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imitated him, and the third trial succeeded. "Thou shalt remain with me," said Reiter: and during the succeeding eight years he was engaged as a choirister in the church of St. Stephen, at Vienna, where he was instructed by able masters in singing, and in the uses of several instruments, and in the theory of music in general.
At the same time he heard works of merit performed; and his own imagination was already so awakened and active, that he attempted compositions of six and eight parts: "I fancied then," said Haydn, when speaking of these essays; "that all was well, provided the paper was quite full." Reiter several times took me to task respecting these my crude productions, reprimanding me for endeavouring to make six parts, when I had not learned the art of composing even for two voices. At the age of puberty, when his voice began to change, Haydn was dismissed from the choir; after which, during a long course of years, he endured all the rigour of adverse fortune, finding it very difficult to earn even a bare subsistence at Vienna. He lodged in the sixth story, his garret had neither door nor casement; his breath congealed on his bed-clothes; and the water which he fetched from the fountain, for his toilette in the morning, was frequently changed into ice before he could re-ascend to the exalted regions of his abode. Haydn gave lessons, and performed at orchestras and musical parties, where something might be gained; but his indigence kept him secluded from society; an old worm-eaten harpsichord was his sole source of happiness. Consoling himself with this companion of his misfortunes, he courageously continued to compose, and his ardent genius prevented him from sinking into a state of torpid despair. At last he had the good fortune to have as his pupil, a Miss Mortini, a relation of Metastasio; and at her house he obtained his board gratis, during three years. Afterwards he removed to one of the suburbs.
About that time he engaged himself as director of the choir of the Charitable Brothers, in the Leopoldstadt, at a salary of sixty florins per annum. He was obliged on Sundays and holidays to be at their church by eight o'clock in the morning: at ten he played the organ in the chapel of Count Haugwitz, and at eleven he sung in the choir of the cathedral of St. Stephen. Thousands would have sunk under such hardships.
Haydn never was in Italy. If he had enjoyed that advantage, there can be no doubt, that, with his excellent ideas of singing and harmony, he would have acquired great reputation as a composer of operas. He, however, spoke Italian with considerable facility; and acknowledged, that he owed much to an Italian musician of the name of Porpora, with whom he became acquainted at the house of a lady in Meinersdorf. Haydn served
him about three months nearly in the capacity of a valet, solely for the purpose of improving himself by his instructions. Porpora was teaching the lady to sing, and Haydn accompanied her on the harpsichord: and, during the intervals between the lessons, submitted his compositions to the correction of his master.
Thus was formed the composer, whose sublime notes resound in all the orchestras of Europe; and who continued his labours with increasing applause and glory during half a century, to the time of his death in 1809.
The following extracts of letters were written from Vienna in 1805, when the French were in possession of that city, gives an interesting account of a visit to the venerable composer, at the age of 74.
"We went several times to Joseph Haydn's: as he is now bowed down with age and infirmities, it is difficult for strangers to obtain access to him.
"When we first paid our respects to him, we were accompanied by Wolfgang Mozart, an amiable youth of thirteen, full of spirit and vivacity, and who has already given indication of his possessing talents worthy of the reputation of his father. Last spring, the young artist had celebrated the 73d birth-day of Haydn, by having performed at the theatre of Vienna, a cantata, composed by him, in honour of the father of the German musicians.
"Haydn lives retired in the suburb called Gumpendorf, where he has a commodious small house, with a garden. Some aged domestics, who have the care of his family concerns, since the death of his wife, received us on the ground-floor, where a gray parrot was chattering, being a favourite bird brought by Haydn from England. Neatness and tranquillity reigned throughout; and the deportment of the servants evinced the tender interest they took in the sufferings of their master. We were announced and admitted. The servant conducted us to a room in the upper story, where we found Haydn plainly, but neatly, dressed, in a brown great-coat. He received us with cordiality.
"Haydn is now in his 74th year, he is of middle stature, and there is nothing peculiarly distinguishing in the traits of his figure; but he bears the impression of good nature, which, at first sight, prepossess a stranger in his favour. The visit of young Mozart, whom he had not seen for a considerable time, gave him great pleasure. He conversed with the youth respecting his studies and his progress in music, with the affection of an old friend; recalled, with pride, the recollections of his illustrious father, whose society he had always cultivated.
"Seeing the old man fatigued, we broke off the conversation, after having staid about an half hour. On taking leave, he behaved in a very friendly manner, and honoured and gratified me in particular by giving me permission to repeat my visit.
"At my last visit he enjoyed a more than ordinary serenity. He found himself somewhat better; his head was less affected, so that
he returned to his customary occupations. By chance he had laid his hand on one of his first productions, a short Mass, which he had composed for singing only, so early as 1742, when he was still a choirister in the church of St. Stephen; he was now adding accompaniments, with the view of offering, by this his first, and perhaps his last, work, the homage of gratitude to his protector, Prince Easterhazy. We may, likewise, reckon among the last labours of Haydn, a quartetto, the 84th which he has begun, and a number of ballads and songs in the Scottish style, composed for his friends in England, where he received a very liberal remuneration for such compositions.
"Haydn possesses a moderate fortune, acquired chiefly by the two journies he made to England, on which he lives with great attention to economy. In his youth he suffered great hardships: but, notwithstanding the indigence by which he was depressed, he raised. himself to eminence by following the impulse of his soaring genius."
FROM THE MONTHLY MAGAZINE.
Particulars not generally known of the LIFE of HANDEL.
HANDEL was born at Halle, in upper Saxony, in 1684; he was the son of an eminent physician in that city, who had this celebrated character by a second wife. From his earliest age he discovered such an irresistible propensity to music, that his father, who intended him for the civil law, was much displeased at it, and removed all musical instruments out of his way; yet so strong was the child's ruling passion for the charms of music, that, before he was seven years old, he contrived to carry a small clavichord to the top of the house, with which he constantly amused himself when his parents had retired to rest.
It happened about this time that he accompanied his father to a brother by the first marriage, who was valet to the duke of Saxe-Weinfenfels. On this occasion young Handel could not refrain from touching every harpsichord he met with: and one day, stealing into the organ loft of the chapel, he began to play upon it while the duke was in chapel. Being struck with an unusual sound, he inquired of the valet who it was that was playing, and, on being told it was his brother, he commanded him to be brought before him, and his father likewise to be sent for. The result of the duke's inquiries was a recommendation that such a native genius should on no account be lost, with a promise of conferring upon him every means of encouragement.
On his return back to Halle, young Handel was placed with Zachau, organist of the church, under whom he was taught the
principles of music, and introduced to the works of eminent composers. He improved so rapidly, that, at the age of only nine years, he composed motets for the service of the cathedrals. At the age of thirteen he perceived that Halle offered no further improvement, and therefore visited Vienna, where the opera was then in a flourishing state, under Buononcini and Attilio. He there attracted the notice of the emperor, who expressed an inclination to send him to Italy; where he might be instructed under the best masters; but his parents declined the offer. He next visited Hamburg, where, losing his father, he took a place in the orchestra, and engaged to teach music, that he might be no burthen to his afflicted mother. At this place his superior talents so much pleased the public, that a performer, above whom he had been preferred, on leaving the opera-house drew his sword on him, and Handel was preserved from a fatal thrust by a music-book buttoned under his coat. It was at Hamburgh that he composed his first opera of " Almeria," being then, according to one account, under fifteen years of age.
He next visited Venice, and at that city composed his "Aggrippina," which was performed twenty-seven nights successively with unbounded applause. Rome was his next stage, and the reputation he had acquired occasioned Cardinal Ottoboni, a great musical amateur, to introduce him to Correlli, who played the first violin in his band. Handel composed a piece for him, which that celebrated performer found too difficult for his execution. Here also the young Saxon had a trial of skill on the harpsichord, with the famous Scarletti, the event of which is differently related, but it is agreed, that upon the organ his superiority was allowed even by Scarletti himself.
Handel resided in Italy nearly six years, during which he composed an abundance of music of almost every species. These carly productions would be great curiosities, but many of them are lost to us. In returning to his native country, Hanover was the first place at which he stopt, where he met with Stephani, with whom he had been acquainted at Venice, and who was then master of the chapel to our George I. then elector at Hanover. There was also a nobleman who had taken great notice of him in Italy, baron Kilmansegge, who so well recommended him to his electoral highness, that he immediately offered him a pension of fifteen hundred crowns as an inducement to stay. Many of the nobility of England also were impatient for an opera from him, whereupon he composed "Rinaldo," in which the famous Nicolani sung.
The low state of music at that time in London, and the wretched squabbles at the Haymarket, made the nobility desirous that he should compose for the theatre. The king was persuaded to
form a party on the water, and Handel was directed to prepare some music for the occasion; this gave birth to his deservedly admired, "Water-piece." It was performed, and conducted by himself unknown to his majesty, whose pleasure, on hearing it, was equal to his surprise; upon inquiring whose it was, the baron produced the composer to the king, bestowing upon him the highest approbation; and as a token for it, was pleased to add a pension of 2001. a year for life.
Handel was now settled in England upon a permanent establishment, and his reputation stood unrivalled. During the three first years of his time, he was principally engaged at the Earl of Burlington's, in Piccadilly, where he frequently met Pope. The poet one day asked his friend Arbuthnot, of whose knowledge in music he had a high opinion, What was his real opinion of Handel as a musician? Who replied, "Conceive the highest you can of his abilities, and they are far beyond any thing you can conceive." Pope nevertheless declared, that "Handel's finest performance gave him no more pleasure than the airs of a common ballad."
The city of London was now to be treated with a union of Dryden's poetry and Handel's music, in the performance of "Alexander's Feast," which met with deserved success. About the year 1733, a tribute of respect was paid him by Mr. Tyers, proprietor of Vauxhall, who placed a marble statue of him in the gardens. His "Messiah" is said to have been first performed in, 1741, at Covent Garden, and was but coldly received. Pope, void of taste for music, and envious of the fame of Handel, vented his spleen in the following lines of his address to Dullness:
Strong in new arms, lo! giant Handel stands,
Dunciad iv. 65.
About that time he embarked for Ireland, and, arriving in Dublin, was honourably received by the nobility of that city, where he performed his Messiah, for the benefit of the city priAfter an absence of nine months, he returned to London, and entertained the city with an oratorio, from Samson Agonistes. In 1751, his eyes began to be affected with a gutta serena, which sunk him into a state of despondency, and at length terminated in his total blindness. He was present at the performance of one of his oratorios, only eight days before his death,