At the second concert, we had the pleasure of seeing a sympathy with the artist and appreciation of the music that consoled us for the silence at the first. The house was not full, on account of the violent storm, but it seemed more so than before, because there seemed to be so much more fulness of mind and heart.
Let those, who go to listen this evening, clear their minds of false expectations. Let them not ask in Niagara, or the Prairie, a description in music of the outward scene. Neither should they make comparisons with other artists, or lament that Ole Bull does not play the music of some great composer whom they wish to hear. If they will take what is offered them, in its own way, they will find full employment for their tastes and feelings in its reception.
Niagara and the Solitude of the Prairie should be listened to as expressing the reverie of the artist in such scenes, still more than the scene itself. Or we may say they give the character of the scene, rather than its image. Natural sounds are introduced with great felicity, but rather as accompaniment than prominent. We are at Niagara; we are absorbed in the feeling of its grandeur and beauty, but it is through an influence individual to the composer. Touches of memory and human feeling rouse us, every now and then, and dramatize the whole without destroying its unity. There is no regular climax to the Niagara; it has a deeper charm than that of effect and swell. The Solitude of the Prairie is an exquisite performance. It excites a transport in the sympathetic mind, but mild and serene as the flow of water seems to have passed over those enchanted plains. The manner of Ole Bull, as he played, was in harmony with this. Like every true genius, he is a free child of nature, and, more fortunate than most, in having found a medium through which to express every emotion, his looks and gestures faithfully represent the movements of his soul. We hope that many will have the enjoyment of both hearing and seeing him to-night.
“Ole Bull.” New York Daily Tribune, 30 December 1844, p. 2.