Music

SONGS of our Youth1 is a very prettily gotten-up little volume of songs with pianoforte accompaniment, the best collection of pleasant little ditties, in fact, that we have seen since Elliot’s never-too-much-to-be-praised setting of Mother Goose’s Melodies. The words are by the author of John Halifax, Gentleman, and some of the music, if the initials D. M. M. and B. R. M. do not mislead us, by the authoress herself and some other members of her family. This music, if pleasing to a certain extent, is flimsy and commonplace at best. But by far the larger part of the songs are set to most fascinating old Swedish, Irish, Welsh, and English airs that have the genuine, wholesome Volkslied smack. These little bits of pure melody come as a most grateful relief after the bilious sighings of our modern ballads of the Virginia Gabriel school, and the mock - dramatic “ frenzy tempered by politeness” of Blumenthal and Arditi. Neither has the elegant Claribel, artlessly walking through country lanes and sporting in the new-mown hay with his delicate silk stockings and drawing-room simper, given ns anything so really genial and lovely as these songs. The simple, artless grace of Pretty Polly Oliver may well be the despair of any mere song-manufacturer. The accompaniments are for the most part treated with great skill and judgment.

— The collection of German part-songs for mixed voices 2 edited by N. H. Allen is the best of its sort that we have yet seen. There is far less poor music in it than is usual in similar compilations, and most of the songs have the advantage, if we mistake not, of being new to our public. The names of Schumann, Gade, Franz, Hiller, and Hauptmann are worthily represented and are not pushed into a corner, as is too often the case. The songs are published in score, with the voice parts reduced to a piano-forte accompaniment, printed in small notes for the convenience of a conductor during practice.

— Love laid his Sleepless Head 3 is only a pretty good song by Arthur Sullivan. It shows marks of good musicianship and routine, but also of carelessness or want of inspiration in the composer. At best it is wholly unworthy of the words.

— Blumenthal’s Yes4 is about as weak an offering as a sentimental public can well desire.

  1. Songs of our Youth, By the author of John Halifax, Gentleman. Set to music. New York: Harper and Brothers. 1875.
  2. German Four-Part Songs. For mixed voices. with English words. Edited by N. H. ALLEN. Boston Oliver Ditson & Co.
  3. Love laid his Steepless Head. Song. Words by ALGERNON C. SWINBURNE; music by ARTHUR SULLIVAN. Baltimore : George Willig & Co.
  4. Yes. Song. Words by W. E. STEWART ; music by J. BLUMENTHAL. Baltimore: George Willig & Co.