Holyoke Concert Largely Attended

by Laurel | February 3rd, 2014

03 February 1915

Ossip Gabrilowitsch & Clara Clemens

Ossip Gabrilowitsch & Clara Clemens

Great Audience Greets Ossip Gabrilowitch, Russian Pianist

Holyoke, February 2 — The final concert in the notable series of three given this winter under the joint auspices of the Holyoke Music Club and the Holyoke Board of Trade, was given despite abnormal weather conditions before a large audience in High School Hall tonight. There was no sort of doubt as to the genuineness or spontaneity of the cordiality with which the famous piano virtuoso of “Petrograd,” Ossip Gabrilowitsch, was received. Fifteen carloads of college girls graced the occasion with their very agreeable charm, and barring an enthusiasm which sometimes broke out with applause in the wrong place, found proper enjoyment in rather more than two hours of an extremely classical piano program. Doubtless some of the interest in the artist was due to the fact that he showed the very good taste, not so very long ago, of choosing a Connecticut Valley girl, Miss Clara Clemens for his wife.The stalwart, black-haired Russian, is evidently now in the very prime of his undeniable power as a pianist. None now before the public could play more fluently and captivatingly the majestic finale to the Chopin A-flat major “Polonaise,” and it takes an artist of no mean merit to compass as he did tonight the Moszkowski “Etude” with which the concert closed. Strange to say, the least interesting number on the program, albeit dainty and melodious was the pianist’s own colorless “Melodie,” a fragment suggesting rather than fulfilling the higher things of which Gabrilowitsch is known to be capable. This student of Rubenstein and Leschetitzky, personally intimate with both, has done much better in actual composition, let alone performance, than his own “workshop chip” (hardly more!) which in his program was placed alongside the really glorious examples of Beethoven and Brahms — both royally played.

Above: Gabrilowitsch plays Gabrilowitsch Mélodie in E minor, Op. 8

Few artists have the courage to put on such a compositions as the Brahms variations on a Handel theme, which this one handled in truly masterful fashion. Beginning with its quaint echoes of ancient harmonizing, and increasing in impressiveness until it reaches a wild gallop of vivid brilliancy, it presents difficulties which the average player is apt to try to avoid. It is one of those odd pieces which entices with its apparent simplicity, and which yet possesses genuine allurement because of its very complexity. The Sapelinikoff “Danse of the Elves” was, with its enchanting left-hand melody while the “danse” is going on, the most keenly enjoyed of any of the unfamiliar numbers, unless perhaps it was the Grainger setting of the old English glee, “Shepherd’s Hey,” and other British Folkairs.

An abundance of potted palms and things quite closely grouped around the grand piano evidently made the pianist nervous, for he ordered them all removed in the middle of the concert. In all the 15 years of his American touring, this sterling artist has not had a more truly appreciative nor thoroughly responsive audience; and this too when the elements seemed conspiring to prevent. the season’s series of offerings which has included such artists as Lee Schulz, Josef Stansky and his splendid Philharmonic orchestra, Emilio De Gogorza, Mms. Artha Williston, and now this king of the Russian school of pianists, has been keenly enjoyed and well patronized by the musical colony which makes its home in and around Holyoke. it is understood that an even more ambitious series is already in contemplation by the management for the coming season.

Adapted from The Springfield Republican.
More about Ossip Gabrilowitsch & Clara Clemens
Image from Wikicommons.

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