Academy of Music
20 September 2012
“The society seems to ‘pile Ossa upon Pelion’ in the programme for the next concert. Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 3 in E-flat, the introduction to Tristan and Isolde, by Wagner, and the overture to Euryanthe, by Carl Maria Von Weber, constitute a formidable mass of instrumentation sufficient for a half dozen concerts of less accomplished and less enterprising organizations. The symphony is divided into five parts:—1. Allegro con brio. 2. Intermezzo—Moderato. 3. Adagio espressivo. 4. Largo solenne. 5. Finale—Presto. The spirit of brooding melancholy and gloom so congenial to Schumann, is visible in each part. There has not appeared since the palmy days of Beethoven a more ardent disciple of that Titanic mind than Robert Schumann; but his sublimity of conception and high intellectual aspirations are ever checked and disfigured by a want of technical skill in orchestration and consistency in the management of his themes. His lighter works are unequalled for winning grace and tenderness; but he does not grasp the subject in the symphony with sufficient energy and self-possession.
The fourth part—Largo Solenne—is a most beautiful specimen of the chorale, colored with fantastic wreaths of violin passages.
“The overture to Euryanthe has always been and will be the favorite of the admirers of Weber, and their name is legion. It is a brilliant, genial emanation of a cheerful soul, transporting the audience to the pleasant woods and valleys, and presenting a vivid picture of pastoral life. The opening and closing tutti are full of brio and enthusiasm, quickening, and strong as the mountain breeze that sweeps over the vales in the opera. There are exquisite morceaux of ‘cello, horn, bassoon and clarinet coloring, forming interesting little episodes throughout. Then comes a delicious reverie of violins and violas, the pianissimo strains of which in four part harmony are suggestive of the whispering wind, the purling brook and the waving field of yellow grain. In the midst we are startled by a fugato movement, which seems to jar somewhat with the tenderness and beauty of the scene. The opening of the fugues is rather aimless and disconnected, and we experienced a decided feeling of relief when we were brought back again into the country, and the balmy zephyrs breathed once more on the soul. Of the extraordinary work of Richard Wagner we cannot speak definitely from yesterday’s performance. It is the beau ideal of the music of the future, and as massive and severe as the most objectional parts of the Tannhauser. The tale is simple enough, being one of chivalry and beauty; but Wagner has a very strange method of expressing himself. His language is completely unadorned, and intricate as the Vedas or the Talmud. The Philharmonic Society, however, are skilful interpreters, and under the tuition of their excellent conductor, Mr. Carl Bergmann, will doubtless at the next concert, on the 10th of March, reveal the hidden beauties of Wagner’s composition.”
“Saturday was a hard day for the fiddlers, and eke [sic] the performers on wind instruments, among whom may be numbered several critics. At the early hour of ten the doors of the Academy were thrown open, and at eleven the opera commenced. When the cobbler had returned to his last, the Philharmonic Society took possession of the building and worried through their tenth rehearsal. In the evening a large concert was given at the same place, and over the way in Irving Hall Mr. Theodore Thomas gave his farewell symphonic soiree. After this final labor there was not a drop of lager-bier to be had in the adjacent neighborhood.”