Chamber Concerts

1887 The Musical Times and Singing Class Circular  
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more » ... distant date. Another interesting feature of the Concert was the first performance of a new setting, for eight voices, of Milton's Ode " At a solemn music," by Dr. Hubert Parry. This is a fine and scholarly piece of writing, full of excellent counterpoint, but always clear, broad, and dignified. As usual with this composer, the general style of the music reflects that of Brahms-but in this instance it is Brahms in his more genial mood. The Ode was rendered with enthusiasm, the call for the composer being more than usually hearty. Bach was represented by his familiar Orchestral Suite in D and the lovely tenor air with chorus, "With Jesus I will watch and pray," from the " St. Matthew Passion Music." Mr. Lloyd rendered full justice to this, and also to the tenor solo in the Te Deum. MR. HENRY LESLIE'S CHOIR. To speak frankly on a disagreeable point is sometimes a duty, and after the Concert of the above-named organisation on April 27, at St. James's Hall, there seems to have been a general concensus of opinion that the time had arrived for drawing attention in plain terms to the deterioration of a once justly-famed body of singers. For some time past we have gently hinted at the advisability of reforms, but our warnings have passed unheeded. The public, however, is now taking the matter up in an unpleasant way, for despite the attractiveness of such artists as Madame Albani, Mr. Lloyd, Mr. Santley, and Mr. Schonberger, there was by no means a full room at the second Concert this season. A few years ago such a programme would have drawn an immense audience. The choir was heard in some of the most popular items of its repertory, including Wesley's fine Motett for double choir " In exitu Israel," Pearsall's clever Ballad in ten reai parts, " Sir Patrick Spens "; Gounod's " Ave Verum," and Mr. Leslie's beautiful prize Madrigal, " Thine eyes so briht." That the public is not tiring of this class of music was evinced by the applause and encores. But it was impossible to close one's ears to the fact that the tone was thin and harsh, the pitch constantly drooping, and even the attack less certain than it used to be. The weeding out of veterans, and the infusion of a hundred or so fresh and youthful voices would soon mend matters and restore popular confidence. Why this should not be done at once it is hard to say. Concerning the eSorts of the solo performers at this Concert little need be said. Mr. Schonberger gave a characteristic rendering of Schumann's Fantasia in C (Op. I7), and various smaller pieces and the vocalists were heard in a number of familiar selections. PRINCE OF WALES'S THEATRE. VAULTING ambition, if it does not o'erleap itself, is generally to be commended. It is certainly not for us to blame the company of the above-named theatre for endeavouring to accomplish something in a higher sphere of art than comic opera, though whether the public would ever be induced to attend Concerts in theatres, as they do abroad, is open to question. Again, if the object of starting musical afternoons be to present " English works which might otherwise not obtain a hearing," why did the first choice fall upon Mr. Alfred Cellier's Leeds Cantata " Gray's Elegy " 7 Though inadequate to its subject, the work is so easy and melodious, that it is exactly suited to the needs of small choral societies, and is not likely to be neglected by them. For its performance on the IIth ult. the theatre orchestra was slightly increased, but no additions were made to the chorus, and the balance of parts was therefore extremely odd at times. The choristers sang with a good deal of earnestness, but the lack of refinement was not surprising. With the exception of Miss Marian Ellis, an efficient contralto, the principals Miss Marie Tempest Mr. Ben Davies, and Mr. Hayden Coffin-were memlers of the " Dorothy " Company, and they acquitted themselves very well. Mr. Cellier conducted, and the performance was warmly received by a fair audience. A lengthy and heterogeneous second part followed, in xvhich Mendelssohn's G minor Concerto, played by Mr. Cor de Las, was associated with some shop ballads and other trivialities. may be justly proud, and we shall be surprised if the Te Deum is not repeated at no distant date. Another interesting feature of the Concert was the first performance of a new setting, for eight voices, of Milton's Ode " At a solemn music," by Dr. Hubert Parry. This is a fine and scholarly piece of writing, full of excellent counterpoint, but always clear, broad, and dignified. As usual with this composer, the general style of the music reflects that of Brahms-but in this instance it is Brahms in his more genial mood. The Ode was rendered with enthusiasm, the call for the composer being more than usually hearty. Bach was represented by his familiar Orchestral Suite in D and the lovely tenor air with chorus, "With Jesus I will watch and pray," from the " St. Matthew Passion Music." Mr. Lloyd rendered full justice to this, and also to the tenor solo in the Te Deum.
doi:10.2307/3359642 fatcat:e4kellir4ra3nhnlvyidlcwy5m