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104 National Music of the World.
a street in Genoa, or a riverside in Florence, while the traveller is struck again and again with taught and untaught proficiency on the part of the players, he will hear nothing but some eternal song, or some paltry dance, in nine cases out of ten from the favourite opera.
For men of grave musical tendencies, such as Clementi, and Cherubini, and Spontini, there has been no home, no field for action in their own country, for years and years past
Such are a very few among the characteristics of national music in Italy. Perhaps, if followed out, they might in some degree explain its reserves, its past strength, its present weakness.
We have now to exchange the world of sentiment for that of intellectual vivacity, and to enter a region of art originally colonised from the South, no doubt, and of late time drawing tribute from every country of the earth, with a self-consistency and self-possession in which are involved nothing short of absolute egotism and absolute metamorphosis.
For there is nothing more constant and tyrannical than certain characteristics of French art. I have outlined two, in reference to my subject: a strangely assorted couple, but which arise and recur, whatever