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Music from the North.                   169
An elder, a graver, and drier organist and composer than Bach, Euctehude of Lubeck,had com­posed a series of solemn pieces on the planets. All these home tendencies, especially so soon as there became any thought of marshalling them in antagonism against foreign fantasies, told inevitably against that ease, symmetry, and simplicity which are the life, body, and soul of vocal writing.
Here, again, peculiarity of material must also be taken into account. It may be said, without any lack of charity, that the German language, save it be managed with no ordinary delicacy and precision, is not euphonious when sung. The German women have naturally beautiful voices of first-rate soprano quality; the contralto voice is as generically inferior. The tenors are high, throaty, and forcible; the bass voices deep, rich, and extensive. But no less certainly may it be averred, that the art of managing the voice, so as to make it sing strenuously in chorus, is misunderstood and undervalued among the Germans. I remember the names of only three soprani voices, largely indebted to northern training, who have made a European reputation; Mara, Sontag (who owed much to the influences of Madame Fodor and Madame Pasta), and lastly, Madame

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III