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concert-room, and even the church. And the churches. On complaining to Rossini of this flimsy productions of the present degenerate race of composers have become popular all over Europe: a circumstance to be attributed to the unrivalled excellence of the Italian theatrical singing, a branch of the art which certainly has not accompanied its other departments in their decline.

disappointment, his only answer was, "Heureur. mortel!" significant enough, and characteristic of the composer's sarcastic humour.

At Naples more attention continues to be paid to the music of the church than anywhere else in Italy, though its style is not less perverted than in other places. The Neapolitan school The music of the church, the highest branch has long been eminently productive of great comof the art, exists no longer in Italy, not even in posers; but its ecclesiastical music has always its papal sanctuary, where it has flourished for been less grave and severe than the Roman so many ages. The Abate Baini, the celebrated school created by Palestrina, and more mundane author of the Life of Palestrina, who is the in its melody and expression. All the great NeaMaestro-di-Capella of the Pontifical Chapel, politan church composers were equally great on gives a melancholy account of the present state the stage. Such were Pergolesi, Jomelli, Picciof that establishment. "There is nothing ni, Cimarosa, Paesiello, and lastly, Zingarelli, now," he says; "no singers, no composers, no the immediate predecessor of Mercadante, the school; all is ruined, destroyed. The pontifical present head of the Neapolitan school-than chapel is but the ghost of what it was. The which a greater proof of the degeneracy of that voices that we lose can no longer be replaced; school can hardly be imagined. The church and if they were, we have no means of giving them instruction. General ignorance prevails; and the time is near when all will be over with the works of Palestrina." The other great ecclesiastical choirs, those of the Vatican, the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, and of San Giovanni di Laterano, are in a similar plight. Each of these churches has still a Maestro-diCapella; and Basily, who presides in the Vatican, is, like Baini, worthy of the palmy days of ecclesiastical music. But the occupation of those men is gone; and they mourn in unwilling inactivity the decline of their art, and the evil days on which they have fallen. The Abate Santini, another Roman musician, has all his life cultivated the music of the church with no other reward than the exalted pleasure he derives from it. His masses, motets, and other compositions for many voices, are equally remarkable for their learning, their expression, and their effect. But such things are never performed, and their publication is out of the question; so that on their author's death their fate is to become waste paper. These eminent musicians are all old men, and with them ecclesiastical music will literally expire in the holy city.

In the other parts of Italy it is still worse. M. Fétis, the musical historian and critic, in some letters from Italy lately published, tells us, that passing one day before a church in Milan, he heard the sound of a pianoforte within. On entering, he found the church hung with black, and other preparations for a funeral solemnity. The music consisted of the Latin works of the Requiem, arranged to opera-airs of Bellini and Donizetti, and the singers were accompanied by the pianoforte. As he was leaving the church people were bringing in a harp to increase the strength of this impressive accompaniment. Such is the state of things in Milan, the birthplace of the Ambrosian Chant, and for ages one of the great seats of ecclesiastical music.

At Bergamo, Padua, Venice, &c., where men of some eminence hold the office of Maestro-diCapella in the principal churches, it is a mere sinecure, their services being never required more than two or three times in the year. At Bologna, notwithstanding its celebrated academy and its cultivation of classical music, M. Fetis could not hear a note of music in any of the

compositions of the great masters just named, admirable in many respects, tended more and more to the style of the theatre. Still the distinction between the two styles was not lost sight of. In the music of the church a subdued tone was preserved; there was less luxuriance and brilliancy, with more simplicity and facility of vocal execution. Many of the earlier works of Zingarelli are excellent; but he injured his repu tation by the excessive haste and rapidity with which he wrote, and for which a singular reason is assigned, namely, his affection for a favourite domestic, who had served him for many years, and to whom, having little money to leave, he resolved to bequeath his books and manuscripts. Having taken this resolution, he endeavoured, by incessant labour, to increase as much as pos sible the value of his servant's inheritance; thus, it may be presumed, defeating his own object. He left behind him a hundred and fifty grand masses, with Te Deums, Magnificats, Stabats, motets, hymns, &c., without number; their value of course being in the inverse ratio of their quantity. Zingarelli may, however, be considered as the last of the great masters of the Neapolitan school-a school at present most unworthily represented by Mercadante, one of whose trashy operas has been so judiciously chosen for the display of Miss Adelaide Kemble's qualities as an English singer. We may imagine the state of the Conservatorio of Naples under the direction of this learned Theban. To give some idea of the prevalent taste in ecclesiastical music at Naples, it may be mentioned that, at a recent religious solemnity, on the occasion of a lady taking the veil, the ceremony began with a military march, and ended with a gallopade.

The most recent occurrence worthy of remark as connected with Italian sacred music, is the appearance at Paris of a Stabat Mater, compos ed by Rossini, the history of which is somewhat curious. The illustrious Maestro, a few years since, visited Madrid, where of course he was a lion of the first magnitude. At the reqest of a Spanish prelate, Don Francisco Varela, he undertook to compose something for the cha pel-royal; and after his return home, fulfilled his promise by sending his reverend friend the Stabat Mater in question, which Don Varela acknowledged by transmitting the composer a

snuff-box enriched with valuable diamonds. and to which he is indebted for fame and On the death of Don Varela, who bequeathed fortune. his immense fortune to charitable uses, his ex- It is true that Rossini has met with the fate ecutors sold the manuscript of his piece as an so often experienced by musicians, especially in article of his property; and it was purchased Italy. He has suffered from the mutability by M. Aulagnier, a Parisian publisher, for 6000 of fashion and the rage for novelty; and hence, francs. Afterwards, however, Rossini sold an- no doubt, a degree of mortification and spleen other copy of his Stabat to Troupenas, another which, in his present retirement, assumes the Parisian publisher, by whom it was immedi- appearance of absolute dislike to music itself. ately published. Aulagnier obtained an injunc- The revolution of July, 1830, made an entire tion against its sale, on the ground that it was change in his situation in France. It deprived no longer Rossini's property, he having previ-him of the unbounded favour he had enjoyed at ously disposed of it to Don Francisco Varela for the court of Charles X., and even obliged him a valuable consideration. A long lawsuit fol- to have recourse to a tedious lawsuit for the relowed, which made no small noise in the Pa-covery of the pension to which he was enrisian musical world. The result was, that Ros- titled by his engagement. The public feeling, sini was found not to have beeen divested of the property of his composition by his having sent a copy of it to Don Varela, and having received a snuff-box in return; and the sale by him to Troupenas being thus found valid, the injunction against that publisher was removed.

Since the appearance of this Stabat Mater, its performance at the Italian Opera-house by Grisi, Mario, Lablache, &c., has been one of the favourite amusements of the Parisian fashionables. We cannot speak of its character from our own knowledge, but from the numerous criticisms in the journals we may conclude that it is pretty, and completely theatrical-just such sacred music, in short, as Rossini might be supposed to write. Jules Janin, in the Journal des Debats, summed up its merits in one word, "C'est un joli Stabat!"

This work has once more brought Rossini before the world as belonging to the existing race of musicians. He is only in his fiftieth year, yet his career is considered as long since closed, and his name associated with those of Mozart, Cimarosa, and the worthies of other times. When he was only thirty, his biography was written in two goodly volumes; and to that work little remains to be added. He has lived for several years at his villa in the neighbourhood of Bologna, in retirement and inactivity: and the state of his health as well as his confirmed habits of indolence (counteracted in his earlier years by the love of glory and of gold), give reason to believe that his musical course is indeed run. To some friend who remonstrated with him on his way of life, he is said to have exclaimed, "I am sick of pleasure-I have supped full of fame-I have more money than I can spend; why then should I work ?"

There is yet another motive (it might have been replied) the love which an artist feels for his art. But Rossini all his life has felt, or affected, the utmost indifference on this score. Enthusiasm, such as formed the ruling passion of a Beethoven or a Weber, was an object of his especial ridicule; and indeed he made it his constant habit in the intercourse of society, to turn strong feeling or emotion of every kind into subject of jest and raillery. Like many men, however, he seems to have had pleasure in making himself seem worse than he was. He could not have been destitute of love for an art for which he was so largely gifted by nature, in which he has produced so many beautiful works,

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too, became changed towards him, and he found himself reduced to share with Meyerbeer the supremacy of the Parisian musical world. After twelve years' residence, therefore, in France, he resolved on returning to his native country. On arriving at Milan, in 1835, he met with an additional mortification. Bellini had now become the favourite of the Italians; and the author of Otello and Semiramide found himself thrown into the shade by the composer of the Pirata and Norma. When Rossini was at Milan, the question of their comparative merit was discussed in every journal and every musical circle; and what was worse, the laurel snatched from the head of the veteran, was placed on that of his juvenile rival. It was agreed on all hands that Bellini's superiority was unques tionable; and this young man, whose inventive faculty was confined, whose learning was shal low, whose skill in harmony and orchestral com position was small, who, in short, possessed nothing but a vein of pleasing melody, was, with out scruple, placed above the man whose rich imagination and inexhaustible variety had for so many years enchanted, not only his fickle countrymen, but all Europe. That such circumstances should have produced mortification, showing itself in indifference, or even dislike, to music itself, is not at all surprising. That there is, however, some affectation in this indifference, may be inferred from his accept ance of the office of honorary director of the Musical Lyceum of Bologna, and the attention he pays to its duties. Though the office is honorary and gratuitous, he visits the Lyceum almost daily, inquires into the situation and studies of the pupils, occupies himself in im proving the methods of instruction, and presides at the examinations and rehearsals, thus evinc ing a strong interest in the welfare of the insti tution.

His inactivity, moreover, may unfortunately be ascribed to his bad state of health. His appearance, within a few years, is said to be sadly changed. He is thin and old-looking, and shows languor and debility in every movement, A painful complaint of long standing is the principal cause of this bodily decay, and its symptoms were greatly aggravated by his grief for the loss of his father. Notwithstanding his affected indifference, filial piety was always a remarkable feature in Rossini's character. In early life he never failed to send the largest

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portion of his earnings to his mother, gladden- present is in the ascendant. There is one gift ing her heart, at the same time, with the news for which this composer is unrivalled-his fecunof each successive triumph.* When the old dity. He is about fifty, and has written above man was taken ill, he was residing in his son's sixty operas; so that he must have produced, house at Bologna; Rossini, then at Milan, hast- at an average, a couple of operas every year ened to his bedside: when he died, Rossini could since the age of twenty. Fétis indeed tells us, not bear to live in the house where he had lost that from 1828 to 1835, Donizetti, besides writ him; and the house, though it had been fitted ing twenty-two operas for Naples alone, wrote up and embellished at great expense, was im- twenty more for other places, in Italy! But mediately sold. Rossini's affliction brought on our wonder at this excessive productiveness a long and dangerous malady, the effects of ceases when we examine the productions. They which, though nearly two years have elapsed exhibit no expenditure of thought, invention, since this event, are still apparent. Another learning, or skill. They are strings of commonproof of a good disposition is to be found in his place passages, put down apparently at random, conduct towards Bellini and his family. How- assigned indiscriminately to every character and ever he may have felt the unjust preference used in every situation. Youth and age-the given to this feeble rival, he showed him, during tyrant and the lover-the stern warrior and the his short life, so much personal kindness, that tender maiden-in joy, in grief, or in anger,when he died, his poor relations, who lived at all employ the same unmeaning phraseology. Catania, in Sicily, were encouraged to apply to When you have heard two or three of Donizetti's Rossini for his assistance in collecting any prop- operas, you have heard them all. He may give erty and effects which the young composer you operas with new titles, new stories, and had left. Rossini zealously undertook the task, new personages; but the more you hear of his gave himself much trouble in collecting and works the more certain you must be, that were realizing Bellini's property, and transmitted its he to write till doomsday, he will give you no amount, 40,000 francs, to his family. We have new music. But new titles and new names are heard, too, that when our gifted young coun-sufficient to pass for novelty, and novelty is all trywoman, Miss Clara Novello, was preparing in all on the opera-stage. Besides, the Italian last year for her debut on the Italian stage, he acted towards her with great kindness, gave her good counsel and zealous assistance, and, indeed, took an almost parental interest in her welfare. These are not the features of a selfish or heartless character; and we may, we think, conclude, that this illustrious musician has been belied, not only by others, but by himself.

singers are fond of Donizetti. They are with all their talents, an indolent generation, and he gives them no trouble. When they have mastered one or two of his operas, they have mastered them all. Any one them is just as good as another to serve as a canvass for the bril liant flights of execution, the roulades and cadences, with which those accomplished artists delight the ears of the fashionable opera-goers in every capital of Europe, and even those amateurs who, though made of sterner stuff, are not proof against those sweet warblings which fas cinate them, even despite their better judg ment.

There are at present many dramatic composers in Italy, and some of them are in great vogue, not in their own country only but all over Europe. It is merely vogne, however, that they enjoy; that temporary popularity which arises from incessant craving for novelty. None of them have claims to permanent reputation; After Donizetti came Mercadante (whom we and Rossini, whom they live by plundering, have already mentioned as chief of the Conser will undoubtedly long survive them all. Belli-vatio of Naples,) Pacina and Ricci, all of whom ni, who (as already mentioned) first came between Rossini and the public favour, died young, and his works are following him. They are disappearing from the Italian theatres, and, it would seem, are more often performed at our own Opera-house than anywhere else. As Rossini was superseded by Bellini, so he, in his turn, has been superseded by Donizetti, whose star at

Some of these affectionate letters were quaintly addressed, “All' ornatissima Signora Rossini, madre del celebre maestro, a Pessaro."

have gained an European celebrity. But they have no individuality of character; they are all like Virgil's monotonous heroes-fortem Gyan, fortemque Cloanthum. The foreign journals speak of young men, unknown beyond the Alps, who are constantly producing new pieces in the different Italian theatres, the principal of whom seem to be Speranza, Verdi, and Torrigiani. But their efforts have not been attended with remarkable success, and none of them seem destined to create a new era in the art, or to revive the musical glories of Italy,





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