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a view to stimulating the slumbering energy of his colleagues.
Such "chiefs" are famed for their skill in "bringing out" a new
opera in a fortnight; for their clever "cuts"; for the effective
"closes" they write to please singers, and for their
interpolations in other men's scores. Practical accomplishments
of this sort have, for instance, supplied the Dresden Opera with
one of its most energetic Capellmeisters.

Now and again the managers look out for "a conductor of
reputation." Generally none such are to be had at the theatres;
but, according to the feuilletons of the political newspapers,
the singing societies and concert establishments furnish a steady
supply of the article. These are the "music-brokers," as it were,
of the present day, who came forth from the school of
Mendelssohn, and flourished under his protection and
recommendation. They differ widely from the helpless epigonae of
our old conductors: they are not musicians brought up in the
orchestra or at the theatre, but respectable pupils of the new-
fangled conservatoires; composers of Psalms and Oratorios, and
devout listeners at rehearsals for the subscription concerts.
They have received lessons in conducting too, and are possessed
of an elegant "culture" hitherto unknown in the realms of music.
Far from shewing any lack of politeness, they managed to
transform the timid modesty of our poor native Capellmeister into
a sort of cosmopolitan bon ton; which stood them in good stead
with the old-fashioned philistine society of our towns. I believe
the influence of these people upon German orchestras has been
good in many respects, and has brought about beneficial results:
certainly much that was raw and awkward has disappeared; and,
from a musical point of view, many details of refined phrasing
and expression are now more carefully attended to. They feel more
at home in the modern orchestra; which is indebted to their
master--Mendelssohn--for a particularly delicate and refined
development in the direction opened up by Weber's original

One thing however is wanting to these gentlemen, without which
they cannot be expected to achieve the needful reconstruction of
the orchestras, nor to enforce the needful reforms in the
institutions connected with them, viz., energy, self-confidence,
and personal power. In their case, unfortunately, reputation,
talent, culture, even faith, love and hope, are artificial. Each
of them was, and is, so busy with his personal affairs, and the
difficulty of maintaining his artificial position, that he cannot
occupy himself with measures of general import--measures which
might bring about a connected and consistent new order of things.
As a matter of fact, such an order of things cannot, and does not
concern the fraternity at all. They came to occupy the position
of those old fashioned German masters, because the power of the
latter had deteriorated and because they had shewn themselves
incapable to meet the wants of a new style; and it would appear
that they, in their turn, regard their position of to-day as
merely temporary--filling a gap in a period of transition. In the
face of the new ideals of German art, towards which all that is
noble in the nation begins to turn, they are evidently at a loss,
since these ideals are alien to their nature. In the presence of
certain technical difficulties inseparable from modern music they
have recourse to singular expedients. Meyerbeer, for instance,
was very circumspect; in Paris he engaged a new flutist and paid
him out of his own pocket to play a particular bit nicely. Fully
aware of the value of finished execution, rich and independent,
Meyerbeer might have been of great service to the Berlin
orchestra when the King of Prussia appointed him "General
Musikdirector." Mendelssohn was called upon to undertake a
similar mission about the same time; and, assuredly, Mendelssohn
was the possessor of the most extraordinary gifts and attainments.
Both men, doubtless, encountered all the difficulties which had
hitherto blocked the way towards improvements; but they were called
upon to overcome these very difficulties, and their independent
position and great attainments rendered them exceptionally
competent to do so. Why then did their powers desert them? It would
seem as if they had no real power. They left matters to take care
of themselves and, now, we are confronted by the "celebrated"
Berlin orchestra in which the last trace of the traditions of
Spontini's strict discipline have faded away. Thus fared Meyerbeer
and Mendelssohn whilst at Berlin: what are we to expect elsewhere
from their neat little shadows?

It is clear from this account of the survivals of the earlier and
of the latest species of Capellmeisters and Musikdirectors, that
neither of them are likely to do much towards the reorganization
of our orchestras. On the other hand the initiative has been
taken by the orchestral performers themselves; and the signs of
progress are evidently owing to the increasing development of
their technical attainments. Virtuosi upon the different
orchestral instruments have done excellent service, and they
might have done much more in the circumstances had the conductors
been competent.

Exceptionally gifted and accomplished players easily got the
upper hand of the decrepit Capellmeisters of the old sort, and of
their successors, the parvenus without authority--pianoforte
pedagogues patronized by ladies in waiting, etc., etc. Virtuosi
soon came to play a role in the orchestra akin to that of the
prima donna on the stage. The elegant conductors of the day chose
to associate and ally themselves with the virtuosi, and this
arrangement might have acted very satisfactorily if the
conductors had really understood the true spirit of German music.

It is important to point out in this connection that conductors
are indebted to the theatres for their posts, and even for the
existence of their orchestra. The greater part of their
professional work consists in rehearsing and conducting operas.
They ought, therefore, to have made it their business to
understand the theatre--the opera--and to make themselves masters
of the proper application of music to dramatic art, in something
like the manner in which an astronomer applies mathematics to
astronomy. Had they understood dramatic singing and dramatic
expression they might have applied such knowledge to the
execution of modern instrumental music.

A long time ago I derived much instruction as to the tempo and
the proper execution of Beethoven's music from the clearly
accentuated and expressive singing of that great artist, Frau
Schroder-Devrient. I have since found it impossible, for example,
to permit the touching cadence of the Oboe in the first movement
of the C minor Symphony--

[Figure: music example]

to be played in the customary timid and embarrassed way; indeed,
starting from the insight I had gained into the proper execution
of this cadence, I also found and felt the true significance and
expression due to the sustained fermata of the first violins

[Figure: musical example (a single note, a G atop the treble
clef, with a fermata)] [Footnote: Ante, bar 21.]

in the corresponding place, and from the touching emotional
impressions I got by means of these two seemingly so
insignificant details I gained a new point of view, from which
the entire movement appeared in a clearer and warmer light.

Leaving this for the present, I am content to point out that a
conductor might exercise great influence upon the higher musical
culture with regard to execution, if he properly understood his
position in relation to dramatic art, to which, in fact, he is
indebted for his post and his dignity. But our conductors are
accustomed to look upon the opera as an irksome daily task (for
which, on the other hand, the deplorable condition of that genre
of art at German theatres furnishes reason enough); they consider
that the sole source of honour lies in the concert rooms from
which they started and from which they were called; for, as I
have said above, wherever the managers of a theatre happen to
covet a musician of reputation for Capellmeister, they think
themselves obliged to get him from some place other than a

Now to estimate the value of a quondam conductor of concerts and
of choral societies at a theatre, it is advisable to pay him a
visit at home, i.e., in the concert-room, from which he derives
his reputation as a "solid" German musician. Let us observe him
as a conductor of orchestral concerts. Looking back upon my
earliest youth I remember to have had unpleasant impressions from
performances of classical orchestral music. At the piano or
whilst reading a score, certain things appeared animated and
expressive, whereas, at a performance, they could hardly be
recognised, and failed to attract attention. I was puzzled by the
apparent flabbiness of Mozartian Melody (Cantilena) which I had
been taught to regard as so delicately expressive. Later in life
I discovered the reasons for this, and I have discussed them in
my report on a "German music school to be established at Munich,"
[Footnote: "Bericht ueber eine in Munchen zu errichtende deutsche
Musikschule" (1865). See Appendix A.] to which I beg to refer
readers who may be interested in the subject. Assuredly, the
reasons lie in the want of a proper Conservatorium of German
music--a Conservatory, in the strictest sense of the word, in
which the traditions of the CLASSICAL MASTERS' OWN style of
execution are preserved in practice--which, of course, would
imply that the masters should, once at least, have had a chance
personally to supervise performances of their works in such a
place. Unfortunately German culture has missed all such
opportunities; and if we now wish to become acquainted with the
spirit of a classical composer's music, we must rely on this or
that conductor, and upon his notion of what may, or may not, be
the proper tempo and style of execution.

In the days of my youth, orchestral pieces at the celebrated
Leipzig Gewandhaus Concerts were not conducted at all; they were

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