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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

THE FIFTH CONCERT.

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

ANOTHER large audience assembled on Tuesday evening in Sanders Theatre to hear the following programme, which offered something to suit all tastes : -

PART I.

1. Overture to Egmont BEETHOVEN.

2. Recitative and Aria from Fidelio BEETHOVEN.

3. "Scotch" Symphony, op. 56 MENDELSSOHN.

PART II.

1. Introduction and Finale from Tristan

und Isolde WAGNER.

2. Song : Lorelei LISZT.

3. Overture to Der Freischutz WEBER.

The overture to Egmont, so suggestive of the spirit of Goethe's great drama, was finely played, and formed a suitable introduction to the recitative and aria, "Abscheulicher," from Beethoven's only opera. We have, however, heard this aria sung with more feeling, and voices of better timbre, on the stage in Germany. Miss Wilde is said to be a fine actress, and to have been more popular once than even Materna. She must have had a fine voice when she was Prima Donna soprano at the Imperial Opera House of Vienna, but fine voices seldom last long. Her greatest merit now seems to be a distinct articulation, as we could easily follow her words, especially when she sang Liszt's version of Lorelei; and here, too, she showed her voice to better advantage than in the first selection, which is somewhat too high for her.

It was very interesting to observe how Liszt has treated the famous "Lorelei." He analyzes the poem line by line, and uses the music to color the sentiment of the words in a manner peculiarly his own; the instrumentation is of course perfect. We consider it a mistake, however, to subject Heine's great poem to dramatic or consecutive treatment. It is essentially Iyric in structure and spirit, and the simple touching melody written to it many years ago by Silcher is much better adapted to its character, and will scarcely be superseded by this modern version. In the Scotch Symphony the orchestra was at its best. This tone-poem has all the wild picturesqueness of Highland scenery, and the quaint scherzo, especially, with its bagpipe melody, is very suggestive of its theme. As in the case of Brahms' first symphony, the several movements of this work were written at different periods of the composer's life, and yet the unity of thought and treatment is well preserved throughout. There are some commonplaces in it, however, and it might have been condensed a little by the composer to its advantage. We heard some one remark that the several movements were played in too rapid succession, but Mr. Thomas was evidently aware that the composer expressly desired that this should be so.

The place of honor on the programme was justly given to the wonderful Introduction and Finale from Wagner's favorite and best music-drama, Tristan. The despair of hopeless love has never been, and perhaps will never again be so well expressed in tones as here. But in interpreting it the chief defect of Thomas's orchestra was revealed. This glowing, passionate composition loses much in effectiveness by being played in such a measured and nicely calculated concert style. The whole opera is like one wild tumultuous torrent of ungovernable passion, and must be played a l' abandon, and with an unconscious enthusiasm and fervor, as if the musicians were blindly carried along by this torrent of intoxicating sounds. Perhaps this feeling can only be awakened fully when the scenery on the stage helps to suggest the situation.

The last piece on the programme was Weber's ever-fresh and inspiring overture to Der Freischutz. It was played with great spirit, only it seemed to us that in some parts of the presto the violins were not strong enough to give the melody sufficient prominence. Mr. Thomas is to appear again at the next and last concert of the season, for which, among other things, are promised Beethoven's Overture to Coriolanus, Schumann's Symphony in B flat, and the new duo Concertante for solo violin and 'cello, and orchestra, by Professor Paine, which, as far as can be judged from the piano-score, promises to be a very interesting composition.

H. T. F.

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