« AnteriorContinua »
Emperor William appointed him. Knight of the Order "pour le merite" for Arts and Sciences.
what the young pianist had done, and they were all warm in their praise of him, especially the violinist Joachim, who asked to meet him, and gave him several letters to influential people, among them Liszt and Schuman.
At Duesseldorf Schuman received Brahms kindly, but when he heard his first compositions he waxed enthusiastic. He greeted the young German as a master, and ended by writing the article already mentioned, which immediately focused attention upon the new genius.
After a short stay in Duesseldorf Brahms gave a concert in Leipsic, and spent a short time with Liszt at Weimar. A little later he accepted a post as music master and director of the orchestra and chor
us at Detmold. For four years he lived in almost unbroken privacy now in Hamburg, now in Switzerland, and at last in Vienna which he selected as his permanent home.
There is little in Brahm's life to interest the reader. The only events were the appearance every now and then of a new set of compositions, some of which were favorably received, while others were criticised because the audience could "make neither head nor tail of them." He had at different times important positions as leader, among them the directorship of the Vienna Choral Society in 1863, and of the concerts of the "Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde" (Society of the Friends of Music) from 1872-1875. The philosophical faculty of the University of Breslau awarded him the title of Doctor of Philosophy in 1879; the Academy of Arts of Berlin elected him a foreign member; the King of Bavaria decorated him with the "Maximilian Order of of Arts and Sciences;" and in 1887
But neither fame nor honors ever made him other than the modest unassuming boy who made his appearance before Schuman. He disliked being lionized, and would do anything to escape public notice. Once he was taking a walk when a gentleman approached and asked if he was the great musician Brahms. "Oh, you must mean my brother, he was taking a walk with me on the hill just now," answered the composer pointing behind him; he then made a hasty escape.
At a dinner after one of his concerts a man with oratorical ambitions made a lengthy flattering speech in honor of the now famous Brahms. His chagrin may be imagined when Brahms, instead of making a like response, arose and said, very coldly, "I thank you," and as soon as possible left the banquet.
At another dinner Joachim arose, and with a bow toward Brahms proposed the health of the greatest. composer. Before he could pronounce the name, Brahms jumped to his feet and cried, "Quite right. Here's Mozart's health."
Gentle, quiet, undemonstrative, he made few enemies and many friends. When musicians wrangled. over the merits of his works he won their respect by refraining from entering the contest in his own defense, and well deserved this praise from the pen of one of his critics: "He is a great man, generous and upright, without envy, without arrogance, free from all taint of the meaner emotions, wholly single hearted in the service of his ideal."
That his ideal was high is at
tested by the quality of his work. His models were Bach and Beethoven, and no composer since the days of those immortals, seems, in the opinion of many critics, better fitted to wear the mantle which they laid aside. "He is the first composer since Beethoven to sound the notes of the sublime," writes one critic; and another, "He was not only the greatest variationist of his time, but with Bach and Beethoven the greatest of all times."
He was a wonderfully prolific writer. He wrote four magnificent symphonies, the highest of all musical forms, three great piano sonatas, two piano concertos, one violin concerto, one double concerto for violin and violincello, a large number of splendid chorals, hundreds of compositions for piano and other instruments, and hundreds of songs.
The magnificent "German Requiem," produced for the first time in the Breman Cathedral, is the finest example of his compositions for chorus. "It remains a monument of serious, lasting art, of eloquent expression and consummate technical skill."
Of his songs some of the best known are "Mainacht," "Wie bist due meine Koenigin," "Meine Liebe is Grieen," "Willkommen holde Sommernacht," and the well known "Wiegenlied." Someone has aptly said "In his songs Brahms is as simple, as manly, as tender as Robert Burns."
There are among his piano pieces sixteen "Waltzes" and twenty-one "Hungarian Dances," many of which appear constantly on the best concert programs. But the com
position which great virtuosos have made famous is the "Variations on an Air by Paganini," a work which taxes a pianists utmost technical skill. It has been said that "it requires fingers of steel, a heart of buring lava, and the courage of a lion."
Much of Brahms's music is too deep to appeal at once to the ear which is not trained to an apreciation of classical music. There is at first something in it remote, formal, almost cold, but for those who will study it there is a veritable mine of beauty. It was the result of slow careful work, for Brahms was contemplative rather than passionate, and unlike Rubenstein was his own severest critic. He had wonderful ideas, great patience in developing them, and a splendid imagination that colored the whole.
Brahms never married. "No," he answered, when a friend rallied him on his bachelor state, "It is as hard to marry as to write an opera, perhaps in both-a first success might embolden one to try again, but it wants more courage than mine to make a start."
Early in 1896 his health began. to fail. He went to Carlsbad in the hope of recovery, but the next winter symptoms of a cancerous growth appeared, after several months of suffering he died April 3, 1897 at Vienna.
For half a century he followed his ideal, "pursuing the beautiful in its most elusive and difficult form," living solely for his art, and the highest praise we can give him. are Mr. Hunnecher's words, "He was a maker of absolute music."
An Alphabet of Women.
For why should men do all the deeds?
MADAME EMMA CALVE, the noted singer, is of Spanish and French. parentage. Besides her wonderful voice, she possesses great dramatic power and a beautiful personality. She has been the unrivaled "Carmen" of the operatic stage. Her "Lautuzza" was a great bit of pathos and passion.
CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN was an American actress of great power. She died in 1876. Her grave is in Mt. Auburn cemetery. Her strongest female roles were "Meg Merrilies," which she made famous, "Lady Macbeth," and "Nancy Sykes." She was fond of impersonating male characters, and played "Romeo," "Wolsey," "Claude Melmotte," and "Hamlet." Charlotte Cushman had a hard early life. Her slender salary as utility woman supported more than herself of her family. One day the "Meg Merrilies" was ill. The utility woman was called upon to fill it at almost a moment's notice. It was her opportunty, and her genius asserted itself. In a sudden inspiration, she gave the character a wierdness that held the audience and surprised the manager. It was the beginning of the great Charlotte Cushman, afterwards Macready's chief support.
ALICE AND PHOEBE CARY, though of little education, began to write. early. They are best known by "The Young Soldier," "The Gray Swan," "The Faded Shawl," "Jenny Dunleath," "The Might of Love," "Balder's Wife," "One of Many," "The Old Homestead," "An Order for a Picture;" with the children's
poems, "Three Bugs" ("Three little bugs in a basket, and hardly room for two"), "Barbara Blue," "The Grateful Swan," and "Peter Grey" (who goes on working all the day, always climbing up the way, while those who to laugh at him stop on a lower round will wake, they say, to see him sitting on the top), of Alice Cary; and of Phoebe, "One Sweetly Solemn Thought," "The Leak in the Dike," "Fair Eleanor," "Old Pictures,' "Our Homestead," "Love Cannot Die," "A Woman's Answer;" and for children, "The Robin's Nest," "The Good Little Sister," "The Chicken's Mistake," "The Envious Wren," and "The H. ppy Little Wife," are among the best known. The sisters are deservedly popular American poets. Both died in 1871.
VITTORIA COLONNA, Italy's bestknown poetess, is remembered chiefly for her close friendship with Michael Angelo, to whom she was an inspiration in his later years of art, and whom she made a poet. She was a good and beautiful woman, an honored associate of the foremost men of her time (1490-1547). Her poems were worthy of a religious nature, and in praise of her dead husband.
MARIE CORELLI's real name is Minnie Mackay. She is the daughter of Charles Mackay, editor of the Illustrated London News, New York correspondent of London. Times during our Civil War, etc., etc., a prose writer, one of his
books being "A History of the Mormons," and a poet. He was born in Scotland.
The distinguished daughter of this distinguished father makes her home in Hartford-on-Avon. She is a close friend of Mary Anderson Navarro and other notables. It is scarcely necessary to mention that she is the author of "A Romance of Two Worlds," "Thelma," "Aidapth," "The Master Christian," etc., etc., books that have and are constantly stirring up criticism on account of their mysticism, but which undoubtedly display great force and originality.
Among many women writers may be named Jeanne Campau (French), lady-in-waiting to Marie Antionette, whose private life she wrote; Helen Stuart Campbell (American), who wrote "The Problem of the Poor" (1882), and other books of a sociological character; Emelia Flygare Carlin (Swedish), who gives excellent studies of middle class life, her best novel being "A Warehouse on the Cliffs;" Jane Welsh Carlyle (Scottish), wife of the famous "Sartor-Resartus"-Thomas, who edited her wellknown "Letters;" Anna E. Carroll (American), a political writer"The Great American Battle" (1856); Mrs. Elizabeth Champney (American) who wrote "The Vassar Girls Abroad" series and other books for juveniles; Elizabeth Chandler, who wrote poems favoring anti-slavery; Isabelle Chariere, (French), one of the most accomplished women of her day (17461805), novelist, dramatist, and miscellaneous writer; Mrs. Cheney, an American writer and lecturer, author of "Life of Louisa M. Alcott," "Sally, the Mountain Girl," and who ought to be mentioned for
writing a story sequel to Ibsen's "The Doll's House," which she called "Nora's Return;" Ada Christen (Austrian, born 1844), author of praiseworthy poetry and prose tales "From Life;" Mary B. Claflin, wife of Governor Claflin of Massachusetts, a life trustee of Wellesley College, eighteen years trustee of Boston University, and writer of many things, "Recollections of Whittier," among them; Mary Cowden Clarke (English), biographer, story-writer and Shakespearian scholar; Marie Colbau (Norwegian, 1814-1844), author of "Jeg Lever" and other novels with a strong human touch, and ideal quality; Sara Coleridge (English), poetess, author, distinguished daughter of an illustrious father (Samuel Taylor Coleridge), who was gifted in scientific and classical learning; Mrs. Ada Collier (American), who, among other poems, gave us the "Legend of the First Woman; Marchioness Colombi, author, modern sociological novelist, giving strong pictures of Italian peasant life sorrows; Eliza Cook (English); died 1889); having "The Old Arm Chai" among her best known poems; Joanna Courtmares (Flemish), dramatist, novelist, poet and story-writer (twenty-two volumes of stories alone), who excels in he descriptions, of common life; Dinah Mulock Craig (English), decidedly well-known by her "John Halifax, Gentleman," and other novels; Juana Cruz, the "Mexican Inn," who wrote on religious themes; Mrs. Custer, wife of General Custer, known for her soldier sketches; Mrs. Rose Terry Cooke who began in the Atlantic Monthly, being a distinguished writer who has also had her say on the "terrible Mormon question;" and Carmen Sylva,
Queen of Roumania, German by birth, who is known to us in even newspapers for her pretty fairy tales and other writings.
CHARLOTTE CORDAY, mistaken, perhaps, in her heroism, was composed of the qualities that queens should be made of. Resolute, brave, unselfish, full of love for her people, was the gentle, innocent girl who journeyed alone in cruel times, and unaided in any way, plunged a knife into the bosom of the infamous Marat during that hideous period of the French Revolution.
Charlotte Corday was the granddaughter of the great tragic French poet Corneille. She was of a noble family that had been forced by privation to live the life of peasants. Believing that the death of the monster Marat would bring peace to France, she gladly placed her head under the guillotine.
CLEOPATRA, QUEEN OF EGYPT, EGYPT, when shall thy fascination fade? Had Cleopatra been sitting on the bank thereof, Caesar would not have crossed the Rubicon! In fact that river would have dried up, for Caesar would have taken all the
Rubi's out to make bracelets for Cleopatra. Which is rather a bad pun. But Cleopatra's story is too well known to need even brief telling. She was joint ruler with her brother, who, according to Egyptian custom was also her husband. Driven from her throne by his guardian, she was restored to it by Caesar. Another brother being placed to rule with her, she poisoned him, and joined Caesar in Rome. Then came the battle of Philippi. A new conqueror was upon the scene-a new conqueror to be conquered. It was Marc Antony. He bade her appear before him. She went grandly (see Shakespeare) up the river in a gorgeous barge with maidens and music. herself a wonderful Venus rising from the sea. Antony became her slave. When she fled, at the battle of Actium, he "flung away the world," and followed her. Upon being told that she had destroyed herself, he fell upon his sword, and learning too late his mistake, had himself. carried to her to die in her arms. Cleopatra, failing to make a conquest of Augustus, placed an asp in her bosom, and died from its bite.
Florence L. Lancaster.
From over yon mountains away and away
I watched and I waited day after day,