23rd May 1829 Oct 6, 2013 6:24:32 GMT -5
Post by sydgrew on Oct 6, 2013 6:24:32 GMT -5
MR. C. POTTER'S CONCERT.
[23rd May 1829]
WE went to this concert principally to hear as much as was performed of a Sinfonia by POTTER. It is clever - very clever. This is one good effect of the Philharmonic. It has induced our own composers to enter the lists with their German brethren; and the result is, that we no longer labour under the reproach of not being able to produce anything instrumental better than a Drury Lane overture. Goss wrote a very beautiful sinfonia for the Philharmonic; and, as far as we could judge of POTTER'S (for the introduction and first allegro only were played) we should pronounce it worthy of performance by that band. Its chief deficiency is the want of a subject sufficiently melodious to arrest the attention, and capable of imparting its tone and character to the whole movement. In the Sinfonias of MOZART and HAYDN, how completely does the subject tinge the whole of the movement with its original hue, and thus give a unity of colouring to the picture! Mr. POTTER played the first movement of MOZART'S Concerto, No. 7, in C minor. It is well adapted to display his powerful and rapid finger; and his cadenza seized and embodied very happily the prominent points of the allegro. There was nothing new or sttiking in the vocal music. We exhort Miss CHILDE (and we do so because she is a clever and promising singer) to cast PACINI'S music to the bats and the moles. An artist whose taste has been perfected upon good models, may sing this sort of trash with impunity; but if one whose style has yet to be formed takes PACINI for her standard of excellence, she is lost - irrecoverably lost. The room, we were glad to see, was well filled. It shows that talent and character are yet worth something. Among the auditors were an unusual number of the cognoscenti.
1) Cipriani Potter (1792 to 1871) was a London composer, pianist and teacher. "Cip" or "Little Chip," as he was known throughout his life because of his small stature, was widely read, was a mathematician and spoke four languages. He attributed his greatest advances to a five-year period of lessons from May 1805 with Joseph Woelfl, under whom he perfected his technique, memorized Bach's Wohltemperirte Clavier, and learned the principles of form in instrumental music which were then little known in England.
Despite acclaim as a pianist, the lack of success of his early works caused Potter to go to the Continent to study composition. He left England towards the end of 1817 and was drawn to Vienna by the presence of Beethoven, whose music he admired despite discouragement from it by his elders. Although he carried letters of introduction, warnings that Beethoven was mad caused Potter to delay approaching him until urged to do so by the piano maker Streicher. Potter was well received at what was an especially troubled time for Beethoven, and he made a good impression which Beethoven conveyed to Ries in a letter of 5 May 1818: "Botter [sic] has visited me a few times, he seems to be a good fellow and has talent for composition." At Beethoven's suggestion Potter studied counterpoint with Aloys Förster, and Beethoven advised Potter on his scores. After about eight months in Vienna and other Austrian and German cities and a sojourn of similar length in Italy, Potter returned to England in the spring of 1819. From that time until 1836 he appeared often as a soloist, giving the English premières of many Mozart concertos, in which he embellished the printed solo part, and of the First, Third and Fourth Concertos by Beethoven. His piano playing was much admired for its brilliance. He appeared as a conductor of the Philharmonic Concerts until 1844 and won considerable acclaim, always conducting standing, and without a baton.
In 1822 Potter was made the first piano teacher for the male division of the newly founded Academy of Music and he continued to teach the piano during his long association with the school. When Bochsa was dismissed in 1827 he was made the director of orchestra practice; it was his custom to insist that all male students play in the orchestra even if they could manage only a few notes.
Potter's own concerts, given almost yearly between 1828 and 1846, were among the finest of the season because of his insistence on a "full band" when others would skimp, and the substantial music played. In the later concerts Potter included only a single work of his own, perhaps evidence of a lessening interest in his own music. He was a member of the Bach Society from its inception in 1849 and served as musical director of the Madrigal Society from July 1854 until his death.
Potter was said to have begun composing in his 14th year. After 1837 he almost ceased composing. It is to be regretted that he gave up composition so early since at least half a dozen of the symphonies, the G major String Quartet, the Sextet for flute, clarinet, viola, cello, double bass and piano and the three overtures to plays by Shakespeare are masterly. Duties at the academy, the lack of a ready outlet for performances, and his too great admiration for the music of others (he was among the first to admire warmly the music of Schumann and, in his last years, Brahms) caused him to give up writing; he turned instead to the preparation of editions of the music of others, including the complete piano music of Mozart.
His greatest achievement lies in the nine extant symphonies. Wagner, who in 1855 conducted the later of the two symphonies in G minor ("no. 10" - there are gaps in the numbering), referred to the composer as an "amiable elderly contrapuntist," and urged a slower tempo on him for the Andante. There are eight concerted works, the five earliest being show-pieces, the last three piano concertos. Other substantial works are the Piano Sonata in D op.3; the "Enigma" Variations op. 5, a preposterous satiric composition "in the style of five eminent artists"; the Three Grand Trios op.12, the last of which is dedicated to Beethoven; the Horn Sonata op.13; and the Studies in All the Major and Minor Keys op. 19, which include expressive as well as virtuoso pieces.
2) Sir John Goss (1800 to 1880) is the only Goss listed in Grove's. But Grove's maintains that "apart from The Serjeant's Wife (1827), which ran over 100 nights, and two overtures, Goss composed only glees and sacred music." So the above-mentioned "very beautiful sinfonia" becomes something of a very beautiful mystery.
3) Anne Childe (who was born in London circa 1809 and expired at New York in 1888) met the bass Arthur Seguin at the R.A.M. and married him around 1831. She sang at the King’s and Drury Lane theatres, and in 1837 sang Anna in an English version of Don Giovanni. She went to the USA with her husband, sang there in opera and assisted in the running of the troupe.