The Music Criticism of Hugo Wolf

By Henry Pleasants; Hugo Wolf | Go to book overview
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tists, as well as the composer, of Faust pretty much unmoved. For us Germans, such "piquanteries" provide a bit of merriment.

1.
A lamentably brief, if glorious, operatic career was thought by many to be accountable to the assumption by Papier, a contralto or mezzo-soprano, of soprano roles.
2.
Ludwig Baer ( 1844-1900), who, before embarking on a singing career, had been a good enough violinist to be concertmaster of the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig.
3.
As summarized by Will Durant in The Life of Greece: "Beauty is unity, the cooperation and symmetry of the parts of a whole. In drama this unity is primarily a unity of action; the plot must concern itself with one action chiefly, and may admit other actions only to advance or illuminate this central tale."
4.
A South Slavonic irregular in the Austro-Hungarian Army.

45. Concerts

March 22, 1885

It cannot be my intention, today, to review recent concerts if for no more valid reason than the fact that I have not been to any.

Now, the gentle reader might well be entitled to ask why I have not led off these lines with a more appropriate heading, since I myself, and right at the outset, have announced my intention not to attempt a concert critique in the usual sense of that term, the customary heading, "Concerts," implying plainly enough just such a critique.

Scholarly discussion of this debatable matter would serve no useful purpose, either for my readers or for me. So with that let's break it off, and rather cast an eye over our concert life, asking ourselves why it should be that our public, despite a surfeit of concerts, still has time, stamina, courage and self-denial enough to wander into concert halls?

What can dictate such sacrifices and hardships? Certainly not the urge to hear good music, since for some time now the repertoire has been determined not by those who give the concerts, but by the press. Or are there really still those who can discern in the frequent reiteration of the name Brahms anything more than the glistening fruits of indefatigable publicity? Indeed, I doubt that even ever-enthusiastic, idealistic music dealers, who might wish to assimilate Brahms "in bulk" would see in such melancholy symptoms any convincing evidence of Brahms's popularity.

No singer, male or female, no fiddler, no pianist, indeed, no orchestra, dares put on a concert in which at last one Brahms composition is not played or sung. Has there ever been anything so ludicrous? Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann and Mendelssohn, not to speak of Liszt and Berlioz, are given

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