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the revolution which the Elizabethans wrought has been justified by its result. The result was a Church strong enough to weather the storm of the Civil Wars and the blight of the Hanoverian lethargy, to keep alive even to those evil days a spirit of religion in the nation at large.
But there was another alternative which was pressed for Elizabeth's acceptance, the model of the best reformed churches abroad.' Here again there might have been some gain, but there would have been greater loss. The continuity of tradition, of history, of faith itself, means even more for religious bodies than it means for a man by himself; and these would have been lost. The religious anarchy of the Commonwealth, the narrow tyranny of Puritanism, the multiplied forces of Separatism, would have been upon us some fifty years earlier than they came; and there would have been no Church to combat them, and even after defeat to rise against them. If the Elizabethan leaders erred in one direction more than in another, it was in tenderness towards Puritanism; political interest, religious sympathies, sometimes pressed them to compromise. Had they gone further in that direction, their own problems would have been easier, but their children would have suffered. It was a sound instinct which led the leaders to see that a more elaborate and efficient administration, a code of law, was needed; but it was an equally sound instinct that led the bulk of Churchmen to reject the ‘Reformatio Legum.' In their main outlines they built truly and well; and, if every detail was not attended to, none the less their building has stood. Each later generation that has had to repair and enlarge the walls seems to have entered more and more into the spirit of its Elizabethan forefathers. It is the reward of men who love the past and boldly face the present to shape the future and its growth.
J. P. WHITNEY.
Art. 5.-MUSIC AND DRAMA.
1. My Life. By Richard Wagner. English Translation.
Two vols. London: Constable, 1911. 2. Musiciens d'Aujourd'hui : Musiciens d'Autrefois. By
Romain Rolland. Paris : Hachette, 1908. 3. Pelléas et Mélisande. By Claude Debussy.
Paris : Durand, 1902. 4. Salome: Elektra. By Richard Strauss. Berlin: Fürst
ner, 1905, 1908. 5. Some Forerunners of Italian Opera. By W. J. Hender
London : Murray, 1911.
A PHILOSOPHER who is seeking for an illustration of the One in the Many will find it ready to his hand in the history of artistic criticism. The problems of art are innumerable; they press round us in such multitude that they often obscure our view of the artist; and yet, when all is said, they are only the transitory versions of one eternal problem—the relation of form and content, of expression and design. Is the main function of art to interpret reality and paint man man, whatever the issue,' or to create its own reality by presenting, through a chosen medium, some vision of ideal beauty? or may we believe that each of these is but a half truth, and that the
а highest achievement is to maintain them both in a due balance and equipoise which shall reconcile their conflicting claims without sacrifice and without concession? The extreme arguments on either side are familiar enough. The artist who fixes his attention on pure design stands in some danger of formalism, and even of conventionality; his work at the best may be coldly perfect, at the worst artificial and unmeaning. The insistence on expression and interpretation may be carried to a point at which beauty itself disappears. Dædalus, as the story goes, carved the legs of his statue with such fidelity to nature that it ran away in the night.
It is probable that in no field of art has the battle been more urgently or persistently fought than in that of the musical dramą. At the end of the sixteenth century it
raged round the ‘Nuove Musiche’; at the end of the seventeenth round Lully; in the latter part of the eighteenth round Gluck; in the latter part of the nineteenth round Wagner. On each occasion the ground of controversy was in all essentials the same. A past tradition had hardened until it was merely an obstruction and a hindrance; a reformer arose to clear it from the path and to vindicate for art the utmost freedom to proclaim what it would. The very terms of recrimination repeat themselves. •Your old music,' says the attacking force, is so stereotyped that it has no longer any significance; it may give pleasure to the ear but it says nothing to the soul. Your new music,' say the defenders, 'is mere violence and anarchy; it may express passions which, perhaps, were better left unexpressed, but it is false to the principles and ideals of its own cause.' Monteverde, Lully, Gluck, were assailed with the same charges of ugliness and bad musicianship which, thirty years ago, were brought against Wagner; they responded by building up a scheme of dramatic music upon which, for our own generation, Wagner has laid the coping-stone.
It is necessary to state this fact at the outset, because criticism, which in every age believes that its verdict is not only final but original, has too readily assumed that the real problem began with the publication of Oper und Drama,' and with the composition of The Ring. Even Wagner himself, it may be said with deference, does insufficient justice to Gluck, and almost ignores the important part played by Lully. That he should do so is entirely natural. He was preoccupied with his own statement of the question; and of necessity the terms in which he stated it were different from those employed by his predecessors. He was in the thick of the arena, and may well have gazed more keenly on opponents than on allies. But now that the battle is over and the smoke has rolled away, it is possible to look back dispassionately on the whole course of events, to trace the ancestry of the Bayreuth idea, and, what is more important, to estimate in some measure its influence on the subsequent course of the musical drama.
Tolstoy, that uncompromising preacher of artistic truth, once declared that the musical drama was an untenable convention, and illustrated this doctrine with a
very unsympathetic description of Siegfried. If we grant his premise, the conclusion is unanswerable. Assume that the drama is the direct representation of humanity, the mirror held up to nature, the faithful reflection of life which, if seen through a temperament, is nevertheless seen as it is, then it would seem to follow that a play in which music is the medium of the dialogue must of necessity be untrue. The drama which Plato feared for his Guardians, and would have feared still more if he could have foreseen. The Powers of Darkness,' consists wholly of imitation; in modern terms it gives us human speech and
; action as we might expect to find them outside the theatre. In 'Hedda Gabler' and Die Weber,' in Strife' and Justice,' we are moved by the fidelity with which the dramatist sets living men and women upon the stage; the illusion (if we can call it an illusion) would be shattered by the ordered phraseology of music. But to take this as the type and pattern of dramatic truth is to prove far too much. It would rule out ‘Faust,' for men do not speak in rhyme, and Othello,' for they do not speak in blank verse; it would close the doors of the theatre on almost all its greatest masterpieces. Let us examine the assumption from which this conclusion proceeds.
The origin of our drama is to be found in religious service. The Doric word, from which its name is derived, has a definitely ritual meaning; the earliest examples were choric songs and dances with a single episode, in which the poet, who was also the chorusleader, improvised before the audience a story in honour of the god. These episodes were probably accompanied by mimetic or sympathetic gestures on the part of the chorus; they were wholly rhythmic in form; they were almost certainly in that heightened 'poetic' tone of which recitative and aria parlante are our modern equivalents. In course of time the episodes became more numerous, and so led to a rude dialogue between leader and chorus; then, as a later development, came the gradual introduction of actors and of scenic representation. And, long after these had become familiar, the ritual conception remained paramount. The plays were given at the Dionysiac Festival; the subjects were taken from the mythology of gods and heroes ; * the altar stood at the centre of the orchestra ; more than half the principal seats were reserved for the priests. To this corresponded the whole character of the earlier Greek Tragedy. Æschylus, as Prof. Murray says, carried his theme on a great wave of religious emotion ; the characters are of more than human stature; the style and phraseology are raised above the level of common speech. To an audience that felt these stories as an essential part of its religion the whole effect must have been comparable to that produced by the Christian Passion-play at Ober-Ammergau or the Mahominedan at Teheran. When we remember that in all countries music exercises a potent influence on religious emotion, there is little wonder that the very texture and fibre of Æschylean tragedy should have been saturated with it. The musical drama in short is not a perversion, not even an extension, of the dramatic idea, but the pure essence of its original form.
With Euripides there comes a change of aim which may very roughly be compared with the distinction between music-drama and opera. Whether we regard him as a rationalist or as 'the one religious man in an irreligious age'-and both views have been maintained there can be no doubt that he humanised tragedy, and that in so doing he considerably modified the orthodox idea of his time. Contrast, for example, the three great presentations of . Elektra'in Greek Tragedy. In Æschylus the human motive is almost ignored ; in Euripides it animates the whole play and sets the entire tone of its most dramatic scene. In Sophocles the counsel of the gods is not to be challenged; Euripides not only challenges but condemns-his Orestes obeys the divine voice and is punished with all the bitterness of remorse. Hence in Euripides we are no longer sustained by the feeling of ever-present Godhead working out a divine purpose which we can neither judge nor comprehend ; that solace is denied us, and we are left face to face with the naked issues of human sin and human suffering. For this reason his tragedy would often be unendurably poignant-it is so, for instance, in «The Trojan Women'
* A few on ‘historical' themes. But the only one of these which has survived-the ‘Persæ '—is a sort of Triumphlied or Te Deum after victory,