February 7, 1914
Page 47

Favorite Pianist Astonishes Recital Hearers with Rhythmic Eccentricities, but Has Average of Nine Recalls—Per Group—Violinist Hartmann Lures Hermit Debussy from Seclusion to Act as His
Accompanist—Composer Modest as to His Ability as Pianist


Bureau of Musical America, 17 Avenue Nlel, ParJs, .January 23, 1914.
THE event of the week has been the recital given by Ferruccio Busoni at the Salle Erard, which attracted a large and unusually musicianly audience. Busoni is probably the favorite pianist of Parisians. The enthusiasm for him on Friday evening might be described as one continuous roar of applause, for there was no opportunity for spasmodic outbursts. The intervals between the pieces forming the groups on the veteran pianist’s program were entirely filled by handclapping and cheering on the part of those present, and even when away from the piano M. Busoni was never allowed a moment’s rest, being recalled on an average eight or nine times on every occasion that he quitted the instrument. When he had acknowledged the bravos of the audience for the ninth time it was time for him to begin his next group.
It was interesting to note the large number of prominent pianists of many nationalities, including numerous Americans, who attended the recital.
Several people were compelled to leave the concert hall on account of the disgraceful atmosphere (meteorologically) prevailing. The late Mme. Erard had a clause in her will which permits pianists to give concerts in the Salle of that name without any charge. This is what the French admirably style a “beau geste.” It is a pity that the surviving kith and kin of Mme. Erard do not take a little more interest in this splendid legacy to pianists and provide proper ventilation in the hall, in which the pianists’ admirers are compelled to endure partial asphyxiation whenever it is comfortably filled.
Busoni is giving three recitals in Paris and it is remarkable that the works of Liszt figure prominently upon each of his programs. On Friday Busoni played with superb majesty the only sonata that Liszt wrote for the piano. He rose to even greater heights of interpretative skill in Beethoven’s “Six Bagatelles,” but what acute mental vibrations he aroused by the playing of his own setting of four Bach preludes to choral motifs! Finally Busoni gave the twelve Chopin studies, playing them in strict defiance of all French tradition. His rhythmical eccentricities caused many to gasp, but the most astonished of the listeners forgave Busoni all because, whatever prejudices might be urged against certain of his ideas, they had never heard a more brilliant interpretation of this difficult group. Busoni was actually nervous in many of the studies, repeatedly striking wrong notes. His tempo in the well-known arpeggio etude practically converted the work into a mazurka.
Busonl in Our Chief Cities
I had a few words with Busoni afterward, but at the mention of the word interview he beat a hasty retreat. He looked very fatigued, but before leaving for his well-earned repose declared that he had practically concluded arrangements for playing in New York, Boston and Chicago next year. He added, however, that he did not wish the impression to get abroad that he intended making a big tour. On Sunday Busoni played at the Conservatoire concert one of the lesser known Saint-Saëns concertos.
For the first time in his career Claude Debussy will appear at a concert as an accompanist next month on February 5, when the privileged soloist will be Arthur Hartmann, the well-known violinist. It is no longer any secret that the celebrated composer’s admiration for the Hungarian-American virtuoso is intensely enthusiastic. But Parisians will almost now be inclined to look upon Arthur Hartmann as something more than human. Debussy’s reputation as one of the most modest and shy of men, who abhors any semblance to footlight fame, is such household knowledge that the men in the street will certainly flock to this Hartmann concert to catch a glimpse of the genius who has drawn the hermit from his seclusion.
On the program will figure three transcriptions for violin by Hartmann of Debussy, “II pleure dans mon coeur,” “Minstrels” and “La fille aux cheveux de lin,” the first named being an adaptation from a song, and the two latter from pianoforte pieces. When Debussy heard these transcriptions for the first time he declared: “They are better like that than as I wrote them.” It was also the composer’s desire to play a sonata with Hartmann, but, supremely modest as to his own ability as a pianist, he doubted whether it would be possible to find anything easy enough.
“Do you know the ‘Undine’ Sonata by Rheinacher?” he at length queried of the violinist. “Go and buy a copy of it. It’s a beauty; I haven’t heard it for thirty years, but I think it would do.” When the copy had been duly purchased, however, the composer cast it aside with a sigh as “too difficult,” although Hartmann gives assurance that Debussy is a master pianist. Finally the Grieg Sonata in G minor was decided upon.
Play Beethoven Triple Concerto
The Chaigneau Trio distinguished itself at the first of its most important series of concerts at the Salle des Agriculteurs, when the work of greatest interest proved to be the Beethoven Triple Concerto, which is rarely heard in France, although it enjoys popularity in Germany. The nicety of phrasing and beauty of rhythm with which it was treated by the Chaigneaus made a profound impression, and the trio was admirably supported by the orchestra, conducted by Camille Chevillard, who also gave a capital reading of the Mozart A Major Symphony. Mme. Auguez de Montalent sang with great purity of tone and diction “Adelaide” and some Gluck arias. A concerto for strings by Dall Abaco was accorded its first hearing.
George E. Shea has been conducting rehearsals of a vocal quartet for the Cinéphone Company, which have perfected a new method of synchronizing the cinematograph with the gramophone. The singers, Kathleen Vierke, soprano; Mme. Breckel, contralto; Mr. Protheroe, tenor, and Richard Bunn, bass, are at present working on “The Mikado” and “The Gondoliers” and the ordeal of making the records for the former was successfully surmounted on Wednesday.
Thérèse Stengel, a gifted mezzo-soprano pupil of Charles W. Clark, was the singer at the twelfth concert given by the Double Quintette de Paris at the Salle Gaveau. She was heard in lieder by Brahms, Rameau, Fauré and Richard Strauss, her voice telling effectively in each song. Mlle. Ida Stengel accompanied her sister. Théodore Dubois’s quintet for piano, violin, haubois, viola and cello, and the Schumann string quartet were given by the organizers of this series of concerts.
There are glowing reports of the production of “Parsifal” at the Municipal Opera House of Marseilles, and it is said that despite the obvious limitations of a provincial stage the “opéra à la mode” has been mounted there with taste and judgment second to none. M. Altchevsky was “the pure and simple one,” and photographs of him in the first scene show him attired in the conventional bearskin and his nether limbs encased in what appear to be perilously like football stockings and boots (the climate is evidently not so mild as usual this year in the South). Mlle. Beral sang Kundry, M. Vallier was the Gurnemanz, M. Selliel impersonated Amfortas and M. Imbert Klingsor. M. Rey conducted.

Deferred Monte Carlo “Parsifal”
After having his last year’s “Parsifal” production stopped by law, prompted by Cosima Wagner, Raoul Gunsbourg, the Monte Carlo Opera director, nothing daunted, has just opened his 1914 season with the work. The cast is a remarkable one, including the names of many who were to have taken part in M. Astruc’s version. M. Rousselière, as Parsifal; Mme. Felia Litvinne, as Kundry; M. Journet, as Gurnemanz; M. Maguenat, as Amfortas, M. Bourbon, as Klingsor, and M. Léon Jehin in the conductor’s chair all helped to make the Monte Carlo “pure fool” story successful. The manner in which the members of the company worked together, no one seeking to shine to the detriment of another is said to have been a notable feature of the production.
M. Journet, the Gurnemanz, has been singing Klingsor in the Paris “Parsifal,” in which his performance rises above the other members of the cast with the exception of M. Delmas, and it is gratifying to note that he was accorded a more important rôle at Monte Carlo. No less than six new operas are to be given in that principality during the season: Massenet’s last work, “Cleopatra”; Bemberg’s “Lelia,” “The Legend of Death,” by the young Russian composer, Mousikant; “I Mori di Valencia,” by Ponchielli; De Buffin’s “Kaatje,” and Messager’s “Beatrice.”

Mignon Nevada in England
Mignon Nevada has left Paris for England, where she will make a concert tour, visiting in turn Hull, Middlesborough, Huddersfield and Manchester. Mrs. C. W. Best, of Best’s Artist Course, Chicago, is in Paris for the purpose of engaging artists for the company’s next tour in Illinois, beginning September next, when a specialty will be made of Russian music.


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