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Professor Schmitt.

Having of late heard several controversies in private circles as to the abilities and antecedents of Herr Carl Schmitt, Professor of Music to Auckland University College, we thought the best way to resolve the points in dispute was to wait "upon that gentleman himself and request information. A note to the Professor, mentioning our desire for an interview t resulted in an invitation to spend the evening with him at his residence, Grafton Road, and our musical contributor, "Strephon" waß also invited to be present. ' Arrived at Prof. Schmitt's home, we were shown into his study, and found him seated amid piles of musical M.SS., etc. jotting down on. paper an "inspiration" for a choice duet which occurs in the first act of the New Zealand opera upon which he is now engaged. We received' a, cordial welcome,, and soon felt quite at ease. While the Professor finished the work in hand, we glanced around his sanctwn,' and found Jihe walls literally covered with framed diplomas from European institutions, addresses from colonial Choral '< Societies, etc These and lexers which we; afterwards saw, left no doubt as to Professor' Schmitt's long career and high reputation as a musician and composer. Before - he' was thirteen years of age he conducted an orchestra in his Fatherland—to speak by the card, in the; Grand Salle Andree at Frankfort on the Main., He had attained the statUß of Kapellmeister when he waE compelled through failing health to seek a change of climate. He came to Australia and in many leading cities was the means j o( awakening dormant musioal enthusiasm and! initiating choral performances of the works of the. great masters. He founded Choral Societies at Sydney, Ballarat, Launceston, and other places ;: press notices regarding his work are of the most flattering description, while the addresses and presentations ever) Where received by him testify to the high esteem in which he was held, socially^ and personally. Amid the hard and engrossing work of organising choral societies and training amateurs to a high pitch of artistio excellence, Herr Schmitt found time to compose many original, works of sterling merit, and this work ha has continued during the eight years that he has been in Auckland. His opera of " Cazille " was his most important work. Hiacollaborateurin this was Mr R. H. Home, author of "Orion," etc., and though the opera (on account of certain stage difficulties) has never been produced, it proved the composer's genius for works of that description as well as for the marches and devotional pieces which may be said to constitute Mb forte; Since Herr Schmitt came to Auckland, he has, besides conducting the Choral Society, founded the Amateur N opera Club and Ladies' Orchestra, while he has continued his work of private tuition, and latterly has undertaken the more onerous duties of the Chair of Mubic in Auckland University College. Still the busy brain and hands have sought exercise for love of the ttrti and Pr6f. Schmitt has continued to compose! original music. Among his many works pro-j duced in Auckland.the cantata "Art. and Mind " is most notable, having been favourably noticed; by critics. The decoration .bestowed on Herr Schmitt by the King of Italy is the tribute of the: monaroh of a musical' nation^ to. thehigh abilities of & stranger ; and his appointment to the first Professorship of Music established in this colony, (though carrying no high emolument, stamps the public recognition 'of musical genius, industry, and worth. -,■■''- Prior to taking leave of the -Professor, we re. quested him to play the mwrceam which he had been composing for the New Zealand opera of - — (we came near letting out the title of the work, which is for the present a profound secret).; Professor Sohmitt, complying, played and sang a most effective melody* beginning «« Believe Me, 0 My Darling." If thjs be taken as a fair sample of Jhe coming operai i| requires, ntf^phptic: gift to predict that the. work nqw in hfind will add still more to the high repui^tion^hich^ Prof T t Sohmijit7enloys.; :^^'.ef^i^*O|ir"-jf^t'e3K«t7. xti&s disnepd all v doftb|«B to |h^ ft

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Bibliographic details

Observer, Observer, Volume IX, Issue 563, 12 October 1889

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Professor Schmitt. Observer, Volume IX, Issue 563, 12 October 1889