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Woman's Work In Music



I have contended for many months, months that would run into years, that there is no club-work so valuable or so fascinat­ing as talks to children, and the programs which should accompany those talks.

If, on the other hand, the clubs do not feel this within their province, there is the opportunity for a bright young girl to use her music to a financial advantage other than by teaching. Prepare a series of talks upon musical composers, get at the points interesting to a child, tell them in simple language, and arrange the program in the most attractive manner possible; but whatever is done see that it is well done. Never be guilty of the thought that any­thing is good enough for a child. It is harder to entertain a child than to interest anyone else, and the work requires no small amount of ingenuity and originality. At a later date I shall publish a program and plan of action; meanwhile the probability is that, if one is able to cope with this work, she is able to draw up her own plan of action.

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February 10th the great diva celebrated her sixtieth birthday in Rome, although this seems impossible to those who know how wonderfully her freshness is preserved. Patti is much devoted to Rome, which is the home of her ancestors. The story of her birth is that Caterina Chiesa was draw­ing water from a well and singing at her work when Barili, a poor singing master, was entranced by her beauty and her voice. He married her, trained her voice, and put her on the operatic stage. At his death Barili left two sons. His wife kept to the stage, and in 1837, while in Sicily, married Patti, the tenor of the company. From this marriage Adelina was born. Patti made her formal début in New York in 1859, but it is said that before this she made a trial in Italy under the name of “The Little Florinda.”

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Guy d’Hardelot has written a new song entitled “Three Green Bonnets.” It is only fair to say that it refers to the life story of three little girls: Daisy, Dulcie, and Dorothy. A new song by Liza Lehmann is “I Have a Garden of My Own.” Her mother, Mrs. Rudolf Lehmann, who writes under the name of A. L., has also just finished a song under the title of “Love Me Little, Love Me Long,” upon words composed in 1570. “Tell it Not,” is another of her gems with French and English words. Chaminade’s latest song is “Flower of Morn,” which has both color and character. A composer less known is Aileen Marriott, who wrote words and music of “In Heather-Time” and “Where Nightin­gales Sing.” She has also made a graceful setting of Tennyson’s “O Swallow, Swallow.” Another com­poser who is strange to us is Marie Boileau, who has written a song entitled “Roses,” upon a poem by Thekla Lingen. Boileau also made the English trans­lation. Lena Guilbert wrote the words of a song called “Awakening,” for which Guy d’Hardelot, the very talented woman, wrote the music. Marie Schroeder-Hanfstaengl, a well-known opera-singer and vocal teacher, whose labors have been principally centered in Germany, has patented in London an

apparatus for use in the teaching of music and sing­ing. Now we will have some more mechanical players and singers when already the world is so full of them. Maud Powell, our most distinguished violinist and country-woman, led a string quartet at a con­cert of chamber-music given at St. James’ Hall, London, last month. She won much praise from the critics.

If your club ever has the assistance of the gentle­men, a novelty is a song-cycle by Liza Lehmann, called “Cameos.” This consists of five Greek love-songs translated into English by Jane Minot Sedg­wick. The songs are all for tenor voice. A beau­tiful baritone song by Lehmann is “A Tuscan Serenade.”

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Many of us are working very hard, and we feel that we are doing the right thing because we  are putting into our labors a great deal of vitality and energy. There is great bustle and flurry; so naturally we must be working in the right direction. But if some one with an analytical mind looks into our labors, he sees that thought, strength, time, money, and everything else are going to waste, because the base of operation is wrong, or there is no foundation at all. All this is but a pitiful waste of ammunition, and, when the time comes that it is needed, it is gone and there are no results.

It is better to keep out of musical club-work al­together than to go into it and to work without earnest purpose or methodical lines. There are social clubs for amusement, and social visits; there are hundreds of opportunities for entertainments of all sorts; but for serious work, which at the same time must be pleasurable enough to hold its members, there are comparatively few means.

Still we should all be broad enough to look at it from another side, and to realize that things which benefit us are not in all cases sources of pleasure. The child who is forced to study does not always find it a delight, but that does not alter the fact that it is necessary; it is in after-life that reward is reaped. So it is with the formation and management of a musical club. It should have a definite purpose, a system of carrying out its plans, and the bravery to refuse members who join it in any other spirit except with the determination to give serious thought and labor in its behalf. A club cannot exist and accom­plish the best without funds, and the financial end is usually the hardest to keep up. Here is where the judgment should be exercised to the fullest ex­tent, and two things become apparent: If the club draws its sustenance from its members, it must be attractive, educational, and valuable enough to the members that they feel themselves benefited to the amount of the dues; in this event they are not con­sidered hardships. One dollar a month is nothing in the face of actual benefits, but it is a great deal if a club runs on a desultory, monotonous basis. No educational value can be expected at no outlay, and, if it is worth while to be instructed, the instruction is worth paying for.

In many of the smaller cities there are those who feel that there is no one with whom they can con­tinue the study of music which may have been pur­sued under very advantageous conditions elsewhere. To stop all musical work is sure retrogression; so,

for such, the work of the serious musical club is of greatest importance; but it must be entered in the right spirit. You all know what an atrocity the woman is who has been “to Boston” or “to New York,” where she got just enough to make her feel that she can use what little she got as a cow uses its cud; insomuch as having heard all that she claims to have heard, she goes over and over with that, showing absolute indifference to everything that offers itself in the city where she now finds her­self. We all know that Denver, Kansas City, Port­land, Ore., have not the advantages that New York, Boston, and Philadelphia have; but every city in America has enough good sensible musicians to form a nucleus around which to do the right sort of work by which the whole town and surrounding country can be benefited.

If a club draw its sustenance from the people, it must, of necessity, give them that which is worth the money. A mediocre entertainment, whether by the club itself or engaged by the club, should never un­der any circumstances be offered for sale to the people who may be trapped once but not again. A musical club which stands responsible for a poor entertainment deserves to lose its prestige, for not only does it stand in a cheap light, but it inter­feres with really meritorious artists who cannot draw attention because of interference by the club, which has done double harm in keeping out good music and fostering that which is bad.

So we are back at the beginning—if not to accom­plish the very best that it is possible to accomplish, wherefore consume time, energy, and money? For what are we working?

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[The following letter speaks for itself. No one can read it without feeling that the members are working nobly in the right direction. In the large cities it is small won­der if people make headway; but in cities of 2500 inhabitants it is not an easy matter to accomplish great things. It cannot be denied, however, that our friends in Fairfield are doing so. Out of 2500 people to have a musical club membership of 40 active peo­ple is an achievement worth recording. The scheme of work is most attractive, instructive, and original. —E. F. B.]

Our plan for club-work has been more than ordi­narily successful, and may be suggestive to other towns where the musical people are confined to their own efforts. We have a Mendelssohn Club of over forty active and as many more associate members. This club gives each season a series of twelve pro­grams, which are outlined by a committee for the entire year, and each member is informed of his work for that season. Independent of this society we have an organization of seven ladies called “The Philhar­monics,” who meet once a month for the purpose of reviewing the current musical magazines. In this way they are informed of the musical news of the month and keep in touch with the doings of promi­nent musicians. Once a month a paper is read by one of the members of “The Philharmonics” before the Mendelssohn Club, giving them the benefit of the month’s reading.

We have also a children’s club called “The Amateur Club.” It has a limited membership of thirty-five, and the plan is to study not only music, but art and poetry. Each little member represents its author for one year. For instance, one has chosen Beet­hoven. She wears a badge with Beethoven printed upon it and is known in the club as “Beethoven.” She has a small blank book in which she has a por­trait of Beethoven, a biography written by herself, and any pictures or clippings of interest regarding him. At each meeting she is given one minute to tell what she has learned new regarding her author. Contests in spelling the names of the thirty-five mas­ters represented and of recognizing these pictures, and musical stories, a chapter by a different member each time, and short programs are features of this club.—Annie E. Hart.



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You are reading Woman's Work In Music from the May, 1902 issue of The Etude Magazine.

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