TO THE EDITOR OF THE SPECTATOR.
London, 16th October 1843. Sra—Will you allow me to add a few words to your notice of Continental Music ?
WAGNER'S opera The Flying Dutchman ("Der fliegende Hollander") was not produced at Cassel during SPORE'S recent visit to England, but some weeks before. While he was here, the theatre at Cassel was shut. I was staying there at the time ; and, having enjoyed the pleasure of frequent intercourse with the great Kapellmeister, I know his opinion of the opera. He thought very highly of it, and gave great care and attention to its preparation. Had it been his own, he could scarcely have been more solicitous about it. It has many and great beauties—mingled with those indications of nationality which especially appear when a German enters the domain of " fiends, ghosts, and sprites." The story, I suppose, is in the main like that which formed the groundwork of the drama so successfully represented at the Adelphi some years since. REISSIGER happened to be at Cassel during its performance ; and he told me that he thought the getting-up more perfect there than that, I believe at Dres- den, under the direction of the composer, and with SCIIRCEDER-DEVRIENT for prima donna. "But Wagner," said he, "is a young man, and the singers took what liberties they pleased with his songs. Spohr watches the composer's reputation with the regard and enforces it with the authority of a parent." The Sonata for Pianoforte, dedicated to MENDELSSOHN, was written while I was at Cassel, where I had the pleasure to bear it. I rejoice to find my own impression of its merits confirmed by your authority ; but I suppose it will not be beard in London. Sporn( said to me, soon after he bad begun it, " Don't you think I am a bold man to attempt to write for the pianoforte ? " But I quite agree with you, that the very want of the ability to " travel over the finger-board " may impart originality to the composition. " We sit down," said WEBER, " to the pianoforte, and our fingers involuntarily give expression to favourite passages, or it may be reminiscences, and we are too apt to call the operation composition." From this sort of treacherous allurement, Brown, when writing for the pianoforte, is altogether free. What he writes must Shea come from the brain, not the fingers.