An excerpt from the Author's PREFACE:
IN endeavouring to compile these volumes, sacred to the memory of the dead, who, though fallen asleep, are living to-day in all the grandeur of their genius, I have approached a somewhat difficult task. I do so in all humbleness, feeling how little I am able to convey in words that which they have transmitted to posterity in their undying music. Still, in my poor endeavours, I may, perchance, bring some good to my fellow-mortals, by inducing them to contemplate the trials and struggles which these great musicians, singers, and composers have endured on their weary journey, buoyed up by the soul-inspiring strains of melody, battling against poverty and scepticism, yet loyally steadfast to their art. Perhaps, too, these pages may fall into the hands of the loiterer through life, and may arouse in him a hidden, inborn desire to throw frivolity to the winds and to secure a better and more lasting comfort.
What is it that has often soothed the pillow of the dying? The strain of some soft melody. What is it that has roused the spirit of a forlorn hope to intensity when charging upon death? The inspiring music of a national air. What is it that checks the wicked spirit of unholy men, jeering at religion and mocking God? The solemn tones of the organ compelling solemnity as it vibrates through the vaulted roof.
Then, too, the reading of these pages may induce many an idle artist to strive in emulation to rival those who have gone before; for, though a hard taskmistress, Music is a rich rewarder to all steadfast, conscientious, and loving worshippers.
—Anna, Comtesse de Brémont