26 June 2021
“The popularity of this excellent artiste was fully shown last night by the large and enthusiastic audience which, in spite of the rain, attended her annual concert at the above hall. The programme comprised selections from Verdi, Rossini, Herold, Haydn, Wallace and Chopin, and the fair beneficiary was assisted by a promising young pupil of hers, Miss Emme Terry; Mr. C. Fritsch, tenor; Mr. E. Gilbert, baritone; Mr. Henri Korvalski, pianist; Mr. G. W. Morgan, organist; Mr. A. F. Toulmin, harpist; and Mr. C. Alard, violoncellist. Mme. De Lussan sang a duet from ‘Othello,’ with Miss Terry, with all her well known fire and faultless execution, and a song, with violoncello, piano and organ accompaniments, composed by Korvalski—a very effective piece and a novelty in its arrangement in our concert halls. The principal feature of the concert, however, was the finished and graceful playing of the clever young pianist, Korvalski, in a ‘Trovatore’ fantasia of his own and one of Chopin’s inimitable impromptus. We particularly admire the perfect ease and finish of his execution and the keen appreciation of the spirit of the works which he essays. Without displaying any of the nervous power and energy of the Liszt school he has a charming style of his own, somewhat resembling that of Ritter. The organ refused to respond to the masterly touch of Morgan in the overture to ‘Zampa,’ and he was compelled to abandon the task. Miss Anne Mehlig is the next claimant to public patronage at this hall this week. As a pianist she has no superior in this country. De Lussan closed with the sparkling trio finale from ‘I Due Foscari,’ which was given in unexceptional style.”
“Mme. De Lussan, for many years a teacher of vocal music in this City, gave her annual concert at Steinway Hall last evening. The lady had much valuable assistance, and was especially favored in that given her by M. Henri Kowalski, pianist. The performances of M. Kowalski, whose name has already been mentioned here, are conspicuous for the clearness, brilliancy and vigor of the artist’s execution, and have immediate popular recognition on that account. He contributed to yesterday’s entertainment a paraphrase on motive from ‘Il Trovatore’ and ‘Salut à Pesth,’ a Hungarian march, two compositions of his own; and also a very intelligent recital of Chopin’s impromptu in C, and he was recalled after each effort. The other performers were Mme. de Lussan, Miss E. Terry, a pupil, whose voice is quite extended, but rather deficient in sweetness; Mr. Charles Fritsch, a tenor de forza, whose exertions to augment the volume of a very powerful voice are rather too perceptible; Mr. A. Toulmin, harpist; Mr. E. Gilbert, baritone, and M. Alard, violoncellist.”
“Madame De Lussan, the well-known singer and teacher, gave her annual concert last evening at Steinway Hall. She was ably assisted by Mr. Morgan, the organist, Miss Emma Terry, her pupil, Mr. Toulmin, the harpist, and other excellent musicians.
“The concert should have commenced with an organ piece by Mr. Morgan, but the instrument was out of order, and the wind kept dying out of it with frightful wails, until at last Mr. Morgan gave it up to despair, and made an apologetic little speech from the organ loft, in which he mildly remonstrated upon the conduct of the instrument. And, in fact, it may as well be said here as anywhere, that this is not an organ that Messrs. Steinway need feel especially proud of. In its happiest moments it stands in need of all the charity that an audience can muster, and in its vicious moods, which are by no means few or infrequent, it is about as trying, unpleasant, wheezy and asthmatic an instrument as it often falls to one’s fortune to have to be compelled to listen to.
“The concert, then, was really opened by the second piece in the programme, a duett from Rossini’s ‘Othello’ sung by Mme. De Lussan and Miss Terry. The contrast between the accomplished and practiced concert singer and the debutante, trying her powers before the public for the first time, was very marked and very interesting. Nor was it by any means altogether to the disadvantage of the young aspirant, since the freshness and ingenuousness of youth is always pleasant, and the sympathies of an audience go readily out to meet the novice striving to master a difficult art, especially when her aspirations are so intelligently assisted by a fresh voice and much talent, as in this instance.
“Mr. Fritsch next sang an opera by Verdi. Some Germans make a point of Italianizing their names, but honest Mr. Fritsch has chosen the better part, and contented himself with Italianizing his voice, which is much more to the purpose. He sang Verdi’s aria in the true Italian method and spirit, and being recalled, honoring his own nationality by rendering with equal taste and skill a very beautiful German lied.
“Madame De Lussan was further assisted by Kowalski, the pianist. This gentleman played a paraphrase on well worn themes from the Trovatore. The music of this opera is very well in its legitimate place, but when the arias are put upon the rack of the piano and twisted utterly out of their original shape, the artistic result is anything but satisfactory. This is a view of the matter, however, in which, it is but fair to add, the audience did not at all coincide, since they applauded heartily, and their enthusiasm was rewarded by Mr. Kowalski with a brilliant galop de concert, brilliantly played.
“A composition by the gentleman, entitled ‘A Meditation,’ and arranged for voice, violin, piano, organ, and violoncello, was played later in the programme, and gave Madame De Lussan an opportunity to show the finish of her singing and the great power of her voice. The piece itself bore a more cousinly resemblance to Gounod’s Meditation, being framed on the same model, arranged for similar instruments, and worked out in the same way. Either Gounod has plagiarized from Kowalski, or Kowalski has profited from by an extremely close study of Gounod. It is a delicate question, and posterity must decide it.
“The other portions of the concert call for no special notice. The hall was very full, and the audience a very friendly one, insisting upon a repetition of nearly every piece.”