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Musical Items.



Eleven thousand brass bands play for the Salvation Army.

Ninety million dollars is said to be the sum that Americans spend annually for grand opera.

The Boston Leader takes up the cudgels for Brahms, severely scoring two prominent American critics in so doing.

Mr. Calvin B. Cady, when abroad for his vacation, conducted a sight-singing class in Berlin, that was highly successful.

A reception is to be tendered to Mme. Theresa Carreno in almost every city during her coming touring in the United States.

The daily press with but one exception—the Boston Transcript—is joining vigorously in the crusade for proper recognition of home musical talent.

Frau Caroline Fischer-Achten, who was, perhaps, the oldest living prima donna, died a few days since at Brunswick, in her ninety-first year.

Miss Flora Parsons, a pianist of distinguished merit, has recently returned from Europe and is now concertizing with the violin virtuoso Remenyi.

Professor Horatio W. Parker, occupying the chair of music at Yale, was honored recently by a testimonial concert and dinner given by the New Haven Symphony Orchestra.

Theresa Carreno has been styled by Berlin critics the “Lioness of the Piano,” so “intense is the passion she displays in interpreting the grand tone-works of the great composers.”

Mr. McDowell has laid out a course of music for Columbia College, that is said to be by all odds the best offered in any American institution. It includes not only the conservatory branches, but also the higher studies in the music realm, which have not heretofore been readily accessible to students.

The “Mapleson Opera Company” went to pieces at the very commencement of its season. Yet the redoubtable Colonel is not to be disturbed by so trifling a matter, but still beams as serenely as ever.

Wm. Steinway, head of the house of Steinway & Sons, Piano makers, died Monday, November 30th, from typhoid fever. He was conspicuous in musical affairs of this country and was known as one of the greatest patrons of the art. His death is a veritable loss to the musical world.

Miss Adele Lewing recently played at the first Hubermann recital at Carnegie Hall. She also appeared on December 9th, under the auspices of the Spanish-American Club, at Steinway Hall, New York. Miss Lewing proved herself an earnest artist in the interpretation of various numbers, and her playing was greeted with warm applause.

Tufts College, near Boston, has also established a course of music that aims to “broaden the foundations of musical criticism and to develop a cultivated appreciation and refined taste in music. It is especially designed for the benefit of the general students who wish to cultivate an appreciation of art but do not intend to prepare for professional work.”

Under the superintendency of Mrs. A. E. Smythe, the Texas State Fair, to be held at Dallas, during October, will contain a department of manuscript music, in which prizes will be offered for the compositions of Texan musicians, even for those of children under fourteen years of age. This is said to be the first time that music in any form has received attention at a State fair.

Sickness and death have wrought serious havoc of late in the musical realm. Frau Klafsky, Campanini, and Mr. William Steinway, the greatest manufacturer of pianos the world has known, have recently passed into the land beyond the veil. Max Alvary and Brahms are slowly dying of painful and incurable maladies, and Moritz Rosenthal is still suffering from the effects of his serious attack of typhoid fever.

A recent school, independent of publishing houses, that carefully and judicially compared the various musical systems for school use, noting points of difference and the respective advantages of each system, is a hopeful “sign of the times.” “More schools of this sort,” says an exchange, “must serve to prevent a warfare of systems that can but result in postponing the proper teaching of music in the schools.”

California, too, is alive. The “Friday Morning Club,” of Oakland, engaged Otto Bendix this season, to give them a course of lectures on musical subjects. The course included an analysis and discussion of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata,” Scarlatti’s “Pastoral,” and Schumann’s “Kriesleriana.” Each of these compositions was played twice during the lecture to emphasize the motive of the composer. Another branch of the club’s work is a club for ladies’ trio singing.

Vocal students in New York City have the privilege and advantage of admission, under conditions, to the physical laboratories of its colleges and higher institutions of learning. Says the vocalist: “At Columbia University each Thursday afternoon of the school year is especially devoted to those who are interested in vocal study, and Prof. Hallock and his assistant Dr. Muckey are in attendance to demonstrate by experiment the laws of voice production as they understand them.”

The Musical Courier suggests that we have an “American Bayreuth.” It says, and with truth, “A great place for the ideal performance of the classics and modern music dramas would do more for this country than all the schools, conservatories, and M. T. U. A. meetings; and then grand opera would find its level, for, let the general public once taste of the Bayreuthian quality, there will be no more star casts or overpaid stars. And after all, why not?” Why not, indeed! There is money enough in the country, and there ought to be brains enough.


Berlin has a new musical journal—the Neue Musik-Zeitung.

The city of Hamburg devotes to art purposes 210,000 marks a year.

Liszt said of Mme. Schumann, that others wrote poetry, but she lived it.

The late Ambroise Thomas bequeathed all his orchestral scores to the Paris Conservatoire.

Paderewski will make his reappearance at the Gewandhaus, Leipsic, on February 11th.

The Emperor of Russia prefers the ‘cello to all other instruments, and is himself a performer upon it.

Madame Patti was recently invited to sing at Balmoral before her Majesty, the Queen of England.

Both Ireland and Jamaica are seriously discussing the question of establishing a national musical festival.

Sims Reeves will start on his seventy-ninth year by singing in South Africa, where he has gone with his wife and baby.

The city of Berlin has been offered 5000 marks, if the mayor will name one of the new bridges after Richard Wagner.

Wagner’s violin teacher, Robert Sipp, who is now ninety years of age, was present at this summer’s performances at Bayreuth.

Dr. Richter says that “English singers produce their voices better, as a rule, than Germans, as the latter incline to tone forcing.”

The first production of “Mataswintha,” Xaver Scharwenka’s new opera, was a pronounced success. Bernard Stavenhagen conducted.

Schumann wrote studies for the pianoforte when he was seventeen, and several of his most finished pieces were published ere he had reached the age of twenty.

January 31st will be the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Schubert, creator supreme of rare and noble gems of melody, fitly framed in golden harmonies.

Lute playing is to be revived in Italy, a Societa del Liuto having been organized for that purpose at Florence. Mascagni is going to compose a piece especially for the instrument.

Eugene Ysaye, the violinist, has bought for £1000 the Stradivarius violin known as “Hercules.” It is dated 1732, is one of the most perfect of its family, and is beautifully preserved.

Grieg, who has spent the most of his time in Germany during the last few years, has now returned to Sweden, where he has directed two concerts at Stockholm and took part in a musical festival at Christiania.

Mr. Otto Floersheim writes, in the Musical Courier, that the best paid of all European conductors is Arthur Nikisch, who, during the coming season, will make over $15,000. He is in demand all over Germany, as well as in England and Scandinavia.

The consensus of critical opinion seems to concede Rosenthal the palm as the greatest pianist of the age, from a technical point of view. That he is not lacking in feeling and sentiment is admitted, but it is undeniably his technic that chiefly impresses.

Mme. Marchesi prohibits bicycling amongst all her “singing birds,” as she maintains that such rapid passage through the air may be fraught with positive danger. Mmes. Melba and Calvé, and many other singers of renown, however, are said to be “slaves to the wheel.”

Brahms has made a wholly unexpected present to the Society of the Friends of Music, at Vienna. He has sent the committee a check for £600, absolutely free from all condition, except that the money is to be devoted to any purpose which the society may think will best advance the interests of the art of music.

The famous singer, Catharina Klafsky, was buried at Hamburg. The grave-stone is to bear no other inscription but her Christian name. She wished to be buried in the white robe of penitence of Elizabeth, in “Tannhäuser,” and over the grave the chorus of Isis and Osiris, from Mozart’s “Magic Flute” was sung.

Mozart’s “Magic Flute” has recently been performed at the Carola Theater, Leipzig, entirely by pupils of the Royal Conservatorium of Music. The performance elicited high praise, and led to the engagement of Herren Steinbeck and Ulmann, the former to the Sondershausen, the latter to the Rostock Opera House.

Ludwig Schytte’s Piano Concerto in F minor is now making le tour du monde interpreted by some of the leading piano virtuosi. Rosenthal is playing it in America, Rummel in Germany, Friedheim in England, Mark Hamburg in France, and Frau Longeschan-Hirzel in Switzerland. Truly a most gratifying success for the composer.

It is said of Delle Sedie, the famous vocal maestro, that he never puts people back, when commencing study with him, merely to vindicate his own method or credit. If ready, he lets them go right on, and seeks only to correct the faults of the unprepared without seeking to extinguish their former teachers. An illustrious example well worthy of imitation by the numerous smaller fry of teachers, who are not so just and generous.

English musical writers are quarreling over the question of Liszt’s inspiration as a composer. Even Wagner’s enthusiastic admiration of him as a creative genius is attributed to the overweening partiality of a fond son-in-law. These objectors go so far as to assert that Liszt never had a “genuine impulse” to compose music. “Yet of all published music in advanced pianism,” says Presto, “none has had so great a demand as some of Liszt’s. And as a matter of fact, what would the piano-recital be without him?” Of a truth, Liszt’s mission as a composer is not yet finished, however future generations may dispose of him.

A former accompanist of Mme. Anna Bishop writes that the latter was sixty-three years old when she made her last “farewell” tour of America. She sang in concert for the last time when she was seventy-one years of age, and even then astonished and charmed with the remarkable preservation of her voice and grand style of singing. On the stage she appeared not more than fifty years of age. Her method must have been a most pure and correct one, to have enabled her to sing at so advanced an age. She drew crowded houses, easily holding her own, even against Jenny Lind. Patti may still have a career before her and favor us with 15 or 20 more “farewells” if she should decide to follow the example of Mme. Bishop.


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