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The World of Music.



Largely through the influence of Mrs. Ethelbert Nevin, the wife of the late composer of “The Rosary,” a new law has been enacted by means of which the American composer will, in future, receive royalty on all adaptations of his work for talking machines and mechanical piano-playing machines.

Programs recently received from Wooster University, O., indicate a most creditable activity upon the part of the enthusiastic musical director of that institution, Mr. J. Lawrence Erb.

The new theatre and concert hall at San Francisco has been rechristened “The Garrick,” and will be opened with a concert by Mischa Elman, the young violinist. Prominent singers and performers have also already been engaged to appear there, including the Russian Symphony Orchestra. This is the first time since the fire that San Francisco has had a first-class concert hall.

A medical authority has been inquiring into the early deaths of the creative musical masters. He ascribes it to mental overstrain, to the immense difficulty of conceiving and carrying out of ideas, and to the irritating necessity of bargaining with publishers, which is peculiarly distressing to musical geniuses. Schubert, Mozart and Mendelssohn are cited as having died young, on these accounts, but the deaths of the first two at least, was probably due to neglect and semi-starvation. Wagner, though he suffered much from neuresthenia, lived to be seventy. Perhaps, after all, musicians, like other people, are apt to die at all ages.

The Metropolitan Opera Company has finished the season with a deficit of $250,000. It is expected that the profits from the Western trip will reduce this by $50,000. The present State of affairs, it is said, is in no way due to any shortcomings on the part of the management.

Hammerstein is anxious to persuade Strauss to come to New York and supervise his production of “Elektra.” If he succeeds it is reported probable that Lucille Marcell will be entrusted with the rôle of Elektra.

Mr. William Shakespeare, the English vocal teacher, has been spending a vacation in this country, and incidentally doing some teaching. He will come again in January and February of 1910 to fill his engagement to teach exclusively for those two months at the Washington College of Music.

It is said that the receipts of the Metropolitan Opera Company in Chicago have broken all records. The business amounted to $200,000.

The Thomas Orchestra has closed its season in Chicago without a deficit.

It has been alleged that Strauss adopted some of the themes of “Elektra” from the work of a young Italian composer, Vittorio Gnecchi, whose opera “Cassandra” was published by Ricordi in 1905.

Glen Hall, a young American tenor, has been engaged to sing at the Metropolitan next season.

William A. Becker, the American pianist, who enjoys the distinction of having been trained in this country and hailed as a virtuoso in Europe, will tour this country next season. He is thirty-six years old. a native of Cleveland, Ohio, and displayed a taste for the piano early in life. In 1892 he left his Cleveland teacher, an able man, to study under Dr. William Mason in New York. Dr. Mason was much impressed with his ability, and prophesied the success which Mr. Becker has achieved.

An altogether unique and interesting choral competition will be held at Egyptian Hall, in the John Wanamaker Department Store, Philadelphia, from June twenty-fifth to June thirtieth, conclusive. The judges of the contest are to be Mr. George W. Chadwick, Director of the New England Conservatory of Music, Boston; Dr. Horatio Parker, Professor of Music at Yale University, and Dr. J. Lewis Browne, General Musical Director at Wanamaker’s. The idea of having a general musical director connected with a department store may strike some as being out of the ordinary, but Dr. Browne’s work in Philadelphia has had a far-reaching and excellent educational influence.

A new Hope-Jones organ has been placed in the First Presbyterian Church of South Bend, Ind.

Anton Förster, the Austrian pianist, has been appointed head of the piano department of the Chicago Musical College.

The Illinois State Music Teachers’ Convention was held early in May under the direction of L. Gaston Gottschalk.

Mr. Frank Damrosch has resigned from his post as director of the Mendelssohn Glee Club, which he has held since the retirement of MacDowell, five years ago, on account of over-pressure of work.

The Mozart Society of Fisk University, Nashville, Tenn., recently gave a very creditable performance of Mendelssohn’s Ninety-fifth Psalm, followed by Gade’s “The Crusaders.”

Edouard Colonne, the famous French conductor, who was stricken with paralysis while leading his orchestra, has recovered sufficiently to resume his duties.

Chicago is a little “sore” over the withdrawal of Caruso from the Metropolitan forces destined for that city. The situation is aggravated by the fact that the sale of seats for the season exceeds one hundred thousand dollars.

Caruso will sing no more this season. Owing to over-work and over-strain his health has broken down. According to the doctor, Caruso is suffering from laryngitis brought on by singing when he should not have done so. He will rest all through the summer in order to be in condition for next season.

Mr. Ernest Schelling has presented the Boston Symphony Orchestra Pension Fund with a substantial check, as a token of his gratitude for the admirable treatment the famous orchestra have accorded his Fantasie Suite for piano and orchestra.

An orchestra has been formed among the employees of the Estey Organ Company in Brattleboro, Vt. The Company has provided the instruments and music, and the rehearsals are carried on one afternoon a week at the expense of the Estey Company.

The American Music Society recently gave its first Orchestral Concert in New York, with assistance of the People’s Orchestra. The program was of course made up of the works of American composers.

Giuseppe Pinsuti, who will direct the popular priced opera season at the Academy of Music, New York, has sailed to Italy to negotiate with various artists, with whom arrangements are being made.

Emma Abbott, the niece and namesake of one of America’s best known singers, is studying in Milwaukee. She possesses many valuable relics of her distinguished relative, whose death occurred when the present Emma Abbott was six years old.

The Louisville May Festival offered a notable program, and an attractive list of soloists and performers, which included the New York Symphony Orchestra, under Mr. Walter Damrosch, Mme. Corinne Rider-Kelsey, Ricardo Martin, Albert Spalding, the violinist, and many other distinguished singers.

on the efficiency of the orchestra when they give a concert more strictly devoted to purely orchestral works.

It is not generally known that Japan possesses a fine musical college in Tokio, One of the graduates of this institution has been, studying in New York, and giving concerts, assisted by his wife. There is also a Japanese chorus in New York, which recently appeared at Carnegie Hall duping the Peace Congress.

The two weeks season of grand opera given by the Manhattan Opera Company in Boston has resulted in a notable success for Hammerstein. Full houses have been the rule, and, according to his own report, the profits for the fortnight have amounted to $138,000. He has promised that he will pay the Bostonians another visit next season.

A concert was recently given in Philadelphia in honor of Mendelssohn’s birthday. A chorus of 700 voices, under the direction of W. W. Gilchrist, sang the “Walpurgis Night.” Mr. Gordon Thunder conducted the “Hymn of Praise.” The concert proved highly satisfactory to a large and appreciative audience.

The members of the National Federation of Musical Clubs will hold their Sixth Biennial Festival in Grand Rapids, Mich., upon the invitation of the St. Cecilia Society.

Dean Lutkin, of the Northwestern University, Chicago, has long desired to hold Choral Festivals, after the style of the American and European Festivals. Now that the new gymnasium has been completed, the first is to be held therein during the commencement season of 1909.

In many of the large hotels and restaurants patronized by fashionable diners the proprietors have devised a very unique means of varying the program of music which they provide to accompany meals. A large sound reproducing machine, with a record made by some famous singer, is concealed in a bower of palms. The reproduction is accompanied by the hotel orchestra and the illusion of listening to a singer present in person is so perfect that many musical connoisseurs have been deceived. In many instances the singer, in fact, is doubtless miles away.

According to Musical America, Robert Herz, the distinguished conductor of Wagnerian opera at the Metropolitan, says Wagner opera is, coming to its own again. It has been somewhat overshadowed of late, since the death of Anton Seidl, by the charms of the prime donne, and singers like Caruso, who prefer the more purely vocal school of opera. The recent indisposition of Caruso, however, is to a certain extent responsible for the revival of interest in German opera. Audiences are more often attracted by the singing than by the work sung, and the sterner beauties of German opera exact something more than mere vocalization. Mr. Herz has brought the Metropolitan orchestra up to a wonderful pitch of perfection.

The death of Heinrich Conreid removes one of the most prominent personalities from the American world of opera. Ever since the summer of 1902 he figured as the director of the Metropolitan Opera House until February, 1908, when he retired on account of ill-health. His first great success with the Metropolitan forces was the presentation of Wagner’s “Parsifal,” in spite of violent opposition from German sources. From that time on he did much to foster the taste for opera which is having such remarkable growth in America at present. The failure of his production of Strauss’ “Salome,” and increasing ill-health, led to his retirement in 1908. Since then he had been in Europe seeking to recover his strength. He was born in 1855, at Bielitz, Silesia, Austria. Early in life he was engaged in theatrical and operatic enterprises, and early won recognition as an actor. Before managing the Metropolitan, he was director of the Irving Place Theatre in New York.


Henry Hadley, the American conductor of the Mayence Municipal Theatre, has achieved a notable success with his opera “Safie,” which was produced at Mayence, and enthusiastically received by the critics.

It is reported that an opera upon the subject of “Mephistofele,” by Roito, (sic) has recently been received with great success in Rouen.

Giulio Ricordi is engaged upon an opera entitled “La Secchia Rapita,” by Renato Simoni.

Professor Carl Panzer has succeeded Fiedler as the director of the Philharmonic Concerts in Hamburg, since Fiedler’s term as conductor of the Boston Symphony has been extended.

Wagner’s “Niebelungen Ring” has just been produced in Lisbon, Portugal, for the first time, under the direction of Biedler. The local papers report that the opera was received with tremendous enthusiasm.

Fritz Kreisler, the violin virtuoso who is well-known to all American concert-goers, recently played at a concert in Frankfort-am-Main. According to the criticisms of the local papers his success was phenomenal.

Mme. Bloomfield-Zeisler, according to current newspaper reports, has been meeting with greater success than ever at her recent concerts in the West. Ten and twelve recalls are apparently frequent wherever she appears.

Paolo Tosti, the Anglo-Italian composer of songs, who since being knighted prefers to be called Sir Francis Tosti, has recently passed his sixtieth year.

Miss Julia Cook-Watson, a young English composer, recently gave a recital of her own works in London. The papers spoke favorably of her compositions.

Frank Van der Stücken, the American composer and conductor, recently met with great success in Brussels as director of one of the Ysaye Concerts.

After an absence of nine years, Rosenthal has appeared in London again. The daily papers praise his playing very highly and claim that they can distinguish a great advance in his work.

Mehul’s “Josef in Egypt” has recently been revived in Berlin under the direction of Dr. Carl Muck. It received great applause.

Mr. Alfred Piccaver, a young singer from Albany, who studied at the Metropolitan Opera School of New York, has achieved a great success in the role of Pinkerton during a recent production of “Madama Butterfly” in Prague, Austria.

In the new City Hall of Vienna there is a room which is said to be devoted to the memory of Hugo Wolf, the famous but ill-fated composer who was shamefully neglected in his last years.

Eugen d’Albert’s music drama, “Ilzeye,” will have its first performance at the Stadtheatre in Hamburg in the coming autumn.

Lugi Mancinelli’s opera, “Paolo e Francesca,” was recently produced at the “Scala” in Milan. The papers praise the excellent workmanship, but do not predict success for this opera similar to that which greeted his “Ero e Leandro.”

Franz von Vecsey has come into the possession of a genuine Antonius Stradivarius violin (1716), which has been purchased from a Paris firm at the price of $10,000.

Berlin has signified hearty approval of the work of Georg Schumann, whose “Ruth” was recently produced at the Singakedemie. The work shows the influence of modern composers, but nevertheless has strong individuality of its own.

Mr. Herman Klein has decided to return to London, where he is perhaps better known than in America. While he is grateful for the many friendships he has made in this country, he feels that his labors will bear greater fruit in the land of his birth.

Buenos Ayres has not responded sufficiently to the demand for subscriptions for opera, and consequently Bonetti, the manager of the Buenos Ayres Opera House, has had to abandon the idea of producing opera this season, and has cabled the singers not to come. The Solon Opera House, of the same city, will, however, give performances as announced.

News comes from Berlin of an almost unprecedented act of munificence. M. Kussewitzky, the well-known double-bass player and conductor, and his wife, have founded a society for the publication of musical works by Russian composers, the chief feature of which is that there will be no profit for the publisher. Moreover, every composer, will be paid for his work and will derive benefits from the sale. The sums to be paid will vary from $25 to $1,500. The works are to be selected by a council of five composers. The sum presented by M. and Mme. Kussewitzky is no less than $250,000.

Henri Marteau, head of the violin department of the Hochschule, of Berlin, has celebrated his twenty-fifth year as an artist. He was in Stockholm at the time, and in celebration of the event, Robert Bayer, a Berlin violin maker, has inaugurated a fund whereby a violin of the value of $250 will be presented to the best violin scholar of the Stockholm Conservatory each year.

Ferrucio Busoni has just completed an opera based upon one of the Tales of Hoffman, called in Italian “La Scelta della Sposa.” It is reported that it will soon be presented in a great European capital. Let us hope that Busoni has been successful in writing at least one number that will reach the popularity that the revived “Barcarolle” from Offenbach’s opera, taken from the Tales of Hoffman, has recently achieved.


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