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the mistake was at length discover whose progress we had watched, from ed, instead of at once correcting the time to time, from its earliest infancy. error, if such indeed it was, recourse This class had gone through the was had to a disingenuous quibble on course of sixty lessons, but continued words, which would, therefore, seem still to receive instruction. Their to have been purposely rendered ob- power of singing at sight was tested
It will thus be seen how fal- in our presence-a piece of music they lacious a test these performances af- bad never seen before was placed in ford, either of the real merits of the their hands. The first attempt to exesystem, or of the actual progress or cute this at sight was lame, and halted efficiency of those who have received terribly; the second was somewhat instruction from no other source. But, better, but as we moved about, from besides this charge, the truth of which one pupil to another, to ascertain, as is thus virtually admitted, it has also far as possible, the individual accurapublicly been charged against the cy of the class, we heard many voices, conductors of the Exeter Hall per- in a subdued tone, making a number formances, that many able musicians, of admirable guesses at their part, but who never were the pupils of any the owners of which could not, by the teacher of the Wilhelm method, were utmost courtesy, be considered to be surreptitiously introduced among the singing at sight. The basses missed classes at these great choral meetings. many a “ distance," the tenors were This is a grave accusation; it has been interruptėd by the master, and worked, made not anonymously nor in the in the defective passages, separately dark, but backed and supported by from the rest of the class for a while, the open disclosure of the name and by earl! A third attempt was made address of the several parties by whom with somewhat better success, and the it has been publicly brought forward. piece was accomplished in a rambling Of the truth or falsehood of this seri- uncertain manner. During the whole ous imputation we know nothing of this trial, the trebles were led by mora than that it is raised by facts, the master's apprentice, a sharp clever which have been stated, but which, boy, who retained a voice of peculiar so far as we can learn, have never re- beauty and power to the unusually ceived any denial or explanation. late age of sixteen, and who had On one of these occasions we were commenced his musical studies six or present. We can bear testimony to the eight years before, We considered effect produced by much of the music this experiment a failure; it may be then performed. Mr Hullah certainly said the fault lay in the teacher, not appeared to possess great power over in the method; irue, the master was the numerous assembly, and the faci.. not Mr Hullab, but he was one of the lity with which he hushed them al. “ certificated," and the partisans of most down to silence, or made them Mr Hullah, in the language of the raise their voices till there seemed no lawyers, are estopped from asserting limits to their united power, was al- bis incompetency. We have known most magical. But beyond this, in pupils, not deficient in general ability, the words of an able weekly journals who, having attended the greater part ist, no means of forming any opin- of "the course," during which they ions were before us—the whole affair paid great attention to their studies, might be a cheat and a delusion-we were unable to read more than a few had no test by which to try it. We bars of the simplest music, beyond have hitherto," continues this writer, which they were lost and confused. “spoken of these exhibitions at Exeter Without naming the notes Do, Re, Hall as realities, as being what they &c., they were utterly unable to prowere affirmed to be. This is no longer ceed at all, and it appeared to us that, possible. If Mr Hullah has any real by seeing those syllables written on confidence in his system,' he will paper, they would have gathered a eagerly seek a real scrutiny into its more correct idea of the music, than merits; hitherto there has been none." by attempting to
by attempting to read from music Our own personal observation does written in the ordinary manner. This not enable us to be very enthusiastic is the result of the invariable use of in the praise of the Wilhelm system. those syllables in exercising the voice. A few weeks only have elapsed, since 'In the best continental schools, they we attended a meeting of a class, have long been obsolete for such a
purpose. Still, the Hullah-Wilhelm vously disappointed if they expect mania will, no doubt, produce consi- at its close to find themselves accomderable effect, even though the system plished singers. The management of should fall short of the expectations of the voice is still required, and many its friends and promoters. Wo have vicious habits, contracted during the now commenced our first national ef- practice at the class, will have to be forfort in this direction ; either, the pre- gotten. This, however, cannot be felt judices which so long delayed this by the million, to whom any musical ineffort have been overcome, or, the struction will be a gift of unspeakable • National Society” is now too strong value, in a social and moral point of to bow, entirely, to opinions or pre
view. The Committee of the Council judices of one of its earliest and most well observe, that“ amusements which influential patrons-one who long re- wean the people from vicious indul. sisted the introduction of musical in- gences are in themselves a great adstruction into the schools of the socie- vantage; they contribute indirectly to ty; and who, some twenty years ago, the increase of domestic comfort, and is said, on one occasion, actually to promote the contentment of the artihave thrown out of the windows of san. The songs of any people may the central school some cards and be regarded as important means of boards on which the elements of music
forming an industrious, brave, loyal, were printed, and which had been in- and religious working-class.” . Mr troduced by some of the committee. Barnett calls this, " nothing but egre. But for the influence of this nobleman gious cant, got up by the teachers of the effort had, perhaps, been made many the Wilhelm plan, both in France years ago. The premier pas” has, how- and here." In this we cannot agree ever, at length been taken. The pub- with Mr Barnett, and we scarcely unlic mind is roused; all, from the highest derstand why he should be betrayed to the lowest, frequent the classes of into so much heat upon the occasion. Mr Hullah. Royalty itself deigns to For ourselves, we rejoice to see any listen. « The Duke" himself takes system at work for the purpose of indelight in the peaceful notes of Exeter structing the working classes in the Hall, and the Premier has found lei- elements of music; and it seems to sure, from the business and service of us a monstrous proposition, and nothe State, to scrutinize the perform- thing short of an insult to our counance of “the classes. ." It must surely
trymen, on the part of the prominent be a pleasant thing to sing to princes, opposer of the Wilhelm system, to
, warriors, and statesmen- all that the assert that the knowledge or cultiva, country holds most in honour, love, tion of an art, which throughout all his. and reverence, The impulse thus tory has advanced hand in hand with given is felt throughout the land. civilization and refinement, should, Classes are formed in every town, among the labouring classes of Engalmost in every village;
the labourer, land, be productive only of idleness, the mechanic, young men and maid- drunkenness, or debauchery. ens, old men and children, may be The instruction of the lower classes seen, after their daily toil is done, in vocal music, however beneficial busy with the do, re, mi, fa, &c., of the and important as an element in civiclass-book. Although the system may lization, or however advantageous as not prove all that might be desired, a means by which the general taste of yet much is taught and learned, and the people may be elevated and re. the desire of acquiring more is crea- fined, will not be found all-sufficient, ted. The general standard of music, in itself, to raise our musical repuand musical taste, must necessarily be tation as a nation. Native music raised far above its previous resting- iş at a low ebb at present; and, while place. It must, however, be ever musical entertainments are in such borne in mind, that the system pro- general request as almost to have ex, fesses only to teach sight-singing, or, cluded the “ legitimate" drama from in other words, the power of reading the stage, no attempt to introduce any music. This power is wholly distinct English opera has been recently made. from that of singing, as we have Into such oblivion or disrepute have above defined the art; those who English composers fallen, that some having attended, and profited to the of the most eminent have actually left utmost by the course, will be grie- London. One well-known yeteran now
lives in honourable retirement in the French, who, according to Mr HulModern Athens. Another, once po- lah, “ have the least possible claim to pular and admired, “ disgusted with a high musical organization," have, London and the profession," and nevertheless, long possessed a national “ having given up all thoughts of opera, boasting the best orchestra in again appearing before the London Europe, and producing masters whose public as an operatic composer,” is said works have been successfully transto have migrated in the capacity of sing- planted, and singers who have met ing-master to a fashionable watering, with universal admiration. At the place; while a third, once equally well present moment, Paris has two nationknown, has left the kingdom altoge- al musical theatres, the Académie ther, and has settled himself in Paris. Royale, and the Opera Comique : and The public ear has learned to appre- the establishment of a third is said to ciate music of a high class; and, judg- be in contemplation. The possibility ing from the past, the manager per- of forming such an establishment at haps dare not incur the risk of bring- the present time in England, may be ing out a new native opera. It is reasonably called in question. The certainly much to be regretted that attempt made some ten years ago, the existing demand should not be though commended by the minister of supplied from native sources, and thus the day, was signally abortive ; and serve the purpose of national advance the subsequent endeavour of a popument in the art ; but English music lar musician to open a theatre for the does not take. Does the fault rest with performance of English operas, was the public or with the musician? It is equally futile and unsuccessful. One easy, and no doubt convenient, con- thing of primary importance—the patemptuously to apply the epithet, tronage of the higher classes-was “ hacknied," to the operas recently wanting to both these efforts. adapted to the English stage; but how the stamp of fashion once impressed is it that the old “hacknied” music of upon such an undertaking, success the Italians should be preferred to the would be certain ; did the fiat of the novelties of our native school ? Here great world once go forth, the thing again the public taste has advanced would be accomplished.
The martoo fast, and, owing to the inferiority vellous impulse recently given to muof our home productions, the foreigner sical instruction throughout the kinghas gained possession of the market.* dom, shows the vast power, for good, Where is the remedy for this unfortu. possessed by the higher classes of arisnate state of things? Some master- tocratic England. We have often mind, some musical Napoleon, may lamented the apathy of the fashionable rise up and take the world by storm; world on this subject, and we can enbut such an event is particularly un. tertain no hope of aristocratic support likely now. The hour generally makes and encouragement for the English the man, and the necessities of the
opera. There may, however, be some moment often call forth talents and hope, though faint and distant, for our energies, the existence of which was musicians. In consequence of a nawholly unsuspected by their posses- tional musical education, a national
For aught we know, many a opera may become a national want; hero may be now among the ranks, and we can scarcely conceive it possiand many a gallant officer now before ble, that the wide diffusion of musical the mast, undistinguished from lack taste and knowledge should fail ultiof opportunity, unknown because cir- mately, to produce a large and nevercumstances have not developed his failing demand for dramatic music. dormant powers. How then can the Then would our musicians have a wide, hour be hastened, and the opportu- fair field for the development of their nity of developing our musical powers resources ; success, the highest and be afforded ? The answer is, by the es- most brilliant, would be within their tablishment of a National Opera. It reach, and would depend entirely on has been observed that every nation themselves. If, under such circumthat has risen to musical greatness, stances, the reputation of our country possesses a musical opera. Even the did not quickly rise, bright and re.
* No. cccxxvii. p. 130.
splendent in the musical horizon, our spirits delight in the storm and the hopes of universal excellence would whirlwind; peace and repose have proindeed be crushed for ever.
bably no charms for them. It might be long before we rivalled
“ Music was ordain'd, either of the great continental schools, Was it not, to refresh the mind of man, each of which would doubtless long After his studies, or his actual pain ?” retain its ancient worshippers. Of Many fly to music to soothe and comthese two schools, of a character and pose the mind, others seek it as a style so different, we confess a prefer- means of new and fresh excitement. ence for the smooth, voluptuous, peace. Neither are now able, in the music of ful flow of the Italian, rather than the their country, to find all they seek. stern, but sublimer, beauty of the Ger- We are not, however, without hope man. The one, like the soft and for the future. Never will now has glowing landscape of its native land, music formed an element in national refreshes the spirit, warms the heart, education; and the movement now exand kindles the affections; the latter, tending throughout the land, must of like the wild and often savage gran- necessily be the means of elevating deur of the scenery of Switzerland, and refining the musical taste of our chills, while it awes and subdues the countrymen. Improvements, like those soul. There is a smiling kindliness already manifest in the sister arts of about the former, which fascinates and painting and sculpture, may be now attracts; the latter often pains and about to show themselves in music. distracts, by an intense and varied ac- Even our sons may wonder at the taste tion which admits of no repose.
It is which could tolerate the music which as the tranquil elegance of the Venus their fathers had applauded and adof the Tribune, or the calm dignity of mired ; and England, long pre-emithe Apollo of the Vatican, contrasted nent in the useful arts and sciences, with the nervous energy of the works and the serious and more weighty afof Buonarroti, or the sublime but fairs of life, may at length become fearful agony of the Laocoon.
equally distinguished in the fine arts, The more enthusiastic admirers of and all those lighter and more elegant the productions of the Germans, that pursuits, which, throughout the hisrace of musical Michael Angelos, of, tory of mankind, have ever formed the ien despise the lamer attributes of the peculiar characteristics of a high deinusic of the “sweet south." Such gree of civilization and refinement.
By B. SIMMONS.
Come let us drink their memory,
Those glorious Greeks of old-
The Beautiful--the Bold !
Or bowl by which we sit,
Then drink we to their memory,
Those glorious Greeks of yore;
What they have done before !
What if the scene he saw-
Of crimson Quatre-bras,
From tales of Grecian fields,
Carved on the Median shields
Oh, honour to those chainless Greeks,
We drink them one and all,
As with a brazen wall !
By love-born Taste, the Gods
In more divine abodes
Then in supreme repose,
So to the days of Pericles
The votive goblet fill-
His grand achievements still!
The Fair who knew no fear-
His bulwark or his bier.*
That lion-woman's veins,
That LADY's health! who doubts she heard
Of Greece, and loved to hear?
Will still its harvest bear.t
With Plato's precious thought-
Stagyra's sophist taught
Can but their spirit speak,
Then drink, and dream the red grape weeps
Those dead but deathless lords,
Like music in the chords.
Of goblets, after all,
Upon the heart should fali.
When night makes silent earth :
Then, drink and swear by Greece, that there
Though Rhenish Huns may hive,
Those glorious Greeks of old,
The Beautiful the Bold !
* “ Return with it or upon it !” was the well-known injunction of a Greek mother, as she handed her son his shield previous to the fight.
† The mummy-wheat.