excerpt from 'Thirty Years of Musical Life in London, 1870-1900' pp. 195-197 (308 words)

excerpt from 'Thirty Years of Musical Life in London, 1870-1900' pp. 195-197 (308 words)

part of

Thirty Years of Musical Life in London

original language

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

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195-197

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text excerpt

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[There] were scores over which he lingered tenderly and long, as over a true "labor of love." One of these was "The Golden Legend." He showed it to me during one of our Sunday chats, and pointed with pride to what he hoped would be some novel effects in the prologue the wailing "diminished" chords for the violins, the exulting clang of the bells, the blare of the brass instruments, the poignant cry, "Oh, we cannot!" uttered by the disappointed demons, and, lastly, the contrast when the organ comes in and the monks chant their grand hymn in broad unison. Novel, indeed, did these effects prove in the rendering-strokes of pure originality on the part of a composer who had heretofore ventured slightly, if at all, beyond the limits of treatment laid down in the scores of his beloved masters, Schubert and Mendelssohn. My outspoken admiration won for me the promise of a copy of the full score of "The Golden Legend" as soon as it should be published; and in due time that copy arrived, with the composer's autograph upon the title-page. This beautiful work was written for and brought out at the Leeds Festival of 1886. There can be no doubt that it immensely enhanced the reputation of the composer, whose genius as a writer of comic operas had been brilliantly exemplified eighteen months before by the production of "The Mikado." The laurels yielded by the Savoy operas were of necessity shared by Sir Arthur with his talented collaborator, Mr. W. S. Gilbert. In regard to the Leeds cantata, the composer certainly owed much to Longfellow's lovely poem and to Mr. Joseph Bennett's adroit adaptation thereof; but, this apart, there was no one to divide with him the glory of a supreme triumph, of an artistic achievement that stood "head and shoulders" above all his previous efforts.

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excerpt from 'Thirty Years of Musical Life in London, 1870-1900' pp. 195-197 (308 words)

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