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the greatest and the least, the inference that in the musical temperament emotionalism holds supreme sway, balanced by no corresponding force of intellect, finds abundant confirmation in the annals of musical biography. The new "mad doctors," as Charles Reade was so fond of calling their predecessors, who talk as though we might all be composers if we were all imbeciles or idiots, are not to be taken too seriously; and when they tell us of unmusical mathematicians from whose softened brains emanate melodies as lovely as they are original, one cannot but admire the versatility that enables specialists in lunacy to qualify as experts in music. But the lives of the great composers do show, unwelcome as the truth may be, that music of a very high order has been produced by men who were indisputably dunces, if not simpletons. Hence the degraded alliances which noble music has contracted with mean and foolish words; hence, too, the little that has been done by composers of the first rank in the way of elucidating the laws which their genius has evolved. No one will be found to deny to Gluck a place among philosophic critics; and there are those who look upon Richard Wagner as the Elisha upon whom his mantle tardily descended. But while Wagner's mental activity is beyond controversy, his pretensions to philosophy are ill sustained by the monstrous theory which represents music as a kind of Aaron's rod destined to swallow up all the other arts, in flat defiance of evolutionary law. It must be conceded, too, that Schumann and Berlioz, men of undoubted genius, though not on the highest plane, have left behind them much luminous and penetrating criticism; that Liszt, with a
gift more executive than creative, had so considerable a faculty for literature as to have been honoured with a place among Dr Nordau's "graphomaniacs," beside Mr Ruskin; and that at present the composer is as often as not a more or less competent critic. Such instances, however, show little more than that in days of widely dif fused education even musical genius lacks the opportunity, or can hardly dare, to be ignorant.
That the mental faculties of some of the greater composers, of no special distinction to start with, were neglected to an extent for which there is no parallel in the other arts, is due in part to the amazing precocity so frequently found in association with musical genius. Not unnaturally, though certainly to their misfortune, the infant prodigies have been allowed to follow the bent of their nature without restraint, and thus have missed the thorough intellectual discipline which, while it would not have debarred them from doing the highest justice to their gift, would have tended to check their emotional excess and to equip them for the proper conduct of life. So it is that Handel, apart from his own work, was never known to have an interest in anything but pictures, and that Haydn and others do not seem to have been interested even in pictures. This explanation, however, does not wholly account for the limitations which led Heine to hold the musical intellect in
amused contempt. Chopin, for example, was no ignoramus; but so great was the disproportion between sense and sensibility in him that, in spite of an education which included some acquaintance with the sciences, he could bring himself to care for nothing but women and their toilets, and was
even indifferent to music that lay outside his own genre. Beethoven himself, though he delighted in Homer and Plato, in Shakespeare and Goethe, and was profoundly affected by the history that was making around him, was not a man of large outlook, still less of sound and balanced mind,-though it would be unfair to judge his logical faculties by a quaint instance of their exercise, which deserves a wider currency. He had dismissed a housekeeper because, not in her own interest, but in her master's, she had told a fib, and when challenged to justify his severity, he did so by arguing that "any one who tells a lie has not a pure heart, and cannot therefore make pure soup"!
It is not strange that the great masters, thus endowed with an abnormal sensibility unqualified in most instances by force of intellect and unchecked by systematic mental training, should have shown themselves to be peculiarly susceptible to romantic love, with results too often painful and unedifiying. Nobody who knows how much their work has been indebted to this source of inspiration is likely to deal censoriously with irregularities which it is not difficult on other grounds also to extenuate. But one may at least regret for their own sakes that the conjugal relation, to which by their temperament they were so powerfully drawn, should be precisely the relation for which by their temperament they were disqualified. In Handel's life alone the tender passion appears to have had no place. He has been accused, and that on no substantial authority, of but one affaire du cœur; and, if the story be authentic, it would seem that most of the sentiment and all the suffering were on the lady's side. Even as
a youth he had made up his mind to have no mistress but music, for it is recorded of him that, having journeyed to Lübeck to compete for the post of public organist, he unhesitatingly refused to enter the lists as soon as he learnt that the successful competitor was expected to take the retiring organist's daughter to wife. Doubtless it was at least as fortunate for Fräulein Buxtehude as for himself that he declined a rivalry in which he was so likely to succeed.
Beethoven, again, never married. But it was from no defect of sensibility that the tribulations which were distributed among many successive housekeepers were not heaped upon the devoted head of a wife. If love be a disease, Beethoven was always ill, or at best but convalescent. No less than forty ladies save four has he immortalised by his dedications to them. To Bettina von Arnim Goethe's Bettina - for whom he long cherished a hopeless passion, he once said, after trying over a composition which he had just written, "I made that for you; you inspired me with it. I saw it written in your eyes"; and this is but a specimen of the gallantries to which he was addicted. Twice at least he proposed-on one occasion to the lady who, as he found to his mortification, was already the fiancée of his friend. Hummel. That marriage would have saved him from a good many worries is certain enough; for it must be allowed that, as Emil Naumann delicately puts it, he "did not possess any aptitude for household management." How thick and fast his domestic troubles came may be seen from these extracts, which the historian makes from his diary for 1819-20: "31st January. Gave
notice to my housekeeper. 15th February. The new cook 8th March. Cook gave me notice. 22d of March. The new housekeeper came." Yet it would be rash to assume that he merits pity because his many loves were all in vain; for wretched as was the solitary life of this storm - tossed soul, the imagination shrinks from contemplating the misery which he would have suffered-and inflicted-in the matrimonial estate. Haydn, less fortunate than the mighty genius who carried on his work, did marry—and was unable to live with his wife. The lady of his choice, a hairdresser's daughter, had determined to betake herself to a nunnery, and when he found that she was not to be moved from her pious decision, he was induced by her father to console himself with her elder sister. Frau Haydn may not have been blessed with the sweetest of tempers; and she was certainly destitute of any sense of humour. Not long before their formal separation, when her husband was in London tempering his labours with an innocent flirtation with Mrs Schröter, the widow of the Queen's music-master, she wrote begging him to send her two thousand gulden, so that she might purchase a little house to live in during the days of her widowhood. Approving of her provident disposition, he inspected the house on his return, bought it, and occupied it for nine years after her decease! Mozart's matrimonial experience was in one respect curiously like Papa Haydn's, although on the whole he fared better. Susceptible from his boyhood to the charms of the fair, he, at the age of about twenty-two, became enamoured of Aloysia Weber, then a girl of fifteen, a vocalist with no hope of fortune except from her voice. Of
course he wrote music in her honour, and credited her with a genius hardly inferior to his own. "I would rather she played my sonata than Vogler," " he once touchingly declared. And while under her influence he delivered himself of sentiments on the subject of marriage which can never be sufficiently admired. "The nobility," he compassionately exclaims, "can can never marry from inclination or love. . . . But we poor common folk not only may take a wife whom we love and who loves us, but we should, can, and will take such a one. we are not nobly born, aristocratic, or rich, but little, mean, and poor, and so do not need a rich wife." Unhappily these exalted views failed to commend themselves to his more worldly minded father, who invited his gifted son to picture himself as dying on a sack of straw in a hovel "full of starving brats." Always a model of filial obedience, Wolfgang, in spite of his "should, can, and will," submitted, and, Aloysia having married, transferred his affections to a younger sister, whom he was careful to present to his parents in a much more prosaic light. He admitted that she was not possessed of "much intellect," and claimed no more for her than that she had "enough common-sense to fulfil her duties as wife and mother." A less amiable temper than Constanze's would have found it hard to resist the spell of so sweet and gracious a nature as Mozart's; and this "angelic genius" died too early to put to very severe strain a union which had unromantic an origin. Troubles there were, for the fascinating young maestro was the idol of ladies, both great and small, and, excellent as were his inclinations, his behaviour was not always
marked by a rigour that left no occasion for scandal. But, if we may trust his biographer, as often as he sinned he confessed; and hazardous as candour in such a case must be, the penitent does not appear to have gone without absolution.
Of Mendelssohn it can neither be said that he failed in love nor that he lived to regret his success. But for him the lines were cast in such pleasant places that his must be regarded as an altogether exceptional case. His early death is the least of the evidences that he was of those whom the gods love. Grandson of the philosopher, he had for mother a woman of rare accomplishments, while his father was not only a man of sense and culture, but had a pleasant wit to boot, as is shown by the pretty mot which he was humanly fond of repeating when his son had become famous. "Formerly," he would remark, "I was the son of my father; now I am the father of my son.' Nor was Felix less fortunate in his environment than in his antecedents. He enjoyed a liberal education, and became a protégé of the aged Goethe; and from the time when Moscheles, at his first lesson, saw that he was instructing his master, and even the austere Cherubini found it in him to say, "Le garçon est riche, il fera bien, il fait même déjà bien," his genius never had to wait for recognition. In every relation of life, not excepting that of marriage, he found the happiness which even so finely poised a nature as his cannot command in the absence of favouring circumstances. His devotion to his wife, the daughter of a minister of the French Reformed Church, was hardly greater than his affection for his parents, and for his sister Fanny, whose sudden death
VOL. CLX.-NO. DCCCCLXIX.
so overwhelmed him that with a cry of horror he fell fainting to the ground. They say that in the remaining months of his life he was never heard to laugh; and there is little doubt that his own untimely end was hastened by the grievous shock.
So lovely and pleasant a life as this is in strong contrast with the careers of many of the romantic composers, and may partly explain the gibes in which some partisans of Wagner-whose life was as full of discords as is his music-think fit to indulge at his expense. Had Mendelssohn's nature been less morally harmonious, we might have been spared some of the unworthy allusions to his Jewish blood; and his "superficiality " might conceivably have been less evident. However this may be, it is only when we turn from the classicists to the romanticists that we find the besetting weaknesses of the musical temperament in their full development. Of many of these it must be allowed that in morals, as in music, their allegiance has been reserved mainly for the comfortable law of self-expression. The time for dealing quite frankly with the greatest of them is not yet: when all the truth has come into circulation, the world will perhaps marvel that even those who can revel in the longueurs and cacophonies of the composer equally with his finest inspirations should have been able to lavish upon the man a devotion little short of idolatrous. Never was there a sorrier hero than this selfish voluptuary, who was content to gratify his luxurious tastes at the expense of his friends, but was too independent to feel grateful for their sacrifices; whose selfindulgence was so much of a disease that he smoked in order not
to miss a sensation which others enjoyed, and was capable of driving his host into the streets in the small hours of the morning to replenish his snuff-box; and of whom his ardent champion, the late Ferdinand Praeger, has to confess that while he was ready enough to enter into a quarrel, he "always moved away when it looked like coming to blows." His callous neglect of his first wife, who had been his slave through years of penury qualified by prodigality, provoked the remonstrances of his friends, and forced Mr Praeger to say, "I can testify that Wagner suffered severely from thoughtlessNo shabbier letter was ever penned than the one he wrote to Mr Praeger when he found that the long-suffering woman had confided her troubles to their common friend. "How could she have expected," he plaintively asks, "that I was to be shackled and fettered as any ordinary cold common mortal? My inspirations carried me into a sphere she could not follow, and then the exuberance of my heated enthusiasm was met by a cold douche." The familiar plea that there should be one law for genius and another for the " mon mortal is not intolerable when urged by the apologetic heroworshipper: from the hero himself it comes with but ill grace. "I liked every luxury-she fettered me there," he bleats of the woman who had striven so hard to save him from the ruin threatened by his colossal extravagance. But it is only when he declares-"The truth is, I have spoiled Minna; too much did I indulge her, too much did I yield to her"-that one sees the depths of meanness to which he was capable of descending, and the appalling selfdeception which a greatly gifted mind may practise upon itself.
If Wagner complained of poor Minna because she had too little of the artistic temperament to admire masterpieces which many of the greatest of his musical contemporaries could not away with, Berlioz did not find that the artistic temperament, even supplemented by strong mutual attraction, is a sufficient bond of sympathy between husband and wife. The story of his mad love for Henrietta Smithson, the Irish actress whom he saw as Ophelia and Desdemona in Paris, has been told by himself with as much accuracy as is possible to an egoist in treating of his own concerns. Without the formality of an introduction he began to bombard her with letters full of wild protestations, to which no reply was vouchsafed; for Miss Smithson was rather alarmed by a wooing which savoured so much of lunacy, and at last gave orders that no more of his effusions should be taken in. After an absence in Rome, he returned to Paris to find her taking the part of Juliet, and it is on this occasion that he is said to have exclaimed, "Cette femme j'épouserai, et sur ce drame j'écrirai ma plus vaste symphonie" -a legend which he contradicts, though, he adds, "I did both." Presently he contrived that Miss Smithson should be present at a performance of "Lelio," and seeing in the work the story of the composer's love for her, and recognising his genius, she went home, he says, lending to her the sensations which would have been his in the case, "like one walking in her sleep, almost unconscious of all that was happening around her." Then she allowed him an introduction, and accepted him as her lover; and a few months later, in 1833, they were married.
The wedded love thus promisingly begun ran no smooth course,