Manager / Director:
Lafayette F. Harrison
Theodore Thomas [see also Thomas Orchestra]
Price: $1; reserved, $1.50
Chamber (includes Solo), Orchestral
28 January 2016
“This well known hall of the metropolis was crowded last night, and a very well selected and attractive programme was presented by Leopold de Meyer; Mrs. Jenny Kempton, whose contralto voice seemed to have regained its former sympathetic power; Carl Rosa, the inimitable violinist; Randolfi, a baritone of excellent voice and thorough training, and Thomas’ orchestra. De Meyer is the great sensation of the season. Such piano playing as his is rarely heard on either side of the Atlantic. Every subject beneath his fingers is a kaleidoscope of poetry and beauty, ever shifting passages of light and shade and abounding in the most arduous difficulties; all of which, however, are surmounted without any apparent effort. Now the notes whisper like the murmuring of the summer breeze beneath his exquisite touch, and again a volume of sound like that of an orchestra rolls out from the magnificent grand, and each finger seems to be multiplied tenfold. Every measure of the subject is wreathed in passages of unearthly beauty and veiled in a spray of chromatics, trills, and arpeggios, like a rich frame to a beautiful picture. His engagement will soon close, and no lover of music ought to miss hearing him.”
“The third of Mr. HARRISON’S concerts for the season was given last evening at this extensive hall. It seemed to be filled to its utmost; but if there is one impression more than another conveyed by the immense bareness of Steinway’s it is, that no matter how crowded the place is, there always appears to be room for a few more people. The programme last night included two fantasie, a ‘Nocturne,’ and ‘Themes from Meyebeer,’ by M. LEOPOLD DE MEYER; Artol’s [sic] fantasie for the violin on the Russian National Hymn, and a Motive from Pagannini, by CARL ROSA; three numbers for Mrs. JENNY KEMPTON; a song and an aria for Sig. RANDOLFI, and the usual number of orchestral pieces by Mr. THEODORE THOMAS’ melodious band,—the most attractive of them being MENDELSSOHN’S ‘Midsummer Night’s’ overture, and the finale to the third act of ‘Don Carlos,’ which was nothing if not Verdian.
The performances of M. DE MEYER were of course the particular charm of the evening, and may have that credit without any slight being meant for the rest. They were rewarded by the most tumultuous applause we have heard anywhere this season.
It is not alone the skill of the pianist, it is the geniality of the man which called this forth. Every one is captivated by the arch look of the old musician, and the beaming humor of his countenance. As he enters upon the platform, hat in hand, his kindly face and silvery hair lit up with a glow of friendship and pleasure, the pulses of the most blasé spectator are started, and even the stolid musicians about him drop their bows to applaud. He acknowledges the tempest of hands with a look that seems to say: ‘We are the oldest and best of friends—you and I.’ He takes off his gloves, puts them in his hat, sits down and runs his fingers over the keys as if the immense gathering before him was a little party of old acquaintances whom he was going to delight, unasked, by his skill. Now he dashes into the melody, and the very keys of the instrument seem to leap into new life beneath his fingers, just as everybody brightens beneath his eye. DE MEYER makes no show of consequence as he plays; he means to please, and not to astonish you, and when he tries his best gives an arch glance from beneath his eyebrows, and smiles at you as if he enjoyed the whole matter too. Old men and old women, and young men and young women, laugh with him and brighten about the eyes, and do all they can to keep their palms apart until the morceau is finished. Then he starts up, finishing the last notes as he stands, amid a storm of hands, and trots off, hands and gloves in hand, only to be recalled again for the sake of his dear old face, and once again for the sake of his wonderful skill, and again to receive the bouquets which are showered on him. It is a rare triumph this, for any artist.
M. RANDOLFI, who is becoming a great favorite in the concert-room, sang LACHNER’S ‘Thou Everywhere,’ with horn obligato by Mr. SCHMITZ, and ‘Ah per Sempre’—an air that every baritone has been in love with ever since it grew into its native sweetness under BELLINI’S pen. Mrs. KEMPTON’S scenes and cavatina from ROSSI was less effective than her ballad, ‘Do you really think he did,’ and the two other ballads which she had the good judgment to sing on recall. There was a deal of interest, quite natural, manifested about the taste of ‘Don Carlos,’ given by the orchestra. It is one of those florid and fanciful combinations for which VERDI has made his act endings remarkable. It is eminently dramatic and effective, and the march that marks its course is as fine a piece of military music as VERDI has written.”