Academy of Music
4 August 2023
Includes programme; also included “Reverie” and a march by unidentified composers.
Bull’s improved piano to be introduced to the public.
“This time-honored violin virtuoso had a benefit last night at the Academy of Music, which was rather slimly attended. He was assisted by Miss Cassie Renz, who sang ‘Caro Nome’ and ‘O luce di quest’anima’ in the same manner as we have remarked before when she appeared at Steinway Hall. Her voice is remarkable for its pearly quality, brilliance of tone and immense range in the upper register. Ole Bull played a concerto in A, ‘Mother’s Prayer,’ ‘Carnival of Venice’ and ‘Polacca Guerriere,’ all his own compositions. He has lost none of his well known expression and feeling, and applause greeted him each time he came on the stage. There was, besides, a hautboy solo and a couple of overtures, given by an orchestra selected from the Philharmonic Society.”
“With perpetual youth and vigor Ole Bull seems to combine a perpetual musical charm for the American people. His successive appearances, whether at short or long intervals, are hailed as enthusiastically as if he were the freshest novelty to the eye and the newest musical revelation to the ear of the public. Surely it is only a true wizard of art that can thus give to the present an artistic freshness which time in its flight seems never to have touched with its withering wing.
“Mr. Bull’s concert last evening at the Academy offered a programme of eleven pieces, many of which were his own compositions. To this number were added others, at the request of the audience. The orchestral parts were admirably performed, and Miss Cassie Renz rendered the vocal selections with great credit to herself and to the full satisfaction of the audience. Her voice is sweet, fresh and flexible, susceptible of miraculous achievements, but wanting in a certain musical sequency, which slightly mars the effect of a naturally fine organ.
“As a work of art the concerto in A was the best of Mr. Bull’s compositions. Its execution by the composer was faultless and provoked the greatest admiration.
“The ‘Carnival of Venice’ and ‘Home,’ which followed, as an addition, will long be remembered as the finest violin efforts of even Mr. Bull himself. Tender feeling, delicate expression, and fullness of tone characterized the whole performance.
“In the second part Mr. Doremus announced to the audience that Mr. E. Hoffman would introduce the new style of piano due to the invention of Ole Bull, by playing Gottschalk’s ‘Last Hope.’ It would be premature to give a final verdict on this instrument, but judging by a single piece, it has very fine and brilliant qualities, and will no doubt become popular. We shall have occasion to notice it again more fully.
“The fantasia from ‘Trovatore’ for oboe, so admirably played by Mr. Castiguier, was very well received, and gave the audience great pleasure. The concert was a decided success, and will no doubt be followed by others, as Ole Bull is always popular with the musical public.”
“The limited space at our command precludes publication of so lengthened a notice of Mr. Ole Bull’s concert, given at the Academy of Music last evening, as the affair deserved. We must therefore be content to say that Mr. Bull played in his most telling style, and dealt, in so doing, a liberal measure of those singular and ever-appreciated feats with which, as a worthy follower of Paganini his method abounds. Miss Cassie Renz assisted Mr. Bull and sang ‘Ah! Caro Nome,’ ‘O Luce’ and Venzano’s waltz, three performances which have already received attention here. Further aid was supplied by M. Castagner, an artist unknown to us hitherto, but whose talent is not likely to be concealed in the future. M. Castagner is an oboeist of the genuine French school—as chiefly evidenced by his phrasing—and his playing is altogether unique for fullness of tone and fluency, clearness and variety. He will be a most valued recruit to the concert-room, and his last night, we are sure, only foreshadowed many equally agreeable tributes to his merit. The remaining soloist was Mr. Edward Hoffman, who recited a fantasia on Mr. Ole Bull’s new piano. This instrument can be best defined, in brief, as one in which much of the cast and wrought iron used about the sounding-board of the familiar clavecin is discarded, and in which the board is of thick pine wood, formed of many pieces, so as to secure fineness of grain, and strengthened by wooden ribs below. It is claimed that Mr. Bull’s piano, like his own violin, will be improved by years. On this point, of course, posterity will be called upon for its judgment. We are constrained to admit that the generation occupying the Academy last night could hardly commend the invention for the homogeneity, richness or brilliancy of its utterances. Accompaniments to the soloists’ work, as well as several concerted instrumental compositions, were done full justice to by an orchestra under the leadership of Mr. Carl Bergmann.”
“Mr. Ole Bull gave a concert on Thursday evening at the Academy of Music. It appears to have been rather a sudden affair, but there was an excellent audience which warmly applauded the great violinist in his ‘Concerto in A,’ his “Mother’s Prayer,’ his arrangement of the ‘Carnival of Venice,’ and other pieces, and was mildly delighted with the rest of the programme. Miss Cassie Renz sang her usual selections—[see above]—getting out her high G sharp with the usual neatness, but betraying a few tricks and graces, and a frequent carelessness of style which we were sorry to notice. Mr. Castignier played on the oboe a ‘Fantasia’ of his own, which is not a fantasia, but a simple transcription of airs from ‘Trovatore.’ He is an accomplished performer on an instrument which is but too seldom heard in solo pieces, and he will be a welcome addition to the ranks of our resident musicians. Then there was a good orchestra, under the direction of Mr. Bergmann, which played [see above]. The real raison d’être of the concert, however, was a grand piano of Mr. Ole Bull’s, to which a vast deal of time, ingenuity, labor, and money had been devoted. The principal idea of the inventor seems to have been the substitution of wood for iron in the construction of the frame, and the result of this change is supposed to be that the instrument will not only give a softer and more voice-like tone, but like the violin will improve with age. Mr. Edward Hoffman played upon it on Thursday night Gottschalk’s ‘Last Hope’ and the accompaniment to the ‘Carnival of Venice.’ It was not very wise to test the instrument in such a large building as the Academy of Music, especially in contrast with an orchestra. At any rate it did not impress us as better in tone than the best piano now in use, though we are quite willing to believe that it may improve with age.”
"The principal object of the concert was to introduce to the public a new grand piano of Mr. Ole Bull’s, upon which a vast deal of money, time and ingenuity had been expended. The principal idea of the inventor appears to have been the substitution of wood for iron in constructing the frame, which it was thought would give a softer tone, and that it would, like the violin, improve with age.”