« PředchozíPokračovat »
4. Cold was the morn, and bleak the wintry blast
Howled o'er the meadow, when I viewed thee last;
A thousand joys, to which I long had bid adieu. 5. Silent and sad the scene! I heard no more
Mirth's honest cry, and childhood's cheerful roar;
Increase of reason was increase of woe. 6. Silent and sad awhile I paused, to gaze
On the fallen dwelling of my earlier days.
And high in health the mimic game pursue;
7. Seat of my earlier, happier days, farewell!
Thy memory still within this breast shall dwell;
Palmyra, a celebrated city of
ancient Syria. Ilyssus, a river running near
Athens in Greece. minstrels, wandering musicians. convent, a house in which per
sons live who have retired from the world.
whilome, long ago.
1. Many of the greatest musicians have been very celebrated in their childhood for their musical talents, but none of them have excelled Johann Wolfgang Mozart. He was born in Salzburg, in January, 1756. When only three years old he listened intently to the lessons which his father, Leopold Mozart, was giving to his sister, Maria Anna, aged seven years. Mozart could then play thirds and other intervals on the harpsichord, and would smile at the beautiful sounds he produced. When he was a year older, he was taught some minuets and airs, which he learned with much facility, that half an hour was sufficient for a minuet, and an hour for other pieces.
2. Mozart executed his pieces with the greatest precision and delicacy of touch, and his progress was so rapid, that when only five years old he composed some little pieces
in strict accordance with the rules of counterpoint, which he played before his father, who thought them worthy of being preserved. His passion for music was so great that all his amusements were connected with it. Though much petted and caressed on account of his wonderful abilities, he lost none of his child-like simplicity, but continued loving and gentle in his manners and obedient in his conduct.
3. When Mozart was six years old his father took him
and his sister to Munich, where they performed before the Elector, and soon after they went to Vienna, where the children were presented at the Imperial Court. Their travels were extended to many of the chief towns of Europe, and lastly, to Paris, where they remained a considerable time. The brother and sister performed before the royal family at Versailles, and the former played the organ in the chapel royal. They also gave two grand public concerts, which excited great astonishment and admiration. Everywhere the family was treated with the utmost respect. At Paris, Mozart composed his first two works at the
of seven years. 4. On leaving Paris, in 1764, the Mozart family came to England, and had the honour of performing before the royal family. Several concerts were given which excited great interest in the wonderful abilities of this juvenile musician. While in England, young Mozart was put to several severe tests, and the manner in which he acquitted himself was very surprising. He played very difficult pieces at first sight, in a masterly manner, and exactly as the composer intended they should be—he sang parts with the utmost correctness, which his father failed to do, —and he composed extempore music for songs on different subjects; becoming so excited with his themes that he seemed quite unable to restrain his feelings.
5. After three years of travel, Mozart returned to his home in Salzburg, where he remained a few years. At the age of twelve he went again to Vienna. He gave several exhibitions before some noblemen and gentlemen of his skill in extemporaneous composition. At the consecration of the orphan house, he arranged all the music and had the entire direction placed in his hands. After another return home, the father and son travelled into Italy, being everywhere received with respect and admiration. At Rome, they attended the Sistine Chapel and heard the celebrated Miserere, the music of which was not allowed to be copied. Young Mozart, on his return to his lodgings, wrote it all down from memory, and took the score with him on another occasion to correct it. When this feat became known, it made so much noise that he was requested to sing it with an accompaniment on the harpsichord, at a concert at which Christophori, who had sung it in church, was present, and who by his astonishment rendered young Mozart's triumph complete.
6. At his father's death, Mozart received the appointment of concert-master to the Prince-archbishop, but after he had held it two years, he went to Vienna and was appointed chapel-master to the Emperor Joseph. His progress and fame continued to keep pace with the expectations of the public to the end of his life. Premature genius, however, seldom enjoys a long career. The health of Mozart began rapidly to decline. In the few months preceding his decease, he was unusually diligent, producing three of his best works. Mozart was exceedingly rapid in composition. On one occasion an opera which he had written, was to be performed the next evening All the parts had been prepared and rehearsed, but the overture was not even begun. Mozart spent the preceding day in the country, and remained out late. He came home, slept for two hours, then began his work. The overture was completed before breakfast and the copyists had scarcely time to write out the score. A rehearsal was out of the question. The orchestra, however, acquitted themselves so well that it was received with thunders of applause.
7. Mozart's last work was composed when he was conscious the hand of death was upon him. A stranger