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productions of the sea, but these consist of alluvial materials, sand, marle, sand-stone, or clay, which rather indicate transportations that have taken place with some degree of violence than strata formed by quiet depositions; and where some regular rocky strata of inconsiderable extent and thickness appear above or below these alluvial formations they generally bear the marks of having been deposited from fresh water. All the known specimens of the bones of viviparous land quadrupeds have either been found in these formations from fresh water, or in the alluvial formations; whence there is every reason to conclude that these animals have only begun to exist, or at least to leave their remains in the strata of our earth since that retreat of the sea which was next before its last irruption. It has also been clearly ascertained, from an attentive consideration of the relation of the different remains with the strata in which they have been discovered, that oviparous quadrupeds are found in much older strata than those of the viviparous class. Some of the former have been observed in and even beneath the chalk. Dry land and fresh waters must therefore have existed before the formation of the chalk strata. No bones of mammiferous quadrupeds are to be found till we come to the newer formations, which lie over the coarse limestone strata incumbent on the chalk. Determinate order may also be observed in the succession of these. The genera which are now unknown are the lowest in position : unknown species of known genera are next in succession: and lastly, the bones of species, apparently the same with those which are now in existence, are never found but in the latest alluvial depositions.
The more we learn respecting the secondary strata of the globe, the more interesting becomes the investigation. The bold outline of the primitive ranges, their cloud-capt summits and majestic forms, are calculated to rivet the attention; but they rather force the fancy to speculate upon their formation, than lead the judgment by internal evidences to their origin. It is in the curious observations above recited that we seem to approach the history of our own state. The study of secondary formations is as yet scarcely commenced. The labours of Cuvier have thrown a new light upon their high importance; already by his exertions has the history of the most recent changes been ascertained, in one particular spot, as far as the chalk formation. This, which has hitherto been conceived to be of very modern origin, is shewn to have owed its deposition to causes connected with the revolution and catastrophe before the last general irruption of the waters over our present habitable world. Our author well observes that these posterior geological facts which have hitherto been neglected by gcologists, furnish the only clue by which we
may hope, in some measure, to dispel the darkness of the preceding times.
“ It would certainly be exceedingly satisfactory to have the fossil organic productions arranged in chronological order, in the same manner as we now have the principal mineral substances. By this the science of organization itself would be improved; the developments of animal life; the succession of its forms; the precise determinations of those which have been first called into existence, the simultaneous production of certain species and their gradual extinction ;-all these would perhaps instruct us fully as much in the essence of organization as all the experiments that we shall ever be able to make upon living animals: and man, to whom only a short space of time is allotted upon the earth, would have the glory of restoring the history of thousands of ages which preceded the existence of the race, and of thousands of animals which never were contemporaneous with his species.”
In giving our praise generally to this little volume, from which we have derived both entertainment and instruction, we cannot but particularise the deference which is paid throughout to the authority of the sacred writings. In an inhabitant of that country which has lately been as much distinguished for its philosophical infidelity as for the signal punishment with which it has been attended, we hail this omen as doubly auspicious at the present moment. The time, we trust, is not far distant when a justly afflicted country is to be rescued from the grinding oppression of a despot, the chastisement of whose impiety appears to be fast accomplishing. His ill-omened rise was as the resistless and splendid ascension of a rocket-he falls with the accumulating velocity of its extinct remains.
ART. XXII.-Musical Biography; or, Memoirs of the Lives
and Writings of the most eminent Composers and Writers who have flourished in the different Countries of Europe during the three last Centuries. In two Vols. 8vo. p. 800. Colburn. London. 1813.
That which is merely an amusement, if it occupies the attention of the greater part of the community, can never be unworthy of notice; and viewing it in this light only, we should consider music as a subject demanding our attention. But its pretensions are much higher; and when we reflect that from the earliest ages
it has been cultivated by every nation with which we arë ács quainted; that it has almost always formed a part of religious worship and liberal education; and that its principles are more immediately derived from nature than those of any other science (for whatever may be the refinement of music, it must derive its beauty from the fundamental principles of harmony, which we derive from simple vibration); we are inclined to give it a place more respectable than that which a mere amusement can claim, and regard it as intrinsically worthy of our attention.
It is for this reason that we now introduce to our readers " Musical Biography;” not as a complete history of the science, for that it does not profess to be, but as presenting a compendious view of the rise and progress of music. With respect to Dr. Burney's history, although we believe that no one who ever read it wished that it had been less, yet we fear that its magnitude has deterred many from its perúsal. In fact, the history of a science so universally cultivated as music must necessarily be somewhat voluminous; unless it is minute and particular it is worth nothing, and tends to confusion rather than to information; and, in the case of music particularly, is incapable of compression, because so many of the materials from which it must be compiled are not easily to be met with or understood, and for that reason a closer examination and more copious extracts and explanations must be given.
The work before us is, however, of no terrific magnitude, and contains, in short accounts of its professors, a chronological history of music from the beginning of the sixteenth century to the present time. These are arranged under the heads of their respective countries, and in general some account of their works is appended. It is impossible not to see how much the author is indebted to Dr. Burney; a debt, however, which he acknowledges, and with which, to a certain extent (though not perhaps to that to which our author has carried it), we should find no fault, because we can point out no better source of information. Of course this remark can only apply to the period which preceded the publication of Dr. Burney's last volume. Since that time our author has not had so good a guide; and although we do not mean to blame him for not having done what he has not professed to do, yet we cannot help regretting the want of a general history of music from that time. A period of twenty-four years has now elapsed since the fourth volume of Dr. Burney's history was published, as eventful perhaps as any which has preceded it." To say nothing more, during that time Haydn, Mozart, Piccini, and Grétry have closed their labours, and materials of every description are not wanting. We know not whether we may ever expect a fifth volume from the pen of Dr. Burney, nor to whom else we can look for a continuation of his work, which shall be worthy of what has been already published. We
e are also particularly glad to introduce the work before us to our readers, because it is so seldom that we meet with publications on music which are likely to be generally interesting. Almost all the works on that subject, however acceptable or useful they may be to the student, have as few charms for the general reader, or even for most musical amateurs, as a German dictionary, or a table of logarithms. The truth is, that comparatively few of those who profess, a love for music give themselves any trouble about the matter except as to the practice; and there are many who conceive that the pleasure which they derive from it would be diminished by a knowledge of its principles, and who, congratulating themselves upon their possessing that mysterious faculty which is called having an ear for music," look with indifference, if not
ntempt, upon those means of acquiring knowledge which they deem it unnecessary to pursue. This phrase, which is so commonly used, and which is supposed to be very significant, appears to us to have little or no meaning. It is generally applied to those who are capable of distinguishing the intervals of melody and the consonances of harmony, in contradistinction to those whose organs are so defective that they cannot judge correctly of either. That such a distinction exists we do not dispute; but we are inclined to think that what is termed a want of ear, arises in most cases from a want of practice. That this correctness of ear does arise froní practice and habit will appear if we consider how many persons, who when they began could play out of tune without being at all conscious of it, have afterwards become sufficiently correct to join in a concert; and yet how different their accuracy is from that fastidiousness of ear which is agonized by the imperfection. of an eschaton, and can only be acquired by long 'study of the $cale; and we believe that half the amateur performers on the piano-forte in this country, who would feel much aggrieved if the accuracy of their ears were called in question, have no idea that their instrument is imperfect, or that there is such a word as teinperament. All we mean by this is to reduce the mysterious faculty of intuitive musical enjoyment to its proper standard, and to place music in this respect on a footing with other sciences. It does not appear to us why it is more correct or rational to say, that an uninstructed person who derives satisfaction from hearing music has “ an ear for music,” than it would be to say, that the countryman who is amused by gazing at a sign-post has an eyefór painting. He derives pleasure from the object which is pre
sented to hìm; he is pleased with the colouring and imitation; he is in some degree qualified to judge of the execution; and his eyes would be offended by any gross deviation from the rules of perspective or proportion. This will be generally allowed bim; and we should be content if those who have an ear for music did not assume more than a proportionate degree of knowledge with respect to that science. But the misfortune is, that he who has " for music” is supposed to have a natural taste for music," and must support his pretensions by criticism; and cannot condescend to acquire the necessary qualifications for decision, because he conceives that nature has furnished him with a more infallible mode of judging. Thus his judgment is formed, not from any knowledge of the science, but by the union of common report with his natural taste.” There are some composers whose works are stamped with such universal approbation that he cannot refuse his applause; while there are others whose compositions find their way to his heart at once; and he sits down contentedly and confidently believing that the Messiah and the Battle of Prague are the finest compositions in the world, and that Haydn and Braham are the greatest composers that ever lived. To return, however, to the
work before us. We shall extract for the amusement of our readers the account which is given of Mr. Thomas Mace. We have before observed that the author is under obligations to Dr. Burney, and the assistance which he has derived from his work is apparent in the following article; but we extract the account which he has given, because it is more full than Dr. Burney's, and because the original work of Mr. Mace as now become scarce. He
appears to have been a goodnatured old enthusiast in music; and of his eccentricity the extract from his work will enable our readers to judge, while it may perhaps have the further effect of reconciling them to the present state of parochial psalmody, by shewing them what it was in his day. We must, however, caution them not to form too unfavourable an opinion of the perfection at which the art of playing on keyed instruments had arrived in his time, from the facility with which this old gentleman seemed to think that a parish might be made to “swarm or abound with organists." The instrumental compositions which remain of Dr. Bull (who died the same year that Mace was born) and his contemporaries prove, at least on the natural supposition that they were able to perform what they composed, that they were not deficient in hand, however they might want what some may think the more necessary qualifications of taste, elegance, and expression.
“ Thomas Mace, one of the clerks of Trinity College, Cambridge,