HECTOR BERLIOZ IN GERMANY.
EVERY one is well acquainted with the external signs and indications of La Jeune France, and with her theories on politics, morals, religion, lite- rature, and the arts. We need not, therefore, formally introduce M. BERLIOZ en route : his reputation has long been mounted ; and he him- self will be gazed at with as much interest and amusement as Don Quixote on his charger, Uncle Toby on his hobby, or Dr. Syntax in his post-chaise. A man who adopts an eccentric course and supports himself in it with talent will always gain some degree of applause, let opinion fluctuate as it may with regard to the claims of his genius.
Whether in deposing CHERUBIM, and freeing herself from the tram- mels of the schools in which classic genius has hitherto been nurtured, Young France, in the person of this her Coryphieus, has discovered a short cut to immortality, it will ,be for the page of history to decide. Meanwhile it is incontestable that the influence of party and fashion has given considerable popularity to BEtudoz. While the old musicians were shrugging their shoulders and making wry faces at his harmonic horrors, Peassirrir appeared, and tried to help their digestion by giv- ing him a banker's cheque and a letter of recommendation. This for a time gave a lift to the Romanticists, and the stocks of the Classicists fell proportionably. The Sunday concerts of M. BERLIOZ flourished ; hundreds of elegant Parisian bonnets nodded, where a rhythm could be found to nod to ; young artists congratulated each other in coffee- houses that BEETHOVEN was regenerated, and Government was half disposed to give its patronage before it was solicited. Years roll on ; MOZART, HATDN, BEETHOVEN, and even Baca, are heard with new pleasure, and BERLIOZ is almost forgotten, when by accident we find him proceeding to Germany with a quarter of a ton of Symphonies and Overtures which nobody ever desired to hear, and which probably would never have been heard in that quarter but for this act of paternal care.
Such are the ridiculous consequences of a factitious reputation, which if it last fortunately till the time of a man's death, is not likey to sur- vive his funeral a week. BERLIOZ is one of those who have discovered the analogy subsisting between wigs and counterpoint, mustachios and melody, long hair and poetical genius, which he and his school illus- trate so contradictorily. It is time that the middle-aged youth of Frane.e:should see in_ore into the essence of things. Here we smile at a young linendraper Byronizing in an open shirt-collar, or at a man with a wild head of hair flattering himself that he is a BEETHOVEN.
At Stuttgard BERLIOZ meets a Dr. Scutum:0, the author of several theoretical and critical works on music, and the prejudices of his school are immediately bronght into activity.
" This title of Doctor," he says, " which is borne by almost every one in Germany, bad made me augur but ill of him. I had pictured to myself some old pedant, with spectacles, a flaxen wig, and a vast snuffbox, upon his ever- lasting hobby of fugue and counterpoint, talking entirely of Bach and Mar- polite perhaps in externals, but inwardly detesting modern music in general, and with a most decided aversion for mine. But see how one may be deceived: Dr. Schilling is not old, does not wear spectacles, has fine black hair, is full of vivacity, speaks loud and short like the report of a pistol, smokes but does not take snuff. He received me well; told me at once the method of gettiag up a concert; said not a word upon fugue or canon; displayed no con- tempt for the Huguenots or William Tell, nor expressed the least dislike of my music before hearing it.' The plan of the concert arranged, BEataoz proceeded to visit LIND- PAINTER and 'Woman, and to review the orchestra of Stuttgard. He found them composed of intrepid readers, unembarrassed by caprices of rhythm, syncopation, or accentuation ; in short, capable of making a symphony go correctly almost at sight. They who know what the Parisian rehearsals of BERLIOz'S Symphonies were—that they were conducted piecemeal, the violins by themselves' the basses in the same way, &c. &c. will best appreciate this praise. However, on the day of performance, half the violins, from illness either simulated or real, were absent ; the King was coming; and there was the poor composer ready, as he says, like Caspar in the Freischutz, to sign a compact with all the imps in the inferno for more violins. The music was obliged to be given as it could ; and the Symphonie Fantastigue and the Overture to the Francs-Juges were performed, if not with a powerful execution, at least " with vigour, intelligence, and exactitude." After the concert, he received the compliments of the King, of Count NEIPERG, and Prince JEROME BoNApARTE. Then came his ordeal with the musicians, in which he was less fortunate. He was anxious for the good opinion of LINDPAINTER ; who, he informs us, "is a master : " but LINDPAINTER could only approve the Overture and profoundly abominated the Sym- phony. MoraouE liked nothing, and Dr. SCHILLING thought it all execrable. This report of the opinions on his composition might be thought naive and candid in the last degree, were it not but too evident that his mind is fully made up on the question of his own merit. Like Duncan is the play—" nothing can touch him further." Praise is current coin and duly accepted; 'but it is his ambition to puzzle the ortho- dox, and the violence of their opposition only the more firmly rivets his self-confidence. From Stuttgard BERLIoz betook himself to Hechingen, his ponderous luggage of Symphonies following in the common stage- waggon. In the Prince of this romantic territory BERLIOZ found a brother composer. The Prince sang him some songs, and he resolved to retaliate with some symphonies. The orchestra was small—only eight violins ; the other instruments ia pairs, and but one trombone. Nevertheless, by leaving out a pair of horns, and pencilling the neces- sary notes in the other parts—by playing the part of the first harp on the piano, and abridging the trumpet solos—they managed to get up the Overture to King Lear, and some fragments of the Symphonie Pan- tastique. The Prince took an active part in this solemnity, and stood by the drummer to help him count the time. When the performance was over, he came to shake hands with the composer ; who said- " Ali! Monseigneur, I swear that I would give up two of the remaining years of my life if I had but my orchestra of the Conservatorio here to show you what the compositions are that you judge with so much indulgence." " Yes, yes, I know," he replied, "you have on imperial orchestra, who MR you Sire, and I am but a poor Highness. I shall certainly go and hear them at Paris."
After this there was a supper at the Villa Eugenia; where the Prince produced a composition for voice, piano, and violoncello, which he sang, and made BERLIOZ accompany on the bass. The piece was much ap- plauded ; but there was a good deal of laughing, he says, at the strange tone of his chanterelle. Next day he returned to Stuttgard.
There is something the very reverse of poetical in this tour with a budget of old compositions. It savours more of the mercantile tra- veller beating out a connexion than of the artist in the pursuit of his legitimate vocation. So did not HAYDN nor BEETHOVEN; their works ever travelled before them. MOZART carried symphonies in his brain, and struck one off at any time in a couple of days. But to be touring and making a coil and stir with old compositions that nobody asks to hear, is worthy only of one who contemns antiquity, affects singularity of appearance, and celebrates his proceedings in a journal. How little of the simplicity of the true composer in all this !