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BY J. S. DWIGHT.
man were one.
Mozart has been called “the Raphael the way it goes," and tried in vain to of Music.” To feel his characteristics play it himself. He was so finely ore most, you should first hear Handel ; ganized that discords were unendurathen he is like moonlight after the broad ble to him; at the sound of a trumpet noon-day sun, a warm, balmy, sum- he turned pale and swooned. A year mer's night, such as lovers choose, or two later he detected the difference smiled upon by the pale moon, and yet of a half-a-quarter of a note in the pitch a night when ghosts walk abroad, and of a violin from what it was the day disturbed by crackling, bloodshot mete- before. Moral and mental qualities oric lights.
corresponded. Extreme affectionateHe was born in Salzburg, in Janua- ness—Ten times a day he would ask, ry, 1756, just three years before the are you sure you love me?" and if death of Handel. His romantic story answered no, in sport, he would burst is better known, and is more of a story, into tears. Love of knowledge,-for than the lives of most of his brothers a period he even renounced his music in the art. Some anecdotes of Mozart and engaged eagerly in the usual studies mingle with our childhood's recollec- of his age; and when he was learning tions of Arabian tales and of whatsoev- arithmetic, the tables, chairs, floors and er was ideal and marvellous to most of walls were covered with figures. But us. We briefly review it that it may music was the great passion. He was be seen how much the music and the a sprightly, playful boy at first, but all
this filed at the sound of that harpsiHe was the child of beautiful pa- chord ; and ever after music was indisrents; which may account for his ex- pensable to all his amusements. The quisite sensibility. His father was a children used to carry their playthings musician of some note, second chapel- in procession from rock to rock with master to the Prince Archbishop; and him, one of the number singing or playdevoted his leisure to the musical cul- ing on a violin. ture of his two children. When the At the age of six, he was taken to boy was three years old his sister, a Munich to play before the Elector, and little girl of seven, began to take les- to Vienna, where he astonished the sons on the harpsichord. The boy was Emperor Francis and his Court. The attracted by the instrument, and would anecdotes told of this excursion, while delight to find out thirds upon it. At they show how wondrously the plant four he played correctly (and it is said unfolded new beauties every day, also with expression) simple airs and minu- show a modest independence and appreets which his father taught him. ciation of himself. He would not play From four to six he actually composed showy trifles, but he put his whole soul these little things and dictated them to into it when he played before good his father, who wrote them down. Ma- judges, and he knew who they were. ny of these are preserved and publish- “ Where is Mr. Wagenseil ?" he said ed. His father going home one day to the Emperor, as he sat down to the with a friend, found the child very bu- harpsichord;" he understands the thing; sily writing. He took from him a pa- send for him;" and the person in quesper covered with blotches of ink, ask- tion, a distinguished composer, was ing what it meant. “ It is a concerto made to take the Emperor's place by I am composing,” said the boy ; “I the piano. “Mr. Wagenseil, I am have finished the first part.” The friend going to play one of your concertos, laughed at the droll make-believe; but and you must turn over the leaves for the father looking at it more closely, me.” exclaimed with delight:
On their return to Salzburg, he took indeed proper notes, and according to with him a little violin, which his father rule; but it is too difficult, nobody can had bought him for a plaything in Vio execute it.” “It is a concerto,” said enna. On this he taught himself to the boy ; " it must be studied ; this is play, as on the harpsichord. One day VOL. XIII.-NO. LXV.
they were trying some new trios at his diately began five or six lines of a jarfather's. The boy begged that he gon recitative, proper to introduce a might play the second violin ; his fa- love song. He then played a symphother refused, thinking it too much for ny, which might correspond with an him. But he pleaded so earnestly, that air composed to the single word, “Afthe person to whom the part was as- fetto.” It had a first and second part, signed interceded for him, and he was which, together with the symphonies, allowed to play along with him, in an was of the length that opera-songs geunder tone, on his little violin. The nerally last. Finding that he was in man soon saw how it was going on, and humor, and, as it were, inspired, I then winking to the others, laid his instru- desired him to compose a song of rage. ment aside, and let the child sustain the The boy again looked back with much part alone, which he did to the end of archness, and began five or six lines of that and two more trios with precision a jargon recitative, proper to precede a and expression.
song of anger. This lasted also about And now begins his public life. The the same time with the song of love; next three years were spent in travel and in the middle he had worked himself ling. The whole Mozart family went up to such a pitch, that he beat his together; the boy of seven and his sister harpsichord like a person possessed, giving concerts. Touching at the rising sometimes in his chair. The principal German cities, they arrived at word he pitched upon for this second Paris, were allowed to appear at Court, extempore composition, was “Perfido." and play before the royal family, and He returned to Salzburg in 1766; were received with admiration. The and there spent one quiet year in reguyoung Princesses, daughters of Louis lar musical studies, (his instinct seems XV.,and the dauphiness, even forgot that to have taught him all thus far,) with they were goddesses, and offered the his father. His models were Handel, boy their hands to kiss, and patted him the younger Bach, (Ch. P. Emanuel, on the cheek; and the duchess and who formed the stepping-stone from the marchioness found out how to do the old strict style to the freer style of like, when they saw nature sanctioned Haydn,) and the most melodious of by such august personages.
Here the old Italian church-writers. The young Mozart composed his first two next year he was playing before the sets of sonatas, which he dedicated to Emperor, Joseph II. in Vienna, again, one of these ladies.
Next they went and composed an opera, which was apto England. His organ-playing in the proved by Metastasio; being now twelve Royal Chapel was the most admired; years old. Another year of study at he gave concerts with his sister, in home prepared him for his career in which all the symphonies were his own Italy. We will not follow him from composing; he played Handel and place to place. He was not yet fifteen, Bach at sight; he played a new opera- and all Italy acknowledged him a masduett, with accompaniments for seve- ter; stars and orders were given him ral instruments from the score, at the in one city; he was made a member of same time singing one part, and cor- the selectest musical society in another, recting the mistakes of his father, who (composing the trial anthem in half an sang the other; he would extemporize hour); the greatest opera composer, a melody to a given bass; and when Hasse, said, " he will eclipse us all ;" the Queen's music-master, holding him he was commissioned to compose the on his knees, would play a piece of an opera for the carnival season in Milan; air, he would continue it in the same and (greatest of all) after two hearings style. But we see the most fore-glim- of the famous “ Miserere," in the mering of his future destiny, as the Pope's chapel, which it was forbidden master in dramatic music, in the fol- to copy on pain of excommunication, lowing anecdote related among others he wrote it all down in all the parts, by the Hon. Daines Barrington : "I without losing a note. Most of his said to the boy that I should be glad to time was spent in Italy, composing hear an extempore 'love-song,' such as operas and music for festival occasions, his friend Manzoli might choose in an now and then returning to execute simiopera. The boy on this (who continu- lar orders in Germany, until 1775, when ed to sit at the harpsichord) looked he returned to Salzburg at the age of back with much archness, and imme- nineteen.
Here ends the chapter of the “in- knowledged as one who had the divine fant phenomenon." The charm was fire in him; still the world would not gone, for vulgar eyes. Inwardly the move at his bidding ; still the natural man had more than kept the promise of consequences of what he was, and had. the child ; but the world—then, as al- a right to expect, did not seem to folways, seeking for a sign”-had no low; still nobody bought what everyeyes to see, nor ears to hear, this real body wanted; he called, but it would miracle. The show was over : what not sound; he was there, but his premarket was there now for genuine me sence did not seem to cause any moverit? The young man who at nineteen ment, or displace any particle of mathad won all the musical honors of Italy, ter, more than an incorporeal ghost ; whose fame filled Europe from London all was well willed and prepared on his to Naples, as a composer in every de- part, and off he would start, but the foot partment of his art, could not find a seemed glued to the ground, as in a patron among all the thousands of mu- nightmare, and so, dismayed, he had to sical noblemen in Germany. For three learn the contradiction between the years he waited in his native city with Ideal and the Actual. In truth, he had the vain expectation of being appoint- not the inherent faculty of influence ; ed chapel-master. Then he started for he was not one of those Powers whom Paris, his mother accompanying him, all heads and hands involuntarily serve. on account of his extreme ignorance of A pale, diminutive young man, with “ “а worldly affairs. He stopped at Mu- countenance remarkable for nothing but nich and Augsburg by the way ; but its variableness," sensitive, nervous, one prince had no vacant place for him; and awkward, seeking sympathy, but and another said, “ It is too early-let with nothing imposing about him. He him go to Italy, and make to himself a hadı not that moral magnetism, by name."
His letters to his father from which a Handel, a Napoleon, and his these places, full of sincerity and vivid own“ Don Juan,” always tell upon the perception of things and relations, and world—always succeed, say what else written in a simple and graceful style, you will of it. We believe he understood show the struggle between his inward himself, and did not care to quarrel consciousness of superiority, and his with a higher will so plainly indicated. perfect humility and nothingness in the He despised ambition, and rather than great world. It was more than vanity, cherish a love of influence for its own which compelled him to say, “ Let the sake preferred to have no influence. prince come to the proof : let him as- Handel was ideal and commanding, semble all the composers of Munich; both. But he was of another mould. let him send for those of Italy, France, Perhaps a man in whom sensibility is Germany, England, and Spain ; I will the main quality, should not have that engage with them all.” In Paris it power. Perhaps it is a wise fatality
The great did not deign which excludes him from all the vulto notice him; the musicians were gar politics of life, and postpones his jealous of him ; the opera-managers influence, that it may not strike, but thought only of catering for a low pub- pervade and last forever. The world, lic taste; for even the great revolution by its very neglect, pays such characin opera produced by Gluck, had not ters the highest compliment, by seemyet taken effect. To add to his mis- ing to take for granted that they are fortunes he lost his mother, and he left the peculiar care of heaven. And so Paris with a heavy heart, renewing his they are. It is mysterious how they vain applications in different places by live without “getting along,” how they the way, for home. Mozart, the ad- glide through circumstances as calmly miration of the world, could not even as the moon through clouds, making with great pains obtain the situation of the clouds look beautiful. And Mozart music-teacher to the children of the so felt it. In one those letters to his fa-. Elector of Mentz, worth forty pounds ther he closes thus : “My best regards a year! This is not a rare case in the to my dear father, and many thanks for history of genius. Real greatness and the compliment which he paid me on the talent of succeeding are separable my birth-day. Let him feel no anxiety; things, not inconsistent with each other, I never lose sight of my God-I acalso not essential to each other. Mo- knowledge his power; dread his wrath ; zart was admired, and everywhere ac- but at the same time, love to admire his
goodness and mercy towards his crea are just the number that there should tures. He will never abandon his ser- be.” Then, at least, his word carried vant; by the fulfilment of His will, weight with it. The emperor could mine is satisfied—by which means I not but respect Mozart's imperial selfcan want nothing, and ought to live possession; and to his honor heard the happily. I shall always make it my opera, and openly applauded. Still he duty to follow punctually the counsels paid the artist poorly, and employed and commands which you may have him little. It was by the sale of smallthe goodness to give me.
er compositions, and in great measure To him the real evil of all this was, by composing waltzes and contrèdanses that it did not allow him to compose, that he eked out a subsistence; while except in the small way of drudgery. Figaro,” and “ Cosi fan tutle," and There was no demand for what he could “Don Juan,” were his recreations. do, what he burned to do. His mind The King of Prussia offered him a was teeming with glorious conceptions, very much larger salary; all his friends which, for the want of a resting place, said, go ; but here he was weak again could not take form. Thus, writing through his affections--a single appeal from Paris about his disappointments, to them on the part of Joseph fixed him he says: “If I were in a place where fast, and he declined the tempting offer, the people had ears to hear, or hearts saying : “ how can I leave my good to feel, or only understood and possess- emperor ?" He was too unworldly to ed a little taste for music, I should laugh take advantage of the tide, and secure heartily at these things; but as far as an increase of salary ; the poor pittance regards a taste for music, I am living of eighty pounds was all he had till the among mere beasts and cattle. An year of his death. Once when this aristocracy, which is from its very na was paid him he exclaimed : “ Too ture the slave of fashion, is deaf or much for what I do ; too little for what blind to every kind of merit that does I could and would do." not bear the stamp of its idol.”
Intensely as he toiled in these years, But it was not meant that the trea- it was with great irregularity. A tensure should be lost. The spirit must dency to indolence and an impulsive fulfil its mission ere it leave the earth. way of doing things is only what we Though destined never to know good might expect from such a temperament. fortune, he found a resting-place at last Thus it is said, the overture to Don in 1780, at Vienna, where he remained Juan, his master-piece, was postponed in the service of the Emperor Joseph to the very night before the first perII., until his death, ten years. In this formance. He began composing about period he produced his greatest works. eleven o'clock, having stimulated his It was blessed, too, by his marriage with faculties with hot punch, his wife sitConstance Weber, whom he passion- ting by him, and telling him all the ately loved, and who was his devoted fairy tales and comic adventures she friend and guide, soothing all his sor- could remember, to keep him awake; rows, and supplying all his want of and while he laughed till the tears ran worldly tact, being a woman of as much down his cheeks, he worked to good energy as loveliness of character. She purpose ; but now and then would nod. was his inspiration while he composed It was finished, however, in time for the first of that great series of works, the orchestra to play it without rehearhis opera “ Idomenea,” which deter- sal. But doubtless he had carried it mined the whole tendency of opera- about in his head for many days; and music since its time. About the same as it embodies the leading features of time he composed another, at the some- the opera itself in an abridged form, what reluctant order of the emperor, certainly not the invention, but the whose taste was for Italian music, using of the invention was the work of “ The Escape from the Seraglio." a single night. An extract from one “ This is too fine for us,” said the em- of his letters may be interesting here : peror, looking over the score, “here are altogether too many notes.” “
“ You say you should like to know my it please your majesty,” replied Mozart, low in writing works of some extent.
way of composing, and what method I fol. (who did not want a noble pride if he can really say no more upon this subject did seem weak at times through too than the following,-for I myself know much desire of being loved,) "there no more about it, and cannot account for
it. When I am, as it were, completely excessive love of pleasure, soon began myself, entirely alone, and of good cheer, to wear upon his health. For the last
say travelling in a carriage, or walking three or four years of his life he worked after a good meal, or during the night with an incredible rapidity, yet with a when I cannot sleep-it is on such occa- perfect throughness of execution, which sions that my ideas flow best and most seemed inspired by the presentiment abundantly. Whence and how they come that he had not long to live, and that I know not, nor can I force them. Those there was still the secret of his life to ideas that please me I retain in memory, be told. and I am accustomed, as I have been told, is a truth which grew upon him with a
“ Life is short and art is long," to hum them to myself. If I continue in this way, it soon occurs to me how I may The very last few
months of his life
more and more alarming emphasis. turn this or that morsel to account, so as to make a good dish of it—that is to say, witnessed the production of three of agreeably to the rules of counterpoint, the his greatest works. The opera of the peculiarities of the different instruments, Magic Flute," was undertaken to &c. All this fires my soul; and, provided save an opera manager from bankruptI am not disturbed, my subject enlarges cy. It was produced in a month-a itself, becomes methodized and defined, month during which he wrote day and and the whole, though it be long, stands night, letting nothing tempt him from almost finished and complete in my mind, his work till he sank back exhausted so that I can survey it, like a fine picture, on his couch. His wife and friends or a beautiful statue, at a glance. Nor do would try to win him from his infatuI hear in my imagination the parts suc
ated abstraction in which he was fast cessively, but I hear them, as it were, all at once. The delight this gives me I can- tending to realize his own presentiment, not express. All this inventing, this pro- by getting him out to walk, amid the ducing, takes place, as it were, in a pleas- green fields and happy groups of peoing, lively dream ; still the actual hearing ple, a sight always grateful to him. of the tout ensemble is, after all, the best. But in vain. He walked as a duty; What has been thus produced I do not his mind was studying far away the easily forget; and this is, perhaps, the best while. She would get his friends to gift I have my Divine Maker to thank for. visit him late at night, as if by acci
« When I proceed to write down my dent ; but he would not talk; he would ideas, I take out of the bag of my memo- write on as if they were not present, ry, if I may use that phrase, what has till sleep or exhaustion overcame him. previously been collected into it in the While yet in the midst of this work, way I have mentioned; for this reason, the coronation of the Emperor Leopold the committing to paper is quickly done; called him away to the composition of for everything, as I said before, is already another
opera ; and a fortnight witfinished, and it rarely differs on paper nessed the conception and completion from what it was in my imagination. At of his “ Clemenza di Tito." Still the this occupation I can, therefore, suffer myself to be disturbed; for, whatever may
“ Zauberflöte" went on, was ready by be going on around me, still I write, and the day appointed, and its magic music even talk on trifling matters. But why saved the sinking manager. It was a productions take from my hand that par- perfect “ Midsummer Night's Dream" ticular form and style which makes them in music, full of the most exquisite and Mozartish, and different from the works fairy-like inventions and of beautiful of other composers, is probably owing to songs, like the “Dolce Concento" and the same cause which renders my nose the Manly Heart," which have beso-and-so, large or aquiline, or, in short, come as common as Scotch songs, yet makes it Mozart's, and different from never can be hacknied. It seemed a those of other people ; for I really do not miracle how he completed it. He said study to aim at any originality., I should, that the whole second act was conin fact, not be able to describe in what ceived in one day in a stage-coach, mine consists; though I think it quite and that he only wanted more hands to natural that persons who have really an write it down fast enough. It was individual appearance of their own, are also differently organized from others, played over one hundred nights in sucboth externally and internally. Let this cession. He directed the performance suffice, and never, my best friend, never in person only the few first times ; his trouble me again with such subjects.” health permitted it no longer ; but he
would sit looking at his watch and Excessive application, together with imagine the progress of the piece; say