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with the more direct and vivid emo- clear, so vivid that we look back and tions of the stage. But most of all may marvel at our blindness. There is we thank the conditions of Brahms' probably no student of Brahms who life for supplying him with the atmo- has not at some time felt this sense of sphere which his genius essentially awakening. The obscurity of which needed. A style so opulent, so origi- amateurs complain arises not from denal, so perfect in form and balance, ficiency of light, but from deficiency of could only have been elaborated in se. attention. clusion.
It may possibly be asked whether the And it is as a master of form that he need of such attention is not in itself a will live. To no one since Beethoven, sign of artistic weakness; whether it and to one other alone beside Beetho- does not belong to self-conscious and ven, has there been granted such uner. Alexandrine days in which music has ring certainty of phrase, or such wide ceased to be spontaneous and has beand comprehensive grasp of structure. come reflective and calculating. Plato True, Mozart has shown once for all has told us that the highest beauty is that music can be made wholly trans- simple in character; and there is more parent; his writing has every quality of the true poet in "dewdrops of Ceof precision and delicacy, of charm and lestial melody" than in elaborate monosweetness; but Mozart at his greatest logues and ingenious allegories. There never attains the broad virile strength is something painful, industrious, mewhich Brahms has inherited from Bach chanical about an art which involves so and Beethoven. And it is false criti- much expenditure ‘of labor; better the cism to estimate a style merely by the careless rapture that recks nothing of continuity of its triumphs. Much de rule and measure, that sings without pends on the nature of the enemy thought, without premeditation, against which it was contending, and conscious even that it is overheard, obin this respect a high failure may often livious of all except its own need of utoverleap the bounds of a low success. terance. But in the first place the comAnd, further, when the music is full plexity of Brahms is not a matter of and complex we have no right to ex- superfluous lines and unnecessary depect the lucidity which reveals its truth tails; it is the grasp of an artist who at a single glance; it is enough if we can compose a hundred figures as readultimately attain to the meaning, and ily as a score; and in the second place recognize that it was but our weakness the strong intellectual element in his which obscured it before. A stream work is to be regarded as constituting is not necessarily turbid because we not the source of his poetic impulse but cannot count the pebbles at the bottom; its requisite guidance and control. The it may baffle our imperfect eyes by the Alexandrine method of composition, the depth of its waters and the volume of Kapellmeistermusik of Wagner's epi. its current. It is thus with a great deal gram, is always essentially imitative, of Brahms' music. At first hearing we drawing inspiration from its library are often bewildered by the very com- and assimilating style from its models. plexity of the phrase; our ears are over- Brahms, though like every great comcharged with excess of sound; we are poser he is affected by past tradition, conscious that the web is of magnifi- is yet one of the most original of thinkcent texture, but we cannot unravel it, ers; he administers a kingdom that he or even, as yet, interpret its design. A has inherited by right of race, and is little further experience, a little closer not the less a monarch because others familiarity, and the difficulties begin to have preceded him in the dynasty. disappear. Gradually the eye acquires That there is sometimes a touch of depower and confidence; the chaos be- liberation in his music we are not concomes order; the confusion melts into cerned to deny; it is a characteristic of beauty and arrangement; and there the age, and he has adapted it to its emerges a scene of gods and heroes so noblest use. But to infer from this that
the work is dull or academic or artifi- Brahms' manner of composition. In cial is merely to show that perverse in- his early days he started with an algenuity in paradox which is sometimes most obstinate force and vigor, lavishmistaken for the critical faculty. We ing a strength which he had no care to do not call the human body a machine economize, and making perhaps too liton the ground that it is a highly devel- tle concession to the limitations of his oped organism directed by a thinking auditors. But the year that marked mind.
the turning-point in his life marked also It is important that stress the turning-point in his style, and the should be laid on this aspect of Brahms' first two piano quartets which he writing, at a time when German music brought in manuscript to Vienna alseems to be entering on a period of riot ready indicate that feeling for mellowand intemperance. It has conquered ness and geniality which steadily grew its empire; it has enjoyed the rewards and developed up to the end of his caof victory; its last great legislator is reer. We need only instance the D dead; already there begin to appear the minor Violin Sonata, the second string signs of corruption which often follow quintet, and, better still, the great too long a period of prosperity. Exces- chamber work for clarinet and strings, sive sensationalism, excessive stimula- all of which were written during the tion, thought that is often morbid, later years, and all of which possess phrase that is often deliberately harsh that golden opulence of beauty which and cacophonous; all these the his highest work so conspicuously dismarks of an art that has passed its plays. Yet it is easy to overstate the prime, and that strives by desperate ar- changes that followed from the course tifice to stir the jaded senses into a of age and experience. The B fiat semblance of their lost vigor. Like Sestet is an early work, the pianoforte certain classes of literature, it has left quintet is not much later, the "Schickthe natural passions and gone off in salslied" was written in 1871, and the quest of the monstrous and the hor- second Symphony in 1877. And in all rible; its talents—and there are many these we shall find the same richness of men of great talent in its ranks-are polyphony, the same love of deep and misused to evoke some transitory massive harmonization, the same conthrill; it has lost all reticence, all pur- trasts of pale transparence and glowing ity, all dignity of tone, and has de- color, the same broad diatonic melody, graded its religion into a corybantic the same unerring mastery of chroorgy. There is little wonder if beside matic effect. Some of his qualities he this the music of Brahms appears cold shares notoriously with Bach: the more and self-contained. The "old blind ing bass, the independence of partschoolmaster's tedious poem on the fall writing, the balance held between conof man" seemed a very dull affair to trapuntal and harmonic ideals; but he readers who had Sedley and Rochester; adds to these a sense of structure and the wits of the Parc aux Cerfs pre- a power of narration which could only ferred their evil and poisonous ro- have come after a century of later exmances to any more austere embodi- perience. In his form he is largely inment of French genius; but, apart from fluenced by Beethoven, more so, indeed, the ethical question, which we are too than any composer of our time, yet he ready to disregard, there can never be has not failed to gather from the best the smallest doubt as to which is the of the romantic movement, and to aug. winning cause. If German music re- ment the whole with treasure from his turns from its period of anarchy it may own store. The common devices of the once more resume its high position in composer-syncopation, transference of the artistic world. If not, the sceptre themes, combination of rhythmic fig. will pass into other hands.
ures, organization of key-system-acThis is not the place to describe in quire with him a new value and signindetail the features that distinguish cance; we can trace their ancestry to the simple methods and practices of a
From The Leisure Hour. past age, but they are more subtle,
A PROVENCAL SKETOH. more delicate, more civilized than their The recent death of M. Paul Arène at forerunners. And when to this it is a little over fifty years of age has readded that for pure charm of tune vived in France a marked interest in the Brahms has been equalled by no coni literary work of this delightful conteur. poser since the death of Schubert; that Alphonse Daudet, in his "Lettres de beside his melodies even Chopin seems mon Moulin" has scarcely surpassed trivial, and even Schumann ineffective; Paul Arène as a painter of sunny souththere need be no further question about
ern pictures and a teller of short stories his claim to immortality. Had he writ- free from all apparent effort, and yet ten nothing but his songs he would be one of the greatest names in musical the clean-cut precision of language, and
gems of literary art. The pure form, art, and his songs are but a small por- the idyllic charm of Paul Arène's contes tion of his whole achievement.
have caused him to be spoken of as a It is probable that another decade or
modern Greek. He was simply a two will pass before his full influence Provençal peasant, who, being born is felt on the course and progress of
with the mind of a poet, and having an composition. At present we only half intense love of the scenes of his childunderstand his message, and must at- hood, only allowed the ancient learning tain to a fuller comprehension before we can interpret it in our own practice. firm what was natural to him, and to
which he afterwards acquired to conAnd, beside this, there is every indica- fortify his artistic intuition by a wide tion that a period of Slavonic suprem- familiarity with letters. In his “Jean acy is at hand, and we cannot as yet des Figues" he has told how he was forecast either the limits of its tenure
born under a fig-tree on a day when his or the character of its administration. Yet changes of dynasty, though they have been a happier man probably had
parents were harvesting. count for more than changes of poten- he followed their occupation and retate, have rarely exercised any perma
mained beneath the blue skies of nent influence on the direction of events. The principles of historical de Provence, with the almond-trees, the velopment lie deeper than the record of wild figs, the clambering vines, and the kings and conquerors, revolution itself joyous cicadas that he loved so much; is more often a symptom than a cause,
but there was in his mind that which and the true efficient force originates in
would not combine with the peasant's the fundamental needs of human
lot. He strove to enter the intellectual ture. This is conspicuously so in the
life by one of the lower doors opened history of music. There freedom to ambition by the University of France, means order, broadening from prece
and succeeded, no doubt beyond his dent to precedent, and willing to take earlier expectations, yet he died a prewhat is best in the heritage of past at- maturely worn-out and a disappointed tainment and to hand on the tradition,
man. Although a licentiate of letters, amended and revised, for the guidance his “schoolmastering”-to use Carlyle's of the generations to come. And it is in contemptuous but concise expressionthus maintaining the continuity of the did not go beyond the position of a art that Brahms has done it the most répétiteur, or preceptorial drudge in a signal service. Leaders of
an- public school, but it enabled him to live archy and revolt have usually found while he patiently bored the rock that their reward in swift oblivion; through separated him from the recognition of all ages it is the lawgiver that is had his fellow men as one who had a in remembrance.
message worth delivering in the form W. H. HADOW.
of literature. But he never really reached the great public. He excelled
in fashioning cameos of delicate beauty, knife, while Madame Peyrolles returned and these only. A few readers carried to her grievance. their admiration to enthusiasm, but the "So much trouble, and all for nothing! crowd remained indifferent. The inces. For the last two months we have been sant struggle of Paul Arène's life hav- killing ourselves, working night and day ing at length ceased, we now hear of with Scholastique, to whom I promised statues to be raised in different places my old shawl when I should have the to his memory. The best known of his new one, and who all next winter will contes is “La Chèvre d'Or.” The follow- have to wear her pelisse of Indienne at ing is a translation of a shorter one, the the seven o'clock mass. First the silkscene of which is also laid in Pro- worms were in too great a hurry to come
out of their eggs. They appeared a
week too soon, before there was any LES BRAVES GENS” (“ GOOD FOLK”). green on the mulberries. Every morn
As the silkworms had turned out ing we had to pick leaves from the badly, that good
Madame brambles along the ditches like a couple Peyrolles happened to be in a rather of gypsies. There are scratches on my sharp humor, and M. Peyrolles, with a fingers still. Then, when after their spirit of resignation, listened as she re- second sleep they all of a sudden looked peated "Ave Maria!" without daring to sad, who was it, at the risk of tumbling offer a remark.
down, gathered on the castle rocks the “Ten pounds of cocoons!" sighed lavender and marjoram needed for Madame Peyrolles. “Not so much as fumigating them? And what bother the worth of the eggs. Who could buy there was besides! At last they seemed a shawl with that?''
to be going on all right, my silkworms "Never mind, Ambroisine, you will were at the end of their third sleepbuy one next year.
Twelve months bright as gold, fat, transparent, and full soon go by.”
of silk. Already they were climbing up “Who has ever seen next year? Only the twigs of heather; the bravest of one thing is certain, and it is that I them were even spinning, fixing their shall not have the shawl this year. And threads to the right and left, when that yet I had reckoned upon it!"
storm broke. After the first thunderMadame Peyrolles having lapsed into clap I saw the poor creatures come silence again, M. Peyrolles, thinking down to die. What a disaster! that the weather had calmed, picked up Scholastique cried, and I had a mind to a nail and his pruning-knife with the in- do the same." tention of taking a turn in the garden. M. Peyrolles' heart was touched. To Madame Peyrolles stopped him. “Do brace up his courage he had to take a leave the trees alone! You will have double pinch out of his tortoise-shell time enough to-morrow to disfigure snuff-box. For some seconds he and them. Before it was meddled with, the Madame Peyrolles looked at one anold espalier always bore fruit, but since other in silence. that great savant from Paris passed M. and Madame Peyrolles, or M. through Canteperdrix and delivered Victrice and Madame Ambroisine, as that famous lecture at the club, and they were familiarly spoken of in the since we have subscribed to the Revue locality, were in the fullest sense of the d'arboriculture, and you, deep in your term old-fashioned people. Although methods, your grafts, your fruit-buds very old (Charles X. was still reigning and other buds, bave been snipping and when they were married) they were chopping, I have not known the taste of nevertheless in good health. They had a pear.”
a little independence derived from very Hurt by this philippic, the justice of small rentes, but such as in days gone which he was secretly obliged to admit, by would have been accounted a forM. Peyrolles put down the pruning- tune. Really poor now, they were not aware of it, for they had grown old a baker his cart. In this two chairs without creating for themselves any of were firmly moored, and on these M. the needs of the new society. And they and Madame Peyrolles placed themwere happy after the manner of fifty selves in the midst of the baggage and years ago in their small house in the provisions accumulated by Scholastique. Grand' Place, where the furniture that Said she:had grown dull and faded little by little, "You will go straight on as far as and the mirrors that had slowly become Entrepierres” (she knew the country), tarnished, were of the same unchange- “then you will leave the highroad, but able freshness to them, thanks to the any one will tell you the lane that you recollection. On each returning April, must take. You will stop at a spring however, Madame Ambroisine in a high under an oak for lunch, but as carts whitewashed loft spread out an ounce cannot go any higher, madame must or two of silk-worms' eggs. When the afterwards mount the donkey. I have yield was good it enabled the Peyrolles placed the pack-saddle at the back of to indulge in a few little luxuries. The the cart. I wonder if you will be able rearing of silkworms is not looked upon to saddle the donkey?" at Canteperdrix as an occupation of the The programme
marked out by working class, and the old-fashioned Scholastique was followed, and after and impoverished bourgeoisie in this four good hours of up-hill work over provincial nook liked to increase their scrubby and stony ground the travellers income a little in such a way without reached the Jas perdu de Brame-Faim. feeling that they had come down from "It is not beautiful!” said Madame their station. But alas! Madame Am- Ambroisine, pulling hard at the donbroisine's silkworms had not been suc- key's bridle so that she might take a cessful this year.
good look at the reddish-looking hovel Suddenly the good face of M. Victrice built of pebbles, from the low roof of brightened up.
which a little smoke was rising. "How stupid we are! I can buy the “The wheat is very straggling," reshawl for you, of course I can. There is marked M. Victrice. "I can see the our rent from the Jas de Brame-Faim. crickets running in it." We have had nothing of it since our Here Madame Ambroisine exclaimed poor uncle left us the property, and that “Bah! You cannot expect to have the wastwo years ago. At one hundred and castle of the Marquis de Carabas for fifty francs a year the total comes to one hundred and fifty francs a year!" three hundred francs without the in- Assisted by M. Victrice, Madame Amterest-just the sum that you hoped to broisine alighted from the donkey, and, get from your cocoons."
followed by the latter, they moved As M. and Madame Peyrolles thought towards the house. But what they saw over this their spirits rose. How could there impressed them with such an air they have so procrastinated! Why, of wretchedness that they already felt three hundred francs was quite a sum. uncomfortable at the thought of asking And they had not so much as seen the for money. face of this Frédéri, the farmer.
“You will speak first and explain matFor a whole week M. and Madame ters, Victrice!" Peyrolles spoke of nothing but the “I think it would be better for you to journey. Now it was not altogether do so, Ambroisine!" easy to reach the domain of Brame- At the sight of them, two urchins who Faim on a hill above the village of were playing on a heap of straw took Entrepierres, which was itself perched to their heels. Their mother, who was high. The ascent would take four spinning from her distaff while sitting hours, and it would need as much time on the trunk of a tree, now rose. to return. This meant a whole day's "You have lost your way? No doubt absence. Everything was at length you want to go to Pierre-Ecrite. It is ready. A neighbor lent her donkey and farther down, near the spring."