Second Musical Festival: 8th

Event Information

Venue(s):
Steinway Hall

Manager / Director:
Lafayette F. Harrison

Conductor(s):
Theodore Thomas [see also Thomas Orchestra]
William Berge

Price: $1; $1.50 reserved

Performance Forces:
Instrumental, Vocal

Record Information

Status:
Published

Last Updated:
20 December 2017

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

24 May 1868, Evening

Program Details

American premiere of Reinecke’s overture to his opera King Manfred. Premiere of the second and third movements of Pease’s piano concerto (premiere of the complete concerto: Philadelphia, 19 July 1876, with Thomas Orchestra).

Performers and/or Works Performed

2)
Composer(s): Schumann
Participants:  Thomas Orchestra
3)
aka O Perfido
Composer(s): Beethoven
Participants:  Euphrosyne Parepa
4)
aka In modo di scena cantante
Composer(s): Spohr
Participants:  Carl Rosa
6)
aka Konig Manfred overture
Composer(s): Reinecke
Participants:  Thomas Orchestra
7)
aka Miserere Domine
Composer(s): Hullah
Text Author: Procter
Participants:  Euphrosyne Parepa
9)
Composer(s): Meyerbeer
Participants:  Thomas Orchestra

Citations

1)
Advertisement: New York Herald, 15 May 1868.
2)
Announcement: New-York Times, 23 May 1868, 4.
3)
Advertisement: New York Herald, 24 May 1868.

Includes program.

4)
Announcement: New York Herald, 24 May 1868, 3.
5)
Announcement: New-York Times, 24 May 1868, 5.
6)
Review: New York Herald, 25 May 1868, 5.

“The festival wound up last night with the following programme:— Symphony No. 4, D Minor, Op. 120, Schuman [sic]; ‘Ah, Perfido,’ Beethoven, Madame Parepa-Rosa; concerto, ‘Gesang Scene,’ Spohr, Mr. Carl Rosa; ‘By the Sad Sea Waves,’ Benedict, arranged for the organ by Mr. G. W. Morgan; overture, ‘King Manfred,’ Reinecke, orchestra—‘The Storm,’ Hullah, Madame Parepa-Rosa; concerto, for piano and orchestra, Pease, Mr. A. H. Pease; the music of the tragedy of ‘Struensee,’ Meyerbeer, for Orchestra and Chorus; Overture; The Revolt; March and Chorus; Ball Scene; Grand Polonaise. Mr. Rosa played the concerto in a superb manner, and Mr. Pease made a favorable impression with his work, although he played only the two last movements. Madame Rosa sang the most difficult and touching of Beethoven’s vocal pieces with feeling, expression and fire, such as the great composer would desire. Mr. Morgan’s selection was received with tumultuous applause, and the magnificent work of Meyerbeer received due attention at the hands of the orchestra and the Berge Choral Union, a vocal society which has branched off from the Mendelssohn Union, and already gives evidence of becoming one of our leading organizations. Now that the festival is at an end we must say that much credit is due to the manager, the orchestral conductor and, in general, to the soloists, who carried it through successfully as far as lay in their power. Of the chorus we cannot say the same, for in respect to choral matters we are lamentably behind hand. Without crossing the Atlantic, and without speaking of the magnificent choruses which may be heard in England, the home of oratorio, it must be confessed that the Handel and Hayden [sic] Society of Boston excel us in this respect. It should not be so, and if there was a proper spirit shown by the directors of our numerous vocal societies there would be no reason to complain. Let there be, then, for the sake of art, an understanding between these societies, and oratorios may be given in this city in a style equal to any other part of the world. The orchestra, one hundred strong, covered themselves with glory in their rendering of the many difficult works on the eight programmes of the festival. The audience last night was very good considering the unfavorable weather.”

7)
Review: New York Post, 25 May 1868.

“With the supplementary concert given last night at Steinway Hall the grand musical festival came to a close. As the result of the private enterprise of a single individual it deserves the general praise which has been accorded to it. As compared with the recent festival at Boston it must be pronounced a failure, unless all the reports of the latter are grossly incorrect. The orchestral music, when under the leadership of Mr. Theodore Thomas, was generally of a superb character; no better, however, than we have heard at Terrace Garden night after night last summer.

“Large choruses cannot be improvised, nor can oratorio music be well performed except after long and continuous practice under capable direction. For this reason we cannot speak well of the oratorio performances at this festival, although the beautiful solo singing of Madame Parepa-Rosa atoned for many deficiencies.”

8)
Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 25 May 1868, 5.

“The festival week at Steinway Hall closed with a ‘supplementary concert’ last night. On Saturday there were two performances, and at both, nothwithstanding the violent storm, there was a good attendance, principally of what managers call popular music, meant for the untutored ear of the miscellaneous public, and only justifiable because unfortunately there are people who like it. Yet in the wilderness of trash there were several compositions of real artistic value. . . . [reviews of Sat. matinee and evening performances] The programme for last evening was much richer than either of the two preceding ones. It commenced with Schumann’s lovely Symphony in D minor, No. 4, a composition abounding in characteristic graces and variety. Madame Rosa sang Beethoven’s noble aria, “Ah perfido,’ which is not only excellent in itself, but well-suited to display the best qualities of her voice and style, in the introductory scena, the intensity to which she is capable of rising, and in the pathetic air proper the exquisite delicacy of her vocalization. Superb as this performance was, we regret to say that it was not received with half the applause that was wasted upon her rending of Hullah’s ‘The Storm,’ later in the evening—a song which is much better adapted to a bass than a soprano voice. Being recalled after this, she gave, in the most charming manner, Gounod’s ‘Cradle Song,’ accompanied by her husband on the violin and Mr. Colby on the piano. Mr. Carl Rosa played Spohr’s violin concerto in G major, No. 8, a good specimen [sic] of the broad and vigorous German school of which Spohr was the founder, and a piece moreover in which Mr. Rosa’s feeling touch and conscientiousness are always keenly relished. Mr. Morgan followed with an organ solo, an arrangement of Benedict’s well-known air, ‘By the Sad Sea Waves’; and then we had, for the first time in America, Reinecke’s overture to ‘King Manfred,’ a meditative and intensely poetical work, containing some fine melody, and distinguished by a splendid broad treatment of the instruments which reminded us at times of Cherubini. The orchestra did it full justice, and we hope they will let us hear it often. Of Mr. A. H. Pease, and his new piano-forte concerto, of which the second and third movements were vouchsafed us last evening, there is little to be said. The second movement is a barcarole, rather pleasing, but not at all original, and much too long; the third, an allegro con fuoco, is trashy. What a blessed change was the Struensee music of Meyerbeer which followed it; the delicious church-like theme of the overture, repeated with the countless orchestral combinations, all rich and striking, in which Meyerbeer’s genius was so prolific; the grand arrangement of the Danish National Song, ‘Holger Danske’ for the instruments and male chorus (led last night by Mr. Berge); and finally the grand Polonaise of the ball scene.

“So has passed away the second annual Musical Festival of New-York, and, balancing the results, we hardly know whether to be satisfied or not. That we have a manager like Mr. Harrison with the courage and enthusiasm to take the labor unaided upon his shoulders; that we have a leader like Mr. Thomas to uncover for us the half-forgotten treasures of the classical masters; more than all, that musical culture has so far improved in New-York that 2,000 people or more will go through storm and mud every night for a week to partake of such wholesome fare as has generally been set out during this feast at Steinway Hall—these things certainly are cause for abundant gratification. The basis of a Musical Festival, however, is oratorio, and the recollection of the performances of ‘The Messiah,’ ‘The Creation,’ and ‘Elijah’ last week affords us no satisfaction. The chorus showed no progress since last year, but a decided falling off. In ‘The Messiah,’ which they have been singing as long as anybody can remember and ought to know as well as the alphabet, their performance was abominable. They acquitted themselves in ‘Elijah’ better than they did during the Winter, but still far from well, and, if our recollection serves us, worse than they did last June. ‘The Creation’ was the best of the three, but that is slight praise.”

9)
Review: Dwight's Journal of Music, 06 June 1868, 256.

“Musical Festival in New York”…Quote from the New York Tribune: “It commenced with Schumann’s lovely Symphony in D minor, No. 4, a composition abounding in characteristic graces and variety.  Mme. Rosa sang Beethoven’s noble aria, ‘Ah perfido,’ which is not only excellent in itself, but well-suited to display the best qualities of her voice and style; in the introductory scena, the intensity to which she is capable of rising and in the pathetic air proper the exquisite delicacy of her vocalization. Superb as this performance was, we regret to say that it was not received with half the applause that was wasted upon her rendering of Hullah’s ‘The Storm,’ later in the evening—a song which is much better adapted to a bass than a soprano voice.  Being recalled after this, she gave, in the most charming manner, Gounod’s ‘Cradle Song’ accompanied by her husband on the violin and Mr. Colby on the piano. Mr. Carl Rosa played Spohr’s violin concerto in G major, No. 8, a good specimen of the broad and vigorous German school of which Spohr was the founder, and a piece moreover in which Mr. Rosa’s feeling touch and conscientiousness are always keenly relished.  Mr. Morgan followed with an organ solo, an arrangement of Benedict’s well-known air, ‘By the Sad Sea Waves;’ and then we had, for the first time in America, Reinecke’s overture to ‘King Manfred,’ a meditative and intensely poetical work, containing some fine melody, and distinguished by a splendid broad treatment of the instruments which reminds us at times of Cherubini. The orchestra did it full justice, and we hope they will let us hear it often. Of Mr. A.H. Pease and his new piano-forte concert, of which the second and third movements were vouchsafed us last evening, there is little to be said.  The second movement is a barcarole, rather pleasing, but not at all original and much too long; the third, and allegro con fuoco, is music of Meyerbeer which followed it; the delicious church-like theme of the overture, repeated with the countless orchestral combinations, all rich and striking, in which Meyerbeer’s genius was so prolific; the grand arrangement of the Danish National Song, ‘Holger Danske’ for the instruments and male chorus (led last night by Mr. Berge), and finally the grand Polonaise of the ball scene.

“So has passed the second annual Musical Festival of New York, and balancing the results, we hardly know whether to be satisfied or not. That we have a manger like Mr. Harrison with the courage and enthusiasm to take the labor unaided upon his shoulders; that we have a leader like Mr. Thomas to uncover for us the half-forgotten treasures of the classical masters; more than all, that musical culture has so far improved in New York that 2,000 people or more will go through storm and mud every night for a week to partake of such wholesome fare as has generally been set out during this feast at Steinway Hall—these things certainly are cause for abundant gratification. The basis of a Musical Festival, however, is oratorio, and the recollection of the performances of ‘The Messiah,’ ‘The Creation,’ and ‘Elijah’ last week affords us no satisfaction. The chorus showed no progress since last year, but a decide falling off. In ‘The Messiah’ which they have been singing as long as anybody can remember and ought to know as well as the alphabet, their performance was abominable. They acquitted themselves in ‘Elijah’ better than they did during the winter, but still far from well, and if our recollection serves us; worse that they did last June. ‘The Creation’ was the best of the three, but that is slight praise.”

10)
Review: New York Musical Gazette, 06 June 1868, 60.

“The ‘Grand Musical Festival’ idea is a good one. Ardent lovers of good music from the country can lay their plans beforehand and time their annual visit for the occasion, and even residents of the city, who have the opportunity of hearing all the good music as it passes, can often so arrange their affairs as to enjoy more by a special effort than they can when there is not extraordinary attraction or combination that is sufficient to draw them away from the pressing demands of business. The second Festival, just past, has been a success, although hardly so positive a success as that of 1867. The audiences have been good, but not so large as those of last June. The weather has doubtless had much to do with this. With the exception of one fine day it was just about as persistently wretched as weather could be. If Apollo and Jupitor Pluvius were engaged in a ‘scrimmage,’ the first mentioned gentleman had decidedly the worst of it.”