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London Concerts

Source: The Musical Times, Vol. 68, No. 1009 (Mar. 1, 1927), pp. 261-264
Published by: Musical Times Publications Ltd.
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Accessed: 27-08-2017 15:01 UTC

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over again M. Segovia the artist was let down, just been a pattern of what a classical concert should be,
enough to spoil the effect, because the guitar failed to Friedman's
do reading of the G major Concerto, which,
what a keyboard instrument could have done easily. technically most accurate, was otherwise hard and un-
With these reserves, we could enjoy the novel experiences sympathetic. The soloist, moreover, played an interminable
of the recital, and take careful note of all the little arts and
Cadenza in the first movement, which, it was whispered,
graces which the guitar has reserved for itself. They are had been written by Beethoven himself. If the Cadenza
many, and they deserve a stronger repertory than they was really composed by Beethoven, we can only say-
appear to possess. To weight his programme, M. Segovia paraphrasing Browning's dictum on Shakespeare's Sonnets
had recourse to Handel, Bach, and Mendelssohn. It was -'So much the less Beethoven he.' But one feels pretty
an unwilling exchange-music of the wrong shape for the confident that even if the Cadenza can be traced to
instrument, and an unwanted, if pretty, twist of the tongue Beethoven, various editors have been at work. In any
for the music. M. case, we prize Beethoven and Mozart for their symphonies
and Concertos-not for the Cadenzas which may be attributed
The first Symphony Concert to be given in February
had a programme which looked ideal-on paper-and SINGERS OF THE MONTH
consisted of two short works (Smetana's Overture to the
'Bartered Bride' and Strauss's ' Don Juan ') and two long Mr. John McCormack sang at the Albert
seemed to have mellowed since his last Londo
ones (Respighi's 'Sinfonia Drammatica' and Brahms's Violin
Concerto). If the actual events did not come up to his upper notes were certainly more full-th
always impresses the listener is Mr. McCor
expectation it was that neither of the two long works came
up 'to scratch.' The composer of the 'Fountains of extraordinary breath control. To this mast
Rome' has his own views about the symphonic form. His equality of tones. His style is scrupulously
themes are meant to represent the characters of a drama; even when he hints at impassioned effect
longest phrases without turning a hair. H
they meet (occasionally), they quarrel; they are reconciled
manner is exemplary. But the student is not a
(for a time), they have their entrances and their exits until
the final 'exeunt omnes' to the strains of a funeral march.Mr. McCormack's habit of spreading the wi
This is a view which sounds eminently practical andhe will be told that his tone is too open. C
possible. Signor Respighi does not tell us what particular not want as an ordinary thing, 'Ah King
drama he has in mind, nor which theme represents the ahn open palahs.' Mr. McCormack's diction
hero and which stands for the villain of the piece. But spiced with Italian. Still we allow that every word is
admirably clear. And of course in his Irish folk-songs
since the 'pictures,' poor dumb things, are so popular, there
is no ground for objecting to a wordless story in music. (arranged by Herbert Hughes) the fun and the wistful grace
of his expression were irresistible. In Donaudy's 'Luoghi
But one qualification is indispensable to the success of such
a plot-the characters must interest us; their thoughts, sereni e carl' it was felt that the technique of singing
their actions, must move us to a sympathetic feeling and could be carried little farther. But elsewhere he gave the
understanding. In other words, they must not bore us. impression of an excessively studied and too little spon-
taneous art.
Now, in spite of very pleasant episodes and very clever
writing, the final impression left by the Symphony was oneMadame Lydia Lipkowska, the Russian soprano, sang a
of excessive length. It took almost fifty minutes inthe Albert Hall, after a long absence from London. She
performance; the actual matter would have justified half best known as a coloratura singer, but she was preferre
that length. The orchestration is deft, as usual-but forin sopurely lyrical songs. Her singing of Rossini's 'Una
distinguished an orchestrator there are far too many voce' was poor compared with her performance of
tremolandos for the strings. Tchaikovsky's ' If I had known,' the interpretation of which
was vivid, and unembarrassed by any fault of technique.
The Brahms Concerto at Thibaud's hands sounded
In Rossini,
refined, and also effeminate at times; somewhat nervousit seemed as though she were still remembering
a studio injunction to pour her tones into her head. Well,
and lacking in stamina. The phrasing was beautiful-the
intonation not quite impeccable. F. B. she succeeded, but in doing so just lost fulness of throat.
Hence the hardness of her coloratura. It was-remarked
that when the singer stood upright, allowing the resonances
of head and chest to be properly free, the tone was very
A deep and well-filled purse and beautiful. the glamour which
Two distinct styles were apparent throughout
attaches to a Government department induced
Madame the singing
Lipkowska's B.B.C. on this afternoon, and it was
to stand in its own light and hide significant its ownhow glory-for it
variety and beauty of tone left the singer
was the B.B.C. that first brought to London the second
when the voice was pitched forward, and the breath was not
' Leonora' No. 2, which many, no doubt, would have
doing its full work. liked
to hear. If the hall was half empty the cause of it Miss Myra Mortimer (Wigmore Hall) was an unusually
was the unusual modesty of the B.B.C., which in the spiritinteresting singer. She was mistress of herself, and had a
of true Christianity let not its right hand know what much better idea of linking together the portions of her
its left was doing. The first intention was to open the voice than have most contraltos. Her tone was always
concert with a Weber Overture; the change was made atsteady and round. One might pick faults. She did not
the last moment, when there was only time to insert a little
always sufficiently expand her vowels; she was apt to be
slip in the programme to acquaint listeners and preventtoo jerky in rhythm, and at least one of the Schubert
them, presumably, from buying the wrong score. The
songs ('Am See') was spoilt by superfluous aspirates.
conductor was Herr Schercher-but does it matter who
But one must needs be soured not to feel pleasure in
conducts at the Albert Hall? Really it does not seem
Miss Mortimer's singing. She is to be thanked for her
worth while discussing a performance in which the strings
good programme.
must inevitably be drowned by the brass at every forte, M. Nikolai Nadejin when last heard was felt to be
and all the finer points disappear owing to the acoustics
anofexceptional baritone. His voice then had a natural
the building. Schanberg's 'Verklirte Nacht' Sextet nobility,
was and was boldly used. At his recent zEolian Hall
also played in an adaptation for string orchestra, and I he sang diffidently-at times even in a finicking
had the impression that anywhere else the performance manner. He certainly gave us a good mezza-voce (riskily
would have been most attractive. On the same evening employed, however, in Caccini's 'Amarilli' and Schumann's
Pcuishnov played with ease and apparent or real brilliancy,
'Der Nussbaum') and fairly clear words. Several mixed-
Liszt's 'Triangle' Concerto. F. B. voice effects were of real beauty, but the old fire and
sonority were missing. Then, returning to his natural
style, he sang some Rimsky-Korsakov with success.
Weingartner is always at his best in Beethoven,
Mr. Harold and the sang at Wigmore Hall. A small
two Symphonies he conducted with thevoice L.S.O.
his, proved it
but an uncommonly pleasant one. It served
over and over again. The whole programme might
admirably have
in several songs by Brahms, missing only effects

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