Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

BIRMINGHAM FESTIVAL.

The attitude is decidedly ungraceful, and the position of the left

leg in advance, strikingly awkward. But, I repeat, I am no (From our own Reporter.)

sculptor. The statue is placed on a square pedestal of Peterhead

granite, red and warm in tone, highly polished, and harmonizing

TUESDAY, August 28. gratefully with the bronze. Not to return to this subject again, ALL Birmingham is in the greatest possible state of excite- I may state here, that the ceremonial of inauguration was brief ment about Mr. Costa's new oratorio, Eli, and the utmost and simple. It consisted merely of a formal conveyance of the expectations respecting its success are entertained in various statue to the Mayor and Corporation, on behalf of the subscriquarters. So much curiosity has it caused, that nearly every | bers, by the Hon. and Rev. G. M. Yorke, chairman of the commusical notability in London--amateur and professor-has con- | mittee, who delivered a spirited eulogium on the character and trived to find his way to Birmingham. The town swarms with achievements of the illustrious statesman. At least 25,000 visitors, and every bed in every hotel is taken. The accommo- i people were present, and the crush in the immediate neighbourdation, I hear, is everywhere good, but the prices are doubled in /hood of the statue was dreadful. During the progress of the most places and quadrupled in some.

ceremony the rehearsal of Mr. Costa's Oratorio was going on in Well, Festivals come but once in three years, and these consti- the Town Hall close by. tute the innkeepers and landlords' carnival time. Who can The interior of this fine monument has been completely transblame them for making hay while the sun shines ?

formed since the last Festival. The building itself is Grecian in I came from Worcester on Sunday night by the train, having its exterior, with an Italio-Greek interior, with which Mr. travelled in the morning by coach over the Malvern Hills from Ingram's decorations are in the most perfect harmony. The Hereford-a journey I would strongly recommend to all who ceiling is a mixture of Roman and Italian ornaments; the mouldlove scenery in its greatest beauty and variety to undertake.ings are of a Greek character, especially in their arrangement. The ride from Ledbury to Malvern presents a succession of The rosettes are strictly Roman. The ceiling is composed of landscapes, which, for picturesque beauty and variety, are, per- three circles, each divided into four portions, separated by taperhaps, not surpassed in England. I am not going to describe- ing ribs on which are painted arabesques in the manner of “ description is not my forte"-but the Hereford Festival three Raffaelle, with musical trophies, vases of flowers, and other years hence will come again with the Birmingham, and should ornaments introduced. Each compartment is again divided into the former take precedence-as it has this year (for the first time, nine coffers or sunk pannels; the extreme depth of these being by the way) I would earnestly advise all such as are bounden | painted in rich crimson, with a gold radiating star. The framefrom one place to the other-even supposing the railway finished work of each compartment is a maize colour, with Roman from Hereford to Worcester--a consummation devoutly to be ornaments in soft carmine. The junction of the rib of each wished to take places (outside of course) by the mail, so circle iş a Roman rosette of white and gold, with a rich orange skilfully and meekly driven by the placid coachman and pro- centre upon a blue ground. The first coffer is painted a deeper prietor (Mr. Meek), and, putting cigars in their pockets, mount maize than the frame-work, with a terra-cotta ornament. The to the top, and await the unfolding of the wondrous panorama, next receding coffer is of blue and gold, and the extreme depth which Nature in all its glory (providing that the sun shines) is of crimson and gold. In all there are thirty-six coffers in each about to spread before their eyes. Should they follow my advice, circle, forming a splendid enrichment for the centre, which I wish them the enjoyment of as fine a day as we had yesterday; consists of a sun-light composed of four hundred and thirty and then, indeed, they will behold a sight which will not fade | burners. Of these there are three in the ceiling. The frame easily from their recollection.

work of the ceiling is richly decorated with large rosettes, of We arrived in Birmingham about half past ten. Yesterday singular beauty. These are emblazoned with a profusion of gold, morning, about seven o'clock, I was awoke by the braying of and relieved with glowing colours. The cornice is white; the brass instruments, much more loud than agreeable. The Festival cantelevers and the mouldings are etched with gold. On the is being inaugurated in rather an unmelodious manner, I thought. frieze around the building is painted the celebrated honeysuckle Some ragged boys in advance of a brass band, held flags of ornament from the temple of Jupiter Stator. The walls are various nations, and led the way to the station, near which my Sienna marble, finished in the highest style of art by a process hotel is situated. The band comprised four ophicleides, three which has gained for Mr. Ingram a peculiar pre-eminence. The cornet-à-pistons, two drums, a big and a little, and two boys to pilasters are highly polished, resembling enamel. The capitals are carry the books. The "musicians" were dressed in scarlet, with elegantly gilded. The basement of the building is of that peculiar scarlet caps, and, but for their wretched attempts to accomplish grey tint, which brings out in relief the richer hues of the re“Partant pour la Syrie," I should have supposed they belonged to mainder of the decorations. The front of the galleries is bronze a militia regiment. I understood they were going by rail some and gold. The decorations of the organ correspond with those distance from Birmingham to accompany a gipsy party.

of the building. The framework, excepting the base, is elaboYesterday morning I went early to the Town Hall to hear the rately gilded; the pipes are of a rich cobalt blue, diapered with rehearsal of Mr. Costa's new Oratorio. On my way, I passed gold, and the whole presents a mixture of the Greek and Italian the new statue of Sir Robert Peel, erected at the top of New styles. On entering the Hall, the eye is delighted with its light street, midway between Christ's Church and the Town Hall. The and cheerful aspect. The colours are rich and brilliant, but they statue was then covered, the covering not being removed until are so harmoniously blended that their combined effect is chaste noon, when the usual inaugural ceremony took place. The site as well as magnificent. is by no means the best in the city. The sculptor is Mr. Peter An outline of the programme has already appeared in the Hollins, a Birmingham man, and the casting in bronze, in one Musical World. It may, nevertheless, not be superfluous to piece, was executed by the well-known firm of Elkington and state that the Birmingham Musical Festival is given in aid of Mason, so that the statue is essentially a local production. Sir the funds of the General Hospital, an institution which in every Robert is represented in the act of addressing the House. He respect deserves assistance from the benevolent. The Festival has kuee-breeches and silk stockings, which he never wore in -like the Hereford and others—is under the especial patronage the House, and a cloak is thrown over his shoulders iv. ample of her most gracious Majesty the Queen, his Royal Highness folds, though he never wore a cloak. Why the knee-breeches Prince Albert, and her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent; and why the cloak, the sculptor, Mr. Peter Hollins, can, no but-not to speak disloyally-as none of these high personages doubt, satisfactorily tell. The statue is regarded by many as a ever condescend to attend the meetings, I do not exactly see good likeness, but its general merits are very generally discussed the value of their “especial patronage." The presence of Her For my own part-being no sculptor-I cannot pretend to say. Majesty would effect a vast amount of good, and render charity If called upon to give an opinion, I should pronounce the statue much more fashionable than it is. The Birmingham Festival of a failure, unworthy of a great city and of a great statesman. 1855, however, has nothing to complain of on the score of paThe face appears to me too old and withered, and the figure tronage. The list of vice-presidents alone-which includes names gives no idea whatever of the portly and full-sized Sir Robert. of the highest rank and influence in Warwickshire and the

adjacent counties-numbers eighty, with the Right Hon. the Lord | Lenora, and Mr. Howard Glover his own. The last is full of Willoughby de Broke, president, at their head.

life, animation, and character-genuine Scottish character. MenImmense improvements have been effected both in the band delssohn's finale to Lorely was also rehearsed, and went no better and chorus. The choral force, which cousists of 324 voices, than Lenora and Tam OʻShanter. In fact, the chorus have been comprises 80 sopranos, 80 altos, 82 tenors, and 82 basses. Of kept exclusively at work on the new oratorio, to which everythese nearly two hundred are members of the Birmingham thing else has apparently been sacrificed. Choral Society; sixty-three are selected from the Royal Italian Opera and Exeter Hall; and the remainder are furnished by the

WEDNESDAY MORNING. choirs of Bradford and Yorkshire. Mr. Stimpson, the organist of The performance of Elijah yesterday, all agree in pronouncing the Town Hall, and chorus-master at the Festival, has been hard one of the grandest and most perfect ever heard since it was at work drilling his troops for the last two months; and the first performed in 1846. No praise, however extravagant, could effects of his zeal and perseverance were shown yesterday at transcend what is due to the band and chorus, nor can too much the rehearsal of Eli. Of the whole force only thirty-fiye are be said in favor of the Conductor, who entered heart and soul amateurs. As your readers would no doubt like to read a list of into his task. The effect produced by some of the choruses was the band, I enclose the names of the performers. It will be seen literally overwhelming, and nothing but the strict (very strict !) that the entire orchestra will coniprise nearly five hundred regulation, interdicting the audible expression of applause at the singers and players. The instrumental force is as follows: morning performance, prevented the audience from giving yent First Violing-Messrs. Sainton, Blagrove, Banister, Bezeth, Browne,

to their feelings in the most uproarious demonstrations. Many Carrodus, Case, E. Chipp, Clementi, Cooper, Cusins, Dando, Day,

who heard those wondrous inspirations : " Blessed are the men," Doyle, Goffrie, G. A. Griesbach, H. W. Hill, Jacquin, Kreutzer, Love,

“Hear and answer, Baal," " Thanks be to God," " Be not afraid," Pollitzer, Seymour, Simmons, Streather, Thirlwall, Thomas, Watson, “ Behold, God the Lord passed by,” and “Then did Elijah," Zerbini ; Second Violins-Messrs. Watkins, W. M. Plagrove, Bort, declared they had heard them for the first time properly interBradley, Buels, J. J. Calkin, Deichmann, Egerton, C. Griesbach, preted. It is probable that the magnificent masterpiece of the H. Griesbach, Gunniss, Hayward, Jay, Kelly, Marshall, N. Mori, poet-musician never before made so profound an impression on Newsham, Nickel, Payton, Perry, Ries, Schmidt, Shargool, T. Shargool,

a multitude, and there was not one, I feel certain, in the TownThirlwall, jun., Tourneur, Westrop, Wilkins; Tenors---Messrs. Hill, Hall, who did not arise from the performance with a beating Alsept, Betts, R. Blagrove, Boileau, s. Calkin, Glanvill, Hann, Thomas,

heart and throbbing brain. Thompson, Trust, Venua, Waud, Webb, Weslake, E. J. Westrop,

The principal singers were Mesdames Castellan, Viardot, T. Westrop, Vogel; Violoncellos - Messrs. Lucas, Aylward, G. Calkin, J. Calkin, H. Chipp, G. Collins, Guest, Hancock, Hatton, Hausmann,

Rudersdorff, Dolby and Bull, Messrs. Sims Reeves, Weiss, Pâque, Phillips, R. Reed, W. Reed, L. N. Schroeder, Shepherd, Waite;

Walker, Thomas, Smythson, and Herr Reichardt. These, too, Double Basses--Messrs. Howell, Campanile, Castell, Edgar, Flower,

in general, are entitled to the highest praise. I never heard Griffiths, Mount, Pickaert, Pratten, Reynolds, Rowland, Russell,

Madame Viardot sing with greater purity, taste and expression. Severn, Vaudrelan, White, Winsor, Winterbottom; Flutes— Messrs.

Nothing could be more irreproachable than her“ Woe unto Pratten, De Folly, Nicholson, Tilley; Oboes-Messrs. Barrett, Nichol.

them," which requires so much care and delicacy. In son, Malsch, Horton; Clarinets--Messrs. Lazarus, Maycock, Egerton,

the recitatives of Jezabel, Madame Viardot was admirably Roxbze ; Bassoons-Messrs. Baumann, Larkin, Godfrey, Waetzig; dramatic. Madame Rudersdorff sang “Hear ye, Israel," Trumpets-Messrs. Harper, Irwin, Zeiss, Jones ; Horns--Messrs. C. extremely well, and, in the trio, “Lift thine eyes,” the quartet, Harper, Rae, Keilbach, Catchpole; Trombones -- Messrs. Cioffi. Antoine, with chorus, “ Holy, holy, holy," and the quartet, "Oh, come Winterbottom; Ophicleide-Mr. Prosper; Serpents-Messrs. Jepp, every one," she was careful and conscientious. Madame Castellan Standen; Double Drums-Mr. Chipp; Side Drum and Triangle was in better voice than I have heard her in for years, and the Mr. Seymour; Bass Drum-Mr. Horton ; Harps- Mesers. Trust, Committee have every reason to be satisfied with her engageCheshire, Perry.

ment, although Madame Clara Novello is such an undoubted The rehearsal of Mr. Costa's oratorio yesterday morning gave favourite at Birmingham. Madame Castellan made a sensible the few who attended in the Town Hall a taste of the quality of impression, in the air of the widow and the subsequent duet, this gigantic army of instrumentalists and vocalists. Nothing with Mr. Weiss, “Give me thy son," as also in the quartet, with could be more favourable. Band and chorus were both pro- Miss Dolby, Herr Reichardt and Mr. Thomas, “Cast thy nounced incomparable, and their execution surprised everybody burden.” Miss Dolby and Mr. Sims Reeves acquitted themselves There was scarcely a hitch from first to last, although some of with their accustomed excellence. “Then shall the righteous," the choruses are extremely intricate and difficult. Of course by the gentleman, was as powerful and striking as ever; and “O Mr. Costa had taken the greatest possible care that the success rest in the Lord,” by the lady, had lost none of its simplicity of his new work should not be endangered by a want of sufficient and charm. Herr Reichardt distinguished himself greatly by preparation. The oratorio has been rehearsed in London and his perfect taste and expression in the air, "If with all your Birmingham, and the composer himself was present on every hearts,” and indeed in all the music in which he took part. He occasion. What Mr. Costa can do with an orchestra, when he pronounces English better than most foreigners. Mr. Weiss pleases, everybody knows; what he has done and will do for sang the part of Elijah with his usual care and intelligence, Eli, it is easy to surmise. I have no doubt that an immense There was only one encore--the chorus, “He watching over success will be achieved. I listened attentively to the whole Israel”--the audience leaving to the President to ask for reperehearsal, and the execution was so wonderful, and there is so titions just as he pleased. I have little doubt that the immense much in the music calculated to please the uninitiated “many," success of yesterday's performance was owing in some measure that I should be astonished indeed if the oratorio did not create to the oratorio being heard almost from beginning to end with. a sensation. The general feeling is evidently in its favour, the out interruption. Had the President displayed the same formembers of the orchestra nearly all praise it; while connoisseurs bearance as the audience, he would have deserved the thanks of and amateurs talk vaguely. It certainly stands small chance of every one present. The encore system is bad at any time, but being “ damned with faint praise." It must be borne in mind, fatal to the perfect appreciation of such a work as Elijah, which however, that a work may be more easily damued with too much continually advances in interest to the end, and to stop the propraise. I hope, for Mr. Costa's sake, that the journalists, who gress of which interest must, to a certain extent, injure general already, on the eve of the performance, have “come out so effect. It may be asked, why the President selected for repetistrong," will at the upshot keep within bounds. Let them tion the one particular chorus in question ? True, that nothing reserve a few adjectives for Exeter Hall, and spare their allu could be more finished and exquisite than the execution, while sions to Mendelssohn and (proh pudor.) Händel.

the pianissimo at the end surpassed anything of the kind I ever At the evening rehearsal yesterday, the band and chorus heard ; but the power, precision, and fire in some of the pieces scrambled through Mr. Macfarren's cantata Lenora, and Mr. I have just named, were surely quite as worthy of especial Howard Glover's Tam O'Shanter, in a thoroughly discreditable notice. manner. Eli had absorbed them. Mr. Costa conducted the 'The number of persons present were fifteen hundred and

seventy-four, and the receipts, including donations and collec- body anticipated, the success of Mr. Costa's new oratorio yestertions, amounted to £1889 9s. 10d. This exhibits a falling off day was almost unprecedented. I do not remember to have from the first inorning's receipts in 1852, when £2304 11s. Id. witnessed such a demonstration in favour of any individual conwas realised. The disturbed state of public affairs no doubt has nected with the artistic world since the Jenny Lind nights or exerted a depressing influence on the Festival. Indeed I am Macready's last performances. The enthusiasm displayed in told by those versed in managerial matters that the Charity will | 1846, when Elijah was first produced liere, was at least equalled, not benefit as largely as was expected.

and Mr. Costa has been placed on a pedestal about half-an-inch 'I have just learned that Mad. Bosio is prevented from coming | higher than Mendelssohn, by the people of Birmingham, the to sing at the Festival from illness, and that there is no one to committee of the Birmingham Festival, and the dignitaries of supply her place, the committee having declined Mad. Gassier, the Sacred Harmonic Society. Chacun à son goût. Mr. Costa or Madlle. Marai, offered by Mr. Beale as substitutes. Mad. has cause to be proud of his success, and I only hope it may not Castellan, has, however, offered to sing all the music of Mad. | turn his brain. Something akin to the exhibition of yesterday Bosio, and her proposition has been accepted. By this contre occurred at the Olympic some years ago, when Mr. Brooke made temps—“'tis an ill wind that blows nobody goud"--more than his first appearance in London. The audience went frantic, £200 will be saved to the Charity.

and, with some exceptions, pronounced him the successor of The concert last night provided one novelty of great interest - Edmund Kean. To say the least, they had better have waited. Mr. Macfarren's cantata, Lenora. The remainder was of the It is ill to swallow one's own words. The public had to swallow stereotyped miscellaneous kind. The band played the overtures theirs, nevertheless. Mr. Brooke is now, by universal assent, to the Isles of Fingal (an imperfect and coarse performance), placed among third-rate actors. I do not compare Mr. Costa Der Freischütz (a worse), and Masaniello (a brilliant, but un- with Mr. Brooke-Heaven forbid ! But surely the extravagant usually noisy performance), which last obtained an encore. praises lavished upon Eli may, by a stretch of imagination, be The introduction of cymbals and two ophicleides into Weber's compared to those formerly bestowed on Mr. Brooke. It is overture had an effect more novel than agreeable.

easier, however, to account for the favour shown to Mr. Costa, The vocal selection did not present anything remarkable. who has done a great deal for the Birmingham Festival by his On the contrary, Miss Dolby brought “ Over the sea" with her talents and energy. An important work from his pen was, all the way from Hereford, across the Malvern Hills, with the therefore, entitled to consideration, although attempting someaddition of new and original accompaniments of the orchestra, thing out of his line, and although his antecedents counted for by Mr. Duggan; and Madame Grisi did not leave “Qui la little. The Birmingham folk, however, detected indications of voce” behind her; neither did Mario his favourite romance genius in Mr. Costa, or they would never have invited him to from the Favorite ; nor Mr. Sims Reeves his quotations from compose an oratorio--the most difficult of all tasks for a musiHenry Smart's Berta. Madame Castellan filled Madame Bosio's cian--and Mr. Costa must have agreed with the people of Birplace in the programme, and was an admirable substitute. / mingham, or he would not have accepted the invitation. That There were six encores-Mr. Sims Reeves, in the ballad, “In Mr. Costa applied himself heart and soul to his task I have not vain I would forget thee," from Berta ; Madame Grisi, in “ Quithe least doubt, nor that he has done his best. And this is his la voce," from I Puritani; Signor Labbache, in “Non più chief praise. He has laboured conscientiously, and given the andrai ;" Herr Formes, in “Possenti humi,” from Il Flauto world the result of his labour. What that may be is a distinct Magico; Signor Mario, in “Angiol d'Amore," from La Favorita; question. and the overture to Masaniello, already cited. One of the But how to describe a demonstration which baffles description! most interesting performances of the evening, however, was Words might be found to afford some idea of the reception the lovely duet, “Bella Ninfa,” from Spohr's Jessonda, by accorded to Mr. Costa on his entrance into the orchestra; but, Madame Rudersdorff and Herr Reichardt.

for the end, the tongue can find no language. How vociferous Of Mr. Macfarren's fine and poetically conceived cantata, I were the cheers, and how long they endured, must be left to the need say nothing to your readers. Its merits have been dis- | reader's imagination. No wonder Mr. Costa was overpowered cussed on more than one occasion, in the pages of the Musical by emotion—he must else have been made of granite. The World. It was very ill performed, although Mad. Viardot excitement would have disturbed the equanimity of one of who sang the part of Lenore--as usual, like a true and zealous even sterver mould. When all was finished, four ladies of the artist-did full justice to the music of that highly-passionate, chorus were deputed to demand from Mr. Costa the gloves he true-hearted, dreamy, half silly and wholly interesting personage. I wore in conducting Eli, as a memento. The gloves were granted, Such a work as Lenore should be heard more than once or twice, the ladies in question cut them in pieces, and divided them in order to obtain a true idea of its meaning and intrinsic worth. among their companions to be worn as insignia during the rest The visitors to these evening concerts, however, have not the l of the Festival. chance; and certainly the slovenly performance in question did Of the performance it is easy to speak. The band, chorus, and not help their understandings. The principals -Mesdames principals, were perfect, from first to last. The execution of Eli Castellan and Viardot, and Mr. Weiss—however, did all that was almost as wonderful as that of Elijah the preceding day, and could be demanded of them in their respective parts. The everything was done that could be done to place it in a favourapplause was enthusiastic at the end, and 'Mr. Macfarren, who able light. Never were greater zeal and energy displayed ; one was by the side of Mr. Costa, in the orchestra, was honoured feeling only seemed to actuate the mass-that of doing the with a genuine “ovation.”

utmost to achieve a triumphant success. In the meanwhile, every individual of musical note in London I cannot speak with confidence of the music, after the unhas arrived in Birmingham, bent upon hearing the new oratorio i qualified encomiums I have listened to. The merits of Eli, of Herr Richard Wagner's predecessor. Dr. Henry Wylde, Mr. nevertheless, are not so universally acknowledged as I was led to Charles Horsley, Mr. Hetiry Leslie, Mr. Lindsay Sloper, Mr. imagine. There are many who dissent from the general opinion Henry Smart, Mr. Robert Barnett, Mr. Amott (of Gloucester), 1 of the crowd. While some laud the new oratorio to the skies, and many others, in addition to the musical critics of the press, there are others who criticise it severely, and these are chiefly are all here. The fate of Eli will soon be decided. It is now | among musicians. My own impression, after two hearings, to half past ten o'clock. In four hours from this time, the verdict both of which I paid particular attention, is : that Mr. Costa has of the public, musical and unmusical, will be given concerning a written an exceedingly clever work; that he has proved himself work, which, previous to its performance, has, from the combi thoroughly acquainted with the resources of his art; that he nation of various circumstances, created in the musical world an has command over the orchestra and writes admirably for voices; excitement almost unprecedented.

that his music is to the purpose; and that he has great fluency.

Something more than this, however, is required to produce s Thursday Morning.

masterpiece (as Eli has been denominated), and this the composer The great “event” of the Birmingham Festival has taken does not possess. He displays neither imagination nor origiplace, and judgment has been pronounced on Eli. As every- | nality; he is wanting in elevation of style; even when he soars, he cannot sustain himself; and that harmony of purpose, which you in the name of the Lord,” by Mesdames Castellan and spreads such a halo round the compositions of the great masters, Viardot, Mr. Sims Reeves and Herr Formes, the performance is not to be found in the new oratorio. But what surprised me of which was irresistible and an encore inevitable. The orchesmost was the absence of melody, new or old. The phrases are tral march of the Israelites, which follows, sounds better when rhythmical and flowing, but I did not catch one original thought. it is given subsequently to the chorus. The tune is very primi. This is singular for an Italian–the author, too, of Don Carlos tive. The chorus, "Hold not thy peace," is one of the best and Malek Adel. Did Mr. Costa deem it requisite to abandon pieces. It was a prodigious performance. The air, “This night tune in the sacred oratorio? If so, he thought very differently I lift my heart to thee"-calm and expressive, but not very from Händel and Mendelssohn, whose sacred work's abound in original_was entitled to notice on account of Madame Viardot's “absolute melody."

singing, than which nothing could be more artistic and finished. Mr. Costa, however, had much to contend with in the compo The dropping of the voice as Samúel falls asleep was worthy of sition of Eli. The libretto-if I may so call the book of an ora- | the greatest of singers. The chorus “No evil shall befall thee,” toriomis bad. The story—a digest of which has already ap- with triple harp accompaniment, was redemanded, chiefly on peared in the Musical World is disjointed; and the incidents, account of execution. The pianissimos and crescendos were few and far, between, are by no means favourable to musical managed with wonderful effect. The remainder of the oratorio illustration. , The composer was therefore compelled to give a was listened to in silence, but the execution was no less extrafragmentary shape to his music and to break the interest into ordinary than what had gone before. pieces. There are two situations, however, which offer great I have scarcely spoken in terms of sufficient praise of the scope to the musician, and of these Mr. Costa has availed him- principal singers. I have mentioned Madame Viardot, Mr. self melodramatically. The first is when Eli overhears his two Sims Reeves, and Madame Castellan. Herr Formes, however, sons, Hophni and Phinehas, riotously singing with the women has a most difficult and ungrateful part in Eli. His music is of assembled at the door of the tabernacle; the second is where the same sombre and grave character throughout, and presents “ Saph”-a valiant warrior of Gath-summons the Philistines very few opportunities for effect. The declamatory powers of to battle. Mr. Costa has illustrated both of these with effect, the German basse, however, had frequent occasions for display, although, as I have said, melodramatically. The employment of and of these he made the best use. The recitatives were finely the tabretma sort of Indian drun or banjo played with a stick- given, and the words of the prophet received double force from is questionable, at least in sacred music. The second situation, his earnest and impressive delivery. Herr Reichardt had little the call to battle, is represented with similar contempt of "seve to do, but that little he did well, as usual. He is always painsrity.” The singing, however, of Mr. Sims Reeves and the chorus taking, and always equal to what he undertakes. induced the audience to overthrow the barriers of etiquette, and The oratorio of Eli finishes with a fugued chorus, “ Blessed be take from the hands of the president the assumed right of the Lord God of Israel," during the performance of which, yesencoring. With these exceptions the situations are unsuggesterday, the audience remained standing. " tive, and the composer, it must be owned, has had up-hill work. I must be brief with last night's concert, as the morning per.

For many reasons I have refrained from entering into an | formance commences to-day half-an-hour earlier-why, I cannot analysis of the music. No doubt a future opportunity will be say, unless it be that the Messiah occupies a longer time than found for an elaborate consideration of its merits. It remains, other oratorios. The principal attractions of last evening's therefore, to speak of the performance, or rather of the effect pro programme was Mendelssohn's Symphony in A major (the duced, since I have already stated that the execution was “ Italian") and finale to Loreley, and Beethoven's overture to perfect.

Leonora. The symphony was on the whole finely executed, but The overture and introduction passed off quietly. The first the andante a little too fast. The last movement, the Saltarello, encore was awarded to the chorus, * The Lord is Good.” a round, went splendidly. I was agreeably disappointed in the finale to with a simple theme, accompanied by three harps in the orchestra. Loreley, which was infinitely better executed than at the reThe singing of the chorus, more especially of the females, was hearsal. Another and a careful rehearsal would have insured a inimitable. The chorus of the ungodly revellers, “For every

faultless performance. The grandest of the four overtures to thing there is a season," was as fine a performance in another Fidelio (the so-called Leonora,) left little to be desired. In the way, and the music is far more interesting and difficult, but the Miscellaneous Selection there were six encores-Signor Mario President allowed it to pass unnoticed. The solo and chorus, in a new ballad by Mr. Frank Mori, “ Good morrow" Mr. Sims “Philistines, hark, the trumpet sounding," carried everything Reeves in Molique's “When the moon is brightly shining ;" before it, and the audience could not suppress their emotions.

the chorus in Mrs. Mounsey Bartholomew's choral part.song, Mr. Sims Reeves gave the solos with electrical effect, and the “ Philomela sings"-exquisitely sung ; Mr. Sims Reeves, Mr. chorus answered in a voice of thunder. The applause was re

Weiss, and chorus in Purcell's dramatic piece, “ To arms, to liewed at the end of the repeat, and Lord Willoughby de Broke arms ;" Herr Formes in the comic air, “O! wie will ich triumconsented. I forgot to mention the air for soprano voice, “Turnphiren," from Die Entführung aus dem Serail; and Mesdames thee unto me,"immediately following the introduction, a graceful Grisi, Viardot, and Castellan in the trio, “Le faccio un inching," and flowing melody, admirably sung by Madame Castellan. This from Il Matrimonio Seyreto. really deserved an encore, but the President made no sign. Mad. The attendance at the morning performance yesterday was not Castellan was encored in the second air, “I will extol thee." so great as on the first day, notwithstanding all the excitement written something after the manner of Händel. At the end of about the new oratorio. The evening concert, on the other hand. the first part, the fugued chorus, “ Hosanna in the Highest.” was attracted a large audience, the receipts verging close on £1,100. received with uproarious applause. There are three fugues, or

The performance of the Messiah to-day will, I understand, bring attempts at fugues, in the first part-the overture, the chorus,

an enormous crowd. Every place in the hall is taken, and three "Blessed be the Lord," and the final chorus.

hundred tickets are sold, the purchasers of which will have to The second part opens with a morning prayer for Samuel,

content themselves with standing-room. I shall have time to “Lord, from my bed again I rise," one of the most attractive

write but a few lines on my return to be in time for the express. tunes in the oratorio, written with skill for the contralto voice. Fortunately the Messiah requires no explanatory notice. A. reand exquisitely sung by Madame Viardot. This created á cord of the performance will suffice. genuine impression; Lord de Broke gave the signal for repetition, and it was repeated with increased effect. The trio, “Thou

THURSDAY, 3 O'CLOCK. shalt love the Lord,” sung by Mesdames Castellan, Viardot, and · I have just returned from the performance of the Messiah, in Mr. Sims Reeves, was applauded by part of the audience, but the Town Hall, which was crammed to suffocation in every part. suppressed the President remaining quiescent-silence, con- Some idea may be entertained of the vast crowd assembled, when trary to the adage, giving no consent. The trio-a sort of round, it is stated that the receipts surpassed by a considerable amount with a harp accompaniment-was sung to perfection. Still those of any day at any former Festival. No less a sum than £2,808 better, if possible, was the unaccompanied quartet, “We bless odd was realized; the greatest previous receipts having been £2,751 18. 5d., on the Thursday of the meeting of 1852, the many wealthy Roman Catholics in the neighbourhood, this is Messiah then also being the attraction.

| more than probable, and no doubt the pleasure of hearing their The execution of Händel's great work, on the whole, was no own ritual played in a Protestant Church would lead indirectly to less satisfactory than that of Elijah and Eli. The band and such a result. If the introduction of a mass tends to increase chorus were magnificent throughout. The principal solo singers the funds of the charity, the committee would do well to have were Madame Castellan, Madame Rudersdorff, Miss Dolby, Mr. one performed at every Festival, more especially since the réperSims Reeves, Mr. Weiss, Herr Reichardt, and Herr Formes, | toire of this class of sacred music contains a mine of wealth There were three encores—the chorus, “ Unto us a child is born,” which has yet to be fully explored. The masses of Haydn and the "Hallelujah," and the air, “But thou did'st not leave," by Cherubini are among the greatest works of these masters, and Madame Castellan. The performance created a profound sen deserve to be better known. sation.

1. R.

There is little to be said of the performance of the Messiah,

which, with the means at disposal, went, of course, well. HEREFORD FESTIVAL.

Nevertheless, the chorus is not sufficiently numerous. To give

effect to such works as the Messiuh and Elijah in the Hereford (From our own Reporter.)

Cathedral, the chorus should be doubled. The “ Hallelujah"

chorus, though carefully sung, fell flat, and the two grand HEREFORD, SATURDAY, AUGUST 25T1.

choruses, usually so striking, “All we like sheep," and "Unto The third concert at the Shire Hall, on Thursday evening, was us a child is born,” fared little better. The principals, however, the most successful of the three, four hundred and seventy-six were all admirable. I never heard Mr. Sims Reeves sing with persons having paid for numbered seats. The Hall presented a more power. The air, “Behold and see,” was à model of exvery brilliant appearance, all the rank and wealth of the county pressive singing, and thoroughly embued with the Händelian and neighbourhood attending. The programme had one great

feeling. It was encored. “Comfort ye, my people," and " Thou advantage over those of Tuesday and Wednesday-a symphony shalt dash them to pieces, were equally god

shalt dash them to pieces,” were equally good. Encores were of Mozart's was played, and seemed to afford universal gratifica- also awarded to Madame Clara Novello for her fine rendering of tion. Had the conductor introduced a synaphony at each of the "I know that my Redeemer liveth ;" to Miss Dolby, in “It was concerts I think the receipts would have increased. At all events despised”-a highly chaste performance; and to Madame Weiss, it would have elevated the character of these concerts, which,

in “How beautiful are the feet "-excellently sung. It is only though not without pretensions, are open to great improvement.

just to state that Miss Moss (a pupil of Miss Dolby, we believe) I have already told you that the programmes were of the patent

sang the air, “If God be for us,” in a most agreeable manner. London Hanover Square Room Annual Benefit kind.

This young lady has a pleasing voice, and promises well, but she The selection on Thursday evening consisted of extracts from must acquire à degree more warmth of expression, without Der Freischütz, including the overture, the vocalists being Mes

which much accomplishment may go for nothing. dames Clara Novello, Weiss, Messrs. Sims Reeves, Weiss and The total summarising from donations—to be devoted to the Montem Smith. There were three encores-Mr. Weiss in the charity, reckoning what has been forwarded since the close of Bacchanalian song, “Life is darkened,” Madame Clara Novello | the Festival, and what may be anticipated from various quarters, in “ Softly sighs," and the “ Bridesmaids' Chorus” solo, by will not, I understand, much exceed £800, the smallest contribuMadame Weiss. The most unexceptionable performance, never tion since 1834, when the collection realized no more than theless, was Mr. Sims Reeves's “Oh! I can bear my fate no

£676 11s. This is rather curious, if the enormous pre-boastings longer; ” “The Huntsmen's Chorus," too, went far better about the result of the present meeting are taken into consider than the “ Bridesmaids',” but was not redemanded. The over ation. The receipts from the sale of tickets, moreover, are ture was executed better than that of Guillaume Tell, the previ- hardly expected to balance the expenditure, which has been ous night, but was not entirely worthy of the orchestra, almost | much heavier than last time, so that, in a pecuniary sense, the entirely composed from that of Covent Garden. Too little Hereford Festival of 1855, compared with other Festivals, can attention is paid at this Festival to the conductor, Mr. Townshend hardly be set down as a success and this, in spite of the Der Smith, who, though a man of enormous zeal, never thinks, it railways since 1852. The Worcester contribution of £60—from appears to me, of holding them with a tight rein. With Mr. the interest of property funded when George III. visited the Costa in command, such performances as have been heard nightly Worcester Festival-will, if it arrives, increase the sum total in at the Hereford Shire Hall would never have occurred. In the favour of the charity ; but this is an item independent of the miscellaneous division of the concert, there were four encores direct profit accruing from the exertions of the Hereford manage Madame Grisi in “ Qui la voce,” (Puritani,) Miss Dolby in ment, and ought not to be taken into account. Mendelssohn's “First Violet,” and Mesdames Grisi and Clara Of the grand dress ball at the Shire Hall last night, I am not Novello in the duet-"Sul' aria” (Le Nozze di Figaro), and

in a condition to send you a report. On entering the Hall, I Mr. Sims Reeves in “ Come, if you dare.” The symphony was

presented my ticket, as usual, and entered the room, when a the one in E flat, and was on the whole finely played. The band gentleman tapped me on the shoulder, and requested to know if evidently, this time, liking their task, and making a show of | I belonged to the London press. I told him I had that honour; obedience to the conductor.

whereupon he expressed a desire that I should follow him to the The most remarkable performance at this concert, however, orchestra, whither he had received orders to show gentlemen of was Macfarren's madrigal, “ Maidens, never go a-wooing” the press who might think proper to attend the ball. I was too (Charles II.), which was positively disgraceful. Not half-a-dozen indignant to remonstrate_ă surprise held me mute"-80 I left, among the singers could read their parts even indifferently. | convinced that the stewards of the Hereford Festival were not Nothing in a concert-room ever went worse. Next Festival, Mr. by any means courteous to strangers, and this was my last imTownshend Smith must look more carefully to rehearsals; he | pression of the Meeting of the Three Choirs in 1855. DR. must also exhibit a greater authority, or his bâton will wither in his hands. He is of too mild and lenient a nature to act despotically, as he ought to do, since the orchestra is composed of SIGNOR F. BADIALI, formerly manager of the Havannah such unmalleable materials. ole materials.

troupe, in which Mesdames Tedesco, Bosio, Signori Marini, The performance of the Messiah yesterday, as usual, attracted Salvi, etc., first appeared before the public of New York, Philathe fullest attendance of the week. More than eleven hundred delphia, and Boston, died lately in the first-pamed city, persons were present. The collection at the doors, however À MODEL STAGE MANAGER.-Shiel, on one occasion, under£201 138. 2d. -fell short of Wednesday and Thursday, the last took himself to instruct the actors. “Now, observe," said he named day producing £215 158. lld. The cause of this excess “here's Mr. Young ; here's Mr. Kemble. Well, the guard comes had as am informed, to be attributed to the performance of on; Mr. Young draws his sword, and finds he has not got it." Mozart's mass, which brought all the Roman Catholics to the | This Hibernian explanation became a jocular tradition of the cathedral, and induced them to be charitable. As there are 1 green-room.-Rev. Sydney Smith's Memoirs.

« ElőzőTovább »