Price: $1.00 parquet and dress circle; $1.50 reserved orchestra chairs
Chamber (includes Solo)
15 January 2015
“Mr. James Wehli’s third and farewell matinee takes place here today. The programme is interesting, Mr. Wehli playing not only his own pieces, but morceaux, by Stephen Heller, Mendelssohn and Moscheles and Thalberg. He will be assisted by Mr. Richard Hoffman, Miss Urban, and Mrs. S. C. Campbell. Mr. Wehli plays, among other pieces, his fantasie on the “Huguenots,” which, apart from the nonsense written on the programme, is a well-made and most effective arrangement of very difficult themes. He plays is superbly, and admirers of pianoforte music will, we think, be amply rewarded if they hear it alone. They are, however, not left in this extremity.”
“These matinées are very fashionable, and a crowd of fair ladies may be expected.”
“The matinee at Wallack’s yesterday was more numerously attended than either of the preceding ones. The ladies were determined to give Mr. Wehli an ovation, and of course they did so. Although advertised as the farewell matinee of the season, it is probably that the success which has attended this eminent pianist so far will induce him to give a few more concerts this season in New York. The programme yesterday comprised some of the best and most trying of those pieces which exhibit Mr. Wehli’s peculiar style of playing. The Grand March from Weber’s opera of Preciosa, for two pianos, in which Mendelssohn and Moscheles created such a furore thirty years ago, was performed on two Chickering grands by Mr. Wehli and Mr. Richard Hoffman. Although not an attractive composition, in the popular sense of the word at least, we have not heard any that displays more variety of sentiment and more characteristics of Weber’s severe unadorned style. In response to the inevitable encore the ever welcome ‘March of the Amazons’ was given, Mr. Hoffman adorning the spirited primo part of Mr. Wehli with a fanciful network of scale, chromatic and arpeggio passages. The delicacy of touch and flexibility of wrist displayed by Mr. Wehli in Thalberg’s Tarantella were fresh evidences of his extraordinary powers. The grand fantasia on the Huguenots, although not quite such a phenomenon as the programme announced, may deservedly rank among the best compositions of the present day. The entire sixth movement and entire passage of thirds, together with the soi-disant whirlwind of octaves, are the least noticeable points in the work. Mr. Wehli’s exquisite finish and refinement in phrasing the cantabile passages and distinctness of touch in modulating every shade of expression throughout were the best features in this fantasia. Mr. Campbell and Mme. Urban assisted in the concert.”
“The admirers of Mr. James M. Wehli, and their numbers, already strong, are rapidly on the increase, will certainly be glad to hear that the farewell matinee at this house on Wednesday last was not a distracting occasion of a positive leave-taking. A better audience we have never seen within the walls of this fashionable establishment, and its proportions have suggested the propriety of giving another farewell concert on Wednesday next. We hope that the march from “Precosa” played on the former occasion by Mr. Richard Hoffman and Mr. Wehli will be repeated. It is seldom that two such artists are heard together, and rarer still that we find them interpreting so quiet a production as this of Mendelssohn and Mosheles. Nothing could well be better than the clear and exquisitely thoughtful effort. The players were as well matched as the composers. Not a shade of meaning was lost; and there is much meaning in the delicious harmonies and fanciful interlacing of passages which compose the duet. Both gentlemen are famous for their touch. So equal were they in this respect, that it was sometimes difficult to believe that a whole so connected and delicate came from four hands instead of two. In response to an encore, they played the “Marche des Amazons” by Mr. Wehli, embroidered by Mr. Richard Hoffman, à la Gottschalk, in an effective way. The best individual effort was the “Huguenot Fantasie,” also by Mr. Wehli, a thoroughly vivid and dramatic transcription of stubborn themes, elaborated with reckless contempt of the limited number of fingers allotted to ordinary humanity, and played with surprising bravura by the composer. The passages in thirds, sixths and octaves bring out the best points of Mr. Wehli’s technical method. But that this is otherwise ample was demonstrated in Thalberg’s “Tarantelle,” and, indeed, in every piece where closeness of fingering and clear articulation are required. Mr. Wehli’s style is well reflected in his compositions. It is preeminently popular, but free from the vulgarity which sometimes belongs to the popular school. His ingenuity as a builder of fantsies is unquestionable.
Mme. Fleury Urban and Mr. S. C. Campbell were the vocalists at this exceedingly agreeable entertainment.”