excerpt from 'Recent Music and Musicians' pp. 82-83 (469 words)

excerpt from 'Recent Music and Musicians' pp. 82-83 (469 words)

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Recent Music and Musicians

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On the 18th of May, we both assisted Braham in quite an original fashion: it was his annual benefit (at Covent Garden Theatre), and he, the most popular of English singers, used always on this occasion to please the 'gods' by singing sailors' songs, so we had to endure a similar state of things tonight. Madame Vestris, the popular singer, who appeared in the operetta 'The Slave,' found willing listeners among the occupants of the galleries, who ruled the house, and were delighted with such nursery ditties as 'Goosie Goosie Gander.' [...] So far so well, but Braham had calculated without his host in setting before such an audience as this good music for the second part of the concert, which he called 'Apollo's Festival,' and which, after the poor stuff that had been played and sung, began with the overture to the 'Ruler of the Spirits.' I'm sure I don't know, but the screams and hubbub in the gallery while the overture was played, without a note being heard from beginning to end, made my blood boil; in a state of high indignation, I sat down to my piano on the stage, and gave a sign to the band beneath me to begin my 'Recollections of Ireland.' At the opening bar of the introduction, the roughs in the gallery made themselves heard by whistling, hissing, shouting, and calling out 'Are you comfortable, Jack ?' accompanying the question with volleys of orange peel. I heard the alternate crescendos and decrescendos; and fancied that in this chaos all the elements had been let loose, and would overpower me; but, thank heaven, they did not, for in this new and unexpected situation I resolved not to come to any sudden stoppage, but to show the better part of my audience at I was ready to fulfil my engagement, I stooped down to the leading violinist, and said, 'I shall continue to move my hands on the keyboard, as though really playing. Make your band pretend to be playing also; after a short time I will give you a signal and we will leave off together.' No sooner said than done. On making my bow as I retired, I was overwhelmed with a hurricane of applause. The gods cheered me, being glad to get rid of me. Next came Miss Paton, with a scena for the concert room. She met with a similar fate. Three times she stopped singing, but came forward again, in answer to the calls of the well-behaved portion of the audience, who shouted 'silence.' At last the poor lady went away, burst into tears, and gave it up. Thunders of applause followed her exit, and when common ballads and songs began afresh, the gods were once more all attention and good behavior.

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excerpt from 'Recent Music and Musicians' pp. 82-83 (469 words)


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