Emilio de Gogorza and Sophie Braslau gave the second of the Steinert concerts last Sunday afternoon in Symphony Hall.
Most noteworthy incident of a noteworthy concert was the singing of Schubert, not in uneven English translation robbing music of charm and smoothness, but in the German, the words to which Schubert himself set music. Too long have singers, imbued with mistaken patriotism, or actuated by others thus inspired, crippled the effect of Brahms, Schumann and Schubert, but it would seem that this is past. Probably it was this handicap of words ill-fitted to music which damaged Mme. Matzenauer's rendition of Schubert's "Erlkonig" when she sang it with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, four years since. At any rate, Miss Braslau far overleaped it last Sunday, singing the song, as she did, with a realism too intense to be excelled. In other numbers of Schubert she triumphed as well. Especially did she impart to "Gretchen am Spinnrade," the soft sheen, the delicate shadings, which the composer intended. She succeeded not so well with some of the other numbers of her program not because of consistently bad singing of them as because of blotches, occasional hard topes which grated on the ear. It is to be regretted that singers like Miss Braslau whose good taste would naturally shun such things are forced by a certain portion of their audience to sing such worthless pieces of sentimentality as May Brahe's "I Passed by Your Window".
Mr. de Gogorza brings to the concert stage a dignity and continence which cannot but inspire a respect for his art. With a voice of fine natural warmth and vividness of expression, his perfect technique and easy control of tone conveys, to the listener impressions of restraint and perfect command of his art. With a voice smooth though not weak, powerful though never forced, he gave a program which evinced catholicity of taste and true musicianship. Commencing with eighteenth century music of Gluck and Handel, he sang three songs of Griffes, Huhn's "Invictus". (the words are Henley's) and various French and Spanish songs. For encores he gave "Ships"--Masefield set to music highly descriptive--, "Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes" and more songs of his native land.