WE regret to be compelled to observe that the management of the Oratorios has not. been such as to realize the expectations which at their commencement we were led to entertain. When we an- nounced the names of LINDLEY, DRAGONETTI, WILLMAN, HARPER, and PLATT, as the principal instrumentalists, we could hardly anticipate, nor, we will venture to say, did the public antici- pate, that they would perform at the Oratorios only every other night. Yet such, it now appears, is the fact. So weak, in point of talent, is the band on the Wednesday nights, that the additional accompaniments of MOZART to the Messiah were obliged to be omitted.
An absurd outcry has been raised about the exorbitant terms of some of the principal singers. Why should Miss PATON, Madame CARADORI, or Miss STEenaas, reduce their price to Mr. HAWES ? On what plea can that gentleman expect them to take less than their regular remuneration ? He knew, or he ought to have known, the usual amount of their engagements, before he undertook the management of the Oratorios ; and he has no right to blame them because they did not choose to reduce their terms. He has chosen the alternative of making shift with second and third rates, and we see the result. Empty benches every night have taught him that the,pathlic expect, if they pay the same price, the same sort of talent they have been accustomed to hear at the Ora- torios. In making these remarks, we have no desire to undervalue I he talent of the ladies who are engaged there. We know Miss FARRAR and Miss CAWSE to be well-taught singers, and to be fully equal to a certain department in their art. They have been removed out of that department, to their own manifest discomfort and the disappointment of the audience. Far less are we disposed to under- rate the abilities of Madame STOCKHAUSEN ; but to hear her sing " I know that my Redeemer liveth," or " Pious orgies," is an ex- hibition we shall not be disposed to witness a second time. We had also anticipated a greater variety of classical music in the selections ; but it seems as if the failure of MEHUL'S Joseph had determined Mr. HAWES IO v us no sacred music but that of HANDEL. The compositions ofHAYDN, MOZART, BEETHOVEN, ROMBERG, GRAUN, and HUMMEL, have been almost wholly exclu- ded. Here Madame STOCKHAUSEN might have been heard to advan- tage. We give Mr. H AIN E s credit for the attempt to produce the Domi- nits a Dextris of Haanae, which has hitherto slept in his Majesty's library : but it was only an attempt. A contemporary journal has said " the audience were brutal enough to hiss HANDEL'S music ;" —Mr. HAWE s, in the bill for Wednesday, announces its repetition, " in consequence of the rapturous applau.sv with which it was received." Now, though these accounts differ so widely, they are both wrong : it is true that the audience hissed, but not the music— they hissed (and they were right) the scrambling, uncertain, chaotic manner 'h Er pmformance. The performance on Wednesday evening did not exhibit any feature which calls for particular notice, except a selection from an oratorio called The Propheq, by Mr. WADE. We are by no means disposed to criticise severely what we have heard of this composition. The attempt to produce an oratorio manifests a desire at least to aim at the highest degree of excellence in the art. There were some pleasing melodies in The Prophecy, but it lacked true grandeur. , Last nig !Vs performance deserved to be an attractive one. It was supported by the Friday night band ; and Miss PATON and BRAHAM were both present, the lady for the first time this season. The first part consisted of a selection from Alexander 's Rust. It is rather singular that this admirable composition, though fre- quently performed entire in Germany, and even in France, is never heard ill London, except by bits and scraps. We shall best convey our meaning by saying, that if a selector were to print a mutilated copy of DRYDEN'S Ode, leaving out about a half of it, the poetry would suffer no less by such a process than the music does by a similar curtailment. Every movement in it depends greatly for its effect upon the preceding one ; and it would be better to perform any portion of it in regular succession than to impair it by indis-
criminate - criminate mutilation. For instance, according to the selection of
Friday, the "kindred sound" to love was not pity, but drinking ;
for the reading stood thus:
"Drinking is the soldier's pleasure,
Sweet is pleasure after pain.
The mighty master smiled to see That love was in the next degree;
"Twas but a kindred sound to move, For pity melts the mind to love."
Here, the connecting link "He chose a mournful muse," &e.
being deficient, the effect' was inexpressibly ludicrous. It would also have, been as well, with regard both to musical and gramma- tical propriety, if the chorus, "At last divine Cecilia came," had been played to the end, instead of coming to the abrupt and strange conclusion which terminated the music on the dominant and the poetry at a comma. The most perfect performance in the selection was "Softly sweet," by BRAHAM and LINDLEY. There was nu- thing else to deserve particular notice, if we except the very beauti- ful playing of the Oboes and Horns in the symphonies to "Bacchus ever fair." Young COOKE'S tone was only equalled by the very correct taste in which he executed what he had to do.
The second act began with the Overture to Rais's new opera Die Raubervraut ; which we heard for the first time. There are a few striking passages in it, and but a few. We shall probably under- stand it better when the band is more mellow in the performance. Miss PATON was received with enthusiastic applause. It is hardly necessary to add, that she sung " From mighty kings" most admirably. The house was better filled than on any preceding night.