Musical memories II

"Oceans of ink have been spilled in discussing the question of whether the subjects of operas should be taken from history or mythology, and the question is still a mooted  one. To my mind it would have been better if the question had never been raised, for it is of little consequence what the answer is. The only things worth while are whether the music is good and the work interesting. But Tanhauser, Lohengrin, Tristan and Siegfried appeared and the question sprang up. The heroes of mythology, we are hold, are invested with a prestige which historical characters can never have. Their deeds lose significance and in their place we have their feelings, their emotions, to the great benefit of the operas. After these works, however, Hans Sachs (Die Meistersinger) appeared, and although he is not mythical at all he is a fine figure nevertheles. But in this case the plot is of little account, for the interest lies mainly in the emotions- the only thing, it appears, which music with its divine language ought to express".

SAINT-SAENS, Camille. Musical Memories. Translated by Edwin Gile Rich. Boston: Small, Maynard and company, 1919.

Silvia Pato