HENRY C. LAHEE: FAMOUS VIOLINISTS OF TO-DAY AND YESTERDAY . Страница 13


<<  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  

in using his
opera-glass to look at Mozart, noticed that there was nothing on his
desk but a sheet of blank paper, and, afterward calling the composer to
him, said: "So, Mozart, you have once again trusted to chance," to which
Mozart, of course, graciously acquiesced, though the emperor did not
state whether he considered Mozart's knowledge of his new composition,
or Madame Schlick's ability to play with him unrehearsed, constituted
the "chance."

The next virtuosa was a Frenchwoman, Louise Gautherot, who was born
about 1760, and who played in London and made a great impression about
1780 to 1790, and about the same time Signora Vittoria dall' Occa played
at the theatre in Milan. Signora Paravicini, born about 1769, and Luigia
Gerbini, about 1770, were pupils of Viotti, and earned fame. The former
made a sensation in 1799 by her performance of some violin concertos at
the Italian Theatre at Lisbon, where she played between the acts.

Signora Paravicini attracted the attention of the Empress Josephine, who
became her patroness and engaged her to teach her son, Eugene
Beauharnais, and took her to Paris. After a time, however, the Empress
neglected her, and she suffered from poverty. Driven to the last
resource, and having even pawned her clothes, she applied for aid to the
Italians resident in Paris, and they enabled her to return to Milan,
where her ability soon gained her both competence and credit. She also
played at Vienna in 1827, and at Bologna in 1832, where she was much
admired.

Catarina Calcagno, who has already been mentioned as a pupil of
Paganini, was a native of Genoa, born about 1797, and had a short but
brilliant career. She disappeared from before the public in 1816.

Madame Krahmer and Mlles. Eleanora Neumann, and M. Schulz all delighted
the public in Vienna and Prague. Miss Neumann came from Moscow, and
astonished the public when she had scarcely reached her tenth year.
Other names are Madame Filipowicz, Madame Pollini, Mlle. Zerchoff, Eliza
Wallace, and Rosina Collins, who all played publicly and were well
known.

In 1827 Teresa Milanollo was born, and in 1832 her sister Marie, and
these two young ladies played so well, and were in such striking
contrast to one another, that they proved very successful as concert
players. They were natives of Savigliano, in Piedmont, where their
father was a manufacturer of silk-spinning machinery. Teresa, the elder,
was taught by Ferrero, Caldera, and Morra, but in 1836 she went to Paris
and studied under Lafont, and afterwards under Habeneck, going still
later to Brussels, where she took lessons of De Beriot, and received the
finishing touch to her artistic education,--faultless intonation. Her
career as a concert player began when she was about nine years of age.
When Marie was old enough to handle a violin Teresa began to teach her,
and in fact was the only teacher Marie ever had.

The two sisters, who were called, on account of their most striking
characteristics, Mlle. Staccato and Mlle. Adagio, travelled together
through France, Holland, Belgium, Germany, and England, and were
everywhere received with the greatest interest. They played before Louis
Philippe at Neuilly, and appeared with Liszt before the King of Prussia.
They also created a furore at Vienna and Berlin.

Marie, the younger, who was of a happy and cheerful disposition, was not
strong, and in 1848 she died in Paris. Teresa, the elder, after a long
retirement, resumed her travels, and, having matured and improved, she
played better and excited more interest than before. In 1857 she married
a French officer, Captain Theodore Parmentier, who had seen service in
the Crimean War, and she abandoned the concert stage.

From 1857 until 1878 she followed the fortunes of her husband, who
became a general and a "Grand Officier de la Legion d'Honneur," and her
public appearances were limited to such places as the vicissitudes of a
military life took her to. Since 1878 Madame Parmentier has lived
quietly in Paris, where she is still to be met by a few fortunate
persons in select musical and social circles.

During the lifetime of Marie, the sisters had already put themselves
into direct personal relations with the poor of Lyons, but after Teresa
had roused herself from her mourning for her sister she established a
system of "Concerts aux Pauvres," which she carried out in nearly all
the chief cities of France, and part of the receipts of these concerts
was used for the benefit of the poor. Her plan was to follow up the
first concert with a second, at which the audience consisted of poor
school-children and their parents, to whom she played in her most
fascinating manner, and, at the conclusion of her performance, money,
food, and clothing, purchased with the receipts of the previous
concerts, were distributed.

From 1830 there has been a constantly increasing number of ladies who
have appeared as concert violinists, but few have continued long before
the public, or have reached such a point of excellence as to be numbered
amongst the great performers.

Mlle. Emilia Arditi, Frauelein Hortensia Zirges, Miss Hildegard Werner,
Miss Bertha Brousil, and Madame Rosetta Piercy-Feeny were all born
during the decade 1830 to 1840, and were well known, but in 1840 and
1842 two violinists were born who were destined to hold the stage for
many years and to exert a great influence in their profession. Wilma
Neruda, now known as Lady Halle and Camilla Urso are the two ladies in
question, the former exerting her influence chiefly in England and on
the Continent, and the latter in America.

Miss Werner has played an important part in advancing the art amongst
women, having for many years conducted a school of music at
Newcastle-on-Tyne, in England. She was also the first woman ever to
address the Literary and Philosophical Society, when in 1880 she
delivered an address on the history of the violin. There is little
doubt, however, that the success of Teresa Milanollo gave the first
great impulse toward the study of the violin by women.

Lady Halle was born at Bruenn, March 21, 1840. Her father was Josef
Neruda, a musician of good ability, and he gave her the first
instruction on the violin, and then placed her under Leopold Jansa, in
Vienna. Wilhelmina Maria Franziska Neruda made her first appearance in
public in 1846, at which time she was not quite seven years old. On this
occasion her sister Amalie, who was a pianist, accompanied her, and
shortly afterwards her father took her, with her sister Amalie and one
of her brothers, on an extended tour. The family consisted of two
sons--a pianist and a 'cellist--and two daughters--a violinist and a
pianist.

In 1849 they reached London, where the young violinist played a concerto
by De Beriot, at the seventh Philharmonic concert of that season. By the
critics at that time she was said to be wonderful in bravura music, in
musical intelligence, and in her remarkable accuracy.

As time went on, and her playing matured, she became known throughout
Europe. In 1864 she married Ludwig Norman, conductor of the opera at
Stockholm, and for a time she remained in that city and became a teacher
at the Royal Music School.

Before long she was again busy with concert playing, and in 1869 she
again appeared in England, where she became a great favourite, and has
appeared there regularly almost, if not quite, every season since. Hans
von Buelow spoke of her as Joachim's rival, and called her "the violin
fairy."

Joachim has always been a great favourite in England, but Madame
Norman-Neruda, or Lady Halle, as she became later, has fully shared his
popularity. What Joachim is to the sterner sex, just the same is Lady
Halle to the gentler.

Joachim was indeed one of the first to recognise the fact that he had in
Mlle. Neruda a rival, for in the days when she was earning her
reputation he heard her at some place on the Continent, and remarked to
Charles Halle, who afterwards became her husband, "I recommend this
artist to your careful consideration. Mark this, when people have given
her a fair hearing, they will think more of her and less of me."

Ludwig Norman died in 1885, and three years later Madame Norman-Neruda
married the pianist, Charles Halle, who had long been identified with
all that was best musically in England, and who was knighted in
recognition of his services to the cause of art.

Sir Charles Halle established a series of orchestral concerts at
Manchester in 1857, and by means of these concerts brought before the
English public the works of many composers who would have remained
unknown perhaps for years but for his efforts. In this work he was ably
supported by this talented violinist, afterwards his wife, and with her
he made many tours all over the British Isles.

In 1890 Sir Charles and Lady Halle made a tour in Australia, which was
highly successful. Five years later they went to South Africa, where
they met with a flattering reception. In his memoirs, Sir Charles Halle
tells of a curious compliment which they received at Pietermaritzburg.
The mayor invited them to play at a municipal concert to be given one
Sunday afternoon. The concert began, and after an organ solo and a song
had been given by other musicians, they played the Kreutzer sonata. At
the conclusion of the sonata, a member of the corporation came forward,
and said that after the impression just received he thought it would be
best to omit the remainder of the programme, upon which the audience
cheered and dispersed.

In 1895, shortly after their return from the South African tour, Sir
Charles Halle died, and Lady Halle went into retirement. At this time
her numerous admirers in England presented her with a valuable
testimonial of their appreciation.

Throughout her career she has fulfilled the prophecies made of her in
her youth, for her talent and musicianship developed as she grew up, and
her genius did not burn itself out as that of many infant prodigies has
done. She has never endeavoured to secure public applause at the expense
of her real artistic nature. Her performances are and always have been
synonymous with all that is good in musical art, and nothing but that
which is of the best has ever been allowed to appear upon her
programmes.

She is celebrated no less as a quartet player than as a soloist, and was
for many years first violin of the Philharmonic Quartet in London.

In 1898, Lady Halle had the misfortune to lose her son, Mr. Norman
Neruda, who, while scaling a difficult place in the Alps, slipped and
was killed.

In the following year she emerged from her retirement and visited the
United States, where her playing was highly appreciated by unbiassed
critics. There was a feeling, however, that she might have made the
journey many years before, and allowed the American public to hear her
in her prime, when she would have received not only a very warm welcome,
but would have been judged rather by her merits than by her history, and
she would not have challenged comparison with the violinists of the
rising generation.

Camilla Urso has been for many years one of the best known violinists in
the United States. She was born at Nantes, in France, in 1842, of
Italian parents. Her father was Salvator Urso, a good musician, and son
of a good musician, so that the young violinist inherited some of her
talent. In 1852 the family crossed the Atlantic and settled in the
United States, and almost immediately the little girl began to appear at
concerts. Camilla Urso began to study the violin at the age of six
years, and her choice of that instrument was determined by her hearing
the violin and being fascinated by it during a celebration of the Mass
of St. Cecilia. She was taken to Paris for instruction, for which
purpose her father abandoned his position at Nantes. She entered the
Conservatoire and became a pupil of Massart.

She made a tour through Germany, during which she met with immense
success, and then returned to Paris to continue her studies.

She was fresh from Massart's instruction when, in October, 1852, she
made her first appearance in Boston, where her playing and her style
called forth eulogies from the critics of those days. John S. Dwight
wrote to the effect that it was one of the most touching experiences of
his life to see and hear the charming little maiden, so natural and
childlike, so full of sentiment and thought, so self-possessed and
graceful. Her tone was pure, and her intonation faultless, and she
played with a "fine and caressing delicacy," and gave out strong
passages in chords with thrilling grandeur.

For three years she continued to travel and delight American audiences,
and then for a period of about five years she retired into private life,
and did not resume her professional career until 1862, from which time
she frequently made concert tours in America until she returned to
Paris. It was about the period of these tours that her influence upon
young women began to be felt, for she was at an age when womanly grace
becomes evident, and her manners and character were as fascinating as
her playing.

In Paris she so pleased M. Pasdeloup that he begged her not to allow
herself to be heard in public until she had played at his concerts. "You
may count upon a splendid triumph," he said. "It is _I_ who tell you so.
Your star is in the ascendant, and soon it will shine at the zenith of
the artistic firmament."

The result justified the prophecy, and Camilla Urso was the recipient of
great honours in Paris. She was presented by the public with a pair of
valuable diamond earrings, and was treated almost like a prima donna.

In March, 1867, Mlle. Urso received a testimonial from the musical
profession in Boston, where a few years later she had a curious
experience. She was playing a Mozart concerto, at a concert, when an
alarm of fire was given, and caused a good deal of excitement. Many of
the audience left their seats and made for the door, but the violinist
stood unmoved until the alarm was subdued and the audience returned to
their seats, when she played the interrupted movement through from the
beginning.

In 1879 she made a tour to Australia, and again in 1894.

In 1895 she was in South Africa, and achieved great triumphs in Cape
Town, besides giving concerts at such out-of-the-way places as
Bloemfontein. She has probably travelled farther than any other violin
virtuosa.

For the past few years she has lived in New York, and has practically
retired from the concert stage.

Teresina Tua, who was well known in the United States about 1887, was
born at Turin in 1867. As in the case of Wilhelmina Neruda and of
Camilla Urso, her father was a musician, and she received her early
musical instruction from him. Her first appearance in public was made at
the age of seven, and up to that time she had received no instruction,
except that given her by her father. During her first tour she played at
Nice, where a wealthy Russian lady, Madame Rosen, became interested in
her, and provided the means to go to Paris, where she was placed under
Massart.

In 1880 Signorina Tua won the first prize for violin playing at the
Paris Conservatoire, and the following year made a concert tour which
extended through France and Spain to Italy. In 1882 she appeared in
Vienna, and in 1883 in London, where she played at the Crystal Palace.
Wherever she went people of wealth and distinction showed the greatest
interest in her, and when she came to America in 1887 she appeared laden
with jewelry given her by royalty. Her list of jewels was given in the
journals of that day,--"a miniature violin and bow ablaze with diamonds,
given by the Prince and Princess of Wales; a double star with a
solitaire pearl in the centre, and each point tipped with pearls, from
Queen Margherita of Italy." Besides these, there were diamonds from the
Queen of Spain and from the Empress of Russia and sundry grand
duchesses. No lady violinist ever appeared before an American audience
more gorgeously arrayed. "Fastened all over the bodice of her soft white
woollen gown she wore these sparkling jewels, and in her hair were two
or three diamond stars," said the account in Dwight's _Journal of
Music_. Yet with all this the criticisms of her playing were somewhat
lukewarm. The expectation of the people had been wrought up to an
unreasonable pitch, and Signorina Tua, while she was acknowledged to be
an excellent and charming violinist, was not considered _great._ After a
time, however, as she became better known, she grew in popular
estimation, and before she left America she had hosts of admirers.

On returning to Europe she made another tour, but shortly afterwards she
married Count Franchi Verney della Valetta, a distinguished Italian
critic, and retired into private life, though from time to time she was
heard in concerts in Italy.

In 1897 she was again on the concert stage, and played at St. James's
Hall, London, after an absence of eight years, and it was considered
that her playing had gained in breadth, while her technique was as
perfect as ever.

Of the three hundred or more pupils of Joachim, there have been several
ladies who have attained celebrity, of whom Miss Emily Shinner (now
Mrs. A. F. Liddell) has been for some years the most prominent in
England, while the names of Gabrielle Wietrowitz and Marie Soldat are
known throughout Europe, and Maude Powell and Leonora Jackson are among
the brightest lights from the United States.

Miss Emily Shinner has been in many respects a pioneer amongst lady
violinists, for in 1874, when quite young, she went to Berlin to study
the violin. In those days pupils of the fair sex were not admitted to
the Hochschule, and Miss Shinner began to study under Herr Jacobsen. It
happened, however, that a lady from Silesia arrived at Berlin, intending
to take lessons of Joachim, but unaware of the rules against the
admission of women to the Hochschule. Joachim interested himself in her,
and she was examined for admission. Miss Shinner at once presented
herself as a second candidate, and the result was that both ladies were
accepted as probationers. In six months Miss Shinner was allowed to
become a pupil of Joachim, and thus gained the distinction of being the
first girl violinist to study under the great professor.

Again in 1884 Miss Shinner, having acquired a great reputation in
musical circles in England, was called upon at very short notice to take
Madame Neruda's place as leader to the "Pop" Quartet, on which occasion
she acquitted herself so well that an encore of the second movement of
the quartet was demanded. Since that time she has been always before the
public, and has taken special interest in chamber music and quartet
playing, the Shinner Quartet of ladies having acquired a national
reputation.

Her marriage to Capt. A. F. Liddell took place in 1889.

Marie Soldat was born at Gratz in 1863 or 1864, and was the daughter of
a musician, who was pianist, organist, and choirmaster, and who gave
her instruction from her fifth year on the piano. Two years later she
began to learn the organ, and was soon able to act as substitute for her
father when occasion required her services. Until her twelfth year she
studied music vigorously, taking violin lessons with Pleiner at the
Steier Musical Union at Gratz, and composition with Thierot, the
Kapellmeister, at the same time keeping on with the pianoforte.

She played the phantasie-caprice by Vieuxtemps in a concert at the
Musical Union when she was ten years of age, and at thirteen she went on
a tour and played Bruch's G minor concerto.

Soon after this she had the misfortune to lose her father, and a little
later her violin teacher, Pleiner, also died, so that her progress
received a check. Joachim, however, visited Gratz to play at a concert,
and the young girl went to him and consulted him as to her future
course. As a result of the interview she began to take lessons of August
Pott, a good violinist at Gratz, and the following year (1879) she again
went on a concert tour, visiting several cities in Austria.

During this tour, she made the acquaintance of Johannes Brahms, who took
a great deal of interest in her, advised her to devote all her energies
to the violin, and succeeded in arranging for another interview with
Joachim, the result of which was that she was enabled to enter the
Berlin High School for Music. Here she pursued her studies until 1882,
after which she still continued her studies and took private lessons of
Joachim.

At the high school she gained the Mendelssohn prize, and from that time
commenced her career as a virtuosa, touring extensively throughout
Europe. One of her greatest triumphs was when, in 1885, at Vienna, she
played Brahm's violin concerto with Richter's orchestra.

Her career has been marked by hard work and continual practice, which
have enabled her to overcome many obstacles, and have placed her on a
level with the very best violinists of her sex.

The Ladies' String Quartet, which she formed in Berlin, consisting of
herself as first violin, with Agnes Tschetchulin, Gabrielle Roy, and
Lucie Campbell, had a creditable career, and appeared in several German
cities.

In 1889 Marie Soldat married a lawyer named Roeger, but did not retire
from her profession. She is now known as Madame Soldat-Roeger.

Gabrielle Wietrowitz was born a few years later, in 1866, at Laibach,
and was also a pupil at the Musical Institute at Gratz. Her father was a
military bandsman who had some knowledge of the violin, which enabled
him to give his daughter elementary instruction on that instrument.

After a few years he left Laibach to settle in Gratz, and Gabrielle took
violin lessons from A. Geyer (some accounts say Caspar). On entering the
Musical Union she made a sensation by playing brilliantly at a concert
before a large audience. She was then eleven years of age, and from that
time she made the most rapid progress, taking first prize at the annual
trial concert. In consequence of her great promise Count Aichelburg, who
was a member of the Directorate of the Musical Union, presented her with
a valuable violin, and the Directorate assigned her a yearly salary
which enabled her to go to Berlin and enter the high school, where she<

<<  10  11  12  13  14  15  16