Concerts in February 1907

Highlights

There were 114 concerts this month. 38 were solo vocal, 25 solo piano, 10 chamber and 8 solo violin.  Noteworthy events besides the two concerts by Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler on the same day and the terrible ship wreck that involved the German Opera Company, included again a phenomenal number of historic personalities giving concerts. Jacques Thibaud gave two violin concerts of three concertos each. Ignaz Friedman played his second recital, this time all Chopin. Leopold Godowsky played Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto. Five different singing associations gave concerts: the Stern Gesangverein (Beethoven’s Ninth and the Liszt “Graner Fest Messe”), the Singakademie (Schumann’s Scenes from Faust), the Wagner Verein (with baritone Karl Scheidemantel, a veteran of Bayreuth), the Lehrergesangverein (new works), and the Typographia Gesangverein, a new male chorus of 130 German book printers.

from the guidebook Berlin und die Berliner (1905)
Kgl. Hofkapellmeister Felix Weingartner was named Gustav Mahler’s successor as the Director of the Vienna Hofoper. (Berliner Leben, 1907)

The Königliche Kapelle, which was founded in 1842, gave its 600th concert, led by their conductor since 1891, Felix Weingartner. The conductor’s popularity with Berlin audiences was that of a cult following. When Weingartner departed later that year to take over Mahler’s position at the Vienna Opera, the critic Leopold Schmidt described it as a loss to the city comparable to the death of Joachim.

Chamber Music by Hugo Kaun and Reinhold Glière

Hugo Kaun (1863-1932)

One very prominent composer of 1907 Berlin was Hugo Kaun, who has since fallen into complete obscurity. The visiting Münchener Quartet played his second String Quartet in D minor Op. 41(1899) along with Beethoven and Schubert on 2 February. The Wietrowetz Quartet played the same work three days later. The Bohemian Quartet had also programmed it the previous month. The Bohemians further premiered the third Quartet in C minor, op. 74 on 27 November.

Kaun was born and died in Berlin, but spent the years 1887-1900 in the United States, mostly in Milwaukee. In 1907 he was teaching theory, composition, and orchestration privately in the suburb of Zehlendorf (where he was buried). Besides the two quartets, Kaun’s lieder were performed on several voice recitals. Further, Kaun’s Drei Kleine Stücke for strings was premiered by Weingartner on a subscription concert of the Königliche Kapelle in March.1This work was published as Drei Stücke für kleines Orchester, op. 76, and dedicated to Felix Weingartner. During the 1907-08 season it was programmed by no fewer than 30 orchestral societies in Chicago, Milwaukee, Leipzig, Munich, Meiningen, Sonderhausen and other cities. The Berlin Philharmonic performed no fewer than twelve different works by Kaun between 1889 and 1926.

The other composer well represented this month was the Russian Reinhold Glière (1875-1956), who was studying conducting in Berlin with Oskar Fried. On the 20th the Klingler Quartet gave an all-Glière concert of lieder, piano pieces, his Quartet no. 2 in G minor, Op. 20 (1905), and his third Sextet in C major, Op. 11 (1904). Serge Koussevitzsky, Glière’s fellow conducting student, organized the event. The Quartet had been played earlier by the Russian Trio on their concert of 6 February.

Pianists

Two pianists who stood out for their eccentricities were the Liszt pupils Richard Burmeister and Josef Weiss. Richard Burmeister (1860-1944) was known as a specialist for the works of Chopin and Liszt, which he also played and published in his own arrangements. On 12 February he went further (too far?) in experimenting with pre-existing works with an evening of Chopin “melodrama.” While Burmeister played excerpts from well-known Chopin pieces, poems inspired by those works by the obscure poet Kornel Ujejski were recited by the singer Hedwig Reichers.2This was published by Forsberg as “Fünf Dichtungen von Kornel Ujejski über Kompositionen von Chopin. Für melodramatischen Vortrag eingerichtet von R. Burmeister.” The pieces included for this “Chopin-Abend” were: Polonaise in c minor, Nocturne in B, 2 Waltzes (a-flat), Scherzo in B minor, Impromptu in F sharp, Preludes, Fantasy in f minor. Critics were not amused.3“Ist schon ein Melodram ein zweifelhaftes Zwitterwesen, wenn es als solches von Haus aus geschaffen wurde, so ist es sicher keine künstlerische Schöpfung , einer Komposition nachträglich irgend welche Verse zu unterlegen. Das ist nicht mehr Zwitter, das ist Wechselbalg.” Concert in Dresden, Musikalisches Wochenblatt 38 no. 9 (28 Feb 1907): 223. In fact, the Tageblatt judged that “whoever applauded has committed a cardinal sin.”4Berliner Tageblatt, 16 February 1907.

By the end of the year, critics had become completely exasperated by the bizarre behavior of Josef Weiss (1864-1945). They all lamented what a shame it was, since he was so talented.5For instance: “Josef Weiss ist ein Pianist von ungewöhnlichem Können, zugleich ist er leider ein musikalischer Querkopf, der sich nicht in Bande schlagen läßt. In seiner Ungebundenheit ist er schließlich so weit gegangen daß er nunmehr bei bewußten, sorgfältig geplanten Bizarrerien angekommen ist. Es ist schade um sein ungewöhnliches Talent, daß er nicht voll hat zur Blüte kommen lassen.” Signale (1907): 1240. While on stage Weiss would shift restlessly on the piano bench, sometimes leaning precariously far back. His strange facial expressions and vehement head shaking while he played were too extreme to be ignored. His playing was equally marred by too much pedal and the crassest contrasts between loud and soft passages. Weiss’s all-Brahms recital in Leipzig later that year was so willfully strange that one critic suspected he was just trying to attract attention as an oddity. In any case, “it was enough to drive an educated listener out of the hall.”6“…das genügte allein schon, einen gebildeteren Hörer aus dem Saale hinauszutreiben.” Felix Willferodt, review of 28 November concert in Leipzig, Musikalisches Wochenblatt 38 (1907): 1015-16. In another recital later that year Weiss banned any latecomers from entering the hall while he was playing. This happened to include the critic Arthur Laser, who had to wait until the end of the forty-minute Sonata Op. 50 by Karg-Ehlert.7He ranted about it in print afterwards: Die Musik. 7.VI (1907-8): 379. At its conclusion Weiss announced that since the Sonata was difficult for the audience to understand on first hearing, he would play it in its entirety again. That made the concert last three hours.

Myrtle Elyvn, pianist (1886-1975)

Myrtle Elyvn (1886-1975) made her Berlin debut in 1905. Originally from Texas, she studied with Godowsky in Berlin for three years and was admired for her astounding technical ability. (The number of picture postcards of her on the internet indicates she also was very popular for her looks.) In addition to performing, she studied composition with Hugo Kaun. In January she played for the Kaiser and his family, including the musical Prince Eitel Friedrich, the Kaiser’s second oldest son. Her February 15th program of Beethoven, Liszt, Schumann, and Brahms received mixed reviews; some critics thought her playing was superficial.

Another Godowsky student, Wladimir Shaievitch (1888-1946), got strong reviews for his recital of Chopin, Beethoven, Schumann, and Liszt on the 28th. A child prodigy, he had studied with Richard Burmeister at the New York branch of the Scharwenka Conservatory in 1900 before coming to Berlin, where, like Myrtle Elvyn, he also studied composition with Hugo Kaun. After moving to the United States in 1914, he married fellow Russian piano prodigy Tina Lerner and made his name as a conductor.8He guest conducted the Berlin Philharmonic on 8 February 1923.

List of concerts in February

    
Elyda Russell01 FebruaryVoice
Emma Koch (1860-1945)01 FebruaryPianoBeethoven, Liszt, Schubert
Ernst Heine01 FebruaryVoiceAlexander’s brother
Hedwig Stadtfeld01 FebruaryVoiceWith Frieda Schulke violin
Jacques Thibaud (1880-1953)01 FebruaryViolinSaint-Saens, Bach, Mozart, Vieuxtemps
Otto Urack, cello (1884-1963)01 FebruaryMixedd’Albert Cello Concerto
Richard Wintzer01 FebruaryComposer
Alexander Sebald (1869-1934)02 FebruaryViolinBeethoven, Mozart
Julia Hochstädtler02 FebruaryVoice
Ludwig Hess and Karl Friedberg (2nd concert)02 FebruaryMixedSchumann, Brahms
Münchener Streichquartett (2nd)02 FebruaryChamberKaun, Beethoven, Schubert
Marianne Geyer03 FebruaryVoiceSchubert, English French, Italian volkslieder, with Lute
Phil Orch Pop Concert03 FebruaryPops
Hans Hielscher04 FebruaryVoice
Ludwig Wüllner (1858-1938)04 FebruaryVoiceWolf; Bos at piano
Luise Geller-Wolter, 2nd04 FebruaryVoiceSchubert
Mozart Orchestra, Panzner04 FebruaryMixedWith A. Heinemann, Alfred Wittenberg
Stavenhagen and Berber, 2nd04 FebruaryChamberBeethoven, Schumann, Busoni
Sternsche Gesangverein Beethoven 9th04 FebruaryChoralalso Liszt’s Graner Fest Messe, Oskar Fried conductor
Jani Szantó05 FebruaryViolin
Phil Orch Pop Concert05 FebruaryPops
Susanne Dessoir (1869-1953)05 FebruaryVoice
Typographia Gesangverein05 FebruaryChoral
Wietrowetz Quartet, 3rd05 FebruaryChamberKaun,Mendelssohn, with Schnabel: Schumann Quintet
Anni Bremer06 FebruaryVoiceContemporary composers
Elisabeth Gerasch06 FebruaryVoice
Phil Orch Pop Concert06 FebruaryPops
Russisches Trio, 3rd06 FebruaryChamberGliere op. 20
Conrad Ansorge (1862-1930)07 FebruaryPiano5 Beethoven sonatas
Else Gipser (1875-1925)07 FebruaryPianoWith Phil Orchestra, Scharrer
Gustav Beyer07 FebruaryComposer
Philharmonisches Trio07 FebruaryChamber
Marie Panthès (1871-1955)08 FebruaryPianoChopin
Pablo de Sarasate (1844-1908)08 FebruaryViolinGoldmark and Schumann
Singakademie Scenes from Faust08 FebruaryMixedSchumann
Toni Daeglau08 FebruaryVoiceBach, Schumann, Strauss, Reger, B. Scholz with Hermanns Piano Duo
Georg Grundlach09 FebruaryPiano
Klara Erler09 FebruaryVoiceAlfred Schmidt-Badekow, piano
Marie Bergwein09 FebruaryPiano3 concertos: Brahms, Mozart, Sauer
Popular Sonntagskonzert10 FebruaryPops7 PM
Public Hauptprobe Phil10 FebruaryMixedNoon
Sven Scholander10 FebruaryVoiceFolks songs with lute
Benefit with Joachim, Mendelssohns11 FebruaryPops
Robert Adams-Buell11 FebruaryPianoBach, Beethoven, Brahms, Grieg, Sinding, Reger, Liszt
Thea Dora Reicher-Pusch11 FebruaryVoice
VIII Philharmonic Concert Nikisch11 FebruaryMixedReisenauer, a major Liszt concerto
Carola Lorey-Mikorey12 FebruaryPianoSchumann, with Joseph Schlembach, bass
Phil Orch Pop Concert12 FebruaryPops
Richard Burmeister (1860-1944)12 FebruaryPianoChopin Melodramatic performance
Waldemar Meyer Quartet12 FebruaryChamberAll Brahms Scharwenka on op. 34
Anton Sistermans (1865-1926)13 FebruaryVoiceSchumann; Erich J. Wolff compositions to poems by Nietzsche, Dehmel, etc. modern
Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924)13 FebruaryPianoBeethoven op. 53, Op. 111; Liszt,
Helene Pöx13 FebruaryVoice
Wagner Abend, Philharmonisches Konzert13 FebruaryPopsWagner
Ignaz Friedman (1882-1948)14 FebruaryPianoChopin
Julia Culp (1880-1970)14 FebruaryVoiceSchubert, Brahms
Mahler concert with Mahler14 FebruaryVoiceMahler
Strauss concert with Strauss14 FebruaryMixedStrauss
benefit with Franz von Vecsey (1893-1935)14 FebruaryViolin
Frederic Lamond (1868-1948)15 FebruaryPianoBeethoven op. 57, Brahms Handel var., Schumann, Chopin
Marie Panthès (1871-1955)15 FebruaryPianoChopin
Myrtle Elvyn (1886-1975)15 FebruaryPianoBeethoven, Liszt, Schumann, Brahms
VII Königliche Kapelle’s 600th concert15 FebruaryMixed
Bruno Hinze-Reinhold and Leo Schrattenholz16 FebruaryChamber
J.W.L. van Oordt16 FebruaryViolin
Therese Stlottko16 FebruaryPianoLiszt, Beethoven, Schumann concertos
Phil Orch Pop Concert17 FebruaryPops
Wassily Sapellnikoff (1867-1941)17 FebruaryPianoBeethoven op. 57, Bach, Schumann, Chopin
Helene Nowak18 FebruaryVoice
Maria Seret18 FebruaryVoice
Neue Philharmonische Konzert with Godowsky18 FebruaryMixedStrauss, Wolf, Weingartner, Godowsky, Emperor Concerto
Wagnerverein of Berlin and Potsdam, combined18 FebruaryMixedWagner, Schubert, Strauss, Smetana, conductor Leo Blech
Hans Weitzig19 FebruaryPiano
Irmgard Hausmann19 FebruaryVoice
Ludwig Wüllner19 FebruaryVoiceSchubert
Phil Orch Pop Concert19 FebruaryPops
Russisches Trio19 FebruaryChamberworks by Paul Juon, who is at the piano
Hans Ailbout (1879-1957)20 FebruaryPianoWith Ernst Heine, voice
Klingler Quartet with Godowsky20 FebruaryChamberAll Glière
Phil Orch Pop Concert20 FebruaryPops
Glenn Hall, Nikisch, acc.21 FebruaryVoice
Lehrer Gesang Verein21 FebruaryChoral
Paul Goldschmidt (1882-1917)21 FebruaryPianod’Albert, Tchaikovsky, Oskar Fried conductor, Liszt Totentanz encore
Sophie Feldman21 FebruaryVoice
Tilly Koenen (1873-1941), 3rd21 FebruaryVoiceMahler
Eugen d’Albert (1864-1934), 4th22 FebruaryPianoChopin
Jacques van Lier, cello22 FebruaryMixedTchaikovsky
Johanna Kiss22 FebruaryVoice
Otto Werth22 FebruaryVoice
Wagner Abend22 FebruaryPopsWagner
Ella Gmeiner (1874-1954)23 FebruaryVoice
Hermine d’Albert and d’Albert Liederabend23 FebruaryVoiced'Albert
Jacques Thibaud23 FebruaryViolinSaint-Saens, Bach
Louise Petersen23 FebruaryVoice
Otto Neitzel, lecture (1852-1920)24 Feb 07LectureOn Salome
Alberto Curci24 FebruaryViolinwith Hinze-Reinhold; Sonatenabend Veracini
Phil Orch Pop Concert24 FebruaryPops
Erna Pomnitz, piano and Ella Schmücker, voice25 FebruaryMixed
IX Philharmonic concert Nikisch and Busoni25 FebruaryMixedMozart d minor concerto, Haydn symphony in G
Handel concerto, e minor Tchaikovsky
Annemarie Huber26 FebruaryVoice
Blanche Marchesi, 2nd26 FebruaryVoice
Hjalmar Frey26 FebruaryVoice
Joseph Weiss (1864-1945), 2nd26 FebruaryPiano
Phil Orch Pop Concert26 FebruaryPops
Richard Koennecke (1874-?)26 FebruaryVoiceSchubert, Winterreise
Alfred L. Calzin27 FebruaryPianoRubinstein, Brahms, Schytte
Artur and Therese Schnabel27 FebruaryMixed
Erna Bauer27 FebruaryVoice
Halir and Droucker Sonaten Abend27 FebruaryChamberWeingartner and Wolf-Ferrari sonatas for the first time
Phil Orch Pop Concert27 FebruaryPops
Robert Kothe (1869-1944)27 FebruaryVoicevolkslieder sung to the lute
Therese Slottko (d. 1953)27 FebruaryPiano
Anna von Gabain (1866-?)28 FebruaryPianoBeethoven, Liszt, Halfdan Cleve concerto
Joachim Quartet28 FebruaryChamberBrahms, Op. 111
Wladimir Shaievitch (1888-1946)28 FebruaryPianoBeethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Schumann
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2 comments

  1. More astounding detail: I guess this is what Geertz would have called “thick description.” My question is: ok, so what does this all add up to? Are you looking at canon formation? Or maybe at the opposite. How outliers come and go from the repertoire?

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