The Music Criticism of Hugo Wolf

By Hugo Wolf; Henry Pleasants | Go to book overview

(presumably without Herr Hanslick's approval), light and insignificant? Granting that, one still asks why my unbiased colleague, when works less popular than Beethoven's — the Berlioz and Bruckner symphonies, for example, which also normally come at the end of a concert — are not granted any allowance for certain "sickly tendencies" in the audience. We fear that these works, quite aside from their "insignificance," are not "exacting" enough to share a prerogative that Herr Hanslick, with astonishing generosity, accords to Brahms.

In the most recent Kretschmannconcert we heard, besides Schumann's Overture to Hermann and Dorothea and Schubert's "Tragic" Symphony — two works that the composers might have dedicated to the goddess of oblivion — a suite in canon form by Julius Grimm. 2 The form of the canon, when not treated with genius, tempts a composer to the most vacuous doodling. To indulge in this tomfoolery through four full movements, however, and to expect of the listener that he follow, for better or worse, this parrot-like imitation by the second voice, which always has the last word, is utter madness. How could the composer commit such an absurdity? Not even a Herr Johannes Brahms would do that!

1.
"Und bist du nicht willig, so brauch' ich Gewalt." Wolf is quoting from Goethe's "Erlkönig."
2.
Julius Otto Grimm ( 1827-1903), German pianist, composer and pedagogue. This was one of two suites he wrote in canon form for string orchestra.

102. Bülow — as Autopsist

February 6, 1887

Heiss' mich nicht reden, heiss' mich schweigen,
Denn mein Geheimnis ist mir Pflicht;
Ich möchte dir mein ganzes Inn 're zeigen,
Allein das Schicksal will es nicht
. 1

The famous concert orator, Hans von Bülow, in the course of his Beethoven recitals, made himself conspicuous only at the piano. An "acute hoarseness" is alleged to have restrained him from doing in Vienna, too, as he recently did in Prague and some other German cities. How sad it must be to live under the constraint of public order. 2 Poor Bülow has thus become a victim of his calling. Poor Papageno!

Where, then are the apostles with courage to carry on the master's delightful

-255-

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