Musician and Artist
Prepared by Justin Nurin
Online only (2016)
The Musician and Artist. A Monthly Journal, devoted to Art, Literature, and the Drama [MAT] was published as five issues, January to May, 1876, in Boston, Massachusetts by Edward Augustus Samuels. Each issue contains thirty-two pages in two-column format with a table of contents printed on the front cover page. A novel with musical interest entitled “Clara: A Concerto in Four Movements” is found at the outset of each issue. This is followed by a series of articles, primarily about music, but also about art and drama. An extensive article dealing with review of musical performances in New York and occasionally Boston is given in every issue. Reviews of newly published music appear in the issues nos. 4 and 5. Supplements of sheet music for pianoforte, and voice and pianoforte are given in the first four issues.
The publisher Edward Augustus Samuels was born, raised, and lived his entire life in the Boston area. He appears to have had an amateur’s interest in music to have created MAT, as his main preoccupation was publication of many articles and essays on wildlife, specifically agriculture, fish and game, and bird-watching.
In keeping with his goals for the magazine, Samuels engaged several of the well-known and highly respected scholars and artists of the day, including orchestra and band composers and conductors, educators, writers on musical subjects, critics, and performers. Eben Tourjée, composer, organist, first Dean of the Boston University College of Music, and co-founder and Principal of the New England Conservatory of Music writes about private and conservatory music teaching systems. Julius Eichberg, violinist and professor contributes articles about the techniques of his instrument. Henry Kemble Oliver, a career politician, gives notes about the necessity of universal music study. Popular military-style bands led Samuels to include specialized articles by band composers, bandmasters and performers. These include David Wallis Reeves on the management of military bands, F. J. Keller on the popularization of military band composition, and F. J. O. Smith on raising the standard of American bands. Some articles are copied from European music journals including the writings of Léon Escudier on the nobility of the musical art and Ferdinand Hiller on Beethoven’s pianoforte sonatas.
Extremely interesting are the reviews signed by Caryl Florio, born as William James Robjohn, an organist, writer, choirmaster, and a self-proclaimed “composer-musician.” Under the heading “Music in New York,” Florio discusses everything from the small chamber music society concerts, to the international performers such as the sopranos Therese Tietjens and Anna Drasdil and the pianist Hans Von Bülow. In almost every review, Florio had much to say about the Theodore Thomas orchestra, reporting on as many of the American conductor’s concerts as possible. At the conclusion of each review, besides wishing “out loud” that had he more space to write, Florio would also give random musings related to music and musicians such as Adelina Patti, Gilmore and his band, and Leopold Damrosch, conductor of the New York Oratorio Society. Florio’s focus of his foreign news section usually dealt with performances and performers of note in England and Ireland.