« AnteriorContinuar »
distances. In some voices it is so fixed by habit, that two bars cannot be sung without it. When so used, it utterly destroys every pretence to good singing, by interposing an effect of the most sickening kind : when used with discretion, it adds much to the force of expression; and in Madame Caradori, it was a grace both tender and agreeable.
The violinist Paganini, the present wonder of the world, plays an entire cantabile upon one string, sliding through all the intervals with a single finger, —the effect of which is so plaintive and desolate, as to move his audience to tears. Velluti, the first singing-master of the age, uses this grace with incomparable beauty; in his voice it imparts a tenderness not to be described.
As we have no character to indicate when this effect should be used, it is proposed that a curve line shall extend from the throat of the first note over the head of the following. This will be a mark sufficiently distinct in appearance from the common curve or circumflex.
Is acknowledged to be the very ugliest woman in creation, and in most respects certainly the finest singer. So deficient is she in beauty and personal charms, that she deems it prudent to send before her a faithful picture of herself, to prevent disappointment, before she engages with those who have not gazed upon her. In person she is squat and dowdy, and her countenance might pass for that of a man, did she not so distort it at times as to be scarcely human. Her voice is a contralto of the richest quality, and her style is so energetic and penetrating, that she seems to dig out the musical sense by the force of her expression. From continually personating the characters of men, her acting, as well as her singing, has a bold and intrepid air. She never mistakes her own powers so much as when she attempts those of the softer sex. Some of her tones are of the most extraordinary kind, which she effects in an odd way, by turning up one corner of her mouth : obviously aware of this unsightliness, she is constantly waving either one hand or the other before her face, to hide the grotesque appearance which she makes.*
In Italy as a singer she is adored, but in this country she made but little impression. Her song 'Elena, oh tu ch' io chiamä,' in the character of Malcolm, in La Donna del Lago, is a superb performance, full of that deep feeling for which she is so celebrated. Had not Nature so utterly deprived her even of a tolerable appearance, Madame Pisaroni would have been esteemed the most surprising and captivating singer the world has ever produced.
* Les tons de sa voix sont quelquefois tout-à-fait uniques. Elle les produit par des contortions du visage très bizarres. Détournant le
coin de sa bouche, comme si elle vouloit cracher dans ton oreille.' Hon. Horace Walpole.
This extraordinary singer, in person, is a giant, and has a voice equal to that of ten ordinary men. It is said of Stentor, who went to the Trojan war, that his voice in loudness equalled that of fifty; and probably fifty moderate voices would not surpass the powerful tones of Lablache. Upon the notes c and d, above the lines, the chorus and orchestra of the Opera House are completely overwhelmed when he chooses to let loose his lungs upon them. We have before spoken of Placci's articulating powers, but this faculty in Lablache is still more wonderful. In the Matrimonio of Cimarosa, he utters twenty syllables in a second of time so distinctly, that they may be heard in the remotest part of the theatre. As Leporello, in Don Giovanni, the weight of his voice in the following passage
Guar - date, Guar - date is truly appalling. In sliding from the upper note to the lower, the instinctive tone which he introduces of a frightened man is so perfectly natural as to fill the audience with the same portion of fear with which he is overwhelmed. His voice is highly flexible, having none of that stiffness usual to bass voices; and though so loud in the upper notes as scarcely to be borne, he is unusually weak in those below the lines.*
For so large a man his activity is remarkable; all his movements are light and easy, and his vivacity and humor are of the most exquisite kind.
· FORZANDO, fz, or sf, or > This striking effect forms a strong feature in the character of modern music; we never find it expressed in any author before the time of Haydn. It may be described as a forcible expression of sound, which is no sooner uttered than it drops into the utmost degree of softness. It has its origin in the ebullition of our passions. We hear it in the expressions of joy, rage, and despair, &c. Indeed it is natural to persons under any violent emotion. Perhaps of all human expressions it is the most terrible, because it impresses us with an idea of agony, and we regard it as an expiring effort. It properly belongs to the sublime, although it may be so burlesqued as to assume a ridiculous character. Like all other forcible expressions, its mean
* The voice of the celebrated Reichel, of Vienna, is formed upon the opposite plan, whose lower tones are compared to that of a double bass, descending to B 6, the lowest note but one upon that instrument.