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seems anxious to pour out its wrath upon traditional limits in the domain of art, when I appear circumscribed by the old border-line which the historical development of music has drawn between vocal and instrumental music. Besides its pure form, the latter certainly is found also as an accompaniment and introduction to the first, just as in a historical picture human figures may be surrounded by a landscape. Instrumental music, as preparatory to vocal music, may be treated either as an introduction, that is, it arouses the state of mind which on the entrance of the human voice is immediately exposed and unfolded, -I mention especially, by way of example, the introduction to the Messiah, with its sad tones, as a preparation for the “ Comfort ye, Comfort ye my people ;" or it is an overture, that is, it expresses, after the manner of pure instrumental music, the same contents that the opera or oratorio represents in the manner of dramatic or lyric vocal music, including the immediately accompanying instrumental music. Examples of this sort it is unnecessary to quote. All these are forms and associations that are justified by the nature of the case. That instrumental music may, but vocal music may never, serve as acco
ccompaniment, is explained by the same circumstances as the other, that the human voice used as introduction to a piece of pure instrumental music would be a monstrosity; that is, from the greater definiteness that belongs to vocal music from its dependence upon words, and from the immediate expressiveness that it acquires from the organ of the human voice.
Now in the case of the ninth symphony, instrumental music, it is true, as we have allowed to be admissible, precedes vocal music; but neither as introduction nor as overture, (which, moreover, considered even externally, may not be greater than the word to be introduced). Not as overture ; for it does not in its way comprehend the contents of the following vocal music. On the contrary, it contains nothing at all of the contents, it merely seeks and strives after it. And yet it can just as little be considered an introduction ; for it does not simply prepare the way for a first vocal movement, whch is afterwards unfolded in a series of movements and situations, but on the other hand itself runs through a series of movements and moods, to which the song coming in at the end is related as only one mood more.
Pure instrumental music, especially the symphony, starts from this premiss : the circle of human feelings and moods that are necessary to a complete work of art, made up of different parts, may be expressed, without the co-operation of the human voice, by the mere co-working of different instruments. On the other hand, vocal music starts from the counter supposition : that, as human feeling is inseparable from thought, and its natural organ is the human voice, its full musical expression, also, is possible only through the human voice in union with words. Both premisses are correct in their proper place, and the musician may, as he chooses, take his stand on the ground of either : he may, in different productions, change from one to the other ; but in one and the same work he may not, unless he would destroy its unity. When the composer of an opera introduces his opera with an overture, he says to us, as it were: “ Behold! the work that I am about to bring before you in a dramatico-musical form I can exhibit to you, before the raising of the curtain, in a purely musical representation; but the proper body does not come will afterwards." The opera composer, therefore, in the overture, by no means leaves the stand-point that vocal music (with accompaniment) pre-supposes as the true one. On the other hand, Beethoven, in the ninth symphony, places himself at the outset at just the opposite stand-point. He begins with the instrumental music as earnestly, deeply and perseveringly as if it were the organ best adapted to exhibit in itself all the contents of his feelings ; then, at the end, to throw it aside, and grasp after the human voice as the only sufficient
organ for his purpose. Sufficient for what? For the full expression of human feelings in general ? No! For the expression of one kind of feeling he evidently finds instrumental music quite sufficient—viz., the painful, in all their forms and colors ; but for the expression of the other class of feelings—the joyful—it does not seem to suffice, but here the help of the human voice is indispensable. This assertion allows to the human voice, in connection with words, too much and too little. No! not merely joy-pain even -only the human voice can express in all its depth and intensity ; but so far as instrumental music can express the one it can express the other. No vocal Deus ex machina was needed to loosen a knot tied by pure instrumental music, else why is not such a deus missed in the same master's C minor and A major symphony
To illustrate the relation of vocal and instrumental music, I have instanced above the connection of historical and landscape painting. Now, I would call to mind the attitude of painting in general to sculpture. The latter presupposes that the manifold beauty and significance of the human body can be represented, without color, by mere bodily form. Painting says: “No! I will rather renounce bodily form than have color taken from me.” Here, also, both are right. Both may prove their premisses in different works of art; but in the same work of art they certainly cannot be demonstrated. What should we think of an artist who should prepare the legs, body, breast, and arms of a figure of colorless marble, but who, when he came to the head,
“No! that will not do : I must color the head.” Undoubtedly we should think the man had gone mad. But is not this precisely the case with the ninth symphony?
Therefore, then it makes no difference now, and so I prefer to make a clean breast of it), that fatal impression, whenever the bass in the fourth movement strikes in with its recitative-an impression that I cannot conquer, and that makes me ask myself: “ Have I gone mad, or the music.” It amounts to this, that here the work of art changes its centre of gravity with a jerk, and so seems bound to overset the hearer also. And Beethoven, of all men, who is so incomparably stronger in composition for the orchestra than for the human voice, who, especially in the concluding chorus of one
should say :
symphony, treats the human voice precisely as an instrument ; but, in doing so, quite misses the contrapuntal stamp of Handel's choruses ;—how could he possibly so prejudice himself as to run the danger of such an anti-climax in the very worst place ? For, with all respect to the master, whom I, too, highly honor, I consider this concluding chorus to be the very flattest in the whole ninth symphony.
You will cry out : “ But, obe, jam satis est.!” and, in agreement with the musical public of the day, willingly spare me fur. ther proofs of my right to the title I adopted as the superscription.
ADDRESS BY REV. ROBERT COLLYER,
At the Anniversary of the American Unitarian Association.
(From Cbristian Register, May 30th, 1868.)
good work they are doing in Maine, because I felt just as a man would feel who had a great piece of wild land that he wanted to plant with noble trees, or turn into a garden, and make all beautiful in the light of the sun, and some other man should come along and say to him, “ Down where I live, where it is sheitered and nice, and where we have been cultivating our ground a long time, I have got the finest nursery of young trees you ever saw, and just as soon as they get grown big enough, you can take all that you want, and transplant them on to your ground, and do just what you please to bring that place of yours into order and beauty.” You all understand it, I suppose, that those good folks they are raising down in Maine, in those new parishes, are just as sure to go West, as the sun is sure to go West ; and so you can see how glad it makes a man from the West, who has some sense, I trust, of the vast importance of the Western work, to hear what a good ready they are getting for it in the East ; because I can testify, with my whole heart, fervently, that so far as I have had experience of Liberal Christianity in the West, (and you know it has been now a somewhat lengthered experience), the best people to work and to give, and to keep on working and giving, and to feel tolerant toward you if you make a little mistake, and say, “Well, Collyer will learn better by-and-bye : to be sure, it is foolish, but then there is something good in him, very likely, if we can ever find it, and we will bear with him until we do,”-the best people to work in the Sunday-school, the best people to support the church, the best people to keep running the great vital interests of our Liberal Christianity in the West, are the people who are bred in Maine, and Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, and Vermont. Set that down, reporters! I want that to be known everywhere. We have good men who were Western bred and born — and women, too; good men and women bred and born in other States, but the best of all, I declare to this great audience to night, proudly, are those who have come out of this State in which we are now string and standing, and the States around about ; and some of the best people in my church to-day, are from Brother Everett's church in Bangor. And it need be, friends, that we should have there good folks to help us along, because, I tell you, (very likely it is not the first time you have heard it), that the West, on the whole, is a big thing, and it takes a good deal to handle it, whether it be in the way of the fruits of its agriculture, and the varied life that gathers about that, or in the way of the higher fruits of religion, and the almost infinitely varied life that gathers about that. No doubt, those of you who have been West understand this just as well as I do, so far as you have had observation, but I declare to you that, cheerful as the Lord has made me, and cheerful as I have tried to keep myself, by the various simple methods of good digestion, and eating all I can, and so on, I have felt all the time, as I have lived along there, and seen this great, seething, surging life that is all about us, that the harvest indeed is plenteous, but the laborers are few. However, we are trying (and I suppose that is what you want to know). we are trying in the West, as Brother Evereti's folks in the East are, to do what we can to meet this great demand that is felt everywhere, I assure you, for liberal preaching. In Chicago, with which my personal work is most especially identified, you have learned, no doubt, that we have been trying to do something — Brother Laird Collier (“that totherest Collier,” I call him) and myself, and that, within the last two or three years, some success has attended our efforts. I want especially to mention one thing, which I am sure you will feel glad to hear about, and that is, the great free meeting that was inaugurated in Chicago a year ago, when Brother Hepworth came there and preached in our Opera House to very large congregations, and stirred up the people of the Church of the Messiah and Unity Church to see if something like that could not be carried on through the winter. What the result would be we could not tell, but we hoped for the best. We took the Library Hail.
- a great hail that will hold sixteen hundred men, and very likely about ten hundred ladies; at any rate, that hall held a banging congregation, and we determined to do the best we could to get an audience, and to preach to them the Word of Life. They began to come in— at first, a little suspiciously, they couldn't quite tell what it meant, after Brother Hepworth had gone away. I suppose they did not believe in us as as they did in Brother Hepworth, who had caught them, entranced them, carried them up, and given them great delight, indeed. But we persevered, and did our best. We made up a little hymn book, mostly of Methodist hymns, that sing themselves; only where the Methodists had put in what we thought might look like idolatry, in some use of the good, dear name of Jesus, we substituted the better and dearer name of Father, and they sing just as well. We had such hymns as this :
“Let every mortal ear attend,
And every heart rejoice,
With an inviting voice !" And we would tell the congregation that they had got to sing the hymn as hard as ever they could, and they went in and did it; and I don't think you ever had such singing in Boston as we have had this whole winter in Library Hall, in Chicago. Why, I have been accustomed to say that they sung "like a house a-fire.” The meetings grew larger and larger, gathering in yast numbers of people. Brother Fogg, our good layman from Massachusetts, who was the “ managing editor” of the concern, tried to keep the run of the congregations, and he believes that during the winter twenty thousand strangers came into that meeting and heard such preaching as was given to them from Sunday to Sunday; the congregations varying, he thinks by fully one-half,every Sunday night. Toward the end of the season-about six weeks ago--the congregation had grown so large that we really did not know how to cope with it. We had to tell them, one Sunday night, that they must sit closer,- that the gentlemen would, and the ladies must ; and they did. They did better than you did one Sunday night in the Boston Theatre because they could, and you couldn't. Then the congregations grew larger and larger, until hundreds had to go away; and we have closed those meetings for the season with the deep, glad conviction, that when the right time comes to begin again, we can go into Crosby's large Opera House. Don't you know what that is ? Who of you went into that grand lottery? But it is none the worse place to hold our meetings in, and we shall be as glad to go there as anywhere ; and I have no doubt it will be filled from base to cope every Sunday night with the grandest congregation west of the Alleghanies.
It has been my fortune, or misfortune, — and I have felt that it was my fortune, though it may have been the misfortune of the congregation, have to preach in that Library Hall every Sunday night through the winter, and many facts of exceeding interest have come to my knowledge, showing the good that has been done by these meetings to vast numbers who could never have found their way into our ordinary Sunday services. I remember preaching one Sunday night upon a special question affecting our life, and especially affecting the relation of men and women; and the next day I got a letter from a working man in Chicago, written Sunday night, in pencil, evidently in his little room, something like this:-
“ My Dear Sir, I cannot go to rest to-night without thanking you for what you have said, and telling you something of my history, in order that you may understand what these Sunday-night meetings are doing for some of us. I am very much like the sort of persons you described in your sermon to-night. My life has been exceedingly miserable for some time, owing to very sad domestic occurrences—[which he opened up to me very largely, first in his letter, and afterwards in an interview which I had with him.] I declare to you, that I became so miserable that I had fully and finally resolved that I