The Music Criticism of Hugo Wolf

By Henry Pleasants; Hugo Wolf | Go to book overview

Herr Otto Roth was more discreet. He played Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 2 [in D minor, Opus 44], and bored the audience most amiably with his unending flow of tone. Herr Roth has reasons to present himself as an "expressive" player, since he cannot allow himself the luxury of an ever so modest technical display. Two days later, when I made the acquaintance of the sympathetic physiognomy of the "sentimental coachman" in the last number of the Fliegende Blätter, I thought immediately of the heartbreaking violinist of the most recent Kretschmann concert, which is not to say that Herr Roth played like a sentimental coachman.

Authors of the novelties mentioned earlier were the Messrs Blasser4 and Louis Rée. 5 Had I to draw a parallel between the two composers, I would come to a quick decision and say: The one composes gaily, the other sadly, and both as trivially as can well be imagined. Herr Blasser made his debut with a small Serenade for String Orchestra, adding most respectfully a few thoughts of his own. Herr Rée made his with a Funeral March and a Gavotte. We were left with eerie and certainly very funereal apprehensions about the fate of the two composers.

As my neighbor said, Herr Rée is reputed to be a charming, delightful fellow. I was glad to hear it. To be a bad composer and an unlikable fellow, too indeed, that would be too much!

1.
Julius Ferdinand Georg Schuberth ( 1804-1875), publisher of a number of musical periodicals in Hamburg, Leipzig and New York, notably the Kleine Hamburger Musik Zeitung, the Musik Zeitung ( New York), and Schuberths Kleine Musik Zeitung. Wolf refers here to his Musikalisches Conversationslexicon, which went through ten editions, the last of them published in 1877.
2.
He died in 1916.
3.
"Uns bleibt ein Erdenrest zu tragen peinlich" [There's still an earthly remainder painfully to bear], sung by the angels as they carry Faust's immortal soul to higher regions at the close of Faust II.
4.
Gustav Blasser ( 1857-?). a prolific Viennese composer.
5.
Louis Rée ( 1861-?), a pupil of Leschetitzky in Vienna, better known for his playing as duo‐ pianist with his wife, Suzanne Pilz.

106. Suppé's Bellman

March 6, 1887

Meister Suppé has this time put the patience of his numerous admirers to an unreasonably severe test. More than two years have passed since his Die Afrikareise [ The Journey to Africa], and only the opening of a new libretto

-264-

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