excerpt from 'Recent Music and Musicians' pp. 170-171 (278 words)

excerpt from 'Recent Music and Musicians' pp. 170-171 (278 words)

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Recent Music and Musicians

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My mind is peculiarly vacillating about this artist. First of all, nothing could exceed my surprise and admiration; his constant and venturesome flights, his newly discovered source of flageolet tones, his gift of fusing and beautifying subjects of the most heterogeneous kind; all these phases of genius so completely bewildered my musical perceptions, that for several days afterwards my head seemed on fire and my brain reeled. I never wearied of the intense expression, soft and melting like that of an Italian singer, which he could draw from his violin, and dazzled as I was, I could not quarrel with him for adopting the 'maniera del gatto', a term of opprobrium, showing how averse the Italians are to this style, which I dislike so intensely that I should only like to hear it once in every leap year. Suffice it to say, my admiration of this phenomenon, equally endowed by nature and art, was boundless. Now, however, after hearing him frequently, all this is changed; in every one of his compositions I discover the same effects, which betrays a poverty of invention; I also find both his style and manner of playing monotonous. His concertos are beautiful, and have even their grand moments; but they remind me of a brilliant fire-work on a summer's eve, one flash succeeding the other - effective, admirable - but always the same. His 'Sonate Militaire', and other pieces have a southern glow about them, but this hero of the violin cannot dispense with the roll of the drum; and completely as he may annihilate his less showy colleagues, I long for a little of Spohr's earnestness, Baillot's power, and even Mayseder's piquancy.

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excerpt from 'Recent Music and Musicians' pp. 170-171 (278 words)


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