Central Park Mall
Harvey Bradley Dodworth
18 April 2013
“In consequence of the unfavorable state of the weather yesterday, the usual Saturday concert did not take place.”
Includes a description of the park during this time of the year and the program listing. “The usual musical programme was given yesterday afternoon, and although the weather was exceedingly hot—the thermometer standing at ninety-three degrees—the number of visitors showed no falling off on account of the heat, and were not to be deterred from a pleasant afternoon’s enjoyment…
During the course of the afternoon, the fine band of the Park, under the leadership of Mr. H. B. Dodworth, performed, and the visitors showed their approbation of the masterly manner in which it was performed by encoring several times.”
“There was the customary attendance of persons of every age, color and condition at the Central Park on Saturday, the oppressiveness of the weather apparently deterring no one from the enjoyment of this rational, refreshing, and altogether agreeable weekly episode in Metropolitan existence. The music was, as usual, very good, and Stasney’s eccentric ‘Papageno Polka’ was encored, while many of the other pieces on the programme received loud and long continued applause. As the Central Park, and nearly every beast, bird, tree, rock and other object, whether animate or inanimate, of natural or artificial origin, within its enclosures, have been noticed in the papers, perhaps it will not be deemed inappropriate to refer briefly to the Band, to whom so many thousands of people are indebted for their weekly (and only) musical delectation. Mr. Harvey B. Dodworth, who conducts the performances, is, as all our city readers know, the head of the military band bearing his name, and is the orchestral leader at Niblo’s Theater. Enjoying not only much skill and experience as a musician, but possessed of taste in making selections of music to be performed, it is not singular that, under his direction, these out-door concerts give satisfaction to all who listen to them, the programmes being usually composed of pieces selected from all classes of composition – symphonic, operatic, melodic and the more clap-trap kind of stuff which we may, perhaps, call the spasmodic sort;thus suiting the tastes and moods of every person. As near as we could discern, from the point nearest the music stand which we were able to reach, on Saturday, the ‘Central Park Band’ is composed of Dodworth’s Band, augmented by the addition of several others of the best musicians in the city. The instrumentation of this combined band is very effective, although we take issue with Mr. Dodworth in his displacement of the trombones, for the peculiar tone of which, in military and much other music, no adequate substitute can, in our judgment, be found. There are ten clarinets, one each of flutes, oboes, and bassoons, five cornets, four French horns, three alto horns, three Saxhorns, (in place of the trombones), one baritone, three tubas, and the usual array of percussion, denominated among musicians, we believe, ‘kitchen furniture.’ It will thus be seen that our Central Park Band is capable of attacking almost anything in the shape of an overture, or, in fact, any style of music; and it does it, too. Hence, we have with our ‘Tramp, Tramp, Tramp,’ and ‘Annie of the Vale,’ the delightful cadences of Mendelssohn’s ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ the majestic harmonies of Rossini’s ‘William Tell,’ with the charming ‘Preciosa,’ ‘Oberon’ and other overtures, occasionally seasoned with a waltz of Strauss or Gungl, or a song by Abt, or a ringing march by some one of the modern German composers of field music. Probably no city in America can boast so many, and in so good hands for street music, as New York. One surpassing feature of these bands is their numerous strength; and while in other cities there are frequent important parades and public occasions where the bands do not number beyond 20 performers in each, or even less, with us it is very infrequent that we see Helmsmuller’s, or Dodworth’s, or Grafulla’s Band turning out with less than 35 to 40 men, and these, too, of the very best musicians. This practice of employing a large and full band we heartily commend in the case of the managers of the Central Park Concerts. Give the people music, good music, just as good as can be given by, or to, anybody, and the result will be humanizing and elevating, and nothing else."