Music of the Month

Undoubtedly Jascha Heifetz shines supremely in the musical firmament of the month. Carnegie Hall has probably held no larger and no more enthusiastic audience than that which greeted this wonderful Russian boy at his second recital on December 1. He played Saint-Saëns concerto in B minor with much authority and exquisite expressiveness. Seldom has one heard a more beautiful tone than he exhibited in the slow movement.

The Bach Chaconne has probably never been better played (on the technical side) by any violinist — such remarkable precision, tremendous ease and spontaneity; he also realized its depth and eloquence of character and presented it with great beauty.

Mr. Heifetz played Tschaikowsky’s concerto with the Philharmonic yesterday (Sunday, December 16), and never has this concerto been played with greater mastery or more exquisite finesse. Although one is accustomed to a greater passion in this work, Jascha Heifetz’s interpretation was both warm and vivid and always mindful of pure beauty. His performance will remain a memorable one.

Joseph Bonnet’s historical series of organ recitals concluded at the Hotel Astor ballroom last Monday. These recitals were not only interesting, but highly instructive, and Mr. Bonnet proved himself to be a great artist, but one wept silently because of the poor instrument he had to use, and one hopes at his next series he will be given an organ worthy of him.

Henri Rabaud, composer of the opera, “Marouf,” about to see its premiere at the Metropolitan opera house, was represented by his Symphony in E minor at the New York Symphony’s concert December 6. Rabaud is a modern French composer (one of the conductors of the Opera Comique), and his symphony is certainly worth a repetition. He does not pursue many of the methods of the dominant school of French composers and is evidently seeking beyond atmosphere or vivid emotionalism. It has power and great charm. The first movement is decidedly academic; but great poetic feeling was shown in the andante, and tremendous dramatic force in the last movement. On hearing this symphony for the first time one certainly becomes anxious for the first performance of “Marouf.”

The Society des Instruments Anciens gave a most attractive recital, but was unfortunate to play on the same afternoon as Fritz Kreisler, for this left the Aeolian barely half filled. A most fascinating program included Haydn, Haendel, Campra, Monsigny, Asioli and Lesuer. The latter, a perfectly exquisite ballet, represented at the Malmaison before Napoleon and the Empress Josephine in 1806.

One can well understand Napoleon’s great enthusiasm for the clavecin, which lends itself so perfectly to the stringed instruments, and which makes one think of the piano as harsh and metallic in quartet playing.

On December 29 an interesting sonata recital will be given by that delightful violinist, Jacques Thibaud, and Robert Lortat, the French pianist who came to this country with Mr. Thibaud last year.

Whilst thanking heaven for the good things, canst tell me, Yvonne, why we must listen to so many indifferent concerts? — some of them indeed painful; most of the culprits are singers. And why is it that the worse the singer the more knitting goes on in the hall — clicking needles to the left, clicking needles to the right, vivacious flappers jabbing one in the ribs, wool being wound in front of one and a screeching soprano large and ugly holding the stage. The more she weighs the more pastel in shade, her gown, with many draperies struggling to flow — where? One hardly dare think; one is reduced to weeping into one’s muff. If, in order to make the world safe for democracy, we must eliminate so much beautiful music, won’t some far-seeing statesman safeguard the hearing of well-intentioned listeners and also ask the ladies to use their needles more discreetly?

Happy New Year, Yvonne.


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