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World of Music

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A ballet-pantomime entitled Pan and the Star by Edward Burlingame Hill was recently given at the Boston Opera House. The new work proved to be very charming.

The Metropolitan Opera Company has announced its intention of prolonging the Philadelphia season to the extent of including three more performances of opera.

A fund has been started in Newark, N. J., for the purpose of providing that city with a municipal organ. The project was set afoot by the Musicians’ Club of Newark on New Years’ Day.

Frederick W. Wodell, the noted voice teacher well known to Etude readers, has recently composed a very effective cantata, The American Flay, which has been performed in Boston with success.

Caruso has completed his season with the Metropolitan Opera Company, and will return to Europe to fulfil an engagement with the Monte Carlo Opera.

Mr. D. A. Clippinger has been giving an interesting series of lectures and recitals upon the songs of MacDowell, Charles Willeby, Margaret Ruthven Lang, Hugo Wolf, G. W. Chadwick, as well as French and Russian composers.

Harry Rowe Shelley, the well known organist and composer, formerly organist and musical director of the Ffth (sic) Avenue Baptist Church, Manhattan, has been appointed organist at the Central Congregational Church, Brooklyn.

Dr. and Mrs. Horatio Parker have announced the engagement of their daughter, Charlotte to W. Howard Matthai of Baltimore. By the time this issue of The Etude appears in print the happy couple will be on their honeymoon. A thousand felicitations.

On Christmas Eve a concert was given in San Francisco by the Press Club. The concert took place at “Lotta’s Fountain,” a great open place in the city, and the chief soloists were John McCormack and Bernice de Pasquale. The audience consisted of 50,000 people.

A performance was recently given by the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra of Paderewski’s symphony intended as a glorification of Poland. The work was sympathetically conducted by Leopold Stokowski, who is himself of Polish origin. The work earned high praise from those who heard it, and contained moments of great poetic sweetness as well as great climactic effects.

Death has been active among musicians of late. Among those who have passed away recently are Adolf Wilhartitz, composer, director, and teacher, well known in America and Europe, for long resident in Los Angeles, Cal., and George Frothingham, the original Friar Tuck in the production of Robin Hood by the famous Bostonians.

It is said that the Music League of America, designed for the purpose of bringing before the public new artists of real merit, has not been altogether successful and as a result there has been a “shake-up” among the officers. Mrs. Harriman, widow of the railroad king, is therefore coming to the assistance of the organization.

The report has been spread abroad that Josef Stransky is to act as conductor of a number of concerts at San Francisco during the Exposition months. The expense of conveying the New York Philharmonic Orchestra—to say nothing of the inconvenience—has been deemed too great. Stransky will no doubt be glad to lead the Exposition Orchestra, which will be an excellent one.

War relics that Fritz Kreisler brought with him from the battlefields of Europe were recently sold in New York, the $2000 realized being handed over to the fund for the widows and orphans of Austrian and German soldiers. One of the relics, which brought $400, was a splinter, mounted in gold, from the Cossack lance that wounded the great violinist. The splinter was extracted from Kreisler’s leg when in the hospital.

One of the successes of the opera season has been Giovanni Martinelli, the young tenor of the Metropolitan Opera Company, New York. Martinelli is the oldest of a family of fourteen brothers and sisters, the youngest of whom is only three years old. Martinelli himself is only twenty-eight, and if he continues to develop in the way he has begun is destined to be one of the world’s great singers.

The late Gerrit Smith, one of the foremost of American organists, possessed a collection of valuable works for the organ including manuscripts from a great number of the world’s leading composers, in addition to scores of works on theoretical musical subjects. This remarkable collection has been presented by Mrs. Smith to the Guilmant Organ School, directed by Dr. William C. Carl. The late Dr. Smith was one of the vice-presidents of the institution, and frequently lectured there.

The First National Convention of the American Guild of Organists recently took place in New York at Havemeyer Hall, Columbia University. A number of interesting organ recitals were given by prominent organists and some most valuable addresses were given. Among the representative organists who took an active part in the proceedings were Carl G. Schmidt, Charles Heinroth, Samuel A. Baldwin, James T. Quarles, William H. Carpenter, Madeley Richardson, Rev. Howard Duffield, John Hyatt Brewer, Waldo S. Pratt, T. Tertius Noble, Rev. Ernest Stires, Walter Henry Hall, Henry Dyke Sleeper, Everett E. Truette, Mark Andrews, Arthur Foote, Arthur Scott Brook, Warren R. Hedden, William John Hall, and others.

Opera enthusiasts in New York have been surprised to hear that Alfred Hertz, the noted Wagnerian conductor of the Metropolitan Opera Company, has resigned his position owing to the fact that he feels he has drifted somewhat into a groove. He is chiefly employed in conducting a somewhat limited repertoire of German opera, and feels that it would be dangerous to his own artistic well-being to continue in this path indefinitely. He realizes that this way lies artistic sterility. He has thus shown us how high are his ideals, and led us the better to appreciate the fine work he has done at the Metropolitan. His successor will be Arthur Bodansky, at present with the Mannheim Opera, but formerly with the Prague Opera.

Mrs. H. H. A. Beach, the most famous of America’s women composers, has composed a Panama hymn, which has been accepted by the committee of the Panama Pacific Exposition as the official hymn, and will be sung at all special ceremonies by the festival chorus. The work has been given a preliminary performance by the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston. The words, by Wendell Phillips Stafford, were originally published in the Atlantic Monthly. The work is very melodious, richly harmonized, and very effectively writen (sic) for choral singing. It is pervaded by the true festival spirit, bright, warmly colored, and possessed of a fine sense of dignity.

A portable piano that can be packed up about the size of a rather large suitcase is the latest invention. When “knocked down” it weighs 125 pounds and measures 41 by 48 by 8 inches. When set up it is said to yield a rich, sweet tone. Great ingenuity has been displayed in making the instrument as light as possible, and at the same time able to stand a certain amount of “knocking about” incidental to travel as baggage.

The example of Detroit in establishing a Symphony Orchestra is one which may well be followed by other cities—given the man to do it. The man responsible, according to Mr. N. J. Corey, for the development of Detroit as a center of symphonic music is Weston Gales. Mr. Corey has written an article that appeared recently in Musical America in which he somewhat humorously describes how Mr. Weston Gales breezed into Automobileville and by virtue of his enthusiasm and ability succeeded in establishing an Orchestra of high ideals on an excellent financial footing. Mr. Corey’s article has one rather serious defect, however. It does not explain how much the enthusiastic Mr. Gales owes for his success to his secretary and business manager—Mr. N. J. Corey.

The Directors of the New York Symphony Orchestra, and a number of distinguished musicians including Mme. Sembrich, Mme. Gadski, Fritz Kreisler, Harold Bauer, Franz Kneisel and Walter Damrosch, and others, recently paid a “surprise visit” to Mr. and Mrs. Harry Harkness Flagler, who had previously been decoyed from home. When the generous philanthropist and his wife returned home they were received to the tune of the Minuet from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, played by some of the members of the New York Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Flagler was “arrested” and found guilty of having endowed the New York Symphony with $100,000 a year, for which he was sentenced to receive a large vase of Greek design, made of beaten silver and gold, with a suitable inscription on the base. The proceedings wound up with a dance.

Rhestr Swyddogol o’r Trestynau Gwobrwyon Amodau, etc. Eisteddfod Gydgenedfæthol Ffair y Byd, all of which we find by way of announcement upon the cover of the Welsh Sing Contest (Eisteddfod) which is to be held at the great Fair in San Francisco, California, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from July 27th to July 30th. The contest will be held in the new two-million- dollar auditorium in the civic centre about one mile from the fair grounds. This great hall will accommodate 10,000. All honor to the Welsh-Americans who are finding such joy in this coming festival—or shall we not call them real out-and-out Americans who are bringing America something of the fine Welsh spirit (Elbert Hubbard says “If a man calls himself a Bulgo-American, shoot him in the hyphen”)? The prizes to be won by competing bands, choral societies, poets, etc., run well up into the thousands. The first prize for competing choral societies is $10,000.00. If you want to know more about the event, write to the International Eisteddfod, Exposition Building, Pine and Battery Streets, San Francisco, California.

In view of the general collapse of opera in America this season owing largely to the war, it is comforting to realize that this is no real indication that Americans do not want opera. The abandonment of the Boston and Chicago seasons, followed by the discontinuance of the Century Opera Company and the French Opera Company in New Orleans, are offset by the fact that in Philadelphia are two amateur societies each giving remarkable performances of opera that have attracted large audiences. Both companies have recently given striking performances of opera. The Behrens Opera Club gave a surprisingly good performance of Mozart’s Magic Flute; and the Philadelphia Operatic Society was fortunate enough to secure Victor Herbert to conduct a performance of his Serenade. Both performances were so successful that it is quite plain that there is room in the city for both clubs without encroaching upon the territory of the third Philadelphia opera society—The Savoy Opera Company—which confines itself mostly to light opera of the Gilbert and Sullivan type. What Philadelphians can do, others can do also, and it is to be hoped that similar societies will spring up in all of our leading cities.

The long awaited production of Mme. Sans-Gêne, Sardou’s comedy in operatic form to Umberto Giordani’s music, has at last taken place in New York at the hands of the Metropolitan Company. Giordani’s opera has been one of the promised novelties for several seasons, but it was only last summer that Giordani was prevailed upon by Gatti-Casazza, Toscanini and his publishers to complete the score. The rôle of Napoleon was allotted to Pasquale Amato, while Geraldine Farrar undertook the title-rôle. Martinelli as Lefebvre, Segurola as Fouché, and Paul Althouse as Neipperg were the remaining important personages in the caste. The critics are at one in praising the artists, and also in praising the lavish production which the work received. There seems to be a greater division of opinion regarding the music, however, though none appears to rate it very highly. One critic asserts that the comic opera, The Duchess of Dantzig, written by the Anglo-Belgian-American composer Ivan Caryll, comes nearer in spirit to the Sardou original than Giordani’s work. A more intelligent critic, Mr. Henry T. Finck, apparently can not find much to admire in the work, going so far as to say that Giordani’s music “lacks distinction and the charm of individuality, getting less attractive from act to act.” Henry Meltzer more mercifully concludes that “Giordani has here and there been really equal to the musical exigencies of his theme.” Where the music has not been adversely criticized it has “been damned with faint praise.”

The sixth annual convention of the Music Teachers’ National Association took place early in January. Nearly every section of the country was represented and some of the delegates came from abroad. Much of the time was taken up in the discussion of music in the public schools. The chief speakers were: Percy A. Scholes, of London, England, who spoke on the subject of musical education in Great Britain; George C. Gow, of Vassar, on revolutionary harmony, more especially with relation to Arnold Schönberg; Charles N. Boyd of Pittsburgh, on “Index Systems for Musicians;” Hamilton C. MacDougall, on “Observations of the New Era in Piano Study;” President Farnsworth on “The Will to Practice;” Waldo S. Pratt of Hartford, Conn., on methods of teaching music from the sixteenth century to to-day; Will Earhart on the High School Orchestra; Peter W. Dykema, of University of Wisconsin, advocated the creation of office of official musician in city, state and nation, similar to the “Stadt-Musikant” of Germany; Paul Stoeving of London on “The New Mission of the Violin;” Hans Schnieder, and Henry Holden Huss discussed matters relating to piano study; Elias Blum, on “Music in the Pacific Northwest;” Edward H. Birge on standardization. Others who took an active part were Hollis E. Dann, Arnold J. Gantvoort, Waldo S. Pratt. Before the convention adjourned for luncheon on the first day the following executive board was elected; Mr. Boyd, Pittsburgh; S. L. York, Detroit; Kate S. Chittenden, New York. These officers will succeed Charles H. Farnsworth, Allen Spencer and H. Dike Sleeper, whose terms of office have expired. The election of officers for the ensuing year has not yet taken place.

A short time ago the National Federation of Musical Clubs organized a Students Department to aid advanced students and young professionals in solving their many problems. The Department is under the direction of Nellie Strong Stevenson of New York City, Chairman, assisted by Ernestine Schumann Heink, representing Voice; Maud Powell, Violin; Fannie Bloomfield Zeisler, Piano; E. R. Kroeger, Theory and Composition; Herman Perlet, Orchestra, and W. J. Henderson, Criticism.

This Department announces a musical contest in Voice, Piano and Violin, beginning in March, 1915, for young musicians not over thirty years of age. They must have been trained wholly in this country and must perform certain works before a state jury, and, if successful, before a district jury afterwards. In this way the very best representatives of American musical education will be chosen to give a concert at the next Biennial of the Federation of Los Angelos, California, in June, 1915. The scheme is philanthropic and also patriotic, and is to be hoped that it will call forth a hearty response.

All applicants must write for information to the Vice-President of their state whose address any federated musical club president can furnish. Some of the conditions are as follows:

1. Contestants must have received all their musical training in America. 2. Contestants must not be over thirty years of age. 3. Contestants must perform entirely without notes before their state jury and later before their district jury at least three or, if desired, more compositions, namely: Vocalists—One air by Handel, Mozart, Gluck or an early Italian composer: A short group of German (Schubert, Schumann or Brahms) French and American songs; One modern oratorio or opera aria (English language preferred). Pianists—One important work by Bach or Beethoven, one important work by Chopin or Schumann, one work by MacDowell and, if requested, one work by Liszt or some other important modern composition. Violinists—A Bach unaccompanied sonata or early classic Italian work or a Handel sonata ; One movement from a Bruch, Saint-Saens, Mendelssohn or other standard concerto; Two or three good short character pieces, showing style, finish, color, charm and individuality; One brilliant “showpiece” by a noted violinist-composer (such as Paganini, Sarasate, Wieniawski). 4. Contestants must perform behind a screen and be known to the jury by number only, thus insuring absolute impartiality. 5. Contestants need not be members of a federated club, but, to be eligible, they must join the National Club within the Students Department of the N. F. M. C. (for advanced students and young professionals) by sending with their names and addresses the fee, one dollar, to the Vice-President of their state, who will remit it to the Federation treasurer. 6. Contestants must arrange for their own expenses in the contest, but it is suggested that clubs, if willing, help defray the contestants’ district and biennial expenses, where necessary, or that the final winners give a “benefit” concert in their respective cities or clubs. 7. The prize will consist of the opportunity to secure engagements from the 309 federated clubs, whose delegates will come to Los Angeles with instructions to engage from these winners, if satisfactory, the artists for their “American Day” program.

Abroad

The usually reliable New York Tribune, reports that Paderewski’s brother has been killed fighting for the Russians against the Germans in Poland.

Emil Sauer has been appointed director of the Meisterschule in Vienna during the absence of Leopold Godowsky, who is at present in this country.

A one-act opera entitled Guido Ferranti, by Jane van Etten Andrews was recently produced for the first time in Chicago. It is founded on Oscar Wilde’s play, The Duchess of Padua.

“Music as usual” seems to be the slogan in the South of France, where some effort is being made to keep up appearances. There is a stipulation, however, that only “patriotic” pieces should be played at the opera and concerts.

About two thousand instrumental players in Berlin are said by a London musical paper to be out of employment. There may be some exaggeration in this statement, but it is not likely that musicians are having a rosy time in the German capital just now.

The report that William Mengelberg was dead has proved to be in Mark Twain’s classic phrase, “greatly exaggerated.” He fell downstairs and the accident induced concussion of the brain. Fortunately, however, he is recovering and hopes soon to resume his musical duties.

Berlin appears to be still very active in a musical way, the chief artists heard at the most recently reported concerts being Busoni, Arthur Nikisch, the Philharmonic Orchestra concerts, Teresa Carreno, Sistermans, von Reuter, and Blüthner. Many concerts have been given in aid of those who have suffered through the war.

The death recently occurred in Nova Scotia of Gregorio Verdi, a nephew of the great composer. Gregorio Verdi was for many years an officer in the British Navy, and served with the British fleet in the bombardment of Alexandria at the time Great Britain was at war with her present ally, Russia. He afterwards set up in business for himself at Halifax, N. S., where he passed away in his ninety-first year.

One of the first musicians to fall in the war was Albéric Magnard, who was shot while attempting to defend his house from the invading Prussians. Many in Paris are now preparing to honor the dead composer by giving a performance of his opera, Guercoeur. It is also suggested that a street hitherto named after Richard Wagner should be named after him. Whether these plans will materialize remains to be seen.

It is reported that Raoul Gunsbourg, the director of the Monte Carlo Opera, so dislikes the German syllable at the end of his name that he intends to change it to Gunsgrad. If war calls out the most heroic of a man’s qualities, as has been claimed by no less than Ruskin, it also draws out some exceedingly small sides to his character.

The death recently occurred of H. Lane Wilson, the well known English composer and singer. The best known of his works published under his own name was probably Flora’s Holiday, a song cycle, but he was also very successful with his arrangements of old English Melodies. He also published many successful songs under the nom de plume of Robert Batten. As a singer he attained wide fame in England, and was also successful as an organist.

If any American musician who corresponded with the late S. Coleridge Taylor has any letters that he believes would be of interest in a biography now being written by W. C. Berwick Sayers, the author, who resides at 65 Avondale Road, South Croydon, England, will be glad to receive copies of them.

News comes from Paris that Fanny M. Reed is dead. This means perhaps nothing to the present generation, for the singer strange to say remained an amateur all her days. But from the time she left New York, shortly after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, her studio in Paris was a Mecca for artists, and she was almost as well known in London and New York. Among her intimates were Massenet, Gounod, Liszt, Arthur Sullivan, and a host of others hardly less distinguished. It is said also that Sybil Sanderson and Mary Garden owed not a little of their early success in Paris to her kindly generosity.

Felix Weingartner is one of those eminent musicians whose plans have been badly upset by the war. He was to have conducted the Boston opera as usual, but during the past season Boston has had no opera. Furthermore, the splendid field of operations that lay before him at Darmstadt, where he was to have been director of the Court Theatre, has also been temporarily closed to him. He is conducting occasional concerts in Vienna, and also acting as one of the conductors at the opera.

The London Times has fished up a letter written by Verdi in 1870, at the time of the Prussian siege of Paris. It is strongly anti-German in tone, and in its insistence that Italy should enter the war is strongly prophetic of what many leading Italians are writing to-day. “I should have preferred signing a peace defeated with the French, to this inertia that will cause us to be despised, one day.” Verdi was wrong. Italy kept out of the war and to-day nobody blames her. And if she keeps out of the present strife who will blame her in thirty years time?

Musicians in England are complaining because of the decision not to hold the great Choral Festival in Birmingham this year “on account of the war.” Side by side with this comes the announcement that Birmingham is “busier than usual” also on account of the war, for Birmingham is right in the center of the coal and iron business, and is also the place where one of the leading rifle and ammunition manufacturing firms does its deadly work. Somehow the two statements don’t agree very well. It looks as if art and commerce had come into the conflict with the usual result that art gets the worst of it. Birmingham has seen the premier of many great choral works including Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Gounod’s Redemption and Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius.

Is it not probable, asks “Lancelot” in the London Referee, that Continental composers of late have, perhaps unconsciously to themselves, been expressing the evil turbulence which has culminated in the war? Certainly it would be difficult to surpass the suggestion of cataclysm that is found in some of their works. The tendency of such music is as much the destruction of form, law, and order, and all that makes for symmetry, balance, and beauty, as the firing of Krupp’s guns. If this be so, it explains why the widest-minded musicians failed to see any indication of artistic development in works of such incoherent and extreme dissonant character. At any rate it will be interesting to observe if Continental composers continue to write in this manner when peace is restored.

Bernhard Stavenhagen, one of the most noted of the later pupils of Franz Liszt died at Geneva, Dec. 27th, 1915. The cause of death was inflammation of the lungs. Stavenhagen was one of the great leaders of musical progress in Switzerland. His fame was not confined to his piano playing as he was also a most excellent conductor. He was born at Greiz (Reuss), Nov. 25th, 1862. In Berlin he studied with Kiel and Rudorff, winning the Mendelssohn prize in 1880, thereafter studying with Liszt at Weimar. His tours of America and Europe were noteworthy. In 1901 he became director of the Royal Academy of Music at Munich but later took upon his abode in Switzerland where he met with great success in his educational work.

Word has just been received from France that Martinus Everardus Christiaan Kriens has been killed at the front. Mr. Kriens was a noted composer and concert pianist, and was the only brother of Christian Kriens, the well known teacher in New York City. He was a gold medallist of The Royal Conservatory in The Hague, and member of “The Society of French Composers.” At the age of fifteen he conducted his own Symphony with his father’s orchestra in Haarlem, Holland, and with other leading orchestras in Holland. He was the composer of many large instrumental works, and numerous songs, published by leading European houses. An opera of his pen was just considered at The Grand Opera in Paris, when war broke out. Mr. Kriens was conductor of the French Opera in Paris, Boulogne, Cairo, and later in New Orleans, after which he remained in the United States for several years. He was a native of Holland, but lived mostly in Paris, and joined “The Corps of Foreign Volunteers” and was the very first one shot, the entire company being entirely wiped out afterward by one shell.

The British troops in France have signified a delight in mouth organs and accordingly an enterprising English contemporary, Musical News, started a fund for providing Thomas Atkins with his favorite instrument. All went well, and an order was sent in for the instruments, but unfortunately at the last moment it was discovered that such instruments are made only in Germany. Attempts were at once made to procure similar instruments from Switzerland or America, but in vain. The prospect of assisting the enemy by both aiding him in cash and relieving him of two hundred mouth organs seemed unpatriotic. Fortunately it was discovered, however, that the instruments were purchased from Germany before the war, and consequently any further profits made on them must go into English pockets. Thus Musical News is justified of its patriotic act.

 

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