Friday, November 6, 2009

'orace cops a floggin'

Poor Horace Poussard slammed right into a Frenchman with a critical ear, familiar with Parisian taste in 1864, in Colombo. It seems that Frenchman, Fr. Devay (see last post)...well I'll let him tell it:

"Msr. T... and I let ourselves be tempted (by the ads Smythe had placed). I was in full dress having pressed and starched myself for this Musical Fete in full funeral costume as one wears to weddings and burials in all the civilized parts of the world. There were few people there despite the charlatanism and promises of the advertisements. A dozen women or more of whom one was black; some officers of the garrison and half-blood creoles. The celebrated Msr. Poussard is a man of 28 or 30 years. he's a clever instrumentalist and he, with great taste, makes his violin sing...when he wants to. But, for a long while now, he has lived and run about in the English Colonies. Dutch Colonies and other overseas territories. He has so bent and lowered his talent to the demands of average listeners that he plays difficult music in a burlesque manner; he made his violin cry, whistle, howl, croak, caw and bray. He made it sound like a tambourine, a jews-harp, an oboe, a guitar and bagpipes all to the frenetic applause and repeated encores from a rowdy mob with unsophisticated ears therein assembled. When Msr. Poussard returns to Europe he will have to deal with more refined listeners. He will have to abandon all this prestidigitation, these musical monkey tricks, this jumping about and somersaults for a more emotive and passionate execution which can move and enflame for music goes from the ear to the soul. Msr. Poussard proved this evening that he has in him the stuff of a real musician by playing with great purity and feeling, La Resignation by De Bériot and some scottish airs."

Again, Ouch!