one knows, Senta plunges silently into the sea after the words: "Preis' deinen Engel und sein Gebot! Hier steh' ich, treu dir bis zum Tod!" [Treasure your angel and his command, I remain true to you until death!] Now, Fräulein Klein felt called upon to develop this scene in a more piquant manner. She let the last word, "Tod," fall into the sea, and then followed it in, first having startled the unsuspecting listeners from their accustomed repose with a ghastly shriek. Fräulein Klein probably wished to indicate by this shriek that Senta had suffered a sudden attack of hydrophobia. This conception is, at least, original, although I cannot suppress some mild doubt as to its propriety. Herr Reichman, on the other hand (his was an especially beautiful performance as the Dutchman) was content with more harmless emendations. He prefers the more conventionally operatic Allmächtigen [Almighty] to Allewiger [eternal] and happily confuses "Ach!" with "O!" and "O!" with "Ach!" Herr Reichmann, however, is a leading baritone, and leading baritones are great men, and great men do not concern themselves with trifles. Oh, would that I were a leading baritone!
January 24, 1886
A lucky thing for the famous sculptor Thorvaldsen that his good genie gave him the happy notion of sculpting a scene from the life of Alexander the Great. 2 The prospects for this artist's enduring celebrity might otherwise not have been bright. But now that he has had the unearned distinction of having inspired the famous Kopi, 3 i.e., the composer Johannes Brahms, to write a new symphony, he is assured of immortality for all eternity.
Unfortunately, no information has been forthcoming from reliable sources as to what kind of sculptures may have imposed upon Herr Brahms the awesome obligation of writing three symphonies. If we were to indulge in idle speculation, inclining greatly to the assumption that Friedländer's old disabled veterans 4 constitute an essential element of those symphonies at least as far as freshness of invention and variety of expression are concerned -- one