Manager / Director:
J. S. Thomson [dir.]
Price: $.50; $.25 children
20 June 2016
“The second series of these popular entertainments commenced last night at Dodworth Hall before a very large audience. Baker’s ‘Storm King’ was sung for the third and last time, and we trust that Mr. Thomson will not inflict a repetition of it on his audience. The artists who assist in his concerts should not be forced to sing a collection of little school songs, as if it was a May festival instead of a concert. Mr. Baker may do very well as leader of a band; but if his ‘Storm King’ is a sample of his powers as a vocal composer, the sooner he abandons composition in that line the better. The opening chorus irresistibly reminded us of a number of school children in white pinafores singing the ‘Merry, Merry Month of May,’ or ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb.’ There are few original ideas in the whole affair that any vocalist would ever care to express. Mr. Baker draws largely on Rossini in the most striking passages, but his knowledge of counterpoint seems to be confined to ringing changes on the common chord. The only tolerable part in the cantata is the Storm King’s. Æolus was well represented by Mr. Gulick, a basso of the Mendelssohn Union. A tenor solo was sung by Mr. Rehberg in a boyish voice, entirely unsuited to explain philosophically the trite axiom, ‘After a storm comes the calm.’ The chorus in A minor was pretty—that’s all. There is boundless repertoire of glees and choruses in the London Glee Hive, Orpheus and Arion collections, without raising such a ‘tempest in a teapot’ as Mr. Baker’s ‘Storm King, operatic cantata.’
The rest of the programme was well selected and well sung. Miss Lizzie Allen, the soprano, has a sweet, well trained and powerful voice, which, in one of Steffanone’s beautiful ballads, was particularly successful. Mr. J. R. Thomas sang ‘In Days of Old’ in a rich, unctuous tone, such as we might expect from the jolly personages he spoke of. Mr. H. B. Lasserve was the pianist. He played several of Gottschalk’s popular compositions with a tolerably good idea of the subjects he handled. He did not succeed so well in one of Ketterer’s waltzes, which smacked suspiciously of the ballroom style of playing. Mr. Lasserve’s touch is light and agreeable, and the tones of the noble instrument rolled out clear and distinct beneath his fingers. He possesses also the rare art of either communicating to or bringing out from the piano its singing quality in full.
The second matinee of these concerts will take place this afternoon, when ‘La Petite Florence’ will make her appearance again. One of the most disagreeable traits of some of the Dodworth Hall concerts lately is the indiscriminate applause, or rather noise, with which every singer and player is received by a portion of the audience. It may be agreeable to the friends of the artists to resolve themselves into a mutual admiration society, and thump the floor unmercifully every few minutes, but it is decidedly a nuisance to those who there to hear and judge for themselves."