MT

85

W12uE 1897

THE LIBRARY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LOS ANGELES

9

ON * ^ * CONDUCTING BY * *
.)=

RICHARD

^=

WAGNER

^!^

STANDARD MUSICAL WORKS.
How
TO Play Chopin.
their proper Intf-rpretation.

The Works of Chopin and By Klecz3iaski. Third

How

Edition, Woodcut and Music Illustrations, cloth. 3/6. With many Illustrations. TO Make a Violin. By J. Broadhoiise, cloth, 3/6. Richard Wagner's Beethoven. Translated by E. Daunrenther, Second Edition, 6/-.

Musical Directory of Great Britain and Ireland,
400 pages, paper
translation,
6/-.

2/-

(cloth 3/6).
full

Franz Liszt's Life of Chopin, new and only

Great Violinists and Great
Ferris.
(Viotti,

Pianists. By J. T. Spohr, Paganini, De Beriot, Ole Bull, dementi, Moscheles, Schumann (Robert and Clara), Chopin, Thalberg, Gottschaik, Liszt), 3/6 (bevelled boards, gilt edges. 4/6).

Life of Cherubini. By E. Bellasis, 6/-. Beethoven's Symphonies, Critically and Sympathetically DiscusFed.

Bv

A. T. Teetgen, 3/6.

Mozart, the Life and Works of. By Alfred Whittingham, cloth, 1/6. Handel, the Life and Works of. By Alfred Whittingham, cloth, i/5. yEsTHETics OF MusicAL Art IN Music. By Dr. F. Hand, translated by W. E. Lawson, Mus. B. Second
Series,
5/-.
;

^Esthetics of Musical Art or, the Beautiful in Music, by Dr. F. Hand, translated by W. E. Lawson, Mus. Bic, First Series, Second Edition, 5/-. Music in England, and Music in America. By F. L, Ritter, 2 Vols., 13/6 (or separate. Music in England, 6/-; Music in America, 7/6). By Music and Musicians, Essavs and Criticisms, Robert Schumann edited and translated by F. R. Ritter, 2 Vols., ig/-(or First Series, Fourth Edition, 8/6, Second Series, 10/6). Student's Histoiiy of Music, from the Christian Era to the Present Time. By Dr. F. L. Ritter, Third
;

Edition, 7/6. Life oF, By Dr. L. Nohl, translated by J. J. Lalor, gilt edges, 3/6. Letters on Music to a Ladv. By Louis Ehlert, 4/-. Frederic Chopin, His Life, Letters, and Works. By Mnritz Karasowski, 2 Vols., 12/6

Beethoven,

Hlglily

spoken of

in

Grove's I")irtiona'y of Music and Musicians.

Bei.tiiovi:n's
Llt'-rleifl,

Pianoi'orte Sonatas. Third Edition, 3/6.
185,

Explained

by

W. RICEVES. THK
We'kly,
Yearly. 6s.
6ii.

Fleet Street, Lf)NDON, E.C. THE ORGANISTS' QUARTERLY JOURNAL. MUSICAL STANDARD.
I 1

i<i.

Edited nv Dr. Spark.
8s. <jH.)
!

(Abroad,

Yearly, ios.6d. SinKle Numbers, 5s.

ON

London
printed by the new temple press,
185,

fleet street ex.

(1869).

MOTTO NACH GOETHE

" Fliegenschnanz"

und Miickennas'

Mit euren Anverwandten,
Frosch im Lanb und
Grill'

im Gras,

Ihr seid inir Musikanten

"
!

" Flysnout aud Mid','enose,

With

all

your kindred,

too,

Trecfrog and Meadow-grig,

True musicians, you

"
!

(After Goethe.

The lines travestieri are taken from " Oberon und Titanias goldene Hochzeit.' Intermezzo, Walpurgisnacht. Faust I.

•^^12Z3

TRANSLATOR'S NOTE.

Wagner's Ueber das
simultaneously in the "

Dirigiren

was

published

Neue

Zeitschrift fur

Musik

"

and the " New-Yorker Musik-zeitung," 1869. It was immediately issued in book form, Leipzig, 1869,
and
is

now

incorporated in the author's collected

("Gesammelte Schriften und Dichtungen von Richard Wagner," ten volumes, Leipzig, 1871 1883.) For various reasons, chiefly personal, the book met with much opposition in Germany, but it was extensively read, and has done
writings, Vol. VIII. pp. 325

— 410.

a great deal of good.
of

It is

unique

in the literature

music

:

a Treatise on Style in the Execution of

Classical Music, written
of the
it

by a great practical master

grand

style.

Certain asperities which pervade

from beginning to end could not well be omitted
;

in the translation

care has, however, been taken

not to exaggerate them.
in the text

To

elucidate

some points
of

sundry extracts from other writings

Wagner have been appended.
throughout, are the translator's.

The

footnotes,

The
of

following pages are intended to form a record

my

experience in a department of music which
left to

has hitherto been

professional routine
to

and

amateur

criticism.

I shall appeal

professional
vocalists,

executants,

both

instrumentalists
;

and

rather than to conductors

since

the executants

only can

tell

whether, or not, they have been led
I do not

by a competent conductor.
a

mean

to set

system, but

simply to state certain
of practical observations.

facts,

up and

record a

nmuber

Composers cannot

afford to be indifferent to the

manner
public
;

in which their works are presented to the and the public, naturally, cannot be expected

to decide

whether the performance
actual
effect

of

a piece of

music

is

correct or faulty, since there are

no data

beyond
judge by.
I

the

of

the performance to

shall

endeavour

to

throw some

light

upon

the characteristics of musical performances in Ger-

many

—with regard

to the concert-room, as well as

Those who have experience in such matters are aware that, in most cases, the defecto the theatre.
tive constitution of

German
(1)

orchestras and the faults
to the

of

their

performances are due

shortcomB

^Z

WAGNER

ings of the conductors (" Capellmeister," " Musikdirectoren," etc.)

The demands upon
and

the orchestras

have increased greatly

of late, their task

has become
;

more

difficult

more complicated

yet

the

directors of

our art-institutions, display increasing
conductors.

negligence in their choice of

In the
the

days
tasks

when Mozart's
that

scores afforded

the highest

could be set before an

orchestra,

typical

sonage,

German Capellmeister was a formidable perwho knew how to make himself respected

at his post

— sure

of

his business, strict, despotic,

and by no means Dessau, was the
with of this
fort, also

polite.
last

Friedericli Schneider, of

representative I have

met

now may be

extinct species.

Guhr,

of

Frank-

reckoned as belonging to

it.

The

attitude of these
certainly "

men towards modern music was old-fashioned " but, in their own way,
;

they produced good solid work

more than
old

eight years

as I found not ago * at Carlsruhe, when
:

Capellmeister Strauss conducted " Lohengrin."

This vcncral)le and worthy

man

evidently looked at
;

my

score with
of

some

little

shyness

but,

he took

good care

the orchestra, which he led with a

degree of precision and firmness impossible to excel.

He
his

was, clearly, a
forces

man
him

not to be
to

trifled with,

and

o])eycd

perfection.

Singularly

enough,

tliis

okl gentleman

conductor

of

repute I

was the only German had met with, up to that

Circa, 1861.

ON CONDUCTING.
time,

3

who

possessed true

fire

;

his tempi
;

were more
but they

often a

trifle

too quick than too slow

were, invariably firm
quently,

H.

Esser's conducting,
in like

and well marked. Subseat Vienna, imthis

pressed

me

manner.

The
found
it

older

conductors of

stamp

if

they

happened

to be less gifted

than those mentioned,
because of their

difficult to

cope with the complications of

modern orchestral music
an orchestra.
I

—mainly

fixed notions concerning the proper constitution of

am

not aware that the number of
of

permanent members

an orchestra, has, in any
according
to

German town, been

rectified

the

requirements of modern instrumentation.
of instruments, are alloted to the players

Now-aaccording
take
first

days, as of old, the principal parts in each group

to

the rules of

seniority*

—thus
are

men

positions

when

their

powers are on the wane, whilst

younger and stronger
subordinate
parts

men

relegated
evil

to

the
of

—a

practice, the

effects

which are particularly noticeable with regard to the wind instruments. Latterly t by discriminating exertions, and particularly, by the good sense of the instrumentalists concerned, these evils have
diminished
;

another

traditional

habit,

however,

regarding the choice of players of stringed instru-

* Appointments
for
life,

at

German Court

theatres are usually

t 1869.

-4

WAGNEE
With-

ments, has led to deleterious consequences.

out the slightest compunction, the second violin
parts,

and especially the Viola

parts,

have been
or

sacrificed.

The

viola

is

commonly

(with rare excep-

tions

indeed) played

by infirm

violinists,

by

decrepit players of
to

wind instruments
at best a

who happen

have been acquainted with a stringed instrument
;

once upon a time
occupies
a
first

competent viola player

desk,

so

that he

may
;

play the

occasional

soli

for that instrument

but, I have

even seen this function performed by the leader of

was pointed out to me that in a large orchestra, which contained eight violas, there
the
first violins.

It

w^as only
difficult

one player

who

could deal with the rather

passages in one of
state of things

my
it

later scores

!

Such a

may

be excusable from a
older

humane
methods

point

of

view

;

arose from the

of instrumentation,

where the

role of the

viola consisted for the

most part
it

in filling

up the
instru-

accompaniments
of justification

;

and

has since found some sort

in

the meagre

method

of

mentation adopted
operas,

by the composers of Italian whose works constitute an important ck:^nient

in the repertoire of the

German opera

theatres.

At the various court

theatres, Italian operas have

always found favour with the Directors. From this it follows as a matter of course, that works which are
not in the good grace of those gentlemen stand a

poor chance,
conductor
is

urilcgs

it

should so happen that the

a imui of

weight and influence

who

ON CONDUCTING.

5

knows the real requirements But our older Capellmeisters
large increase in the
to balance the

of a

modern

orchestra.

rarely

knew

as

much

they did not choose to recognize the need of a

number of stringed instruments augmented number of wind instrucomplicated
uses the latter are

ments and the now put to.
in this

attempts at reform were and our celebrated German always orchestras remained far behind those of France in the power and capacity of the- violins^ and parrespect

the

insufficient-

ticularly of the violoncellos.

Now, had the conductors
been

of a later generation

men

of authority like their predecessors,

they

might

easily

have mended matters

;

but the Direc-

tors of court theatres took

good care to engage none

but demure and subservient persons.
It
is

well worth while to note

ductors,

who

are

now

at the

head of

how the conGerman music,
to the various

arrived at the honourable positions they hold.

We
great.

owe our permanent orchestras

theatres, particularly the court theatres, small eynd

The managers

of these theatres are theare-

fore in a position

to select

the

represent the spirit and dignity of

men who German

are to

music.

Perhaps those who have been thus advanced to
posts of honour, are themselves cognizant of

how
it

they got there

—to

an unpractised observer

is

rather difficult to discern their particular merits. The so-called " good berths" are reached step by

b
step
:

WAGNER

men move on and push

upwards.

I believe

the Court orchestra at
of
its

BerHn has got the majority

conductors in this way.

Now

and then,

however, things come to pass in a more erratic

manner

;

grand personages, hitherto unknown, sud-

denly begin to flourish under the protection of the
lady-in-waiting to

some

princess, etc., etc.

It

is

impossible to estimate the

harm done

to our leading

orchestras and opera theatres by such nonentities.

Devoid

of real merit

they keep their posts by abject
official,

cringing to the chief court

and by

polite

submission to the indolence of their musical subordinates.
discipline,

Relinquishing the pretence of artistic

which they are unable to enforce, they are always ready to give way, or to obey any absurd orders from head quarters and such conductors, under favourable circumstances, have even been
;

known
At

to

become popular
all

favourites

!

rehearsals
of

difficulties

are

got

over by
allu-

means

mutual congratulations and a pious

sion to the "old established fame of our Orchestra."

Who

can venture to say that the performances of
deteriorate year

that famous institution

by year?

Where is

the true authority ?

Certainly not amongst

the critics,

who
;

only bark
art

when
of

not stopped

and the

mouths are stopping mouths is
their

cultivated to perfection.

Recently, the post of chief conductor has here

and there been

filled

by a

man

of practical experi-

ence, especially engaged with a view to stimulating

ON CONDUCTING.
the

7

slumbering energy of

his

colleagues.
skill
;

Such

"chiefs" are famed for their

in

"bringing

out" a new opera
" cuts "
;

in a fortmight

for their clever

for the effective " closes " they write to

please singers, and for their interpolations in other

men's

scores.

Practical

accomplishments

of

this

sort have, for instance, supplied the

Dresden Opera

most energetic Capellmeisters. Now and again the managers look out for " a conductor of reputation." Generally none such are
with one of
its

to be

had

at the theatres

;

but, according to the

feuilletons of the political newspapers, the singing
societies

supply

and concert establishments furnish a steady These are the "musicof the article.
it

brokers," as
forth

were, of the present day,
of

who came

from the school

Mendelssohn, and flourished

under his protection and recommendation. They differ widely from the helpless epigonae of our old
conductors
:

they are

not musicians brought up

in the orchestra or at the theatre,

but respectable
;

pupils of the new-fangled conservatories
of

composers
listeners

Psalms and

Oratorios,

and

devout

at rehearsals for the subscription concerts.

They

possessed

have received lessons in conducting too, and are of an elegant "culture" hitherto un-

known

in the

realms of music.

any lack

of politeness,

Far from shewing they managed to transform
which stood

the timid modesty of our poor native Capellmeister
into a sort of cosmopolitan hon ton
;

them

in

good stead with the old-fashioned Philistine

8
society of

WAGNEE
our towns.
I believe the influence of

these people upon
in

German

orchestras has been good
beneficial

many
;

respects,

and has brought about

results

certainly
;

much

that

was raw and awkward

has disappeared

and, from a musical point of view,

many details of refined phrasing and expression are now more carefully attended to. They feel more at home in the modern orchestra which is indebted
;

master Mendelssohn for a particularly and refined development in the direction opened up by Weber's original genius. One thing, however, is wanting to these gentle* men, without which they cannot be expected to
to
their

delicate

achieve the needful reconstruction of the orchestras,
lior

to enforce the needful reforms in

the instituself-con-

tions connected with them, viz., energy,
fidence, and personal power.

In their case, unfor-

tunately, reputation, talent, culture, even faith, love

and hope, are artificial. Each of them was, and is, 80 busy with his personal affairs, and the difficulty of maintaining his artificial position, that he cannot occupy himself with measures of general import iheasTU'cs which might bring about a connected and As a matter of consistent new order of things. fact, such an order of things cannot, and does not
concern the fraternity at
all.

the position of those old-fashioned

They came to occupy German masters,

because the power of the latter had deteriorated
to meet the wants

and because they had shewn themselves incapable and it would of a new style
;

ON CONDUCTING.
appear that they
of
in their turn,

y

regard their position

to-day as merely temporary

— fiUing

a gap in

a period of transition.
ideals
of

In the face of
towards which

the

new
is

German

art,

all

that

noble in the nation begins to turn, they are evidently
at a loss, since these ideals are alien to their nature.

In the presence of
inseparable from
to

certain teclinical difficulties

modern music they have recourse
Meyerbeer, for instancy,

singular

expedients.
;

was very circumspect in Paris he engaged a new flutist and paid him out of his own pocket to play a Fully aware of the value of particular bit nicel}'. finished execution, rich and independent, Meyerbeer might have been of great service to the Berlin
orchestra
**

when

the

King

of Prussia appointed

him

General Musikdirector."
to

Mendelssohn was
mission

called

upon

undertake a similar
;

about the

Mendelssohn was the most extraordinary gifts and attainpossessor of the ments. Both men, doubtless, encountered all the blocked the way difficulties which had hitherto
same- time and,
assuredly,

but they were called upon overcome these very difficulties, and their independent position and great attainments rendered them exceptionally competent to do so. Why then

towards improvements
to

;

did their powers desert them.

they had no real power.
care of themselves and,

It would seem as if They left matters to take now, we are confronted by

the " celebrated " Berlin orchestra in which the last
trace of the traditions of Spontini's strict discipline

10

WAGNEE
faded

have

away.

Thus
at

Mendelssohn whilst
It is clear

Berlin

expect elsewhere from their

Meyerbeer and what are we to neat little shadows ?
fared
:

from

this account of the

survivals of

the earlier and of the latest species of Capellmeisters

and Musikdirectors, that neither of them are likely to do much towards the reorganization of our
orchestras. On the other hand the initiative has been taken by the orchestral performers themselves
;

and the signs
ments.

of

progress are evidently owing to

the increasing development of their technical attainVirtuosi

upon the

different orchestral in-

struments have done excellent service, and

they

might have done much more in the circumstances had the conductors been competent.
Exceptionally gifted
easily got the

and
of

accomplished players
the decrepit Capell-

upper hand

meisters of the old sort, and of their successors, the

parvenus without authority

—pianoforte

pedagogues
Virtuosi

patronised by ladies in waiting,

etc., etc.

soon came to play a role in the orchestra akin to
that of the prima donna on the stage.

The

elegant

conductors of the day chose to associate and ally

themselves with tho virtuosi, and this arrangement

might

have acted very satisfactorily if the conductors had really understood the true spirit of

German music.
It is

important to point out
to

in this
tlie

connection
for

that conductors arc indol)tod
their

theatres
of

posts,

and even

for

the

existence

their

ON CONDUCTING.
orchestra.

11
their professional

The

greater part of

work

consists in rehearsing

and conducting operas.

They ought

therefore, to have

made

it

their busi-

ness to understand the theatre

— the

opera

— and
like

to

make themselves masters
of

of the

proper application
the

music to dramatic
in

art,

in

something

manner
ing

which an astronomer applies mathematics

to astronom}'.

Had they understood
expression

dramatic sing-

and

dramatic

they

might have

applied such knowlege to the execution of

modern

instrumental music.

A

long time ago I derived

much

instruction as to

the tempo and the proper execution of Beethoven's

music from the clearly accentuated and expressive
singing of that great artist, Frau Schroder-Devrient.
I

have since found
of the

it

impossible, for example, to
first

permit the touching cadence of the Oboe in the

movement
Adagio.

C minor Symphony

-^^

^_^i37^-»—= »:

/
to be played in the

customary timid and embarassed

way

;

indeed, starting from the insight I

had gained

into the

proper execution of this cadence, I also
felt

found and

the true significance and expression
first

due to the sustained fermata of the

violins

?^-——t—-— in the corresponding place, and from the

* Ante, bar 21.

12

WAGNEE

touching emotional impressions I got by means ot
these two seemingly so insignificant details I gained

new point of view, from which the entire ment appeared in a clearer and warmer light.
a

rnove^

Leaving
influence

this for the present,

I

am

content to

point out that a conductor might exercise great

upon the

higher
if

musical culture with
|iis

regard to execution,

he properly understood

position in relation to dramatic art, to which, in
fact,

he

is

indebted for his post and his dignity.
are accustomed to look
(for

But our conductors

upon

the opera as an irksome daily task

which, on

the other hand, the deplorable condition of that

genre of art at

German

theatres furnishes reason

enough)

;

they consider that the sole source of
the concert rooms from which they
;

honour
started

lies in

and from which they were called for, as I have said above, wherever the managers of a theatie happen to covet a musician of reputation for Capellmeister, they think themselves obliged to get

him
conat

from some

place other than a theatre.

Now

to estimate the value of a

quondam
societies

ductor of

concerts and

of

choral

a

theatre, it is advisable to pay him a visit at home, i.e., in the concert-room, from which he derives his reputation as a " solid " German musician. Let U9

observe him as a conductor of orchestral concerts.

Looking back upon my earliest youth
to

I

remember
from per-

have

had

unpleasant impressions
classical

formances of
piano or

orchestral music.

At the
things
at

whilst

reading a score, certain

appeared animated and expressive, whereas,

a

performance, they could hardly be recognised, and
failed to attract attention.

apparent flabbiness of

was puzzled by the Mozartian Melody (Cantilena)
I
to regard as so delicately
life

which I had been taught
expressive.
for this,
oti

Later in

I discovered the reasons
in

and I have discussed them
to

my

report

a "

German music

school to be established at
to
refer readers

Munich," *

which I beg

who

may
cd

be interested in the subject.

Assuredly, the

treasons lie in the

want

of a proper
,

Conservatorium

German music

—a
own

Conservatory in the strictest

sense of the word, in which the traditions of the
classical masters'

style

of execution

are pre-

served in practice

—which,

of course,

that the masters should, once at

would imply least, have had a

* " Bericht ueber eice iu Hiincben zu errichteude deutscbe Musikschule"( 1865). See Appendix A.
(13)

14

WAGNEE
to supervise

chance personally

performances

of their

works

in

such a

place.
all

Unfortunately
;

culture has missed

such opportunities

and

German if we

become acquainted with the spirit of a classical composer's music, we must rely on this or that conductor, and upon his notion of what may, or may not, be the proper tempo and style of
to

now wish

execution.

In the days of
conducted at

my
;

youth, orchestral pieces at the

celebrated Leipzig
all

Gewandhaus Concerts were not
they were simply played through
*

under the leadership of Conzertmeister
like overtures

Mathai,

there

was

and enfracts at a theatre. At least no " disturbing individuality," in the
!

shape of a conductor

The

principal classical pieces
difficulties

which presented no particular technical
;

the execution were regularly given every winter was smooth and precise and the members of the
;

orchestra evidently enjoyed the annual recurrence
of their familiar favourites.

With
of

Beetlioveii' fi

Ninth Sijmphonij alone they
it was considered a point work every year. I had

could not get on, though

honour

to

give that

copied the score for myself, and

made
I

a pianoforte
so

arrangement
of the

for

two hands

;

but

was

much

astonished at the utterly confused and bewildering
effect

Gewandhaus performance
and gave up the study
the leader of the
of

that I had

lost courage,

Beethoven

*

i.e.,

first violins.

ON CONDUCTING.
for

15
instructive to note
in

how

some time. Later, I found it I came to take true delight
:

performances of
I

Mozart's instrumental works
indulge
of

it

was when

had a

chance to conduct them myself, and when I could

my

feelings as to the expressive rendering

Mozart's cantilena.
I received a

good lesson at Paris in 1839, when I

heard the orchestra of the Conservatoire rehearse
the enigmatical Ninth Symphony.

The
of

scales

fell

from

my

eyes

;

I

came

to

understand the value

of

correct execution

and the secret

a good perfor

formance.

The

orchestra had learnt to look

Beethoven's melody
cover

m

every bar

— that melody which
This

the worthy Leipzig musicians had failed to dis;

and the orchestra sang that melody.
difficulty,

was

the secret.

Habeneck, who sovled the

and to
is

whom
was

the great credit for this performance

due,

not a conductor of special genius.

Whilst rehears-

ing the symphony, during an entire winter season,

he had
tive

felt it

to be incomprehensible

and

ineffec-

(would

German conductors have
!

confessed as

much?), but he persisted throughout a second and a third season until Beethoven's new melos * was
understood, and correctly rendered by each
of

member

the

orchestra.
;

the old stamp

he

Habenek was a conductor of was the master and everyone

obeyed him.
beauty
of

I

cannot attempt
Melody

to

describe

the

this performance.
*

However,

to give an

in all its aspects

16
idea
of
it,

WAGNEB
I will
select a passage

which I shall endeavour Beethoven is so difficult
tras

to to

by the aid of shew the reason why
render as well as the

reason for the indifferent success of

German

orches-

when

confronted by such

difficulties.

Even

with

first-class orchestras I
first

have never been able to

get the passage in the

movement

H«= zzzuz^zrk^izM^^.
aemp-e

:^P

pp

setnpre

pp

performed with such equable perfection as I then (thirty years ago) heard it played by the musicians
of the Paris " Orchestre

in later life

du Conservatoire."* Often have I recalled this passage, and tried
enumerate the desiderata in the execuit comprises movement and
;

by

its aid to

tion of orchestral music

sustained tone, with a definite degree of power.
•Wagner, however, subsequently admitted that the passage was rendered to his satisfaction at the memorable pertorinance of tlie Ninth Symphony, given May azad, 1872, to
celebrate the laying of the foundation stone of the theatre at

Bayrenth.
("

An

dieser Stelle

ist

es nur, bei oft in

meinem spateren
geworden, worauf

Leben erneueter Erianeruog, recht

klar

ON CONDUCTING.

17

The masterly
Paris

execution
consisted

of

this

passage by the

orchestra

in

the fact that they

played

it exactly as it is written. Neither at Dresden, nor in London * when, in after years, I

had occasion
irregularity

to prepare a performance of the
rid of the

sym-

phony, did I succeed in getting

annoying

which

arises

from the change
less

of

bow and
;

change

of strings.

Still

could I suppress an

involuntary accentuation as the passage ascends

musicians, as a rule, are tempted to play an ascending

passage with an increase of tone, and a descending

one with a decrease.
above passage

With

the fourth bar of the

we

invariably got into a crescendo so

that the sustained

G flat

of the fifth bar

was given
that note.
;

with an involuntary yet vehement accent, enough to
spoil the peculiar tonal significance of

The composer's
it

intention
to

is

clearly indicated

but

remains

difficult

prove to a person

whose

musical feelings are not of a refined
is

sort, that there

a great gap between a commonplace reading, and
:

the reading meant by the composer

no doubt both

readings convey a sense of dissatisfaction, unrest,

longing

—but the quality

of these, the true sense of
it is

the passage, cannot be conveyed unless
as the master imagined
it,

played

and as I have not hitherto

heard

it

given except by the Parisian musicians in

es beim Orchestervortrag ankommt, weil sie die Bewegung und den gehaltenen Ton, zudleich mit dam Gesetz der

Dynamik

in sich schliesst.")

* Concert of the

Philharmonic Society, 26th March. 1855,

B

18
1839.

WAGNER
In connection with this I

am

conscious that
*
(if

the impression of dynamical
risk

monotony

I

may

such an apparently senseless expression for a

difficult

phenomenon) together with the unusually

varied and ever irregular

movement

of intervals in

the ascending figure entering on the prolonged
flat to

G

be sung with such infinite delicacy, to which

the

G natural
as

me

spirit.

answers with equal delicacy, initiated by magic to the incomparable mystery of the Keeping my further practical experience in

view, I would ask

how

did the musicians of Paris

arrive at so perfect a solution of the difficult

problem?

By
tion

the most conscientious diligence.

They were

not content with mutual admiration and congratula{sicli

gegenseitig Complimente zw machen) nor

before

difficulties must disappear them as a matter of course. French musicians in the main belong to the Italian school its influence upon them has been beneficial in as much as they

did they assume that

;

have thus been taught to approach music mainly
through the medium of
the

human
(as

voice.
is

The
to be

French idea

of playing

an instrument well

able to s'uuj well

upon

it.

And

already said) that

superb orchestra sang the symphony.
of its being well

The possibility

sung implies that the true tempo
:

had been found
impressed

and

this is the second point

me

at the time.

which Old Habeneck was not

the mediiiiu of any al)stract-a}sthetical inspiration
* a powisr of tone the degree of which remains unchanged.

i.e.

,

ON CONDUCTING.
:

19

he was devoid of " genius " hut he found the right tempo whilst persistently fixing the attention of his
orchestra upon the

Melos
tempo

* of the
the

symphony.

The right comprehension of
guide
to

Melos

is the sole

the right
:

;

these two things

are

inseparable

the one impHes and quahfies the other.

As

a proof of

my

assertion that the majority of

performances of instrumental music with us
faulty
it is

are

sufficient to point out that

our conductors

so frequently fail to find the true

tempo becatise they

are ignorant of singing.

I

have not yet met with a
it

German

Capellmeister or Musik-director, who, be

with good or bad voice, can really sing a melody.

These people look upon music as a singularly abstract sort of thing, an amalgam of grammar, arithmetic, and digital gymnastics to be an adept
;


;

in

which may

fit

a

man

for

a mastership
it

at

a

conservatory or musical

gymnasium but

does not
life

follow from this that he will be able to put
soul into a musical performance.

and

* Melody in

all its

aspects.

The whole
ability

duty of a conductor

is

comprised in his

always to indicate the right tempo.

His

choice of tempi will

show whether he understands
players, again, the true

the piece or not.

With good

tempo induces

correct phrasing

and expression and

conversely, with a conductor, the idea of appropriate

phrasing and expression will induce the conception
of the true

tempo.
is

This, however,
as
it

by no means so simple a matter
felt

appears.

Older composers probably

so,

for they

are content

with the

simplest

general

indications.

Haydn and Mozart made use of the term "Andante" as the mean between "Allegro"
and "Adagio," and thought it sufficient to indicate a few gradations and modifications of these terms.
Sebastian Bach, as a rule, does not indicate tempo
at
all,

which

in a truly musical sense is

perhaps

whoever does not understand my themes and figures, and does not feel their character and expression, will not be much the wiser for an Italian indication of tempo. Let me be porniitted to mention a few facts which concern me personally. In my earlier operas
best.

He may

have said to himself

;

I gave detailed directions as to the tempi, and in(20)

ON CONDUCTING.
dicated

21

them

(as I

thought) accurately, by means of

the

Metronome.

Subsequently, whenever

I

had

occasion to protest against a particularly

absurd

tempo, in Tannhauser for instance, I was assured
that the

Metronome had been consulted and
In

care-

fully followed.

my

later

works

I omitted

the
in

metronome and merely described the main tempi
to the various modifications of

general terms, paying, however, particular attention

tempo.

It

would
are
to

appear that general directions also tend to vex and
confuse Capellmeisters, especially
expressed in plain

when they
Accustomed

German

words.

the conventional Italian terms these gentlemen are
apt to lose their wits when, for instance, I write " moderate." Not long ago a Capellmeister com-

plained of that term (massig) which I employed in

the music (it was two hours and a half at rehearsals under a conductor whom I had personally

the score of
reported)

"Das Rheingold

"

;

lasted exactly

instructed

:

whereas, at the performances and under
official

the beat of the
three

Capellmeister,
to

it

lasted
of

fully

hours

!

(according

the

report
indeed,

the
I

Allgemeijie

Zeittmg).

Wherefore,

did

write " Massig " ?

To match this I have been informed that the overture to Tannhauser, which, when I conducted it at Dresden, used to last twelve
minutes,

now

lasts

twenty.

No

doubt

[I

am

here

alluding to

thoroughly incompetent fpersons

are particularly shy of Alia breve time, and
stick to their correct

who who

and normal crotchet

beats, four

22
in a bar, merely to

WAGNER
show they
are present

and con-

scious of doing something. Heaven knows how such " quadrupeds " find their way from the village

church to our opera theatres.
these latter days

But "dragging"

is

not a characteristic of the elegant
;

conductors of
fatal

on the contrary they have a
hurry
so characteristic a

tendency to hurry and to run away with the tempi.
TJiis tendency to
is

mark

of our entire musical life latterly, that I propose to

some details with regard to it. Bobert Schumann once complained to me at Dresden that he could not enjoy the Ninth Symphony at the Leipzig Gewandhaus concerts because
enter into
of the quick

tempi Mendelssohn chose to take, parfirst

ticularly in the

movement.

I have,

myself,

only once been present at a rehearsal of one of

Beethoven's Symphonies, when Mendelssohn conducted
:

the rehearsal took place at Berlin, and the
8
(in

Symphony was No.
he chose a
detail here
at
it

F

major).

I noticed that at

and there

—almost

random
it

and worked

with a certain obstinacy, until

stood forth clearly.

This was so manifestly to the

advantage of the detail that I could not but wonder

why he

did not take similar pains with othev nuances.

For the rest, this incomparably bright symphony was rendered in a remarkably smooth and genial manner. Mendelssohn himself once remarked to
me, with regard to conducting, that he thought

most harm was done by taking a tempo too slow; and that on the contrary, he always recommended

ON CONDUCTING.
quick

23
Eeally

tempi

as

being

less

detrimental.

good execution, he thought, was at all thing, but short-comings might be disguised

times a rare
if

care

was taken that they
prominent
been
a
;

should

not

appear

very
to get

and the best way
view,

to do this

was "

over the ground quickly."
casual

This can hardly have

accidentally

conversation.

The

master's

mentioned in pupils must have
;

received further and

more

detailed instruction

for,

subsequently, I have, on various occasions, noticed " take quick the consequences of that maxim,

tempi," and have I think, discovered the reasons

which may have led to its adoption. I remembered it well, when I came to lead the orchestra of the Philharmonic Society in London, Mendelssohn had conducted the concerts 1855. during several seasons, and the tradition of his
readings was carefully preserved.
It

appears likely

that the habits and peculiarities of the Philharmonic

Society suggested to Mendelssohn his favourite style
of

performance (Vortragsweise)
of instrumental
;

— certainly
is

it

was

adm.irably adapted to

amount
concerts
only.

meet their wants. An music is consumed at these
unusual
rehearsed once
avoid
instances, I could not

but as a rule, each piece
in

Thus

many

letting the orchestra follow its traditions,

and so, I became acquainted with a style of performance which called up a lively recollection of Mendelssohn's
remarks.

The music gushed forth like water from a

fountain

24
there

WAGNER
was no arresting
it,

as an undeniable Presto.
difficult to interfere;

for

and every Allegro ended It was troublesome and when correct tempi and

proper modifications of these were taken the defects

which the flood had carried along or conbecame painfully apparent. The orchestra generally played mezzoforte no real forte, no real piano was attained. Of course in important cases I
of style

cealed

;

took care to enforce the reading I thought the true
one, and to insist

upon the

right tempo.
;

The
it

excel-

lent musicians did not object to this

on the contrary
;

they showed themselves sincerely glad of

the

public also approved, but the critics were annoyed,

and continued so to browbeat the directors
society

of the

that

the latter actually requested

me

to

permit the second movement of Mozart's
in

Symphony

E

flat

to be played in 'the flabby

and colourless
even Men-

way

{ruscJdich

herunter

spielen)

they had been
said,

accustomed to

— and

which, they

delssohn himself had sanctioned.

The fatal maxims came to when I was about to rehearse
mistake not.

the front quite clearly
a

symphony by

a very
if

amiable elderly contrapuntist,
pleasant way, and asked

Mr, Potter,* The composer approached me

I

in

a

me
it

to take the

rather quickly as he feared
I assured

Andante might prove tedious.
no matter how

him

that his Andante,

short

its

duration might be, would inevitably prove
1792-1871, pianist and composer, author

* Cij)riani Potter, of " ItecollcctiouH of

Beethoven,"

etc.

ON CONDUCTING.
tedious
if
;

2
and inexpressive
felt

it

was played
if

in a vapid

manner

whereas

the orchestra could be got to

play the very pretty and ingenious theme, as I
confident he

and as I now sang it to him, Mr. Potter was touched it would certainly please. he agreed, and excused himself, saying that latterly

meant

it

;

he had not been in the habit
sort of orchestral playing.

of

reckoning upon this

In the evening, after the

Andante he
I

joyfully pressed

my hand.
at the

have often been astonished
I found
to

singularly

slight sense for

tempo and execution evinced by
it

leading musicians.
stance, to

impossible, for infelt

communicate

Mendelssohn what I
in

to be a perverse piece of negligence with regard to

the tempo of the third

movement
8.

Beethoven's
is

Symphony
upon

in

F

major, No.

This

one of the

instances I have chosen out of

many

certain dubious aspects of music

We know
link

that

Hadyn

in his

throw light amongst us. principal later symto
final Allegro,

phonies used the form of the Menuet as a pleasant

between the Adagio and the

and

that he thus was induced to increase the speed of

the

movement considerably, contrary to the character
Menuet.
It is clear that

of the true

he incorporated

the
that,

"Landler,"* particularly in the "Trio"

— so
I

with regard to the tempo, the designation " Menuetto " is hardly appropriate, and was retained
conventional
reasons
only.

for
*

Nevertheless,

South German country dance in f time, from which the modern waltz is derived.

A

26
believe

WAGNER
Haydn's Menuets are generally taken too
this will be felt very distinctly
if,

quick; undoubtedly the Menuets of Mozart's Sjnn-

phonies are
minor, and

;

for

instance, the

Menuetto
little

in Mozart's
of his

still

more that

Symphony Symphony

in Gin

C

major, be played a
pace.
is

slower than at the customary
latter

It will be

found that the

Menuet, which

usually hurried, and treated almost as a Presto,

will

now shew an amiable,

firm and festive character
trio,

in contrast

with which, the

with

its

delicately

sustained

^\

f^--

f

is

reduced,

as

usually given, to an

empty hurry-skurry (einenichts-

sagende Nuschelei).

Now Beethoven,

as

is

not un-

common
his

with him, meant to write a true Menuet in

F major Symphony; he places it between the two main Allegro movements as a sort of complementary antithesis (ein gewissermassen ergiinzender
Gegcnsatz) to an Allegretto scherzcmdo which precedes
it,

and

to

remove any doubt

as to his intenit

tions regarding the

Tempo he

designates

not as a

Menuetto

:

but as a Tempo di Menuetto.
of

This novel
the

and unconventional characterization
middle movements of
entirely overlooked
:

two

the

taken to represent the

symphony was almost scherzando was usual Andante, the Tempo di
a

A llegretto

Menuetto, the familiar " Scherzo " and, as the two

movements thus

interpreted seemed rather paltry,

ON CONDUCTING.
and none
of

27

the usual effects could be got with

them, our musicians came to regard the entire sym-

phony
the

as a

sort

of

accidental

hors

d'oeuvre

of

Beethoven's muse

who, after the exertions with
chosen
time

A

major
rather

symphony had
easily."

"to
after

take the
is

things

Accordingly
the
of

Allegretto

Scherzando,

which

invariably

"dragged"
is

somewhat, the

Tempo

di

Menuetto
any
glad

universally served up as a refreshing

" Landler," which passes the ear without leaving
distinct impression.

Generally, however, one

is

when

the tortures of the Trio are over.

This

loveliest of idylls is

turned into a veritable monstrosity
;

by the passage in
if

triplets for the violoncello
is

which

taken at the usual quick pace,

the despair of

violoncellists,

who are worried with the hasty staccato
it

across the strings and back again, and find
possible to produce anything
scratches.

im-

but a painful series of
difficulty disappears

Naturally, this

as

soon as the delicate melody of the horns and clarinets
is

taken at the proper tempo

;

these instruments are

thus relieved from the special difficulties pertaining
to

them, and which, particularly with the clarinet, at
it

times render

likely to

produce a " quack " * even in
I

the hands of skilful players.

remember an occasion
then

when

all

the musicians began to breathe at ease on
:

my

taking this piece at the true moderate pace

the humorous sforzato of the basses and bassoons

* Anglice, " a goose."

28

WAGNER
1
I

J^

J

at

once produced an intelligible

effect

;

the short crescendi became clear, the delicate
effective,

pianissimo close was

and the gentle gravity
Reissiger,
of

of the returning principal
felt.

movement was properly

Now,

the

late

Capellmeister

Dresden, once conducted this symphony there, and
I happened to be present at the performance together

with Mendelssohn
just described,

;

we

talked about

the dilemma
;

which

I told

and its proper solution concerning Mendelssohn that I believed I had

convinced Reissiger,

who had promised that he would
usual.

take the tempo slower than
perfectly agreed with me.

Mendelssohn

We

listened.

The

third

movement began and

was terrified on hearing but before I could precisely the old Liindler tempo give vent to my annoyance Mendelssohn smiled, and
I
;

pleasantly nodded his head, as
all

if

to say "

now

it's

right

!

Bravo

!

"

So

my

terror

changed

to

astonishment.

Reissiger, for reasons

which

I shall

discuss presently,
to

may

not have been so very
in

much
;

blame

for

persisting

the old tempo
to this in

but
queer

Mendelssohn's indifference, with regard
artistic

contretemps,

raised

doubts

my mind
an

whether he saw any distinction and difference in
the case at
all.

I fancied myself standing before

abyss of superficiality, a veritable void.

Soon
of the

after this

had happened with Reissiger, the
at

very same thing took place with the same

Eighth Symphony
at the

Leipzig.

movement The con-

ductor, in the latter case,
of

was a well-known successor
concerts.*

Mendelssohn

Gewandhaus

He

had agreed with my views as to the Tempo di Menuetto, and had invited me to attend a concert at
also

which he promised
pace.

to take

it

at the proper

moderato

He
:

did not keep his

word and
of

offered a queer

excuse

he laughed, and confessed that he had been
all

disturbed with

manner

administrative busiafter the

ness, and had only remembered his promise

piece

had begun

;

naturally he could not then alter

the tempo, etc.

The explanation was

sufficiently

annoying.
I

Still I

could, at least, flatter myself that

had found somebody to share my views as to the difference between one tempo and another. I doubt, however, whether the conductor could be fairly reproached with a want of forethought and conunconsciously, perhaps, he may have sideration had a very good reason for his " forgetfulness." It would have been very indiscreet to risk a change
;

* Ferdinand Hiller.
(29)

30
of

WAGNEK
tempo which had not been rehearsed.
For the

orchestra, accustomed to play the piece in a quick

tempo, would have been disturbed by the sudden
imposition of a more moderate pace
a matter of course,
of playing.
;

which, as

demands

a totally different style

We have
point,

now

reached an important and decisive
of

an appreciation

which

is

indispensable

if

we

care to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion regarding

the execution of classical music.

Injudicious tempi
of reason inas-

might be defended with some show

much

as a factitious style of delivery has arisen in

conformity with them, and to the uninitiated such conformity of style and tempo might appear
a proof that
all

as
is

was
if

right.

The

evil,

however,
is

apparent enough

only the right tempo

taken, in

which case the

false style

becomes quite unbearable.
way,

To
let

illustrate this, in the simplest possible

us take the opening of the

C minor Symphony.

Usually
ff

the

fermata of

the

second bar
hardly

is left

after a slight rest
of this

;

our conductors

make use
fix

fermata for anything else

than to

the attention of their

men upon

the attack

of th<! figure in the tbird bar.

In most cases the
of the

note

\\

ilat

is

not held any longer than a forte

produced with a careless stroke
u})on the stringed instruments.

bow

will last

Now, suppose the

ON CONDUCTING.
voice
of

31

Beethoven were
a
!

heard

from the grave
fermata

admonishing
or because I

conductor;

"Hold my
;

firmly, terribly

I did not write fermatas in jest, at a loss

was

how to proceed

I indulge

in the fullest, the

emotions in
firm tone

my
I

most sustained tone to express and I use this full and Adagio
;

when

want

it

in a passionate Allegro as

a rapturous or terrible spasm.

Then

the very

life

blood of the tone shall be extracted to the last drop.
I arrest the waves of the sea, and the depths shall

stem the clouds, disperse the mist, and show the pure blue ether and the glorious eye For this I put fermatas, sudden longof the sun.
be visible;
or, I

sustained notes in

my

Allegro.

And now

look at

my
flat

clear thematic intention with the sustained
after the three

E

stormy notes, and understand
with other such sustained notes
a

what
in

I

meant

to say

the sequel."*

Suppose

conductor were
:

to

* In the original this fine passage is " Nun setzen wir den die Stimme Beethoven's habe aus den Grabe einem Dirigenten zugerufen Halte du meine Fermate lange und Ich schrieb keine Fermaten zum Spass oder aus furchtbar Verlegenheit, etwa um mich auf das Weitere zu besinnen sondern, was in meinem Adagio der ganz und voll aufzusaugende Ton fiir den Ausdruck der schwelgenden Empffndung ist, dasselbe werfe ich, wenn ich es brauche, in das heftig und
Fall,
;
!

;

wonnig oder schrecklich anhaldas Leben des Tones bis auf seinen letzten Blutstropfen aufgesogen werden dann halte ich die Wellen meines Meeres an, und lasse in seinen Abgrund blicken oder hemme ich den Zug der Wolken, zertheile die wirren Nebelstreifen, und lasse einmal in den reinen blauen Aether, in das strahlende Auge der Sonne schauen. Herfiir
scbnell figurirte Allegro, als

tenden Krampf.

Dann

soil

;

;

32

WAGNER

attempt to hold the fermata as here directed, what would be the result ? A miserable failure. After the initial power of the bow of the stringed instruments had been wasted, their tone would become thin and thinner, ending in a weak and timid piano
:

for

(and here

is

one of the results of indifferent

conducting) our orchestras now-a-days hardly

know

meant by equally sustained tone. Let any conductor ask any orchestral instrument, no matter which, for a full and prolonged forte, and he will find the player puzzled, and will be astonished at the trouble it takes to get what he asks for. Yet tone sustained ivith equal power is the basis

what

is

of all expression,*

with the voice as with the orchesof the principal elements

tra

:

the manifold modifications of the power of

tone,

which constitute one

of musical expression, rest

upon

it.

"Without such
noise but

basis an orchestra will produce

much
first

no
of

power.

And

this is

one of the

symptoms

the weakness of most of our orchestral performances.

The conductors

of the

day care

little

about a sus-

tained forte, but they are particularly fond of an

exaggerated piano.

Now

the strings produce the

aetzc icli Fermaten, d. h. plotzlich eintretende lang auszuhaltende Noten in meine Allegro's. Und nun beacbte du welclieganz bcstimmte thematischo Absicht icb mit diesem ausgchalteucu Es uacli drei sturmisch kurzen Noten batte, und was icli luit alien dcu im Folgeudcn gloicli auszubaltenden

Noteu gosagt baben

will."

* Die Batis aller Dynamik.

ON CONDUCTING.
latter

33

with ease, but the wind instruments, particu-

larly the

wood winds do

not.

It is

almost impossible

to get a delicately sustained piano

from wind instru-

ments.

The players, flautists particularly, have transformed
their formerly delicate instruments into formidable

tubes

(Gewaltsrohren)

.

French

oboists,

who have
of the

preserved the pastoral character of "their instrument,

and our
"

clarinetists,

when they make use

Echo

effect," are the exceptions.

This drawback, which exists in our best orchestras,
suggests the question
:

why,

at least,

do not conduc-

tors try to equalise matters

by demanding a some,
?

what

fuller

piano from the strings

but the conducnot so

tors do not

seem

to notice

any discrepancy.
lies

To
piano
are

a considerable extent the fault

much

with the wind instruments, as in the character of the
of the strings
;

for

we do not

possess a true

piano, just as

we do

not possess a true forte; both
attain which our watch the tone of the easy enough to produce a

wanting

in fulness of

tone— to

stringed instruments should

winds.

Of course
but

it

is

buzzing vibration by gently passing the bow over the
strings
;

it

requires great artistic

command

of

the breath to produce a delicate and pure tone upon
a wind instrument.

Players of stringed instruments

should copy the full-toned piano of the best winds,

and the

latter,

again,

should endeavour to imitate

the best vocalists.

The

sustained soft tone here spoken

of,

and the

34

WAGNEE

sustained powerful tone mentioned above, are the

two poles of orchestral expression.* But what about orchestral execution
one nor the other
the very
is

if

neither the
?

properly forthcoming

Where

are the modifications of expression to

means

of expression are

come from if defective ? Thus

Mendelssohnian rule of "getting over the ground" {des flatten Dariiberhinweggehens) suggested a happy expedient conductors gladly adopted the maxim, and turned it into a veritable dogma so
the
; ;

that,

nowadays, attempts to perform

classical

music

correctly are openly
I

denounced as heretical
returning to the question of

am

persistently

tempo because, as I said above, this is the point at which it becomes evident whether a conductor understands his business or not.

Obviously the proper pace of a piece of music

is

determined by the particular character of the rendering
this
it
:

requires

;

the question, therefore, comes to

does the sustained tone, the vocal element, the

ca/ii^i^e?ia

predominate, or the rhythmical movement?

(Figuration).
ingly-

The conductor should

lead accord-

The Adagio stands

to the Allegro as the sustained

tone stands to the rhijthmical niovement (figurirte

Bewegung) The sustained tone regulates the Tempo Adagio: here the rhythm is as it were dissolved in
.

pure tone, the tone

jyer se suffices

for the musical

* Dynaviik den Orchcstcrs.

ON CONDUCTING.
expression.

35
it

In a certain delicate sense
it

may

be

said of the pure Adagio that

cannot be taken too

slow.

A rapt confidence
grows to ecstasy
;

in the sufficiency of
;

pure

musical speech should reign here
feeling

the languor of

that which in the Allegro

was expressed by changes of figuration, is now conveyed by means of variously inflected tone. Thus the least change of harmony may call forth a sense of surprise and again, the most remote harmonic
;

progressions prove acceptable
feelings.

to

our

expectant

None

of

our conductors are courageous enough to

take an Adagio in this

manner

;

they always begin

by looking
their

for

some

bit of figuration,

and arrange
the Adagio

tempo

to match.

I am, perhaps, the only
to take
of the

conductor

who has ventured
movement
pace proper to
is

section of the third

Ninth Sym-

phony

at the

its

peculiar character.

This character
conductors
difference,

distinctly contrasted with that of
;

the Alternating Ajidante in triple time
invariably

but our
the

contrive

to

obliterate

leaving

only
triple

the

rhythmical

change

between square and
(assuredly one of the
respect), finally, (in

time.

This movement
in the present in

most instructive
the section

twelve-eight

time), offers a conspicuous example of the breaking

up
of

of the

pure Adagio by the more marked rhythms
steadily

an independent accompaniment, during which
is

the cantilena
this section

and broadly continued.
it

In

we may

recognise, as

were, a fixed

36

WAGNER
reflex * of the Adagio's
;

and consolidated
towards
in
infinite

tendency

expansion

there, Hmitless

freedom
firm

the expression of sound, with fluctuating, yet
regulated

dehcately

movement

;

here,

the

rhythm
the

of the figurated

accompaniments, imposing

new

regulation of a steady and distinct pace

in the consequences of which,

when

fully developed,

we have

got the law that regulates the

movement
its

of

the Allegro in general.

We have
cation
is

seen that sustained tone with
all

modifi-

the basis of

musical execution. Similarly

the Adagio developed, as Beethoven has developed
it

in the third

movement

of his
all

Ninth Symphony,
regulations as to
sense,
result

may

be taken as the basis of

musical time.
Allegro

In a certain

delicate
final

the
of a

may

be regarded as the

refraction (Brechung) of the pure Adagio-character

by the more
it

restless

moving

figuration.

On

careful

examination of the principal motives of the Allegro
will

be found that the melody (Gesang) derived

from the Adagio, predominates. The most important Allegro movements of Beethoven are ruled by a
* In the original " Hier erkcnucn wir dasglcichsam fixirte Bild des zuvor uacli unendliclier Ausdclinuug verlaugenden Adagio's, und wie dort eine uneingoscbraukte Freilieit fiir die
:

Befriedigungdes touischen Ausdruckes das zwischcu zartesten Gesetzen schwaukende Maass der Bewegung angab, wird hier durcli die festo Rhyfclimik der figurativ gesclimiickteu Bcglcituug das ucue Gcsctz der Fcstlialtuug ciuer bestimmteu Beweguug gcgcben, wolchcH iu seiuon ausgebildeten Konsequcuzeu uus zum tiosetz fiir das Zeitmaass des Allegro wird."

ON CONDUCTING.

37

predominant melody which exhibits some of the characteristics of the Adagio and in this wise Beethoven's Allegros receive the emotional senti;

mental significance which distinguishes them from
the earlier

naive

species

of

Allegro.

However,

Beethoven's*

'-

r-"^

^—

and Mozart's!

:t==tziiiit:
or
:-

t^

1^^

P
;22:

And with Mozart, as with Beethoven, the exclusive character of the Allegro is
are not far asunder.

only

felt

when

the figuration gets the upper
is,

hand

of

the melody (Gesang) that

when

the reaction of the
is

rhythmical movement against the sustained tone
entirely carried out.
*
f

This

is

particularly the case in
"Eroica."

Symphony
in

III.

Symphony

C major, "Jupiter."

38
those final

WAGNER
movements which have grov^n out
of
vv^hich
flat,

of the

Rondeau, and

the Finales to Mozart's
to Beethoven's in A, are

Symphony
movement,
is

in

E

and

excellent examples.

Here the purely rhythmical
;

so to speak, celebrates its orgies

and

it

consequently impossible to take these movements
quick.
is

too

But whatever

lies

between these two

extremes

subject to the laws of 7nutual relationship

and interdependance ; and such laws cannot he too delicately and variously applied, for they are fundamentally identical with the laws which modify all
conceivable nuances of the sustained tone,
I shall

now
;

turn to the question of the modification

of Tempo

a question of

which our conductors know
followed

nothing, and for which they consequently profess

contempt.

Whoever has

me

so far with

attention will, I trust; understand that this question

goes to the root of the matter before us.

In the course of the argument so
of Allegro have been mentioned
;

far,

two species

an emotional and

sentimental character has been assigned to the latter,
the true Beethovenian Allegro,

whereas the older

Mozartian Allegro

was

distinguished as showing a

I have adopted the expressions naive character. " sentimental " and " naive " from Schiller's well-

known
It
is

essay upon " sentimental and naive poetry."
needless to discuss the aesthetic problems
It is

Schiller touches upon.

enough

to state here

that I take Mozart's quick Alla-breve
as representative of the naive Allegro.
of

movements The Allegros

the overtures to his operas, particularly to " Figaro " and " Don Giovanni " are the most perfect

specimens.

It

is

well

known

that

Mozart wished

these pieces to be played as fast as possible. Having

driven his musicians into a sort of rage, so that to
their

own

surprise they successfully rendered the

unheard

of Presto of his overture to " Figaro,"
:

he
!

commended them, saying

" that was beautiful

Let us take it still quicker this evening." Quite As I have said of the pure Adagio that, in an right.
(39)

40
ideal sense,
it

WAGNEE
cannot be taken too slowly, so this
of

pure unmixed Allegro cannot be given too quickly.

The slow emanations
hand and the most rapid

pure tone on the one

figurated

movement on

the

other, are subject to ideal limits only,

directions the law of beauty

is

and in both the sole measure of

what
to

is

possible.

The law

of

beauty establishes the

point of contact at which the opposite extremes tend

in the

meet and to unite. The order of the movements symphonies of our masters from the opening Allegro, to the Adagio, and thence by means of a

stricter

dance-form (the Menuet

or

Scherzo),

to

the quickest Allegro (Finale)
of fitness.

— shows a perfect sense
when comits less

To my

luind, however, there are signs

of a deterioration of the sense of fitness

posers exhibit their platitudes in the Suite,* and

attempt to bolster up that old form, with
thoughtfully arranged succession of typical

dance

tunes

;

for these

have been fully developed elsewhere,
in far richer,

and have already been embodied extensive, and complex forms.
species.

more

Mozart's absolute Allegros belong to the naive

of tone
sist of

As regards the various degrees of power {Nach der Seite der Dynamik hin) they con;

simple changes of piano and forte

and, as

regards structure they

show

certain fixed

and stable

rhythmic melodic

traits

much

choice or sifting,

(Formen) which, without are placed side by side and

juade to chime with the changes of piano and /or^e;

Comparo Franz Lachuer's Suites

for Orchestra.

ON CONDUCTING.
and which
prising ease.
(in

41
semisur-

the

busthng ever-recurring

cadences) the master employs with

more than
of

But such things

— even

the greatest

neghgence (Achtlosigkeit) in the use
place phrases and sections

common-

— are

explicable and ex-

cusable from the nature of this sort of Allegro, which
is

not meant to interest by means of Cantilena, but

in

which the

restless incessant

movement

is

intended

to produce a certain excitement.
trait in

It is a significant

the Allegro of the overture to

Don Giovanni
Here

that this restless

movement ends with an unmistak-

able turn towards the " sentimental."

— where
tempo

the extremes meet, at the point of contact indicated

above

it

becomes necessary
(which
is

to

modify the tempo in
first

the bars leading from the overture to the
of the opera

also

an alla-breve but a slower

one)

— and the pace
now

must be slackened accordingly.
in their

But our conductors,
not, however,
tions.

customary crude way,

generally miss this point in the overture.

We

need

be lead into premature
it

reflec-

Let us merely consider

established that
or, as I call
it,

the character of the older classical
naive Allegro differs greatly from the

new emotional
Mozart
the
to

sentimental Allegro, peculiar to Beethoven.

became acquainted with the orchestral crescendo
and diminuendo
at

Mannheim
it

(in

1777),

when
:

orchestra there had acquired

as a novelty

up

that time the instrumentation of the old masters

shows

that, as a rule,

nothing was inserted between

the forte and the piano sections of the allegro move-

42

WAGNER

merits which can have been intended to be played

with emotional expression.

Now, how does

the true Beethovian Allegro appear

with regard to this ?
tion in this

To

take the boldest and most

inspired example of Beethoven's unheard-of innovadirection, the
:

first

Sinfonia

ero'ica

how

does this

movement of his movement appear if

tempo of one of the Allegros of Mozart's overtures? But do our conductors ever dream of taking it otherwise ? Do they not always proceed monotonously from the first bar to the last? With the members of the " elegant " tribe of Capellmeisters the " conception," of the tempo consists of
played in the
strict

an application

of the

Mendelssohnian maxim "
to

cJii

va presto va sano.'' Let the players who happen
for proper execution
like

have any regard
it

make

the best of

in passages

:—

« m

\

«

•—^—

<

^ m—\—i

S'-fci

m-

or the plaintive

:

the conductors do not trouble their minds about

ON CONDUCTING.

43

such details; they are on "classic ground," and will
not stop for
trifles
:

they prefer to progress rapidly
is

" grande vitesse," " time

money."

now reached the point in our discussion from which we can judge the music of the day. It
have
will

We

have been noticed that I have approached this

point with

some circumspection.

I

was anxious

to

make everyone see and Beethoven there has been a very considerable change in the treatment and the execution
expose the dilemma, and to
feel that since

of

instrumental

music.

Things which

formerly

existed in separate and opposite forms, each complete
in itself, are

now

placed in juxtaposition, and further

developed, one from the other, so as to form a whole.
It is essential that the style of

execution shall agree
the tempo shall be
life of

with the matter set forth

—that
it

imbued with
tissue.
sical

life

as delicate as the

the thematic

We may consider
is

established that in clas-

music written in the
a sine

later style moclification of

Tempo

qua non.

No

doubt very great

difficulties will

have to be overcome.

Summing up
is
still

my

experiences I do not hesitate to assert that, as

far as public

performances go, Beethoven

a

pure chimera with us.*
I shall

be the right
akin to his.

now attempt to describe what I conceive to way of performing Beethoven, and music
In this respect also the subject seems

inexhaustible, and I shall again confine myself to a

few

salient points.
*
i.e.,

in 1869.

44

WAGNER
One
of the principal musical

forms consists

of a

Haydn, and eventually Beethoven, have improved this form, and rendered it artistically significant, by the originality of their devices, and particularly, by connecting the single variations one vi^ith the other, and establishing relations of mutual dependence between them. This
series of
is

Variations upon a theme.

accomplished with the happiest results in cases
is

where one variation
is

developed from another

— that
in

to say,
is

when

a degree of

movement, suggested
is

the one

carried further in the other, or

when

a

certain satisfactory sense of surprise

occasioned by

one variation supplying a complementary form of

movement, which was wanting in the one before it. The real weakness of the Variation-form, however, becomes apparent when strongly contrasting parts are placed in juxtaposition, without any link to connect them. Beethoven often contrives to convert this same weakness into a source of strength and he manages to do so in a manner which excludes all
;

sense of accident or of awkwardness

the point which I

namely at have described above as marking
:

the limits of the laws of beauty with regard to the

sustained tone

(in

the Adagio), and the unfettered

movement
in

(in

the Allegro)

—he contrives
antithesis,
is

to satisfy,

a

seemingly al)rupt way, the extreme longing
;

after an antithesis
different

which

by means

of a

and contrasting movement,
relief.

now made
of

to

serve as a
ter's

This can be observed in the mas-

greatest works.

The

last

movement

the

ON CONDUCTING.
Sinfonia
ero'ica, for

45

instance, affords excellent instruc;

tion in this respect

it

should be understood as a
should be interpreted

movement
with as
properly,

consisting of a greatly expanded series
;

of variations

and accordingly
as in
all

it

much
here

variety as possible.

To do

this

similar cases, the above

mentioned weakness
disadvantage which

of the Variation-form,
is felt

and the

to result

from

it,

must be

taken into account.

Single and sej)arate variations

are frequently seen to each have
origin,

had an independent
effects

and to have merely been strung together in a

conventional manner.

The unpleasant
theme

of

such fortuitous juxtaposition are particularly
cases

felt in

when

a quiet, and sustained

is

followed

by an exceptionally lively variation. The first variation on that most wonderful theme"
in Beethoven's grand

Sonata in

A major

for piano

and violin (Kreutzer)

is

an example.

Virtuosi always

treat this as " a first variation " of the

common

type

i.e.,

a

mere display
all

of musical gymnastics,

which
this

destroys
that,

desire to listen
I

any further.

It is curious

whenever

have mentioned the case

of

variation to anyone,

my

experience with the tempo

di minueto of the eighth

symphony has been repeated;

Everybody agreed with me "on the whole" but in particular, people failed to see what I was aiming at. Certainly (to go on with the example) this first variation of that lovely sustained theme is of a conspicuously lively character when the composer
;

invented

it

he could hardly have thought

of

it

as

46

WAGNER

immediately following the theme, or as being in
direct contact

with

it.

The component

parts of the

Variation-form are each complete in themselves, and

perhaps the composer was unconsciously influenced

by

this fact.

But when the
other

entire piece

is

played,

the parts appear in uninterrupted succession.

We
(for

movements instance the second movement
phony, the Adagio
above
all

know from

of

the master's

of the

C minor sym-

E flat, and from the wonderful second movement of
of the great quartet in

the great sonata in
wT^itten in the

C minor. Op.

Ill),

which are

all

form

of Variations,

but in which the

parts are conceived
nection,

how

deftly

as standing in immediate conand delicately the links between

the different variations can be contrived.

who,

in a case like that of the so-called
of

A player " Kreutzer

Sonata," claims the honour

representing the

master in

full,

might, at
relation

least,

attempt to establish

some

sort of

sentiment of

and connection between the the theme and that of the first variation

he might begin the

latter at a

and gradually lead up to

the

more moderate pace, lively movement.

Pianoforte and violin players are firmly persuaded
that the character of this variation differs consider-

ably

from
it

that of

the theme.

Let them then

interpret

with

artistic

discrimination and treat

the

first

part of the variation as a gradual approach
;

to the

new tempo

thus adding a charm to the

interest the part already possesses per se.

A

stronger case, of similar import, will be found in

ON CONDUCTING.
the beginning of the
introductory Adagio
first

47

Allegro 6-8 after the long
the
string

of
is

quartet in

C

marked movement is thus appropriately indicated. In quite an exceptional way, however, Beethoven has, in this quartet, so arranged the several movements that they are heard
Sharp minor.
*

This

" molto vivace,"

and the character

of the entire

immediate succession, without the customary interval indeed they appear to be developed one
in
;

from the other according to certain delicate laws. Thus the Allegro immediately follows an Adagio full of a dreamy sadness, not to be matched else-

where

in the master's works.

If

it

were permitted
state of feeling

to interpret the Allegro as

showing a

such as could in some sort be reproduced in pictorial
language (deutbares Stimmungshild) one might say

shows a most lovely phenomenon, which from the depths of memory, and which, as soon as it has been apprehended, is warmly
that
it

arises, as it were,

taken up, and cherished.

Evidently the question,

with regard to execution, here

phenomenon

(the

new

Allegro

how can this theme) be made to
is
:

from the sad and sombre close of the Adagio, so that its abrupt appearance shall prove attractive rather than repellant ? Very aparise, naturally,

propriately,

the

new theme
lost in a

first

appears like a
in

delicate, hardly distinguishable

dream

unbroken
true

pp.,

and

is

then

melting r

tardando thereenters
its

after,

by means

of a crescendo, it

* Op. 131.

48

WAGNER
its real

sphere, and proceeds to unfold

nature.

It is

obviously the delicate duty of the executants to
indicate the character of the

new movement with an
tempo
i.e.,

appropriate modification of

to take the

notes which immediately succeed the Adagio

t^ for a link, and so unobtrusively =^-^-t ^3to connect them with the following

$ ^

PP ^

^—
'

^
a

i

fr it

-f— — ff^-H that
I

change

in

the

jg"

movement is hardly perceptible, and moreover so to manage the rltardando, that the crescendo, which
comes
after
it,

will

introduce the master's quick

tempo, in such wise that the molto vivace
crease
of

now

appears as the rhythmical consequence of the in-

tone

during the

crescendo.

But the

modifications here indicated are usually overlooked

and the sense of artistic propriety is outraged by a sudden and vulgar vivace, as though the whole piece were meant for a jest, and the gaiety had at last begun People seem to think this " classical."*
!

I

may have
is

been too circumstantial, but the
importance.
closely into

matter

of incalculable
still

proceed to look

more
of

Let us now the wants
of

and

requirements

a

proper

performance

classical music.

For further comments iipou this (Quartet see Appendix B.

In the foregoing investigations I hoped to have
elucidated the problem of the modification of tempo,

and to have shewn how a discerning mind
recognise and solve the difficulties inherent in
classical music,

will

modern

Beethoven has furnished the imcall

mortal type of what I may

emotional, sentimental

music

it

unites

all

the separate and peculiar con;

stituents of the earlier essentially naive types

sus-

tained and interrupted tone, cantilena and figurations,
are no longer kept formally asunder

— the

manifold

changes

of a series of variations are

not merely strung

together, but are

now brought into immediate contact,
into the other.

and made

to

merge one

Assuredly,

the novel and infinitely various combinations of a

symphonic movement must be set in motion adequate and appropriate manner if the whole
to appear as a monstrosity.
I

in
is

an
not

remember in my young days to have heard older musicians make very dubious remarks about the Ero'ica* Dionys Weber, at Prague, simply treated it as a nonentity. The
* Beethoven's

Symphony, No.
(49)

III.

D

50

WAGNEE
right in his

man was
tempo
at the

way

;

he chose to recognise
;

nothing but the Mozartian Allegro

and

in the strict

peculiar to that Allegro, he taught his pupils

Conservatorium to play the Ero'ica ! the result

was such that one could not help agreeing with him. Yet everywhere else the work was thus played, and True, the symphony it is still so played to this day
!

is

now received with universal acclamations but, if we are not to laugh at the whole thing, the real
;

reasons for

its

success

must be sought
is

in the fact

that Beethoven's music

studied apart from the
at

concert-rooms
irresistible

—particularly
is

the piano
felt,

— and

its

power

thus fully
If fate

though

in rather

had not furnished such a path of safety, and if our noblest music depended solely upon the conductors, it would have perished
a round-about way.

long ago.

To support

so astounding an assertion I will take
:

a popular example

—Has

not every

German heard

the overture to

Der

Freyschiitz over and over again?

I have been told of sundry persons
to
find

who were surprised

how

frequently they had listened to this

wonderful musical poem, without having been shocked

when

it

was rendered

in the

most

trivial

manner;
to conto pass

these persons were

given at Vienna in 1864,

among when

the audience of a concert

duct the overture.

I was invited At the rehearsal it came

that the orchestra of the imperial opera (certainly one
of the finest orchestras in existence), at

were surprised

my demands

regarding the execution of this piece.

ON CONDUCTING.
It

51

appeared at once that the Adagio of the intro-

Andante

duction had habitually been taken as a pleasant in the tempo of the " Alphorn," * or some

such comfortable composition. That this was not " Viennese tradition " only, but had come to be the
universal practice, I had already learnt at Dresden

When

where Weber himself had conducted his work. I had a chance to conduct Der Freyschiitz at Dresden eighteen years after Weber's death

ventured to set aside the slovenly manner of execution

colleague.

which had prevailed under Eeissiger, my senior I simply took the tempo of the introduction to the overture as I felt it whereupon
;

a veteran
cellist

member
"Yes,

of the orchestra, the old Violon-

Dotzauer,

turned
this
it

towards
the

me and

said

seriously:

is

way Weber

himself
first

took

it

;

I

now

hear

again correctly for the

time." Weber's widow,

who

still

resided at Dresden,

became touchingly
position
of

solicitous for

my

welfare in the

Capellmeister.

She

trusted that

my

sympathy with her deceased husband's music would
bring about correct performances of his works, for

which she had no longer dared
cheered and encouraged me.

to hope.

The

recol-

lection of this flattering testimony has frequently

enough

to insist

At Vienna I was bold upon a proper performance. The
too-well-known over-

orchestra, actually studied the

ture anew.
entirely

Discreetly led by B. Lewi, the Cornists
of the soft

changed the tone
*

woodnotes

in

A

sentimental song by Proch.

52

WAGNER

the introduction, which they had been accustomed
to play as a

pompous show
melody

piece.

The magic

per-

fume

of the

for the

horns was

now

shed

over the Picmissivw indicated in the score for the
strings.

Once only

(also as indicated) the

their tone rose to a mezzoforte
ally lost

power of and was then gradu-

again without the customary sforzando, in

the delicately inflected

The

Violoncellos similarly reduced the usual heavy

accent

^jg-

i: ^Et

which was now

heard above the tremolo of the violins
delicate sigh
it

like

the

is

intended to be, and which finally

gave to the fortissimo that follows the crescendo
that air of desperation which properly belongs to
it.

Having restored
of the Allegro to

the

mysterious

dignity

of

the

introductory Adagio, I allowed the wild

movement

run

its

passionate course, without

regard to the quieter expression, which the soft

second theme demands
be able
sufficientlij

;

for I

know

that I should

to

slacken the pace at the right
this

moment, so that the proper movement for might he reached. Evidently the greater number, if not

theme

all

modern

Allegro movements, consist of a combination of two

ON CONDUCTING.
essentially different constituent parts
:

5d
in

contrast

with the older naive unmixed Allegro, the construction
is

enriched by the combination of the pure

Allegro with the thematic peculiarities of the vocal

Adagio in

gradations. " Oberon," the overture to
all its

The second theme

of

:=l:

'-=]-

^^=="i*^

t*- 4^-

which does not
peculiarity. to

in the least partake of the character

of the Allegro, very clearly

shows

this contrasted

Technically, the composer has
of this

merge the character

character of the piece.
surface, the

managed theme into the general That is to say on the
:

theme reads smoothly, according
an Allegro
;

to the

scheme

of

but, as
is

soon as the true
it

character of the theme

brought out,

becomes
scheme

apparent that a composer must think

siich a
is to

capable of considerable modijication if it both principles. (Hauptcharactere).

combine

To continue

the account of the performance of the
:

Freyschiitz overture at Vienna

after the

extreme
of

excitement of the tempo Allegro, I
long drawn notes of the clarinet

made use

the

— the

character of

which

is

quite that of the Adagio

54

WAGNER
tempo
is

SO as imperceptibly to ease the

in this place,

where the figurated movement
sustained or tremulous tone
;

dissolved

into

so that, in spite of

the connecting figure

:

which renews the movement, and
to the cantilena in
slight

so beautifully leads

E

nuance
along.

of the

flat, we had arrived at the very main tempo, which has been kept

up

all

I arranged with the excellent executants

that they were to play this

theme

L-z2-^-

^21
it

i±2z^izt\ai

:t=

:?2=^=

legato,

and with an equable piano,

i.e.,

without the
7iot

customary commonplace accentuation and
follows
:

as

P

^i-^-n*

v-^:t=

-x^r=aL

'-piZI^IL

The good
pulsating

result

was

at

once apparent, so that for
of

the gradual reanimation

the tempo with the

mf

tSE^: :*=:W: ^^'

^^

q^Jt

ON CONDUCTING.

55

I had only to give the sHghtest indication of the pace to find the orchestra perfectly ready to attack

the most energetic nuance of the main tempo together with the following fortissimo.
so
It

was not

easy on the return of the conflict of the two
to

strongly contrasted motives,
clearly without

bring

them out

disturbing the

proper feeling for

the predominant rate of speed.
despairing energy of the allegro
is

Here,

when

the

concentrated in

successively shorter periods, and, culminates in

r

ft

^-^-^i

—r— — — — —
I !
^ !

^
I

I

I

|—

^

the success of the ever-present modification of tempo

was perhaps shown

best of

all.

After the splendidly sustained

C major chords, and

the significant long pauses, by which these chords
are so

well relieved,

the musicians were greatly

surprised

when
is

I asked

them

to play

the second

theme, which
as they

now

raised to a joyous chant, not
in the violently excited

had been accustomed,
of the first allegro

nuance

theme, but in the milder

modification of the

main time.

This worrying and driving to death of theprincipal

66

WAGNER
at the close of a piece is a habit

theme
all

common

to
is

our orchestras

very frequently indeed nothing

wanting but the sound

of the great horse-whip to

complete the resemblance to the effects at a circus.

No

doubt increase of speed at the close of an overis

ture

frequently

a matter of course in those cases

demanded by composers where the
;

it

ia

true

Allegro theme, as

it

were, remains in possession of
celebrates
its

the

field,

and

finally

apotheosis

;

of

which Beethoven's great overture
a celebrated example.

to "

Leonora

"

is

In this latter case, however,
is

the effect of the increased speed of the Allegro
frequently
spoilt

by the

fact that the

conductor,

who
to

does not

know how
{e.g.,

to

modify the main tempo
of the

meet the various requirements
at the proper

thematic
to relax

combinations

moment

the rate of speed), has already permitted the main

tempo
of

to

grow

so quick as to exclude the possibility

any further increase
to

— unless, indeed, the strings
from
this

choose to risk an abnormal rush and run, such as I

remember
not with
orchestra.

have heard with astonishment, though
very

satisfaction,

Viennese

The

necessity for

such an eccentric

exertion arose in consequence of the

main tempo

having been hurried too
of the piece
;

much

during the progress

the final result was simply an exag-

geration

— and
])c

moreover, a risk to which no true

work
way,

of art
it

should be exposed
able to bear
difficult to
it.

— though, in a rough
why the
close

may

However,

it is

understand

ON CONDUCTING.
of the Freyschiitz overture

57

should be thus hurried

by Germans, who are supposed to possess some deHcacy of feehng. Perhaps the blunder

and

worried

will

appear

less

inexplicable,

if

it

is

remembered
its

that this second cantilena, which towards the close
is

treated as a chant of joy, was, already at

very

first

appearance,

made
:

to trot

on at the pace of the

principal Allegro

like a pretty captive girl tied to

the

tail of

a hussar's charger

— and

it

would seem a

case of

simple practical justice that she should

eventually be raised to the charger's back

when

the

wicked rider has fallen
Capellmeister
great whip.
is

off

— whereat,
is

finally,

the

delighted, and proceeds to apply the

An
this

indescribably repulsive effect
trivial

produced by

which the composer meant to convey, as it were, a maiden's tender and warm effusions of gratitude.* Truly, certain people who sit and listen again and again to a
reading of
a passage, by

vulgar effect such as this, whenever and wherever
the Freyschiitz overture is performed, and approve of it, and talk of " the wonted excellence of our
orchestral performances "

— and otherwise indulge in
music, like the

queer notions of their
venerable Herr Lobe,
recently celebrated

own about
t

whose

jubilee

we have

— such

people, I say, are in the

in

* See the close of the Aria in E, Der Freyschiitz (No. 8).
f

known

as " Softly sighing"

Author

of a

" Kompositionslehre," "Briefe einesWohlbe-

kannten,"

etc.

58
right

WAGNEE
position
to

warn the pubHc against " the

absurdities of a mistaken ideaHsm "

— and

" to point

towards that which

is

artistically genuine, true

and

eternally valid, as an antidote to all sorts of half-true

or half-mad doctrines and

maxims."*
of

As

I

have related, a number

Viennese amateurs

who
The

attended a performance of this poor maltreated
it

overture, heard

rendered in a very different manner.

effect of that

performance

is still felt

at

Vienna.

People asserted that they could hardly recognise the
piece,

and wanted to know what I had done to

it.

They could not conceive how the novel and surprising
effect at

the close had been produced, and scarcely

credited

my assertion that

a

moderate tempo was the
orchestra, however,

sole cause.

The musicians in the

might have divulged a

little secret,

namely this

:

—in
.<2.

the fourth bar of the powerful and brilliant entrata

f-Jz

^1
-,

I interpreted the sign

which

in the score

might

be mistaken for a timid and senseless accent, as a

mark

of

diminuendo IIi:i=^ assuredly in accordance

with the composer's intentions

— thus

we reached

a

more moderate degree of the theme
• (See

of force,

and the opening bars

Eduard Bernsdorf

in

Signale fiir die musicalish

Welt, No. 67, 1869).

ON CONDUCTING.

59

were
simo

at

once distinguished by a softer inflection,

which, I

now

could easily permit to swell to fortis-

thus the

warm and

tender motive, gorgeously

supported by the
glorified.

full orchestra,

appeared happy and

Our Capellmeisters

are not particularly pleased at

a success such as this.

Herr Dessof, however,
afterwards to conduct "

whose business Der Freyschiitz,"
it

it

was
the

at

Viennese opera, thought

advisable to leave the

members
sion
of

of the orchestra

undisturbed in the posses-

the

new

reading.
:

He announced

this to
let

them, with a smile, saying
Yes, Yes

" Well, gentlemen,

us take the overture a la Wagner.''
:

—a
*
!

la

Wagner

!

I believe there

would
things,

be no more harm in taking a good
a la

many other

Wagner
all

At

events this

was an

entire concession on the
;

part of the Viennese Capellmeister
similar case,

whereas in a

my former
to
of

colleague, the late Eeissiger,

would only consent
last

meet

me

movement

Beethoven's

A

half way. In the major symphony, I

discovered a piano which Eeissiger had been pleased
* " Wagnerisch " there is a pun here wagen to dare erwagen = to weigh mentally: thus " TFa^nerisch," may be taken as in a daring well considered manner.
:

=

60
to insert in the parts

WAGNER
when he conducted
the work.

This piano concerned the grand preparation for the
close of this final
ful

reiterated chords on the

movement, when, after the powerdominant seventh A

(Breitkopf and Haertel's Score, page 86) the figure

is

carried on forte, until with "
still
;

sempre piu
This
did

forte,"

it

becomes
Eeissiger

more

violent.

not

suit

accordingly, at the bar quoted, he inter-

polated a sudden piano, so that he might in time
get a perceptible crescendo.
this piano
integrity.

Of course, I erased and restored the energetic forte in its
thus, I presume, I again
'*

And

committed
eternal

an offence against
day,

Lobe and Bernsdorf's

laws of truth and beauty," which Reissiger, in his

was

so careful to obey.
left

After I had

Dresden, when this

A

major

symphony came
siger,

to be

performed again under Reis;

about that passage so he stopped the orchestra, and advised that it should
feel at case

he did not

be taken mezzo forte

!

On
the
tive

another occasion

(not

very

long

ago,

at
of

Munich), I was present at a public performance
overture to " Egmo?it,"

— somewhat

after the

manner

which proved instrucof the customary

performances of the overture to " Der Freyschiitz."

ON CONDUCTING.
In the Allegro
of

61
the
:

the

Egmont overture*

powerful and weighty sostenuto of the introduction

^
is

l?d-

m
first

used in rhythmical diminution as the
is

half of

the second theme, and

answered in the other half

y a soft and smooth countermotive.

The conductor,
custom,

t in accordance with "classical"

permitted this concise and concentrated
of

theme, a contrast
to be swept

power and gentle

self-content,

away by the rush
all,

of the Allegro, like a

sere

and withered

leaf; so that,

whenever

it

caught

the ear at

was heard, in which during the two opening bars the dancers stepped forward, and in the two following bars twirled about in " Laendler " I fashion
a sort of dance pace

When

Biiloiu,

in

the

absence of the favourite

senior conductor
*

was
:

called

upon
f

to lead the

music

Beethoven

Op. 84.

Franz Lachner.

' an Austrian peasant's dance, in triple time, I Laendler from which the waltz is derived.

62
to

.

WAGNEE

Egmont

at

Munich, I induced him, amongst
proved at once strikingly effective

other things, to attend to the proper rendering of
this passage.
It

— concise,

laconic

— as

Beethoven meant

it.

The

tempo, which up to that point had been kept up

with passionate animation, was firmly arrested and
very slightly modified

—just

as

much, and no more
so
full

than was necessary to permit the orchestra properly
to attack
this

thematic combination,
of the

of

energetic decision and of a contemplative sense of

happinesss.
tion
is

At the end

treated in a broader and
;

still

f time the combinamore determined

manner
overture

and thus these simple, but indispensible,

modifications brought about a

— the correct reading.
it

new reading of the The impression pro;

duced by this properly conducted performance was
singular, to say the least of
I

was assured that

the manager of the Court theatre w^as persuaded
there had been " a breakdown."

No
down

Odeon Concerts
"

one among the the audience of the celebrated at Munich dreamt of " a break-

when

the above-mentioned senior " classical"

conductor led the performance of Mozart's

G

minor

manner

symphony, when I happened to be present. The in which the Andante of the symphony was played, and the effect it produced was altogether surprising. Who has not, in his youth, admired this beautiful piece, and tried to realize it in his own way ? In what way ? No matter. If the marks of
expression
are

scanty, the wonderful

composition

ON CONDUCTING.
arouses one's feelings
to
;

63

and fancy supplies the means
with such feelings.
It

read

it

in accordance

seems as though Mozart had expected something of the kind, for he has given but few and meagre
indications
of

the expression.

So we

felt free to

indulge ourselves in the delicately increasing swing
of

the quavers, with the
:

moon-like

rise

of

the

violins

the notes of which
legato
;

we

believed to sound softly

the tenderly whispering

i^^- ^^
touched us as with wings
of angels,

and before the
of

solemn admonitions and questionings

/

ii
jo-^-

:t=lzfei

^^r^
we heard

-^Sr
in a finely

1

eto.

(which, however,
crescendo)

sustained

we imagined

ourselves led to a blissful

evanescense,
bars.

which came upon us with the final Fancies of this sort, however, were not perstrictly

mitted during the

classical

performance,

under the veteran Capellmeister, at the Munich

64

WAGNEE
:

Odeon

the proceedings, there, were carried on with

a degree of solemnity, enough to

make

one's flesh

creep with a sensation akin to a foretaste of eternal
perdition.

The

lightly floating
;

ponderous Largo
ghastly, like a

weight of a single

Andante was converted into a not the hundredth part of the quaver was spared us stiff and
;

bronze

pigtail,

the hattuta of this
;

Andante was swung over our heads even the feathers on the angel's wings were turned into
corkscrew curls
war.
of

rigid, like

those of the seven years
staff

Already, I

felt

myself placed under the
a.d.

a Prussian

recruithig officer,
off

1740,

and

longed to be bought
terror,

—but

!

who can

guess

my
do

when

the veteran turned back the pages, and
his

recommenced

Largo-Andante
little

merely

to

" classical" justice to the two

dots before the

double bar in the score

!

I looked

about

me

for help

and succour

— and

beheld another wondrous thing
:

the audience listened patiently

quite convinced that

everything was in the best possible order, and that

they were having a true Mozartian "feast for the

ears" in
so, I

all

innocence

and

safety.

— This
my

being

acquiesced, and

bowed

my

head

in silence.

Once, however, a Httle later on,
failed.

patience

At a rehearsal of " Tannhiiuser " I had quietly allowed a good deal to pass by unnoticed even the clerical tempo, at which my knights had to

march up

in the second act.

But now

it

became
master

evident that

the

undoubtedly " veteran "

I

ON CONDUCTING.
could not

65

even make out how | time was to be changed to an equivalent ^ i.e., two crotchets
:

r

f

into a triplet of three crotchets

The

trouble arose during Tannhauser's narrative of

his pilgrimage (Act III.),

when

^

=?=:

:Ust

It

iT^:

•;=?==
:c;

is

replaced by

'I

:z^:

=^=^
:t=r :tz;

-f^-i-(:2-

-(=2.

This was too
the

much

for the veteran.

He was
;

very
but
it

properly accustomed to beat | on the square
is

also

custom

of

such conductors
is,

to

beat

I after the

manner

of ^, that

with an Alia breve

beat

— two in the bar.
2, 3,

(Only in the Andante of the
I

G

minor symphony did

witness six grave quaver

my poor narrative about the Pope at Eome, the conductor thought two
beat=l,
4, 5, 6).

But, for

timid ^^/a^reye beats sufdcient
of the orchestra

— so that the members
make out Thus it came to

might be

left at liberty to

the crotchets as best they could.

pass that the tempo was taken at exactly double the

proper pace

:

namely, instead of the equivalents just
:

described, things appeared thus

66

WAGNER
ipiif:

-(2—

fa2=
:^=t
ifirpzuei

t=t
etc.

•^-^

-^-P=^-

t^-

No w, this may have been very interesting, musically,
but it compelled the poor singer of Tannhauser to relate
his painful recollections of

Kome

to a

gay and

lively

waltz-rhythm (which, again, reminds
grin's narrative about the

me

of

Lohen-

Holy

Grail, at "Wiesbaden,

where I heard it recited sellerzando, as though it were about Queen Mab). But as I was, in this case,
dealing with so excellent a representative of Tann-

hauser as Ludivig Schnorr* I was bound to establish
the right tempo, and, for once, respectfully to interfere.

This, I

am

sorry to say, caused
I

some scandal
it

and annoyance.
caused some
little

fear in course of time,

even
cold-

martyrdom, and inspired a

blooded Gospel-critic t to celebrate and console the
veteran-martyr in a couple of sonnets.
Indeed,

we

have now crowned with a halo of poetry. examine them still more closely
*

" got sundry " martyrs of classical music
I shall

beg leave to

in the sequel.

Ludwig Schnorr von
f

Carolsfeld, the first " Tristan," died

1865.

David Strauss, author

of

" Das Leben Jesu."

It has repeatedly been pointed out that our conductors dislike attempts at modification of tempo, for

the sake of perspicuity in the rendering of Beethoven

and

other

classical

music.

I

have shewn that

plausible objections can be urged against such modifications,

so

long as they are not accompanied by
;

corresponding modifications of tone and expression

and

I

have further shewn that such objections have
of con-

no foundation other than the incompetence
ductors,

who attempt
fit.

to

perform functions
is

for

which
of

they are not

In

fact, there

but one valid

objection which can be urged against the

mode

procedure I advocate, namely this

:

nothing can be

more detrimental

to a piece of
etc.,

music than arbitrary

nuances of tempo,

such as are likely to be

introduced by this or that self-willed and conceited
time-beater,
for

the

sake of what he

may deem

" effective."

In that way, certainly, the very exist-

ence of our classical music might, in course of time,
be undermined.

Now, what

is

to be said or

done

in

the face of so sad a state of things ?

A

sound public opinion with regard
(67)

to questions of

68
art does not exist in

WAGNER
Germany
;

and there

is

nothing

amongst us that could
vagaries.

effectually put a stop to such
it

Thus, the above objection, valid as
faith),
for,

is

(though seldom put forward in good
points towards the conductors
;

again

if

incompetent

persons are not to be permitted to maltreat classical

music

at their pleasure,

how

is

it

that the best and

most influential musicians have not taken this matter in hand? why have they themselves led classical music into such a groove of triviality and actual disfigurement
question
is
'?

In

many

instances

the objection in

merely put forward as a pretext for
all

opposition to
dicated.

efforts in

the direction I have in-

Indolent and incompetent persons form an
;

immense majority and, under certain circumstances, incompetency and sluggishness unite, and grow
aggressive.

The

first

performances of classical compositions
rule,

with us have, as a

been very imperfect.

(One

has but to recall the accounts of the circumstances

under which Beethoven's most

difficult

symphonies

were
the

first

first,

good deal also has, from been brought before the German pubhc in
performed
!).

A

an absolutely incorrect manner (compare
of the earlier

my

essay

on " Gluck's Overture to Iphigenia in Aulis " in one

volumes

of the
so,

"

Neue
it is ?

Zeitschrift fur

Musik.")

*

This being

how can

the current style

of execution

appear other than

In Germany

Wagner

" Gesammelte Schriften.'^

Vol. V., p. 143.

ON CONDUCTING.

69

the " conservators " of such works are both ignorant

and incompetent.
of the

And, on the other hand, suppose

one were to take an unprejudiced and impartial view

manner
not

in
!

which

a master

Hke Mendelssohn

led

such works

How
to

can

it

be expected that lesser

musicians,

speak of musical mediocrities

comprehend things which have remained doubtful to their master ? For average
generally, should really
people,

who

are not specially gifted, there

is

but one
;

good guide to excellence

—a

good example

and a

guiding example was not to be found in the path

chosen by the host of mediocrities.
without a guide or leader

Unfortunately,

they entirely occupy this path or pass, at present,

— and any other person who
left.

might, perchance, be capable of setting up a proper

example, has no room

For these reasons

I

deem

it

worth while

to strip this spirit of reticence

and shallow pretence of the halo of sanctity with which it poses as the " chaste spirit of German art."

A

poor and pretentious pietism at present
effort,

stifles

every

and shuts out every breath

of fresh air

from the musical atmosphere.
live to see

At

this rate

we may

our glorious music turned into a colourless
!

and ridiculous bug-bear
I therefore think
it

advisable to take a straightspirit, to

forward survey of this
eyes,

look closely into
it

its

and to openly assert that
the true spirit of

has nothing in
music.
It

common with
is

German

not easy to estimate the positive weight and value

of

modern,

Beethovenian,

music

—but

we may

70

WAGNEE
of
its

perhaps hope to get at some negative proof
ian-classicism

worth, by an examination of the pseudo-Beethoven-

now

in the ascendant.

It is curious to note

how

the opposition to the

things I advocate finds vent in the press, where un-

educated scribblers clamour and create a disturbance,
whilst in the ^profession proper, the utterances are
far

from noisy, though
sly glance at

sufficiently bitter.

("

You

see

he cannot express himself," a lady once said to
with a

me

one of these reticent musicians).

As

I

have said at the outset this new musical Areoof
:

two distinct species Germans of the old type, who have managed to hold out in the South of Germany, but are now gradually disappearing and the elegant Cosmopolites, who have arisen from the school of Mendelssohn in the North, and Formerly the two species are now in the ascendant.
pagus consists
;

did not think

much

of

each other
disturbances

;

but

latterly, in

the face

of

certain

which seem

to

threaten their flourishing business, they have united
in

mutual admiration

;

so that in the
all

South the
it,

Mendelssohnian school, with
is

that pertains to

now

lauded and protected

— whilst, in

the North,

South-German sterility is welcomed* with sudden and profound respect an honour which Lindpaintner of blessed memory! did not live to see. Thus to ensure their
the prototype of

Franz Lacbner, and his Orchestral Suites,
t

Peter Josef von Liudpaiututr, 1791-1B56, Capellmeister

at Stutt<4art.

ON CONDUCTING.
prosperity the

71

two

species

are

shaking

hands.

Perhaps

at

the

outset

such

an

alHance

was
;

rather repugnant to those of the old native type

but they got over the

difficulty

by the aid

of that
;

not particularly laudable propensity of

Germans

namely, a timid feeling of jealousy which accompanies a sense of helplessness {die mit der TJnheliol-

fenheit verhiindene Scheelsucht),
spoilt the

This propensity

temper

of of

one

of

the

most

eminent
to repu-

German musicians
of the elegant
sition
of the

later times,* led to

him

diate his true nature

and

submit to the regulations

and alien second species. The oppomore subordinate musicians signifies
to

nothing beyond this; "

want
to

others

we cannot advance, we do advance, and we are annoyed
in spite
of

see

them advance

us."

This

is

at least

honest Philistinism;

dishonest only under

provocation.

In the newly formed camp, however, things are
not
so simple.

Most complicated

maxims have
Without

there been evolved from the queer ramifications of
person, social, and even national interests.

going into details, I will only touch one prominent
point, that here there is

a good deal to conceal, a good

deal

to

hide

and

suppress.
it

fraternity hardly think

The members of the desirable to show that they
and they have
sufficient

are " Jimsiciafis"

at

all;

reason for this.

Our

true

German musician was
* Robert Schumann.

originally a

man

72

WAGNEB
In days gone by the social

difficult to associate with.

position

of

musicians in Germany, as in France
far

and England, was
aristocratical

from good.
musicians

Princes and

society
of

generally, hardly recognised
{

the

social

status
Italians

Italians

alone
to

excepted).
native

were everywhere preferred

Germans

(witness the treatment
.

Mozart me^
Musicians

with at the Imperial Court at Vienna)

remained peculiar half-wild, half-childish beings, and

were treated as such by their employers. The education, even of the most gifted, bore traces of the
fact that

they had not really come under the influence

of refined and intelligent society

— (think

of

Beethoven

when he came
It

in contact

with Goethe at Teplitz)

was taken

for granted that the

mental organisaas to render
of

tion of professional musicians

was such
influence

them

insusceptible

to

the

culture-

When Marschner*
awaken the
orchestra,
spirit

in 1848,

found

me
me,

striving to

of

the

members

of the

Dresden
he

he seriously dissuaded
Certain

saying

thought professional musicians incapable of understanding what I meant.
it

is,

as I

have

already said, that the higher and highest professional
posts

were

formerly occupied by

men who had
many an

gradually risen from the ranks, and in a good jour-

neyman-like sense this had brought about
excellent result.
* Hoiuricli

A

certain family feeling, not devoid

Wcbor'H

Marscbner, 1796-1861, operatic composer at Dresdeu, subsequeutly conductor at Leipzig and Hauover.
colloa<^uo

;

ON CONDUCTING.
of

73

warmth and

depth, was developed in such patri-

archal orchestras
to

— and this family feeling was ready
a

respond to the suggestions of

sympathetic

leader.

But

just as, for instance, the

Jews formerly

kept aloof from our handicraftsmen, so the
species of conductors did

new
the

not grow up among

musical guilds

— they

would have shrunk from the
lead of the

hard work there.
guilds

They simply took the

—much

as the bankers take the lead in our

industrial society.

To be

able to do this creditably

conductors had to show themselves possessed of

something that was lacking to the musicians from
the ranks

— something
.

at least very difficult to acif

quire in a sufficient degree,

it

was not altogether

lacking

:

bildetheit)

namely, a certain varnish of culture (GeAs a banker is equipped with capital, so
I say pseudo-culture, not culture, for
is

our elegant conductors are the possessors of pseudoculture.

whoin

ever really possesses the latter

a superior person

and above

ridicule.

But there can be no harm
a case in

discussing our varnished and elegant friends.

which the results of true culture, an open mind and a free spirit, have become apparent amongst them. Even Mendelssohn, whose manifold gifts had been cultivated most
I have not

met with

assiduously, never got over a certain anxious timidity

;

and in

spite of all his well-merited of

successes, he
art-life.

remained outside the pale
straint

German

It

seems probable that a feeling

of isolation

and con-

was

a

source of

much

pain to him, and

74

WAGNEB
The reason
for this is to be

shortened his hfe.

found

in the fact that the motives of a desire for culture,

such as

his, lack

spontaneity

{dass

dem Motive eines

solchen Blldungsdranges heine Unbefangenheit innewolint)

and arise from a desire to cover and conceal some part of a man's individuality, rather than to
develop
it

freely.
is

But
cess
:

true culture
a

not the result of such a pro-

man may grow
;

extremely intelligent in

certain

may

ways yet the point at which these ways meet be other than that of " pure intelligence " {rein.

sehende Intelligenz)
in the case of

To watch such an
is

inner process

a particularly gifted and delicately

organized individual
case of lesser and

sometimes touching
trivial
its

;

in the

more

natures however, the
results
is

contemplation of the process and
nauseous.

simply

Flat and empty pseudo-culture confronts us with
a grin, and
if

we

are not inclined to grin in return, as

superficial observers of do,

our civilization are wont to

we may indeed grow seriously indignant. And German musicians now-a-days have good reason to be indignant if this miserable sham culture presumes
to judge of the spirit

and significance
is

of

our glorious

music.

Generally speaking,

it

a characteristic trait of

pseudo-culture not to insist too much, not to enter
deeply into a subject or, as the phrase goes, not to

make

niucli fuss

about anything.
is

Thus, whatever is

high, great and deep,

treated as a matter of course.

ON CONDUCTING.

75

a commonplace, naturally at everybody's beck and

something that can be readily acquired, and, if need be, imitated. Again, that which is sublime,
call
;

god-like, demoniac,

must not be dwelt upon, simply
difficult to

because

it is

impossible or

culture accordingly talks of

Pseudocopy. " excrescences," " ex-

like and sets up a novel which professes to rest upon system Goethe since he, too, was averse to prodigious monstrosities, and was good enough to invent

aggerations,"

and the

of aesthetics,

" artistic

calm and beauty "

in lieu thereof.

"

The
of

guileless innocence of

art "

becomes an object
so,

laudation

;

and

Schiller,

who now and then was
;

too
in

violent, is

treated rather contemptuously

sage accord with the Philistines of the day, a

new

conception of classicality

is

evolved.

In other de-

partments
service,

of art, too, the

Greeks are pressed into

on the ground that Greece was the very
all

home
and

of " clear transparent serenity" and, finally,

such shallow meddling with
terrible in
full

that

is

most earnest
is

the existence of man,

gathered
*

together in a

and novel philosophical system
of

wherein our varnished musical heroes find a comfortable

and undisputed place
of

honour.

How

the latter heroes treat great musical works I
a

have shewn by the aid
examples.
It

few representative
" getting over the

remains to explain the serene and
sense
of

cheerful Greek

that

* Hanslick's " Vom Musicalish-Schoenen," and particularly Vischer's voluminous " System der ^sthetik."

76

WAGFEE
"

ground

which Mendelssohn
and successors.

so earnestly

recom-

mended.

This will be best shown by a reference to

his disciples

Mendelssohn wished

to hide the inevitable shortcomings of the execution,

and also, in case of need, the shortcomings of that which is executed to this, his disciples and suc;

cessors

superadded the
:

specific

motive

of

their

" cidtitre"

namely,

"to hide and cover up

in

general," to escape attention, to create no disturbance.

There

is

a quasi physiological reason for this

which

I accidentally discovered

once upon a time

For the performance
re- wrote the

of Tannhaiiser, at Paris, I

scene in the " Venusberg " on a larger
of the rehearsals I explained to the
little

scale
ballet

:

at

one

master that the

tripping ^«s of his

Maenads and Bacchantes contrasted miserably with

my

music, and asked
for

him

to arrange

something wild
akin
to

and bold

his

corps

— something
his

the

groups of Bacchantes on ancient

bas-reliefs.

There-

upon the man whistled through
said,

fingers,

and

"Ah,

I

understand perfectly, but to produce

anything of the sort I should require a host of
liremicrs

you

; if I were to whisper a word of what and indicate the attitudes you intend to my people here, we should instantly have the 'cancan,' and be lost." The very same feeling

siijets

say,

which induced

my

Parisian

ballet-master

to

rest

content with the most vapid pas of Masnads and

Bacchantes, forbids om^ elegant, new-fangled conductors to cut the traces of their "culture."

They

ON CONDUCTING.
are afraid such a thing

77
to a scandal a la
to

might lead

Offenbach.

Meyerbeer was a warning

them; the

Parisian opera had tempted

him

into certain ambigu-

ous Semitic accentuations in music, which fairly
scared the

"men

of culture."

A

large part of

their education has ever since

consisted in learning to

watch

their behaviour,
;

and
as

to suppress any indications of passion

much
fit

one

who

naturally lisps and
lest

stammers,

is

careful to
of

keep quiet,
hissing

he should be overcome by a

Such continuous watchmuch that was unpleasant, and the general human amalgamation has gone on much more smoothly which, again, has brought it about that many a stiff and poorly developed element of our home-growth has been I have already menrefreshed and rejuvenated. tioned that amongst musicians roughness of speech and behaviour are going out, that delicate details in musical execution are more carefully attended to, But it is a very different thing to allow the etc. necessity for reticence, and for the suppression of
and stuttering.
fulness has assisted in the removal of
;

certain personal characteristics, to be converted into

a principle for the treatment of our art
are
stiff

!

Germans

and awkward when they want to appear
:

mannerly

hut they are nohle

and superior ivhen they
our
it

grow warm.

And

are

we

to suppress
'?

fire to

please those reticent persons

In truth,
so.

looks as

though they expected us to do
In former days, whenever
I

met a young musician

78

WAGNER
in cantact

who had come
of effect

with Mendelssohn,

I learnt

that the master had admonished

him not

to think

when composing, and

to avoid everything

that might prove meretriciousl}' impressive.
this
:

Now,

was very pleasant and soothing advice and those pupils who adopted it and remained true to
the master, have indeed produced neither " impression

nor
to

meretricious

effect ;"

only,

the

advice

seemed
it.

me

rather too negative, and I failed to see

the value of that which was positively acquired under
I believe the entire teaching of the Leipzig Con-

servatoium was based upon some such negative advice,

and I understand that young people there have been
positively pestered with

warnings

of a

like kind;

whilst their best endeavours

met with no encouragetheir taste in

ment from the masters unless
fully coincided

music

with
first

the

tone of

the

orthodox

psalms.

The

result of the

new

doctrine,

and
to

the most important for our investigations,
light in the execution of classical music.

came

Everything
for instance,

here was governed by the fear of exaggeration {etica
in das Drastische zu fallen).
I

have

hitherto

not

found

any traces that those
developed,

later

pianoforte works of Beethoven in which the master's
peculiar
style
is

best

have

actually

been studied and played by the converts to that
doctrine.

For a long time I earnestly wished to meet with some one who could play the great sonata in B flat
(Op. lOG)
as
it

should be played.

At length

my

ON CONDUCTING.
wish was gratified
a

79

— but by a
those

person

who came from
do not prevail-

camp wherein

doctrines

Franz

Liszt, also, gratified

my

longing to hear Bach.

No

doubt Bach has been assiduously cultivated by

Liszt's opponents, they esteem

Bach

for teaching

purposes,

since

a

smooth and mild

manner

of

execution apparently accords better with his music

than " modern
ness {Drastik).
I

effect "

or Beethovenian strenuous-

once asked one of the best-reputed older musi-

cians, a friend I

and companion

of

Mendelssohn (whom
of the

have already mentioned a propos
,

tempo di

menuetto of the eighth symphony*) to play the eighth

Prelude and Fugue from the

first

part of

"Das
me.f
Cer-

Wohltemperirte Clavier"

(E

flat

minor), a piece
for

which has always had a magical attraction

He

very kindly complied, and I must confess that I

have rarely been so
tainly, there

much

taken by surprise.

was no
all

trace here of

sombre German
:

gothicism and

that old-fashioned stuff

under

the hands of my friend, the piece ran along the keyboard with a degree of " Greek serenity" that left

me

at a loss

whither to turn

;

in

my

innocence

I

deemed myself transported to a neo-lielenic s5^nagogue, from the musical cultus of which all old testamentary accentuations had been most elegantly eliminated.
This singular performance
* f
i.e.,

still

tingled in

my

ears,

Ferdinand

Hiller.
I.

Prelude VIII., from Part

of

Bach's 48 Preludes

and Fugues.

80

WAGNEE
at length I

when

begged Liszt

for

once to cleanse
;

my

musical soul of the painful impression

he played

the fourth Prelude and

Fugue

(C

sharp minor).

from Liszt at the piano but I had not expected anything like what I came to hear from Bach, though I had studied him well I saw how study is eclipsed by genius. By his ren-

Now,

I

knew what

to expect

;

dering of this single fugue of Bach's, Liszt revealed

Bach
what

to

me

;

so that I henceforth
of

knew

for certain

to

make

Bach, and how
I

to solve all doubts

was convinced, also, that tliose people know nothing of Bach and if anyone chooses " request him to to doubt my assertion, I answer
concerning him.
;
:

play a piece of Bach's."*
I

would

like further to question

any member
if it

of

that musical temperance society, and,

has ever

been his
flat

lot to

hear Liszt play Beethoven's great

B

Sonata, I would ask

whether he had before
that sonata ?
I,

him to testify honestly really known and understood

at least,
;

am acquainted with

a person
to

who was

so fortunate

and who was constrained

And confess that he had not before understood it. to this day, who plays Bach, and the great works of Beethoven, in public, and compels every audience to
confess as

much

? a

member
it is

of

that " school for

temperance"?
So much

No!

Liszt's chosen successor,

Hans von Billow.
for the present

on this subject.

It

might

prove interesting to observe the attitude these reticent
*

Sec Appendix C.

ON CONDUCTING.

81

gentlemen take up with regard to performances such
as Liszt's

and Billow's.

The

successes of their policy, to which they are

indebted for the control of public music in Germany,

need not detain us

;

but

we

are concerned in an

examination of the curious religious development within their congregation.

In this respect the earlier

maxim, "beware of effect" ment and cautious timidity
tively aggressive

—the result embarrass—has now been changed
of
if

from a delicate rule of prudence and security to a posi-

dogma.
in

The adherents of this dogma
they happen to meet
music.

hypocritically look askance

with a true

man

shocked, as though they had

They pretend to be come across something
shyness, which origin-

improper.
ally served

The

spirit of their

to conceal

their

own impotence, now
find
of

attempts the defamation of other people's potence.

Defamatory insinuations and calumny
acceptance

ready

with

the

representatives

Philistinism, and appear to be at

and paltry state

of things

which, as

home in we have
is

German that mean
seen,

environs our musical

affairs.

The principal
judicious

ingredient, however,

an apparently

caution in presence of that which one
of,

happens to be incapable
of that
self.

together with detraction
like to

which one would
above
all

accomphsh one's

It is sad,

things, to find a

man

so

powerful and capable as Robert Schumann concerned in this confusion, and in the end to see his name
inscribed on the banner of the

new

fraternity.

The

82
misfortune was that

WAGNEE
Schumann
in his later days

attempted certain tasks for which he was not quaHfied.

And

it is

a pity to see that portion of his work, in
failed to reach the

which he

mark he had

set himself,

raised as the insignia of the latest guild of musicians.

A

good deal most worthy

of
of

Schumann's early endeavour was
admiration and sympathy, and
(I
it

has

been cherished and nurtured by us
able and

am proud here to

rank myself with Liszt's friends) in a more commend-

commending way than by his immediate adherents.* The latter, well aware that Schumann
had herein evinced true productivity, knowingly kept
these things in the background,- perhaps because

they could not play them in an effective way.
the other hand, certain works of

On Schumann conceived

on a larger and bolder
of his gifts

scale,

and in which the limits

become apparent

are

now carefully brought

forward.!

The
out

public does not exactly like these

works, but their performance offers an opportunity
to

point

how commendable

a

thing

it

is

to

"make no
works
of

effect."

Finally, a comparison with the
in his third period (played as in opportunely.

Beethoven
)

they play them

comes

Certain later, inflated {schwillstig) and dull productions of
11.

Schumann, which simply require
(

to be

played smoothly

glatt herunter gespielt
* See Appendix D.

)

are con-

+

Such as the Overtures
;

Julius Ciosar

to Faust, Die Braut vou Messina, the " Balladon," Das Gliick von Edenhall, Des

Sanger Fluch,

Vom

Pagen und der Kouigstochter,

etc.

ON CONDUCTING.
founded with Beethoven
to
;

83

show

that they agree in

and an attempt is made spirit with the rarest,

boldest and most profound achievements of

music
of

!

Thus Schumann's shallow bombast

German is made

to pass for the equivalent of the inexpressible purport

Beethoven

— but always with the reservation that
is

strenuous eccentricity such as Beethoven's
admissible
giltig
;

hardly
gleicli-

whereas, vapid emptiness
)

(

das
:

and proper a point at which Schumann properly played, and Beethoven improperly rendered, are perhaps comparable withNichtssagende
is

right

out

much

fear of

misunderstanding

!

Thus these

singular defenders of musical chastity stand towards

our great classical music in the position of eunuchs
in the

Grand-Turk's

Harem
is

;

and by the same token

German

Philistinism

ready to entrust them with

the care of music in the family

— since

it is

plain that

anything ambiguous
that quarter.

is

not likely to proceed from

But now what becomes of our great and glorious German music / It is the fate of our music that
really concerns us.
if,

We

have

little

reason to grieve

wondrous productivity, nothing particular happens to come to light for some little time. But there is every reason to beware of suspicious persons who set themselves up as the trustees and conservators of the " true German spirit " of our
after a century of

inheritance.

Regarded as individuals, there

is

not

much

to

blame

in these musicians

;

most

of

them compose

84
very well.

WAGNEE
Herr Johannes Brahms once had the

kindness to play a composition of his

own

to

me.
I

—a

piece

with very serious
to a joke.

variations

— which
me

thought excellent, and from which I gathered that

he was impervious
pleasure.
friends
of

His performance

of

other pianoforte music at a concert gave
I

less

even thought
this

it

impertinent that the
professed

gentleman
to " Liszt

themselves

unable to attribute anything beyond "extraordinary
technical

power"

and his school," whilst
so painfully
I should

the execution of Herr
dry, inflexible

Brahms appeared

have liked to see Herr Brahms' technique annointed with a little an ointment which does of the oil of Lizst's school
;

and wooden.

not seem to issue spontaneously from the keyboard, but
is

evidently got

from a more

ethereal region
all

than that of mere " technique."
only

To

appearances,
:

however, this was a very respectable phenomenon
it

remains doubtful
the Messiah's

how

such a phenomenon
as the Messiah, or

could be set up in a natural
at least

way

most beloved disciple unless indeed, an affected enthusiasm for mediseval wood-carvings should have induced us to accept those stiff wooden figures for the ideals of eccleIn any case we must protest siastical sanctity. against any presentation of our great warm-hearted Beethoven in the guise of such sanctity. If they cannot Ijring out the difference between Beethoven whom they do not comprehend and therefore pervert, and Scliumann, who, for very simple reasons, is

ON CONDUCTING.

85

incomprehensible, they shall, at least, not be per-

mitted to assume that no difference exists.
I have already indicated sundry special aspects of
this sanctimoniousness.
little

Following
a

its

aspirations a
field,

further

we

shall

come upon

new

across

which our investigation on and about conducting, must now lead us.

Some time ago the editor of a South German journal discovered " hypocritical tendencies " {muckeriscke

Tendenzen ) in

my

artistic theories.

The
:

man

evidently did not

know what he was
to

saying

he

merely wished to use an unpleasant word.
experience has led
of hypocrisy,

But

my

me

understand that the essence
of a repulsive
cer-

and the singular tendency
,

sect of hypocrites (Mucker)

may

be

known by

tain characteristics

:

—they wish to be
of
;

tempted, and

greedily seek temptation, in order to exercise their

power

of resistance

!

—Actual scandal, however, does
the adepts and leaders
adepts reverse the
resist

not begin until the secret
of the sect
is

object of the

— the resistance — they
disclosed

with a view to
Accord-

increasing the ultimate sense of beatitude.
ingly,
if

this

were applied to

art,

one would perhaps

if one were to attribute hypocritical tendencies to the queer " school

not be saying a senseless thing
for chastity " of this

Musical Temperance Society.

The lower
vacillating
art

grades of the school

may

be conceived as

between the orgiastic
(86)

spirit of

musical

and the reticence which their dogmatic

maxim

ON CONDUCTING.
imposes upon them
that which

87

— whilst

it

can easily be shewn

that the higher grades nourish a deep desire to enjoy The " Liebesis forbidden to the lower.

lieder-Walzer " of the blessed Johannes
the
silly title)
;

(in spite of

might be taken as the exercises
whereas

of the

lower grades " the Opera,"

the intense longing after

which troubles the sanctimonious

devotions of the adepts,

may

be accepted as the
If a single

mark

of the higher
for

and highest grades.

member,
entire

once only, were to achieve a success

it is more than probable that the But, somehow, "school" would explode. no such success has hitherto been achieved, and this

with an opera,

keeps the school together

;

for,

every attempt that

happens to

fail,

can be made to appear as a conscious
sense of the exercises of
;*

effort of abstinence, in the

the lower grades

in the distance like figure as a
finally

and " the opera," which beckons a forlorn bride, can be made to
of the temptation,

symbol

which

is

to be

resisted

— so

that the

authors of operatic

failures

may

be glorified as special saints.

Seriously speaking,

men
paid

how do these musical gentleHaving stand with regard to " the Opera

V

them

a visit in the concert-room to

belong, and from which they started, for the sake of " conducting," look after
theatre.

which they we shall now,

them

at the

For a curious example of such exercises, see Ferdinand Killer's " 0;per oline Text ;" a set of pianoforte pieces, a quatre
mains.

00

WAGNEB

Herr Eduard Devrient, in his " Erinnerungen," has given us an account of the difficulties his friend Mendelssohn met with in the search for a textbook to an opera. It was to be a truly " German " opera, and the master's friends were to find the materials wherewith to construct it. Unfortunately, they did
not succeed in the quest.
simple reasons for
this.

I suspect there

were very
at

A

good deal can be got
;

by means

of discussion

and arrangement
opera,

but a

"German"
Mendelssohn
old nor

and

"nobly-serene"

such as
of,
is

in his delicate ambition

dreamt

not exactly a thing that can be manufactured

— nor

purpose.

new testamentary recipes The master did not live to

will serve the

reach the goal

but his companions and apprentices continued their

Herr Hiller believed he could force on a success, simply by dint of cheerful and unflagging
efforts.

Everything, he thought perseverance. upon a " a lucky hit," such as others had
his very presence,

depends

made

in

and which steady perseverance,
must, sooner or
hit,"
later,

as in a

game
to

of chance,

bring

round
missed.

him.

But the " lucky

invariably

other

Schumann also did not members of the church

succeed,* and

many

of abstinence, both

adepts and neophytes, have since stretched forth
their " chaste

and innocent " hands

in search of

an

operatic success

— they troubled greatly— but efforts proved fruitless — the " fortunate grip
* Genoveva,
"

their

"failed.

Oper in vier Acteu, nacb Tieck und F. Hebbel, Musik vou Robert Scbumann, Op. 81."

ON CONDUCTING.

89

Now

such experiences are apt to embitter the most
All the

harmless persons.
meisters and

more

so, since

Capell-

Musikdirectors are daily occupied at

the theatres, and are bound to serve in a sphere in

which they are absolutely helpless and impotent, and the causes of their impotence, with regard to the composition of an opera, are also the causes of Yet their inability to conduct an opera properly. public art, that gentlemen who such is the fate of our
are not even able to conduct concert music, are the
sole leaders in the

very complicated business of the
of discretion

opera theatres

!

Let a reader
!

imagine
our

the condition of things there
I

have been prolix in showing the weakness
the
at

of

conductors, in

very

field,

where, by rights

they ought to

feel

home.

I can be brief

now

with regard to the opera.
to this
:

" Father, forgive

Here it simply comes them for they know not
;

what they do."

To

characterise

their

disgraceful
is

doings, I should have to

show how much that
far.

good and significant might be done

at the theatres,
it

and
for

this

would lead
a
little

me

too

Let

be reserved

another occasion.
say

For

the present I shall

only

about

their

ways

as

operatic

conductors.

In the concert room these gentlemen go to work with the most serious mein
;

at

the opera they
sceptical,

deem

it

becoming

to put

on a nonchalant,

cleverly-frivolous air.

that they are

They concede with a not quite at home in the

smile,

opera,

90

WAGNER
not profess to understand

and do
things

much

about
esteem.

which

they

do not

particularly

Accordingly, they are very accommodating and complaisant

towards vocalists,

female and male, for
;

whom

they are glad to

make matters comfortable

they arrange the tempo, introduce fermatas, ritardandos, accelerandos, transpositions, and, above
" cuts,"
all,

whenever and wherever a

vocalist chooses

to call for such.

Whence
a

indeed are they to derive

the authority to resist this or that absurd
If,

demand

?

perchance,

pedantically

disposed conductor

should incline to insist upon this or that detail, he
will, as a rule,

be found in the wrong.

For

vocalists

are at least at

home

and, in their
;

own
well

frivolous way,

at ease in the opera

they
to do
is

know
it
;

enough what
if

they can do, and

how

so that,

anything

worthy
world

of

admiration

produced

in the operatic

it is

generally due to the right instincts of the
as
in

vocalists, just

the

orchestra the merit

lies

almost entirely in the good sense of the musicians.

One has only to examine an orchestra part of "Norma," for instance, to see what a curious musical
changeling
(

Wecliselhalg

)

such

innocent
;

looking

sheets of music paper can be turned into

the mere
of

succession of the transpositions

—the Adagio

an

Aria in

F

sharp major, the Allegro in F, and between

the two (for the sake of the military band) a transition
in

E

flat

offers

a truly horrifying picture of the

music to which such an esteemed conductor cheerfully
beats time.

ON CONDUCTING.
It

91
at

was only
)

at a

suburban theatre

Turin

{i.e.,

that I witnessed a correct and complete performance of the " Barber of Seville " for our
in Italy
;

conductors grudge the trouble

it

takes to do justice

even to a simple score such as "II Barbiere." They

have no notion that a perfectly correct performance, be it of the most insignificant opera can produce an
excellent nnpression

upon an educated mind, simply

by reason
theatrical

of its correctness.

Even
the

the shallowest Parisian

concoctions,

at

smallest

theatres, can produce a pleasant aesthetical effect,
since, as a rule, they are

carefully rehearsed,

and
once

correctly rendered.
is,

The power of

the artistic principle
is

in fact, so great that
if

an aesthetic result

at

attained,

only some part of
its

that principle be
:

properly applied, and

conditions fulfilled
it

and

such
level.

is

true art, although

may

be on a very low

But we do not get such aesthetic results in Germany, unless it be dX performances of Ballets, in Vienna, or Berlin. Here the whole matter is in the
hands
of

one

man — the ballet-master— and that man
Fortunately, he
is

knows

his business.

in a position

to dictate the rate of

movement

to the orchestra, for

the expression as well as for the tempo, and he does
so,

not according to his individual whim, like an
the artistic factors

operatic singer, but with a view to the ensemble, the

concensus of
sudden,
it
!

all

;

and now,

of a

comes to pass that the orchestra plays

correctly
felt

A

rare

sense

of

satisfaction will

be

by everyone who,

after

the tortures

of

an

92
opera, witnesses
Ballets.

WAGNEE
a performance of

one

of

those

In this way the stage manager might lend his aid
to the ensemble of the opera.

But, singularly enough,
is

the fiction that the opera

a branch of

absolute
is

music
of the

is

everywhere kept up; every vocalist
yet

aware

musical director's ignorance of the business of
;

an opera

if

it

should happen that the right

instincts of gifted singers, musicians

and executants

generally are aroused

by a

fine

work, and bring
called to the

about a successful performance

— are we not accus-

tomed
front, of

to see the

Herr Capellmeister

and otherwise rewarded, as the representative the total artistic achievement ? Ought he not

himself to be surprised at this ? Is he not, in his turn, in a position to pray " Forgive them, they

of Conducting proper, and do not want to lose my way in the operatic wilderness, I have only to confess that I have come

know not what they do ? " But as I wished to speak

to the

end

of this chapter.

I

cannot dispute about

the conducting of our capellmeisters at the theatres.

Singers

may

do

so,

when they have
is

to

complain
their cues
of

that this conductor

not accommodating enough,

or that the other one does not give

them
be

properly

;

in short,

from the standpoint
discussion

vulgar

journeymanwork,

a

may

possible.

But from
at
all.

the 2^oint of view of truly artistic

work

this sort of conducting

cannot he tahen into account
living, I

Among Germans, now

am, per-

ON CONDUCTING.
haps, the only
to

93
venture openly

person

who can

pronounce so general a condemnation, and I

maintain that I
province

am

not exceeding the limits of

my

when I do so. sum up my experiences, regarding performances of my own operas, I am at a loss to
If I try to

distinguish

with
I

which

of

the
Is

qualities
it

of

our

conductors

am

concerned.

the spirit in

which they
or

treat

German music
I believe
it

in the concert rooms,

the spirit in which they deal with the opera
to be

at the theatres"?

my

particular

my

and personal misfortune that the two spirits meet in operas, and mutually encourage one another in a rather dubious kind of way. Whenever the former
spirit,

which practices upon our

classical concert

music, gets a chance

— as in the instrumental introductions to my operas — I have invariably discovered
disastrous

the

consequences

of I

the

bad

habits

already described at such length.
of the tempo,

need only speak

which

is

either absurdly hurried (as,

for instance,

under Mendelssohn, who, once upon a

time, at a Leipzig

Gewandhaus
(like

concert, produced

the overture to Tannhauser as an example and a

warning), or muddled

the introduction

to

Lohengrin
to
at

or both dragged and

and almost everywhere else), muddled (like the introduction " Die Meistersinger," lately, at Dresden and
at Berlin,

other places),

yet

never with those well-conof

sidered

modifications
as

I

must count

much

as

the tempo, upon which upon the correct intonation

94

WAGNER
if

of the notes themselves,
is

an inteUigible rendering

to be obtained.

To convey some
the latter sort
in
it

notion of faulty performances of
will suffice to point to the

way
is
.

which the overture

to

"Die

Meistersinger "

The main tempo of this piece is inusually given. dicated as " sehr mdssig bewegt " (with very moderate
movement) according to the older method, it would have been marked Allegro maestoso. Now,
;

when

this kind of

tempo continues through a long
if

piece, particularly
cally, it

the themes are treated episodias

demands modification

much
;

as, or

even

more than any other kind of tempo it is frequently chosen to embody the manifold combinations of disand its broad divisions into regular tinct motives
;

bars of four beats are found convenient, as these

tend to render modifications of

movement both easy

and simple.
in

This moderate f time can be interpreted
various ways
;

many and

it

may

consist of four

vigorous crotchet-beats,

and thus express a true
the main tempo I intend,
in those eight bars of

animated Allegro
transition

(this is

which becomes most animated

which lead from the march proper

to the

theme

in

E

major )

;

or, it

may

be taken to consist of a demi-

ON CONDUCTING.
period made up of two f beats entrance of the shortened theme,
;

95
as

when,

at the

^^^0-^-^-»-w^-

3Ce -*-^ i=t
=t

^
;

it it

assumes the character

of a Hvely

Scherzando

or,

may

even be interpreted as Alia hreve (f time)
(

would represent the older, easily moving often employed in church music which is to be rendered with two moderately slow I have used it in the latter sense, beats to a bar.
it

when

Tempo andante

beginning from the eighth bar after the return to C
major, in a combination of the principal march

theme,
ease, in

now

allotted to the basses, with the second

main theme, now sung broadly and with commodious
rhythmical prolongation, by the violins and
violoncellos

'ig:^

This second theme has previously been introduced
in diminution,

and

in

common

| time

:

96

WAGNEE

Together with the greatest dehcacy which the proper
execution demands,
it

here exhibits a passionate,
(

ahnost hasty character
declaration of love
)
.

something Uke a whispered
to disturb the

Not
tempo

main char-

acteristic, delicacy,

it is,

therefore, necessary slightly
(

to

hold back the

the moving figuration
),

sufficiently expresses

passionate haste

thus the

extreme nuance
of a

of the

main tempo,

in the direction

somewhat grave

| time, should be
{i.e.,

adopted here

and, to do this without a wrench

without really

disfiguring the general character of the

main tempo),
of this

a bar

is

change.

marked poco Through the more

rallentando, to introduce the
restless

nuance

theme

which, eventually, gets the upper hand, and which
is

indicated
it

sionate)

with " Icidenschaftlicher" (more pasis easy to lead the tempo back into

the original quicker movement, in which, finally, it will be found capable to serve in the above-mentioned
sense of an Andante alia hreve, whereby it is only needful to recur to a nuance of the main te7npo,

which has already been developed in the exposition namely, I have allowed the final of the piece
;

ON CONDUCTING.
development
of

97
to

the

pompous march theme
breve.

expand to a lengthy coda of a cantabile character
conceived in that tempo Andante alia
this full-toned cantabile

As

-•-1

y^

1

1

1

1

hT

'

*

1

:-!

1

>
1

^—

is

preceded by the weighty crochets of the fanfare

:^
/

etc.

the modification of the tempo must obviously begin at the end of the crochets, that
is

to say

with the more

introduces notes of the chord on the dominant which sustained the cantabile. And, as this broader move-

ment

minims continues for some time with an increase in power and modulation, I thought conductors
in

could be trusted to attain the proper increase of

speed
left to

;

the

more

so, as

such passages, when simply

the natural impulse of the executants always

induce a more animated tempo.

Being myself an

experienced conductor, I counted upon this as a matter of course, and merely indicated the passage
at

which the tempo returns to the original f time, which any musician will feel, at the return of the crochets and in the changes of harmony.
At the conclusion
of

the overture

the broader

G

98

WAGNER

^ time, quoted above in the powerfully sustained march-like fanfare, returns again the quick figured
;

embellishments are
exactly as
it

added,

and

the

tempo ends

began.
first

This overture was
at Leipzig,
It

performed at a concert
it

when

I conducted

as described above.

was

so well played

by the orchestra that the small

audience, consisting for the most part of non-resident
friends,

demanded an immediate repetition, which the

musicians,
accorded.

who The

agreed with the audience, gladly
favourable impression thus created
of,

was much talked

and the directors

of the

Gewand-

haus Concerts decided to give the native Leipzig public a chance to hear the new overture.
In this instance Herr Capellmeister Beinecke, who had heard the piece under my direction, conducted it, and the very same orchestra played it in such wise

that the audience hissed

!

I

do not care to investigate
to the straightforward
;

how

far this result

was due

honesty of the persons concerned

let it suffice

that

competent

musicians,

who were

present at the

performance, described to

me

the sort of time the

Herr Capellmeister had thought fit to beat to the overture and therewith I knew enough. If any conductor wishes to prove to his audience

or to his directors, etc.,

what an ambiguous

risk they

will run with " Die Meistersinger,"

he need take
to beat

no further trouble than
after the fashion in

to beat time to the overture
is

which he

wont

it

to

the works of Jjcethoven, Mozart, and

Bach (which

ON CONDUCTING.
fashion suits the works of R.
it

99
fairly well);
is

Schumann

will

then be sufficiently obvious that he

dealing

with a very unpleasant kind of music tempo which governs this overture,

let

anyone

imagine so animated, yet so sensitive a thing as the
let this delicately

constituted thing suddenly be forced into the Pro-

crustus-bed of such a classical time-beater, what will

become
lie,

of it?

The doom
is is

is:

"Herein

shalt thou
"
!

whatsoever

too long with thee shalt be chopped

off,

and whatsoever

too short shall be stretched

Whereupon

the band strikes up and overpowers the
!

cries of the victim

Safely bedded in this wise, not only the overture,
but, as will sCppear in the sequel, the entire opera of

Die Meistersinger, or as much
the Capellmeister's cuts,
of

of

it

as

was

left after

was presented

to the public

Dresden.

On

this occasion, correctly

and technic*

ally speaking, the merits of the

conductor

consisted

in this

:

he made a guess at the main
it,

teiupo,

chose

the broadest nuance of

and spread

this over the

whole, beating the steadiest and
!

stiffest

square time

from beginning to end The ultimate results were as follows I had made use of the combination of
:

the two

main themes under an
(
)

ideal

Tempo Andante

alia breve

quoted above from the conclusion of the
to

overture, page 95

form a pleasant and cheerful

conclusion to the entire opera, something after the

manner of a burden to some old popular song: I had augmented and enlarged the treatment of the
*

The

late Julius Rietz.

100

WAGNEE
tliis

thematic combination for

purpose, and
to

now
Hans
art,

employed
and

it

as a sort of

accompaniment

Sach's epilogising praise of the " Master-singers,"
to his consolatory

rhymes upon German

with which the work ends.
serious,

Though
is

the words are

the

closing

apostrophe

none the
effect
;

less

meant

to

have a cheering and hopeful

and,

upon that simple thematic combination, the rhythmical movement of which was intended to proceed smoothly, and was not meant to assume a pompous character, except just
to produce this, I counted

before the end,

when

the chorus enters.

Now in the

overture, the conductor

had

failed to see the necessity

of a modification of the original

march-like tempo in
;

the direction of an Andante alia breve
course, here

and, of

— at the

close of the opera

— he equally
to confine

failed to feel

that the

connected with the

movement was not directly march tempo his first mistake

was therefore continued, and he proceeded
and hold
of
fast the

warmly-feeling singer of the part

Hans Sachs

in rigid \ time,

and

to

compel liim

to

deliver his

final

address in the

stiffest

and most
effect
;

awkward manner possible. Friends of mine requested

me

to permit a large

"cut"

for

Dresden, as the
I

of the close

was

so very depressing.

declined
I

and
to

the complaints soon ceased

At length

came

understand the reason

why

;

the Capellmeister had
" solely with a

acted for the obstinate composer;

view to the good of the work," he had followed the
dictates of
liis

artistic

insight and conscience,

had

ON CONDUCTING.
laid his

101

hands on the troublesome apostrophe, and
it.

simply " cut "
"

Cut

!

Cut
;

"
!

this

is

the ultirno ratio of our

conductors

by

its

aid they establish a satisfactory

equilibrium between their

own incompetence, and
:

the proper execution of the artistic tasks before them. They remember the proverb " What I know not,

burns me not " was ich nicht iveiss, macht mich nicht heiss " ) and the public cannot object to an
"
!

(

arrangement so eminently practical.
for
of

It only

remains

me

to consider

what

I

am to

say to a performance

my

work, which thus appears enclosed between a

failure at Alpha,

and a

failure at
:

Omega ? Outwardly
unusually animated

things look very pleasant

An

audience, and an ovation for the Herr Capellmeister

—to

join in

which the royal father

of

my

country

returns to the front of his box.

But, subsequently,

ominous reports about cuts which had been made, and further changes and abbreviations super-added
;

whilst the impression of a perfectly unabbreviated,

but perfectly correct performance, at Munich, remains
in

my mind, and makes

it

impossible for

me

to agree

with the mutilators.
gravity of the

So disgraceful a state of things
care to assist in

seems inevitable, since few people understand the
evil,

and fewer
it.

still

any attempts

to

mend

On

the other hand there

is

some

little

consolation

in the fact that in spite of all ill-treatment the

retains

" effect

work power that fatal power and " against which the professors of the Leipsic some
of
its

102

WAGNEE

Conservatorium so earnestly warn their pupils, and
against which
all
!

sorts of

destructive

tactics

are

applied in vain
assist

Having made up my mind, not to personally at any future performance like the

recent ones of

am

"Die Meistersinger " at Dresden, I content to accept the " success " of the work as
music in the hands of
Classical

a consolatory example illustrating the fate of our
classical

our conducting
its

musicians.

continues to
subject
it to.

warmth, and exist in spite of the maltreatment they and It appears truly indestructible
music retains
:

the Spirit of

German

art

bility as a consoling fact,
its efforts in future.

may accept this indestructiand may fearlessly continue

It

might be asked

:

but what do the queer con-

ductors with celebrated

simply as practical musicians
perfect unanimity in

names amount to, considered ? Looking at their
matter one
all,

every practical

might be
their

led to think that, after

they understand

business properly, and

that, in spite of the

protest of pone's feelings, their

ways might even
is

be " classical."

The

general public

so ready to

take the excellence of their doings for granted, and to
accept
it

as a matter of course, that the middle-class

musical people are not troubled with the slightest

doubt as to
festivals, or

who

is

to beat time at their musical

on any other great occasion when the

nation desires to hear some music.

No
is

one but
thought
to

Herr
fit

Hiller, Ilerr liietz, or
this.

Herr Lachner,
l)e

for

It

would

simply impossible

ON CONDUCTING.

103

celebrate the hundredth anniversary of Beethoven's
birth
if

these three gentlemen should happen sud-

denly to sprain their wrists.
I

On
of

the other hand,

no one to whom I would confidently entrust a single tempo in one of my operas certainly to no member of the staff of our army of time-beaters. Now and then I have met with some poor devil who showed real skill and

am

sorry to

say, I

know

:

talent for conducting
difficult to get

:

but such rare fellows find

it

on, because they are apt not only to

see through the incompetence of these celebrities,

but imprudent enough to speak about
instance,

it.

If,

for

a

man happens

to

discover serious misof

takes in the

orchestra parts

" Figaro,"

from

which the opera had been played with special unction heaven knows how often under the solemn conductorship of a celebrity, he is not likely to gain the favour of his chief. Such gifted poor

fellows are destined to perish like the heretics of old.

As everything
and seems
ask,

is

thus apparently in good order
so,'I

likely to

remain

am

again tempted to

how can

this be ?

We

entertain lurking doubts
;

whether these gentleman
yet, in fact,
ical,

really are musicians

evi;'

dently they do not evince the ^W^ite^i musical feeling

they /^ear very accurately (with mathemat;

not ideal, accuracy

contretemps like that of the
;

faulty orchestra parts do not happen to every one) they are quick at a 8Core,read and play at sight (many of them,
at least, do so)
:

in short, they prove true professionals;
this, their general education (Bildung)

but alongside of

104

WAGNEE


be

in spite of all efforts

is

such as can pass muster
;

in the case of a musician only

so that,

if

music were

struck from the
little left
!

list of

their attainments, there

would

least of all a

man

of spirit

and sense.
everything

No, no

they certainly are musicians and very com-

petent musicians,

who know and can do

Well then ? As soon as they begin to perform music they muddle matters, and feel unsafe all round, unless it be in " Ewig, selig," or at best in " Lord Sabaoth !" That which makes our great music great is the very thing which confuses these people; unfortunately, this cannot be expressed in words and Yet what is it concepts, nor in arithmetical figures.
that pertains to music,

other than music? and music only!

"What, then,
dryness-

can

be the reason of

this

barrenness,

coldness, this complete inability to feel the influence
of true music, and, in its presence, to forget
little

any

vexation, any

small jealous distress,

or

any
as-

mistaken personal
explanation

notion

'?

Could Mozart's

tonishing gift for arithmetic serve us for a vague
?

On

the one hand,

it

seems that with

nervous system was so excessively any disturbing sound, whose heart beat with such overflowing sympathy the ideal elements of music met and united to form a wondrous whole.

him

— whose

sensitive to

On
up

the other hand, BeetJioven's naive
liis

accounts

is

sufflciently well

way of adding known arith;

metical problems of any sort or kind assuredly never

entered into his social or musical plans.

Compared

ON CONDUCTING.

105

in

with Mozart he appears as a monstrum per excessum the direction of sensibility, which, not being

checked and balanced by an intellectual counterweight from the arithmetical side, can hardly be
conceived as able to exist or to escape premature
destruction,
if it

had not fortunately been protected

by a singularly tough and robust constitution. Nor can anything in Beethoven's music be gauged or measured by figures whilst with Mozart a good
;

deal that appears regular

— almost
is

too regular (as
conceivable, and
of

has already been touched upon)

can be explained as the result of a naive mixture
those two extremes of musical perception.

Accord-

ingly the professional musicians under examination

appear as monstrosities in the direction of musical
arithmetic
;

and

it is

not

difficult to

understand

how

such musicians, endowed with the very reverse of a

Beethovenian
kind.
If

temperament,

should

succeed and

flourish with a nervous

system of the

commonest

then our celebrated and uncelebrated conduc-

tors

happen

to be born for

sign of

Numbers

(im Zeichen der Zahl),

music only under the it would
for our

seem very

desirable that

some new school might be
music
will
;

able to teach

them the proper tempo
of three.
it

by the rule
ever acquire

I

doubt whether they

in the simple

wherefore, I believe, I

way of musical feeling have now reached the end of
is

my

task.

Perhaps the new school

already in sight.

I

106

WAGNEE
of

understand that a "High-School

Music" has
of the

been estabhshedat BerHn, under the auspices

Eoyal Academy

of Arts

and Sciences, and that the

directorship of the school has been entrusted to the

celebrated violinist, Herr Joachim.

To

start

such a
are

school without Herr Joachim,
available

if

his services

would be a great mistake. I am inclined much from him because everything I know and have heard concerning his method of playto

hope

for

;

ing proves that this virtuoso

is

a complete master of
for our classical
is

the style of execution I

demand

music.

By

the side of Liszt and his disciples he

the only living musician to
practical proof

whom

I can point as a
of the fore-

and example in support
It is

going assertions.

immaterial whether or not

Herr Joachim

likes to see his
;

name mentioned
it

in

such connection

for,

with regard to that which a
matters
little

man

can do and actually does,
chooses
to

what he
thinks
it

profess.

If

Herr Joachim
of

expedient to profess
the
this

that he has de-

veloped his fine style in
Hiller, or of E.

company

Schumann,

may

rest

Herr upon its

merits, provided he always plays in such wise that

one

may

recognise the good results of several years
I also think
it

intimate intercourse with Liszt.

an

advantage that when a "High-School of Music"

was

first

thought

of,

the promoters at once secured

the services of an admirable j^rac^ica^ master of style

and

execution.

If,

to-day, I had to put a theatre

capellmeistcr in the

way

of

comprehending how he

ON CONDUCTING.
ought to conduct a piece,
I

107
refer

would much rather
still

him

to

Frau Lucca, than
even
if

to the late

Cantor Hauptalive.

mann

at Leipzig,

the latter were

In this point I agree with the naive portion of the
public,

and indeed, with the taste

of the aristocratic

patrons of the opera, for I prefer to deal with persons

who

actually bring forth something that appeals to

the ear and to the feelings.
entertaining

Yet, I cannot help

some

little

doubt,

when

I see

Herr

Joachim
his
ally

all

alone and solitary

the curule chair of the

— sitting on high in Academy — with nothing in
towards violinists generas

hand but a
I

violin

:

for
felt

have always
fair,"

Mephistopheles
affects

feels
all

towards " the
in the plural."

whom

he

" once for
is

The

conductor's baton

reported
;

not to have worked well in Herr Joachim's hands composition, too, appears rather
to

have been a

source of bitterness to him than of pleasure to others. I fail to see how " the high-school " is to be directed " high-stool " of the violinist. solely from the
Socrates, at least,
tocles,

was not
Pericles

of

opinion that Themisof

Cimon and

would prove capable
for,

guiding the State by reason of their abilities as

commanders and speakers

;

unfortunately, he

could point to the results of their successes, and

shew that the administration
the case
is different in

of State affairs

a source of personal trouble to them.

became But perhaps

the realms of music.

Yet another thing appears dubious. I am told that Herr J, Brahms expects all possible good to

108
result

WAGNER
from a return

to the melody of Schubert's Herr Joachim, for his own part, Ought expects a new Messiah for music in general.

songs, and that

he not to leave such expectations to those
chosen him " high-schoolmaster
say to
?

who have

"

I, for

my

part,

him

"

Go

in,

and win
is

"
!

If it

should come

to pass that
all

he himself

the Messiah, he may, at

events, rest assured that the

Jews

will not crucify

him.

FINIS.

APPENDIX.

APPENDIX
BEBIGHT an
II.,

A.

Seine Majestdt den Konig

Ludwig

von

Bay em

iiber eine in
(

Mimchen

zii

errichtende

Deutche Musik-schule.

Keport concerning a German
1865.
"

music-school to be established at Mmiich)

Eeprinted in Wagner's

GesanmieUe Schriften,''

Vol. VIII., p. 159-219, Leipzig, 1873. " We jyossess classical ivorks, hut ive p. 20.
.
.

are not in possession of a classical style for the execution of these ivorks."

..." Does
j)i'oper

Germany

possess a school at which the

execution of

Mozart's music

Or do our orchestras and their conductors manage to ]play Mozart in accordance with some occult knowledge of their own ? If so, whence do they derive such knowledge? Who taught it them ? Take the simplest examples, Mozart's instrumental pieces (by no means his most
is

taught?

important works, for these belong to the operatic

two things are at once apparent the melomust be beautifully sung yet there are very few marks in the scores to shew hoiv they are to be sung. It is well known that Mozart wrote the scores of his symphonies hurriedly, in most cases
stage),
dies
:

;

(111)

112

APPENDIX

A.

simply for the purpose of performance at some concert

he was about

to give

;

on the other hand,
great

it is

also well

known

that he

made

demands upon
Obviously

the orchestra in the matter of expression.

he trusted to his personal influence over the musicians.

In the orchestra parts

it

was thus

sufficient

to note the

main tempo and piano
give

or forte for entire

periods, since the master,
sals,

who conducted

the reheardetails,

could

spoken directions as to

and, by singing his themes, communicate the proper expression to the players.

We

are,

now-a-days,

accustomed to mark
;

ail

details of expression in the parts

nevertheless an
it

intelligent conductor frequently finds

expedient to

indicate

important but very delicate nuances of

expression by word of

mouth
;

to

the

particular

musicians

whom

they concern

and, as a rule, such

spoken directions are better understood and attended
to

than the written signs.

It is

obvious that in the

rendering of Mozart's instrumental music spoken
directions played an important part.

With Mozart
and the con-

the so-called development sections,
necting
links

between
slight,

the

main

themes
his

are

frequently
originality

rather

whereas

musical

shows

to greatest

advantage

in the vocal

character of the melodies.

Compared with Haydn's
lies in

the significance of Mozart's symphonies
extraordinarily

the
his
in

expressive

vocal

character of

instrumental themes.
possession of

Now, had Germany been
like

an authoritative institution,

the

APPENDIX

A.

lis

Conservatoire of Paris, and had Mozart been asked
to assist in the

execution of his works,

and to

superintend the spirit of the performances at such

an institution, we might possibly have something Hke an authoritative tradition amongst us a tradi-

tion such as, in spite of decay
still

and corruption,

is

surprisingly vivid at the Paris Conservatoire

for instance, in the

case of Gluck's operas.

But

nothing of the sort exists with us.
rule,

Mozart, as a
casually
;

wrote a symphony for some special concert,
it

performed

once,

with

an orchestra

engaged, at Vienna, Prague, or Leipzig

and the

traditions of such casual performances are completely
lost.

No

trace

is

preserved, except the scantily-marked

scores.

And
as the

these classical relics of a once
are
sole

warmly
living

vibrating
trust,

work

now
guide
let

accepted, with mistaken

towards

a

new

performance.
pressive

Now,
of

us imagine such an ex-

theme

Mozart's

— Mozart,
the

who was
style of

intimately

acquainted

with

noble

classical Italian singing,

whose musical expression

derived

its

very soul from the delicate vibrations,

swellings and accents of that style, and

who was

the

first

to reproduce the effects of this vocal style,
of orchestral of the

by means

instruments

let

us imagine

such a theme

Master's played neatly and

smoothly, by an instrument in the orchestra, without any inflection, or increase or decrease of tone

and accent, without the slightest touch of that

H

114
modification of

APPENDIX

A.

movement and rhythm

so

indis-

pensable to good singing
ciated, just as

—but monotonously enun-

one might pronounce some arith-

mietical

and then, let us endeavour to form a conclusion as to the vast difference between the master's original intention, and the impression

number

thus produced.
for Mozart,
v^ill

The dubious value

of the veneration

professed by our music-conservators,

then also appear.
let

To

shov^ this

more

dis-

tinctly,

us examine a particular case
first

for ex-

ample, the

eight bars of the second

movement

Take this theme as it appears on paper, with hardly any marks of expression fancy it played smoothly and complacently, as the score apparently has it and compare the result with the manner in which a true musician would feel and sing it How much of Mozart does the theme convej^ if played, as
of Mozart's celebrated

symphony in

E flat.

beautiful

!

in nine cases out of ten

it

is
?

played, in a perfectly
" Poor pen and paper

colourless

and

lifeless

way

music, without a shadow of soul or sense."
Seelenlose Schriftmusik).

(Eine

-Hfe^^-^H-

APPENDIX

B.

APPENDIX
See p. 62, et seq. of Wagner's Dannreuther, London, 1882.
''

B.
by E.

BeetJioven," translated

"

A Beethoven Day:"

Beethoven's string quartet
rest content to recall the

in

C sharp minor.

"If we

tone-poem to memory, an attempt at illustration snch as the following may perhaps prove possible, whereas it would at least up to a certain degree
;

hardly be

feasible during

an actual performance.

For, whilst listening to the work,

we

are.

bound

to

eschew any definite comparisons, being solely conscious of an immediate revelation from another
world.

Even

then, however, the animation of the

picture, in its several details, has to be left to the

reader's fancy,
suffice.

and an outline sketch must therefore

The

longer introductory Adagio, than which

probably nothing more melancholy has been expressed in tones, I would designate as the awakening

on the morn
course shall
* "

of

a day that throughout

its

tardy

fulfil

not a single desire:* not one.
sehen, der mir in seinem Lauf Wunsch erfullen wird, nicht Einen."

Den Tag zu
Nicht einen

Faust,

(117)

118

APPENDIX
the
less
it

B.

None

is

a penitential prayer, a con-

ference with

God

in the faith of the eternally good.

The eye turned inwards here, too, sees the comforting phenomena it alone can perceive Allegrof ),
(

which the longing becomes a sweet, tender, melancholy disport with itself ;* the inmost hidden dream picture awakens as the loveliest reminiscence.
in

And now in
it is

the short transitional

A llegro
;

moderato

as

though the Master, conscious

of his strength,

puts himself in position to work his spells with renewed power he now practices his magic (Andante f ),
in

banning a lovely

figure, the

witness of pure,

heavenly innocence so that
enrapture himself by
its

he

may

incessantly
of

ever

new and unheard
it.

transformations, induced by the refraction of the rays of
(

light

he casts
him,

upon

We may
happy

now
from upon
as

Presto f),

fancy

profoundly

within, casting an inexpressibly serene glance

the outer world
in the Pastoral

;

and again,

it

stands before
is

him

Symphony. Everything
happiness.
It is

luminous,

reflecting his inner

as

though he
firm, in

were listening to the very tones emitted by the

phenomena, that move,
life,

aerial

and again

rhythmical dance before him.

He
is

contemplates

and appears
(

to reflect

how he
;

to play a dance

for Life itself

meditation

— as though he were diving into the soul's
He has again caught

Short Adagio 4 )

a short but troubled

deep dream.

sight of the inner

Ein wehmiithig holdes

Spiel.

APPENDIX
side of the
for

B.

119

world

;

he wakens and strikes the strings
It is the

a

dance such as the world has never heard

(Allegro Finale).
delight,
cries of

World's own dance
love's

;

wild

anguish,
;

ecstasy,

highest

rapture, misery, rage
ful
;

voluptuous now, and sorrow-

lightning's quiver, storm's roll, and high above
!

the gigantic musician
things,

banning and compelling

all

proudly

and firmly wielding them from

whirl to whirlpool, to the abyss.
self
;

—He laughs at himall,

for the incantation

was, after

but play to

him.

Thus night beckons.
sort
of
light,

It is not possible to

His day is done. consider the man, Beethoven,
without
at

in

any

once

having
of

recourse

to the

wonderful musician

by way

elucidation.

APPENDIX

C.

APPENDIX
See
p.

C.

24 of " Bericht," add " Wagner, Ges. Scliriften,"

Vol. VIII., p. 186.

" It

is difficult

to understand

Bach's music withit

out a special musical and intellectual training, and
is

a mistake to present

it

to the public in the careless

and shallow modern way we have grown accustomed to. Those who so present it show that they do not

know what they
cution of Bach's

are about.

.

.

.

The proper
even
if

exeof

music implies the
Tradition,

solution
it

a difficult problem.

could
little

be shown to exist in a definite form, offers
assistance
;

for

Bach,
the

like

every other
at

master, never had

means

his

adequately to perform his compositions.
the embarrassing

German command We know

circumstances under which his

and elaborate works were given and it is not surprising that in the end he should have grown callous with regard to execution, and have

most

difficult

considered his works as existing merely in thought.
It
is

a

task reserved for the highest
culture,

comprehensive musical

to

discover

and most and

(123)

124
establish

APPENDIX
a

C.

mode

of executing the

works

of this

wonderful master, so as to enable his music to
appeal to the emotions in a plain direct manner.

APPE NDIX

D.

APPENDIX

D.

See Sir George Grove's " Dictionary of Music and Musicians."
Vol. IV., p. 369.

Article "

Wagner."

" In earl}' days I thought

Schumann.

pianoforte works

His Zeitschrift showed great
also

more would come of was brilliant and his
originality.

There
and
I

was much ferment, but

much

real power,

many

bits are

quite unique and perfect.

think

highly, too, of

many

of his songs,

though they are
Later

not as great as Schubert's.

He
at

took pains with his

declamation

— no small merit forty years ago.
of

on I saw a good deal already his head was

him

Dresden
text
to

;

but then

tired, his

powers on the wane.
his

He
*

consulted

me

about

the

opera,

Genoveva,' which he was arranging from Tieck's

and Hebbel's plays, yet he would not take he seemed to fear some trick."

my advice

(127)

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CHOPIN
"

:

THE MAN AND HIS MUSIC.
of " Mezzotints in
to

BY JAMES HUNEKER,
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Modern Music."

accords admirahis worship is reserved for Chopin. Bemg gifted with clear insight and imagination which grasp many and diverse moods Mr. Huneker is a sane There is no pretence at new material critic and a manly. Mr. Huneker has garnered all that has besn written in the book. about the composer and he has threshed out the grain from the
is

Mr Huneker
to

a Chopin enthusiast.

He

tion

Brahms,

Wagner,

to

Tchaikovsky

:

.

.

.

charfif.

The

result

is,

therefore, of value."

Musical Standard.

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Modern Orchestral Instruments
Their Origin, Construction, and Use.

BEING A PRACTICAL ILLUSTRATED HAND BOOK
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tlie uisc

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AMATEURS OR STUDENTS.
Withmanyaddilionanilustrations, Tables, an Appendix, and an Explanatory Index.
BY

SCHLESINGER.

!'

PREFACE
This work owes its origin to a great want which has been felt by amateurs who wished to linow something about the orchestra, and yet coulJ find no practical book
in

English conveying the necessary information

about the various instruments, accompa7iied in each case by an illustration, which shoull enable them to identify

each one. Written to supply

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was advisable
technicalities,

not to weary the reader with too
while omitting no essential point.
Finally, I wish to express

many

my

gratitude to the

many

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have, by their generous help and advice as well as

their just criticism, encouraged

me

in

my

work, and
to

enabled
A.
J.

me

to

complete

it,

and more especially

Mr.

Hipkins, Mr. R.

J.

White, Mr. H. Grice, Mr.
Hill,

Algernon Rose, Mr. George Morley, Mr. Arthur
Mr.

Klussmann, Mr. A. C. White, and Mr. SchulzCurtius to Miss Mabel Goschen, to whom lam in;

debted for help

in

compiling the index; also to those

who have

kindly lent

me

blocks or photographs for the
will

purpose of illustration, and whose names
in a separate
list.

be found

lO

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21

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Convent Cell (The). 'Twas Rank and Fame. Tho' fortune darkly o'er me frown.
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Gav

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23

The Organists Quarterly Journal
(Bi (f^rigiual

Compositions.
Town
Hall.

Founded by DR.
Non

Wm. SP\RK,
s/-

I.ato organist,

Leeds

subscribers,

each.

Subscription, iOj6 for 4 issues

New

Series,

Volume, coutaiuiuj> 160 large pages, bound in
cloth, lUs.

1.

a3.

12. New Series Rev. Geof. C. Hyly, M.A., Mus. Bac Oxon. G. B. Polleri. OVKRTURB from Epiphany Alfred King, M.U.

Pan

In

Mbmoriam

-

-

Toccata

....
,

Part XI
1.

New

Series.
-

2. 3. 4.

Prelude ANu Fugue wiih Postluue Prelude and Fugue HUGUB Fuguk
Part
10,

E. A.

Chamberlaynb. f- Young. Archibald UoNALD. William Hope.

New

Series.

1.

Fugue
Prelude anp Fugub Andante con Moto

Archibald Donald

2.
3.

Preluiie and Fugue with PosTLUDK

...
9,
.

-

-

E. A.
-

Chamberlaynb F. Young

Part
I.
.

New
.

Series.

W.

».

Montgomery, L.TC.L.

Cuthbert Harris, Mus. B., 2 Fantasia In E minor ."ii libi placeat, Miiil con displicet 3. PosTLUDB at Ephes. V. v. 19. W.Conradi.(Y.oi B 1816 .Paul'tOr^.St.Ciiiircii.Soliweriii i/niGermany

4.

Harvest March
Part
8,

HbnrvJ

I'oole,

Mew

Series.
tlie

1.

Scherzo Minuet W.Mullinkux, Organist of
Introduction
to the

Town

2.

Wunden
3.

"

Hyuin on the Passion,

O Haupt

Hall, BoHon, Voll Blut and

4. 5. 6.

W. CoNRADi. Organist Paul s Church, Schwerin, Germany, Thesis AND Antithesis, or Dispute, Appeasement, Conciliation W. CoNRADi, Organist Paul's Church Schwerin, Germany. Carillon in E Cuthbert HARRIS, Mus B., F.R.C O., &c. Inglis Bkrvok. Andante" Hope"
-

Orchestral March

In

C
,

James Crapper. L. Mus

Organist of the Parish

«

h..

KlrUcudbriglit,

1. 2.

3.

Part 7, New Series. Andantk Grazioso In G (has. R. Mflvii.le, F.RC.O. Polish Song, Arranged for the organ by Percival Garrett .Chopin. Introduction, Variations, and Finale on the Hymn Tune RockCh, R FiSHtR, Mus. B. ingham.
' '

4.
5.

Two Soft Movements
1.

W.
2.

C. Fu.by, I.S.M.

" Esp^rance."
flat
,

"Tendrerse,"

Andante

in

A

W.
6.

Griffi-^hs, Mus. B Org. FuGi'K, 4 Voice, 3 Subjects

ol St.

Sepulchre Church, Northampton. Dr. J. C. Tn ly.

24

W. REEVES, 83, CHARING CROSS ROAD, W.C.
{cont.).

The Organist's Quarterly Journal
Part
.

6,

New

Series.
A.

Con Moto Moderato

in

C
Orlando

a.

3.
4.
5.

6.

Mansfibld, Mus.B., F.R.C.O. Geo. H. Ely, Memoriam, Reginald Adkins J. E. Adkins, F.R.C.O. R. H. IIeath. Andante iii H ABBRYSTWVTH OfFERTOIRE J. G. MOUNTFORD. Andante in i) (Priere) E. Evelyn Barron, M. A.

TiMPo

Di i>;RGE IN

Menuetto

....
Series.
-

Part
I.

8,

New

8.

3

4.
5.

Allegretto Scherzando in A flat Andante Relig:oso in G March Pomposo in E flat Andante Con Moto "Twiliglit" Minuet in F
Part
4,

....
-

-

-

W
-

Charles Daknton. Ch. R Fisheb, Mus.B.
E.

W. E. Ashuall. Dr J, Bradford.

Bklchkr, f R.C.O

New
-

Series.
F.

I. a.

3.

4.

5 6.

Andante Moderato Pkbludk and FtiGUK Sketch Fugue Allegro Marchb Mystique

Read.

in

D

minor

-

E. A. (^hamberlaynb.
-

Arthur Geo. Colborn.
James Turpin.
of Ancient

Charles H. Fisher.
Times.

'iHEME BY Roland, vk I.arsus.— A Kelic
Part
I.

S,

MiNUEi AND Trio
•'

a. 3.

DuNDRK

Adagio.

. in F " ("or Fiencli ") In G uilnoi An Klegy

....
Ed.
J.
-

New

Series.

4.

Anbante a major
Allegro,

5.

D

minot

-.-.-Pari
a.

-

Bellerby, Mus. B., Oxon. John P. Attwater. Chas. R. Fisher, Mus- B.
'
-

Geo. Minns

^

'

,.'

^' ^i)?^'

(Ely).

Toccata Fantasia (.SM/J) Andantk Grazioso MARCH^ FlNEBRE

Andantk Semi TICK Fkstai March

...----..---.....
in

New

Series.
-

C

»ii«Ho>)

-

-

E

T. Driffiel.

\V Faulkes. A Kl HU R WANDERER.
A.

E. A.

Chamberlayne W. Ketflbev.

Part
I.

t.

Hew

Series.

a,
3.

OFFERTOIRE in A minor Seconp Fanta.sia on ScoTf H Airs

Fred.
-

W

-

-

Adf.s] K FiDKi.Ks

Willi

Vaiiailonb and Fngue)

Dal (Leipzig), William Spark. Charles Hunt.
RIFFIRLD.

4.

iNTKkMKZZO
Fart
103,
.

GTOWNSHENDl

I.

POSTLUDKin
Suite: No.

G
i,

.

-

3.

3.

4. 5. 6.

Nocturne Andantk Pastorale In B minor Introddctohv Voluntary Fugue

.-.....;

Prelude

No.

2,

BtKci use

July 1894. PkKKERK-.K W. HOLLOWAY.F.C.O No. 3, Toccata Laukknt Paroki (Genoa
;

Wii-i.iam I.ockbtt.

Jacob Bradford; Mus.
-

-

D., Oxon Albkrt W. Krtelbey. K. J. Kowe, L.R.A.M.

LONDON Win lAM REEVES

83

CHARING CROSS ROAD,

W

W. EERVES, 83, CHARING CROSS ROAD, W.C. Note the Price, PENCE not SHILLINGS.

2$^

POPULAR AND COPYRIGHT MUSIC.
Full Music Size, Well Printed and Critically Coirect.

2D
83,
396.

WILLIAM ^REEVES.
CHARING CROSS ROAD, LONDON. W.C.

QD ^

(Postage ^d. each.)

(Postage Id. each)

VOCAL.
Always do as I do 174. Angels at the Casement, 105. Banner of the King 172. Barney O'Hea ...
Tin7tey

A

flat

W. M.

Hutchison

H. FortesqKe
S. Lover

224. 181. 180. 390. 391. 392. 383. 389. 188. 384. 226. 100. 213. 227.
115. 225.

Bay

of Biscay

...

Border Lands (Sacred) Borderer't- Cballenge Cat in the Chimney
Child's Good Morning Child's Good Night Cone into the Garden Dawn of Heaven

Maud

J. I avey Miss Lindsay R.J. Stark L. Kirgsmilt O. Barri 0. Barri Balfe
Buonetli E. J. Loder Dr. Jno. Bull

Diver.

The

God Save the King Hearts of Oak ...

Honey Are You True to Me (Coon Song) Lady Clara Vere de Vere
Last Rose of Summer Sharing the Burden Tom Bowling
...

Dr. W. Boyce Lindsay Lennox Mifs Lindsay Thcs. Moore J. E. Webster C. Djbdin
Roeckel

118. la Valse 373. Belgium Gale p ... 122, Bercenee 376. Blumenlied 379. Bridal Chorus and Weddirg 142. Charming Mazurka 393. Chinete Patrol March ... 243. Cloches du Monabtere ... 377. Edelweiss 374. Emmeline Galop 308. Pille du Regiment
It 7.

A

PIANOFORTE.
Smallwooi
Roeckel

Gustav Lavge

March

...

Wagner Gungl D. Pecorini Lefib -re-Wely Gustav Lange Smallwood
Oesten

Flying Dutchman (La VaisEeau Fantome)

Wagner
Grieg Qrieg Grieg Grieg T. Valentine Grieg T. Valentine

Four Humoresqoes

:

206. Valse in D, No. 1 ... 207. Minuetto in A minor. No. 2 208. Allegretto, No. 3 209. Allegro Alia Burla, No. 4 305. French Air (easy) 210. Funeral March ... 306. German Air (eaty)
151. Grand March of the Warriors 125. II Corricolo Galop (easily arranged)

H. V. Lewis
L. Mullen

W. REEVES, 83, CHARING CROSS ROAD, W.C. 26 Cheap Music (oontinued)
.

304. 303. 133. 171. 246. 135. 162. 136. 137. 140. 141. 143. 247. 211. 163. 385. 147. 103, 165.

Irish Air (easy) Italian Air (easy)

T. Valentine T.

Valentina

Kaeeala Gavotte Khartoum Quick March Liberty Bell March Little Dear Gavotie Lohengrin Maiden's Prayer

H. Wilcock
F. P. Rahotiini

Souia
I".

Astrella

Warner Badarazewska
L. B. Mallett

March in E flat Maj-Day Galopade Mazurka
Melodie

Gungl Badarazetvska
J.

Melody in F Minuetto Mountain Echo March

Roeckel Rubinstein Grieg
...

Narcissus Placid Stre in Queenie (Intermezzo) Rienzi 148. Scherzino 301. Scotch Air (easy)
375. 156. 394. 381. 380. 302. 378. 168. 150290.

...

G. GaribJdi Nevin Smallwood P. D' Or say

Wagner
Roeckel
T.

Valentine

Seasons Galop ... Silvery Echoes Soldiers' Chorus (Faust) Sonatina in F ... Sonata in G Spbiiisli Air (rasy) Sie^-hanie Gavotte Taunhauser
Tarantella

Smalhuood
Blake

Gounod
Beethoven Beethoven
T. Valentine

A. Czibulka

Wagner
L. B. Mallett
J. P. Sousa IV y man

Washingt n Post March (easy arrangement by Edwin La-iSdale) 291. Woodland Echoes

DANCE.
388. 387. 382. 161. 127. 101. 397.
.395.

Amorosa Mazurka
Blue Bells Sotiottieche British Army Polka Cosmopolitan Quadrille Cyprus Pulka
Electric VValtB

A. H. Osw.ild
S. Leslie

Alec Carlton L. Gautier
i-cotson

dark

EsmeraWa Waltz

Fancy Dress Ball Quadrille 386. Hor e Guards Sohottische
102. Lucifer i'ulka 144. j\Iunioh Polka 866, Roselund Waliz
...

H. Klein S. Osborne Posenberg
S. Leslie
II.

Klein

Jos.

Gungl

Marietta Lena

PIANO DUETS.
156. March of the Cameron 155. Marche dea Croates 169. Minnie, or Lilly Dale

Men

A. Mullen A. Mullen A. Mullen
F, Jamtt

VIOLIN.
170.

March

St.

OlavB

W. REEVES, 83, CHARING CROSS ROAD, W.C.

27

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Grand
Fellows

Architect., etc., etc.
(J.),

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;

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The Origin of Freemasonry,
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Notes ^^ eoNiDUexoKS AND __^=^^==^==r— ^^ eoNiDUexiNG.
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