Chamber (includes Solo)
19 July 2016
“Mr. C. Busch, who is long and favorably known to the musical public, has been for five months confined with inflammatory rheumatism, wholly unable to attend to his professional duties, and is, in consequence, in a position where the generosity of his friends is most required and most acceptable. A grand complimentary concert for his benefit will accordingly be given at Irving Hall, on Saturday evening next, at which Mr. S. B. Mills, Robert Heller and Robert Goldbeck will perform on the piano, Mr. Geo. W. Morgan, on Odell’s new organ, will delight the audience with two or three of his best pieces . . .”
“A small but critical audience attended this gentleman’s concert at Irving Hall last night. Miss Fanny Stockton, a promising soprano, sang ‘Kathleen Mavourneen,’ in a style which we have not heard since the days of Catherine Hayes. Her voice is sweet and clear and completely under control, and devoid of all unevenness and straining after effects. Miss Zelda Harrison, the celebrated contralto, whose admirable voice has been spoken of before in the Herald, sang some of Balfe’s Templar and Neukomm’s ballads in a creditable manner. The instrumentalists were Messrs. Morgan, Thomas, Mills and Goldbeck. The former played the dashing overture of Weber’s—the Freischutz. This overture opens with a lively adagio theme, which gradually leads to the incantation scene, where the short motive in the bass is particularly striking. The second part consists of syncopated measures, culminating in some of those nervous orchestral bursts so characteristic of Weber. The finale is, like Oberon or Euryanthe, massive and grand. Mr. Morgan did full justice to this trying work. The duet for piano and violin, from one of Beethoven’s sonata, was admirably played by Messrs. Mills and Thomas. Mr. Robert Goldbeck for once forgot his hammer and tongs style of playing, with the consequent mysticism of style, and gave a very fair idea of a noctern [sic] and a danse characteristique. If this artist would only abandon the ridiculous school of music he persists in introducing to this city, and give himself more to his true instincts as a pianist, he will acquire the position he has been aiming at. He is too fond of what might be called metaphysical playing and composing, in which he commences a theme without the remotest idea on his own part or that of the audience where he is going to stop. A little more lightness and crispness of touch, like that of Mr. Mills, would also serve him considerably. Signor Ardavani and Mr. Robert Heller were on the bill, but they did not make their appearance. Mr. J. R. Thomas amply supplied the former gentleman’s place. He sang one of his own ballads in a deep, expressive voice, in which every note came out as round and clear as from an organ diapason. We know not of any more finished or cultivated basso in New York than Mr. Thomas. The concert was in general successful as far as the music and singing went.”
“The concert given on Saturday evening at Irving Hall, for the benefit of Mr. C. Busch, concert agent who has been suffering for many months from a severe illness, was, we are sorry to say, but very slimly attended. The artists who performed generously volunteered their services. To engage them would cost at least $300, and yet the [illeg.] attraction of Miss Zelda Harrison, Miss Fanny Stockton, Messrs. S. B. Mills, R. Goldbeck, R. Heller, Signor Ardavani, Theodore Thomas, G. W. Morgan and G. W. Colby, with the addition of the plea of charity, would not draw $100 to the Hall on Saturday evening.
The concert was a very excellent one. Miss Harrison sang beautifully. It was a pleasure to hear her sweet pure voice, and to observe her clear, distinct enunciation of the language, not a word being slighted. She well merited the hearty encore she received. Signor Ardavani did not appear, though we saw him in excellent healthy in the lobby of the Academy at the Matinee—Why did he break his faith with the public?—but Mr. J. R. Thomas more than compensated for his absence, by singing in his place, in his usually masterly manner. Messrs. Thomas and Mills played the andante and variations and finale of Beethoven’s concerts in a masterly manner, and Mr. Robert Goldbeck played finely De Meyer with marked character, delicacy, force and precision. Mr. Morgan never played more brilliantly and effectively. Miss Fanny Stockton, we regret to say, travestied very broadly, that hackneyed Scena, ‘O, Mio Fernando.’ Her style is insufferably bad, and her voice is both nasal and guttral [sic], having evidently been very ill-used in study since we last heard her. Her exaggeration was entirely contrary to good taste. Miss Stockton is evidently on the wrong path. Her voice requires a thorough remodeling; it is incorrectly produced, and its registers are not blended. With such material for a voice and the impulse which she evidences, a much more artistic and profitable result could be achieved. Mr. Robert Heller, though announced, did not make his appearance.”