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I WILL REMEMBER THEE.
I will remember thee ; thy form will be
Mingled with lingering images of all
When, arm in arm, we wandered where the fall
I will remember thee, with loveliest bloom
Of early roses, such as these thy hand
(Where rest thy sister's ashes, in the land
I will remember thee, when woods, as now,
O'ershadow me at noontide ; and the sweet
Nor purer, from dim moss-banks of the hill-sides greet
I'll think of thee with streamlets ; and green leaves
Shall murmur of thee; and the fairest star
Her round pavilion in its splendor — far,
When I may tread the stranger's lonely shore,
Of twilight — where the mighty are no more
And there, the memory of the loveliness
The echo of past pleasure — and thy grace
B. B. T.
Georgia, May, 1835.
TIJE ORIGIN AND PROGRESS OF MUSIC.
Music was now banished to the church; and, proscribed like the Christians, it was heard, at the still hour of midnight, in the caverns and tombs, where they concealed themselves. It is probable that their hymns were much the same as the Roman songs; and we may form a tolerably correct idea of the ancient vocal music, from some of the Catholic chants. As the Christians gave up the use of musical instruments, however, the art soon fell into great confusion, and was well-nigh lost, when St. Ambrose, of Milan, appeared. He reviewed it, and made great improvement in the science, by the introduction of rhythin, or equal division of time, instead of the irregular chant of the Romans. Pope Gregory, however, who lived in the fifth century, seems to have established the foundation of church music, as it now exists. He began by improving the manner of writing it; the Romans had employed fifteen letters, to express the notes ; he reduced the number to seven, as they now stand: but, as the notes were not placed on lines, as at present, he used capital letters for the first octave, small ones for the second, and double letters for the third. He introduced the kind of music which is now common among us, and is called, from him, the Gregorian chant: it was borrowed from the ancient music. This pope also established singing-schools in Rome, in which orphan children were supported and instructed for his chapel. With the spread of Christianity, music was extended to Germany, France, and England ; and Gregory supplied performers for all these countries. In the ninth century, great improvement was made in the art, by placing marks over the letters to indicate whether they were to be sung loud or soft: the five lines were also introduced about this time, to mark more distinctly the intervals of sound, though the letters still continued to be used. Guido Aretino now appeared, and did much to improve the art. He was the first to make use of semitones; he adopted the written notes, nearly as we have them, instead of letters ; he invented several instruments, and is thought to have discovered counter-point, or harmonic chords. From this time, music was written much as it is at the present day ; that is, with the parallel lines, the divisions of bars or measures, and the characters which represent letters. Notwithstanding the efforts of numerous composers, however, the art seems to have made little progress from the time of Guido down to the sixteenth century. A French writer observes, that, until the middle of the sixteenth century, music
was only a tissue of harmonious sounds, almost destitute of any perceptible melody. In the fifteenth, and the earlier part of the following century, the professors, in order to render their masses more agreeable, composed them upon the air of some popular song; (a practice not altogether abandoned in our day.) The studied singularity of the middle age,' (says the same writer) led other masters to write their sacred music according to the cast of dice ; each number thus obtained had musical passages which corresponded to it.'
At length, Palestrina appeared. This immortal genius, to whom we owe modern melody, shook off the fetters of barbarism; he introduced into his composition an air, grave indeed, but continued and perceptible; and his music is still performed in St. Peter's, at Rome. About the middle of the sixteenth century, the composers had taken such a fancy to fugues and canons, and collected these figures in such a singular manner, in their works for the church, that, during the greater part of that period, this pious music was extremely ridiculous. This abuse, after a length of time, excited the complaints of the devout; and it was often proposed to banish music from the churches. In short, Marcellus II., who occupied the papal chair, in 1555, was on the point of issuing the decree of suppression, when Palestrina entreated his holiness to hear a mass which he had composed. having consented, the young musician caused to be performed before him a mass for six voices, which appeared so beautiful and so full of dignity, that the pontiff, instead of putting his project into execution, ordered Palestrina to compose some works of the same kind for his chapel. The mass in question is still extant, and is known by the name of 'Pope Marcello's Mass.'
The composers of church music in Italy, since the days of Palestrina, have followed nearly in his footsteps ; of all these, Gregorio Allegri is the most remarkable, having composed the celebrated Miserere, which is sung once every year in the pope's chapel, at Rome. This is, undoubtedly, the most powerful music ever composed. It is intended to commemorate the awful period which elapsed between the death and the resurrection of our Saviour — the earth wrapt in gloom, and man bereft of hope ! The Miserere is an agonized cry for mercy from a despairing world. It is sung at night ; and the chapel is dimly lighted by a few wax candles, which throw their glare upon the painting of the Last Judgement,' (by Michael Angelo) above the altar. the service proceeds, the tapers are extinguished, one after the other; and the impression produced by the figures of the damned, painted with terrific power, by Michael Angelo, is increased in awfulness, when they are dimly seen by the pale light of the last
After a deep and most impressive pause of silence,
sage of the
(says a recent traveler) “the solemn Miserere commenced ; and never, by mortal ear, was heard a strain of such powersul, such heart-moving pathos. The accordant tones of an hundred human voices and one that seemed more than human — ascended together to Heaven, for mercy to mankind, for pardon to a guilty and sinning world. It had nothing in it of this earth — nothing that breathed the ordinary feelings of our nature. It seemed as if every sense and power had been concentrated into that plaintive expression of lamentation, of deep suffering and supplication, which possessed the soul. It was the strain that disembodied spirits might have used, who had just passed the boundaries of death, and sought relief from the mysterious weight of wo, and the tremblings of mortal agony, that they had suffered in the pas
grave. It was the music of another state of being. It lasted till the shadows of evening fell deeper ; and the red, dusky glare, as it issued stronger from the concealed recess whence the singing proceeded, shed a partial but strong light upon the figures near it. It ceased.
It ceased. A priest, with a light, moved across the chapel, and carried a book to the officiating cardinal, who read a few words in an awful and impressive tone. Then again the light disappeared ; and the last, the most entrancing harmony arose, in a strain that might have moved Heaven itself a deeper, more pathetic sound of lamentation than mortal voices ever breathed. Its effects, upon the minds of those that heard it, were almost too powerful to be borne ; and never – never can be forgotten.'
In speaking of sacred music, we must not omit to give some account of the oratorio, or spiritual drama. Its origin may be be traced to the Christian pilgrims, who, returning from the holy land, used to celebrate, in songs and choruses, the life and sufferings of the Saviour. As early as the year 1243, a piece, of this nature, was performed at Padua. St. Philip, of Neri, however, is considered the founder of the oratorio. He was born in Florence, in the year 1515, and first established regular oratorios in 1540, with the design of directing the public taste to religious subjects. They were, at first, little more than a succession of hymns, unaccompanied by instruments. The recitative was invented some time afterwards ; but, at first, the actor related the story to the audience, singing only detached portions. In 1590, the recitative was first used in oratorios. Choruses were next introduced ; and the words and music continued to improve gradually, down to the eighteenth century, when Handel appeared, and, devoting all his powers to this branch of music, carried it to a degree of perfection which has hardly been surpassed. The great characteristic of Handel's style, is sublimity ; he is the Pindar of musicians ; and his lyric flights are unequaled,
His choruses, to borrow the language of Milton, are like
the sound, Symphonious of ten thousand harps, that tuned
Angelic harmonies.' All things considered, however, Haydn's Creation' is probably the most remarkable and perfect oratorio, that was ever composed. In this wonderful piece, the composer has attempted to represent, by music, the creation of the world and its inhabitants, as described in Genesis. The overture portrays the wildness of chaos. The earth was without form, and void ; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.' The music is perfectly wild and mournful, and destitute of harmony or melody ; and expresses, by its strange discords, the painfulness of chaotic confusion. It falls upon the ear, a dull, frightful mass, which we in vain endeavor to throw off. The tones seem lifeless, but vast and terrific. At length, the whole mighty mass seems to heave from the very bottom; the spirit is moving upon the face of the deep. Rapid passages dart, like flashes of lightning, through the scale, and occasional gleams of harmony are caught, but quickly overpowered by the prevailing confusion. The sounds picture to us, most forcibly,
the vast immeasurable abyss,
Heaven's height, and with the centre mix the poles.' The closing notes are in the same wild strain as the commence. ment. The author of a life of Haydn analyzes the piece in these words: Music reappears, in all her charms, when the angels begin to relate the great work of creation.' We soon come to the passage which describes the creation of light. "And God said let there be light, and there was light.' It must be confessed, that nothing can have a grander effect. Before this fiat of the Creator, the musician has gradually diminished the chords ; he introduces the unison, and the piano still growing softer, as the suspended cadence approaches ; at last, this cadence bursts forth in the most sonorous manner, at the words, and there was light.' This burst of the whole orchestra, in the resounding key of c, accompanied with all the harmony possible, and prepared by the gradual fading of the sounds, actually produces upon us, at a first representation, the effect of a thousand torches suddenly flashing light into a dark cavern. The faithful angels afterwards describe, in a fugued passage, the rage of Satan and his accomplices, precipitated into an abyss of torments, by the hand of him whom