The Music Criticism of Hugo Wolf

By Hugo Wolf; Henry Pleasants | Go to book overview

wear a Jacobin cap today, a Jesuit habit tomorrow, white tie and tails day after tomorrow, only to run around next day as sansculottes. They change their convictions with their linen, and wear them only for display, as women wear jewellery. All is for appearance's sake, and when they wander in the sunlight they cast no shadow. They talk a lot, understand little, and can do nothing. In fact, they are nothing. But the human individual can bear anything rather than nothingness. They have a title. Is it genuine? I fear not. But being a nobody without profession, without an appropriate title, capable of sweetening their existence only by a fine-sounding name -- it is hard, I grant. So they look for a title at all costs in order to moderate the contempt they feel for themselves. One has to be somebody, or -- oh, wretched fate -- at least seem to be something or other.

1.
A parody on lines from the aria "O Saneta Justitia" from Lortzing's Zar und Zimmermann: "0. ich bin klug und weise, und mich betrügt man nicht."
2.
"Über Richard Wagner's Faust Overtüre" in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, Vol. 45, Nos. 6 and 7. August 1 and 8, 1856.
3.
Bülow had made a speech at the first concert explaining why he wished to substitute Brahms's "Academic Festival" Overture for Beethoven's Egmont Overture. The audience insisted on Beethoven, to which Bülow responded that a Vienna audience in 1810, given a choice between Beethoven and Weigl, would have chosen Weigl. Joseph Weigl ( 1776-1846) was an Austrian, a contemporary of Haydn. Mozart and Beethoven, popular in his time. and much lavored hy the Court. His opera, Die Schweizerfamilie, held its place in the repertoire of German theaters for many years.

31. Vogl as Tristan

December 13, 1884

Herr Vogl, from Munich was the Tristan, or, to speak in his manner, the Trrristan. Compared with this continuous rattle, as, for example, in the upward surging expiation oath: "Tr(rr)ug des Her(rr)zens! Tr(rr)aum der(rr) Ahnung ew'ger(rr) Tr(rr)auer(rr)! einz'ger(rr) Tr(rr)ost," etc., the most hellish racket of the most decrepit, unlubricated coach on our potholed pavement must fall upon the ear as a siren song. The listener is assailed by a sensation of chewing mill wheels, which is quite an imposition. His sensitivity to such disaster may well be somewhat dulled by now, to be sure, Herr von Reichenberg having taken every conceivable pain to accustom the public to clamorous consonants.

Half of this superfluous sibilation and rasping would stand Herr Schittenhelm in good stead, who hardly enunciates any consonants at all. Of the

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