Programme Music in the Last Four Centuries: A Contribution to the History of Musical Expression

By Frederick Niecks | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III.

FIFTH PERIOD CONTINUED: A MISCELLANY OF COMPOSERS
BORN BEFORE THE END OF THE 18TH CENTURY--BOIELDIEU,
AUBER, ROSSINI, KALKBRENNER, MOSCHELES, LÖWE, AND
MEYERBEER.

Before proceeding to the generation of composers that arose about the year 1810, I must set down a few notes regarding some more of the earlier masters. BOIELDIEU ( 1775-1834), in the overture to Le petit Chaperon rouge ( 1818), endeavours to tell part of the story of that opera, and places the programme under the music phrase by phrase. A more honourable mention is due to AUBER ( 1782-1871) for the clever orchestral interpretation of the dumb Fenella's thoughts and gestures in La Muette de Portici, in England called Masaniello ( 1828). In mentioning this detail I am reminded of a remark by Wagner, who was an enthusiastic admirer of the opera--namely, that the music seemed to him to be real music-pictures. ROSSINI ( 1792- 1868) had a liking for all sorts of tone-painting, but especially for storms. Everybody must remember that in the third act of Il Barbiere di Siviglia. In Guillaume Tell there are two, one in the fourth act (Tempesta), and a finer one in the overture. GEORGE ONSLOW ( 1784- 1852), a Frenchman of British descent on his father's side, famous as a composer of chamber music, depicts in his fifteenth Quintet the pain, the irregular beating of the pulse,

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