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A Program for School Children. Correlating the Study of Music With That of Geography.

Much has been said and written  on the subject of  correlating the study of music with the other school studies, with geography, history, nature studies, etc. Every school principal is in favor of the idea, some even enthusiastic over it, but always this argument has been brought against it—it means more work for the school teacher.

It has been with this thought in mind that I have undertaken to plan a little program which would consist entirely of selections which illustrate places and people. This program consists entirely of pianoforte selections, illustrated by dances and “living pictures;” but I think that its interest would be greatly added to if the folk songs of the different nations were introduced also. I think, too, that it is really necessary to have a little paragraph descriptive  of each number prepared and read just before each number is played.

PROGRAM.

Air du Louis XIII, (duet), Portrait … Gregh
The Dutch Waltz, Dance … Low
Annie Laurie, Portrait … Trans. by S. Smith
A Polish Dance, (duet), Dance … X. Scharwenka
Mi Teresita, Portrait … Carreño
A Norwegian Dance, Dance … Grieg
Kamennoi-Ostrow, Portrait … Rubinstein
Rondo a la Turque, Dance … Mozart
An Oriental Scene, Portrait … Orth
Saltarello, Roman Dance, Dance … Lack
Arabesque, Portrait … Stiehl
Roses of Bohemia, (duet), Dance … Kowalski

The first number brings one of the kings of France upon the scene. It is a duet, “Air of King Louis XIII,” and the curtains are withdrawn to disclose a “living picture” of the king sitting, listening to a fair lady playing his favorite air upon a harp. If a harp is not available for the picture any of the smaller instruments which rest upon the table will do.

The second number (Holland)—“The Dutch Waltz”—is illustrated by a gay band of children, who, dressed in Dutch peasant costume, waltz in wooden sabots.

The third is a transcription of “Annie Laurie” by Sidney Smith (or, if you object to transcriptions, use instead G. Lange’s “Highland Lass”). In either case the portrait is that of a bonnie Scotch lassie in Highland costume.

The fourth number, “A Polish Dance,” by X. Scharwenka, arranged as a duet by Hermann, is illustrated by a dance danced in the ancient costumes of a once gay country that is no more.

Fifth, the lovely “Mi Teresita,” by Teresa Carreño, has with it a portrait of a languishing Spanish beauty plus the inevitable mantilla.

The sixth is the “Norwegian Dance,” by Grieg, typical of the country he loves so well, and to it may be danced the peasant dance in costume.

“Kamennoi-Ostrow,” the seventh number, is Rubinstein’s beautiful portrait of a Russian lady who was a very good friend to him during the years of his long struggle to elevate music in Russia. It is illustrated by a portrait of a lady in Russian costume. This costume, while elaborate and even semi-barbarous in our eyes, is quite easy to carry out now since we have gone “Russia mad;” for at every fair and bazaar ladies pour tea in Russian costume, every ladies’ magazine is filled with articles on Russian needlework, and in every city are stores in which Russian fabrics are made a specialty.

Eighth, the dear old “Rondo a la Turque,” from Mozart’s Sonata in A, is accompanied by a “solo-dance,” danced by a girl in Turkish costume. The cymbals are a feature of this dance.

The ninth, “An Oriental Scene,” by John Orth, is a gay selection. When I play it to the children I always draw their attention to a picture which represents a typical Oriental scene, and which may be used as a “tableau vivant.” In the centre, on a brilliant Persian rug, is a brilliant girl dancer, a vivid picture of arrested motion, while on her left sits, cross-legged, the musician, poising his instrument on his knees. On the other side, on divans recline the two women for whose amusement the dancer has been hired. These latter are decked in the gaudy Eastern colorings, and the whole picture is full of color and grace and motion.

Tenth, the “Saltarello,” by Theodore Lack, is an old Roman dance in triple time, and is lovely when danced by maidens gowned in the soft white Roman costume.

The eleventh number is the “Arabesque” by Stiehl. To illustrate this I would have the picture represent a booth in an Arabian bazaar, with one of Arabie’s daughters vending the wares. Or, if you could manage the lighting effects, you might use that picture called “Arabs at Prayer.”

Twelfth. To close, use Kowalski’s “Roses of Bohemia,” arranged for four hands. This waltz can be utilized for a kind of scarf dance in which ropes of roses are used instead of ribbons, and which, with the gay Bohemian costumes, make a delightful effect. Also, John Boyle O’Reilly’s beautiful poem, “I’d Rather Live in Bohemia Than any Other Land” might preface this dance. Of course the poet meant the ideal Bohemia, but a pretty description could be given of how Bohemia came to be used as the name for an ideal existence among artist folk.

I could say this about the accessories to this sort of a pianoforte recital—that they are best made as simple as possible. The Ben Greet players, in their revival of the Shakespearian plays according to the Elizabethan manner, have pressed upon us strongly the charm of simplicity. In their production of “Julius Caesar” the “properties” consisted of font posts with a pair of curtains between the two front posts, some stools, two little trees in tubs, and four wreaths. When the curtains were drawn aside and the stools were put within the posts we were in a house; when the curtains were drawn together and the wreaths hung on nails, we were in the street; when the two little trees were carried to the centre of the stage and a stool placed under one we were in a garden, and so on. The shifting was done by two little boys in blue dresses, white stockings and black shoes, and the whole production was charming. It made elaborate productions gaudy by contrast, and gave us a realizing sense of the great charm there really is in simplicity.—Helena M. Maguire.

 

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