Manager / Director:
Price: $1.50 reserved; $1; $2 orchestra stalls
24 September 2020
“SPECIAL NOTICE. The Greatest Living Cantatrice de Concert, MLLE. CARLOTTA PATTI, accompanied by THEODORE RITTER, the Popular Parisian Piano Virtuoso, JEAN PRUME, the Young and Distinguished Violinist, with their Manager MAX STRAKOSCH, are now en route to New York per French steamer…due here on Wednesday, 8th September. THE PATTI CONCERTS will commence on or about the 20TH SEPTEMBER, at Steinway Hall. The Grand Orchestra will be directed by Mr. MAX MARETZEK.”
Two announcements in the same column, separated by several paragraphs. First: “Mlle. Carlotta Patti, the celebrated cantatrice, arrived at this port yesterday afternoon, per steamship St. Laurent, accompanied by her manager, Max Strakosch, Jean Prume, the violinist, and Theodore Ritter, pianist. Mlle. Patti will appear at Steinway Hall about the 23d. inst.”
Second: “Mlle. Carlotta Patti and the irrepressible Max Strakosch arrived here yesterday per steamer St. Laurent from Havre. Mlle. Carlotta Patti, who has recently been meeting with much success in Europe, will appear on or about the 20th instant, in a series of grand concerts at Steinway Hall, assisted by Messrs. Theodore Ritter and Jean Prume.”
“Carlotta Patti commences her series of concerts in this city on September 20th, at Steinway Hall. Patti is expected to arrive here on the 8th inst.”
“It is not the custom of Mr. Strakosch to predispose public opinion in favor of any artist whom he introduces, but on this occasion he would fall in his duty towards the lovers of classical music in America in not calling attention to Mr. Theodore Ritter, who, according to the most eminent critics, has no superior in the world in the execution of the wonderful masterworks of Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Weber, Bach, &c.
“Mr. Strakosch has the intention of combining some of the most eminent artists now in America, some of which have already been engaged in order to make the Patti Concerts the most interesting and refined entertainments of the season.
“Mr. Strakosch thinks it his duty to call attention to the fact that public entertainments in this country have not been of the highest order of late, but have been of such a lamentable character as to offend the fastidious taste of the community. Now, what can there be more elevating and refined, than the sublime masterworks of the classic composers performed by the most eminent artists of the age? He hopes, therefore, that his efforts and immense outlays will be properly appreciated and recompensed by the public and the press.”
Identical to that in the New York Herald of the same day.
“The irrepressible Strakosch (Max) announces the first of the Patti concerts for Saturday, the 25th inst., at Steinway Hall. Theodore Ritter, the pianist, and F. Jehin Prume, the violinist, also make their appearance upon this occasion. Carlotta Patti, during her absence from this country, gave over 1,000 concerts in the principal European cities, and everywhere is said to have created an immense furor.”
“The Carlotta Patti concerts are announced to commence at Steinway Hall on next Saturday evening, the 25th inst. For the inaugural concert a good programme has been prepared, and appearances indicate that the Patti concerts will create furor among our music-loving citizens equally as great as that which marked the advent of Jenny Lind and Catharine Hayes in this city. [Lists performers scheduled to appear with Patti.] Carlotta Patti, during her absence from this country, gave over 1,000 concerts in the principal European cities, and is said to have everywhere met with immense success.”
Nearly identical to New York Herald announcement of the previous day.
“The Patti concerts promise to be a grand success. The seats for the opening night are nearly all sold, and the chances are that many persons will have to content themselves with what is known as a ‘standee.’ In order to afford all classes of our music-loving citizens an opportunity of hearing the great concert vocalist the management has fixed the price of admission, notwithstanding the great expense connected with the enterprise, at one dollar, reserved seats fifty cents extra, and orchestra stalls two dollars.”
“It takes a great artist to make a grand success, such as Carlotta Patti achieved last night. We had been prepared, by her repeated European triumphs, to find her voice almost a new creation since she left us six years ago. We are not disappointed. The opinions pronounced in all the leading theatres of the Old World, including those of the crowned heads—although the heads that wear the crown are not always good judges of music—are verified here. But Mlle. Patti had the honor most dear to a true artist, of singing before such divinities—high priests indeed of the art divine, as Auber, Rossini, Meyerbeer and Verdi, from each of whom she received those laurels of commendation which every ambitious artist must prize more dearly than gems and gold or the plaudits of imperial sovereigns. Our sovereign people, represented by the first classes of metropolitan society, gave her a welcome last night at Steinway Hall that Mlle. Patti must remember all the days of her life. The pick and choice of the elite of the city were present, and so were the severe critics and the musical dilettante; but, one and all, they accorded to her the merit of using a magnificent voice with wonderful skill. Since the days of Malibran we have perhaps had no such vocalization on the concert stage. Remarkable as Jenny Lind was in the use of a peculiarly gifted organ, Patti in many instances equals if she does not excel her. Lind was called, appropriate enough, the ‘Swedish Nightingale.’ Patti, in her rapid changes and exquisite trills, may claim to challenge all the birds of the air, if it were worth while to enter into rivalry with them. In the ‘Luce di Quest Anima,’ from ‘Linda,’ She [sic] used her voice with a marvellous [sic] power in het [sic] transition from one passage to another that would have been astonishing even in a violin, but in the human voice seemed almost an impossibility. The audience recognized this fact, and applauded it not only by overwhelming bravos, but by laying a perfect garden of flowers—the odor whereof filled the house—at the feet of the fair cantatrice, and an encore which was responded to by the Bolero from the ‘Sicilian Vespers,’ rendered most charmingly. In the ‘Carnival of Venice’ Mlle. Patti had, perhaps, a finer opportunity of developing her complete command of a wonderful voice, which seemed at times to pass from her as though she had nothing at all to do with it, but left it to be governed by some superior power. Patti’s success last night was unequivocal, as indeed it deserved to be. Rarely was an artist greeted by so fashionable, refined and critical an audience, and so flatteringly sustained. The other members of Mr. Strakosch’s concert troup [sic] are quite equal to the reputation of the guiding star. Ritter has a delicate, perhaps too delicate, but crisp and firm touch on the piano. His concert in C minor of Beethoven afforded little opportunity of judging his capacity, because it was too much orchestra and too little piano, and moreover was a little wearisome from its length; but in the second piece from Bach, with an original movement of his own, Mr. Ritter was heard to more advantage and proved himself an excellent artist. Prume, although not a Paganini nor a Vieuxtemps, did some wonderful things with his violin, and was admirably sustained by a well directed orchestra. His reception was most cordial and well deserved.
“Upon the whole, the first Patti night was a grand success, and we presume that it is but the preclude [sic] to a very prosperous season.”
The first of two reviews of this performance published in the New York Times. “An audience that crowded Steinway Hall to positive discomfort, and, if it has been exceeded in numbers at large houses, has certainly not been outdone in point of intelligence since Booth’s Theatre was formally opened in March last, attended the first of the series of Carlotta Patti concerts given last evening at Steinway Hall. Writing after the last note of music has died away, and the excitement of the evening—for it was filled with a veritable excitement which, extending to all interested in the occasion had its [illeg.] over almost all the spectators, it is gratifying to record that the boldest promises made in regard to the entertainment were justified, and that not one particle of the enthusiasm of the night was aught by geuine and thoroughly warranted. A greater success has never been achieved in the local concert-room.
“Evidence of preparation for the feature of the concert, the reappearance of Mlle. Carlotta Patti, was apparent, not only in the bearing of the audience, but in the composition of the programme. The opening piece was evidently accounted of no great moment so far as effect was concerned, owing to the fashion prevailing among playgoers of arriving late. So the well-worn overture to ‘William Tell,’ executed with a full understanding of its beauties and perfect precision by an orchestra under the guidance of Mr. Max Maretzek, was performed amid general confusion. M. F. Jehan Prume’s earliest effort followed the concerted music, and served, spite of the talent of the performer only to heighten the eagerness of the assemblage for the principal incident of the entertainment. Mlle. Patti’s first song was the third piece on the bill.
“Her appearance on the platform was greeted with the heartiest applause. Yet she could not conceal a slight nervousness which happily disappeared ere [sic] her performance was half ended. As the conductor waved his baton the demonstrations of approval subsided. The first brief movement of the aria from ‘Linda di Chamounix,’ commencing ‘Luce di quest’anima,’ did not elicit any special display of vocal skill. But with the second the resources of the songstress were shown, and murmurs of approval, destined to be less and less easily repressed as the evening advanced, were called forth.
“Like the noble stage-presence of the artiste, her voice has been vastly improved. Its compass has been extended, its flexibility, exceptionally great even years ago, has been increased and its sharpness has disappeared. A detailed reference to the execution of the five pieces she sang would be superfluous. It was simply perfect. In the aria in ‘Linda’ she attained G in alt, that is to say, three notes higher than Donizetti’s composition authorized, and she sustained and trilled upon it with unvarying correctness of intonation and an astonishing indifference to lapsing time. Applauded to the echo and recalled, she sang in response to the encore the bolero from ‘I Vespri Siciliani.’ Her third song was a fresh arrangement by Benedict of ‘The Carnival of Venice.’ If we expect some absurd orchestral effects in the variations, the shape of responses to the scattered notes of the songstress, it was appropriate and suited to the artiste, [sic] While Mlle. Patti’s perfect intonation was clearly enough shown in the skips of ‘The Carnival of Venice,’ her wonderful staccato passages found employment in four out of the five pieces she sang. And no more thorough realization of true musical voice and laugh were ever offered than in Auber’s ‘Laughing Song,’ always a favorite with the lady, but never heard to such advantage before. A slight coquettishness of manner, rarely separable from her performance last night, was not at all misplaced in this element of the programme, and was too pardonable, indeed, under the pleasant circumstances, to be objected to.
“Other excellent performers appeared with Mlle. Patti, and bore off a liberal, though comparatively small portion of the honors of the evening. M. Theodore Ritter, the pianist, was quite new to us. He placed a rather too implicit reliance upon the intimate knowledge of all concert-goers with Beethoven when he chose for his first morceau the Concerto in C Minor, with orchestral accompaniment; but while his clear and tasteful interpretation of it impressed his more experienced hearers most favorably, his second task, consisting of a Gavotte, by Bach, and a composition of his own, entitled ‘Les Courriers,’ was accomplished with such sentiment and delicacy as to win for the pianist a unanimous encore. M. Prume, the violinist, whose ‘Souvenir d’Amérique,’ a work of his own, was the opening solo, was afterward heard with pleasure in Vieuxtemps’ Third Concerto, in the execution of which he asserted his complete control of bow and finger-board. Herr Habelmann sang too, and sang well. Gounod’s ‘Ave Maria,’ the least satisfactory portion of the entertainment, preceded a final march by the orchestra, Mendelssohn’s music terminating a most worthy and a brilliantly successful concert.”
“The first of the Patti concerts was given at Steinway Hall on last Saturday evening, under the management of Mr. Max Strakosch, and was an unequivocal success. Mlle. Carlotta Patti and the rest of the artists acquitted themselves in a very creditable manner.”
The second of two reviews of this performance published in the New York Times. “There is a real luxury in being able to say that a thing is good without adding any of those qualifications which the mingled duties of justice to the public and consideration for the difficulties of artists so commonly impose. To say, indeed, that Mlle. Carlotta Patti’s singing is good, is, as the language of current criticism is apt to go, to fall far short of describing merits that startle the coldest listener into enthusiasm. Mlle. Patti is a very beautiful woman, and the idea we would impart may be briefly and adequately conveyed by the statement that her voice and her manner of using it are, strange to say, more exquisite than her person. Eulogies will be poured upon her between here and San Francisco in cataracts of words; the gold will be gilded and the lily painted even to wasteful and ridiculous excess; but it will be scarcely possible to apply praise at once more genuine and more exalted to this wonderful singer’s artistic attractions than to declare them to surpass her physical ones.
“Of course she has a fine voice and knows how to use it; her name is Patti. But those who admired her silvery execution and her facile mastery of difficulties when she was last among us will be almost as much surprised as strangers by her present powers. The years that have moulded [sic] and developed her figure have done the same by her voice; or rather, we should say, for never were evidences of such training more apparent, hard well-directed work has assisted nature in the latter regard to perfect an organ of superb original quality. We published yesterday an account, somewhat in detail, of Mlle. Patti’s first concert on Saturday evening at Steinway Hall, and described the great number of the audience the height to which their expectations had been wound up, their splendid realization, and the extraordinary public enthusiasm that followed. It is very seldom, indeed, that an artist so absolutely takes an audience captive; for the combination of personal beauty and striking fascination of manner, with artistic excellence of the first order, must needs [sic] be very rare. Mlle. Patti’s voice is in itself so marvelous that it cannot be heard without wonder. The comparison sounds oddly, but we were reminded vividly in hearing it of velvet, of India-rubber and honey. These three elements of softness, elasticity and sweetness are its chief characteristics; and yet it has ample force as well; like the potent hammer that can crush a huge cylinder of iron or crack an egg, this voice includes powers of wonderful range and adaptability. It leaps forth at times with the sustained peal of a war clarion, and by daintiest gradations dies away again into ‘a sound so fine that nothing lives twixt it and silence.’
“Mlle. Adelina Patti has sometimes been compared, by those who wished to speak slightingly, with a musical box, and it must be admitted that dazzling finish of execution is not only apt to suggest but to accompany the absence of breadth, passion and abandon. Yet while this is partly true of Adelina, we think it altogether inaccurate as applied to Carlotta. We have always been, indeed, of the number who deem the latter the superior of her famous sister in comprehensiveness, in feminine tenderness, in those attributes, in short, that establish the measure of lyric capacity. Their voices and the acquired mechanism that governs them differ less widely, although the nautral character of those organs must necessarily differ where there is, as we assume, so much variance in their sympathetic qualities. Now, here we doubt whether the concert of Saturday, brilliantly successful as it was, exhibited Mlle. Patti to the best possible advantage. She sang five pieces altogether, and each of them gave room for the display of amazing feats of vocal dexterity, such as drew down thunders of applause and threw the people into paroxysms of delighted surprise—but caused no bosom to heave and moistened no eye. Neither in ‘Luce di quest’anima,’ nor in the bolero from the ‘Sicilian Vespers;’ not in the ‘Carnival of Venice’ variations, or the ‘Laughing Song’ of Auber, and not even in the ‘Ave Maria,’ which ended her efforts for the evening, did Mlle. Patti, in our opinion, do justice to the emotional side of her nature, which, with her acquirements, and but for a slight physical misfortune, would surely have made her a great lyric artist. The incredible staccato passages, the clever simulation and successful rivalry of instruments less perfect than her own, the deliciously perfect intonation, the almost superhuman shake on the high G, were each and all elaborately effective in their own way, but we are of opinion that Mlle. Patti can ascend still higher in the artistic scale, and that our public will see and hear her do so. For nature is above art, and Mlle. Patti knows where nature is and how to find her.
“Of the other performers on this notable occasion, Mr. Theodore Ritter made his first appearance as a pianist, and achieved a marked success. His treatment of Beethoven’s Concerto in C minor showed the public at once that an artist of high rank was before them, and the Gavotte, by Bach, and exquisite composition, was handled in a manner that won sincere admiration. Mr. Prume, the violinist, and Mr. Habelmann, the tenor, contributed to the rest of the solo performances, and shared in the evening’s honoros; while Mr. Max Maretzek conducted an excellent orchestra with his old verve and precision, and was heartily cheered by a public who delight to look upon the faces of old friends.”
“Steinway Hall was filled on Saturday with probably the largest and most brilliant and certainly the most enthusiastic audience it has ever contained. The return of Miss Carlotta Patti was welcomed with an ardor all together surpassing that of any similar demonstration within the immediate recollection of the public; her first performances, after an absence of nearly six years, were awaited with eager expectation and, at the same time, with unbounded confidence, and her superb display of almost unrivaled artistic power was hailed with delight and rewarded with heartier expressions of gratitude than are commonly bestowed upon concert singers even of the highest rank. A more triumphant success of its kind has not at any time been witnessed in New York.
“Miss Patti left us, in 1863, with as high a reputation for culture and skill as any vocalist has ever possessed. In mere facility of execution she was pronounced superior even to her gifted sister, Adelina. The marvelous extent of her voice, covering a range entirely unexampled at the present day, and only matched by one or two phenomenal instances in musical annals, gave her another claim to the admiration of connoisseurs. Her acknowledged weaknesses were a lack of roundness and fullness of tone in certain notes where they most needed, and an occasional tendency to uncertainy of intonation which could only be accounted for on the supposition that the natural flexibility of her voice was too great to be at all times under absolute and perfect control. Such cases are not rare among singers of highly orante and florid class. But it was conceded that a voice of this quality so good throughout, especially in view of its extreme compass, was without a precedent. “During the six years that Miss Patti has been captivating, to rapid succession, the musical capitals of Europe she has undergone some changes, but fewer than we had been led to expect. We detect no material difference between her voice as it was then and as it is now. It may possibly have gained something in richness and breadth, but of this [? difficult to read] there was no special proof last Saturday evening. Nor was any indication of increased fluency perceptible. Any addition, indeed, to her power in this respect would have been next to impossible. The accuracy and brilliancy of execution, the rapidity of [illeg.], and the exquisite and easy precision of her higher notes, inaccessible to the majority of singers which, in her best moments, she formerly exhibited, would hardly have been improved by any amount of study or practice. All these rare faculties she retains in undiminished perfection, and with them, it must be admitted, the blemish of an occasional transient wavering from strict purity of intonation—a defect which was shown on Saturday, by the by, in her least difficult selection, the bolero from ‘The Sicilian Vespers.’ It is almost needless to say that this slight deviation passed unnoticed by the audience at large, which was, indeed, in altogether too rapturous a condition of excitement over the favorite artist’s return to bestow much critical consideration upon her performance, or to waste much thought upon anything but the warmth of its greeting and repeated and unwearying manifestation of personal good will.
“Miss Patti’s appearance is as greatly in her favor as ever. She occupies a somewhat ampler space upon the platform than of old, a circumstance which was popularly recognized with a sort of satisfied feeling that there was more of her to welcome. Her sunny smile, her unaffected bearing, and her simple confidence in, and genuine enjoyment of, her own ability to please, which always added a peculiar charm and grace to her presence, are still as much a part of her as in her earlier days. The familiar tokens of lively and coquettish spirit, which she exhibits with half unconscious humor, and which she can never wholly repress even when they contradict the particular musical sentiment she may be endeavoring to illustrate, were all recognized and accepted with the same zeal that followed every moment and [illeg.] on Saturday evening. These arch and pretty ways, which frequently would not harmonize at all with the exigencies of operatic representation, are appropriate and agreeable enough to the concert platform, where impassive stolidity too often reigns with a rule as undisputed as that of the monarch of the Dunclad. Miss Patti’s first air was the well known ‘Luce di quest’anima,’ from ‘Linda,’ which enabled her to demonstrate her extraordinary facility and delicacy, and to display the exceptional altitude of her voice with the best possible effect. On being recalled, she sang the bolero from ‘The Sicilian Vespers,’ which for reasons already given, was her least satisfactory effort during the evening. She next performed a series of variations upon the theme which has now become the standard bore of this musical universe, ‘The Carnival of Venice.’ The necessity of inventing unprecedented difficulties in order to fully show the extent of Miss Patti’s capabilities, was undoubtedly the original excuse for this toilsome composition. It gives her the opportunity for a series of remarkable tours de force, but is otherwise uninteresting and is certainly unworthy of her. The bad taste of the attempts at grotesque instrumentation is alone sufficient to condemn it. For a second encore, she gave Auber’s merry ‘Laughing Song,’ from ‘Marco Spada,’ one of her brightest successes in the well-remembered Summer season at the Garden in Fourteenth-st. She now enlivens it with somewhat more dramatic effect than she then attempted, and emphasizes its droll phrases by a dazzling profusion of staccato passages which are extraordinary, but of which it is possible, in other styles of music, if not in this, to be too lavish. Her last selection was Gounod’s ‘Ave Maria,’ in the interpretation of which she showed abundant tenderness and refinement, but not the breadth and fervor of expression which it demands, and which, indeed, it is not within Miss Patti’s ability to impart. On the whole, the selections for the first night were not the most favorable that could have been made for her and the endeavor to represent a wide variety of capacity was not the happiest expedient that could have been devised. In her own sphere, a sufficiently distinguished one, Carlotta Patti is supreme. Out of it she has formidable rivals, between whom and herself nothing could be gained by inviting comparison. At the same time, it is proper to say that, whatever might have been the character of the programme, so far as the principal artist was concerned, the success could not possibly have been more triumphant.
“M. Theodore Ritter, a pianist new to this country, appeared for the first time at this concert and produced a favorable impression, in spite of other more absorbing interests of the occasion. He has, we should judge from his opening performances, little force, but considerable skill, a graceful evenness of method, and a correct appreciation of the spirit of such music as he undertakes. It is doubtful whether any pianist can now-a-days move the public with Beethoven’s concertos. The discrepancies between the rich sonority of the orchestra and the comparative insignificance of the piano-forte are so universally recognized that the fondness which once existed for the class of works—a fondness chiefly based upon personal considerations, and therefore seldom likely to outlive the composers—is rapidly dying out. For the performance of a quaint Gavotte by Bach, and of a descriptive trifle of his own, ‘Les Courriers,’ M. Ritter was well applauded and recalled. Mr. J. F. Prume, a thoroughly excellent violinist, contributed a sketch written by himself, with the not very intelligible title of ‘Souvenir d’Amérique,’ and a concerto by Vieuxtemps. In the latter he was more nearly faultless than any player we have heard, in this city at least, since Viexutemps himself. In the former he showed a clever control of the peculiar resources of his instrument, a rapid delivery of harmonics [might be “harmonies”], an exactness in passages of sixths and octaves, and a neat dexterity in producing pizzicatos with the left hand, all of which were duly estimated and correspondingly applauded. The accompaniments were supplied by a compotent orchestra, under the direction of Max Maretzek. The overture to ‘William Tell’ opened the concert, and the ‘Wedding March,’ from ‘The Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ would have closed it, but the fact that the audience, having no further place for music in its soul after Miss Patti’s final retirement, began to desert the hall in a body—a proceeding which so incensed Mr. Maretzek that he abruptly stayed the concourse of sweet sounds and marched away irate at the head of his forces. For which, indeed, we cannot find it in our heart to blame him.
“The second Patti Concert will be given this evening.”
“Steinway Hall was crowded on Saturday night with a fashionable audience to welcome Miss Carlotta Patti, who, after an absence of nearly six years in Europe, gave her initial concert. She was received in the heartiest manner, and if there were those who had doubts of her success, those doubts must have vanished with the first notes of ‘Luce di quest Anima,’ from ‘Linda.’ Although considered a remarkable singer before she went abroad, she must now rank with the first concert singers of the world. Indeed, in Europe she received the approbation of Verdi, Rossini, Meyerbeer, Auber, and other men of that stamp.
“Her voice is clearer, purer and more perfectly under control than formerly, and in trilling and other points of mere execution she is simply wonderful.
“In person Miss Patti has become more ample. One would recognize her as a sister of Adelina by her mouth and her pleasant smile. Her reception and recalls must have convinced her that her friends here have not forgotten her.
“Mr. Theodore Ritter played Beethoven’s Concerto in C Minor, with a cadenza of his own composition, with orchestral accompaniments. His performance was marked with great taste and skill. He has a firm yet delicate touch, and his execution is superb. His manner is modest yet confident, and he seems to feel that he is master of his instrument. He is quite a young man, not appearing to be over twenty-six or seven.
Mr. Habelmann sang Abt’s ‘Good Night, My Dear Child,’ with considerable feeling, and Esser’s ‘My Angel’ was encored by enthusiastic but misguided friends.
“Mr. F. J. Prume hardly comes up to the standard of a first-class violinist. His performance was rather fantastic than artistic and graceful. Perhaps he may appear to better advantage a second time, when he becomes accustomed to his audience.
“Altogether the concert passed off admirably. Max Maretzek, leading the orchestra, looks perfectly at home with his white kids and baton. He appeared somewhat fined, and not at all like a manufacturer of bricks. “Miss Patti received the bulk of the applause and all the bouquets, of which there were many magnificent ones. In answer to an encore Miss Patti sung a French laughing song to M. Ritter’s accompaniment, which was well applauded.”
“Miss Carlotta Patti was greeted on the occasion of her first appearance on Saturday evening with more warmth than our audiences are accustomed to exhibit. Flowers every one gets, so that they have ceased to count for much; genuine applause in which all seem to take part is rare enough; bravas resounding on all sides indicate a very unusual excitement on the part of the audience; but when it comes to people rising in their places and wildly fluttering their pocket-handkerchiefs in the air, then indeed is New York fairly carried away. To this last point Mlle. Patti brought her audience on Saturday evening. In fact, we had not supposed that anything short of a fluctuation of ten per cent gold could have stirred our citizens to this extent; and if we say that there were times in the course of the evening when Steinway Hall resembled the Gold Room, we have sufficiently indicated the furore that attended the reception of the excellent vocalist.
“Indeed she deserved it all, for her singing is something wonderful, and Mr. Strakosch has hardly said too much in claiming for her the first rank in the world as a concert singer. Her vocalization has the perfection of intonation of a flute—the bird-like delicacy of that instrument, its staccato character, its facility and rapidity, and a thousand times its power of expression. In fact, as an effort of ventriloquism, or simple power of making the voice perform impossible things, it was wonderful. She sang the well-known, bright, flashing aria from ‘Linda,’ ‘O Luce di quest’ Anima,’ but gave entirely a different version of it from any other singer we have ever heard—so much so as to throw even the veteran Maretzek and his orchestra, who have accompanied it hundreds of times, quite off their guard, her pauses, retards, and accelerandos were made at such unexpected points. While Mlle. Patti has this wonderful elasticity of voice and finish, and a power of ascending the scale to unheard-of heights, which will always carry her audiences away, and will certainly insure her a triumphant success wherever she goes, we do not find her possessed of any great body or substance of voice; and it was evident, when she sang the sustained notes of the ‘Ave Maria’ that Gounod has written over the first prelude of Bach, that her strength did not lie in broad cantabile passages. But while this might be to her the occasion of difficulty on the operatic stage, where, as a prima donna, she would have to sing the music that was written whether it suited her abilities or not, it is no detriment to her as a concert singer, where she has the choice of her own music.
“She was assited at the concert by Mr. Habelman, whose singing is too well known here to call for fresh remark; and also by Mr. Prume, the violinist, who was not heard to advantage. The evening, in fact, was one of those damp ones on which violinists are reluctant to take their instruments out of the case, and Mr. Prume could not bring a clear and resonant tone from his.
“The concerted served also to introduce to the public a new pianist, Mr. Theodore Ritter. Tbis gentleman came announced simply as a classical pianist of merit. He played Beethoven’s glorious concerto in C minor, and played it marvelously. The large movement of this same concerto, by the way, discloses the source of the beautiful garden serenade of Faust, which Gounod has transplanted therefrom almost note for note. Besides the Beethoven concerto, Mr. Ritter played one of Bach’s quaint, delicious gavottes with delightful sympathy with the spirit of the movement, and responded subsequently to a recall with an exceedingly pretty piece of his own, called ‘The Poacher’s Song,’ in which the swell and cadence of the hunting horns was admirably reproduced on the piano. The finished excellences of Mr. Ritter’s performance deserve to be considered in detail, but we have not the space. It must suffice for us to add that his playing has won for him the greatest distinction in Europe.”
“On Sunday evening Sept. 25 occurred the first of the ‘Patti concerts.’ The artists were Mlle. Carlotta Patti, Theodore Ritter (pianist), F.J. Prume (violinist), Habelmann (tenor), and there was also an orchestra of some thirty-five under the direction of Max Maretzek. I quote some portions of the programme:—
P.F. Concerto, C minor (Mr. Ritter)…Beethoven
3d Violin Concerto (Mr. Prume)…Vieuxtemps
“Mr. Prume has self-possession, much execution and a very good, if somewhat thin, tone. His faults are a certain scrappiness and an inordinate tendency to an excessive use of the violin bow. He received some applause, but created no very decided sensation.
“Mr. Ritter played the difficult Concerto in a technically accurate and wonderfully clear manner, and seemed thoroughly at ease and devoid of the embarrassment supposably natural upon such an occasion. I may mention that about twenty-five hundred people were present, and that at least twenty-four hundred and fifty found the Concerto hopelessly uninteresting and tedious. Mr. Ritter also played, in the second part of the programme, a Gavotte (D minor) by Bach, and a morceau of his own called ‘Les Courriers.’ These were so admirably played—particularly the latter—that he was tumultuously encored. He then played, in a perfectly delicious way, a light, airy Barcarolle in A major, in which he displayed an amazing dexterity of finger, and a touch of exquisite delicacy. His manner, quiet and unassuming, is grace and ease itself, and there was no kid-glove fussing, or any such ridiculous operation gone through with.
“I have omitted to mention one thing: the cadenza in the Beethoven Concerto was composed by Mr. R. I regret to say that in style in was essentially Frenchy and totally infelicitous.
“Mlle. Patti achieved a genuine success, and took the audience by storm. Her voice is a clear, pure, penetrating soprano, of unusual compass, exceedingly strong in the upper and middle register, and less so in the lower ones. Of course it lacks the grandeur, the richness and the incomparable volume of Mme. Parepa’s; but its bird-like quality is very charming, and her execution is something astonishing. She touched, with no apparent effort, the upper E, and indeed trilled upon D Flat and E flat, which is rather a difficult thing to do. She might perhaps throw Adelina (her sister) in the shade, if her unfortunate lameness did not prevent her going upon the stage. She is unquestionably the freshest and best soprano who has visited us in mnay years always excepting Mme. Parepa.
“The orchestra—evidently a ‘picked up’ affair—was hopelessly bad. In the first place, it was poorly balanced, for there was too much brass for the strings; in the second place, there seemed to be neither concord nor unanimity of purpose; in the third place, the luckless contrabassists would persists in playing a quarter of a tone below, which produced an eminently pleasing effect. All these matters must be seen to by Mr. Strakosch, if he wishes his concerts, if he wishes his concerts to be successful. There will be three more of the present series during this week.”