Edward Mollenhauer [viola-vn]
Price: $.50; $1 reserved
Choral, Opera, Orchestral
7 August 2013
Mistakenly refers to the Bretto Brothers as the sons of Mollenhauer.
“The success of Mr. Walden’s play, ‘Rosa Gregorio,’ at Winter Garden last season, and the many effective dramatic situations it contained, induced Mr. Edward Mollenhauer, the leader of the orchestra in that theatre, to select it for lyric ornamentation; and under the title of ‘The Corsican Bride,’ the opera was duly composed to a German libretto. Last night the composer gave a concert at Irving Hall, at which the second act of the new opera was performed by the German opera company, before an audience limited in numbers by the weather, but enthusiastically appreciative.
It is difficult to judge of the merit of a whole work given but in part . . . but yet we heard enough to pronounce it a work of ability, uniting harmony with melody in an admirable manner. The duet between Madame Rotter and Mr. Hartmann was particularly charming.
The second part of the programme introduced to the audience the three sons of Mr. Mollenhauer who deservedly elicited the greatest applause; all of them, and particularly Master Bernard, seem to have inherited the musical qualities of the father, whose fine tuition was apparent in all they did.”
“[A] very agreeable concert . . . at which several morceaux, from his opera, ‘The Corsican Bride,’ were performed. They were rendered, in German, by Mrs. Rotter, Herr Lotti, Herr Weinlich and other members of the German Opera Company. The opera is written in the modern German style, being heavily instrumented, and requiring action to make it intelligible. We cannot judge of such a work from a concert-room rehearsal of it, but there is no doubt that such an important addition to our limited repertoire of local music deserves the heartiest recognition at the hands of managers.”
In an advertisement. Excerpt of review from the Courrier of last Saturday . . ." [Ricardo] astonished the audience by his proficiency on so difficult an instrument. . . . One wondered where the breath came from which could produce sounds so sonorous and sustained. And when he came to the variations which concluded his performance, the audience were positively amazed. . . . [Bernard and Emil] played like one boy instead of two . . . even to bowing and other minor technical details they really displayed a good deal of taste and delicacy in their rendition of the music, and produced tones of a sympathetic quality that would drive many an older performer to despair. We regard these youths as lads of no ordinary primes."
“Mollenhauer gave most likely this concert, to let the public at large judge of at least a part of his opera ‘The Corsican Bride,’ which by dint of circumstances, could not be performed at the German Opera House, as it had been previously announced in several German papers. . . .
To judge of a work of this kind after a single hearing, would be very unfair, especially when we come to consider, that the effect of the music must be evidently lessened by the absence of scenery and all those resources which the stage offers. The more dramatic opera music is, the more it will suffer in a concert-room. For this very reason we abstain from criticism in this instance, and simply relate the impression the music made upon us. The overture seems to be pretty effective. Brass is used to a great extent, and generally with good effect. The introduction we liked best. It is large, and promises well, rather more than is kept by the principal motion of the Allegro movement. A part, given to the violins and reed instruments, seemed to us somewhat obscure, although it occurred twice. The plot of the opera is the same as that of the piece ‘Rosa Gregorio,’ which was played several times at the Wintergarden, [sic] with Miss Bateman in the principal role. . . . The somewhat awkward treatment of the voices is not favorable to such a result. The soprano moves either too low or too high; the baritone and tenor are little better. There is a fine, short movement for the bass in this act, undoubtedly the gem of the whole. The trio at the end promises well, but seems not to be brought to a climax, according to modern views of dramatic music. The orchestral treatment throughout is creditable. A peculiar feature of this concert was the introduction of the three sons of Mr. Mollenhauer, two of them (Master Emile, aged 13 years, and Master Bernard, aged 11 years) as violinists, and Master Ricardo, seven years old, as Cornet à piston player. The last young gentleman created quite a sensation. A manager could not wish for a better card, than this very juvenile pupil of Mr. Louis Schreiber.”
COMMENT: The Bretto brothers and Emil Gramm are not sons of Mollenhauer; they are his pupils.
From a letter dated 01/26/63. PEOPLE NOTES. “The music of a new opera, The Corsican Bride, by Edward Mollenhauer, was lately sung at Irving Hall. The composer is one of a pair of brothers brought to this country years ago by Jullien. They played violin duets with astonishing precision. Both took up their residences here, and Edward is now the director of music at the Winter Garden, one of our best theatres, while Frederick has been, unfortunately, afflicted with blindness, and is dependent upon the charity of his friends.” Signed “Trovatore.”