23 DECEMBER 1843, Page 18



THE third and final performance of the series took place on Wednesday. Instead of MOZART'S Quintet in G minor, as announced in the first programme, we had BEETHOVEN'S in E fiat; and in the place of Wm:ma's Grand Sonata in C, we found an old well-worn Sonata of BEETHOVEN'S in A flat, with variations and a funeral march. These changes in a musical bill of fare do not augur judgment in the councils of the fair concert-giver. The appetite excited by the piquancy and rarity of an entertainment promised, is not easily satisfied by any sub- stitution; and that immortal epicurean of Com:warm, who, expecting venison, found only "tripe" in a " swinging tureen," may parallel the case. Alterations attempted by the manager of a theatre seldom fail to create open discontent and remonstrance; and though courtesy suppresses such manifestations in the house of a lady, it is not without a strong and general under-current of grumbling. When whether to go or stay—whether to purchase tickets or keep the money in the pocket, is entirely regulated by the programme, it certainly behoves all who look for any constancy of success, or interest in their musical un- dertakings, to keep faith with the public. In the announcement of the concert before the last there was a sin- gular error. A Quintet by Bins figured in the bill, with the flattering words "first time of performance" annexed. Of course, something as new as could be expected from RIES'S manufacture was anticipated : but this novelty, when produced, proved to be neither more nor less than an old Quintet in B minor, which we had heard Madame DULCKEN herself play some nine or ten years ago, at Monfs Classical Concerts in Willis's Rooms. We can easily believe that Madame DULCKEN concerns her- self little with the details of business, whether relating to her pro- grammes or the matter and arrangement of her concerts ; but exacti- tude in the one and judgment in the other have been sadly deficient : and it is to an increasing sense of these defects by her audience, that we are inclined to attribute the coldness with which the majority of the things were received on Wednesday. Besides the Sonata of BEETHOVEN we have mentioned, Madame DULCKEN played a Trio in E flat by the same author ; a Quartet by KUHLAU,—a composition of some elegance and brilliancy, though hardly entitled by its part-writing to admission into the school of piano- forte quartets which MOZART established ; and a brilliant Rondo by MENDELSSOHN. In every excellence belonging to the bravura style of performance the lady has strengthened and confirmed her reputation : in: the neat accomplishment of every species of figurate and decora- tive passage—in equality, variety, and delicacy of touch—fingers can do no more. But here our admiration of Madame Dur.csErt ceases : in the more spiritual part of the musician's art she is conventional and artificial. Her native powers of expression are bounded by a certain sympathy with light and elegant phrases : with such as are solemn, profound, melancholy, or impassioned, she has nothing in common. For this reason, she is not heard to advantage in the solo Sonatas of Bra-rHovElt, and more particularly in their adagios and slow move- ments. In these, the repose, the accent, and the voluptuous charm of music, are wanting; her fingers seem to be restless for their wonted state of activity ; and it is not till we again hear some difficult and com- plicated passages executed with rapidity and distinctness, that we ac- knowledge the real excellence of Madame DULCKEN.

But what we most regret in the issue of any undertaking like the present, is to have nothing to record for the advancement of the art. It is not to hear a repetition of the hacknied pieces of the concert-room that amateurs resort to the saloon of the artist, but to keep pace with the knowledge and spirit of the time, and to catch the echo of music as it is. For what purpose did the art, some years ago, attract her votaries into little societies, and finally take refuge in the home of the musician, if not to set the more interesting and piquant novelties before "fit au- dience, though few " ? With what respectful attention would the hearers receive whatever was offered on the responsibility of a celebrated performer ; and how much might be produced of which the effect could be assured by previous experiment ! Such advantages as these, how- ever, are generally overlooked by performers, in the more absorbing consideration of personal display and thus it is that the higher order of amateurs, by perpetually inspecting the newest and most meritorious inventions, and unshackled in their views of music by any reference to self, take the lead in influencing the musical progress of the day. It is not only among pianoforte-players that this professional apathy, or horror of novelty, has been complained of. The quartet-playing world have often regretted the neglect of sundry works of FESCA and BOCCHERINI, that still exist only in the obscurity of certain domestic circles, no professor having as yet ventured to undertake the responsi- bility of producing them ; and to this hour it would have fared the same with many quartets and quintets of BEETHOVEN and ONSLOW, had not the rivalry of the BLAGROVE party stimulated that of Mow to the attack of novelties. Professional collision thus did more for the art in a short time than interest in or affection for the cause would have accomplished in a long one.

Whether they select from the old or the new schools, the fashionable pianoforte-players do themselves little honour in their choice. It would seem as if their fingers could only travel over a certain circle of notes : whereas the true object of the finest mechanism is only the more readily to command every novelty. They leave DUSSEK, WOELPL, and CLEMENTI, as readily on the one hand, as they do CHoPIN and BER- TINI on the other. But they sometimes play BEETHOVEN—a man of a large and luminous way of thinking—a poet, the features of whose mind as impressed on his works are intelligible to all, and require deep feeling rather than mechanism for their expression. He and MOZART are the two composers who derive the least from mere digital skill, and they are precisely those that we least care to hear from the fashion- able pianist. But there is still a field of music in which the composi- tions require, and indeed depend on, a high degree of mechanical cul- ture: and were we at once to cite two examples in old and new schools, they should be the Sonata "Plus Ultra" by DUBBER, and that in B flat minor by CHOPIN. Is there no one who will venture to stake a repu- tation for musical discernment on works of this character or on the Elegy on Prince Ferdinand, or the "Farewell," by DUSSEK ; or on CLEMENTI'S Sonata dedicated to Kalkbrenner ; or, though last not least, SPOHR'S new and beautiful one in A fiat? Such are the pieces that would help to remove music from the eternal status in quo in which it is now left from year to year.