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Music Lover's Digest. January, 1915.

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THE ETUDE’S monthly scrapbook of paragraphs worth re-reading, selected, perchance, from yesterdays mail, from the continent, the latest book, or from some old and rare tome, as the case may be, giving our readers the cream of reading from contemporary journals in all languages, and from the most stimulating books.

Brahms’ Cigarettes
BRAHMS, the great composer, loved a good “weed,” but did not turn up his nose at a bad one, says the Cologne Gazette. In quick succession dear and cheap cigarettes entered his lips. After an Egyptian would come the cheapest kinds of cigarettes, those “sports” manufactured by the Austrian “Tabakregie,” which a short time ago only cost a farthing each, and tasted like it. Now they cost double as much, but do not taste like it.

Erich Wolff, the talented composer of songs, who died at an all too early age last spring, used to tell a story of how he was once favored with one of Brahms’ cigarettes. He had only just emerged from the Academy of Music at Vienna when he ventured to submit one of his first compositions to the redoubtable master of his craft, and actually played it in his house on the piano.

Brahms was in a cheerful, genial mood, and showed his approbation of Wolff’s playing and composition. As the young man rose to go he asked him whether he smoked, and on Wolff’s confessing with a bow that he did, the master said: “Then you shall have something really choice.” With that he took out of his cigarette case an Egyptian cigarette with a gold mouthpiece and handed it to the young musician, who received it with words of thanks that stammered with sheer emotion, and placed it carefully in his breast pocket.

“Why do you put the cigarette away? Why not light it now?” asked Brahms, who had already struck a match.

“I cannot smoke it,” replied Wolff; “I shall take great care of it: it is not every day that one gets a cigarette from Johannes Brahms.”

Thereupon the great man opened his cigarette case again and said, with a smile of satisfaction
 
“Then just give me back the good cigarette, will you: for your purpose a ‘sport’ will serve just as well.”—Evening Standard (London).
 
 
 
Are Musicians Freaks?
It has been stoutly maintained that genius is closely allied to madness, owing, we suppose, to the fact that cerebral excitement is characteristic of both, and a German scientist, Dr. Paul Sohn, has come to the conclusion that all musicians are physical freaks in respect of their outward appearance. No matter what their nationality, all persons of marked musical ability closely resemble one another in the shape of their heads and faces. The head and countenance of the typical musician often look very much like those of the lion or tile sphinx. This peculiar shape is due to the gradual expansion of the sound-centre of his brain, and to a consequent change in the shape of the skull, from which one may logically deduce that in infancy and childhood the shape is normal, and that it only becomes abnormal as musicality develops. Parents who have their children taught music, little dream, we conclude, what a future they are preparing for them. However, it is some consolation to reflect that although all great musicians have an eccentric abnormal, and sometimes fantastic appearance, it is quite free, in Dr. Sohn’s opinion, from any hint of degeneracy.

The typical musical head is characterized by the horizontal breadth of the forehead, the broad nose and chin, and the wide and very mobile mouth. The eyes are lustrous, with a dreamy expression, while the brow often overhangs greatly. Possibly everyone can recall some musician to whom this description would apply, as well as a good many to whom it certainly will not. That development of certain brain centres may affect the conformation of the cranium, no one will question; but it is rather a large order to say that all musicians, or even all great musicians, display precisely similar physical characteristics. Take Paderewski and Richter for example; which of them is the lion and which the sphinx in personal appearance? Would anybody say that Mozart and Mendelssohn were physical freaks?—Musical News (London).
 
 
Municipal Music in New York
The appropriation for each of the four last years has been upwards of $100,000, the exact figures for 1913 being $39,500 for the Park, and $35,000 for the Dock Department. The number and disposition of concerts is planned according to the appropriation. Sometimes there will be concerts on all the Recreation Piers every evening for a season of from ten to fifteen weeks, and sometimes only on three nights in the week. Afternoon folk-dancing for children on the Piers in the afternoon has been an important feature during the last two years. For this the Dock Department provides small bands of ten players.

About thirty of the one hundred and fifty parks of the city are supplied with band concerts one evening in the week during the summer season. On Saturdays and Sundays the concerts are given in the afternoons. The various racial districts are thus reached, Italian, Jewish, Bohemian, Hungarian and others; and where the entire population of the district is made up of a single race the corresponding forms of music will occasionally be featured on the programs.
 
During the last two years the orchestra concerts at the Mall in Central Park have been made daily, or rather nightly events, for a period of nine weeks in the middle of the season. The Saturday and Sunday concerts, however, occur in the afternoon. Saturday and Sunday concerts only have been given for a period of about a month before and a month after the period of daily concerts. The Central Park orchestras have been conducted on alternate weeks by Arnold Volpe and Franz Kaltenborn, and have consisted of from forty-five to fifty-five players, who are recruited from the ranks of the best winter symphony orchestras of the city—ARTHUR FARWELL, Supervisor of Municipal Concerts in New York City (from Time Courier, Cincinnati).

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