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World of Music

At Home.

Efram Zembalist seems to be the violinist of the hour.

The production of Massenet’s Cendrillon in Philadelphia was a great success.

Leonard Borwick, the English pianist, has been having a great success on the Pacific coast.

The Philadelphia opera season commenced with a performance of Carmen, with Mary Garden in the title rôle.

It is estimated that New York will pay, on a conservative estimate, more than $2,000,000 on music, operatic and non-operatic, during the coming season.

The capital now invested in the manufacture and sale of sound-reproducing machines in America is over $14,000,000. This is according to the census of the United States Bureau of Commerce and Labor.

A “League of Piano Teachers” has just been formed in the city of Washington with Mr. Heinrich Hammer as the president. The aim of the association is to raise the standard of Musical Education in the city.

Mrs. J. Irving Wood has been giving some successful recitals of the music of Parsifal and Pelleas and Melisande in conjunction with the reading of Miss Amy Grant. Mrs. Wood has been one of the contributors to The Etude.

Gatti-Cassazza is to remain four years more at least as director of the Metropolitan Opera. Arturo Toscanini, the musical director, will remain for the same period. Their contracts, which expire at the end of next season, have been renewed for another three years.

The Business Controller of the Metropolitan Opera House reported that when the subscription books for the present season were closed for the season, they showed an increase of $60,000 over last year, in a total subscription of about $800,000.

Fame—or at least notoriety—is an illusive thing at best. Raymon Moore, formerly one of the best minstrel ballad singers oh the stage, and composer of Sweet Marie, a once popular song, is said to be ill and destitute in a Massachusetts hospital.

It is satisfactory to know that Joseph Stransky met with success at the initial performance of the Philharmonic. As the successor of Gustav Mahler his task is an arduous one, and he seems to have given the general impression that he is able to meet the exigencies of the situation.

Extensive alterations and repairs are to be made to the New York Academy of Music. It is estimated that the renovations will cost $18,000. The building was erected in 1853 at a cost of $350,000. Grisi and Mario were the stars the week it opened, and Max Maretzek was the director.

A gentleman from Milwaukee has recently broken his own record as the world’s champion long distance piano player by performing for forty hours at a stretch without stopping. Seeing that he came from Milwaukee, it seems in bad taste to inquire whence he found his inspiration for this astounding feat.

Mr. G. A. Dostal is one of the American singers who are making Italian audiences “sit up and take notice.” Fortunately he is blessed with an extremely high tenor, and is thus able to take the leading roles in La Favorita and other operas so dear to the Italian hearts, but so’ prohibitive in their demands upon the tenor’s capacity to sing high.

The faculty at the Spartanburg (Converse) College (Spartanburg, S. C.,) includes such well-known artists as Carmen Melis, Alexander Bonci and Arthur Shattuck. Mr. A. L. Manchester, the well-known teacher, is the director of music at this college.

The prize of $100 offered annually by the Chicago Madrigal Club (one of the most efficient male choruses in the West, directed by the able vocal teacher and writer, Mr. D. A. Clippenger) was awarded to Mr. Will C. McFarlane, of New York. The poem is by Wilkes, and was written in the sixteenth century. The composition will be sung for the first time by the Madrigal Club in April.

The fourth annual convention of the Kansas State Music Teachers Association was held at Lawrence, Kansas, on November first, second and third. Unfortunately the

excellent programs are so extensive that The Etude can not mention them in their entirety. The president for the coming year is Mr. Charles W. Landis, the vice-president Mr. Horace Whitehouse.

Dr. August Theodor Schemmel, pianist, organist, composer and teacher, who died at Farmville, Va., recently, was born in Berlin, 1851. He was a pupil of Kullak and at the age of twenty he was sent to Bayreuth to attend the opening of the Wagner Theater to present Wagner with an offering from the Berlin Musical Society. In America he founded the well-known Nashville Conservatory of Music. About four years ago he founded a Conservatory of Music as an annex to the State Normal School at Farmville, Va. Dr. Schemmel was an excellent musician of scholarly attainments, and was greatly beloved by all who came into contact with him.

At the conclusion of the recent Liszt centenary festival at Buda-Pesth, Count Zichy, the president of the committee, handed a sealed packet to the Hungarian Academy of Music, with the request that it should be opened only after the expiration of ten years. Count Zichy stated that the packet contains proofs that a work attributed to Liszt in which Hungarian music is belittled as entirely a product of the gipsies was really written by Liszt’s friend, Prince Wittgenstein. As it excited much resentment in Hungary at the time, the composer’s gallantry led him to take the odium of it upon himself. It would, however, be indiscreet to publish the documents now, but after ten years it may be expected that no one living could be pained by them. Count Zichy stated further that the papers when published would absolve Liszt from the charge of anti-Semitism which is sometimes brought against him.

Just as The Etude is reaching your hands the Music Teachers’ National Association is holding its Thirty-third Annual Meeting at the University of Michigan (December 26, 27, 28, 29). The program includes the names of the following well-known musicians: Louis A. Coerne, Max Meyer, Robert M. Wenley, Charles W. Duglass, William C. Carl, George C. Gow, E. R. Kroeger, H. D. Sleeper, Effa Ellis, Samuel P. Lockwood, William Howland, J. Frederick Wolle, Oscar G. Sohneck. Frederick A. Stock, Peter C. Lutkin president), Wallace C. Sabine, Oscar Gareissen, R. F. S. Olmstead, Carlo Somigli. Albert A. Stanley, Charles S. Skilton, John C. Griggs, Will Earhart, W. A. White, W. O. Meissner, E. B. Birge and others. It may easily be observed that this body is becoming more and more representative of the higher musical scholarship in America. The splendid subjects proposed at its meetings are in themselves inspiring. It represents an educational force of which any country might be justly proud. As our land increases in population, the activities of our leading musicians increase accordingly, and only a very few can afford the time to attend such meetings as those of the M. T. N. A. held in distant parts of the country. However, the proceedings of the Association are always printed at the end of the year and these may be obtained at a cost of $1.60 per copy. The proceedings of the present convention will be issued in February of this year. The officers of the Association for the present year are: president, Peter O. Lutkin; vice-president, George C. Gow; secretary, Francis L. York; treasurer, Waldo S. Pratt.

The Philadelphia Music Teachers’ Association, an organization now over twenty years old, and the only civic organization of this kind in existence, is at present entering upon a new period of activity and helpfulness. It is believed that by the sincere cooperation of the many able teachers of Philadelphia a vast amount of magnificent work may be done not only for the teachers themselves but for the cause of good music in Philadelphia. Philadelphia presents many unexcelled advantages as a music centre. The cost of living in the city is very low and the essentially home-like atmosphere makes it a particularly safe city in which to trust the youthful student. The city has a fine orchestra, two fine opera houses, and will possess a magnificent Festival Hall in the near future. It is estimated that there are about 2000 teachers in the city. At a meeting held on December 6th, the subject of securing dignified publicity for musical Philadelphia was discussed by the following speakers: Mr. Perley Dunn Aldrich (Vocal Advantages), Mr. Thomas a’Becket (Retiring President), Mr. Daniel Batchellor (Teaching Beginners), Mr. James Francisi Cooke (New President), Mr. Phillip Goepp (Orchestral Advantages), Mr. Johan Grolle (Teaching in the Music Settlement), Mr. Ralph Kinder (Church Music Advantages), Mr. Enoch Pierson (Public School Music). Mr. Constantin von Sternberg (Piano Teaching). Mr. Henry Gordon Thunder (Choral Advantages). There were songs by Mrs. Carbutt, violin solos by Mr. N. L. Frey. A pronounced interest was manifested in the new work, and there is no doubt that such an organization in every city of our country would do much to raise the value of musical education. Miss Agnes Clune Quinlan played some piano solos with great taste.

Lobetanz, the first novelty of the season, has been successfully produced by the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York. It is a fairy opera, by the late Ludwig Thuille, of Munich, and has been popular for some years in Germany. Like the Koenigskinder, and Hänsel and Gretel, it is based on an old fairy story, though Thuille is hardly so good as Humperdinck. Lobetanz, it appears, is a poor fiddler who strays into the King’s garden. He is met by fairies who tell him that the Princess is suffering from some strange malady. Not one of the court poets has been able to rouse her from her melancholy. To-day is Rose Festival, and another attempt is to be made in the Garden to restore the Princess to her normal health. The fairies try to persuade Lobetanz to remain, but he is ashamed of his shabbiness, and wants to leave them. They twine him about with roses, and conceal him in a leafy bower. Presently the King, the Princess and the courtiers arrive. The court poets endeavor to rouse her, but their efforts prove discordant. They are interrupted by the sound of a violin, and Lobetanz appears. With the King’s approval he sings a tender love-song. The Princess faints from emotion, and she falls senseless. Believing that the fiddler has bewitched her. the multitude seek to slay Lobetanz, but he escapes. In the next act he returns to the garden, and is joined by the Princess. They are discovered by the King, and Lobetanz is cast into prison. He is sentenced to be hung, and the last act is before the gallows. The Princess is carried on. and appears to be dead. Lobetanz asks permission to play to her once more before he goes to his death. The King not only agrees, but promises that if Lobetanz can restore the Princess he shall be as the King’s own son. Lobetanz plays, and the Princess stirs and rises from her couch. General rejoicings follow, and the curtain falls to the strains of a lively waltz. The principal singers were Mmes Gadski, Sparkes, Case and Messrs. Jadlowker, Hinshaw, Witherspoon, Ruysdael and Murphy. The stage effects were remarkably beautiful.

Abroad.

Faust recently had its 1400th performance in Paris.

Massenet’s new opera, Roma, is to be represented at Monte Carlo this winter.

The birthplace of Liszt has been converted into a small museum.

Mischa Elman, the eminent Russian violinist, has taken a residence in London, and presumably intends to make his home there.

The Prussian Minister of Education has instituted some radical forms in the singing course in the Prussian schools.

The Brahms Society of Germany is organizing a Brahms Festival to take place at Wiesbaden from the 22d of May to the 3d of June.

After an interruption of twelve years, Dr. Hans Richter will again undertake to conduct the Wagner works at Bayreuth.

A successor to the late Felix Mottl as director of the Munich opera has been found in Bruno Walter, of Vienna.

We learn from a French source that Andreas Dippel contemplates a European tour for the Philadelphia-Chicago Opera Co.

Lorenzo Perosi, the Italian priest-composer, has completed a new oratorio entitled Vespertino oratio.

Felix Weingartner has completed the libretto of an opera entitled Cain and Abel. He will now proceed to set it to music.

Some posthumous works of Dvorak are to be published in Berlin. They comprise symphonies, overtures, piano pieces and songs.

The Bach Society of Eisenach has undertaken to have all the ancient organs and keyboard instruments preserved at the Bach Museum in that city thoroughly repaired.

The friends and admirers of the late Felix Mottl have decided to place a marble bust of the great conductor in the foyer of the Prince Regent Theatre, Munich.

Surely they must love the organ in England. We learn that a Mr. Herbert Hodge, organist at St. Nicholas Cole Abbey, has just given his 1,250th organ recital. If he has been playing for twenty-five years, has given 50 recitals a year during that time.

If it is true that some music “students” can never be got to practice, it is equally true that others can never be got to stop practicing. We learn that a pianist in Tripoli kept on playing all through the  bombardment by the Italian warships.

It is not generally known in America that the London Stock Exchange boasts an excellent amateur orchestra among its members. Imagine a Wall Street Orchestral Society, or an Oratorio Society in the Chicago Wheat Pit.

It is said that Constantino, the well-known tenor, contemplates becoming an impresario. He intends to manage an opera house in Bragado, Argentine Republic. South America is proving to be unmistakably an opera-loving continent.

Loudon Charlton, the well-known concert agent, recently remarked that Montreal bids fair to become the fourth most important city on the North American continent so far as opera is concerned. A very keen interest is taken in the Canadian center in all musical matters, and a permanent opera house is to be erected in Montreal.

A gentleman in Copenhagen has written a brochure upon the subject of Esquimeaux music. A large number of native melodies are included and the volume makes interesting reading. Doubtless the work includes such songs as The Wail of the Whale, The Feel of the Seal, the Bear Scare, and so on.

Considerable importance is attached in the Paris Conservatoire to the study of the percussion instruments. It must be remembered that both Massenet and d’Indy have had considerable experience in this important branch of orchestral study. Every kind of drum, cymbal, glockenspiel, etc., that can be imagined is included.

Oscar Hammerstein has scored another striking success in London at the opening of his new opera houses with Quo Vadis? It is said that there were over 2,000 people on the “waiting list” who failed to get in on the opening night. Two of the most successful members of the cast were American singers—Felice Lyne and Orville Harrold.

It is not only in America that operatic rehearsals are too few. Andre Messager, of the Opera Comique in Paris, complains that it is impossible to do justice to new works, and to the regular repertoire operas with the scant rehearsals possible. He points out that while modern works are far more exacting than the older ones, and the public far more critical, the opportunities for adequate rehearsal have decreased.

Some years ago The Etude commented upon the ridiculously insufficient accommodations of the famous Stuttgart Conservatory in Germany. At that time no such building or instruments as our reviewer saw would have been tolerated in a large American city. Recent information and pictures from Germany reveal that the institution’s present building is beautiful and modern in the extreme. The Etude is just as glad to appreciate the wonderful improvement as it was to condemn the former unworthy quarters.

The Halle concerts at Manchester, England, over which Dr. Hans Richter presided for so many years, are this year being given under the direction of various visiting conductors. Among those who have been engaged are Oscar Fried, Henry Wood, Thomas Beecham, Granville Bantock, Gabrilowitch, Balling, Schalk, Müller-Reuter and Frederick Bridge. This experiment of visiting conductors has already proved its value with the London Symphony Orchestra. It would be interesting to try it out with one of the big American symphony orchestras.

A London paper presents to our astonished gaze the picture of a “turn” given at one of the “Music Halls” of the British capital in which a pianist is depicted supporting a violinist in mid-air with his right arm, while he is busy pounding the piano with his left hand. The violinist is contributing his share by scraping away for all he is worth. Some little novelty of this sort might add a great deal of interest to the innumerable concerts we are expected to attend during the season—Richard Strauss, for example, conducting Till Eulenspiegel, and at the same time balancing a bowl of goldfish on his head.

Mr. Albert Visetti, a well-known teacher of singing in London, has been writing to an English paper complaining that British students are prone to go to the continent to study singing instead of remaining at home and studying with those who thoroughly understand British needs and British character. There is something wonderfully familiar in all this!

Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words have become so familiar that one forgets the significance of the title. Max Bernhardt, however, has written a “play without words,” to which Humperdinck will write the music. Why not go further in this matter? Why not have a symphonic poem without an orchestra, or a piano concerto without a piano, or a Strauss opera without music? But perhaps we have already had that!

A new chapel at Maidstone Gaol, England was recently dedicated by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The organist for the occasion was one of the convicts. Mendelssohn’s Oh, for the Wings of a Dove was performed, and the hymns included O God, Our Help in Ages Past and We Love the Place. We are inclined to wonder if the last-mentioned hymn evoked as much enthusiasm as the Mendelssohn selection.

 

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