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remarkable creators of a national school, Tschaikowsky, Rimsky-Korsakoff, Moussorgsky, Glazounow, and many more of consistently high aim and sparkling vitality.
Psychologists will, however, not fail to note that the greatest men arose precisely in those countries which had the highest ideals and which fought to maintain them. Invention was not stimulated by aggression or by greed, while it reached its highest level where the incentive for action was founded upon justice, patriotism, and the maintenance of freedom. As soon as Beethoven saw that Napoleon's aims were guided by personal ambition, he tore the dedication off the score of the 'Eroica,' and trampled on it. With tragic satire he changed the superscription to the words 'per festeggiare il sovvenire d'un gran uomo. The gran uomo very much alive (1804); and the memory Beethoven celebrated was that of the greatness which was shattered, for the composer, by Napoleon's assumption of the Imperial title. France had no equivalent to show. Aggression did not stimulate the artistic brain. The only composer of great merit whom she possessed was not of her nation ; Cherubini was an Italian to his finger-tips. The stimulus of the Revolution had produced one immortal melody, the Marseillaise ; its excesses temporarily throttled the music of the nation. As it recovered from them, the national inventiveness began to reassert itself. The stars of Berlioz, Bizet, and Auber arose, to be followed in recent years, as the influence of old aggressiveness faded away and the higher principle of the defence of freedom and of country became irresistibly stronger, by a remarkable outburst of artistic life; not so powerful, perhaps, as the similar manifestation in Russia, but arising from the same incentive.
The appearance of a school of American music dates, as might be expected, from the Civil War of the Sixties. The North fought for a great cause, and from the North that movement has come. In poetry a new note was sounded by Walt Whitman in the West, answering the trumpet call of Tolstoi in the East. In music the beginning was made, although a nation of such recent growth, and consisting of so many still unamalgamated elements, could not be expected to strike out a new and individual path. Nations have to grow old with a folk-music of centuries behind them before they express themselves in unmistakable terms of their own nationality. The ingredients have to be mixed and boiled before the dish is served. Upon this point von Bülow and Dvořák were equally positive; both agreed in the prophecy that with patience the day of American music would come.
The remarkable rehabilitation of Britain as a musicproducing country dates from the same period. Our insular position has to some extent militated against foreign recognition of the enormous stride which this country has made in the last thirty-five years; but the chief stumbling-block in the way of appreciation has been the attitude of Germany. Europe has long looked up to Germany as the best judge as well as the best producer of music, whereas she has for the last two decades been living solely on the reputation of her past; and her stubborn denial of value to any British productions has hypnotised the rest of Europe. The facts, however, are alike distinctive of the value of her judgment, and proof positive of the cause which underlies it. • There are none so blind as those who will not see'; and Germany has refused to see. The tendency, growing year by year since 1870, and with amazing acceleration since 1896, to admit no rivalry, however friendly, to build up frontiers against art, even to use her all-powerful Press Bureau to stamp out any sign of appreciation of good foreign work, has been patent to all who have come into close contact with them. Treated with respect, courtesy, and admiration when they come to this country as our guests, the Germans persistently made it clear that in none of these qualities will they show the least approach to reciprocity.
The reason is not far to seek. The ideals which alone can nourish art have faded away, and aggression pure and simple has taken their place. The creators of great musical work have vanished from their midst, and they are critical and clever enough to know it. Hence the decision, If we cannot do these things ourselves, we shall take good care not to admit that other nations can, and more especially that Great Britain can.' So they bang and bolt their own door, while expecting that the doors of other nations will stand wide for them. The better judgment and broader views of a
section of Germans, and that no small one, are hectored into quiescence by an all-powerful clique. The German masses never protest, and take everything, as the saying is, 'lying down.' Not the least suggestive sign of the general submissiveness is the absence of printed correspondence in their multitudinous daily papers. So long ago as 1887, Hans von Bülow lamented the attitude of the compositeurs indigènes, lesquels profitent de la très regrettable tendance actuelle du chauvinisme pour protester contre mes principes cosmopolitiques en matière d'art.' What was but a 'tendency' then, has crystallised in recent times into a creed. When the German Press brings its ammunition to bear upon foreign music-even such as is accepted and acclaimed by its public—it rarely fails to interlard its columns with political innuendoes, even to the point of rebuking for unpatriotic temerity, such promoters of performances as are broad-minded enough to look beyond their own frontier. Against this brick wall of insulated prejudice Art runs its head in vain.
The modern developments of German music since the death of Wagner and of Brahms throw a light, if a lurid one, upon the trend of German character. The anti-militarist and peace-loving nations outside, more especially in England, have, with the exception of a few men of deeper insight and more intimate knowledge, treated these specimens of art-production as if they were hardy and mature growths from a sound parent stem. They have failed to see that they are but suckers, taking on the appearance of the old tree, but sapping its lifeblood at the root. The essence of German militarism has been reliance upon numbers, rapidity of concentration, perfection of machinery, repression of individual initiative, and in action the attack in close formation of which this repression is the necessary corollary. In their recent music, all these elements can be clearly traced. Richard Strauss is the counterpart of Bernhardi and the General Staff. He relies increasingly upon the numbers of his executants, upon the technical facility of his players, upon the additions and improvements to musical instruments, upon the subordination of invention to effect, upon the massing of sounds and the superabundance
of colour to conceal inherent poverty. A review of his career is convincing of these facts. Strauss began work as a writer of chamber-music, which to any eye of average critical ability is but Capellmeister-musik' of a fairly distinguished order. He found this would not do, and that pale quasi-Brahms was not a passport to notoriety. So he threw Brahms, for whom he had apparently all the admiration of a would-be follower, overboard; even characterising in a never-to-be-forgotten gibe a work of his own, which bore that mark, as 'nearly as bad as Brahms.' He began to sit at the feet of Wagner and still more of Liszt, the greatest of executants and most fascinating of men, but none the less the emptiest and most pretentiously bombastic of composers, whose undisputed pianistic supremacy hid from his hearers the barrenness of his invention. Wagner was drawn upon for his orchestration, Liszt for his efforts to apply the stage to the concert-platform in the shape of programme-music.
Thus equipped, Strauss set out to conquer the world by force and surprise, when he knew that he was powerless to do so by charm or beauty. He established a new order of Capellmeister-musik, so rich in colour and in machine-made effects that only the acute observer could see the old Capellmeister-musik still lurking there, disguised in glittering garments and so loud and flamboyant as to conceal its real vacuity. But the older influences for good could not be obliterated at a blow. In his earlier incursions into programme-music-land they survived enough to give artistic interest. •Tod and Verklärung' (the hospital-ward affair,' as one of his own most celebrated compatriots described it) has elements of beauty in it, though its close, which is its best moment, owes everything to Brahms' Requiem. “Don Juan 'contains a theme which is beautiful per se, and reaches a level which its composer never again approached. It is also full of a certain dash and youthful exuberance which carries the hearer along with it without giving him time to analyse the component parts.
From that day, Strauss' record is one of steady decadence. The means are multiplied as the invention wanes. He glorifies Nietzsche in Zarathustra,' in strains under which that philosopher would have writhed. He
sets Bernhardi to music in Heldenleben,' not indeed taking him or even a Napoleon for his hero, but with sublime egotism glorifying himself. To succeed in this he uses old themes of his own, obviously because, as the context shows, he was unable to hit upon any so good. He makes his climaxes out of the well-known sounds and combinations familiar to any musician who knows his Nibelungen’or his Tristan,' and adopts them with such a bold face that criticism, which would expose
the imitation if it appeared under any other name but that of Strauss, is reduced to silence, and even forgets the origin of his effects. He cannot even leave the domestic hearth and the innocence of childhood alone, but blares at infancy with tubas and trombones. In his view Blake should have been a Boanerges in the nursery, howling Treitschke instead of baby rhymes; and the bath should have been sown with floating mines. In his stage work the decadence is even worse. Beginning with a pale reflex of Wagner in Guntram,' it would seem as if the later morals of Berlin promised quicker returns. He treads on risky ground in Feuersnoth,' presses Oscar Wilde into his service in “Salome,' outrages all the ideal spirit of Greek drama and violates its first principles of keeping horrors from the public gaze in Electra,' and finally lets himself and such art as he has left roll in the gutter and bespatter himself and his hearers with the mud of the Legend of Joseph.' For this supreme anti-climax of a career for which many had such hopes, he, because his name was Richard Strauss, was honoured by the Alma Mater of Cranmer, of Laud, of Gladstone and of Newman. He has not, like his compatriots, repudiated the Oxford degree.
For such a débâcle there can be no feeling but one of the deepest regret, which is not softened by the consideration that the approach of inevitable disaster was but gradual. There will be no rejoicing over such a catastrophe in any land where music is loved. The causes are not so much the fault of the individual as of the system which has undermined his judgment and his better self. In the world of Pan-Germanism, Strauss is but an unconsidered cypher, apart from his celebrity in art. The canker of militarism has eaten into his system as it has into that of the most peaceful of his