Obrázky na stránke

that the highest genius would not justify. The veritable motive of these stunted melodies, of the absence of all design, of all characteristic expression, is in the new rhythmical system invented by M. Berlioz, and which will assuredly find no imitators.

It has been long mooted, whether the charm of music consists in melody or in harmony. It has been demanded, why blows struck upon a board, upon a chest, upon any body whatsoever, without melody or harmony, produce a certain effect, which varies according to the order in which the blows are made. The drum which beats a march on parade, a quick march, a

funeral march, or a pas de charge, produces in all hearers a very marked and persuasive sensation, relaxing or increasing the rapidity of our steps by its rhythmical dictates.

People who have no music but that of the drum or the tambourine, to accompany their songs and dances, prove of how many gradations rhythm is susceptible. The power and necessity of rhythm are sufficiently established, since it is acknowledged that only with its assistance can melody and harmony create an effect: both can produce sounds, more or less agreeable, more or less flattering to the ear; but they will have no signification, and will make no impression on the hearer. The importance of rhythm is, consequently, as immense as the forms under which it can appear are incalculable. It is in originality of rhythm that the great composers have found the grandest power of their inspirations. However colossal might have been the imagination of Beethoven, when launching into immensity, it is, nevertheless, invariably subject to rhythm, although the vulgar ear cannot always follow in the velocity of its course. All the melodies which have sprung from the people, and those which have proceeded from the imagination of the musician, and have been propagated among the people, alike make us feel the necessity of a well marked rhythm; by its assistance alone are they engraven on the memory, and become popular. M. Berlioz, in withdrawing from his music its squared, or rather perhaps its rounded form, has deprived it of all its charm; he has been compelled to chop his melodies, and to make harmonic transitions, inadmissible in the domain of art. This music is the result of an error, and a grave one—it might be termed frenzied—so entirely has M. Berlioz departed from the path pointed out by a Gluck, a Mozart, and a Beethoven. When by chance, or rather by mistake, M. Berlioz has come within the range of intelligible music, he has obtained frank and merited approbation.

I remain, Mr. Editor,
Your's, faithfully,




HAYMARKET.—Mr. Sheridan Knowles's new Play. In this era of dramatic flippancy and gew-gaw-induced less by any degenerate notions of the people, than by the narrow judgment of managers, and the capricious patronage of those who ought to guide and govern public taste--it is at once refreshing and consolatory to welcome another triumph of an author, whose well-earned fame ensures for him the attention both of the dull and the fastidious; and whose efforts never fail to excite the approbation of all. We are of the opinion, often expressed by Mr. Knowles, that there is no dearth of poetic or dramatic genius in the present day, and that it is to fashion, prejudice, apathy “ in the few," and a corrupted relish in the multitude, that we owe our present degraded stage; from which, we would add another prayer to the Litany and say, “ Good Lord deliver us." In the mean time let us be grateful to every struggler in the cause-to Mr. Knowles, whose every success is another sure step in the march of improvement; and to Mr. Webster, and Mr. Macready, for their sensible and manly opposition to the polluted whirlpool revelled in by their contemporaries.

The long promised Maid of Mariendorpt was produced here on the 9th instant, and met with most distinguished and decided

The principal feature of this play is the devoted affection of a high-spirited girl for an only parent:—the plot is simple, the incidents few, but managed with perfect skill and knowledge of stage business, and clothed in such beautiful and striking language that the interest never flags.

Muhldenau, the pastor of the village of Mariendorpt, is summoned on a distant mission—is captured as a spy, and confined in the dungeons of Prague; his daughter, Meeta, follows, to save, or at least to soothe him-reaches the city at the moment of his condemnation, and by her unrepressed entreaties and persevering exertions, effects his deliverance, as well as the discovery of her sister, who had been lost in infancy during the famous siege of Magdeburg. This is the main but simple story of the piece which is avowedly borrowed from a charning novel of Miss Porter's. The comic interest rests upon the amours, courtship, marriage, &c., of two domestics of the pastor's family, and the bluff soldier-like melting inflexibility of General Kleiner, the governor of Prague; all of which are drawn and pencilled with a master's hand. Indeed, we infinitely prefer these portions of the play, for their truth, and richness, and visible knowledge of the human heart—it is by this very natural skill that Mr. Knowles rises so far above his competitors, and wafts us, as it were, back to the olden and golden time.

It is Nature's self who speaks in the following passage, describing a daughter's filial love :

“ It is to honour him,
So we are bidden-that is, to obey-

Respectfully entreat him !

Nothing more?
Esther. What more?
Meeta. 0, much !-0, very much !-such things

We do to persons who are indifferent to us,
Or to their stations ? there is something more
Better- less earthly-more o'th' grain of Heaven-
A love that's indefinable !—That holds
Ourselves as nothing, in respect of cherishing !
That still is kneeling though no knee be bent ;
And looking up with ever gushing will,
Anticipating wishes !-It is worship-
Although no lip be moved, no eye be strain'd,
No hands be clasped-like that which hath acceptance

Above-o'the soul! O, how I love my Father!” Again, the old soldier's irritability on being beset by Adolpha, his adopted daughter, and entreated to set the captive free, is vented in a strain of kindly vituperation to her husband, recognizable in the bosom of almost every family:

Did you ever know her to give up
The point her heart was fixed on? She'd make hay
In December !--Mars-a profitable wife!
She'd have the Helder thawed with a north wind
In January, when the frost doth bite
With all his teeth! She'd stop the tide half in
When it runs strongest. She would stop the sun,

The moon, and all the stars !” And we are sure the following symptoms will be familiar to every one who has been a patient in the same malady; for ourselves, we fairly chuckle while transcribing the lines, and bless our stars as we feel the infection past, however apprehensive of a future sickly season :

" I'm sick for love! I'm sure I am! I've lost
My appetite! My stomach was my clock
That used to give me note of eating time.-
It never warns me now! A smoking dish
Was sure to set my heart a-beating once ;
Now be it flesh, or fish, or fowl, or aught,
It moves me nothing. I would rather feast-
A thousand times I would-on Esther's face,
I'm mortal sick for love! I used to sleep ;
Scarce touched my head my pillow, I was off,
And, let me lie, I took my measure on't
Six hours, at least, upon a stretch ! but now
I toss and turn, lie strait, or doubled up,
Enfold mine arms, or throw them wide abroad,
Rhyme o'er my prayers, or count a hundred out,
And then begin again-yet not a wink

The richer for't, but rise as I lie down!
The character of Meeta requires a representative of far superior

powers to those of Miss Elphinstone;this lady's chief characteristics are hardness and hyperbole, and her performance exhibited no one trait of excellence from beginning to end-it is a pity, for the play would be vastly more attractive if Meeta were in abler hands. Mr. S. Knowles has but little to do in Muhldenau, but that little requires acting of the first order, which the author cannot compass; yet we are too grateful to him for the production of such a play to be harsh upon his acting, and would only recommend him to find a substitute as soon as possible. General Kleiner is a cleverly drawn character, and, in a play of this description, one of the most difficult an actor can undertake-it was ably and effectively sustained by Strickland, who is fast approaching the summit of his profession. In Joseph the Jew, Mr. Webster's delineation of some of the most touching scenes was extremely good. But what astonished us most was little Buckstone's performance of Hans-true to his text, of itself a wonder—and the whole sustained with rich comic humour that must place him a long step higher in public estimation. The scene, however, between Hans and Rodolph, in our opinion, should be omitted; it bears not on the plot, and is of a far inferior quality to the general character of the play. Mrs. Glover's Esther was, to say the least, excellent; her appearance reminded us of some fine, rich, highly finished picture by Rembrandt, or Gerrard Duow; her coquetry-her hearty laugh-her arch manner-were all of the first and happiest order of acting: we have rarely seen her to more advantage. Miss Cooper's Adolpha was better than we imagined her capable of. A Mrs. Danson made her first appearance in London, in the character of Madame Roselheim; she has but little to do, but that little was done very creditably. The remaining characters were pretty well filled, with the exception of Rupert, which Mr. Worrell contrived to make truly ridiculous. At the fall of the curtain, the applause was deafening, when Mr. S. Knowles came forward and announced the play for repetition every night until further notice, amidst the most enthusiastic cheering.

Tom Noddy's Secret continues to attract a good half-price, and owing to the inimitable acting of Strickland, doubtless will have a very long run.


A new drama, from the German of Kotzebue, has been produced here, under the title of The Foresters, with success; which success was chiefly owing some very elegant and characteristic music by Mr. E. J. Loder, the talented composer of Nourjahad. We shall not attempt to give any analysis of the piece, but content ourselves with alluding to a few of the characters and incidents.-Mr. Vandenhoff performs a “man of many virtues," and, like all such unnaturally gifted individuals, is exposed to innumerable machinations from sundry "men of many vices ;' but, in “the good old style,” he triumphs at the end, and by returning his enemies good for evil, illustrates the respectable and ancient saw,

“ To err is human—to forgive divine," Mr. Bartley impersonates a stout and portly forester, not overburdened with brains, who is chiefly distinguished by reiterations unnumbered of the following quaint and witty phrase:

“D'ye take a hint ?” All we have to say of Mr. Bartley is, that we should feel infinitely pleased if he would “take a hint," and master the dialogue assigned to him with a trifle more of accuracy-following the advice of Hamlet:

“Let those that play your clowns say no more than is set down for them.” For though Herr Kotzebue's wit be none of the keenest, it is assuredly “a cut above ” that of Mr. Bartley.

Mr. Frazer was very entertaining in a love-sick stripling of the forest—and, by-the-by, is the hero of an episode which, with all submission to Kotzebue, has no business in the piece. Miss Rainforth personated a pretty and interesting young maiden in love, without being aware of it, and very pretty and interesting she looked. Mr. Harley performed with his usual quaintness and anti-nature, a functionary who has more power entrusted to him by men, than wit entrusted to him by Heaven, and who consequently makes a pretty considerable merry-andrew of himself on more than one occasion. Mr. Anderson mouthed and caricatured Macready with more than ordinary emphasis; Mr. Ward was more methodistical than ever-and two gentlemen in cocked hats, (Messrs. Diddear and Waldron), might with advantage have been cut out altogether.

Our task is more grateful with respect to the music, which is charming the overture, a brilliant and effective composition in the French school, but perfectly original in idea, was loudly and unanimously encored-though Mr. Chronicle Hogarth took the trouble to say, thật none of the pieces were encored.” Stultus est qui huic credat. An elegant trio in A, which opens the piece, was spoiled by the encore of the overture, and might have been executed by the singers more to our satisfaction. A song in E flat, Love came to our gate,” by Miss Rainforth; another in B flat, To the merry greenwood"; and a third in A, “In summer's cot," by Miss Horton, are all pretty and popular, but the last is the best. A duet in G, between Miss Rainforth and Miss Horton, is a delicious and playful specimen, in Mr. Loder's happiest vein; it was delightfully sung and acted by both ladies. A huntsman's chorus is rather German, and the same may be said of a duet in D, “The cup of peace." The finale to the first

[ocr errors]
« PredošláPokračovať »