Fourth Philharmonic Society Concert
London: New Argyll Rooms—Time: Evening, Eight o’Clock
Subscription Concert: 4 Guineas
|Symphony No.1 in E flat major||Spohr|
|From Tancredi: Duet, ‘Ah! se de’ mali miei’||Miss Bacon, Signor Curioni||Rossini|
|Quartet for two Violins, Viola, Violoncello||Messrs. F. Cramer, Griesbach, Lindley Moralt,||Mozart|
|From Ariodante: Aria, ‘E fia ver’||Mme Schütz||Méhul|
|Symphony No.98 in B flat major||Haydn|
|From Le nozze di Figaro: Aria, ‘Dove sono’||Miss Bacon||Mozart|
|Piano Concerto No.4 in E major||Mr. Moscheles||Moscheles|
|From Mosè in Egitto||Mme Schütz, Signor Curioni||Rossini|
|Duet, ‘Ah! Se puoi cosi lasciarmi’|
|Principal Vocalists: Miss Bacon, Mme Schütz; Signor Curioni|
|Principal Instrumentalists: Messrs. F. Cramer, Griesbach, Lindley, Moralt, Moscheles|
|Leader: Mr. Nicolas Mori; Conductor: Sir George Smart|
 The Symphony was advertised as Symphony No. 4. According to the reviews the symphony performed was in B flat major. The Harmonicon gives the opening of the symphony which corresponds to No.98.
Salary: £10.10 for one performance.
[GB-Lbl RPS MS 299, f16 v.]
Philharmonic Society Programme
UNDER THE IMMEDIATE PATRONAGE OF
FOURTH CONCERT, MONDAY, APRIL 14, 1828.
|Sinfonia in E flat – – – – –||Spohr.|
|Duetto, “Ah se de’ mali,” Miss BACON and Signor CURIONI (Tancredi)||Rossini.|
|Quartetto, two Violins, Viola, and Violoncello, Messrs. F. CRAMER,|
|GRIESBACH, MORALT, and LINDLEY – – –||Mozart.|
|Aria, Madame SCHUTZ, “E fi aver” (Ariodante) – –||Mehul.|
|Overture, Leonora – – – – –||Beethoven.|
|Sinfonia, No. 4 – – – – –||Haydn.|
|Aria, Miss BACON, “Dove sono” (Le Nozze di Figaro) – –||Mozart.|
|Concerto in E, Piano Forte, Mr MOSCHELES – – –||Moscheles.|
|Duetto, “Ah se puoi,” Madame SCHUTZ, and Signor CURIONI (Mosè|
|in Egitto) – – – – – –||Rossini.|
|Overture, Jubilee – – – – –||C.M.von. Weber|
|Leader, Mr MORI.—Conductor, Sir GEORGE SMART.|
To commence at Eight o’Clock precisely.
The subscribers are most earnestly entreated to observe, that the Tickets are not transferable,
and that any violation of this rule will incur a total forfeiture of the subscription.
It is requested that the Coachmen may be directed to set down and take up with their
horses’ heads towards Piccadilly.
The next Concert will be on Monday, April 28th.The door in Little Argyll-street will be open after the Concert for the egress of the Company
The Morning Post (April 16, 1828): 3.
The Fourth Philharmonic Concert took place on Monday last, at the Argyll Rooms.
The two Sinfonias were SPOHR’S in E flat, and HAYDN’S in B flat.—SPOHR’S Sinfonia opens with a splendid Adagio, and is succeeded by an elegant movement in three-eight time, which forms a striking contrast to the majestic introduction. The Adagio in A flat is a complete strain of flowing melody, most dexterously worked. The subject consists of eight bars for the Violincellos and afterwards treated with a rich accompaniment for the Violins, &c. The Minuets and last Allegro are too long, and for want of relief produce ennuit. The only objection to SPOHR’S Music is that he fails in his motivos occasionally, and like a great Contrapuntist he works his subjects much too often. The resources of art are endless, and to prevent monotony, the composer should occasionally quit his original motivo, like the great masters, HAYDN, MOZART, and BEETHOVEN. A similar objection may be made to the instrumental music of the old school. The three classical masters alluded to generally introduce a fugue on the original motivo, and, after a few inversions and contrivances, forsake the fettered path and lead into the less rigid style of writing; whereas the old masters make, a fugue the substance of their compositions, and until the movement is finished the same style never varies.
SPOHR, as a great harmonist and Contrapuntist, yields to none of the living composers, and as a dramatic writer he ranks superior to any of the present German authors. The Opera of Faust has stamped his fame both far and near, and when it becomes more generally known in this country, SPOHR will be esteemed mora equal to his merits. Independently of his compositions, his talents as a Violin player are equally renowned; and he may justly be considered unrivalled, as a practical and theoretical musician. His treatment of the Trombones, Horns, and Trumpets in the above Sinfonia is almost beyond the capacity of our players, and were they to modify and subdue their tone in a more delicate manner, the effect would be materially enhanced. The audience testified their approbation by continued applause, and we may venture to say, that to play SPOHR’s music well is a test which no other orchestra in England dare challenge.
HAYDN’S No. 4 in B flat, like all of the same set, was written at a moment when invention knew no bounds—melody no restraint—and harmony always prepared most suitably to the subject.
Our observations relative to Fugues, &c. may be exemplified in reference to the second part of the first Allegro of HAYDN’S 4th Sinfonia, where the subject is admirably fugued. The same treatment may he found in the last movement of HAYDN’S No. 5 in C. minor. The Pianoforte accompaniment to the last few bars of the above Sinfonia in B flat produces a brilliant and pleasing effect, and was correctly played by the Conductor. BEETHOVEN’S Overture, “Leonora,” differs in style from all his others. The dramatic character throughout is highly illustrative of the Poem. The Trumpet Solo (which is played behind the scenes in the Theatre) is succeeded by a few bars so truly à la BEETHOVEN, and so precious of itself, that, whatever excess his imagination may occasionally lead to, such morceaux fully compensate the patient admirer, and are paramount to every possible objection. The effect of the basses moving in unison in the Adagio, and descending a fifth from F, and the chord becoming full pianissimo, is such as many fail to imitate with the employment of less simple means. There are passages for the flute and violins not very comfortably situated for either instrument, yet were performed in a masterly manner.
WEBER’S Overture, “Jubilee,” was not so correctly played as we have heard it. The Concert having exceeded its usual length, there was a general move at the commencement of this Overture, and the confusion and noise of the crowd did not add to the good effect of the performance. The military accompaniments to “God save the King,” which terminates this Overture, were unmercifully loud and offensive, and unless these instruments are more subdued we would restrict their use to St. James’s Park.
MOZART’S Quartetto in A was well played by Messrs. F. CRAMER, GRIESBACH, MORALT, and LINDLEY.
We are still of opinion that a Philharmonic Concert is not the place to enjoy a Quartetto; we candidly confess that we were pleased both with the performance and music; but there was many a languishing soul enquiring when it would be finished at the end of the Andante.
MOSCHELES, in a Concerto on the pianoforte, astonished the audience by his wonderful rapidity and delicacy of execution. His style of playing difficulties with such exact precision in both hands, is almost incredible.
Madame SCHUTZ made a most successful debut at the above Concert in a Scena, from MEHUL’s Ariodante, “E fia ver.”— In her recitativo singing she leaves the audience no longer in doubt as to her talents, and it is discovered at once that she feels the language she gives utterance to. In the lower notes of her voice and also in her tremula, she not unfrequently reminds us of CATALANI. We have always entertained the highest opinion of this Lady’s powers as a Dramatic Singer, since we witnessed her performance in the sublime Finale to the first Act of Clemenza di Tito. She was most flatteringly applauded and deservedly so, after singing the above “Scena.” In a duetto from Moze in Egitto, she was not so successful. Her intonation is correct, but her voice fails in power in the figurative passages of ROSSINI. The Opera Sevia is undoubtedly her forte, and she has an abundant choice of compositions for such an extensive compass of voice, which is not a contr’alto, as erroneously stated in some Journals, but a decided soprano, the lower notes of which are remarkably rich and powerful.
Want of space prevents our making any further observations, than that the Concert was altogether a fine performance; and had the movements in the Quartetto and SPOHR’S Sinfonia not been repeated, it would have terminated at the usual hour. MORI, as Leader, had no sinecure, and he acquitted himself most satisfactorily. He appears conscious of what is necessary to make a band keep together, and in support of his mode of leading we must say, that it is the eye, and not so much the ear, that is directed towards the Leader, and that the motion of the bow is preferable to the stamping of the foot. Sir GEO. SMART presided at the Piano-forte. The situation of some of the Violincello players, with their backs turned towards the Leader, does not appear altogether comme il faut.
The Athenæum (April 18, 1828): 396.
ON Monday last, the fourth Concert of this Society, led by Mori, and conducted by Sir George Smart, proved as great a treat to the dilettanti as any of the preceding, and was as usual elegantly attended, and excellently performed. To our infinite satisfaction, the performance commenced with Spohr’s Grand Sinfonia in E flat, op. 22, which was first performed in this country, under the excellent leading of the author himself, on the 19th of June, 1820. It is of unparalleled beauty and extreme difficulty, especially for the wind instruments; and Spohr asserted, the morning after its rehearsal, that the Philharmonic Orchestra had presented the best specimen of sight-playing, he had ever experienced. We enjoyed, at about the same period, the singular good fortune of witnessing Spohr’s excellent performance of his own quartettos, (accompanied by Watts, Challoner, and Lindley,) to the Duke of Sussex, at the Duke of Hamilton’s, and also at Clarence House, to the Dukes of Clarence, Sussex, Gloucester, and several other branches of royalty; when his calm and dignified demeanour strikingly accorded with the style of his very delightful composition and performance. But, to return to his Sinfonia, after the introductory Adagio in common time, the succeeding melodious and harmonious second movement in 2-4 time, has we think never been excelled; and the subsequent Larghetto in A flat 2-4 time, commencing with a solo by the matchless Lindley, is almost unequalled in elegance and taste. The last movement in common time, was occasionally rather military in effect, and the obbligato points were beautifully led by Willman, assisted by all the other wind instruments. Spohr’s enharmonic transitions in the principal movements, were effected with more quickness, clearness, and ingenuity, than in any composition we have a remembrance of; and the whole performance afforded, to every true lover of the science an unmixed and singular delight, although the general audience did not participate to the extent that might have been expected, owing probably to an absence of the astounding clamour, characterises too many of the popular Sinfonias and Overtures of the day.
No. 2.—Rossini’s Duetto from Tancredi, ‘Ah se de mali miei,’ was sung by Miss Bacon and Signor Curioni, the Signor performing a little out of tune, and much out of time; this latter fault arising (as it generally does) out of a very reprehensible and ridiculous affectation of style. Miss Bacon did better; she has a good and powerful voice, but frequently, for the purpose of exhibiting it, sings too loud to be agree able to the auditor, or just to herself. This young lady has been written up too much; she peruses these writings, until she imagines herself the star described, and demeans herself accordingly. If, however, she will follow the example of a Stephens and a Caradori, she will, doubtless, like them, become an ornament to her profession.
No. 3.—Mozart’s fifth Quartetto in A (dedicated to Haydn) for two violins, viola, and violoncello, Messrs. F. Cramer, Griesbach, Moralt, and Lindley, was of a merciless length, and of too tame and unpretending a nature for a Concert-room:—if extraordinary and unceasing gesture be comely and pleasing in a violinist, then was this performance remarkably graceful.
No. 4, exhibited the principal novelty of the evening, in the performance of a very fine scena of Mehul’s ‘E fia ver,’ from Arisdante [sic], by Madame Schutz. Her on commencing note of the recitativo (F natural in the first space) struck us as sepulchral, and indifferently toned; but her subsequent passages were given with considerable propriety, judgment, taste, and feeling; and, in the spirited parts, her execution was clever, and the whole excellently in tune. The Aria (Andante poco Adagio, in D, 2 4) commencing with a pleasing horn solo, was admirable; as was also the military Allegro which followed. Madame Schutz sang well down to G sharp, and A below the stave, and up to the B above it, in her animated cadenza, exhibiting a tone that elicited applause from all her experienced auditors. In the performance of this grand, song, we might notice, as remarkable, the fewness of the stringed instruments (out of so clever and efficient a body) that were employed in the accompaniments, arising from a want of a sufficient number of copies of the music. It will scarcely be credited, that, out of twenty-nine violins, only five were employed; (there being fourteen firsts, and the same number of seconds; requiring, of course, seven copies on each side, independently of the leader;) out of eight tenors, only two; and a similar number of basses. In such a Concert as the Philharmonic, no singer should be allowed to perform a song without the most perfect accompaniment.
The fifth piece, concluding the Act, was Beethoven’s striking and noisy Overture to Leonora, which gave the orchestra so much trouble at the trial night, March 3d last: it went off exceedingly well, and the lovers of noise were delighted.
The second part commenced with Haydn’s excellent Sinfonia, No. 4, in B flat, which is too well known to require comment. But when we speak of No. 4, it might, perhaps, be necessary to inform our general
readers, that Haydn, in the year 1791, came to England, (then at the age of fifty-nine,) to conduct some concerts for Salomon; and, for this occasion, he composed twelve Grand Sinfonias, which have deservedly held a high rank for nearly forty years. One of these compositions is generally performed at each Philharmonic Concert; and, although now much hackneyed, they appear to be always pleasing. At the period we refer to, when Haydn produced these pieces periodically, he was requested to write a solo for himself, as well as for all the other instruments, which, in this fourth Sinfonia, he has done, in the last movement for the piano-forte, and to which, on Monday last, Sir G. Smart did ample justice. In the same movement he also inserted some obbligato violin passages for Salomon, which Mori played with his usual good tone and manner; but as affectedly out of time as Curioni’s part in the duet.
No. 7, Aria, Miss Bacon, ‘Dove sono,’ from Mozart’s ‘Le Nozze de Figaro.’ This was satisfactorily performed, except in two or three instances, when an attempt was made at a new reading, which failed; and the transposition of this j song from C to B flat, was highly reprehensible; it met with but very limited applause, though, perhaps, to the full as much as it deserved.
No. 8, Moschèlles’* magnificent Concerto in E, op. 64, was admirably performed by himself, but occupied rather too long a period, full thirty-one minutes; both as a performer and writer he deserved, and received, enthusiastic applause. The Adagio, (in G common time,) commences with solos for horns and tenors, upon a passage precisely resembling the well-known air, ‘Sul margine,’and was admirably performed; after which, a beautiful capriccio introduces the old English ‘Grenadier’s March,’ as a rondo; and even a tune to which so many vulgar and common-place associations are inevitably allied, was rendered interesting by the striking and well-marked character imparted to it.
The ninth piece was Rosini’s [sic] justly admired Duetto, ‘Ah se puoi,’ from his ‘Mosé in Egitto,’ sung by Madame Schutz and Signor Curioni; but the performance and composition were considerably deteriorated by transposing it from A to G; this, we must add, was solely to accommodate the lady, and contrary to the wish of Curioni and the directors. In the Philharmonic Society, it ought to be an invariable rule, a fixed order, that singers should by no means be suffered to alter the original key of any piece, for, generally, the essence and spirit evaporates in the transposition; neither should they be allowed to perform hackneyed dramatic pieces, however excellent, as in three examples out of the four vocal performances of the evening at present noticed.
The concert concluded with Weber’s Overture, which he denominated ‘The Jubilee,’ (because written, we believe, at the commencement of the Peace.) It finishes with ‘God save the King,’ thundered out by the whole orchestra at the ‘top of their bent,’ assisted also by cymbals, triangles, and all other martial instruments; therefore, the admirers of noise enjoyed a second treat, while the more quiet sought their servants and carriages.
Mademoiselle Sontag witnessed the Concert from one of the boxes in the highest tier, and emphatically assured Sir George Smart, between the acts, that she had never before heard so fine an orchestra.
* It is said, that the central syllable chell, did not originally form part of this gentleman’s name, but was introduced under an impression that it would have appeared as singular for Moses to have performed a piano forte concerto, as for A Braham to have sung a song,—an event which would have happened without a similar addition,
The Atlas (April 20, 1828): 251-252.
Philharmonic Society. Fourth Concert. Monday, April 14.
ACT I.—Sinfonia in E flat—SPOHR. Duetto, “Ah se de’ mali,” Miss BACON and Signor CURIONI (Tancredi)—ROSSINI. Quartetto, two Violins, Viola, and Violoncello, Messrs. F. CRAMER, GRIESBACH, MORALT, and LINDLEY—MOZART. Aria, Madame SCHUTZ, “E fia ver” (Ariodante)—MEHUL. OVERTURE, Leonora—BEETHOVEN.
ACT II.—Sinfonia, No. 4.—HAYDN. Aria, Miss BACON, “Dove sono” (Le Nozze di Figaro)—MOZART. Concerto in E, Pianoforte, Mr. MOSCHELES—MOSCHELES Duetto, “Ah se puoi,” Madame SCHUTZ, and Signor CURIONI (Mosè in Egitto)—ROSSINI. Overture, Jubilee—C. M. von WEBER.
Leader, Mr. MORI.—Conductor, Sir GEORGE SMART.
THE pleasures of this concert were chequered with pains: if we were elated during the sinfonia of SPOHR, we desponded in proportion over the duet from Tancredi, which, with the exception of that in the second act from the Mosè in Egitto, was as wretched stuff as we ever heard. The introductory adagio and first movement of SPOHR’S sinfonia in E flat are constructed on the model of MOZART’S in the same key; the andante leads off with the violoncellos in the BEETHOVEN taste; the minuet and trio, with the unexpected change to common time, are like the same author; but the finale, which is elegant and melodious rather than spirited in its characters, is purely an original design of the composer. SPOHR has tried all the great styles of music, and succeeded to an eminent degree in each of them; but we think he manifests an especial aptitude for the sinfonia. His thoughts have great dignity—he keeps his subject always in sight—has great ingenuity in the closeness of his imitations, combines well, and has an inexhaustible flow of melody, his greatest defect is, that he aberrates [sic] a little too often and too long from his key. Since the overture to the Zauberflote we do not remember hearing three trombones so effectively disposed in any instrumental piece as in this sinfonia—instead of being used merely to fill up, they form integral and important parts of the score. The reception of Miss BACON, on Monday night, was not flattering; but we would have forborne animadversion upon her first appearance at these concerts, had she not assured us of radical defects in her taste by her manner of singing MOZART’S air, “Dove sono,”in the second act. It was transposed into B flat from the original key to accommodate the lady who, moreover, in improving the melody, transposed the sentiment of the music from feeling to affectation. MOZART’S quartetto in A was very nicely played by Mr. F. CRAMER; particularly the slow movement. It is, however, to our taste the least agreeable instrumental composition of the author—for once we thought MOZART’S invention appeared stagnant. We must say, in justice to Mr. FRANCIS CRAMER, that he always displays good taste in selecting from classical works, and appears to thank more of the music than of his own skill in performing it. The air selected by Madame SCHUTZ was a favourable specimen of MEHUL’S style—but we dislike the artificial tremulousness which this lady gives her voice. It is almost incredible, but still true, that the defects of the fashionable singers of the day are studiously emulated by all young aspirants to favour. To acquire the lisp of Miss STEPHENS was formerly a grand desideratum with every new actress and singer; huskiness and other un pleasing varieties of deformity are now in cogue. In process of time good round tones will come up again. BEETHOVEN’S overture to Leonora was finely played; but as a composition it is very wild, and undeterminate [sic] with respect to key. There are some spirited and effective passages in it to be noticed here and there. The pieces in the first act of this concert were rather injudiciously long; and it be came deep in the night before the second act commenced. HAYDN’S sinfonia, No. 4, in B flat, was very steadily played, and furnished a perfect example of delightful subjects delightfully treated. We wish HUMMEL, or SPOHR, or CHERUBINI, would recreate their leisure moments with re-scoring some of the early sinfonias of HAYDN—for many of them have an ample supply of thought to take in the range of the modern orchestra, from which they are in their present condition justly excluded. Mr. MOSCHELES played his ingenious concerto in E with great fire and brilliancy. We have never heard a more certain execution or independent fingers; he attempted and accomplished extraordinary difficulties. The effects of the orchestra in this composition (which by the way is a charming one) are excellently managed, and are brought in in [sic] fine relief to those of the prominent instrument. WEBER’S Jubilee Overture, with the tune “God save the King” introduced with a noisy accompaniment of violins, long drum, and cymbals—sent us home with the head-ache. It would be the exact thing for my Lord Mayor’s feast, but at the Argyll Rooms its merits are doubtful. MORI led this concert with that steadiness and coolness which so eminently fit him for the direction of the orchestra. The impression left upon the mind by this performance was not so gratifying as usual, for we are sorry to say that the tireseome and bad preponderated in the selection.
The Literary Gazette: and Journal of Belles Lettres, Arts, Sciences, &.c (May 3, 1828): 286.
In the fourth and fifth of these annual performances, on the 14th and 28th of last month, the leading pieces were, as usually, the symphonies of the great triumvirate—Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven; and they were also executed, as works known by heart easily are, with energy and precision. Spohr’s symphony in E flat, his best, is seldom offered to an English audience, though an excellent composition. Most of what Spohr has written is elaborate, but sombre, and more original in harmony than in melody. Mr. Henry Griesbach’s MS. overture on Monday last employed the instruments to some good account; yet it is undeniably but a very common production, utterly destitute of original ideas. The praise which the directors deserved for Beethoven’s pastorale, and Mozart’s symphony in E flat, and for the introduction of Madame Caradori and Zuchelli, is more than balanced by the censure which they so richly earned on Monday last for admitting the concertante – acol – harmonica and two guitars, by the three Schultz, father and sons. The acol-harmonica has not inappropriately been compared to a hurdy-gurdy without the hum; and a much more common musical understanding than that of the gifted directors would have foreseen how wretched the effect of three such childish instruments must be in a room of such dimensions. Messrs. Schultz are, nevertheless, good musicians; and we are sorry to relate that they met with the sad fate of being hissed off before they could finish their piece. “Shame, shame on the directors!” was heard in every part of the room. We would also ask the said directors, how they could allow De Beriot to perform so paltry a thing as an old air with variations, particularly when he has been playing it to the same audience before? It would be the highest injustice not to mention that Mr. Moscheles played his beautiful concerto in E, in the fourth concert, in a style and with an execution to which no other term but that of “perfection” seems adequate.
Berliner allgemeine musikalische Zeitung (May 7, 1828): 150.
Im dritten philharmonischen Konzert am letzten Montag ging es matter zu wie gewöhnlich, ausser Beethoven’s höchst selt samer und gleichsam göttlicher Ouvertüre zur Leonore (Kaviar für die Menge!) und Moscheles’s E-dur Konzert, von ihm selbst mit hinreis sender Virtuosität und Vollendung vorgetragen, wollte nichts recht fassen; die fashionablen Gruppen gingen aber in der Pause nach Mlle. Sontag fragend und suchend umher, ohne sie zu finden. In den Blättern erhob sich schon im Voraus Kontrovers über die moderne Helena; ein gewaltiger Konnoisseur beschrieb sie vor ihrem Auftreten, pries Vieles an ihr, hatte aber auch dies und jenes auszusetzen: dagegen erhob sich ein Anderer und fand dies vorurtheilsvolle Vorurtheil so unbillig, wie billig war.
The Harmonicon, vol. VI (1828): 115-116.
The Philharmonic Concerts.
FOURTH CONCERT, Monday, April 14th.
|Sinfonia in E flat . . . .||SPOHR.|
|Duetto, “Ah ! se de’ mali,” Miss Bacon and Sig.|
|Curioni. (Tancredi) . .||ROSSINI.|
|Quartetto, two. Violins, Viola, and Violoncello,|
|Messrs. F. Cramer, Griesbach, Moralt, & Lindley||MOZART.|
|Aria, Mad. Schütz, “E fia ver.” (Ariodante) .||MEHUL.|
|Overture, Leonora . . .||BEETHOVEN.|
|Sinfonia, No. 4, (Grand) . . .||HADYN. [sic]|
|Aria, Miss Bacon, “Dove Sono?” (Le Nozze di|
|Figaro) . . . .||MOZART.|
|Concerto in E, Piano-Forte, Mr. Moscheles .||MOSCHELES.|
|Duetto, “Ah ! se puoi, Mad. Schütz and Sig. Curi-|
|oni. (Mosé) . . . .||ROSSINI.|
|Overture, Jubilee . .||C. M. v. WEBER.|
|Leader, Mr. Mori.—Conductor, Sir G. SMART.|
If Mozart and Beethoven had never existed, Spohr would have ranked as an original composer: for though, evidently indebted for his style to the two former, their works having been always before him, and for ever sounding in his ears, yet he possesses a kind of genius which would have strengthened and dilated if a field had been left open to it. But the ground which we are led to think he would have chosen, was already occupied, and his search after other was either unsuccessful, or else he had not vigour and enterprise enough to set out in quest of that which was untrodden.
Be this as it may, his symphony in E flat is after—to borrow a term from a sister art—that by Mozart in the same key. It is not imitated, much less copied, but had the latter never been produced, Spohr’s would never have been what it is. It might not have had less merit, but its features would have been different. It is, notwithstanding, a fine composition, showing the hand of a master. The two first movements are exceedingly elegant, though not presenting any new traits; and, for ingenuity of contrivance—that is, for the management of their subjects, the employment of the instruments, and the distribution of the harmony, the score is a perfect study for young composers.
Haydn’s fourth grand symphony in B flat, opening thus—
is so much less known than most of the twelve written for Salomon’s concerts, to which number it belongs, that its freshness was a very general subject of remark. The adagio is particularly beautiful, the minuet spirited, and the trio very singular. The finale is among those in stances of a bad subject—we might almost say a vulgar one, being converted to the best of purposes by the transmuting powers of genius.
The overture to Leonora, in C, is one of Beethoven’s happiest productions, evincing the originality of his ideas, the fertility of his invention, his grandeur and fancy. It is altogether descriptive, and supposed to be meant as a musical illustration of Bürger’s celebrated tale. Few things take the attention prisoner so effectually as this extraordinary composition does: we listened to it with breathless anxiety, for its effect is that of an interesting narrative; and at its close we felt ourselves in a state bordering on amazement. This, it is to be hoped, will be repeated during the present season; repetition may unfold its mysterious meanings, and diminish the surprise excited by a first hearing, though it will not lessen the pleasure.
The Jubilee overture by Weber, composed for the coronation of the king of Saxony, is a brilliant, joyous composition, in which every instrument is taxed to the utmost of its strength to do honour to the occasion that gave birth to it. It ends with our “God save the King,” and was, therefore, properly chosen now, as the birth-day of our own sovereign was so near at hand.
The quartet of Mozart, No. 5, in A, is too delicate for a public room, and too long for either private or public performance. There are parts of it, the elegance of which almost amounts to beauty, but there is not a single passage that dwells in the memory. It received every possible justice at the hands of Mr. F. Cramer, who played it in a manner that could not have been surpassed. The concerto of Moscheles, in E, op. 64, may be reckoned amongst his best works, and is, in every respect, the composition of a great musician. The instrumental parts are so blended with it, and so essential to its effect, that, like the concertos of Mozart and Beethoven, it ought to be considered as an orchestral piece. The introduction of The British Grenadier’s March in the last movement is very cleverly managed: the opening of this, by the military instruments is exceedingly striking, and the whole of it must animate any audience, however constituted. M. Moscheles’s execution of this is the very perfection of the style of playing it requires. He pleases while he astonishes, and obtains as much willing and hearty applause from the mere lover of music, as from the most learned connoisseur. After the highly finished, the delightful performances of himself and Mr. Cramer this season, nothing in the piano-forte way is left to be wished for: unless it be M. Pixis, who, as an entire stranger to this country, and one who has been heard by very few people in it, will be welcome to everybody. It is expected that he will play in the sixth concert.
The vocal part of the present performance does not call on us for much notice. The aria by Mehul is certainly an able composition, and was well sung by Madame Schütz, who possesses a rich voice and much talent. The transposition of “Dove sono” from C to B flat was very inimical to its effect, and is a practice that managers ought not to sanction. If the author’s key does not suit the voice, the voice does not suit the author’s composition, and another should be chosen. The two duets went off very flatly.
The Quarterly Musical Magazine and Review, vol. 10 (1828): 84-87.
FOURTH CONCERT, Monday, April 14th.
|Sinfonia in E flat . . . . . . . .||Spohr.|
|Duetto, “Ah ! se de’ mali,” Miss Bacon and Sig. Curioni|
|(Tancredi) . . . . . . . . .||Rossini.|
|Quartetto, two Violins, Viola, and Violoncello, Messrs. F.|
|Cramer, Griesbach, Moralt, and Lindley . . .||Mozart.|
|Aria, Mad. Schütz, “E fia ver.” (Ariodante) . . .||Mehul.|
|Overture, Leonora . . . . . .||Beethoven.|
|Sinfonia, No. 4, Grand||Haydn.|
|Aria, Miss Bacon, “Dove Sono?” (Le Nozze di Figaro) .||Mozart.|
|Concerto in E, Piano-Forte, Mr. Moscheles . .||Moscheles.|
|Duetto, “Ah ! se puoi,” Mad. Schütz and Sig. Curioni (Mosé)||Rossini.|
|Overture, Jubilee . . . . . .||C. M. v. WEBER.|
|Leader, Mr. Mori—Conductor, Sir G. SMART.|
Mr. Moscheles played one of his finest compositions in the fourth concert, in a manner to call down the unanimous plaudits of the audience. It was not only a learned and brilliant but a popular composition.Madame Schutz sung her magnificent song splendidly—better indeed that we have heard her before or since.