Even if Mischa Elman had not out-Elmaned himself in a flamboyant, brilliant way Monday evening, his mere presence on the stage where, twenty-five years before almost to the night, he had made his debut as a lad of 17, would have been enough to warm the cockles of any sentimental heart. Replete with warmth, the earthiness of an individualistic art, this Carnegie Hall concert made negligible Elman’s occasional lack of precision, and created a virtue of unpedantic technique. The Largo movement of the Haendel E major Sonata should have made any violinist in the audience a dithering mass of envy.
Leon Barzin and his youthful National Orchestral Association, assisted by the talented Richard Crooks, the not-too-flawless Albert Spalding and the accomplished Guy Maier-Lee Pattison two-piano team, enlisted in the cause of President Roosevelt’s Georgia Warm Springs Foundation too late last week for earlier mention. The concurrence of these personalities was of benefit to a large audience as well as to the Foundation.
Last Saturday evening I went to the same hall because I felt that any aggregation of Russians which believed itself able to make a public appearance in New York without singing “Black Eyes” ought to be encouraged. With high hopes, then, I attended the Don Cossack Russian Male Chorus’s concert. It looked for a while that history was to be made that evening. The program contained no mention of “Black Eyes.”
But just before the third group, a particularly ungainly Cossack loped to the footlights and, in definitely impeachable English announced that “by popular request, we weell seeng ‘Block Eyes’.”
Thus do hopes go a-glimmering. I stayed to hear no more.
Nikolai Sokoloff and the New York Orchestra, assisted by Elizabeth Lennox, contralto, Ruth Miller, soprano, and the Junior League Glee Club, negotiated with considerable charm the lovely Debussy “Blessed Damozel” Tuesday evening at Carnegie.
Ossip Gabrilowitsch added to a week’s total of musical excellence with a thrilling performance of Mozart’s D minor Concerto for piano and orchestra (K. 466) under Bruno Walter’s baton last Sunday afternoon. Orchestra and soloist rendered the Romanze with poetic tenderness, the soloist effacing himself for the good of the whole and, paradoxically, distinguishing himself thereby.