excerpt from 'Musical letters from abroad' pp. 101 (365 words)

excerpt from 'Musical letters from abroad' pp. 101 (365 words)

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Musical letters from Abroad

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The “Tod Jesu” was performed on Wednesday by a choir and orchestra under the direction of Julius Schneider, in the Garnisonkirche; and on the Friday following by the “Sing Academie” of Berlin, in their beautiful Hall. It was well done on both occasions, but was much the most effective in the “Sing Academie.” The choir was in excellent order, and consisted of about two hundred vocalists; the solo singing, though not by great artists, was all in good style and keeping, and the orchestra were fully adequate to the work they had to do. The recitatives were accompanied by the pianoforte, and the songs and choruses by the orchestra. There was no organ on either occasion, and I find that it is not common to unite the organ with a choir performance. If an orchestra play an overture, they are not supposed to need the support of an organ, and if a choir sing a vocal motette, they are supposed to be able to sing it independent of instrumental aid; so that the organ is seldom heard, except when it is telling its own story, or sustaining and leading along the great congregation in the choral songs.

Every seat was occupied; indeed it was necessary to secure tickets a day or two previous to the performance. The king was there, and both the sovereign and the people seemed to enter into the spirit of the music. The house was perfectly still, and there was not the slightest indication of applause; not because the music was not well executed, but because the usual method of manifesting approbation seemed to be inappropriate to the solemn state of feeling existing. It seemed indeed to be an occasion of deep solemnity ; all the members of the choir, male and female, were dressed in black, so that an appeal was made, through the eye as well as the ear, to the religious sympathies in view of the sufferings of the Son of God. I shall not attempt any analysis of the “Tod Jesu.” With the exception of one chorus, and Luther’s chorale, it is, I believe, quite unknown in America[…]

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excerpt from 'Musical letters from abroad' pp. 101 (365 words)


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