It is said the keys most used in composition are C, G, and F major, because they suit all instruments better.
Henry Schradieck, the eminent violinist and teacher, long connected with the Leipsic Conservatory, has settled in New York.
A musical instrument has been invented which extracts all the tones of the scale from a gas flame. It is called a pyrophone.
Humperdinck’s now celebrated opera, “Hansel and Gretel,” is to be given here under the joint management of Sir Augustus Harris and Augustin Daly.
Anton Seidl, the New York conductor, has recently been sick, and enjoyed a pleasure granted to but few. He read his own obituary as published in the Chicago Herald.
Women are being employed in the factory of a New York piano manufacturing house as tuners, with satisfactory results. They are the first women tuners in this country.
Richard Zeckwer lectured on Acoustics at the Academy of the Natural Sciences, of Philadelphia, March 21st. He possesses the largest collection of acoustical apparatus in the country.
Rafael Joseffy, the pianist, who has been silent for years, has at last played again in public. He appeared with the Thomas Orchestra in Chicago with a most pronounced success. It is to be hoped this will be followed by other appearances.
Mr. Walter Damrosch is achieving a well-earned success with his season of German opera. He undertook it alone and in the face of much opposition, but is now being greeted with full houses. The performances are of high character.
Bruno Oscar Klein’s opera “Kenilworth” (words by William Mueller) was so successful at its first performance in Hamburg a few days ago, that Count Hochberg, the intendant of the Court Opera at Berlin, accepted it for production at that establishment.
The International Trade Exhibitions to be held in Royal Agriculture Hall, London, Eng., from June 13th to the 24th, has sent one of its directors, Mr. Harold H. Benjamin, to this country in its interest. We will announce more fully, in our next issue, the scope of the exhibition.
Godard’s “Second Mazurka,” so familiar to piano students, was written for a pharmacist to give as a premium with a certain liquor. When it was sent him he considered it too hard and rejected it. Later it was seen by Durand, the publisher, who was delighted with it. It at once became popular.
It is not very commendatory of the culture of American audiences that various managers are fighting for the services of Yvette Guilbert, a French music-hall or café singer. Her songs are nothing, her appearance is nothing, and yet so sure of success are the managers that she is being offered $16,000 for a five weeks’ tour.
At the last symphony concert in Boston the programme included two American compositions—Foote’s “Francesca di Rimini,” and Paine’s “Island Fantasy.” Both are well spoken of. In recent seasons the works of the eminent Harvard Professor have been unjustly neglected. The Transcript says that the “Island Fantasy” was “very warmly received.”
Edward Baxter Perry returned to Boston the first of March, after a concert tour of six weeks in the South. He gave two lecture recitals in Boston on March 5th and 6th, and will make a trip of two weeks the latter part of the month between New York and Philadelphia, ending in this city on the 27th. In April, Mr. Perry will make a tour in Canada of a fortnight, playing at St. John, Halifax, and leading cities of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, which will close his engagements for the present season.
The arrogance of opera stars and the indifference as to the keeping of promises by their managers should be forcibly rebuked. The recent Italian opera season, while in many respects the best ever given here, was marked by these unnecessary failings. Cities outside of New York were never sure whether they would hear the leading lights. If the management cannot fulfill their promises they should be taught to do so by empty houses when such failures are made, and, on the other hand greeted with full audiences when their promises are kept.
Mr. Charles H. Jarvis, who died suddenly at his home in Philadelphia, on February 4th, was a musician and pianist whose life did much, very much, to advance musical art. He began his musical career at the age of seventeen, and was actively engaged from that time until his death. His annual series of soirees in Philadelphia exerted a vast influence upon musical life in that city. He was a classicist of the purest type, but kept in touch with all schools of music. His life is one from which we may all learn lessons of true and abiding success.
Mascagni’s new opera, “Silvano,” was given March 16th, at the Scala, in Milan.
Madame Marchesi’s 41st anniversary as a voice teacher took place in March.
Jean and Edouard de Reszke are to sing at the Bay- reuth festivals next year. Jean de Reszke will be the leading tenor.
A young Polish woman, Mlle. Antoinette Zumowska, a pupil of Paderewski, is the latest aspirant for pianistic honors. She has been successful in London.
The London Athenæum says, the authorities of Bayreuth having failed to purchase the Oesterlein-Wagner Museum it will probably go to America.
Leipsic has honored an English composer by founding a Sterndale Bennett Society. Its members at a recent concert played a string quartette by Mr. Prout.
At an auction sale of manuscripts in Vienna, a well- preserved song, bearing Schubert’s name and dated April 24, 1824, sold for $41.20. An autograph letter of Beethoven, written in 1824, sold for $17.00.
A certain pianist who gave a concert in St. Petersburg recently was compelled to add ten extra pieces to his programme, and the audience would not let him stop till midnight. The man’s name is known, but must be suppressed, as this may be a press agent’s notice.
The Revue Contemporaine has published statistics showing that since the year 1800 the Opera in Paris has produced works by 109 French and 82 foreign composers. But the works of the foreign composers had 8,149 performances, as against 5,934 of the French operas.
Von Bülow conducted orchestral performances of the most elaborate works entirely from memory. His corrections at rehearsals were made with the utmost accuracy, as, for instance; “Twenty-two bars before the letter A, the second oboe played D flat instead of D natural.”
It marks a distinct epoch in the march of feminine progress when a four-act work by a woman is produced at the Opera in Paris. The opera so honored in the present instance is “La Montagne Noire,” by Mlle. Augusta Holmes, and it received from leading critics much discriminating praise.
Miss Marie Wurm, the pianist, has revived, in London, the art of extempore playing, which used to be fashionable up to the time of Mendelssohn. She got Professor Bridge and others to hand her subjects, on which she forthwith proceeded to play preludes and fugues, or suites, or sonatas.
The Rubinstein boom continues in London. The Telegraph says: “Rubinstein is in the ascendant at the Popular Concerts just now. Mr. Chappell will soon produce, for the first time, the Russian master’s solitary quartette for pianoforte and strings—a work highly characteristic of his most energetic and distinctive period.”
One of the best Conservatories in Europe is that of Brussels. How thoroughly the pupils are drilled may be inferred from the fact that on February 10 Professor Gevaert conducted a concert performance of Wagner’s Rheingold, in which all the vocal and orchestral parts were taken by pupils.
The receipts of the Paris Opera last year were $600,000, for which the Parisians had good opera all the year round except for a month or two in summer. New York pays more than that to hear twenty operas in three months, for the simple reason that singers demand here three times as much as in Europe. But it will not always remain so.
The following statement is decidedly true:—London still keeps up the absurdity of a Wagner Society. It includes the enormous number of 200 members, and has a cash balance of $170. At the last meeting Mr. Ashton Ellis read a lecture on the novel subject of the “Origin of the Opera.” What Wagner now chiefly needs is a society for the suppression of Wagner societies, tiresome lecturers, and incompetent conductors.
Sir George Grove truly says of Schubert that “in the whole range of composers no one is now so dearly loved as he, no one has the happy power so completely of attracting both the admiration and affection of his hearers.” He is one of the greatest melodists of all times and countries, and incomparable as a song-writer. It is therefore a pleasure to record that Breitkopf & Hartel have commenced the issue of his songs arranged in chronological order. Grove’s list contains only 457 published songs; the present collection will include 603, in ten volumes.
During 1894 49 operas were performed at the Royal Opera in Berlin. Wagner heads the list as regards the number of performances, his operas having been given on 67 evenings; Humperdinck is an easy second, with 40 performances of his “Hansel und Gretel” within the short space of three and a half months. Hummel’s “Mara” was given 23 times, “Cavalleria” 27 times, “Pagliacci” and “I Medici” each 22 times, “Falstaff” 19 times, Smetana’s “Sold Bride” and “Freischutz” each 12 times. Of “Faust” nine performances were given, of “Carmen” seven, “Barber” six, “Zauberflote” seven, “Don Giovanni” five, “Figaro” four, “Prophet” five, and “Africaine” three.
An illustration of the fact that we should pray to be delivered from our friends is contained in the following incident:—At a dinner given in London by a well-known literary man, an equally well known author and correspondent was most enthusiastic in his praise of Wagner, not only as a composer of music, but as a poet. “I have no doubt,” he said, with great earnestness, “that in the years to come Wagner will be ranked above Beethoven aud (sic) Schiller.” “I quite agree with you,” responded Alma Tadema, who was one of the company; “for certainly,” he continued, as the author turned a face beaming with delight at this unexpected support towards him —“certainly no one can deny that Wagner is a finer musician than Schiller and a greater poet than Beethoven.”