Fictional German composer of the symphonic poem "Aus Bengalien," based on Bengalese folk music, from the short humor piece "The Life Drama of a Music Critic in Four Clippings," by Lawton MacKall. It first appeared in the July 1914 The Century magazine, and was reprinted in a 1922 collection of his work titled Bizarre.
The Gotham Symphony Orchestra plays the piece, including invented Bengalese instruments the bimbam, and a "one-toned flute."
Adolf Schnitzel's symphonic poem "Aus Bengalien," which was admirably performed last evening by the Gotham Symphony Orchestra, shows a masterly understanding of the folk-music of India. The Bengalese have from tbe earliest times been noted for their proficience in the arts. Their principal instrument is the bimbam, an elongated drum, played upon with any convenient article, such as an elephant's tusk or the bone of an ancestor. When struck at one end, it emits the sound bim; when struck at the other, a clear-toned bam is produced: hence its curious name. The following melody, known as the "War-Song of Prince Brahmadan," gives one an idea of the capacity of this instrument:
The chorus is also characteristic:
At the religious ceremonies of the Bengalese, the Futrib, or high priest, plays upon a peculiar one-toned flute, producing an effect of awe and mystery, as this hymn to the sun-god aptly illustrates:
Too-oo-t! Toot, toot-a-toot, toot-a-toot, toot; Too-oo-t!
With this wealth of material to draw from, Schnitzel has constructed a work that is nearly perfect in form. Beginning with a soft bim-bam-bim, which is followed by a sinister toot, toot, he works up to a climax of marvelous contrapuntal ingenuity, in which the two themes are combined thus:
Bim, toot, bam, toot-a-toot,
Truly the apotheosis of Bengal!