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The World of Music

All the necessary news of the musical world told concisely, pointedly and justly

At Home. 

Gustave Charpentier, the composer of Louise, will be in America by the time this issue of The Etude is in print. He is going to direct the rehearsals of his new work, Julien, at the Metropolitan Opera House.

Readers of The Etude will extend their sympathy to Mr. and Mrs. Everette E. Truette, who have sustained the loss of their son, Arthur. Mr. Truette has frequently edited the organ department of this journal.

An opera by André Messager, director of the Paris Opera and composer of the light opera, Veronique, that was so popular here a few years ago, will shortly be produced. The new work is entitled Béatrice, and will have its initial performance in Nice early next year.

The Russian opera, Boris Godounov, has been given again at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. This work of the erratic genius Moussorgski seems likely to become a classic. It has many crude spots in it, but is, nevertheless, a powerful emotional work which shows little signs of its forty years of existence.

There is great credit due to the Century Opera Company for its enterprise in giving opera in English at reasonable prices. The Aborn Brothers, who are responsible for the management, are to be congratulated on the very great success the company has achieved.

Final judgment has been entered by Justice Pendleton of the Supreme Court of New York County restraining the Hammersteins from the production of opera until 1920. The Metropolitan Opera Company has thus scored a victory. The Hammersteins, however, have appealed.

Andreas Dippel, formerly the impresario of the Philadelphia-Chicago Opera Company, has promised New York an eight-months season of light opera in which he will produce works by composers such as Léhar, Straus and others who are already known in America, as well as many who are not known. Dippel has promised also that American composers will not be neglected.

A surgeon in Poughkeepsie is reported to have used music as an anæsthetic in the case of a fourteen-year-old boy who was too weak for chloroform or ether. This sounds somewhat incredible, and yet we can call to mind much popular music of the day which is well calculated to put any musician to sleep—if it does not irritate him beyond endurance.

The Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra recently gave the first American performance of Arthur Hinton’s Second Symphony. The work was melodious in character, but at the same time modern in spirit, and proved to have far more attractive qualities than other orchestral works by more widely heralded English composers. Mr. Hinton is the husband of Miss Katharine Goodson, who was the soloist at the concert in which the symphony was produced. Miss Goodson played the Grieg concerto to a most enthusiastic audience.

An organization known as the American Academy of Violin Makers has been formed with the avowed object of raising the standard of the quality of American-made violins. Thirty representative violin makers have already subscribed to the Academy, and others are expected to join. Mr. August M. Gemünder, editor of the Violin World, is responsible for the movement, and deserves hearty commendation for his initiative.

The death has occurred of Ellsworth C. Phelps, a well-known organist, composer and music teacher of Brooklyn, N. Y. He was a native of Rockfall, Conn., in 1827, and became famous through his Hiawatha Symphony, performed for the first time by the Thomas Orchestra in 1878. For many years Mr. Phelps has been one of the leading organists of Brooklyn. He is survived by a widow, son, daughter and step-daughter.

The Sinfonia Fraternity of America recently held their annual banquet at the Lasalle Hotel, Chicago, at which new officers were elected for the coming year, Mr. Percy J. Burrell being elected President again. Much important work was done—the Third Annual Prize Competition of $100 in gold for a male chorus with piano or organ accompaniment was offered, a musicians’ pilgrimage to Europe was inaugurated, and a debate was held in which the subject of licensing music teachers was discussed.

The first performance in America of Fevrier’s Monna Vanna recently took place in Boston. The leading rôles were entrusted to Mary Garden, Yanni Marcoux, Lucien Muratore and Paolo Ludikar. It will be remembered that when this work was produced in Paris in 1909, Maeterlinck, the author of the libretto, desired that his wife should sing the title role, but Février and the opera directors felt otherwise. The production is said to have marked the high-water mark of excellence in the achievement of the Boston Opera Company.

There is an evening paper published in New York called the Vorwarts (Forward), which has a circulation of some 200,000 a day among the Russian, Polish and German Jews of New York. It proudly owns the largest building on the East Side in the neighborhood of little Italy and the Bowery, and in that building is a concert hall seating about 1,200 people. Every Sunday night concerts are given by artists of great excellence. The charges for admission range from ten to fifteen cents.

The idea of standardizing music teaching seems to be steadily gaining ground. The Ohio State Music Teachers’ Association has adopted the suggestion of its president for the year, Mr. Lynn B. Dana, for a plan of State-wide organization which takes in every music teacher in Ohio. So far, says Musical America, thirty-seven counties have organized under the plan, and the interest in State standardization of music has increased to an amazing extent.

The performance of Der Rosenkavalier, the most recent opera of Richard Strauss, has aroused a great deal of comment in New York, as might be expected. The Metropolitan opera stars proved to be fully equal to their parts in the difficult music provided. The opera is unquestionably a masterpiece, but its plot would, we fear, prevent it from winning the prize offered by the American Federation of Women’s Clubs, had it ever been eligible. The work deals with the love affairs of a certain group of distinguished people living in Vienna in the time of Maria Theresa.

The Milwaukee opera season opened recently with a performance of Ponchielli’s La Gioconda by the Chicago Grand Opera Company with Titta Ruffo, Carolina White and Aristodemo Giorgini. There were 3,000 people in the hall of the Auditorium. Nevertheless, there seems some probability that Milwaukee will lose the Chicago Opera unless a sufficient guarantee is forthcoming. In fact, Bernhard Ulrich, the business manager, declared it would be the last visit the Chicago Opera would pay to Milwaukee for some time. Milwaukee, however, will still have operatic presentations by the Canadian National Grand Opera Company.

The sum of $900 has been sent by American admirers of the late Alexandre Guilmant to the fund started in France for the purpose of raising a monument to the great organist. Mr. William C. Carl, chairman of the American committee, received the following acknowledgment from the official treasurer of the committee formed in Paris: “Dear Sir—I wish to thank you personally, both in my name and in the name of the Committee of the Guilmant Memorial Monument, for the check which you have handed in. The total amount of the subscription now aggregates ten thousand francs ($2,000), including the sum you have given. Will you kindly transmit our thanks to the American subscribers, and receive, my dear sir, the assurance of our best regards.”

An organization to be known as the American Society of the Friends of Music has been formed in New York. It is to be strictly non-professional, though there are some famous musicians at the head of it, including Georges Barrère, Frank Damrosch, Walter Damrosch, Franz Kneisel, Karl Muck, Kurt Schindler, Toscanini and Felix Weingartner. The society is analogous to the German Die Freunde der Musik, and similar societies in Italy and France. Its avowed purposes are “to encourage and aid all musical events that will promote and increase the knowledge of music and improve musical taste and culture.”

The death of William Horatio Clarke at Reading, Mass., will be deeply deplored by our organist readers. He was a noted organist, organ-builder, composer and writer on musical subjects. Mr. Clarke was born at Newton, Mass., March 8, 1840, and educated at Dedham. He moved to Boston, and then on to Dayton, O., where he was superintendent of schools. He then established an organ factory in Indianapolis, and several years ago he retired to Boston. He recently published a book, entitled Clarke’s Standard Organ Building, which can well be regarded as a masterpiece.

All over the country musicians are doing honor to the memory of Stephen Foster, who has now been dead for fifty years. It is well that his semi-centennial should, be fittingly celebrated, for no composer has ever come quite so close to the heart of the American public as the composer of Old Folks at Home, Massa’s in de Cold, Cold Ground, Old Black Joe, and other favorites. Foster’s music is unpretentious enough, and represented only the “popular” music of his day. It has proved, however, to be the popular music of all time, not only in this country but abroad, and the plaintive melodies are clearly destined to live long after the hideous banalities of ragtime, together with the more ponderous works of some Contemporary European trained “American” composers, have passed away forever.

San Francisco does not seem to be likely to have an opera house of its own after all. Sometime ago some wealthy citizens guaranteed a fund of $850,000 for a municipal opera house to be erected on property belonging to the city and valued at a million dollars. This was hailed as a philanthropic act until it was discovered that the philantropists had attached a string to their gift in the way of special privileges. Those who subscribed $15,000 towards the building were to be entitled to reserve a box until twenty-four hours before a performance. A subscriber of $2,000 was entitled to two seats until within twenty-four hours. Then the Musical Association of San Francisco wanted ten directors on the board, while the city of San Francisco was to have only five. The Mayor of the city came to the conclusion that the wealthy music lovers of San Francisco desired to have a private monopoly on municipal property, and that their generosity was not as disinterested as it at first appeared. Consequently he vetoed the ordinance when it came before him after having passed the Board of Supervisors. San Francisco is now in a turmoil over the matter, and the project of municipal opera has become embroiled in local politics to a deplorable extent.

An enterprising gentleman of the name of Robert B. Kellogg, president of the Kellogg Music Company, was recently found guilty of a charge of having used the mails for fraudulent purposes. He conducted a publishing business in which he advertised for song- poems, which he was prepared to set to music and to publish for the sum of $21.00. For this sum he advertised to secure a copyright on the song, deliver a hundred copies to the author and to push the sales. Although the defense was able to produce witnesses who declared themselves satisfied with the bargain, the Government was able to prove that in many instances there had been no adequate return for the expense involved. An admission was obtained from Kellogg that his business netted him as much as $800 a month. He also admitted that, except in one instance, he had never paid any dividends or royalties to the writers of these songs. The Government inspectors claim that Kellogg and others engaged in similar peculiar ways have published no less than 50,000 compositions during the past six or seven years that have cost the luckless song-writers of the country a fortune. None, say the inspectors, has received a profit on the investment. Kellogg was sentenced to thirteen months’ imprisonment, though he was released on bail, and an appeal from the verdict will be made.

Abroad.

Emperor William of Germany will donate a special prize for the international competition of German singing choral societies to be held in Zurich in 1915.

A performance of Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride, revised by Richard Strauss, is to be given at the Royal Opera in Berlin under the baton of Strauss himself.

Ferruccio Busoni has just completed a new orchestral work, Sinfonisches Nocturne. This and a new piano concerto by the same distinguished composer are to be heard in Berlin early in the new year.

There has been a shuffing (sic) of the directorial cards at the Paris Opèra in which Jacques Rouché has been appointed to succeed the present co-directors, MM. Messager and Broussan, for a term of seven years from January 1, 1915.

A sacred service was recently held over the grave of Tschaikowsky in Moscow in commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of his death. Sacred cantatas of the composer were sung. Similar services were held in St. Petersburg and other large cities of the Russian Empire, and many musical societies participated.

A London barber of enterprising ways has put a talking machine in his shop wherewith to beguile his customers during the tedious operation of getting a hair cut. The London Musical News maliciously suggests that Samson and Delilah might best be drawn upon for appropriate music.

At a recent sale in London a letter of Gluck’s fetched $1,100. A signed manuscript of Bach fetched $125, and a signed letter by Beethoven was sold for $225. A letter by Chopin to his publishers went for $100. An original manuscript of Mozart’s containing about twenty-seven bars of music and has autograph brought $125, and a signed letter of Schubert’s sold for $250.

According to government consular reports there is only a very small field for American pianos in India. It is stated by Consul H. D. Baker that probably not half a million out of the 315,000,000 inhabitants of India can afford to buy pianos. Most of the Europeans in India, who would form the market, lead a somewhat migratory life, and American pianos are too big and too solidly constructed to fill the needs of Indian conditions.

The prize of one hundred pounds (five hundred dollars) offered by the London Evening News for a song for man’s voice was won by Mr. Albert Ketélbey, whose works are familiar to Etude readers. Mr. Ketélbey was educated at the London Trinity College of Music, and during the six years he was there he won every prize for which he was eligible to compete. He has been a rather persistent prize-winner ever since. We certainly extend to him our heartiest congratulations, and hope he will win many more prizes.

A new opera by Umberto Giordano, composer of Andreâ Chenier, has been given in Milan. The new work is a one-act opera named Mere Mariano, and employs no male voices. The plot deals with the love of Camela, a woman of the streets, for her son, whom she has placed in a convent so that he may not come in contact with the life she is leading. The child dies, but the fact of his death is concealed from the mother by the sympathetic Sisters.

Now that the copyright laws no longer interfere with the production of Wagner’s Parsifal, performances of the work are being arranged all over Europe. This is very curious, in view of the virulent opposition with which the opera met at the time of its initial production. Most curious of all, however, is the information that a performance of the work is to be given at Leipzig. Nowhere was Wagner more cordially disliked or more censoriously criticized than in Leipzig, which in his time, was strongly under the influence of Mendelssohn and his followers, Reinecke, Hauptmann, Richter, etc. The world of music owes these men an everlasting debt, but nevertheless, they certainly failed to realize the magnitude of Richard Wagner’s genius.

Londoners have recently celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the Queen’s Hall, and consequently the twentieth year of Mr. Newman’s management. The Queen’s Hall has been responsible for a tremendous increase in musical interest in England. It produced a great conductor in Sir Henry Wood; it has been the birthplace of two great symphony orchestras—the Queen’s Hall Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra—and it has welcomed many a young composer, British and foreign, who could not obtain a hearing anywhere else. Sir Arthur Sullivan once said to Mr. Newman, “Newman, my boy, you are doing more good here than all the colleges of music put together.”

One of the participants in the Scott Antarctic Expedition recently gave an address before the Royal Geographical Society in London, in which he said: “Every Saturday evening we held a sing-song, when every man participated to the best of his ability. It was very amusing to see the way the songs were apportioned out. For instance, Campbell, who I would have considered the gravest of our party, produced the comic songs; I, who am by far the worst sailor, was responsible for most of the sea songs; and the sailors, for the most part, confined themselves to songs of sentiment. On Sundays we managed to rake together at least a dozen hymns and a couple of psalms, and Campbell read us a chapter of the New Testament, of which we had a pocket edition.”

Russian musical enthusiasm finds its outward expression in cold cash. The Musical Courier informs its readers that “moneys that had been contributed to placing a Tschaikowsky statue in St. Petersburg Conservatory showed an unneeded surplus of 32,211 rubles 50 kopecks. In 1911 that surplus had been turned over to the central body of the Russian Imperial Musical Society, to be bestowed upon needy and worthy composers and musical artists. The Imperial Ministry now finds the fund ample for further application to matters and objects going to the general improvement of Russian musical taste.”

Sir Henry J. Wood has given practical demonstration of his faith in the modern feminist movement by employing six women in his famous orchestra, two in the first violins, two in the seconds and two in the violas. Symphony orchestras of excellent attainments in which the string section largely consists of women are by no means uncommon in England, nor have they been for some years, but this is the first time an orchestra of the size and prestige of the Queen’s Hall Orchestra has employed them permanently. It is interesting to note, in passing, that the Philadelphia Orchestra employs a lady harpist, but this is not so unusual.

As we go to press the news arrives of the death of Stephane Raoul Pugno, who passed away while on a recital tour in Russia. Pugno, with the possible exception of Saint-Säens, has been the foremost pianist of France for some years. He was born at Montrouge, Ile de France, June 23, 1852, but spent his life almost entirely in Paris. He graduated from the Conservatoire and held several important organ appointments. Later he became professor of the piano and of harmony at the Conservatoire. He also became known as a composer. It is chiefly as a piano virtuoso, however, that he is known. He made several tours of the United States.

 

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