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Musical Items

Leonoavallo’s (sic) next opera is to bear the title of “Roses de Noël” (Christmas Roses).

According to a music trade report from Chicago that city had an output of 40,000 pianos during 1904.

Puccini is occupied with a new opera, “Esmeralda,” the text of which is founded on Hugo’s “Notre Dame de Paris.”

Frederick Stock, assistant conductor of the Chicago Orchestra, will conduct the remaining concerts of this season.

“Carmen” has had its 1000th performance in Paris. The first representation was on March 3, 1875, and it ran for only fifty nights.

Mozart’s opera “Titus” was recently given in Bremen after being neglected for many years, and was most warmly received.

The last direct descendant of Mozart, the composer, Josefine von Berchthold, died in the poorhouse at Salzburg, Germany, last month.

Students of the Royal College of Music, London, gave a representation of Gluck’s “Alcestis” December 2d. Sir Charles Stanford directed.

Ffrangcon Davies, the Welsh baritone, is to issue a treatise on singing shortly. He will set forth a new theory that will provoke controversy.

Mme. Belle Cole, contralto, died in London, January 5th. She was American by birth, but had lived in England since 1888. She was a popular singer at English festivals.

J. Pierpont Morgan has offered $6000 for what is said to be the first piano ever constructed. The instrument was exhibited at the St. Louis Fair, and is owned by an Italian collector.

The lately deceased Russian publisher, Belaieff, in his will established a fund of nearly $40,000, the interest to be applied as yearly prizes for the best works produced by Russian composers.

The library of the late Percy Betts, London, musical critic, was sold in November. A number of interesting autograph letters from Mme. Patti, Sims Reeves, and other musical celebrities were included.

A glance at the report of the opera season in Germany shows that while the standard operas of the older period still hold a place the works of modern composers are receiving a fair share of success.

A new picture of Mendelssohn has recently been published by the Berlin Photographischen Gesellschaft. It was painted in oil in 1831, in Rome, by Horace Vernet, when the composer was twenty-three years old.

A new music hall is to be built at Buda Pesth. It will contain two large concert halls and the lecture hall of the Royal Hungarian Music Academy. A monument to Liszt will be a part of the scheme for the front of the hall.

The Society of the Friends of Music in Vienna has offered a prize of $400 for the best composition in the form of an opera, an oratorio, a concerto, a cantata, a symphony, or a sonata. This contest is open until September 15th.

The Company of Musicians, London, has founded two scholarships at the Guildhall School of Music, entitling holders to free tuition for three years. The fund to support these scholarships was supplied by Mr. Andrew Carnegie.

Clara Virginia Pfeiffer, at one time known as composer and pianist, died in Paris a short time since. She was a pupil of Kalkbrenner and Chopin, and was the teacher of her son, Georges Pfeiffer, pianist, composer, and teacher, of Paris.

Cologne is to have an operatic festival this summer, beginning in June. “Fidelio,” “Die Meistersinger,” “Tristan und Isolde,” and the “Marriage of Figaro” will be given; conductors engaged are Steinbach, Fischer, Richter, and Weingartner.

According to an “instruction” sent by the Pope to the Archbishop of Westminster, England, no instrument but the organ is to be used in Catholic churches, save by special license, which will not be granted except for some very rare occasion.

According to a French paper France has 394 theaters, Italy 389, Germany 264, England 205, Spain 190, Austria 188, Russia 99, Belgium 59, Sweden and Norway 46, Holland 42, Switzerland 35, Portugal 16, Denmark 13, Turkey 9, Greece 8, Roumania 7, Servia 6.

Mr. Samuel Arthur Chappell, of London, died December last. He held a prominent position in the music trade, but was best known by his directing of the well-known “Popular Concerts” from 1859 to a short time ago, when they were given up.

According to Theodore Thomas’ will his valuable musical library is to be presented to the city of Chicago. His financial arrangement with the Orchestra included a $50,000 paid-up life insurance policy, and $50,000 capital stock in the Orchestra Association.

The next meeting of the New York State Music Teachers’ Association will be at Rochester, June 27th to 29th. The officers are Jaroslaw de Zielinski, Pres.; Frank H. Shepard, Sec.; Carl G. Schmidt, John R. Beall, and Charles A. Farnsworth, Program Committee.

An International Congress for Gregorian Song is to be held in Strassburg, Germany, August 16th to 19th. The program includes scientific addresses, practical instruction, and performances, the idea being to advance the Pope’s wish for the use of the ancient plain chant.

Felix Weingartner will conduct two concerts for the New York Philharmonic Society, February 10th and 11th; he will also conduct two festival concerts for the Society February 14th and 15th. at which Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony” and Berlioz’s “Harold” will be given.

It was claimed that $9000, the price paid to Richard Strauss for his “Sinfonia Domestica,” is the highest price paid in Germany for. a musical composition. This statement is now contradicted, and it is said that Simrock, the Berlin publisher, paid Brahms $10,000 for his Fourth Symphony.

The score of Richard Strauss’ new work “Sinfonia Domestica” calls for an oboe d’amour, which occupies a place between the oboe proper and the alto oboe, generally known as the cor anglais. The tone of the oboe d’amour is singular charming, and the instrument was a great favorite with the composers of the time of Sebastian Bach.

A traveler, writing of the people of Finland, says that they are very fond of singing. The acknowledged finest singing society in Europe, according to this writer, is the Helsingfors Male Chorus. In the largest church—the Finns are mainly Lutherans—the choir consists of about 100 men, among them some of the finest examples of the deep Russian basses. These choirs sing without instrumental support.

An English exchange announces that Ricordi & Co. have under consideration the question of making an offer of a prize of $2500 for the best opera in English by an English composer. We trust that this enterprising and liberal minded firm will so arrange details as to allow American composers a chance to compete. Jules Massenet is to be one of the judges.

The organ in the Royal Albert Hall, London, still retains the high pitch in use a number of years ago by bands and orchestras, a circumstance which makes it impossible for the Royal Choral Society to give Beethoven’s “Choral Symphony” unless the organ is dispensed with throughout the program. To change the pitch will involve an expenditure of $6000, which the commissioners are unwilling to order.

Russian customs officials are not familiar with pipe organs, which are not used in their churches. The British and American Church in St. Petersburg purchased a new organ in London. It was shipped in 40 cases on two ships. When they were landed at Cronstadt the customs inspector said that there were pipes enough for six organs and put in a claim for duty to that extent. What would he have thought of the great World’s Fair Organ?

Many concertgoers have an idea that the modern virtuosi is a specialist pure and simple. The contrary is the case, however. To mention a few cases only: Harold Bauer first started as a violinist; Fritz Kreisler is an admirable pianist; Joseph Suk, violinist and conductor, has appeared as concert pianist; so has Emil Paur, the conductor of the Pittsburgh Orchestra; Joseph Hofmann is passionately fond of mechanical contrivances.

Wassili Safonoff, the noted Russian conductor, who directed several of the concerts of the New York Philharmonic Society this season, advocates dispensing with the baton. He claims that since Lully introduced the baton the length of the stick has become gradually shorter, and that a conductor can convey his ideas to an orchestra without a baton. When he conducted Tschaikovsky’s Pathetic Symphony last year he used the baton but little.

A report on the teaching of music in the public schools of Massachusetts states that there are 150 teachers who are regularly employed and that there are few schools in which music is not taught in some form. The secretary has great confidence in the value of music as a means of intellectual training. The reading of music at sight requires concentration of the mind, one of the most important acquisitions of an education. It is as good mental training as mathematics.

Competition for prizes seems to be popular in Europe. The Institute for the Advancement of Music, Naples, recently concluded a contest in which the opera “Anna Karenina,” by Salvatore Sassano, received the prize; Roman Statkowski was awarded a prize of 5000 rubles by a wealthy art patron in Warsaw for his opera, “Philenis.” In the competition conducted by the Milan publisher Sonzogno, the judges will be Boito, composer; Galli, music critic, and d’Annunzio, poet and author.

The Incorporated Society of Musicians of England held its annual conference at Manchester, January 2d to 7th. Papers were read on the following subjects: “A Weak Point in Our Musical Education,” “Progress of Music in the Nineteenth Century,” “Safeguarding Entrance into the Musical Profession,” “Some Blots Upon English Music,” “Municipalities and Music.” There will be an exhibition in the Town Hall of some interesting and valuable specimens of books and instruments.

The music critic of the London Morning Post says that to musical interests in the English metropolis more orchestras, more choral societies, and eventually the establishment in London of an English Opera House is more important than the delivery of lectures about musical matters. There is truth in the assertion, and it can apply to American cities as well. Every large music center would be benefited by a greater amount of music making and less talking about music. Both are good, but it is better to do than to talk if but one line is possible.

At a sale of stringed instruments, etc., in London, a number of violins by well-known makers were disposed of. Stainer violins brought $150, $95, $75, and $70; one by Klotz, $80; one by Nicolaus Gagliano, $350; one by Joseph Gagliano, $200; one by Gagliano (no Christian name given), $150; one by Sanctus Seraphin, $600; one by Vuillaume, $100; a Ruggeri, $150; a Carlo Testore, $200; Amati instruments, $330, $300, $150; a ‘cello, $650; a Vincenzo Panormo, $150; another, $100; a Joseph Guarnerius, $200; a Carlo Bergonzi, $200. Voirin bows sold for $26 and $16; Tourte violin and ‘cello bows for $25 and $20.

AN English music lover, Mr. Richard Peyton, has given to the Birmingham University $50,000 to establish a professorship of music, with the condition that Sir Edward Elgar shall be the first occupant of the chair. It is announced that the composer has accepted the position. A further announcement is made that a friend of the university has promised $5000 toward a fund for providing musical instruction supplemental to the chair. Regularly established professorships in music are: Oxford, Sir C. H. Hubert Parry; Cambridge, Sir Charles Villiers Stanford; London, Sir J. Frederick Bridge; Edinburgh, Frederic Niecks; Dublin, Ebenezer Prout.

 

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