excerpt from 'Reminiscences of Michael Kelly' pp. 77-79 (386 words)

excerpt from 'Reminiscences of Michael Kelly' pp. 77-79 (386 words)

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Reminiscences of Michael Kelly

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At Drury Lane Theatre, March 12, 1796, was the first representation of the "Iron Chest," written by my friend George Colman. The music, composed by Storace, was, I believe, the cause of his premature and lamented death. On the first rehearsal, although labouring under a severe attack of gout and fever, after having been confined to his bed for many days, he insisted upon being wrapped up in blankets, and carried in a sedan-chair to the cold stage of the playhouse. The entreaties and prayers of his family were of no avail, go he would; he went, and remained there to the end of the rehearsal. The agony I suffered, during the time, is beyond my power of description. He went home to his bed, whence he never rose again. The last twelve bars of music he ever wrote, were the subject of the song (and a beautiful subject it is), "When the robber his victim had noted;" which I sang in the character of Captain Armstrong. I called upon him the night of the day in which he had been at the rehearsal; he sent for me to his bedside, and pressing my hand, said, "My dear Mic, I have tried to finish your song, but find myself unable to accomplish it; I must be ill, indeed, when I can't write for you, who have given so much energy to my compositions. I leave you the subject of your song, and beg you will finish it yourself; no one can do it better ; and my last request is, that you will let no one else meddle with it." Saying these words, he turned on his side, and fell into a slumber; and never, never did I see him more! His memory will for ever live in the hearts of all who have heard his compositions ; for the drafts of true genius, though they may not be honoured so soon as they come due, are sure to be paid with compound interest in the end : this is an old maxim, and, I hope, a true one. He died March the 16th, in the thirty-third year of his age. It is a singular coincidence, that three such great musical geniuses as Purcell, Mozart, and Storace, were nearly of the same age when fate ordained them to their early graves.

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excerpt from 'Reminiscences of Michael Kelly' pp. 77-79 (386 words)


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