Wednesday, November 30, 2005

EDWARD DOWNES: Wm. Schumann, Hindemith, Hanson

Edward Downes reviewing Boston Symphony concerts in The Boston Evening Transcript

November 18, 1939

Frigidly, politely and firmly, a Boston Symphony audience revolted yesterday afternoon at the begining of the regular Friday matinee symphony concert. All through the opening number, "An American Overture" by 29 year old William Schumann, there had been dubious shaking of heads. But when Dr. Koussevitsky finished his exhilarating performance of the overture on a particularly strong discord, a shudder of disapproval ran through the hall, and the applause that followed was so weak that it constituted a negative demonstration. One felt that only impeccable manners and a certain instinctive restraint stood in the way of more positive expressions of annoyances.

February 24, 1940

The Hindemith of 'Mathis der Maler' is not the musical enfant terrible of yore. He has sowed his artistic wild oats in an earlier period of near atonalism and sensational radicalism. What remained was a quickened sense of harmonic values, and an intensely emotional basis for this music. Or so it seemed yesterday, for Mathis is of exalted feeling both in contemplation and action. There is no question of the composer's ability to express clearly and forcefully whatever his mind and emotions prompt, and thus with this symphony one as the feeling of listening to a classic work.

March 22, 1940

Mr. Hanson's third symphony had been heard at these concerts earlier this season under the baton of the composer, with only moderate success. First and second hearings made the impression of a definite, derivative work, Sibelius being the most generous contributor...Dr. Koussevitsky has been more than generous in his support of this new American score. It has been given its chance. Is there any reason we should hear it again?

No comments: