Page images

on Saturday last, Bach's celebrated triple concerto was performed; in this Mme. Essipoff had the co-operation of Messrs. Wm. Mason and F. Boscovitz. The programme also included Schumann's variations for two pianos, performed by Mme. Essipoff and Mr. Mason.

Mme. Essipoff does not need the verdict of America to make her a great artist. She was such when she came to us, but she is fairly entitled to our gratitude for her invaluable service to art in the wonderful interpretations she has given here of the pianoforte music of every school.

We have heard players (but only the greatest) who surpassed her at times, or who reached beyond her in certain special merits, but, judging by the sum of her artistic qualities and the average excellence of her playing, we do not hesitate to rank her as one of three really great pianists who have visited our shores of late years, and left an enduring impression upon the musical history of the country. A. A. C.

Dwight's Journal of Music.

BOSTON, MAY 26, 1877.

Fourth Triennial Festival of the Handel and Haydn Society.

The musical festival of last week, with its six Or-
atorios and concerts and continual rehearsals, was
of absorbing interest. It was successful beyond the
most sanguine hopes of all concerned. Never be-
fore has there been so much enthusiasm, never such
constant crowds in attendance and such general
expression of delight and satisfaction. It was in-
deed, in every good sense, a Festival; one in which
all united, givers and receivers, on the ground of
pure and noble music; one in which listeners and
interpreters recognized and felt the holy spell of
Art. The enterprise had been wisely planned,
skilfully organized and carried out with admirable
energy. The programmes, if not in all respects so
rich as some we have had before, were yet full of
interest, mingling the new with the old, and the
most of it easily appreciated, while the old error of
a too long and exhausting surfeit was happily
avoided. Three grand old favorite Oratorios,-two
by Handel, one by Mendelssohn: two parts of the
Christmas Oratorio of Bach for the first time,-the
rarest, choicest novelty of the whole feast; a speci-
men, too brief, of the famous Psalms by Marcello;
then the new Choral works by Hiller, Saint-Saëns
and our own Parker;-these, with the excellent
corps of solo singers, all American, and all artists;
with the noble chorus of six hundred voices, to
whose preparation CARL ZERRAHN had given himself
heart and soul; with Mr. LANG at that great Organ,
and with a truly admirable orchestra of 66 instru-
ments, which proved on the whole quite as effective
as the orchestras of 100 upon former occasions,-
together formed an irresistible attraction to most
music lovers here and for some distance round
about. To be sure, the two miscellaneous afternoon
programmes were hardly of the high character we
have sometimes had before. There was no Ninth
Symphony, no Symphony at all; the work of the
orchestra was limited to a couple of Overtures, a
selection from Beethoven's Prometheus, and the ac-
companiment of solo singers, in whose contrasted
powers and qualities so much personal interest was
naturally felt. Yet, with the exception of a very
few details, even these were remarkably fine pro-
grammes of their kind,-far better than the like in
most of the Birmingham and other English festi.

MAY 16.

The Festival opened with a superb performance of Mendelssohn's Elijah, before a most appreciative audience that filled every seat and corner of the Boston Music Hall. This most popular of all ora

torios was wisely substituted for the more miscella-
neous programme that was first announced. It is
the Oratorio most sure to draw; the one which the
Society all know by heart and are almost sure to
sing it well; and it is all-important that the first
start in such a Festival shall be an inspiring, un.
that it would be so. Seldom, if ever, on the whole,
mistakeable success. It was a foregone conclusion
has the Elijah been so splendidly brought out here.
The choral work was magnificent, chorus after cho-
rus giving more palpable and more inspiring proof
of the great progress the Society has made within
the last three years. The enthusiasm, alike of sing-
ers and of audience, culminated in the stupendous
"Rain" chorus: "Thanks be to God," which it is
safe to say was never before given here with such
precision, such verve, such grand sonorous volume,
carrying all before it; that downward rush of the
violins, too, near the end of it had a thrilling effect.
The grandeur and the graphic splendor of all the
stronger choruses was felt; and equally the loveli-
ness of such gentler ones as "He watching over

The quartet of principal soloists was excellent.
out of her most congenial and accustomed sphere in
Miss CLARA LOUISE KELLOGG, to be sure, is somewhat
seemed thin and hard and worn in several passages,
music of so large and serious a character; her voice
and once or twice, as in the Angel Trio, slightly
out of tune. But she is an accomplished and artis-
tic singer, and she gave herself to the task with
right good will. The recitatives and Aria of the
Widow were beautifully and expressively rendered.
and "Hear ye, Israel," "Holy, holy," and the sen-
tences of the Boy, were brilliant and impressive.
Miss ANNIE LOUISE (ARY, now one of the noblest
contralto singers in the world, comes back to us in
the full ripeness of her golden voice and art. All
ly satisfying. The pathos of "Woe unto them"
that she did that night was admirable and absolute-
could hardly find expression more sincere and
truthful; and "O rest in the Lord" was given in
tones of such rich and even volume, such a pure and
perfect cantabile, and such chaste and simple fervor,
that it required all her judicious amiable firmness
to resist the call for a repetition. As the arrival of
Mr. CHARLES R. ADAMS was delayed by a rough pas-
sage from Hamburg, the tenor solos fell to our ex-
cellent WM. J. WINCH, whose voice never was sweet-
er, nor his style more pure, finished and expressive.
Mr. M. W. WHITNEY always makes a grand and
stately representative of the Prophet. This time
his ponderous bass voice, particularly the upper
range of it, was hardly in its best condition; and in
that old leaden heaviness which he has mainly ov-
some passages he gravitated back to something of
ercome of late; but most of his sentences were
grandly delivered, the pathetic Arias were sung
with feeling and refinement, and the swift, strong,
uncontainable: "Is not his word like a fire?" was
given with great energy and certainty, making the
Quartet these four artists were assisted by Miss
"divine rage" of the music felt.-In the double
Kellogg and Miss Cary in the Angel Trio. With
and Mr. J. F. WINCH, and Miss Fisher joined Miss
the exception of the Trio, all the concertel pieces
And so the first night of the Festival was a decided
were uncommonly successful in the rendering.-
and a fruitful triumph.

Another crowded house,-hardly less crowded
appeared in the following programme :-
than the night before. All the principal vocalists


Overture-" Athalie," op. 74.
Air from "The Creation." "Rolling in foam-
ing billows,"
Mr. M. W. Whitney.

Aria from "Semiramide," "Ah, quel giorno!"
Miss Phillipps.


Mozart ..... Verdi

Scena from "Don Giovanni,"" Non mi dir,"
Miss Kellogg.
Aria from Requiem Mass. "Ingemisco,".
Mr. Charles R. Adams.
Psalm XVIII. "The Spacious Firmament,"

Solos by Mrs. Jennie M. Noyes.
Assisted in the quartet by Mr. W. J. Winch, Mr.
B. F. Gilbert and Mr. C. E. Hay.
Adagio from "Prometheus,"
Song from "Naainan," "I dreamt I was in
op. 43...... Beethoven
Miss Cary.
Concert aria. "Ma che vi fece,".
Miss Thursby.


..Mozart .Saint-Saëns

Cantata. "Noël." [Christmas?.. Solos by Miss Kellogg, Miss Cary, Miss Phillipps, Mr. W. J. Winch and Mr. J. F. Winch. The points of most marked interest in this conpearance of Mr. ADAMS, and the Mozart Aria as sung cert were the first hearing of "Noël," the first ap by Miss THURSBY. To begin with the last named, Soprano. The Aria itself,-another of the twelve it was a triumph for the fresh, pure, birdlike young concert arias of which five or six have been given in the Symphony Concerts-proved one of the most beautiful, original and brilliant of the lot. It teems legro and revels in bright florid figures, and the with happy thoughts in the modest, genial orchestral accompaniment. It soars high in the final Altonation perfect, and her style sympathetic where young lady sang in the most crystal clear, sweet tones, with utmost fluency and brilliancy; her inized fluently and gracefully in the the passage called for that. Miss KELLOGG VocalLetter" Aria, but hers is not the Donna Anna sphere of song. for her. Miss MATHILDE PHILLIPPS seems better fitMiss CARY sang a flat, sentimental piece as well as she sings everything; there was immense applause ted for the stage than for the concert room. voice is rich and musical, except when she startles one with those exaggerated deep tones; those sudden jerks of emphasis go far to spoil the effect of her otherwise pure and artistic singing. In the Semiramide music she is perfectly at home.

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

Mr. ADAMS was most warmly greeted as he presented himself with a quiet manly bearing, and an air of experience and distinction, such as one might look for in the American singer who has held the place of leading tenor for nine years in the Imperial Opera at Vienna. There was the stamp of the evenly developed, under complete control, and inartist manifest ere he had sung three measures. trinsically very sweet in quality, though, probably His is the robust kind of tenor, of large compass, owing to the "sea change" from which he had scarcely yet escaped, a certain huskiness obscured large, masterly dramatic style, each tone fraught his middle tones. He sings superbly, in a frank, solid. Nothing could be finer than his musical decwith meaning and intention. The high B flat was lamation, or his enunciation, for which this impassplendid, and his baritone notes are musical and sioned Ingemisco from Verdi's Requiem, affected as the composition is and overstrained, afforded him considerable scope. Recalled with hearty plaudits, he sang it even better than before. By the way, it was odd to notice, among the conceits of Verdi, the bit of pastoral accompaniment which he attaches to torale before the throne of Judgment !-This brief the mere mention of the word oves (sheep),-a Pastaste of Mr. Adams left a desire for more, and it seemed long to wait until the night of Samson.—Mr. WHITNEY was in better voice this time and sang the Air from The Creation with great majesty and breadth, descending in the final cadence (where Haydn ascends) to a deep tremendous D, which, of course, "brought the house down."

Of Marcello's 18th Psalm, or the fragments culled from it and here put together, with full orchestral accompaniment, by Lindpaintner, for the use of the




Parisian and other Conservatories, we have brieflypressive in the whole work than the stirring cho-frohlocket!
remarked elsewhere:
Wherefore are the nations raging?" and
nothing more lovely in contrast, though the con-
nection seems strange, than the gentle, flowing as-
cription to which its turbulent agitato mood so un-
expectedly gives way.

It is a portion only, and the smaller portion, the first movement out of several, of that Psalm which George Sand in her famous novel makes Consuelo sing before

the great composer, under the direction of the old maestro Porpora, beginning, "I cieli immensi narrano" ("The heavens are telling.") Marcello's music covers all the many verses of each Psalm; the selection here made has greater unity as well as brevity. The words of Addison's noble hymn, "The spacious firmament on high," etc., are found to suit the music admirably. It is in a cheerful, flowing, even, narrative vein of melody, so simple that it almost sings itself; and being written for alto, first and second tenors, and bass voices, without sopranos, and harmonized with admirable art, it has a singularly rich, full, hearty sound, as refreshing as it is unusual. The alto solo, however, is so little, that we wonder how Madame Sand came to make so much account of it. And did it occur to George Sand that she was making a Contralto of her budding prima donna? The piece, though well sung, made no very marked impression; the heavy orchestration seemed to overload a work so purely vocal and so modest; and, pleasing as the extract was, it is by no means the best part of the Psalm, nor is this Psalm so good a specimen as could be found among the fifty. The solos were fairly sung by Mrs. NOYES; as was a quartet of soli in one place, reminding us of Haydn's "The heavens are telling."

In the Trio with florid harp accompaniment (finely played by Mme. MARETZEK) there is much that is poetic and original, and it was well brought out. Of the "Alleluia" Quartet, the Quintet and chorus: "Arise now" (where, after Bach's example again, the pastoral symphony comes back as prelude), and the short final Chorus, we have nothing to add to what we have said already. Solo singers, chorus, orchestra and organ did their work satisfactorily throughout, and the work as a whole made all the impression, we suspect, it ever will make; for knowing, as we all do, works so infinitely nobler on the same theme, we may well doubt whether, with all its clearness and taking qualities at first hearing, it will be likely to improve upon acquaintance. That it has given a great deal of pleasure here this once, is past doubt.


1. Christmas oratorio. Parts I and II....J. S. Bach
Solos by Miss Thursby, Miss Cary, Mr. W.
J. Winch and Mr. J. F. Winch.

2. Recitative-" Deep and deeper still,'
"Waft her, angels,"


From "Jephtha.".

Mr. W. J. Winch.

G. F. Haendel

3. Air from "Eli," "I will extol thee, O Lord,"
Miss Emma C. Thursby,




Solo by Miss Cary.
Air from "The Prodigal Son,'
Mr. J. F. Winch.
Cantata, "A Song of Victory,"
Solo by Miss Thursby.

M. Costa
J. C. D. Parker
A. 8. Sullivan
F. Hiller

steady growth in public favor here of the Passion Music. So far as we could read the signs, the great majority of the audience, that very nearly filled the Hall, were charmed and deeply moved by nearly every number of the music, so poetic, so ideal, so sincerely Christian in its spirit. It is more easily understood than the Passion music; but there was much to imperil its success. It had had too few chances of rehearsal, while it is a kind of music in which our singers are not much at home. Then it needed the additional accompaniments by Franz to fill out Bach's intention; these unfortunately arrived only the day after the feast. Then the Arias, on the old model, with their two long parts and a da capo to the first again (which Franz, in his arrangements of many of them with pianoforte, has happily abridged) could hardly fail, with all their beauty, to prove wearisome to unaccustomed

Much greater interest was excited by the short Christmas Oratorio (or Cantata) by Saint-Saëns, which, though in no sense a great work, shows both originality and learning, and has numerous effective points. As an early composition (op. 12), it may be regarded as a revelation of rare talent, if not genins, for our day. We have imperfectly described it on another page. Had Bach's Christmas The two parts of Bach's Christmas Oratorio were music been heard first, every one would have per- far more successful, both in their presentation and ceived that the young Frenchman had been study-reception, than we had dared to hope, in spite of the ing Bach, and would have recognized in the instrumental prelude a palpable initation of Bach's Pastoral Symphony,-the same 12-8 measure, the same sort of phrasing, the same contrasting of pastoral reeds with strings, etc. Only here the orchestra has only strings; the reeds are represented on the organ; and so distinctly, with such clean outline, such outspoken character and individualization in Mr. Lang's admirable management of it, that we would hardly trust our orchestral oboes and English horns to do it better. Saint-Saëns lets the organ reeds begin it by themselves,-a very realistic suggestion, it would seem, of the Abruzzi peasants heard in the streets of Rome at Christmas time; the strings join later. Bach, on the contrary, gives the first subject to the strings, forming a prelude to the second, a sort of Cradle song, by the reeds. Bach's is ideal, pure, perfect poetry and blissful piety as well as perfect art; he calls up all the beauty, the mysterious heavenly stillness, the spirit, and the promise of that holy night. The ideality continues in Bach's recitative: "There were shepherds," etc. Nothing could be more poetic, more suggestive, more original. But with Saint-Saëns, if the Pastorale was realistic, the narrative and annunciation, distributed among the four solo voices, may be called conventional; much of it is kept upon a menotone like church chanting. The chorus: " Glory, now, unto God, etc., and on earth peace," is concise and effective, and quite skilfully composed. The simple Air: 'Firm in Faith," in detached phrases, with graceful instrumental figures between them, was beautifully sung by Miss Cary. Miss Kellogg and Mr. J. F. Winch did justice to the Duet: "Blessed, ever blessed," which, but for the tedious continuity of staccato chord accompaniment by the organ, has a good deal of beauty; the latter portion, however, which is for a while legato, and in which the two voices come together: "God all gracious," is highly interesting. There is nothing more im

[ocr errors]


But we were agreeably surprised in hearing the entire performance go so reasonably well. The Chorals (five of them) and the two great Choruses were sung with spirit and a fair degree of precision; the soloists, instead of struggling painfully with their exacting tasks, made the beauty of the music readily appreciable; and the orchestration was pas sably eked out with parts from England, and, in one or two numbers, from Theodore Thomas, while the organ throughout, handled with discriminating tact by Mr. Lang, went far to make the harmony, if not the counterpoint, complete.

-The opening chorus, than which nothing could sound more glad and jubilant, had a most inspiring influence. All felt its power; all were delighted at the free and hearty childlike way in which this learned old musician could rejoice and shout, and all so musically, and as if unconscious of his own consummate Art. The only drawback was in the awkward English version of the text; the first words: "Christians, be joyful" was not easy for the voices, compared with the original : Jauchzet,

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

Miss CARY's delivery of the recitative: 'See now the Bridegroom" and the Air: Prepare thyself, Zion," was in the rich heart-felt tones, and the chaste, even, pure cantabile style required, with just enough of quiet rapture in the florid passage preceding the Da capo. The serious Choral: "How shall I fitly meet thee" was well sung, as were all the Chorals, all inimitable specimens of Bach's inexhaustible genius for polyphonic harmony,-and had a refreshing and uplifting influence. Mr. W. J. WINCH gave the narrative sentences of the Evangelist in a pure and sweet style of recitative, reverentially and simply. The unison Choral for Sopranos: 'For us to earth He cometh poor," alternating line by line with a beautiful orchestral strain, as well as with reflective sentences of Bass recitative, was perhaps not quite so clearly brought out as some other numbers of the work, yet enough so to interest by its originality of form as well as by its intrinsic beauty. The long and florid Bass Air: "Lord Almighty," in 2-4 measure, found adequate expression in the at once solid and elastic voice of

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Mr. J. F. WINCH. And the Choral: Ah! Dearest
Jesus," with the trumpet interludes, brought the
First Part to a delightful close.

We cannot add much to the mere hints in our last paper in description of the work. And we have just anticipated most that we had to say about the lovely Pastoral Symphony with which the Second Part begins. It was well, perhaps, that we heard it almost directly after the "Noël" of the Frenchman-only dinner and a short walk intervening. Although the reed parts were somewhat blurred, and less distinct than those of the other on the organ, yet the exquisite beauty of this Pastorale seemed to be felt by all. It is too ideal, too artistically perfect, to be compared at all with the one we had heard in the afternoon. It is woven out of the most vital fibre, insttnct with life in every phrase; every instrument is a melody, each sings the same thought, the same motive out of its own heart, in its own way, as if each originated it and they divinely blended. There is the same ideality and poetic freshness, the same imaginative realization of the scene and the events described, in the recitatives: "There were Shepherds," etc., etc. Nothing conventional here, nothing for a moment commonplace! It is all charm and wonder and presentiment.

-But our space is exhausted, and we must complete the record in our next.

MADAME ESSIPOFF's Six Pianoforte Recitals, at Union Hall, were eagerly welcomed as giving an opportunity to hear and appreciate this great pianist in a smaller room. The attendance was large throughout, in two or three instances quite filling the hall. As the recitals came every afternoon in the week (from Monday, May 7, to Saturday, May 12), it could hardly prove convenient to many of her admirers to attend them all. We were able to be present only twice; first, at the first Recital, when she played specimens of "The Ancient Masters," none of them very ancient, but all interesting. Beginning with Beethoven, she chose one of his smaller Sonatas (quasi Fantasia) the companion piece to the "Moonlight," which she played exquisitely; but it was not a great one for the only representative of Beethoven. Then, going back to Bach and Handel, she gave beautiful renderings of the little pieces and transcriptions below named. The Mozart Rondo, too, was finely done, if sometimes with too much emphasizing of the melody; yet Rubinstein's playing of it will be remembered as much finer. The flowery fantasy by Hummel was indeed exquisitely given. And the little things by Gluck, Rameau, Scarlatti (extremely difficult), with the little gem of a Minuet from Boccherini, were singularly perfect. All the rare qualities of touch, clear, fluent, finished execution and poetic grace, which have been repeatedly remarked upon, pervaded the entire performance.-In the programme of "Etudes" there was every sort of style happily presented, and every sort of difficulty overcome with ease and elegance. We only wondered at the

want of any steady tempo, the wholly ad libitum treatment, in the arpeggio piece of Chopin, many of whose wide chords, too, were contracted, probably by reason of her small hand. The Etudes by Moscheles, by Hummel, Henselt, and especially by Liszt were wonderfully well done. For the rest, we must content ourselves with setting down the unique series of programmes in their order.

Recital No. 1.-The Ancient Masters. Sonata-Quasi una fantasia, op. 27, No. 1.. Beethoven Airs (Transcription par Camille Saint-Saëns,

[a] Largo.

J. S. Bach

[b] Recitative et air. (de la 30e cantate). [c] Introduction et air, (de la 15e cantate). Gavotte-D minor (de la Suite Anglaise)...J. S. Bach Prelude et Fugue-(C sharp major)........J. S. Bach Variations The Harmonious Blacksmith,”

Gigue-F minor

Rondo-A minor.

Gavotte (arranged by Brahms)..


Larghetto e Cantabile (de la fantaisie), op. 18,

Haendel Mozart ..Gluck Theme et Variations-A minor.................................. Hummel Nocturne-B major.. Rameau .....Boccherini Menuet in A major, (from the String quintet).. Field Sonate-A major..... .Scarlatti

Recital No. 2.-Schubert-Mendelssohn-Schumann.

Sonata-G minor, op. 22.



Andante et Scherzo-Oy. 7..
Impromptu-(De la Rosamonde)........
Five Songs, without words.....


[a] Book IV., No. 1, Andante. [b] Book VI., No. 6, Allegretto. [c] Book IV.. No. 5, Volkslied. [d] Book V., No. 6. Frühlingslihd. [e] Book VI., No. 4, Spinnerlied.


Prelude et Fugue, (avec choral, op. 35).. Mendelssohn

Menuet-(de la Sonate, op. 52)..

Impromptu-C minor, (Op. 194)..

Fantasiestneck-Op. 111..

Vogel als Prophet..

Chant Espagnol...


[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Foreign Notes.

(From the London Musical Times, May 1.)

The annual special performances during Passion Week
many presented this year some features of unusual in-
of sacred music in all the more important towns of Ger-
terest. The performance on Good Friday of Johann Se-
bastian Bach's grand interpretation of the "Passion,"
according to the evangelists St. John and St Matthew
respectively, has-thanks in a great measure to tbe im-
petus given in that direction by Mendelssohn-become
so much a matter of course with German choirs that in
order to particularize we should have to furnish a list of
more than half the towns comprised in the German em-
pire. We will content ourselves by stating the fact that
at St. Thomas's church in Leipzig, for the services of
which the work was originally composed, the St. Mat-
thew "Passion" received, as usual, a splendid rendering
under the direction of Herr Reinecke. There are, how-
ever, among the old masters of church-music not a few
whose claims to a revival, if not equally great with that
of Sebastian Bach, are at least considerable, and become
the more pronounced the greater the dearth among the
productions of the present day of works bearing the
stamp of original genius. Modern music is still under
the immediate influence of the resuscitated masterpieces
of Bach, which have come to us endowed at once with
the freshness of youth and the solidity of mature age-
an influence the importance of which, for the future de-
velopment of the art, it would be difficult to over-esti-
mate. Nor is there such an abundance even of works of
secondary importance among the religious compositions
of the day, that similar beneficial results might not be
anticipated from the reproduction of the works of mas-
ters belonging to a grand period of the art, when musi-
cal inspiration was mainly derived from the intense re-
ligious feeling of the composer and the devout contem-
plation of his chosen subject. It is a healthy sign of the
time, therefore, to notice among the Passion-perform.
ances in Germany this year the names of Heinrich
Schütz (born in 1585, the immediate precursor both of
Bach and Handel), Melchior Franck, Joh. Gottfr.
Schicht, Graun, as well as those of the Italian masters-
Durante, Jomelli, Lotti, and others. Schütz's "Passion
Oratorio" was performed in church on Good Friday both
at Cologne and Darmstadt, and created a deep impres-
sion upon the audience. On the same day Graun's Pas-
sion Cantata "Der Tod Jesu "
church, in Berlin, while at other German towns Bach's
was given at St. Peter's
great Mass in B minor was produced during Passion
Week. Among religious works of recent date may be
mentioned the performance at Berlin, Zürich, and else-
where, of Kiel's Oratorio "Christus," a work which
seems to attract greater attention at every hearing.

On the occasion of the recent fiftieth anniversary of the
death of Beethoven-which in every German town was
marked by special performances, consisting entirely of
selections from the works of that great master-his Opera
"Fidelio" was performed at the court theatres both of
Berlin and Munich. At the latter place the Opera was
preceded by a spoken prologue, succeeded by the march
and chorus from the "Ruins of Athens," and the crown-
ing with wreaths of flowers of a colossal bust of the im-
mortal master.

THE ceremony of uncovering the tablet in memory of
Joseph Haydn-which has been affixed, at the expense
of the Vienna Gesangverein " Arion," to the house at the
small town of Rohrau wherein the composer of the
"Creation" first saw the light of the world-took place
on Easter Sundav. Deputations from various musical
societies of Vienna were present on the occasion, and af-
ter the customary speeches the ceremony was appropri-
ately brought to a close by a numerously attended con-
cert in the evening.

AT Leipzig the last of the Subscription Concerts of the
season at the Gewandhaus took place on March 22. The
soloist of the evening was the violin-virtuoso, Herr Leo-
pold Auer, from St. Petersburg, whose playing-accord-
ing to the opinion expressed by the Leipzig journals-
though not entirely free from mannerism, and a certain
feminine quality of tone, was yet deservedly admired on
the part of a numerous and critical audience. The ex-
cellent "Euterpe" Concerts have likewise come to a
close with the tenth concert of the season;
Pastoral Symphony (without the aid of realistic scenic ef-
fects!) and Weber's" Euryanthe " Overture having been
the prominent features. The usual examinations for the
admission of pupils to the Royal Conservatorium of Leip-
zig were held on the 5th of last month, the new term of
instruction at that institution having commenced on the
9th ult.; foreign pupils are, however, admitted for some
time after that date.

WE read in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik that the re-
cent first performance at Hamburg of Goldmark's Opera
"Queen of Saba " resulted in a complete success of the
new work. The composer, who was present, had the
satisfaction of being repeatedly summoned before the
curtain, to receive the enthusiastic plaudits of the num-
erous audience. The Opera is highly spoken of by the
local Press, and has since received repeated representa-
tions on the Hamburg stage.

SAINT-SAENS's Opera in three acts, entitled "
will, according to the Neuc Berliner Musik Zeitung, be
performed during this month at the court theatre of

[blocks in formation]

Miss Lindsay. 30 "Ye'll know him by his golden hair, And by his voice so gay.”

Some low tones which fit it for an effective Alto song, of which there are none too many. Come to me Darling. D. 4. d to E. Johnston. 40 "Come to me, Darling, come over the sea, I'm looking, and longing, and waiting for thee." Full of deep feeling. 12-8 time. Benedictus in Db. 4. d to F.

Havens. 40 Come, said Jesus. Ab. 4. E to F. Havens. 30 There is a Fountain. E. 4. d to E. Havens. 35

Three of Havens's fine Quartets for Choirs. Rappelle Toi. [Do not forget.] [Non ti scordar.]

[blocks in formation]

Very graceful set of Waltzes,
General Yeoman's Grand March, Bb. 3.

Brilliant march, with a pretty air from the
Spencer. 40
"Child of the Regiment " in the Trio.
Song of the Birds.
C. 3.

[Chant des Oiseaux].
Sudds. 40

A whole grove full of birds warble in this ele-
gant composition, which is sure to please.

The Sailor's Farewell. Reverie. G. 4. Meyer. 40
A sort of sober, rich stream of melody flows
through the piece, which is quite "satisfying'
to the player.

[blocks in formation]

WHOLE NO. 943.


The Destruction of Chopin's Letters,

Keepsakes, etc., in Warsaw.

We translate the following from the new Life of Chopin, by Moritz Karasowski, now of Dresden, and an old friend of Chopin's family. Of this interesting work, which is truly a biography, and not a rhapsody like that by Liszt, we shall have more to say, and shall probably present our readers with further extracts, containing facts not generally known before, and shedding new light on his character and works. The first volume covers his early life in Foland, with various artistic excursions to Vienna, Dresden, etc., down to the year 1831, when the capture of Warsaw drove him an exile to Paris. For this period,-which included the composition, almost simultaneously, of his two Concertos-M. Karasowsky had the advantage of many of Chopin's letters preserved in his family, and the volume is enriched with nearly fifty of them. But the still more interesting letters which he wrote home from Paris were, unfortunately, destroyed; and of the manner of that destruction we give the author's narrative, with which he opens his second volume, as follows.

After Chopin's death, the various articles he had about him in his rooms in Paris were put up at public auction. Miss J. W. Stirling, a Scotch lady, his pupil and enthusiastic admirer, bought the furniture of his two saloons, with the mementos that were found there. She took it all with her to her home and with it formed a sort of Chopin-museum.

of Count von Berg, who, after the recall of the
Grand Duke Constantin Nikolaiewicz, had be-
come the supreme authority in the kingdom of

On the 19th of September, 1863, at 6 o'clock
in the evening, he was returning in his car
riage, surrounded by an escort, from the Bel-
vedere to the royal palace. When the carriage
came to the place where the "Neue Welt" and
the "Krakauer Vorstadt" meet, there was a
loud report from the fourth story of Count
Zamoyski's house, followed by some Orsini
bombs. At once there was a great commotion
on the street; but there was no one killed, only
some horses of the escort were wounded. A
few minutes after there appeared a section of
the military, which at that time stood always
ready for marching orders on the Saxon square.
The soldiers surrounded the two houses; all
the women found in them, whether they were
dressed or undressed, were dragged down into
the street, and then set at liberty; the men, on
the contrary, were taken under military guard
to the citadel.

Like a stream of lava, bearing all before it,
with its annihilating heat, so rushed the infu-
riated soldiery from one story to another and
threw down everything unsparingly. Furni-
ture, pianos, books, manuscripts, in a word all
that was found in the house, was thrown
through the windows into the street. Pieces

of furniture too large for that were first hacked
up with axes, the legs hewn from the piano-
fortes, etc. As these two houses stood in the
finest part of the city, they were inhabited on-

In this interesting collection was a portrait of the genial artist, painted by his friend, Ary Schäffer; a Pleyel grand piano, on which Chopin usually played; a service of Sêvres porcel-ly by people in good circumstances, and one lain, with the inscription: "Offert par Louis Philippe à Frédéric Chopin 1839;" a costly, sumptuously inlaid casket (a gift from Rothschild); finally carpets, covers for tables and fauteuils, nearly all of them wrought by the hands of his fair pupils.

Miss Stirling had provided in her will, that after her death all these mementos should fall

to the mother of the artist whom she so revered. Accordingly they were carried, in 1858,

to Warsaw to the dwelling of the mother. Af ter her death, in 1861, they came into the hands of Chopin's sister, Mme. Isabella Barcinska. This lady occupied the second story of two contiguous houses which form just the boundary line between the "Neuen Welt" and the "Krakauer Vorstadt," and which belonged to Count Andreas Zamoyski.

At the very beginning of the political disturbances, which preceded the insurrection in January, 1863, some extremely excited young men (quite contrary to the general feeling) had

resolved to threaten the life of every governor. Now although these unfortunate attempts, prompted by patriotic fanaticism, uniformly failed, still they were repeatedly renewed. Inflamed to the utmost by the bloody contest that was raging throughout the land, they finally projected such an attempt against the person

can imagine what a mass of furniture they con-
tained, when he considers that of grand pianos
alone there were actually from fifteen to twenty
found among the other articles.

When the enraged soldiers found themselves
in the second story, which Chopin's sister oc-
cupied, the entire remains of the great artist,
that had been preserved with the greatest piety
by the family, were all destroyed. The piano
on which he had learned to play (from the
manufactory of Buchholtz), the first confidant
and reproducer of his youthful works, was
hurled by the vandals into the street.*

When the night came on, the soldiers built a wood-pile of these articles upon the square, at the foot of the monument to Copernicus, and brought forth from their barracks kettles, which were filled with wine, rum, alcohol and for themselves punch, which they drank to the sugar from the plundered shops. They brewed sound of merry songs. To keep the fire up, they finally threw into the flames all the pictures, books and papers, among which were found also Chopin's letters to his family written eighteen years before. Eye-witnesses as

*Fortunately the Pleyel instrument, which had been
sent from Scotland in 1858, was not among the other me-

mentos, but was in the possession of the niece of Cho-
pin, Mme. Ciechomska, who lived in the country.


sure us, that an officer gazed for a long time at Chopin's portrait painted by the hand of his friend, before he ruthlessly consigned it to the flames.

The bright light, which overspread the city, showed the amazed inhabitants that the hour of military terrorism had come.

The loss of all these memorials is not so painful as the annihilation of the letters, in which Chopin had poured out his whole soul, full of love for his family, of patriotism for the land of his birth, of enthusiasm for his Art and admiration for all that is beautiful and noble. Extremely interesting, and of value for the historian of culture, would have been the letters which Chopin wrote from Paris at the time when he was daily receiving laurel wreaths as

an artist, and came into close contact with the highest persons, as well as with the Coryphoi of Art in Paris; for he described all those experiences most vividly and truly to his parents, so that they could form clear ideas to themselves of all those persons. It is also to be lamented that the lively spirit and the sparkling wit of these communications are lost to the world. In fact a single stroke of Chopin's pen often depicted the most interesting and important of his contemporaries, with whom he had intercourse, more strikingly, than the long, elaborate descriptions of many a writer.

Robert Schumann.

BY FANNY RAYMOND RITTER.* (Concluded from Page 26.) During the years 1850 to 1854, he wrote his "Rhenish Symphony," the overtures to the "Bride of Messina" and "Hermann and Dorothea," his ballad "The King's Son," for chorus and orchestra, and many vocal and pianoforte works, besides larger compositions that he had previously sketched. In 1853, Robert and Clara Schumann travelled through Holland, procession, so great was the enthusiasm with -an artistic tour that resembled a triumphal which they were received. On their return to Düsseldorf, the morbid symptoms of Schumann's malady returned with redoubled force. He busied himself, notwithstanding, in collect and during the publication of this literary work ing his essays from the "Neue Zeitschrift," ("Music and Musicians.") began to make a collection of all that had been written about music by poets of all nations, from the earliest ages to our own day. But illness forced him to desist; the pains in his head became distracting; he took an unhealthy interest in spiritualism; auricular delusions robbed him of by plunging into the Rhine. sleep for two weeks; and, on the 27th of February, 1854, he endeavored to end his misery The unhappy master was saved by some boatmen, brought home, and conveyed, a few days after, to the

private hospital at Endenich, near Bonn. Every possible care that reverence and affection could bestow, was lavished on him in vain; here he remained until the 29th of July, 1856,

Being the Introduction to "Music and Musicians." Essays and Criticisms by ROBERT SCHUMANN. Translated, edited. and annotated by FANNY RAYMOND RITTER. pp. xxiii, 418, 12mo. New York: Edward Schuberth & Co., 1877.

when kind death gave him repose from his sufferings.

The Davidite Society, which appears so often in Schumann's criticisms, was an invention of his own fancy. It may be that Richter's Walt and Vult partly suggested the idea; but Schu mann felt that different works and individualities appealed to different sides of his nature, and he expressed the varied sympathies thus awakened by the invention of opposite personalities. Florestan embodies the impulsive, passionate, humorous side of his character, Eusebius represents its dreamy, reflective attributes, while Master Raro appears as the reasonIn a letter to me (in 1871) Madame Schu- ing, philosophical mediator between those two mann expressed her opinion that the time had extremes. Friedrich Wieck is also occasionalnot yet arrived for a complete philosophically personified as Master Raro. Those articles, and analytical biography of Schumann, and in the subject of which Schumann felt wholly suggested to me the idea of translating his interested, he signed R. S., and where he was complete works. She wrote: "I have long touched in a comparatively superficial manner, been occupied with the plan of a new and cor- he signed with the figures 2 or 12. Among rect biography; those by Wasielewsky, Reiss- other members of the Davidite Society, who mann, and others, are wanting in many points, aided Schumann, either practically or by their and partially incorrect. I could have wished encouragement, in his opposition to the PhilisSchumann to have been placed more truthfully tines of art and criticism, we find Carl Banck before the public as a man; his works speak entitled Serpentinus; and Ludwig Schunke sufficiently for him as a musician, while his Jonathan; Madame Voigt was Leonora or As writings Lestify to the discrimination of his pasia; Mendelssohn, Meritis; von Zuccamaglio judgment, and the variety of his talents. But was Wedel the village sexton: Clara Wieck the purity of his life, his noble aspirations, the appeared as Cecilia, Žilia, or Chiara. The inexcellence of his heart, can never be fully fluence of Schumann's views on his associates, known, except through the communications of and the unity of their aim, is quite striking, his family and friends, and from his private when we turn to those pages of the "Neue correspondence. I have not yet collected suf- Zeitschrift," published during his editorship; ficient materials for such a plan; but perhaps though, to quote Goethe on a similar situation, you, who display so much appreciation of my "By Apollo! it must have been a serious thing husband's character and works, might find it a to dance to such a pipe!" At one time, Schunot ungrateful task to translate his writings, mann contemplated writing a musical romance, which give so much insight into his heart, at to be called "The Davidites," but never carleast to the reader who is himself qualified to ried out his plan; and, as time wore on, he understand." gradually dropped his own fanciful literary pseudonyms.

[ocr errors]

certain extent, of criticism also; but this lat- ready fulfilled its mission, at least in Germany, ter had been, apart from that of the distin- while the influence of his achievements as Tragic close to so uneventful though benefi- guished writers above-mentioned, principally composer, on musical progress, is not yet wholly cent a life! Yet Schumann, blest with the gift confined to the discussion of technical subjects. understood by the public at large; and the of musical imaginativeness that has added a This kind of criticism was felt to be one-sided compositions themselves will remain as long as new beauty to the lives of his fellow-men, and and narrow, by minds of Schumann's stamp, ay musical immortality remains, to delight, enriched the world with another elevating joy, who were warmly desirous that the poetry and with an elevated pleasure, every nature capacan scarcely be termed unhappy. The great æsthetic significance of their art should be gen-ble of understanding them. On the other hand, poet, the great composer, possesses such opu- erally recognized and honored. Under his ed- it cannot be truly said that we have passed belence of sensuous and intellectual faculties, that itorial banner, therefore, some of the best mu- yond Schumann's critical point of view. A his lot would appear rather that of the demi-sicians, connoisseurs, and aesthetic writers of man of genius is always in advance of his time. god than of a mere mortal, but for the compen- the day assembled, including Von Zuccamag- Was it not Schumann who wrote-as early as sating trials of suffering or infirmity. Though lio, Friedrich Wieck, Carl Banck, Kossmaly, 1846-of Wagner's "Tannhauser, "-"It is Schumann's genius was not so largely appreci- Julius Knorr, the painters Lyser and Simon, deep, original, a hundred times better than his ated as it deserved to be during his life, his Fischhoff, Dr. Krüger, Schunke, Oswald Lo-earlier operas; and I consider the composition was the calm of a respected existence, the ad- renz, Becker, August Kahlert, and a number and instrumentation extraordinary, far beyond The miration of a distinguished circle of friends. of others. what he ever accomplished before?" And, as his friend Hiller writes: "What love musical opinions of so highly distinguished a beautified his life! A woman stood beside him, musician as Schumann, must of course appear crowned with the starry circlet of genius, to of the greatest importance to, and carry great whom he seemed at once the father to the weight with, every one who is interested in daughter, the master to the scholar, the bridemusic; supported by a solid basis of thorough groom to the bride, the saint to the disciple." knowledge and practical experience, enlivened And, happily for us, Clara Schumann still lives, by the glow of enthusiasm and lofty creative a noble example of conjugal and maternal fidelfaculties, his criticism is equally removed from ity and devotion, the woman whose virtue, dry technical analysis, as from vague aesthetic genius, patience, fortitude, and artistic disinspeculation unsupported by science. His just, terestedness, the world, to its own honor, still generous recognition of merit in his brother delights to honor. composers, has fully proven how utterly free was his kind and genial nature from the base cankers of envy, jealousy, or cynicism. He understood and carried out the true mission of the critic,-to discover and encourage real merit; to frown down, to ridicule, if need be, all influences, personal or otherwise, which are erroneous in themselves, and deleterious to art; to point to the remediable or involuntary fault, and at the same time, to the best means of correcting it. Schumann's writings are a complete refutation of the often repeated assertion, that the artist must necessarily be an unjust judge of the achievements of his brother artists; a most illogical assertion, it seems to me. Are artists in words, for instance,—are Lessing, Sainte Beuve, Hazlitt, Schelling, Taine, Hunt, Schlegel, Baudelaire, Botta, Gautier, etc., untrustworthy judges of the works of other authors, merely because they labor with similar tools? No; even allowing for partizan bias, or even for individual vanity, the poet still remains the best possible judge of the poet, the composer of the composer, the painter of the painter; all genuine artists feel this at heart, and work more with each other's approbation in view, than for that of the general public. Schumann's criticism, which, if it errs at all, does so on the side of indulgence, has only once been accused of injustice,-in his attack on Meyerbeer's "Huguenots." But no one can deny that Meyerbeer sold his great gifts to the merely pleasure-seeking crowd; he dedicated his talents, not to the service of artistic progress, but to those superficial aims which Schumann despised. He, one of the truest priests of art, burned with divine indignation when he found another priest setting up a golden calf, round which the populace might dance their delighted mazes. Schumann never denied Meyerbeer's great qualities, he only protested against the misuse of them; and let us not forget that amid Schumann's many titles to our gratitude, the world may thank him in great part for its early comprehension of the works of Berlioz, Bennett, Chopin, Robert Franz, Henselt, Gade, and many others.

After having completed the laborious yet interesting task of translating Schumann's entire collection of essays and reviews, as arranged by himself, I was naturally desirous of publishing them in full, in the precise chronological order in which they were published by Schumann. I was dissuaded from this by experienced advisers, who thought that so voluminous a work on the subject of music only, would find its way with difficulty to the appreciation of the general public in England or America. I finally decided to publish at first a series of selections from my translation,about half the entire work, in the order in which the papers stand in the present volume. A second volume, including the remainder of Schumann's collection, will follow in due course of time.


Robert Schumann made his first public appearance as a critic, in 1881, when he published his famous article on Chopin's Opus 2, in the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung," which article he afterwards placed at the head of his collected essays and reviews (see page 4 of this volume). He describes the circumstances and feelings that, in 1834, led to the establishment of the "Neue Zeitschrift für Musik," in his own introduction, placed at the beginning of the present volume. Previous to that time, other critics,-Rochlitz in the "Allgemeine Zeitung," Marx in the 66 Berliner Zeitung, Thibaut, Rellstab, Hoffmann, C. M. von Weber, and others, had accomplishel much in the domain of musical aesthetics, literature, and, to a

At the close of the year 1834, Wieck and Knorr already gave up their connection with the "Neue Zeitschrif;" in the same year, Schumann lost his dear friend Ludwig Schunke, who died of consumption (see page 131), and became sole proprietor, as well as editor, of his paper. In 1836 he was advised by many friends to give up editorship, and devote himself entirely to composition; they even told him that his literary talent had diverted public attention from his achievements as a composer; but Schumann refused to yield to their counsels, arguing that to do so would be to deprive artists of that spontaneous and disinterested support which they ought in justice to receive. In 1840, however, he began to feel it his duty to allow his literary and critical labors to fall into the back-ground; and, four years later, he resigned his editorship into the hands of Oswald Lorenz. After that time, he contributed only a few articles to the Zeitschrift; among these we find his generous early recognition of the then promising talent of Johannes Brahms.

It would be difficult to over-estimate the value of Schumann's labor as a critic. His influence was not destructive or depressing; it was beneficent and inspiring. The claim of some of his German admirers, that he has served the world even more as an art critic than as a composer, goes far beyond the truth. His art criticism, though it will remain one of the best models of this kind of literary labor, has al

From his reviews and criticisms-based as they are on the firm foundation of thorough knowledge, enlivened by the vital breath of poetical and philosophical reflection, and by such an occasional flash of humor as sheds a clear light on many questions, whose solution we may vainly seek by the gleam of the study lamp,-a code of musical aesthetics might be gathered; his "Rules for Young Musicians" contain a treasure of golden advice that will become proverbial; and his " "Aphorisms abound in fine and truthful reflections, whose meaning, however,-à la Jean Paul,—does not lie on the surface.

Schumann, familiar with the works of Scott,

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »