The Music Criticism of Hugo Wolf

By Henry Pleasants; Hugo Wolf | Go to book overview

Herr Alfred Reisenauer, at the moment one of the most gifted pianists, who has appeared here twice with much artistic, if little financial, success, will be giving his third concert on the 14th of this month. Because of his substantial and original programs, uncontaminated by the name of Brahms, his exceptional accomplishments have been treated wryly by certain critics. Herr Reisenauer, fortunately, is no Hans Richter, permitting himself to be intimidated by a couple of snarling scribblers. The program of his coming concert will be, like his previous programs, well chosen. Whoever would like to pass an agreeable evening away from home should not miss it. To hear such an extraordinary artist and no Brahms — who except my friend Eduard Hanslick could still hesitate?

Finally, we cannot fail to recommend most warmly to our readers the lively song, "Rezensent" [critic], published by Spina, and dedicated by the composer to "his dear Eduard." 3

1.
A play on the German saying: "Ein X für ein U vormachen," in plain English, "to deceive."
2.
"Das also war des Pudels Kern" — see footnote No. 3 to the notice of May 11, 1884.
3.
This paragraph is a puzzler. An immediate assumption would be that the composer was Brahms, but I have been able to find no record of his having written any such song, nor was he published by Spina. That firm had, in any case, been taken over by F. Schreiber in 1872, after which the Spina name was discontinued. One is reminded, of course, of Wolf's own "Abschied," the last of his settings of Mörike, which deals with a visit by a critic to the narrator, and ends with the critic being kicked down the stairs (see footnote No. 3 to the notice of April 18, 1886). But "Abschied" was not set until a year later, in 1888. H. P.

100. "The Flight into Egypt"—
and A Dirty Trick

January 16, 1887

After an interval of twenty-eight years, Berlioz's "The Flight Into Egypt" has been exhumed from the archives. Who knows whether this fragment, last heard in Vienna in 1859, would have emerged from its moldering vault had not Richter's easygoing nature fortunately come to its assistance? There exists, indeed, in the entire literature of music hardly another piece that presents the conductor and the performer so few difficulties, and this compelling circumstance must surely have acted as an incentive to Richter's enormous enterprise. It is just as probable, on the other hand, that we would have heard the entire work, "The Childhood of Christ," of which "The Flight into Egypt" is only the second part, had not our splendid Hans Richter again, and unfortunately, stood in its way.

-250-

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