American Institute Coliseum
1 November 2021
“It is worthy of remark that on no previous occasion in America have all the elements for which this great master wrote been combined in one musical gathering—the Oratorio, the Opera, the Orchestra and the Organ.” Provides a program that includes selections from Beethoven’s Christus am Oelberge, Fidelio, and Symphony No. 9, but it changed substantially based on the reviews.
The evening paper was able to provide a review of that afternoon’s performance. “In accordance with the received verdict of the people of New York—that oratorio was not what was wanted at the Beethoven Festival, to-day has been devoted to miscellaneous music, the ‘Anvil Chorus’ occupying a prominent place. Indeed, a desire on the part of the management to select for presentation that music for which the public shows the most decided preference has led to frequent and rather perplexing changes of programme; but in all cases the music finally selected has been done in a masterly manner. In all the long list of operatic and oratorio extracts produced at the Festival there is but one instance in which there was any bungling or discordance. The artistic success of the Festival is already beyond doubt. Despite the hostility of the German element in this city, and the unconcealed antagonism of certain leaders of local musical societies, and the lack of responsible names among the projectors, the Beethoven festival has triumphed gloriously. The performances of yesterday prove this. Whatever be the pecuniary result of the affair, its artistic character—as far as that artistic character goes—is beyond reproach. Every singer advertised has duly appeared in proper order, and all promises to the public have been kept, though under difficulties of which the outside public has no appreciation. We trust that the large audiences yet to attend will places the pecuniary result of the enterprise beyond doubt. No real lover of music can afford to lose the opportunity now offered of hearing the vocal and instrumental efforts of such a congress of artists and amateurs as this week is congregated at the Coliseum.
The programme this afternoon was varied and interesting, introducing in Madame Anna Bishop a prima donna new to the Centennial performances. [Lists program – the most complete offered in the citations.]
The conductors engaged on this afternoon’s performance were Bergmann, Zerrahn, Rosa and Pech. The music was well performed, the Beethoven symphony receiving a very fair interpretation. The choral force was not as fully represented as it will be this evening, when the Boston singers are especially expected to distinguish themselves in the choruses from ‘Elijah.’”
“Beethoven Musical Jubilee.
Fourth Day—Madame Anna Bishop’s Triumph—Two Miscellaneous Programmes.
Both chorus and audience begin to dwindle down, and the number of empty benches in the Coliseum becomes more painfully evident as the jubilee progresses. This was the case yesterday afternoon, in spite of the excellence of the performance, which was entirely satisfactory. Artistically considered, there is little fault to find with the jubilee; but in other respects the impossibility of a few managers, no matter what their ability may be, to organize and place in working order the numerous departments of such a colossal undertaking in such a short space of time, is evident from the chaotic condition of each department. Still, they bravely struggle on against obstacles which would appall any one, and deserve credit for their pluck and perseverance. We hope that they will be able to carry the enterprise through successfully to the end. The programme in the afternoon commenced with the fifth symphony of Beethoven, and ended with the ‘Soldiers’ Chorus’ from ‘Faust.’ Mme. Anna Bishop woke up the enthusiasm of the audience to the highest pitch by her noble, artistic rendering of the air, ‘With Verdure Clad,’ from the ‘Creation.’ Every note of her full, thrilling, highly cultivated voice told in the vast building with an effect that few artists even of high repute could hope to produce. Time has laid a hand upon this lady, whose stage career dates back to artists whose voices are now hushed forever. But yesterday the lustre [sic] of her genius was undimmed, and she exercised the same magnetic attraction over the audience as of yore. Brignoli repeated his former success, and sang ‘Il Mio Tesero [sic],’ from ‘Don Giovanni;’ ‘Ah! Mia Letitzia,’ from ‘I Lombardi,’ and ‘M’Appari,’ from ‘Martha,’ with all the characteristic sweetness and expression of his beautiful voice. The conductors were Gilmore, Rosa, Pech, Bergmann and Zerrhan. The ‘Anvil Chorus’ was a great feature, as before. [Reviews evening performance.]
…Dr. C. B. Schuyler, an organist of marked ability, performed some choice selections at the Coliseum yesterday.”
“The audience assembled in the Coliseum during the afternoon concert was quite large. The programme, which was of a classical order, was arranged as follows: [lists program].
The special success of the day was won by Signor Brignoli, whose aria, ‘Il Mio Tesoro,’ showed the flexibility of the artist’s very sweet voice, and whose suave rendering of ‘M’Appari, tutti Amor,’ reminded one of early triumphs, to which the unimpaired beauty of his tones still entitle him. Mme. Anna Bishop’s thorough culture was naturally distinguishable in all her performances. The ‘Soldiers’ Chorus,’ though given with precision and force, did not produce the full effect looked for.”
Portions difficult to reading owing to black bar running down right side of column. Lists program.
“We have no objection to this music in itself, but to call it a Beethoven programme is preposterous. The Symphony went better than it did the first night, though the opening movement was still rather scrambling, and no part of the work was given with the perfect finish which Mr. Bergmann knows so well how to obtain at the Philharmonic concerts. The overture to ‘Fidelio’ (which as the advertisements kindly inform us is ‘the greatest opera Beethoven ever wrote!’), was also but indifferently performed. The orchestra at no time we believe has numbered more than 200 pieces exclusive of Gilmore’s Band of 50. It has been reduced day by day until it [illeg.] counts 100, but very few of our best players are included so that Mr. Bergmann is expected to produce works of the highest character, not only without rehearsals, but with second-rate material. It is not his fault if the result is unsatisfactory. He has not the Philharmonic orchestra by any means. Madame Bishop sang, instead of the [illeg.] from ‘The Creation,’ a ‘Gratias Agimus,’ by Guglielmo and there were some other changes in the programme. The audience was the smallest of the week.”