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The World of Music


All the necessary news of the musical world told concisely, pointedly and justly

At Home

A statue to Mme. Lillian Nordica is to be erected in Central Park, New York.

The Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra now has a pension fund for its members.

It is announced that Cyril Scott, the “English Debussy,” is to visit America this year and perform some of his works.

It is possible that Saint-Saëns, the most eminent of living French composers, will come to America for a short time in the coming season.

The Century Opera Company of New York has secured the right to produce all the operas of Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari, whose Jewels of the Madonna and other works have proved so popular.

A new musical magazine has been launched. It is to be known as The Canadian Journal of Music, and has for its purpose the encouragement of musical life in the Dominion and the dissemination of musical news. Good luck to it!

Milwaukee has been trying the experiment of having opera in choral form presented in the public parks. It has been a complete success, the audiences having consisted of never less than 7,000.

The Chicago Opera Company has tentatively arranged to give the following operas in English during the coming season: Aïda, Madame Butterfly, Otello, Jewels of the Madonna, Carmen, Faust, Mignon, Cinderella, Lakme, The Tales of Hoffmann, Il Trovatore, Cavalleria Rusticana, Pagliacci and Martha.

Our readers will regret to learn that Arthur Foote, the distinguished American composer of Boston, has been suffering from appendicitis. Luckily he is on the high road to recovery. He was forced, however, to give up his summer session at the University of California, where he had a wide following.

A fund of $250,000 is being raised in St. Louis for an opera house. $100,000 of this sum has already been raised; another $100,000 is already in sight, and it is considered that the $50,000 offer of the late Adolphus Busch can undoubtedly be revived. This looks as if St. Louis is to take rank as a leading American opera centre in the near future.

A plan has been adopted by the New Orleans Music Teachers’ Association for the standardization of music teachers. Examination will be imposed upon future members of the organization, and study classes will be formed under the auspices of the association for the study of whatever subjects a sufficient number of members wish to undertake.

The Social Center Magazine, of Madison, Wis., will have as an associate editor, in charge of the music department, no less distinguished a writer than Miss Margaret Wilson, daughter of the President. She hopes that the music department of the magazine will produce “songs which will be to the social center movement what the stirring battle songs have been to war time.”

The plans have been passed for the new fine arts building of Southwestern University. The building will be used chiefly to accommodate the departments of Music and Art. It will have a minimum of fifty teaching and practice rooms, two lecture rooms for theory classes, a large Art room, an Auditorium with a seating capacity of 1,500 or more, with a stage to care for a chorus of 300, with an orchestra of fifty, and a three manual pipe organ. The music department of this enterprising university is in charge of Arthur L. Manchester.

John Barberis, ninety years old, says Musical America, was arrested recently for asking alms in front of the Metropolitan Opera House. He told the police that he had been an operatic tenor and had sung at the Academy of Music before the Metropolitan was built and as a member of the original Metropolitan company. He sang with Patti, Sembrich and Nordica, he said, but poverty had come to him with old age. The magistrate discharged him and a purse was made up for him among the spectators in the Night Court.

The first American Congress of Catholic Organists and Choirmasters and those interested in the advancement of the cause of sacred music has just been held at Cliff Haven, N. Y., the site of the Catholic Summer School. The main object of the organization (known as the Society of St. Gregory of America) is to foster fraternal assistance and encouragement among its members. Many resolutions were passed at this the first congress that will aid very materially in the cause of the society. Many prominent organists of the United States, Mexico and Canada were present.

A society known as the Stillman Kelley Publication Society has been formed by a number of prominent Americans interested in music, for the publication of Edgar Stillman Kelley’s principal orchestral works. Mr. Kelley, who is at present in Europe where his works have been received with well-merited praise, has himself suggested that the society extend its scope and publish the larger Orchestral scores of other composers. This is really very necessary. There is rarely any profit in the publication of orchestral scores of high merit and few music publishers are in a position to publish music at a loss for the sake of Art. The result is that many worthy works in the larger forms never see the light of day.

This has been a fatal year among musicians. Liebling, Perkins, Engelmann, Giorza, Nordica, Griswold, to name only a few, have passed away, and now comes the news that William Dressier has died in his eighty-sixth year. Death was caused by paralysis of the heart. He was born in Nottingham, England, of German parents. He received his musical education at Cologne Conservatory and later conducted the Wiesbaden Opera. Dressier came to America in the early fifties as solo pianist and accompanist for Ole Bull. After several seasons of travel he settled in New York as organist, teacher and composer. He held appointments as organist and choirmaster in many of the leading churches in New York and Brooklyn. Dressier also did much editing for a music publishing firm. Many of his arrangements, adaptations and compositions have appeared in The Etude from time to time, and all serve to show his accomplished musicianship.


A new tomb has been placed in the cathedral at Pozzuoli, Italy, to the memory of Gambiattista Pergolesi.

The Boston Opera Company is said to have lost $60,000 in its Paris season.

Giordano’s Madame Sans-Gêne will be given in Rome and Turin after its initial production in New York next season.

Not very often does music of a significant kind get written for the trumpet, but a fine Theme with Variations has just been published by a French composer, M. R. Moulaert.

Leschetizky recently went to Berlin to have an operation performed on his eyes. Otherwise he seems to be as active as ever.

The winner of the Prix de Rome, the celebrated prize of the National Conservatoire in Paris, which entitles the holder to three years’ residence in Rome, has been won by Marcel Dupré, a pupil of Widor, the celebrated organist. If present warlike conditions prevail M. Duprés’ chances of going to Italy are extremely remote.

The prize of 20,000 francs offered by Mrs. McCormick for the best lyric opera by an Italian has been won by Giovanni Pennacchio, a military bandmaster. The work is entitled Errica, and will be produced in Parma, wars permitting. Mrs. McCormick is the daughter of John D. Rockefeller, and the wife of Harold S. McCormick, chairman of the directors of the Chicago Opera Company.

The Empress of Ireland disaster seems for some reason to have quickly slipped out of the public mind. We are pleased to note that musicians and artists in England have been as prompt as ever in giving benefit concerts in aid of those who suffered loss and bereavement. There have been concerts given in Liverpool especially for the benefit of the musicians forming the ship’s band, who went down with the vessel.

Was there ever such an inveterate letter-writer as Richard Wagner? A firm in Leipzig is collecting his epistolary efforts to be published in fifteen volumes, comprising in all four thousand eight hundred letters. Considering the length of many of these letters, the fifteen volumes would represent the life-achievement of a quite voluminous literary author. In addition Wagner wrote innumerable pamphlets and books. When in the world did he find time to compose his music-dramas?

Richard Strauss recently attained his fiftieth birthday, and in honor of the event Herr Nicolas Manskopf has decided to found a Richard Strauss Museum at Frankfurt, his native city. In the meantime, as Henry T. Finck remarks in the New York Evening Post, “nothing succeeds like failure. Richard Strauss’s most ardent admirers do not claim that his Legend of Joseph is a success, yet it is said he has received $25,000 for a season’s exclusive control of it.”

Professor Max Meyer-Olbersleben, director of the Royal Conservatory of Music at Wurzburg, in Germany, has recently been given the title of Privy Councillor (Hofrat) to the King of Bavaria. This is one of the highest distinctions in Germany and is given in recognition of Prof. Meyer-Olbersleben’s long and brilliant service as a teacher, composer and conductor. Professor Meyer-Olbersleben was brought up at Weimar under the eye of Franz Liszt, whose pupil and assistant he was for many years.

The famous National Opera of Paris is said to be facing ruin. The losses during the past season averaged $12,000 a month and the season has closed with a deficit of $200,000.

“The sweetest music in all the world,” announces the London Music, “is the horn of plenty and the trumpet of fame.” And the worst, we presume, is that played by the horns of a dilemma.

Lady Hardinge, wife of the Viceroy of India, who died recently in London, was said to be the finest amateur violinist in England. She was the owner of a Stradivarius valued at $10,000.

The recent sale of the Covent Garden property in London has not affected the Royal Opera at Covent Garden Opera House in any way. There are still thirty-four years to run of the lease which is in the possession of the opera syndicate.

Socialism is gaining ground everywhere, it seems. An affray between the citizens and soldiery of Milan resulted in the closing of the opera house. The street fighters claimed to be socialists.

Xavier Scharwenka, the eminent pianist and composer, has severed his connection with the Klindworth-Scharwenka Conservatory in Berlin, and has founded a “Master Piano School” of his own, where he will be assisted by Martha Siebold and his daughter, Isolde Scharwenka.

In a fire which Occurred near the Imperial Opera House in Moscow, Russia, much of the opera scenery was burned, including nearly 180 pieces of decorative art, some of it by famous painters. The loss is estimated at about half a million roubles ($250,000).

The good aldermen of Munich have decided to name a street of their city in honor of Richard Strauss. So far we have not heard of a MacDowell Street or Stephen Foster Street in any American city, though hundreds of cities and streets have been named after men who have done far less for the country—even in their own section of it!

The Czar of Russia has paid a signal tribute to Sir Joseph Beecham, who has done much to develop Russian musical art in England. The Czar has conferred upon him the order of St. Stanislaus, the highest order that can be conferred upon a civilian in the Russian Empire. Sir Joseph is the first Englishman to be so honored.

The Covent Garden première of Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini was a distinct success. Zandonai’s Conchita was very favorably received in America two seasons ago, and there seem to be indications that Zandonai is a man with whom the future will have to reckon.

Paris is not usually backward in erecting statues to those who have achieved distinction within its walls, but oddly enough there is no statue to’ Rossini. The omission, according to the London Daily Chronicle, is to be supplied, and a statue is to be erected in Auteuil, where is situated the Home for Poor Musicians, which owes its existence to the generosity of Rossini. He bequeathed 4,000,000 francs to this excellent institution.

The successor to Dr. Friedrich Niecks as Professor of Music at Edinburgh University will be Mr. Donald Tovey, who has earned a high reputation in England as a composer, theorist, writer and executant. Among his sponsors were Sir George Henschel, Sir Hubert Parry, Sir Walter Parratt, Max Steinbach of Cologne, and others of note. Joseph Joachim used to say that “not a note of the old or of the modern masters was unknown to Tovey.”

In commemoration of the sixty-seventh anniversary of the founding of the Thüringen Sängerbund more than four thousand singers recently gathered at Eisenach, Thüringen, the birthplace of John Sebastian Bach. An imposing pageant was the “festival parade” of the singing societies, included in which was a large wagon, draped with flags and accompanied by knights in armor, bearing the figures of Tannhäuser and Elizabeth. The procession ascended the hill to the vicinity of the Wartburg, where an immense pavilion had been erected for the performance.

Felix Weingartner’s opera, Cain and Abel, was received with great success at Darmstadt. It is now being translated into French for a production at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels. At the moment of writing Europe is under a war-cloud which envelops Belgium and Holland perhaps more thickly than any other point, since these countries would provide Germany with the long-sought extension of her seacoast. In which case Brussels will witness a performance of the Cain and Abel tragedy of more colossal proportions than ever Felix Weingartner conceived.

The Japanese, remarks Le Ménestral, continue to “occidentalize” themselves. There is to-day in Tokio a theatre constructed on the European plan in which gratuitous popular performances of opera and plays are given. At these performances, as at all others, box office attendants are present to show the spectators to their seats, but these attendants, says the French journal, are different from ours, inasmuch as they are courteous, serviceable and silent, and are restrained from accepting gratuities. The spectators form a model audience, and perfect order reigns in the vast auditorium, which seats no less than three thousand people. As soon as the performance begins the silence is such that you could hear the proverbial pin drop, and the audience is so quiet that no police are present. The free performances, which are excellent in all respects, are also longer than would be considered desirable in Europe or America, as they commence at five in the evening and continue until five the next morning.

Whatever other outcome the European war may have, it will unquestionably put a stop to most of the musical activities in Vienna, Berlin, and other important musical centres. Trieste will find it difficult to repeat last year’s fine operatic achievement. There were eighty-three representations of opera given there, made up as follows: Thirteen performances of Tristan und Isolde; thirteen of The Girl of the Golden West; fifteen of Parsifal; seven of Carmen; six of Don Pasquale; four of Traviata; nine of Gioconda; five of Elixir d’Amore, and nine of Mme. Butterfly. These figures represent a remarkable condition of affairs since they show that the people of Trieste prefer either what is best of the old or else what is good of the new. Parsifal with fifteen representations heads the list, and is seconded by Tristan, and of all things The Girl of the Golden West. This indicates anything but the stereotyped acceptance of a few old favorites to the exclusion of the unusual, which is all too common in operatic centres enjoying government subsidies—or the American equivalent of capitalistic endowments and “guarantee funds.”

The increased respect the world is paying to music and musicians is noticeable in the new British Army Order, which now makes it possible for all military bandmasters in the British Army to attain the commissioned rank of lieutenant. In England at one time, it will be remembered, musicians in the eyes of the law were classed as “rogues and vagabonds.” Nowadays the musician may rank as “an officer and a gentleman.” On the continent eminent musicians are frequently given high military rank, but this is an honor given only to the most distinguished and is somewhat analogous to the knighthood bestowed by the English monarch on leading musicians. In the American army the band is under the control of the adjutant, and at the present time it is not possible for a bandmaster to hold commissioned rank. He is an enlisted man, and can go up for examination to pass for his lieutenancy if he desires to do so. On gaining the rank, however, he would cease to be connected with the band. The single exception to this rule is the present bandmaster of the Marine band, who holds the rank of lieutenant.

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