The Music Criticism of Hugo Wolf

By Henry Pleasants; Hugo Wolf | Go to book overview

It seems recently as if one were now disposed to make good our earlier injustice to Berlioz. I speak of conductors and the public, of course, not of the critics. They are incorrigible. The rapid succession of performances of the Requiem and the Te Deum, the repetitions of the Symphonic Fantastique, Romeo and Juliet and the Overture to Benvenuto Cellini, and now finally The Damnation of Faust provide the foundation for a future prosperity, for a noble popularity of Berlioz's works in our city, which accorded them the warmest sympathy in the great composer's own lifetime. Now, too, the success was complete. The applause, which could refer only to the work, was enthusiastic. It would be a splendid victory for it if this performance could be repeated in this season. It could not be other than successful.

1.
Hanslick, reviewing the same production, takes Berlioz severely to task for distorting the Goethe epic, "a sometimes barbaric butchery," much as Wolf had taken Boito to task on the same grounds.
2.
"Vom Eise befreit sind Strom und Bäche," as Faust says to Wagner in Faust 1, Scene 2.
3.
"Der Schäfer putzte sich zum Tanz, mit bunter Jacke. Band und Kranz," etc., sung by the peasants in the same scene.
4.
"Hör' auf mit deinem Gram zu spielen, der wie ein Geier dir am Leben frisst," as Mephistopheles offers to place himself at Fausts's disposal.
5.
"Die Träne quillt, die Erde hat mich wieder."
6.
"Zur Tür hinaus, wer sich entzweit! Mit offener Brust singt Runda, sauft und schreit," breaking up a brawl between Frosch and Brander. Siebel does not figure in the Berlioz work.
7.
"Burgen mit hohen Mauern und Zinnen," sung by the soldiers in Faust I, Scene 2.
8.
"La Captive," composed in Subiaco in 1832 to a Victor Hugo text while Berlioz was a Prix de Rome laureate in Italy.
9.
"Es ist so schwül, so dumpfig hie."
10.
In Faust I "Meine Ruhe ist hin," set by Schubert as "Gretchen am Spinnerade."

79. Bruckner's Seventh

March 28, 1886

For a whole month now no work by Richard Wagner has been given in our opera house. Instead, Der Trompeter von Säkkingen has been striding across our stage, proudly and grandly, three times a week. Who knows how long this situation might have endured had not the sudden visit of Fräulein Schöller, 1 of the Bavarian Court Opera, brought a temporary interruption of this musical sans-culottism.

Fräulein Schöller has just about everything required to be a good Elsa: a

-201-

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