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GLOUCESTER MUSICAL FESTIVAL*
The performances at the Festival of 1862 are pronounced by everybody who heard them—the mere hearer as well as the utter musician—to have been a great success. Nothing went wrong on this occasion; no vocalist was taken ill; and no apologies had to be made, either to audiences or singers, by the stewards. A speech from a prima donna was, of course, an incident unprecedented, and not likely to be repeated, at least in a ceutury. Clara Novello has withdrawn from professional life since that memorable evening, and it was thought her loss would be irreparable. But foreboding has been disappointed ; for the public declare by acclamation that Mile. Titiens has fully replaced her. The young Austrian prima donna, by the way, does not see it. She was complimented by one of the stewards on the triumphant success in which she had filled the place left vacant in our cathedrals by the retirement of Clara Novello: "whatever I may be," she remarked, in a spirit of admiration of the half-forgotten favourite, "you ought not to say so." Mile. Titiens seems to have charmed everybody who has had the the good fortune to become acquainted with her during the Festival, and especially by her naive conversation. Speaking of her singing to a gentleman, she said, "I open my mouth, and there is the voice." Our friend suggested that there was something moreexpression. "Yes," she added, "I feel when I am singing as if I were speaking to a friend—it is heart speaking to heart." Mile. Titiens, we are happy to say, is as highly pleased with us as we are with her; and on the morning she left the city sent a donation of 10/. to the stewards " as a token of recompense," to use the words of her note, "for the happy dayB of my first Festival." The public and Mile. Titiens are also agreed in hoping that it may not be the last.
We wish we could say that the Festival was a financial as well as musical success; but "facts are stubborn things," and in this case they are unpleasant also. The attendance was smaller by 2231, as compared with 1856; and by 1758, as compared with 1859. This falling off is owing greatly to the alteration in the
Cgramme of the first day. Previously to the late Festival, 3». 6<Z. been charged for seats in the centre, and Is. for standing room in the aisles, at the performance of divine service on the first day, and in 1859, 1700 persons attended. It was, in fact, the cheap day of the Festival. On this occasion there was no cheap day. No charge was made for being present at the celebration of divine service, which was shorn of its musical features, the chief of which was the Dettingen Te Deum by the full band, and an oratorio at full prices was performed afterwards. This reduced the number of tickets sold on the first day by one half, though it raised the money yielded no less than 216/. Still the amount of money received for the aggregate sale of tickets was less than at the former Festival, ■&nd there can be little doubt that the addition made to the prices to compensate for the loss of space caused by the greater accomodation provided for crinoline, injuriously affected the attendance. Moreover, whileHhe receipts were smaller, the expenses were rather greater. We have heard that the sum produced by the sale of tickets was in 1853 about 8400/.; in 1856 about 3800/., and in 1859 about 8400/., all of which was swallowed up by the expenses in 1853, except 68/., and again in 1856, except 125/.; while in 1859 there was a deficit of 167/., or, in other wordB, the expenses exceeded the receipts by that amount. Most people, we dare say, will wonder what becomes of all this money; but not so the stewards; indeed, the leading artists, being able to put their own prices on their own services, the stewards have reason to be thankful that the expenditure is not greater. From 1000/. to 1100/. is shared by four or five leading singers; about 800/. by the band; and about 800/. more by the chorus; add 150/. for the conductor, and 60/. for the hire of music, and 3000/. is accounted for. In addition to these monster items, there are printing, advertising, and a multitude of smaller expenses, which make a large lump, and generally more than sweep away the small balance left by the musicians. According to gossip, Mile. Titiens on this occasion received the handsome sum of three hundred and fifty guineas, and Mr. Sims Reeves two hundred guineas; Mr. Weiss (there being more than one leading bass), one hundred guineas; Mile. Parepa (there being also more than one leading soprano) one hundred guineas; and Madame Sainton Dolby, eighty guineas. Truly this is turning notes into gold. It
* From the Gloucester Chronicle.
is estimated that the expenditure will exceed the receipts by 800/. or 400/., and this the stewards will have to make up out of their own pockets. Fortunately, they are fifty-four in number, so that the individual loss will not be very heavy. At the last Festival forty-four stewards had to make up a deficiency of 167/. Formerly, only six stewards were appointed, and occasionally, they paid very dearly for the honour; in 1832, for example, the deficiency was 1400/., and in 1841,1547/.; since then the number of stewards has been increased, and this has increased the receipts by extending the personal interest taken in the success of the Festival, and diminished not only the amount, but also the individual pressure of the deficits.
Worst of all is the fact that the collection in aid of the charity has decreased on this occasion. For the information of the uninitiated, it may be stated here that the stewards expend the amount received for the sale of tickets in liquidating the expenses of the Festival, and make up the deficiency; or, if there is a surplus, a result which has been witnessed only twice in seventy years, they pay it over to the treasurer of the fund for the relief of distressed widows and orphans of clergymen, in the tliree dioceses of Gloucester, Hereford, and Worcester. The collections made at the doors, and the donations made by the stewards—the latter never less than 6/. each, and very often more—are appropriated to the charity, without any deduction whatever. The sum thus obtained at the Festival in 1859, amounted to 1143/.; on this occasion it is only 992/., though probably it will be made to 1100/. The amount obtained at the Worcester Festival last year was no less than 1814/., and as much, or more, could be raised here in a similar way. The Earl of Coventry, it is said, put a blank check into the plate, with instructions that it should be filled up to any amount required, that Worcester might beat Gloucester in the collection. Is Gloucester unable to find a cheerful giver, who would take a pride in beating Worcester, on behalf of the widow and orphan? The price of a horse would do it; or even a dozen modest donations. The sharper the pinch the more charitable the deed. Let us hope that some of the magnates of the county will be put upon their mettle, and do some sterling act of liberality in this instance). Apropos of this point, we have been requested to publish the following:—
"The treasurer, the Rev. Canon T. Murray Browne, requests us to state that not having received donations from several usual contributors, he earnestly hopes to bo favoured with letters addressed to him at Standish Vicarage, near Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, with gifts to the charity for the widows and orphans of Clergymen in the three dioceses of Gloucester, Worcester, and Hereford."
The following is an analysis of the receipts:—
It turns out, then, that the greater part of the income of the charity this year will be derived not from the collections at the doors, but from the stewards. The plates produced 4842.; the stewards contributed 607/.; and, in addition, they will have to make up a deficit of between 300/. and 400/.; the amount of the Festival will cost beyond the admission money, which, as we havo said already, is 3400/. In other words, 3844/. have been spent in getting collections of 484/. The stewards would have been no worse off if they had paid 900/. to the charity, and saved themselves the trouble of the Festival, as their contributions to the plate and the deficit will amount to as much as the charity will obtain from it. But, then, the musical public would lose a source of enjoyment, by which thousands may be "touched to fine issues;" the trading public would lose the benefit of a large expenditure; society at large would lose the many advantages which incidentally arise from it—such as friends congregating and hospitality abounding; and the charity, we fear, would lose its most powerful stimulus. But it is worthy of consideration whether the arrangements of the Festival might not be altered for the better. The prices of admission are too high. To charge fifteen shillings for a seat when the same music, performed by the same singers, can be heard in London, executed as well, to say no more, for five, is a mistake; while, to raise the price, as the stewards have done twice, is to go against the stream of the times. It has been followed by a diminished atendance. Political financiers know that doubling a tax does not double the amount it yields, but may even reduce it; it is indeed an axiom that "two and two do not make four in taxation." This truth is illustrated by the late Festival. To accommodate the swollen balloons in which ladies now envelope themselves the stewards were obliged to increase the size of the seats, and to diminish their number; and, in order to compensate for the loss of space, they have put an additional shilling on the price of the ticket, which has not yielded perhaps, more than 150/. in the whole; now if the number of high priced tickets sold was diminished by 200 only, the increase of price was neutralized. We believe, as a matter of fact, that far more than 200 jstayed away or descended into the aisles in consequence of the increase of price; for, trifling aB a shilling is per te, yet, added to the cost of a railway ticket, dress, hotel expenses, and a stiff ticket, it acted like "the last straw which breaks the camel's back." Let us hope that on another occasion lower prices and better accomodation will be the policy of the stewards. In all other public entertainments low prices, not high, are found to be most profitable. "The universal shilling" is the most profitable price of all. One fault of the new system commenced at the late Festival is that the cheap day is suppressed. Hundreds have hitherto been ready to pay 8s. 6rf. for a seat, and Is. for standing room to hear the choral service performed by a full band and chorus, but they are now shut out. Some paid their 3.*. 6rf. for standing room at the oratorios, while the shilling people mostly stayed away. It is true that the increase of price more than compensated for the decrease of numbers; but, then, the Festival has lost popularity, and this it cannot afford to do. Another ground of complaint is the bad accommodation provided in the aisles, where people enjoy themselves sadly, if at all, while the space is really wasted. At the festivals in York minster, we are told, galleries are erected in the aisles, and the seats are numbered; and something of the kind ought to be done at Gloucester, instead of turning people into the aisles to scramble for the few seats, and to stand pressing against each other for three or four hours, like cattle in a railway truck. The stewards would find it profitable to bestow some care on, the arrangements of the aisles, and, what is more, it is duo to the middle classes.
Miutahy Music Ik Boston.—Every one who walks onr Boston streets, or who attends the war meetings, must have been struck witli the great improvement in some of our Military Bands of late. This was very observable in the great processions of last week, especially that of the Corcoran welcome. Kminent among the many bands, not a few of which were good, were, and nlways are, of course, the "Brigado," the "Gennania," and one or two other bands, whose names we know not. The wonder is where so many musicians come from in these war times, and that while so many go oft' to the war, more than ever before seem to have sprung up at home. The patriotic inspiration Mini increased employment, involving continual practice, are doubtless two of the principal secrets of the good street music which now elici ts and encourages the people. Happy they to whom the accursed Kebellion shall bring no worse music!—Jhnghtt Journal.
Moss. Allabd's Conoebt.—On Tuesday evening last M. Allard'a grand concert was held at the Town Hall, and was in every respect a great success. Tho room, by no means of raised benches and platforms, had been transformed into something resembling a concert-room in appearance. The attendance was numerous and brilliant, the programme admirable, tho execution most satisfactory, and the attention of tho audience unflagging. The concert commenced with the arduous but beautiful quartett from liossini's "Stabat," very creditably rendered by Misses Edmonds and Harrison, and Messrs. Couper and Jenkins, followed by a song by Miss Harrrison (an old favourite of Swansea), in her happiest style. The next piece on the programme was Beethoven's quartett for piano and stringed instruments; certainly the gem of the evening, both as regards the intrinsic beauty of the composition and the admirable manner in which it was performed, by Miss Freeth, M. Allard, and Messrs Brock and Ford. We arc much indebted to M. Allard for the introduction of such a class of music into our concerts, which too often are sadly wanting in elements of such sterling beauty. A French song by Balfe followed, in which this composer has success.fully imitated the French style of romance, without losing his own melodious characteristics. This was sung by Mr. Couper very effectively, and was warmly applauded. Miss Freeth then performed a pianoforte solo by Mendelssohn, and was deservedly encored, responding the call by playing a Tarentelle by Heller (op. 85, we believe), known among musicians by the sobriquet of " Hunipty Dumpty." This lady is entitled to the highest praise for her facile execution of the most difficult music, and for the earnestness with which she evidently enters into the spirit of the composer whom she interprets to her audience. It needs no prophet to predict a high position among pianists to this young lady. The "Brother and Sister" duet from Lucia di Lammermoor was carefully rendered by Miss Edmonds and Mr. Jenkins, and was succeeded by Schubert's " Thine is my heart," feelingly sung by Mr. H. W. Williams. The first part of the concert was terminated by the performance of Reissiger's sparkling trio for piano, violin, and violoncello. The second part was opened with meledious "Dal tuo Stellato," by four singers of the first quartett, and with equal success. M. Allard's violin solo on airs by Bellini was in every respect admirable, and justified the expectations based on the benfcficiaiiij's reputation. Miss Edmonds was deservedly encored in Balfe's dashing song "The Cantineer," singing most archly as an encore "Let us all speak our minds if we die for it." Miss Freeth's second solo pleased us less than the first, not from any difference in the correctness or brilliancy of the performance, but from tho inferiority of the pieceMhosen, an unmeaning composition by Madame Oury, in which two fine old jacobite airs aro tortured and transformed until their nationality is entirely lost. Wo applaud Miss Freeth's objection to tho encore system in merely returning to bow her tlianks on the second occasion. Miss Harrison's second song, "There is music in the fountain," was pleasingly sung, and much applauded, as was Mr. Ford's solo on tho violoncello. The tone produced by this ^gentleman, and his iuusieianlike execution, are such as are rarely found among amateurs. After a pleasing duet by Miss Harrison and Miss Edmonds, the popular trio from Maritana, "Turn on, old Time," characteristically sung by Miss Edmonds and Messrs. Couper and Jenkins, met with a most cordial reception. We were delighted to find so large a majority of the company remaining to hear Mozart's glorious quartett for piano, violin, tenor, and violoncello, tho performance of which would have satisfied a far more critical audience. M. Allard has most admirably catered for the public amusement and instruction in producing such a concert, and it is creditable to our local amateurs to have been able, without other professional assistance, to provide so excellent an evening's entertainment. The accompaniments were most admirably performed by Mr. Charles E. Stephens, of London, one of our most talented composers and pianists. Too much praise cannot be awarded to that gentleman, a visitor to our town, who, on an emergency, volunteered his services, and in a true artistic aud kindly feeling undertook, at a short notice, a comparatively secondary position. We have been promised a performance of Mr. Stephen's instrumental compositions at an early opportunity."—The Cumbrian, Swansea, Sept. 12, 1862.
MUSIC IN LONDON.—A GERMAN VIEW OF 1T.»
The traveller, who comes to London, makes no great claims on the amiability of the haughty islanders, whether it be that the Macdonalds and such brilliant specimens, whom he has met on the Continent, have put him in a more modest mood, or that the judgment of tourists upon England and the English, have given him a preconceived opinion. This time, however, strangers, both in our own experience, and in that of other visitors of the Exhibition, have been agreeably surprised. No wonder, the Times so willed it: and what the Times desires, every good Englishman does, and the sons of Albion treated the Btrangers with attention; they drew silken gloves over the hard fist, they did everything to oblige the guest who presented his shilling; and, if it had been within their power, they would have colored the sky blue, have transformed the anthracite coal clouds into morning air, and even have manufactured a sun. Unfortunately, the progress of modern industry has not yet reached that point. At any rate we saw no such sun either among the machines or the house utensils at the Exhibition. But we saw everything else. The impression, which the Exhibition makes upon the stranger, who visits London for the first time, does not after all surpass that which this gigantic city itself makes, with its exceptional proportions. A world's exhibition seems to us better suited to London, than to any other capital in Europe. Hera we have only one side of this colossal striving and producing, and the Exhibition building matches everything else you Bee here. In other cities, even in Paris, such gigantic exhibitions have something exotic in their appearance, something which stands out too much in contrast with the everyday face of tilings.
The Exhibition, the Crystal Palace, the Handel Festival, the Docks, the business on the Thames, and in the "City," the Concert programmes, the joints of mutton, which are set upon your table, the Great Eastern, or the wash-bowl on your toilet table; all is massivo and colossal, [yes, especially the last named article, measured by the German standard; the German has been shy of water ever since the dayi of Noah]. Therefore the idea of a World's Exhibition could spring only from an English brain. The Continent pants laboriously after it, but never comes to it. It requires moreover a sound stomach to enjoy all this life, nerves like a submarine telegraph cable, legs with seven-leagued boots, patience and courage. The Viennese thinker, who, when asked his opinion about the different philosophical systems, replied: "'Tis all one, if the man be only in good health," must evidently have had in his eye the life and stir of London.
A comparison of the Handel performance in Cologne, with that which we have just heard here in the Crystal Palace, will give the reader an idea at once of the measure that must be applied to the London achievements. In Cologne we have seen for example, that 53 violms,, 20 violas, 20 violoncellos, 14 double-basses, See., were set in activity, and that the choruses consisted of 167 sopranos, 185 altos, 102 tenors, and 169 basses, in a word, there were 700 performers, and a hall like the Guxzenieh, an organ like that of the Messrs. Ibach, is all that one can wish, to realize a grand performance. In London they consider such an orchestra about strong enough to bring out a Haydn Symphony, and you might almost put the whole Gtlrzenich hall within the space occupied by the performers at the Handel Festival, in the Crystal Palace. Their number amounted to 4,000; while from 16,000 to 20,000 listeners laid their guineas, half and quarter guineas, upon the altar of Handel. For the lovers of curious statistics, we give here some numbers: "The chorus consisted of about 3600 members; the orchestra numbered 94 first and 95 second violins, 68 violoncellos, and 67 doublebasses," &c. The execution cannot, it is self-evident, with such masses be a perfect one in all particulars, and we must look more to the collective impression. Yet we must confess, that the execution, under Costa's excellent direction, left but little to be desired; certain choruses went altogether admirably, and where of overwhelming might.
The English understand very well how to put themselves at once into the right mood, since they in a manner count themselves before the beginning of the performance. Tliat is to say, when the public are assembled, when orchestra, singers, and director are all in their places, the kapellmeister (director) gives a sign, and all, musicians as well as public, rise from their seats and "God save the Queen" resounds;— imagine the effect. On the first day, when the Messiah was performed, singers and public also rose at the "Hallelujah;" for in England they are fond of emphasizing the religious meaning of the Oratorio. The good Britons have as pleasant a self-consciousness in listening to these hallowed sounds, as the French have with their Marseillaise. The pieces executed were, on the first day, as we have intimated, the Messiah; on the second, a selection from the different Oratorios of the German master (l)ettingen "To Deum," Samson, Judas Maccabceus, Saul, Dryden's Otle to St. Chain's Day, Hercules, Alexander's Feast, Solomon, Acis and Galatea, VAllegro, Deborah, and Joshua;) on the third day Israel in Eijypt took its turn.
It is no wonder, if the English cherish the illusion, that Handel's . music is their national music;—they have in fact so lived themselves into it [literal], that it has become their property. The solo parts were sung by Mr. Sims Beeves (never without this disagreeable nasal tenor diesen unangenehmen naselden Tenor), ho is an Englishman—Weiss, Belletti, Santley, and Mines. Sainton-Dolby (an excellent singer), Tietjens, Lemmens-Sherrington, Budersdorf and Parepa, The first day was moreover glorified by splendid sunshine, which had strayed into these regions, and accompanied the leaping of the fountains in the garden of the Crystal Palace in the lovliest manner. These grounds are admirably adapted to fabulous representations, for the building, as well as its contents, excite one like a fairy tale. And so it was all in order that we met here Blondin, who was for a long time regarded as an American myth, with his break-neck art, which one can only believe in after he has seen it.
We have had many a rare musical enjoyment in London, but, as wo only brought a continental appetite with us, we preferred to get up before the meal was fiuished, and we frequently renounced a whole string of courses, almost always at the supper table. The London concerts are as a rule a resume of the whole musical season. Time is money, says the Englishman, and so an opportunity is offered to every family, of an evening or an afternoon, to hear all the remarkable things of the season. If a person has attended two concerts, he may be pretty sure that nothing has escaped him. These Englishmen remind us of that French toy, which represents a Zouave, who sits before an Austrian fortress, and, as often as you turn a handle, swallows up an Austrian warrior. The Zouave is insatiable and keeps devouring Austrians as long as you will turn. Some dozens of artists are dished up and swallowed, before the impassive Englishman has moved a feature. At the most he takes between the first and second parts a plate of ice, a cup of tea, or a grog. Then he appears anew as iron-plated public, and the
treat Armstrong cannons can as little reach him as the mammoth ettle-drums in the Crystal Palace.
On the 20th of June there was an afternoon concert given in Her Majesty's Theatre, which consisted of only thirty-eight numbers. In it one heard the following pianists: Jaell, Ascher, Aguilar, W. Carter, Francis Barnett, and the accompanists: Balfe, Benedict, Frank Mori, Randegger, Bcrgcr, and Arditi. The violin w«s represented by Joachim, and, by a most rare exception, the manager of the concert had the good taste to place no other by this artist's side. The female singers who co-operated, were: Miss Louisa Pyne, Mine. Lemmens Sherrington, the Bisters Marchisio, Mme. Guerrabella, FrSulein Liebhardt from Vienna, Ida Gillies, the Trebelli, Marie Cruvelli, Fr&ulein Tietjens, Mme. Weiss, Florence Lancia, Mile. Georgi, Miss Clara Fraser, Miss Boden, Miss Palmer, Susanna Cole, Mme. Lemaire. The male singers who let themselves be heard were: Mr. Harrison, Tennant, Santley, Beichardt, Sims Reeves, M. Gassier, Giuglini, Zucchini, Weiss, Wilbye Cooper, Coselli. By way of bouquet to the still surviving listeners was offered: the Finale from Don Juan, performed by the collective members of the Italian Opera of this theatre. But let no one imagine that this is the Non plus ultra of what an English concert public ^* can endure; the musical critic and madrigal composer Glover, and just now Benedict, demand of their people far more than this. Then there are concerts, in which one may hear in one day: Halle', Pauer, Rubinstein (Nicholas), Jaell, Laub, Becker, Joachim, Piatti, and Davidoff; the Patti, Tietjens, Miolan, Czillag, Penco, perhaps also the Lind, if any pious object can bo brought in to excuse the famed and pious singer for descending from the neaven of the Oratorio. In this case one will also get a chance to hear the husband, Otto Goldschmidt, and for male singers: Formes, Tamberlik, Belletti, Faure, Tagliafico, and Sims Reeves, Esq., of course.
GRAND FESTIVAL IN HONOUR OF HERR CORNELIUS, IN DUSSELDORF*
Dusseldobk has just been the scene of a most interesting festival, which was given by the Artists' Union " Malkasten" (Paintbox), and which lasted two days. Peter Von Cornelius, the most celebrated of Dtlsseldorf's sons, was the person in whose honour the festival was held. It may easily he imagined how greatly the few friends of his youth, still alive, as well as the youngest artist in the place, were rejoiced to see him. Since the year 1825, when his royal friend, Ludwig I. of Bavaria, summoned him from Dtlsseldorf to carry out so many grand works at Munich, where he was appointed Director of the Royal Academy, he had only visited the town once. This merely served to increase the satisfaction universally felt at greeting him again, accompanied by a young wife.
Immediately on the celebrated artist's arrival, the Chief-Burgomaster, Herr Hammers, at the head of a deputation from the Stadt Collegium, proceeded to tho residence of Professor Achenbach, where Herr
• Translated for Dwight's Journal of Music, (Boston). I • From tho Vionna Becensionen.
Cornelius had taken up his quarters. The worthy Burgomaster then informed him that he had been made an honorary citizen of Dusseldorf, his native city, which always honoured arts and artists. Herr Friedrich, as president of the Artists' Union, expressed his concurrence with the sentiments conveyed, through the mouth of the Chief-Burgomaster, by the town, which had now associated the prince of art with the two princes of the blood royal, who had hitherto been the only honorary citizens, and expressed a fervent hope that heaven would long preserve him in the enjoyment of every earthly happiness. In the evening, a specially written prologue, in honour of the newly elected citizen, was spoken at the Vaudeville Theatre. At a later hour, there was a brilliant party at Ilerr Achenbach's.
On the following evening, the Festival got up by the Artists' Union took place. The proceedings commenced with a grand dinner, at which more than four hundred ladies and gentlemen—among the latter, the Chief-Ilurgomaster, the principal civic dignitaries, and the most notable persons in the town itself and the neighljourhood—were present. After a number of toasts had been enthusiastically drank, the committee of the Artists' Union "Malkasten" presented their honoured guest with his diploma as an honorary member of that Society. As soon as it began to grow dark, the company proceeded to the Jacobischer Garden, close at hand, and the property of the Society. Under the majestic t rees, the festival now assumed a more fantastic character. In the first place, an appropriate piece, written for the occasion by K. Niels, was performed upon the terrace, the latter being illuminated as though by magic. The interlocutors, Dante and Faust, personified the religious and historical tendencies of the great artist, in his professional efforts. In the course of the dialogue, which was eminently poetical, the author had introduced, with appropriate accompanying music, large transparencies, representing "Mary with the child," in the Ludwig Church, at Munich, and "Siegfried," from the Niebelungen, so that, when, at the conclusion of the scene,,Dante, taking off the laurel wreath from her own head, laid it at the feet of Faust, and the latter, picking it up, crowned Cornelius with it, the audience broke out into long and universal applause.
Faust then exerted his magic power once more, and pronounced the following command:—
11 Frlsch aup denn, Feen Melodle,
Suddenly, over the grass plots and amid the bushes of tho park, there appeared numberless coloured lights, while gnomes and imps, gambolling and frisking about, endeavoured to catch the fairy elves who glided, in fantastic dances, over the thickets. This indescribable scene was accompanied by Mendelssohn's charming music to A Midsummer Night's Dream, the musicians being invisible. The lights now disappeared, one by one; red and green Bengal fires threw their magic ^brilliancy, from time to time, over the groups of trees; rockets shot hissing, in fiery rivalry, towards the sky, and then the goblin doings were at an end. The spectator thought ho must have been dreaming home fairy tale.
A festive march was next heard, and there issued from behind the bushes a long line of individuals, in strange costumes of various hues. They wound slowly along the walks in the park, and formed a sight highly entertaining to the hero of the evening. At one moment, the procession was mirrored on the still surface of the lake; at another, it was 1 tithed in the dazzling purple of artificial light; then it vanished behind the clumps of trees, and then again it suddenly reappeared in the open; in a word, the charming variety of aspect under which it was viewed produced a deep impression upon every spectator. These torch-bearers, moreover, accompanied their honoured guest to his lodgings, but returned themselves to tho terrace, for they did not forget that the day was the fourteenth anniversary of the foundation of the "Malkasten."
The increasing popularity of Norma evidences the ardour of Mdlle. Titicns, not to efface the memory of the type of all Normas for all time to come, but in the course of years to challenge comparison in two portraits criticized from different points of veiw. The combination of physical and artistic qualities gave Madame Grisi that perfection in this peculiar character unattainable by other artists. She stamped
• "Quick! arise, ye fairy melodies, so that the richer harmonies of German music may drown even the, soft strains of Ausonla. Let burjjhersand artists dually oxclaim, Hail to Diisseldorfs Cornelius!"
t From The Saturday Review,"
Bellini's heroine with an individuality which Jenny Lind disdained to copy, and was taken to task by the critics for attempting to disregard. People could not understand a gentle womanly reading of the character. It was an inversion of the eternal fitness of operatic things, and the Covent Garden faction chornicled with energy the failure at the Haymarket. Pollio must be scorched, withered with scorn, not entreated with or cajoled by a voice more in sorrow than in anger. No matter that the " Casta Diva" was warbled divinely—the character savoured too much of the Juliet, too little of the Lady Macbeth or Schiller's Mary Stuart, with a wholesome dash of the virago. The Norma was not the Norma to which we were accustomed, and the Swede's singing was not capable of disenchanting us of our conservatism. Mile. Lind made a false step for once in her triumphant course, and the best judges agreed that the original Norma remained, as ever, unapproachable. Even in these degenerate days, there may be in Italy actresses capable of reviving the Pasta traditions. It is about as probable as the existence of village Hampdcns. We were told a few years ago that Parodi was steeped in the spirit of that artist whose Medea was as terrible as her Norma was Majestic. When the pupil arrived and sang, Norma the second must have felt that with herself and Madame Pasta Druid dynasty would end. Two other singers tried to dispute possession of the throne—the splendid antecedanU of both warranting an effort which, for any artist not possessing first-rate powers, would have been rash indeed. But great as Jenny Lind and Cruvelli were, the foundations of their glory where not laid in the sacred forest of the Druids, and until Mile. Titiens appeared on the scene, there was none to whom the high Priestess could delegate her Bplended functions. The success of Mile. Titiens is abundantly enhanced in value by the consideration that it has been won in Italian music, which for a long series of years was identified as the special property of an Italian artist. None can wonder that Mile. Titiens, so splendidly endowed by nature, should captivate her audience in such parts as Valentine and Donna Anna. The French and German styles and peculiarities are far more acceptable to robust voices than to smooth melodies of Bellini and Donizetti. The Prima Donna at Her Majesty's Theatre gives us a perfectly genuine version of an intensely Italian part. If less brilliant than her predecessors in certain fragmentary portions of the opera, she is equally (it were treason to say more) conscientious in seizing the gradation, the development, and aggregate of the character. It is a tremendous ordeal to go through the rigid examination in Norma, by an audience made by circumstances so fastidious. And to have come off with such flying colours redounds infinitely to the reputation of Mdlle. Titiens, and we hope substantially to the treasury of the theatre.
When Madame Grisi retired, people attended her last performances as though they were the funeral obsequies of Lucrezia and Norma. The sickle and the cup of poison were to be laid aside like curiosities in a museum. A man would have been thought unusually sanguine who would have insured Norma's life an hour after the historical type of that character had quitted the stage for ever. The fame of Bellini was likely to be at a discount. Probably no composer of this century was so entirely dependent on others for his chance of fame as the author of the l'irata and Norma. It is a different matter with such composers as Mozart or Mendelssohn. Their profound learning and scholarship, as a substratum for fancy, keep every note that they penned as fresh and valuable as when they first appeared. It is nothing to such men that Farinellis and Rubinis have passed away like shadows. Their works live by their own inherent strength. But Bellini, the amiable and gentle, whose music most faithfully mirrors his character, had little else but his pure melody and his singers to depend upon. The Pirata and the Slraniera were buried in the same grave as Rubini, and, Parta and Grisi onee removed from the scene, what was to become of Norma t The young composer, snatched away so early, like " our Adonais," before his prime, would have lent no credit to a prophecy that a Viennese lady would come to the rescue and save Norma from oblivion. Mdlle. Titiens is quite sensible of her responsibility. Her Norma improves every season. Nature has not given her the peerless face and figure of that great predecessor whose attitudes and features are enshrined, like some classic statue, in our memories, but has compensated her with a voice which, we verily believe, would have outsung a Mara or Catalani, and an intelligence and occasional enthusiam which already are splendid, but which, we have a right to say, command a greater future in seasons to come. The sustained pathos of her acting, from the address to her children at the opening of the second act, to the appeal for mercy to Oroveso at its close, will fairly challenge comparison with the well-remembered portrait of Madame Grisi; but in the first half of the tragedy the Teutonic songstress did not succeed in effacing our memories of the Italian. Years of study and thought will give a finish and a general level of excellence to the portrait of which Mdlle. Titiens has painted more than one half so beautifully.
The Opera At Boston.—Some of the newspapers gather up the signs and rumours of a coming season; but the prospect on the whole is neither very clear nor satisfactory. One says'—"The Marti Opera Troupe, engaged by Maretzek in Europe, leave Liverpool for the United States on the 13th of September, and it is not improbable that a portion of the company will make their appearance in New York for a few nights previous to their departure for Havana. Should anything occur to prevent this arrangement, they will in any event play a short season in March and April, the Academy having been secured for those two months with this view. The names of the artists engaged by Maretzek are as follows:—Prime Donne, Madame Medori, Madame Charton-Demenre, Mdlle. Sulzcr and Senorita Yradier; lenori, Signori Mazzolini and Minetti; baritone, Signor Bellini; bassi, Signori Biacchi and Vialletti. There seems to be some doubt regarding the visit of either Ristori or Titiens this season, but the failure of the latter to fulfil her contract will, it is said, subject her to a forfeiture of 10,000 dollors. Uliman is still in Europe attending to the negotiations with these and other artists, but even should his mission fail, there are vocalists enough in the country, including Miss Kellog, Miss Charlotte Patti, Madame Borchard, Madame de Lussan, Brignoli, Susini and Amodio, to make up a very excellent troupe, so that we are by no means likely to starve for opera." Carl AnschUtz has leased Waflack's old theatre for the purpose of giving operas in German, as well as concerts. The season is to open soon with Nicolai's "Merry Wives of Windsor," to be followed by Glitser's Bar Adler's Ilorst (The Eagle's Nest), and Mozart's " Elopement from the Seraglio." The looker-out from the mast-head of the New York Tribune telegraphs in a style almost as rhetorically diffuse as that employed in their dispatches by the condensers of the war news when there is none to condense. For instance:— Operatic prospects in New York are painfully obscure. The intentions of managers are known to nobody, least of all to themselves. The musical explorer wanders in a desert of rumours, without an oasis of fact at which to refresh himself. Proverbial aversion of impresari! to definite announcements is for once accounted for—they have no definite announcements to make. With every anxiety to settle upon a policy, their purposes remain unfixed. This year their actions are conditional upon events which, with all their cleverness, they cannot anticipate. If New York is again to bloom with plenty as it did last season, they are with us in confidence and haste. If that desolation and rain which tho war-prophets have sung in melting tones are to envelope the metropolis; if the grass which never would grow in the Parks is to obstruct the public thoroughfares; if Niblo's, and Nixon's, and Jackson's, are all to be transformed into gardens of Gethsemane ; if the walls of the Academy are to be burdened with that dainty plant, the ivy green, while owls and bats dispute the occupancy of its private boxes; then they turn from us, more in sorrow than in anger, and freely forgive us. In a phrase, if the season promiso prosperity, wo shall have opera enough and to spare; if it threaten adversity, we shall probably have as little as can be offered. A certain amount, however, must be offered. The impending departure of Titiens for America is announced in the London papers, so that fact may be relied upon. Those who have doubted Mr. Ulman's pledges will be satisfied by this corroborative evidence, for the London papers, if slow, are generally safe. It is not known who will accompany the famous prima donna, and there is an impression that her principal support will be afforded by artists with whom New York is already familiar— among them Messrs. Brignoli and Amodio. Mile. Titiens's great roles, however, are in operas which would not show M. Brignoli to much advantage. It is still doubtful where and when she will appear. Niblo's Garden has certainly been selected, but who does not know the local caprices of the lyric mind? We may say at least, that she could not be heard in a better place, icsthi'tieally considered, but the claims of fashion are mighty, and they may prevail. But whether on Broadway or in Irving place, she will be heartily welcomed. Mr. Nixon, too, has as good as pledged himself to supply a course of opera. He has engaged Miss Carlotta Patti, who will, under his administration for the first time, brave the hazards of action on the stage. There will be great interest—something better, we are sure, than mere curiosity—in her debut. Everybody will wish her well in the difficult task she has undertaken. Messrs. Susini and Sbriglia have also been engaged by Mr. Nixon. Of the scene of operations we know nothing, but it is presumed that the Academy will be taken. If Mr. Nixon manifests the same skill and energy in this enterprise that have distinguished his management in every other capacity, there is nothing to prevent him, in this time of operatic doubt and trepidation, from taking the highest position in his new career. His regular concert season is to begin next week, with the same singers as last season, and with Mr. Muzio as conductor. Mr. Max Maretzek has a troupe fully organized and disciplined, and ready at any notice to take the field. His action, however, does not depend entirely upon his own impulses; otherwise we feel confident that a sense of gratitude toward a community which has allowed him to ruin himself without remonstrance some half-dozen times, would cause him to take immediate possession of the vacant hall of the muses, and sound a war-tap to the rescue of taste. He is unfortunately trammeled by the views of Marty, who is such a treasure to him that he would shrink from anything that might seem a conflict of wishes. If Max and Marty agree that a season may be risked in New York, the heroic impresario will take another turn at rain ; or, if he be fortunate—and good fortune has occasionally diversified even his career—a turn at prosperity. His company is compact and sufficient, and it includes names of approved reputa
tion. If it should come before the New York public at all, it will probably be early in^the fall."
Leeds.—Miss Helena Walker, pupil of Mr. Henry Smart and Signor Schira, gave her first annual concert in the Town Hall, on Monday. There was a large audience, although doubtless, many more persons would have been present had the season been further advanced, and the townspeople returned from Scarborough, which just now is almost filled with Leedsers. Miss Walker has long been a favourite in the West Riding, and is undoubedly, the most successful soprano Leeds has yet produced. The concert was most admirable one, and under the conductorship of Mr. Henry Smart, will serve as a due model for our future concert-givers in Leeds. For pure, intelligent, and clever singing, rarely has anythiug been heard superior to Miss Walker's execution of the aria "Selva opaca'' from Guillaume Tell; and the song "If a youth should meet a maiden," from Dtr Freyichutz. The latter was vociferously encored, when was substituted the charming ballad from Benedict's Lily of KUIarney, "I'm alone." Mendelssohn's Loreley served to exhibit Sliss Walker's dramatic power, and her singing of this immensely-trying music was excellent and finished. A well-trained chorus made this operatic fragment a great treat, conducted by Mr. Henry Smart, and accompanied on the piano by Dr. Spark, the windparts being filled in on the organ by Mr. George Tetley, a talented amateur. Miss Walker has a pure, sweet, and flexible soprano voice, of good range, and a musical intelligence not often met with in one so young. Mdme. Laura Baxter proved an admirable assistant as a contralto, with a voice of rare quality and power. Mr. Ualliday, a local bass, essayed "Honor and Arms " from Judas; but the piece was far beyond his present abilities, although, now and then, there was evidence of a really good bass voice. Mr. Henry Smart's part-song, "Ave Maria," was sung to perfection by the choir, and the same composer's song "The Fairy's Whisper," and the duet, "The Gondola," were warmly encored. Two organ solos were played by Dr. Spark, with his well-kiiown ability —Leeds Express.
Testimonial To C. L. Grdneisen.—We are right glad to learn that a subscription has been set on foot for the purpose of presenting a testimonial to Mr. C. L. Gruneisen, the zealous Secretary of the Conservative Land Society. Many of our readers will recollect that a few months back a very malignant, though happily a very futile attempt, was made to injure the character and impair the usefulness of the society, chiefly through the medium of an attack on its Secretary. The triumphant exposure of this ridiculous and abortivo conspiracy redounded highly to the credit of the management, and naturally suggested the propriety of marking the occasion by a tributo of respect to its principal officer. Our Conservative politicians, who have had such good reason to recognise the merits of tho society as an element of political influence, will no doubt gladly avail themselves of this opportunity of testifying their regard for a man who has contributed so largely, not merely to the advance of Conservatism as a party organization, but to the promotion of a Conservative feeling in the country; for every estate which is alloted by this society becomes the nucleus of a sound political influence, which has an indirect power far beyond the mere number of votes added to the register. We understand, however, that the testimonial contemplated is not intended to represent merely the appreciation formed of Mr. Gruneisen's activity in his official and political capacity, as a large portion of the musical and literary world have expressed their desire to join in the compliment paid to one who is not only known as one of our best musical critics in theory, but also as one of the most zealous practical supporters of musical art in England, in which respect the establishment of the I loyal Italian Opera in Covent Garden is a remarkable monument of his services.
ST. VALENTINE WINS.
Filled with anxiety, hope, dread, and fear;
To ev'ry one's door, for St. Valentine's here!
"Be govcrn'd through life by a man, well, I'm sure!"
When St. Valentine sends Mr. Bight to their door.
Pretending she wishes never to be a wife!
St. Valentine blessing each day of her life.
£. Wilt.19 Flktciikr.