at a loss with this composition. It offers him little opportunity for the display of technical wonders. And yet what treasures are not there for the taking! This performance was enchanting, especially the way in which the artist went to the heart of the marvelous Adagio, his playing absolutely simple, without a trace of superficial embellishment, intimate, but with no aftertaste of sentimentality. It was a masterly accomplishment. The vocal offerings of Fräulein Steinbach were nicely sung and warmly received, so that nothing disturbed the harmony of this enjoyable evening.
November 21, 1886
The legend of the magician Merlin dates from the earliest Middle Ages. Merlin's prophesies, in particular, to which historical significance was attributed, were held in high esteem. The tale grew taller with the passing years. The legends of King Arthur and of the Holy Grail were drawn together, and a mystic-religious element came increasingly to the fore. It was in this form that the romantic saga of Merlin came down to us in an old French fable, 2 the source for modern poets and poetasters.
The imaginative Immermann3 adhered strictly to the French model in his myth, Merlin, the rather less imaginative Lipiner4 [librettist of Goldmark's opera] only in part. While Immermann, working from Friedrich Schlegel's 5 abridged translation of the French original, includes almost every episode in his poem, even making foundation pillars out of what appears in the fable only as ornamentation, Lipiner is content with the fundamental idea, and builds on