The Music Criticism of Hugo Wolf

By Henry Pleasants; Hugo Wolf | Go to book overview

13. Schubert and Beethoven —
and Brahms
Berlioz's "Grande Messe
Des Morts"

April 13, 1884

With the last concerts of the Philharmonic Orchestra and the Society of Friends of Music the musical season dies a natural death. Such concerts as yet lie in store lead an illusory existence, there being no further good reason to make music or listen to it. Reawakening nature now summons the enthusiast to her realm with an enchantment more compelling than that of the loveliest music in the musty concert hall. The song of the birds, the buzzing of beetles, the cheerful murmur of the brook, the soft song of balmy spring breezes, all the mysterious stirring and heaving of the newly decked earth — what heavenly music! One need not be a subscriber or a Founder to hear such music, nor be at any certain place at any certain time. And one is spared the distracted, gaping, captious, insensitive neighbor. One simply goes off one day with Eichendorff:

| So jubelnd recht in die hellen,
In die singenden, klingenden Wellen
Des vollen Frühlings hinaus!

So, joyously off into the bright,
Singing, sounding waves of
High spring!1 |

The attentive ear will be greeted by symphonies, hymns, songs and choruses such as no man has ever contrived. And so music, the heavenly queen, remains through summer and winter alike a cherished, faithful companion!

But once again to the Grosser Musikvereinssaal. It was more or less familiar matter that the Philharmonic offered in their last concert. We welcomed such pieces the more affectionately as the charm of eternal youth and beauty makes them appear ever fresh and new. Schubert's Symphony in B minor, a faithful mirror of its creator's artistic individuality, is, alas, but a fragment! Thus its form resembles the composer's own mortal life, cut off by death in the bloom of his life, at the summit of his creative power. Schubert lived only half a

-37-

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