Newton J. Tharp in the News

The San Francisco Call
August 19, 1905

Large Audience Hears Jinks Music of Bohemians Repeated at Tivoli: "Quest of Gorgon" Not of Greatest Interest

Among the redwoods of Eddy street, the Tivoli grove, the second of the public jinks of the Bohemian club was given yesterday afternoon. As last year, the event attracted a large and representative audience, who heard the varied programme with many signs of pleasure.

The chief event of the afternoon was the presentation of "The Quest of the Gorgon," the year's music drama, the poem by Newton J. Tharp, the music by Theodor Vogt.

It cannot be said that the composition is of exceptional interest. Possibly among the redwoods of Guerneville, warrant for all sorts of enchantment, it may have persuaded. In plain Eddy street it does not. It is not worthy of the subject, not worthy of the composer, whose humorous and effective setting of the Christmas low jinks music is among the best evolved in the club. But, as a whole, in "the Quest of the Gorgon" Mr. Vogt's themes are commonplace, his harmony monotonous, and only in the little prelude does the work approach originality or distinction.

After this movement, in places effective and charming, the best number is the dramatic scene for Dionysus, a declamatory effort, something on the order of Wagner's "Evening Star," and which was admirably sung by L.A. Larsen. There are many choral numbers in which the handsome chorus gathered under Mr. Vogt's baron did excellent service. Thomas Rickard was the other soloist, and was effective as far as his opportunities went in his song, the "Orizon to Sybil." To Dr. Wilson Shiels, who acquitted himself well of the task, fell the reading of the poem.

But Mr. Vogt has fallen short of his opportunities here and does neither himself nor his subject, picturesque and suggestive, justice. He fulfilled his duties as conductor excellently, and the very good orchestra proved well equal to the demands of his baton.

It was good to hear again the "Prelude" of "the Hamadryads" with which the programme opened and which was the feature of last year's jinks. Mr. McCoy's vital and temperamental work gains largely by rehearing, and lost nothing in the spirited conducting of the composer. He followed it with another McCoy composition, a suave and sprightly "serenade" from the suite "in Bohemia" of the Spanish genre, in which the composer excels.

"The Man in the Forest," from the jinks music of 1902, by Joe D. Redding, was also revived and its quaint and characteristic Indian themes came very pleasantly. Mr. Redding, who conducted, was received with the usual ovation.

A pleasant variation in the programme was furnished by the four songs written by Edward F. Schneider and sung by Mrs. Schneider. The first of the four, the "Abschied," is a gem. Exquisitely lyrical, it is worthy to stand with the lieder of Schumann and and was sung with keen sympathy by Mrs. Schneider. The singer was not quite equal to the dramatic demands of the following song, "Horch Auf," a highly picturesque and spirited lyric. curiously commonplace in comparison were the two other songs, both, however, very well sung by Mrs. Schneider and cleverly accompanied by the composer.

The other novelty of the programme was the new suite by Dr. H. J. Stewart, "Scenes in California," from which two movements were played -- a nocturne, "Under the Redwoods," and "Before the Gringo Came," that includes (a) Spanish dance, and (b) "Tarantella." The last two will doubtless come into immediate orchestral favor, being eminently colorful and catchy. The Tarantella can in no wise escape popularity, and the whole suite is smooth, flowing, finished and in the best Steward manner. Dr. Steward conducted.

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