Felix Mottl 4 been on hand to apply the finishing touches and conduct the performance. Since that could not be, we had to content ourselves with what was offered, acknowledging the sincere industry of Herr Schütt. 5
January 11, 1885
The third concert of the Society of Friends of Music began with the Overture to Glinka's opera, Russlan and Ludmilla. The piece would seem to be made to order for our concert public -- fresh, melodious, falling pleasantly upon the ear, sometimes even piquantly. What more could one want?
Yet, and despite all that (my God, here I am unthinkingly writing in Busch trochees [Dennoch, und trotz alle diesem], our public did not take to it. Obviously,it was not in the clear about Glinka -- whether he is, all in all, a good, a mediocre or a bad composer. Our concertgoers are always most thorough where they should not be. Know this: Glinka, or more precisely, Michael von Glinka, born in Novospask in 1803, is, so to speak, the founder of indigenous Russian opera. His most important work, A Life for the Czar, is one of the most splendid manifestations of Russian patriotism, and enjoyed an unexampled success on the Russian stage. If I am advised correctly, Bülow introduced it to great applause in Hanover [in 1878]. In any case, it would be appropriate -- indeed, it is high time -- for us to offer a local welcome to Glinka's compositions. One should produce A Life for the Czar or Russian and Ludmilla, even if only to dare an experiment.
Are we not continuously experimenting on our operatic stage? And with what success? I offer La Gioconda, Muzzedin and Heini von Steier (both by that composer of the music of the future, S. Bachrich) and [ Gounod's] Le Tribut de Zamora as examples, other disastrous novelties not coming immediately to mind. In the rush for novelty one forgets to perform | Marschner's| Vampyr, lying neglected these last fifty years. And see what has happened