excerpt from 'Musical letters from abroad' pp. 40 (420 words)

excerpt from 'Musical letters from abroad' pp. 40 (420 words)

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Musical letters from Abroad

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This Concert was particularly attractive to the musical people of Leipzig, from the fact that the singer was Mad. Sontag, by marriage the Countess Rossi. The weather was unfavorable, being rainy, and the streets were muddy. I took my place at the door of the Gewandhaus at half-past four, where the people were then gathering. By five, when the outer door was opened, a multitude had assembled, and immediately rushed into the house, filling the long stairway and entry. Here was another interval of waiting, until half-past five, when the door of the hall was opened, and the room was immediately filled. We had now to wait another hour, or until half-past six; when the performance commenced with a Symphonie, by Joseph Hadyn in C, very light, playful, and pleasing, but lacking the depth of a Beethoven or a Mendelssohn. It is so easy a composition, that it seemed to be quite children’s play for the orchestra, who yet rendered it in the most perfect manner possible. This was followed by an Arie from “Rinaldo” by Handel; a most charming song indeed, and as charmingly sung by Mad. Sontag. Of Mad. Sontag’s singing, I dare not speak now. I will only say that no one can have a more perfect execution; but to say in what her excellence consists, as a singer, or what are the peculiarities of her style, must not now be attempted.

The third piece was “Romanze for the Violin,” by Beethoven; performed by Herr Concertmeister, Ferdinand David. This is the David whose compositions for the violin are so well known, and whose reputation as a player is so extensive. Mad. Sontag then sang "Bel raggio lusinghier," from Rossini’s Semiramide, a song requiring the greatest powers of vocalization; this was perfectly given by the inimitable artist.

The second part consisted of the Overture and a long scene from Gluck’s famous “Iphigenie in Tauride;" the principal vocal part being that of Iphigenie by Mad. Sontag. Gluck has not been heard with us, but he ranks in the very first class of composers here. The overture is a magnificent concert piece, and it was performed by this fine orchestra with wonderful precision and effect. Beethoven’s Overture to Egmont closed the musical entertainments of the evening, and well repaid one for his Two Thalers, (cost of a ticket,) and for all the previous waiting, wetting, and crowding necessary to secure a place to stand up.

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excerpt from 'Musical letters from abroad' pp. 40 (420 words)


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