Great Violinists And Pianists
by George T. Ferris
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By George T. Ferris

Copyright, 1881, By D. Appleton and Company.


The title of this little book may be misleading to some of its readers, in its failure to include sketches of many eminent artists well worthy to be classed under such a head. There has been no attempt to cover the immense field of executive music, but only to call attention to the lives of those musical celebrities who are universally recognized as occupying the most exalted places in the arts of violin and pianoforte playing; who stand forth as landmarks in the history of music. To do more than this, except in a merely encyclopedic fashion, within the allotted space, would have been impossible. The same necessity of limits has also compelled the writer to exclude consideration of the careers of noted living performers; as it was thought best that discrimination should be in favor of those great artists whose careers have been completely rounded and finished.

An exception to the above will be noted in the case of Franz Liszt; but, aside from the fact that this greatest of piano-forte virtuosos, though living, has practically retired from the held of art, to omit him from such a volume as this would be an unpardonable omission. In connection with the personal lives of the artists sketched in this volume, the attempt has been made, in a general, though necessarily imperfect, manner, to trace the gradual development of the art of playing from its cruder beginnings to the splendid virtuosoism of the present time. The sources from which facts have been drawn are various, and, it is believed, trustworthy, including French, German, and English authorities, in some cases the personal reminiscences of the artists themselves.



The Ancestry of the Violin.—The Origin of the Cremona School of Violin-Making.—The Amatis and Stradiuarii.—Extraordinary Art Activity of Italy at this Period.—Antonius Stradiuarius and Joseph Guarnerius.—Something about the Lives of the Two Greatest Violin-Makers of the World.—Corelli, the First Great Violinist.—His Contemporaries and Associates.—Anecdotes of his Career.—Corelli's Pupil, Geminiani.—Philidor, the Composer, Violinist, and Chess-Player.—Giuseppe Tartini.—Becomes an Outcast from his Family on Account of his Love of Music.—Anecdote of the Violinist Vera-cini.—Tartini's Scientific Discoveries in Music.—His Account of the Origin of the "Devil's Trill."—Tartini's Pupils.


Viotti, the Connecting Link between the Early and Modern Violin Schools.—His Immense Superiority over his Contemporaries and Predecessors.—Other Violinists of his Time, Giornowick and Boccherini.—Viotti's Early Years.—His Arrival in Paris, and the Sensation he made.—His Reception by the Court.—Viotti's Personal Pride and Dignity.—His Rebuke to Princely Impertinence.—The Musical Circles of Paris.—Viotti's Last Public Concert in Paris.—He suddenly departs for London.—Becomes Director of the King's Theatre.—Is compelled to leave the Country as a Suspected Revolutionist.—His Return to England, and Metamorphosis into a Vintner.—The French Singer, Garat, finds him out in his London Obscurity.—Anecdote of Viotti's Dinner Party.—He quits the Wine Trade for his own Profession.—Is made Director of the Paris Grand Opera.—Letter from Rossini.—Viotti's Account of the "Ranz des Vaches."—Anecdotes of the Great Violinist.—Dies in London in 1824.—Viotti's Place as a Violinist, and Style of Playing.—The Tourte Bow first invented during his Time.—An Indispensable Factor in Great Playing on the Violin.—Viotti's Pupils, and his Influence on the Musical Art.


Birth and Early Life of the Violinist Spohr.—He is presented with his First Violin at six.—The French Emigre Dufour uses his Influence with Dr. Spohr, Sr., to have the Boy devoted to a Musical Career.—Goes to Brunswick for fuller Musical Instruction.—Spohr is appointed Kammer-musicus at the Ducal Court.—He enters under the Tuition of and makes a Tour with the Violin Virtuoso Eck.—Incidents of the Russian Journey and his Return.—Concert Tour in Germany.—Loses his Fine Guarnerius Violin.—Is appointed Director of the Orchestra at Gotha.—He marries Dorette Schiedler, the Brilliant Harpist.—Spohr's Stratagem to be present at the Erfurt Musical Celebration given by Napoleon in Honor of the Allied Sovereigns.—Becomes Director of Opera in Vienna.—Incidents of his Life and Production of Various Works.—First Visit to England.—He is made Director of the Cassel Court Oratorios.—He is retired with a Pension.—Closing Years of his Life.—His Place as Composer and Executant.


The Birth of the Greatest of Violinists.—His Mother's Dream.—Extraordinary Character and Genius.—Heine's Description of his Playing.—Leigh Hunt on Paganini.—Superstitious Rumors current during his Life.—He is believed to be a Demoniac.—His Strange Appearance.—Early Training and Surroundings.—Anecdotes of his Youth.—Paga-nini's Youthful Dissipations.—His Passion for Gambling.—He acquires his Wonderful Guarnerius Violin.—His Reform from the Gaming-table.—Indefatigable Practice and Work as a Young Artist.—Paganini as a Preux Chevalier.—His Powerful Attraction for Women.—Episode with a Lady of Rank.—Anecdotes of his Early Italian Concertizing.—The Imbroglio at Ferrara.—The Frail Health of Paganini.—Wonderful Success at Milan where he first plays One of the Greatest of his Compositions, "Le Streghe."—Duel with Lafont.—Incidents and Anecdotes.—His First Visit to Germany.—Great Enthusiasm of his Audiences.—Experiences at Vienna, Berlin, and other German Cities.—Description of Paganini, in Paris, by Castil-Blaze and Fetis.—His English Reception and the Impression made.—Opinions of the Critics.—Paganini not pleased with England.—Settles in Paris for Two Years, and becomes the Great Musical Lion.—Simplicity and Amiability of Nature.—Magnificent Generosity to Hector Berlioz.—The Great Fortune made by Paganini.—His Beautiful Country Seat near Parma.—An Unfortunate Speculation in Paris.—The Utter Failure of his Health.—His Death at Nice.—Characteristics and Anecdotes.—Interesting Circumstances of his Last Moments.—The Peculiar Genius of Paganini, and his Influence on Art.


De Beriot's High Place in the Art of the Violin and Violin Music.—The Scion of an Impoverished Noble Family.—Early Education and Musical Training.—He seeks the Advice of Viotti in Paris.—Becomes a Pupil of Robrechts and Baillot successively.—De Beriot finishes and perfects his Style on his Own Model.—Great Success in England.—Artistic Travels in Europe.—Becomes Soloist to the King of the Netherlands.—He meets Malibran, the Great Cantatrice, in Paris.—Peculiar Circumstances which drew the Couple toward Each Other.—They form a Connection which only ends with Malibran's Life.—Sketch of Malibran and her Family.—The Various Artistic Journeys of Malibran and De Beriot.—Their Marriage and Mme. de Beriot's Death.—De Beriot becomes Professor in the Brussels Conservatoire.—His Later Life in Brussels.—His Son Charles Malibran de Beriot.—The Character of De Beriot as Composer and Player.


The Birth and Early Life of Ole Bull at Bergen, Norway.—His Family and Connections.—Surroundings of his Boyhood.—Early Display of his Musical Passion.—Learns the Violin without Aid.—Takes Lessons from an Old Musical Professor, and soon surpasses his Master.—Anecdotes of his Boyhood.—His Father's Opposition to Music as a Profession.—Competes for Admittance to the University at Christiania.—Is consoled for Failure by a Learned Professor.—"Better be a Fiddler than a Preacher."—Becomes Conductor of the Philharmonic Society at Bergen.—His first Musical Journey.—Sees Spohr.—Fights a Duel.—Visit to Paris.—He is reduced to Great Pecuniary Straits.—Strange Adventure with Vidocq, the Great Detective.—First Appearance in Concert in Paris.—Romantic Adventure leading to Acquaintance.—First Appearance in Italy.—Takes the Place of De Beriot by Great Good Luck.—Ole Bull is most enthusiastically received.—Extended Concert Tour in Italy and France.—His Debut and Success in England.—One Hundred and Eighty Concerts in Six Months.—Ole Bull's Gaspar di Salo Violin, and the Circumstances under which he acquired it.—His Answer to the King of Sweden.—First Visit and Great Success in America in 1848.—Attempt to establish a National Theatre.—The Norwegian Colony in Pennsylvania.—Latter Years of Ole Bull.—His Personal Appearance.—Art Characteristics.


The Genealogy of the Piano-forte.—The Harpsichord its Immediate Predecessor.—Supposed Invention of the Piano-forte.—Silbermann the First Maker.—Anecdote of Frederick the Great.—The Piano-forte only slowly makes its Way as against the Clavichord and Harpsichord.—Emanuel Bach, the First Composer of Sonatas for the Piano-forte.—His Views of playing on the New Instrument.—Haydn and Mozart as Players.—Muzio Clementi, the Earliest Virtuoso, strictly speaking, as a Pianist.—Born in Rome in 1752.—Scion of an Artistic Family.—First Musical Training.—Rapid Development of his Talents.—Composes Contrapuntal Works at the Age of Fourteen.—Early Studies of the Organ and Harpsichord.—Goes to England to complete his Studies.—Creates an Unequaled Furore in London.—John Christian Bach's Opinion of Clementi.—Clementi's Musical Tour.—His Duel with Mozart before the Emperor.—Tenor of Clementi's Life in England.—Clementi's Pupils.—Trip to St. Petersburg.—Sphor's Anecdote of Him.—Mercantile and Manufacturing Interest in the Piano as Partner of Collard.—The Players and Composers trained under Clementi.—His Composition.—Status as a Player.—Character and Influence as an Artist.—Development of the Technique of the Piano, culminating in Clementi.


Clementi and Mozart as Points of Departure in Piano-forte Playing.—Moscheles the most Brilliant Climax reached by the Viennese School.—His Child-Life at Prague.—Extraordinary Precocity.—Goes to Vienna as the Pupil of Salieri and Albrechtsburger.—Acquaintance with Beethoven.—Moscheles is honored with a Commission to make a Piano Transcription of Beethoven's "Fidelio."—His Intercourse with the Great Man.—Concert Tour.—Arrival in Paris.—The Artistic Circle into which he is received.—Pictures of Art-Life in Paris.—London and its Musical Celebrities.—Career as a Wandering Virtuoso.—Felix Mendelssohn becomes his Pupil.—The Mendelssohn Family.—Moseheles's Marriage to a Hamburg Lady.—Settles in London.—His Life as Teacher, Player, and Composer.—Eminent Place taken by Moscheles among the Musicians of his Age.—His Efforts soothe the Sufferings of Beethoven's Death-bed.—Friendship for Mendelssohn.—Moscheles becomes connected with the Leipzig Conservatorium.—Death in 1870.—Moscheles as Pianist and Composer.—Sympathy with the Old as against the New School of the Piano.—His Powerful Influence on the Musical Culture and Tendencies of his Age.


Robert Schumann's Place as a National Composer.—Peculiar Greatness as a Piano-forte Composer.—Born at Zwickau in 1810.—His Father's Aversion to his Musical Studies.—Becomes a Student of Jurisprudence in Leipzig.—Makes the Acquaintance of Clara Wieck.—Tedium of his Law Studies.—Vacation Tour to Italy.—Death of his Father, and Consent of his Mother to Schumann adopting the Profession of Music.—Becomes Wieck's Pupil.—Injury to his Hand which prevents all Possibilities of his becoming a Great Performer.—Devotes himself to Composition.—The Child, Clara Wieck—Remarkable Genius as a Player.—Her Early Training.—Paganini's Delight in her Genius.—Clara Wieck's Concert Tours.—Schumann falls deeply in Love with her, and Wieck's Opposition.—His Allusions to Clara in the "Neue Zeit-schrift."—Schumann at Vienna.—His Compositions at first Unpopular, though played by Clara Wieck and Liszt.—Schumann's Labors as a Critic.—He marries Clara in 1840.—His Song Period inspired by his Wife.—Tour to Russia, and Brilliant Reception given to the Artist Pair.—The "Neue Zeitschrift" and its Mission.—The Davidsbund.—Peculiar Style of Schumann's Writing.—He moves to Dresden.—Active Production in Orchestral Composition.—Artistic Tour in Holland.—He is seized with Brain Disease.—Characteristics as a Man, as an Artist, and as a Philosopher.—Mme. Schumann as her Husband's Interpreter.—Chopin a Colaborer with Schumann.—Schumann on Chopin again.—Chopin's Nativity.—Exclusively a Piano-forte Composer.—His Genre as Pianist and Composer.—Aversion to Concert-giving.—Parisian Associations.—New Style of Technique demanded by his Works.—Unique Treatment of the Instrument.—Characteristics of Chopin's Compositions.


Thalberg one of the Greatest of Executants.—Rather a Man of Remarkable Talents than of Genius.—Moseheles's Description of him.—The Illegitimate Son of an Austrian Prince.—Early Introduction to Musical Society in London and Vienna.—Beginning of his Career as a Virtuoso.—The Brilliancy of his Career.—Is appointed Court Pianist to the Emperor of Austria.—His Marriage.—Visits to America.—Thalberg's Artistic Idiosyncrasy.—Robert Schumann on his Playing.—His Appearance and Manner.—Characterization by George William Curtis.—Thalberg's Style and Worth as an Artist.—His Piano-forte Method, and Place as a Composer for the Piano.—Gottschalk's Birth and Early Years.—He is sent to Paris for Instruction.—Successful Debut and Publie Concerts in Paris and Tour through the French Cities.—Friendship with Berlioz.—Concert Tour to Spain.—Romantic Experiences.—Berlioz on Gottschalk.—Reception of Gottschalk in America.—Criticism of his Style.—Remarkable Success of his Concerts.—His Visit to the West Indies, Mexico, and Central America.—Protracted Absence.—Gottschalk on Life in the Tropics.—Return to the United States.—Three Brilliant Musical Years.—Departure for South America.—Triumphant Procession through the Spanish-American Cities.—Death at Rio Janeiro.—Notes on Gottschalk as Man and Artist.


The Spoiled Favorite of Fortune.—His Inherited Genius.—Birth and Early Training.—First Appearance in Concert.—Adam Liszt and his Son in Paris.—Sensation made by the Boy's Playing.—His Morbid Religious Sufferings.—Franz Liszt thrown on his own Resources.—The Artistic Circle in Paris.—Liszt in the Ranks of Romanticism.—His Friends and Associates.—Mme. D'Agoult and her Connection with Franz Liszt.—He retires to Geneva.—Is recalled to Paris by the Thalberg Furore.—Rivalry between the Artists and their Factions.—He commences his Career as Traveling Virtuoso.—The Blaze of Enthusiasm throughout Europe.—Schumann on Liszt as Man and Artist.—He ranks the Hungarian Virtuoso as the Superior of Thalberg.—Liszt's Generosity to his own Countrymen.—The Honors paid to him in Pesth.—Incidents of his Musical Wanderings.—He loses the Proceeds of Three Hundred Concerts.—Contributes to the Completion of the Cologne Cathedral.—His Connection with the Beethoven Statue at Bonn, and the Celebration of the Unveiling.—Chorley on Liszt.—Berlioz and Liszt.—Character of the Enthusiasm called out by Liszt as an Artist.—Remarkable Personality as a Man.—Berlioz characterizes the Great Virtuoso in a Letter.—Liszt ceases his Life as a Virtuoso, and becomes Chapel-Master and Court Conductor at Weimar.—Avowed Belief in the New School of Music, and Production of Works of this School.—Wagner's Testimony to Liszt's Assistance.—Liszt's Resignation of his Weimar Post after Ten Years.—His Subsequent Life.—He takes Holy Orders.—Liszt as a Virtuoso and Composer.—Entitled to be placed among the most Remarkable Men of his Age.



The Ancestry of the Violin.—The Origin of the Cremona School of Violin-Making.—The Amatis and Stradiuarii.—Extraordinary Art Activity of Italy at this Period.—Antonius Stradiuarius and Joseph Guarnerius.—Something about the Lives of the Two Greatest Violin-Makers of the World.—Corelli, the First Great Violinist.—His Contemporaries and Associates.—Anecdotes of his Career.—Corelli's Pupil, Geminiani.—Philidor, the Composer, Violinist, and Chess-Player.—Giuseppe Tartini.—Becomes an Outcast from his Family on Account of his Love of Music.—Anecdote of the Violinist Veracini.—Tartini's Scientific Discoveries in Music.—His Account of the Origin of the "Devil's Trill."—Tartini's Pupils.


The ancestry of the violin, considering this as the type of stringed instruments played with a bow, goes back to the earliest antiquity; and innumerable passages might be quoted from the Oriental and classical writers illustrating the important part taken by the forefathers of the modern violin in feast, festival, and religious ceremonial, in the fiery delights of battle, and the more dulcet enjoyments of peace. But it was not till the fifteenth century, in Italy, that the art of making instruments of the viol class began to reach toward that high perfection which it speedily attained. The long list of honored names connected with the development of art in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries is a mighty roll-call, and among these the names of the great violin-makers, beginning with Gaspard de Salo, of Brescia, who first raised a rude craft to an art, are worthy of being included. From Brescia came the masters who established the Cremona school, a name not only immortal in the history of music, but full of vital significance; for it was not till the violin was perfected, and a distinct school of violin-playing founded, that the creation of the symphony, the highest form of music, became possible.

The violin-makers of Cremona came, as we have said, from Brescia, beginning with the Ama-tis. Though it does not lie within the province of this work to discuss in any special or technical sense the history of violin-making, something concerning the greatest of the Cremona masters will be found both interesting and valuable as preliminary to the sketches of the great players which make up the substance of the volume. The Amatis, who established the violin-making art at Cremona, successively improved, each member of the class stealing a march on his predecessor, until the peerless masters of the art, Antonius Stradiuarius and Joseph Guarnerius del Jesu, advanced far beyond the rivalry of their contemporaries and successors. The pupils of the Amatis, Stradiuarius, and Guarnerius settled in Milan, Florence, and other cities, which also became centers of violin-making, but never to an extent which lessened the preeminence of the great Cremona makers. There was one significant peculiarity of all the leading artists of this violin-making epoch: each one as a pupil never contented himself with making copies of his master's work, but strove incessantly to strike out something in his work which should be an outcome of his own genius, knowledge, and investigation. It was essentially a creative age.

Let us glance briefly at the artistic activity of the times when the violin-making craft leaped so swiftly and surely to perfection. If we turn to the days of Gaspard di Salo, Morelli, Magini, and the Amatis, we find that when they were sending forth their fiddles, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, and Tintoretto were busily painting their great canvases. While Antonius Stradiuarius and Joseph Guarnerius were occupied with the noble instruments which have immortalized their names, Canaletto was painting his Venetian squares and canals, Giorgio was superintending the manufacture of his inimitable maiolica, and the Venetians were blowing glass of marvelous beauty and form. In the musical world, Corelli was writing his gigues and sarabandes, Geminiani composing his first instruction book for the violin, and Tartini dreaming out his "Devil's Trill"; and while Guadognini (a pupil of Antonius Stradiuarius), with the stars of lesser magnitude, were exercising their calling, Viotti, the originator of the school of modern violin-playing, was beginning to write his concertos, and Boccherini laying the foundation of chamber music.

Such was the flourishing state of Italian art during the great Cremona period, which opened up a mine of artistic wealth for succeeding generations. It is a curious fact that not only the violin but violin music was the creature of the most luxurious period of art; for, in that golden age of the creative imagination, musicians contemporary with the great violin-makers were writing music destined to be better understood and appreciated when the violins then made should have reached their maturity.

There can be no doubt that the conditions were all highly favorable to the manufacture of great instruments. There were many composers of genius and numerous orchestras scattered over Italy, Germany, and France, and there must have been a demand for bow instruments of a high order. In the sixteenth century, Palestrina and Zarlino were writing grand church music, in which violins bore an important part. In the seventeenth, lived Stradella, Lotti, Buononcini, Lulli, and Corelli. In the eighteenth, when violin-making Avas at its zenith, there were such names among the Italians as Scarlatti, Geminiani, Vivaldi, Locatelli, Boccherini, Tartini, Piccini, Viotti, and Nardini; while in France it was the epoch of Lecler and Gravinies, composers of violin music of the highest class. Under the stimulus of such a general art culture the makers of the violin must have enjoyed large patronage, and the more eminent artists have received highly remunerative prices for their labors, and, correlative to this practical success, a powerful stimulus toward perfecting the design and workmanship of their instruments. These plain artisans lived quiet and simple lives, but they bent their whole souls to the work, and belonged to the class of minds of which Carlyle speaks: "In a word, they willed one thing to which all other things were made subordinate and subservient, and therefore they accomplished it. The wedge will rend rocks, but its edge must be sharp and single; if it be double, the wedge is bruised in pieces and will rend nothing."


So much said concerning the general conditions under which the craft of violin-making reached such splendid excellence, the attention of the reader is invited to the greatest masters of the Cremona school.

"The instrument on which he played Was in Cremona's workshops made, By a great master of the past, Ere yet was lost the art divine; Fashioned of maple and of pine, That in Tyrolean forests vast Had rooked and wrestled with the blast.

"Exquisite was it in design, A marvel of the lutist's art, Perfect in each minutest part; And in its hollow chamber thus The maker from whose hand it came Had written his unrivaled name, 'Antonius Stradivarius.'"

The great artist whose work is thus made the subject of Longfellow's verse was born at Cremona in 1644. His renown is beyond that of all others, and his praise has been sounded by poet, artist, and musician. He has received the homage of two centuries, and his name is as little likely to be dethroned from its special place as that of Shakespeare or Homer. Though many interesting particulars are known concerning his life, all attempt has failed to obtain any connected record of the principal events of his career. Perhaps there is no need, for there is ample reason to believe that Antonius Stradiuarius lived a quiet, uncheckered, monotonous existence, absorbed in his labor of making violins, and caring for nothing in the outside world which did not touch his all-beloved art. Without haste and without rest, he labored for the perfection of the violin. To him the world was a mere workshop. The fierce Italian sun beat down and made Cremona like an oven, but it was good to dry the wood for violins. On the slopes of the hills grew grand forests of maple, pine, and willow, but he cared nothing for forest or hillside except as they grew good wood for violins. The vineyards yielded rich wine, but, after all, the main use of the grape was that it furnished the spirit wherewith to compound varnish. The sheep, ox, and horse were good for food, but still more important because from them came the hair of the bow, the violin strings, and the glue which held the pieces together. It was through this single-eyed devotion to his life-work that one great maker was enabled to gather up all the perfections of his predecessors, and stand out for all time as the flower of the Cremonese school and the master of the world. George Eliot, in her poem, "The Stradivari," probably pictures his life accurately:

"That plain white-aproned man, who stood at work, Patient and accurate full fourscore years, Cherished his sight and touch by temperance; And since keen sense is love of perfectness, Made perfect violins, the needed paths For inspiration and high mastery."

M. Fetis, in his notice of the greatest of violin-makers, summarizes his life very briefly. He tells us the life of Antonius Stradiuarius was as tranquil as his calling was peaceful. The year 1702 alone must have caused him some disquiet, when during the war the city of Cremona was taken by Marshal Villeroy, on the Imperialist side, retaken by Prince Eugene, and finally taken a third time by the French. That must have been a parlous time for the master of that wonderful workshop whence proceeded the world's masterpieces, though we may almost fancy the absorbed master, like Archimedes when the Romans took Syracuse, so intent on his labor that he hardly heard the din and roar of battle, till some rude soldier disturbed the serene atmosphere of the room littered with shavings and strewn with the tools of a peaceful craft.

Polledro, not many years ago first violin at the Chapel Royal of Turin, who died at a very advanced age, declared that his master had known Stradiuarius, and that he was fond of talking about him. He was, he said, tall and thin, with a bald head fringed with silvery hair, covered with a cap of white wool in the winter and of cotton in the summer. He wore over his clothes an apron of white leather when he worked, and, as he was always working, his costume never varied. He had acquired what was regarded as wealth in those days, for the people of Cremona were accustomed to say "As rich as Stradiuarius." The house he occupied is still standing in the Piazza Roma, and is probably the principal place of interest in the old city to the tourists who drift thitherward. The simple-minded Cremonese have scarcely a conception to-day of the veneration with which their ancient townsman is regarded by the musical connoisseurs of the world. It was with the greatest difficulty that they were persuaded a few years ago, by the efforts of Italian and French musicians, to name one street Stradiuarius, and another Amati. Nicholas Amati, the greatest maker of his family, was the instructor of Antonius Stradiuarius, and during the early period of the latter artist the instruments could hardly be distinguished from those of Amati. But, in after-years, he struck out boldly in an original line of his own, and made violins which, without losing the exquisite sweetness of the Amati instruments, possessed far more robustness and volume of tone, reaching, indeed, a combination of excellences which have placed his name high above all others. It may be remarked of all the Cremona violins of the best period, whether Amati, Stradiuarius, Guarnerius, or Steiner, that they are marked no less by their perfect beauty and delicacy of workmanship than by their charm of tone. These zealous artisans were not content to imprison the soul of Ariel in other form than the lines and curves of ideal grace, exquisitely marked woods, and varnish as of liquid gold. This external beauty is uniformly characteristic of the Cremona violins, though shape varies in some degree with each maker. Of the Stradiuarius violins it may be said, before quitting the consideration of this maker, that they have fetched in latter years from one thousand to five thousand dollars. The sons and grandsons of Antonius were also violin-makers of high repute, though inferior to the chief of the family.

The name of Joseph Guarnerius del Jesu is only less in estimation than that of Antonius Stradiuarius, of whom it is believed by many he was a pupil or apprentice, though of this there is no proof. Both his uncle Andreas and his cousin Joseph were distinguished violin-makers, but the Guarnerius patronymic has now its chiefest glory from that member known as "del Jesu." This great artist in fiddle-making was born at Cremona in the year 1683, and died in 1745. He worked in his native place till the day of his death, but in his latter years Joseph del Jesu became dissipated, and his instruments fell off somewhat in excellence of quality and workmanship. But his chef d'oeuvres yield only to those of the great Stradiuarius in the estimation of connoisseurs. Many of the Guarnerius violins, it is said, were made in prison, where the artist was confined for debt, with inferior tools and material surreptitiously obtained for him by the jailer's daughter, who was in love with the handsome captive. These fruits of his skill were less beautiful in workmanship, though marked by wonderful sweetness and power of tone. Mr. Charles Reade, a great violin amateur as well as a novelist, says of these "prison" fiddles, referring to the comical grotesqueness of their form: "Such is the force of genius, that I believe in our secret hearts we love these impudent fiddles best, they are so full of chic." Paganini's favorite was a Guarnerius del Jesu, though he had no less than seven instruments of the greatest Cremona masters. Spohr, the celebrated violinist and composer, offered to exchange his Strad, one of the finest in the world, for a Guarnerius, in the possession of Mr. Mawkes, an English musician.

Carlo Bergonzi, the pupil of Antonius Stradiuarius, was another of the great Cremona makers, and his best violins have commanded extraordinary prices. He followed the model of his master closely, and some of his instruments can hardly be distinguished in workmanship and tone from genuine Strads. Something might be said, too, of Jacob Steiner, who, though a German (born about 1620), got the inspiration for his instruments of the best period so directly from Cremona that he ought perhaps to be classified with the violin-makers of this school. His famous violins, known as the Elector Steiners, were made under peculiar circumstances. Almost heartbroken by the death of his wife, he retired to a Benedictine monastery with the purpose of taking holy orders. But the art-passion of his life was too strong, and he made in his cloister-prison twelve instruments, on which he lavished the most jealous care and attention. These were presented to the twelve Electors of Germany, and their extraordinary merit has caused them to rank high among the great violins of the world. A volume might be easily compiled of anecdotes concerning violins and violin-makers. The vicissitudes and changes of ownership through which many celebrated instruments have passed are full of romantic interest. Each instrument of the greatest makers has a pedigree, as well authenticated as those of the great masterpieces of painting, though there have been instances where a Strad or a Guarnerius has been picked up by some strange accident for a mere trifle at an auction. There have been many imitations of the genuine Cremonas palmed off, too, on the unwary at a high price, but the connoisseur rarely fails to identify the great violins almost instantly. For, aside from their magical beauty of tone, they are made with the greatest beauty of form, color, and general detail. So much has been said concerning the greatest violin-makers, in view of the fact that coincident with the growth of a great school of art-manufacture in violins there also sprang up a grand school of violin-playing; for, indeed, the one could hardly have existed without the other.


The first great performer on the violin whose career had any special significance, in its connection with the modern world of musical art, was Archangelo Corelli, who was born at Fusignano, in the territory of Bologna, in the year 1653. Corelli's compositions are recognized to-day as types of musical purity and freshness, and the great number of distinguished pupils who graduated from his teaching relate him closely with all the distinguished violinists even down to the present day. In Corelli's younger days the church had a stronger claim on musicians than the theatre or concert-room. So we find him getting his earliest instruction from the Capuchin Simonelli, who devoted himself to the ecclesiastical style. The pupil, however, yielded to an irresistible instinct, and soon put himself under the care of a clever and skillful teacher, the well-known Bassani. Under this tuition the young musician made rapid advancement, for he labored incessantly in the practice of his instrument. At the age of twenty Corelli followed that natural bent which carried him to Paris, then, as now, a great art capital; and we are told, on the authority of Fetis, that the composer Lulli became so jealous of his extraordinary skill that he obtained a royal mandate ordering Corelli to quit Paris, on pain of the Bastille.

In 1680 he paid a visit to Germany, and was specially well received, and was so universally admired, that he with difficulty escaped the importunate invitations to settle at various courts as chief musician. After a three years' absence from his native land he returned and published his first sonatas. The result of his assiduous labor was that his fame as a violinist had spread all over Europe, and pupils came from distant lands to profit by his instruction. We are told of his style as a solo player that it was learned and elegant, the tone firm and even, that his playing was frequently impressed with feeling, but that during performance "his countenance was distorted, his eyes red as fire, and his eyeballs rolled as if he were in agony." For about eighteen years Corelli was domiciled at Rome, under the patronage of Cardinal Ottoboni. As leader of the orchestra at the opera, he introduced many reforms, among them that of perfect uniformity of bowing. By the violin sonatas composed during this period, it is claimed that Corelli laid the foundation for the art of violin-playing, though it is probable that he profited largely by those that went before him. It was at the house of Cardinal Ottoboni that Corelli met Handel, when the violent temper of the latter did not hesitate to show itself. Corelli was playing a sonata, when the imperious young German snatched the violin from his hand, to show the greatest virtuoso of the age how to play the music. Corelli, though very amiable in temper, knew how to make himself respected. At one of the private concerts at Cardinal Ottoboni's, he observed his host and others talking during his playing. He laid his violin down and joined the audience, saying he feared his music might interrupt the conversation.

In 1708, according to Dubourg, Corelli accepted a royal invitation from Naples, and took with him his second violin, Matteo, and a violoncellist, in case he should not be well accompanied by the Neapolitan orchestra. He had no sooner arrived than he was asked to play some of his concertos before the king. This he refused, as the whole of his orchestra was not with him, and there was no time for a rehearsal. However, he soon found that the Neapolitan musicians played the orchestral parts of his concertos as well as his own accompanists did after some practice; for, having at length consented to play the first of his concertos before the court, the accompaniment was so good that Corelli is said to have exclaimed to Matteo: "Si suona a Napoli!"—"They do play at Naples!" This performance being quite successful, he was presented to the king, who afterward requested him to perform one of his sonatas; but his Majesty found the adagio "so long and so dry that he got up and left the room (!), to the great mortification of the eminent virtuoso." As the king had commanded the piece, the least he could have done would have been to have waited till it was finished. "If they play at Naples, they are not very polite there," poor Corelli must have thought! Another unfortunate mishap also occurred to him there, if we are to believe the dictum of Geminiani, one of Corelli's pupils, who had preceded him at Naples. It would appear that he was appointed to lead a composition of Scarlatti's, and on arriving at an air in C minor he led off in C major, which mistake he twice repeated, till Scarlatti came on the stage and showed him the difference. This anecdote, however, is so intrinsically improbable that it must be taken with several "grains of salt." In 1712 Corelli's concertos were beautifully engraved at Amsterdam, but the composer only survived the publication a few weeks. A beautiful statue, bearing the inscription "Corelli princeps musicorum," was erected to his memory, adjacent that honoring the memory of Raffaelle in the Pantheon. He accumulated a considerable fortune, and left a valuable collection of pictures. The solos of Corelli have been adopted as valuable studies by the most eminent modern players and teachers.

Francesco Geminiani was the most remarkable of Corelli's pupils. Born at Lucca in 1680, he finished his studies under Corelli at Rome, and spent several years with great musical eclat at Naples. In 1714 he went to England, in which country he spent many years. His execution was of great excellence, but his compositions only achieved temporary favor. His life is said to have been full of romance and incident. Geminiani's connection with Handel has a special musical interest. The king, who arrived in England in September, 1714, and was crowned at Westminster a month later, was irritated with Handel for having left Germany, where he held the position of chapel-master to George, when Elector of Brunswick, and still more so by his having composed a Te Deum on the Peace of Utrecht, which was not favorably regarded by the Protestant princes of Germany. Baron Kilmanseck, a Hanoverian, and a great admirer of Handel, undertook to bring them together again. Being informed that the king intended to picnic on the Thames, he requested the composer to write something for the occasion. Thereupon Handel wrote the twenty-five little concerted pieces known under the title of "Water Music." They were executed in a barge which followed the royal boat. The orchestra consisted of four violins, one tenor, one violoncello, one double-bass, two hautboys, two bassoons, two French horns, two flageolets, one flute, and one trumpet. The king soon recognized the author of the music, and his resentment against Handel began to soften. Shortly after this Geminiani was requested to play some sonatas of his own composition in the king's private cabinet; but, fearing that they would lose much of their effect if they were accompanied in an inferior manner, he expressed the desire that Handel should play the accompaniments. Baron Kilmanseck carried the request to the king, and supported it strongly. The result was that peace was made, and an extra pension of two hundred pounds per annum settled upon Handel. Geminiani, after thirty-five years spent in England, went to Paris for five years, where he was most heartily welcomed by the musical world, but returned across the Channel again to spend his latter years in Dublin. It was here that Matthew Dubourg, whose book on "The Violin and Violinists" is a perfect treasure-trove of anecdote, became his pupil.

Another remarkable violinist was an intimate friend of Geminiani, a name distinguished alike in the annals of chess-playing and music, Andre Danican Philidor. This musician was born near Paris in 1726, and was the grandson of the hautboy-player to the court of Louis XIII. His father and several of his relations were also eminent players in the royal orchestras of Louis XIV and Louis XV. Young Philidor was received into the Chapel Royal at Versailles in 1732, being then six years old, and when eleven he composed a motette which extorted much admiration. In the Chapel Royal there were about eighty musicians daily in attendance, violins, hautboys, violas, double-basses, choristers, etc.; and, cards not being allowed, they had a long table inlaid with a number of chess-boards, with which they amused their leisure time. When fourteen years old Philidor was the best chess-player in the band. Four years later he played at Paris two games of chess at the same time, without seeing the boards, and afterward extended this feat to playing five games simultaneously, which, though far inferior to the wonderful feats of Morphy, Paulsen, and others in more recent years, very much astonished his own generation. Philidor was an admirable violinist, and the composer of numerous operas which delighted the French public for many years. He died in London in 1759.

There were several other pupils of Corelli who achieved rank in their art and exerted a recognizable influence on music. Locatelli displayed originality and genius in his compositions, and his studies, "Arte di Nuova Modulazione," was studied by Paganini. Another pupil, Lorenzo Somis, became noted as the teacher of Lecler, Pugnani (the professor of Viotti), and Giardini. Visconti, of Cremona, who was taught by Corelli, is said to have greatly assisted by his counsels the constructive genius of Antonius Stradiuarius in making his magnificent instruments.


The name of Giuseppe Tartini will recur to the musical reader more familiarly than those previously mentioned. He was the scion of a noble stock, and was born in Istria in 1692. Originally intended for the law, he was entered at the University of Padua at the age of eighteen for this profession, but his time was mostly given to the study of music and fencing, in both of which he soon became remarkably proficient, so that he surpassed the masters who taught him. It may be that accident determined the future career of Tartini, for, had he remained at the university, the whole bent of his life might have been different. Eros exerted his potent sway over the young student, and he entered into a secret marriage, that being the lowest price at which he could win his bourgeois sweetheart. Tartini became an outcast from his family, and was compelled to fly and labor for his own living. After many hardships, he found shelter in a convent at Assisi, the prior of which was a family connection, who took compassion on the friendless youth. Here Tartini set to work vigorously on his violin, and prosecuted a series of studies which resulted in the "Sonata del Diavolo" and other remarkable compositions. At last he was reconciled to his family through the intercession of his monastic friend, and took his abode in Venice that he might have the benefit of hearing the playing of Veracini, a great but eccentric musician, then at the head of the Conservatario of that city. Veracini was nicknamed "Capo Pazzo," or "mad-head," on account of his eccentricity. Dubourg tells a curious story of this musician: Being at Lucca at the time of the annual festival called "Festa della Croce," on which occasion it was customary for the leading artists of Italy to meet, Veracini put his name down for a solo. When he entered the choir, he found the principal place occupied by a musician of some rank named Laurenti. In reply to the latter's question, "Where are you going?" Veracini haughtily answered, "To the place of the first violinist." It was explained by Laurenti that he himself had been engaged to fill that post, but, if his interlocutor wished to play a solo, he could have the privilege either at high mass or at vespers. Evidently he did not recognize Veracini, who turned away in a rage, and took his position in the lowest place in the orchestra. When his turn came to play his concerto, he begged that instead of it he might play a solo where he was, accompanied on the violoncello by Lanzetti. This he did in so brilliant and unexpected a manner that the applause was loud and continued, in spite of the sacred nature of the place; and whenever he was about to make a close, he turned toward Laurenti and called out: "Cost se suona per fare il primo violino"—"This is the way to play first violin."

Veracini played upon a fine Steiner violin. The only master he ever had was his uncle Antonio, of Florence; and it was by traveling all over Europe, and by numerous performances in public, that he formed a style of playing peculiar to himself, very similar to what occurred to Pa-ganini and the celebrated De Beriot in later years. It does not appear certain that Tartini ever took lessons from Veracini; but hearing the latter play in public had no doubt a very great effect upon him, and caused him to devote many years to the careful study of his instrument. Some say that Veracini's performance awakened a vivid emulation in Tartini, who was already acknowledged to be a very masterly player. Up to the time, however, that Tartini first heard Veracini, he had never attempted any of the more intricate and difficult feats of violin-playing, as effected by the management of the bow. An intimate friendship sprang up between the two artists and another clever musician named Marcello, and they devoted much time to the study of the principles of violin-playing, particularly to style and the varied kinds of bowing. Veracini's mind afterward gave way, and Tartini withdrew himself to Ancona, where in utter solitude he applied himself to working out the fundamental principles of the bow in the technique of the violin—principles which no succeeding violinist has improved or altered. Tartini, even while absorbed in music, did not neglect the study of science and mathematics, of which he was passionately fond, and in the pursuit of which he might have made a name not less than his reputation as a musician. It was at this time that Tartini made a very curious discovery, known as the phenomenon of the third sound, which created some sensation at the time, and has since given rise to numerous learned discourses, but does not appear to have led to any great practical result. Various memoirs or treatises were written by him, and that in which he develops the nature of the third sound is his "Tratto di Musica se-condo la vera scienza de l'Armonia." In this and others of his works, he appears much devoted to theory, and endeavors to place all his practical facts upon a thoroughly scientific basis. The effect known as the third sound consists in the sympathetic resonance of a third note when the two upper notes of a chord are played in perfect tune. "If you do not hear the bass," Tartini would say to his pupils, "the thirds or sixths which you are playing are not perfect in intonation."

At Ancona, Tartini attained such reputation as a player and musician that he was appointed, in 1721, to the directorship of the orchestra of the church of St. Anthony at Padua. Here, according to Fetis, he spent the remaining forty-nine years of his life in peace and comfort, solely occupied with the labors connected with the art he loved.

His great fame brought him repeated offers from the principal cities of Europe, even London and Paris, hat nothing could induce him to leave his beloved Italy. Though Tartini could not have been heard out of Italy, his violin school at Padua graduated many excellent players, who were widely known throughout the musical world. Tartini's compositions reached no less than one hundred and fifty works, distinguished not only by beauty of melody and knowledge of the violin, but by soundness of musical science. Some of his sonatas are still favorites in the concert-room. Among these, the most celebrated is the "Trille del Dia-volo," or "Devil's Sonata," composed under the following circumstances, as related by Tartini himself to his pupil Lalande:

"One night in 1713," he says, "I dreamed that I had made a compact with the devil, who promised to be at my service on all occasions. Everything succeeded according to my mind; my wishes were anticipated and desires always surpassed by the assistance of my new servant. At last I thought I would offer my violin to the devil, in order to discover what kind of a musician he was, when, to my great astonishment, I heard him play a solo, so singularly beautiful and with such superior taste and precision, that it surpassed all the music I had ever heard or conceived in the whole course of my life. I was so overcome with surprise and delight that I lost my power of breathing, and the violence of this sensation awoke me. Instantly I seized my violin in the hopes of remembering some portion of what I had just heard, but in vain! The work which this dream suggested, and which I wrote at the time, is doubtless the best of all my compositions, and I still call it the 'Sonata del Diavolo'; but it sinks so much into insignificance compared with what I heard, that I would have broken my instrument and abandoned music altogether, had I possessed any other means of subsistence."

Tartini died at Padua in 1770, and so much was he revered and admired in the city where he had spent nearly fifty years of his life, that his death was regarded as a public calamity. He used to say of himself that he never made any real progress in music till he was more than thirty years old; and it is curious that he should have made a great change in the nature of his performance at the age of fifty-two. Instead of displaying his skill in difficulties of execution, he learned to prefer grace and expression. His method of playing an adagio was regarded as inimitable by his contemporaries; and he transmitted this gift to his pupil Nardini, who was afterward called the greatest adagio player in the world. Another of Tartini's great eleves was Pugnani, who before coming to him had been instructed by Lorenzo Somis, the pupil of Corelli. So it may be said that Pugnani united in himself the schools of Corelli and Tartini, and was thus admirably fitted to be the instructor of that grand player, who was the first in date of the violin virtuosos of modern times, Viotti.

Both as composer and performer, Pugnani was held in great esteem throughout Europe. His first meeting with Tartini was an incident of considerable interest. He made the journey from Paris to Padua expressly to see Tartini, and on reaching his destination he proceeded to the house of the great violinist.

Tartini received him kindly, and evinced some curiosity to hear him play. Pugnani took up his instrument and commenced a well-known solo, but he had not played many bars before Tartini suddenly seized his arm, saying, "Too loud, my friend, too loud!" The Piedmontese began again, but at the same passage Tartini stopped him again, exclaiming this time, "Too soft, my good friend, too soft!" Pugnani therefore laid down the violin, and begged of Tartini to give him some lessons. He was at once received among Tartini's pupils, and, though already an excellent artist, began his musical education almost entirely anew. Many anecdotes have been foisted upon Pugnani, some evidently the creation of rivals, and not worth repeating. Others, on the contrary, tend to enlighten us upon the character of the man. Thus, when playing, he was so completely absorbed in the music, that he has been known, at a public concert, to walk about the platform during the performance of a favorite cadenza, imagining himself alone in the room. Again, at the house of Madame Denis, when requested to play before Voltaire, who had little or no music in his soul, Pugnani stopped short, when the latter had the bad taste to continue his conversation, remarking in a loud, clear voice, "M. de Voltaire is very clever in making verses, but as regards music he is devilishly ignorant." Pugnani's style of play is said to have been very broad and noble, "characterized by that commanding sweep of the bow, which afterward formed so grand a feature in the performance of Viotti." He was distinguished as a composer as well as a player, and among his numerous works are some seven or eight operas, which were very successful for the time being on the Italian stage.


Viotti, the Connecting Link between the Early and Modern Violin Schools.—His Immense Superiority over his Contemporaries and Predecessors.—Other Violinists of his Time, Giornowick and Boccherini.—Viotti's Early Years—His Arrival in Paris, and the Sensation he made—His Reception by the Court.—Viotti's Personal Pride and Dignity.—His Rebuke to Princely Impertinence.—The Musical Circles of Paris.—Viotti's Last Publie Concert in Paris.—He suddenly departs for London.—Becomes Director of the King's Theatre.—Is compelled to leave the Country as a Suspected Revolutionist.—His Return to England, and Metamorphosis into a Vintner.—The French Singer, Garat, finds him out in his London Obscurity.—Anecdote of Viotti's Dinner Party.—He quits the Wine Trade for his own Profession.—Is made Director of the Paris Grand Opera.—Letter from Rossini.—Viotti's Account of the "Ranz des Vaches."—Anecdotes of the Great Violinist.—Dies in London in 1824.—Viotti's Place as a Violinist, and Style of Playing.—The Tourte Bow first invented during his Time.—An Indispensable Factor in Great Playing on the Violin.—Viotti's Pupils, and his Influence on the Musical Art.


In the person of the celebrated Viotti we recognize the link connecting the modern school of violin-playing with the schools of the past. He was generally hailed as the leading violinist of his time, and his influence, not merely on violin music but music in general, was of a very palpable order. In him were united the accomplishments of the great virtuoso and the gifts of the composer. At the time that Viotti's star shot into such splendor in the musical horizon, there were not a few clever violinists, and only a genius of the finest type could have attained and perpetuated such a regal sway among his contemporaries. At the time when Viotti appeared in Paris the popular heart was completely captivated by Giornowick, whose eccentric and quarrelsome character as a man cooperated with his artistic excellence to keep him constantly in the public eye. Giornowick was a Palermitan, born in 1745, and his career was thoroughly artistic and full of romantic vicissitudes. His style was very graceful and elegant, his tone singularly pure. One of the most popular and seductive tricks in his art was the treating of well-known airs as rondos, returning ever and anon to his theme after a variety of brilliant excursions in a way that used to fascinate his hearers, thus anticipating some of his brilliant successors.

Michael Kelly heard him at Vienna. "He was a man of a certain age," he tells us, "but in the full vigor of talent. His tone was very powerful, his execution most rapid, and his taste, above all, alluring. No performer in my remembrance played such pleasing music." Dubourg relates that on one occasion, when Giornowick had announced a concert at Lyons, he found the people rather retentive of their money, so he postponed the concert to the following evening, reducing the price of the tickets to one half. A crowded company was the result. But the bird had flown! The artist had left Lyons without ceremony, together with the receipts from sales of tickets.

In London, where he was frequently heard between 1792 and 1796, he once gave a concert which was fully attended, but annoying to the player on account of the indifference of the audience and the clatter of the tea-cups; for it was then the custom to serve tea during the performance, as well as during the intervals. Giornowick turned to the orchestra and ordered them to cease playing. "These people," said he, "know nothing about music; anything is good enough for drinkers of warm water. I will give them something suited to their taste." Whereupon he played a very trivial and commonplace French air, which he disguised with all manner of meretricious flourishes, and achieved a great success. When Viotti arrived in Paris in 1779, Giornowick started on his travels after having heard this new rival once.

A distinguished virtuoso and composer, with whom Viotti had already been thrown into contact, though in a friendly rather than a competitive way, was Boccherini, who was one of the most successful early composers of trios, quartets, and quintets for string instruments. During the latter part of Boccherini's life he basked in the sunlight of Spanish royalty, and composed nine works annually for the Royal Academy of Madrid, in which town he died in 1806, aged sixty-six. A very clever saying is attributed to him. The King of Spain, Charles IV, was fond of playing with the great composer, and was very ambitious of shining as a great violinist; his cousin, the Emperor of Austria, was also fond of the violin, and played tolerably well. One day the latter asked Boccherini, in a rather straightforward manner, what difference there was between his playing and that of his cousin Charles IV. "Sire," replied Boccherini, without hesitating for a moment, "Charles IV plays like a king, and your Majesty plays like an emperor."

Giovanni Battista Viotti was born in a little Piedmontese village called Fontaneto, in the year 1755. The accounts of his early life are too confused and fragmentary to be trustworthy. It is pretty well established, however, that he studied under Pugnani at Turin, and that at the age of twenty he was made first violin at the Chapel Royal of that capital. After remaining three years, he began his career as a solo player, and, after meeting with the greatest success at Berlin and Vienna, directed his course to Paris, where he made his debut at the "Concerts Spirituels."


Fetis tells us that the arrival of Viotti in Paris produced a sensation difficult to describe. No performer had yet been heard who had attained so high a degree of perfection, no artist had possessed so fine a tone, such sustained elegance, such fire, and so varied a style. The fancy which was developed in his concertos increased the delight he produced in the minds of his auditory. His compositions for the violin were as superior to those which had previously been heard as his execution surpassed that of all his predecessors and contemporaries. Giornowick's style was full of grace and suave elegance; Viotti was characterized by a remarkable beauty, breadth, and dignity. Lavish attentions were bestowed on him from the court circle. Marie Antoinette, who was an ardent lover and most judicious patron of music, sent him her commands to play at Versailles. The haughty artistic pride of Viotti was signally displayed at one of these concerts before royalty. A large number of eminent musicians had been engaged for the occasion, and the audience was a most brilliant one. Viotti had just begun a concerto of his own composition, when the arrogant Comte d'Artois made a great bustle in the room, and interrupted the music by his loud whispers and utter indifference to the comfort of any one but himself. Viotti's dark eyes flashed fire as he stared sternly at this rude scion of the blood royal. At last, unable to restrain his indignation, he deliberately placed his violin in the case, gathered up his music from the stand, and withdrew from the concert-room without ceremony, leaving the concert, her Majesty, and his Royal Highness to the reproaches of the audience. This scene is an exact parallel of one which occurred at the house of Cardinal Ottoboni, when Corelli resented in similar fashion the impertinence of some of his auditors.

Everywhere in artistic and aristocratic circles at the French capital Viotti's presence was eagerly sought. Private concerts were so much the vogue in Paris that musicians of high rank found more profit in these than in such as were given to the miscellaneous public. A delightful artistic rendezvous was the hotel of the Comte de Balck, an enthusiastic patron and friend of musicians. Here Viotti's friend, Garat, whose voice had so great a range as to cover both the tenor and barytone registers, was wont to sing; and here young Orfila, the brilliant chemist, displayed his magnificent tenor voice in such a manner as to attract the most tempting offers from managers that he should desert the laboratory for the stage. But the young Portuguese was fascinated with science, and was already far advanced in the career which made him in his day the greatest of all authorities on toxicological chemistry. The most brilliant and gifted men and women of Paris haunted these reunions, and Viotti always appeared at his best amid such surroundings. Another favorite resort of his was the house of Mme. Montegerault at Montmorency, a lady who was a brilliant pianist. Sometimes she would seat herself at her instrument and begin an improvisation, and Viotti, seizing his violin, would join in the performance, and in a series of extemporaneous passages display his great powers to the delight of all present.

He evinced the greatest distaste for solo playing at public concerts, and, aside from charity performances, only consented once to such an exhibition of his talents. A singular concert was arranged to take place on the fifth story of a house in Paris, the apartment being occupied by a friend of Viotti, who was also a member of the Government. "I will play," he said, on being urged, "but only on one condition, and that is, that the audience shall come up here to us—we have long enough descended to them; but times are changed, and now we may compel them to rise to our level"; or something to that effect. It took place in due course, and was a very brilliant concert indeed. The only ornament was a bust of Jean Jacques Rousseau. A large number of distinguished artists, both instrumental and vocal, were present, and a most aristocratic audience. A good deal of Boccherini's music was performed that evening, and though many of the titled personages had mounted to the fifth floor for the first time in their lives, so complete was the success of the concert that not one descended without regret, and all were warm in their praise of the performances of the distinguished violinist.

What the cause of Viotti's sudden departure from Paris in 1790 was, it is difficult to tell. Perhaps he had offended the court by the independence of his bearing; perhaps he had expressed his political opinions too bluntly, for he was strongly democratic in his views; perhaps he foresaw the terrible storm which was gathering and was soon to break in a wrack of ruin, chaos, and blood. Whatever the cause, our violinist vanished from Paris with hardly a word of farewell to his most intimate friends, and appeared in London at Salomon's concerts with the same success which had signalized his Parisian debut. Every one was delighted with the originality and power of his playing, and the exquisite taste that modified the robustness and passion which entered into the substance of his musical conceptions.

Viotti was one of the artistic celebrities of London for several years, but his eccentric and resolute nature did not fail to involve him in several difficulties with powerful personages. He became connected with the management of the King's Theatre, and led the music for two years with signal ability. But he suddenly received an order from the British Government to leave England without delay. His sharp tongue and outspoken language were never consistent with courtly subserviency. We can fancy our musician shrugging his shoulders with disdain on receiving his order of banishment, for he was too much of a cosmopolite to be disturbed by change of country. He took up his residence at Schoenfeld, Holland, in a beautiful and splendid villa, and produced there several of his most celebrated compositions, as well as a series of studies of the violin school.


The edict which had sent Viotti from England was revoked in 1801, and he returned with commercial aspirations, for he entered into the wine trade. It could not be said of him, as of another well-known composer, who attempted to conduct a business in the vending of sweet sounds and the juice of the grape simultaneously, that he composed his wines and imported his music; for Viotti seems to have laid music entirely aside for the nonce, and we have no reason to suspect that his port and sherry were not of the best. Attention to business did not keep him from losing a large share of his fortune, however, in this mercantile venture, and for a while he was so completely lost in the London Babel as to have passed out of sight and mind of his old admirers. The French singer, Garat, tells an amusing story of his discovery of Viotti in London, when none of his Continental friends knew what had become of him.

In the very zenith of his powers and height of his reputation, the founder of a violin school which remains celebrated to this day, Viotti had quitted Paris suddenly, and since his departure no one had received, either directly or indirectly, any news of him. According to Garat, some vague indications led him to believe that the celebrated violinist had taken up his residence in London, but, for a long time after his (Garat's) arrival in the metropolis, all his attempts to find him were fruitless. At last, one morning he went to a large export house for wine. It had a spacious courtyard, filled with numbers of large barrels, among which it was not easy to move toward the office or counting-house. On entering the latter, the first person who met his gaze was Viotti himself. Viotti was surrounded by a legion of employees, and so absorbed in business that he did not notice Garat. At last he raised his head, and, recognizing his old friend, seized him by the hand, and led him into an adjoining room, where he gave him a hearty welcome. Garat could not believe his senses, and stood motionless with surprise.

"I see you are astonished at the metamorphosis," said Viotti; "it is certainly drole—unexpected; but what could you expect? At Paris I was looked upon as a ruined man, lost to all my friends; it was necessary to do something to get a living, and here I am, making my fortune!"

"But," interrupted Garat, "have you taken into consideration all the drawbacks and annoyances of a profession to which you were not brought up, and which must be opposed to your tastes?"

"I perceive," continued Viotti, "that you share the error which so many indulge in. Commercial enterprise is generally considered a most prosaic undertaking, but it has, nevertheless, its seductions, its prestige, its poetical side. I assure you no musician, no poet, ever had an existence more full of interesting and exciting incidents than those which cause the heart of the merchant to throb. His imagination, stimulated by success, carries him forward to new conquests; his clients increase, his fortune augments, the finest dreams of ambition are ever before him."

"But art!" again interrupted his friend; "the art of which you are one of the finest representatives—you can not have entirely abandoned it?"

"Art will lose nothing," rejoined Viotti, "and you will find that I can conciliate two things without interfering with either, though you doubtless consider them irreconcilable. We will continue this subject another time; at present I must leave you; I have some pressing business to transact this afternoon. But come and dine with me at six o'clock, and be sure you do not disappoint me."

Garat, who relates this conversation, tells us that at the appointed time he returned to the house. All the barrels and wagons that had encumbered the courtyard were cleared away, and in their place were coroneted carriages, with footmen and servants. A lackey in brilliant livery conducted the visitor to the drawing-room on the first floor. The apartments were magnificently furnished, and glittered with mirrors, candelabra, gilt ornaments, and the most quaint and costly bric-a-brac. Viotti received his guests at the head of the staircase, no longer the plodding man of business, but the courtly, high-bred gentleman. Garat's amazement was still further increased when he heard the names of the other guests, all distinguished men. After an admirably cooked dinner, there was still more admirable music, and Viotti proved to the satisfaction of his French friend that he was still the same great artist who had formerly delighted his listeners in Paris.

The wine business turned out so badly for our violinist that he was fain to return to his old and legitimate profession. Through the intervention of powerful friends in Paris, he was appointed director of the Grand Opera, but he became discontented in a very onerous and irritating position, and was retired at his own request with a pension. An interesting letter from the great Italian composer Rossini, who was then first trying his fortune in the French metropolis, written to Viotti in 1821, is pleasant proof of the estimate placed on his talents and influence:

"Most esteemed Sir: You will be surprised at receiving a letter from an individual who has not the honor of your personal acquaintance, but I profit by the liberality of feeling existing among artists to address these lines to you through my friend Herold, from whom I have learned with the greatest satisfaction the high, and, I fear, somewhat undeserved opinion you have of me. The oratorio of 'Moise,' composed by me three years ago, appears to our mutual friend susceptible of dramatic adaptation to French words; and I, who have the greatest reliance on Herold's taste and on his friendship for me, desire nothing more than to render the entire work as perfect as possible, by composing new airs in a more religious style than those which it at present contains, and by endeavoring to the best of my power that the result shall neither disgrace the composer of the partition, nor you, its patron and protector. If M. Viotti, with his great celebrity, will consent to be the Mecaenas of my name, he may be assured of the gratitude of his devoted servant,

"Gioacchino Rossini.

"P.S.—In a month's time I will forward you the alterations of the drama 'Moise,' in order that you may judge if they are conformable to the operatic style. Should they not be so, you will have the kindness to suggest any others better adapted to the purpose."


Viotti, though in many respects proud, resolute, and haughty in temperament, was simple-hearted and enthusiastic, and a passionate lover of nature. M. Eymar, one of his intimate friends, said of him, "Never did a man attach so much value to the simplest gifts of nature, and never did a child enjoy them more passionately." A modest flower growing in the grass of the meadow, a charming bit of landscape, a rustic fete, in short, all the sights and sounds of the country, filled him with delight. All nature spoke to his heart, and his finest compositions were suggested and inspired by this sympathy. He has left the world a charming musical picture of the feelings experienced in the mountains of Switzerland. It was there he heard, under peculiar circumstances, and probably for the first time, the plaintive sound of a mountain-horn, breathing forth the few notes of a kind of "Ranz des Vaches."

"The 'Ranz des Vaches' which I send you," he says in one of his letters, "is neither that with which our friend Jean Jacques has presented us, nor that of which M. De la Bord speaks in his work on music. I can not say whether it is known or not; all I know is, that I heard it in Switzerland, and, once heard, I have never forgotten it. I was sauntering along, toward the decline of day, in one of those sequestered spots.... Flowers, verdure, streamlets, all united to form a picture of perfect harmony. There, without being fatigued, I seated myself mechanically on a fragment of rock, and fell into so profound a reverie that I seemed to forget that I was upon earth. While sitting thus, sounds broke on my ear which were sometimes of a hurried, sometimes of a prolonged and sustained character, and were repeated in softened tones by the echoes around. I found they proceeded from a mountain-horn; and their effect was heightened by a plaintive female voice. Struck as if by enchantment, I started from my dreams, listened with breathless attention, and learned, or rather engraved upon my memory, the 'Ranz des Vaches' which I send you. In order to understand all its beauties, you ought to be transplanted to the scene in which I heard it, and to feel all the enthusiasm that such a moment inspired." It was a similar delightful experience which, according to Rossini's statement, first suggested to that great composer his immortal opera, "Guillaume Tell."

Among many interesting anecdotes current of Viotti, and one which admirably shows his goodness of heart and quickness of resource, is one narrated by Ferdinand Langle to Adolph Adam, the French composer. The father of the former, Marie Langle, a professor of harmony in the French Conservatoire, was an intimate friend of Viotti, and one charming summer evening the twain were strolling on the Champs Elysees. They sat down on a retired bench to enjoy the calmness of the night, and became buried in reverie. But they were brought back to prosaic matters harshly by a babel of discordant noises that grated on the sensitive ears of the two musicians. They started from their seats, and Viotti said:

"It can't be a violin, and yet there is some resemblance to one."

"Nor a clarionet," suggested Langle, "though it is something like it."

The easiest manner of solving the problem was to go and see what it was. They approached the spot whence the extraordinary tones issued, and saw a poor blind man standing near a miserable-looking candle and playing upon a violin—but the latter was an instrument made of tin-plate.

"Fancy!" exclaimed Viotti, "it is a violin, but a violin of tin-plate! Did you ever dream of such a curiosity?" and, after listening a while, he added, "I say, Langle, I must possess that instrument. Go and ask the old blind man what he will sell it for."

Langle approached and asked the question, but the old man was disinclined to part with it.

"But we will give you enough for it to enable you to purchase a better," he added; "and why is not your violin like others?"

The aged fiddler explained that, when he got old and found himself poor, not being able to work, but still able to scrape a few airs upon a violin, he had endeavored to procure one, but in vain. At last his good, kind nephew Eustache, who was apprenticed to a tinker, had made him one out of a tin-plate. "And an excellent one, too," he added; "and my poor boy Eustache brings me here in the morning when he goes to work, and fetches me away in the evening when he returns, and the receipts are not so bad sometimes—as, when he was out of work, it was I who kept the house going."

"Well," said Viotti, "I will give you twenty francs for your violin. You can buy a much better one for that price; but let me try it a little."

He took the violin in his hands, and produced some extraordinary effects from it. A considerable crowd gathered around, and listened with curiosity and astonishment to the performance. Langle seized on the opportunity, and passed around the hat, gathering a goodly amount of chink from the bystanders, which, with the twenty francs, was handed to the astonished old beggar.

"Stay a moment," said the blind man, recovering a little from his surprise; "just now I said I would sell the violin for twenty francs, but I did not know it was so good. I ought to have at least double for it."

Viotti had never received a more genuine compliment, and he did not hesitate to give the old man two pieces of gold instead of one, and then immediately retired from the spot, passing through the crowd with the tin-plate instrument under his arm. He had scarcely gone forty yards when he felt some one pulling at his sleeve; it was a workman, who politely took off his cap, and said:

"Sir, you have paid too dear for that violin; and if you are an amateur, as it was I who made it, I can supply you with as many as you like at six francs each."

This was Eustache; he had just come in time to hear the conclusion of the bargain, and, little dreaming that he was so clever a violin-maker, wished to continue a trade that had begun so successfully. However, Viotti was quite satisfied with the one sample he had bought. He never parted with that instrument; and, when the effects of Viotti were sold in London after his death, though the tin fiddle only brought a few shillings, an amateur of curiosities sought out the purchaser, and offered him a large sum if he could explain how the strange instrument came into the possession of the great violinist.

After resigning his position as director of the Grand Opera, Viotti returned to London, which had become a second home to him, and spent his remaining days there. He died on the 24th of March, 1824.


Viotti established and settled for ever the fundamental principles of violin-playing. He did not attain the marvelous skill of technique, the varied subtile and dazzling effects, with which his successor, Paganini, was to amaze the world, but, from the accounts transmitted to us, his performance must have been characterized by great nobility, breadth, and beauty of tone, united with a fire and agility unknown before his time. Viotti was one of the first to use the Tourte bow, that indispensable adjunct to the perfect manipulation of the violin. The value of this advantage over his predecessors cannot be too highly estimated.

The bows used before the time of Francois Tourte, who lived in the latter years of the last century in Paris, were of imperfect shape and make. The Tourte model leaves nothing to be desired in all the qualities required to enable the player to follow out every conceivable manner of tone and movement—lightness, firmness, and elasticity. Tartini had made the stick of his bow elastic, an innovation from the time of Corelli, and had thus attained a certain flexibility and brilliancy in his bowing superior to his predecessors. But the full development of all the powers of the violin, or the practice of what we now call virtuosoism on this instrument, was only possible with the modern bow as designed by Tourte, of Paris. The thin, bent, elastic stick of the bow, with its greater length of sweep, gives the modern player incalculable advantages over those of an earlier age, enabling him to follow out the slightest gradations of tone from the fullest forte to the softest piano, to mark all kinds of strong and gentle accents, to execute staccato, legato, saltato, and arpeggio passages with the greatest ease and certainty. The French school of violin-playing did not at first avail itself of these advantages, and even Viotti and Spohr did not fully grasp the new resources of execution. It was left for Paganini to open a new era in the art. His daring and subtile genius perceived and seized the wonderful resources of the modern bow at one bound. He used freely every imaginable movement of the bow, and developed the movement of the wrist to that high perfection which enabled him to practice all kinds of bowing with celerity. Without the Tourte bow, Paganini and the modern school of virtuosos, which has followed so splendidly from his example, would have been impossible. To many of our readers an amplification of this topic may be of interest. While the left hand of the violin-player fixes the tone, and thereby does that which for the pianist is already done by the mechanism of the instrument, and while the correctness of his intonation depends on the proficiency of the left hand, it is the action of the right hand, the bowing, which, analogous to the pianist's touch, makes the sound spring into life. It is through the medium of the bow that the player embodies his ideas and feelings. It is therefore evident that herein rests one of the most important and difficult elements of the art of violin-playing, and that the excellence of a player, or even of a whole school of playing, depends to a great extent on its method of bowing. It would have been even better for the art of violin-playing as practiced to-day that the perfect instruments of Stradiuarius and Guarnerius should not have been, than that the Tourte bow should have been uninvented.

The long, effective sweep of the bow was one of the characteristics of Viotti's playing, and was alike the admiration and despair of his rivals. His compositions for the violin are classics, and Spohr was wont to say that there could be no better test of a fine player than his execution of one of the Viotti sonatas or concertos. Spohr regretted deeply that he could not finish his violin training under this great master, and was wont to speak of him in terms of the greatest admiration. Viotti had but few pupils, but among them were a number of highly gifted artists. Rode, Robrechts, Cartier, Mdlle. Gerbini, Alday, La-barre, Pixis, Mari, Mme. Paravicini, and Vacher are well-known names to all those interested in the literature of the violin. The influence of Viotti on violin music was a very deep one, not only in virtue of his compositions, but in the fact that he molded the style not only of many of the best violinists of his own day, but of those that came after him.


Birth and Early Life of the Violinist Spohr.—He is presented with his First Violin at six.—The French Emigre Dufour uses his Influence with Dr. Spohr, Sr., to have the Boy devoted to a Musical Career.—Goes to Brunswick for fuller Musical Instruction.—Spohr is appointed Kammer-musicus at the Ducal Court.—He enters under the Tuition of and makes a Tour with the Violin Virtuoso Eck.—Incidents of the Russian Journey and his Return.—Concert Tour in Germany.—Loses his Fine Guarnerius Violin.—Is appointed Director of the Orchestra at Gotha.—He marries Dorette Schiedler, the Brilliant Harpist.—Spohr's Stratagem to be present at the Erfurt Musical Celebration given by Napoleon in Honor of the Allied Sovereigns.—Becomes Director of Opera in Vienna.—Incidents of his Life and Production of Various Works.—First Visit to England.—He is made Director of the Cassel Court Oratorios.—He is retired with a Pension.—Closing Years of his Life.—His Place as Composer and Executant.


"The first singer on the violin that ever appeared!" Such was the verdict of the enthusiastic Italians when they heard one of the greatest of the world's violinists, who was also a great composer. The modern world thinks of Spohr rather as the composer of symphony, opera, and oratorio than as a wonderful executant on the violin; but it was in the latter capacity that he enjoyed the greatest reputation during the earlier part of his lifetime, which was a long one, extending from the year 1784 to 1859. The latter half of Spohr's life was mostly devoted to the higher musical ambition of creating, but not until he had established himself as one of the greatest of virtuosos, and founded a school of violin-playing which is, beyond all others, the most scientific, exhaustive, and satisfactory. All of the great contemporary violinists are disciples of the Spohr school of execution. Great as a composer, still greater as a player, and widely beloved as a man—there are only a few names in musical art held in greater esteem than his, though many have evoked a deeper enthusiasm.

Ludwig Spohr was born at Brunswick, April 5, 1784, of parents both of whom possessed no little musical talent. His father, a physician of considerable eminence, was an excellent flutist, and his mother possessed remarkable talent both as a pianist and singer. To the family concerts which he heard at home was the rapid development of the boy's talents largely due. Nature had given him a very sensitive ear and a fine clear voice, and at the age of four or five he joined his mother in duets at the evening gatherings. From the very first he manifested a taste for the instrument for which he was destined to become distinguished. He so teased his father that, at the age of six, he was presented with his first violin, and his joy on receiving his treasure was overpowering. The violin was never out of his hand, and he continually wandered about the house trying to play his favorite melodies. Spohr tells us in his "Autobiography": "I still recollect that, after my first lesson, in which I had learned to play the G-sharp chord upon all four strings, in my rapture at the harmony, I hurried to my mother, who was in the kitchen, and played the chord so incessantly that she was obliged to order me out."

Young Spohr was placed under the tuition of Dufour, a French emigre of the days of '91, who was an excellent player, though not a professional, then living at the town of Seesen, the home of the Spohr family; and under him the boy made very rapid progress. It was Dufour who, by his enthusiastic representations, overcame the opposition of Ludwig's parents to the boy's devoting himself to a life of music, for the notion of the senior Spohr was that the name musician was synonymous with that of a tavern fiddler, who played for dancers. In Germany, the land par excellence of music, there was a general contempt among the educated classes, during the latter years of the eighteenth century, for the musical profession. Spohr remained under the care of Dufour until he was twelve years old, and devoted himself to his work with great sedulity. Though he as yet knew but little of counterpoint and composition, his creative talent already began to assert itself, and he produced several duos and trios, as well as solo compositions, which evinced great promise, though crude and faulty in the extreme. He was then sent to Brunswick, that he might have the advantage of more scientific instruction, and to this end was placed under the care of Kunisch, an excellent violin teacher, and under Hartung for harmony and counterpoint. The latter was a sort of Dr. Dryasdust, learned, barren, acrid, but an efficient instructor. When young Spohr showed him one of his compositions, he growled out, "There's time enough for that; you must learn something first." It may be said of Spohr, however, that his studies in theory were for the most part self-taught, for he was a most diligent student of the great masters, and was gifted with a keenly analytic mind.

At the age of fourteen young Spohr was an effective soloist, and, as his father began to complain of the heavy expense of his musical education, the boy determined to make an effort for self-support. After revolving many schemes, he conceived the notion of applying to the duke, who was known as an ardent patron of music. He managed to place himself in the way of his Serene Highness, while the latter was walking in his garden, and boldly preferred his request for an appointment in the court orchestra. The duke was pleased to favor the application, and young Spohr was permitted to display his skill at a court concert, in which he acquitted himself so admirably as to secure the cordial patronage of the sovereign. Said the duke: "Be industrious and well behaved, and, if you make good progress, I will put you under the tuition of a great master." So Louis Spohr was installed as a Kammer-musicus, and his patron fulfilled his promise in 1802 by placing his protege under the charge of Francis Eck, one of the finest violinists then living. Under the tuition of this accomplished instructor, the young virtuoso made such rapid advance in the excellence of his technique, that he was soon regarded as worthy of accompanying his master on a grand concert tour through the principal cities of Germany and Russia.


This concert expedition of the two violinists, as narrated in Spohr's "Autobiography," was full of interesting and romantic episodes. Both master and pupil were of amorous and susceptible temperaments, and their affairs were rarely regulated by a common sense of prudence. Spohr relates with delightful naivete the circumstances under which he fell successively in love, and the rapidity with which he recovered from these fitful spasms of the tender passion. Herr Eck, in addition to his tendency to intrigues with the fairer half of creation, was also of a quarrelsome and exacting disposition, and the general result was ceaseless squabbling with authorities and musical societies in nearly every city they visited. In spite of these drawbacks, however, the two violinists gained both in fame and purse, and were everywhere well received. If Herr Eck carried off the palm over the boyish Spohr as a mere executant, the impression everywhere gained ground that the latter was by far the superior in real depth of musical science, and many of his own violin concertos were received with the heartiest applause. The concert tour came to an end at St. Petersburg in a singular way. Eck fell in love with a daughter of a member of the imperial orchestra, but the idea of marriage did not enter into his project. As the young lady soon felt the unfortunate results of her indiscretion, her parents complained to the Empress, at whose instance Eck was given the choice of marrying the girl or taking an enforced journey to Siberia. He chose the former, and determined to remain in St. Petersburg, where he was offered the first violin of the imperial orchestra. Poor Eck found he had married a shrew, and, between matrimonial discords and ill health brought on by years of excess, he became the victim of a nervous fever, which resulted in lunacy and confinement in a mad-house.

Spohr returned to his native town in July, 1803, and his first meeting with his family was a curious one. "I arrived," he says, "at two o'clock in the morning. I landed at the Petri gate, crossed the Ocker in a boat, and hastened to my grandmother's garden, but found that the house and garden doors were locked. As my knocking didn't arouse any one, I climbed over the garden wall and laid myself down in a summer-house at the end of the garden. Wearied by the long journey, I soon fell asleep, and, notwithstanding my hard couch, would probably have slept for a long while had not my aunts in their morning walk discovered me. Much alarmed, they ran and told my grandmother that a man was asleep in the summer-house. Returning together, the three approached nearer, and, recognizing me, I was awakened amid joyous expressions, embraces, and kisses. At first, I did not recollect where I was, but soon recognized my dear relations, and rejoiced at being once again in the home and scenes of my childhood."

Spohr was most graciously received by the duke, who was satisfied with the proofs of industry and ambition shown by his protege. The celebrated Rode, Viotti's most brilliant pupil, was at that time in Brunswick, and Spohr, who conceived the most enthusiastic admiration of his style, set himself assiduously to the study and imitation of the effects peculiar to Rode. On Rode's departure, Spohr appeared in a concert arranged for him, in which he played a new concerto dedicated to his ducal patron, and created an enthusiasm hardly less than that made by Rode himself. He was warmly congratulated by the duke and the court, and appointed first court-violinist, with a salary more than sufficient for the musician's moderate wants. Shortly after this he undertook another concert tour in conjunction with the violoncellist, Benike, through the principal German cities, which added materially to his reputation. But no amount of world's talk or money could fully compensate him for the loss of his magnificent violin, one of the chefs-d'ouvre of Guarnerius del Gesu when that great maker was at his best. This instrument he had brought from Russia, and it was an imperial gift. A concert was announced for Gottingen, and Spohr, with his companion, was about to enter the town by coach, when he asked one of the soldiers at the guard-house if the trunk, which had been strapped to the back of the carriage, and which contained his precious instrument, was in its place. "There is no trunk there," was the reply.

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