Carl Bohm

Music of Yesterday

Carl-BohmJames Russell Lowell, probably the most philosophical of American poets, not even excepting Emerson and Whitman, says in Rousseau and the Sentimentalists: “Talent is that which is in a man’s power; genius is that in whose power a man is.”

Genius is peculiar and the limitations it imposes upon the composer are distinct and easily defined.

Richard Wagner was as great a genius as the world has ever known, but it would doubtless have been impossible for him to have written a piece in the type in which the subject of our sketch, Carl Bohm (sometimes spelled Karl Bohm), has written.

The music of Wagner has its place and the music of Bohm likewise has its scope and influence. A glance at the catalog of any publishing house will show the remarkable fecundity of this man. Many of his melodies arc so near the folk-song in type that they have necessarily become extremely popular.

Other of his works, such as the ever-demanded Calm as the Night, shows a finish and musicianship together with originality which indicate that his position will be permanent. The great popularity of his innumerable piano pieces may in a sense be the result of his long training under that admirable pedagog.

Losechhorn, who introduced Bohm to those idioms of the keyboard he knew so well. Bohm’s music supplies a kind of material which is invaluable in teaching pupils who demand melodies. Unfortunately there is a class of teachers which does not appreciate the necessity for tunes which may be easily assimilated by those students whose musical tastes are not manifest, or those whose talent flickers in the glare of the strong light from the immortal masters.

Bohm was born in Berlin in 1844, and has remained there most of his life. His most successful piano pieces in the past have been. The Silver Stars, La Vi-vandiere and La Zingara, The Fountain, Murmuring Spring, Frolics of the Butterflies, Pollacca Brilliante, Salon Mazurka. Of us 259, No. 2; Throwing Kisses.

“Mignon” Nocturne is a drawing-room piece of the very best type, showing the experienced hand of the master throughout. It must be played in a graceful, elegant manner, with strict attention to rhythmic values and accents and due observance of all the various nuances. The manner of expression is like that of a refined song.

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