The second concert was held on Thursday evening, November 28th. Schumann’s beautiful Symphony in D minor, nominally No. 4, was performed with considerable effect, also the overture to »Oberon,« and Wagner’s »Huldigungs-Marsch,« in E flat, composed for a military orchestra in honour of the King of Bavaria. The band on this occasion played with more ensemble, and at times with very excellent emphasis.
Brahms’s clever Variations on a Theme by Haydn in B flat find great favour with connoisseurs as well as the general public. Mr. Henschel at this concert introduced, as a novelty, two movements from the Symphonic Phantasy called »Airs Italien [sic],« by Richard Strauss, a native of Munich, aged 35. This (second) symphonic work consists of four movements, the two selected by Mr. Henschel are entitled, »On the Campagna,« an andante in G major, and an andantino, »On the Shore of Sorrento,« in A major. As may be supposed, the music is descriptive, but it fails to satisfy expectation. The scoring has many excellent features, but the »triumphant strain« in the first movement is wild and rowdy, and the strings in the second subject acutely pierce the ear; the horns and oboes are well employed. The solemn opening, with full chords, conveys a vivid idea of the now, a change of style and tonality when teeming with life and animation. The Andantino in A, in striking contrast, depicts placid sunlit waters under an Italian sky, and here the harp is freely used; lovely, indeed, is the cantabile for the harp and strings where the mutes, which had previously muffled the violins, are removed; clarinets and bassoons continue an extended theme for the tenor and bass strings, and the hautboy has a cheerfull strain in A minor. With many pleasing traits, these symphonic movements expose the natural deficiencies of a young and inexperienced writer, prone to impetuosity, and apt, like Phæton, or Jehu of old, to drive too furiously. The symphony should have been heard in its integrity, if worthy of production at all.
For next Thursday (Dec. 12th) are appointed Beethoven’s 4th Symphony in B flat, Mozart’s Notturno Serenade in D, for four small bands, and two excerpt to prejudiced detractors of Wagner, now in a hopeless minority.