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Cymric Strain - Book 2

By Una Howell (USA - circa 1893)

Chapter 20 - Mendelssohn Concerto in E Major

Copyright Scott Dunbar 2010

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Chapter 20

Mendelssohn Concerto in E Major

Sometime in February Mr. Lutkin had indicated that he was intending to reward the north shore with a spring festival at which time I was to play the Mendelssohn Concerto in E Major with orchestra. The Evanston Musical Club was to sing Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise and miscellaneous numbers were to complete the program. There were but six weeks in which to memorize and get the score in my fingers. The prospect scared me but adding another concerto to my belt made me full of intoxication.

Because of music’s pied piper quality I had often to break away from its spell. One cannot live on ambrosia. There was an exhilaration in the mastering of a piano concerto that defied description. When the first try-out with orchestra occurred and unfamiliar counter themes, like fairy voices, floated against billows of stringed volume, all the hours consumed in piano technic became mere trivia. Playing a piano concerto was strictly, for me, an out of the world experience. I seemed to drift away from reality and when the piano, clear and incisive, cut in on seductive strings, I knew again that music was, for me, the one thing that could make everything right in the world.

I was very nervous when the April night arrived. I remember telling the Dean how frightened I felt. His reply gave me courage. It was always his confidence in me rather than my own that carried me through. Fortunately, once the initial steps were taken and I felt the keys under my fingers, fears that had possessed me gave place to an exaggerated sensitivity. No sound in the hall escaped my ears and I found it difficult to hold my attention to the score as my hands automatically followed the themes across the keyboard. Then, when woodwinds and strings began their ceaseless piping, I was lost to earth until the last notes died away.
I remember well on this occasion a passage where a phrase is given simply the first time and elaborated the second. I played the second first. It was a momentary slip and we finished with an accelerated verve because of the momentary tension.

Cymric Strain - Book 2, by Una Howell (USA - circa 1893) Current


Chapter 1 - Evanston

Chapter 2 - The Department of Music
Chapter 3 - Northwestern University

Chapter 4 - Beaued

Chapter 5 - Late for the 1am Train!

Chapter 6 - A Visit from Home

Chapter 7 - Bill Declares Himself

Chapter 8 - Engaged to be Married
Chapter 9 - A Grand Piano for Me?

Chapter 10 - Apartment Life in Evanston

Chapter 11 - On the Train with a Pass

Chapter 12 - Eric’s Decline

Chapter 13 - The Organist

Chapter 14 - Lilly Dies

Chapter 15 - An Unprincipled Woman

Chapter 16 - Music Critic

Chapter 17 - A Rich Young Man

Chapter 18 - Helping the World

Chapter 19 - On a Bicycle Built for Two

Chapter 20 - Mendelssohn Concerto in E Major

Chapter 21 - The Meister Way

Chapter 22 - An Admirer

Chapter 23 - Gentlemen Callers

Chapter 24 - The Scotchman

Chapter 25 - Checking on Maynard

Chapter 26 - Rich Young Man - Not so Much

Chapter 27 - A Page Removed!

Chapter 28 - The Marriage

Chapter 29 - Plans for a New Marriage

Chapter 30 - Honeymoon

Chapter 31 - A New Home

Chapter 32 - Getting to Know Elgin -1901

Chapter 33 - Our First Mobile (Auto)

Chapter 34 - Life in Elgin

Chapter 35 - Preparing for Birth

Chapter 36 - Stillborn!

Chapter 37 - Leave Leeches to Treat an Ear Ache

Chapter 38 - Winfield Illinois Sanatorium