Critical And Historical Essays

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Every revolution is bound to bring with it areaction which seeks to consolidate and put in safe keeping, as it were, results attained by it. Certainly Beethoven alonecan hardly be said to have furthered this end; for his revoltled him into still more remote and involved trains of thought, as in his later sonatas and quartets. Even the Ninth Symphony, hampered as it is by actual words for which declamation and amore or less well-defined form of musical speech are necessary, suffers from the same... involved utterance that characterizeshis last period.
Schubert, in his instrumental work, was too ardent a seekerand lover of the purely beautiful to build upon the forms ofpast generations, and thus his piano music, neither restrainednor supported by poetic declamation, was never held withinthe bounds of formalism.
It was Mendelssohn who first invested old and seemingly worn-outforms of instrumental music (especially for the pianoforte)with the new poetic license of speech, which was essentiallythe spirit of the age of revolution in which he lived.

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