American Institute Coliseum
P. S. (Patrick Sarsfield) Gilmore
Price: $2 reserved; $1
1 November 2021
Program includes “other popular pieces, as performed at the Peace Jubilee.” (Gilmore, the conductor, had been a director of the Boston Peace Jubilee.) Performance will include “bell chimes, cannon, and other accompaniments.”
“This afternoon and evening will be devoted to a thoroughly national programme, the features of which will be Gilmore and Madame Rosa. The ‘Anvil Chorus’ and such like popular selections will be given, with all the Jubilee effects, and the artillery will thunder forth again beneath the conductor’s baton.”
“This afternoon and this evening the emphatically popular entertainments of the Festival will occur. The price of admission, we are requested to state, will be one dollar only to all parts of the house, and the programme will include miscellaneous and ear-taking elements in sufficient quantities to content the most exacting. This afternoon, Mr. Gilmore will be the most conspicuous of leaders, and he will have cannon and anvils for his most prominent acolytes. The full details of the bill are printed elsewhere, and we direct attention to them instead of proceeding to their rehearsal. But, for the enlightenment of the lovers of pure din, we may point hence to the intended performance of the anvil chorus from ‘Il Trovatore,’ and to that of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’”
This evening paper was able to review that afternoon’s performance. “The popular programme announced for to-day, with the beautiful breezy weather, and the acknowledged coolness and comfort of the Coliseum as a place of resort, were successful in attracting to-day the largest audience that has yet attended the festival concerts. Probably the announcement of the Anvil Chorus, with the ‘Star-Spangled Banner,’ preformed [sic] with the united aid of Parepa, of artillery and of chorus, had much to do with the successful result; and it only proves that people want to be amused with music, and not instructed by it. [Lists program.]
The concert opened with Auber’s ‘Fra Diavolo’ overture magnificently played by the full orchestra. As the hearty applause elicited by this work subsided, Madame Parepa Rosa appeared upon the stage, to sing Gounod’s ‘Ave Maria,’ with accompaniment of organ and violins. This was one of the most effective performances that afternoon.
The ‘Judgment’ hymn was superbly rendered, and at the time of going to press, the concert was nearly at an end.”
“Although the habitual reader is not in duty bound to interest himself to an extraordinary degree in the pecuniary good fortune of the musical festival now being holden [sic] at the Coliseum, it may be taken for granted that, bearing in mind the outlay caused by bringing together so vast an array of talent, he will not be dissatisfied at the prospect now opening, of ultimate financial as well as artistic success. The two concerts yesterday were more largely attended than any of their predecessors, and had not the weather been unpropitious from twilight until the night had fairly set in, there is little doubt the structure would have been quite crowded. The miscellaneous character of the two programmes and the revision of the tariff of prices—a permanent revision, we observe—had much to do with the increased prosperity of the enterprise. [Lists afternoon program.]
This list of selections calls for little comment. Mme. Parepa-Rosa rendered the ‘Inflammatus’ while the opening concert was in progress, and with all the purity and volume of voice, and the breadth of style for which her interpretation of sacred music is especially notable. The applause which then greeted its termination was renewed, and it was revived again at the close of the ‘Ave Maria,’ the effect of which, however, spite of the singer’s exertions, was less great than that of Rossini’s composition. We hardly think that Mr. Arbuckle was heard to the best advantage during yesterday’s entertainment, and our recollection of the fullness of Mr. Levy’s tone, and of the volubility of his execution—a volubility of the most remarkable kind, distinguished by a perfect regard of tempo, and a clearness in the division of notes, seemingly impossible to secure in passages of equal rapidity—was not effected by the performer’s first effort. But in Jullien’s Qaudrille, with which the affair ended, a rare poesy of phrasing, unsurpassed skill in swelling and diminishing the mass of sound, and much sweetness were discernible, and a strong desire was created for another opportunity of listening to the artist. The impressiveness of the interpretation by the instrumental and choral forces of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ has already been alluded to here; and we have only to add to our previous record of its fitness to kindle enthusiasm, that the accents of the artillery were correctly distributed. ‘The Anvil Chorus’ was equally satisfying.”
Portions difficult to read owning to black bar running down righthand side of column. “Yesterday, for the first time, the [illeg.] festival seemed to awaken a genuine interesting among the people, and both afternoon and evening, the Rink was nearly full. For this grateful change there were several reasons. In the first place, the prices were reduced; in the second place the million were invited to come in and hear what the million can easily understand; in the third place, the absurd pretense of honoring the memory of Beethoven was virtually abandoned, and there was hardly a scrap of classical music on either programme. The love of Slam-Bang, which seems to be latent in the bosom of all Americans, was relied upon to attract the multitude in the afternoon, while for the evening the promised performance of ‘Elijah’ was postponed to make place for a repetition of all the miscellaneous pieces which had been most warmly praised at the previous concerts. The day performance was given up to Mr. Gilmore and the Music of the [illeg…] Anvil Chorus with red-shirts, artillery, orchestra, organ, and two thousand voices; the ‘Inflammatus,’ with Parepa’s mighty soprano bursting, so gloriously through the cloud of harmony; ‘The Star Spangled Banner,’ with shouting, and waving of handkerchiefs and no end of gun powder, were all there. To the [illeg.] appetite it must have seemed that all the delicacies ([illeg.] may be pardoned the expression) of the Boston Jubilee were crowded into one afternoon. No wonder then New Jersey and Long Island poured forth their hosts, and the suburban railways did a rousing business. In all the surrounding villages girls clubbed together, took a young man on shares, and brought him in to the festival. Families made a day of it, retiring by [illeg.] between the parts to dine sumptuously in the refreshment room on cake and pop. The young women who jump up every five minutes to look for their friends, and when they have found them can’t rest until they have exchanged nods and semi-articulate but totally inaudible greetings, the young women who think the Inflammatus ‘[illeg.]’ and The Messiah ‘sweetly pretty,’ and who always fall in love with Carl Rosa and [illeg.] with awe upon Max Maretzek; the young [illeg.] who press the American flag to their bosoms, literally as well as metaphorically, and [illeg.] be tied down at all the patriotic climaxes—these all came to the Rink in their brightest gowns, and gayest ribbons, and sunniest humor; and a very pretty place, upon thew hole, they made of it. Nay, it was our own good [illeg.] tune, riding up that pleasant afternoon in one of the sumptuous cars of the Third-ave. Railroad Company [illeg.] be placed next to a living embodiment of Hail Columbia, a fair girl, to wit: robed in the very bluest of bright blue silks, with a shawl of blood red and white stripes. [Illeg.] we say where she got out?
Upon the miscellaneous portions of the afternoon concert, it is not necessary to expend any criticism for critical faculty on occasions like this is a little [illeg. – out of?] place. Mr. Arbuckle, the Boston virtuoso, gave a [illeg.] solo, not the air from ‘Atilla’ set down for him ([illeg.] a single concert so far have the programmes been adhered to), but an arrangement for his instrument of a [illeg.] fantasia of De Beriot’s; Madame Parepa Rosa, [illeg.] singing in the ‘Inflammatus’ and ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’ charmed more cultivated [illeg.] with the lovely Bach-Gounod ‘Ave Maria,’ [illeg.] there were some effective orchestral [illeg.], led, like all the other afternoon pieces, by Mr. Gilmore. They went well, for Mr. Gilmore is not a [illeg.] sensationalist, as some people might be led to suppose from the peculiar nature of his fame, but an excellent and careful leader. The feature of the day, however, was the Anvil Chorus. About 50 men from the [illeg.] choruses had been chosen to wield the hammers. They were dressed in black trousers, red flannel shirts, and glazed hats. That is not exactly the costume of Spanish gypsies of the period of [illeg.] and Azucena (whatever that period may have been), but it is a handy and effective uniform which makes the majority of Americans clap their hands whenever they see a counterfeit fireman. So when the fifty hammers filed upon the stage in four parallel lines, there rose [illeg.] a subdued exclamation of ‘Look, look! there they come!’ and then a round of applause. When they [illeg.] about at the word of command and let their hammers [fall?] at once upon the anvils, there was another round. Then the chorus began. As the great moment approached the leader grew more and more excited. The young man at his side [illeg.] ready the electric wires with which he was to touch [illeg.] the artillery placed outside. The hammers rose in the air. The conductor stretched out both arms. There was an instant’s pause; and then Mr. Gilmore began to move himself like the walking-beam of a steam-engine; the right arm goes down, and ‘clang’ sound twenty-five anvils; the left arm sinks, and ‘clang’ go the other [illeg.]. As the hammers rise and fall in perfect time (for they are wielded by men who make the Anvil Chorus part of their business of life), and the cannon roars in due [illeg.] he gets hotter and hotter, until, just as he seems in danger of bewilderment, the rumpus [illeg.]. Then a captain of artillery comes in from the yard, and ignoring the young man with the battery, sits down proudly, as who should say, ‘Good people, I fired the guns.’ Of course, this quintessence of Slam-Bang made an immense sensation, and the people apparently wanted to have it all the rest of the afternoon. It went off even more successfully than it did in Boston, partly because these chorus singers beat the anvils with more perfect regularity than the unmusical real firemen who were employed on the former occasion, and partly because this building is so much smaller than the Boston Coliseum.”
A review of the afternoon and evening concerts on 06/15/70 (see separate event entry of same day for evening program). “Very agreeable, entertaining, and in some cases quite starling music, was produced at the Coliseum yesterday afternoon and evening to audiences which were far greater than on the previous days. As the two programmes were simply those of a miscellaneous concert and on a very grand scale, it will be unnecessary here to specify all the selections. It is enough to say that the Anvil Chorus was the central point of attraction, and that with all its accessories of electric cannon, red-shirted firemen (who were really members of the opera chorus) and Mr. Gilmore’s utterly original side-action style of conducting, it was an entire success. The audience became wild with excitement over it, and demanded instant repetition. Even the staid musicians, who deprecated the sensational clangor, confessed that the chorus was admirably sung and the anvils beaten with exquisite precision. The ‘Inflammatus’ was well sung by Parepa and Richings [Richings sang it in the evening], the latter doing herself infinite credit, while the former was, of course, satisfactory, as she always is. Miss Kellogg made a special success in singing with Lefranc the duet from ‘Poliuto,’ and was also greatly applauded in the Miserere from ‘Trovatore.’ Lefranc, Drayton and Reina [sic] have made the ‘Tell’ trio a marked feature of the festival programme, and are applauded to the echo every time that they give their magnificent interpretation of Rossini’s matchless strains.
The few specimens of choral singing given yesterday were well performed, though, we are informed that the management shows a lack of courtesy towards the New York singers, which is having it[s] effects in thinning out the ranks. The poor courtesy of a complimentary admission is not too great a reward for the ladies and gentlemen who leave their business avocations, and devote their time and talents in the undistinguishable mass of choristers.
The attendance was large yesterday, as it must be during the remaining days of the festival in order to return to the projectors of the enterprise the vast outlay which they have made.”