Chamber (includes Solo)
30 September 2013
"A full, but not overcrowded, audience was present at Mr. Gottschalk's first concert at Irving Hall last night. He had several assistants. [program given]
Mr. Gottschalk was in full force. Firm, brilliant, certain, delicate, of tremendous force and rapidity; this all may be said of him. He is a magnificent master of the instrument, and transported his hearers into plaudits and encores, always with each effort. He has shown what an American can achieve in fact, and in public estimation. Lest there should be nothing wanting, he played on a Chickering grand piano of the latest manufacture, and with improvements, we should judge, for the tone was powerful, full and brilliant to the last degree, and its resonance was immense through the hall. The crispness of Mr. Gottschalk’s resplendent trilling upon such an instrument echoed like an aviary on full singing duty. Some new bits of composition–No. 6 on the list–deserve favorable mention.
Miss Jenny Kempton is a new candidate for honors at our concerts. She has a contralto voice of wide range; of powerful quality, rather veiled in the upper tones. She is a pupil of Madame D'Angri. We think after a year’s study more than she has given to the higher points of the vocal art she may rank well–probably the best here after Miss Adelaide Phillips. As present she is rather tentative in art than anything else. She essays, however, bravura airs. We would suggest the omission of some sudden leaps from extreme notes–low to high–in the peroration to Mercadante’s air: the effect is forced and not good.
Mr. Theodore Thomas played with skill and discretion the violin solo. Of the quartets we can only say they would be better in a small room.
Mr. J.R. Thomas has a nice bass voice, of good cultivation, and sang with applause. He needs a clearer enunciation of the syllables and more élan – dash.”
“Though the weather was somewhat unfavorable last evening, a large and respectable audience assembled at Irving Hall to hear Mr. Gottschalk's concert. The hall itself looked as beautiful as the embodiment of a magician's dream. Art being cosmopolitan, gems were taken from eleven distinguished composers of different nationalities, and were given with marked effect by ten artists as ethnologically distinct as the composers. If music can effect such a happy union of discordant elements, why not introduce into politics?
Mendelssohn and Haydn were admirably represented by two violins, viola and violoncello, and attracted the attention of the musically learned. Thomas’ fantasia on the violin was creditable to his qualities as an artist, and to his judgment in knowing how to meet the wants of his hearers. Mrs. Jenny Kempton and J. R. Thomas sustained satisfactorily the vocal part of the entertainment. The lady has much natural taste and culture, a love for her art, and earnestness in its exercise. If she keeps her voice within its natural limit, she will be always acceptable to an audience of good taste and judgment. Thomas has a full, round, mellow voice, and uses it with ease and grace, but not always earnestly.
We now come to the Magnus Apollo of the evening, Gottschalk himself. To the four pieces in his programme, he had to add three to satisfy his enthusiastic audience. This he did with an accomodating of spirit worthy of all praise. The quartette from Rigoletto, if not his favorite, seemed to be that of his hearers, and left doubtless the most permanent impression upon them. The reason of this may be seen if we divide every audience into three sections, viz., those who feel music without the technical art of interpreting it; those who possess the latter without the former quality, and the neutrals, who go to kill time or serve conventional purposes. We omit as exceptions the few children of genius who have the feeling for music as well as the great art of interpreting it. Mr. Gottschalk's selections are not always in accordance with a knowledge of this audience-classification, and he, consequently, does not always make as happy an application of his fine ability as we could wish. He and his art were born to instruct and well as to entertain.”
“A large and brilliant audience comfortably occupied, without quite filling, Irving Hall on Thursday evening, to hear Mr. Gottschalk and several other leading musical artists in a concert of choice compositions for the voice and various instruments. The programme was selected with excellent taste and judgment, and gave general satisfaction and delight. Mr. Gottschalk played three pieces on the piano in his most dashing, sparkling manner, of course receiving enthusiastic applause and demands for repetition. As a finale he performed for the first time, a burlesque on the French air, ‘Marlbrook,’ better known to the American student of harmony as ‘He’s a jolly good fellow.’ This plan of finishing up with something having a dash of lively humor it is one of the most attractive features of Mr. Gottschalk's system. In the programme on Thursday were two excellent classical works, admirable executed by Messrs. Noll, Reyer, Matzka and Bergner, a Fantasia for the violin by Mr. Theodore Thomas , an exquisite cornet solo by Louis Schreiber, a singing by Mrs. Jenny Kempton and Mr. J. R. Thomas. Mr. J. R. Thomas has one of the most agreeable baritone voices that can be employed in the interpretation of chamber music, and Mrs. Kempton possesses a full and melodious contralto, which, with a year or two more of cultivation, may be a valuable acquisition to the Opera. Mrs. Kempton made her début on the occasion, and has reason to be gratified with her reception and success.”
“--Mr. Gottschalk has been giving concerts at Irving Hall. It seems to us that Mr. Gottschalk plays better and better every time he appears before the public. His digital dexterity now seems to have arrived at its perfection. His capacity to handle octaves with immense force and rapidity is enormous; his lightness of touch in a spray of sound, the last possibility of quick fingering. It may safely be said that Mr. Gottschalk has extracted from the piano all that it is capable of in resonance, delicacy, chord-combinations, octaves, and individual sequences of notes. He is equally correct and large with Thalberg, and with a passion that Thalberg has not exhibited–certainly in this country–whatever he might have shown in his young days. We would counsel Mr. Gottschalk not to play in a larger room ever than Irving Hall. His extraordinary force and correctness as a player enable him to make an effect in that Hall, already too large for ordinary solo piano performers–but in the Academy he cannot be effective with all his power. The omission of an orchestra from a piano concert is a great gain. The volume of sound, the duration and varied color of the notes of the orchestra, are very unfavorable in their contrast to the piano solo quality. With the quartet simply as in these concerts though the room is too large for the quartet, the central idea of the evening, the piano-solo, is not overlaid.”