The Music Criticism of Hugo Wolf

By Henry Pleasants; Hugo Wolf | Go to book overview

conceded by everyone who atttends his recitals. How beautifully he sang on this occasion, with his gently veiled voice. It was a rare pleasure. If we cannot yet say of our modern Orpheus (for as such we must name him) that his song softens stones, but only that it drives men mad 8 -- from sheer delight, of course -- the blame rests solely with Herr Walter. Why does this bold singer not hazard, gratis, a recital in a quarry? It would be only an experiment. How much nitroglycerine might not the state be spared annually if Herr Walter's claim to fame was the ability to undermine highway-obstructing rocks with the sound of his voice! What could approach such a patriotic undertaking? And music! What honor to her! May the example of the heroes of antiquity yet kindle Herr Walter's courage to an eternal deed for the well-being of mankind and his own immortal fame!

1.
The String Quintet in F, dating from 1879, Bruckner's sole venture into chamber music, first performed by the Hellmesberger Quartet, who also played it on this occasion, in 1881.
2.
"Es klang so alt, und war doch so neu," as Hans Sachs, in the Act II "Flieder" monologue, remembers Walther's singing in his audition for the Meistersinger.
3.
Amalie Joachim ( 1839-1898), wife of Joseph Joachim ( 1831-1907), the great violinist. Amalie Joachim (née Schneeweiss), a contralto, along with the baritone Julius Stockhausen ( 1826-1906), was a pioneer in bringing the German Lied into the public concert hall, just as her husband, with Brahms and Clara Schumann, was largely responsible for bringing chamber music out of the chamber. She and Joachim were divorced in 1884.
4.
Laura Rappoldi-Kahrer ( 1853-1925), a highly regarded Viennese pianist whose teachers and sponsors had included Liszt. Henselt and Bülow. Her husband, Eduard Rappoldi ( 1831‐ 1903), was one of the finest violinists and pedagogues of his generation, and was for a time second violin in the Joachim Quartet.
5.
Pablo Sarasate ( 1844-1908), Spanish violinist, one of the great virtuosos of violin history and composer of the still widely popular "Zigeunerweisen."
6.
Berthe Marx ( 1859- ? ), a distinguished Paris-born pianist, long associated with Sarasate. She transcribed a number of his violin compositions for the piano.
7.
A Greek poet of the sixth century B.C., and one of the "Nine Lyric Poets" chosen by Alexandrian critics as the best of ancient Greece.
8.
See footnote to notice of June 1, 1884.

71. Oberon

January 17, 1886

Stage designers and theater engineers regarded this opera, when it was new, as their domain. It was up to their art to realize from without what could only be reached from within. Stage sets and machinery should take over from the poet. Much wit and ingenuity, accordingly, was brought into play by design

-181-

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