Manager / Director:
Lafayette F. Harrison
Chamber (includes Solo), Choral, Orchestral
22 December 2015
VENUE NOTE. Gives detailed description of the new interior decorations. "The alterations and embellishments at Irving Hall have just been completed, and it will be opened on Thursday next with a grand concert, under the direction of Mr. Theodore Thomas. The interior, as renovated, reminds one a good deal of Tripler Hall, with this difference, that its decorations are in better taste. They are in fresco by Signor Giudicini. . . . There will be produced at [the theatre], for the first time in this country, the symphony in D major of Carl Emmanuel Bach, and the Grand Inauguration March, in form of an overture, written by Auber for the opening of the Great Exhibition of 1862. The [Struensee], which was brought out by Mr. Thomas with such success last season, will also be repeated."
“Irving Hall has been for more than two months under the hands of Italian fresco painters, receiving an entirely new and brilliant painting. Allegorical ladies and gentlemen, and medallions, in all the necessary chromatics figure in elegant profusion throughout its interior. The rear wall has been deprived of its angles, and two proscenium boxes adorn it. The wall itself is scenically illustrated with architectural paintings, which give the effect of greater depth to the room. Altogether the decorations are most successfully made, and add to the attractions of the hall.
Mr. Theodore Thomas is very ardent and liberal in giving good concerts. Not only has he a capital orchestra of 60 performers, but a harpist, pianist and vocalist, for his fifty cent entertainment. The symphony performed of C. P. Emanuel Bach, of the most gifted whole family of musicians who ever lived, and son of the great Sebastian Bach, was composed in the blessed A.D. year 1776. A venerable old composition of an Allegro, Largo, and Presto--and the model Haydn loved, and which has come down to this day only somewhat extended by other composers. Those amatears who would know how really fresh the ideas of this composer are, notwithstanding their age, have only to consult the Fetis edition of his piano works; and they will acknowledge that strong, brave men lived before Agamemnon.
The next orchestral piece was one of the incomparable overtures of Von Weber, the beautiful, noble, fiery Oberon. The music of Meyerbeer's Struensee was presented, orchestral and vocal. Parts of it are rather heavy, but others inspiriting and grand and worthy of the composer. The new composition of Auber, the London Crystal Palace 'Inauguration March in the form of an overture' is a dashing composition for a man of nearly eighty; for so venerable is the composer of the immortal Masaniello. It contains a slow movement, chiefly for brass instruments; then a regular allegro with first and second themes; and a thundering finale.
Madame D’Angri sang “Ah mon fils” from the Prophet of Meyerbeer, and the Elena Waltz, with tempestuous applause, and received full encores in both.
Mr. William Mason played in a masterly manner, a piano 'transcription' of Meyerbeer's Schiller March--a massive and effective work; also, a new anmd brilliant Concert Gallop of his own.
The concert gave great satisfaction, and is most creditable to the enterprise of the leader of the orchestra, Mr. Thomas.”
At Mr. Theodore Thomas' concert, at Irving Hall, on Thursday last, several novelties were introduced, which call for a few words of notice. The first of these--Emanuel Bach's symphony in D major--is a composition of unquestionable genius. It consists of three movements blending the one into the other, and reminding one of Beethoven in their manner of transition. The first, the allegro, is broad and grandiose in its ideas and form; the largo is melodial, and though brief, replete with sentiment, and the presto has all the fire and dash of vigorous conception. The credit of the form of this kind of music and scoring has been given to Haydn, but it properly belongs to Bach, the symphony have been written before Haydn's time. Extravagant praises having been lavished by the English press on Auber’s 'Grand Inauguration March for the Great London Exhibition,' we were prepared for the enjoyment of an instrumental treat on this occasion. We must own to a disappointment. The ideas evolved in it are poor, and the scoring very busy. Its success in London is only another proof how a writer’s popularity will sometimes blind the public to the weakness of a composition. Meyerbeer's 'Schiller March,' transcribed for the piano by Liszt, is a piece of a very different order. The motives are effective and thoroughly worked out, and, as a whole, it is exceedingly brilliant. Mr. Thomas deserves credit for introducing to us novelties so acceptable. He is one of the few concert givers who think it necessary to depart from the old beaten track.”
Mr. Theodore Thomas' concert at Irving Hall, on Thursday, was a very delightful affair. He was assisted by some of the most accomplished vocal and instrumental performers of the day, and was gratified by as large and brilliant an audience as can be expected to assemble at this period of the season. The novelty of the concert was a choral and orchestral interpretation of Meyerbeer's music to his brother’s tragedy of ‘Struensee,’ which was very finely rendered, and received with warm though discriminating favor. Mr. Wm. Mason subsequently played on the piano for the first time in this country the Grand Inauguration March, composed by Auber for the opening of the Great London Exhibition of 1862. Irving Hall, as it has been refitted and embellished, is one of the most magnificent places of the kind in this or any other country. The fresco painting of the walls and ceiling has never before been equaled in a place of public amusement.
“During the past week an excellent concert was given by the only artist who, so far as we know, undertakes the speculation of giving concerts on a liberal scale as regards the orchestra. We mean Mr. Theodore Thomas. To the attractions of the entertainment were added the new decorations of Irving Hall, which has been painted within in a sumptuous manner, thus presenting the harmonies of color to those of sound. Mr. Thomas has lately assumed the difficult post of conductor, and already displays much of the ease and certainty of a veteran in that employment.
“Since the destruction of Tripler Hall we have had no concert room at all equal to the exigencies of a city like this. Irving Hall was built a year or so back, but, although it was eminently respectable, and voted by artists to have admirable acoustic properties, it was painted in such somber hues that it suggested the interior of a huge vault or a hall in the Mammoth Cave. During the summer recess, however, a great change has taken place. The grub has turned into a butterfly, and Irving Hall, like Bottom, is ‘transformed.’ Instead of walls of dreary gray we now have a series of brilliant frescoes, which utterly change the character of the saloon. Everything is now light and beautiful, while, by the ingenious and skillful architectural designs at the end of the hall, (whence the gallery has been removed) an effect of depth has been produced which apparently adds largely to the extent of the room. It could scarcely be believed that the painter’s brush could make so marked an improvement. Signor Giudiccini, the Italian fresco painter of this city is, we believe, entitled to the credit.
It may, however, be suggested that, beautiful as the hall is, there should have been a little more meaning in its decorations. It is named after Washington Irving, and his portrait or bust, if even in the lobby, would not be inappropriate; and portraits of the distinguished musicians who appear there might in time make it almost classic. In years to come it would be very pleasant indeed to look at the pictures of such men as Gottschalk, or Brignoli, or Thomas, or Timm, or others who are now so familiar with the place, and have by their talents drawn thither delighted crowds.…”