“I CONSIDER that criticism is useless, I would even say that it is harmful. . . . Criticism generally means the opinion some man or other holds about another person’s work. How can that opinion help forward the growth of art ? It is interesting to know the ideas, even the erroneous ideas, of geniuses and men of great talent, such as Goethe, Schumann, Wagner, Sainte-Beuve, and Michelet, when they wish to indulge in criticism ; but it is of no interest at all to know whether Mr. So-and-so likes, or does not like, such-and-such dramatic or musical work.”
So writes M. Vincent d’Indy.
After such an expression of opinion one imagines that a critic ought to feel some embarrassment in writing about M. Vincent d’Indy. And I myself ought to be the more concerned in the matter, for in the number of the review where the above was written the only other opinions expressed with equal conviction belonged to the author of this book. There is only one thing to be doneto copy M. d’Indy’s example ; for that forsworn enemy of criticism is himself a keen critic.
It is not altogether on M. d’Indy’s musical gifts that I want to dwell. It is known that in Europe today he is one of the masters of dramatic musical expression, of orchestral colouring, and of the science of style. But that is not the end of his attainments ; he has artistic originality, which springs from some-thing deeper still. When an artist has some worth, you will find it not only in his work but in his being. So we will endeavour to explore M. d’Indy’s being.
M. d’Indy’s personality is not a mysterious one. On the contrary, it is open and clear as daylight ; and we see this in his musical work, in his artistic activities, and in his writings. To his own writings we may apply the exception of his rule about criticism in favour of a small number of men whose thoughts are interesting even when they are erroneous. It would be a pity indeed not to know M. d’Indy’s thoughtseven the erroneous ones ; for they let us catch a glimpse, not only of the ideas of an eminent artist, but of certain surprising characteristics of the thought of our time. M. d’Indy has closely studied the history of his art ; but the chief interest of his writings lies rather in their unconscious expression of the spirit of modern art than in what they tell us about the past.
M. d’Indy is not a man hedged in by the boundaries of his art ; his mind is open and well fertilised. Musicians nowadays are no longer entirely absorbed in their notes, but let their minds go out to other interests. And it is not one of the least interesting phenomena of French music today that gives us these learned and thoughtful composers, who are conscious of what they create, and bring to their art a keen critical faculty, like that of M. Saint-Saëns, M. Dukas, or M. d’Indy. From M. d’Indy we have had scholarly editions of Rameau, Destouches, and Salomon de Rossi. Even in the middle of rehearsals of L’Etranger at Brussels he was working at a reconstruction of Monteverde’s Orfeo. He has published selections of folksongs with critical notes, essays on Beethoven’s predecessors, a history of Musical Composition, and debates and lectures. This fine intellectual culture is not, however, the most remarkable of M. d’Indy’s characteristics, though it may have been the most remarked. Other musicians share this culture with him ; and his real distinction lies in his moral and almost religious qualities, and it is this side of him that gives him an unusual interest for us among other contemporary artists.
” Maneant in vobis Fides, Spes, Caritas. Tria haec : major autem horum est Caritas.
” An artist must have at least Faith, faith in God and faith in his art ; for it is Faith that disposes him to learn, and by his learning to raise himself higher and higher on the ladder of Being, up to his goal, which is God.
” An artist should practise Hope ; for he can expect nothing from the present ; he knows that his mission is to serve, and to give his work for the life and teaching of the generations that shall come after him,
” An artist should be inspired by a splendid Charity’ the greatest of these.’ To love should be his aim in life ; for the moving principle of all creation is divine and charitable Love.”
Who speaks like this ? Is it the monk Denys in his cell at Mount Athos ? Or Cennini, who spread the pious teaching of the Giotteschi ? Or one of the old painters of Sienna, who in their profession of faith called themselves ” by the grace of God, those who manifest marvellous things to common and illiterate men, by the virtue of the holy faith, and to its glory ” ?
No ; it was the director of the Schola Cantorum, addressing the students in an inaugural speech, or giving them a lecture on Composition.
We must consider a little this singular book, where a living science and a Gothic spirit are closely intermingled (I use the word ” Gothic ” in its best sense ; I know it is the highest praise one can give M. d’Indy). This work has not received the attention it deserves. It is a record of the spirit of contemporary art ; and if it stands rather apart from other writings, it should not be allowed to pass unnoticed on that account.
In this book, Faith is shown to be everythingthe beginning and the end. We learn how it fans the flame of genius, nourishes thought, directs work, and governs even the modulations and the style of a music n. There is a passage in it that one would think was of the thirteenth century ; it is curious, but not without dignity :
” One should have an aim in the progressive march of modulations, as one has in the different stages of life. The reason, instincts, and faith that guide a man in the troubles of his life also guide the musician in his choice of modulations. Thus useless and contradictory modulations, an undecided balance between light and shade, pro-duce a painful and confusing impression on the hearer, comparable to that which a poor human being inspires when he is feeble and inconsistent, buffeted between the East and the West in the course of his unhappy life, without an aim and without belief.”
This book seems to be of the Middle Ages by reason of a sort of scholastic spirit of abstraction and classification.
” In artistic creation, seven faculties are called into play by the soul: the Imagination, the Affections, the Understanding, the Intelligence, the Memory, the Will, and the Conscience.”
And again its mediæval spirit is shown by an extraordinary symbolism, which discovers in everything (as far as I understand it) the imprint of divine mysteries, and the mark of God in Three Persons in such things as the beating of the heart and ternary rhythms” an admirable application of the principle of the Unity of the Trinity” !
From these remote times comes also M. d’Indy’s method of writing history, not by tracing facts back to laws, but by deducing, on the contrary, facts from certain great general ideas, which have once been admitted, but not proved by frequent recurrence, such as : The origin of art is in religion ” a fact which is anything but certain. From this reasoning it follows that folksongs are derived from Gregorian chants, and not the Gregorian chants from the folksongsas I would sooner believe. The history of art may thus become a sort of history of the world in moral achievement. One could divide it into two parts : the world before the coming of Pride, and after it.
” Subdued by the Christian faith, that formidable enemy of man, Pride, rarely showed itself in the soul of an artist in the Middle Ages. But with the weakening of religious belief, with the spirit of the Reformation applying itself almost at the same time to every branch of human learning, we see Pride reappear, and watch its veritable Renaissance.”
Finally, this Gothic spirit shows itselfin a less original way, it is truein M. d’Indy’s religious antipathies, which, in spite of the author’s goodness of heart and great personal tolerance, constantly break out against the two faiths that are rivals to his own ; and to them he attributes all the faults of art and all the vices of humanity. Each has its offence. Protestantism is made responsible for the extremes of individualism ; and Judaism, for the absurdities of its customs and the weakness of its moral sense. I do not know which of the two is the more soundly belaboured ; the second has the privilege of being so, not only in writing, but in pictures. The worst of it is, these antipathies are apt to spoil the fairness of M. d’Indy’s artistic judgment. It goes without saying that the Jewish musicians are treated with scant consideration and even the great Protestant musicians, giants in their art, do not escape rebuke. If Goudimel is mentioned, it is because he was Palestrina’s master, and his achievement of ” turning the Calvinist psalms into chorales ” is dismissed as being of little importance. Handel’s oratorios are spoken of as ” chilling, and, frankly speaking, tedious.” 1 Bach himself escapes with this qualification : “If he is great, it is not because of, but in spite of the dogmatic and parching spirit of the Reformation.” 2
I will not try to play the part of judge ; for a man is sufficiently judged by his own writings. And,. after all, it is rather interesting to meet people who are sincere and not afraid to speak their minds. I will admit that I rather enjoya little perversely, perhapssome of these extreme opinions, where the writer’s personality stands strongly revealed.
So the old Gothic spirit still lives among us, and informs the mind of one of our best-known artists, and also, without doubt, the minds of hundreds of those who listen to him and admire him. M. Louis Laloy has shown the persistence of certain forms of plain-song in M. Debussy’s Pelléas ; and in a dim sense of far-away kinship he finds the cause of the mysterious charm that such music holds for some of us. This learned paradox is possible. Why not ? The mixtures of race and the vicissitudes of history have given us so full and complex a soul that we may very well find its beginnings there, if it pleases usor the beginnings of quite other things. Of beginnings there is no end ; the choice is quite embarrassing, and I imagine one’s inclination has as much to do with the matter as one’s temperament.
However that may be, M. d’Indy hails from the Middle Ages, and not from antiquity (which does not exist for him ), or from the Renaissance, which he confounds with the Reformation (though the two sisters are enemies) in order to crush it the better. ” Let us take for models,” he says, ” the fine workers in art of the Middle Ages.”
In this return to the Gothic spirit, in this awakening of faith, there is a namea modern one this timethat they are fond of quoting at the Schola ; it is that of César Franck, under whose direction the little Conservatoire in the Rue Saint-Jacques was placed. And indeed they could quote no better name than that of this simple-hearted man. Nearly all who came into contact with him felt his irresistible charma charm that has perhaps a great deal to do with the influence that his works still have on French music today. None has felt Franck’s power, both morally and musically, more than M. Vincent d’Indy; and none holds a more profound reverence for the man whose pupil he was for so long.
The first time I saw M. d’Indy was at a concert of the Société nationale, in the Salle Pleyel, in 1888. They were playing several of Franck’s works ; among others, for the first time, his admirable Thème, fugue, et variation, for the harmonium and pianoforte, a composition in which the spirit of Bach is mingled with a quite modern tenderness. Franck was con-ducting, and M. d’Indy was at the pianoforte. I shall always remember his reverential manner towards the old musician, and how careful he was to follow his directions ; one would have said he was a diligent and obedient pupil. It was a touching homage from one who had already proved himself a master by works like Le Chant de la cloche, Wallenstein, La Symphonie sur un thème montagnard, and who was perhaps at that time better known and more popular than César Franck himself. Since then twenty years have passed, and I still see M. d’Indy as I saw him that evening; and, whatever may happen in the future, his memory for me will be always associated with that of the grand old artist, presiding with his fatherly smile over the little gathering of the faithful.
Of all the characteristics of Franck’s fine moral nature, the most remarkable was his religious faith. It must have astonished the artists of his time, who were even more destitute of such a thing than they are now. It made itself felt in some of his followers, especially in those who were near the master’s heart, as M. d’Indy was. The religious thought of the latter reflects in some degree the thought of his master ; though the shape of that thought may have undergone unconscious alteration. I do not know if Franck altogether fits the conception people have of him today. I do not want to introduce personal memories of him here. I knew him well enough to love him, and to catch a glimpse of the beauty and sincerity of his soul ; but I did not know him well enough to discover the secrets of his mind. Those who had the happiness of being his intimate friends seem always to represent him as a mystic who shut himself away from the spirit of his time. I hope at some future date one of his friends will publish some of the conversations that he had with him, of which I have heard. But this man who had so strong a faith was also very independent. In his religion he had no doubts : it was the mainspring of his life ; though faith with him was much more a matter of feeling than a matter of doctrine. But all was feeling with Franck, and reason made little appeal to him. His religious faith did not disturb his mind, for he did not measure men and their works by its rules ; and he would have been incapable of putting together a history of art according to the Bible. This great Catholic had at times a very pagan soul ; and he could enjoy without a qualm the musical dilettantism of Renan and the sonorous nihilism of Leconte de Lisle. There were no limits to his vast sympathies. He did not attempt to criticise the thing he lovedunderstanding was already in his heart. Perhaps he was right ; and perhaps there was more trouble in the depths of his heart than the valiant serenity of its surface would lead us to believe.
His faith too. . . I know how dangerous it is to interpret a musician’s feelings by his music ; but how can we do otherwise when we are told by Franck’s followers that the expression of the soul is the only end and aim of music ? Do we find his faith, as expressed through his music, always full of peace and calm ? I ask those who love that music because they find some of their own sadness reflected there. Who has not felt the secret tragedies that some of his musical passages enfoldthose short, characteristically abrupt phrases which seem to rise in supplication to God, and often fall back in sadness and in tears ? It is not all light in that soul but the light that is there does not affect us less because it shines from afar,
” Dans un écartement de nuages, qui laisse Voir au-dessus des mers la céleste allégresse….”
And so Franck seems to me to differ from M. d’Indy in that he has not the latter’s urgent desire for clearness.
Clearness is the distinguishing quality of M. d’Indy’s mind. There are no shadows about him. His ideas and his art are as clear as the look that gives so much youth to his face. For him to examine, to arrange, to classify, to combine, is a necessity. No one is more French in spirit. He has sometimes been taxed with Wagnerism, and it is true that he has felt Wagner’s influence very strongly. But even when this influence is most apparent it is only superficial : his true spirit is remote from Wagner’s. You may find in Fervaal a few trees like those in Siegfried’s forest ; but the forest itself is not the same ; broad avenues have been cut in it, and day-light fills the caverns of the Niebelungs.
This love of clearness is the ruling factor of M. d’Indy’s artistic nature. And this is the more remarkable, for his nature is far from being a simple one. By his wide musical education and his constant thirst for knowledge he has acquired a very varied and almost contradictory learning. It must be remembered that M. d’Indy is a musician familiar with the music of other countries and other times ; all kinds of musical forms are floating in his mind ; and he seems sometimes to hesitate between them. He has arranged these forms into three principal classes, which seem to him to be models of musical art the decorative art of the singers of plain-song; the architectural art of Palestrina and his followers, and the expressive art of the great Italians of the seventeenth century. But in doing this is not his eclecticism trying to reconcile arts that are naturally disunited ? Again, we must remember that M. d’Indy has had direct or indirect contact with some of the greatest musical personalities of our time : with Wagner, Liszt, Brahms, and César Franck.
And he has been readily attracted by them ; for he is not one of those egotistic geniuses whose thoughts are fixed on his own interests, nor has he one of those carnivorous minds that sees nothing, looks for nothing, and relishes nothing, unless it may be afterwards useful to it. His sympathies are readily with others, he is happy in giving homage to their greatness, and quick to appreciate their charm. He speaks somewhere of the ” irresistible need of trans-formation ” that every artist feels. But in order to escape being overwhelmed by conflicting elements and interests, one should have great force of feeling or will, in order to be able to eliminate what is not necessary, and choose out and transform what is. M. d’Indy eliminates hardly anything ; he makes use of it. In his music he exercises the qualities of an army general : understanding of his purpose and the patience to attain it, a perfect knowledge of the means at his disposal, the spirit of order, and command over his work and himself. Despite the variety of the materials he employs, the whole is always clear. One might almost reproach him with being too clear ; he seems to simplify too much.
Nothing helps one to grasp the essence of M. d’Indy’s personality more than his last dramatic work. His personality shows itself plainly in all his compositions, but nowhere is it more evident than in L’Étranger.
The scene of L’Étranger is laid in France, by the sea, whose murmuring calm we hear in a symphonic introduction. The fishermen are coming back to port ; the fishing has been bad. But one among them, ” a man about forty years old, with a sad and dignified air,” has been more fortunate than the others. The fishermen envy him, and vaguely suspect him of sorcery. He tries to enter into friendly conversation with them, and offers his catch to a poor family. But in vain ; his advances are repulsed and his generosity is eyed with suspicion. He is a strangerthe Stranger.’ Evening falls, and the angelus rings. Some work-girls come trooping out of their workshop, singing a merry folksong. One of the young girls, Vita, goes up to the Stranger and speaks to him, for she -alone, of all the village, is his friend. The two feel themselves drawn together by a secret sympathy. Vita con-fides artlessly in the unknown man ; they love each other though they do not admit it. The Stranger tries to repress his feelings ; for Vita is young and already affianced, and he thinks that he has no right to claim her. But Vita, offended by his coldness, seeks to wound him, and succeeds. In the end he betrays himself. ” Yes, he loves her, and she knew it well. But now that he has told her so, he will never see her again ; and he bids her good-bye.”
That is the first act. Up to this point we seem to be witnessing a very human and realistic dramathe ordinary story of the man who tries to do good and receives ingratitude, and the sad tragedy of old age that comes to a heart still young and unable to resign itself to growing old. But the music puts us on our guard. We had heard its religious tone when the Stranger was speaking, and it seemed to us that we recognised a liturgical melody in the principal theme. What secret is being hidden from us ? Are we not in France ? Yet, in spite of the folksong and a passing breath of the sea, the atmosphere of the Church and César Franck is evident. Who is this Stranger ?
He tells us in the second act.
” My name ? I have none. I am He who dreams ; I am He who loves. I have passed through many countries, and sailed on many seas, loving the poor and needy, dreaming of the happiness of the brotherhood of man.”
” Where have I seen you ?for I know you.”
” Where ? you ask. But everywhere : under the warm sun of the East, by the white oceans of the Pole. . . . I have found you everywhere, for you are Beauty itself, you are immortal Love ! ”
The music is not without a certain nobility, and bears the imprint of the calm, strong spirit of belief. But I was sorry that the story was only about a mere entity when I had been getting interested in a man. I can never understand the attraction of this kind of symbolism. Unless it is allied to sublime powers of creation in metaphysics or moralssuch as that possessed by a Goethe or an IbsenI do not see what such symbolism can add to life, though I see very well what it takes away from it. But it is, after all, a matter of taste; and, anyway, there is nothing in this story to astonish us greatly. This transition from realism to symbolism is some-thing in opera with which we have grown only too familiar since the time of Wagner.
But the story does not stop there ; for we leave symbolic abstractions to enter a still more extra-ordinary domain, which is removed even farther still from realities.
There had been some talk at the beginning of an emerald that sparkled in the Stranger’s cap ; and this emerald now takes its turn in the action of the piece. ” It had sparkled formerly in the bows of the boat that carried the body of Lazarus, the friend of our Master, Jesus ; and the boat had safely reached the port of the Phoceanswithout a helm or sails or oars. For by this miraculous stone a clean and upright heart could command the sea and the winds.” But now that the Stranger has done amiss, by falling a victim to passion, its power is gone ; so he gives it to Vita.
Then follows a real scene in fairyland. Vita stands before the sea and invokes it in an incantation full of weird and beautiful vocal music : ” O sea ! Sinister sea with your angry charm, gentle sea with your kiss of death, hear me ! ” And the sea replies in a song. Voices mingle with the orchestra in a symphony of increasing anger. Vita swears she will give herself to no one but the Stranger. She lifts the emerald above her head, and it shines with a lurid light. ” ` Receive, O sea, as a token of my oath, the sacred stone, the holy emerald ! Then may its power be no longer invoked, and none may know again its protecting virtue. Jealous sea, take back your own, the last offering of a betrothed !
With an impressive gesture she throws the emerald into the waves, and a dark green light suddenly shines out against the black sky. This supernatural light slowly spreads over the water until it reaches the horizon, and the sea begins to roll in great billows.” Then the sea takes up its song in an angrier tone ; the orchestra thunders, and the storm bursts.
The boats put hurriedly back to land, and one of them seems likely to be dashed to pieces on the shore. The whole village turns out to watch the disaster ; but the men refuse to risk their lives in aid of the shipwrecked crew. Then the Stranger gets into a boat, and Vita jumps in after him. The squall redoubles in violence. A wave of enormous height breaks on the jetty, flooding the scene with a dazzling green light. The crowd recoil in fear. There is a silence ; and an old fisherman takes off his woollen cap and intones the De Profundis. The villagers take up the chant. . . .
One may see by this short account what a heterogeneous work it is. Two or three quite different worlds are brought into it : the realism of the bourgeois characters of Vita’s mother and lover is mixed up with symbolisms of Christianity, represented by the Stranger, and with the fairy-tale of the magic emerald and the voices of the ocean. This complexity, which is evident enough in the poem, is even more evident in the music, where a union of different arts and different ideas is attempted. We get the art of the folksong, religious art, the art of Wagner, the art of Franck, as well as a note of familiar realism (which is something akin to the Italian opéra-bouffe) and descriptions of sensation that are quite personal. As there are only two short acts, the rapidity of the action only serves to accentuate this impression. The changes are very abrupt : we are hurried from a world of human beings to a world of abstract ideas, and then taken from an atmosphere of religion to a land of fairies. The work is, however, clear enough from a musical point of view. The more complex the elements that M. d’Indy gathers round him the more anxious he is to bring them into harmony. It is a difficult task, and is only possible when the different elements are reduced to their simplest expression and brought down to their fundamental qualitiesthus depriving them of the spice of their individuality. M. d’Indy puts different styles and ideas on the anvil, and then forges them vigorously. It is natural that here and there we should see the mark of the hammer, the imprint of his determination ; but it is only by his determination that he welded the work into a solid whole.
Perhaps it is determination that brings unity now and then into M. d’Indy’s spirit. With reference to this, I will dwell upon one point only, since it is curious, and seems to me to be of general artistic interest. M. d’Indy writes his own poems for his ” actions musicales “Wagner’s example, it seems, has been catching. We have seen how the harmony of a work may suffer through the dual gifts of its author ; though he may have thought to perfect his composition by writing both words and music. But an artist’s poetical and musical gifts are not necessarily of the same order. A man has not always the same kind of talent in other arts that he has in the art which he has made his ownI am speaking not only of his technical skill, but of his temperament as well. Delacroix was of the Romantic school in painting, but in literature his style was Classic. We have all known artists who were revolutionaries in their own sphere, but conservative and behind the times in their opinions about other branches of art. The double gift of poetry and music is in M. d’Indy up to a certain point. But is his reason always in agreement with his heart ? Of course his nature is too dignified to let the quarrel be shown openly. His heart obeys the commands of his reason, or compromises with it, and by seeming respectful of authority saves appearances. His reason, represented here by the poet, likes simple, realistic, and relevant action, together with moral or even religious teaching. His heart, represented by the musician, is romantic ; and if he followed it altogether he would wander off to any subject that enabled him to indulge in his love of the picturesque, such as the descriptive symphony, or even the old form of opera.
For myself, I am in sympathy with his heart ; and I find his heart is in the right, and his reason in the wrong. There is nothing that M. d’Indy has made more his own than the art of painting landscapes in music. There is one page in Fervaal at the beginning of Act II which calls up misty mountain tops covered with pine forests ; there is another page in L’Étranger where one sees strange lights glimmering on the sea while a storm is brooding.’ I should like to see M. d’Indy give himself up freely, in spite of all theories, to this descriptive lyricism, in which he so excels ; or I wish at least he would seek inspiration in a subject where both his religious beliefs and his imagination could find satisfaction : a subject such as one of the beautiful episodes of the Golden Legend, or the one which L’Étranger itself recallsthe romantic voyage of the Magdalen in Provence. But it is foolish to wish an artist to do anything but the thing he likes ; he is the best judge of what pleases him.
In this sketchy portrait I must not forget one of the finest of this composer’s giftshis talent as a teacher of music. Everything has fitted M. d’Indy for this part. By his knowledge and his precise, orderly mind he must be a perfect teacher of composition. If I submit some question of harmony or melodic phrasing to his analysis, the result is the essence of clear, logical reasoning ; and if the reasoning is a little dry and simplifies the thing almost too much, it is still very illuminating and from the hand of a master of French prose. And in this I find him exercising the same consistent instinct of good sense and sincerity, the same art of development, the same seventeenth and eighteenth century principles of classic rhetoric that he applies to his music. In truth, M. d’Indy could write a musical Discourse on Style, if he wished.
But, above all, he is gifted with the moral qualities of a teacherthe vocation for teaching, first of all. He has a firm belief in the absolute duty of giving instruction in art, and, what is rarer still, in the efficacious virtue of that teaching. He readily shares Tolstoy’s scorn, which he sometimes quotes, of the foolishness of art for art’s sake.
” At the bottom of art is this essential conditionteaching. The aim of art is neither gain nor glory ; the true aim of art is to teach, to elevate gradually the spirit of humanity ; in a word, to serve in the highest sense’ dienen ‘ as Wagner says by the mouth of the repentant Kundry, in the third act of Parsifal.”
There is in this a mixture of Christian humility and aristocratic pride. M. d’Indy has a sincere desire for the welfare of humanity, and he loves the people ; but he treats them with an affectionate kindness, at once protective and tolerant ; he regards them as children that must be led.
The popular art that he extols is not an art belonging to the people, but that of an aristocracy interested in the people. He wishes to enlighten them, to mould them, to direct them, by means of art. Art is the source of life ; it is the spirit of progress ; it gives the most precious of possessions to the soulliberty. And no one enjoys this liberty more than the artist. In a lecture to the Schola he said :
” What makes the name of ` artist ‘ so splendid is that the artist is freeabsolutely free. Look about you, and tell me if from this point of view there is any career finer than that of an artist who is conscious of his mission ? The Army ? The Law ? The University ? Politics ?
And then follows a rather cold appreciation of these different careers.
” There is no need to mention the excessive bureaucracy and officialism which is the crying evil of this country. We find everywhere sub-mission to rules and servitude to the State. But what government, pope, emperor, or president could oblige an artist to think and write against his will ? Libertythat is the true wealth and the most precious inheritance of the artist, the liberty to think, and the liberty that no one has the power to take away from usthat of doing our work according to the dictates of our conscience.”
Who does not feel the infectious warmth and beauty of these spirited words ? How this force of enthusiasm and sincerity must grip all young and eager hearts. ” There are two qualities,” says M. d’Indy, on the last page of Cours de Composition, ” which a master should try to encourage and develop in the spirit of the pupil, for without them science is useless ; these qualities are an unselfish love of art and enthusiasm for good work.” And these two virtues radiate from M: d’Indy’s personality as they do from his- writings ; that is his power.
But the best of his teaching lies in his life. One can never speak too highly of his disinterested devotion for the good of art. As if it were not enough to put all his might into his own creations, M. d’Indy gives his time and the results of his study unsparingly to others. Franck gave lessons in order to be able to live M. d’Indy gives them for the pleasure of instructing, and to serve his art and aid artists. He directs schools, and accepts and almost seeks out the most thankless, though the most necessary, kinds of teaching. Or he will apply himself devoutly to the study of the past and the resuscitation of some old master. And he seems to take so much pleasure in training young minds to appreciate music, or in repairing the injustices of history to some fine but forgotten musician, that he almost forgets about himself. To what work or to what worker, worthy of interest, or seeming to be so, has he ever refused his advice and help ? I have known his kindness personally, and I shall always be sincerely grateful for it.
His devotion and his faith have not been in vain. The name of M. d’Indy will be associated in history, not only with fine works, but with great works : with the Société Nationale de Musique, of which he is president ; with the Schola Cantorum, which he founded with Charles Bordes, and which he directs ; with the young French school of music, a group of skilful artists and innovators, to whom he is a kind of elder brother, giving them encouragement by his example and helping them through the first hard years of struggle ; and, lastly, with an awakening of music in Europe, with a movement which, after the death of Wagner and Franck, attracted the interest of the world by its revival of the art of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. M. d’Indy has been the chief representative of all this artistic evolution in France. By his deeds, by his example, and by his spirit, he was among the first to stir up interest in the musical education of France today.
I am speaking of the thought of the choice few who enlighten the present and anticipate the future. I see an heroic people, intoxicated by its triumphs, by its great riches, by its numbers, by its force, which clasps the world in its great arms and subjugates it, and then stops, fatigued by its conquest, and asks : ” Why have I conquered ? “