MUSICAL MEMORY - online book

A System To Cultivate The Musical Memory For Musicians.

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes




Share page  Visit Us On FB



Previous Contents Next
68                                                MUSICAL MEMORY.
as intimately as Mr. Halle" himself (without be it understood, the singular ability which enables him to execute them, more or less perfectly, from memory) are, perhaps, in the end less thoroughly satisfied than they might be if the accomplished German pianist had set to work con amore without a thought of self display, to interpret Beethoven—as few like himself are able to interpret him—for Beethoven's sake alone. Never­theless, having successfully gone through twelve Sonatas without book, Mr. Halle", it may be fairly argued, is justified in proceeding as he has begun." After this second notice, we are told the recitalist gave way and placed the book before him on the desk, although he still continued to play from memory.
129.   The fashion of pianoforte "recitals" set by Mr. Halle in 1861 evidently came to stay, despite the strictures of the most eminent musical critics of the day in the most powerful periodicals " The Times " and "The Athenaeum," and when, in 1873, Bulow paid us a visit, and surprised the musical world with his wonderful powers of execution and memory, we find the latter paper chronicles his performance with awe and wonder, but still not with unmixed admiration. The writer says, " He (Bulow) had no music before his eyes to guide him, he confided in his memory and it never faltered ; it was a prodigious effort, almost incon­ceivable, and perhaps somewhat too daring and hazardous."
130.   We cannot draw this digression to a close without mentioning the remarkable series of seven historical pianoforte recitals which were given in London by Rubinstein in 1886. It may be interesting to-revive some of the programmes, in order to give an idea of the feat performed by this prince of pianists. The Beethoven one comprised eight Sonatas. Op. 27 in C sharp minor; Op. 31, No. 2, in D minor; Op. 53 (" Waldstein"); Op. 57 (" Appassionata"); Op. 90, in E minor; Op. 101 in A major; Op. 109 in E major; Op. 111 in C minor. The Chopin recital included the Fantasia in F minor, six Preludes, four Mazurkas, two Impromptus, three Nocturnes, four Ballades, three Polonaises, the Sonata in B fiat minor and other items ; and the Schumann, the Fantasia in C, Kreisleriana, Etudes Sym-phoniques, Sonata in F sharp, four numbers of the Phantasiestiick, " Vogels als Prophet" Romance in D minor and the Carnival. On this-occasion the Press marvelled but it did not protest. It must be conceded that in the present day the ability to play from memory must be possessed by every pianist who would gain public favour, and although both musicians and musical critics regard the prevailing fashion as one of not unmixed good they are unable to influence public opinion to any effectual degree.
131.   Returning now to our original theme, which is the recording of memory performances, and not the reviving of musical criticisms, we stated above that the fashion of conducting from memory was set by Bulow, and amongst living conductors who have sustained the tradition, Dr. Hans Richter is perhaps the most prominent. His method of conducting without the book is known to every one who has attended a Richter concert, but the degree to which he is conversant with absolutely every detail of a score is perhaps only appreciated by the privileged few who gain admission to his orchestral
Previous Contents Next









E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III