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Íarly in the Italian, and considerable feeling. He was alike excellent in the oratorio, the orchestra, or the stage, for which his gentlemanly deportment and figure especially qualified him. Some years since appeared Sinclair, whose voice was pure in quality, of considerable volume; and extremely flexible. At first, he made some figure, and became in some sort a favourite with the public. He went to Italy, and returned perhaps the very best specimen of the very worst taste. His facility of execution led him to embellish everything he sang in the most extravagant manner, and he reappeared only to fall irredeemably. Mr. Wood has lately alsó enjoyed a small share of the public regard; and here may be said to end the catalogue of English tenors*, for it is a curious fact that, neither in the concert-room nor the theatre, has any one of larger promise than ordinary appeared during the successive reigns of Harrison, Vaughan, and Braham.
If there have been more diversity among the females, there has not been more excellence. One single name has stood the test of time,Miss Stephens,—who has of late, indeed, seceded almost entirely from the practice of the profession. Miss Stephens began her career early, but did not come pre-eminently forward till about 1812. She commenced her musical education under Lanza; who proceeded to form her voice with care, but also with the slow progression of the Italian method. Subsequently she become the pupil of Welsh, who applied himself industriously to the task of fitting her for the stage, and of bringing her out. Her round, full, rich, lovely voice, her natural manner, her simple style, deformed by no sort of affectation, immediately won upon the public; and both in the orchestra, the church, and the theatre, she became universally admired. No female singer perhaps ever built so true an English style upon Italian rudiments. Her ballad singing was perfection. There was also high beauty, and no slight polish, in her concert and oratorio singing, and though the manner was anything but impassioned, it was sensible and graceful. Her purity rendered her performance the very model of what our nation terms chaste singing." No one ever enjoyed more universal engagements than Miss Stephens. She sang everywhere for nearly twenty years, except at the Italian Opera ; and no one adorned public life by the virtues and the natural graces of her private character more than she has done.
Miss Paton, endowed more variously, but not so highly in. somé respects, has, for the last few years, occupied a lofty place. Nature gave to this young lady a very bcautiful person, a sweet and extensive voice, unbounded industry and emulation, and a warm imagination. She is a very fine musician t; but she has been the scholar of a multitude of masters, good, bad, and indifferent, and her scale was never rightly formed from the first; she has therefore laboured under the drawback of an unequal and imperfect vocalization. Her fancy and feeling have also
* Perhaps we ought to mention Mr. Broadhurst, if it be only for his beautiful performance of “ John Anderson my Jo." Never was anything more pathetic, more exquisite than this.
† One of the strongest proofs of this truth was given by Miss Paton about five years since. She was engaged to sing at the Philharmonic; and, on the inorning of the rehearsal, was requested to sing a song of Spohr's, one of the most difficult, because consisting of intervals almost unvocal, that ever was composed. She sang the song " a prima vista," with a degree of precision and excellence paralleled only by the well-known anecdote of Mara, when tested in a similar way by Frederick the Great,
of late allured her to refine too far: her pathos has become ultra-pathetic; her expression is carried, by retardations of the time, violent emphasis, and struggling after extreme effects, to a length often touching upon the ridiculous, and always liable to the suspicion of affectation. But, with all these deductions, she is still a great artist; and it would be impossible to find another English female so variously and so highly cultivated.
The place of these singers has been since occupied by Miss Inverarity (who has scarcely realized the promise she at first held out), Miss Shirreff, Miss Cawse, and Miss Romer; but none of them have yet risen to a height sufficient to place them above those who float, for a short time, like the gay bubbles of the element, sink, and are seen no more *.
The stage has rarely reared a bass singer of any mark or likelihood; the paucity and incapacity of such artists, and the few and feeble parts written for them, have operated necessarily to keep them out of sight, and repress even the talent which has appeared. Storace had the noblest voice to write for iu Sedgewick that was ever heard on the English stage; but the man was heavy, dull, and irregular. Of late; however, Mr. H. Phillips and Mr. Seguin (a pupil of the Royal Academy) have come boldly out. · The former has highly distinguished himself, and is now esteemed, in the concert-room, the direct and only successor of Bartleman; while, upon the stage, he takes a more exalted place than any of his predecessors. His voice is somewhat heavier and rounder than a barytone, while it preserves, in a great degree, the brilliancy of tonë peeuliar to that species, ranges through its full compass above, and is more extended below. Mr. Phillips has a strong capacity and a fertile faney; but he has also good taste and a sound judgment. At this moment he is the most popular English singer going; and, what has seldom been achieved by any bass, his ballad-singing is greatly esteemed. The truth is, he is simple, natural, sensible, and expressive; and, above all, content to do no more than the occasion demands, and he himself can perfectly execute.--Mr. Seguin has a noble voice and much science. His performance with Malibran in “La Somnambula” has gained him credit with the public, which industry and experience will establish. - We have thus exhibited a peristrephic picture” of the talent nourished by the election of the country during the last thirty years,
Multitudes have risen and sunk; for the trial shows how rarely persons are endowed with all the qualities that constitute a great artist. Organic strength--vocal, intellectual, corporeal, must all unitet; and now, the education and knowledge necessary would astound the singers of the last century, To be able to pronounce and understand, so far as the words.
a song go, English, Latin, Italian, French, and Germant, sometimes * We have not forgotten, though we postpone, Madame Vestris, because she commenced at the King's Theatre.
| The fatigue singers undergo is incredible. Pasta, not many seasons ago, played in Naples, and seventeen days afterwards appeared upon the boards of the King's Theatre in London. After the most fatiguing characters, she sometimes goes to more than one private evening concert, having sung at a morning concert, or rehearsed, or both. Mrs. Salmon, in one week, sang on the Monday night in Lon don, Tuesday at Oxford, Wednesday in London, Thursday at Bath, Friday in London, and Saturday at Bristol. Nothing but the constitution of a horse can stand it. The private concerts of the nobility rarely begin before eleven o'clock at night, and end-no one knows when. The late hours are the destruction of the health of the London world.
It is marvellous that no aspirant has revived Heighivgton's Greek Odes, or
even Spanish, seems to be all but indispensable; for all these languages have been sung at provincial festivals. To converse in French, if not Italian, is almost equally important to those who must mix so much with foreigners, and with such various society. To be able to read music with the utmost facility,—to understand its construction sufficiently, at least, to judge of the propriety of ornament upon given harmonics,-to play the pianoforte enough to accompany, ----are essentials. To these accomplishments ought to be added a wide and comprehensive study of English, Italian, and German composers, both for the church and the theatre. Here is enough for the employment of a laborious life; but if the artist have not polished manners, and some acquaintance with the current literature, he or she will find little countenance in the polite world, to which, if they mix in society at all, it is their province to aspire. This is no ideal picture. We have known females,-aye, and young females,-(for they far exceed the men,) whose attainments were not far short of this estimate. Madame Caradori Allan is one of the brightest examples. To all these attainments she adds drawing and modelling to great perfection, and is, withal, amongst the most modest, sensible, and well-bred persons of her time. We know not how it is, but so it is, the foreigners excel us in the extent and variety of their accomplishments.
We have already alluded to the dearth of rising singers in certain classes. The absence of commanding talent is obvious; but perhaps 80 much more is now done, even by second-rates, that, to be first, implies even more than former favourites achieved. Upon the stage there are Misses Inverarity, Betts, Shirreff, Romer, Cawse, H. Cawse, Mrs. Waylett, Madame Vestris, Mrs. Wood, &c.; Messrs. Sapio, Wilson, Templeton, and Wood, tenors; H. Phillips, Seguin, and Stansbury, basses. In the concert Miss Masson has already attained high eminence; Mrs. Seguin, Mrs. Bishop, and, above most others, Miss Clara Novello, afford abundant promise. But the summit is only attained by long, as well as painful labour.
Our notice has run to an extent which compels us to postpone the last and most fashionable, if not the most popular, item,—the portraiture of foreign excellence,--to another Number. Enough, we hope, has been said to prove that the natives of England, under judicious cultivationgive them fair play-have, at least, the power of vying with foreign artists in most, if not in all, the branches. If Italy and Germany boast their Catalani, their Colbran, their Pasta, and their Sontag, we have our Billington, our Vestris, our Salmon, and our Stephens. Braham we pronounce to be unmatched, in spite of all his sinkings. It is a question whether Italy ever produced a more perfect cantabile singer than Harrison. What, then, is wanting to the perfecting of English art and English artists? That devotion to music which England can never feel, so long as England considers politics, commerce, and general literature to have superior claims; in short, so long as Englishmen and Englishwomen prefer domestic affection and society to public entertainment, general good to personal amusement, freedom to frivolity, moderate to excessive pleasures, and reason to passion. set Romaic. The Russ will soon appear, now that the horn band has come among us.
THE LATE MR. TARDY,
« Better late than never was the motto of that ancient family, the Tardys; that of the Loiters, Slow and sure.” The deceased Sir Dawdlemore Tardy, of Neverdone Castle, Bart., father to our present subject, married Miss Evelina Loiter, sole offspring of Sir Lag Loiter, Bart., of Limpingham Hall. Certain trifling circumstances appeared to render this marriage desirable-such as equality of rank, contiguity of the family estates, the mutual affection which had long existed between the principal contracting parties, the fitness of their ages, the conformity of their habits, tastes, and dispositions, &c. Yet, maturely considered, a more injudicious union can hardly be imagined ; for what, indeed, but the most disastrous consequences could be expected to result from the junction, not of the families, but of their mottoes! In the formation of character the operation of a precept frequently repeated, though imperceptible, is certain ; and no one will venture to dispute that a person who can scarcely ever step into his carriage, or seal a letter, without finding the same maxim obtruded upon his attention, will insensibly become its slave. How much, then, must the case of such a one be aggravated when abandoned to the influence of two such monitors, both pointing the same way! Had either of the two families had for their motto, " Delays are dangerous, “ Strike while the iron's hot,' or,
" A stitch in time saves nine, or Never put off till to-morrow what can be done to-day.” --though, haply, somewhat too long, or not sufficiently elegant to decorate the pannels of a carriage,—the counteracting influence of one of these sentences would have neutralized the mischievous effects of either of the others. As it was, the operation of their combined force was irresistible; and of their pernicious power the unfortunate victim was the late Mr. Loiter Lag Tardy.
The Genius of Delay seems to have presided over the fortunes of our hero even before his entrance into this world of trouble. Anxiously awaited by Sir Dawdlemore and his young and lovely wife was the period which should bless them with what is prettily termed a pledge of affection. The tenantry, also, of the two families felt a deep and natural interest in the event, for (to say nothing of the love and respect they entertained for their landlords) the birth of a child was to be celebrated by the roasting of a couple of fat oxen, and the distribution of sundry barrels of very strong ale. The heads of the most learned gossips of the village of Limpingham were at work; signs and appearances were carefully considered, time was strictly calculated; and, at length, by a general concurrence of opinions, the eighth of September was declared the favoured and fortunate day which the young stranger would most certainly honour with his first interesting squeak. The important eighth of September arrived. Certain symptoms experienced by Lady Tardy seemed likely to confirm the opinions of the old ladies of Limpingham. The ale-barrels were rolled out upon the lawn of Neverdone Castle, the fatted oxen were turned from their pastures, the ropes of the church-bells of Limpingham were already in the hands of the most expert ringers in the village, and nothing remained wanting to put all these evidences of
October - VOL. XXXVIII. NO. CLIV,
heart-felt rejoicings into appropriate action, but the preconcerted signal which was to announce, incontestably, an addition to the family. But the old ladies of Limpingham were, for once, at fault; and the eighth of September was disappointed of its expected honours, for the little Tardy appeared not on that day. So the bell-ringers returned to their homes, the ale-barrels were restored to their shed, and the fatted oxen to their pastures. Another day passed away, and another; a week, a fortnight elapsed, yet was the world ungladdened by the addition of the invaluable unit to its hundreds of millions. “ Slow and sure,” said Sir Lag Loiter. “ Better late than never,” responded his patient son-in-law. At last—at last—at last, on the twenty-ninth of September, (exactly twenty-one days after the period calculated upon) at precisely nine of the morning, a red flag, hoisted on one of the chimney-tops of Neverdone castle, gave assurance of the birth of an heir-male to the house of Tardy. All was now rejoicing! The bells of Limpingham church were set ringing, the ale was rolled out to be tapped, the oxen were driven forth to be slaughtered.
We have already said that the Genius of Delay seems to have presided over the fortunes of our hero, even (if such an expression be allowable) before his birth. His first step in the world, or, more strictly speaking, the very step he took into existence, was taken too late! The young gentleman, whose appearance we have announced, was not Master Loiter Lag Tardy! Barely had a quarter of an hour passed away, (for Sir Dawdlemore Tardy and Sir Lag Loiter were still shaking hands, and congratulating each other upon the happy event,) when the nurse burst into the room, and announced the arrival of a second pledge of affection! This was our hero. Call it indolence; call it politeness towards his fellow-brat whom he allowed to take the start of him; qualify his conduct upon the occasion in whatsoever way you please; certain it is, that by coming into the world just a quarter of an hour too late, he lost a baronetcy, with two-and-thirty thousand a year, and took in exchange the advantageous place of younger brother, with a magnificent three hundred whilst his father lived, and the chances of what afterwards the generosity of the person whom he had so kindly obliged might choose to bestow upon him on his acceding to the title and the estates.
The overjoyed father (whose delight, however, was somewhat diminished by receiving more than he had bargained for) was naturally anxious to feast his eyes with a sight of the future baronet and his brother. Accordingly, two little lumps of brick-dust-coloured putty were brought for his inspection. Not greater could have been his wonder and his admiration had a phænix and a unicorn been exhibited to him. Apparently forgetting that such things are by no means uncommon, he gazed upon them as though they were the rarest productions of nature; and, like the bird we have alluded to, only to be met with once in a century. But the first-felt raptures of paternity must be treated with indulgence.
“Do you consider them handsome, nurse ?” asked he, in a tone sufficiently indicating that he did--at the same time putting a couple of guineas into the hand of the matron.
". They are, positively, the most beautiful creatures I ever beheld, Sir," replied she; adroitly adding, “ and so like you and my lady !"