Niblo's Concert Saloon
Price: $1; $1.50 reserved
Chamber (includes Solo)
9 August 2012
The “attendance . . . was immense—so much so, indeed, that before it commenced the sale of tickets had to be stopped, for the good reason that the house could hold no more. The success of the artists was perhaps better illustrated by the thorough appreciation and applause of the audience than anything we could say. Gottschalk and Sanderson were encored again and again in their four-hand pieces, which comprised a composition by Gottschalk, played for the first time—La Galina [sic]—a brilliant thing, illustrative of the characteristic dances of the natives of Cuba—and Sanderson’s dashing and favorite polkas, which were played in response to the frequent encores, and were very heartily applauded, Gottschalk playing his grand paraphrase on ‘The Battle Cry of Freedom’ for the first time. It is replete with beauty, was handled with great delicacy and skill and of course brought down the house, from its patriotic associations. Miss Lucy Simons, in the Tarantella composed for her by Signor Muzio, gave us a delightful piece of vocalization. The composition is light, airy and brilliant, entirely suitable to her voice, and called forth a vociferous encore. In Gottschalk’s ballad, ‘Slumber on, Baby Dear,’ she was equally happy, and, upon being called out, sang La Pastorella e Cavalieri, which she had to repeat. Though last in the programme, not least in merit was a ballad from Rigoletto by Signor Mongiadini.”
“The second concert . . . was so well patronized that the sale of tickets had to be stopped before the demand ended. The applause and enthusiasm were continuous, and every selection which Mr. Gottschalk played was singly or doubly encored. A feature of the evening was the new paraphrase on a popular patriotic melody, ‘The Battle Cry of Freedom,’ a brilliant dashing arrangement, but not more acceptable than the ‘Tell’ overture played by Gottschalk and Sanderson, or the ‘Galina’ [sic], a Cuban danse performed by the same gentlemen; while in response to calls for encores, Miss Simons sang Gottschalk’s cradle song, the ‘Knight and Shepherdess,’ and a new tarantellas composed for her by Muzio.”
The greatest crush of the season was seen at Niblo’s Saloon last night, long before the time of commencement every seat was filled and hundreds were standing on chairs, window sills, and down every aisle. Besides those who got in and remained, one or two hundred received checks for admission for this evening’s concert, and still they were disappointed. There has been no such concert audience for many months.
The opening piece for Gottschalk was his William Tell duo for two pianos, which he played with Harry Sanderson. It is a brilliant transcription for the piano. All the breadth and delicacy of the original orchestration was simulated, and it is but justice to Gottschalk to say that in the storm movement he preserved the original thunder, and went a little ahead of nature in the rattle and the boom. The exquisite slow movement was performed with a perfection rarely achieved; the theme, without overshadowing, scintillated with lightning-like rapidity, floated as delicately as the waving of a zephyr’s wing. The Finale Militaire was a race—set on a plank-road, the players neck and neck straining every nerve; but being well under control, they reached the winning-post simultaneously, and the judges pronounced it a dead heat. The public, always [illeg.], seeing how ‘blown’ the players were, demanded more, and Harry Sanderson’s Festival Polka was played and encored, and another played, and then the insatiate appetite of the crowd was appeased.
The duo from ‘Linda di Chamounix’ was sung in a very small way by Miss Simons and Signor Mongiardini. The lady would have been quite effective if she had received any support, but the Signor’s voice is too fragile for such music in such a hall. Gottschalk next played ‘Home, Sweet Home’ in his old manner, with the same poetic inspiration, that tenderness of sentiment, in which the feminine element which every great poet or musician must possess, predominates, and forms the subtle charm which we all acknowledge, though we cannot analyse it. In this piece his mastery over the melodious heart of the instrument is displayed in a manner really wonderful. In the midst of full chords, the melody rings out, and soars and swells not loud, but soft and vocal, responding in sentiment to the sensitive touch—a beautiful little tone-poem that tells its own story in tones of ineffable sweetness. It is in such masterly touches that we recognize the genius of Gottschalk, and at the same time the source of his power over his audience.
It is but just while speaking thus of the player, that due credit should be given to the very superb instrument from which he produced these exquisite efforts. We have never heard a piano so mobile in character, so respondent to the wants of a pianist, so pure, true and perfect in all its shades of tone, as the Chickering grand on which Gottschalk played last night. We need hardly say that he was encored.
Miss Simons sang a new Tarantella, with two flutes obligato, composed for her by Muzio. She sang it charmingly and brilliantly, and gained a deserved encore. The composition is clever, melodious and characteristic, and will certainly become very popular.
Gottschalk’s ‘Paraphrase de Concert’ on the ‘Battle Cry of Freedom’ is well conceived and well carried out. It is richly and beautifully harmonized, and has been made the most of—the briefness of the theme rendering it impossible to treat it otherwise than as a fragment. On the encore which followed he played his ‘Last Hope’ with the same exquisite delicacy and perfection of finish and poetic sentiment which characterized his rendering of ‘Home, Sweet Home.’ This was encored, and he played his celebrated ‘Banjo piece.’
The cradle song, ‘Slumber on Baby Dear,’ was next sung by Miss Simons. She threw into it a tender pathos which surprises and pleased us; it is just suited to her voice, and she seemed to find the sad and sentiment of the poem and music. Gottschalk’s accompaniment was so beautiful in its endless variety of delicate and changeful sentiment that we are rarely at a loss to characterize it. Sufficient to say that the union of voice and accompanist won an enthusiastic encore, which was responded to by the performance of Gottschalk’s new Romance, ‘The Knight and the Shepherdess,’ which was listened to with breathless attention, and received an encore so unanimous that its repetition was compelled. These two songs will carry Miss Simons triumphantly through her tour of the world.
The new Cuban dance, ‘La Galeria,’ recently composed by Gottschalk and played by himself and Sanderson is full of the quaint character peculiar to that class of music. It is a pleasant bagatelle, in which Gottschalk excels. It was admirably played, and was encored, when they played Sanderson’s charming ‘Bridal Eve Polka.’ Certainly Gottschalk must be satisfied with the success of last evening; it was a veritable ovation, and we are glad to say it was well deserved. In the duos there was still too much of the muscular Christian school, but it was much moderated from Monday night. [On Monday night] Signor Ippolito sang ‘Di Provenzo’ feelingly and tastefully.”