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Musical Items

Kubelik gave a concert of Paganini’s compositions in Vienna in March.

Mr. Rafael Joseffy will have a summer class for teachers in New York City.

Humperdinck’s “Hänsel und Gretel” had its 200th performance in Berlin last month.

Thirty-seven opera performances and concerts is the record of one week in Berlin during March.

Richard Strauss conducted a concert of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, in Boston, April 19th.

A new auditorium is being built in Omaha, Neb., to cost $250,000. It will have a seating capacity of 9000.

The Guide Musical says that Lyons is to have a representation, this month, of the complete “Nibelungen” music dramas.

Theodore Thomas will lead the orchestra of 100 men at the National Sängerfest to be held in Milwaukee this summer.

Josef Hofmann has arranged for a five months’ concert tour in the United States and Canada, beginning next November.

Harold Bauer sails for South America, May 5th, on a concert tour. He expects to be in the United States again next season.

The full score of Bach’s “Matthew Passion” has been added to the miniature editions issued by the Eulenberg house in Germany.

A harp said to have belonged to the unfortunate Mary, Queen of Scots, was recently added to the Museum in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Minneapolis is to have a $150,000 music hall and auditorium, with a seating capacity of 5000. A $15,000 organ is to be placed in the auditorium.

After three representations at La Scala, Milan, Puccini has withdrawn his new opera, “Madame Butterfly.” He intends practically to rewrite it.

Dr. Hugo Riemann writes to The Etude that he will not be the editor of the “Universal Handbook for Music Literature,” which has been announced as under way.

Mr. George P. Upton, the Chicago musical critic and writer, has presented to the Newberry Library a large collection of musical scores of operas, oratorios, cantatas, and the like.

The Berlin correspondent of the Musical Courier says that the high-priced teachers of Germany, particularly those in Berlin, depend very largely upon American pupils. Few Europeans are willing to pay these high prices.

The receipts at the charity concert given under the patronage of the German Empress in Berlin by Franz von Vecsey, the youthful violin virtuoso, were nearly $5000—the highest amount ever reached in Berlin for a single concert.

Madame Bodda, a well-known English opera singer, who won favor in this country in antebellum days under the name of Louisa Pyne, died recently in London, aged 76. She was a partner in the celebrated Pyne-Harrison Opera Company.

The Festival Hall, in which the concerts to be given during the St. Louis Exposition will take place, will hold an audience of about 3000. The stage is planned to hold 1000 singers and players. The big band concerts will be held in the open air.

The St. Petersburg Musical Society has carried on a series of free Sunday matinees for the benefit of the poorer students of the university. Leading members of the society, comprising some of the first musicians of St. Petersburg, gave their services.

The city of Kattowitz, in Germany, with a population of about 35,000, has appropriated $150,000 for the building of a city theater. At some future time the musical interests of a community in the United States may be recognized in appropriations.

A German paper calls attention to the fact that Italian opera has fallen off not only in the value, but also in the number, of works produced. Formerly about 150 operas and operettas were brought out, but in 1903 the number of new operas and oratorios was only 67.

Hamburg, Germany, is still a great center for opera. During the month of March there were twenty-three opera performances, representing all the schools of music, modern German, French, and Italian, as well as some of the classical works, “Magic Flute,” “Don Giovanni,” etc.

The German national song “Die Wacht am Rhein” was written fifty years ago, as a contribution to the celebration of the silver wedding of the Crown Prince of Prussia, later the Emperor Wilhelm. It was not until 1870 that it began to take hold of the people. The composer died in 1873.

The Minister of Fine Arts of France has consented to limit the female pupils in the stringed instrument department of the Paris Conservatoire to four in each class of ten. Of late the representatives of the fair sex have been capturing the highest prizes, and vigorous protest has been raised.

Nicolai von Wilm, the well-known composer, celebrated his seventieth birthday March 4th. He was born in Riga, received his education at the Leipzig Conservatory. He served as capellmeister in his native city and as a teacher in a St. Petersburg conservatory. He is now living in Wiesbaden, Germany.

A Paris correspondent complains of the length of the programs at some of the concerts, and mentions one which consisted of seven double and four single numbers from the works of one composer; St. Saëns “Havanaise,” with orchestral accompaniment, followed by five double numbers and four single ones, ending with a one-act comedy.

The director of music at the St. Louis Exposition has made public his decision that all bands and orchestras who will play during the Exposition will use the International Pitch. The old high pitch, adopted by some band instrument makers in order to secure brilliancy, in which true sonorousness was sacrificed, is well-nigh a thing of the past.

The plan proposed for the new Academy of Music to be built in Brooklyn is that the building shall contain two halls, one to seat from 2500 to 3000, and a smaller one to seat not over 1200. The citizens of Brooklyn are to be asked to subscribe $1,000,000 on condition that the subscription shall not be binding unless $750,000 shall be subscribed.

Insurance contracts for musical artists show some interesting provisions. Mme. Patti insures every one of her concerts for $5000; Paderewski has insured his hands for $50,000, taking out a temporary policy of $7500 for each of his concerts; Josef Hofmann carries heavy insurance on his hands and each finger; Kubelik has insured his right hand for $10,000, with a policy for $50,000 against total disablement.

There will be a contest for male voice choruses at the St. Louis Exposition, July 18th-24th. The choruses will be divided into two grades—organizations of 60 to 100 members, and those of 35 to 60 members. There are two cash prizes for each grade: First grade, first prize, $2000; second prize, $1000. Second grade, first prize, $1000; second prize, $500.

Pablo de Sarasate, the great Spanish violinist, celebrated his sixtieth birthday March 10th. He has been before the public for fifty years. At the age of 10 he played for Queen Isabella in Madrid. She was so delighted that she gave him a fine Stradivarius violin, which he still uses. At his death this instrument is to revert to the Spanish government.

Josef Rebicek, who resigned his position as conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic several months ago, died in Berlin, March 24th. He was born in Prague in 1844, and received his musical education in the Conservatory of that city. He started his musical work as a violinist, but dropped the bow for the baton. He was conductor in Berlin since 1897.

It is announced that Mr. Emil Paur is to be in charge of the Pittsburg Symphony Orchestra next year. This is good news for those who are interested in the building up of the higher musical art. It is safe to say that the work of the orchestra will not suffer under Mr. Paur. The management of the orchestra and the music-lovers of Pittsburg are to be congratulated.

Carl Reinecke, one of the veterans of music, will celebrate his eightieth birthday in June. In a letter to the editor of The Etude he referred to a recent concert in the Gewandhaus, in Leipzig, in which he played. The audience received him with the heartiest of congratulations. An artist of high rank said recently that Reinecke plays Mozart as no other pianist can.

Popper, the composer-violoncellist, is now in the fortieth year of his musical career. He was educated in Prague. He is now professor in the National Academy of Music at Buda Pest. When he was but 7 years old he made a concert tour in Germany and met with much success. Recently he played in Berlin, although in his 61st year, an age when few artists will risk appearing in public, and comparison with younger virtuosi.

A recent concert of the Russian Symphony Orchestra was dedicated to the memory of the late M. P. Belaieff, the music publisher, who founded these concerts in 1885 for the performance of Russian music solely. Russian musicians called Belaieff their “Macænas.” He was a man of wealth who devoted himself to the cause of national school of composition. He published over 2000 Russian compositions, including the scores of numerous operas and symphonic works.

It is a healthy sign of liberality in musical matters when we see that Boston critics and a Boston audience find that there are good orchestras outside the “Hub.” The visit of the Philadelphia Orchestra under Fritz Scheel, for a concert in which Richard Strauss appeared to conduct some of his own compositions, was made the occasion of some flattering comments. The Philadelphia Orchestra, in its few years of existence, has demonstrated its right to high consideration.

The New York Tribune calls attention to the matter of placing the piano, particularly the upright. Some years ago articles of furniture, pianos included, were placed against the walls. Now, however, the idea of arranging the contents of a room has undergone modification. Squareness and rigidity is to be avoided. The writer of the article in question suggests that when the piano is placed near a window that it stand at an angle of thirty or forty degrees. A sheet of mirror glass can be fixed to cover the back of the instrument to within a few inches of the floor, where a low box for flowers may stand. Another suggestion is to add the piano to the arrangement of the cosy corner, the back being draped to join in the general effect.

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