The concert in Sanders Theatre last evening consisted entirely of classical music. Although to keep up with the times it is necessary to hear frequently music by more modern composers, nevertheless it is always a delight to any music lover to listen to three such acknowledged masterpieces. The three selections of this concert, all of which are familiar, were written by the three greatest masters of classical orchestral forms. Beethoven's Overture Egmont, written as a prelude to Goethe's drama of the same name, is one of the most dramatic and passionate of all the classical overtures. We have so long been accustomed to hear the heavy strokes of the strings in the first part played with a disagreeable rasping quality that the clear and noble tone attained by the orchestra was particularly delightful. The next piece was Schumann's concerto, for piano in A minor, played by Mr. Carl Faelton. This concerto, composed just fifty years ago, is incomparably finer than any concerto that has been composed since. It was last played in Cambridge in January, 1888, by Miss Aus der Ohe. It gave Mr. Faelton abundant opportunity to display his brilliant technical skill and poetic feeling.
The concert closed with a remarkably spirited performance of Schubert's great C major symphony, which is the only symphony ever composed, except Schubert's other, in B minor, and some of Schumann's, that can rank with the best of Beethoven's. The magnificent passages for the trombones in the first movement, one of the finest things in all orchestral music; the opening passage on the hourns; the half-comic theme of the wood instruments, all were splendidly played. The andante conmoto, a long slow movement, is a trifle monotonous when played on the piano, but in the orchestra, with the ever varying varieties of tone-color of the different instruments, the effect is far differenct.
One prominent feature of the symphony is its "heavenly length," but its unfailing brilliancy and the lively motion of the finale held the attention of the audience to the close of the rather long programme. Applause was frequent, though not as hearty as it might have been. Mr. Nikisch has abandoned his former practice of conducting without notes; he used the score even for the familiar Egmont Overture. Mrs. Nikisch, also following the music from a score, was an attentive listener on the front row.