excerpt from 'The Diary of an invalid, being the journal of a tour... in Portugal, Italy, Switzerland and France, 1817-1819' pp. 209-210fn (454 words)

excerpt from 'The Diary of an invalid, being the journal of a tour... in Portugal, Italy, Switzerland and France, 1817-1819' pp. 209-210fn (454 words)

part of

The Diary of an invalid, being the journal of a tour... in Portugal, Italy, Switzerland and France, 1817-1819

original language

urn:iso:std:iso:639:ed-3:eng

in pages

209-210fn

type

text excerpt

encoded value

Convalescence. Visited the opera for the first time. Of all the stupid things in the world, a serious opera is perhaps the most stupid, and the opera of to-night [Armida] formed no exception to this observation. The theatre is, I believe, the largest in Europe, and it is certainly too large for the singers, whose voices sound like penny trumpets on Salisbury Plain.*

 

* It ought to excite little wonder, that there are so few good singers in Italy; for she is unable, from her poverty, to retain those whom she has herself formed. […] Besides, the Italians of the present day have no taste for the higher kinds of music,—for full and grand harmonies,—or for instrumental music in general. If you talk to them of Haydn, Mozart, or Beethoven, they shrug up their shoulders, and tell you—" E Musica Tedesca,non ci abbiamo gusto." Cherubini, their only really great composer, might perhaps be cited as an exception, […] What the Italians like, is an easy flowing melody, unincumbered, as they would call it, with too much harmony. Whatever Corinne may say to the contrary, they seem to have little or no relish for impassioned musicTake an example of the taste of the times from the Opera of to-night—Armida— the composition of their favourite Rossini. His operas are always easy and flowing;—abounding in prettinesses and melting cadenzas, but he never reaches, nor apparently does he attempt to reach, the sustained and elevated character which distinguishes the music of Mozart. But Rossini's works ought not to be too severely criticised; for the continual demand for new music is greater than any fertility of head could supply. The Italians never like to go back;—without referring so far as their own great Corelli—Cimarosa, Paisiello, and others of equally recent date, are already become antiquated; and as Rossini is almost their only composer, he is obliged to write an opera in the interval of a few weeks, between the bringing out of the last, and its being laid on the shelf.

 It is a sad tantalizing thing to hear music in Italy which you may wish to carry away with you; for they have no printed music!—This alone is sufficient to indicate the low state of the art. From Naples to Milan, I believe, there is no such artist as an Engraver of Music , and you never see a Music shop. You must therefore go without it, or employ a Copier, whose trade is regulated by the most approved cheating rules. He charges you according to the quantity of paper written on, and therefore takes care not to write too closely.

 

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excerpt from 'The Diary of an invalid, being the journal of a tour... in Portugal, Italy, Switzerland and France, 1817-1819' pp. 209-210fn (454 words)

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