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Thursday Evening, May 18

Procession of the Knights of the Holy Grail, from "Parsifal"


Richard Wagner was born May 22, 1813, at Leipzig; died February 13, 1883, at Venice.

The logical sequence of Wagner's works, especially when viewed in the light of their ethical import, could have no other ending than "Parsifal." After the extinction of the old cosmogony-in the "Götterdämmerung"-this medieval Christian legend comes as a fitting conclusion. Ignoring all that may be said as to the comparative music merits of this work, “The Ring," or "Tristan," the fact remains that in it he gave to the world a work which is permeated with the highest ideality, and which, in its proper environment-which, by the way, is not to be found anywhere but in Bayreuth-is in truth a "Drama for the Consecration of the Stage." The kinship of "Parsifal" and "Lohengrin" is apparent, and the subject was one that appealed to him with great power. Could Wagner, with his dramatic insight, have ordered the course of his life, he could not have conceived of a more fitting "Swan Song" than this.

Concerning the story of "Parsifal" Ernest Newman (Wagner, 1904) wrote:

"The events anterior to 'Parsifal,' which are communicated to us during the drama itself, are as follows: The Holy Grail-the cup used at the Last Supperis in the possession of the knights of the Grail, whose castle is at Montsalvat, in Spain. When Titurel, their leader, is near his end his son Amfortas is appointed to succeed him. Near by lives Klingsor, a magician, who, too sensual and worldly to be made a knight of the Grail, even after mutilating himself, has his revenge in seducing the knights by means of lovely women. Amfortas himself has succumbed to one of these-Kundry, a strange being, who, for laughing at Jesus when He was carrying His cross, has been doomed to wander in torment until some one shall During the infatuation of Amfortas, Klingsor takes from

deliver her by his love.


him the holy spear, the weapon with which the Roman soldier had pierced the Savior's side. With this he gives Amfortas a wound that nothing can heal. The brotherhood thus mourns the loss of the spear, while Amfortas endures, in addition to his physical agony, the mental pain of knowing that all their misfortunes are due to his sin."

In the first act of the drama it is stated by Gurnemanz, a knight of the Grail, that there can be no recovery for Amfortas so long as the spear remains in the hands of Klingsor, and that a voice from the Grail had declared that "a guileless fool, the chosen one," alone could effect a cure. Parsifal appears, and having killed

a swan is bitterly reproached for his savage act by the assembled knights. Gurnemanz, believing that he may be the guileless fool, takes him to the Hall of the Grail in the hope that he will bring redemption to the stricken king.

The Knights of the Grail enter in solemn procession, that they may be given renewed strength by the uncovering of the Grail. King Amfortas is brought in on a litter, while the knights are standing at two long tables upon which cups have been placed When Amfortas has uncovered the Grail, and the sacred chalice has been returned to its shrine, the cups on the table are seen to be filled with wine, and beside each one is a piece of bread. All the knights sit down and Gurnemanz beckons Parsifal to take his place beside him, but the latter stands as if struck dumb and motionless by the sights that he has seen. depart in the solemn procession with which they had entered the hall. Only Parsifal The knights rise from their repast and remains still motionless. Gurnemanz questions him as to the meaning of that which he has seen. Parsifal shakes his head; he has comprehended nothing. Gurnemanz pushes Parsifal out in anger, and as he follows the departing knights the curtain descends upon the scene.

TONE-POEM, "Death and Transfiguration," Opus 24

Richard Strauss was born at Munich, June 11, 1864; still living.


Richard Strauss has won for himself so enviable a reputation, and his career has been so frequently the subject of discussion, that it is unnecessary to dwell upon it at this time. Richard Wagner once said: "Art was created that German criticism might know a new joy," and, in the case of Richard Strauss and his works, the "new joy" was experienced to the utmost. In his contributions there was so much that was novel and daring in his choice of subjects and their treatment that they favored the controversial atmosphere that has always been a source of delight to the aforesaid critics. Nor has the contention been confined to Germany, but, in the widest application of the term, has been international. At the present time the bitter controversialists are silent; whether they are gathering strengh for new onslaughs we may not know, but if such is the case we will then be aware that the "veil of silence" has been lifted, for they are a noisy crew. Those who admire his art unreservedly see increasing proof that their judgment is well founded, while those who find little to their taste in his methods are equally convinced of the correctness of their points of view. A composer who has nothing to say never invites controversy, and no one has

denied to Strauss the possession of well-defined convictions; therefore, he is still more or less a storm-center. What his ultimate position will be rests with the future, and prophecy is futile.

As Thomas ("Tom") Moore found inspiration for his muse in music, so many modern composers, who write in the form in which "Death and Transfiguration" is cast, depend on art, poetry, some emotional experience, tradition, or narrative, for their program. The work we shall hear this evening is an exception to the rule in that the poem was inspired by the music. Alexander Ritter (1833-1896), the author of the poem, was a composer of note, and in reality, as Strauss himself declares, was the inspirer of his later style; therefore, their intimacy was artistic as well as personal.

"Death and Transfiguration" was written in 1889, and first heard in June, 1890. It engages the full modern orchestra and is so thoroughly delineative of the subject matter of the poem, the details of which it illustrates seriatim, that the best guide to its musical interpretation is found in the subjoined poem. The themes have distinctly marked contours and are so easily grasped by the attentive listener that it is the part of wisdom not to attempt a technical analysis, for a worthy one would be very complex and would be understood only by trained musicians, who do not need such assistance. Music has many avenues of approach to the soul, and the one set forth in the preceding paragraph is wide and has few gradients.

Largo (C minor, 4-4)

In a small and humble chamber,
Where a candle dimly burns,
Lies a sick man on his pallet,
Who a moment since with Death
Wildly, desperately has struggled.
Tranquil now he is, and sleeps,
While the ticking of the old clock
Is the only sound that's heard
In the room, whose calm appalling
Marks the near approach of death.
O'er the wan and wasted features
Melancholy smiles oft pass;
Does he, at life's very border,
Dream of childhood's golden days?

Allegro molto agitato

Death, tho' still kept in abeyance,
Grants not respite long for dreams;
Cruelly it shakes its victim,
And again begins the struggle.
Life and death, in conflict dire,
Wrestle for supremacy.
Neither has the victory gained,
And again doth stillness reign.

Meno mosso (G major, 4-4)
Prostrate is the patient lying,
Sleepless, but delirium weaves
Forms and scenes almost forgotten-
Scenes of life as they have passed.
With his mind's eye does he see them.

Marcato (E flat major)

Childhood's days-his life's bright morn-
In their innocence brightly beaming;
And again the sports of youth-
Feats achieved and oft attempted-
Till, to man's estate matured,
He to gain life's highest treasures
Fans his ardor into flame.

Tempo I

What to him seemed bright and pure

To exalt it he endeavored:

This the impulse of his life

That has led him and sustained him.

Coldly, mockingly the world

Barrier after barrier raises.

When to him the goal seems near
Hindrances arise before him,

Still another round each barrier,
Onward, higher thou must climb!
Thus he strives, and thus endeavors,
Never swerving from the right;
What he strove for, what he sought,
With a yearning, heartfelt, deep,
Now he seeks in throes of death,
Seeks it, ah! but not to find it.
Tho' more clear and near he sees it,
Tho' it waxes e'en before him,
Still his spirit cannot grasp it,
And can nevermore complete it.

Allegro, molto agitato

Lo! one more and final blow
Grim, relentless Death is dealing;
Broken is the thread of life,
And the eyes are closed forever.

Moderato (C major)

Ah! but mighty strains to him
From the realms of heaven are pealing.
Found is what his soul has sought:
Blest release, transfiguration.

-English translation by Miss Ę. Buck.

"With the aid of this translation of Ritter's verse it is easy to follow the successive pictures which Strauss has presented in his music: the sick man, lying weak and worn with his struggle with death, dreaming of the days that are passed into the shadows of dimly remembered things; the renewed battle with the enemy who always wins; the respite; the vision of the life that has been and is nearly done, with its stages of childhood and youth and the stress and storm of manhood; the final struggle with death, and the awful moment of release. And the final scene, the transfiguration, is made evident, too, in the exalted character of Strauss' picturing, the gleaming harps, the majestic sonority of the brass."

Strauss has employed a large orchestra to express his poem in sound. The score calls for three flutes, two oboes, and an English horn, two clarinets and a bass clarinet, two bassoons and a double-bassoon, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones and tuba, three kettledrums, a gong, two harps and strings.

CANTATA, "The New Life" (La Vita Nuova, Dante)

For Chorus, Soli and Orchestra, Opus 9


MISS ADELE PARKHURST, Soprano; MR. REINALD WERRENRATH. Baritone Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari was born in Venice, January 12, 1876; still living.

That Dante's "La Vita Nuova" should not have inspired some composer long ere this to wed it to music seems strange, but it is fortunate that its beauties at last found so sympathetic an interpreter as Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari.

The career of the composer, while it has been an honorable one, and while in the course of his artistic activity he has given many proofs of real ability, really commenced with the composition of "The New Life," which is admittedly his greatest work.

The perfect union of Teutonic depth and sincerity of feeling, and Latin grace and ferver of expression, met with in this work, is somewhat unusual, and accounts for many of its most appealing characteristics. Italian music without melody is unthinkable-but that melody often lacks distinction. It is since the Verdi of "Aïda," "Otello" and "Falstaff," we may say was-frequently superficial. The Teutonic must, on the other hand-after Gluck pointed out the way-has been occasionally over

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