The World of Music
All the necessary news of the musical world told concisely, pointedly and justly
Albert Spaulding, the young American violinist, succeeded his European successes with a pronounced triumph at his concert at Ocean Grove.
Mr. Alvah Glover Salmon has commenced another season as a lecturer, pianist and teacher, which promises to be as successful as last season, when he gave sixty-two concerts.
Mr. Bernhard Ulrich, the well-known operatic business manager, declares that first-class opera cannot be given for less than $7,500 a night. Those who intend to go into the impresario business had better begin to save up.
Among the welcome musical visitors to our shores this coming season may be mentioned the Mountain Ash Voice Choir, from Wales, England. These singers have earned an enviable reputation and we trust this, their second, visit will be as successful as the first.
The Viennese Male Voice Chorus, which has been paying a visit to America, met with a warm welcome in New York, and also in Philadelphia. The excellence of their music more than repaid their American well-wishers for the efforts made to "show the visitors a good time."
Mr. W. L. Thickstun, for many years director of the music at the Ouachita, Arkadelphia, has taken a similar position at the Bessie Tuft College, at Forsyth, Ga. There are 250 music students at this school.
There is a musical stairway in St. Louis which is one of the sights for visiting musicians who are fortunate enough to call at the home of Charles Kunkel. The stairway is decorated with panels depicting musical events and commemorating the work of celebrated local musicians.
Professor Michael Hambourg, the father of Mark Hambourg, the pianist, has decided to take up his residence in Toronto. He has been a prominent musician in London for many years, and has hosts of friends there as well as in Toronto, where he is well known, and his musical gifts much appreciated.
Prof. Anderson, of Baltimore, is said to have completed an invention by means of which the quality of the human voice can be classified. It is possible that the future Melbas and Carusos of the world will be able to announce that their voices are "registered A1 at Lloyd's," like the ships of the British Mercantile Marine.
Mr. Charles Wakefield Cadman has been interesting London and Parisian musicians with a "Talk on American Indian music." He will repeat this lecture in various music centers of the United States during the coming season. A new suite of his has just been produced with great success by the Festival Orchestra of Pittsburg, of which city Mr. Cadman is a native.
The "Music Week," which is a part of the session of the "Summer School of the South," held at Knoxville, Tennessee, was particularly successful this year. Much of the success was due to the presence of Maud Powell, the incomparable American violinist, whose popularity seems to increase at every event in which she is engaged. To keep on seeking higher musical results, even after the world has bowed to one's talent, is a sign of musical sincerity and musical genius which only artists of the altitude of Maud Powell exhibit. Mrs. Rider Kelsey, Reed Miller and Claude Cunningham also made "hits" at this summer school.
A report comes to us from Marquette that a certain farmer in that district has introduced a novel mode of keeping up the spirits of his cattle on hot days. The cows are put into tightly screened barns, and entertained by selections on a phonograph. A certain amount of care has to be taken in the choice of suitable music, as even cows have feelings. Such compositions as The Roast Beef of Old England, or the Toreador's Song from Carmen are distinctly unpopular. Elgar's "Salut d'Amour" (when pronounced "Salut d'Armour") is also unsuitable.
Sousa, who, with his incomparable band, is starting next year on a 25,000-mile tour of the world, has been giving advice to young musicians. He says that too many young musicians are studying the violin, cornet and trombone. There is a great opportunity awaiting earnest students of the oboe, bassoon and saxophone and the less favored instruments of this kind. No man is in a better position to know than Mr. Sousa, whose genial personality and brilliant attainments have brought him to the foremost position among the world's bandmasters.
Announcements have now been made that the Manhattan Opera House will be opened as usual this season. Earnest enquiries made by newspaper men and others have not at the time of writing caused Oscar Hammerstein to break the Sphinx-like silence as to his plans for the future. Grand opera is barred—but what exactly constitutes "light opera?" Perhaps the matter will have to be decided by the legal authorities eventually. Mr. Hammerstein seems to have a knack of keeping strictly in the limelight.
At the thirty-third "Midsummer High Jinks" of the Bohemia Club of San Francisco, Cal., was produced a play called "The Cave-Man," with Mr. David Bispham in the principal role. The play was written by Charles K. Field, with music by W. J. McCoy, and deals with the very early history of that part of the world, when the cavemen were almost as plentiful in California as cowboys are to-day. Mr. Bispham, of course, scored a big success, and he speaks of this work, which was produced in the open air, as of "uncanny cleverness." Most of those who took part were amateurs, and the whole proceeding is remarkable in its revelation of what is being done in the once "wild and woolly West."
The memorial to MacDowell at Peterboro, mentioned in the last issue of The Etude, has now taken place, and has met with very great success. The historical scenes and the chief events in the life of Peterboro were carefully portrayed. The musical part of the program was in the hands of Mr. Chalmers Clifton, a young musician, who brilliantly acquitted himself of the onerous duties. The program was mainly selected from the works of Edward MacDowell, and was more than adequately performed by the soloists. Mrs. MacDowell was exceedingly gratified by the results, and it must have delighted her to see how keenly alive the American public is now becoming to the inspired work of her late husband.
In "The Etude Gallery of Musical Celebrities" for September we published a short account of the career of Mrs. H. H. A. Beach, in which a printer's error escaped undetected. Mrs. Beach was born in 1867, and not in 1847. We are very far from desiring to add twenty years to so useful a life as that of Mrs. Beach, and trust that our readers for the most part detected the error on their own account. Her concert career has been continued during each winter since her marriage with the exception of only two years. She has played several times with the Boston Symphony Orchestra; twice with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and repeatedly with the Kneisel Quartet in Boston, Cambridge, Philadelphia, Brooklyn and New York. Besides these appearances she has played with other quartet and choral organizations, and has given concert recitals in Chicago. Brooklyn, Boston, and many other cities. The recent death of her husband has prevented her accepting engagements for the present, but we most sincerely hope that Mrs. Beach's activities will be resumed as soon as she feels able to undertake concert work again.
It is with regret that we announce the death of Mr. Julian Edwards, the noted composer. Mr. Edwards was born in England fifty-five years ago, and was a pupil of Sir Herbert Oakley and Sir George MacFarren. He came to this country in 1888 and remained here. His wife is an American, and Mr. Edwards' reputation mainly rests upon works produced in this country. He was the composer of many light operas, comic operas, oratorios and cantatas, besides other vocal works both choral and solo, sacred and secular. His best operas perhaps were "Brian Boru," "Madeline" and "The Wedding Day." His most recent composition was a sacred cantata, "Lazarus," which was very favorably received last year.
The principal event we have to record this month is the production of the opera Paoletta in Cincinnati. The Ohio Valley Exposition has provided the enterprising and musical citizens of Cincinnati with an excellent opportunity to do something novel. They decided that an opera in the vernacular would be about as effective a novelty as anything, so they commissioned Mr. Paul Jones to write the libretto, and Pietra Florida, an Italian Cincinnati musician, to compose the music. The plot of the opera deals with a plot of magic, in which the efforts of the Evil One are eventually thwarted by the aid of a Sacred Mirror. The scene is laid in courtly Castile during mediæval times, and affords many opportunities for scenic display. The composer has availed himself of the many opportunities the work afforded. Wagnerian influences are evident, as is perhaps natural in a modern composer. Melody, however, is present throughout the entire work, and Florida has made no effort to be ugly for the sake of doing something extraordinary. The production of the work has met with the greatest possible success, and while all the singers engaged were most enthusiastically applauded, the honors of the occasion belong to Mr. David Bispham. In the part of Gomarez, a Moorish magician, the terrestrial agent of the Prince of Darkness, Mr. Bispham has a part of singular dramatic interest and sustains the rôle with all the skill and art-craft which the musical world has learned to expect from this many-sided man. The other singers were all happily suited. Bernice de Pasquali, who sustains the title rôle of Paoletta, is said to have been superb in the part of the princess about whom all the trouble centers. Altogether, the affair was unquestionably the most notable musical event of the summer season.
Mr. Adolphe M. Foerster's fine Dedication March for full orchestra was recently given with great success in Darmstadt, Germany.
Of living musicians, in the year of grace nineteen hundred and ten, Karl Klindworth must be numbered among those who have exceeded the time limit of three score years and ten.
It is reported that Emma Calvé has written an opera called Giovanni d'Arco. After that we fully expect a report that Richard Strauss is about to retire from the field!
A violin concerto recently composed by Elgar is to receive its initial performance at the hands of Fritz Kreisler at a concert of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The composer will also be the conductor on this occasion, which is arousing great expectations.
Prof. Hugo Hermann, who is well known in America as a violin virtuoso, has taken up a permanent residence in Berlin, where he will remain, as he has founded a new string quartet.
Pelleas and Melisande seems to have inspired many composers. The latest to come forward is one Schönberg. His composition, which is a work for orchestra rather than the stage, will be performed during the coming season in Berlin.
The following appeared in one of the London papers recently: "Mr. Churchill's proposal for occasional concerts in our prisons is an excellent one; and it seems a pity that a good many amateur musicians could not, in return for their service, be assigned permanent quarters in some of the gaols."
Chr. P. W. Kriens, whose compositions are well known in the United States, has recently had his new symphonic poem, The King in Exile, performed by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Kunwald.
Italy is beginning to be angry over favors accorded to America by her foremost composers. Except in the case of Verdi's Aida, which was first produced at Cairo, the Italians have never been asked to await the verdict of outside nations regarding the work of native composers. Now, however, things are altering. Puccini's new opera, The Girl of the Golden West, is to be produced in this country for the first time anywhere, and in addition to that, Mascagni's latest opera, Ysobel, is to have its initial production. The latest rumor has it that Perosi, the priest composer and director of the Sistine Chapel at Rome, is contemplating an American tour! It may console the Italians to know that there are critics and musicians in this country who would be more than willing to have these composers stay at home!
It is said that in the library of Congress at Washington there are now nearly half a million volumes devoted to music. These include a remarkable collection of full scores of operas; the complete works, as far as possible, of the great masters; a notable collection of rare historical and theoretical books; nearly all serial publications of a historical character; a comprehensive collection of rare historical, theoretical and biographical works; and all the principal American and foreign musical reviews currently received. The authorities are also beginning to collect autograph scores of famous original works by American composers. They possess the autograph score of MacDowell's Indian Suite, and also of Nevin's Rosary. When it is remembered that the collection of musical works in this famous library was only established in 1897, it is evident that there has been a great deal of enthusiasm and energy displayed by those responsible for the good work.
In a little room at the palace of Versailles, France, where lived the kings of yesteryear, there is to-day a small clock which was formerly a much prized possession of Marie Antoinette. She was fond of it because, in addition to possessing the praiseworthy but commonplace virtue of punctuality, the clock also played her favorite tunes on a set of little bells. This clock has only recently been recovered. It is of bronze, and in the form of an allegorical group—"a small goddess and a Cupid looking into a telescope: a globe and some bird or other," as the French Le Figaro describes it. The services of M. Le Roy, the maker of ships' timepieces, have been engaged, and he has restored this interesting relic in such a way that it now recounts the hours and tinkles its little tunes in exactly in the same way it did in the days before the terror, when Marie Antoinette, fresh from the gaieties of Vienna, came to the French court, little dreaming that she was to end her life on the scaffold, and that the palace of the king was to run red with the best blood of France, and its countless treasures to become the playthings of a vengeful mob. The clock has a "repertoire" of ten pieces, most of which are well known to "musicologists" (blessings on the man who invented that word!) though two of them are unknown. They were probably popular favorites in Vienna which have since dropped out of existence.
One of the most successful concerts given this year by Louis Lombard, at his Castle Trevano, in the Swiss Alps, was in honor of Gabriel Fauré, the director of the Conservatoire, Paris. Lombard represents the climax of dilettantism. In the first place he was a professional musician, engaged in teaching in Utica. New York, only a very few years ago. He was a good teacher and a good business man. Fortune not only smiled at him, but giggled, snickered, grinned, laughed and guffawed. He came to New York and invested his money in Wall street, that fathomless ocean of finance upon which so many fortunes have been wrecked. Of course, Lombard was the one in a million who hit it. The dollars swarmed around Lombard's hook and he pulled them out as fast as he could haul them. Then he went to Switzerland, procured a palace worthy of a king, installed a theater and engaged a private symphony orchestra. All he needed was an audience. That has been easily arranged by informing musical people that those who desire tickets for his concerts may receive them gratis by writing for them in advance. Lombard conducts the orchestra himself, and probably has a better time out of his music than any man living. Lombard was born in France, but a more patriotic American would be hard to imagine.
Miss Cecile Ayres, the young piano virtuoso, who at her concert in Berlin last year surprised the critics by some very individual and characteristic interpretations of modern pianoforte works, starts upon a tour of the Scandinavian countries next January. Her first concert will be in Christiania. Miss Ayres is the daughter of Dr. E. E. Ayres, a versatile Baptist clergyman, who, in addition to being the editor of the Baptist Sunday-school Quarterly, is professor of Greek at the Crosier Theological Seminary. Dr. Ayres is also a musician, and is the author of a well-known work on "Counterpoint and Canon." Miss Ayres, however, received her first musical instruction from her mother, a Wellesley graduate. She then studied with C. Von Sternberg, W. H. Sherwood, W. Safonoff and O. Gabrillowitsch. Miss Ayres is now going through the tiresome and seemingly unnecessary process of convincing Europeans, in order to convince Americans, that she can play—poor sheep that we are to demand the approval of European audiences before we will believe in our own artists.