The Music Criticism of Hugo Wolf

By Hugo Wolf; Henry Pleasants | Go to book overview

Some Lieder sung by Herr Reichmann were well received, although the utterly undramatic rendition of Loewe's 2 ballad, "Edward," left the audience cold. How is it possible to sing a song that places us immediately in the center of a dramatic situation with the amiability of a night-watchman? Why this ambling tempo? Why this passion in a high collar? From so splendid a dramatic singer as Herr Reichmann one is entitled to expect better.

All praise to Herr Winkelmann for his warm singing of Pylades's aria from Gluck's Iphigenie en Tauride. The singer had to repeat the aria, so great was the impression made alike by the wonderful piece and the manner in which it was sung.

Richard Wagner's "Kaisermarsch," which closed the concert, would certainly have had an incendiary effect had the conductor troubled to get a couple of better cymbals and a competent cymbal hitter. Such miserable, common, toneless instruments may add a lot to carnival performances, but they had no place here. Such cymbal crashes are traitorous stabs in the back for a work of art, and such cymbal players nothing more than hired assassins. A proper musical performance should have no truck either with daggers or murderers.

Liszt's marvelous tone poem, "Orpheus," had to be repeated at the last Kretschmann concert by unanimous popular demand, and at the end of the concert, too. There is, I think, nothing to be added to the reporting of the fact. The audience handed down a verdict.

The second Lieder recital of Herr Walter drew a large audience to the Bösendorfersaal despite an uninviting program. The retired opera singer warbled more sweetly than a dying swan, and the applause of the deeply affected listeners fluttered about his Jupiter head like angels'pinions. May his tenor be a long time dying! 3

1.
César Thomson ( 1857-1931), Belgian violinist, a pupil at one time or another of Vieuxtemps, Wieniawski and Massart and successor to Ysäye as professor of violin at the Conservatoire in Brussels. He was later professor of violin at the Conservatoire in Paris, and taught at the Juilliard in New York. A spectacular technician, he was largely responsible for a revival of interest in the compositions of Paganini.
2.
Johann Carl Gottfried Loewe ( 1796-1869), creator of the German ballad as an art form.
3.
It was. See footnote No. 9 to the notice of February 2, 1884.

104. For Cat Lovers

February 20, 1887

The new ballet, Die verwandelte Katze [ The Transmuted Cat], adapted by F. Zell1 and K. Telle2 from a French subject, and with music by [Joseph]

-260-

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