Chamber (includes Solo)
14 April 2013
“One of the most pleasing and popular bills of the season was offered at this gentleman’s benefit at Irving Hall on Friday night. With two or three exceptions the vocal pieces were of the ballad and glee order, and were a decided relief from the exotic Italian bravuras and cavatinas that are heard in every concert hall. Without disparagement to the merits of the great operatic composers on the score of variety and freshness alone, concert bills ought to have more of those hearty, unaffected English and American songs. Mr. Simpson could not have selected a more effective or more appropriate song for his style of tenor voice than the ‘Three Ages of Love’ by Loder. He sang it infinitely better than any of those Italian extravagancies which are entirely unsuited to his voice. Miss Zelda Harrison’s fine contralto voice gave one of the Templar’s ballads with rare expression and feeling. Her selection of the ‘Il Bacio’ waltz was rather unfortunate, as it was never written or intended for her kind of voice. She was not exactly a failure in it, however, as might be expected, but the impression on hearing it was that it was unsuitable for her voice. ‘Simon the Cellerer’ and two other ballads were sung by Mr. J. R. Thomas in an inimitable manner, Simon, in jolly and elderly bon vivant, and Dame Margery, a querulous, testy old lady, were admirably described by Mr. Thomas. Mr. Lumbard’s rich bass voice was heard to advantage in the ‘Infelice’ and ‘Are you sleeping, Maggie?’ The most intelligible and therefore most popular trio and quartet that have been given this season were at this concert—‘Winds Gently Whisper,’ for three male voices, by Whittaker, and the Sailor’s Song, a charming quartette by Hatton. Miss Matilda E. Toedt, one of Henry Appy’s best pupils, played the two last movements of one of De Beriot’s violin concertos. We have spoken before of this lady’s artistic style and power, but on this occasion her execution and tone were even better than at any previous concert. There were more breadth and purity of tone and clearness of execution shown in De Beriot’s concerto than in the first fantasia. She will attain, if she preserves this, a position of eminence among the many excellent violinists that have appeared in the metropolis, and perhaps share the honors of European distinction with Mlle Camille Urso. The new organ, under the skillful touch of Mr. Morgan, poured forth a flood of harmony and filled the entire hall with the magic tone of the Tell overture. The shepherd’s pipe is heard on the mountains, and the echoes return back the ‘Ranz des Vaches’ on every side. The conclusion is a dashing, spirited movement, and in Morgan’s hands is brilliant to a high degree. The concert was very well attended and entirely satisfactory.”
“Mr. George Simpson gave his annual concert at Irving Hall, to a fashionable but not very numerous audience. Mr. Simpson unfortunately labored under the effects of a very severe cold and had to excuse himself for not responding to encores. He managed his voice so well, however, that he got through the programme most creditably, and making marked effect in the ballad ‘Prince Charlie,’ and in Edward J. Loder’s beautiful song, ‘The three ages of love.’
Miss Zelda Harrison, whose fine voice is always pleasant to hear, should not have selected the soprano show song, ‘Il Bacio,’ for performance, as the transposition necessary to fit it to her voice robbed it of all brilliancy. In Templar’s ballad, ‘My heart is breaking,’ she was much more successful, rendering it with much sweetness and expression. Miss Toedt played in her accustomed graceful and finished manner, and was, as usual, greeted with hearty encores. Each public performance increases her well-deserved popularity.
Mr. J. R. Thomas sang his new serenade in his usual chaste and refined manner. Mr. Thomas’s method is his nearly perfect, as we can well imagine. The delivery of his tone and his enunciation are models for study, and in point of expression, purity of taste and grace of execution, he has no equal, either in our concert-room or on the stage. He is so thoroughly an artist, that all styles of music are familiar to him. In the highest style of oratorio music he has no equal, while in classical music and in character songs he can hardly be excelled. We know no name so welcome to us in a programme as that of J. R. Thomas.
Mr. Jules Lumbard is rapidly increasing in popular favor, and his rich, deep voice must always give satisfaction. He sang the ‘In felice’ from Ernani so smoothly, expressively and effectively, that he won a hearty encore, to which he responded by singing in a chaste and effective manner, ‘Rocked in the cradle of the deep.’ Mr. Morgan’s performance of Wely’s Offertoire and the William Tell overture met with the usual enthusiastic encores, to which he acceded in his usual pleasant manner, and playing with increased brilliancy and effect. It was, altogether, a most agreeable concert, and although not largely attended, as the free list. Including the press seems to have been omitted, it must have been a pecuniary success.”