The Music Criticism of Hugo Wolf

By Henry Pleasants; Hugo Wolf | Go to book overview

shortcomings of the orchestra will follow in the next number. I was unable to attend the Philharmonic concert.

1.
Amalie Materna ( 1845-1918), Styrian dramatic soprano, and one of the greatest. She sang all three Brünnhildes at the premiere of Der Ring des Nibelungen in Bayreuth in 1876, and was also the first Kundry in Parsifal. She was a member of the Court Opera from 1869 to 1894.
2.
Rosa Hellmesberger ( 1857- ? ), daughter of Georg Hellmesberger. Jr. She was a member of the company from 1883 to 1889.
3.
Anna Hauser ( 1851-1907), a Viennese soprano who had joined the company in 1880.
4.
Leo Gritzinger ( 1851-1910), a secondary tenor who was with the company from 1884 to 1889.
5.
Possibly a reference to Ludwig Schnorr von Carolsfeld ( 1836- 1865), who sang the first performances of Tristan und Isolde in Munich on June 10, 13, 19 and 30, 1865, and died three weeks later on July 21, aged twenty-nine. He was to have been the first Siegfried, already knew much of the music, and had sung excerpts in concert. His last words were: "Farewell, Siegfried! Console my Richard!"

29. The Meiningen Orchestra

November 30, 1884

The first concert was devoted exclusively to works of Beethoven. There were the overtures to Coriolanus and Egmont, the First and Fifth Symphonies, the great fugue for string quartet (Opus 133, played by the orchestra's strings). and a Rondino for Winds. One sees, the table was richly set, the repast piquant and easily digested, excepting only the great fugue, which I find incomprehensible. That the orchestra accomplishes the extraordinary was especially evident in the performance of the Rondino, with the wind players distinguishing themselves as soloists. The reciprocal relationship of the orchestra to its conductor, and vice versa, has already been discussed in these columns. In order to avoid repetition, the reader is referred to that earlier discussion. The superiority of this orchestra to our own best is indisputable. One may take exception to the preponderance of the brass. All else is beyond criticism.

The second concert began with Raff's overture to Genast's drama, Bernhard von Weimar, 1 a far from self-sufficient piece, without color or form, utterly superficial in conception -- not an organism, just so many disjointed members. The Lutheran chorale 2 is subjected to the most intricate contrapuntal tortures with the most appalling ingenuity. The middle theme, too, with its grace notes in the woodwinds, excites memories of the Nuremberg torture chamber -- grates, pincers and other similarly edifying devices. And

-85-

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