The Music Criticism of Hugo Wolf

By Henry Pleasants; Hugo Wolf | Go to book overview

rounding off of melodic and rhythmic nuances" and similar relevant matters, of all of which, in his performance of "Ideale," there was precious little to be discerned, not to mention the wrong tempi.

The following Piano Concerto in A major found in Herr Reisenauer6 an intelligent and technically adept interpreter. The 13th Psalm for Chorus, Solo and Orchestra may well be the most fervent prayer that ever burst forth in harmony. It is the quiet turning in upon itself of a profound and truly religious nature. The music breathes a saint's joy in the faith, the transfigured devotion of a martyr. It is the most glorious apotheosis of Christianity. After this composition, in which the Choral Society distinguished itself, and with Herr Winkelmann singing the solos beautifully and movingly, after these consecrational sounds, the memorial should have come to a close. To follow it with the Hungarian Rhapsody No.4 was simply tasteless, not to say tactless.

1.
Friedrich Wilhelm Gubitz ( 1786-1870), writer, publisher and woodcarver, professor of wood carving at the Berlin Academy of Art, also a dramatic critic.
2.
Karl August Böttiger ( 1760-1835), writer, philologist and archaeologist, one of Weber's intellectual circle in Dresden where he was director of the Museum of Antiquity.
3.
Sir George Smart ( 1776-1867), one of the original members of the London Philharmonic Society and frequently its conductor. Weber was a guest in his home during his stay in London.
4.
Franz Karl Hiemer ( 1768-1822), German painter, actor and playwright.
5.
A Tale from Champagne, a three-act ballet.
6.
Alfred Reisenauer ( 1863-1907), a pupil of Liszt, pianist of international repute and, from 1900 to 1906, director of a master class at the Leipzig Conservatory.

97. Euryanthe

December 25, 1886

Euryanthe was performed on December 18, the master's birthday, bringing the Weber Cycle to an end. To have this work produced here must be counted among the rarest of artistic pleasures, something to be greeted with whole‐ hearted joy by everyone sincerely concerned with our cultural prosperity. We are speaking, however, of anticipation, for we doubt that the opera can bring full artistic satisfaction to the truly sensitive, and many who will have entered the opera house with high hopes on the day of a Euryanthe performance will have left it crushed and disappointed.

It was Weber's fate to be able merely to suggest his high-flown plans, not to realize them. Euryanthe, this master's child of sorrow, is actually nothing other than a practical handbook for opera composers, showing them precisely

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