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The task of compressing into one small volume suitable sketches of the more famous Italian and French composers has been, in view of the extent of the field and the wealth of material, a somewhat embarrassing one, especially as the purpose was to make the sketches of interest to the general music-loving public, and not merely to the critic and the scholar. The plan pursued has been to devote the bulk of space to composers of the higher rank, and to pass over those less known with such brief mention as sufficed to outline their lives and fix their place in the history of music. In gathering the facts embodied in these musical sketches, the author acknowledges his obligations to the following works : Hullah's “ History of Modern Music”; Fétis's “ Biographie Universelle des Musiciens”;
Clementi's “ Biographie des Musiciens”; Ho garth’s “ History of the Opera”; Sutherland Edwards's “ History of the Opera”; Schlüter's · History of Music”; Chorley’s “ Thirty Years' Musical Reminiscences" ; Stendhall's “ Vie de Rossini”; Bellasys's “Memorials of Cherubini”; Grove's “Musical Dictionary”; Crowest's “Musical Anecdotes"; and the various articles in the standard cyclopædias.
“The Great Italian and French Composers” is a companion work to “The Great German Composers,” which was published earlier in the series in which the present volume appears.
Such changes have been made in the revised edition in the lives of Verdi and Gounod, the latter only a short time dead, as are necessary to render them complete. Sketches have been added of the more prominent masters of the latest French school, St. Saëns, Bizet, and Massenet, and portraits of some of the great musicians of Italy and France.
THE GREAT ITALIAN AND FRENCH
The Netherlands share other glories than that of having nursed the most indomitable spirit of liberty known to mediæval Europe. The fine as well as the industrial arts found among this remarkable people, distinguished by Erasmus as possessed of the patientia laboris, an eager and passionate culture. The early contributions of the Low Countries to the growth of the pictorial art are well known to all. But to most it will be a revelation that the Belgian school of music was the great fructifying influence of the fifteenth century, to which Italy and Germany owe a debt not easily measured. The art of interweaving parts and that science of sound known as counterpoint were placed by this school of musical scholars and workers on a solid basis, which enabled