The World of Music
The death has occurred of Johannes Miersch, a distinguished violinist and member of the faculty of the Cincinnati College of Music.
After twenty-six years abroad, Richard Buhlig, the well-known piano virtuoso has returned to America. He was born in Chicago. He has toured the principal cities of Europe with great success, and about ten years ago made a notable American tour.
The city of Baltimore has issued an ordinance to the effect that "musicians, performers, and other persons shall stand while singing or performing the Star Spangled Banner." What about pianists and 'cellists?
The American Symphony Orchestra of Chicago, of which Glenn Dillard Gunn is the conductor, has announced a series of ten concerts to be given this season at Cohan's Grand Opera House in Chicago.
Ignace Jan Paderewski has recently purchased 55,000 acres of ranch land in California. The ranch is known as "Rancio San Ignacio;" (sic) it is located west of Paso Robles in San Luis Obispo County.
Mme. Schumann-Heink recently visited a moving picture plant in California. Nothing daunted she was escorted into a den of lions and had her picture taken there. After facing the multitudes of music critics all over the world what are a few lions?
The death has taken place of William Taylor Francis, a well-known theatrical music director and composer. He was for many years associated in this capacity with Weber and Fields and later with Charles Frohman. He has a number of compositions to his credit, including the one time comic opera success, The Rollicking Girl.
Conservatories in all parts of the country are reporting increased registration this year. The prospects are that the season will be an exceedingly prosperous one for musicians who have made sensible preparations to take advantage of it.
The distinguished Metropolitan Opera soprano, Anna Fitziu, recently had the unique experience of singing the Star Spangled Banner before an audience of 18,000 baseball "fans" at the New York Polo Grounds. The game was between the Giants and the Yankees, and was played to assist a charitable fund.
The Brooklyn Music School Settlement donated $50 to the fund for the care of children stricken with infantile paralysis. The sum was originally intended to go towards the children's outing fund, but the paralysis scare put an end to children's outing in New York and the vicinity, so the fund was applied to a more urgent need.
The open air performances of opera in New York during September were given under the auspices of the Civic Orchestral Society. The operas were Die Walküre, Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci. Bodansky was the conductor and the casts included Amato, Gadski, Botta and Kathleen Howard.
What can be done by an earnest musician in a small town is made manifest in the excellent symphony orchestra formed in Owatonna, Minnesota, by Roy Graves, director of the violin department of Pillsbury Academy, Owatonna. The orchestra numbers sixty-eight pieces, gives Sunday concerts, and has won high praise from responsible critics.
Victor Herbert denies the statement that he is half German. Both of his parents were Irish. His father was a barrister and his mother was the daughter of the Irish painter, poet, novelist, musician, Samuel Lover. Herbert says that the only thing German about him is his education and for that he is duly grateful.
The Bohemian Club of San Francisco has had another joyous festival in the open. This year's play, the fourteenth was Gold, the libretto by Frederick S. Myrtle and music by that excellent organist Dr. Humphrey J. Stewart. The production was given as usual in the open air at the grove before an audience composed entirely of the club members and their guests. A performance for the public was also given, however, at the Cort Theatre. Preceding the play itself a program was given of selections from previous "high jinks" plays that have been given during the last fourteen years.
Community Music is growing apace. A "Song and Light" festival held recently in Central Park, New York by the New York Community Chorus, attracted a crowd of 30,000 people. The Slogan of the Community Chorus, "Everybody can sing and wants to," was amply fulfilled and there is now no doubt of the success of the enterprise. On the second night of the festival an even larger number of people took part and there was in addition to a huge crowd of onlookers attracted by the unusual sounds of a great chorus singing in New York's breathing space. Proceedings were directed by Arthur Farwell, President of the Community Chorus.
The Community idea has been further enhanced by the "community production" of Joseph, at Ocean Grove, N. J. The work is a "pasticcio" built on the biblical story of Joseph and music culled from the most popular operatic airs. The principal characters in this mixed musical drama were professional singers among whom Billy Sunday's choir leader was the shining light. The work was devised—one can hardly say "composed" or "written"—by William Dodd Chenery of Springfield, Ill., who admits that this is the third work of this kind he has engineered. Joseph has also been produced in Louisville, Ky.
During the last season of the Vienna Royal Opera there were 237 performances of fifty-seven operas and twelve ballets.
Verdi's opera, Falstaff, has been recently given at the Wiesbaden Royal Opera House. This is the first time Verdi's masterpiece has been performed in that city.
Katharine Goodson, the English pianist who has been so successful in America, is on tour in Australia and New Zealand. Concerts were given en passant in Honolulu and Pango Pango.
The terms of the will of the late David Mitchell, father of Mme. Melba, have been made public. The great prima-donna inherits a fortune of $215,000.
De Segurola, the distinguished basso of the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York, will turn impresario and present a season of opera in Havana next May. Among his stars will be Farrar and Amato.
Enrico Caruso is said to have signed a contract to sing in Buenos Aires next summer for $6,666 a performance. He will make $200,000 in the season. In round figures he will make more than three times what he makes with the Metropolitan.
At a recent auction sale for the benefit of war charities in London, a lock of Beethoven's hair went for $15.00. At another auction the silver English watch that belonged to Beethoven was sold for seventy-five dollars.
Eugen Ysaye, one of the greatest living masters of the violin, is coming to America and will be heard in several cities during the season. Ysaye has been living in London since the beginning of the war forced him to leave Belgium. His three sons are fighting in the Belgian army.
The death has taken place of Fritz Steinbach, the well-known German conductor. He was born at Grünsfeld in Baden, 1855, and was a graduate of the Leipzig Conservatorium, He has won distinction as an orchestral conductor especially in relation to the works of Brahms, with whom for a time he was associated. Since 1902 he has been Director of the Cologne Conservatory.
Pietro Mascagni, composer of Cavalleria Rusticana, has two sons in the Italian army, both on the firing line. He has been to the front to see them, and has frequently organized concert parties for the men in the Italian trenches. On one occasion he gave an impromptu concert upon the unexpected arrival of the King of Italy, who warmly congratulated him on the work he was doing and assured him that it was quite as valuable as that done by the men actually engaged in fighting.
Ivan Knorr, the eminent teacher of composition, died recently at Frankfort-on-Main. War time interference with news makes it impossible to state the exact date at present. Knorr was born at Mewe, near the Polish border, in 1853. He was a pupil of Reinecke. Among his best known pupils were Cyril Scott and Roger Quilter. His own works were in modern style and showed the influence of his Russian up-bringing.
A futile newspaper discussion as to the desirability of having German music in French concert-halls, and the proper attitude of the French toward German music generally elicited the following from a "trooper in the trenches," as he signed himself: "Let the sacred union of the country be maintained and strengthened up to the day of victory, but for Heaven's sake after the war let everyone be free to like whatever he thinks likable. If all Frenchmen took to liking and hating in a mass the same things they would cease to be a Frenchmen. It would be a pity and a great bore, too." As usual, the men who are doing the fighting are keeping their heads better than the onlookers.
Manuel, ex-king of Portugal, has suddenly come into the limelight as an organist. He has been living for some years in England, but a recital he gave at Eastbourne recently was his first public performance as an organist. The late Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, who was also Duke of Edinburgh and father of the present queen of Rumania, was an amateur violinist of some distinction, and occasionally played second violin at the concerts of the London Royal Amateur Orchestral Society, but Manuel has struck out a line for himself in becoming an organ expert in a land of organists. He deserves to go down to fame as "Manuel of the Manuals."
A promising young English composer, Lieut. George Butterworth, has met his death fighting for his country. He has won considerable success in England and is not unknown in this country through his song cycles based on Housman's Shropshire Lad. An orchestral rhapsody of his attracted attention at a London performance. He was the son of an English railway magnate. Previous to his death he had been awarded the Military Cross. It is good to know that musicians are as brave and dependable as men of other professions when their country needs them; but it is sad to think that the great holocaust of war has no mercy even for those who have disdained the commoner pursuits of men and consecrated themselves in some measure at least to the higher ideals of musical beauty.
The death has occured of Howard Elmore Parkhurst, organist and choirmaster of the Madison Square Presbyterian Church, New York for the past thirty-two years. Mr. Parkhurst met his death while bathing at Lavallette, N. J., being caught by the strong undertow, and drowned before aid could reach him. He was born at Ashland, Mass., 1848, and early commenced musical study. After graduation from Amherst in 1873 he went abroad for study with Rheinberger, Richter and W. T. Best. He has passed a useful career as choirmaster, conductor, teacher, composer and writer. He has also written much on Natural History subjects. He is survived by his wife and five children.
An organization to be known as the Cleveland Grand Opera Company has been formed by Cora Stetson Butler, with the object of providing opera for the Middle West. Many notable opera singers have been engaged, including the gifted and charming Yvonne de Tréville, Eleanora de Cisneros, Carl Jörn, and Henri Scott, the brilliant American basso, who has been loaned from the Metropolitan Opera of New York especially for this occasion, and an interesting repertoire of operas selected including such works as Manon, Carmen, Faust, Siegfried, Tristan und Isolde, etc. At present the head-quarters is in Cleveland, and the towns visited from that centre will be Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Detroit. Guarantees in each of the four cities have been secured sufficient to make the venture safe from the financial standpoint, all that remains being to secure adequate popular support.
The Civic Orchestra of New York, which has had such a successful summer season from a musical point of view, has been less successful as a financial venture. A fund has accordingly been started for the purpose of establishing the orchestra as a permanent institution. As an aid to the fund, a series of out-door opera performances has been given during the month of September, at the City College Stadium. The operas have been performed by members of the Metropolitan Opera Company, of which Otto H. Kahn, who has subscribed heavily to the Civic Orchestra, is Chairman. The works given include Die Walküre, Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci.
The residents at the Presser Home for Retired Music Teachers are now rejoicing in a well organized social club. The Home is at 101 West Johnson Street, Germantown, Philadelphia, Pa. It possesses a magnificent new building.
Complaints are again being voiced in England regarding the high standard of musicianship and low standard of pay expected of organists. Especially bad is the condition of Belfast organists who are often called upon to do for twenty pounds a year ($100) what others do for fifty pounds ($250). Neither of these salaries would appeal very much to a well trained American city organist, yet in England and Ireland despite the low salaries the standard of musicianship is getting higher. Candidates for musical degrees are expected nowadays to pass many of the B. A. and M. A. examinations, so that a musical education is also becoming more and more expensive as well as difficult. It is hard to see what inducement there is for an Englishman to become an organist. The evil seems to lie very largely in the number of amateur organists who are willing practically to give their services in return for the delight of playing the organ and directing a church choir.