What indeed I particularly like about the book is the picture that it gives of sardonic pleasantry and intellectual and sophisticated virtuosity going quietly on side by side with all the splendors and barbarities of absolute autocracy and summary jurisdiction.
He was beginning that unerring sensitiveness of painting, which is only learned by drudgery, the almost luxuriously easy virtuosity, before the acquirement of which, complete freedom of expression cannot begin, or sympathy declare itself as from a well-played instrument.
Strauss, a rhetorician with enormous temperamental power, modifies the symphonic form of Liszt, boils down the Wagnerian trilogy into an hour and thirty minutes of seething, white-hot passion, and paints all the moods, human and inhuman, with incomparable virtuosity.
On the other hand, his virtuosity is largely French, reaching a perfection of assurance that the quick-witted American is, for the most part, in too great a hurry to acquire; a patient perfection, not reliant upon mere impression or force of temperament.
He was the most celebrated harpsichord player of his time; and although his style, which was essentially one of virtuosity, was not productive of direct results, it did nevertheless foreshadow the wonderful technical achievements of Liszt in our own times.
On the whole, Paul Gauguin has a beautiful, artistic temperament which, in its aversion to virtuosity, has perhaps not sufficiently understood that the fear of formulas, if exaggerated, may lead to other formulas, to a false ignorance which is as dangerous as false knowledge.
The temptations to a display of virtuosity are almost irresistible for a Portuguese poet; he has the tradition of virtuosity in his blood, he has before him the example of all contemporaries, and he has at hand an instrument of wonderful sonority and compass.
As samples of virtuosity his piano works have long been surpassed by the astonishing developments since his time, and particularly by the added resources of the instrument itself; but as samples of pure and unaffected music their worth can never be diminished.
It is evident that as Handel could not secure the great Italian singers for his oratorios he felt obliged to offer his public some other display of virtuosity, and his own performance on the organ seems to have been considered a very powerful attraction.
What has become of them all, the graceful little lady of the slack wire, those charming and lovely figures that undulate upon the air by means of the simple trapeze, those fascinating ensembles and all the various types of melodic muscular virtuosity?
Chopin performed on the pianoforte a Concerto in E minor of his own composition, and showed an excellent virtuosity in the treatment of his instrument; besides a developed technique, one noticed especially a charming delicacy of execution, and a beautiful and characteristic rendering of the motives.
Some of them are quite his equals in technical skill, and a few of them, notably Bennett and Wells, often show an actual superiority, but when it comes to that graver business which underlies all mere virtuosity, he is unmistakably the superior of the whole corps of them.
Though he could not stoop to the attempt to dazzle his public by phenomenal feats of virtuosity, the grace, tenderness, and truth of his musical nature appealed to his southern audience, whilst the significance of his genius dawned on the perception of one or two discerning musicians.
Entirely a thing of virtuosity, appreciated even by those who take account of nothing in the arts, but the illusion gained, the Toccata earned brilliant success for Bach upon his journey to the smaller German courts, and contributed in large measure toward the extension of his fame.
It is evident that Beethoven came upon the scene as pianoforte player not only when the improved instrument was almost in the first flush of its popularity, but also when virtuosity and the ability to astonish by difficult technical feats were sometimes mistaken for true artistic achievement.
In thinking of the virtuosity of Wilde's manner, a thing not at all common in English literature, we must remember the consciousness of power that wrapped his days in a bright light, served him sometimes as a mantle of invisibility, and made him loved and hated with equal vehemence.
All these qualities are manifested in his pianoforte concertos, which, while replete with flights of virtuosity, yet always subordinate, cause him to bring this into equal prominence with the piano, so that the one ably seconds the other in the attempt to produce a well-rounded and thoroughly genuine musical effect.
Perhaps many of the pictures of John Marin were not always satisfying in the tactile sense because many of them are taken up with an inevitable passion for technical virtuosity, which is no mean distinction in itself, but we are not satisfied as once we were with this passion for audacity and virtuosity.
As he has interested himself more and more in externals he has not entirely evaded the danger of exalting the "program" at the expense of the "music," and his work, for all its extraordinary brilliance, its virtuosity, its power, has become over-emphatic, ill-balanced, hard in finish and theatrical in emphasis.
If the actors have sometimes to use their skill as the author's puppets rather than in full self-expression, the author has sometimes to use his skill as the actors' tailor, fitting them with parts written to display the virtuosity of the performer rather than to solve problems of life, character, or history.
It is thus that this virtuosity of your ironical artist's life comes to be credited as some god-like geniality, for which every conceivable thing is a purely spectral creature, to which the free creator, knowing himself to be absolutely unattached, does not yoke himself, for he can ever annihilate the same no less than create it.
Because their music sounds so well on it, at least one of them, Liszt, frequently is stigmatized as a trickster of virtuosity and a charlatan, as if there were some wonderful mark of genius in writing something for one instrument that sounds better on another or may not sound as well as it ought to on any.
The painting is done on modern paper of a special kind which partially absorbs the paint, in the manner of blotting paper; this results in weak lines, and ink and color schemes devoid of firmness, in short, in a lack of virility which places such works, notwithstanding their virtuosity, in the category of artisan achievements.
He can, like many another Italian artist, show his versatility and skill by imitating an art other than his own, as he did with the Sleeping Cupid that deceived Cardinal San Giorgio, but when the artist is genuine and gives his own artistic temperament full play, craft and virtuosity disappear, reminiscence is impossible.
He produced tones and effects which were hitherto undreamed of in the philosophy of the pianists of that period; and it was evident that this was no mere display of virtuosity, but that Beethoven had lost consciousness of all around him, and was simply giving vent to his own inspiration, as one possessed might do.
With the coherence and stability indicated by this method of planning, architectural effect would not lie in the virtuosity of the architect or in the peculiar ornateness and originality of any particular building: it would tend to be diffused, so that the humblest shop would share in the triumph with the most conspicuous public building.
In about eighty years both players and instruments had developed beyond recognition, virtuosity became an art in itself, and the piano so increased in importance that instead of being regarded as little worse than an accompaniment, it had become popular as a solo instrument, and long recitals, without the relief of song or strings, were given for it alone.
Never has such hard stone been manipulated with greater suppleness; the outlines have a harshness that all the virtuosity of the execution has not been able to prevent, but the modelling of the bodies and the faces, both of the animal and of the man, is of unparalleled delicacy, and the whole breathes serenity mingled with melancholy.
For one sometimes hears ignorant persons speak of technique with a certain supercilious contempt, as though it were a mere negligible and inferior element in an artist's equipment and not the art itself, the mere virtuosity of an accomplished fiddler who seems to say anything with his fiddle, and has never really said anything in his whole life.
Antique art celebrates its triumph in just this fact, that even in its most delicate figures all parts throughout and their appropriate organization are somehow made perceptible in barely visible nuances of elevation and depression, by means of which the science and virtuosity of an artist is only followed by an observer whose research and attention is equally thorough.
Music which is written only with the aim of giving the performer a chance to exhibit technical skill cannot be adjudged great music, nor even good music; yet the influences of attempts at virtuosity were of inestimable value to the growth of music in the seventeenth century, and indeed have been so at all times, though they often appear a fruitless, hollow sham.
We note external imitation of human activities, such as the ludicrous virtuosity of the apes, and that superficial adaptation which we call 'animal training' and which is nothing but a development of sense stimuli; the animal does not know what it is doing, it is duped by man who knows how to employ its instincts and make them serviceable to his purposes.
He did not see nature in blue and violet, as Monet has taught us to see it, and little felicities and facilities of rendering, and anything approaching cleverness or the parade of virtuosity he hated; but he knew just what could be done with thick or thin painting, with opaque or transparent pigment, and he could make his few and simple colors say anything he chose.
It is only by virtue of this personal relation in respect to the active effect of the musical work of art that the significance of the subjective aspect of music is substantiated, which, however, too, it is possible in this direction to carry to the extreme length of isolation in the case, that is, where the personal virtuosity of the reproduction as such is made the exclusive focus and content of the enjoyment to be derived.
Now it would be absurd to deny that here we have a very imposing catalog of highly desirable characteristics; it would, however, be equally absurd to claim that the person in whom they are all happily combined, necessarily displays, side by side with his mastery of games and his deep understanding of cricket in particular, that mastery or understanding of the mysteries of life, that virtuosity in the art of life, which would constitute him a desirable mate.
A dramatic composition therefore should not, as an epic one does, present the appearance as though it originated from the popular consciousness simply, for the display of which content the poet is merely an instrument of expression which possesses no reference to the poet's personal life; rather what we seek to recognize in the complete work is quite as much the product of the self-aware and original creative force, and by reason of this the art and virtuosity of a genuine poetic personality.