George W. Colby
Price: $1, 1.50 orchestra seats
11 November 2017
“The distinguished prima donna, whose interpretation of the ill fated priestess and lover and Phaon will ever be cherished in the memory of those who saw and heard her in that great rôle, gave her second and last matinee yesterday. The audience was mainly composed of ladies, and was much larger than at the first matinee. Mr. Alfred Pease opened the proceedings by playing Liszt’s piano transcription of the Tannhauser March. It seems as if most of our pianists and orchestral directors have Liszt on the brain this season, for wherever we turn, his wild extravagances and impetuous, insane compositions assail our ears. Now, a word of advice to pianists. Many of them possessing a great deal of merit have been retarded if not ruined by this Liszt mania. There are hundreds of other composers representing every legitimate school who are far more intelligent, more enjoyable, and less difficult. Why then should they torture themselves and their hearers in attempting what may be termed an impossibility, namely, endeavoring to interpret Liszt? We say interpret, for it is a mistake to imagine that technique alone is necessary to play his compositions. Many of our young artists can give the nominal value of every note set down before them, yet but one out of a thousand can give its emotional value. It is a very different thing to hear Liszt himself and to hear one of his interpreters. Mr. Pease was no exception to the general rule. His own compositions, Crispino and Faust, for two pianos, which he played excellently with Mr. G. W. Colby, were more successful. Both duos, especially the Crispino, are neatly and prettily worked up, and although displaying little depth or originality of method are still enjoyable. Madame Gazzaniga sang Schubert’s Ave Maria, a faultless hymn of supplication and holy tenderness, with unadorned feeling and taste. In Donizetti’s L’Addio duet her voice blended admirably with the fine contralto of Miss Phillips. She repeated Therese’s chanson to On y va and was deservedly applauded for it. It was a great mistake, however, for her to sing the Orange Girl’s song, as the costume, action and style of singing necessary for it were entirely unsuited for her. Miss Phillips sang a laughing song by Bendelari with archness and vivacity. She was not as good in the cavaliere from the Huguenots. Signor Anastasi should pay more attention to singing in tune, as the want of this indispensable quality mars the effect of his splendid tenor voice. His voice is one of rare quality and purity of tone, and with the removal of this one defect it would be difficult to find its equal.”
“The last matinee of this excellent artist yesterday was very largely attended, and the performance, sustained by herself, Miss Adelaide Phillips, Signor Anastasi, Mr. Alfred H. Pease, and Mr. Colby gave most general satisfaction, many of the selections being very warmly encored.”
“Wednesday, the musical matinée of Mme Gazzaniga, at Wallack’s, attracted a large and elegant crowd. Mme Gazzaniga sang four pieces, the Ave Maria of Schuberth [sic], an aria from La Corbeille d’Oranges, a duet from La Favorite with Mme Phillips and a French chansonette [On y va] that she had already sung at the preceding concert. In these pieces, so different in genre and style, Mme Gazzaniga was at the height of her great fame. She sang the sweet melody of the Ave Maria with exquisite art, and the aria from La Corbeille with unmatched vivacity. Mme Gazzaniga sang this last piece in an enchanting Spanish costume, which didn’t harm her success; it’s an excellent idea to stir up a concert a bit and to break up its constrained monotony.
We didn’t like Bendelari’s aria that Mme Phillips repeated; we would have preferred the piece from Les Huguenots that she had sung previously.
M. Anastasi is gifted by nature with a charming and congenial voice, but he mustn’t think that he doesn’t have to work. In sum, the concert was a complete success, and it’s regrettable that it’s the last one.”
Although Gazzaniga’s prime time as a singer is over, she is still a fine artist. We are convinced that she will be successful on her tour through the United States. Miss Phillips is a fine singer as well, and Anastasi deserves to leave concerts behind and rise up on the success ladder.