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The World of Music


At Home.

Ludwig Hess, the German tenor, is to organize a madrigal society in New York next season.

Richard Trunk, of Munich, has been appointed director and conductor of the Arion Singing Society of New York.

There is an interesting rumor abroad that Jean de Reszke has consented to sing for the Dippel forces next year.

A new opera by the composer, of The Merry Widow, Franz Lehar, is to be tried out at Atlantic City. The work is entitled The Count of Luxembourg, and has had a long run in London.

New York theatrical managers have been disturbed by a strike among the orchestra men. They have gotten over the difficulty by using pianos in place of the regular orchestra.

They have a short way of bringing concerts to a close in Yonkers. When Miss Annie Tassig refused to stop singing at the request of her fellow-boarder, Philip Coughlin, who desired some sleep, he quenched her fiery ardor by means of a garden hose.

A phonographic record has been taken of a baby twenty-six hours old. The baby is the daughter of a music dealer in Tennessee. Her parents intend to keep the record to present to her on her marriage day, so that her doting husband will be able to hear her childish prattle.

Mario Lambardi, the operatic impresario whose efforts have extended over the United States and South America for the last twenty years, is going to establish permanent headquarters in San Francisco so that the Pacific Coast will have its own opera.

The will of Alfred L. Seligman, the New York banker and music lover who was recently killed in an automobile accident, includes a bequest of $20,000 to the Young Men’s Symphony Orchestra, which was founded by Seligman. He also left $2,500 for the support of the concerts given by the People’s Symphony Orchestra.

Among the visiting artists for next year Clara Butt and her husband, Kennerley Rumford, are likely to receive a hearty welcome. At a recent concert at the Albert Hall, London, the great hall was filled to the extent of its seating capacity of 6,000, and in addition 2,000 people were standing. Clara Butt received a remarkable demonstration of high esteem from her fellow countrymen.

Maude Powell, the eminent American violinist, has been injured in an automobile accident while out with her husband, Godfrey Turner, who was also injured. The accident took place at Phœnicia, N. Y. Both were thrown out of the car and lay unconscious until rescued. The injuries were not very serious, however.

Mr. Clarence C. Robinson, many of whose charming songs are well known to Etude readers, has been appointed Director of Music at the Pennsylvania State College. Mrs. Robinson will direct the piano department. Mr. Robinson has appeared in concert in many parts of the country.

 Mr. W. L. Hubbard, one time music reviewer for the Chicago Tribune, has been appointed Press Agent for the Boston Opera House. A part of his plan to increase the interest in opera is a series of lectures which he will give personally, with illustrations by members of the opera company.

Reports as to what Hammerstein is going to do next vary every minute. According to the latest (at the time of writing) he has lost over $225,000 in London. He is going to remain there another season, after which he will return to New York, where it is rumored that three millionaires have promised to build him a magnificent opera house and let him have it rent free if he’ll consent to manage it. The millionaires are not named.

The newcomers among the virtuoso pianists who are to appear in America during the coming season will include Gottfried Galston, Max Pauer and Irene Scharrer. Another practical newcomer is Cornelia Rider-Possart. Among those who are already well known to the American public are Leopold Godowsky, Tina Lerner, Josef Lhevinne, Xaver Scharwenka, Arthur Friedheim, and Rudolph Ganz. Those pianists who are of virtuoso rank and have either been born in this country or have made a permanent home here include Fannie Bloomfield-Zeisler, Arthur Shattuck, Germaine Schnitzer, Yolande Mëro, William A. Becker, Sigismund Stojowski and Ernesto Consolo.

The New York World recently furnished its readers with some interesting musical statistics regarding the profession of music teaching in New York. It is estimated there are 10,000 piano and organ teachers who have 100,000 pupils giving them 150,000 weekly lessons at the average price of a dollar a lesson, the total outlay for a thirty-week season being $4,500,000. There are 2,000 singing teachers with 30,000 pupils, giving 50,000 weekly lessons at the average price of $2.00, involving an outlay of $3,000,000  a season; there are also 2,000 violin and other teachers with 20,000 pupils, giving 20,000 weekly lessons at an average of one dollar a lesson, involving $600,000. The total outlay for the season adds up to $8,100,000.

Camille Thurwanger, who for a quarter of a century has been instructor of foreign languages at the New England Conservatory, has perfected a system whereby all foreign languages may be more readily studied from the standpoint of pronunciation through a key or phonetic plan which Prof. Thurwanger has invented and had patented. This is the first patent ever allowed upon an invention of this kind, principally intended to be of use to singers who apparently do not see the jolly farce of singing words and sounds in foreign languages without having the least idea of their meaning. We are not impugning the possible excellence of Prof. Thurwanger’s system, but even allowing that it does what it proposes to accomplish how can the songs sung be any more satisfying to the audience than the infinite AHHHHS and OOOS and EEES of Vocalises? Singing is a marriage of words and music, not the inane cooing and twittering of vowels to pretty Neopolitan tunes. If it aids singers who do understand languages to improve their pronunciation, it will serve a good purpose.

It is with great regret that we record the death of Dr. Gerrit Smith, organist, composer and professor of music at Union Theological Seminary. He was born at Hagerstown, Md., Dec. 11, 1859, and studied music under Sherwood, Samuel Warren, Thayer, Haupt and Rohde besides being a graduate of Hobart College, N. Y. On his return from Europe he was appointed organist at St. Peter’s Church, Buffalo, but in 1885 came to New York, where he was organist at the South Reformed Church, in addition to being Professor of Theory at the Master School of Brooklyn; founder and six years president of the Manuscript Society; a former president of the New York State Music Teachers’ Association, and a former honorary president of the American Guild of Organists. His compositions include the cantata King David and numerous songs, piano pieces, etc. One feature of Dr. Smith’s work in New York was the almost incredible number of performances of great oratorios rendered by his choir. These frequently averaged one a month and often drew a large number of hearers; they were given Sunday afternoons and were free to the public.

The bandmaster in charge of the music at the Democratic Convention in Baltimore was something of a humorist. When Bryan stepped to the front of the platform he was received with the popular song At the Gate of the Palace of Dreams. When Charles Murphy, a delegate from New York, reached out for a sandwich the band struck up Gee, I Like Music With My Meals, and Murphy bowed his acknowledgment to Charles Weber, the conductor of the band. Oscar Underwood was nominated to the tune I’ve Just Come Back From Dixie, and Champ Clark to You’re My Baby. Judson Harmon’s name brought forth Oh! You May, while Wilson got his send off with the march Spirit of Independence. Governor Marshall elicited the tune If You Talk In Your Sleep, Don’t Mention My Name, but the hit of the evening was made by Weber when the picturesque Senator Vardeman temporarily took the chair and he started the band off with Oh, You Beautiful Doll.

The grand scale on which the recent Saengerfest in Philadelphia has been carried out has recalled to many the tremendous efforts put forth at the World’s Peace Jubilee in Boston, forty years ago. Patrick Gilmore, then a young man of twenty or so, was responsible for the inception of the idea and for its carying (sic) out. He engaged many of the leading bands from Europe, and built a huge Coliseum to hold a hundred thousand people. Within seven weeks of the event the Coliseum was destroyed by a wind storm, but nothing daunted, Gilmore erected a new, though smaller building in time for the ceremony. The total expenses of this jubilee amounted, it was said, to exactly $283,388.29, and there was a balance of $6,000. A benefit for Mr. Gilmore realized $32,000, and this was added to it. The orchestra numbered 1,000, with Ole Bull as concertmeister, and the chorus 10,000. In all there were 165 choral societies enrolled: 104 from Massachusetts, 18 from New Hampshire, 10 from Connecticut, 8 from Maine, 6 each from Vermont and New York, 2 each from Rhode Island and Illinois, 1 each from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Iowa, District of Columbia and even California and New Brunswick. The World’s Peace Jubilee commenced on Monday, June 17, 1872, and Boston continued to be deluged with sound until July 4, when, with a final orgy of concerts this unique and colossal assemblage of music-makers came to a jubilant end amid the firing of cannon.

In 1907, Mr. and Mrs. Edward MacDowell gave their home at Peterborough, Vermont, to the Edward MacDowell Association, for the purpose of making it a place for work and companionship for students in all arts. Since the death of the composer, Mrs. MacDowell has given to the association in the most generous manner imaginable and the association now has a property of about 200 acres of farm and woodlands in one of the most ideal locations in the world. There are three houses and several studios or study rooms on the property, as well as the open air theatre with its equipment for the annual pageant given in August. Some thirteen thousand dollars were taken in last year and disbursed, as shown in a careful schedule published by the association. Mrs. MacDowell, whose means are not large, has worked indefatigably, often because of the lack of means to secure sufficient secretarial assistance, she has lectured and written and done everything to carry on this splendid work in the name of her husband. Last year she gave over four thousand dollars, including two thousand she had earned herself in lecturing. This memorial is not a silent shaft of stone but a living contributing force which may assist many young musicians, writers or artists who deserve a temporary residence at slight cost where they may go on with their dreaming and working. Mrs. MacDowell needs your help. $15,000 is needed right now. Small contributions will be as much appreciated as big ones. Send your contribution to Mr. Benjamin Prince, Treasurer, Irvington on Hudson, New York.

One of the features of American musical life that is doing most to foster an interest in the highest kind of music is the orchestral concerts given in the summer parks of the leading cities in America. Denver, Chicago, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, etc., each enjoy concerts by excellent wind bands and orchestras at which music of the highest type is constantly given. Among the orchestras which have done specially good work this summer may be mentioned the Denver Symphony Orchestra, the Thomas Orchestra of Chicago, the Volpe Symphony in New York and the Leps Orchestra of Philadelphia. The orchestra under Wassili Leps consisted of highly trained musicians, and during a short engagement at Philadelphia’s play ground, Willow Grove, works like Dvorak’s New World Symphony, Tschaikowski’s Pathetique, Goldmark’s Rustic Wedding, Rossini’s Stabat Mater (with chorus and soloists), etc., were given with the greatest success, bringing new laurels to the able and brilliant Russian-American composer who conducts the interesting organization. When it is remembered that the average park audience consists of not necessarily musical people out for a holiday, the task of keeping up the highest musical standards and still catering to the popular taste is no easy one to undertake.


A tablet has been erected on the house at Bourgival, near Paris, where Bizet died, June 2, 1875.

Humperdinck has so far recovered from his recent illness that he is said to be now at work on a musical setting of Maeterlinck’s Blue Bird.

In Mexico violin strings are sold principally by the ironmonger, and hardware importers sell anything from a needle to a grand piano.

There is a rumor that Rudolf Friml, a Bohemian pianist who once successfully toured America, has been invited to write an operetta for Hammerstein.

Paderewski recently gave a private recital for Alexandra, dowager Queen of England, at which he performed the Beethoven Moonlight Sonata.

Strauss’ Elektra is to be given in Russian at the Imperial Opera in St. Petersburg. After that it may as well be given in English.

A sale of musical instruments recently took place in London at which a Gagliano violoncello went for about $1,800, a Strad violin for $2,000, and a silver-mounted Tourte violoncello bow for $775.

A complete libretto of King Lear in Verdi’s handwriting has been discovered among his papers, indicating that had Verdi lived another Shakespearian opera would have taken its place beside Othello and Falstaff.

Frederic Delius has completed an opera entitled Fennimore. It is founded on the subject of J. P. Jacobsen’s novel Niels Lyhne. The work will be produced by Thomas Beecham.

The London Daily Mail recently presented a picture of a boy who plays the flute while his pet canary perches on his fingers. The bird jumps from one finger to another as the flutist has to use them in turn.

A new opera by Leoncavallo, entitled Zingari, is announced for production in London early in the season, after which the work will be heard in Berlin and New York. Italian and Bulgarian productions are also arranged for.

Adelina Patti has been generous to the city of Swansea, near her home in Wales. Since 1882 she has given eight charity concerts in the borough, which have realized about $40,000. The Mayor recently presented her with the “freedom of the city” in recognition of her philanthropy.

An organ recital was recently given by Mr. Westlake-Morgan at St. George’s Hall, Liverpool, consisting of the works of American composers, those represented on the program being H. Brooks Day, F. Flaxington Harker, J. Frank Frysinger, Homer N. Bartlett, E. Kreiser, Ralph Kinder and James H. Rogers.

The first performance in Norway of Wagner’s Lohengrin was recently given in Christiania. If Norway has had to wait sixty years for Lohengrin, however, it has had performances of Peer Gynt with Grieg’s music complete, which is more than any other European country can boast. A complete performance of Peer Gynt was given by Mansfield in America some years ago, but the music used was not entirely that of Grieg.

The Bicentennial of Jean Jacques Rousseau is receiving wide attention all over the world. His opera, The Village Soothsayer, has been revived at the Opera Comique in Paris. The French musician-philosopher is also receiving attention from Americans who have not forgotten that he was responsible for many of the ideas contained in the Declaration of Independence.

According to Giordano, whose operatic version of Sardou’s Madame Sans Gêne is to obtain its first hearing in New York next season, Verdi was responsible for the suggestion that an opera might be written around Napoleon. It is thanks then to the composer of Trovatore and Aïda that we are to have the privilege of seeing the Little Corporal with his hand on his heart singing a love song.

Our interesting contemporary, Musical Canada, tells us that London harbors 1,700 professional vocalists, and no fewer than 638 of these are sopranos. Of “professors” of the voice, piano, violin, etc., there are more than 6,730. Of solo violinists there are a round thousand, but strangest of all, is the fact that there are no fewer than 400 musical directors. The choral societies of London and outskirts number 73. In another column we give some similar statistics regarding New York. The comparison is interesting.

Another unknown work of Beethoven has been discovered, this time at Wurtemberg. It consists of a quartet for trombones composed in 1812 for the municipal musical director at Linz. In 1827 a text was added by von Seyfried, and the work was used as a quartet for male voices at Beethoven’s funeral. A performance of it is to be given before the German Emperor by one of the military bands of Berlin.

Dr. Ethel Smyth, one of England’s leading women composers, has been getting into trouble owing to militant efforts on behalf of women’s suffrage. She has been arrested for complicity in an attempt to burn the historic home of Lewis V. Harcourt, Secretary of State for the Colonies, a few weeks ago. She claims, however, that she can prove an alibi. This is the second time she has been in gaol, as she was previously imprisoned for window- smashing. There is something significant in the fact that her best known work is an opera entitled “The Wreckers.”

The momentous question as to exactly which hymn was played by the bandsmen of the Titanic as the vessel went down is now in a fair way to be decided. Most people who have investigated the matter seem to think Nearer, My God, to Thee was the hymn, but they are still not in agreement as to which setting was used. The fact appears to be, however, that Wallace Hartley, the leader of the orchestra, had a decided preference for Sullivan’s tune. This melody is not so well known in America though it is very popular in England, and is to be found in most of the hymn books. After all, however, the matter of which hymn or what tune was sung matters very little. The great outstanding fact remains that the “unsettling” profession of music in no way unfits a musician for doing his duty as well as the soldier or the sailor.

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