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Article: "Eisdell Excellent in Cycles of Song"

Article title: "Eisdell Excellent in Cycles of Song"
Author: Augustus Bridle
Source: The Toronto Daily Star. [Toronto : Star Printing & Publishing Co., 1900-1971]. -- (December 15, 1933). -- ISSN 0837-340X. -- P. 7
Copyright: © Public Domain (nlc-9540)

Eisdell Excellent in Cycles of Song

 

No Finer Presentation Ever Heard Here

By Augustus Bridle

Saddest of all song cycles, "Wenlock Edge," by Vaughan Williams, was sung last night by Hubert Eisdell at Conservatory Hall, with the Conservatory Quartet and Dr. MacMillan for the instrumentation. Eisdell's perfectly lyric tenor voice brought out with startling severity all the tragedy of this absolutely English drama in five song scenes. No finer presentation of this kind has ever been made here.

"Reminds me of the way the great Gervase Elwes used to do it," said a vocal teacher, also from England.

As it happened, it was Elwes who first coached Eisdell on this cycle and who persuaded him to become a singer.

The quartet part, itself a perfect orchestration of lyric tragedy, was played with subtle coloring and picture-emphasis, to the subdued background of the piano.

A Schumann quartet of doubtful distinction except in the last Allegro -- which was played ten times better than the uninspired Adagio -- was balanced on the program by a wonderful tone picture of Hugo Wolf and two atmospheric scenes by Goossens. These short things were exquisitely presented.

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Article: "Sacred Opera, Elijah Thrills Big Audience"

Article title: "Sacred Opera, Elijah Thrills Big Audience"
Author: Augustus Bridle
Source: The Toronto Daily Star. [Toronto : Star Printing & Publishing Co., 1900-1971]. -- (November 17, 1937). -- ISSN 0837-340X. -- P. 5
Copyright: © Public Domain (nlc-9539)

Sacred Opera, Elijah Thrills Big Audience

MacMillan Conducts Mendelssohn Music Drama With His Own Orchestra

By Augustus Bridle

Sir Ernest MacMillan conducted his first performance of Mendelssohn's "Elijah" last night in Massey Hall with the Conservatory Choir, Toronto Symphony, and a pipeless organ.

Those who heard the magnificent production were reminded what a wonderful opera this Bible story is; more dramatic than "Samson and Delilah."

Only about half an hour is straight religious music. The rest is the prodigious contest between Elijah, Ahab, Jezebel, the Israelites and the priests of Baal; the marvellous scene of the fire that Baal failed to deliver, the bloody revenge of Elijah on the Baalites, the drought, the cloud, the storm, the ascent of Elijah in a chariot of fire; all as picturesque as Wagner's "Valkyrie."

The chorus, in casual colors, gave it a semi-operatic tone. Fred Silvester at the console brought the organ in to build up the wind-section of the orchestra on extra climaxes. Eileen Law sang with more than her customary serene beauty of contralto style -- especially good on "O Rest in the Lord," which has never been done here with more tender pathos of superb vocalism. Jeanne Pengelly has sung in several operas; never with more magnetic brilliance than in her many oratorio arias, most exultingly triumphant of which was "Hear Ye, Israel." Hubert Eisdell, famous here as a classic singer and Bach Passion narrator, was devoutly lyric in "If with all your hearts." The visiting baritone, Glenn Darwin, did noble, declamatory work, especially good in "It is enough," not quite basso enough in "The hammer that striketh the rock." Trevor Self, son of William Self, Toronto tenor, sang with expressive treble tone the dramatic dialogue of the Youth with Elijah.

The biggest sensation was the choir, in a great scenario of choruses. The semi-choruses were beautiful; the trio, lovely; the quartet almost perfect; the unaccompanied chorus, "Holy, holy," exquisitely atmospheric.

The conductor's vivid interpretation was what one would expect from one who began to study music when Torrington was at his height of oratorio here.

Many choirmasters heard the work; all were delighted.

The orchestra was superb.

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