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EDOU ARD REMENYI.
came the German ability of enjoyment through cheap and innocent amusements. In the father-land they had been accustomed to go with wife and children to the gardens and open-air cafés, where the father placidly smoked his pipe and sipped his beer, while the mother quietly plied her needle or knitting, and the children played around her or strolled about and chatted with each other in undertones, while all listened to the charming music discoursed by good bands. For a long time the counterpart of the fatherland was confined to the Bowery, Jones's Wood, and Hoboken. Gradually, however, the patrons of these places ceased to be only Germans, and with some slight changes capitalists felt that the city at large would support similar concerts. Among the first results of the change were Theodore Thomas's garden concerts, soon followed by Gilmore's concerts in the Madison Square Garden, and culminating in the innumerable daily afternoon and evening concerts at Coney Island. But all these were for the summer months only, and the next step was to build a suitable house which should be cool during summer and warm in winter. Messrs.
Koster and Bial were the first to make this venture. They purchased the Twenty-third Street Theatre, tore out the stage, continued the building through to Twenty-fourth Street, pierced large open arches in the side walls, and laid out the adjoining vacant lots as a garden, and placed a large organ and an orchestral platform in the main hall. Here, under the direction of Mr. Rudolph Bial, at one time director of the famous Krolls Garden in Berlin, a continuous series of concerts has been given, which have been unusually well attended from the beginning by the most respectable people. The music, as a rule, has been of a light, sparkling character, which pleased while it did not demand close attention; but occasionally music of a higher order has been attempted, with encouraging results. Notable among these were the concerts given during the past summer in connection with Wilhelmj, when, despite the double price of admission, the hall was thronged by thousands. Encouraged by the success of Messrs. Koster and Bial, the Metropolitan Concert Hall Company, in the early summer of 1880, opened their building on Broadway and Forty-first Street—a hall capable of accommodating four or five thousand people, while leaving ample room for promenading. Mr. Aronson, the director of this new enterprise, spent several years in Europe studying the characteristics of the popular summer-night concerts of Berlin, Vienna, and Paris, and on his return interested capitalists in the scheme, and the result was a building without a superior of its kind either in Europe or America. The main characteristics are an immense hall of great breadth and height, surrounded by wide aisles. By means of a steam-engine in the cellar, the sliding roof above the hall is capable of being opened or shut in a few seconds, thus affording complete ventilation, and keeping the hall cool, even when brilliantly lighted by innumerable gas jets. Above the aisles on the main floor are tiers of boxes on either side, with a restaurant at the end, and the ceiling above these boxes forms the floor of the great novelty
Brighton—which is to Brooklyn what the
of the building—an open-air terrace or | Manhattan is to New York. All the par
gallery, eighteen feet wide, which runs entirely around the building. The windows of the clear-story of the hall being thrown open, the auditory in the terrace can hear the music almost as plainly as in the hall itself, into which they have a full view; while, crossing to the other side of the terrace, they overlook the neighboring four-story buildings and the street below. Upon Mr. Thomas's engagement as director of the music, the attendance, already very large, was greatly increased, notably on the two evenings of the week devoted to classical music. Both the Metropolitan and Koster and Bial's combine the features of a concert hall, restaurant, and café under one roof. A few years ago an association of capitalists made the delightful discovery that New York was within twenty-five minutes of the blue ocean, and of a white sandy beach unsurpassed by any of the famous European sea-side resorts. Acting on their discovery, they built a magnificent bathing pavilion, and a yet more magnificent hotel, surrounded by flower beds, in the centre of which a music stand was erected. A military band under the direction of Mr. Gilmore, the originator of the famous Boston Jubilees, was engaged to give a concert every afternoon and evening during the summer months. It is true that Coney Island could be found on all the maps, but, with the exception of a few Brooklynites who drove down in the late afternoon, the place had been abandoned to card sharpers and the roughest class from New York. The fashion of the metropolis went to Long Branch, Newport, and other places at least fifty miles from the city; but the proprietors of the Manhattan builded even better than they knew, for to-day six railroads and numerous boats are hardly sufficient to carry the countless thousands to the various hotels that dot Coney Island. The Manhattan still retains its pre-eminence, and is thronged every day and evening by the multitudes to whom Gilmore's Band and the sweet notes from Levy's cornet are the chief attraction. Stimulated by the success of the Manhattan, a second hotel was soon built—the
aphernalia of the older hotel were repeated—a special railroad to carry the multitude, a large bathing pavilion, an immense restaurant to feed the hungry, and lastly and chiefly, an orchestra and a good cornet-player. Mr. Neuendorf was intrusted with the music, and during the first sum
EMMA. C. Thursby.
mer he employed a complete string, wood, and brass orchestra. The artistic effect was encouraging, but was unfortunately lost to those unable to obtain the best seats, and the next year the orchestra was replaced by a military band. Farther to the west, on the same beach, numerous sea-side resorts were built, each of which had its band, the best known being Downing's Ninth Regiment Band, with Mr. Arbuckle as cornetist. With the enthusiasm peculiar to Americans, numerous hotels were built at Rockaway, Long Beach, and other places. The direct gain to music is small, but indirectly the certainty of employment throughout the otherwise dull months has induced many musicians to remain in the metropolis. At a farewell supper given to Miss Thursby in London, Mr. Hatton, in proposing a toast, took occasion to say, “The truth is, the leading English concert singers of to-day are Americans, and the principal Italian prime donne of the lyric stage come from America,” and called on Mr. Mapleson to substantiate his remarks. Making all due allowance for the circumstances under which this compliment to our fellow-citizens was made, the statement was not so very far from the mark. Could we but have a Conservatory of Music on a generous plan, with a large endowment, having at its head a man of undoubted ability and a thorough musician, by encouraging the latent genius which in so many instances is crushed by unfavoring circumstances, it might be verified in its entirety. What is needed is concentration and co-operation. Good teachers are numerous in the city, and some of our best singers have received their entire musical education at home. Miss Thursby is one of the shining examples of the vocal culture attainable in America, for, with the exception of a few months’ study in Milan, her perfect method and brilliant execution are the results of training received under the direction of Julius Meyer, Achille Errani, and Madame Rudersdorf. Her voice is of unusual compass, with great carrying power and perfect intonation, and, by reason of its purity and strength, may be heard above orchestra and chorus throughout the largest building. In ballads and songs, which she sings with a maïveté that is irresistible, in the great arias, and in concert pieces that abound in technical difficulties, her singing is in turn tender, lofty, and graceful. Never indulging in execution that is ornamental only, all her powers are subordinated to the one great end—expression. Her true field is the oratorio and the concert-room. Miss Kellogg and Miss Hauk also are among those whose education has been altogether American, the list of whom might be greatly extended. There are few countries in which music is more extensively cultivated, or at least performed, than in the United States, but as yet our best musicians have chiefly been executants. The composers have been hampered by lack of opportunity, caused by the chilling indifference to native talent, and by the flood of European writers, whose works are common property in America. Valuable and interesting symphonies, grand operas, compositions in all forms, have in years past lain neglected on the shelves of their authors' libraries. A better time is near at hand. Help is extended to the American composer by the offering of prizes for compo
sitions, and a sure sign of the improvement in musical taste is seen by the increased interest in the composition rather than in its performance. Mozart's father once wrote to his son, “Consider that for every connoisseur there are a hundred wholly ignorant; therefore do not overlook the popular in your style of composition, and forget to tickle the long ears.” Mozart replied, “Fear not, father, respecting the pleasure of the multitude; there will be music for all kinds of people, but none for long ears.” Too many American musicians, knowing the fate that had attended the larger compositions in the past, wrote for the “long ears” only, and the result is an enormously long list of extravaganzas and music of the most ephemeral character. The only characteristic American music hitherto is the product of the lowest strata of its society. The plaintive slave songs, and their echoes the plantation melodies and minstrel ballads, have won popularity wherever the English language is spoken; but they are rapidly passing away, and in a few years will exist in memory only. The chief hinderance to the development of a national school of music lies in the diverse character of our population. American composers may flourish, but American music can not be expected until the present discordant elements are merged into a homogeneous people.
SHE walked across the fields, ice-bound,
They knew each other, girl and flower;
They knew me not, blue flower, blue eyes;
From wintry days blue violets shrink;
HE Athens of classic times, where centred the glory of Greece, has, at the mouths and pens of all, her meed of praise. The Athens of to-day, the capital of the realm of George I., King of the Greeks, is an object of interest not simply as “the heir of fame,” but for what she actually is, and for what she is likely to become in the near future. Not only the antiquarian and the classical scholar, but the artist, the student of politics, the pleasure-seeking tourist, and the observer of men and manners, will be richly repaid if he takes the pleasant voyage of two or three days from Naples to Athens, even if he go no farther to the east. Three cities the world honors as the sources of the religion, the law, and the “fair humanities” that have made us what we are: Jerusalem, the mother of Christianity ; Rome, the stern mistress who taught the world state-craft and respect for law; and Athens, in whose pure atmosphere the love of knowledge and the love of beauty first gave a perfect form to art, philosophy, and literature. Rome, with her insatiate thirst of conquest, drew into her own later history that of the Christian Church, as she had imitated and borrowed from the literature, art, and philosophy of Athens. And from the Christian fervor that Rome had thus drawn from Jerusalem, working upon that love of perfect forms of beauty which Athens had taught her, came the greatest latter-day glory of Rome—that art of idealistic painting which made her again the mistress and the teacher of the world. Yet it is not chiefly for what Greece has done through her influence on these
rude Roman conquerors whom she took captive, that the world is indebted to Athens. All the nations of Europe have at their best epochs gone directly to her for instruction. Greek literature has influenced the development of all the literature the polite scholar thinks deserving of his study. Greek constitutions have served as models or as warnings to every statesman and to every student of politics. The central ideas of the constitutional governments now foremost in the world are popular elections; magistrates the servants of the law, but responsible to the people; two legislative bodies, one popular, the other conservative; and local autonomy in local affairs. All these are Greek principles, borrowed from Greek history. And even now we are not beyond learning from the history of Athens. The conditions of Athenian society, the aims and habits of thought of the citizen of Athens in the days of her glory, were in many ways strikingly like those of America to-day. Webster, in the maturity of his power, after reading again the funeral oration of Pericles over the soldiers slain in the war with Sparta, cried out, as he closed the book, “Is this Athens, and an Athenian orator? or is it an American, speaking to citizens of the United States?” Athens saw the rise of “bosses” and “ henchmen” in her degenerate days. Her thoughtful citizens lamented the substitution of blind obedience to a “working” demagogue for intelligent allegiance to the patriotic statesman who voiced in his speeches and embodied in law the enlightened public sentiment he had helped to create. Even the notorious maxim whose influence has cursed American politics for the last fifty years, “To the victors belong the spoils,” is a translation from the pages of Xenophon. In the natural sciences, the Greeks made so many shrewd guesses that science in its greatest strides has seemed but to follow the line of Greek conjectures. PhilOlaus maintained, twenty centuries before Galileo, that the sun was a globe in the centre of the system, and that the earth and the other planets revolved about it, the earth's own motion on its axis causing day and night and the apparent motion of the stars. Cuvier's work of classification in zoology is in part anticipated, in the History of Animals, by Aristotle. Geology was prophesied when Xenophanes inferred, from fossils, extinct races of animals and great changes in the earth's crust. All the world knows how progress in chemistry and physics has followed the revival of Democritus's happy “atomic theory.” Yet it is in the realm of ideas rather than of material science that the glory of Greece and Athens lies. It is because Socrates and Plato made intensely real that distinction between right and wrong which the sophists were attempting to discard and deny; it is because her great
poets set forth so nobly the same commanding force of moral law, however clearly they may have depicted the failures of Greeks to comply with its requirements; and because all this is done in literary forms that are as perfect and as harmoniously proportioned as are her statues and her temples—it is by this perfection of thought in perfect forms that Athens has held her sway over the minds of men. The reign of political law among the nations may have been the lesson of Rome to the world. The recognition of a natural moral law in philosophy, and the reign of harmony, self-restraint, and measured proportion as the basis of beauty in art and in literature, the world owes to Athens. And in architecture (if we except the Gothic—grand by its aspiring lawlessness), in plastic art, in philosophy, oratory, and poetry, the world measures all its later work by a reference to the perfect standard of the Attic ideals. It has been too much the fashion to speak of the Athens of to-day as having little left to her save these glorious memories of the past. We have been told that the race type has utterly changed, that the language has degenerated almost beyond recognition, that the old customs and traditions are utterly dead. The lectures of Felton, the discoveries of Schliemann, turning all eyes once more toward Greece,