Chamber (includes Solo)
10 May 2016
The pianist Boekelmann, who arrived here a few months ago, was hired by Strakosch for a concert tour. The first concert will take place at the Cooper Institute on October 2nd. A better venue was not found, because all else was booked. The concert ensemble consists of Mrs. Plodowska, Mrs. Gebele (alias Gäbler), Mr. Carl Formes, Boekelmann, Prume and Siegfried Behrens.
“The Max Strakosch Troupe give a concert at Cooper Institute on the 1st of October, after which the party start on a tour, giving forty concerts in many of the principal cities East and West. In the troupe are Mlle. Matilda Plodowski, soprano; Mlle. Frida De Gebele, contralto; Sig. Guiseppe Limberti, tenor; Karl Formes, basso; F. Jehin Prume, violin soloist; Bernardus Boekelman, and Prof. S. Behrens.”
“Mr. Max Strakosch gives an inauguration concert at Cooper Institute to-night, in connection, we believe, with a gift enterprise. The artists, so far as we know them, are good. Two or three of the members are new to the public, and will make their debuts on this occasion. Their names are Mme. Mathilde Ploaowska [sic], Mlle. Frida de Gebele, Herr Carl Formes, Sig. Guiseppe Limberte, M. Jehin Prume, Mr. Bernardus Bockelman and Prof. S. Behrens, Conductor.”
Concert—Tonight—Cooper Institute—Strakosh company with M. Jehin Prume, the celebrated Belgian violinist.
Strakosch has a tendency to advertise his artists in a manner that reminds us of attractions in a circus. These exaggerated glorifications such as “the best that ever was” etc. are hard to live up to and they displease the performers and audience. The times for this kind of humbug are, thank God, over in America.
Incorrectly announces the performance for the evening of October 3, 1866.
“Mr. Max Strakosch commenced his concert season by a concert in Cooper Institute on Monday evening, at which all his concert artists performed. The vast hall was, of course, not filled, but a very large audience was present. The new pianist, Mr. B. Boekelman, after a great difficulty in opening the piano, performed a transcription by Liszt. He has remarkably brilliant execution and considerable power, but his power is more from the arm than the wrist, his style is rather vague, and he lacks precision. Something must be allowed for a first appearance, but there are radical faults in his treatment of the piano, which nervousness would hardly affect. Mr. Boekelman has certainly brilliant points, but they need harmonizing, by thought and experience.
Signor Limberti has a charming tenor voice, and sings with much taste and expression. He was, however, unable to develop his full powers in consequence of a severe cold with which he was afflicted. Mlle. De Gebele sang well, although her voice hardly possessed its usual clearness.
The new prima donna, Mlle. Plowdoska [sic], is a very brilliant and effective singer. She is evidently an experienced artist, for she manages a voice somewhat worn with masterly skill. We have rarely observed more consummate management. Her execution is clear and rapid and possesses much bravours, while her trillo is neat and close, and articulated with a rapidity and sustained with an equality which make is wonderfully effective. She has all the qualities necessary for a successful concert singer, and would no doubt make her mark upon the stage.
Mr. Jehin Prume has fine qualities as a violinist: he has a full, rich, firm tone; his execution is certain, rapid and accurate, and he evidences both passion and expression. It is a pity that he has not corrected that bad habit of swaying to and fro, and marking his points of emphasis with both arms. This habit has become so exaggerated that it would hardly surprise us to see him at some moment of intense feeling, twist himself out of his boots. Carl Formes sang with his usual spirit, but he sang terribly flat at times.
There could be no worse place for a concert that the large room of Cooper Institute. The sounded [sic] dodges from pillar to pillar, is cut up and broken, so that both voices and singers are heard at every disadvantage.”
“Correction. – We are requested to state that the ‘operatic concert under the auspices of Max Strakosch,’ given at Cooper Institute on Monday evening, was in nowise connected with a gift enterprise. Originally an arrangement had been made in relation to the Pike’s Opera House Association to give concerts, but it was subsequently abandoned. The troupe is now pursuing a purely legitimate musical career. We are glad to hear it.”
The concert was well attended despite the unpleasant venue and the performance was much better than expected. Mrs. Prolowska is not a young singer anymore; however she performed with taste, lightness, elegance and much skill in the difficult passages. Mr. Limberti was hoarse, though one could detect a fine voice underneath. Carl Formes sang the same songs he has been singing for the last 10 years and in the very same fashion. Isn’t it time he would open up to more modern pieces? The pianist Boekelman made a pleasant impression. He will eventually belong to the pianists of the highest ranking; however, he will have to refine his playing a little bit more and also bring more calmness into his performance. He was well received by the audience.
“The Strakosch Concert Troupe attracted a good audience to the Cooper Institute on the evening of the 1st inst. The artists are talented, but the programme was not wisely selected, there being too many solos and too few concerted pieces. The violinist, F. Jehin Prume, was the ‘star of the evening.’”
“Mr. Max Strakosch commenced his concert season, in the cave of Cooper Institute. He has several new artists. Herr Boekelman, a young pianist of the Bulow school, played Liszt’s Schiller March. The Review says:
‘This school materially differs from that of the concert-players who have been en vogue in this country since Gottschalk used his eminent talent to spoil the taste of the American public and to introduce silly sentimentality and enervating softness in playing. That narrowness of style, want of a large and broad conception, effeminate touch and affected coquetry in playing, which is called “sweet playing” in this country, is entirely discarded by the modern school of pianists, while they consider it the highest aim of the pianist to combine the most perfect execution with an orchestral grandeur of expression and conception which renders the ideas of the composer in their utmost breadth and depth. Mr. Boekelman possesses the full material for this task, but he lacks that calmness and self-possession which is necessary for a pianist who appears in public.’
Besides him, there were a new prima donna, Mlle. Plodowska, described as ‘brilliant and effective,’ ‘managing a voice somewhat worn with masterly skill;’ Signor Lamberti, a charming tenor voice, singing with taste; Mlle. De Gebele, Carl Formes, and Jehin Prume, the violinist.”