May 27, 1916
Page 9

A Time for the European Artist in America to Stand Behind His Less Fortunate Brother in the Home Country—The Value of a Happy Home Life to the Artist

“JUST the fact that we are so fortunate as to be in this land of the free, unstained by the bloodshed and horrors now being enacted in Europe, is no reason why we of European nationality should sit idly by and make little or no effort to·relieve, in some small degree at least, the awful suffering,” said Fritz Kreisler, the distinguished Austrian violinist, one morning last week during an interview with the MUSICAL AMERICA representative at his hotel. He was “home” from one of his many long concert tours, during which he played many public concerts for charity.
Mr. Kreisler has taken a vital interest in raising funds for musicians of all nationalities, many of whom are practically starving in Vienna, Munich, Cologne, Berlin and other music centers in Austria and Germany. The sale of autographed photographs of the great artist has added more than $6,000 to a special fund and in addition to this Mr. Kreisler has given most liberally from his own earnings to other relief funds.
“If we musicians do not do something to help our fellow men in the profession, who will?” continued Mr. Kreisler. “Stories are published here to the effect that everything is going on the same as ever in most of the European cities, but that is not so. One orchestra is made to do the work formerly done by four, and everything else in music is in proportion. Hundreds of musicians have nothing to do and can get nothing, and are absolutely dependent upon help from outside. The very least we European musicians over here can do is to send the wherewithal to make the lot of our brothers on the other side of the water a little less painful.
“This subject brings to my mind another which is really not entirely dissociated from it. It is the attitude of the majority of the human family toward the question of living in its relation to financial prosperity. I suppose it is because of the social conditions that a man, whether he is a musician or engaged in some other walk of life, thinks that it is incumbent upon him the moment he increases his earning capacity to increase in direct proportion his expenditures for a place to live and things to eat.
The Simple Things
“I believe the average man, if he would only tell the truth, can get fully as much real happiness out of the simple things of life. For instance, if I enjoy eating a baked apple with cream and can get this dish prepared as I like it in one of those clean-looking white-tiled restaurants, of which you have so many here in New York and which are very inexpensive, is there any good reason why I should not go to that restaurant for a baked apple? Why must I go to a very expensive hotel and pay three or four times as much for the same article just to maintain appearances; just because I am supposed to have greater earning power than the majority of people who do patronize those restaurants?
“Another thing which brings this home to me with peculiar force at the present time is that every time I go to an expensive restaurant, I am spending money above all the necessary requirements for my happiness and money which would mean, perhaps, actual existence to some poor man in war-stricken Europe. It is this thought which has been brought home with peculiar force to many of my colleagues during the past season and it has been responsible for largely increasing contributions to relief funds.
“Aside from its present application, however, this thought is deserving of more than passing consideration. The simpler a man’s requirements, the nearer he approaches the fundamentals of creation. Life and art are, or should be, homogeneous. A real artist should be broad and generous in disposition and willing to help his fellow men. We have had striking instances among some of the greatest artists where this was not so, but, on th~ other hand, the lives of such men as Liszt, Schumann and many others cannot be less than an inspiration in this direction.
Artists Should Marry
“The reproductive artist, the artist who plays or sings the composition of some other artist, is the medium through which the rays of light pass. He cannot fail, however, to instill in some measure his own personality, his ideals and musical conception. The simpler and freer from ostentation the life of the artist is, the more beautiful his interpretation of the work is likely to be. The attitude of the artist toward life undoubtedly has much to do with shaping his conception of a work. His immediate surroundings and associations must also color his artistic inclinations.
“A beautiful home life must find its reflection in the professional work of the artist. I never cease to be thankful for having the constant inspiration of my devoted wife. She helps me in ways which can never be put in actual word form. An artist should marry young and if he doesn’t marry young, he should marry anyway. It is absolutely the only right way for an artist to live, as it probably is the only right way for anyone in any walk of life. It has the effect of broadening and developing the best qualities, and it tends to the highest form of achievement in any direction.”
Mr. Kreisler will remain in this country this summer, going to the wilds of Maine, where he has taken a little cottage for the season. He will get as far from civilization as possible and will devote his time both to composition and to preparation of some new works to be placed on his concert programs next winter. He will make an extended tour of the country similar to the one he made this year. —D. L. L.


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