April 3, 1887
Lieder recitals are slowly becoming epidemic. Everything that sings and sounds, and doesn't sound, wants to warble and crow from the platform. (We shall soon be having a Lieder recital from our admirable Mime, Herr Schmitt.) — And yet, it was not so long ago that our excellent Walter, whose mysterious voice is slowly but surely degenerating into a croak, bore alone the burden of delighting a receptive public. 1
Only in the past few years has Walter's profitable notion of giving Lieder recitals found intelligent imitators. Frau Papier, who combines great artistic talent with a sense of the practical, was not only one of the first to follow her predecessor's altogether admirable example. She was also one of the few who could compete successfully with a solidly established rival. Her significant triumphs in the recital hall could not escape the watchful eye of others. Suddenly our resident singers were seized with the most profound compulsion to distinguish themselves, too, in Lieder recitals. The epidemic has even spread abroad, so that our local competitors are now threatened. This concert season has been visited by a bad [liederlich] patch.
Now, with this surplus of Lieder recitals, one might presuppose a greater variety in the building of programs. One would assume that from 600 songs by Schubert, and the 300 2 that flowed from Schumann's pen, one or another "viable" song might find its way into a program in addition to the traditional dozen that have had to sustain the popularity of the two composers. But how would compositions of the famous "springtime" variety, served up to the public as stimulants for heart and stomach, properly be honored if one were to make the public taste susceptible to nobler pleasures. The singers' preference, however, for the utterly trivial, if "grateful," is traceable to their personal vanity. They want to play the leading role, and would gladly content themselves with merely yodeling in order to claim the slightest applause for themselves alone. But when compositions as boring for the audience as they