3 December 2015
“A grand concert was last evening given at Steinway Hall for the benefit of the German Ladies’ Society for the Relief of Widows and Orphans. The charity being deserving of all assistance, and the programme embracing an excellent selection of vocal and instrumental music, the large auditorium was crowded. The most artistic feature of the bill was the violin performance of Mme. Camilla Urso, whose execution of a caprice by Vieuxtemps and one of Prume’s composition called forth most enthusiastic plaudits. Herr Bogumil Dawison, regardless of the time honored fashion adopted by readers who usually stand when reciting their excerpts, seated himself and read with great effect several passages from Julius Caesar.”
“Steinway Hall.—The concert in aid of the ‘German Ladies’ Society for Widows and Orphans,’ drew a fine audience to Steinway Hall last evening. The programme—to say nothing of the object—justified the result. It opened with a piece on the organ, (the Toccata in F, by Bach,) played superbly by Mr. Warren, who in every steady, solid and musician-like point of view is decidedly one of our best organists. The pedal passages were brought out with evenness, and the ensembles with effect. It is the first time we have heard the Steinway instrument to such advantage. After Mr. Warren came Mr. Steins, whose pure and beautiful baritone voice gave importance to Hackell’s insignificant legend of the ‘Deserter.’ He was encored, and sang a piece by Schubert. Mr. Wolfsohn played Liszt’s reminiscences of 'Norma' in the true spirit of virtuosity. But the work is disjointed, and needs much breadth of style in the player to make it acceptable. Mme. Frederici sang Schumann's ‘Fruhlingsnacht,’ and being encored, substituted Schubert's ‘Wanderer.’ We have seldom heard this beautiful composition given with more feeling and effect. Miss Camilla Urso succeeded Mme. Frederici, and played Vieuxtemp’s [sic] ‘Fantasie Caprice’ faultlessly. In clearness of execution, delicacy of phrasing, and certainty of culmination, we have no artist who can surpass this remarkable performer. Her success was, of course, most emphatic, and, let us add, most deserved. The first part of the programme terminated with a recitation by Mr. Bogumil Dawison, the celebrated actor. It was from Shakespeare, (‘Julius Caesar,’) and lengthy. The audience listened to it with respectful attention, but did not frantically demand its repetition. Recitations are a bore, under the most favorable circumstances. There seems to be a disposition in the present day to make them additionally distressful. Mme. Ristori and Mr. Dawison both assume the airs of private life when they come before the audience. They pass daintily to a chair, and then languidly read from a pamphlet. About the high-toned respectability of this there can be no doubt, but about its attractiveness there is likely to be a wide diversity of opinion. Mr. Dawison was dutifully applauded, and that is all.
The concert introduced the splendid chorus of the ‘Liederkrans [sic],’ and some artists to whom it is not necessary to refer.”
“More than 2000 people attended the event yesterday. The program was vast, almost too vast with the encores. Dawison’s appearance on stage was probably a significant magnet…
Noteworthy on the musical level was Wolfsohn’s performance of the challenging ‘Reminiscenzen’ [sic] by Liszt, the elegant playing of the violinist Camilla Urso, the solos of Steins and Friderici [sic] and the performance of the Liederkranz of Abt’s ‘Waldabendschein’.”
“An excellent concert, only too long. With short intermissions it lasted 3 full hours…Steins sang with a clear, full and sweet baritone voice with much understanding and taste. Wolfsohn played with brilliant virtuosity. Urso performed with flawless purity and tenderness and received enthusiastic applause.”
“The concert did very well economically and was also artistically one of the best ones organized by the German aid associations. However; the program was one third too long, which showed in the thinning out of the audience during the course of the concert. The opening was a long organ piece, which was skillfully and tastefully played by Warren. Steins ‘Deserteur’ was enthusiastically received and would have been even better, if he would have been more expressive in his presentation. Wolfsohn’s nervousness prevented him from doing Liszt’s work complete justice. This work requires a broad and magnificent presentation and the complete mastery of the technical difficulties. None of these were fulfilled by Wolfsohn. We are convinced that he will perform this piece much better next time. Urso’s performance was confident and attractive; however somewhat ‘hyper sentimental’. The Liederkranz sang the ‘Waldabendschein’ with taste and tenderness, and Kloss and Hennig played the Mendelssohn sonata satisfactorily; however, this piece was decidedly too long for the program….The acoustics of the venue proved again that every word was heard clearly and expressively even in the most distant corners, which was especially evident during Dawison’s monolog.”