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traceable to his anti-realistic and one-sided ideality.

With the supernal geneology, motives, actions and ends of his personages, he could partly divest his actors of their objectionable humanity; but he could not divinize the voice, and it was his great fault not to feel that it is divine. The voice entered from necessity in the general plan of his drama. But how gladly he would have dispensed with it. had it been possible! And he came so near it that the presentation of his operas in symphonic garb is becoming more and more popular, and may even now give a hint of what is to be the fate of his music.


It was Wagner's ambition to resuscitate the Greek theater. What the Greek theater used to be is the more obscure for the misty researches of archeologists. It is the apple of discord," said Marpurg. The erudite Fux thought that "We might as well try to unravel the old chaos." Three hymns with Greek notation, and the first Pythian ode of Pindar, alleged to have been discovered in the sixteenth century, are the only four pieces left us of antiquity; and if they were authentic, which is very much doubted, they would give us a most soporific impression of what that music of the Greeks was, which is known to have had such prodigious effects on the people.

The Greeks had a most euphonious language. It has retained its beauty almost intact to our days. Colombat de l'Isere places modern Greek before Italian itself, for its adaptability to singing. On the perfection of a language in which articulate and singing sounds were akin and inclined to make one, a system of musical declamation could be based, which could not be transferred into the harsh, guttural language in which Wagner wrote. And it is, in fact, from the invasion of the barbarians of the North, with their loud voices and rude dialects, that dates the decadence and final loss of Greek music, the substitution of learned devices instead of pure emotional delivery, of harmony instead of melody. The consequence has been an ever widening separation and ultimate divorce between vocal and instrument

al music, a constant struggle of each for supremacy, and so far the failure of both to seal a perfect reconciliation.

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Selections from the old operas, sung at the piano, lose little of their musical value and dramatic effect, and are still applauded in concerts and in the drawing room. This may prove the universality of an innate love for melody; but it is, to a certain extent, the condemnation of the composers who, professing to use the orchestra, used it to so little purpose that it can be omitted with no detriment to their works.

No one will reproach Wagner for having disappointed the venders of sheet music, street whistlers and organ grinders. Morever he cannot be accused of having made an in consistent use of the voice, which always was to him but an . uncongenial factor; and, at this point of view, it is rather to his credit that whole scenes of his lyric dramas played by the orchestra are not affected by the omission of the vocal parts. But, on general grounds, I ask, should the excess which is acknowledged to be a vice in melodists be declared a virtue in symphonists, and the writers of orchestral operas be glorified where the voice opera writers are vilifled?

This is not so much said for Wagner, who is an exception in art, as for those who are distorting their own talents in the imitation of his idiosyncrasies. It might only be suggested that amateurs of the drama must miss in those orchestral representations the action, which cannot take place without the actor. When the singer is savagely reproved for "" singing too well," the time has come to do without him. Why would not Wagner's entire operas be produced with gesticulators on the stage, and librettos in the hands of the audience? Such performances would do better justice to the coherent work of the master, and would have with those of Greece this resemblance, that they could take place in presence of thousands and thousands of people, and this advantage over them that, without resorting to the reinforcing mask of the ancients, they would carry to the farthest ends of the largest amphitheater the stirring discourse of the grandest orchestra of modern times.

But, magnificent as to-day's orchestra is to us, and wonderful as the use made of it by Wagner, who can tell what will become of it? The very progress of the orchestra, dependent itself on the advancement of musical science and on the improvement of old instruments and invention of new ones, at the same time as it proves its perfectibility, proves also the imperfection to which, owing to the gropings and limitations of human knowledge and ingenuity, it is doomed forever.

From what we know of the poetry, painting, sculpture and architecture of the Greeks, it is natural to infer that they were in music artistically equal to themselves. But while their melodies which were agreeable to their ears might not be disagreeable to ours, how would it be with their orchestra? How will it be with our orchestra, of which we are so proud? Supposing that no radical changes are made in music, new qualities, new sonorities will certainly be added to the orchestra, perhaps old ones left aside, which might make it in a few centuries unrecognizable to the musicians of our times, could they hear it. Mozart reorchestrated the "Messiah." Franz reorchestrated it again, Wagner himself retouched the ninth symphony. All this within a comparatively short space of time. Why should not the time come when Wagner's orchestra will have to be modernized?

The voice dates from the creation of man, and will be to the end of time what it was at the beginning. It has neither the compass of a violin, nor the power of a trumpet, but it will ever be the endeavor of all instruments to imitate its expressiveness, and the highest praise of a player is that he makes his instrument sing. We speak of the music of the future, of the orchestra, of the opera of the future; who would speak of the voice of the future? The voice of the future is to be the voice of the past, the voice of to-day, the same voice forevermore.

Only one perfect instrument-breath made sonorous, life itself audible-the voice. Why not make of that one permanent perfection the center of the musical economy, and, in all artistic combinations admitting of its partnership,

give it the place which the sun holds in the planetary system? Then, and only then, beside radiating the light of truth and the warmth of humanity, will the works thus fecunded contain in them the germs of immortality!



It is a peculiarity, noticeable through the whole history of art, that great men are imitated in the most questionable features of their work, as though imitators were called to accent by exaggeration, for the easier appreciation and verdict of posterity, the faults of the imitated.

The lyric comedy is below the consideration of our modern composers; they leave it to the tender mercies of waltz writers, who are having a good time of it. They swell their cheeks, and grope in the grandiose. Wagner slighted the singer, checked in himself as vulgar inspirations the divine melodies, fragmentary bits of which illuminate now and then his most dreary measures, and made of the voice but a fireman's trumpet to the orchestra. They, the pygmies, grotesquely groan under the tons of brass which the master handled with the ease of a giant. Where the skillful control of a powerful hand shaped noises into things of art, they, like children, set the big machine in motion, and have not the secret to stop it. And in that deafening charivari the voice is more than ever lost.

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That which, as melody and the voice, is natural, is like nature inexhaustible, infinite. That which, as harmony and the orchestra, is artificial, is like the artificer in his cunning and resources, limited in the originality and variety of its effects. This is so true that, were it not for the melodies of their song writers, the different countries of Europe would be threatened with the total loss of their musical individualities, and that national characteristics, outside of rhythmic forms and dances, are fast disappearing in the uniformity of results produced by the similarity of orchestral methods.

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When it chooses to renounce the unbounded freedom of its own realm, and to turn from the symphony to the opera, the orchestra should be prepared to meet the double control of the written word and of the human voice. It gave expression in the symphony to the subtlest fancies of its own imagination and feeling. It must now confine itself to color the drawing already traced, to emphasize the sentiments already expressed, to idealize or sensualize the various emotions awakened by the poem. A noble role still, if not the royal one.

What should be thought of the composer who, pretending that all artistic creations are of man for man, would take it into his head to keep his instruments within the compass of the voice, and to string chaplets of singable melodies from the first to the last movement of his symphony? Is it any better, under the cover of collaboration, to carry disloyally into the opera the processes of the symphony, and to make of the singer but a mannekin for orchestral tales to hang on?

For a rose to be a rose in our eyes and admiration, there is no need that we should be shown the ground where it grew, the bush on which it rocked, the garden whose pride it was, the butterfly that flirted with it, the sun that smiled at it, the boor that plucked it. It will neither look more beautiful nor smell sweeter for being presented to us with an accompanying card of six or more pictures to that effect.

I want to believe that symphonic accompaniments to the voice in opera are not gratuitous exhibitions of technical skill, and that the intertwining of so many orchestral designs under, over and all around the melody, are inspired by æsthetic considerations as plausible at least as those mentioned in the case of the rose. Are they better advised? How often, with score in hand, I have failed to hear in the orchestra the figures which I was reading on the paper! After choking the melody, they interchoked themselves. How often melodies which had struck me at the piano for their poetical beauty or dramatic meaning, left me cold at the performance, or passed altogether unnoticed, because of the accompaninents, intended to enhance and complete their effect!

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