Category: Cultural Context

The stiff-upper-lip school of music

F. S. Kelly (1881-1916), pianist and composer Frederick Septimus Kelly is remembered today as one of the “lost” generation killed in World War I – specifically as part of the Hood Battalion of the Royal Navy, where so many of Britain’s young elite of talent and birth served as officers before being killed. But he […]

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Arthur Lourié on Berlin as musical capital

Here are a few excerpts about Berlin at the beginning of the twentieth century from the book Sergei Koussevitzky and his Epoch by Arthur Lourié (1892-1966). The author of the second biography of Koussevitzky described this book in his preface: “There was available an earlier biography of Koussevitzky by his friend Arthur Lourié. The value of […]

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16 April 1907

The alto Iduna Walter-Choinanus is so well-known there is hardly anything left to say about her, a critic writes (and I can’t find anything about her!). She is singing the Brahms lieder with viola obligato (played by Fridolin Klingler of the Klingler Quartet). The pianist is Cornelia Rider-Possart, who will be playing “Carnaval Mignon” by […]

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9 April 1907

The main attraction tonight is the Berlin premiere of Verdi’s Don Carlos by the Monte Carlo Opera Company. I will be interested to read the reviews! The singer-actor Ludwig Wüllner is taking out his violin again to play a second “Sonata-Abend” with Coenraad Bos. Besides sonatas by Schubert, Mozart, and Beethoven, he will perform the […]

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27 March 1907

The 25th anniversary of the Loewe-Verein is being observed with a concert put on by bass-baritone Hermann Gura (1870-1944), the son of the Wagnerian singer Eugen Gura, who was part of the original 1876 Bayreuth festival and became a legendary Hans Sachs. Hermann Gura is a known “Loewe apostle.” (Die Musik noted approvingly that he […]

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The lady violinist, an exhibition of grace

The “Violin Girl” as a solution to the “Piano Girl” Around 1890, English-language press started describing a trend in which women musicians were choosing the violin over the piano. “Violin playing is all the rage now, and is a welcome relief after the feminine piano banging one is forced to endure. Girls do not realize […]

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After 1907: Oh, the decadence!

One day recently, listless from a prolonged illness, I paged through Berliner Leben, a periodical mostly made of up photographs of stars and productions from the theater world. I had already looked at its first years, starting in 1899. But this time I skipped ahead to 1910, and was struck by the evidence of trends […]

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