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Music
The systematic academic study of music gave rise to works of description,
analysis and criticism, by composers and performers, philosophers and
anthropologists, historians and teachers, and by a new kind of scholar -
the musicologist. This series makes available a range of significant works
encompassing all aspects of the developing discipline.

�e Life of Mozart
This 1845 biography of Mozart by the music journalist Edward Holmes was
the first to be published in English. Holmes, who numbered the poet Keats
and the publisher Vincent Novello amongst his friends, wrote extensively for
periodicals including the Musical Times and The Atlas. A lifelong admirer
of Mozart’s work, Holmes’s keen understanding of its significance is evident
throughout the biography. It is based on a thorough study of the then
available printed and manuscript sources, in particular many of Mozart’s
letters which Holmes translated and included as he ‘endeavoured throughout
to let the composer tell his own story’. He was also able to consult Mozart’s
own catalogue of his works, that compiled by the publisher Johann André
and the Mozart autograph manuscripts bought by André from Mozart’s
widow Constanze. The work is written in a very approachable style and will
appeal to anyone with an interest in Mozart.

C a m b r i d g e L i b r a r y C o L L e C t i o n
Books of enduring scholarly value

Page 187

182 THE LIFE OP MOZART.

is still a picture to the musician. I t exhibits consummate
knowledge of the theatre, displayed in an opera of the
first magnitude and complexity; which unites to a great
orchestra the effects of a double chorus on the stage and
behind the scenes; and introduces marches, processions,
and dances, to various accompaniments in the orchestra,
behind the scenes, or under the stage. This model opera,
in which Mozart rises on the wing from one beauty to
another through long acts, was completed, as we have seen,
within a few weeks, and ever since has defied the
scrutiny of musicians to detect in it the slightest negli-
gence of style.

The impassioned melancholy which pervades the music
in the first air of Ilia; in the meeting of the father and
the son, when the consequences of the vow are evident;
and in the scene between Ilia and Idamante in the third
act, when they are contending which shall die; is still
entirely unscathed by time.* Expression is wonderfully
heightened throughout these scenes by peculiar accents
of the instruments, by the doubling and thickening of the
parts as the situation warms, and a magnificent effect of
harmony, which musicians call the " inverted pedal."
The poetry of these mechanical means Mozart was the
first to exemplify in effects which are still modern; and
the only indications of an antique style, which " Ido-
meneo" bears, are in a few airs, in which, to gratify the
singers, he permitted the accustomed cadence to remain.

viously to writing the ' Creation.'" From an essay entitled " Mozart,
ses CEuvres, son Influence sur l'Art et les Artistes."

* These pieces are still the greatest attractions of classical performances.
The great dramatic scene, the sixth of the third act; which comprises
" 0 voto tremendo," the solemn march, the prayer of Idomeneo, and
the responses of the Priest of Neptune, the parting of the lovers, and
the voice of the oracle; produces all its original effect when heard from
time to time in private.

Page 188

THE LIFE OF MOZAET. 183

While solemnity is the prominent characteristic of " Ido-
meneo," the scenes of that opera have many changes
admirably planned for relief and variety of character.

The chorus of mariners at the port of Sidon, " Placido
e il mar," and the opening of the third act in the royal
garden, where Ilia walks and introduces the beautiful air
to the Zephyrs, have a calm and sweet expression, which
contrasts beautifully with the portentous sounds and sights
that have previously occupied attention.

While " Idomeneo" was running its prosperous
course, the composer was in great spirits; and, probably
thinking that his friends of the Munich orchestra had
had in his opera enough of " passion's solemn tears," he
changed their weeping to a laughing mood, by one touch
of his wand—the canon, " O Du eselhafter Martin.*" In
this jovial production, he entirely postponed all pretension
to the sublime, and seemed bent only on showing how
effectively music and words might be combined for a
laugh. Of the same date with these varied composi-
tions, is the Offertorium in D minor, " Misericordias Do-
mini," profoundly ecclesiastical in its style, and uniting
the severe school of ancient counterpoint with some of
the effects of the day, as governed by his own turn of
thought.

For the first time apparently, fully aware of the high
destiny of his genius, and of its influence on the amount
of human pleasure, he became more and more indifferent

* This address to the " foolish Martin" tells a tale of gay suppers
at Munich, and of the excessive merriment which accompanied the run
of "Idomeneo." The words and music are both by Mozart; but the
former are in the original, so entirely in the style of Rabelais, and EO
adapted to the orgies of an orchestra, that when the canon itself was
afterwards produced in public, a new version of words was attached.
Compared •with the convivial catches of Purcell's time, the offence of
this canon is slight. It is, in fact, a harmless Monkish joke, of ques-
tionable taste.

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PRINCEPS CAETERIQUE

ACADEMICI PHILHAftMONICI
Omnibus, et singulis praesentes Literas lecturis, felicitatem.

Quamvis ipsa Virtus sibi, suisque Sectatoribus gloriosum comparet Nomen, attarnen pro

inajori ejusdem majestate publicam in notitiam decuit propagari. Hinc est quod hujusce nostrae

PHILHARMONICAE ACADEMIAE existimationi, et incremento consulere, gingulorumque

Academicorum Scientiam, et profectum patefacere intcndentes, testamur Domin. Wolfgangum

Amadeum Mozart e Salisburgo—sub die 9 Mensis Octobris Anni 1770, inter Academiae

nostrae MAGISTEOS Compositores adscriptum fuisse. Tanti igitur Coacademici virtutem, et

merita perenni benevolentiae monumento prosequentes, hasce Patentes, Literas subscriptas,

nostrique Consessus Sigillo impresso obsignatas dedimus.

Bononiae ex nostra Residentia die 10 Mensis Octobris Anni 1770.

PRINCEPS PETKOMUS LANZI.
Registr. in Libro Campl. G. pag. 147.

Aloysius X. a v, Fe r r /,
a Secrctis.

Camplonerius
Cajetanus Croci.

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