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third, which served as their fundamental note, inferred that the bass was derived from the melody (chant); whilst the reverse was affirmed by Rameau. Until this moment, the ear and instinct had constituted the only guides for determining the bass; whereas in consequence of the discovery of Tartini, composers, guided by the laws of natural philosophy, have since found in mathematics the most general basis of the art .
We now come to one of the most interesting periods in the history of Italian music. We allude to that at which attention was directed in a more especial manner to the different kinds of composition,—at which also we notice a revival of dramatic music in general, and of the opera in particular. We have already seen, that after its banishment from Rome, music took refuge in the Church; and that to St . Augustine, St . Ambrose, St . Gregory, &.c.x it was indebted for the honour of once more attaining the elevated rank to which it is so justly entitled in the worship of the Divinity; but, as may readily be inferred from what we have said of the aversion of the early Christians for all that appeared even distantly connected with Pagan institutions, and from the afflicting state of Europe, the diatonic mode, owing to its severe character, was the only one in use; and the chromatic, which by the Greeks had been consecrated to theatrical representations and to the pleasures of life, was not only a long time neglected, but in a great measure forgotten. When, however, the invasions of the barbarians had ceased, and when these had established themselves permanently in the countries they had subjugated; and become mixed and confounded with the native inhabitants of the soil,—a fusion due more to the Christian religion than to any other cause—it was found, that the music introduced into the churches had operated as one of the most powerful auxiliaries of the latter. Hence all the efforts of the clergy were directed towards its improvement. Not a long time elapsed, before, becoming dissatisfied with the simple Gregorian chant, they introduced the organ for the accompaniment of the Te Deums, anthems, and masses; and next thought of a new method of honouring the Lord with greater pomp and solemnity;—we allude to musical representations of the passion of Christ, the adoration of the Virgin, of the angels, and of the most celebrated of the martyrs. From this moment may be dated, therefore, the revival of dramatic music, and consequently of the chromatic mode of the Greeks. This may be viewed as a second, and not a less signal service, which religion has rendered the cause of music. Among many examples in support of the facts to which we have alluded, it will merely be necessary to state, that by Tiraboschi, Jivogaro, and other writers, it is mentioned, that in consequence of the regulations of a society founded at Treves in the 13th century, the monks of that city were required to furnish every year
two clergymen, well instructed in the art of singing, for the purpose of representing the angel and the Virgin, on the day of the Annunciation. Villani also, and Jimirato, relate, that Cardinal Riario caused to be represented at Rome The Conversion of St. Paul, the music of which was composed by Francesco Baverini.
It was not presumable, however, that the choice of subjects would long be restricted to sacred history; hence not two centuries had elapsed before dramatic music passed into the hands of the nobility; and profane subjects, as the deeds and actions of great men, and many others, were represented on the stage.* In 1475, Politian composed his drama entitled Orfeo. It is somewhere stated, that in 1480 a musical tragedy was performed at Rome; and nine years after, in the palace of the noble Borgonzio Botta, a musical drama was represented, to which some have thought they could trace the origin of the grand opera. In 1555, Mfonzo Viola composed for the court of Ferrara, a pastoral drama entitled // Sacrifizio, which was afterwards performed at Venice, in 1574, in celebration of the visit paid to that city by Henry III. of France. But although the lyric drama had already existed in Italy a number of years, it was not yet honoured with a music peculiar and suited to it; and was for the most part made up of sacred airs, or else of madrigals and vulgar songs, of the chromatic kind, it is true, but still very imperfect in their mode of composition. The historical epocha of the origin of dramatic music was undoubtedly that of the invention or revival of recitative or spoken music,—the only kind, as our author observes, that was destined to give to lyric tragedy its true language, and its special and positive constitution. This invention is usually attributed to J. Peri, who, at the instigation of three Florentine gentlemen,t applied to the poem of Daphne, written by Rinuccini, a kind of musical declamation, which had not the support and rhythm of music, but retained the tonality. The success of this piece was so great, as to induce Rinuccini to write two more works of the same kind—Euridice and Jiriadne. In the same year that the latter was performed at Florence, say the learned authors of the Musical Dictionary, whom Count Orloff copies almost literally, an oratorio of the same kind, composed by Emilio del Caveliere, and entitled VJinima e'l Corpo, was represented at Rome. This work, as well as that of Peri, was printed in 1608; and in their prefaces, both authors claim the honour of the invention of the recitative, which they nevertheless state to be the revival of the musical declamation of the Greeks. immortalized by more than one composer, and particularly by Gritty, who may be regarded as the Cimarosa of that nation; and the school of Germany, not less immortalized by Mozart, who enriched it with what has been styled the dramatic symphony.
• Albertino Muffato, of Padua, speaks of representations of profane subjects, as early as the thirteenth century.
t J. Bardi, P. Strozzi, and J. Corsi.
We have thus detailed, at some length, our author's opinion respecting the origin of the opera; and from all that has been said, it will be seen, that the latter is regarded by him as having taken birth in Italy; or at least, that he makes very little mention of the musieal tragedies of the Greeks. We have every reason to think, however, that the Italian Opera should be held as a mere revival of the Greek performances to which we have alluded. The latter, as is well known, were accompanied with music; and the same union was borrowed and maintained through the various periods of the Roman empire. Thus Aristotle expressly states, in his Poetics, that music is an essential part of tragedy; and in another passage of the same treatise, he calls it the greatest embellishment that tragedy can receive. All dramas, in fact, both in Greece, and as we have seen, subsequently at Rome, were sung and accompanied with instruments. This practice, therefore, cannot be regarded as of recent origin, but only as having been suspended in Italy after the downfal of the Empire, and during the barbarous ages which succeeded; and to have afterwards been revived in the Church, for the purposes to which we have alluded. Nor are we less inclined to refer some of what are usually denominated improvements in the opera, to a Greek origin; since, as Peri and Cavaliere have admitted, the modern recitative (for the invention of which, however, they claim great credit) should be regarded as a revival of the musical declamation of the ancient Greeks. A reference to the older writers on music will serve to convince any one of the justness of this concession. Thus Plutarch tells us, that Archilochus performed the music of his iambic verses in two different ways— reciting some of them to a partial accompaniment, and singing the rest, whilst the instruments played in unison. As in modern recitative, the rhythm was not observed in the ancient musical declamation; and the cythara by which the latter was accompanied, did not continue throughout, but only seemed destined to give the tone. The chromatic genus also, according to Plutarch, was never used in tragedy; from which circumstance, Dr. Burney derives another proof of the analogy of the ancient declamation with modern recitative, in which this kind of music is never used. The opinion we here maintain is, we believe, further supported by the fact, that the strophe, epode and antistrophe of the Greeks were sung differently and with a different music from melopoeia, in the same way as the choruses of modern operas are set to different music from the recitative. In fact, we believe, that no sensible difference can be found between the Grecian and Roman musical tragedy and the modern opera, except in the aria of the latter, which does not appear to have been known or employed by the ancients.
Convinced of the correctness of these remarks, we are inclined to think that Count Orloff should have prefaced his remarks on the Italian Opera by some notice of the musical representations of the Greeks; as it would have enabled those of his readers who had not before paid a particular attention to this subject, to form some idea of the true source of the opera. In his highly interesting work on the Union of Poetry and Music, Dr. Brown, after alluding to the fact, that the opera was a revival of the Grecian musical tragedy and not a newly invented species, suggests the opinion, that this form of the ancient tragedy had been still kept up in some retired part of Italy which the barbarians had not conquered, and was revived in happier days. "As Venice," he remarks, "was the place where the opera first appeared in splendour, so it is highly probable that there the ancient tragedy had slept in obscurity during the darkness of the barbarous ages. For while the rest of Italy was overrun by the nations from the north, the seas and morasses of Venice preserved her alone from their incursions. Hence, history tells us, the people flocked to Venice from every part of Italy; hence the very form of her republic hath been maintained for thirteen hundred years: and from these views of security, it was natural for the helpless arts to seek an asylum within her canals, from the fury and ignorance of a barbarous conqueror." He thinks his opinion strengthened, 1st, from the circumstance, that the carnival first appeared in splendour at Venice; which carnival is in many circumstances a transcript of the ancient saturnalia of Rome: 2dly, from the actors wearing a mask in the Venetian comedy, which is an imitation or continuance of the old Roman custom: 3dly, from the opera appearing first in a city whose other entertainments were evidently borrowed from those of ancient Rome: 4th, from the fact that the subjects of the very first operas were drawn from the fables of ancient Greece and Rome, and not from the events or achievements of the time: 5thly and finally, from the circumstance, that in theirybrw* they were exact copies of the ancient drama.
Although, from what we have said, it will be seen that we are disposed to regard the modern opera as a revival of the Grecian musical drama, we see no reason for considering it as a continuation of the latter, and for adopting in all its points the opinion of Dr. Brown, however ingenious and plausible it may appear. Our reasons are, that not the least information has been handed down to us respecting any performances of the sort at Venice during the times of the northern invasions; secondly, that we have already seen the manner in which it insensibly grew out of religious performances, which were begun at an early period; thirdly, that profane subjects are said to have been represented in the thirteenth century, or at any rate, at an earlier period than that assigned by Dr. Brown on the authority of Riccoboni (1574); and fourthly, that Venice, as we have seen, was not the place where the first opera was composed; since the very opera performed in that city in 1574, was composed as early as 1555, for the court of Ferrara.
However acceptable to our readers, or agreeable to us, the task might be of following our author in his observations on "Instrumental Music,"—on the different schools established in various parts of Europe, from the thirteenth century to a late period,— a subject he has rendered very attractive by combining with his text, as well as in the form of notes, a number of biographical sketches of the most eminent composers of Europe; or on the English, Flemish, and Spanish music and schools, we are constrained, from the fear of extending this article beyond the limits to which we are restricted, to refer such of our readers as may feel desirous of gleaning much information on these various subjects, to the work itself, and to content ourselves with a few remarks on the Neapolitan and other schools of Italy. Naples was, in ancient times, as since in the middle ages, the seat of opulence, of the arts, and particularly of music. From the remotest antiquity it possessed two theatres, in which the voices of Jilexis of Thurium and of Menander of Syracuse, were heard and applauded by an enthusiastic multitude. There, also, public games, consecrated to the muse of melody, were represented every four years in honour of Augustus, and attracted from all parts of Greece the most celebrated musical performers. Naples likewise possessed two Odeons, in which, as we are informed, the Emperor Claudius caused the Greek tragedy he had composed in honour of the virtuous Germanicus, to be performed, and in which the sanguinary Nero did not scruple to appear in public, and to sing his own verses, or those of his master, Seneca. ,gwfc
During the middle ages, when the greater portion of Italy had been subjugated, and was smarting under the iron rod of the barbarians, Naples suffered less than the neighbouring cities, and remained longer under the dominion of the Eastern emperors, who, until the time of Justinian, encouraged, instead of destroying the arts. Music, therefore, did not cease to be cultivated. Artists of more or less celebrity composed pieces for the church, and so early as the thirteenth century, we find that Cardinal Alberic, anticipating Guido, of whom we have already spoken, as well as Frederick II, his heroic son, Manfrcdi, and Robert of Anjou, had written upon and cultivated with success an art which was peculiarly well calculated to civilize, and to soften the manners of the Italian people, who once more had become as rude and barbarous as their relentless conquerors. •. r. <&!(ity*y