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the stamp of correctness. Though his enunciation is not sufficiently vigorous, yet his style is smooth and agreeable; and we may justly say, he is the most faultless singer of the day.
MR. KNYVETT. Combined with Harrison and Bartleman, was the still more soft and gentle voice of Knyvett. An alto of great sweetness and beauty, though destitute of those lines of expression, without which the features appear as a blank, his voice is well adapted to the performance of glees, a style of composition then so much admired, that many of the popular songs of the day were harmonized and converted into this species of composition, to meet the public taste. Such attention was paid to the blending and balancing of the voices in these combinations, that the effect was not even exceeded by the equality and truth of the organ.
This triumvirate gave the temper and tone to our public performances for years, the character of which was the unruffled stream of soothing melody.
Is the power of sustaining the voice upon any note, so that the sound is continued to the end without the least wavering. This important qualification is admirably shown in the voices of Knyvett and Vaughan. To acquire this excellence, the pupil must begin by sounding the lowest note in his voice, upon the vowel Ah! steadily holding it through several bars, ascending and descending the whole compass. To accomplish this, great attention must be paid to the management of the breath, which may be so improved by practice, that it is possible to sustain a sound with perfect evenness for more than a minute. On the violin this is effected by an even drawn bow. Expression so much depends upon the use of the bow, that modern writers accurately mark the bowing of every passage, but which performers seldom attend to. In Beethoven, the greatest writer for stringed instruments, we find many bars included in one bow; particularly when he intends to diminish the tone to pianissimo. This requires skill in slowly measuring out the bow, to insure the effect. As an instance, we may mention the pause note in his quintetto, which is directed to be firmly held in one bow, while the violin plays a cadenza of three hundred notes; and in the fourth sinfonia, there is a holding note in the viola of forty-one bars, marked to be performed in a single bow, for which ordinary players take half a dozen, whereby the intention of the author is completely defeated.
During the triumvirate of Harrison, Bartleman, and Knyvett, the celebrated John Braham appeared at the English theatre, whose voice for compass, power, and quality, probably has never been equalled. Having visited most of the cities in Italy, where he was received with the highest marks of approbation, he returned to this country in the year 1801, and accepted an engagement at Covent Garden theatre. It was a fortunate thing for science, and particularly for English singing, that so eminent a performer as Mr. Braham should have arisen at this period. All the wealth and consequence of the country had conspired to shut out of the King's Concert, every thing like improvement in the musical art; and upon the death of Mr. Harrison, although Mr. Braham was avowedly the most extraordinary singer for voice and talent this country had ever produced, yet he was passed over, and Mr. Vaughan was preferred as primo tenore of this institution. To such an extent was this feeling carried, this prejudice against the modern art, that for years a junto united to keep Mr. Braham out of every grand performance in which they were engaged. He, who had delighted the first cities in Europe, shut out from the court, was destined to seek applause from the pit and gallery of an English theatre, and had recourse to a style of singing repugnant to his acknowledged taste and judgment. On his first appearance in Dublin, he received two thousand guineas for fifteen nights, and so well satisfied was the manager of the theatre, that he extended the engagement to thirty-six performances upon the same terms. His fame spread so rapidly,
that he was soon engaged at the Italian Opera, and sang with Billington, Grassini, and Fodor, with such reputation, that it was a common saying with the foreigners,
Non c' è tenore in Italia come Braham. As an instance of the very opposite styles to which he was accustomed, we may quote the observations of Lord Mount Edgecumb :—' It is certain that Braham has great knowledge of music, and can sing extremely well. It is, therefore, the more to 'be regretted that he should ever do otherwise. " That he should ever quit the natural register of “his voice, by too violent exertion ; that he should
depart from a good style and correct taste, which he knows and can follow as well as any man, to • adopt at times the florid and frittered Italian man
ner; at others, to fall into the coarseness and vul'garity of the English. The fact is, that he can 'be two distinct singers, according to the audience 'before whom he performs; and that, to gain ap
plause, he condescends to sing ill at the playhouse, 'as he has done well at the Opera.'* The most striking feature of Mr. Braham's singing is the neat
* His Lordship perhaps was not aware, that by this condescension to the public taste, Mr. Brahain has gained a fortune of a hundred thousand pounds. Upon the demise of George III., Mr. Braham was, for the first time, commanded to attend the Ancient Concert; and so highly was he esteemed by the succeeding Monarch, that when it was found that a concert had been fixed at St. James's, on the same night that Mr. Braham's benefit was to take place at Drury Lane, it was ordered by His Majesty to be postponed, lest it should be prejudicial to his interests.
ness of his delivery; no sound or word is permitted to escape him negligently, or without being prepared with vocal accuracy. In temperament he is naturally cool and quiet, and his enthusiasm is only roused by the action of his voice. Hear him in that fine piece of musical elocution 'Jephtha's Vow,' in which he depicts all the anguish and heartrending feelings of the father offering up an only child. In his hands this recitative is unquestionably the most dramatic of all Handel's works. The force of voice with which he delivers certain passages, then sinking into the most tender sostness upon tremulous tones of horror, are masterly points of taste and judgment.
In songs of animation, as · The Death of Nelson, *the ear-piercing sounds with which he invests a call to glory,' have never been approached by his imitators.
The songs he chose at the Oratorios, and upon which his fame has chiefly rested, are the following - Comfort ye, my people," " Total Eclipse,' Sound an Alarm,'' In Splendor bright,' ' In native Worth?
In the Concert-room- Beethoven's Adelaide,' 'Marmion,' with scenes from the Italian Operas, and the ballads of the day. The facility with which he executed every thing he undertook, was as apparent as the spirit with which he at once entered into the meaning of the author.
The English Theatre at the present moment is aspiring to the highest perfection, by the introduc