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At Home.

The production of Mascagni’s new opera, Ysobel, has been indefinitely postponed.

A system of wireless telegraphy that will transmit musical tunes as well as ordinary messages is the last word in modern invention.

David Bispham recently appeared in the one-act play, Adelaide, at Indianapolis, wherein he undertook the rôle of Beethoven.

The musical managers of New York have held a meeting on the subject of banding themselves together to form a combine. So far the managers seem to be well pleased with the idea.

Mr. James Huneker’s biography of Franz Liszt will appear in October this year. He has been engaged upon this work for some years, and musical book-lovers and book-loving musicians will be interested to read it.

Humperdinck’s work, Koenigskinder, has been produced in New York, under the direction of the composer, with marked success. We are told that the score shows Wagnerian influences. It is unquestionably a charming work, though somewhat tragic in character.

An orchestra of one-armed men has been organized in Portland. The instruments employed are piano, mandolin, ‘cello, violin, cornet, trombone and trap drummer. It would be a little interesting to know how it is possible for a one-armed man to play the violin, unless he does it with his feet. At all events we wish the organization a success.

Xaver Scharwenka recently attended the New York Institute of Musical Art, where a special recital had been arranged in his honor. He has had an extremely successful tour in America this season, and the interview with him, which commenced in the February issue of this journal, and is completed in the present one, has proved to be of exceptional interest to our many readers.

Mr. Henry Gaines Hawn, an authority on  elocution, believes that American English is better than that spoken by our British cousins. Clearness of enunciation is decidedly one of the British assets, at least among actors and singers, yet there is some truth in Mr. Hawn’s contention that English people are apt to slide over some syllables in many of their words, such as saying “miltry” for “military” and “millnery” for millinery.

A banquet was recently held in New York at which many notable musicians and managers discussed the possibility of opera in English. Among those present were Tito Ricordi, Gatti-Casazza, Reginald de Koven, C. H. Metzler and many others. Nothing definite was reached, and Mr. Gatti-Casazza, who could have said most that was of practical value, owing to his influence at the Metropolitan opera, said nothing at all.

Cyrus H. K. Curtis, the publisher of The Saturday Evening Post and the Ladies’ Home Journal, etc., has presented the City Hall of his birthplace, Portland, Me., with a $30,000 pipe organ in memory of the late Hermann Kotschmar, who did so much for the musical welfare of Portland. Mrs. Kotschmar is well known to readers of The Etude, all of whom will, we are sure, join with us in expressing satisfaction that we feel in this recognition of her distinguished husband’s work.

A movement is on foot in Boston to provide at least ten new scholarships for deserving students at the New England Conservatory. One of the trustees has come forward with a promise to provide $5,000 if nine other people can be found to provide a like sum within the present school year. It is felt that it is better policy to help deserving musical students in the city, and to encourage other music students to come to Boston, rather than to allow the flow of students to be diverted to New York and Chicago.

Word has come to us of a very excellent concert that took place in Manila, Philippines, quite recently. News of excellent concerts come to us every day, but every now and then we receive news of concerts given in regions that seem to us too remote for such things. Of course, the American population of Manila is as civilized as that in New York or London or Paris, and there is nothing to be surprised at in their getting up concerts of high-class music. The surprising thing is that we fail to realize the enormous amount of effort being expended on music at the present time. The Etude sends in congratulations to its readers in Manila, China, India and other far-distant lands, where musical pioneers are giving to lonely exiles “the kind of music we used to get at home,” only better in some cases, no doubt.

A new use has been found for musical instruments. All the preaching and prating we have done about the refining influences of music has been made thoroughly ridiculous by a recent happening at Sing Sing prison,

New York. According to a report, some of the gentlemen who were temporarily deprived of their liberty were encouraged to while away the ennui of close confinement by assisting in the music of the prison band. So far so good. Surely there was precedent for this, for has not the immortal William assured us that “Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast.” This time, however, both music and the old saw were wrong. Three of the convicts took it upon themselves to beat their keepers into insensibility, not with sandbags and bludgeons, but with their instruments. Then they escaped. If you should encounter any suspicious-looking persons wandering around armed with a bass tuba, a bassoon or a Chinese hat, kindly report at once to the gentleman in charge of the Suburban Home for Penitent Felons on the Hudson. In the meantime, the Superintendent may advertise for volunteers to fill the vacant places. Remember, opportunity never knocks twice!

Many tributes are being paid in all the musical papers of America to the wonderful work accomplished by the late William H. Sherwood. This is most just, and it is only right and proper that the American musical public should be brought to realize how much Mr. Sherwood did for this country. At the beginning of Mr. Sherwood’s career the value of music was not nearly so widely realized in America as it is to-day, and while there have been many such men as MacDowell, Nevin, Dr. Mason, etc., who by their genius have worked faithfully and well for their country, none have brought to bear on the subject more loving enthusiasm, more practical musicianship and more intimate knowledge of the needs of the country than William H. Sherwood. When little more than a student in Germany, Mr. Sherwood created a great sensation by his playing, and was invited by Carl Reinecke to perform with the Gewandhaus orchestra at Leipsic, at that time the most exclusive and most influential musical center in Europe. Mr. Sherwood, however, had made his plans for touring America, and nothing Europe could offer seemed to him to be so important as the work he saw before him in his own country. It is not strange to learn, however, that the financial returns for his work as a concert player in this country fell short of those obtained by many far less able pianists of foreign extraction. One of the last articles Mr. Sherwood contributed to The Etude was a plea for the American teacher, so that it would seem that the last thought at the end of his career, like his first thought at the beginning, was for the musical welfare of those of his own land. The favorite prayer of Charles Dickens was, “Lord, keep my memory green.” Let us who follow after him keep green the memory of William H. Sherwood.

Abroad.

Baron Frederic d’Erlanger’s new opera, Noel, was recently produced in Paris.

Max Bruch has completed another violin concerto, which is dedicated to Willy Hess.

Sir Alexander Mackenzie recently conducted a performance of his Sun God’s Return in Vienna, where the work received very cordial appreciation.

London’s famous conductor, Henry J. Wood, has received the honor of knighthood, and will be “Sir” Henry Wood in future.

A London newspaper recently offered a hundred pounds (about $500) for the best waltz by a British composer. Some 2,500 compositions were sent in.

Harold Bauer and Josef Lhevinne will return next year for an extensive tour of America under the management of Louden C. Charlton.

Sarah Chapman Thorp Bull, the widow of Ole Bull, the famous violinist, died recently in Cambridge, Mass., aged sixty years.

Sousa, who is at present in England, has found no difficulty in maintaining his old-time popularity with the British music lovers.

A hitherto unknown song by Weber, composed just before he died in London, 1826, has recently been sung at a Queen’s Hall concert in the British capital.

Madame Liza Lehmann, after a successful tour in this country, has returned to England. Her In a Persian Garden seems to be standing the test of time well.

A waltz competition which has recently taken place in Berlin resulted in the second prize being won by Miss Fay Foster, who claims American Indian blood. There were 4,222 entries.

A London paper reports that Puccini was kissed by forty or fifty Italians, mostly male, on leaving New York. Thank goodness, he had a long sea voyage in front of him in which to recover.

A new orchestral work by Madame Labori, wife of the well-known French advocate, who defended Captain Dreyfus in the memorable trial, has been successfully performed in Paris. Mme. Labori is an American.

It is stated that a new work, The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian, by Claude Debussy, with text by D’Annunzio, is to be produced in Paris in Lent. It is described as “A Mystery in Four Acts.”

The Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, of Vienna, is offering a prize of 10,000 kronen (about $2,000) for a composition for chorus and orchestra, in celebration of its centenary in 1912. The competition is open to all countries.

Thomas Beecham’s attempts to provide London with excellent opera have been successful in every way. On the other hand, London’s efforts to supply him with the necessary audiences have been feeble in the extreme. It almost looks as if they don’t want opera in England.

American singers have long proved that they can hold their own with any Europe can produce, and it would seem that the American pianist can do likewise. Three big successes have been won in Berlin recently by Arthur Shattuck, Winni Pyle and Buhlig.

The eighth midseason concert of the People’s Choral Union of Boston recently took place. The Christoforus of Rheinberger and Gounod’s Gallia were the works performed. Their chorus consisted of 450 voices, and was led by Mr. Frederick Wodell, one of the ablest musicians in Boston.

A prize of two thousand crowns has recently been awarded by the Kaiser Franz Josef Akademie of Prague to Joseph Suk for his Legend of Summer. A composition by this able composer appeared in The Etude for February. Suk owes much of his musical training to his father-in-law, the late Anton Dvorák, and is at present leader of the Bohemian String Quartet of Prague.

The London Sketch suggests that in view of the popularity of the geese in Humperdinck’s Koenigskinder, geese shall be used in opera as a substitute for tenors. “Musical enthusiasts,” says The Sketch, “are weary of tenors, and geese will be just enough of a change to be novel without being iconoclastic.”

Professor Brunot, of the Sorbonne, Paris, has suggested the desirability of preserving phonographic records of the speeches of famous soldiers, statesmen, scientists, etc., as well as singers. In this way it would be possible for future generations to know more of the personality of the great men of this age. He also suggests the use of sound-producing machines by explorers for the purpose of preserving records of the speech of natives in remote countries.

Wilhelm Berger died recently in Meiningen, Germany, where he had been for some time conductor of the famous symphony orchestra of that city. He was born in Boston, Mass., 1861, but his parents, who were German, soon returned to Bremen. For some time Berger taught in the Klindworth Conservatory of Berlin. He had a solid reputation as a composer of choral work, chamber and orchestral music, etc.

We are very pleased to note the success of Paul Draper, an American tenor, who has been successful abroad. He was born in a musical family, and is a grandson of Charles A. Dana, the famous editor of the New York Sun. He commenced his music studies at Harvard, and then went to Munich to be trained as a concert pianist. He worked hard. He put his full share of American push into the work, and then some that he had inherited from his grandfather. The result was that at the end of two years the nerves of his hand were attacked by inflammation and he had to take a year’s rest. Then he went to Vienna and studied with Leschetizky. Again he worked hard, until the disease came on worse than before, so that he had to abandon his work indefinitely. Then he discovered he had a voice. After studying in Florence he went back to Munich and made his début. Thanks to his grit and perseverance he has won out. If all the thousands of people who read The Etude would show as much, it would not be long before the much-vaunted American opera would be forthcoming!

It is required by the Russian law that whenever a concert is to be held in the country the police should be notified of the fact. Recently a club complying with this injunction also forwarded the program containing the item Kreutzer Sonata. Across this the chief of police wrote “Tolstoy prohibited.” However, the program was proceeded with unaltered, and seeing this, an infuriated chief of police summoned the directors of the club before the Governor. “How dare you disobey orders,” they were asked. “You were told that Tolstoy was prohibited. Light dawned upon the concert promoters, and they explained that the Kreutzer Sonata which appeared in their program had no reference to Tolstoy’s book of that title, but to a musical work, for the violin, of Beethoven. “Everybody knows Tolstoy,” snapped the Governor, “but who knows your Beethoven?” It was only by a telegraphic appeal to Stolypin that the irate Governor was really convinced that Beethoven was really a distinguished composer, and that he had written a Kreutzer Sonata.

A singular report comes to us from Milan of a tenor named Attioli who shot himself in consequence of a disappointment over a love affair. He lay inanimate for some time. As death appeared to have ensued, it was necessary to hold a post-mortem examination. The surgeon had commenced his duties when Attioli showed signs of life, and is now recovering in a hospital. Operatic tenors are generally regarded as being rather delicate creatures. However, it is really very hard to kill them. In nearly all the operas we have seen the tenors have been subject to the most violent efforts at assassination on the part of the basso profundo and yet have survived. Where death has apparently been unavoidable they have gone out into eternity singing with unimpaired vigor, and have invariably returned in time to bow their thanks to the audience.

The Rose Cavalier was produced in Dresden on January 26. This new Strauss opera has to do with a plot based upon “the ancient custom of a suitor sending a rose by knight or envoy to the object of his love.” The opera, like all new Strauss works, was received with wild acclaim by as brilliant an audience as could be assembled in the historic Dresden Opera House. The criticisms state that the music represents a wide departure from the previous methods of Strauss, and the tunefulness of the themes, particularly a waltz, has awakened much comment. The composer was called before the curtain twenty-five times at the end of the performance. Surely Strauss is a lucky man. Money, fame and power have poured incessantly upon him. No one questions his tremendous genius and consummate skill. Unfortunately, much of the publicity which has come to him has been due to the salacious and incestuous librettos he has chosen. Oscar Wilde’s Salome, Hofmenthal’s Elektra became sensations, not because of their music, but largely because they were of the type which should rightfully shock sane people. Now, we find that the simple “Viennese” opera, which we were assured Strauss would produce, is founded upon a plot so audacious that even a Dresden audience “gasped.

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