Academy of Music
5 May 2013
“Audience a mere sprinkling. Mozart’s Symphony No. 1 in D for the first time. On this our first slight acquaintance I see no great weight or unity of purpose in the Symphony. But it abounds in most exquisite points fully worthy of Mozart, e.g. that lovely phrase of melody in the 3rd movement—the germ of one of Eloise’s songs, 34 years ago (or more accurately 33) ‘The Last link is Broken.’ The symphony is peculiar in being without a Scherzo or Minuet and Trio. Mendelssohn’s charming Overture to Melusina followed it. Many gems since I have heard that overture. Its introductory phrases are of wonderful beauty and power. They seem to suggest the gushing outbreak of some spring of sweet water, among ferns and mosses and rocks, or the babbling flow of a ‘hidden brook in the leafy month of June, that to the sleeping woods all night sing in a quiet tune’ (to quote S.T. Coleridge) and Mendelssohn doubtless meant this to express the nature of the Water- Maiden whose name he chose as a motto or title of his admirable overture.”
“MUSICAL. Seventh Public Rehearsal of the New York Philharmonic Society—The Dream of an Artist by Hector Berlios. The programme for the third concert of this admirable society is being thoroughly rehearsed under the painstaking and excellent conductor for the season, Mr. Bergmann. Yesterday afternnon the seventh public rehearsal took place at the Academy of Music. The programme comprised Mozart’s Symphony No. 1 in D, Mendelssohn’s overture to Melusine and a fantastic symphony by Berlioz, entitled ‘The Dream of an Artist.’ We doubt if there is any work of the great composer more popular as a piano study than this symphony, but it has never been heard before in this city with orchestral effect. The overture to Melusine possesses few of the characteristics of the composer, being in general less boldly outlined and to some degree more unnecessarily complicated than his other works. There are some remarkably vigorous fugue passages in it, but they tend only to contrast the weakness of the rest. But the chief attraction, in point of novelty at least, on the programme was the wonderful creation of Hector Berlioz. . . . There is scarcely any work of the German school so wierdlike and startling as the strange noises, groans of agony, shouts of laughter and unearthly cries with which the spirits welcome the artist after his execution. Throughout the presence of the lady that causes these fantasies is distinctly perceptible by a short but exquisite motive, which occurs at regular intervals.
Judging from yesterday’s rehearsal we may safely promise lovers of true classic music a treat at the next concert of the Philharmonic Society which is rarely enjoyed at our dreary Academy of Music. We augur success to the mission of the association under its worthy President, Mr. Scharfenberg—namely, to cultivate and foster a taste for the classic school of music in New York, and to relieve the ears of our too good natured citizens from parodied operas and asthmatic singers.”