The Music Criticism of Hugo Wolf

By Hugo Wolf; Henry Pleasants | Go to book overview

is a wholly praiseworthy enterprise, quite beyond commensurate acknowledgment, and certainly not to be dismissed by a shrug of the shoulders as some of our critics ill-disposed to renaissance concerts have tried to do.

About the Schütz Festival (commemorating the 300th anniversary of Heinrich Schütz's birth), which offered rich stimulation and rare pleasure to historian and musician alike, I must reserve a more detailed account for a future time.

1.
Jaeger-Hemde, literally huntsman's shirts, a brand name for a type of pullover then fashionable.
2.
Adolf Ritter von Sonnenthal ( 1832-1909), a very famous Court Theater actor and, at the time of this notice, the Court Theater chief stage director. Distinct enunciation had never been his strong point, nor was it assisted by a slight Hungarian accent. Viennese theater goers used to say that he spoke as if suffering from a cold.
3.
Eduard Mautner ( 1824-1889). Hungarian-born Viennese journalist and poet.
4.
Robert Hirschfeld ( 1858- 1914), instructor in musical esthetics at the Vienna Conservatory, a music critic of the Wiener Zeitung, and founder of the Renaissance Concerts, who shortly before his death became director of the Mozarteum in Salzburg. Wolf's reference to ill‐ disposed critics reflected the recent publication by Hirschfeld of a polemical booklet, Das kritische Verfahren Hanslicks ( Hanslick's Critical Procedure), provoked by Hanslick's observation in his review of a Handel festival that "Prior to Handel and Bach there were living musicians, but no music that lives for us today."

64. The Cunning Peasant 1
Comic Opera by Anton Dvor̆ák

November 22, 1885

There may be those serious enough -- heaven help them! -- to find this opera comical, just as there are those comical enough -- God preserve them! -- to take Brahms's symphonies seriously. Your critic, in the interest of his health, would gladly have laughed. He had, indeed, reason enough to let the anesthetic merriment of all genuine comedy work its balm on his bronchitic chest. He confesses, however, that despite the most awesome dedication and lively attention to this work, there was not a moment when it touched that string in his ailing breast whose benevolent vibrations he so fervently wished to detect. Quite the contrary, there is in the narrative substance as well as in the music of this comic opera an amiable prompting to melancholy reverie. This fortunate circumstance may well have brought many an infatuated lieutenant and many an ardent maiden closer together in spirit, but that aside, let no one at the risk

-166-

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