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Ferris explained that--as was very manifest--"the task of compressing into one small volume suitable sketches of the more famous Italian and French composers was, in view of the extent of field and the wealth of material, a somewhat embarrassing one, especially as the purpose was to make the sketches of interest to the general music-loving public, and not merely to the critic and scholar.The plan pursued has been to devote the bulk of space to composers of the higher rank, and to pass over those less known with such brief mention as sufficed to outline their lives, and fix their place in the history of music." To _The Great German Composers_ he prefaces a few words which may be quoted--"The sketches of composers contained in this volume may seem arbitrary in the space allotted to them.The editor has endeavoured, as briefly as practicable, to supplement Mr.Ferris's _causeries_ with the addenda necessary to bring _Great Composers_ down to date. Ferris further acknowledges his obligation to the following authorities for the facts embodied in these sketches:--Hullah's _History of Modern Music_; Fetis' _Biographie Universelle des Musiciens_; Clementi's _Biographie des Musiciens_; Hogarth's _History of the Opera_; Sutherland Edwards' _History of the Opera_; Schlueter's _History of Music_; Chorley's _Thirty Years' Musical Reminiscences_; Stendhall's _Vie de Rossini_; Bellasy's _Memorials of Cherubini_; Grove's _Musical Dictionary_; Crowestl's _Musical Anecdotes_; Schoelcher's _Life of Handel_; Liszt's _Life of Chopin_; Elsie Polko's _Reminiscences_; Lampadius' _Life of Mendelssohn_; Urbino's _Musical Composers_; Franz Hueffer's _Wagner and the Music of the Future_; Haweis' _Music and Morals_; and the various articles in the leading cyclopaedias.

A greater world, after all, than that quitted, because composed of so many possibilities in so many directions, and comprising the sufferings, the joys, the aspirations of such innumerably differentiated beings; a world wherein the novice learns to widen her sympathies, to feel with and for the people, and to express for them the never-ceasing craving for something beyond the fleeting moment.In Europe in the early middle ages there existed two kinds of music: that of the people, spontaneous, impulsive, the song of the Troubadour, unwritten and orally transmitted from father to son; that of the Church, which had been greatly encouraged since the days of Constantine, and especially owed much to St. This incongruity at length necessitated the reform, brought about by Palestrina--the father of sacred music as we now know it--whose _Missa Papae Marcelli_, performed in 1565, established a type which has been more or less adhered to ever since.The services of the Church gave rise to the oratorio, which, however, chiefly owes its development to Protestant genius, more especially to Handel.About the beginning of the eighteenth century a rival to the _serious_ opera sprang up in Naples--the _comic_ opera, the direct offspring of the people, and of lower artistic standing.But as the serious opera became more stately, more scientific, more purely formal, less human, less the expression of direct feeling, cultivated more for art's sake solely, the comic opera throve on the very qualities that its elder sister rejected, till at length the greatest musicians of the day, Pergolesi, Cimarosa, Mozart, wrote their masterpieces for it.

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