The Music Criticism of Hugo Wolf

By Henry Pleasants; Hugo Wolf | Go to book overview

27. A Vocal Mystery

November 16, 1884

We have heard Herr Bötel1 from the Municipal Opera in Hamburg for the first time as Lionel in Flotow's Martha. His rather small, slender, almost delicate figure, bashful in its bearing, sometimes awkward in its movements, and rather too restrained than too active, we found uncommonly appealing in its touching helplessness. Herr Bötel has only recently turned to the stage, and his modest manner becomes him as a beginner. Indeed, it is striking, especially since this amiable characteristic is rarely encountered among tenors, be they neophytes or seasoned veterans. Herr Bötel had no cause for such constraint upon the stage, as he may be only too certain both of his adequacy and of his triumph. Whoever has heard the resounding gold in this throat might well wish that his entire being were one enormous ear. Nor, had every enthusiast a good fairy at his side, ready to fulfill his every wish in the twinkling of an eye, would such an ear be a misfortune. If a nose can go for a walk as a privy councillor (see Gogol's The Nose), one could, as an ear, circulate in respectable society without sacrifice of station or rank.

To describe Herr Bötel's voice is a ticklish proposition. We shall hope to do it succinctly by reporting as follows: Take " The Last Rose of Summer," whose cursed popularity must answer for the greatest possible number of suicides, melancholiacs, hydrophobes (because of the enormous pressure on the tear ducts), deaf mutes, poisoners and heavens knows what else. Now, when we certify in all seriousness that, despite the obvious peril to which we might be exposing ourself in so doing, we could hear this melodious opiate sung by Bötel twenty times with delight, then our relish in this singer's magnificent organ approaches the freezing point of acknowledgement (which, as everyone knows, is as good as no acknowledgment at all). Should we, after such praise, still look for a batch of appropriate adjectives with which to depict clearly the character of Bötel's voice? Should we compare it with the sobbing of the nightingale, the song of the finch, the pealing trill of the lark, the -- heavens, with what else should we compare it?

"I could supply you," said the stranger who, I know not how, had materialized behind my back and read the last words of my manuscript -- "I could supply you with a fitting comparison. Do you have the Collected Works of Grabbe handy?"

"Yes, no!"

-79-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Music Criticism of Hugo Wolf
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 291

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.