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The World of Music



The stork has again visited Mrs. Louise Homer, the Metropolitan contralto, bringing a little girl.

Leonard Borwick, the English pianist now on a world tour, made a decided hit at Carnegie Hall, New York.

A French paper informs us that Sembrich has lost $2,000,000 by Wall street speculation, and will have to resume her career as a singer.

Sousa recently gave his first New York concert since his return from his phenomenally successful world tour. He has lost nothing of his power to grip his audiences.

Elgar’s second symphony has been produced in New York. It has met with some bitter criticism and some warm praise. Both its friends and its enemies seem to agree that it would benefit by a little pruning.

The building now occupied by the Metropolitan Opera Company, New York, is to be abandoned in favor of a new building, to be erected near the Grand Central Station, New York. It is planned to make the new opera house the finest in the world.

Carl Hoschna has passed away at the early age of thirty-six. He came from Austria when he was twenty-one and prospered. He was the composer of Madame Sherry, The Three Twins, and many other light musical comedies of great popularity.

The Library of Congress at Washington contains 554,417 volumes and pieces of music, 24,942 books and pamphlets on music, and 13,767 volumes and pieces intended for musical instructive purposes. The grand total is 593,126.

One of the finest organs in the Southwest has recently been installed in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by the Geo. Kilgen Company. The organ is in the First Presbyterian Church and has three manuals and 1,730 speaking pipes.

Our readers will be interested to know that a school for colored pupils, conducted by colored teachers, has been running successfully for some time in Washington. The director is Mr. J. Hillary Taylor, who at one time edited The Negro Musical Journal.

The owners of the Century Theater, formerly the New Theater, New York, are considering the possibility of turning their playhouse into a home for opera comique. Now that there can be no rivalry from Oscar Hammerstein’s Manhattan Opera House, there seems a good chance for success in such an undertaking.

The annual festival of the Ottawa Choral Society is held in February of this year as usual. The works chosen are Sullivan’s Golden Legend, Coleridge Taylor’s Endymion’s Dream, Elgar’s Land of Hope and Glory, Grieg’s At the Cloister Gate.

The Fellowship Club of Philadelphia, a men’s choral club, giving concerts of high class male part songs, has met with much artistic success this season. The club illustrates the opportunity for men’s organizations to carry on in after life the youth’s desire to form a glee club.

The Aborn grand opera companies, which will give performances of opera in English in several cities in both the East and the West this year, will introduce many novelties this year, including Hansel and Gretel, The Secret of Suzanne, La Tosca, Louise, Tannhauser, Mignon, The Barber of Seville, and Cendrillon.

Mr. Albert Spaulding, the American violinist, has brought great credit to himself for his initiative in introducing Sir Edward Elgar’s violin concerto to American audiences. The first performance took place in Chicago in connection with one of the concerts of the Thomas Orchestra. The critics speak very highly of Mr. Spaulding’s playing.

Ovide Musin has been made an officer of the Order of Leopold, a Belgian distinction. He was made a chevalier of the order ten years ago, and his promotion came to him as something of a surprise, as he has left Belgium for some years now, and governments, like kings, and for that matter democracies, have a way of forgetting.

Andreas Dippel, General Manager of the Chicago-Philadelphia Opera Company, is congratulating himself on the fact that the receipts of the company for the season up to December 7 was $100,000 more than during a corresponding period last year. The figures cover performances both in Chicago and Philadelphia.

A large number of people seem to be able to hear opera for nothing at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, by the simple process of getting admission to the dress rehearsals. Mr. Gatti-Casazza, director of the Metropolitan, is considering the desirability of charging for admission to the rehearsals, as is done in the European opera houses. It is said that even some of the subscribers get in to the rehearsals and then sell their regular seats.

A unique complimentary Liszt-Thomas centenary celebration was recently given to the Jackson, Mississippi, “Chaminade Club” by an old Etude friend, Mrs. Alfred F. Smith. The program was composed of selections from the works of the two famous composers. One of the most interesting features of the event was the idea of having the guests come costumed as characters from the famous operas, Mignon, Grand Duchesse, Faust, etc.

The reception at the opening of the New York Musicians’ Club proved to be a very successful affair. After the opening address by Hans Kronold, of the Board of Governors, there was a concert and some merry making, in which all took part. The object of the club is to provide a “haven of rest” for musicians of all kinds, from those who have made a reputation down to those who are dreaming in hall-bedrooms of the times when they may look their laundry bill in the face and the question of meals will be merely selective and not financial.

The coming of the London Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Arthur Nikisch, next April is attracting wide attention. The orchestra will be in this country only twenty-one days, arriving on April 8. There will be one hundred musicians, and every moment of the time will be taken up with engagements arranged for months in advance. A special Pullman train of eight cars will be provided for the orchestra, and will in a sense be the home of the organization during the limited time it is in America. Every possible provision is being made for the comfort of the visitors.

Dr. George Henschel, who returns to America this year under the capable direction of Mr. M. H. Hanson, has one peculiar distinction. Despite the fact of his great versatility, he has been successful as a composer, an orchestral conductor, a singer, and as a teacher he has held an exceptionally high position purely from the artistic standpoint. It frequently happens that artists who can do many things rarely rise above a kind of academic mediocrity. However, in the case of Dr. Henschel, all who have heard his remarkable accompaniments, for instance, realize that few pianoforte virtuosos possess such a responsive technic, while at the same time his sympathetic intensely artistic singing is a keen delight. He has shown himself to be endowed with equally remarkable gifts as a composer, conductor and teacher.

The department of music of the Normal College of New York plans to give a series of nine concerts on Sundays with an orchestra of fifty performers, under a first-rate conductor, with first-rate soloists. In addition there will be fifty-one weekday concerts with an orchestra of twenty-five pieces and soloists in the various high-schools throughout the city. Professor Henry T. Fleck is responsible for the organization of this movement, and among the musicians whose services have been engaged are Cornelius Rubner, Frank Damrosch, Leo Schultz, and other well-known conductors. Mme. Schumann-Heink and Mme. Frances Alda are among the soloists. To defray the expenses, the New York World has contributed $10,000.

The first performance of Natoma, Victor Herbert’s opera, has been given in Chicago with great success. There can be no question that the work gains more and more in popularity with every production. George Hamlin and Mary Garden each won new laurels by their excellent combination of singing and acting. The victory for Mr. Herbert is a great one. A successful writer of light opera is always handicapped when writing grand opera by the fact that people cannot associate him with any other kind of success. Mr. Herbert has shown not only that a writer of light opera can produce more serious work, he has shown that in order to be a writer of good light opera one must be able to write grand opera. Nobody who has any knowledge of Mr. Herbert’s musical attainments is the least surprised that Natoma is a great piece of work. No one acquainted with his genial personality is surprised that he produced It Happened in Nordland and similar works. The surprise is that one man should be able to do both. The explanation is to be found in his own motto, “Always do the best you can.”

The death of Eduardo Missiano, a singer of the Metropolitan Opera Company, has brought to light an interesting story. He was the son of well-to-do parents, and when a boy used to go in bathing in the Bay of Naples. Here he met Caruso, then a poor boy. Missiano sympathized with Caruso’s desire to be a singer and with the fact that Caruso had no money to pay for lessons. “Never mind,” said Missiano, “I know a teacher who will give you lessons for nothing. I am a paying pupil of his; he will do it for me.” Caruso was so nervous when the time came that he sang badly, and the teacher told him it was no use. “Give him another trial,” pleaded Missiano. “He is tired and nervous.” The teacher consented, with the result that he gave Caruso the instruction which laid the foundation of future success. Years later the wheels of fortune had reversed. Caruso was rich and successful while Missiano had the misfortune to lose all his wealth. The fact became known to Caruso, and the great tenor persuaded Gatti-Casazza to give Missiano a trial. The trial was successful, and Missiano sang second parts in many of the operas.


Dr. Henry Coward, the famous English chorus conductor, was recently married for the third time. One of his own sons acted as best man.

Sir Frederic Cowen can claim the distinction of having received the highest fee ever paid to a British conductor. For his services as conductor at the Melbourne Centennial Exhibition, Melbourne, Australia, he received $25,000.

Miss Cecile Ayres, a young American pianist, has been making a high reputation for herself in Europe. A recent performance in Frankfurt earned her the highest praise of the leading critics, who agreed that she is a player of strong and genuine temperament.

The Parisian music world is stirred by the fact that the heirs of Georges Bizet have been fighting the moving picture shows for producing pictures of the performances of Carmen with musical accompaniment. The lawsuit involved has resulted in a victory over the “movies.”

In view of the fact that Chopin died of consumption a movement has been started in London to endow a bed in some hospital or sanitarium for pulmonary trouble, to be known as the “Chopin Bed.” The custom of endowing a bed in this way is a very pretty one, but it has not often been done for a musician.

Sir Rufus Isaacs, one of England’s foremost lawyers, says of his profession that it is a glorious profession though it is not quite a bed of roses. “If you are successful it is all roses and no bed, while if you fail, it is all bed and no roses.” Surely this can be said of the musical profession, too.

We are pleased to learn that Mr. Coleridge- Taylor has scored another success with his Tale of Old Japan, a choral setting of the wonderful little poem by Alfred Noyes. Ever since Hiawatha took the English people by storm, Coleridge-Taylor has been a marked man, and his compositions have been watched carefully by all who love sound musical scholarship and rich melody and rhythm.

One of the most remarkable signs of the musical times is the amount of attention paid to Liszt at Leipzig during the recent centenary celebrations. Leipzig was the stronghold of all who opposed Liszt, and for decades his music was tabooed at the Gewandhaus concerts. Two Liszt concerts were given there recently under Arthur Nikisch, a famous Liszt conductor.

Hammerstein’s success in London has proved to be a serious matter for Covent Garden, where it was hoped that a rival attraction might be found in the famous Russian dancer. Mathilde Kchensinski, a great favorite of the Czar. She is not, however, a favorite of Queen Mary, and consequently court circles are giving her a wide berth. Without royal support Covent Garden cannot hope for success. Nevertheless Covent Garden still holds its own by its excellent presentation of German operas, and is as secure as the Metropolitan was in Hammerstein’s New York days.

The necessity of being able to darken the auditorium of the theater, leaving audience and orchestra in total darkness, is one that was awakened much ingenuity among theatrical managers. A London manager has solved it partly by making the orchestra players read white notes on black paper. There is only enough light on the music stand to shine upon the notes, the shirt-fronts of the musicians are covered with black cloth, and bald men have to wear a skull cap.

An interesting sale recently took place in Berlin. The catalogue consisted of musical and epistolary autographs which belonged to Ignatz Moscheles, the friend and pupil of Beethoven, and Alfred Bovet. Some of the lots fetched very high prices. A Praeludium in Organo pleno, by J. S. Bach, fetched about $900; an Albumblatt fur Betty Schott, by Wagner, $625; a complete full score of Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture fetched over $700. A sketch book of Beethoven’s, 80 pages long, which appears to have been hitherto unknown, fetched the highest price, about $3,300.

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