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CHESTER MUSICAL SOCIETY'S…

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CHESTER MUSICAL SOCIETY'S CONCERT. This society has just entered upon its fourteenth season, and on Wednesday an extra subscription concert was given in the Music Hall, before a fairly good audience. The pro- gramme was one entirely out of the usual routine, consisting for the most part of a 'grand historical pianoforte recital' by M. Josef Slivinski, a Pole, we believe, by nation- ality, who has made for himself a renown equal almost, if not quite, to that of Paderewski, who has already been heard at the Musical Society's concerts. To compare the perform- ances of the two artists would require one well versed in pianoforte technique, and therefore we shall content ourselves by saying that from an amateur's standpoint, we fail to distinguish anything in the style of playing which would lead us to give one or the other the precedence. Paderewski visited Chester with a reputation already famous, while Slivinski came com- paratively unknown. Further, the former had a better scope in his programme, inasmuch as he had unlimited choice of style, while the latter laid upon himself the task of interpreting the various styles of composition, beginning with The king's hunting jig,' John Bull- 1563-1628, through a series of styles including sonatas by one who introduced that form of writing in the 17th century and continued in the next, a Bach fugue, barcarolles by Chopin and Rubinstein, impromptu by Schubert, a valse by Liszt, down to the latest form of 19th century compositions for the pianoforte. Thus handicapped, if the term can be applied to such a comprehensive programme, the executant laid himself open to wide criticism were it not for the fact that his performances were above it. In every style he excelled, and from beginning to end his rendering of the pieces set down was superb, and one can scarcely say which was enjoyed best. It was indeed a revelation in technique and delicate phrasing, the trickling accompaniments being subordinated to the melody where required, and the phrasing of the various movements beyond cavil. The choral programme necessarily partook of a secondary nature, although affording welcome relief from the pianoforte selections, and here again we had part songs ranging from the middle of the sixteenth century by Benet to the nineteenth century style of Macfarren, and the latter, be it said, were not the least pleasing items. To Dr. Bridge belongs the credit of unearthing the two madrigals by Francis Pilkington, a minor canon and precentor of Chester Cathedral, who died in 1638, and which, if we remember aright, were introduced in one of his lectures at the Museum a little while back, and which, according to the custom of the time, although opening in the minor, finished in the major. The only solo vocalist was Miss Margaret Stone, a contralto, who was formerly a member of the Chester Musical Society, but who has studied lately at the Royal Academy of Music. She got a hearty reception from the chorus on her first appearing, which served to place her at home on the platform. Her selections, too, were con- ceived in the spirit which pervaded the programme, opening with a song from Purcell's King Arthur,' 1659-1695, and, taking Farmer, Haydn, and Schubert—in 1797-1828- and in each she was highly successful. Alto- gether the programme was well conceived and executed, the society's efforts, if wanting at times in the refinement usually expected in unaccompanied part-singing, being on the whole good. The concert closed with the National Anthem.

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