Academy of Music
Manager / Director:
H. L. [impressario] Bateman
Price: $1; $1.50 reserved
Chamber (includes Solo), Orchestral
6 November 2012
“Mr. Bateman’s farewell series of concerts commences tonight at the Academy of Music. Mlle. Parepa, whose success has been unparalleled, will make her rentre in several of her best pieces, notably the cavatina from Norma (Casta Diva) and Proch’s song of the ‘Alpen Horn,’ with cornet obligato by Mr. J. Levy. The latter gentleman will also play the ‘Whirlwind Polka’ and a fantasie on ‘Alexis’—morceaux of great celebrity. Herr Carl Rosa will add a couple of violin solos to the occasion, and last, but assuredly not least, Mr. S. B. Mills will play Liszt’s arrangement of the ‘Rakozy March’ and a waltz by Chopin. The orchestra will be under the able direction of Herr Carl Anschutz. Mlle. Parepa’s last appearances are tonight, on Monday, and on Tuesday. No one should miss the opportunity of hearing this truly remarkable artist.”
“There is not certainly on earth a more indulgent or better natured people towards foreign visitors, no matter what their pretensions and corresponding attainments are, than the citizens of New York and New England. A litterateur, actor, poet, singer, or painter hailing from London, Paris, or Italy, is at once lionized here, and the most fulsome adulation paid him or her. The claims of these people to public patronage and public favor are immediately granted them, while they secretly chuckle over their unexpected success, and the total want of discrimination shown by their admirers. Many of them are justly regarded as mediocre individuals in Europe, but here a number of foolish people can be found to laud them to the skies as great artists often before they have an opportunity of seeing or hearing them. Such, we regret to say, has been the case regarding Mademoiselle Parepa, of Mr. Bateman’s troupe. The most extravagant expressions of commendation have been used in relation to her voice and style of singing, all of which expressions are well calculated to excite ridicule. A pleasing voice of moderate power, clear timbre, capable merely of executing peculiarly Italian musical passages correctly, does not by any means entitle Mlle. Parepa to the rank of an Alboni, Catharine Hayes or Grisi, yet we cannot discover what further claims she possesses as a cantatrice. Her medium register of voice lacks that sympathetic and beautifully modulated tone that characterized Catherine Hayes in the ballad. Her upper register is remarkably deficient in the clear, ringing notes with which Jenny Lind imitated the nightingale’s trill and Grisi entranced her audience. Mere vocal feats, many of which leave a disagreeable impression, or, at the most, one of wonder alone; an injudicious use of the portamento, sliding the voice, and, above all, the want of that sympathetic, thrilling expression for which there is no adequate musical term, but which once heard is never forgotten, are the qualities for which Mlle. Parepa is called a prodigy of song. If the smallest tithe of such encouragement was bestowed on native talent we would not have to look to Europe for musical prodigies. The programme last night at the Academy of Music was of a very superior character, comprising the best selections. Mr. J. Levy has a fair chance of becoming Koenig’s successor as one of the first cornet players in the world. His tonguing in trills and rapid movements does not yet possess the freedom or complete abandon of Koenig, but in adagio themes he is unequalled. Carl Rosa’s violin solos were an attractive part of the programme. Inferior to Jehin Prume in execution, Herr Rosa surpasses him in tone and expression. We never heard Mr. S. B. mills play better than last night, when he dashed off Liszt’s brilliant Rakozy march [sic] . No composer for the piano can equal Liszt. There is massiveness, with grace, about even his salon music. Of the orchestra pieces, the finale was the best. It was the most charming of all overtures, that of Herold’s Zampa.”
“The generally ample and sometimes superfluous area of the Academy of Music was taxed to its greatest capacity on Saturday evening, when the return of the Bateman concert troupe enabled Mlle. Parepa, Mr. J. Levy, and Herr Rosa to be heard once more in that establishment. These excellent artists have just come back from a highly successful trip in the West and the East. It must have been gratifying to them to find that this not too faithful public remembered them and reechoed much of the enthusiasm of more demonstrative quarters.
Mlle. Parepa’s fine voice, however, displayed evident traces of fatigue. The cavatina from ‘Norma’ was unsteadily given, and with a degree of effort which was ill rewarded by the result. In this piece the lady has excited the most lively applause, and we have no doubt has deserved it. We may, perhaps, on some future occasion, be able to add our mite to the general tribute. There is, however, no opportunity of doing so now. Mlle. Parepa’s remaining pieces were the ‘Nightingale’s Trill,’ by Ganz, the ‘Alpenhorn,’ by Proch, and the Scotch ballad of ‘Comin’ Through the Rye.’ These morceaux are good enough in their way, and were hugely enjoyed, but they do not tempt criticism. It will suffice that Mlle Parepa recovered her voice, and sang the trifles with effect—her best effort being an encore piece called, ‘Five o’ clock in the Morning.’
Mr. J. Levy, the cornet-player, was heard to unusual advantage. The fullness and quality of the tone which he produces from his instrument are indeed delightful, and his delivery of a melody is thoroughly vocal. Mr. Levy’s execution is both remarkable and peculiar. The extremes of his style were vigorously illustrated in the introduction to Hartmann’s ‘Alexis’ solo, where the grandeur and freedom of his tone were surprisingly fine; and in the ‘Excelsior Polka,’ where Mr. Levy’s ‘tonguing’ feats lend brilliancy and emphasis to a fair dance tune. The gentleman was warmly and deservedly applauded. He received two encores and played a couple of ballads.
Herr Carl Rosa has gained strength and élan in his travels, returning to us much riper as an artist than when he left. Both solos performed by him exhibited correct artistic feeling, good execution, and tone.
Mr. S. B. Mills was the solo pianist, and played two morceaux with superb effect. The ‘Rakozy March’ [sic] was encored; a just tribute to its exceeding brilliancy and the conscientious performance of Mr. Mills, who has no superior as an interpreter of Liszt’s music. Mr. Carl Anschutz presided in the orchestra with his accustomed ability. It is always a pleasure to see this admirable musician with his baton in his hand. It is a guarantee that nothing will go wrong.”
“The reappearance of Madame Parepa, who has just returned from a successful concert tour through the country, attracted a very large audience to the Academy of Music on Saturday evening. She was assisted by Mr. S. B. Mills, Mr. Carl Rosa, Mr. J. Levy, and a small orchestra under the direction of Carl Anschutz. We welcome back most cordially this very admirable singer, for it is a pleasure to listen to a style so pure and an execution so perfect. On this occasion she sang with exquisite grace and care, and a brilliancy in her fiorituri [sic] which she has never excelled. Her voice, as might be expected, gives evidence of the hard work it has endured for the past few months; such constant travel and signing must wear both upon the body and the voice. The extreme upper notes and the middle register betray considerable fatigue, the first being less certain when attacked, and the other less bright and mellifluous. These are the points of difference between her singing now and when she was here before. The difference is merely physical, detracting nothing from her excellence as an artist, and is not, [illeg.] consequent upon an overtaxed organ. The Italian aria indicated this most distinctly, at the same time that it displayed the beauty of her method. The management of her voice, under the circumstances, proves how thoroughly she understands her art. Her songs and ballads were sung with her accustomed charm of manner and a perfection of vocalism which we cannot parallel in our concert rooms. The public was fully prepared to appreciate and admire the beauties of Madame Parepa’s singing; everything she sang was encored, and no one left the house until she had sung her last note.
The cornet playing of Mr. Levy is truly wonderful. We have heard nothing in the way of execution on that instrument to equal it in brilliancy, daring and certainty. The tone is finely modulated, and capable of the nicest shading, from expressive tenderness to the most brilliant sonority. Mr. Levy, as usual, received his full share of the honors of the evening, and well deserved all he received.
Carl Rosa is improving. Experience has added something to his breadth of manner, his tone is firmer, and he gives a little more color to the interpretation of his subjects. He is eminently a sweet player, and has a certain feminine grace of style which wins the sympathy of his audiences.
Mr. S. B. Mills played two selections from Chopin with marvelous accuracy, but with little coloring. These deliciously dreamy passages in the Berceuse, for the right hand, while executed faultlessly as to notes and phrasing, had no one of that poetic languor which is their characteristic. They are of the piece, but they are as the soul to the body, and should rather pervade the thought than stand out as the thought itself. The distinction is subtle, but it must be marked in all works of a character so highly imaginative. In Liszt’s Rakozy [sic] March, one of the most effective physical force solos in the piano-forte repertoire, Mr. Mills was more successful, and won well deserved applause.
[The rest of the review discusses concert of January 8, 1866.]