The Music Criticism of Hugo Wolf

By Henry Pleasants; Hugo Wolf | Go to book overview

hold fast that which is good" [I Th 5:21]. And his work does, indeed, represent a charming bouquet of the best thoughts of Delibes, Doppler, 7 Strauss, etc. The sensitive and thoroughly skillful exploitation is unquestionably to Hellmesberger's credit, and certainly not the least of his accomplishments. As for originality, however, that is a ticklish matter —

As a very young man, I was innocent enough to show the great Wagner some of my piano pieces, in order to hear from the master's mouth whether or not I had musical talent. As he was amiably leafing through the manuscript, I could not refrain from observing that they were all pretty much in a Mozartean style. He replied, to my great relief, half seriously, half jokingly: "Yes, yes. ... One can't be original right from the start! I wasn't, either." 8

Herr Hellmesberger, Jr., is, to be sure, quite a grown-up young fellow [he was thirty-two], and it would seem to be almost time for him to be thinking seriously about his originality. In the meantime, he will lose nothing while waiting, nor, I think, will we.

And therewith we close the chapter.

1.
Pseudonym for Camillo Walzel ( 1829-1895), who at one time combined the offices of a captain for the Austrian Danube Shipping Company and director of the Theater an der Wien. He was the librettist of Fine Nacht in Venedig, Boccaccio and Der Bettelstudent.
2.
Karl Telle ( 1826-1889), a choreographer at the Court Opera.
3.
Carl Friedrich Koeppen. The reference is to his Die Religion des Buddha, published in two volumes in 1847 and 1859.
4.
A suburb of Vienna.
5.
Ritter Toggenburg, hero of a poem by Schiller, who, when his lady love enters a convent, sits in front of her window until he pines away.
6.
Louis Frappert (Ruault) ( 1832-?), French-born dancer, mime and choreographer, came to the Court Opera from the Théâtre-Lyrique in Paris in 1854, and remained until 1895.
7.
Albert Franz Doppler ( 1821-1883), Polish flute virtuoso, was for many years conductor of ballet at the Court Opera and the composer of many ballets.
8.
See footnote No. 1 to the notice of November 1, 1885.

105. Farewell to Kretschmann

February 27, 1887

Just as everything in this world must come to an end, so too, and very soon, will the bitter cup of the Kretschmann Orchestra Concerts have been drained. Let us rejoice, and be not ungrateful to merciful Father Time, that great sponge soaked in the tears of mankind which cheerfully wipes away the hours and years of our life, and which will surely erase the memory of Kretschmann

-262-

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