Thursday, 12 June 1862.
Topics of the day
Messrs. Poussard and Douay'a concert, on Wednesday evening, at the Adelaide Assembly Rooms, was scarcely so well attended as some others have been, although the room was more three-fourths full and the audience comprised a huge proportion of the aristocracy.
We shall pass by the first part of the performance, merely saying that all the artistes folly sustained their previous reputation, and were encored in some of the pieces. Mr R B White accompanied on the piano, in the duet between Messrs. Poussard and Douay, 'Mira la Bianca Luna.' He also accompanied them on the first occasion, when the arrival of the English mail prevented our noticing the fact His old friends seemed pleased to see and hear him again.
The second part of the concert consisted entirely of the performance of the piece entitled 'The Dead Heroes,' and we would before attempting to describe it correct an erroneous impression which prevails, that this composition has been previously performed in Melbourne. All that they played in Melbourne was a short piece descriptive of the death of Burke and Wills, but that produced on Wednesday evening was a most elaborate composition, well described as a musical poem, and has been we are assured composed and arranged in Adelaide. It is, as we have before stated, dedicated to our owngreat explorer, J.McDouall Stuart. It commences with music descriptive of the preparations for the departure of the Expedition, and in which variations on 'The Last Rose of Summer' were beautifully introduced, after a rather rattling and noisy performance indicative of the bustle of preparation. 'The Adieu' came next, and was given with tenderness and pathos. 'The Start' followed, and the clatter of hoofs, the confusion of voices, and the rumbling of the wagons could all be readily distinguished; variations on 'Cheer Boys, Cheer' were beautifully introduced in this part. 'The Songs of the Birds' followed, at the approach of the evening, and we need hardly say were given with a minuteness of imitation truly wonderful; from the songs of the birds to 'Evening' the transition was as gentle and pleasing to the ear as that of dissolving views is to the eye. The 'Recollections of Home' followed naturally on the setting in of evening, and 'Home, Sweet Home' was most touchingly played. 'The Route' again renewed the clattering of hoofs and noise of starting afresh. 'The Hot Wind,' as might be supposed, was the most disagreeable part of the whole; now it whistled through the trees and now roared across the plains, and one could almost fancy the glare of the atmosphere and the accompanying dost. 'The Work Accomplished' gave the opportunity for the introduction of 'Rule Britannia' and on leaving Carpentaria, to 'See the Conquering Hero Comes' was appropriately played. The subsequent 'Sufferings of the Explorers,' their sighs, their cries, their low murmurs, their groans of pain and despair were eloquently described. 'Hope on approaching Cooper's Creek' was expressed by a cheerful but not exultant style of music, which gave way to 'Despair on finding the Depot deserted,' and all these feelings were expressed with so much power that no one could fail to understand the meaning of the music. The 'Approach of Death' was solemn and awful; then came 'The Heavenly Music,' and heavenly indeed it was; the effect was magical - enchanting; each one of the audience held his breath for a time. How such sounds could be produced from two instruments like violin and violoncello was a marvel. The tones were soft, sweet, and low, yet the large room was filled with a volume of sound, and the most exquisite harmony, as if proceeding from the "golden harps" themselves, entranced the listeners. 'The Prayer' was low and solemn, scarcely audible. 'The Burden of a Sigh' then followed, 'The Closed Eyes,' when the sounds of the instruments died away so gradually and gently, that it was only when the performers rose that we could be sure they had ceased. The effect was such that even the well-earned applause was delayed, but when it commenced it was crescendoed, and repeated again and again,
Poussard and Douay are in music what Byron was in poetry.