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Beethoven seems to have wondered to richest so far, perhaps, of the whole
himself when well on in the last movement of the fifth symphony. “whither am I going? What does the thing I am saying now have to do with my original conception? Why is this superfluous obligation of a closing allegro imposed on me? I can carry it through, but I am doing Mozart's and Haydn's will, not my own. Let me suspend formalities here a moment and go back to my scherzo.” Thus the great composer made protest number one against the inherited formula of an overture finale. He spoke protest number two in the choral movement of the ninth symphony. Beethoven is restored to honor at the Boston Symphony concerts. The performance of the “Egmont” overture in November, of the C minor piano concerto in February and of the C minor symphony on Friday afternoon all attest it. Distinguished reading of a work from each of the master's three orchestral fields gives Max Fielder rank with the Beethoven interpreters who have preceded him at the conductor's desk of Boston Symphony. The Beethoven number of the nineteenth program was given in all three of its characteristic divisions an extraordinary lucid presentation. The honesty and vigor of composer and the honesty and vigor of conductor became interchangeable. Here was not Fiedler the German conservatory professor appreciating the art of Beethoven, the early nineteenth century symphonist, but here was one good man recognizing another good man when he saw him. What becomes of our art affectations, can you tell, when Mr. Fielder is reading a piece he likes One thing we know, they cease to stand between our real life and the music. The Fifth symphony, with all its certainty of aim in first movement, slow movement and scherzo, with its open minded concession to usage, under protest, in the finale, was given to the rehearsal
audience for a new possession, the year. Let it not be supposed, though, that the symphony was given in four separate parcels. If anybody went from the concert of Friday saying that he had sensed the logic of the first movement, felt the poetry of the second or caught the humor of the third as never before, he thereby admitted that he had never heard either Dr. Muck or Mr. Gericke conduct this work. The performance of Mr. Fiedler, as has been the rule with him in Boston, was not so remarkable for detail, for emphasis of particular mood, as for complete effect, for expression in the large. You will find. Symphony subscriber, if you study yourself candidly, that Max Fiedler has made over your musical thinking in three years as effectually as he has made over the tone of his or. chestra, left, right and rear—strings and brass. He has reformed American listeners and German players. But his French woodmen 2 Ah, neither he nor his audiences would try to improve perfection. Something hitherto unplayed of Richard Strauss was on the nineteenth program, a piece Mr. Strauss wrote in his young manhood after discharging that impressive duty of every intellectual German, the reading of Shakespeare. The dramatist who understood a number of things about the stage not so well as Schiller inspired Mr. Strauss to compose a tone poem describing the events that caused Birnam wood to come to Dunsinane. The music is an instructive study in orchestration, a valuable document for throwing light on the early thoughts of a great composer. It gives no such explicit account of the tragic doings of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as a certain other tone poem gives of the adventures of Don Quixote and Sancho || Panza. It has not the power for inducing a sustained mood in the listener that the work which stands next to it
~" in point of time has—“Death and Trans
figuration.” If the tone poem theory had to stand or fall by this piece of music, it would be likely to go down. A dauntless composer kept on from “Macbeth” to that favorite of Mr. Fiedler's in the Strauss repertory, “A Hero's Life.” R. Strauss, tone poem, for full orchestra “Macbeth,” op. 23 (first time in Boston); G. Faure, suite from stage music to “Pelleas and Melisande,” op. 80; Goldmark, overture to “Sakuntala,” op. 13; Beethoven, Symphony in C minor, No. 5, op. 67.
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