The Music Criticism of Hugo Wolf

By Hugo Wolf; Henry Pleasants | Go to book overview

The inglorious figure of Don Ottavio is made to order for Herr Perschier. 5 About his vocal accomplishment I shall say nothing. Herr Hablawetz6 is, as we all know, a usable Masetto. I have intentionally held Herr Reichmann ( Don Giovanni) to the last in order to end this review of Don Giovanni. which began in the minor, as does the opera, with a strong D major chord. Herr Reichmann, one of the principal ornaments of our opera stage, was the only enjoyable performer among the cast. One rejoiced at his appearance, was bored in his absence. The performance came to life only when he was on hand. Herr Reichmann makes the godless profligate too amiable, however, with the result that one is almost sorry when the devil finally takes him.

1.
Heinrich Bötel ( 1854- ? ) was a native of Hamburg, and principal tenor at the opera there beginning in 1883. He was a great local favorite.
2.
Presumably an allusion to Scherz, Satire, Ironie und tiefere Bedeutung | see footnote to January 27].
3
Emma Baumann ( 1855-1925), a German soprano especially noted as a Mozart singer.
4.
Karl Meixner ( 1815-1888) had been a member of the Court Theater since 1850.
5.
Adolph Peschier ( 1849- ? ), a member of the company from 1881 to 1885.
6.
August Egon Hablawetz ( 1833-1892). Vienna-born bass, a member of the company from 1870 to 1892.

28. Iphigénie en Tauride

November 23, 1884

Direktor Jahn reached down into the deepest recesses of the Court Opera's archives, where lie practically buried the works of one of the noblest composers, and what he brought forth was -- Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride. The ten years' dust that had settled on the score was carefully brushed away, and now see! Gluck's sublime masterpiece again enters triumphantly into our opera house.

It cannot be said of this opera, as of so many another perfectly decent work, "If I rest, I rust." Gluck's armor (he is said to have had the habit of encasing himself in armor when the euphony began to sound within him) was, indeed, dusty, but it was not rusty, despite the 105 years that had passed since its premiere. Musical Paris at that time was as if enchanted by this work. We all know of the war between the Gluckists and the Piccinists, and with what fervor it was fought. There were bloody battles then, when opinions parted and daggers came together. Yes, in those days one contested with dagger in hand, and not with empty words, brochures, pamphlets or epigrams. As ink is

-81-

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