Niblo's Concert Saloon
Price: $1; $1.50 reserved
9 February 2015
“Niblo’s Saloon was very handsomely filled last night at the last evening concert of Gottschalk, Miss Simons and Signor Muzio. It was evident that a good deal of warm and cordial feeling towards the artists on the eve of their departure existed in the audience. Gottschalk and Sanderson were twice encored after the overture to William Tell, and gave in response Harry Sanderson’s ‘Electric’ and ‘Festive’ polkas, which were received with unmistakable satisfaction. Miss Simons sang a duet from Don Giovanni, with Signor Ippolito; Muzino’s [sic] delightful tarantella, and two arias from the Child of the Regiment admirably, and was encored in each. She received several magnificent floral tributes during the evening. Indeed, in every respect, the highest favor was manifested toward her. A pleasant incident occurred after Gottschalk played his celebrated paraphrase on ‘The Battle Cry of Freedom.’ A gentleman from the audience came on the stage with a silver crown, handsomely set with amethysts and rubies in his hand, and presented it to Mr. Gottschalk as the gift of a few friends, saying, in a brief speech, among other things, that the name of Gottschalk would be remembered by Americans with as much veneration as that of Mozart, Mendelssohn and Beethoven was by Europeans. Gottschalk was evidently taken by surprise, and, for a while, did not seem to understand what it was all about. However, he accepted the coronal modestly—declining the effort of the speaker to place it on his head, bowed gracefully to the audience, and played his delicious Eolian murmurs, in response to the compliment which was conceived in friendship and was fully merited by the artist. The grand march from Tannhauser on six pianos completed the programme, which, upon being encored, was followed by the soldiers’ chorus from Faust.”
Another memorable art-triumph was won last night by Gottschalk, before the brilliant audience which crowded Niblo’s Saloon. The marches in ‘Faust’ and ’Tannhauser’ were performed with six piano-forte power, by six New York pianists. Miss Simons, who during the brief engagement has taken a first class position as aa concert singer of taste and refinement, sang in her best style, Gottschalk’s ‘Knight and Shepherdess’ and ‘Cradle Song.’ Auber’s laughing song, and Donizetti’s Il faut partir, a significantly appropriate selection. But, after all, the great charm of the evening was the solo playing by Gottschalk. Never before did this marvelous artist educe more exquisitely delicate and impassioned tones from the piano-forte. The singing quality of the instrument was most happily shown, and the audience hung their delight on every note, and rewarded every piece with the heartiest applause.
Several friends of Gottschalk prepared for him a pleasant surprise, in the shape of a farewell gift—a silver crown enriched with gems. The presentation was entrusted to a young man recently from an elocution class, who alluded to ‘foul rebellion’ and other miscellaneous topics, and endeavored to inform Mr. Gottschalk that he would ever live in the memories of the American people like Grant, Sherman, Mozart and Beethoven. Mr. Gottschalk had the courtesy to listen quietly to allow the nascent orator to crown him with the wreath. His response was not in words, but in a most touching and delicate performance of the ‘Eolian Murmurs’ to which the speaker had alluded.”
“A pleasant episode occurred at the commencement of the second part. A gentleman stepped forward, and, after a great many more or less appropriate remarks, presented Mr. Gottschalk with a silver wreath, gemmed with precious stones, in the name of the ‘August and imperial capital of the western hemisphere.’ Mr. Gottschalk was evidently embarrassed by the unexpected honor, and bore his thanks to the audience in response to a very hearty and general salvo of applause.”
“Another down-pouring night, rainy, dark and muddy, and still Niblo’s Saloon contained the largest and most brilliant audience which has yet attended these concerts. The furor created by these last concerts of Gottschalk are unlike nay similar connectison of the presents day, and bring to mind the [illeg.] on Ole Bull, De Meyer, Castellan, Hers and Sivori, who used to crowd the Old Tabernacle night after night with enthusiastic listeners—when Music was more a passion that a fashion. Only a talent so clear, so brilliant, and so prononcé, as that with which Gottschalk is gifted, could create so profound an excitement in these matter-of-fact days. Honorable as such homage is to him, it is fully as honorable in those who offer it; for next to the possession of genuis, the power to appreciate its creations is the most blessed gift.
The concert was an ovation from the beginning to the end. It is not enough to say that every piece which Gottschalk played was encored; double and treble encores testified to the enthusiasm of the audience, and tested the patience, the good nature, and the muscles of the artist. In his case such demonsatrations are unequivocal, as the entireaudience is one organized clique, each individualof it, ladies included, being his personal friend in art.Gottschalk was at his happiest artist-mood, and played with all his old abandon. The poetic inspiration which gave birth to the ‘Banamier” [sic], the ‘Ballades Osianique,’ the ‘Marche de Nuit,’ the ‘Last Hope,’ and the ‘Murmures Aeolian,’ was with him last night, and threw its imaginative charm over all he did. His touch was never more delicate, more aerial, or more instinct with sentiment. Under his hands the piano seemed to sing an inspired song, with all the rich melody of a woman’s voice, and with all the varied expression of a thing instinct with life. The tone-coloring was perfect; the picturtes which have no existence, save in the loving comprehension of kindred minds, were made visible to all, as, one by one, the points of beautywere brought into strong relief, by contrast with some subdued passage, which bnreathed the sentiment of unrest; wild, tender, melancholy, half-real, half morbid. Not in the hey-day of his earliest triumphs, with all the freshness of inspiration and the flush of youth upon him, did Gottschalk play more exquisitely or more superbly.
After his last solo, ‘The Battle Cry of Freedom,’ a young gentleman appeared upon the stage bearing in his hand a jeweled wreath of silver, which he presented to Gottschalk, with a speech which was neither appropriate nor elegant, not fluent, nor anything. General Hall, who was present, might have siad, ‘Mr. Gottschalk, many of your friends desire, through me, to present you publicly with a token of their esteem and admiration. You are a son of the soil, and we are proud of you. Your genius was the first art contribution from the New World to the Old World, and America is proud that she has one son, who, in his art-vocation, has no superior in the world.’ Gottschalk received the wreath graciously, but did not consent to the proferred crowning.
Miss Lucy Simons has literally rushed into favor with the public; we could hardly recognize her as the singer of the first night, so remarkably has she developed in every way. In her more ambitious songs she displays superior execution and a greater power of voice, while in her simpler songs she has completely carried the public with her. If she sings the ‘Slumber Song,’ she is encored, and sings ‘The Knight and the Shepherdess,’ which is again ‘encored’; or if she begins with ‘The Knight,’ she is compelled to sing the ‘Slumber Song’ twice. These are the two most successful songs that have appeared in many years, and she sings them most charmingly.”
“New York heard last week, for the last time, the magic piano of Gottschalk—for the last time this year at least, and perhaps for several years. Friday’s concert at Niblo’s and Saturday’s matinee at the Academy were veritable triumphs. Friday, after the brilliant performance of the Battle Cry of Freedom on six pianos, one of the spectators mounted the stage and presented a silver crown ornamented with amethysts and rubies, to the favorite artist, and made a short very well-turned speech, in which he said the Americans would keep the memory of Gottschalk with pride like the Europeans preserve [that of] Mozart, Mendelsohn [sic] and Beethoven. Gottschalk obviously didn’t expect this surprise; he refused to let the crown be put on his head, and was happy to accept it in saluting the public with an emotion that he didn’t seek to hide. He returned to the piano, and played Murmures Eoliens, a charming piece, where he gave play to the emotion with which the ovation had imbued him.” [Says that Gottschalk has the power to seduce hearts as well as ears; he compares him to Brigham Young!!] “It’s the case to pay a small compliment to his friend and emulator, Harry Sanderson, who was present at his last concerts, and who is also a pianist of great merit. For as America produces distinguished [female] singers, it also possesses of its own invention several pianists of great talent. Sanderson is the first after Gottschalk, equal perhaps, and, if he doesn’t acquire a renown equal to that of Gottschalk, it doesn’t mean his qualities are not of the first order.”