excerpt from 'Musical letters from abroad' pp. 63-4 (358 words)

excerpt from 'Musical letters from abroad' pp. 63-4 (358 words)

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Musical letters from Abroad

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The last Gewandhaus concert was one of peculiar interest. The band was in the most perfect order, and the programme was unusually attractive; though great variety of music, both with respect to authorship and character, is always presented to the patrons of this celebrated series of concerts. The Symphonie was by Mozart in Eb major; it is less noisy, flighty and diffuse than some more modem compositions, but not less intelligible or beautiful. The adagio is particularly melodious, elegant and attractive.

A scene and arie from “Orpheus,” by Gluck, followed. Gluck is a decided favorite here, and especially as a dramatic writer stands among the very first.

The third piece was a concerto for violin, by Beethoven, performed by Herr Concertmeister F. David. This concerto, worthy the reputation of its author, was finely rendered by the violinist, and received with a hearty applause. It is very long, but it does not tire for it is full of variety, and there is enough to admire, both in the principal and in the accompaniment. Two quite long cadenzas, composed by the performer, containing each an ingenious recapitulation of the thoughts, or rather allusion to the various figures of the movement in which the cadenza occurred, were introduced, with excellent taste and skill.

The second part of the concert consisted of “Die erste Walpurgisnacht,” a ballad by Goethe, set to music by Mendelssohn. A choir of about one hundred and fifty voices sang the choruses (and there is much chorus in the piece) with admirable promptness and energy. The music is difficult, both for vocalists and instrumentalists; it is one of Mendelssohn’s strong pieces, and is full of his peculiar harmonies. It is mostly very loud, with an abundance of instruments of noise, and extra double drums for earthquake, volcano, and thunder; though there is most acceptable relief in occasional piano passages. Although Mendelssohn does not belong to the noisy school, yet he has shown in the Walpurgisnacht, that if he had chosen to do so he might have cast quite into the shade, or thundered out of existence, all the Verdis of modern times.

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excerpt from 'Musical letters from abroad' pp. 63-4 (358 words)


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