The Desert by Felicien David.

The Desert by Felicien David.

  We heard last night, with much pleasure, this charming composition, which will no doubt, become a standard favorite with the public.

  There is not that servile attempt at imitation, a close copy of nature which so often renders descriptive music insipid, perhaps ludicrous, or at best produces only the impression of cleverness. We use this word in the English sense. There is a graceful fullness and flow to the composition, and the influences of Nature and the feelings of men are blended in harmonious relation. The originality of this work is refreshing because unsought; it comes from a mind which has been thrown into the reproductive state on this unusual theme in the order of its growth.

  In reading that David visited the East as a St. Simonian, we understand the feelings of hope and sweet content that breathe through all this music. St. Simon was a genius and a man of disinterested soul; he was a poet in the Social Reform style of Epic, for our Homers build their Iliads in the Future rather than the Past. Such a man, if he have not sufficient wisdom to build his palace firm amid realities, has yet sufficient energy of love and understanding of the hidden yearnings of men’s hearts to supply those great hopes which minds of the higher order absolutely require to enable them to enjoy the beautiful and sublime in nature or represent them in art. Such hopes inspired the genius of David as he drank in the influences of the Desert. The voices of the Night with its songs of the nightingale accompaniment, its romantic dances and soft dreams, is the most charming part, but the composition is excellent as a while, true to life and satisfactory to sentiment.

  This morning we read in the Courier des Etats Unis that a new work by this composer, “Moses on Mount Sinai” had failed of success on its first appearance because the public were determined to think that it could not be so good as the Desert, and refused to be drawn into any feeling of enthusiasm that might bring a rival to their first love. However, it is obvious that the theme of Moses requires a different kind of excellence from that which we admire in the Desert.*

“The Desert by Felicien David,” New-York Tribune, 20 May 1846, p. 2.