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or romance still most delightfully come home to the bosoms and business of men! Such are the true materials for music, and of such, without going far back for examples of them, were the dramas which Weber composed-music that lives in the heart and the imagination, and which, when it has temporally ceased to be heard at the theatre, has a new existence on the pianoforte of the amateur. But for the big bulks of operas, now spun out to five acts, we may see by their inelastic nature how destitute they are of soul and spirit, the cessation of their term being for them complete oblivion, a death from which there is no resurrection. It is plain, therefore, that imagination and feeling must animate the mass in the opera as well as the poem destined to last-and that the theatre, supplied as it is with flashy and artificial resources, cannot by a general contribution of her artists in the least supersede the labours of real genius-that faculty which informs, pervades and influences the whole; and which, instead of borrowing any aid from scenery or costume, lends it. There is scarcely a theatrical barn so poor as to be unable to muster costumes for the classical opera, and the fine music of Don Juan' and the 'Freischütz' has often been given, we fear, to lighten the labours of those important performers in ballet and pantomime-the scene shifters. But in spite of this managerial indignity the music lives, while the grand opera of the day becomes antiquated in a season.
There are some things about Wagner that render it doubtful how far he will fulfil expectation, or satisfy that immense anxiety to catch a composer in which modern Europe, and Germany especially, pays a tribute to the past. In the place once held by C. M. von Weber, whose industry and taste first raised the German opera of Dresden into importance, he has not evinced the due love for, or study of, the musical classics, which is naturally expected from a young composer. The connoisseurs were lately surprised to hear Mozart's chef-d'oeuvre, 'Don Giovanni,' conducted by him in a manner that defied all tradition as to the time of the movements. This argues as ill for native feeling as for study, and when we examine the fruits of Wagner's genius, we find that, like Meyerbeer's, they are choral from first to last. We possess, however, already but too much of this, and require fine melodious airs to restore the opera. Another dramatic composer who affects the comic style, Albert Lortzing, appears to have struck out a path that promises more originality and entertainment. Both these composers unite in one particular which is important to the music of the theatre-they are both the authors of the libretti of their operas, and can thus the better consult the effect of movements from collocation and contrast.
There is little encouragement in the present state of Catholic Church government to attempt to supply new orchestral com
Its Progress, Present State, and Prospects.
positions for the service,-masses, motets, &c., of which so many admirable specimens have been furnished within these few years by Hummel and Cherubini. Indeed it seems doubtful at present whether orchestras will not be entirely forbidden to assist in the offices of the Catholic Church, a movement to that effect having taking place in Flanders, the especial domain of popery; but still, under orders, so imperfect in authority, and so partially influential, that the musicians driven from one church have found refuge and countenance in another. It is not a very easy or a very safe matter to attempt innovations where pleasure has, for a series of years, gone hand in hand with duty; and the restoration of the austere plain chant of the Gregorian era, endangers heresy in those who are accustomed to the benignity and graciousness of religion according to the beautiful versions of it given in Mozart's and Haydn's masses. We know of no more portentous thing than the sounds of a Gregorian canto fermo delivered in a requiem or other solemnity from the thick throats of a number of hale priests, who seem as if they had learned music of bulls, basshorns, and ophicleides; the effect of their unison on the nerves of a sensitive stranger is tremendous, it fills the imagination with gloom and horror. But the impression of this atrabilarious music is weakened by habit, and though one must here recognise a powerful engine if occasionally employed, or in the hands of a good composer, yet nature resists continual denunciations, and vindicates a pleasantness as her constant mode of life even in religion. Curiously enough it happens that while the Catholics are identifying their service with this severe, unisonous chant, the Puseyites are endeavouring to introduce the same into the reformed Anglican church; by which we may see that the Gregorian canto fermo is a powerful lever in religion, and of admirable utility as a first step in the assimilation of creeds. This innovation will, however, certainly meet with resistance in Germany, particularly at Dresden, Munich, and Vienna, where there are fine orchestras which have tended much to incorporate music with divine service in those places, and to render one hardly distinguishable from the other. This is, perhaps, as it should be; ancient doctors having discovered, in the elements of harmony, the symbols of the Trinity. At all events, whatever disagreements may exist among the hierarchy as to the proper style of church music, the mass, according to the form which its music has assumed in the hands of Haydn and Mozart, possesses devotees who will support it independent of churches and the opinion of zealots. This they do purely out of musical enthusiasm: the mass exhibits such admirable varieties of treatment, admits such pathos, elegance, choral grandeur, and beauty of instrumentation, that it stands out, like the symphony, a test of very peculiar talents in
the art of composition appreciable by secular ears as well as those of the orthodox. Thus Reissiger employs himself with much zeal in extracting new effects from the fine choir and orchestra of the church of Our Lady at Dresden; and others, without his advantages, are tempted to the same kind of employment through the miums offered by private societies, and their own natural inclination to the task. The protection of church music by persons totally unconnected with the church, is a peculiar characteristic of this age-it is a thing of passion and sentiment like the Gothic arch, or storied window, those mute chroniclers of faded chivalry and romance--and the feeling abounds alike in Germany and in England. Perhaps no more memorable instance of it was ever given, than when, a year or two ago in London, some of the first musicians and amateurs met together to perform Tallis's Litany' after a dinner at a tavern. The enthusiasm of publication, whether of Catholic or Protestant music (for in this distinctions of creed are unknown), keeps pace with that of performance. Whatever excellent the past has, which may be conducive to modern delight or advancement, finds its way into public. Among the novelties of old music, that the musician will view with delight in the immortality of print, are a number of the manuscript cantatas of Sebastian Bach, of which one hundred and thirty-four were collected at Berlin about the commencement of the present year. We shall now see this great composer-incontestably, as facts have proved, the most voluminous musical author that ever livedplaced by the side of Handel in vocal composition. It were presumption to anticipate a futurity of thirty years as to the probably then existing opinion upon these great composers; but the march of time and opinion, at present, is strongly in favour of Bach, a man whose style necessarily awaited an age of cultivation for due homage. This Albert Durer of music seems to have anticipated all the grace and charm of modern melody, without having made further acquaintance with the Italian models of his day than might be found in an occasional journey to hear Hasse's operas at Dresden. The cadences and harmonies of Mozart and Beethoven abound in his works, as they do also in the works of the great Henry Purcell; while Handel, who had travelled in Italy, has decidedly a more antiquated air.
We had designed to speak of the societies for part singing in Germany-half festive, half musical, but our space is exhausted. The glee or four part song for soprano, alto, tenor, and bass, is now sometimes produced; but when will Germany realise the exquisite performance of the Vaughans, Harrisons, and Bartlemans? For such a performance we must not leave Englandstill rich as it is in the finest traditions of concerted song.
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ART. IX-Portraits of the Game and Wild Animals of Southern Africa, delineated from Life in their Native Haunts during a hunting Expedition from the Cape Colony as far as the Tropic of Capricorn, in 1836 and 1837, with Sketches of the Field Sports, by Major Sir WILLIAM CORNWALLIS HARRIS, drawn on Stone by FRANK HOWARD. London: Pelham Richardson. 1844.
No man can have set his foot upon the wilds of Africa, without feeling himself to be in a country totally different from all others. This is the case throughout every part of the vast continent, but more especially in that southern horn which formed the scene of Sir Cornwallis Harris's sporting excursions. It consists of a most strange assemblage of mountains and plains, of spots lovely and picturesque beyond description, and gifted with inexhaustible fertility, and of seemingly boundless plains where barrenness reigns so completely paramount, that the very principle of vegetation appears to be extinct. At a certain distance from the colony, we enter upon regions over which the most delightful clouds of ignorance -almost the only clouds one meets with still brood. We traverse large rivers, which rise no one knows where, and envelop their exits in equal obscurity. Ranges of mountains, also, with appellations uncouth, and hiding God knows what treasures of the animal and vegetable kingdoms in their unvisited recesses, sweep before us along the verge of the horizon, dim, blue, and shadowy, like so many fragments of fairy land. And if the great outlines of the landscape be original and bold, the filling up and colouring are no less so. Every thing upon which the eye rests, has the appearance of having been cast in a mould, nowhere else made use of in the system of nature. Among the terrestrial animals what bulk and fantastic formations! How numerous and strikingly contrasted are the groups that present themselves! In their character and habits what extremes appear to meet! How unspeakably lavish seems to be the waste of vitality! Yet who will dare to say, that in this prodigious outpouring of animal life, there is a single creature that does not enjoy and adorn the scene on which it moves? If there be any thing we should be disposed to think out of place, it is the stunted representatives of humanity, which, under the name of Bushmen, roam in indescribable misery and degradation over those sublime savannahs. To a man of imagination, nothing more inspiring can be conceived than climbing one of the breezy peaks overlooking that strange wilderness, at the moment that the dawn is busily unfolding all its varied features. From every tree the heavy dew-drops pour
like rain: streams of white mist, smooth and glassy as a tranquil river, float slowly down the valleys, reflecting from their surface the trees, and cliffs, and crags on either hand. Here, through openings between feathery mimosas, weeping willows, and tall trembling reeds, we catch a glimpse of some quiet lake, the haunt of the hippopotamus; while a herd of graceful, purple antelopes are seen drinking on its further margin. There, amidst thick clumps of camel-thorn, we behold a drove of giraffes with heads eighteen feet high, browsing on the tops of trees. Elsewhere the rhinoceros pokes forth his long ugly snout from a brake. While the lion, fearless in the consciousness of his own strength, parades his tawny bulk over the plain, or reclines in sphinx-like attitude beneath some ancient tree.
Of the rich garniture of plants and flowers, which adorn several portions of this division of Africa, Sir Cornwallis Harris speaks in terms of eloquent admiration.
"At every step we take," says he, "what thousands and tens of thousands of gay flowers rear their lovely heads around us. Of a surety the enthusiasm of the botanist has not painted the wonders of these regions in colours more brilliant than they deserve; for Afric is the mother of the most magnificent exotics that grace the green-houses of Europe. Turn where we will, some new plant discovers itself to the admiring gaze, and every barren rock being decorated with some large and showy blossom, it can be no exaggeration to compare the country to a botanical garden left in a state of nature. The regal Protea, for whose beauties we have from childhood entertained an almost instinctive respect, here blossoms spontaneously on every side, the buzzing host of bees, beetles, and other parasites by which its choice sweets are surrounded, being often joined by the tiny humming-bird, herself scarcely larger than a butterfly, who perches on the edge of a broad flower, and darts her tubular tongue into the chalice. But the bulbous plants must be considered to form the most characteristic class and in no region of the globe are they to be found so numerous, so varied, or so beautiful. To the brilliant and sweet-smelling Ixia, and to the superb species of the iris, there is no end; the morell, the corn-flag, the amaryllis, the hamanthus, and pancratium, being countless as the sands upon the seashore. After the autumnal rains their gaudy flowers, mixed with those of the brilliant orchidæ, impart life and beauty, for a brief season, to the most sandy wastes, and covering alike the meadows and the foot of the mountains, are succeeded by the gnaphalium, the xeranthemum, and a whole train of everlastings, which display their red, blue, or silky white flowers among a host of scented geraniums, flourishing like so many weeds. Even in the midst of stony deserts arise a variety of aloes and other fleshy plants-the stapelia, or carrion-flower, with square, succulous, leafless stems, and flowers resembling star-fish, form