Academy of Music
Chamber (includes Solo), Orchestral
10 November 2016
Lists the Hiller piano concerto.
“In New York the various series of classical concerts are announcing themselves. The Philharmonic Society has commenced its rehearsals.”
“Twenty-second season . . . [F]irst concert at the Academy of Music. . . . All tickets sold at the door on the evening of the concert, $1.50 each.”
“The vicinity of Irving Hall was literally choked with sweets sounds on Saturday. For twelve hours there was hardly a breath of relief in the musical plethora. It opened in the morning with the third rehearsal of the Philharmonic Society. This had scarcely terminated when Mr. Theodore Thomas’ third popular matinée commenced. Simultaneously, Mr. Maretzek opened the doors of the Academy for his last combination matinée. An hour or two’s rest was all that the musicians could enjoy ere they were called upon to take part in the first Philharmonic Concert, at the Academy, and the first Promenade Concert of the Seventh Regiment, at Irving Hall. We shall not be able to dwell at length on any of these entertainments, nor is it necessary; they were all excellent. . . . At the Philharmonic Concert the instrumental features were Schumann’s Symphony No. 2; the Overture to ‘Coriolanus,’ by Beethoven, and to the ‘Flying Dutchman,’ by Richard Wagner. They were excellently played by the orchestra, under the direction of Mr. Carl Bergmann. Mr. S.B. Mills, was the solo pianist, and acquitted himself with the masterly precision and healthful largeness of style for which he is remarkable. The Society was also lucky enough to have the services of Miss Kellogg, who, we need scarcely add, was thoroughly enjoyable.”
The concert was well attended by an elegant audience. The program of the concert offered music for all tastes, although the people favoring modern music were offered slightly more of it than they were of the romantics or the classics. Conductor Bergmann led the orchestra in all pieces with sensitivity, attentiveness and energy. Kellogg sang two pieces: Theodore Eisfeld’s Variations de Bravura, and Wagner’s aria for Agatha [sic] out of Fliegender Holländer. “She sang the aria with softness and warmth, excellent structure, and correct emphasis, so that her performance was not only easy to understand, but also a true artistic delight. In the ‘Variations’ she excelled with her splendid coloratura skills. Mr. Mills played with extraordinary technique. Beethoven’s ‘Coriolan Overture’ was performed very well in all details. The concert concluded with the overture to Fliegender Holländer, which we have never before heard with a full orchestra. Despite the thoughtful and accurate execution, we found it rather embarrasing. The piece begins with a full orchestra that seems almost overwhelming, although it portrays the howl of the wind, the screaming of the sailors, and the thundering of the waves with skill and genius. But then the noise continues with tremolos and chromatic scales, one more shrill and piercing than the next. They chase each other without end; only twice does the composer attempt to bring on a calmer and milder mood. However, these moments are just as brief as the pauses in a storm. Just when one thinks a sun beam is breaking through the clouds, and there will be a respite from the chaos of sounds, the storm breaks loose again, finally exhausting and numbing the ears of the listeners.”
Includes program. “The past fortnight has been of unusual musical buoyancy. Irving Place, the great centre of musical attraction, has resounded from morning to night with sweet sounds, only interrupted by the carpenter’s hammer preparing for the great ball. On Saturday the street was alive with people at every hour, so numerous were the objects for patronage. At 10½ , the Philharmonic rehearsal; 12, Thomas matinee; 1½, Opera matinee; 8, Philharmonic and 71st Regiment Band concert. The amount of wind and muscle required on that day, must have been immense. Who does not envy a musician of the Philharmonic? But to commence somewhat more systematically.
. . . The Academy was filled on Saturday evening on the occasion of the first Philharmonic Concert of the season. It must have been very gratifying to the Board of Directors to see their new enterprise so nobly sustained. It was a venture on their part to assume the expense of the Academy, but the attendance on the night of their first concert dispelled all doubts as to the feasibility of the plan. [COMMENT: This refers to the move from Irving Hall.] The audience was large, brilliant, and appreciative, and the rendition of the following programme pains-taking and successful.”
“The symphony, as well as the overtures, are not unfamiliar to our amateurs, having been performed on various occasions by the same orchestra. A renewed hearing of the symphony confirms the opinion we expressed some years ago, when the work was rendered for the first time. With regard to conception and treatment, it is the grandest instrumental composition Schumann has written. . . . The scherzo was rendered so fast that the figures could not be brought out with characteristic nicety, and the tempo of the last movement was such that its character became entirely hidden, a fact sufficiently illustrated by the remarks of some critics to the effect, that the music of this part is trivial. It would be well for all of us if we had much more of this trashy music in our times!
Mr. S.B. Mills gave again proof of his superior ability as a pianist. The concerto by F. Hiller, he played, is a light and pleasing composition, with a great many runs and passages, that rather struck us to be considerably ancient. It is evident that the remarks made by Mendelssohn, in one of his letters to Hiller, that the latter’s music was not worked out enough, does not apply to this concerto, for considering the value of the motives, Hiller made, certainly, enough of them.
The well-known recitative and aria for soprano, from the second act of ‘Der Freischutz,’ was but poorly sung by Miss Kellogg. How is it, that such an intelligent artist cannot better appreciate the depth and breadth of the music displayed in this recitative?”
Comment: PSN-Y Minutes, 1863/10/03. Board voted that Kellogg be paid $75.