Imágenes de páginas

Use a piano and not a reed organ, and if possible have your child begin lessons on the piano instead of the reed organ. It is next to imposible to make a fine pianist of one who has first learned on an organ, at least very difficult, but it requires but little practice to learn the reed organ after learning the piano.




Oh night! thou silence of the day,

Let thy darkness like a secret

Hide my heart from me.

For once again sweet violet

Brings fragrance of a memory—

(Ah, do I still regret?)

The dew-dimmed eyes are tears revealing,
Unto a dead past still appealing-

Soul of my heart let me forget

But stay-not yet-not yet.

Oh, night, thy moon-blanched clouds

White shadows of great happiness

That on my life path lay

When earth's brown bosom is flower bereft

Spring joys again. Ah, violet, thine eyes deep blue

Alas to me, beseecheth loves' eternity.

Soul of my heart, let me forget

But stay-not yet-not yet.



In looking back at the musical influences which pervaded society in the city of New York in the earlier part of the present century, there are some names worthy of special remembrance. Seventy-five years ago, Charles Gilbert deservedly held high rank as an orchestral leader, while P. K. Moran was the accepted favorite pianist and harpist of that day. Succeeding these appear the names of M. De Luce, E. Gillingham, William Taylor, William Penson and N. C. Hill, all of whom were popular orchestral leaders. Also appeared at about this time the name of William R. Bristow, the father of the subject of our present sketch, an English organist, pianist and orchestral solo clarinetist. The Euterpean Society of instrumentalists, with its full and well selected collection of the works of Handel, Vanhall, Haydn and Mozart, and the Handel and Haydn and Amateur Musical Fund Societies of vocalists shared in the public estimation pronounced upon their joint performances. Handel's "Messiah" and Haydn's "Creation" invariably drew good houses, while in concerts of less pretension, the overtures of Mozart were varied, and graced by the names of Dr. Calcott and Henry R. Bishop, whose glees were occasionally interspersed with the lovely Italian and English madrigals of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Sixty-five years ago Garcia and his incomparable daughter, the "Signorina," afterward Madame Malibran, burst upon the astonished Gothamites like brilliant musical meteors, as they were. Rossini's "Tancrel," "Otello" and “La Gazza Ladra" were then new, and the Garcias produced them with unbounded spirit and dramatic vigor, the father having been at this time a vocal preceptor and disciplinarian unexcelled in his line, and a paternal terror as well to his youthful prima donna, whom he had to chase from the kitchen to the garret to secure her daily exercise in the indispensable solfege preceding the rehearsal of the

operatic role. Later on came William Penson, a talented but nervous and excitable English musician, organist and violinist, under whose baton Rossini's "Cenerentola," Auber's Massaniello" and "Fra Diavolo," Von Weber's "Der Freitschutz," Bellini's "La Sonnambula," and Beethoven's "Leonora " were successfully brought out at the old Park theatre in the vernacular, "a language understanded of the people." Then appeared the arch soprano, Madame Austin, and the wonderful Mrs. Wood, whose bold and brilliant hero-husband's conception and ardent rendering of Elvino's music in "La Sonnambula" has, I think, never been excelled in New York. It could not well have been otherwise. With a form and face of perfect manly beauty, a tenor voice as clear and telling as Campanini's in his palmy days, and his betrothed Amina his own wife, nee Miss Paton, take my "Lady Lennox," irresistible in her voluptuous beauty, how could mortal man-we press the interrogative-how could a tenor so environed by lovely accessories escape without singing within an inch of his divinely musical life?

Two short seasons of Italian opera followed, one at Richmond Hill, on the west side, and the other at the National theatre, then near the centre of the city, under the management of the brothers Wallack, James W. and Henry, near which a favorite caterer and restaurateur, E. Windust, hung out his acceptable sign, "Nunquam non paratus," which could not be obliterated from the mind's eye of either actor or singer after the opera." Windust further reminded his customers in his clean and comfortable apartments, of the shortness of life by exhibiting in unmistakable English at his entrance door, a touching Shakespearean remark upon a steak or chop: "If 'twere done when 'tis done, then 'twere well 'twere done quickly."

Pedrotti, one of the most charming of Italian cantatrices, Fornasari, the handsomest baritone of his day, and a small but well drilled chorus, all under the control of an accomplished violinist and leader, Michael Rafetti, secured the attendance of New York's elite at Richmond Hill; and at the National, the Seguins, John Wilson and Miss Shirreff pro

duced W. M. Rooke's "Amilie," which ran fifty consecutive nights for the pleasure of a thousand lovers of joyous Alpine melody, varied with appropriate orchestral accompaniments and several sparkling choruses, one of which, "To the Mountain," I count fully equal to Gounod's soldiers' chorus in Faust."


Arriving at this point of time in reviewing the steady march of music in New York, we are met with 'reports of conferences on the desirability of securing an orchestra of larger numbers and of greater power to accompany in oratorios and in rendering the more elaborate symphonies and overtures of the great masters of classic music. Out of these conferences grew the establishment of the New York Philharmonic Society in 1842-3, formed of the instrumentalists of the Euterpean Society and other selected resident players, American, English, German, French and Italian, the whole under U. C. Hill, who, as a talented and highly esteemed pupil of Louis Spohr, and the American editor of his "Violin School," together with Hill's previous fifteen years experience as the conductor of the N. Y. Sacred Music Society, conferred upon him the distinction of having been the first acknowledged leader of the New York Philharmonic Society. Bristow, the elder, proud of his aristocratic antecedents, was now solo clarinetist in the Euterpean Society and in Mitchell's Olympic theatre, and filled also the position of organist and conductor of the music in St. Patrick's cathedral, in which he achieved an excellent reputation as a prompt and accurate player, as well as the composer of many original pieces in the Latin service. Bristow, the younger, after playing in the Olympic for five years, was now at the age of eighteen among the first violinists of the Philharmonic.

George Frederic Bristow, early trained in organ and in piano playing by his father and the late Henry C. Timm, in harmony, counterpoint and orchestral writing by Sir G. A MacFarren, and in violin playing by Messrs. Meyer, Ambrose, Musgriff and Ole Bull, was well qualified for his position as first violinist in this celebrated orchestra, and ultimately held the position for forty-five years, sharing

with Joseph Noll this honor in later years, through a gracious act of condescension on Bristow's part, confirmed by an enthusiastic viva voce vote of the entire membership of the society. The writer desires to add his personal tribute to the ever cheerful character of Joseph Noll as a man, and to his accurate, intense and telling playing on the violin. Although among many older players, it may be confidently claimed for the younger Bristow that he had already attained so complete mastery of orchestral resources that his first overture (op. 3), composed at the age of eighteen, won immediate recognition from the Philharmonic Society and its patrons, showed traces of his careful study and admiration of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Mendelssohn, like Beethoven's memories of his predecessors, Haydn and Mozart, and developed at the same time a grace and swing of its own-a remark, indeed, which may be accepted as one of the predominant characteristics of his music, and with his clearness of conception and independent treatment of details stamp him as the peer of any American musician who has as yet written. for the grand orchestra. "Style? C'est l'homme!"

A musician cannot consistently dismiss himself, or travel so far away from the accepted models which lie at the foundation of his style, as to be considered as belonging to no school whatsoever, without incurring the reproach of being labeled a veritable vagrant among classic musicians, fit only for the publishers of potpourris! This first concert overture of the youthful composer, as well as his first symphony in E flat (1845), both written for and performed by the Philharmonic Society, are early evidences of an intrinsic perception of the choicest subtle resources of the modern orchestra, and were received by his brother instrumentalists and conscientious critics as successful precursors of an enlarged fame at a later day. In 1848 the coup d'etat in France suggested to Horatio Stone, physician, sculptor and poet, the idea of a Hymn to Liberty. Jointly with Dr. Stone's stirring libretto of thirty numbers, Mr. G. H. Curtis added the music under the old Greek "" • Eleutheria synonym Bristow's orchestral arrangement of this work was


as a

simply marvelous as to quick appreciation of the libretto,

« AnteriorContinuar »