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The World of Music

At Home.

Tetrazzini has cause to be fond of Los Angeles. She gave three performances there and realized a sum of $10,000.

A concert was recently given in Pittsburg devoted to the compositions of Adolph M. Foerster, on the occasion of his birthday.

A Polish paper, called the Spiewak (Singer), has been started in Cleveland. This is the only paper of its kind published in the United States, and has already received wide support from the Poles in America.

Bernardo Cutillo, a Philadelphia violinist, recently had the misfortune to sustain injuries to his hand as the result of a trolley accident. He has been awarded $18,000 damages from the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company.

A society has been formed in New York for the promotion of opera in English. Many prominent musicians, editors, etc., have joined the society, including Walter Damrosch, David Bispham, Mr. and Mrs. de Koven, Horatio Parker, and others.

The first pipe organ to be opened in Pierre, S. D., was recently dedicated by Mr. McCarrell, of Chicago. It is a $3,500 organ, and Carnegie gave $1,750 towards it. We trust the musical progress of Pierre will be much advanced by this installation.

Mr. Charles Lecocq, formerly well-known in France, and also in this country as a writer of light opera, died in the Island of Guernsey recently. His best-known works were La fille de Mme. Angot and Giroflé-Girofla. His operas attained world-wide popularity in their day.

A symphony orchestra has been formed in Grand Forks under the conductorship of Mr. William W. Norton, director of music at the University of North Dakota. We wish the organization all success and congratulate all concerned in their enterprise.

Frederick S. Converse, the Massachusetts composer, has had an American Grand Opera produced at Boston. The work is entitled The Sacrifice, and depicts the stirring times on the Mexican borders in the middle forties. Wallace Goodrich conducted the performance.

The death of John A. Norris removes from Chicago musical circles a very excellent musician. He was born in New Hampshire sixty-four years ago and gained considerable recognition as an organist. He also composed an Operetta when a young man.

Ernest R. Kroeger has set to music Maurice Hewlett’s A Mask of Dead Florentines. The work was performed at St. Louis by the art section of the Wednesday Club. All the parts were taken by women—even that of “Dante.” The work was very well received, and Mr. Kroeger is to be highly congratulated for his highly artistic composition.

A very successful music festival has been given in Montreal by the Mendelssohn Choir, assisted by the Thomas Orchestra, from Chicago. The chorus sang under Dr. A. S. Vogt with splendid effect, and great enthusiasm was aroused by the work accomplished. Lady Grey and other members of the Vice Regal party came especially from Ottawa to attend the performance.

A Musical Competitive Festival is to be held in Alberta, Northwest Canada. This will be the fourth festival of this kind, and speaks nobly for the musical enterprise of that far-away community. Not so long ago Northwest Canada was regarded as a wilderness. To-day we hear of music festivals as if they were an every-day occurrence in that region.

It is announced that Andreas Dippel is planning to organize a chain of choruses and orchestras in large cities visited by the Chicago Grand Opera Company, and to have a central organization of singers and conductors which would supply the principles to the different companies. His idea is to make Washington the center, so as to give the scheme a national significance. In this way it is hoped the foundation of an increased love of opera will be laid.

Mr. Edward Baxter Perry has been obliged to abandon many of his concert engagements owing to the serious illness of both his mother and of his wife. Mr. Perry is particularly anxious that his many friends and admirers should know that only the gravest reasons have obliged him to  disappoint them in this way. The Etude hastens to offer all sympathy with Mr. Perry, and we are sure that our readers will also desire to express their condolence with one whose ability as a concert pianist of first rank and as a writer on musical subjects has brought pleasure and profit to thousands of men and women.

Mr. Henry T. Finck has published a very interesting article in the Century Magazine, putting up a strong plea for New York as the operatic metropolis. As he says, “Without stars of the first magnitude it is impossible to make opera successful at the high prices charged in this country, and any attempt to substitute ensembles of mediocrities is sure to fail.” No other opera house in the world can bring together such a galaxy of stars as are brought together each season in New York. Composers are beginning to prefer to have their works given their first performance in New York, as Puccini’s and Humperdinck’s works will testify. Altogether the outlook is promising.

The opera Natoma has been produced. The first hearing was received in Philadelphia with warm favor, and on the Metropolitan production in New York the verdict of the Philadelphians was fully endorsed. The work is melodious, though critics say that it suffers from a poor libretto. Nevertheless Mr. Herbert has unquestionably scored a personal triumph. He recently told a newspaper man his methods of composing. “I always compose standing up. I usually seat myself at the piano and play for a while to get myself into the mood. Then I go over to the desk and write my music. I generally write until I am so tired that I have to sit down or until Mrs. Herbert calls me for my meals. I write often all day and sometimes far into the night. And I always smoke good, big cigars. It concentrates my mind. In fact, I don’t believe I could compose without them.”

The biggest operatic surprise of the season is the announcement that Arthur Nevin’s opera, Twilight, is to be sung at the Metropolitan in English. Not discouraged by the failure of Poia in Berlin, the composer and his librettist set to work and wrote another opera, which is to be heard in New York. This is a great advance, and marks the second American opera produced this season—not counting The Girl of the Golden West, for Victor Herbert’s opera, Natoma, also claims the title of “American opera.” It is to be hoped that Nevin’s opera will be more cordially received than his last one, which was rather scathingly dealt with by the German critics. Mr. Nevin is a brother of Ethelbert Nevin, and is certainly entitled to a hearing from the American public.

Efforts are being made in England to make life in the prisons more bearable for the prisoners. We have recently come across an interesting account of a performance given by a well-known English choral society of Handel’s Messiah at Wormwood Scrubs—the Sing Sing of London. The performance was an excellent one, and, it is said, made a great impression upon the unfortunate inmates of the gaol. It is a comforting sign of modern civilization that people are beginning to realize that the fact of a man having committed a crime does not necessarily mean that he is impervious to all refining influence. And what more benign influence could exist than music well rendered?

Calvé reached this country during the latter part of February under difficulties. At first she was untruthfully reported not to be coming, owing to an attack of fever, as a result of her tour through India and Japan. On the way to San Francisco there was a case of smallpox on board, and the authorities at San Francisco insisted on her being vaccinated, and also desired to know her age. The prima-donna submitted to the vaccination, but the question regarding her age was too much for her and she suggested twenty. Both the authorities and the ship’s purser rejected this and set it down as forty-four. Further trouble followed. Her husband, Signor Gasparri, was with her, and when she gave her name as “Emma Calvé” the inspector refused to accept it and insisted she was Mrs. Gasparri. Altogether her experience was most annoying, and it is to be hoped her receipts for her engagements will compensate for all this trouble.

Abroad.

Hammerstein threatens to invade Paris after the operatic conquest of London.

We are told that Humperdinck is planning a new opera, the principal figure in which is to be Fra Angelico, the Italian master of the fifteenth century.      

A new opera by Saint-Saëns, entitled The Ancestor, was produced at the Opera Comique in Paris recently. It is said that the work captivated the audience.

A tablet has been erected in Metz on the house where Ambroise Thomas was born, to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of his birth.

Miss Gertrude Rennyson, the American singer, has again been invited by Siegfried Wagner to take part in the Bayreuth Festival this summer. She achieved marked success in Lohengrin at the last festival.

Richard Strauss recently made a trip up in a balloon. Many of his critics contend that this is the first time he has soared to any extent, though he has often been “up in the air” before.

An attempt has been made in London to popularize grand opera by giving Tannhaüser in tabloid form as a feature of vaudeville. Mr. Thomas Beecham was responsible for it, but the public did not favor the project.

The positions of honor as members of the Royal Prussian Academy of Art vacated by the deaths of Karl Reinecke and F. A. Gevaert have been filled by the appointment of Max Schillings and Giovanni Sgambati.

A considerable number of the leading British musicians are getting together to arrange a World’s Congress of Musicians in London. A prominent part in the matter has been taken by Arthur Balfour, former Prime Minister of England, and Sir Hubert Parry and Sir Alexander MacKenzie are also interesting themselves in the idea. It is expected that many Americans will attend the conference.

King Manuel and Queen Amelie, the deposed King and Queen of Portugal, who have now taken refuge in England, recently visited Worcester Cathedral to hear an organ recital by Mr. Ivor Atkins. The King not only selected the program, but played one piece himself, namely, Handel’s Harmonious Blacksmith Variations. We understand that The Battle Hymn of the Republic has not yet been added to his repertoire, though His Majesty recently had an excellent opportunity to make himself familiar with it.

The Liszt Centennial Celebration will take place in Budapest in October (21st to 25th). Among the celebrated pianists who will take part will be Sophie Menter, Stavenhagen, Sauer, Rosenthal, Lamond and d’Albert, including the Coronation Mass, St. Elizabeth, the E flat Concerto, some of the Symphonic Poems and Liszt’s Christus. Among the directors will be Hans Richter and Liszt’s grandson, Siegfried Wagner.

The ubiquitous sound-reproducing machine has now become so popular in Japan that a company has been formed to manufacture them in far Nipon. Needless to say, an American company is undertaking the work, and most of the capital subscribed comes from this country. The manufacturing plant is situated near Yokohama, and is turning out from 600 to 800 a month. All the screws, springs, steel and record-making supplies come from the United States, the shellac from India, the tin for the horns from England and the brass is Japanese.

A new pianoforte damper-coupling action has been brought out in England. It is designed to bring into practical use the law of sympathetic vibration and tone. It consists of a mechanism by means of which, when a note is struck, the damper of the octave (or all the octaves) above and below are released. These additional undamped strings vibrate in sympathy with the prime note, and thus produce greater resonance. This seems to be very interesting, and if the invention is really practical it will prove to be a very valuable addition to the resources of the pianoforte.

Dr. Frederick Cowen’s new work, The Veil, has received its first London performance. The lines, “Then in a vision the veil was lifted and the face was there,” are spoken by the choir, not sung, because the composer believes that no music is capable of conveying the full impression of awe- inspiring mystery. We fully appreciate the distinguished English composer’s dilemma, as we have ourselves seen veils withdrawn from faces which failed to inspire us with any music. We should like to know, however, how the choir was drilled at this passage. It must have been difficult to instil a stolid British chorus with the right amount of mystic horror. A good way would have been to tell the ladies and gentlemen to “sit still and think of the family skeleton.”

According to latest reports Mascagni’s Isabeau will have its début next May in the Theatre Koliseo, in Buenos Ayres. As we have previously told our readers, the South American countries have wonderfully fine opera houses. With the Latin temperament predominating, opera becomes a kind of national pastime. Thus far Mascagni, notwithstanding his numerous works, stands as a “one opera” composer. None of his later works have confirmed the promise of ability shown in his tuneful Cavalleria Rusticana. This opera is the one which, according to the reports of Liebler & Co., of New York (one of the most reliable of all American theatrical firms), caused them to lose a fortune owing to Mascagni’s unwillingness to comply with what would seem very reasonable requests. The Liebler Company engaged an entire opera troupe at great expense, entered upon extensive advertising plans, secured the New Theatre for the début and did everything possible to bring success to the production. In fact, Mascagni had everything done for him that a composer could naturally expect. On top of this he brought in some new requisitions which resulted disastrously for the enterprise. This cannot fail to injure the prospects of European composers who look to American managers to assist them in winning American dollars.

A gentleman in Milan, Italy, has invented a new instrument called an “Albisphan.” It resembles a giant flute, but is held vertically instead of horizontally, and sounds an octave lower. Its tone is said to be pure and sweet.

The death of Angelo Neumann removes an important personality from the operatic world. He was much to the fore when Wagner’s Ring was new, and performed valiant work in the days when Wagner needed all the friends he could get.

 

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