Telharmonic Recital The Telharmonium was a 200-ton music synthesizer with sufficient electrical power to distribute signals over wires in telephone cables to as many as 40,000 subscribers. It debuted for public concerts at Telharmonic Hall (Broadway and 39th, across from the Met) on Sept 26, 1906, and by the winter of 1907 there were as many as four "recitals" a day. By then, distribution included the Waldorf Astoria Hotel (where the primitive loudspeakers were hidden in potted plants), the Museum of Natural History, and a few wealthy private citizens. Unfortunately, crosstalk into regular telephone circuits soured the telephone company on serving as distributor. The behemoth was played by two persons at a keyboard console that gave no hint of all the dynamos and rotating machinery in the basement.
Miss Thursby's Parrot At least two folders of the Thursby papers at the New York Historical Society concern her mynah bird. One has letters from children thanking for visits, and the other has official documents, such as permission from the Pullman Company to allow the bird to accompany her on their sleeping cars.
New Topic Identification
Sat Mar 30
Cleaned up, while Rose did her usual stint downstairs. Mother was dreadfully sick all morning, beating the air with her hands and growing more hysterical every moment. Suddenly at twelve Mrs. Montgomery appeared and her visit quieted Mama so that, to my amazement I was able to persuade her to come downtown with me. It scarcely seems possible. We shopped and went to the Telharmonic Recital (that was most interesting) and finally she came to church and listened to the service. In the evening she slept for real weariness. I sewed but went to bed at 10.30 while Mila admitted afterwards that she sewed till 3 A.M. and was up again at six. Such self-sacrifice. "I wonder if I would be capable of it."
Sun Mar 31 [Easter]
Well! my Second Easter Sunday at St. Bartholomew's has rolled around, and how I have enjoyed this year! It has given me so much. We started with a 7 o'clock service, a solemn and beautiful one with communion by the Bishop. At 9 o'clock it was over and we all trooped over to the Manhattan for the Easter breakfast and had such a good time! Stories were told and jokes and speeches made, and we had our innings with Leop. by telling him to "buck up'' and make a speech, and "not to be a duffer'' etc. The ladies received charming little souvenirs in bon-bon boxes, and by 11 we were back at Church. Mr. Beddoe was the "comedy star'' at the breakfast. After the 4 o'clock service Mr. Duras, Rose, Chas. and I walked home. I felt very chic in my new suit, which is a great success. Received a lovely Easter lily from Mr. D.
Mon Apr 1
Mother begged for a doctor so we sent for Pisek, and he prescribed a rest cure of six days in bed, complete isolation and a diet of milk and soup. So the back bedroom has been shut off and she sees no one except when I bring her milk in. So we shifted all furniture and made the room look bright and there she rests. Went down town at one and tried to see Mr. S. again, succeeding at. He gave me "Nozze di Figaro," two German Lieder, and a "Sacred Anthology." In the evening Rose and Chas, Mr. D. and I went to a Sl. All. Easter party, where we had great fun and danced till three o'clock. I have seldom enjoyed myself more, but being up again at seven was not quite so amusing.
Tues Apr 2
In spite of its being "after the Ball'' was not dreadfully tired. Spent most of the day passively, listening to a Krehbiel lecture on Chamber Music, which I heard last year. After Ital. went up to Miss Thursby's to see the daughter of the organist, and she explained why an appointment had not been made for me to sing. She invited me up to meet her sister, and then, as the day was fine, we took a long walk. She showed me the church, a large beautiful one. Oh, I suppose its asking too much to hope for an $500 position after all this chorus work. But I am so sick of it. Mama rests quietly. Addie was over to to say goodby. She has given up the N.Y. dramatic agents as hopeless. Don't I know how hopeless they are! Poor girl, she is quite depressed by the short season which they have had. It took away all her profits.
Wed Apr 3
My voice was quite dead this morning and the breath wouldn't work at all. My voice has so little metallic quality in it that when the breath does not work freely it simply becomes a muffled sound. Mrs. C worked like a Trojan from 12 to one and finally I produced some notes that rang out. Then of course, it was time to stop. I went home and worked, however and it all went finely. She says she only gets decent tones from me when I stop breathing. In the evening Ella and Mr. D called. Ella sang and her voice sounded very pretty. She has improved especially in enunciation.
Thurs Apr 4
Studied all morning. At two Dr. Holbrook Curtis lectured at the Inst. "The greatest fake in N.Y.'' as Mrs. C. calls him. He reeled off a hundred yards or so of names of cartilages and muscles, some of which must be pulled here and others there, to produce such and such a tone. And then he would end up by saying that to produce the perfect beautiful tone you must not think of any of them. He also showed the preserved vocal chords of Miss Thursby's parrot, which must have been a marvelous bird. Miss Th. says he spoke seven languages, could imitate any instrument, and criticized all her pupils. Hard on the pupils, I say! In the evening, I went to a recital by Miss Butler and Mrs Emonnes.
Fri Apr 5
Piano lesson on a Mozart Fantasie which is lovely, but very difficult. At eleven, the Tapper lecture, chiefly showing the value of the study of sociology in connection with music culture. Mr. Tapper is a sort of pocket edition of Herbert Spencer. Mrs. C wanted me to stay down for a lesson at 3, which I did. Went to her house to practice, but after a while lay down for a moment to relax, and did it so completely that when I awoke it was 3 oclock. Had an impossibly bad lesson. In the evening, heard the Giraudet pupils' recital. Mrs. Aldrich was simply divine and Mr. Jacobson has the making of a great artist.