WALTER DAMROSCH: MUSIC MASTER OF THE AIR Thelma Wilson
Music has been called the language that everyone understands. The African savage has his simple drum made of a skin stretched over the end of a hollow log,
or his flute made from a reed. We have our great orchestras of seventy or eighty players with many different kinds of instruments.
The music of each speaks a language. Walter Damrosch, a great man, a great musician, and a great teacher,
is spending his life helping the people of America understand the language of music.
HIS MUSICAL TRAINING
Over fifty years ago in old New York City, a group of music lovers gathered one summer evening to hear a charming program of orchestra music.
Dr. Leopold Damrosch, a noted musician and leader of the orchestra, had placed his own son, Walter, in charge of the cymbals.
Under his father's direction, the fourteen-year-old lad had learned just when to strike together the thin plates of brass.
But on this evening, he grew more and more nervous as the music swelled loudly into a stirring march.
When Dr. Damrosch indicated that it was time for the cymbals to come in, Walter's arms felt paralyzed, and he could not lift them.
So the march swept on to a close without the sharp clash of the cymbals to mark its most exciting moment. Walter's first appearance in an orchestra had been a failure!
Young Damrosch had a musical home. His father played the violin as skillfully as he conducted an orchestra; his mother was a beautiful singer.
Back in Breslau, Prussia, where he had lived before coming to New York City, Walter had begun to take piano lessons before he was nine.
On Sunday afternoons his entire family played and sang together.
Often the leading musicians and composers of Europe visited the simple Damrosch home and filled it with their glorious music.
Franz Liszt, the great Hungarian pianist, Wagner from Germany, who wrote the beautiful opera, Lohengrin, and Rubinstein,
Russia's most celebrated pianist, were some of the famous music masters whom Walter Damrosch met while he was still a child.