That beneficent antiquarian, Bernardino Molinari, gave us not many days ago, through Arturo Toscanini, his friend, and the Philharmonic-Symphony, an edition of the 18th Century Vivaldi “Echo” Concerto for strings, cimbalo and organ so surely contrived and so understandingly moulded that even Papa Haydn’s charming Symphony “with the horn signal,” which followed it, was somewhat obscured.
The week thus became not only a period for delving into antiquity, but for obscurings. The chorus of the Oratorio Society of New York sang no less a piece than Bach’s B minor Mass, which is probably the most exalted expression ever to ## from what Nietzsche liked to call the Judaico-Christian religion. It sang the Mass with a distinguished orchestral accompaniment, if not a too inspired one, and a quartet composed of Jeannette Vreeland, soprano; Rose Bampton, contralto; Dan Gridley, tenor, and Robert Crawford, bariton, all under direction of Albert Stoessel, who is at least to be congratulated on conducting the eighth complete rendition of this monumental utterance by the Society. In a very real sense, this event obscured the rest of the week. Miss Bampton was her thrilling, musicianly self, her Agnus Dei aria an unforgettable performance.
Leopold Stokowski the night before brought to light the Gliere symphony “Ilya Murometz,” and then, apparently in an effort to atone for this indiscretion, conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra in Debussy’s ageless, decadent “L’A pres-midi d’un Faune” and several excerpts from Act III of “Parsifal,” which filled the same Nietsche already referred to with so much scorn for Richard Wagner.
The last “Salome” of the Metropolitan Opera season was easily the worst of the year, with Frederick Jagel (Herod) and Friedrich Schorr (Jokannaan) getting involved in a miscue: Goeta Ljungberg (Salome) falling to the stage in the midst of a dramatic sequence, and Karl Riedel conducting with astonishing listlessness.
The Musical Art Quartet ended its season with success. Harry Kaufmann, a pianist who knows a thing or two about tone projection and control, assisted it in the Franck F minor quintet, while the Musical Art alone assisted itself expertly to a laurel wreath for its playing of the Beethoven A minor quartet (Op. 132).
Ray Lev, another young pianist of remarkable gifts, played the Rach Toccata in C which we have already heard in symphony arrangement this season. Maybe sventually it will be given the way Bach wrote it—for the organ. In any case, Miss Lev showed dazzling technique and delicate expressiveness in Brahms, Chopin, Ravel and Lizt pieces.
The Workmen’s Circle Chorus sang Labor and Revolutionary Songs with Lazar Weiner conducting, and Yasha Fishberg, violinist, assisting.
Gerald Tracy played a piano lackadaisically.
There you have a week or so.