April 11, 1914
Page 1

German-Americans Campaigning for Half-Million Dollar Exhibit at Panama Fair to Compensate for Mother Country’s Refusal to Participate—Influence of Teutonic Musicians upon American Artistic Growth to be Shown in Palace of Culture

WITH Germany and the United States exchanging broadsides of caustic comment regarding the musical conditions in their respective countries, there is significant timeliness in a movement now being urged throughout this country by German-Americans who, on their own initiative, seek to do what the German Government refuses to do toward representing German institutions, including music, at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco, 1915. New York was made the pivotal point of this campaign last week when three representatives of the German- American auxiliary to the big fair pitched their tents in the metropolis. Their trans-continental tour is for the purpose of raising among German-Americans a half million dollars for the erecting, equipping and maintaining of a Palace of German-American History and Culture at the exposition.
“We have promised our constituents not to go back to California until we secure this $500,000” declared Dr. Max Magnus, chairman of the committee, to a MUSICAL AMERICA representative, “and what’s more we’re going to get it!”
Similar enthusiasm was manifested by Edward F. Delger and Henry Fickhoff, the other members of the committee, and they announced that the support which they had already received from wealthy German-Americans in New York convinced them that they would be able to raise the large sum on their tour, which is to include some ten cities, including such centers of German-American population as Cincinnati, Milwaukee and St. Louis. It is significant that of this committee, which is urging the representation of German ideals at the exposition, two of the men, Messrs. Delger and Eickhoff, were born in this country, of German parentage. Although the three members of the campaigning committee belong to the period of middle age, no young Lochinvar that ever came out of the West could excel them in enthusiastic fervor.
That music will play the prominent part which it deserves in the German Palace at the fair is assured by the fact that Dr. Magnus, who is a prime mover in the project, is one of the presidents of the Greater Pacific Sängerbund. “They call me the ‘Gross Präsident,’” added this genial music lover. He is also a prominent member of the San Francisco Musicians’ Club, and many of the noted artists visiting the Golden Gate are guests at his hospital abode.
German Musicians’ Work in America
“Our purpose in erecting this building,” explained Dr. Magnus, “is not merely to do that which the German Government has failed to do. We want to show in concrete form the uplifting influence of German-American art and science in the development of this, our adopted country. First of all, in my opinion, is the big influence of those German musicians who have come here to live. Think of what a large percentage of America’s music makers are of German birth—how many teachers and orchestral musicians! And there’s the piano industry of this country with its German-American pioneers. All these phases will be mirrored in our building.
“The musical side of the venture is one that appeals immediately to the men whom we are interesting in the project. To-day I was talking with a prominent New Yorker and he said: ‘You talk about showing the influence of German art—what influence has German art on the painters and sculptors of this country?’ I had to admit that it has very little influence, for in my younger days I used to live with a lot of artists in New York and I remember almost all of them had studied in Paris. But I said to this man, ‘How about the German musical influence? We’re going to bring that out strongly in our Palast Deutch-Amerikanischer Kultur.’ Immediately he was interested and I feel sure that we’ll have his support. Such is the deep appeal of music.”
The German building at the fair is to be modeled after the old Rathaus in Munich. “At one end of the great hall” said Dr. Magnus, “I hope we shall have a pipe organ, and this hall will be just the place for the visiting choruses to give their smaller concerts. Then the musical influence of German-Americans will be represented by the exhibits. We shall have no competitive exhibits in this building, but by research in the museums we will bring forth a lot of interesting data on the Teutons’ share in America’s musical uplift.
“German week at the fair will be August 1-8. Just before that there will be a big festival of our coast Sängerbund at Los Angeles, and the entire choral body of 2,000 will come immediately to San Francisco. On August 4 there will be the reception concert at San Francisco’s German House. The next day is the Bundeskonzert at the Auditorium, which seats 5,000 on the ground floor and as many more in the amphitheater. The only drawback is that it has no stage, but we’ll provide a temporary one. On August 6 we shall have Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. We’ll have famous soloists, and the American choruses are anxious to join our singers in this work, for which we’ll have an eminent conductor. Then on August 7 we’re to have the unveiling of the monument of Beethoven presented to the city by the Beethoven Männerchor of New York.” —K. S. C.
Tentative Plan of Building Prepared, with Scheme to Make It Self-Supporting
ST. LOUIS, April 4.—Tentative plans for a St. Louis opera house have been announced by the Grand Opera Committee. The committee after five years of work and observation has arrived at the conclusion that the musical taste of the city has so far developed that it can support a regular opera season in an opera house of its own. The sort of building that is contemplated will be modelled somewhat after the municipal opera houses of Europe. It will contain an apartment hotel and business offices, with the auditorium in the interior, away from disturbing noises. There will be seating arrangements for 3,350 persons, and it is hoped to make the institution as far as possible within the reach of all music lovers, with prices as low as 25 cents. It is hoped that by devoting part of the building to utilitarian purposes the venture may become self-supporting.
Guy Golterman, a member of the committee, has issued a statement explaining the need of an opera house. The Coliseum is too big a building for operatic purposes, he says, and the Odeon bas proved only fairly satisfactory. He continues:
“The new opera house essentially shall be an institution of service to the people—the home of operatic, symphonic and dramatic art and other institutions of educational entertainment, containing approximately 3,350 chairs, distributed in proper proportion about as follows: Parquet, 900; parquet circle, 500; balcony, 1,000; second balcony, 740; 35 parterre boxes (the golden horseshoe), 210; total seating capacity, 3,350, making possible a scale of prices within reach of all.
“Following closely well recognized lines of opera house construction as to stage, seating arrangement, etc., and with the open court serving as an approach to the massive entrances, the St. Louis Opera House will more nearly rival the government owned opera houses in Europe than the opera houses of any other North American city.
“I suggest a combination opera house and hotel apartment building, believing that these enterprises harmonize. The need in St. Louis of both amounts to a public necessity. One will help the other.
“Space in the building should be provided for conservatories of music, art studios and other arts and industries. The plan includes practical features without destroying the ideal.
“The Metropolitan Opera House in New York without loss of prestige rents one of its street corner spaces to a bank, another to a music store, and offices, studios and living apartments are found throughout the building above the ground, floor. It is a serviceable building.
“A site west of Grand avenue on any one of five or six streets near the chief traffic center will be practicable for the St. Louis Opera House.
“The plan places the opera house inside of another structure without hiding it, and no rumbling of street cars will be heard within its walls.
“The open court shown on the plan is eighty feet wide—wider than an ordinary street—and 100 feet deep, containing 8,100 square feet, an area greater than occupied by any banking room in St. Louis except one. It is essential to inaugurate and conduct this enterprise along lines of practical idealism.
“The building should pay its expenses from year to year,” concluded Mr. Golterman, “including possibly a nominal, return on the investment. No more than this should be expected.”
Composer of “Butterfly” Negotiating for Rights to Another American Play—Arrangements Not Concluded, Says Belasco
GIACOMO PUCCINI has decided to set another American play to music, according to reports current in New York last week. It was said that “The Darling of the Gods,” by John Luther Long and David Belasco, would be used for his next grand opera, and Mr. Belasco, who produced the play and holds the rights to it, confirmed the report that Puccini had made overtures for the work. He added that the negotiations had not been concluded.
George Maxwell, managing director in New York of Puccini’s publishers, Ricordi & Co., said last Tuesday that he had received no word from the Ricordi’s home office in Milan in regard to the report, although he had cabled for information. Mr. Maxwell considered the report of doubtful authenticity.
When Puccini was in London a few months ago he attended a performance of “The Darling of the Gods” in its revival by Beerbohm Tree, and it was rumored then that he had the play in mind for his next opera. Later Pucccini denied this, possibly because the time was not ripe for an announcement.
If Puccini does decide to use “The Darling of the Gods” it will be the third Belasco production that he, has adapted to operatic purposes. “Madama Butterfly,” also by Long and Belasco, and “The Girl of the Golden West;” by Belasco alone, are the other two.
Andreas Dippel, who is to produce Puccini’s operetta, “The Swallow,” in New York next Winter, said last week that he had heard while abroad that Puccini had asked librettists who desired to submit scenarios to him to avoid Oriental subjects and pointed to this as an indication that the composer .had already taken an Oriental libretto, probably “The Darling of the Gods.”
“The Darling of the Gods” was first produced in .New York in 1902, with Blanche Bates in the leading role. A picturesque and stirring drama of old Japan, it was a sensational success here, as it was later in London, and its susceptibility to operatic treatment has often been remarked.
MUSICAL AMERICA’S European correspondent, Dr. O. P. Jacob, sends word from Milan that the Ricordis have obtained for Puccini the right to make an operatic setting of Ouida’s novel “Two Little Wooden Shoes,” the libretto to be written by Cav. Adami, critic of Della Sera. However, as Puccini is under contract to write the music for “The Swallow,” it is likely he will have to postpone the other work for the time being, There is also a report that Mascagni is at work upon a version of the Ouida novel and that their choice of the same subject is likely to lead to litigation.


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