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The World of Music


At Home.

The compositions of Adolph M. Foerster have been played by many large orchestras during the past summer and even did not escape the Sousa band.

Harold Bauer is giving a series of private recitals to the students of the Institute of Musical Art in New York.

Wilhelm Bachaus, the Anglo-German pianist, who is so well liked over here, will include in his repertoire on his next American tour the MacDowell concerto in D minor and a concerto by Dr. Otto Neitzel, the composer-critic-pianist-teacher.

Mr. David Bispham has just returned from Australasia after an exceptionally successful trip. He has now entered the field of vaudeville—a distinctly new departure, but one which will help to raise the standard of popular entertainment in this country.

Sufficient guarantors have been forthcoming to warrant the formation of a symphony orchestra in Pittsburgh during the coming season. Mainly local artists will be engaged, both in the orchestra and as soloists. Carl Bernthaler will be the conductor.

How the Mexicans love us! All American music is forbidden on Mexican military bands, and when the Fifteenth Battalion Band played a selection from an American light opera, the Governor General ordered it to cease and play no more “gringo” airs.

Mexico has spent $10,000,000 on an opera house in the capital city, and the government contributes about $100,000 towards its upkeep. From which it will be seen that the Mexicans have other things to think about besides such trifles as revolutions.

The director of public school music in Washington, Miss Alys Bentley, has resigned her position in order to become associated with the School of Ethical Culture in New York. Miss Bentley has been extremely popular in Washington, and her departure will be much regretted.

The endowment of the famous Apollo Musical Club of Chicago has been raised to $100,000. The ultimate object is to build a permanent home for the institution. At present there are 350 active members, and the conductor of the club is that excellent musician, Mr. Harrison M. Wild.

The fact that Paderewski is now touring America will give pleasure to his innumerable admirers in this country. He is to give eighty or ninety concerts, and he will be in the United States until the latter part of April next year. It is four years since he was last here.

The Canadian Opera Company season is to open in November at Montreal. Among the plans for the season is the novel one of giving symphony concerts every Wednesday afternoon. Another special feature of the season is the engagement of Pavlova, the Russian dancer, and an interesting repertoire of opera is announced. The rumors that there was considerable rivalry between the Chicago Opera Company and the Canadians has been authoritatively denied.

The pageant fever has apparently caught the American popular taste, and as it has resulted in supplying the more brilliant of the American composers an opportunity of displaying their talent in a new field, it does not matter how long it maintains its grip. One of the most recent, and most successful, was that held at Darien, Conn., at which the book was supplied by Mr. William Chauncey Langdon, and the music by Mr. Arthur Farwell, both of whom deserve hearty congratulations.

The office of dean of women has been instituted at the University of Michigan School of Music. Until recently the number of attendants at this school has not been large enough to warrant the university authorities in exercising any supervision over the girls, but the attendance has now become so large as to render the step necessary, and the new office will be filled by Mrs. Byril Fox Bacher.

It was bound to come! The concert manager, M. H. Hanson, and the American composer, Albert Mildenberg, are planning to produce grand opera in the “movies” along the lines that it has been produced in London and Paris. There will be an orchestra and a large pipe organ to attend to the music, while all the action on the stage will be faithfully reproduced. Twenty of the most popular operas have been drawn upon for repertoire. Mr. Mildenburg hopes that opera in the “movies” will tend to awaken an interest in opera for its own sake in this country as opposed to opera for the sake of the star singers and the peacock parade.

A recent portrait of Katharine Goodson, which has appeared in several of the current musical newspapers, attests the fact that the famous English pianist began her music studies as a violinist, and used it as the stepping stone to higher things. This custom seems to be quite prevalent in England, especially among composers, of whom at least four began in this way—Coleridge-Taylor, Alexander MacKenzie, Edward German and Edward Elgar. Harold Bauer, the Anglo-German pianist was also a violinist in his youth and Mme. Sembrich, the most versatile of sopranos, admits that much of her success in after life was due to the study of the violin when she was a child.

The death has occurred in Boston of Lizette Emma Orth, the wife of John Orth, the well-known teacher and composer of Boston. Mrs. Orth was herself an excellent pianist and composer and has for years taken an active part in the musical life of Boston. The fact that she has been an invalid for the last twenty years has been known to only a few. She is survived by her husband and two sons and two daughters, all of her children having marked musical gifts. Most of Mrs. Orth’s compositions have been easy pieces for beginners. Mr. John Orth has contributed many extremely valuable articles to The Etude and our readers will therefore feel a special sympathy for him in his sad bereavement.

The opening shot of the American opera season has been fired by the Century Opera with a production in English of Verdi’s Aida. The conductor was Alfred Szendrel, and the three leading roles were sustained by newcomers to American opera—Elizabeth Amsden (Aida), Kathleen Howard (Amneris), and Morgan Kingston (Rhadames). The critics on the whole were disposed to be favorable, though there seems to have been some nervousness on the part of the artists, and the acoustics of the Century theatre have not improved in spite of efforts. There seems to be question, however, (sic?) that the Century Company is destined for a long future, and the indebtedness of the American public to the Aborn Brothers for proving that opera in English can be given under excellent conditions at a reasonable price has been very considerably increased.

What is said to be the first school for teaching liturgical music in the United States was opened in New York early in October as the Trinity School of Music, under the direction of Mr. Felix Lamond. Berlin has long boasted of a school of Church music and there are other schools in various parts of Europe where special attention is given to church music. The school is in a way connected with Trinity Church, the famous old institution that in days of yore was housed in a building that looked frowningly down upon Wall Street from the vantage point of Broadway, but which now nestles cozily down in the deep ravines between sky-scrapers. The school will occupy quarters in the Trinity Parish School House in the vicinity of the church. In the faculty are the following well-known musicians: Dr. E. G. Stubbs, Mr. Edmund Jacques, Mr. Robert J. Winterbottom, Mr. F. T. Harrat. Mr. Morris E. Schwartz, Mr. John Carrington, Dr. A. Madeley Richardson, Mr. Mark Andrews, Dr. Victor Baier. Among the examiners are Prof. W. R. Spaulding of Harvard; Mr. Arthur Foote and Mr. Tertius Noble. The Etude wishes this new institution great success.


A statue was recently unveiled to commemorate the birthplace of Franz Abt, at Eilenburg, Saxony.

An Australian critic recently spoke of “Debussy, whose music has brought discord into so many happy homes.”

The late Frances Allitsen, the English song composer, left many of her copyrights to the Salvation Army.

Leoncavallo, the composer of Pagliacci, is to conduct six weeks of opera at the new Tivoli Opera House in San Francisco. He is said to be a better conductor than are most composers.

Charles Lecocq, the composer of La Fille de Madame Angot, recently entered his eighty-second year. As he has frequently been reported dead, this is quite an achievement.

Elgar’s new work, an orchestral tone-poem entitled Falstaff, will obtain its first American hearing with the New York Symphony Orchestra under Walter Damrosch. A new work by Debussy entitled Printemps will also be presented by this orchestra.

The death has occurred of Alfred R. Gaul, the English composer whose cantatas, Ruth and The Holy City, are so popular in this country. Mr. Gaul was born at Norwich, England, 1837, but spent the greater part of his life in Birmingham.

London has found a new occupation for its spare time in learning to play the bagpipes, the fashion having been started by the Prince of Wales. It is said that many Americans in England have signified their willingness to follow the strange customs of the natives of the Island, and are learning to squeeze music out of the grandfather of the automobile horn.

Parsifal is to be given in many places now that the copyright has expired, and among other places it will be heard in Russia. This is a triumph for somebody, because the “spiritual censor” of that lugubrious and barbaric land objected to it on spiritual grounds. Exactly how his objections have been overcome remains a mystery.

A new opera from Engelbert Humperdinck’s pen is nearly completed. The work is entitled The Market Woman, and the work deals with the Prussian war of liberation of 1813. The composer of Hansel and Gretel, and Die Koenigskinder is now an old man, but his works seem to have imbibed of the spring of Eternal Youth. No date for the production of this new work has yet been announced, but no doubt arrangements will be made shortly.

Theodore Spiering, well known in America as an eminent violinist, has been appointed conductor of the Berliner Frei Volksbuhne, the People’s Free Stage, for the coming season. This society is intended to supply high class music at popular prices, and has a membership of 50,000. It is gratifying to know that among the works Mr. Spiering intends to include in his programs is Mrs. H. H. A. Beach’s symphony. Mrs. Beach is easily the foremost American woman composer, if not the foremost woman composer in the world.

Two American artists, Francis Maclennan and his wife, Florence Easton, were the recipients of a marked honor from the German Kaiser on the occasion of their departure from the Berlin Royal Opera to the Municipal Opera at Hamburg. The Emperor presented Mr. Maclennan with a scarf-pin of diamonds and sapphires, and Miss Easton with a brooch of rubies and diamonds, marked with the imperial monogram. Both singers have been members of the Royal Opera for five years.

The indefatigable opera enthusiast, Thomas Beecham, contemplates giving a season of opera in London at prices from twenty-five cents to a dollar and a quarter. Mr. Beecham, backed by a syndicate of wealthy men, proposes to build a new opera house, the one built by Mr. Hammerstein being inadequate for the amount of support Mr. Beecham thinks he is going to have. It sounds like a dream, but dreamers accomplish things at times, and it certainly ought to be possible to get good, cheap opera right in the heart of the British Empire.

The egotism of musicians is proverbial, but surely the limit was reached by a pianist whom Sir Charles Halle, himself a great virtuoso, congratulated on his reception. “And no wonder,” replied the pianist, “for I played more like a god than a man.” A more recent case of “swelled head” is that of Josef (that’s his way of spelling “Joseph”) Holbrooke, the English composer, who remarks in speaking of the opera, Ariadne auf Naxos of Richard Strauss, which was recently produced in London: “Surely we (or I) could not, cannot, have written any such monotonous opera as this. I ask in fear and trembling and I look fearfully around for an answer. We were never such dull dogs as this.” The “we” in this case is presumably the other English composers. So far as Mr. Holbrooke is concerned, it may be said at once that his opera. The Children of Don, was said by most competent critics to be as dull and dreary as it well could be.

The following cheerful notice appears in the prospectus of the London Symphony Orchestra for the series of concerts to be given during the coming season; “It has been found necessary to omit from the programs other than standard works, as it has been proved by experience that the public support is withdrawn on the occasions when new and unknown works are performed at the concerts, and it is the general wish of the supporters of the concerts to include only works of the standard order.” Is this intended to indicate that the British public cannot stand for anything new? At first blush this would seem to be the case. But there has been a perfect craze in London of late years, and it may be that the public is getting just a little rebellious and is refusing to forget old and tried friends for the sake of pretentious novelties. This is the most charitable view we can think of to account for this astounding conservatism. It is noticeable that the Queen’s Hall Orchestra, under the enterprising Sir Henry Wood, is to include many new works, some of them by comparatively unknown British composers.

The Viennese public has been demonstrating to Schönberg and his pupils that “futurism in music” will not be tolerated without a struggle. The public feels that it is buying tickets for his concerts under the impression that it is to hear beautiful music, instead of which it has to put up with the compositions of Schönberg. The composer does not deny the right of any one to dislike his music, but he denies the right of any one to disturb others from enjoying it. He is therefore selling tickets to his concert which bear on them a printed reminder that no demonstration of any kind is to be made during the course of the performance. Schönberg is evidently in the right. If people do not like his music the proper way for them to show it is to remain absent from his concerts, not to go to them and create a disturbance. Meantime, how long will it be before American audiences will be so deeply interested in music that they will break into a riot upon any attempt to depart from classical traditions on the part of American composers?

One hundred years ago, when Verdi was born in Italy, the character of Italian music was about as purely national in style as music could possibly be. Although the great Italian masters were familiar with the works of the composers of other nations they sought to please principally those who had for years been listening to the sensuous beauty of arias elaborated from the mellifluous folk songs of the Italian peasantry. Melody never dies, but as the world of music has gone ahead it has become the fashion to laud music that represents the solution of complicated contrapuntal problems. Accordingly, Verdi is not judged by his masterly Aida, Otello, and Falstaff, but by his Rigoletto, Traviata or Il Travatore. In Italy, where the celebrations of Verdi’s centenary have just been at their height, his compatriots have been paying their respects to Verdi from his earliest works to their last. Wagner and Verdi celebrations have fairly peppered Europe during the last two or three months.


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