Carnegie Hall: Stage of Magic!

The first Carnegie Hall was finished and opened in 1891, and was commisioned by Steel magnate Andrew Carnegie (1835 to 1919) four years earlier.

Carnegie actually got the idea from Walter Damrosch, who wanted a place to house the two symphonies to which he belonged, the Symphony Society of New York, of which he was the conducter, and the Oratorio Society of New York. Both were founded years before by his grandfather.( The Carnegie Hall History Page)

The Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh was originally opened in 1895 as part of The Carnegie Institute. The Carnegie Institute housed the aforementioned music hall, a fine arts gallery, a natural history museum and a library containing a large collection of 17th and 18th century books, donated by Julius D. Bernd (1830 to 1892).(The ABC's of an Architectural Library in Pittsburgh)

<-- This is the New York Carnegie Music Hall, the first of many "Carnegies."

Paul worked at the music hall as an usher, but not for such a proletarian reason as money. Paul worked there, not only because he needed the money, which was the truth, but because the music uplifted his soul and set it free. Paul dreamed of living in New York, because he believed that he had somehow gotten into the wrong life. Paul felt that he was above all of the rabble on Cordelia Street, and belonged on Park Avenue, or one of the other "rich" streets of New York. The symphonies he heard while ushering made Paul feel as if he were living the life in which he felt he belonged. The "rapture" he discovered in the music, or even in the art in the museum, raised Paul up beyond the lower middle class life to which he had become accustomed.

Paul's soul was saved through the music and the acting. Because he was raised so high at work, his pit of a life grew even deeper when he had to go home to such despair after reaching such bliss. I believe that the music hall was a magic mirror foreshadowing the end of Paul's short life. When Paul stole the money from the firm and lived the good life in New York, he had reached the life he saw in his imagination, the bliss he felt in the Music Hall. But when the money ran dry, and his father came after him, it was like going home to the drudgery of Cordelia Street after the glamour, glitz, and glory of Carnegie Hall.

When Paul was faced with this reality, his heart reacted much the same way that Lousie Mallard's did in "The Story of an Hour." His lows seemed even lower after the wonder of New York City. His heart could not bear the shock of such a dramatic change, much the same way that one's hands burn when they are run under warm water after being out in the cold of Winter for an hour. It broke his heart to realize that he could never live in such splendor again, and that is why he threw himself in front of the train. He could not live with such a large break in his heart.

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Works Cited

( The Carnegie Hall History Page) {Visited on March 29, 1997}

(The ABC's of an Architectural Library in Pittsburgh) {Visited March 28, 1997}

Photo Credits

Andrew Carnegie {Visited on March 31, 1997}

New York Carnegie Hall {Visited on March 31, 1997}

Locomotive {Visited on March 31, 1996\7} 1