excerpt from 'Letters of composers : an anthology, 1603-1945 / compiled and edited by Gertrude Norman and Miriam Lubell Shrifte.' pp. 95-96 (337 words)

excerpt from 'Letters of composers : an anthology, 1603-1945 / compiled and edited by Gertrude Norman and Miriam Lubell Shrifte.' pp. 95-96 (337 words)

part of

Letters of composers : an anthology, 1603-1945 / compiled and edited by Gertrude Norman and Miriam Lubell Shrifte.

original language

urn:iso:std:iso:639:ed-3:eng

in pages

95-96

type

text excerpt

encoded value

Yesterday they gave Tannhäuser for the third time and we had a full house again. The uproar aroused by the new Leipzig Musikzeitung attracted a lot of curious people here. Last night there was a lady in the loge next to my wife who kept telling her neighbours what she had read in that paper and she remarked that in this work Richard Wagner had created a completely new catastrophe in music. Others said: “This is no music at all,” and left after the second act. /But the opera has gained many admirers because of its subject matter and seriousness, and when I compare it with other productions of recent years, I admire it also. Much that was extremely offensive to me at the beginning I have already got used to after a few more hearings, but I’m always repelled by its lack of rhythm and well-rounded phrases. This production is really exceptionally good and we shall hear few so precise in Germany. Last night not a single note was omitted in the enormously difficult ensemble of singers in the second act. / Still, that doesn’t prevent its being really terrifying music in some parts, especially just before the part where Elizabeth throws herself on the singers rushing in on Tanhäuser. Imagine the faces Haydn and Mozart would make if they had to listen just once to the hellish noises that now pass for music!/ The intonation in the pilgrims’ choruses (but in this performance they were supported by clarinets and bassoons piano) was so pure that for the first time I felt somewhat reconciled to the farfetched and unnatural modulations. It is astonishing what the human ear can gradually get used to! After this experience I can understand how Mendelssohn, who was fed largely on Bach’s music from the time he was a boy, could write such harsh harmonies, in fact downright cacophony. But of course that’s nothing compared to what Schumann is doing.

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excerpt from 'Letters of composers : an anthology, 1603-1945 / compiled and edited by Gertrude Norman and Miriam Lubell Shrifte.' pp. 95-96 (337 words)

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