the loveliness; and at the most the holy saints cherubim, or mallet to hammer into place and hermits who sat by the lake saw it the lintel and door-posts of olive-wood, and only dimly as in a sacred vision of the the rows of hewed stones grew into their night, and maybe they spoke of it to one lines as silently as the row of cedar beams another, like sibyls, while they still slept. that enroofed them.
From the mutter of their smiling lips the It must have been in some such awed architects and craftsmen learned what vissilence as this that the temple at Amritsar ion blazed before their lidded eyes, and grew upon the waters. Like a golden worked in an inspiration that was not lotus Aower it floats there on the gray- their own, but, conveyed to them through green surface of the windless and four- the speech of those sleeping saints, came square lake; it is impossible even to believe authentically out of that eternal vault of that it rests on subaqueous foundations: a sun-stricken sky where all day long the gale would set it swaying and shifting in kites are wheeling and chiding in companthe stem of its marble causeway. One day ies. Like dew and sunlight the temple there must have sprouted from the terrace descended from heaven; like the smoking that encompasses the sacred lake a golden incense and the sound of prayers it rose, bud, and the white stem of it, its marble as pearly as dawn and as holy as Aphrocauseway, grew slowly and wondrously dite, from the waters. till the day when it stretched to midway Hallowed from everlasting and instinct across the holy and healing waters. Then with healing were the waters of the spring some morning when the sun burned in the that gushed out in the midst of the wilderzenith above it, petal by marvelous petal ness around Amritsar, and when in the the bud unfolded, and the temple, as we fifteenth century the Sikhs, revolting from see it now, shone out upon the deep noon. the arid formalism of the Brahmans in a
But not alone, and not even chiefly, crusade of a more virile faith, and discardfrom soil and water was fed that mystical ing all notion of caste as being an ungrowth, for even as the pale palaces of spiritual and material dogma, settled here Venice rose from its enchanted lagoons, and built the town of Amritsar, they and as the columns of Athene Parthenos found this spring already enshrined with were fed with the mother milk of the tales of healing and attested miracles. To heroic soil, so it was from the sun and the them their military chieftain was also blaze of unclouded Indian days that the priest; priest and king was he, like Mel
chizedek, and when wounded in battle he the back of the door that faces the marble would be borne back to this spring, and causeway they inlaid with ivory and sanwhile he himself said the office of healing, dalwood. Outside and within they spread was bathed in the waters and made whole. stucco of marble dust over the walls, and There was no wealth of marble and gems on bronze plates covered with gold they bedecking it then, and no palaces of Sikh wrote the names of saints and sages, and chiefs surrounding it; for they lived hard of warriors who had fallen in their wars; and desperately until by force of arms they and for the rest they painted on it gardens had won control of all the Panjab. upon gardens of flowers, lily and rose and
About a hundred years ago their various fritillary. The roof of the gateway they tribes were confederated, and it was then, wrought into cells and fretwork of gilded under the infamous and magnificent Ran- bronze, and inlaid into it a thousand mirjit Singh, that the temple blossomed. First rors, so that it shines and twinkles like a round the spring, foursquare, and measur
company of fireflies. ing two hundred paces each way, they built A doorkeeper stands there who, as you a broad terrace of white marble, so that enter, gives you marigold Aowers and yelthe spring became a lake, and thousands low trumpets of fragrant jasmine: percould bathe in it. They planted the ter- haps he has a garland of threaded blosrace with trees and yellow laburnums, soms which he places round your neck, or and round it rose the palaces of the chief- else just an unminted handful of this arotains, their chapels and their divans; and matic gold. These you must cast upon these walls and the trees, as they grew, the waters of the sacred lake, on the surgave shade to the saints and sages who face of which hundreds are floating, meditated there and looked on the healing thrown there with prayers by suppliants waters. There came, too, those who were and pious worshipers. sick of all manner of diseases. The lame You will have left your unhallowed and the blind came there, and the lepers shoes behind you before you enter the sancwith their snows. And the lame walked, tuary, and have put on the leather slippers and the blind looked wonderfully on the of the faithful. On each side, leaning waters that had given back to them their against the low balustrade of fretted marsight, and to the lepers was their flesh ble, lie the sick and the cripples, and on restored, with melting of their unclean each side are stately, gilded lanterns with snows, and became as the Aesh of young tall, marble standards. In front blossoms children, and their sinews as of the young the golden temple, flower-like, built of men who go out to battle. And if those white marble, and all its upper story and who had lost hand or foot but bathed in its domes and its turrets are of bronze the holy lake, the lost member stood forth thickly covered with gold; and on domes again on the stump, and they praised God. and cornices and column-heads there clus
In the shade sit the crippled and the ter and hover, like bees, innumerable pigpalsied, and among them, like a garden- eons with breasts of pearl and broken iris. bed of young tulips, sits an assembly of From within come strange chantings and school-children, with yellow turbans and the beating of a drum, and for the mochubby faces and multicolored waistcoats, ment, as you step inside out of the blaze learning their letters. Their master is a of the day, the darkness is impenetrable. grave, black-bearded Sikh who from time Soon it clears, and you see the lines of to time gives his class a remission for ten priests and squatting worshipers, and, preminutes to chat together like daws in rain- siding over them, the chief priest, in front bow feathers, and he strips himself to the of whom lies the holy book of the Sikhs. loin-cloth and bathes in the windless wa- In the manner of psalmody, he chants one ters. Then with dripping beard and run- verse, and priests and worshipers, strident neling hair he calls back his class.
with zeal, answer him with the next, beatJust where the stem with the golden ing out the marvelous rhythm of the text bud sprouted from the encompassing ter- with drum-taps and blaring bugles. Unrace they built a solemn, square gate-house, der the middle of the dome, with lines of and covered the doors of it outside with the worshipers at the sides, is spread an plates of silver-of pure silver chased and embroidered silk sheet, upon which they beaten into columns and paneling; and all cast their marigold flowers and their jasmine; and when the time of roses comes, it glows with a white lambency. For the sheet will be covered with their pale ten enchanted minutes out of the paleness petals. Round this central inclosure runs there dawns a red Aush of sundown, then a corridor of white marble, with square out of the shadows there steals like a embrasures opening upon the holy lake, ghost a film of pearly iridescent mist and over all the walls are inlaid, in jasper that mounts and fades to ash-color. The and agate and carnelian, flowers and birds young priest rises in moonlike calm from and beasts. A staircase at each corner his meditation, and walks slim and grave leads to an upper story, where in an al- down the marble causeway; the chief cove sits a holy man meditating over the priest shuts the sacred book, and the chantbook of scriptures, and in another cham- ing ceases; the aged holy man, leaning on ber sits a very young priest, grave and the shoulder of his disciple, shuffles bent onyx-eyed, who looks long at you, and and tottering between the lines of the inbows his head in remote salutation as you firm. These draw their tattered clothing pass on. Then ascending once more, you round them, for the air has grown chilly; mount the dome-crowned turrets at the the school breaks up and disperses like corners, and look out over the sacred lake spilled quicksilver. But the sick and the and the marble terrace.
cripples linger and look back before they Already the sun declines to its setting, go. And it would not seem strange if One and the shadows of dome and minaret came walking on the waters, and there creep silently across the lake. The splen- were gathered round Him, as once before dor fades from the gold as the shade of when the sun was set, the sick and the the surrounding palaces falls over it, and lame and the blind, and He healed them.
BRILLIANT RUSSIAN COLORIST
BY ADA RAINEY
HE art of Léon Bakst is one of the Finally came the turning-point in his
stirring forces of the day. He is the magician of color, and is doing daring From being almost a proscribed person things. In color he is doing what Rim- in Russia, Bakst became, after his first sky-Korsakof and Andreef have done in success, a fêted man in Paris, and was acRussian music and literature. He has claimed the founder of a new school in widened the field of our sensations, for he decoration. In London, too, through the has gone beyond the usual and ordinary, success of the Russian ballet, he became and has plunged into a new realm.
the latest word; for this fortunate artist He began life humbly, having been maintains a studio in London and another born of poor Jewish parents in St. Peters- in Paris. burg in 1868. He studied in the fine arts Until within the last fifteen years no school of his native city, but worked fif- serious attempt had been made to have teen years with dogged perseverance be- scenic decoration in the theater truly artisfore recognition came. By turns he tic. painted strictly conventional and the most The new movement in the theater, as daringly original paintings. But one day represented in the Künstler-Theater in a grand duchess saw his painting of Sa- Munich, the Théâtre d'Art in Moscow, lome, recognized that it contained some- the art of Mariano Fortuny in Berlin, thing remarkable, and provided the neces- and of Gordon Craig in England, is sigsary means for him to go to Paris, where nificant. The results have been successful he studied and worked for some years. and far-reaching in their import.