Manager / Director:
H. L. [impressario] Bateman
Theodore Thomas [see also Thomas Orchestra]
Price: $1; $1.50 reserved
7 December 2017
“Some of these days, when music grows to appreciation as a higher sort of universality than it is generally reckoned by money-making communities, we shall, doubtless, have a concert hall as good in its way as a church. There is no reason why it should not in time (as the Old World well knows) borrow the chaste beauty of art which now and then is usefully devoted to churches whose worshipers are in no danger of being distracted by the comfort of a proper architecture any more than by hearing a hymn well sung. Concert halls ought to be something more than their name implies, just as churches should be more than meeting houses; and we shall greet the day when an adventurous sentiment, taking shape in the mind of a number of wealthy connoisseurs, shall give us a Hall worthy, in the highest sense, to be called a temple of music. England and Germany have such halls; Boston and New-York have aimed respectably; but the meeting-house and the hall for public speakers still govern our notion of what a music temple should be. The architecture of the organ gives a hint of what sort of house it should live in; and the organ is generally the one grand object scenically out of place in most concert-halls. Playing on an organ in some of our barn-built churches seems preposterous; and unrolling the sonorous majesty of the grandest of musical orators for exhibition and audiences in a wareroom would seem equally inharmonic, harsh, and out of tune and place. Yet the average idea of a Music Hall is that of a wareroom of respectable size, where seats are provided for listeners, and standing room for performers. Waiting a Music Hall which shall fulfill our best ideas of what is due to the most pervading and religions of arts, we accept such a gift as the Messrs. Steinway have just made to the metropolis as at least the best step to comfort and accommodation which has yet been taken here in the erection of a public hall.
Three brilliant concerts thus far have given the public opportunity to test the inner value of the new hall. Outside it is a decided ornament, with no architectural ambition above the standard of what are called our first class structures, but advertising most handsomely on its marble front the liberal taste and wealth of its princely owners.
Two hearings of the best singers have almost satisfied every one that the building is a rare acoustic success, and this favorable opinion will undoubtedly be confirmed many times over when the structure has ceased to be altogether new, and the walls have dried and hardened. As to the capacity and actual accommodation of the hall there can be but one word of praise. No hall in the city will seat so many persons comfortably; and though at first judgment its two balconies have been objected to as questionably circumstanced, we think it will be found that no places in the house afford clearer acoustic enjoyment. In building their galleries the Messrs. Steinway appear to have carefully avoided the one great defect of the seats in the Academy of Music, which so often deprive a third of the listeners of a view of the stage. In every part of the Steinway Hall, even to the remotest seat of its large extension-room and galleries, an unobstructed view of the stage is unavoidable. We should be glad to see the organ placed in a deeper and further recess than one of the corners of the stage, which would not be too large for the amplitude of the musical objects to which the Hall might yet be devoted if the organ were removed. We shall have more to say of the Hall when it has been made cheerful by the costly embellishment which its owners design. Meanwhile, we are content in saying that it is practically the best Hall for concerts that the city now possesses.
The Bateman Concerts during the past week have proved a distinguished artistic success. It is the strongest company organized for concert purposes only that has visited America since Jenny Lind and her party. All the members are excellent artists, some of them of the highest rank. Mlle. Parepa is, in every respect, one of the most accomplished vocalists that ever graced our concert rooms. Her voice is of the noblest and purest quality, and in all the graces of the vocal art she presents a perfection but rarely achieved in our day. We look upon it as a privilege to listen to so thorough and admirable an artist. Brignoli, Mills and the other artists support her well, and their united efforts present an entertainment which should always command crowded audiences.”