The Philharmonic Society, gave us, last Saturday evening, Beethoven’s Heroic Symphony, composed with the image of Napoleon in his mind, at the time when the world expected to find in him a true hero. That hope was disappointed; and the Funeral March, which forms the second part of this Symphony, while it adequately expresses the greatness of a genius, like Napoleon’s, must wait for a hero in greatness of purpose worthy its majestic sorrow.
Next Saturday evening we understand that the German Society, at a Concert to be given in aid of the poor among their countrymen, will perform Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. This is esteemed one of the most admirable works of this great artist, and is one the knowledge of which must form an era in the life of any mind, which is at all awakened to intelligence of the nobler flights of thought.
Yet thought is a poor and little word to use in speaking on such a subject. In this sympathy is expressed all that poets have predicted, or men collectively known of life. Imagination has never soared to a sublimer hight, nor passion known a deeper throb. Music is poured along in floods and tides, and the pauses seem grand enough to prepare us to see the gates opened to new realms of being. With heart-breaking pathos voices chide and plead from the depths of sorrow; but, high over all, a conquering Genius waves serenely his wide wings, and speedily modulates the sorrowful notes into triumphal concords. May the musicians be worthy the office of expressing such music; may the audience be silent, even, bold demand to such degree of forbearance as not to crackle paper; may all young ladies and gentlemen have concluded their whispers at Friday’s ball, and content themselves with inoffensive glances; and may the room be permitted an occasional breath of fresh air. Perhaps it is too much to ask for such a combination of favoring circumstances; but should any star bring them, it is not the poor in purse alone that would bless that occasion, and all who are present will envy the most oppressed man who was born in the land that boasts such a Liberator as Beethoven.*
“Music in New-York.” New-York Daily Tribune, 6 March 1845, p. 2.