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Hiawatha's Wedding Feast

Hiawatha's Wedding Feast image
Parent Issue
Day
15
Month
December
Year
1899
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

The third concert in the Choral Union series will be given on Monday evening, Dec. 18. The Choral Union will sing in addition to several short selections, "Hiawatha's Wedding Feast" by Coleridge-Taylor. The orchestra f ormerly knowu as the Chicago Festival Orchestra will take part ia this production, and will also give orchestra numbers. Heinrich Heyn, always a great favorite here, will be heard, while the two soloists, who'appear here for the first time, come with the indorsement of the best critics and will without doubt prove themselves worthy of our approbatior. The most interesting feature of the concert will be without doubt the new Choral work. The composer, Coleridge-Taylor, is a mulatto, bom in the West Indies, and has won for himself a place in the front rank of the younger English composers. The following extract from the London Musical Times of Dec. 1, 1898, is a very fair review of the vvork: ,"Of one important factor in melody - rhythm - Coleridge-Taylor has ampie store. His music pulsates with rhythmical energy and even the incessant and, indeed, rather monotonous metre of Longfellow's poein does not seem to affect the variety of the music. In one rather obvious respect he is peculiarly fitted to deal with a poem as 'Hiawatha. ' Like Tachaikowsky in his most characteristic movements, there is a certain barbarie opulence about his music, au absence of any apparent labor, and a passionate energy that are in perfect keeping with the subject. Dvorak, who has anticipated him in treating of 'the forest primevael, ' has hardly a greater wealth of fresh melodie ideas. "Auother of Coleridge-Taylor 's virtues is that, unlike most young composers, he is practical, and his music produces its effect without any disproportionate expendí ture of means. Sudden as are the changes in harmony or in'rhythni, they are not forced, or reprodueed simply for effects's sake, and the wkole of this little cantata - it takes just 36 minutes in performance - has the great charm of perfect spontaneity. It is very evident that the subject has appealed very strongly to 'the coruposer's tion, otherwise it is difficult to understand how he could have infusedso much interest into the many lines of Longfellow 's poem that most certainly do not yearn for musical expression. The description of the guest's clothing, the detailed menu of the wedding feast, the catalogue of the ■wardrobe of Pay-Pau-Keewis, the mystic dancer ; all these are somewhat tiresome, though not altogether out of place in a descriptive poem. To a composer who 'could set a placard to music' they would, of course, present no difficulty ; but in these days, when the musician leans more exclusively upon the poet, they might well prove a stumbling block. Mr. ColeridgeTaylor, however, has ac impetuosity that carries him right through ; the freshness and vitality of his music carry all before them and give color and interest to even the least emotional lines of the poem. "Where, however, a genuino emotion has been provided for him, he has not been behind hand. The culminating point of the poem is, of course, the the love song, 'Onaway! Awake, beloved. ' This is set as a tenor solo and its passionate character is admirably reflected in the music which is thoroughly vocal, while the orchestra is treated with the same wealth of color as is found elsewhere, together a still higher degree of finish in matters of detail. ' '