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Article: Short Leonora von Stosch biography

Here is a short article on Leonora von Stosch (later Lady Speyer) from The Illustrated American, 13 February 1892. This dates from early in her career, when she was 20 years old. In a field full of fascinating women, Leonora is one of the most interesting: she was not only an internationally renowned violinist, but also a Pulitzer-Prize winning poet.

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Miss Leonora von Stosch. – The admired young artist whose portrait is here presented is a native of those country, and was born in Washington in 1872. Her mother is a New Englander, a successful contributor to various magazines, and a natural musician whose vocal and instrumental talents were sacrificed to the advancement of a literary career.

The father of the young violinist, Count von Stosch, a German gentleman of noble birth, came to America some twenty-five years ago, and was naturalized soon after his marriage. He died, and his wife became Mrs. Schayer, the name she now bears.

When not more than eleven years old, little Miss Von Stosch attracted attention by her skill in playing the violin. At a much earlier age she had given evidence of her ability both as pianist and composer. As a sort of youthful prodigy she appeared in concerts at Washington and Baltimore, studying all the while under Prof. Jos. Kaspar, of Washington, who strongly advised her going abroad for the advantage to be gained in foreign schools.

Following his advice, Miss Von Stosch and her mother went to Brussels when the former was in her sixteenth year. She was a diligent student at the Conservatory of Music in that city for twenty-four months. At the end of the first half of the course she was awarded second prize, with distinction, and the next year she carried off first honors.

It was shortly after her graduation that the young American played before Joachim in Berlin, also appearing in a great concert at the Monnaie Theatre, in which many distinguished professionals took part.

January, 1891, found Miss Von Stosch in Paris, ardent as ever in pursuing her course, and studying under Marsick. Circumstances at this time interfered, necessitating a trip home, where success and honor awaited the pretty, gifted girl. She realized, in spite of these triumphs, that her student’s life had not been fully rounded out, and feels it is only a question of time when she returns to the French capital, and enters again in earnest pursuit of the high mark her ambition has sent for attainment.

Her first professional appearance in this country was made with the Seidel’s Orchestra in New York, since when, she has, with profit and honor, assisted at many fashionable muscales in the drawing-rooms of the Four Hundred.

Tall and symmetrical, having a charming face lit by vivacious intelligence, of graceful presence, and with manners a happy mixture of dignity and warmth, few young women have been so graciously endowed by nature as this youthful artist, of whom New York audiences heartily approve.

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Interview: Daisy Kennedy

Here’s a link to a fantastic interview with Australian violinist Daisy Kennedy (1893-1981). I don’t feel comfortable copy/pasting it here, so I’d recommend moseying over there and reading (and listening!) to it ASAP. It gives an intriguing glimpse into the European violin scene around the turn of the century. Enjoy.

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Article: A Talk With Madame Beatrice Langley

This article appeared in The Windsor Magazine sometime in early 1898. It is by Charles Cathcart.

***

A bitter, north-easterly gale, accompanied by blinding sleet and snow, was sweeping over Primrose Hill as my dripping hansom pulled up with a jerk at Madame Beatrice Langley’s comfortable house near Regent’s Park; but before I had been many minutes seated near the blazing fire, sipping tea and listening to the sparkling conversation of my genial hostess, all recollection of the refrigerating process I had just experienced had faded from my mind and my spirits had risen considerably. Indeed, so completely did Madame Langley’s witty comments upon all sorts and conditions of men and matters engross my attention, that fully half an hour must have passed before we came to actual business.

“It was in Dublin,” my hostess then said, in answer to my opening question, “that I first played in public. My mother, at that time a well-known amateur singer, had promised to sing at the Antient Concert Rooms for the benefit of some charity. The song, I remember, was Braga’s famous serenade, and I played the obbligato.”

“Was that long ago?”

“Yes, for I was quite a child, barely nine years old; but I had, of course, been learning the violin for several years; indeed, I cannot remember the time when I did not possess a fiddle of some sort. In 1886 I became a pupil of Mr. Joseph Ludwig, but after I had studied with him for seven years I went to Professor Wilhelmj, then just returned to England.”

“Did you remain with him long?”

“Two years. But before going to him I had made my début.”

“Where did that take place?”

“At one of the Crystal Palace Saturday afternoon concerts. Then engagements began to come in, and the most important concerts at which I played were the London Symphony Concerts, the Queen’s Hall Orchestral Concerts, and Madame Albani’s London Concerts.”

“But didn’t you go on tour with Madame Albani?”

“Yes, but that was later. I toured twice with Madame Albani; indeed, it was Madame Albani who gave my ‘send off,’ as they say in America. The first time I met her was one evening at dinner, before I had made my début, and after dinner I was asked to play. I played several solos, and next day Madame Albani asked me to go with her on tour.”

“Was that tour made in England?”

“Yes. We went all through England, and everywhere the public seemed to like my playing. I enjoyed the tour immensely. Last year, as you may know, I was the violinist in Madame Albani’s concerts in Canada, and we had a perfectly delightful tour right across the continent, from Halifax to Vancouver and Victoria, and we also gave a few concerts in the United States. In all we gave thirty-three concerts. Madame Albani had also engaged Mr. Braxton-Smith and Mr. Lempriére Pringle, and in Canada we were joined by Miss Beverley Robinson, daughter of the late Lieut.-Governor of Ontario. From beginning to end the tour was a kind of triumphal march, for, of course, Madame Albani is immensely popular in Canada, as, for that matter, she is popular everywhere.”

“I am told that you were married just before you sailed for Canada.”

“Only three days before!” Madame Langley answered, with a look of amusement.

She is the wife of Mr. Basil Tozer, a prolific writer of newspaper articles and the author of several books on sport.

“I wonder how your husband liked your going on tour for the honeymoon,” I continued; “he went with you, I suppose?”

“He did, and he rather enjoyed the absurdity of the situation. Afterwards, in Canada, strangers were constantly blundering by saying the wrong things to him. One day, for instance, in Montreal – or in Toronto, I forget which – an inquisitive stranger, with whom he was talking casually, inquired whether it was true that I had a husband ‘knocking around’ with me. Upon his answering that such was actually the case, and that he, my husband, knew the gentleman intimately, the stranger became quite confidential, and presently remarked in an undertone, ‘Say, I guess you might introduce me to that husband right away,’ and, of course, my husband did so. Then – when we were in Winnipeg, I think – I remember reading in a newspaper that ‘yesterday Madame Albani and her husband were seen sleighing, accompanied by a small boy, probably their son.’ That ‘son’ was my husband!”

“Does your husband look so young, then?”

“About ten years younger than he is, though he has travelled in every part of the world except Australia – by the way, we ought to be in Australia now.”

“With Madame Albani?”

“Yes. Just before Christmas Madame Albani asked me to accompany her as violinist on her tour in Australia and South Africa, but, much as I should have loved the voyage and the tour, I could not see my way to leaving England for six whole months, especially as I had already accepted several engagements in England for this year.”

“And how did America impress you?”

“Very favourably indeed,” Madame Langley replied promptly; “and I think the Canadians themselves perfectly delightful. As for the audiences, well, you can’t help liking the public when they seem to like you, and the larger the city, the more enthusiastic to audience – at least, such as my experience in Canada, and several artists who have toured there say they agree with me. The biggest ‘house’ we had was in Winnipeg, where the Drill Hall is said to have scating accommodation for 5,000 persons. On the night of the concert it was packed.  Some of the people came scores of miles in sleighs, others two hundred and two hundred and fifty miles by train, to be present at the concert. I shall never forget the sight of that Drill Hall, or the applause of that audience, as long as I live. It was perfectly splendid. Then, too, everybody was so hospitable. During the week or [?] days we spent in Winnipeg we were feted almost to extinction, and in such towns as Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Kingston, Vancouver and Victoria – everywhere, in short, where we stopped for a week or more – people hitherto perfect strangers to us seemed to vie with one another in entertaining the company. I must say that in this respect the Governors of the various provinces set the example – an excellent example, too, we thought it.”

“So you prefer Canadians to your own countrymen and countrywomen?”

“Oh, no, I don’t mean that.”

“But you prefer Canadian audiences?”

“No, I don’t mean that, either. What I like about Canada, and about the States, too, is that an artist appearing there for the first time in reality runs entirely upon his or her own merits. For instance, an artist with a big name comes over from Europe, having been duly ‘billed’ in immense letters and boomed by the Press. At first the public flock to hear him, ready enough to approve and applaud; but if the artist with the big name fails to please, his song, or his playing, or his performance, or whatever his entertainment may be, falls quite flat, and very soon the towns hundreds of miles away, which he means to visit, hear that he is ‘a frost’ – for nearly all news goes by wire in America – so that when he arrives there, in spite of all his advance booming, he finds only empty houses awaiting him. For your American citizen is nothing if not practical, and, like our English tub-thumper, when he asks for his dollar’s worth he ‘means to get it’ – not that he always does. Now take the case of a really clever and well-taught, but unknown, artist. He appears upon an American platform for the first time. He is received in silent. The audience hardly look at him. If they speak of him at all they merely criticise his appearance. He sings, or he plays. Gradually the audience become attentive. Then he seems slowly to hypnotise them. Their interest expands; their admiration increases. Finally he stops; the spell is broken; he leaves the platform amid a storm of applause, only to be recalled again and again, and the next time he makes his appearance he is greeted with quite an ovation before he has sung a note or touched his instrument, as the case may be. Then glowing reports about him are flashed from city to city, so that from the first his success is assured all along the line. These remarks apply to women as well as to men artist,s and the artist may have been raised in Germany and christened with a name of fifteen syllables, or he may be called Tom Jones, and have first seen light in Whitechapel, it makes not one whit of difference, provided he please his public.”

“Did you study abroad at all, Madame Langley?”

“No, I studied entirely in London,” she answered with a bright smile. “That is something to be proud of in these days of foreign competition!”

“And you were not even born in Germany.”

“No, I was born in Devonshire, in a secluded townlet called Chudleigh.”

We continued our conversation, and I soon gathered that my hostess entertained the highest opinion of Madame Albani, not only, of course, as an artist, but as an individual. Incidentally, too, she let fall a remark that I have heard made before, a remark to the effect that Madame Albani seems never to say an unkind word about anybody, but that she is, on the contrary, ever on the look-out for talent, and ready to help any young artist in whom she discovers the germs of genuine merit. Now, oddly enough, from what I am told about Madame Langley herself, and from what I saw of her during my brief visit, I should say that the selfsame remark might truly be applied to another lady.

Upon the subject of musical agents and musical managers Madame Beatrice Langley waxed eloquent. With but one exception, she personally has been fairly treated, though she prides herself upon never in her life having asked for an engagement either for a concert or for “at homes,” at which latter she plays largely.

Madame Langley is an enthusiastic Wagnerian, and seldom misses an opportunity of being present at a Wagner concert. Also she is interested in politics, and, besides being a lover of art, she is an omnivorous reader, and appears to be thoroughly posted in topics of the day and well abreast of current literature.

“Would you care to see my fiddle?” my fair hostess asked presently, as she refilled my cup. I replied that I should like, not merely to see it, but to hear it, whereupon she favoured me with Bach’s famous “Aria,” played most exquisitely on her favourite violin, a Maggini, which her father, Colonel Langley, late of the Royal Artillery, gave her as a wedding present. This was the violin which she took to Canada. As Maggini died in the year 1630, the fiddle must be at least 267 years old; nevertheless, it is in perfect condition.

Madame Beatrice Langley is, I believe, the only woman violinist in London who has ever played in public the difficult A minor variations of Paganini. Her tone is quite wonderful, and, listening to her playing, one could almost imagine her Maggini was a ‘cello. During her absence from the room for a few minutes, I glanced through her albums of Press notices, truly a marvellous collection of unanimously favourable criticisms, and presently I came across one in particular that I well remembered having read before. It was taken from the Times of January 2nd, 1897, where, under the heading “Music of the Year,” Madame Beatrice Langley’s name is coupled with that of Sarasate. According to the Times, Sarasate, Ysaye, and Madame Beatrice Langley were “among the most successful violinists who appeared during the year.” Among the Canadian newspaper cuttings I noticed one that tempted me to ask Madame Langley rather a personal question as she re-entered the room.

“Are you a Romanist?” I ventured to inquire.

“Why, yes,” she answered, “I am Catholic. I suppose that paragraph about my playing in the Catholic Cathedral of St. Boniface, in Winnipeg, made you ask that question. I played several times in church on Sundays while in Canada, and the Maggini sounded magnificent – at least, so I was told. Most of the churches in Canada are very good for sound, you see, and the atmosphere is so crisp and dry that it suits the fiddle to perfection. Do I ever teach the violin? Yes; and I find teaching very interesting, especially when pupils show particular talent and are industrious.”

“One more question, Madame Langley, and I have done. I must put this question to you because it is one that everybody asks everybody else: Do you ride a bicycle?”

“I do,” came the laughing reply; “at least, in the country. My husband will not let me ride in town.”

I remarked that “Mr. Beatrice Langley” must be wise in his generation, and soon afterwards I took my leave.

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A (Transcribed) Chat With Lady Hallé, 1894

Here’s a great interview with Wilma Norman-Neruda (also known as Lady Hallé) from Cassel’s Magazine in 1894. Link to the Google scan here.

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A Chat With Lady Hallé

By the Baroness Von Zedlitz

Violin playing has, during the last century, attained a high degree of real excellence in England, although, we regret to say, not particularly through the instrumentality of English executants. On the contrary, England has produced but few solo violin players of eminence, and violin virtuosity has, as a rule, been most ably represented in this country by foreigners.

Although we may not claim her as our own, by reason of her alien birth and extraction, we are proud to know that the subject of this word-sketch, Lady Hallé, has settled down on British soil, and has chosen her home in our very midst.

Her inherent genius, coupled with early and strict training, undoubtedly has contributed much to the shining success with which, since the date of her earliest musical reminiscences, she has displayed and perfected the brilliant gifts bestowed upon her by Queen Nature.

The power of really pure interpretation on the violin has not been bestowed upon many women, and Lady Hallé may be said with truth to have been the first girl-artist who had the pluck to stand by her inclinations, and who refused to allow herself to be disheartened by outward considerations not consistent with her inborn principles and predilections with regard to her executive art.

At the tender age of seven her wonderful powers began to assert themselves, but – she tells me – they had to be exercised almost by strategem.

When I had the pleasure of a chat with Lady Hallé some days ago at her charming home, she was kind enough to give me some interesting details concerning her eventful career.

“My parents didn’t want me to play the violin,” said Lady Hallé, after we had fallen out of the ordinary routine of small talk, “but my brother Victor, who was then preparing to study with my father, inspired me with the notion that there was more to be got out of his child-violin – a mere toy, without much feeling or tone – then he seemed able to draw forth with his bow.

“It absolutely fascinated me so that I had no rest until I had handled it myself.

“In those days there was rather a strong prejudice against violin-playing among our sex; it was not considered a graceful accomplishment nor a womanly one, but I found it impossible to crush the desire within me to draw the bow across the strings of my brother’s violin; so I lay in watch for the moment when he would go out, and then stole to his room in order to shut myself up and indulge in the sweet notes of the instrument.

“Forbidden fruit, indeed, and therefore all the more luscious to taste!

“To begin quite at the commencement of my career, however, I should tell you that I was born in Brunn, Moravia, my birthday being the 21st of March, 1840. My father held the position of organist and Capellmeister at the Cathedral of that town, and the Neruda family dates back, musically, to the seventeenth century. The earliest musician of our name was Jakob Neruda, who died in 1732.

“His sons were also musicians, and when they died the sons of the younger offspring of Jakob Neruda, called Baptiste Georg, left two sons behind him, both of whom became chamber-musicians at the Court of Dresden. The elder of these brothers was the grandfather of my father.

“It was necessary to go back a little in the history of our family in order to show you that there was a very excellent raison d’étre for my early musical proclivities.

“It became evident to my parents that a career lay before me, although they were quite averse to my taking to the violin. They wanted me to play the piano; but as a child I hated the idea. Matters continued in this wise [sic?] for some time, I always secretly increasing my power over the instrument, without informing my parents of the progress I had made, until one day by accident my father heard the strains of music emerging from my brother’s room, and, overjoyed at the progress he believed his little son to have made, he rushed upstairs and discovered his mistake!”

“What happened then, Lady Halle?” I asked, becoming keenly interested in the turn of events.

“Well,” she replied, after a pause, “my father was very much disappointed and pleased at the same time. I feared that the discovery would lead to a strict prohibition on the part of my parents of my ever touching a violin again.

“But I was overjoyed when my father took me in his arms, his eyes moist with tears, showing me that his artistic nature (for he was every inch a musician) had experienced pleasurable appreciation at the surprise that came upon him, in spite of my brother’s backwardness; and from that day forth my father devoted his spare time to the development of my talent.

[Victor Neruda later became a cellist, so apparently he eventually caught on!]

“Yes, my first laurels were earned at an absurdly early age, and this circumstance, like the origination of my career, occurred, so to speak, by accident. I was practicing one day with my father as usual, for we were very industrious and ardent in our devotions to music, when Professor Jansa rushed in unexpectedly to see my father on some matter concerning a concert which he was arranging. This incident occurred in Vienna. On hearing me play Jansa – I can see his face before me now – appeared to be electrified, and almost beside himself with joy. Nothing would do but I must play at his concert, which suggestion was at first pooh-poohed by my father, but then taken seriously into consideration after the continuously urgent entreaties pressed upon him by Jansa.

“I think I was the least preoccupied member of the trio, for the importance of facing an audience at that age was a thing unknown to me.

“I played at Jansa’s concert and achieved a phenomenal success at my first appearance on the platform; I believe that, entre autres, I ventured upon a sonata of Bach, which elicited a veritable deluge of applause. After that Jansa became my master.”

“Who were your subsequent teachers, Lady Hallé?”

“I have never studied under any others than my father and Jansa.

“I thoroughly disapprove of the system of changing schools so prevalent just now. One master only should develop and train the flexible, impressionable growth of interpretation, so that the young shoots in the form of impressions may not wander adrift and lose themselves in the ocean of infinity. Is it not better to adopt one particular manner of expression and express one’s self well than to try several methods and interpret these indifferently?

“We each have sympathies and special affinities which we should endeavour to portray with our own individuality.

“It is a thousand pities that beginners are sometimes placed under the direction of mediocre teachers. It is suggested that they will not require a good master until their talent is more advanced, and then, when they have wasted years of fruitless labour, and have acquired much that is deteriorating to their technique and style, they find themselves placed under a first-class tutor, who will not tolerate their faults – by this time deeply rooted – and who, in dealing peremptorily with badly-acquired habits, often crushes an intelligence which might have blossomed into something better than good.

“Genius should be dexterously trained from youth upwards, or it loses much of its inborn strength.

“The violin is, next to the voice, the most powerful exponent of musical feeling, and requires to be dealt with poetically, simply, and yet characteristically.

“The player during his period of experiment should try to adopt a style in unison with the nature and idealism of his instrument if he desires to obtain brilliant and beautiful effects. These last named can only be ensured by entirely abandoning one’s self to the devotional study of one’s art, for nothing is more painful than a crude, erring technique or a want of feeling and refinement in the production of musical sounds on this particularly subtle instrument.

“On the other hand, there is nothing more divine, nay heavenly, than the nobility and grandeur of a perfect interpreter of the literature of the violin – heavenly indeed, for we can trace its religious influence back to the year 1650, in which we find that the clergy, once having discovered the artistic capabilities of the violin, were not slow to introduce it to the services of the Church.

“The violin,” continued my hostess, “is generally acknowledged to be the most popular and useful of all portable musical instruments; besides, is it not the principal one in figuring in a stringed orchestra?”

“On question, Lady Hallé. Do you consider violin playing a facile accomplishment?”

“Yes; certainly. There is none that can be so easily mastered, if the learner sets about his task in the right way; for the fiddle exercises a subtle charm over the mind – a charm which furnishes much good suggesting for conceiving and executing the ideal of the composer.”

“Do you agree with the theory of an old fiddle being better than a new one?”

“A violin can only be well made to begin with, and one must not always judge the instrument by its outward appearance. Some of the old Cremona violins have been overrated by reason of the beauty of their ornate designs; but there is every reason to believe that the more modern master-makers have produced, and do produce, as beautiful tones in their violins as those emitted by the ancient ones.

“There is a peculiar fascination, I am told, in putting an old, disused violin through a course of rehabilitation, and in reawakening its old musical capacities. Thus the violin enjoys a sort of mysterious immortality, the effect of which is augmented by the often erroneous theory that no good makers of violins have existed since the Cremona days. The main excellences of a violin are purely mechanical; therefore let it not be judged by its outward appearance any more than a singing-bird be praised for its fine feathers. [In another book I read, her husband, pianist and conductor Charles Hallé wrote in August 1890, “On Monday morning our beautiful goldfinch died in Wilma’s hand, to our great grief. The last two days it had been ailing, but we hoped it would get better again; we were very sorry indeed. If, according to Hector Malot, great affection for animals is a sign of insanity, then Wilma and I are a very insane couple. ” Later in the same book he makes the satisfied observation that “We travel now with no less than sixteen birds.” In light of this, I found her analogy to birds to be rather endearing!]

“Remember the violin is quite three centuries old, and is practically the only instrument that has not undergone any radical change. Many futile attempts have been made to improve it, but all experiments have failed, and the violin will ever maintain its sway over all other musical instruments.”

“Do you know to whom is attributed the invention of the violin in the first instance?” I inquired later.

“It is commonly supposed,” said Lady Hallé, “that a man of the name of Diuffoprugcar, born at Bologna, was the originator, and I am told that there exist three genuine violins of his making, dating back as far as 1520; but I believe that the authenticity of any date in a violin before 1520 is questionable.”

“Which of the ancient makers, in your opinion, are most productive of perfection in tone qualities?”

“There you ask me a difficult question. I love my Stradivarius, and for me there exists not a violin to surpass it in the exquisite delicacy of its intonation. But we have it on the best authorities – to whose superior power I bow in submission – that for sweetness of tone and beauty of design the brothers Antonius and Hieronymus Amati are even now hard to beat.”

After the Jansa concert Lady Hallé’s (then Wilhelmine Neruda) career formed itself, and the little artist threw her heart and soul into her studies. We hear that in 1849 the gifted child made her first appearance in London on the 11th of June at the Philharmonic Concert, where she made her debut before our warm-hearted English public, which has never forgotten her effective rendering of one of De Bériot’s concertos, and ever since has recognized in her one of the most accomplished musicians of the century.

“By this time,” continued Lady Hallé, while alluding to her subsequent studies, “I had traveled a great deal, having visited Leipzig, Berlin, Berslau, Hamburg, and other German cities, where I am bound to say I met with friends who have remained so all my life, and advisers and just critics at whose hearts lay the interest of my future, and who counseled me for the best in all my undertakings.”

“In what year did you first visit Paris?” I asked then.

“In 1864,” was Lady Hallé’s answer, “where I played at the Pasdeloup concerts, at the Conservatoire, and elsewhere. Here, too, I met with remarkable ovations and enthusiasm from the music-loving French, who have ever since accorded me a welcome which could hardly fail to surpass the expectations of even the most fastidious of artists.”

“Did you ever compose any music for the violin, Lady Hallé?”

“No, at least nothing worth speaking of. As a girl I may have indulged in one or two musical fancies, but as a rule I preferred other compositions to my own.”

“And who are your favorite composers?”

“What a question to ask!” exclaimed Lady Hallé with warmth. “For an empire I could not specify any special favourites. I love all music. From Bach and Mozart to Chaminade [interestingly, Lady Hallé is referring to Cécile Chaminade, arguably the most famous and highly regarded female composer around the turn of the century] there is such a wealth of great and noble works, each is so beautiful of its kind, that is would be difficult to specify anything individually.

“When I play Brahms I am enraptured; then comes the passion and grandeur of Wagner; after that, I am bewitched by the beautiful simplicity of Bach or the wild impetuosity of Chopin; and thus each in his turn makes of me a most devoted slave.”

“Will you show me your violin?” I begged, ere I took my leave, and Lady Hallé then proceeded to display a very costly Stradivarius which, she informed me, was the joint gift of the Lord Dudley and the Duke of Edinburgh.

“How curious it is,” I remarked, while examining the deft mechanism, “that such a simple-looking instrument should possess such a wealth of melody and charm!”

“Yes, indeed,” was Lady Hallé’s reply; “but, as I said before, it is not so easy to make it sing. That which is worth speaking is worth repeating; but it is hard to give the violin sympathetic speech unless the words you wish it to utter are the echo of your heart’s own sentiments.

“How earnestly I would wish to impress upon all young girls that violin-playing is not an accomplishment quickly acquired; it demands a life of earnest study and undivided attention. I think I may say that, beautiful as this particular branch of music is, I would rather hear one who plays really well then ten who interpret indifferently.”

To revert to the continuance of her career Mademoiselle Neruda entered into matrimony with a Swedish musician, Ludwig Norman, while she was in Paris. Her husband, however, died shortly after their marriage, and the distinguished violinist has since then been known in musical circles under the name of Norman Neruda. [Actually, Ludwig Norman did not die; the two separated, and possibly even divorced. Whether the reporter heard faulty information or Wilma flat-out lied to her, we don’t know!]

In 1869 Madame Neruda visited England again and played at the Philharmonic Society on the 17th of May. At this stage of her career she was no longer the infant prodigy who had promised to become “somebody”; she had outstripped the years of infantine celebrity, and appeared before a critical audience in the zenith of her musical powers.

The fragile-looking child-artist had developed into a handsome, well-built woman whose brilliancy of talent and charm of execution electrified all those who heard her.

Joachim’s opinion, expressed about her to Sir Charles Hallé, many years ago, was a very correct one, although (with his usual grace) he could not help praising a fellow artist without undervaluing his own unimpeachable talent.

This is what he said of her:-

“I recommend to your attention this young lady. Mark my word, when people shall have heard her play, they will not think so much of me.”

And the public did, and does think very much of her, although they do not think any the less of Joachim on that account; his name is encircled by an aureole of fame which no lapse of time can dim.

At the Philharmonic Society M. Vieuxtemps had occasion to hear Madame Neruda, and was so deeply interested by the perfection of maturity into which the promise of childhood’s genius had ripened that he endeavoured to persuade her to remain in London until the winter, and, in the end, she was induced to take the lead of the string quartet in the Monday Popular Concerts before Christmas, and at once assumed her proper place in the front rank of first-class violinists.

Here it is appropriate to mention that Sir C. Hallé obtained her services for his recitals in London and Manchester, and that she appeared in many provincial towns, where she met with equal and undaunted success, and that Sir Charles Hallé, having lost his first wife in the early days of wedlock, married Madame Neruda in 1888.

Lady Hallé has given concerts in Russia, Prussia, Denmark, Great Britain, etc., not forgetting Australia, and has received many testimonials and orders of distinction from crowned heads.

In her reception rooms I espied innumerable gifts and souvenirs, some photographic, others autographic, testifying to the esteem with which she is regarded by the Royal family, and especially by Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, of whom she possesses many portraits, all of which are signed. One photograph struck me particularly as being an excellent likeness of His Royal Highness the late Duke of Clarence and Avondale, taken with his mother, under which are inscribed the simple but touching words, “Alexandra, and my first-born,” which seem to point to the burden of a distressing memory. Yet another interesting portrait is that of Her Royal Highness in her robes of Mus.Doc., also signed “Alexandra.” [Alexandra received a doctorate of music from Trinity College in Dublin in 1885.]

And now I would venture to speak of the personality of this brilliant artist, and to add a few words in humble criticism of her executive talent. Lady Hallé possesses an unerring sense of artistic propriety and technical perfection, therefore the strongest feelings of form and sound are displayed in her fine renderings of no matter what composer. Pathos, dignity, and gracefulness are her chief means of expressing herself, while often she displays a fire of passionate emotion which tells us that the artist’s heart and soul are devoted to her art. The left-hand technique shows how capable she is of executing all difficulties without displaying any symptom of labour, and that the systematic perseverance with which she has applied herself to her studies has borne good fruits, of which the universal public is the happy recipient.

Her manner, which is gentle and courteous, has much refinement about it, and when roused to speak upon matters that interest her she becomes eloquent, while her looks imply that she seriously means what she says.

Her house and surroundings show her artistic fondness for rich warm colours and harmonious decorations, and her desire to have around her the counterfeit presentments of all her confreres in the musical world.

In Australia, when Lady Hallé, accompanied by her husband, Sir C. Hallé, gave a brilliant series of concerts, she was received with much favour, and at the conclusion of their visit to Melbourne, which lasted six weeks, a huge floral lyre was presented to her by the members of the Victorian orchestra as a token of their esteem and admiration.

That Lady Hallé has studied hard and has won her laurels through legitimate diligence is a fact of world-wide renown, and that this constant mental application has not spoilt her youthful enjoyment both of life and natural beauty may be gathered by the extraordinary charm of her artistic capabilities, as well as her amiability and cordiality as a hostess and friend.

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