Master Willie PapeThe Illustrated London News, vol. 42, no. 1203, p. 527.
May 16, 1863
Master Willie Pape, the youthful American pianist lately arrived in this country, has been heard twice in public, and has more than realised the glowing descriptions given of him by the leading journals of New York, Boston, and other cities of the United States. He first played last week at Mdme. Puzzi's annual matinée at the Hanover-square Rooms--one of the most brilliant and fashionable musical entertainments in London. On this occasion there was a constellation of talent, the principal performers being Mdme. Lemmens-Sherrington, Mdlle. Georgi, Mdme. Lemaire, Signor Gassier, and Mr. Tennant. All of them acquitted themselves with their accustomed success; but none made a greater impression on the highly musical audience than the young American stranger. A boy in years, he is a man in intelligence and genius. His age, it is said, does not exceed thirteen years; yet he plays like a well-educated and highly-accomplished artist. We have occasion to know that he is thoroughly acquainted with the works of the great classical masters, and plays, without book, the finest sonatas of Beethoven and Mendelssohn--a thing which very few, even of the most celebrated performers, are able to do. On this occasion he performed Thalberg's famous fantasia on "Don Pasquale;" and on its being enthusiastically encored, he substituted for it the same composer's still more celebrated fantasia on "Mosè in Egitto." Master Pape's second public appearance was at the last concert of the Vocal Association, where his display of talent was equally striking, and his success equally brilliant. In this boy's precocity, surprising as it is, there is nothing unsound or hollow. In the luxuriant growth of his talent there has not been any of that forcing, that hot-bed training, which are too often applied to extraordinarily-gifted children. His progress, though rapid, has been natural and healthy, and he may be reasonably expected to become one of the greatest artists of the time.