excerpt from 'Musical Reminiscences Past and Present' pp. 10 (320 words)

excerpt from 'Musical Reminiscences Past and Present' pp. 10 (320 words)

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Musical Reminiscences Past and Present

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On the afternoon of the same day I accompanied a friend to hear the usual weekly rehearsal of the members of the celebrated Berlin Singing Academy. It was a most interesting gathering of nearly eighty singers ; there seemed to be about twenty-four sopranos, twenty altos (all females), sixteen tenors, and sixteen basses. They were conducted by Professor Griel, Herr Blumner presiding at the piano. The programme included : —

1.       Choral (from a Motet), J.S. Bach

2.      “ Sancta Maria ”, Hellwig

3.      Motet, ending with Choral Der Hirte Israel”, J.S. Bach

4.Mass,“LobgesangamSchopfung’s Morgen ”, Reichard

The tone of the bass voices was remarkably good and sonorous, the lower notes, even as low as double D, being sung with perfect clearness of intonation ; but the other sections did not appear to me to equal corresponding voices of well trained choirs in our own country.

The discipline and order, however, of the whole affair cannot be too highly commended to the notice of similar societies at home. Members, as they entered the orchestra, first politely saluted the conductor, then the pianist, and quietly took their allotted seats, where their copies were found arranged in the order of practice. No talking or annoying noises were allowed in any part of the room during the perform­ance of a piece, and the few of the audience who happened to arrive late exhibited that respect, which all Germans seem to entertain, for the art, and showed their indisposition to mar the enjoyment of others by gently and cautiously moving on tip-toe as short a distance as possible. All the choir stood whilst singing, but whenever any part had several bars rest, those, whose voices were not needed sat down, and at a glance of the conductor’s eye, who was always ready to give the signal, rose en masse with military precision just before the commencement of their part.

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