CHAPTER 04. BJL: MIDDLE YEARS: 1881-1891: SC. TOPICS. WC. (1)

 SPELL CHECKED NOVEMBER 30, 2018. WORD COUNT-46,843.

MIDDLE YEARS: 1881-1891. (12 point Georgia)                                             TOPICS: Mendelssohn: Son and Stranger.                                                                Franz Liszt Dinner.                                                                                                                Lang and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.                                                        Ethelbert Nevin.                                                                                                                      Lang:conduct the B.S.O.?                                                                                                                              Henschel and the B.S.O.                                                                                                    Sixth Cecilia Season. 1881-1882.                                                                                    Eleventh Apollo Club Season. 1881-1882.                                                          Damnation of Faust.                                                                                                       Fidelio.                                                                                                                                      Lang’s Musical Position in Boston.                                                                    Diphtheria.                                                                                                                          Soloist with the Philharmonic Society. Tchaikovsky.                                     Twelfth Apollo Club Season. 1882-1883.                                                               Seventh Cecilia Season. 1882-1883.                                                                                 Helen Hood                                                                                                                          Attacks on Lang Through Tucker and Foote.                                                  Schumann Piano Works.                                                                                            Lectures on Piano Technique.                                                                               Thirteenth Apollo Club Season. 1883-1884.                                                          Church of the Immaculate Conception.                                                                 Eighth Cecilia Season. 1883-1884.                                                                               Lang Premiers by the Apollo Club.                                                                           Lecture Business-Lang, Chadwick, Paine and Elson.                                          Allen A. Brown.                                                                                                                                          St. Boltoph Club.                                                                                                             Wilhelm Gericke.                                                                                                         Fourteenth Apollo Club Season. 1884-1885.                                                            Ninth Cecilia Season. 1884-1885.                                                                                  Bach Birthday Concert.                                                                                                 Summer of 1885. Margaret begins her studies in Munich.                          Fifteenth Apollo Club Season. 1885-1886.                                                              Tenth Cecilia Season. 1885-1886.                                                                                 Lang Assists.                                                                                                                         Lang’s Support of Chadwick.                                                                                        Liszt’s Death and Funeral.                                                                                        Sixteenth Apollo Club Season. 1886-1887.                                                           Eleventh Cecilia Season. 1886-1887.                                                                     Pianoforte Concerto Concerts-First Series-1887.                                           Pianoforte Concerto Concerts-Second Series-1888.                                   Pianoforte Concerto Concerts-Third Series-1890.                                               Lang Leaves South Congregational Church.                                                      Twelfth Cecilia Season. 1887-1888.                                                             Seventeenth Apollo Club Season. 1887-1888.                                                                                                                               Mrs. Jack Gardner painted by Sargent.                                                                                                                                       Mrs. Louise Inches painted by Sargent.                                                               European Vacation, Summer 1888.                                                                    MacDowell, Edward Alexander.                                                                             Gilmore’s Jubilee.                                                                                                        Eighteenth Apollo Club Season. 1888-1889.                                                   Thirteenth Cecilia Season. 1888-1889.                                                                    Singing with the Boston Symphony.                                                                            Hymn of Praise for Charity.                                                                                              Arthur Nikisch.                                                                                                                        Lang as a Piano Instructor.                                                                                     Nineteenth Apollo Club Season. 1889-1890.                                                  Fourteenth Cecilia Season. 1889-1890.                                                                     King’s Chapel-Christmas 1890.                                                                                  Handel and Haydn Salary.                                                                                                   New Choir: the Boston Singers (Replaced Boylston Club)                            Fifteenth Cecila Season. 1890-1891.                                                                       Twentieth Apollo Club Season. 1890-1891.                                                         Parsifal.                                                                                                                                    Salem Oratorio Society.                                                                                                   Lang’s Magic as an Organist at King’s Chapel.                                                          Trip to Europe. 1891.

LANG PREMIERS: (Non Apollo and Cecilia)                                                                  (American) Bach: Coffee Cantata. March 21, 1885 (2) Herald pre-concert article of March 15, 1885, 10, GB, says this was an American premier.                                                                                                                      (American) Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Georg Henschel conductor, March 14 and 15, 1884.                                    (Boston) Brahms: Trio, Opus 40, Kneisel Quartet, February 1887.

LANG STUDENT PREMIERS:
(Boston) Dvorak’s Concerto No. 2 in B Minor; on March 25th. Mr. Whelpley played the Boston premier (Herald, March 2, 1890, 9, GB)
(Boston) Godard: Introduction and Allegro, Op. 49 at the B. J. Lang Pianoforte Concerto Concert of April 10, 1888 with Mr. G. W. Sumner as the soloist. (Boston Musical Yearbook 1887-88, 12)
(American) MacDowell: Piano Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 15, B. J. Lang Pianoforte Concerto-Concert” where Lang conducted and his pupil B. J. Whelpley played the solo part, April 3, 1888 (MYB, 1887-88, 12). This would have been the first American performance of the complete work; sections had been played earlier in New York. (Johnson, First, 225)
(Boston) Mozart: Concerto for Three Pianos in F with Miss Ann Gilbreth, Mr. G. W. Sumner and Mr. Arthur Mayo at the B. J. Lang Piano-Concerto Concert on April 1, 1890. (Boston Musical Yearbook-1889-90, 13)
(Boston) St.-Saens: Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 17 by Joshua Phippen. (Herald (March 30, 1887): 2, GB)
(American or Boston) Sgambati: Concerto in G minor, Op. 14 (ca. 1881), with Hiram G. Tucker as soloist at the Music Hall, BSO with Nikisch conducting, October 31, 1890. (Johnson, First, 336).

CECILIA PREMIERS: All from the 1907 List unless noted.
(American) Bach: Christmas Oratorio, Part VI, April 2, 1883.
(Boston) Beethoven: The Praise of Music, March 22, 1888.
(Boston) Berlioz: Requiem, Op. 5, February 12, 1882 (Johnson, First, 69). Second American
(Boston) Brahms: German Requiem, December 3, 1888.                             (Boston) Brahms: Gipsy Songs, May 16, 1889.                                                               (Boston) Brahms: Naenie, May 22, 1890 (with piano).
(Boston) Bruch: The Lay of the Bell, May 16, 1883 (Bruch conducting).
(World) Chadwick: The Pilgrims. April 2, 1891.
(American?) Cornelius: The Barber of Bagdad (selections) May 10, 1888.
(Boston) Dvorak: Stabat Mater, January 15, 1885.
(Boston) Dvorak: The Spectre’s Bride, May 13, 1886.
(    ??     ) Dvorak: A Patriotic Hymn, March 22, 1888.
(World) Foote: The Wreck of the Hesperous, January 26, 1888 (with piano) and March 27, 1890 (with orchestra).
(Boston) Gade: Psyche (with piano and organ), January 18, 1883.
(    ??     ) Gade: Spring Fantasy, March 22, 1888.
(    ??     ) Handel: Zadok the Priest, March 25, 1886.
(Boston) Hofmann: Cinderella (with piano) November 30, 1881.
(Boston) Hood: The Robin, March 27, 1884.
(Boston) Jensen: Brier Rose, May 10, 1888.
(World) Jones: Up the Hillside, May 5, 1887.
(World) Lang, B. J.: The Chase, April 12, 1882.
(World) Lang, B. J.: Sing, Maiden, Sing, February 4, 1886.
(World) Lang, M. R.: In a Meadow, February 1, 1889.
(Boston) Lassus: Matona, Lovely Maiden, May 22, 1891.
(Boston) Liszt: The Legend of St. Elizabeth, November 18, 1886.             (Boston) MacDowell: Barcarolle. May 22, 1890.                                        (American) Massenet: Eve, March 27, 1890.                                            (American?) Massenet: Mary Magdalen, November 20, 1890.                (Boston) Mendelssohn: Camacho’s Wedding, March 19, 1885 (Was not the Second world performance-Johnson lists two American performances before this one, both in 1875, both presented by the Thomas orchestra)(Johnson, First, 257).                                                                                                   (Boston for music and World for combined) Mendelssohn: Athalie, January 27, 1887 (First performance of the Racine text and Mendelssohn’s music). Myron Whitney-soloist; Howard M. Ticknor-reader. Boston Orchestral Club (an amateur group usually led by Bernhard Listemann). Also December 6, 8 and 11, 1897-sung in French at Harvard with Mrs. Alice Bates Rich as the principal soloist and Prof. de Sumichrast as the narrator.                                                                                                                         (Boston) Mendelssohn: Ave Maria, May 10, 1888.                                              (Boston) Mendelssohn: 13th. Psalm, May 22, 1890.                                           (World) Nevin: The Night Has a Thousand Eyes, January 31, 1889.                 (World) Nevin: Wynken, Blynken and Nod, May 22, 1890.                          (American) Raff: Romeo and Juliet Overture, November 20, 1890.          (Boston) Schubert: Miriam’s Song of Triumph. May 14, 1891.                       (Boston) Schumann: Mignon’s Requiem, April 12, 1882 (with Piano).

APOLLO CLUB PREMIERS. (1=Zeller List)(2=Johnson, First Performances)(3=Boston Musical Year Book) (4=Composed for Apollo Club, Zeller List, November 2009)                                                                                                          (Boston) Becker: A Wood Morning. April 30 and May 2, 1884. Sung by a quartet. (1)(3)                                                                                                                  (Boston) Brackett: Cavalier’s Song. April 29, 1885 and May 4, 1886.(1)(3)(4)    (Boston) Brahms: Rinaldo. December 15, 1883, Charles R. Adams, soloist. (1 says December 5 and December 10, 1883 based on Wilson Yearbook I-IV: 1884-1887)                                                                                                      (Boston) Brambach: Columbus. February 20, 1888. Date from program. Johnston Collection. The Club sang it again February 17 and 23, 1892.           (Boston) Bruch: Salamis. April 26, 1882. Brainard’s Musical World, June 1882,  93.                                                                                                                                       (Boston) Buck: Annie Laurie (harmonized for TTBB). 1889 (1)(4)                                                                                                                               (Boston) Buck: Chorus of Spirits and Hours. February 11 and 16, 1885. (1)(3)(4) (Boston) Buck: King Olaf’s Christmas. December 7 and 12, 1881. Advertiser review mentions that this was the Boston premier. The work waspublishedin1881.(4)                                                                                                          (World) Chadwick: Jabberwocky, February 16 and 23, 1887. (4)                           (American) Cowen: The Language of Flowers. A Suite for Orchestra. December 5 and 10, 1883. (1) (3)                                                                               (Boston) Debois: Lovely Maiden, Sleep On-translation by Charles W. Sprague. December 3 and 8, 1885. (1)(3)                                                                                                                                (Boston) Englesberg: Love Song. December 11 and 18, 1885. (1)(3)             (Boston) Englesberg: Love, As a Nightingale. February 11 and 16, 1886. (1)(3)(Boston) Esser: Mahomet’s Song. December 3 and 8, 1885. (1)(3)                                                                                                                              (Boston) Foote: Cavalry Song, April 27 and May 2, 1887. Boston Musical Yearbook 1886-87, p. 12, 44 and 45. Sung by a Quartet.                                  (Boston) Foote: Farewell to [of-Cipolla] Hiawatha. May 12 and 17, 1887. (1) [Cipolla says 1886]                                                                                                          (World) Foote: If Doughty Deeds My Lady Please. April 29, 1885 and May 4, 1886. (1)                                                                                                                                        (Boston) Foote: Into the Silent Land, April 27 and May 2, 1887. Boston Musical Yearbook 1886-87, 12, 44 and 45, but Cipolla Foote Catalog says sung as part of the 250th. Anniversary of Harvard, 1636-1886. [Of course, strictly speaking, this was a Cambridge, not Boston performance] Was published by Schmidt in 1886.                                                                                                                             (Boston) Gauby: A Song to Praise thy Beauty. April 30 and May 2, 1884.(1) (World) Henschel: The King and the Poet. April 26, 1882. Gazette review probably written by B. E. Woolf.                                                                                (Boston) Kremser: A Venetian Serenade. February 20 and 25, 1884. (1)(3)(Boston) Lachner: Woodcock Song. December 7 and 12, 1881, mentioned as a Boston premier in the Advertiser review.                                                          (World) Lang, B. J.: Hi-fe-lin-ke-le, February 20 and 25, 1884; May 12 and 17, 1887; and April 30, 1890. (1)                                                                                   (World) Lang, B. J.: Nocturne for tenor solo, April 29 and May 4, 1885; April 27 and May 2, 1887; April 29, 1891 and May 5, 1897. (1)                                   (World) Lang, B. J.: The Lass of Carlisle, solo for baritone sung by Mr. Hay, April 29, 1885 and May 4, 1885. (1)                                                                                      (World) Lang, B. J.: My True Love Has My Heart, May 12 and 17, 1886. (1)                                                                                                                                     (World) Lang, M. R.:  The Maiden and the Butterfly. May 1 and 6, 1889. (1).                                                                                                                                         (World) Lang, M. R.: The Jumblies. December 3 and 8, 1890. Date from program-Johnston Collection.                                                                                                                      (Boston) Mohr: The Sea. February 20 and 25, 1884. (1)(3)                                   (Boston) Osgood: Proposal. April 29 and May 4, 1885 (1)(3) and February 10, 1886, and May 4, 1886. (1)                                                                                              (Boston) Paine: Summons to Love. April 26 and May 2, 1882. (1) –Brainard’s Musical World, June 1882, 93.                                                                                   (World) Parker, J. C. D.: The Blind King for baritone solo, male chorus and orchestra. “Written for the Apollo Club.” April 25, 1883. Program-Johnston Collection. Repeated April 29 and May 4, 1885. (1)                                                                                                                                   (Boston) Raff: Italian Suite. December 3 and 8, 1884. BPL Reviews.             (Boston) St.-Saens: The Soldiers of Gideon. February 11 and 16, 1885. (1)(3) (World) Strong, Templeton: The Knights and the Naiads. February 19 and 24, 1890. Written for the Club.                                                                                        (Boston) Strong, Templeton: The Trumpeter. February 20, 1888. From the program. Johnston Collection.                                                                                (World) Thayer: Sea Greeting. February 16 and 23, 1887. (1)(3) Not available ill.                                                                                                                                       (Boston) Thayer: Heinz von Stein. April 27 and May 2, 1887. (1)(3) Not available ill.                                                                                                                   (Boston) Wagner: “Chorus of Sailors” from the last act of Flying Dutchman. December 7 and 12, 1881. Advertiser undatedreview.                                                                                                             (World) Whiting: Free Lances. “Written for the Apollo Club.” April 25, 1883. Program-Johnston Collection. Also February 11, 1891.                                 (Boston) Whiting: Henry of Navarre. April 29 and May 4, 1885. (1)(3) Also February 19, 1890.                                                                                                         (Boston) Whiting: Overture to The Princess for orchestra. April 30 and May 1884. (BPL Reviews)                                                                                                       (Boston) Zoellner: The Feast of the Vine in Blossom. April 30 and May 2, 1884. (1)(3)                                                                                                                                      (Boston) Zoellner: Young Siegfried. February 11 and 16, 1885. (1)(3)

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MIDDLE YEARS: 1881-1891.

For Lang, the years 1881-1891 were a period of continued artistic growth. His two choral groups were well established and receiving fine reviews. Both choirs featured premiers with The Cecilia giving thirty-seven and the Apollo Club presenting thirty-five. Included among these were first performances of his own compositions and also those of his daughter, Margaret. He continued his solo career with performances with the newly formed Boston Symphony Orchestra. For his advanced piano pupils be organized concerto concerts so that they also would have the experience of performing with an orchestra. He continued in his support of his former piano teacher, Franz Liszt, and of his friend Richard Wagner.

MENDELSSOHN: SON AND STRANGER.

1881 saw the first Boston complete performance with full orchestra of Mendelssohn’s youthful operetta Son and Stranger at the Boston Museum in aid of the fund for the proposed Hospital for Convalescents. Lang had conducted the American premier in May 1876 using just piano accompaniment. That performance had also been for a charity event. For this concert Mrs. E. Humphrey-Allen sang Lisbeth, “with sweet, pure voice and a cheerful grace,” and Miss Louie Homer sang Ursula (contralto) “in tones fraught with the melancholy of an anxious mother…The chorus was made up of fresh, refined voices, amateurs, and the accompaniments were nicely played. (Dwight (May 7, 1881): 85).

FRANZ LISZT DINNER.

Lang organized a dinner in October to honor the 70th. Birthday of his teacher, Franz Liszt. “As a result of several meeting of ladies and gentlemen” who shared this goal, “it has been decided that a dinner at THE BRUNSWICK on the 21st at 6PM would be the most practical plan to adopt. It is also intended that appropriate music shall be performed…The price of the dinner will not exceed three dollars for each person, exclusive of wines.” The date of this notice was October 10th., and people were asked to contact a committee member before the 19th.! The members were: B. J. Lang, 156 Tremont Street; Miss Jessie Cochrane, Hotel Vendome; W. H. Sherwood, 157 Tremont Street; L. C. Elson, Roxbury and F. H. Jenks, Transcript Office.

At the dinner “General Henry K. Oliver presided, and there were addresses by B. J. Lang, W. H. Sherwood, C. C. Perkins, L. C. Elson, and others. The most interesting features of the evening, however, was [sic] the performances of some of Liszt’s works by John Orth, Louis Maas, Gustave Satter, Mr. Sherwood, Carlyle Petersilea and other pianists, and Miss Therese Liebe, the violinist, and the singing of some of the composer’s songs by Mrs. Henry M. Rogers (formerly Miss Clara Doria), Mrs. Henschel and Miss Abbott. Mr. Lang, Mr. Henschel and Mr. G. W. Sumner were the accompanists.” (Brainard’s (December 1881): 189)

LANG AND THE BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA.

Henry Lee Higginson.

In 1914, when the founder of the BSO, Henry Lee Higginson was eighty years old, he wrote to the then members of the BSO concerning the founding of the orchestra. He began by reviewing the two and one half years he spent as a music student in Vienna. This experience created a desire “that our own country should have such fine orchestras” as he heard in Europe. He returned to Boston, took part in the Civil War, married, became successful in business, and “at the end of two very good years of business began concerts in the fall of 1881. It seemed best to undertake the matter single-handed, and, beyond one fine gift from a dear friend, I have borne the costs alone…It seemed clear that an orchestra of fair size and under possible conditions would cost at least $20,000 [c. $350,000 today] a year more than the public would pay. therefore, I expected this deficit each year…It was a large sum of money, which depended on my business each year and on the public. If the concert halls were filled, that would help me; if my business went well, that would help me; and the truth is, that the great public stood by me nobly.” (Perry, Life and Letters of Henry Lee Higginson, 291 and 292)

Boston was ready for this orchestra in 1881 as “forty-years” preparation of the Boston musical public” had been done by other groups. In 1840 J. S. Dwight had written of a dream of “an orchestra worthy to execute the grand works of Haydn and Mozart.” The Academy of Music concerts in the 1840s led to the Musical Fund Society and then to the Germania Orchestra concerts of the 1850s. The building of the Boston Music Hall led to the orchestra concerts of the Harvard Musical Association and the Philharmonic Society of the 1860s and 70s. The visits of Theodore Thomas’s orchestra to Boston also added to the preparedness for the BSO. (Ibid, 297) But, “The professional symphony orchestra operating on a full-time basis with a series of established concerts running weekly (or nearly so) throughout the winter season from October to April-not an opera orchestra that gives occasional concerts, or a mixed orchestra of professionals with nonprofessionals, or an ensemble that performs monthly or less-is an American invention. Henry Lee Higginson’s creation of the Boston Symphony Orchestra is the earliest full-fledged example.” (Ledbetter, “Higginson and Chadwick,” American Music, Spring 2001: 52) The pay scale was “$3 for each rehearsal and $6 for each concert.” (Boston Record American (October 25, 1881): 13, GB)

During the first years of the Boston Symphony Lang appeared as piano soloist in five seasons – “83 and “84 under Henschel and “85, “86, and “89 under Gericke. He also appeared as an organist during the “83 Season. (Howe, BSO, 253) He had been scheduled to make his BSO debut at the fourth concert of the first season, but illness forced him to cancel. (BSO Website)

However Lang made the B. S. O January 1883 concerts playing Rubinstein’s Third Piano Concerto, and the Polacca Brilliante by Weber, orchestrated by Liszt conducted by Georg Henschel. Lang had done the American première of the Rubinstein with the Harvard Musical Association on February 1, 1872. (Johnson, First, 302) The reviews were mostly very positive. The Courier began: “The concerto was the best performed of last night’s concert. Mr. Lang played with greater ease and steadier shading than at the recent Philharmonic Concert…In the Polacca the lighter passages were very daintily rendered, but the heavier portions demanded something of Neupert’s bravura style. More power was needed.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives) The Globe said of Lang: “He was received with evident satisfaction and unmistakable enthusiasm. Rubinstein’s Concerto for the Pianoforte in G afforded him an excellent opportunity to exhibit the rich results of training and study. After the performance of the concerto he was recalled twice.” (Ibid) The Evening Transcript of Monday, January 3, 1883 contained the confession of the reviewer’s “absolute inability to feel any enthusiasm for Rubinstein’s concerto. It is a work that has always left us cold.” The review ended with: “In the Weber-Liszt Polacca we were carried away at once by both player and music. The performance was utterly superb.” (Ibid)

In March 1884 Lang played the American premier of the Brahms Second Piano Concerto. Apthorp’s review in the Transcript hailed Brahms who “has given to the world the “great concerto for which it has been waiting so long; a work which can fairly be called fit companion to the Beethoven and Schumann concertos.” (Johnson, Op. cit., 84) The work had its world premiered with Brahms as the soloist in 1881; this is yet another example of Lang being incredibly aware of what was new and worthy. The Evening Transcript was enthusiastic about the Brahms, writing: “The better one becomes acquainted with the works of this wonderful man, the firmer faith has one that each new composition of his will bring with it a fresh revelation of true power and greatness… This truly great concerto found in Mr. Lang a thoroughly able and sympathetic interpreter. As this was decidedly the severest task Mr. Lang has imposed upon himself for years…He overcame the technical difficulties of the work without the appearance of effort—which, on the whole, does not happen to him too often. In the higher artistic sense, too, he rose to the full height of his task. Such exhaustive rendering of a great and noble work is rare; such exquisite finish and beauty of detail work, united with such noble breadth of style, such genuine depth of sentiment, and such ample totality of conception.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

In February 1885, during the B. S. O. fourth season Lang played Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 (just under ten years after having conducted the world premier in Boston). The Home Journal (probably C. L. Capen) devoted about ninety percent of its attention to the concerto. The writer spent half of his space telling why he didn’t like the work, and then, in a most convoluted manner, described Lang’s performance. Fault was found with his tone, but praise given for “his nice sense of phrasing.” The Globe noted that the concerto “held the closest attention of the audience. Mr. Lang’s clean touch and artistic interpretation gave this well-known concerto [well known only ten years after its world premier!] new life, the last movement being especially fine.” (Globe Archive, (February 22, 1885): 3) A review with the headline of “The Nineteenth Symphony Concert” began by noting that the concerto “has been occasionally played” in Boston since its premier, [certainly a different position than the one taken in the previous review] but the reviewer found only small aspects of the work to approve of. “The orchestra did excellent work, and Mr. Lang, who was the pianist, was often strong, clear, sure and effective, although at times his natural nervousness seemed to prevent his doing his best, as an occasional inexactitude in the many double octave passages and dispersed harmonies indicated. The full chords of the introductions were sharply and positively struck, and in the andantino he read smoothly and lightly.” The Gazette review was probably written by Woolf who could never find anything positive to say about Lang. “The soloist was Mr. B. J. Lang, who played Tchaikovsky’s Concerto for Piano, Op. 23, a work which, the better one becomes acquainted with it, the more pretentious it seems, and the more frivolous and vulgar it is in effect. Of Mr. Lang’s playing there is not a great deal to be said. There was much jumping of hands from the keyboard, much that was spasmodic in style and effect, and but little that was clear…This restless dancing up and down of the hands at last became a distracting feature of the performance…The best effects were achieved in the first half of the opening movement, and in the middle of the andante. He was received with great heartiness on his first appearance, and at the end of the concert was applauded and recalled with no less enthusiasm.” [Which must have really upset the reviewer] (All quotes taken from reviews-Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

Lang appeared early in January 1886 (Fifth Season) as soloist in Saint-Saens Rhapsodie d’Auvergne for Piano, Opus 73 (whose premier performance had been in early December 1884). In such a short period of thirteen months, how did Lang learn about this piece, decide to learn the piece, and find a performing group interested in the piece? These concerts, conducted by William Gericke, the second B. S. O. conductor, produced the following critical notice in the January 4 issue of the Traveler: “It seemed quite a natural thing that the novelty of the concert should be put into Mr. Lang’s hands to interpret; that it was a composition by St. Saens is another coincidence. The Rhapsodie d’Auvergne is the latest thing which we have heard from its composer…The piano is never unduly prominent, nor is the orchestration as bizarre as one might excuse under so fantastic a title. Mr. Lang enjoyed his part of the work and made it very delightful. This time the artist could lose himself in the virtuoso and read the notes for what they were on the surface. The piece was enjoyed by the audience, and Mr. Lang’s recalls were warm and hearty.” The Courier reviewer wrote: “The Rhapsodie d’Auvergne, by Saint-Saens proved to be a spirited idealization of striking folk songs for the piano, in good classical form however, and with some good thematic development… Mr. Lang took it at a dashing pace, giving much verve to the composition, yet never becoming unclear. What with the catchy glissando effects, the sparkling themes and the sharp contrasts, the work and the pianist won much favor, and Mr. Lang received a double recall of the heartiest character.” (Ibid)

On March 22 and 23, 1889, together with Franz Kneisel, violin and Fritz Gieze, cello, Lang was the piano soloist in Beethoven’s Triple Concerto. This was his last appearance as a soloist with the B. S. O. The Times wrote: “There is a good reason why the Beethoven concerto is seldom heard; it requires of the soloists the greatest breadth of style and most thorough virtuosity, and yet offers no opportunity for brilliancy and display. It was grandly given. The tone of Mr. Giese’s ‘cello was not as of yore, but in matters of execution all the players deserved more than the generous applause which they received.” The Transcript wrote: “The ‘triple’ concerto is not often heard. It is indifferently forceful, though it has moments of the real Beethoven. Barring Mr. Lang’s too great delicacy, the ensemble was admirable; strictures on the manner in which the work was read cannot rest; it was, from a musical point of view, a superior performance. The concert gave great pleasure to a very large audience.” The Globe presented a very extensive review. “The concerto was Exquisitely Played, the soloists chosen being Mr. Kneisel, Mr. Giese and Mr. Lang… It would be a difficult task to find any one else to play the piano part as Mr. Lang played it, and close upon an impossibility to have it better rendered. His long experience in accompaniment and the truly modest spirit with which he always subordinates piano or organ to the singer or the player whom he has to support, here stood him in good stead, while his technical command of the delicious toned Chickering he used, enabled him to make his attitude appreciated by his hearers. There was always tone enough to give the piano part its consequence, but never did the instrument, which can so easily override others, dominate… The whole second movement was a beautiful exemplification of how such a support should be given, and, in brief, the solo work as a whole illustrated the best kind of ensemble playing.” The Home Journal said first that “the concert was absolutely without a dull moment,” and then continued: “In their treatment of this work, Messrs. Lang, Giese and Kneisel played with all their characteristic earnestness, care and intelligence.” (Home Journal  (March 23, 1889): 12)

ETHELBERT NEVIN.  

One of Lang’s noteable pupils was Ethelbert Nevin. He arrived in Boston in 1881 at the age of eighteen, and immediately “sought out the man who stood at the top of his profession in the Boston of that day, B. J. Lang, a pupil of Von Bulow and Liszt.” (Thompson, Life of Nevin, 23) Nevin wrote to his mother “Mr. Lang was busy in his room. I went and sat outside, as I was too early. Soon he came out, welcomed me, took me into his room and asked me to play-in this manner: ‘Now I want you to amuse me, not as if I were to be your instructor, but as if I were some fellow you were entertaining.’ I played that little Album Leaf of Kirchner’s. He said: ‘Very interesting: now play me something else.’ So I played that Romance of Schumann’s. He said: ‘Very interesting indeed. Now play me something frivolous.’ I suggested Olivette, but he said: ‘No, not quite so frivolous. ’So I played Winklemann’s Schottische-a scale two or three times: then he remarked: ‘You are very interesting’ (His favorite expression, I presume.) ‘Very, indeed, and you play with an immense amount of expression. Your manner of playing is graceful, light and rippling, but you lack aplomb and firmness. I am going to take an interest in you –you have inspired it and if you will be patient and bear with me for six lessons, I will make you feel satisfied with yourself.’ So he gave me some of the stupidest, meanest exercises by Cramer. The ones I took in Dresden were simply paradise to these. Mr. Lang said: ‘Now practice this one (marking one) for two hours every day and this scale I have written for you an hour and a half, if you get time.’ well, his writing looks more like hieroglyphics than anything else I have ever seen, so it took me a long time to figure it out. I am to go back again on Monday. He invited me to go to the St. Cecilia Club tonight. He wields the baton there, you know.” (Thompson, Op. cit., 24)

These “stupidest, meanest exercises” were a central part of Lang’s teaching method. He had translated into English Hans von Bulow’s edition of the Fifty Selected Piano-Studies by J. B. Cramer (1771-1858) which was published in 1877 by Oliver Ditson in Boston and went through many printings; possibly Lang and von Bulow had discussed this project two years earlier when they had collaborated on the world premier of the Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto. Obviously other teachers thought highly of the Cramer exercises, for as late as 1927 G. Schirmer in New York City published another edition translated by Albert R. Parsons and B. Boekelman and “newly revised by Dr. Theodore Baker.” The ill World Catalog shows new editions of this work dated as late as 1989!

Lang also took a personal interest in Nevin and introduced him to another pianist his own age, and encouraged him to make use of “a room in the upper part of this building full of the choicest and finest music ever published. A legacy left by a wealthy person for the use of students. You could practice there, (in the Burrage Room). Here are two Chickering grands. You and Mr. Smith could play duets for two pianos.” (Thompson,  Op. cit., 25) Nevin continues his letter with a description of Lang’s studio. “Mr. Lang’s room is a curiosity. It is very small…In it are two pianos and a dumb keyboard. He sits at the piano back of mine, the keyboard not quite so high. Then he has a high bookcase filled with music, two writing desks, a sofa and a hundred and one beautiful things lying about the room. A great many fine engravings and music manuscripts of great composers and so forth.” (Thompson, Op. cit., 25-26) By the middle of September Nevin is writing that Lang “is very nice but he gets angry sometimes: however I expect to get along very well with him.” (Thompson, Op. cit., 26) After the first six lessons, mainly concerned with exercises, Lang then gave Nevin a song by Rubinstein, transcribed with variations by Liszt. Nevin can soon report that in addition to his good progress in harmony with Stephen A. Emery, “Mr. Lang also told me that I am doing well.” (Thompson, Op. cit., 27) After only six weeks he had become Lang’s favorite pupil, but in November he writes that “Am still at five-finger exercises – eight weeks of them.” (Thompson, Op. cit., 29)

The devotion of both teacher and pupil is reflected in the fact that Nevin’s lesson on Thanksgiving Day lasted from twelve until one-fifteen. By December, after various etudes had been mastered, Mendelssohn’s Concerto in B Flat was studied, and after only one week of practice on this piece, Nevin received his first genuine compliment from his teacher: “After I had finished playing, he said: ‘When did I give you that?’ My last lesson,’ I replied. ‘I thought so,’ he answered, ‘but fancied I must be mistaken, as you played it so well! ’” (Thompson, Op. cit., 30) The next repertoire assigned was Bach’s well-Tempered Clavier, and the usual practice period was eight hours a day. Nevin also was asked to play the cymbals in the orchestra at the Cecilia performance of the Berlioz Requiem given on Sunday, February 12th. at the Music Hall (Lang used three other piano pupils for bass drum, triangle, and tenor drum).

Howard quotes from one of Nevin’s November letters: “Mr. Lang asked me if I cared to hear him practice, so I met him this evening at Chickering’s after the Handel and Haydn. He played until ten o’clock on a Rubinstein Concerto, which he is going to play at one of the Philharmonic Concerts. I am going to have the second piano part with him! Just think of playing with such an artist! He is without exception the cleanest, broadest and most truly artistic (in every sense of the word) pianist I have yet heard. He does not stoop to any of the little tricks that are effective but not artistic. He is too much of a man for that.” (Howard, Nevin, 35)

Leaving Boston in April 1882, Nevin returned the following September, and following Lang’s advice advertised for pupils. He wrote home that “It is very hard to get pupils, when there are 275 teachers who have been here at least five years, and twenty-eight of Mr. Lang’s pupils also give lessons; and then there are Mr. Lang and Mr. Sherwood who teach, not counting hundreds of pupils at the Conservatory. All Mr. Lang’s pupils play as well, and many of them better than I.” (Thompson, Op. cit., 33)

Even in his second year of study the hateful five-finger exercises were continued for building technique, but this led to an invitation to play at a Cecilia concert, “and this morning Mr. Lang told me I had done splendidly and that I had played much better MY first time, than did many of his ‘brag’ pupils.” (Thompson, Op. cit., 36)

After two years with Lang, Nevin spent the next two winters in Pittsburgh, teaching piano, composing, and giving concerts. Lang came to Pittsburgh to play the Saint-Saens Concerto in G Minor with his former pupil who was now twenty-one years old! Nevin went to Europe in August 1884, settling in Berlin; the summer of 1885 was spent back at Vineacre, near Pittsburgh, and then he returned to Berlin for another year of study. In November of 1886 he returned to America settling again in Pittsburgh, but by early 1887 he was back in Boston, and by March he was playing “at the second of Mr. Lang’s concerts in Chickering Hall, playing the Liszt Concerto in E flat major, with orchestra.” (Thompson, 79 ) This concert was a great success as was a concert that included some of Nevin’s own works given a few days later on March 11.

 

(1) From Elson, 249 and Thompson, 83 where it mentions that this photo was from 1887 when Nevin was about 25 .   (2) Thompson, facing title page. 

LANG AS B.S.O. CONDUCTOR.

Some friends of Lang thought that he should be considered for the conductorship of the newly formed Symphony. They based this expectation on his fine service to the Boston musical community through his leadership of the Apollo Club and Cecilia, and also the fact that Lang had conducted the Tchaikovsky premier with such success. Fox feels that Lang’s “amazingly steadfast and loyal personality traits may have kept him from achieving some things,” (Fox, Papers, 12) She quotes Apthorp as saying that “In the dark days of the Harvard Musical Association, and some years before Mr. Henry L. Higginson had founded the present Boston Symphony Orchestra, Lang might easily have made a coup d’etat and swept the whole orchestral field in Boston single handed. He was particularly ambitious to conduct an orchestra; he was at the time the strongest musical power within the public in the whole city, and was perfectly well aware of that fact. He had never failed in anything he had undertaken, and could be sure of all the financial backing he needed. He might have established annual courses of symphony concerts on his own account, and might have postponed Mr. Higginson’s enterprise for several years. No sane man who knows what the times then were in Boston and what Lang was, can doubt this for a moment. He, for one, was sure of it. But he was a member of the Harvard Musical Association, was on its concert and programme committees, and his loyalty to it would not allow him to take any step in antagonistic competition with the Harvard.” (Fox, Op. cit., 10)

HENSCHEL AND THE B. S. O.

Lillian and Georg Henschel. Boston Symphony Archive.

Georg Henschel, whose early career was as a bass vocalist, often gave vocal recitals with his wife, Lillian June Bailey, a soprano; B. J. often acted as their accompanist. In fact, Lang had presented Bailey’s Boston debut “in the spring of 1876, when [she was] only just sixteen years old” in a concert that also included Arthur Foote. “These two men… had from that time taken a most kindly interest in the young lady, whose rare talent, earnestness, and charming personality had greatly impressed them.” (Henschel, Musings, 268) Henschel described Lang as a “thorough and enthusiastic musician, broadminded, tactful, of great general culture and a rare kindness of heart, he was the acknowledged leader of the musical community of Boston.” (Ibid) Henschel also stated that “I doubt if without them [Lang and Foote] I should have come out of the first season of the Boston Symphony alive” as even though he had the complete support of Mr. Higginson, the attitude of the press was not of “enthusiasm or… universal approval.” (Henschel, Op. cit., 270)

Thus the Langs and the Henschels quickly became close musical and family friends, and so it would concern the Langs that Georg was continuing to have problems as conductor of the BSO. Henschel felt that Lang was a major booster who helped him survive his first year conducting in Boston. Early in 1882 “Athenian”, the Boston correspondent for Brainard’s Musical World wrote: “The critics pretty generally have found fault with Mr. Henschel’s conducting, and now his friends have come forward with long communications to the newspapers, criticising and abusing the critics. A very nice little quarrel is being worked up which promises to shake Boston as profoundly as did the little tea disturbance a little over a century ago…The friends of the gentleman are very foolish in denying the right of the newspaper men to criticise him as Zerrahn, Listemann, Maas and others have been criticised.” (Brainard (January 1882): 13)

In the face of the BSO, other orchestras continued to present concerts, at least for a while. By January 1882 the Philharmonic Society conducted by Dr. Maas had presented two concerts, and the HMA Orchestra conducted by Zerrahn was scheduled to begin early in February with a series of five. (Ibid) The Philharmonic Society continued into the spring of 1883. By May it had given “seven concerts and seven public rehearsals.” The 1882-83 BSO Season had a total of 26 concerts and 26 public rehearsals. (Brainard (May 1883): 76)

In February 1883 “Atheian” was again writing about the BSO. A “unharmonious subject which is agitating musical circles here at present is the question, ”Is Mr. Henschel likely ever to become a great conductor?” The answer in most quarters has been in the negative.” The writer then speaks of a Schubert Great C Major performance that was the “tamest possible” and a Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony that was “the worst performance” of the piece that he had ever heard.” “Athenian” felt that part of the problem was the placement of the orchestra with the strings divided and the basses placed “at the front of the stage where their tone overpowers all else, and sounds raspy enough to suggest a sawmill…The concerts of the Philharmonic Society, under Zerrahn, with a smaller orchestra, with fewer famous musicians in its ranks are achieving fine artistic results.” (Brainard (February 1883): 29)

SIXTH CECILIA SEASON. 1881-1882.

The opening concert of the Cecilia’s Sixth Season was given at Tremont Temple on Wednesday, November 30, 1881.There was just one work on the program, a first Boston performance of Cinderella by Heinrich Hofmann (the American premier had been in Milwaukee on December 4, 1879-another example of Lang being on top of new works). The English translation was printed, but no program notes of any kind were provided. The Herald noted that the work was given without orchestra, and that while it “abounds in pleasing, flowing melodies, it has little variety, and the absence of any strong dramatic elements makes it, on the whole, rather a spiritless production…Mr. Lang’s thorough work was plainly shown in the success attending the numbers for chorus.” (Cecilia Programs, Vol. 1) The Musical Herald felt that the work was “no more [than] a succession of pleasant part-songs, chiefly in dance and march rhythms. It was finely performed by the Cecilia Club, but the lack of an orchestra made the work seem rather colorless.” (Musical Herald (January 1882): 5)  The back page advertised the group’s next concert: the Berlioz Requiem to be given Sunday Evening February 12, 1882 at the Music Hall. (Program, Johnston Collection) The first American performance had been in New York just the year before. (Op. cit., 68) In this same issue of the Musical Herald it was reported that the Boylston Club had performed the Messe Solennelle of Gounod, “but the lack of orchestra and thinness in tenor and soprano parts caused the work to fail of making a deep impression.” (Ibid)

On Sunday evening February 12, 1882 at the Music Hall, Cecilia presented the first Boston performance of the Requiem by Berlioz. The Post review noted: “Although written in 1836 and performed in the Church of the Invalides, Paris, in 1837, yet no attempt was made to produce it in this country until last May [led by Dr. Damrosch], when it was made a special attraction at the festival in New York. The effort then made, though creditable, was not satisfactory, and the Cecilia determined to produce it in Boston during the present season…The club numbered some 300 voices…To produce the orchestral effects required by the composer, the full orchestra was supplemented by a grand array of trumpets, trombones, horns and kettle drums, which were located in the first balcony on either side of the extended platform.” At the end of the final section “the audience remained quiet and cheerfully accorded their careful attention, and at proper intervals expressed their appreciation of the great success attained.” (Cecilia Reviews) The review in the Transcript began by calling the performance “a triumph” led by “its progressive leader” to which the audience paid “closest attention…Chorus and orchestra performed their respective tasks with commendable enthusiasm and devotion. The execution was not free from error, but these were few, and were in no case glaringly offensive.” (Cecilia Reviews) The Musical Herald wrote: “The chorus sang excellently, especially when we consider that Berlioz is merciless in his treatment of voices in this work as ever Beethoven was, the Ninth Symphony not excepted. But there was no trace of screaming even on the high B’s, and the tempi and attacks were sure and steady…The orchestras were generally sure, and the great passages for brasses before the “Tuba Mirum” were effectively thundered forth.” (Musical Herald (March 1882): 75)

First performances continued with the Boston premier of Schumann’s Requiem for Mignon, Op. 98b on Wednesday, April 12, 1882. However, the work most cited by the reviewers was Lang’s own song, The Chase, a hunting song sung by Mr. J. F. Winch “with spirit, but without any especial shading. It is a bright, dashing composition, with the usual empty fifths, etc.,” but it produced the only call for an encore that evening. Another review described Lang’s song as “full of the oxygen of out-door life as intensified and concentrated by exciting sport. The piano accompaniment (played by Mr. Lang) pictures brilliantly the dash and impetuous rush of the riders to be ‘in at the death.’ Mr. Winch’s singing of the song was most effective, and he was compelled by the applause to repeat its closing lines.” However, another reviewer wrote: “The chief fault of his work was that there was no lightness in the repetition of the opening phrase.” well, a critic has to be critical it seems even, even if it refers to only one phrase. (Cecilia Reviews.)

Johnston Collection.

The fourth and final concert of the season was on Wednesday evening, May 10, 1882 at Tremont Temple with full orchestra and Boston Symphony Orchestra conductor, Georg Henschel as the primary soloist in Odysseus by Max Bruch. The Musical Herald wrote: “They have given the work before, but never with such sustained excellence as on this occasion…Mr. Henschel sang the part of Odysseus gloriously…The choruses were flawless in the choral parts. It was one of the best performances the club has ever give.” (Musical Herald (June 1882): 159) The Advertiser repeated this praise for the choir and Henschel, but did note: “The chorus sang with generally admirable power and expression, but often with hesitation of attack that evidently gave Mr. Lang some anxiety and him to an unusual vehemence in his calisthenics of conductorship. Some of the more sudden and vigorous passages were nearly ruined by this uncertainty of attack. The orchestral work was so good in almost every particular that it would be hard to suggest how it could have been bettered. The balance between orchestra and singers was planned with excellent judgment and maintained unswervingly.” (Advertiser, Cecilia Reviews) The Musical Herald wrote: “They have given the work before, but never with such sustained excellence as on this occasion…Mr. Henschel sang the part of Odysseus gloriously…The choruses were flawless in the choral parts. It was one of the best performances the club has ever give.” (Musical Herald (June 1882): 159)

President Thorndike’s Annual Report on June 8, 1882 noted how much the group had grown artistically in the last five years. “Five years ago we were distrustful of our own voices, afraid of being overcrowed by an orchestra, unacquainted with each other, and therefore lacking the unity and clearness only acquired by long singing together. We were feeble in some parts and unbalanced. In short, we were beginners,” whereas in 1882 the choir “have no apology to make” in any of these areas, and this was due to the dedication of the singing members, the support of the associate members and “last, but not least, to the unfailing energy, judgment, taste, and skill of out leader.” (Cecilia Programs, Vol. 1)

By 1882, membership in the choir was a privilege: “No one can be admitted to its ranks who does not pledge unintermitted attendance upon rehearsals. These conditions secure very choice gratification to the aristocratic clique who sustain the enterprise,” and serve as a testament to the talents of its conductor. (HMA Program Clippings, Musical American, (June 3, 1882)

Lang ‘s illustration for the 1882 Musical Boston.

ELEVENTH APOLLO CLUB SEASON. 1881-1882.

The December 7 and 12, 1881 concerts had the famous violinist Camilla Urso as one of the assisting artists. George Sumner opened the program with an organ solo, the “Andante and Fugue” from Judas Maccabeus by Handel. Every item in the concert except one was new to the choir and most were first performances in Boston. The Advertiser called the pieces “all of sterling worth.” (Advertiser) The choir’s pianist, John A. Preston was singled out for “unstinting praise.” (Ibid)  Madame Urso and the tenor soloist, Mr. Theodore J. Toedt (Boston singing teacher, 1853-1920) performed most of the new pieces. The Journal noted: “The singing of the soloists was very fine, especially that of Mr. Toedt, who showed himself to be an artist of power as well as finish.” (Journal)  The choir premiered the Woodcock Song by V. Lachner, King Olaf’s Christmas by Dudley Buck and the “Chorus of Sailors” from the beginning of the last act of Flying Dutchman by Wagner. (Ibid) The music of the Buck was “strikingly interesting on a first hearing.” (Ibid) The Home Journal mentioned that the program contained  “more things of a substantial, noble character than has been usual in programmes mostly made up of part songs.” (Home Journal) The Journal took the opposite position: “In spite of the excellence of the evening’s performance, however, a feeling would creep in that the club might be doing the cause of music still better service. With a corps of such fine singers it should be possible to produce some great compositions, and it is hoped that this will be done before the season closes.” (Journal)

   John Knowles Paine. (1839-1906) Howard, facing 315.

Would pieces by Harvard’s J. K. Paine qualify as “great compositions?” For the February 15 and 20, 1882 concerts the choir sang three choruses from Paine’s Oedipus Tyrannus. “Every new experience with this delightful music enhances the admiration of it.” (Home Journal) The first half ended with Mendelssohn’s Overture-Athalie. B. J. had the idea of adding an organ part to the last section which produced a “thrilling effect.” (Ibid) However, the Transcript noted, “it’s mighty voice [was] much out of tune.” (Transcript) This paper also took notice of the fact that “The presence of an orchestra has now become almost a matter of course at the Apollo concerts,” and it went on concerning the Paine, “The first fine impression made by the music last year in Cambridge is only strengthened by repeated hearings. It seems to us that, of all the fine things Mr. Paine has done, this music is the finest.” (Ibid) The final piece was the March of the Monks of Bangor by G. E. Whiting that the choir had premiered the previous season.  Perhaps the suggestion that the piece be performed every year was to be taken! However, the Transcript review was not as enthusiastic as other reviews calling the work uneven “Every now and then a weak place appears with unexpected suddenness.” (Transcript, Op. cit.)

Elson, 268.

There were only three concerts in the 1881-1882 season with the third set being held on April 26 and May 1882 with full orchestra accompaniment. The major work was Salamis by Max Bruch for double male chorus and orchestra; “a rich and impressive piece of writing, finely scored and masterly in effect.” (Gazette) One premier of the evening was Summons to Love, Opus 37 by J. K. Paine that was written expressly for the Apollo Club. “It is a strong and vigorous work, abundant in poetic feeling, and fully in harmony with the poem to which it is set. In breadth of design and depth of sentiment we think it is superior to any of the composer’s previous efforts in the same direction.” (Ibid) Another premier was the part song by Mr. Henschel, The King and the Poet. “It is not the most pleasing of the works we have heard from the same source, and is more remarkable for its ingenuities of harmonic progression than for its clearness of design or its beauty of theme.” (Ibid) “Dux” wrote: “The Apollo Club gave a fine concert April 26th. at the Music Hall. Several new works were brought out and the cream the cream of the old stock. Of the new works (to Boston) I was thrilled by the power and nobility of Bruch’s Salamis, which I consider to be far more spontaneous than the same composers Roman Song of Triumph. Another grand work was Paine’s Summons to Love…A new part song by Mr. Henschel showed the composer in his best light. He unites counterpoint and melodic feeling in a manner like that of Robert Franz. The singing  was of the best quality, as it always is with the finest of vocal clubs.” (Brainard’s (June 1882): 93)

The Transcript recorded: “Of the singing of the club what can be said but that they sang with all their accustomed perfection, and with even more than their wonted fire. Mr. Lang has now brought the chorus to the point that enables one to write, as the Leipzig critics do of the Gewandhaus orchestra, ‘The performance was perfect, as usual.’” (Transcript) A review dated May 1, 1882 in a New York publication rated the chorus very highly; “The Apollo sing as no other club in America or (to my knowledge) anywhere else can sing. I wish that some of your Knickerbocker aristocracy could induce them to give one of their private concerts in New York. I assure you it would be a musical treat beyond anything that Boston has yet sent you.”(Apollo Reviews)

DAMNATION OF FAUST.

1882 saw yet another presentation of Berlioz’s Damnation of Faust, this time “for the benefit of the Associated Charities of Boston.” Held on Monday evening March 24th at the Music Hall, the soloists were “Mrs. Henschel, Mr. Charles R. Adams, Mr. Henschel and Mr. Sebastian Schlesinger” and “an orchestral of unusual size.” Even with his heavy schedule as conductor of the BSO, Georg Henschel appeared with other Boston groups and also presented vocal recitals (where he sometimes also acted as accompanist) There were fewer sectional rehearsals for the chorus this time: only one for the ladies, and three for the men with two full orchestral/choir/soloists rehearsals. “It is thought that with the rehearsals so near together, an exceptionally good performance could be given by singers who already know the music.” (BPL Lang Prog.)

FIDELIO.

On Wednesday evening, March 29, 1882 at 7:45PM Lang presented a concert performance of Beethoven’s Fidelio with full chorus and orchestra at the Music Hall. Among the six soloists, the most notable was Georg Henschel.  Seats were $1.50 (BPL Lang Prog.) He also advertised a Public Rehearsal for the afternoon before with tickets at 50 cents. The Herald had done a short notice about five weeks before which mentioned that the mixed choir would have 150 voices while the male choir would number 100 “invited from the private singing clubs of the city.” (Herald (February 19, 1882): 3, GB) Critical coverage was scant. For these types of events Lang acted as producer-hiring the hall, engaging and rehearsing the musicians, arranging for ticket sales, and all the other elements of the concert. He also could keep all the profits!

LANG’S MUSICAL POSITION IN BOSTON.

An 1882 article written by Louis Elson summed up B. J.’s position in Musical Boston. “B. J. Lang has been mentioned before in this short [short!-six pages, three columns per page, very fine print] chronicle, in connection with the Handel and Haydn Society. His influence at their concerts for the last twenty-two years has been an important and influential one. His power in Boston’s music has always been exerted for good, and even in the days of Dresel, Kreissmann and Leonhard was felt in the counsels which preceded every important movement. It was he who first suggested the great series of Harvard Symphony Concerts; it was he who more than any other held the programs up to their first high level; he has also been one of the leading subscribers since the beginning of the series. It was his influence which brought out in Boston for the first time the great pianoforte concertos of Bach, and most of those of Schumann, Mendelssohn, and Beethoven, as well as the works of the newer school, the concertos of Rubinstein, St. Saens, Bronsart, etc. For the past ten years he has been in the habit of giving a series of pianoforte concerts, the present season forming the only exception. He has given five different sets of symphony concerts, and in these has always followed the good German idea of a large orchestra in a small hall, so that no possible effect should be lost. He is one of the very few American musicians who have given concerts abroad with success. He has appeared as pianist in Berlin, Dresden and Vienna. His interest in the Bayreuth Festival, the Franz benefit concert, the Dwight testimonial, the Liszt celebration, in short, in every memorable musical occasion has been earnest, thorough and, above all, practical. He has been honored with the personal friendship of the greatest composers of Europe, and his studies of the works of Wagner have been made with the assistance of the great composer himself. He has, like every earnest, original and competent worker, formed for himself a set of followers, pupils and disciples. It is impossible to enumerate these since the number of his pupils who have become concert soloists is over sixty. The work of the Cecilia Club is wholly due to Mr. Lang; that of the Apollo and Euterpe societies largely so. therefore, in the articles on these subjects, the reader will find a continuation of his too brief personal sketch. Mr. Lang, although he has composed some very fine works, has, as yet, published nothing. As a musician he is armed at all points; he is one of the very surest of ensemble players and never loses his head. We can personally recall many instances where his calmness has saved careless or nervous players from disaster. He is a good organizer and a very efficient leader. At a time when no one else dared undertake playing with, or directing for, the belligerent Von Bulow or the meteoric Joseffy, he did both-and well. He is one of the surest of score-readers and, though not a virtuoso, is one of the best types of true musician. He has long been the organist of a leading Unitarian church. Of his Boston pupils we may mention Mr. Arthur Foote…Mr. W. F. Apthorp is another of Mr. Lang’s eminent pupils.” (Elson, Musical Boston, 3)

DIPHTHERIA.

The fact that Lang was a well known citizen is shown in the fact that the Globe reported in their “Local Lines” section that “Mr. J. B. [sic] Lang’s wife and eldest daughter are seriously ill with diphtheria.” (Globe (August 3, 1882): 4) The nine piano recitals became the five recitals of the complete Schumann piano works.

SOLOIST WITH THE PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY. TCHAIKOVSKY.

At the second concert of their series, Lang was the soloist in the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto whose world premier he had conducted about seven years ago. “It was very evident that Mr. Lang was at his best. He rendered the difficult finger passages in a clean, precise way, and brought out the composer’s ideas in a style that was almost a revelation. He thoroughly deserved the warm reception he received, not only on this occasion, but later in the evening , when he gave a feeling interpretation of Liszt’s Benediction de Dieu dans la solitude.” (Globe ( December 21, 1882): 2) “A more delightful programme than that of the Philharmonic Society’s second concert in the Music Hall last evening has seldom been provided for our musical public…[The Tchaikovsky] It is rare that a work in this form containing so much that is immediately interesting for its purely musical beauties is heard here. These beauties are of a very high order, and the characteristic northern flavor of the whole-its phrases of more barbaric intensity alternating with many a passage full of quaint sweetness-its clearness of form and true concerto spirit-which requires the piano and orchestra to be integral parts of a whole, while giving the solo instrument its due prominence-these give the work an interest peculiarly strong for its individuality. Mr. Lang played in his own almost faultless style, yet with not quite all the boldness and freedom that comes only with complete familiarity with one”s music.” (Daily Advertiser (December 21, 1882): 4, GB). The critique was probably written by Dr. Maas who had conducted the Philharmonic the previous season, 1881-1882. It is strange that the conductor’s name, Carl Zerrahn, is not mentioned at all.

TWELFTH APOLLO CLUB SEASON. 1882-1883.

This season also had only three different programs. The December 5 and 11, 1882 and the February 14 and 19, 1883 pairs of concerts both ended with choruses by Wagner; the February concerts ended with the “Chorus of Sailors” from the Flying Dutchman. The Apollo Club had introduced this work to Boston in December 1881. Lang was doing his best to make Wagner’s name known. Lang met Wagner in 1857 when Lang was a student in Germany. In the summer of 1871 B. J. and Frances were invited to lunch with the Wagners and B. J. pledged to raise money in America to fund the building of the opera house in Bayreuth. Then, in the summer of 1875 Cosima gave B. J.  a private tour of the recently completed opera house.

J. C. D. Parker, organist of Trinity Church, Copley Square (see People and Places article)

The fifth and sixth pair were held on Wednesday evening, April 25 and Friday evening, April 27, 1883 at the Music Hall with an accompaniment of full orchestra. The opening work, “written for the Apollo Club,” was the world premier [?] of The Blind King by J. C. D. Parker. This work was written for baritone solo, [probably Mr. C. E. Hay] male chorus and orchestra. Another work “written for the Apollo Club” was Free Lances by George Whiting written for male chorus with wind instruments and drums. The second half opened with an orchestral piece, Scherzo, Op. 19 by Goldmark. An interesting comment on concert etiquette of the time is shown by the notice just before the final piece in the program: “It is earnestly requested that no one will disturb both the audience and the Club by leaving the hall during the final chorus.” its time was listed as eight minutes. (Information from the program-Johnston Collection)

SEVENTH CECILIA SEASON. 1882-1883.

The Berlioz Requiem was repeated to open the Seventh Season on Sunday evening November 26, 1882. The Herald wrote: “The work is a tone picture, at once impressive, imposing and weird,” and said of the chorus that “it was evident that the music had been thoroughly rehearsed; but on account of the great difficulties, there was some hesitation in taking the leads, and bad intonation, and in the more dramatic places there was a lack of power-all of which would seem to be consequent upon attempting a work of such immense proportions, with a small chorus, in a large hall.” (Herald, Cecilia Reviews) The Transcript wrote: “It were hard to praise too highly the energy of the Cecilia in repeating a work which is so fatiguing to prepare, and, as ‘the largest orchestra score in existence,’ so expensive to give…The performance last evening was far beyond that given last season. The basses of the chorus were really superb, while doubling of the first tenors by the altos gave the tenor part a rich volume and distinctness of tone which the dearth of high tenor voices in this country makes very rare in our choruses…We have never heard any chorus in this city enunciate so distinctly, and often elegantly…Boston can now say that it has heard a really intelligible performance of a work to which but few cities in the world have had the privilege of listening.” (Transcript, Cecilia Reviews) The Advertiser called the work “Requiem stupendous.” However, “Dux” felt that the chorus “did almost as well as in the excellent performance of last year.” (Brainard (January 1883): 13) Choir President Thorndike felt that “the whole concert passed with hardly a blemish, and it was noticeable that the over-wise newspaper criticisms which were expended upon our first presentation of this great work were not repeated.” (Cecilia Programs. Vol. 1)

The second concert of the season was performed on Thursday evening, January 18, 1883 at Tremont Temple with the Boston premier of Gade’s Psyche, Op. 60 with piano (Joshua Phippen) and organ (Frank Lynes) as the accompaniment. Choir President Thorndike confessed to “a feeling of disappointment in the cantata itself during all the rehearsals, a feeling not entirely dissipated by the performance…I do not think the fault was in myself, for I find that more able critics agree with me. I am sure the fault was not in the soloists or the chorus, whose whole work was excellently done. The sense of something wanting may be partly but not wholly accounted for by the absence of orchestra. The real lack seemed to be of strong and salient points in the composition, of any mark of genius.” (Cecilia Programs, Vol. 1) The Musical Herald agreed that  the piece was not equal to Gade’s Crusaders, noted that the club “sang it exquisitely, and, had it had the assistance of orchestra, would undoubtedly have achieved a high triumph. It is said, we believe, of Gade, that, if he were to write merely an A for clarinet, he would concieve to have it sound differently from anybody else’s A.” (Musical Herald (February 1883): 53, GB)

The third concert was on Monday evening, April 2, 1883 at Tremont Temple with a full orchestra and J. A. Preston at the organ and Georg Henschel as the major soloist. The works performed were selections from Part 6 of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Mendelssohn’s First Walpurgis Night. The Transcript said of the Mendelssohn that “here we have the composer at his best,” and then went on to rank his choral works: “Putting the Oedipus music first, and the Antigone second, the Walpurgis Night must rank easily as third… The performance last night was markedly a fine one. The overture made little effect, from the smallness of the orchestra…Now that our ears have become habituated to a full-grown orchestra, anything under ten first violins sounds feeble; two double basses sound like no bass at all…Dr. Langmaid sang the tenor music excellently (it may be remembered that he was the first to sing it in Boston, years ago, under Mr. Lang’s baton in the Music Hall)… Mr. Lang, too, is highly to be complimented upon the singing of his choir; never have the Cecilia sung with greater freedom and vigor.” (Cecilia Programs, Vol. 1) “Athenian” felt that the Bach “was not perfectly sung, but ample amends were made in Mendelssohn’s Walpurgis Night in which chorus, orchestra, and soloists all won great success. The weird pictures conveyed in the chorus, ”Come with Torches,” could scarcely have been intensified. The flickering flames pictures by the flute runs, the heavy crashes of full orchestra, the majesty of the vocal parts above the din, were all very thoroughly rendered, but best of all was the sing of the Druid solos sung by Mr. Henschel, who, although suffering from a very severe cold, sang with great fervor and dramatic power. (Brainard (May 1883): 76)

The Choir President’s comment on the Bach was: “The Bach selection consisted of the sixth part of the oratorio with some omissions. As a whole it was well performed, to the interest of all, the satisfaction of many, the delight of a few…I hope that we shall all live to know the Passions, the Christmas Oratorio, the great Mass, the Magnificat, the principal motettes and cantatas, as well as we know the oratorios and psalms of Mendelssohn.” (Cecilia Programs, Vol. 1)

The fourth and final concert for the season held on May 16, 1883 at the Music Hall “in the presence of a very large audience” and using “an orchestra of considerable size” featured the Boston premier (Herald, May 17, 1883) of Bruch’s Lay of the Bell, Op. 46 conducted by the composer-Lang played the organ. The Journal found the piece “an important and graceful work, if less powerful than some of his other compositions notably the Arminius whose first performance in this country he [Bruch] conducted at the recent festival of the Handel and Haydn Society… One of its most promising defects is a sameness which at times becomes monotony… It has many moments of dullness.” The chorus was not able to save the work: “There was often, however, a lack of power, and, still more, a want of that fine shading and expression which can only come from strong intellectual appreciation of a composer’s thought and purpose-in short, much of the chorus singing seemed dry and perfunctory.” (Cecilia Programs. Vol. 1) Even though Lang had the foresight to hire Bruch to appear with his group, the Cecilia, when he was in Boston conducting the Handel and Haydn Society, even the composer’s touch in preparing and leading the performance did not bring the work to life, at least in the view of some reviewers. However, the Cecilia President in his Report of June 1883 refuted this position. He called it “a greater work than the Arminius which attracted so much attention at the Handel and Haydn festival. Of the excellence of the performance there was no question. The voice of praise [for the choir] was unanimous.” He did note, “The criticisms which appeared next day upon the work itself were curiously diverse in their tone. All the reporters confessed the great interest of the occasion. But some avoided committing themselves.” The female soloists had been members of the choir, and their performances had been “most creditable and interesting. The choir clothed itself with glory as with a garland.” (Cecilia Programs, Vol. 1) The Musical Herald was “astounded at the coolness with which the work was received, and still more so to find many of the cirtics recording their opinion that the work is not equal to Arminius…But, while Arminius is almost without contrast , the Lay of the Bell is full of the most vivid changes…It seems to us the greatest work of the master…The whole work ought to be heard frequently in America, as familiarity will make its solid worth more generally apparent.” (Musical Herald (July 1883): 195, GB)

Thorndike’s Annual Report of June 14, 1883 (his seventh) noted that the ranks of the choir had remained full, and that there had “always been abundant reserves on the waiting list to supply the places of any who might fall out. The attendance has been excellent, the discipline, enthusiasm and vocal training better than ever,” and he credited Lang’s “master hand in whatever the Club has achieved.” He then added: “I beg also here to tender our thanks to Mr. Preston for various valuable services.” He also noted that the club had used an orchestra for 3 of their 4 concerts, and that all concerts next season would be presented at the Music Hall. (Cecilia Programs. Vol. 1)

HELEN HOOD.

“Helen Francis Hood, from a 1908 publication.” Wikipedia, May 20, 2019.

In 1883 Schmidt published a song by Helen Hood entitled A Disappointent. It was to become one of her most well known and “one of her best.” (Wikipedia, accessed May 15, 2019). The dedication was “To Mr. B. J. Lang,” her piano teacher. Her dates were: born June 28,  1863 and died January 22, 1949. Thus, in 1883 she was only twenty years old. This song was one of a set of four. After her piano studies with Lang during her teen-aged years, she then went to Belin to study with Moritz Moszkowski and Philipp Scharwenka. (Ibid) Along with Margaret Ruthven Lang, Hood also had her music performed at 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago winning “a diploma and medal for her achievements.” (Ibid) Her Summer Song was “given a triple encore at its performance on 6 July.” (Fox in Grove Dic. Women Com., 227) In 1903 Arthur Elson wrote: “Helen Hood is one of America’s few really gifted musical women.” (A. Elson, 207) He felt that among the works written up to that time, the Piano Trio and the Two Violin Suites were “made of excellent material.” (Ibid) At about the same time, 1904, Louis C. Elson added to her list of works a Te Deum in E flat (the same key as Margaret’s), a String Quartette, “but her fame rest chiefly on her very graceful songs and piano sketches. (L. Elson, Am. Mus., 306) Fox lists the Diaries of Frances Lang as one of three items in her Bibliography for the Grove article.

>>> Part: 1   2   3   4 

CHAPTER 04D. BJL: MIDDLE YEARS: 1881-1891: SC. TOPICS. WC.(P4)

 THIRTEENTH CECILIA SEASON. 1888-1889.

At the December 3, 1888 Music Hall concert the choir sang one of their more important premiers, the first Boston performance of the German Requiem by Brahms. This was the first half of the concert, with a repetition of the Patriotic Hymn by Dvorak as the second half. The soloists were Miss Elizabeth Hamlin and Mr. Eliot Hubbard with Arthur Foote as the organist and a full orchestra accompaniment. The Boston Transcript December 5th. review written by William F. Apthorp noted: “Here is a composition to find the like of which we must go back to the soulful conventionality of the oratorios of Handel and Haydn, back to the inspired technique of Mozart’s Masses and Requiem and search among the works of the preacher of the musical gospel, Sebastian Bach.” (Transcript, Cecilia Reviews) The review in the  Herald recorded: “The merits… failed to fully appear, the composer having apparently a somewhat indefinite idea of an idea not readily grasped by the forces engaged in its presentation. While it shows the hand of a skilled musician, its vagueness and fragmentary themes do not offer much satisfaction. The soloist[s], chorus, and orchestra appeared to be alike in doubt as to a full understanding of the score and the ill success attending its presentation was about evenly shared by all participants.” (Herald, February 12, 1888 as shown in Johnson, 87) Johnson lists the first American complete performance as one given by the Oratorio Society of New York, conducted by Leopold Damrosch on March 15, 1877 in Steinway Hall. The New York Times of March 16 noted: “It is exceedingly scholarly, but its length and its monotonousness are such that it is scarcely likely to impress any but students.” (Johnson, 86) Warren Davenport writing in the June issue of the Folio noted: “Brahm’s [many made this apostrophe placement mistake at this time] Requiem proved to be a work of great contrapuntal value exhibiting this learned composer in a most classically scientific light. At one hearing it seemed to lack in spontaneity and as it proceeded became monotonous in its effect upon the listener. The chorus parts are quite difficult and consequently the singers had a hard struggle with the work and had it not been for the happy thought of Mr. Lang to put a piano among the singers to assist in taking up the leads it is doubtful what might otherwise have been the result. The Club deserves credit for the general effectiveness of the effort. Mr. Lang conducted with his usual care and held the forces well together… Dvorak’s Patriotic Hymn, a warm, effective composition, brilliantly scored, was finely rendered by the Club and brought a strange dull concert to a pleasant conclusion.” (Folio, Cecilia Reviews) Davenport had been a bass in the Apollo Club in the early 1880’s but was no longer a member in 1891. The Traveler review felt that “The eminently sympathetic results of the initial presentation of the Brahms Requiem is due in a large measure to Mr. Lang’s intelligent rehearsing of the work in private, and to his splendid hold upon his forces through its performance. The orchestra, made up of Symphony players, was excellent; but its unfamiliarity with the music was apparent more than once.” (Traveler, Cecilia Reviews) This review also noted that there was only one rehearsal with orchestra!

The headline of the Globe’s review by Howard Malcolm Ticknor was: “SUPERB CHORAL WORK,” with smaller headlines of: “First Acquaintance of Bostonians with This Charming Piece” and “Large Audience is Delighted by the Performance… It is only just and reasonable to say [that this work] could not have been heard but for this society… The performance was a triumphantly successful one, and it was but rarely that there was anything like reluctance in taking up the leads or uncertainty in following them.” This review also mentioned the piano among the singers to provide “unobtrusive help.” Other reviews had mentioned various problems of the soprano soloist, and Ticknor finished his piece by saying: “One fundamental thing she has yet to learn, however [she had just returned form study in Europe], before she can be accepted for a first place among singers, and that is enunciation; I caught some single syllables, but not one solitary entire word reached me in an intelligible form.” (Globe, Cecilia Reviews) The Journal noted how difficult the piece was, but wrote: “Mr. Lang was evidently not to be staggered by the intricacies of harmony or the difficulties in the way of its rendition, and the result is a triumph for Mr. Lang and the club, and a critical and intelligent musical audience heard this work for the first time.” (Journal, Cecilia Reviews) The Transcript also noted the difficulties of the work: “To undertake a performance of it is no light matter for any choral society; its difficult is so exceptional that none save the finest choral forces can dare to face it… Of the composition itself one can speak only in reverent admiration. If ever Brahms has shown himself to be truly great, it is here, in this stupendous work… Dvorak’s Patriotic Hymn was superbly given, and outdid even the fine impression it made when the Cecilia first sang it here.” (Transcript, Cecilia Reviews) The choir never sang this piece again until its performance on March 16, 2003 at Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory. (Cecilia program Note by Steven Ledbetter) In President Coale’s Report of June 1889 he quoted a review by “a well-known critic” who called the choir “fine, vigorous, and wonderfully impressive” in a work “many pages of which can be hopefully met by only two classes of singers, the professional choristers of England and the Continent; or such intelligent, earnest, and well-equipped amateurs as the Cecilia can boast.” (Cecilia Clippings, President’s Report June 1889)

The Thursday evening, January 31, 1889 concert at the Music Hall included Margaret’s In a Meadow sung as a quartet.  Mr. E. Cutter, Jr. and Mr. G. W. Sumner were the accompanists. (Cecilia Reviews) This was the second time that her works had been preformed by the group. One review noted: “Miss Lang’s piece, a good deal developed in form, is new evidence of a gift for composition from which something of real moment is likely to come. She handles the voices with certainty, considers their range like a sympathetic craftsman, while she infuses a charming melodic manner in a form which is harmonically pure.” (Traveler, Cecilia Reviews) Another review called Margaret piece one of two “prominent successes of the evening,” (Cecilia Reviews) and another described the piece as “a pretty, graceful and effective piece of writing, with some interesting harmonies and a charming piano accompaniment.” (Cecilia Reviews) “Much commendation must be given to a quartet by our young composer Margaret R. Lang. It is entitled In a Meadow and, although some of the solo phrases sound thin, it has moments of high power.” But then the reviewer continued: “It is melodious in an unwonted degree, and its grace and daintiness (admirably suited to the words) together with the excellence of its execution, by Mrs. Galvin, Miss How, and Messrs. Want and Wellington, made it one of the best appreciated numbers of a programme which, as will be seen, was rich in good things.” (Cecilia Reviews) Another review made about the same comment. “Miss Lang’s new composition, In a Meadow, proved to be a very graceful and refined vocal quartet, which was only weak in some of its solo phrases” (Cecilia Reviews) Possibly both were written by the same pen-one for the daily press and the other for a music periodical. “Miss Lang’s quartette was enthusiastically received by the audience. It is extremely well written both in voice and piano parts, and one only misses the logic and richness of construction which thought and experience will bring.” (Cecilia Reviews) It was noted, “that with fatherly care Mr. Lang played the piano accompaniment” of Margaret’s piece. (Cecilia Clippings, American Art Journal, February 1889)

The third concert was on Thursday evening, March 28, 1889 at the Music Hall with orchestra and Mr. E. Cutter Jr. and Hiram Hall as organists. The featured work was the Stabat Mater by Dvorak which one reviewer describes as “undoubtedly a very great one” but monotonous due to “adherence to minor keys… The performance, though creditable in some respects, was rough and crude in many essentials.” Other problems were cited and traced to the reviewer’s view that all the problems were traced to shortcomings of the conductor. “The soloists were scarcely efficient to do the highest justice to their tasks,” but then Mr. Parker’s major solo “was sung by him with fine grace and tenderness,” and “the best solo work, however, was done by Mr. Babcock, who may be commended unstintedly for the largeness, the nobility and the clearness of his singing throughout. His rich, warm voice was used with splendid effect in his solos, and afforded steady and strong support in the concerted numbers. A large audience was present, and, though not over-cordial, it was appreciative.” (Cecilia Reviews) This review may be the work of Benjamin Woolf in the Evening Gazette. The Post also found the work gloomy, but noted: “The excellent work of the orchestra should not be passed over, which, under the careful leadership of Mr. Lang, was in every way commendable.” (Post, Cecilia Reviews) The Transcript noted that this was the third time that the Cecilia had presented this work: first, some selections in January 1884 , “and afterwards, the entire work, several years ago.” [January 15, 1885] The reviewer mentioned that after the concert he consulted what he had written about these two earlier performances which had “left a very strong and fine impression upon” him while the current performance he found “upon the whole, rather dreary. All we can say is that we are rather thunderstruck at finding ourselves half bored, half nonplussed, by a composition which once filled us with delight. The performance certainly could not have been at fault, for it was one of the very finest the Cecilia has ever given. The chorus sang admirably from beginning to end, and in some passages of the final chorus, gave out the most superb volume of choral tone we have yet heard in the Music Hall. The solo singers, too, did excellently well… The orchestra was adequate, and Mr. Lang may well feel proud of achieving so fine a performance of a work, the difficulties of which are both many and serious.” (Transcript, Cecilia Reviews) This reviewer was probably William F. Apthorp—he never did give an answer to his opening question of why this performance didn’t move him. The Home Journal singled out one of the soloists—”On the whole we are inclined to regard the most laudable achievement of the performance as unquestionably with Miss How. She was not only in her best voice, but throughout she sang in a noble sympathetic style that was simply charming in its relation to the music of her part. Mr. Lang was fully master of the difficulties the work presented to his lead, and the honors of the Cecilia’s success with the choruses belong largely with him.” (Home Journal, possibly by Philip Hale, Cecilia Reviews)

The season ended on May 16 with a miscellaneous program that President Coale called “more successful than previous” such concerts. The most interesting part of the concert was “a new set of Gipsy Songs by Brahms” performed by the Brahms Quartet”—Mrs. Allen, Miss Edmands, Mr. Parker, and Mr. W. L. Whitney with Lang as accompanist. This was a Boston first performance, and “Mr. Lang’s playing of the piano-forte part will long be remembered for its beauty and delicacy. It was a real treat in itself. The members of the Brahms Quartet deserve our thanks for their kindness in singing at this concert in a work which required so much study as this book of songs.” (President’s Report, June 1889) This concert was the 68th. given by the club and ended its 13th. Season. But, just before the final concert, the club received a letter from the BSO conductor Wilhelm Gericke asking it they would sing at his May 23rd. Farewell Concert selections from Wagner’s Parsifal. They did, and then received a very kind letter of thanks calling them “so splendid a chorus.” (Ibid)

https://149355665.v2.pressablecdn.com/photos/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/BJLang_3.jpg

This photo was used by Mathews in A Hundred Years of Music in America, 427, copyright 1889. This signed copy is from the Johnston Collection. In this book Lang was described as “hale and hearty, a young man [though he was then in his early fifties], albeit thinly thatched with white and gray upon the top of his well rounded skull…He is happily married and lives in elegance.”

SINGING WITH THE BOSTON SYMPHONY.

“In Boston it [the Cecilia Society] has rarely sung except to its own associates, the most notable instance being in 1885, when it joined with the Symphony Orchestra in doing honor to the memory of John [sic] Sebastian Bach.” (Courtesy BSO Archives-100th. Concert Program) The Cecilia, prepared by Lang, also performed with the BSO during the ”89, (Parsifal, mentioned above) “92, “94, “99, “00, “09, “10 and “11 Seasons. Prepared by Malcolm Lang, they appeared in the “25, “26, “27, “28 and “29 Seasons, and prepared by Arthur Fiedler, they sang in the “30 and “31 Seasons. Other choral groups also appeared during this period- a BSO Chorus appeared in the “86, “92 and “93 Seasons, and prepared by Stephen Townsend they appeared in the “18, “19 and “20 Seasons, and also in the “21 and “22 Seasons. (Howe, BSO,  246) The Boston Singers Society appeared once during the “91 Season as did the Boston Choral Art Society who appeared once in the “03 Season. The Handel and Haydn Society sang once in “04 prepared by Emil Mollenhauer while the Thursday Morning Musical Art Club appeared once in each of the “03, “06, “11 and “16 Seasons. Lang-prepared choruses supplied most of the voices for the BSO during Lang’s connection with the groups and even beyond. (Howe, Op. cit., 246-260)

The Annual Report of the Cecilia President for June 1889 noted: “only six members” had withdrawn during the previous summer leaving “an unprecedentedly small number of vacancies” for new members. He described the Brahms Requiem concert as “one of the important, if not the most important, of the musical events of the year,” and noted that two other Boston choirs had previously scheduled the work but not brought it to performance. The President noted the death of Dr. E. C. Bullard “one of the organizers of the Club.” (President’s Report June 1889)

HYMN OF PRAISE FOR CHARITY.

Lang returned to South Congregational Church for a performance of Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise on Saturday, April 7, 1889. The building was now the Union Park Street Synagogue-it had been sold after the merger of the South Congregational congregation with the Hollis Street Church. The performance, which was in aid of the South End Industrial School, “enlisted the services of the singers of the leading quartet choirs of the Unitarian city churches, making a chorus of about 40 voices,” and it used organ accompaniment by Lang (Herald (April 8, 1889) 5, GB) The church was full, mainly of people from the area who had looked upon this edifice as their home church. “A handsome amount was realized for the object benefited.” (Ibid) This performance was 27 years after Lang had given the Boston premier of this work at Old South Church in January 1862, but at that time he was only able to organize a quartet choir of 16 singers.

ARTHUR NIKISCH.

ARTHUR NIKISCH. Postcard of an autographed photo done by Dreyfoos in New York – the card was printed in Germany. Johnston Collection.

Leichtentritt described the BSO audience of the early 1890s as being Boston’s most exclusive society, the residents of Back Bay, with additional forces from Brookline and Cambridge [who] set the tone. In this festive assembly of dignified ladies and gentlemen, the socially unimportant little music lovers in the second balcony and the standing room [of which, as an undergraduate at Harvard, he was one] only served to heighten by contrast the general picture of rank, wealth, and proud self-consciousness. Arthur Nikisch, the conductor, seemed to be especially created for this Boston Symphony audience. The handsome man with his raven-black hair and artistically shaped beard, the pallor that made his face even more romantic, his slim figure with its perfectly tailored dress suit, was elegance itself. As he raised his fine hand, overshadowed by broad snow-white cuffs, with an inimitable wave and the most graceful bend of the wrist, with a nonchalantly protruding little finger crowned by a sparkling diamond ring, and as his long, tapering baton gave the sign for the orchestra, one could feel in the air the pent-up admiration of the ladies – one almost expected a loud acclamation of bravos and enthusiastic applause. The faux-pas was, however, averted at the last moment by the sounds emanating from the orchestra. So far Nikisch might have been taken for a Hungarian count, a fascinating hero of the salon. But as his baton seemed to draw the music out of the instruments – now caressing, now beseeching, now commanding – he was transformed into a true artist, a musician filled with the ecstasy of the creator, and at the grand climaxes he carried the orchestra away to an irresistibly brilliant dash, a frenzy of passion that never missed in its effect on the audience. With his wonderfully keen sense of orchestral color Nikisch often produced real marvels of sound. (Leichtentritt, 368) He was thirty-three years old when he came to Boston. “Nikisch was hypnotic, a poised Svengali with fathomless eyes. ”He does not really conduct,” Tchaikovsky later testified. ”He resigns himself to a magical enchantment. ”(Horowitz, 56 and 57) He brought his family with him and settled in Mrs. Scully’s house on High Street in Brookline. He was pleased with everything, very amiable and gracious to everybody, complimentary to the orchestra and everybody thought he would be an improvement on the humdrum Gericke. “The new broom swept very clean for a little while, but before very long we began to hear some queer tempi in familiar classic works, inner parts of small importance inflated to twice their natural size, and other innovations which made things different but not better… but they did gain in elasticity and brilliancy whenever Nikisch took it in his head to require it.” (Undated and unsigned article, courtesy of the Boston Symphony orchestra Archive”) Artur Foote wrote of the “remarkable memory of Nikisch. When he first came to Boston he conducted everything without score: later, with twenty-four different programs each season, he gave this up. In 1891 he conducted from memory a MS. suite of mine, and probably never thought of it again. But when I called on him in London, four years later, he said, ”You remember that suite we played?” and, sitting down at the piano, went through the first movement. I could hardly have played four measures of it. An extraordinarily gifted man he was: at [the] sight of me the tune came right into his head.” (Foote, Auto., 111)

Soon after he arrived he dined with the Lang’s. “Lel invited Nickish [as it appears] to dinner. He is altogether delightful. Handsome, small and exquisitely nice. And such white hands. Speaks English very well, and he’s only been here ten weeks. He and Lel played Billiards later in the evening. Soon after Lang arranged a reception for Nikisch. “Lel’s reception for Nickish was a great success. About 250 people came. Malcolm [aged 8] passed cigars and cigarettes. Nickish had dinner with us afterwards.” He again dined with the Lang’s in early December (Diary 2, Fall 1889)

LANG AS A PIANO INSTRUCTOR.

“Mr. Lang’s reputation as a teacher is national, and perhaps few instructors have so many pupils before the public today in concert work as he. He began with full classes and his days are always crowded. When a mere boy in Salem, his father being taken suddenly ill, young Lang was at a moment’s notice obligated to take so many pupils that every day and every hour were devoted to teaching.” (Globe, (December 22, 1907: 33) “A teacher of incredible activity (when I knew him he was giving regularly lessons from 8.30 to 6).” (Foote, Auto, 45) Lang “considered teaching to be one of the great professions.” (Cecilia Program, December 2, 1909)

The singer Clara Kathleen Rogers (Clara Doria) wrote that Lang “had an unusually large following of devoted disciples… [His] pupils, one and all, adored him, and only awaited a sign from him to render willing service. One sometimes wondered what was the secret of his magnetism. I fancy, however, that it lay largely in the subtle, inferential admiration which his manner conveyed. (Rogers, Two Lives, 146 and 147)

As a piano teacher Lang was very well regarded. “His class of private pupils upon the pianoforte belongs to the very elite of Boston, and is as distinguished for talent as for style-a combination peculiarly Bostonian.” (Mathews, 429) Another source from c. 1886 said that “He is highly esteemed as a teacher, and of his many pupils over sixty are concert soloists. Though not a virtuoso in the strictest sense of the word, he is a fine player, and above all a thoroughly educated and sound musician.” (Jones, Handbook, 84) Fox states that his “pedagogical dedication was indeed remarkable, since he taught as many as fourteen lessons daily and claimed to have instructed over two hundred concert pianists.” (Fox, Papers, 4) My research found sixty soloists; they are listed at the beginning of the Chapter “Piano Instructor.” His obituary in the Globe was headlined: “B. J. Lang Dies of Pneumonia-Half a Century One of Boston’s Foremost Musicians-Noted as Conductor and Organist and Had Taught 5,000 Pupils.” (Globe (Apr. 5, 1909): 1) The article listed among his most well known pupils, “Arthur Foote, J. A. Preston, H. G. Tucker, and the late G. W. Sumner. The building at 6 Newbury St. where he had his studio is entirely peopled with his former students.” (Ibid)

He had quickly established himself among his peers, for in late December 1860 his name was used in an ad for the “New Modern School for the Piano-Forte” published by the Boston firm of Russell & Tolman. Among the many hundreds of international artists who have given the highest testimonials  of their “Modern School,” local names included B. J’s teacher, Francis G. Hill, Lowell Mason, J. C. D. Parker, Otto Dresel and thirty-three others. (BMT (December 15, 1860): 355)

Early in his teaching career he was connected with the “National College of Music” which had been established by the Mendelssohn Quintette Club with its clarinetist, Thomas Ryan as the Director in September of 1872. Dwight had announced in his June 1872 issue that, “The Mendelssohn Quintette, with Mr. B. J. Lang, and other good musicians and teachers, will open in September, here in Boston a new National College of Music.” (Dwight (June 15, 1872): 255) “The assistant piano teachers were all brilliant young men whom Lang had taught and developed, namely: Mr. Geo. W. Sumner, well known and beloved organist for seventeen years at the Arlington Street Church, Mr. Hiram Tucker, Mr. W. F. Apthorp, Mr. Dixie, and Mr. J. Q. Adams. All these men would naturally teach according to the Lang method, and that certainly was a commendable system…Our plans were all right, and we started off with goodly numbers, -not far from two hundred pupils. In October, just one month later, the great Boston fire occurred; and it made everybody poor. The majority of the pupils were from the city or neighborhood, and over one half of them were forced to notify us that they could not continue their attendance another term. The fire really killed our school. We worried along to the end of the year, met our losses as best we could, and returned to our old system of traveling.” (Ryan, 172 and 173) Dwight reported on the school’s first “Exhibition Concert of Pupils” held on April 15, 1873, “The solo singing all gave evidence of talent and of excellent instruction,” but “The most remarkable performance of the afternoon was that of the difficult Schumann Concerto by Miss Barton, a young pupil of Mr. Lang, whose rendering of the first movement was highly satisfactory…It was a most arduous undertaking for a young girl, and such a measure of success seems full of promise.” (Dwight (Journal, May 3, 1873): 14)

Lang’s association with the National School of Music lasted just the one-year of its existence, 1872-1873. In the summer of 1873, he published a notice to his students saying that he was resuming his “connection with New England Conservatory of Music (Music Hall), and that all class teaching he may do in the future, will be in that institution. ” He then recommended that school to his students as he had been connected “with the school during its entire existence, excepting last year.” (BPL, Lang Program Collection, Vol. 1)

The critic Philip Hale took time during a review of one of Lang’s students, Benjamin Lincoln Whelpley; to outline what he felt were the problems with Lang’s teaching. His April 11, 1891 review of a Whelpley recital began: “Mr. Whelpley has good fingers and many excellent musical ideas. He is careful and conscientious in his work, and there are many things to be admired and praised in his playing. He belongs to a certain school of pianists [Lang’s], a prominent school in this city; and this is unfortunate, and it hampers his artistic development. For the members of this family do not pay sufficient attention to tone production and gradation of tone; the legato is so slighted by them, and the use of pedals is so imperfectly understood that song-passages are not sung; and these players are deficient in appreciation of rhythm and rhythmic effects. And when any one of this school plays in public, the hearer is at once aware of the fact that the pianoforte is a percussion instrument.” After getting this off his chest, Hale continued, “Not that Mr. Whelpley pounds.” (BPL Hale Criticism, Vol. 1)

A reference to Lang’s own piano technique was part of a review of a concert by the Cecilia on February 12, 1896. Mr. Fay accompanied the choir that evening, but Lang accompanied the soloist. “Mr. Lang’s accompaniments gave genuine delight. We venture to suggest to Mr. Fay that he profit by the lesson given him by Mr. Lang. Where the latter’s touch was delicate and subdued, Mr. Fails seemed harsh and noisy. Mr. Lang’s pianoforte work was a treat in itself.” (BPL Lang Program Collection, Vol. 8)

In 1893 William Apthorp, one of Lang’s pupils mentioned above, wrote an extensive article about his teacher. “The amount of work he would get through in a day, what with pupils and rehearsals, seems almost fabulous. No one but a man of the most vigorous constitution and of his regular singularly abstemious habits-he has never touched beer, wine, spirits, tea or coffee in his life, and his experience with tobacco is limited to part of a cigar that Satter once gave him when he was a very young man, and which he has not forgotten to this day-could stand such work: sometimes fourteen to eighteen lessons in a day!” [seven to nine hours] (Boston Evening Transcript, April 13, 1907, being mostly a reprint of Apthorp’s article for Music magazine in 1893)

Lang taught privately at various places during his career; his home, at the studios in the Chickering Building at 153 Tremont Street (as late as 1903) and at 6 Newbury Street where he “and a colony of his pupils occupied rooms at the Lang Studios.” (Foote, Auto, 49) On Jan. 9, 1910, just a few months after B. J.’s death, a newspaper clipping entitled “Notes of the Studio” described the Newbury Street location: “In the great front studio on the second floor, with its high windows with large globular colored spots, the fine old marble fireplace, its big pipe organ and grand piano works the son [Malcolm] of B. J. Lang, founder of the Lang studios…Just outside the door is the Ruth Burrage library of orchestral scores…To this rich reservoir may come the student of music to take away for four days’ study and practice famous scores of orchestral music.” The Globe “Table gossip” of April 30, 1905 had reported that “Mrs. Whiteside had sold her house, numbered 6 Newbury St. adjoining the St. Botolph Club, near the corner of Arlington St. to Mr. B. J. Lang, who will make extensive improvements and occupy. It is one of the very few Back Bay estates on Newbury St. that has an extensive frontage, being a four-story octagon brownstone front brick house. It was thought at one time that the St. Botolph Club would buy this estate.” (Globe (April 30, 1905): 46) Amy DuBois related that this building was the last in Boston to have gas lighting, as “My grandfather [Malcolm] didn’t think things were getting better.” (Amy Dubois Interview)

 

LANG AS A PIANO DESIGNER.

An article in the Transcript dated Setember 30 (no year) describes two inventions of B. J. designed to help the busy piano teacher. The article noted the problem, when giving lessons, of having the student move off the piano seat so that the teacher can then sit and demonstrate whatever is needed. A second problem was if the studio could afford two pianos, there was no way that they could be placed so that the teacher could see what the student was doing; also two copies of all pieces would be required. “Mr. Lang has completely overcome these difficulties as follows:” (Transcript, September no year, Foote Scrapbook) For the first problem B. J. had a smaller grand built (by Chickering and Sons) with legs only a foot high. It was placed to the right and under the student’s piano. The lowest note of the teacher’s instrument was just under the “A (first leger line above the staff in the G clef” (Ibid) of the student’s instrument. In this way the teacher could look over the student’s right shoulder easily and read from the student’s music.  “At every step in the lesson the teacher can show the pupil what he wishes by actual and immediate example.” (Ibid) No one has to move.                                                                      The second invention was a practice piano. For professional pianists who have to practice many hours a day, finding a place where they are not bothering their neighbors is often impossible. Some players, Joseffy for instance, put strips of cloth between the strings to soften the sound, but this also put the instrument out of tune. B. J. produced an upright that could play pppppppp to pp! The author of the article wrote : “The new mechanism by which this peculiar end is accomplished is beautifully simple, but cannot easily be explained in untechnical terms.” (Ibid) The pedals also worked in this new instrument and “gradations (relative) of tone can be produced…which never rises above a sweet whisper, inaudible outside of the room in which the instrument stands.” (Ibid) Did this instrument ever make it into production?

NINETEENTH APOLLO CLUB SEASON. 1889-1890.

For the Apollo concerts of Friday evening December 6 and Monday evening December 9, 1889 at the Music Hall, Margaret Ruthven Lang did an orchestration of the male choral piece Estudiantina by Paul Lacome [1838-1920] “the accompaniment to which was arranged in a very dainty and charming manner for orchestra.” It was given “most delightfully, and was redemanded.” The Post review said that the orchestration “was delicately done; so prettily that the absence of the castanets was but a pleasing relief from the usual methods”. (Scrapbooks) For this concert the chorus numbered 75 and the orchestra 44. (MYB 1889-90, 14) The major work in this concert was Damon and Pythias by the English composer Prout which filled the first half of the concert. There was very little critical comment of this piece. Estudiantina was repeated at the March 5, 1893 “Miscellaneous Concert” which was also accompanied by an orchestra. (MYB 1892-93, 15)

The February 19 and 24, 1890 concerts again included a world premier-The Knights and the Naiads by Templeton Strong for Soprano, Alto and Bass soloists, male choir and orchestra was sung. This piece had been written for the Apollo Club. The poem was originally in German; “But German humor is often another name for German rudeness…The result is an exhibition of ingenuity; but where is the music? This trivial subject is treated as though it were a symphonic poem…The composition throughout is musical hifalutin…Truly there is ingenious writing for the orchestra, but it is labored, often irrelevant and sometimes impertinent, while the voice parts are inexcusably uninteresting and difficult. (Home Journal, undated and unsigned review, but probably by Hale) The “German rudeness” referred to by the first reviewer is described in more detail by the Beacon. “It is a setting of a long and not attractive German ballad, the point of which is a feeble mother-in-law joke, and its most interesting and valuable portions lie almost exclusively in the orchestral score, which is often fanciful, quaint and absolutely original.” (Beacon) This writer found the chorus and solo parts unmelodious and unvocal. “The orchestra did pretty well with their share, and the singers, considering the difficulties they had to meet, did wonders.” (Ibid)  The final piece of the concert was Whiting’s Henry of Navarre, Opus 48 for tenor solo, male choir and orchestra that was also originally written for the Apollo Club and premiered by them in 1886. “There are effective passages of a descriptive nature for the orchestra; but the work is too heavily scored. There is little contrast; the brass and the drums are too busy. The orchestra is so used that the voices are covered.” (Home Journal) “It is an extremely elaborate composition, not always easy to sing or to hear, the accompaniment contains many bold and brilliant suggestions of battle and its excitement, but it really does not add much. (Beacon, undated and unsigned review) Arthur Weld in the Post disliked the Whiting. “This composition is openly uninteresting and so noisily scored, as far as the orchestra is concerned, that at times one’s ears suffered severely.” The choir he praised: “The work was sung in a conscientious and painstaking manner by the club, and the orchestra (especially the brass) played very well.” (Post, undated review by Arthur Weld) Elson was disappointed in Strong’s work, especially after he had praised an earlier work, The Haunted Mill by calling it “an honor to the American repertoire…The female voices in the trio of the Naiads were not quite in Character. Naiads can swim, but these sank distressingly.” (Advertiser, undated review by Louis C. Elson) Whiting’s work was also compared negatively to his earlier Monks of Bangor. “Taber’s Cannibal Idyll was one of the great successes of the evening, its pretty waltz theme for first basses and its direct humor charming everyone.” (Ibid)

At the choir’s mid-winter supper the club performed a parody where the club’s secretary, Mr. Arthur Reed combined texts from the Knights and the Naiads and Cannibal Idyll which resulted in a new poem of three stanzas, The Knights and the Cannibals. “The music was a bit of patchwork, made out of original tunes by Mr. Arthur Thayer.” (Apollo Reviews) The poem began: “Twelve cannibal Naiads loved too well, Twelve helpless Knights of old. And charmingly their love did tell, For passion made them bold; But the Knights held back, for they were poor, And had nothing in the bank. And the maidens’ wardrobes seemed to be Almost a perfect blank. ‘T was a problem vexing, vexing quite, For every maid and every Knight…But a youth appeared, to their great surprise, Who had known the girls of old…And those twelve Maids each lost a Knight.” (Ibid)

The April 30 and May 5, 1890 concerts featured the famous violinist, Maud Powell and the singer, Miss Mary Howe. B. J.’s pupil, Mrs. Marsh accompanied Miss Powell in the Polonaise de Concert by Laub. (Program, Johnston Collection) It also included the third appearance of B. J.’s only published piece for men’s choir, Hi-fi-link-i-le. It had been premiered in February 1884 and repeated in May 1886. its humorous style was appropriate for the end of the Apollo season. “It was written with a decided bias toward the bass parts, and it has as much unison work as a chant of the third century, but, all the same, it is jolly, and it shows that the man who has done so much for the club music of Boston is as yet a youth as any of us.” (Advertiser, Apollo Reviews)

“Musical Matters” noted: “As for directing from the piano, Mr. Lang does it all the time at rehearsals, and the club likes it.” The Post reviewer, Arthur Weld seemed to be in a bad mood: “There is no denying the fact that there is very little good music written for men’s voices…The smaller pieces are all more or less dreadful.” (Post, Apollo Reviews) Weld made reference to the accompanist but said it was Mrs. Marsh [a Lang piano pupil] which brought forth the following Letter to the Editor: “The enterprising musical critic of the esteemed Post must have heard the Apollo concert rather with his imagination than his senses, for he confounds Mr. Lang with a woman and attributes to Mrs. Marsh, who was ill at home, the piano accompaniments, which were all played by that gentleman, undisguised by any feminine apparel. He also says, “Mr. Lang was recently quoted in a contemporary as having uttered some very sound and sweeping statements with regard to the granting of encores, but last night he seemed to have forgotten these remarks, or else has changed his mind. The most feeble and scattering applause was sufficient to insure a repetition, and it was hard to keep count the number which were granted.” The fact is, that but one encore was given by the club and this after Mr. Lang had been called out three times, while the solo artists-with whose encores the conductor had nothing to do, of course-Miss Powell yielded once and Miss Howe repeated the last page of her first air and added a new song after her second selection upon almost universal demand.” (Apollo Reviews)

It seems that people leaving concerts during the final number continued to be a problem. To deal with this, a sentence was placed in the program just before the words of the final piece: “Those who wish to leave the hall before the end of the concert are respectfully, but earnestly, requested to do so during this pause.” (Program December 3, 1890-Johnston Collection) Then the length of the final piece was given so that the concertgoer could decide if leaving was really necessary.

Around 1889 the group was described: “the Apollo Club still occupies an honorable position in Boston, the concerts being sold out at the beginning of the season, the audiences being distinguished for elegance and musical appreciation-a combination rare outside the limits of Boston. The standard of vocal work in this society has always been high, and it was one of the first to introduce many of the better class of compositions of this school.” (Mathews, 428) “Among the names on the list of the original fifty-two members is that of Henry Clay Barnabee of ‘The Bostonians’ fame; also Myron W. Whitney, the great bass.” (Syford, 165)

FOURTEENTH CECILIA SEASON. 1889-1890.

The season opened on Monday, December 2, 1889 at the Music Hall. Dvorak’s Spectre’s Bride was presented with full orchestra-it was the third time the choir had programmed this work. The Advertiser wrote: “From the very start the chorus brought to bear an immense amount of enthusiasm that bespoke success, and sustained throughout the reputation they have so well and honestly earned in the past.” Mr. Parker’s contribution was praised: “His beautiful voice is always listened to with great pleasure,” and the return to the Music Hall stage of the older singer J. F. Rudolphsen was noted but no critical comment made. “Mr. Lang kept the orchestra and chorus under good control for the most part, and with the exception of too much prominence being given to the accompaniments in some places, can be congratulated upon having given a very satisfactory reading of one of the principal works of this Slavonic composer.” (Advertiser, Cecilia Reviews) Another review recorded the “large audience,” and that the “full orchestra including two harps, assisting.” This was certainly a step forward from the usual use of piano for harp parts. This review praised the chorus, but felt that the “orchestra, though composed of admirable material, acquitted itself with a ragged, noisy effect, and too often with a woeful lack of precision.” Mme. Zela “who was heard here for the first time, has a soprano voice of rather uneven and throaty quality,” while “Mr. Rudolphsen, whose voice is remarkably well preserved, manifested all of his old fire and musicianly taste, and much of the efficiency that characterized his work here years ago.” This reviewer found the work as a whole “monotonous and dreary… It was listened to apathetically, and there was no enthusiasm and but little applause.” (Cecilia Reviews) A third review described Mme. Zela’s as having “a high soprano voice of some power, of excellent quality in its upper range-she took her high C with great ease-but wanting in timbre in its lower part… Of Mr. Rudolphsen’s singing of the part of the Narrator, one would rather say nothing; let us try to forget it, and remember, instead, the admirable work he used to do here twenty years ago.” (Cecilia Reviews) The Post reviewed previous performances of this work by the Cecilia. “The club sang this work as a novelty at their spring concert the year after it was first produced at the Birmingham festival and repeated it the following March.” Of this third performance, “The Cecilia has never sung better than last night… and the addition of two harps lent peculiar charm to the two choruses where they had before been replaced by the piano… Mr. J. F. Rudolphsen suffered most unfortunately as the narrator by comparison with Max Heinrich, who sang the part at both previous renderings of the work.” (Post, Cecilia Reviews)

The second concert was held Thursday evening, January 23, 1890 at the Music Hall with the largely amateur Boston Orchestral Club. Selections from Haydns The Seasons (about ninety minutes of music) were presented with the soloists Miss Gertrude Franklin, Mr. G. J. Parker and Mr. C. E. Hay. Louis C. Elson in the Advertiser wrote of Franklin: she “deserves great praise for the intelligence she displayed in every part of her work. The orchestra was described as “generally excellent and often more than that. Mr. Sabin was concertmeister, with Miss Lillian Shattuck at second desk and a liberal sprinkling of Mr. Julius Eichberg’s advanced students in the ranks.” Elson noted that the final chorus from the “Spring” section closed the work, “and as Haydn was never over-proud of the actual finale of this work, one may let the transference pass unchallenged, but it would be a hazardous thing to do with any other masterpiece.” (Advertiser, Cecilia Reviews) Arthur Weld wrote that “the cuts which were made were very injudicious, and some of the most celebrated numbers were omitted. Very little good can be done by presenting classical works in so insufficient and incomplete a manner, and they would be better left on the shelf, dead and forgotten.” Weld also did not like Lang’s conducting technique. “The chorus sang very roughly and were particularly at fault with regard to rhythmic precision, and the orchestra, which does so well under Mr. Chadwick was apparently dazed and confused by Mr. Lang’s different methods, and played in a very wooden and mechanical style.” (Probably Post, Cecilia Reviews) Another review noted that selections were presented, “but this mattered little, as the pure musical treatment of any and every scene is apparent whatever the context.” This review also noted how moved the audience was: “expressions of approval during last night’s performance were numerous and deserved.” It was also commented upon “The Cecilia found no difficulty in doing ample justice to the choruses… Mr. Lang held his combined forces under good control.” (Cecilia Reviews) Maybe Weld and this reviewer sat in very different places in the Music Hall. Philip Hale in the Home Journal began with: “Improper liberties were taken with the body of this sturdy child of Haydn’s old age,” but he was very positive about Miss Franklin. “It is a pleasure to pay tribute to ” her art, and he also described the cadenza as “musical in itself.” The two male soloists were also praised, but the orchestra “played roughly and without rhythm. Often it apparently groped its way from measure to measure,” and the fault was laid upon Lang. “However versatile and accomplished a musician Mr. Lang may be, it is plain that when he takes his stick in hand to lead a chorus or orchestra, his beat is indecisive and perplexing.” (Home Journal, Cecilia Reviews) The reviewer in the Times also noted the incomplete performance: “The entire work was not given by the Cecilia, but excellent taste was shown in the selections that were made; and by the substitution of the ‘God of light’ chorus with its free fugue for a finale instead of the last chorus of ‘Winter’ with its drunken fugue,’ as Haydn called it, the work gained an effective climax… The choruses [were] all sung with an integrity and heartiness that none present could have failed to appreciate [well, a couple did fail to appreciate].” Miss Franklin’s performance was singled out was praised for a whole paragraph ending with: “In brief, she sang in a wonderfully finished and flawless manner.” The review ended: “Despite the inclement weather the concert was attended by a large audience.” (Times, Cecilia Reviews)

On Thursday evening, March 27, 1890 at the Music Hall the choir gave the Boston premier of Massenet’s Eve with orchestra. Also on the program were a repeat of The Wreck of the Hesperus by Arthur Foote and The Song of Fate by Brahms. Johnson quotes Hale’s review from the  Post of March 28: “Dubois’ idea of the Fall in which we all sinned was spectacular and erotic. Massenet, in his Eve, is more than erotic, he is pornographic.” (Johnson, First, 230) The premier of this work had been on March 18, 1875 in Paris. G. Schirmer published an undated edition in English, which was probably the one used in Lang’s performance. Louis C. Elson began his review in the Advertiser: “Another red letter night for the Cecilia!” However, of the Foote work he wrote: it “does not make a better impression on a second hearing.” The second work in the concert, “Brahms’ noble Song of Fate was sung in a manner that did honor to director and chorus, every difficult detail, even the sforzando effects and the staccato passages being given as a single voice… Then came a work new to Boston, and exciting enough to be classed as ‘extra hazardous.’ It is a mystery how Eve, a mystery, could have been transplanted to cold-blooded Boston. It is as erotic and ecstatic as the most passionate of French composers-Massenet-could make it and the chorus sang it as if inspired. Never have the Cecilians surpassed their work of last night.” The soprano soloist, Mrs. Jennie P. Walker was praised for her “charming, shading expression, and intonation even in alt passages.” The review ended: “We must have this work again and soon… I doubt whether any Parisian vocal society can excel the work of the Cecilia in it.” (Advertiser, Cecilia Reviews) G. H. W. [George H. Wilson, editor of the Boston Musical Yearbook] wrote that he was only mildly enthusiastic about the Foote cantata. Of the Brahms, he felt that it “was splendidly sung by the chorus,” and he made the same comment concerning the Massenet. “The performance of the chorus portions of Massenet’s work was of a high order, and in places, notably the unaccompanied writing which introduces part two, very fine. Excellent attention was paid to Mr. Lang, who gave to the work his best pains.” Some fault was found with the orchestra and this was linked to the limited funds available. “The town should see to it that a society like the Cecilia should have a plethoric not a fading treasury.” The soprano soloist was also praised in this review. “Mrs. Walker is no less an artist because she is a Boston church singer and Boston taught… The singer is musical and has advanced in her art by normal, honest and conscientious labor.” The review ended with extra praise: “We must add a word about the sopranos of the Cecilia chorus; these voices are angelic.” (Cecilia Reviews)

By far the longest review (probably for the Home Journal) was that by Philip Hale who, after much introductory material, finally mentioned the music: “It is extremely well written both for voices and for orchestra; in fact the instrumentation is often of exquisite fancy,” and examples followed. “The performance was upon the whole a very creditable one.” The came the usual Lang slam. “It is true that Mr. Lang did not seem to have a keen sense of the proper tempo of several numbers; nor has he apparently the true idea of the andante, which he invariably takes at too slow a pace. The work of the chorus in Eve, and throughout the program, was a marked improvement over that shown at former concerts of this season. The body of tone was fuller and better balanced.” Of Mrs. Walker he wrote: she “sang well the difficult part of Eve. One could have here wished a little more passion, there more breadth; but it was an admirable performance of a difficult task.” Hale also referred to the orchestra: “There should be money enough raised to insure a finished performance of the orchestra score.” The Brahms work received only one line ending with: the work “was sung with accuracy,” while the Foote was dismissed with “it is not a musical work. The passages given to the soloists are not dramatic. They are indeed feeble.” (Home Journal (?), Cecilia Reviews) The Transcript [William F. Apthorp] noted the problem facing a composer when the text is “a simple, homely ballad in a very catchy and quite unvarying rhythm.” The reviewer felt that the orchestration helped to overcome this basic problem. Of the Brahms: “Here we have ‘the real Brahms,’ who is not content with a fine plan, but must carry out that plan in a fine and noble way. The music is not only suggestive and appealing; it is solidly satisfying. You feel that you could hear the work again and again, with ever growing delight and edification.” This was certainly a progressive opinion in Boston of this time. Of the Massenet: “It shows the composer fairly at his best in every respect… the performance of all three works was admirable. Not only did the chorus sing with all their usual firmness, purity of tone and perfection of ensemble, but the orchestra did its work most excellently, with precision, brilliancy and nicety of finish, and the solo singers were more than adequate… Mr. Lang is highly to be congratulated upon the success of this concert, which was not only brilliant artistically, but called forth enthusiastic applause from the large audience.” (Transcript, Cecilia Reviews)

Photo below from New England Magazine, February 1890.

However, another review had high praise for the Foote cantata: “It is a work which might be claimed with pride by any of the elder nationalities. It was finely sung by the soloists and chorus, and heartily applauded.” Of the Massenet: “The work is one of fascinating beauty throughout, and bears the stamp of inspiration and genius in every measure… To the chorus and orchestra no words of praise can be too excessive, for better work could not be desired than that given in the performance of the many beauties of the work.” (Cecilia Reviews) One final, short review ended: “It is a credit to Mr. B. J. Lang, the director of the club, that the skillful efforts of the club, and the disciplinary effects exhibited, were first-class in every respect, so that tokens of approval were freely bestowed by the audience.” (Cecilia Reviews)

The fourth concert of the season was given on Thursday evening, May 22, 1890 at the Music Hall with Foote as pianist and Cutter and Nevin as organists. “Variety programmes without orchestra are not precisely the things one looks forward to with most pleasure, in the way of choral club concerts, but this one of last evening provided a delightful exception to the rule; it was well balanced, well diversified, and nothing in it was dull.” (Cecilia Reviews) However the Herald began by saying that the concert was “a dull ending to the events of the year…the programme having little to relieve its general dulness,” however it did say that “the singers of the club gave their best efforts throughout the evening.” The novelties of the program included three songs composed by Lang: Aladdin’s Lamp (James Russell Lowell), Sing, Maiden, Sing (Barry Cornwall), and Cradle Song (Words from the German by Charles T. Brooks). (Cecilia Reviews) [Sing, Maiden, Sing had been sung at the Cecilia concert of February 4, 1886 by Miss Bockus, a member of the choir] “Mr. Lang’s three songs seem to us to reach about the high-water mark in American song writing. They show such genial melodic invention, such easy command of style, and are withal so essentially lyrical in character… Both in form and expression they are songs pure and simple; the lyrical element always predominates. In a word, they are charming. They were capitally sung, with great expressiveness, by Mr. Winch.” (Cecilia Reviews) The program also included a first public performance of a MacDowell choral piece, his Barcarole, which was encored, and Nevin’s Wynken, Blynken and Nod along with instrumental pieces by the cellist Mr. Griese, which were well received. (Cecilia Reviews) The Post (Weld or Hale) review called the Barcarolle “a very satisfactory number” while the Nevin “was one of the most delightful parts of the programme.” The Lang songs “all of them charming in color and particularly melodious, although the first two are somewhat overweighed by the too florid accompaniment. Mr. Winch sang them all in a most artistic manner and with his usual elegance and finish of phrasing.” (Post, Cecilia Reviews) A review entitled “Musical Notes” also approved of Lang’s songs, they were described as “graceful and pleasing in style, though conventional in character. The first two suffered from too elaborate accompaniments, which imparted to them the effect of piano studies with vocal interpolations. Mr. Winch sang them very beautifully.” (Cecilia Reviews) Another review wrote: “Mr. Lang’s group of songs got a well-merited round of applause, and those styled Aladdin’s Lamp and Cradle Song were in this composer’s best vein. Mr. Winch sang the songs with charming effect.” (Cecilia Reviews) The Traveler praised the MacDowell: “Certainly few if any of the American school could write more lovely music than that which marks the climax of the piece, at the words, ‘Ah, loved one.’” On Lang’s songs: “Mr. Winch sang with the purest musical feeling and with a freer emission of tone than he sometimes uses. The three songs by Mr. Lang, all new, are simply gems; we wish they might be published. Mr. Lang was Mr. Winch’s accompanist.” (Traveler, Cecilia Reviews)

MacDowell’s Barcarole is available at the Library of Congress-American Choral Music site. It is scored for SSAATTBB choir and piano, four-hand accompaniment. “One could easily imagine MacDowell playing the piano part alongside his wife Marian.” (LC Site) Nevin’s Wynken, Blynken and Nod was published by Boston Music (then at 28 West Street) but copyrighted by G. Schirmer in 1889 in arrangements for Mixed, Female and Male voices-each 40 cents per copy. “Orchestra parts may be had of the publisher.” (Copy in Johnston collection)

KING’S CHAPEL-CHRISTMAS 1890.

The Daily Advertiser gave a detailed account of the Christmas Day service at King’s Chapel. “The decorations were simple and massive hemlock everywhere, here in graceful convolutions and there in heavy masses…Everything was encircled with evergreen trimmings,” including the organ. The music included a prelude from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, four extracts from Handel’s Messiah, Te Deum in F Major by Lang, Jubilate by Dr. Hopkins, Christmas Song by Lang, and a Hymn by Sir Arthur Sullivan.” (Daily Advertiser (December 26, 1890): 2, GB) Leading the service was Lang’s former Pastor from South Congregational Church, Rev. Edward Hale. That must have been an interesting reunion.

HANDEL AND HAYDN SALARY.

For the 1890-91 Season Lang’s salary as “organist and pianist” was $300. Zerrahn was promised $750 “and such further sum not exceeding two hundred fifty dollars ($250) as the Society may be able to pay out of the current receipts of the season.” (History-1911, 7) For the next season, 1891-92 Zerrahn was promised $1,000 while Lang remained at $300. (Op. cit., 15) These terms were the same for the 1894-95 Season. (Op. cit., 45)

NEW CHOIR: THE BOSTON SINGERS (REPLACED BOYLSTON CLUB)

Arthur Weld wrote a piece, probably for a music periodical, in which he noted the fact “that Mr. Osgood has started a new [singing] society,” and that he hoped that a rivalry would not develop between it and the Cecilia. “Not only is our city amply large enough for two such institutions, but it would be extremely detrimental to either should the other cease to exist.” This new choir, the Boston Singers, was to fill the place of the recently “defunct Boylston Club.” Weld then went on to catalog the many important premiers that the Cecilia had given, calling it a “remarkable list… Mr. Lang is sure to offer good work and excellent programmes to the public, and it would be gross ingratitude on the part of the musical world if they should fail to support him.” (Cecilia Clippings)

FIFTEENTH CECILIA SEASON. 1890-1891.

The first concert was on Thursday evening, November 20, 1890 at the Music Hall with Franz Kneisel as concertmaster and Cutter at the organ. After the success of Eve the previous March, Lang turned again to Massenet and gave the first Boston performance of his Mary Magdalen. The Herald notice mentioned a “new departure made this season by this organization,” and this was “throwing open its subscription books to the public.” It also noted that the officers of the choir “recognize the necessity of securing competent professional singers in appealing to the general public for support.” The review also asked why “an organization, which has shown so much enterprise in the production of novelties of all schools” was just getting around to present this work which had its world premier in 1873.” (Herald, Cecilia Reviews) Hale’s extensive review in the Post gave a detailed description of the plot, but then called the work a “very unequal composition.” Of the performance he wrote: “The best work was done by the chorus… The female voices, especially the altos, were beyond reproach… As a whole the performance of the Cecilia chorus was a marked advance upon the work of last year.” The work of the orchestra “was not what it should have been… There was a general lack of precision and observance of dynamic marks. The audience heartily applauded solo singers and chorus.” (Post, Cecilia Reviews) Elson in the Advertiser wrote of the Massenet: “It is altogether too sensational for an oratorio, and too ambitious for a cantata… It has al least one merit-it is oriental in many of its touches… As to the performance, very much praise can be spoken; the club is to be congratulated on having had excellent soloists… the chorus sang well; the shading and delicacy of all the ”choruses of women” cannot be over praised… The orchestra played roughly.” Elson’s final paragraph sounds very reactionary: “Everyone should be grateful to the Cecilia for such an important concert, and even if one does not approve [!] of the theatrical style of the chief work given, it is none the less a valuable lesson to hear specimens of such a school, and we may learn to appreciate the works of Bach and Handel, or even Mendelssohn, better, for this experience of the sacred side of the music of Massenet.” (Advertiser, Cecilia Reviews) It was not such a bitter pill for much of the audience, as Hale reported, “The audience heartily applauded.” (Post, Cecilia Reviews) Woolf in the Gazette liked the instrumental portions of the Massenet. “The instrumental preludes are the best portions of the score, the introduction to the second part being of rare beauty.” Following this was an extensive description of the various parts of the work, and then another Lang slam. “The work made no very profound impression, and the audience evidently became weary of it long before it was over. It is true it was heard under some disadvantage. Mr. Lang is never quite at ease when at the head of an orchestra… The uncertainty of Mr. Lang’s beating time placed the orchestra frequently at odds with the singers. The chorus work was, as a rule, very well done. In fact its efforts were the best feature in the performance. The female voices were particularly good, and in one of the choruses for these voices alone, were heard with charming results, notably the altos.” The final sentence of the review-“There was much applause for both soloists and chorus”-contradicted the earlier statement-“The audience evidently became weary of it long before it was over.” (Gazette, Cecilia Reviews)

Early in March 1891 the Herald announced that the Cecilia would give a special benefit performance for the Aural Department of the Massachusetts Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary on March 18th. at the Music Hall; Mrs. Lang was a member of the sponsoring committee. Lang would conduct them in a repeat of Eve by Massenet, and the BSO, conducted by Arthur Nikisch would present a Beethoven “Overture” and songs sung by Mrs. Nikisch. (Herald (March 1, 1891): 13) “All the artists have volunteered to appear without pay…[and] Mr. Higginson gives the services of the symphony orchestra.” (Herald (March 8, 1891): 19, GB) The Herald reported that the event “was an immense success, and drew out a large and enthusiastic audience.” (Herald (March 22, 1891): 19, GB) The Journal found that the New York soloists were mismatched, with the two men not equal to the soprano. (Journal (March 17, 1891): 4, GB) in order to be part of this concert, the cecilia moved their concert, originally scheduled for March 18 to April 2. The Herald noted that the “men of the Symphony orchestra…played superbly.” (Herald (March 17, 1891: 7, GB) One assumes that this also applied to their playing during Lang’s conducting of Eve. Was this because their boss, Nikisch, and sponsor, Higginson were in the room?

The photo below is from New England Magazine, February 1890.

On April 2, 1891 (their 75th. concert) at the Music Hall the choir sang the world premier of George Whitefield Chadwick’s The Pilgrims based on the poem “The Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers in New England” originally published in Edinburgh in 1828, written by Felicia Dorothea Browne Hemans (1793-1835). The singers were: Gertrude Edmands, William Ludwig, George J. Parker and Joshua Phippen [one of Lang’s piano pupils]. The composer conducted. (Faucett, GWC, A Bio-Bibliography, 143) Chadwick noted in his Diary:  “I had been teaching counterpoint eight years, during which time I learned more myself that I should have taught my pupils. This accounted for [the] next work I tackled which was The Pilgrims. The final fugue with two subjects in that work I had started as an example for my class at the conservatory and the middle part I worked out as an example of a choral concerted piece. Several anthems (trios) were preliminary studies for this piece. When this piece was done by the Cecilia a year or two afterwards L. C. Elson remarked that I had used the trumpets at the line “Not with the roll of the stirring drum and the trumpet that sings of fame” to show the Pilgrims did not come! This shows that even a critic may have an occasional gleam of humor.” (Chadwick, Memoirs) “I never had any great affection for this piece and never made another in the academic style. But singularly enough this piece has been performed more times than any other of my choral works. Probably on account of the words, which are dear to the popular heart…I was not very proud of it – except as good voice writing.” (Op. cit.) But Chadwick added a footnote noting that he was writing this comment on January 20, 1920, and that “The Pilgrims is being performed this very night in Lowell, Mass.” (Op. cit.) Hale, in his Post review, devoted one-half of his space to the Chadwick work, saying: “The composer has been very successful in his treatment of this poem. It is descriptive without being extravagant: it is melodious without being trivial; it is scholarly without being dull. There are many harmonic effects that are so happily invented that they seem spontaneous and inevitable… The Pilgrims is an effective and pleasing composition, and it well deserves a second hearing.”(Post, Cecilia Reviews) Elson in the Advertiser gave an extensive description of various parts of the work including the humorous comment referred to by Chadwick above. “The execution of the choruses [of the Chadwick] as up to the Cecilia standard, which is praise enough for anything. The same high compliment can be paid to the performance of Bruch’s Odysseus, a work which the Cecilia has made peculiarly its own, and one which never seems to lose its savor, either for the singers or the public… To the chorus here belongs the lion’s share of admiration and praise, for they sang the work as if they loved it… When a chorus can take B flat in soprano and A in tenor parts and do it sweetly and without screaming, when the altos become a really melodic part and not merely interior padding, when the basses are sturdy, the soloists zealous and the orchestra (with just a few mental reservations here as to ensemble) fiery and dashing, the critic can surely suspend their fault finding side of his occupation and join in the general plaudits.” (Advertiser, Cecilia Reviews)

The fourth concert was given at the Music Hall on Thursday evening, May 14, 1891 with accompanists Foote, Nevin and Cutter. Miss Gertrude Franklin sang three songs by Margaret: My Lady Jacqueminot, In a Garden, and Night. This was the third time that her works had been part of this group’s concerts-the first was May 10, 1888 and the second January 31, 1889. Hale, in the Post wrote a rave review, at least for him, (though shorter than usual) praising the choir, the soloists, Miss Franklin and Mr. Winch, who stood in on short notice for Mr. Dunham who was ill. Hale also mentioned Mr. Nevin whose piano solos were praised, as was “his setting of Eugene Field’s poem” which was encored repeatedly. He also mentioned that Nevin was making his last appearance in Boston before leaving for Paris “where he proposes to study composition for three or four years.” Hale then recalled the highlights of the season: “These concerts have been of a high order of merit, so far as the work of the singers was concerned. The society also gave an admirable performance of Eve in aid of a charity, and it supplied the chorus in Mr. Lang’s private performance of Parsifal. The concerts of next season will be looked forward to with genuine interest.” (Post, Cecilia Reviews) The Herald review began by calling the concert “full of attractive features… Mr. Lang’s careful work in rehearsals brought forth admirable results.” Whereas Hale had found Schubert’s Miriam’s Song dull, this reviewer called the performance a “grand interpretation. Margaret’s songs were called “graceful,” and Nevins piano pieces “won him the hearty commendation of the audience.” (Herald, Cecilia Reviews)

An extensive article (nine paragraphs) reviewed the Annual meeting as presented by its President George O. G. Coale. Most paragraphs were devoted to the orchestral accompaniment problem, noting that all Boston choral groups suffered, no matter who was conducting-“Whether it is Mr. Lang, or Mr. Zerrahn, or Mr. Nikisch, this orchestra… plays loosely and at random in the accompaniment of chorus or singer.” Coale then made a very interesting observation that countered the recurring comments of some critics concerning Lang’s conducting style. “The players from New York who did such excellent work in the private performance of Parsifal, were unfamiliar with Mr. Lang’s methods, but their respect for the music itself was such and the esprit de corp was so great that they played as though Mr. Lang had been their sole conductor, and in so doing they gave an object lesson.” He then mentioned that for an orchestra of 40 players, each rehearsal would cost $160. “If some of them continually talk and laugh and show a disposition to treat the performance as a colossal joke, would even ten such rehearsals prove to be of benefit?… Accompanying choral numbers is not a task unworthy of their skill. For two years at least oratorios and cantatas have met with shabby treatment at their hands.” (Post, Report of the Annual Meeting)

TWENTIETH APOLLO CLUB SEASON. 1890-1891.

The December 1890 concerts, which opened their twentieth season, included the premier of Margaret’s The Jumblies. The Transcript of December 8 noted that in spite of the stormy night, the audience at the Music Hall was full. “The programme was carried out in a manner that reflects great credit upon all concerned. The parts were well balanced and, and all the numbers were sung with precision and steadiness.” Margaret’s piece was “given with spirit,” but the reviewer didn’t find much humor in the piece, although he did admit that it was very difficult to create humor through “musical tones and harmonies.” (Apollo Reviews) Louis Elson in the Advertiser of December 4 also didn’t find much merriment in the work, and “felt sorry to find a brilliant young composer giving a set of merely correct harmonies to a succession of nonsense verses.” (Scrapbook 1887-1906)

At the April 29 and May 4, 1891 concerts at the Music Hall Mr. G. L. Parker, tenor, sang B. J. Lang’s Nocturne, the Club sang Chadwick’s Song of the Viking with orchestral accompaniment. They ended with Schumann’s The Dreamy Lake and Mendelssohn’s “Bacchus Chorus” from Antigone, the last two pieces with the additional help of “fifty former members of the Club.” (Yearbook, Vol. 10, 15) Also on the program was Chadwick’s The Boy and the Owl. (Program-Johnston Collection)

PARSIFAL.

The Herald “Personal and Social Gossip” page of Sunday, March 22, 1891 announced that Lang’s “private performance of the music of Wagner’s Parsifal, to be given in the Music Hall on Wednesday afternoon and evening, April 15, promises to be one of the most fashionable musical events of an unusually interesting and notable musical winter. The most remarkable array of distinguished soloists are to take part, in addition to a chorus of solo singers, and an extra pleasure will be in hearing the great Seidl orchestra that is coming over from New York for this special occasion…Mr. Lang announces that there can be but this one performance of this remarkable work, and it is further announced that there will be no public advertisement of the event.”(Herald (March 22, 1891): 19) What was this story, if not a public ad-it even gave information on how to obtain a ticket. Philip Hale gave more information: “The restrictions placed upon any performance of this work are for the present still so strict and exclusive that the use of the score is prohibited on any occasion which can be called public in the usual sense of the term. therefore, even a concert reading must be at least technically private-there can be no advertisement or formal preliminary announcement, no tickets may be put on open sale, and all who may attend must be either subscribers or invited guests.” (Herald (January 4, 1903): 36, GB) Hale was writing about Lang’s second Parsifal performance, but the same terms had applied to the first performance twelve years before.

The Lang family did much of the behind-the-scenes preparation. Frances wrote: “Went to Stearns and got 6000 envelopes which will be used in connection with the Parsifal notices etc. Also went to the Printer’s to have a talk about the Parsifal Circulars. Very satisfactory interview. This P.M. stayed at home planning about the circulars…All day long we are writing on envelopes or folding Circulars. Friends come in to help, but it will be a long job. People even come here to ask for Circulars. The tickets are very handsome. Coupons are already printed and this means more work. More than 1000 Parsifal tickets have ben ordered already. Today Maidie timed (for Lel) the 1st. and 2nd. Acts. The 1st. Act was one and a quarter hours, and the 2nd. was 54 minutes…I may go to Providence tomorrow to see about Bells for Parsifal...The Bells from Theodore Thomas’s Orchestra in Chicago have arrived…Lel fortunately sleeps wonderfully, for the detailed work of giving Parsifal is appalling…Lel returned from N.Y. Says the rehearsal was a splendid one…Today Lel had three rehearsals.  (Day of performance) Mrs. Gardner came to the house to copy the cuts…When Lel walked on to the stage he was received with wild enthusiasm…[Afterwards] Such a scene of excitement…Afterwards we went to Young’s Hotel…The Homers gave Lel a most beautiful silver cup.” (Diary 2, Spring 1891)

SALEM ORATORIO SOCIETY.

Carl Zerrahn was the conductor of the Salem Oratorio Society which, in addition to their own concerts, sponsored other concerts as well. On Wednesday evening, April 22, 1891, the choir presented a concert by The Ladies Vocal Club of Salem which was conducted at that time by Arthur Foote. Among the assisting artists were B. J. Lang, W. S. Fenollosa (accompanist for the oratorio Society) and Joshua Phippen. With the addition of Foote, this made possible some eight-hand pieces that Lang often programmed in Boston. For this concert they performed the first movement of Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony and Les Contrastes by Moscheles. Lang and Foote played the Variations on a Theme from Beethoven by St. Saens.This concert was part of the “Popular Concerts held at the Cadet Amory Hall in Salem.” (Program from HMA Collection)

LANG’S MAGIC AS AN ORGANIST AT KING’S CHAPEL. VESPERS.

Lang had now established himself at King’s Chapel, and one aspect of the music program that he had created was Sunday Afternoon Vesper Services. Arthur Foote attended many of them and wrote of his impressions. “Many will remember the beautiful Sunday evenings at King’s Chapel; he would play in the dark church for an hour or so, before each piece leaning over the edge of the choir and telling us what it was to be. In those evenings was seen a characteristic trait, -the keen perception of how surroundings and conditions affect our enjoyment of music. The dark church, with only a spot of light at the organ desk, the absolute quiet, the churchly feeling, all helped to create a mental picture that made the listener doubly sensitive. A curious manifestation of this feeling for fitness was shown in his various experiments in programmes that should not rattle, or rustle, or require leaves should be turned over at inopportune times (Transcript, May 1, 1909). Another source describes these recitals as follows: “Mr. Lang has provided many musical treats of his own motion for the musical people of Boston. Among the chiefs of these are the Sunday evening organ recitals at the Chapel. Here his dusky neophyte inspects your card of invitation at the door, and you enter the dim interior, only lit by the veiled burners of the organ-loft, the pews peopled with shadowy, silent forms which might be Dr. Caner, Vassal, and the other departed worthies who once filled them in the flesh. You find your way to some quiet corner and become one of the ghostly, expectant company. All at once the air quivers and throbs with the opening of a mighty fugue of the greatest contrapuntal master, and, whether in the body or out of the body you cannot tell, you are swept up into the heavens, passing from circle to circle at the will of one and another of the Immortals as they appeal or soothe or thrill through the commanding interpretation of those skilful fingers. Such an hour is scarcely possible elsewhere on this side of the Atlantic. The hearers melt away in the gloom when it is over, and as they pass into familiar Sunday evening streets of loiterers and shopgirls, smug churchgoers and holiday-makers, they seem to themselves ghosts again in a sordid, unfamiliar world.” (Elizabeth Porter Gould Collection, HMA) Not usually done for church services, the Vespers were “reviewed” and the repertoire announced. “The series of vespers that is going on at King’s  Chapel is the most acceptable Mr. Lang has yet brought out. Mozart’s seventh mass will be sung this afternnon.” (Herald (February 16, 1902): 30, GB) In 1907, a writer for the Society Section of the Herald wrote about how the Society parishioners of King’s Chapel were well satisfied with Mr. Lang’s presentations “which have a unique distinction and charm. One’s card of invitation admits [you] to the dimly lighted chapel, where Mr. Lang’s wonderful organ music is heard at its best.” (Herald (January 27, 1907): 35, GB) The Prodigal Son was to be featured at the next Vesper-no composer was given. As Lang was investigating and programming French composers at this time, could this be Debussy’s Prix de Rome?

TRIP TO EUROPE. 1891.

The Post Card shows a few passengers on board, but many still milling around. The building to the right was the “Landing Post Office.” Johnston Collection.

B. J. and Margaret spent part of the summer of 1891 in Europe. Their return voyage was from Liverpool on September 4, 1891. The passenger list of the S.S. UMBRIA  seems to show that Margaret shared a room with Miss Marien Otis who was possibly a Lang pupil. “Mr. B. J. Lang and Miss Margaret Lang were the recipients of much attention in musical and social circles in Paris before leaving for Bayreuth.” (Herald “Personal and Social Gossip,” (August 9, 1891): 23, GB)

For this trip B. J. applied for a new Passport which also included a “daughter,” “Margaret R. Lamb (sic), aged 20 (sic) years.” Two mistakes within one line- the last name is clearly “Lamb” instead of “Lang,” and the age should have been 23 instead of 20. And, strangely B. J.s birthday was listed as December 28, 1840 instead of 1837.

The specific description items of B. J. were: STATURE- 5 feet, 8 inches; FOREHEAD- medium; EYES- blue; NOSE- straight; MOUTH- medium; CHIN- full beard; HAIR- partly bald; COMPLEXION- fair; FACE- oval; AGE- 51 (sic). Just under this information is Lang’s signature swearing as to the truth of all the information.

>>> Part: 1   2   3   4 

CHAPTER 04. BJL: MIDDLE YEARS: 1881-1891: SC. TOPICS. WC.(P3)

LANG ASSISTS.

In addition to producing his own concerts, Lang continued to be an assisting artist with other groups. On Monday February 1, 1886 Lang and Mr. Fritz Giese, cellist were presented as the 7th. Monday Afternoon Chamber Concert at Bumstead Hall. Lang played the solo part in Edward Napravnik’s Pianoforte Concerto Symphonique with the orchestral part played by G. W. Sumner. Then came three piano solos including Lang’s own Spinning Song in A Major, and the concert ended with Mendelssohn’s Sonata for Pianoforte and Violoncello in D Major, Opus 58. In the 1886-87 season of six concerts given at Chickering Hall by the Kneisel Quartet, Lang played the first Boston performance of the Brahms Trio Opus 40. Lang was premiering a lot of Brahms. He had given the Boston premier of the Brahms cantata for male voices Rinaldo with the Apollo Club on December 15, 1883; then been soloist in the Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Boston Symphony under George Henschel on March 15, 1884. He also was to give the Boston premiers of the Brahms German Requiem with the Cecilia Society in December 1888 and Nanie on May 22, 1890.

LANG’S SUPPORT OF CHADWICK.

Illustration below from a newspaper supplement Musical Boston, 1882.

Lang continued to promote Chadwick’s compositions. Two of Chadwick’s recently composed songs were part of the February 4, 1886 Music Hall concert given by The Cecilia. Sweet Wind That Blows and Before the Dawn (No. 3 of Three Love Songs, Op. 8 published in 1882) were sung by the tenor Mr. James H. Ricketson [a member of the Club]-(Yearbook, Vol. 3, 52) with Lang as the accompanist. A review in the Evening Transcript of February 5, 1886 stated: “Mr. Chadwick’s songs… were heard with manifest interest, if not delight.” (Faucett, Bio-Bib., 194 and 195) Before the Dawn achieved enough popularity that it was orchestrated by Val Coffey, and published by Luck’s Music Library. (Op. cit., 200)

Another world premier given by the Apollo Club was the performance on February 23, 1887 of Chadwick’s humorous song, Jabberwocky with a text by Lewis Carroll, and the dedication on the printed copy (1886) was “To Our Society [Apollo Club of Boston].” The Club repeated this piece on December 10, 1887 and again March 20, 1895. The review in the Musical Herald of April 1887 said: “The humor of Mr. Chadwick’s Jabberwocky cannot be overstated. It is a fine instance of a classical composer at play, and belongs to the healthy English school,” while the Evening Herald noted: “… humorous music set to humorous words… The music is dramatically expressive of the poem throughout, and the grand rhetorical figures of the verses are brought out with redoubled splendor.” (Faucett, Bio-Bib., 162) Rupert Hughes described the work as having “much rich humor of the college glee-club sort. There is an irresistibly humorous episode where the instrument of destruction goes ‘snicker snack,’ and a fine hilarity at ‘O crablouse day callooh, callay, he chortled in his joy.’” (Hughes, Am. Com.,  212) The work was published in 1886 by Schmidt as part of the “Apollo Club Collection of Music for Male Voices” which by that time, 1886, had 16 pieces listed including two by Arthur Foote, The Farewell of Hiawatha and If Doughty Deeds. A note at the bottom of the front page stated, “Pianoforte accompaniments furnished separately.”

LISZT DEATH AND FUNERAL.

During the summer of 1886 the Lang was were again in Europe- he sent a notice to his piano pupils saying that he would be back by Monday, September 20. Once in Munich he was reunited with the rest of the family who had spent the winter/spring there to enable Frances’s recovery and Margaret’s studies. During that time Liszt died, and B. J. was considered such a good friend to Liszt, that he was part of the funeral.Frances wrote to her mother details of the event: “Liszt died on Aug. 4th. The funeral was on the 6th. On arriving at Bayreuth Lel ordered a wreath which he sent with the words;- ‘From an American musician.’ He went to see Liszt’s valet Michael…[He] recognized Lel at once and said,- ‘You know the last writing that the great man ever wrote was on the photograph that he gave to you Mr. Lang.’ He then said,-‘You thought much of him I know, therefore I wish to give you something that you will be glad to have,’ and he brought forth alock of Liszt’s beautiful grey hair…Lel was pleased beyond measure. They had further talk.” (Diary 2 August 1886) After this Lang went to the Wagner house and spoke with Frau Wagner, Daniela, Eva and Siegfried who were ” decorating the bier….After speaking with some of the men of the Liszt Verein, he was approached and invited to be one of the pall-bearers. When the line was formed there were eight on each side of the catafalque, each one holding a torch. Lel wore black gloves, and his black skull-cap. Lel was the only American representative.” There was no music at the graveside. “All the great artists and musicians were present.” (Ibid)

Clara Doria, the singer (wife of the Boston lawyer Henry Rogers) wrote of her own trip in 1886 which included attending the Bayreuth Festival. “Next day, from our windows, we watched a long and impressive funeral procession, in which we recognized many distinguished musicians-each one having a lighted torch though it was broad daylight. One of the first in the procession to be recognized by us was our fellow Bostonian, B. J. Lang, who was one of the pall bearers, and who, like the rest, was bearing his torch with due solemnity.” She then continued with a observation which reflects Lang’s high standing in at least her musical world of Boston. “How natural it seemed to us that, when any unusual or exciting event was taking place, B. J. Lang should be there. It was the funeral procession bearing the remains of that great artist, Franz Liszt, who had but a few days ago passed on to the beyond.” (Rogers, Two Lives, 166) The funeral was on August 3rd. in Bayreuth.

1886 B. J. sent a notice to his piano pupils saying that he would be back by Monday, September 20. He arrived on September 20 in NYC on the UMBRIA from Liverpool to New York with his last address being Manchester, England. He was alone.

Johnston Collection.

 

SIXTEENTH APOLLO CLUB SEASON. 1886-1887.

On December 21, 1886, the Society gave its ONE-HUNDRETH concert and featured the first American performance of Rinaldo by Brahms. The critic Ticknor in the Herald of December 16th. felt-“If ever Brahms showed a cold, phlegmatic side to his nature he did it in the beginning of Rinaldo. The cantata would have been more warm-blooded had Max Bruch had a hand in its production.” (Johnson, 87)

Arthur Reed, the founding secretary mentioned that “it was a rather odd coincidence that the club was formed in seventy-one; that we now have seventy-one active members, and that every one of that number was present at the one hundredth concert given last evening.” (Syford, 165) Reed also thanked Lang who had conducted these one-hundred concerts, “barring accidents, such as the occasional breaking of an arm or a neck, or some other portion of his anatomy; but at such times it has been found he could easily conduct the Club with A Foote.” (Osborne, 33) Mention was made that one of the founding members, and also a member of the original Chickering Club, had moved to San Francisco and there founded a singing group based on the Apollo Club. Reed also claimed that both the Boylston and Arlington Clubs of Boston had been founded in emulation of the Apollo model, and that Australian visitors from Melbourne modeled their choir on the Apollo and that a group in Sydney had in turn copied them!

The third concert of the sixteenth season (and 101st. in the group’s history) was given in the “presence of one of the largest and as results proved one of the most favored audiences of the season. It was the freshest concert that any vocal club has given in this city for many a day…It was gratifying to find the American composer so well represented in this concert in the compositions of Messrs. Whiting, Thayer and Chadwick.” (Home Journal, undated and unsigned review) The Whiting piece was the world premier of Spring Greeting that was described as having “not a commonplace passage in the entire work. The flow of the melody is easy, the construction is careful and elaborate, the scoring is rich.” (Ibid) Tens lines of praise followed, ending with: “And all these we hardly need say are the distinguishing qualities of a masterpiece.” (Ibid) Chadwick’s Jabberwocky was deemed lacking in “any real beauty or interest,” and the composer “evidently does not understand the art of writing for voices.” (Ibid) Whiting’s March of the Monks of Bangor was praised as was Lang’s “interpretations that seemed more than ever sympathetic, and even affectionate.” (Ibid) The four soloists were drawn from the choir and Mr. Preston was the accompanist. For once “the orchestra played admirably.” (Ibid) C. L. Capen probably wrote this review. The Journal also reported a crowded hall filled with “a brilliant audience, and one which thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the work of the organization.” (Journal (February 17, 1887): 3, GB) There was an orchestra which accompanied Whiting’s “March of the Monk’s of Bangor, soloed in the “Introduction” to Bruch’s Loreley, and accompanied  the main work, Grieg’s Discovery.” Lang and the choir were lauded for being “perfect in attack, shading and expression.” (Ibid) The orchestra was also used to accompany the assisting artist, Miss Anna L. Kelly who “sang with good taste and execution, and was warmly received.” (Ibid)

Soloists had usually been selected from the choir, but at the 105th. concert given early in 1887, the soloist was Adele aus der Ohe, pianist. The Traveler writer was amazed that “the Music Hall contained four thousand people and was full a half hour before the concert began. All seats are rush seats. Where else could there be such interest in music?” (Baker, 11) [4,000 is excessive-Dwight estimated 3,000 before it opened (Dwight (April 10, 1852): 3) and reported that about 2,500 attended the first public concert (Dwight (November 27, 1852): 61)

In reviewing a solo concert sung by Mr. Arthur W. Thayer, “a bass vocalist of more than common merit,” the reviewer mentioned that at the last Apollo Concerts [February 16 and 23] the group had sung his Sea Greeting which had been “composed for” the group, and, of which, “everybody spoke so well.” (Daily Advertiser (March 2, 1887): 4, GB) No copy of this piece is listed in WorldCat.

The fifth concert was on Wednesday, April 27th. and the house was full for “a delightful and enlivening concert” which, however “was a shade too long.” (Advertiser (April 28, 1887): 1, GB) The soloists were drawn from the choir and the assisting artist was a the soprano. The accompanists were Tucker and Fenollosa, but Lang accompanied his own song(s). The Advertiser  hardly mentioned the repertoire ! The Journal gave more specifics after beginning with the fact that “a very large gathering, completely filled the auditorium” for “a most enjoyable programme” the ranged “from jocular to solemn.” (Journal (April 28, 1887): 3, GB) “The most attractive selections were the  Heinz von Stein, by Arthur W. Thayer, with its mock climax…the inspiring dance in Dudley Buck’s chorus of Spirits and Hours [First sung by the Apollo Club, February 1885]…the Song of the Silent Land, by Arthur Foote, with its pervading deep religious feeling [first sung by the alumni at the 250th. Anniversary of Harvard, Spring 1886];” the Foote piece was a Boston premier. (Ibid) Neither review mentioned the title nor performer of Lang’s solo, Nocturne for tenor solo which had been premiered at an Apollo Club concert in the spring of 1885. Also not mentioned was the Boston/World premier of Foote’s Calvary Song. The concert was repeated the next Monday evening, May 2.

ELEVENTH CECILIA SEASON. 1886-1887.

The Boston premier of Liszt’s oratorio Legend of St. Elizabeth, Opus 153 was presented on November 18, 1886 at Boylston Hall. (Johnson, First, 220) An orchestra accompanied, Arthur Foote was the organist and there were six soloists, none of whom were chorus members. A. Parker Browne, President of the choir, in his Eleventh Annual Report of June 1887 praised Lang: “Mr. Lang has been throughout this season the same hard-working, thoughtful, reliable man we have known him to be since we were a club. His capacity for work was never better shown than in the preparation of the St. Elizabeth at the beginning of the season, and the Damnation of Faust at its close, each being prepared in surprisingly short time. Let us all show him that we fully appreciate his value to us, and hope for an indefinite continuance of his services.” (Page 3 of the Report, BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 5) Of St. Elizabeth the Evening Transcript said: “The performance was one of the finest the Cecilia has yet given. The chorus sang grandly… and the music presents many difficulties both of the technical and of the highest artistic sort… But they were triumphantly overcome, with apparent ease, with precision and grace.” The reviewer said of the two soloists, Miss Louise Elliott and Mr. Gio. B. Ronconi: “We cannot remember when the Cecilia has had two such good and satisfying leading solo singers… The orchestra, although small, played capitally. A word of hearty commendation should also be given the new sounding-board; it doubled the effectiveness of the performance.” The Home Journal also commended the choir and the two main soloists. “Miss Elliott did excellently well in a very trying and elaborate part,” while Sig. Ronconi “sang the taxing and intricate part of Ludwig in a manner that deserves great commendation for his most self-forgetting devotion to his music.” (Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2)

January 27, 1887 heard the Boston premier with orchestral accompaniment of Mendelssohn’s Music to Racine’s Athalia, Op. 74 given at the Music Hall with Bernhard Listemann’s Boston Orchestra Club [a group of amateur players] with Howard M. Ticknor as the narrator (Johnson, 254). In an extensive, positive review the Advertiser praised the choir, the soloists, and then spend some time on the Boston Orchestral Club. “It was an odd sight for Music Hall, that of the many young ladies who were among the string players of the Orchestral Club, and it was a good deal to expect of young players that they should hold their attention and their strength through the strain of so long and responsible a performance… Mr. Listermann led the first violins and Mr. Van Raalte the seconds… Mr. Listemann conducted the overture, Mr. Lang taking the harp part at the piano; but Mr. Lang led the Priests’ March, which was played with all the nervous energy and élan of a lot of young players who have not begun to lose anything of their enthusiasm… Altogether, then, last evening deserves to be brilliantly entered on the register of local musical annals.” The Post also noted that the Orchestral Club was taking part “in an effort somewhat more ambitious and more important than anything heretofore essayed by it. The result must certainly have been very satisfactory to the club and its friends, and to all who are interested in the cause of good music.” This seems to be painting a very positive picture of a decision that was most probably made on financial grounds, rather than artistic grounds. The Traveler questioned the use of an amateur orchestra, saying that by doing so, “the Cecilia immediately lowers its standard of performance.” However, the Evening Transcript wrote: “The performance last evening was very good on the part of the orchestra, absolutely superb on the part of the chorus… The orchestra, composed for the most part of amateurs, did very well; indeed, we have not heard such steady good playing from the Orchestral Club at any of its own concerts… The solo parts were excellently sung, Mrs. Whitney renewing the fine impression she has made on the few occasions has been heard in public here. She was well seconded, too, by Mrs. Ipsen and Miss McLain.” (Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2)

The third concert of the season was on Thursday evening March 17, 1887 at the Music Hall with full orchestra performing a repeat of The Spectre’s Bride by Dvorak. The Advertiser wrote: “The public was indebted for its hearing of this original, romantic and fascinating work to the enterprise of the Cecilia, and again the presentation was adequate, delightful and honorable… The performance can be commended very highly.” The choir, orchestra and soloists were all praised, and it was noted that the soprano, Miss Kehew, who had been ill and not able to sing the part last year, had her chance at this concert. “Her unusually full and noble voice is always heard with pleasure for its own sake, and we were further gratified to hear her sing with purer and warmer style than usual, although she was not always exact in intonation.” The Evening Transcript felt this second performance of the work showed it to be “finer and more full of genius than ever. No more thoroughly original work has been given here for years.” This review also praised the choir and soloists, also noting that Miss Kehew”s “intonation is still not always unimpeachable.” Some fault was found with the orchestra whose contribution ranged from playing “fairly well” to “at times very well.” The writer hoped that the time would come when “they can afford to have more orchestral rehearsals and larger orchestras” so that the orchestral playing would be “on a level with the work done by the choir. When that time comes there will be little left to wish for, except great solo singers, and these do not grow on every bush.” (Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2)

A “special supplementary” performance of the the Damnation of Faust was given at the Music Hall on Wednesday evening, May 25, 1887 “with the assistance of Mr. and Mrs. Georg Henschel and other artists and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The Male Chorus will be enlarged for this Concert to the number of one hundred and fifty. Tickets, with Reserved Seats, at $1.50 and $1.00, will be for sale at the box office of Music Hall on and after Monday, May 16.” On the night Mr. Henschel was ill and his part sung by Mr. Clarence E. Hay who had done the part at the first Cecilia performance of this piece. The Journal noted: “The hall was completely filled, while in spite of the sultryness indoors, as well as out, there was the closest attention throughout the evening… The club sang with excellent effect, earnestly and vigorously, and with confidence from the first… Mrs. Georg Henschel’s pure, sweet voice served admirably to sustain the part of Marguerite, and her singing was charming… Mr. Lang conducted, while the instrumental music was given by the Symphony Orchestra.” The lengthy review in the Transcript noted that this was only the second time that the Cecilia had sold tickets to one of their concerts directly to the public, “the first occasion being a performance of Schumann’s Faust in Tremont Temple some years ago.” The choral work was praised for its “unbounded enthusiasm. The result was admirable, the chorus singing with a finish, accuracy and fire that left little to be desired.” The soloists were also praised in this review, “and the heart of the whole performance was Mr. Lang himself; his magnetic influence was everywhere felt. It was a superb piece of conducting from beginning to end.” Howard Malcolm Ticknor’s spent three-quarters of his review noting that the availability of this concert to the general public was very unusual. In his last paragraph he complimented the orchestra but didn’t mention the soloists. He ended: “Mr. Lang conducted steadily and controlling, as usual, and a magnificent audience filled the house almost to overflowing.” [Ticknor had been a singing member of the Apollo Club since 1880] The Courier began its review saying that the choir and orchestra “did splendidly.” The review ended: “Boston owes an incalculable debt to this society and we cordially return our thanks for this fiery subject, given during the hot weather.” (Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2)

PIANOFORTE CONCERTO CONCERTS-FIRST SERIES-1887.

On March 1, 1887 Lang presented the first of four “Pianoforte-Concerto Concerts” at Chickering Hall. For these 2:30PM afternoon concerts B. J. conducted and featured a variety of vocal and instrumental soloists. For the first concert, four soloists were used. “The infrequent opportunities afforded to pianists to play with an orchestra have led Mr. Lang to devote these four concerts to a hearing of performers of creditable ability in standard concertos for piano and orchestra, and for this purpose he has engaged an orchestra of 35 picked musicians, and assumed the conductor’s baton for the more successful carrying out of his plan. In choosing the comparatively small auditorium of Chickering Hall for these events a gain has certainly been made, as the piano his given prominence not attainable in the halls more commonly used for such performances.” (Herald (March 2, 1887): 3, GB)  Mr. J. T. Whelan played the Beethoven Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Mr. S. H. Gerrish played Raff’s Concerto Op. 135, and Mrs. Elizabeth Marsh played Chopin’s Krakowiak Op. 14. Mr. Whelan’s playing “was altogether delightful” while Mr. Gerrish “had the breath and vigor of style demanded by the” Raff, and Mrs. Marsh played “with spendidly brilliant effect.” (Ibid)  “Tickets were placed by private subscription,” and for the first concert there was “a full audience of exceptionally fine quality.” (Advertiser (March 2, 1887): 4, GB)  George Whitefield Chadwick noted in his Diary that during the 1887-88 season “B. J. Lang gave four concerts of concertos which his pupils played. He made them sell (and buy) the tickets too!” (Chadwick, Unpublished Memoirs)

At the second concert on March 8 Ethelbert Nevin was the soloist in Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Mrs. Alma Faunce played Chopin’s Concerto No. 2, Mr. S. W. Jamison played Weber’s Concertstuck Op. 79 and the program also included songs by Ivan Morawski. (Herald (March 6, 1887): 12).

At the third concert on Tuesday afternoon March 22 which was performed before “another large audience” which “again proved the popularity of these eminently well planned” events. Miss Mary Webster opened with Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54 in which she displayed a full appreciation of its many beauties, and her clear limpid touch and the musical feeling shown in her playing gave just the effect demanded for an enjoyable performance of this composition.” Mr. B. L. Whelpley played the Grand Fantasie on Polish Airs, Op. 13 by Chopin. It was “the most notable number of the afternoon, the brilliant interpretation of the pianoforte score creating quite a sensation, and winning for the pianist an enthusiastic recognition of his thoroughly good artistic work.” The Mendelssohn Piano Concerto No. 2 in D minor was played next by Miss Annie Fisher whose performance only “showed evidence of a very conscientious study of the score.” Mr. J. H Richertson, tenor, also appeared. (Herald (March 23, 1887): 3, GB)

For the fourth concert W. S. Fenollosa played Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor; Harry Fay played Mendelssohn’s Serenade and Allegro Giojoso, Op. 43 giving it “a clear and artistic interpretation; while Joshua Phippen played the Boston premier of Saint-Saens Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 17. “The final allegro was given with admirable dash and fine expression, creating quite a sensation.” Unfortunately the orchestra was not sensational. “The orchestral work of the afternoon was of somewhat uneven character, and the horn player was peculiarly unfortunate in the introduction to the Saint-Saens concerto.” (Herald (March 30, 1887): 2, GB)

PIANOFORTE CONCERTO CONCERTS-SECOND SERIES-1888.

The first concert of this second series was given April 3, 1888 at Chickering Hall where “nearly every seat was occupied, the audience representing the best musical circles of the city.” An orchestra of c. 30 accompanied and three major works were featured. The first was the Mozart Concerto No. 4 in B-flat Major played by Mrs. Elizabeth Marsh. “Mrs. Marsh’s abilities fitted the Mozart concerto with equal success, and her graceful playing gave the most enjoyable results, especially in the opening allegro and the andante. There is a fascinating clearness and purity in her tone.” The second work was the Andante, Splando and Polonasise, Op. 22 by Chopin played by Mr. Harry Fay; “his general style lacking something of the characteristics demanded for the best interpretation of this composer.” The concert ended with Mr. B. L. Whelpley playing the American premier of MacDowell’s Concerto in A minor, Op. 15, which “proved a work of grand proportions and well worthy the study demanded for its performance.” A detailed analysis of the work followed. “The masterly fashion in which Mr. Whelpley played the piano score fairly carried the audience by storm, and the utmost enthusiasm was shown in the applause which rewarded his performance.” (Herald (April 4, 1888): 4, GB) The Daily Advertiser wrote: “The concert of Tuesday was successful in every respect.” The orchestra was praised; Mrs. Marsh “showed excellent taste in her interpretation of the Mozart Concerto No. 4 in B Flat;” Mr. Fay played in a thoroughly artistic manner;” Mr. Whelpley was “the possessor of a broad musical comprehension as well as a technique of great excellence.” (Daily Advertiser (April 5, 1888): 4, GB)

The second concert was on April 10, 1888. Here Lang included a soloist who was not his pupil. Mme. Eugenie de Roode played Rubinstein’s Concerto No. 4, Op. 70, and “she had not played a dozen measures of the concerto before she had established her standing with the audience…her technical gifts are supplemented by a genuine musical nature.” Mme. Roode was from New York and making her Boston debut. Mr. George W. Sumner played the Boston premier of the Introduction and Allegro, Op. 49 by Godard, and he was “congratulated upon having sufficient courage to step outside the ruts of the classical routine in his selection.” He played the work with “magnificent brilliancy and fire.” Mr. Joshua Phippen presented the Boston premier of St.-Saens Concerto In D Major, op. 17. “The final allegro was played with fine effect, and gained Mr. Phippen a hearty recognition of his meritorious work.” (Herald (April 11, 1888): 5, GB)

The third concert in this series was given on April 17, 1888. The first concerto was the Bronsart in F Sharp minor played by Mr. H. G. Tucker. Lang had played the  Boston premier with the HMA Orchestra on March 25, 1880. “Mr. Tucker has never had a greater success than in his playing on this occasion, and the applause which rewarded him at the close of the concerto was worthily bestowed.” (Herald (April 18,1888): 5, GB) Miss Caroline Pond played the C Major Concerto by Brassin, and her performance revealed her “abilities to excellent advantage and showed her to be a player of exceptionally good taste…The performance of this tuneful work gained Miss Pond an enthusiastic recognition of her skill and intelligence.” (Ibid) Brassin (24 June 1840-17 May 1884) was born in France, had much of his career in Belgium, and was known for his piano transcriptions of excerpts from Wagner’s operas which may have been the common interest that brought him to Lang’s notice. He also wrote two piano concertos. How did Lang hear of these? The high point of the concert was the playing by Mr. Alfred Hollins, the blind pianist from London, of the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5  “which caused quite a sensation, and gained him a grand ovation upon its conclusion.” (Ibid)

A most interesting reference was made to this concert in a book about the life and career of Anna Steiniger Clark. She mentions that her husband, Frederic Horace Clark, a Boston pianist whom she had married in 1882 “was now interested greatly in teaching…Mr. Long [i.e. B. J. Lang] was then the most popular and superficial teacher of ‘piano’ in Boston, and he had instituted some concerts in which his pupils played concertos with an orchestra led by their teacher. I had attended some of these Concerto Concerts, to find them overcrowded, rank with careless playing and the results of inadequate teaching and rushing with the noise of boisterous applause! Mr. Long had sent me a condescending invitation to play in one of these, his pupils’ concerts, little knowing, of course, the grave nature of such an insult. Mr. Long had no more idea of purism in art-activity, to say nothing whatever of organizing, unified activity, than had Mr. Twister [Otto Dresel] and Mr. Barking [maybe J. C. D. Parker]. But to them was not given the opportunity of expressing their ignorance in so unconsciously grotesque a manner of insult as this which Mr. Long stumbles! […] First had played Mr. Lucker [probably Hiram Tucker], one of the most brusque and graceless of Mr. Long’s followers; then came the frantic applause which was enough to offset, with its chaos, the confusion which Mr. Lucher had displayed. Then Mr. Long accompanied (on the pianoforte) some songs, displaying eccentric and detached thrusts of efforts and scattered acts, with bland arrogance, blissful in ignorance of the musical spirit of art-act! These pretty little deceits of Mr. Long his admirers never tired of lauding. After the songs, a blind man from London played Beethoven’s Fifth Concerto [Alfred Hollins].”(von Styne, 344-347, provided by James Methuen-Campbell) Other Boston musicians who felt their critical barbs were the BSO conductors, Gericke and Nikisch, and the pianist, Ernst Perabo. Mr. Methuen-Campbell mentioned that “Clark and his wife had hardly a good work to say about any of the musicians they met.” (Methuen-Campbell E-mail May 22, 2011)

Anna Steiniger had been born in Magdeburg, Prussia and studied with Deppe-a classmate had been the American Miss Amy Fay. Her first European tour was in 1878, and several tours followed. During a German tour she met her husband who was then a student in Berlin. (Jones, 160) “In 1882 she married Frederic Clark of Boston, an accomplished musician and teacher and the discoverer of many educational principles. The two together carry on a music school in Cambridge, Mass. Mrs. Steiniger-Clark has played in concerts extensively throughout this Country and in Europe, and being still young is likely to be heard much more in the future. Their public work at the present time, consists mainly in Literary Institutions, and private recitals before audiences of from one to four persons, for educational purposes. Mr. Clark is a very graceful, intelligent and artistic pianist. His work has been praised by the most careful critics in Boston and in other parts of the World.” (Mathews, 705) In 1885 she played Beethoven’s Concerto in G minor with the BSO under Gericke, and the next season she toured the mid-West with the BSO, again conducted by Gericke. (Jones, op. cit.) Mr. Methuen-Campbell’s comment that they “were perhaps a bit crazy, though she was a very talented and accomplished pianist” seems an appropriate summary. (Methuen-Campbell, Op. cit.)

The fourth concert was held on April 24 and included Hiller’s Concerto Opus 69 in F Sharp minor played by Arthur Foote (Lang had played the Boston premier in 1875),  the Rhapsodie d’Auvergne Opus 73 by Saint-Saens played by Miss Marian Mosher (Lang had played the Boston premier in 1886), Grieg’s Concerto Opus 16 in A Minor played by Mr. Jas. T. Whelan and Mendelssohn’s Concerto Opus 64 in E Minor for violin played by Miss Edith Christie.

It would seem that Lang continued to support his pupils by using them whenever appropriate. Two years later Mrs. Marsh appeared at the April 30, 1890 concert of the Apollo Club as the accompanist for the assisting artist, the violinist Miss Maud Powell. (Program-Johnston Collection)

PIANOFORTE CONCERTO CONCERTS-THIRD SERIES-1890.

In March 1890 Lang presented the third in his series of “Concerto Concerts” in Chickering Hall. (He skipped the spring of 1889) “The pianists were accompanied by as large a part of the Symphony Orchestra as could be conveniently accommodated on the stage.” (Advertiser (March 11, 1892): 4, GB). Early in the month Mr. Tucker played the American or Boston premier of the Concerto in G Minor Opus 15 by Sgambati. “His style of playing is well suited to the composition. In the broad and massive effects his octaves and chords showed well. The more intricate running passages were played with a crispness and brilliancy of tone rarely excelled. “(Ibid) Mrs. March played Mendelssohn’s Capriccio Brilliant Opus 22. “While Mrs. Marsh is much above the average pianist in musical conception, her technique is scarcely equal to the demands made upon it by a composition requiring so much dash and brilliancy as the Capriccio. Her touch is very graceful and dainty, but even in places where those qualities would have shown to good advantage, their effect was quite destroyed by the power of the orchestra.” (Ibid)  Mr. Phippen played Chopin’s Concerto No. 2 in F Minor which was “in every respect a most artistic performance.” (Ibid)

For the second concert on March 25th. Mr. Whelply played the Boston premier (Herald (March 2, 1890): 9, GB) of Dvorak’s Concerto No. 2 in B minor; Mr. Foote played Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor; and Miss Louise May played Beethoven’s Concerto No. 3 in G Minor Opus 37. (Hale Crit., Vol. 1)

The Globe headline for the third concert was: “A Large Audience Listens to Piano Solos in Chickering Hall.” (Globe (April 2, 1890): 2) The review continued: “The third and last of B. J. Lang’s series of pianoforte concerts was given in Chickering Hall yesterday afternoon, [April 1, 1890] and, as at previous concerts, the attendance was limited only by the capacity of the hall. The programme was of unusual interest and the frequent hearty applause testified to the appreciative attention given the several numbers.” (Ibid) The Boston premier of Mozart’s Concerto No. 3, for Three Pianos, was played by Miss Ann Gilbreth, G. W. Sumner and Ethelbert Nevin, “three competent pianists, with an excellent orchestra.”(Herald (April 2, 1890): 4, GB) Arthur Mayo’s performance of Mendelssohn’s Concerto No. 2 showed him “to be a player of exceptionally good parts,” while an “allegro giojozo” of Sterndale Bennett performed by Mr. Harry Fay “was full of charm for the most critical.” The Schumann Concerto, played Miss Minnie A. Stowell “with rare intelligence, fine taste and feeling.” (Ibid)

LANG LEAVES SOUTH CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH.

In 1887 the South Congregational Church merged with the Hollis Street Church. We do not have the South Congregational records for this period as they were destroyed by fire. (Faucett, GWC, Life and Music Pride,75) However George W. Chadwick did note various details as he was effected by this merger being the current organist of the Hollis Street Church. “Lang was a man known for high standards and precious little patience, and the church merger seemingly provided a convenient excuse for Lang’s firing, which had long been sought.” (Ibid) When Chadwick inquired about the elder musicians’s future prospects at South Congregational Church in the wake of the merger, the hiring committee stated curtly, ‘Mr. Lang will not be considered.’” (Ibid) However, some were unhappy-Lang’s pupil Arthur Foote wrote in his Autobiography: “I have never heard any church service with a quartet choir to equal the sort of thing they gave you at Sunday afternoon Vespers.” (Foote, Auto., 34) It certainly helped that Lang had such fine singers as Mrs. Julia Houston West, Mrs. Rametti, William Winch and John Winch. (Ibid) “Lang was not pliable on matters of repertoire, and he exuded the sort of gravitas that likely would not be welcome in a family church.” (Faucett, Op. cit., 76). Chadwick was hired and stayed for six years and then suffered the same humiliation of being fired. “Amid circumstances that remain unclear, Chadwick was forced to resign on March 22, 1893. at which time he reported with evident satisfaction, ‘The entire choir did the same.’ Chadwick was shocked at his dismissal, for he fully believed that administrators and parishioners alike were satisfied with his artistic results. It is true, however, that several of the church’s soloists [several: he only had four didn’t he?]-each politically connected to the church’s leadership-did not see eye-to-eye with his artistic methods and standards.” (Ibid) This certainly sounds like the same problem that Lang had- what should be the  repertoire and who should ddecide it. Both men quickly moved on-Lang to King’s Chapel, and Chadwick to Second Universalist Church on Columbus Avenue where he had “a better organ, a better quartet, the same salary ($1,000) and no extra services.” (Ibid)

TWELVETH CECILIA SEASON. 1887-1888.

The first concert was given on Thursday evening, December 1, 1887 at the Music Hall with full orchestra; it was the group’s 65th. concert, and the repertoire was Scenes from Faust by Schumann and Mendelssohn’s First Walpurgis Night. Richard Heard in the Post noted how Schumann’s instrumental character of writing made it difficult for the chorus to do their parts, and this led to “a veiled, cloudy tone, or by a deviation from the pitch.” The two main soloists were praised, but no mention was made of the other eight soloists. The performance by the choir of the Mendelssohn was praised saying: “The singing was smoother and much surer and the body of tone was much larger; in fact, in many places it was more than double in volume to what it was in the Faust music, and established for the first time a true balance between itself and the orchestra.” The Gazette found the Schumann “dull and dreary. In addition, but little of this music is well adapted to the voice, and it is exceedingly trying to artists who may undertake to interpret it.” This reviewer also noted lapses in intonation and also noted: “The second part of the programme presented Mendelssohn’s Walpurgis Night, in which the chorus achieved so much better results than attended its singing in Faust that it was not easy to believe it was the same body. The intonation was purer, and there were better spirit, precision, smoothness and steadiness in its work generally.” The Herald echoed the same sentiments saying of the Schumann: “The work failed to arouse any interest in the audience, and it was evidently a relief to both singers and listeners when it was ended.” (Cecilia Programs, Vol. 3)

On Thursday evening, January 26, 1888 the choir sang the world premier of Arthur Foote’s The Wreck of the Hesperus, Op. 17 with text by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It “was performed with piano accompaniment [the orchestration not being finished]… It was [not] given with orchestra until 27 March 1890.” (Cipolla, Foote Catalog, xixi) A modern performance was given at the Newport [R. I.] Music Festival in August, 1972. After being published in America by Schmidt in 1888, it was published in England by Curwen in two editions: “The vocal score and a tonic sol-fa edition (Cipolla, Op. cit., 46). One critic wrote: “The work made a most favorable showing,” but added: “Perhaps the treatment is held too much in reserve in the crucial moments… Mr. Foote evidently adheres to the old classic models and keeps himself at all times within moderate limits… Mr. Foote was his own accompanist, and gave to his rendering a composer”s enthusiasm. His accompaniment throughout the evening was delightfully intelligent and sympathetic.” (Cecilia Reviews) Another critic expressed somewhat the same feeling: “The cantata is perhaps lacking in marked individuality, but it is always thoughtful and refined in style. The choruses show some excellent writing for the voices, which are often massed with marked skill.” However, he thought that the solos were poorly written, using melodies that “zig-zag up and down the staff.” Finally Boston seemed to have a resident harpist and “an attractive and well-appreciated feature of the concert was the masterly harp playing of Mr. H. Schnecker.” (Cecilia Reviews) The Courier review devoted almost half of its extensive notice to Foote’s work, beginning: “We are sorry to have to say that Mr. Arthur Foote’s setting of The Wreck of the Hesperus, was not dramatic enough for the subject, though a clear and skillful piece of writing… To hear a sweet tenor voice give forth the bluff sailor’s warning, ”I pray thee put in yonder port for I fear a hurricane” is odd to say the least… The work was admirably sung by soloists and chorus.” The young harpist was also mentioned here: “All Boston has come to know what a great virtuoso and thorough artist this young man is. That he won the heartiest of applause is understood, for such playing could not fail to arouse enthusiasm.” (Courier, Cecilia Reviews)

The third concert of the season was given on Thursday evening, March 22, 1888 at the Music Hall with orchestra. The first Boston performance of eight sections of Beethoven’s The Praise of Music (1814) began the program followed by A Patriotic Hymn by Dvorak, then Gade’s Spring Fantasy for piano, orchestra and four soloists, and ending with Bruch’s Fair Ellen for choir and orchestra. The Herald review began: “The club has seldom given its subscribing members a more enjoyable entertainment than that furnished on this occasion, and the hard work done by the singers under Mr. Lang’s drill in the rehearsals was well rewarded by the generally excellent results attending the performance.” The Bruch was the only piece that the club had sung before. A recent addition to the BSO was praised: “Loeffler’s violin was heard with great satisfaction,” and “Mr. Tucker gave excellent aid in the performance of the piano” part in the Gade… The Fair Ellen of Bruch loses none of its attractiveness from frequent hearings, and the chorus and soloists entered into the spirit of the brilliant occasion that it met with a most appreciation from the audience. Miss Kehew has made many successes in this work, but her voice has never been heard to better advantage in it than last evening, and much of the spirited performance was due to her efforts… The orchestral work of the evening was generally excellent, and Mr. Lang is certainly to be congratulated upon the success attending this concert.” (Herald, Cecilia Reviews) The Gazette found the Beethoven “monotonous and dull… It is little more than routine work… The voices throughout are treated after the most brutal fashion, the soprano solos wanting a throat of brass and the lungs of an elephant to do them full justice.” Other comments echoed those of the Herald reviewer. Positive mention was made by both reviewers of a new, young tenor, Mr. Ivan Morawski who had also joined the Apollo Club that year. There were a total of eight reviews for this concert, many of which were quite long and detailed. (Cecilia Reviews)

The fourth concert was given at the Music Hall on Thursday evening, May 10, 1888 and included Margaret Ruthven Lang’s first appearance as a composer at the Cecilia Concerts. The four songs given (in order of the program) were: My Lady Jacqueminot, Sing, Birdling, Sing!, Nameless Pain, and Songs in the Twilight. The Boston Home Journal review dated May 11, 1888 began: “To the Cecilia Club belongs the verdict of having made at its concert in the Music Hall Thursday evening, some of the best effects of light and shade, of nicely proportioned diminuendi and crescendi, that any vocal club has made in Boston this season.” It continued: “the songs by Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang, that Mr. Parker rendered religiously well, are uncommonly good examples of vocal writing… Miss Lang’s songs are all marked by a tender sentiment, are founded each upon a clearly musical idea, and are alike treated with special elaboration and freedom in the accompaniment… My Lady Jacqueminot seemed to us the most pleasing of the four… Margaret Ruthven Lang should easily take rank with some of our very best song writers.” For this concert Mr. Harry Fay was the pianist and Mr. Arthur Foote the organist. One review ended: “Mr. Lang should feel additional pride in The Cecilia; at the close of its 12th. Season it is a better singing club than at any previous time.” (Cecilia Reviews) Another review noted: “Mr. Parker also sang the songs by Miss Lang (some of which were new). Miss Lang writes sympathetically for a tenor voice, and in a style which is rare enough to be called original. The accompaniments were played by Mr. Lang, beautifully it need not be said.” (Cecilia Reviews) Louis Elson in the Advertiser of May 11 felt that “The first two of the set seemed the best. My Lady Jacqueminot was both grace and pathos personified, while Sing Birdling Sing was appropriately brilliant in its opening, although the central section was conventional. Miss Lang imitates Jensen in the difficulty of her accompaniments. It is fortunate that she has a father who can accompany more easily and gracefully than any one we know of.” (Elson, Advertiser, Cecilia Reviews) The reviewer of the Herald on May 11 had a different opinion-“Mr. Parker gave his best efforts to the singing of Miss Lang’s songs, but the compositions offered a thankless task to the singer, the writing being strictly in the modern German school, which, save to those who have the acquired taste, offer little that is pleasing or interesting. Mr. Lang’s accompaniments went far to redeem the songs from failure, however, and the singer was heartily applauded for his efforts.” (Herald, Cecilia Reviews) A more positive position was taken by the review in the Post of May 11. “Miss Lang’s songs are all marked by a tender sentiment, are founded each upon a clearly musical idea, and are alike treated with special elaboration and freedom in the accompaniment. Mr. Parker sang them with appreciation and the proper feeling. My Lady Jacqueminot seemed to us the most pleasing of the four.” (Scrapbook 1887-1906) One final review listed the four songs, and described them as “charming little fancies, delicately artistic in treatment,” and that Mr. Parker performed them “with rare finish of style and tenderness of sentiment, winning for his really beautiful interpretations, some of the heartiest plaudits of the evening.” (Ibid)

SEVENTEENTH APOLLO CLUB SEASON. 1887-1888.

The second concert of the 17th. season (106th. concert in total) was given at the Music hall on Monday evening December 5, 1887. The assisting artists were the pianist Miss Adele aus der Ohe and the horn player Mr. Xavier Reiter with Mr. J. Phippen as the choir accompanist.  Miss aus der Ohe played Andante Spianato and Polonaise by Chopin in the first half and  Rhapsodie Hongroise No. 9 by Liszt in the second half. Mr. Reiter played the obbligato part for a choral piece in the first half and Sonata for Horn and Pianoforte by Kling in the second half. The major choral pieces were the “Chorus of Vintagers and Sailors” from Loreley by Max Bruch and “Chorus No. 1” from Oedipus Tyrannus by J. K. Paine. (Program, Johnston Collection)

The 108th. concert was given at the Music Hall on Monday evening, February 20, 1888. It was the 4th. concert of the 17th. season. The assisting artists were Mr. Clarence E. Hay and an orchestra. The opening work was The Trumpeter by Templeton Strong for male chorus, tenor and baritone solos and orchestra. The English words were by the choir’s Honorary member and regular translator, Charles J. Sprague; no original author of the text was given in the program. (Program, Johnston Collection) This was a Boston premier for this work, and the club sang it again on February 17th. and 23rd., 1892. Columbus by Carl Joseph Brambach (1833-1902) for baritone and tenor solos, male chorus and orchestra filled the second half of the program. This was the Boston premier of this work, and the club would perform it again in January 1895.  The work had received the first prize of the 24th. Festival of the North American Sangerbund, and was premiered in Milwaukee on July 23, 1886. Throughout the program were ten short excerpts from the plays of Shakespeare ranging from “I pray thee, get us some excellent music. The best I can, my Lord” from Much Ado About Nothing to “This is the period of my ambition, O, this blessed hour” from Merry Wives of Windsor.” (Ibid)

The officers elected at the Annual Meeting in June 1888 were: Robert M. Morse, Jr.-President, George H. Chickering-Vice President, Arthur Reed-Clerk, Charles T. Howard-Treasurer, and John N. Danforth-Librarian. (Journal (June 6, 1888): 4, GB)

During the late summer of 1888 sixteen voices from the Apollo Club formed the Schubert Club, conducted by Arthur W. Thayer. This group sang “a half dozen numbers in the program” of The Promenades, a series of summer concerts given at the Music Hall. “The organization has been admirably drilled in its vocal work, and last evening its members sung with excellent taste and well nigh faultless precision.” (Herald (September 18, 1888): 2) The orchestra was conducted by Adolf Neuendorff [1843-1897: conductor of the Promenade Concerts 1884-89] and its repertoire included a Strauss Waltz, a Verdi Overture, a Rossini Overture while the chorus sang, among others, the Tar’s Song by Hatton, In Absence by Buck and Slumber Soft by Mohring. These concerts had been given for four seasons and the 100th. was to be given the next week. (Herald (September 16, 1888): 13) Earlier in the summer season a quartet from the Apollo Club had provided the vocal music. Messrs. Parker, West, Hitchcock and Babcock were very well received, and “in answer to the most emphatic demands of the audience, the gentlemen sang” two encores. (Advertiser (July 31, 1888): 8)

MRS. JACK GARDNER PAINTED BY SARGENT.

Isabella Stewart Gardner (1888), by John Singer Sargent. Wikipedia, accessed December 17, 2017.

John Singer Sargent’s painting of Isabella Stewart Gardner caused quite a reaction when it was exhibited at the St. Botolph Club in 1888. Some critics, knowing that the Gardner’s had recently traveled to India and the Far East “read the symbolism in eastern rather than western terms. Whatever the association, many observers agreed that Mrs. Gardner had been depicted as a goddess…Bostonians debated the meaning of her pose and expression, discussed whether the image was a likeness or a caricature, and suggested ‘Women-An Enigma’ as an appropriate title. Mrs. Gardner’s friend Fanny Lang reassured her, writing that she ‘never saw anything so daring, so splendid, so really great.'” (Kilmurray and Ormond, Sargent) Mr. Gardner did hang the painting in his study but never allowed it to be exhibited after 1888. Isabella did not allow the painting to be exhibited until after her death.      https://i.pinimg.com/236x/4e/74/6a/4e746a019ce30244e9af425f7af00239.jpg

A “Victorian era portrait” of Mrs. Gardner, c. 1888. Wikipedia, accessed December 17, 2017.

MRS. LOUISE INCHES PAINTED BY SARGENT.

This painting was also exhibited by the St. Botolph Club in 1888; it also created much gossip. Some thought that Sargent had not made her beautiful enough while others thought that he made her too beautiful! Mrs. Lang wrote astringently to Mrs. Gardner: “I think Mrs. Inches looks as if she would bring you the head of Holofernes for the asking.” (Ibid) Holofernes was the Assyrian general who was decapitated by the beautiful widow, Judith, after he became drunk celebrating his good luck in luring Judith into his tent.

CLEFS, THE. A social club formed on October 31, 1881 which began with sixty members, “(three fourths of that number being professionally connected with music”) who agreed “to spend the third Wednesday evenings of October, November, December, January, February, March and April together… [for] social intercourse, with some refreahments and a musical or other entertainment… Each member shall pay a yearly assessment of eight dollars, the same being due October 1, or at the time of election.” (BPL Lang Prog.) At the yearly Annual Meeting eight Masters were elected-their job was to organize the program for each meeting “which should not exceed an hour in length. Said Master shall furnish for our club-room, if we have one, a pianoforte, and such other musical instruments as he may desire for his month; he shall provide such at his own expense, and in every musical detail shall have absolute authority.” Each member was allowed to bring just one guest per meeting at a payment of $1.25. (6595) The Masters chosen for 1882-83 were L. C. Elson, Arthur Foote, John Orth, C. Petersilea, S. B. Whitney and B. J. Lang with two Auxiliaries, William F. Apthorp and Otto Bendix. (Ibid) The Secretary, Arthur P. Schmidt sent out a printed announcement of the “fifth Social Meeting” of the 1882-83 season to be held at Berkeley Hall, corner of Berkeley and Tremont Streets on Wednesday Evening, March 21, 1883 at 7:30PM. A short article mentioned “an embarrasment of riches at the last meeting” which included performances of which the “most notable morceaux were a Mozart sonata, with accompaniment for a second piano by Grieg” played by Lang and Foote. (Foote Scrapbooks)   The May 7, 1882 meeting of 60 members was held at Young’s Hotel-“Mr. A. P. Schmidt [the music publisher] presided and Max Bruch [who was in Boston to conduct the Handel and Haydn Society in his Arminius which was part of the Society’s Sixth Triennial Festival, May 1 to May 6 (Perkins, History Vol. 1, 434)] was the official guest of the club.” (Herald (May 8, 1883): 4, GB)                                                                                                                        The December 17, 1884 meeting of 50 members “and their friends” was at the Quincy House. After dinner, the Master of the Evening, Arthur Foote presided over a program that was enjoyed by all present.” (Journal (December 18, 1884): 1, GB) The January 21, 1885 was organized by C. W. Allen, and all “had a notable time…Two  real novelties were produced, one a string quartet based on a Bohemian Volkslieder, and the other a burlesque trio for three violins…Each number was given with the freedom and sparkle which easily belongs to the musician ‘off duty,’ and there were very pleasant surprises to those who listened.” If this were not enough, “an added enjoyment was the result of Leland T. Powers’s recitations.” (Ibid)                                                                                                            Meetings continued through 1886; Mr. G. W. Chadwick was the Master on May 19th. when the group met at the Revere House (Herald (May 20, 1886): 8, GB) The November 16 social was held at the Tremont House. B. J. Lang and Professor Mahr from the New England Conservatory provided the entertainment. “The following Masters were elected for succeeding meetings-Messrs. B. J. Lang, A. W. Swan, John W. Tufts, Howard M. Tickner and S. B. Whiting; Auxiliary Masters-Arthur Schmidt and Charles F. Webber.” (Journal (November 17, 1887): 3, GB) The evening ended with members guessing the author of a four-line poem that appeared under a drawing, “A November Day,” done by the evening’s Master, Mr. Sanderson. Over a half dozen old English poets were suggested before someone caught on that Mr. Sanderson had produced the drawing… and the poetry. (Advertiser (November 23, 1887): 4, GB) The “entertainment” for the December 1887 meeting was a discussion on “Music in the public schools.” B. J. Lang, C. F. Webber and the Chair, Mr. Brown were the panel. There was such interest that “the discussion was continued until the next meeting.” (Advertiser (December 22, 1887): 4, GB) One of the topics covered was the need for a state Normal School of Music whose graduates would then provide a consistent level of traing and a unified ciriculum throughout the state’s schools. This had been proposed that year in the Massachusetts legislature, but defeated. (Advertiser (December 24, 1887): not shown, GB)  The fourth meeting of the 1887-88 season was held on February 15, 1888, again at the Tremont House. The usual 60 members were present and E. C. Carrigan was the Master. After narrated scenes of Alaska “illustrated by stereopticon,” Capt. Jack Crawford, “The Poet Scout,” “convulsed the Clefs with imromptu verses.” After the meeting he entertained members until a late hour with stories of wild West legends. Mr. Louis C. Elson and Mr. Weld “earned frequent recalls” for their musical part of the evening. “The meeting was one of the most enjoyable ones of the season.” (Herald (February 16, 1888): 2, GB) The April meeting, with M. S. B. Whitney as Master entertained about 50 members at the Tremont House. (Herald (April 19, 1888): 8, GB) For this meeting a Glee Club sang, Mr. Ring “gave some selections on the piano and Mr. Deutsch played on the violin.” (Advertiser (April 19, 1888): 8, GB) I could find no later reports of the group.

EUROPEAN VACATION, SUMMER OF 1888.

The Herald published a lengthy article outlining Lang’s travels during the summer of 1888. “His visits to the Birmingham Festival and to the performances at Bayreuth gave him much satisfaction…He is pronounced in his praise of the chorus work done at Birmingham, but thinks than in unaccompanied numbers the members of the Cecilia can sustain themselves against any body of singers at home or abroad.” The older soloists then appearing at Birmingham “would not be tolerated by American audiences. He relates, with considerable satisfaction, the details of a performance of the Berlioz Requiem under Hans Richter, in which the assisting orchestras were even more diminutive in numbers than these bodies of musicians were when the work was given at Music Hall under his direction a few years ago., at which time certain critics unkind enough to comment adversely upon the numerical strength of these orchestra forces.” Lang felt that the 1888 Parsifal that he heard was not “equal to that of previous years.” Also noted was that Edward MacDowell would become a resident of Boston. “Those who heard his pianoforte concerto at Mr. Lang’s last season’s concerts need not be told of his ability as a composer.” The article finished with the news that B. J. had brought back with him “a well filled portfolio” of new pieces for consideration by the Apollo Club and the Cecilia. (Herald (September 16, 1888): 13, GB)

   MacDowell; Wikipedia.  Accessed January 29, 2018.

MacDOWELL, EDWARD ALEXANDER. Born in New York City December 18, 1861. “As a boy, he studied the pianoforte with Juan Buitrago, a South American, and Pablo Desvernine, a Cuban, and for a brief span with Teresa Carreno, a native of Venezuela.” (Grove, 1921, 4) Beginning in 1876 he studied in Europe? He studied piano for three years at the Paris Conservatory, then with various teachers in Germany. He started his teaching career in Darmstadt followed by a time in Frankfort as a private teacher not attached to any music school. He gave up teaching settling in Wiesbaden for four years through 1887 where his chief work was composition.

Beginning in 1887 MacDowell’s mother proposed various plans that would bring him back to America; one was an offer to teach harmony and composition at the new National Conservatory of Music in New York City-MacDowell said no. Lang not only looked after the professional growth of his own pupils, but he also helped others advance their careers. In the summer of 1887 Lang visited MacDowell in Wiesbaden and told him that he had already played some of his music in concerts, and would like to know more of his works. Lang had introduced the composer to Boston by teaching MacDowell’s works to his pupils. At the April 3, 1888 “B. J. Lang Pianoforte Concerto-Concert” where Lang conducted an orchestra of 33, his pupil B. J. Whelpley played the solo part in MacDowell’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 15. (MYB, 1887-88, 12) This would have been the first American performance of the complete work; Movements 2 and 3 had been played at a “Novelty Concert” in New York City in 1885.

In 1887 George Chadwick, and then Arthur Foote sought him out. The next summer Lang was attending the 1888 Bayreuth Festival, and again visited MacDowell stressing that it was MacDowell’s duty to return to America. Somehow Lang was successful, and after twelve years in Europe, Edward and Marian sold their house (with a profit of $200) and sailed on September 21st. for home-he was 28. When they arrived in Boston early in October, Lang was at the station with the news that he had arranged a “boarding house” for them. This turned out to be Lang’s own home which MacDowell described as being in the “Swellest part of Boston” with “rooms fit for a prince” and breakfasts of “oriental magnificence.” (B. MacD, 126) He was also impressed by the four pianos in the home! Some they moved to an apartment of an entire floor, and the rent included a “bathroom, heat, lights and meals served in their rooms.” (B. Op. cit., 127) Chickering sent a piano and so he could both practice and also use one room as a teaching studio.

Within two weeks Lang gave a reception for over 200 people, mostly musicians and all men, where MacDowell was introduced to everyone who mattered in the Boston musical world, from The Boston Symphony conductor, on down. (B. Op. cit., 129) Lang arranged that MacDowell played at a pair of Apollo Club concerts in December and at private affairs of the St. Botolph Club and the Harvard Musical Association. Soon MacDowell began to turn against Lang feeling that he wanted to “be the Lord God in Boston>” (B. Op. cit., 149) They disagreed over the pianist Rosenthal; MacDowell was critical about Lang’s tempo in a work by Templeton Strong, his friend in Germany; MacDowell felt that Lang should be sending him piano students. According to Chadwick,  “B. J. Lang found him [MacDowell] very ”difficile” although I was sure his efforts were meant in all kindness. With me, MacD was very frank & companionable for a time. He and Mrs. often came to our house and we had many long walks, rides and talks together. Of others he was suspicious and shy. It was difficult to get him to commit himself on any subject except publishers and royalties. From [?] these he was absolutely convinced that we were all getting a raw deal. He disliked some of our friends, especially Arthur Whiting who was a bit too witty for him. He had a subtle vein of irony of his own, but he was very careful of its use among strangers.” (Chadwick, Diary, unpublished) Chadwick remembered that “we would not go out among people if he could help it and was very ill at ease when he did so. It was for this reason that he resented Lang’s good offices. He [Lang] tried to ”arrange” functions for him and MacD thought he wanted to pose as his discoverer. MacD really had B. J. to thank for his start for he produced his Suite (his first work) and his first Piano Concerto at his concerto concerts and did a lot of talking.” (MYB, 1887-88, 12) On March 3, 1893, the Apollo Club sang the Boston premier of MacDowell’s Dance of the Gnomes, “a spritely piece that features an infectious bouncing pattern for the second bass…The text, written by the composer himself, paints a bizarre picture of ugly gnomes dancing by moonlight in the forest.” (B. Op. cit., 176) Possibly MacDowell was still angry with Lang as he did not attend the performance. He probably regretted this as “he was told repeatedly of its ‘enormous success.’” (Ibid) Based on this performance the Cecilia Society asked him for a new piece for their concerts.

MacDowell made his American debut in Boston as composer-pianist at a Kneisel Quartet concert at Chickering Hall, November 19, 1888 playing three movements from his First Modern Suite and assisting in Goldmark’s Piano Quintet in B-flat. At  this concert “he stumbled a little as he came on stage which at once evoked the sympathy of the audience. Playing with orchestra he was rather unsteady, lacking repose, and his fingers sometimes ran away with him. I think he had not played much with orchestra before he came to America. He always hated public performance and eventually confined his programs almost entirely to his own works.” (Chadwick, Op. cit.) On Lang’s recommendation, Wilhelm Gericke invited Mac Dowell to play his new Second Piano Concerto, Op. 23, with the Boston Symphony in the spring of 1889, but he actually played the work with an orchestra under Theodore Thomas in New York’s Chickering Hall on March 5, 1889, a month before the Boston performance on April 12. The conductor Frank van der Stucken invited MacDowell to play the concerto in a concert of American music at the Paris Exposition Universelle on July 12 [Margaret had a song in this concert and MacDowell played the accompaniment]” (Phoenix CD note)

MacDowell must have cut into Lang’s piano teaching more or less for he was a very facile, brilliant player and an interesting figure on the stage. (Chadwick, Op. cit.) However, Lang continued to support MacDowell by hiring him as a soloist for the December 4 and 10, 1888 concerts of the Apollo Club at the Music Hall where MacDowell played Berceuse – Chopin, Rhapsody No. 14 – Liszt, and his own composition, Hexentanz. (MYB 1888-89, 13) MacDowell dedicated his Opus 33, Drei Lieder to “Mrs. B. L. [sic] Lang.” (B, Op. cit., 133)

The “L” mentioned above must have been corrected for this printing. Accessed

In 1896, MacDowell was called to Columbia University in New York to fill the chair of music, a new foundation… He remained professor at the institution until January 1904, when he resigned the post because of a disagreement with the faculty touching the proper footing of music and the fine arts in the curriculum… Mr. MacDowell’s career ended in the spring of 1905, when overwork and insomnia, the consequence of morbid worry over disagreeable experiences, brought on what eminent medical specialists pronounced to be a hopeless case of cerebral collapse.” (Grove, 1921, 4 and 5)

GILMORE’S JUBILEE.

In early June 1888 a choir of “1000 selected Boston singers from the Handel and Haydn and Boston Oratorio societies and the Boylston and Cecilia and Apollo clubs” joined with another choir of 1000 singers from the choral societies of New England, which took part in the Jubilee of 1869 and a third chorus of 1000 children’s voices from the Boston public schools” joined to make the Festival Chorus” to mark the 20th. Anniversary of Gilmore’s 1869 “Peace Jubilee.” (Advertiser (May 18, 1889): 4) Fouteen different schools sent representatives who were rehearsed at their own schools, and then, after only one mass rehearsal sang their first concert. (Herald (June 9, 1889): 10) well known vocal soloists, both local and international were to perform. Gilmore was the overall music director with Arthur W. Thayer as conductor of the two adult choirs and H. E. Holt conducting the school choir. The event began on the evening of Wednesday, June 5 and then continued with two concerts each day through Sunday night, giving a total of five evening and four afternoon concerts, “the programmes being distinct for each and all the concerts.” (Ibid) Lang seems to have had no part even though two of his choirs were taking part. The main organist was W. J. D. Leavitt with J. Frank Donahoe as a substitute.

EIGHTEENTH APOLLO CLUB SEASON. 1888-89. 

The opening concert was on Tuesday December 4, 1888, and the Advertiser called it “A Very Satisfactory Miscellaneous Programme.” (Advertiser (December 5, 1888): 5) It was quite different from the Brahms Requiem given by the Cecilia the night before, “but gave instead a pleasant, enjoyable programme which was doubly agreeable because of its excellent execution…The club still distinguishes itself by the massive solidity of its tone, a broad and manly style.” (Ibid) The major work of the program was Longbeard’s Saga by the Englishman, Lloyd, which “might have been called the Long-winded Saga instead.” (Ibid) The reviewer noted the strangeness of having the female lines of the poem sung by the basses, fortissimo, “as it gave the lady’s remarks the style of speeches of a bearded woman at a circus.” (Ibid) However, the club sang the work spendidly! Lighter works and the vocal soloist, Guiseppe Campanari were in the second half. Also, Edward MacDowell played Liszt, Chopin and two of his own compositions, both of “which were finely played and cordially received.” (Ibid) The reviewer, Louis C. Elson, then praised MacDowell calling him”manly, earnest…has something to say…a fine pianist.” (Ibid) The concert was repeated the next Monday evening.

The second concert was given on Wednesday February 20, 1889 with the first part being Rinaldo by Brahms with the tenor soloist, George J. Parker. The work’s orchestration was interesting and showed the choir “to great advantage.” (Journal (February 21, 1889): 4) The solo part “was especially suited to his voice,” and “Mr. Parker was in good voice.” (Ibid) The Haunted Mill by Templeton Strong was well done-no other comment. Templeton Strong was Edward MacDowell’s American friend living in Germany who decided not to return to America when MacDowell did in 1888. Possibly the programming of this piece was done at MacDowell’s suggestion. The Advertiser critic found the Brahms a “phlegmatic affair,” and he longed for the “fire and melodic power of Bruch.” (Advertiser (February 21, 1889): 4) For once the orchestra was “generally excellent, especially the prominant trumpet phrases.”  (Ibid) The Haunted Mill and its composer were praised; “A more poetic composition has not yet emanated from a native pen,” and “Templeton Strong is a composer whom America will yet be proud.” (Ibid) And, for the choir: “The club has seldom given a concert so thoroughly enjoyable, so well contrsted in its numbers, and so finely executed, as the one last night.” With all this praise, Lang’s name was not mentioned once! The concert was repeated the following Monday.

1889  involved the Club in a rather unusual performance. The New York Times reported on April 27, 1889 of “BOSTON’S FANCY BALL. THE SOCIETY OF THE HUB ARRAYED IN BRILLIANT COSTUMES. Boston, April 26. -The Artists’ Festival of the Art Students’ Association, for which the social world here has been preparing for two months, took place at the Museum of Fine Arts, while outside the wind howled and the rain poured down as it has not done before since the big gale of last November. Among the patronesses were Mrs. J. L. Gardener [sic] and Mrs. B. J. Lang, all patronesses wearing Venetian costumes of the sixteenth century.” (New York Times, April 27, 1889) They represented “the best social, literary, musical and artistic circles of the city.”(Herald (April 27, 1889): 2 GB)  “About 45 members of the Apollo Club, all dressed as pilgrims, sang, among their selections being the grand chorus from Tannhauser; ” (New York Times, Op. cit.) their ” mellow voices echoing softly through the halls and galleries, and lingering among the statuary and old tapestries.” (Herald, Op. cit.)  B. J. Lang was listed among the members of the “Committee of Arrangements,”  in charge of the “Sub-Committee On Music.”  Part of his duties included arranging an orchestral concert using BSO musicians which totaled 15 pieces-only the best composers were represented.  A “Frans Hals costume” was worn by B. J., and Frances was lent “a gold belt to wear with my gown” by Mrs. Gardner. “Mary Cassidy has begun work on the Venetian costume that I am to wear at the Ball. Went to Mrs. Gardner’s to lunch…Went to Mrs. Gardner’s. She showed me and put on the gorgeous dress of brocade that she is to wear to the Ball…Sunday evening we went to Octavie Apthorp’s, all wearing our costumes.” On the night “Maidie’s Turkish costume looked very well…The crowd was tremendous, and the scene brilliant.” (Diary 2, Spring 1889)

Getting back to their usual concert repertoire, the May 2, 1889 review in the Globe said: “The new things were a quaint and ingenious part song in waltz form, written for the club by Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang, entitled The Maiden and the Butterfly… [this piece] is delicately wrought up from parts which have much independence and even some apparent contradictions, but which, when sung to the composer’s injunctions, blend into a flowing and graceful tissue.” However the Advertiser felt: “I did not like Miss Lang’s The Maiden and the Butterfly as well as some other things she has written. It began well, but the short interjectional phrases seemed artificial, and gave only thinness to parts of the work without attaining the archness and coquetry of the poem. The end is especially weak in this respect. But the young composer has proved that she does not often lapse into an inconsequential vein.” (Advertiser (May 2, 1889): 4) The Journal spent most of its space on the vocal soloist, gave one sentence to “Lang’s excellent technique and marvelous expression,” and mentioned that Arthur W. Thayer’s piece was well received and the composer called for a bow, but never mentioned the name of the work. (Journal (May 2, 1889): 3) The Advertiser called Thayer’s piece, Heintz von Stein, “rollicking fun,” and the club was “overwehelmed with applauseMargaret’s piece was not mentioned. The second performance of this program was on Monday evening May 6, 1889 (116 Concert total-6th. concert of the 18th. Season), and the singer Miss Flora E. Finlayson with Mr. E. Cutter, Jr. as the pianist. Lang solos were: Etude in C Sharp Minor, Op. 25 by Chopin, Evening by Schumann and Caprice (Fairy-revel) by Mendelssohn.

Program of May 6, 1889. You can see the Maiden offering the rose to the butterflies. Johnston Collection.

>>> Part: 1   2   3   4 

CHAPTER 04. BJL: MIDDLE YEARS: 1881-1891: SC. TOPICS. WC. (P2)

ATTACKS ON LANG THROUGH TUCKER AND FOOTE.

A month after Lang’s debut with the BSO playing the Third Piano Concerto by Rubinstein, his pupil, Hiram G. Tucker made his own BSO debut playing the Fourth Piano Concerto by Rubinstein! One critic gave a very negative review. “It is not pleasant to make severe remarks, but it is my unpleasant duty this time to say, that the gentleman in question was totally unable to cope with the difficulties of the works he tried to play. The Rubinstein Concerto was altogether too ambitious a task for him, the last movement being nothing but a great scramble from beginning to end, the solo numbers were no better…Mr. Henschel, the conductor of these Symphony Concerts, has brought out several pupils of Mr. Lang, thereby no doubt earning the gratitude of this gentleman, but certainly not rendering any service to art or the public of Boston, since he only lowers the standard of these concerts by engaging such mediocre soloists.” (Undated, unsigned review found in Foote’s Scrapbooks.)

Arthur Foote, Elson, 1888.

A second attack against Lang was made through a review of Arthur Foote’s BSO performance of the Hiller Concerto in F Sharp minor, Op. 69, a work that Lang had performed for the first time in Boston on January 14, 1875 with the HMA Orchestra. This concert was held on Saturday, November 10, 1883. The review begins listing Lang’s known attributes-that he “is well-nigh incomparable in his excellent ability to read some of the most difficult of classic and modern pianoforte music at first sight.” (Ibid) The author goes on to list other compliments, and then lists three elements of Lang’s teaching of piano technique with which he does not agree. The first was that Lang’s piano technique did not strengthen the third and fourth fingers of both hands; the second was that the technique was “more dependent upon mannerism for its popular success than upon any legitimately artistic effects,” while the third was that it produced “a so-called technique that is not only rigid in its outlook, but that is suggestively corpse-like in its effect upon the keyboard.” (Ibid) The reviewer then cited specific examples that he felt he heard in Foote’s performance. (1) “Very many notes struck by him with the third and fourth fingers of either the right or left hand were plainly to be distinguished in the tone that was produced. (2) He illustrated, and no doubt with an alluring effect upon nine-tenths of his audience, some of the most stylish mannerisms of the school to which he belongs; and last, but not least (3) his execution of the mere notes of the concerto was almost wholly lacking the elasticity that should have belonged to it.” (Ibid) The reviewer then softened his previous statements. “Let us note, then, that we were charmingly impressed by the sincerity of the performance; that the interpretation, while it was far more scholastic and scholarly, was nevertheless based upon the very best models; and, thirdly, the extreme technical difficulties of the concerto were mastered to a very precise degree…He was very cordially received and applauded by the audience, and this very just recognition of his ability as a musician was unquestionably his due.” (Ibid)

For all of the reviewer’s knowledge of Lang’s teaching technique, it would seem to be refuted by Lang’s own words on the subject. “I care little for ”methods” as such. Like ”quack medicines,” there are many which may have desirable points, and have been of more or less value. But individuality is the thing. One who has it in him will become a pianist, no matter what method he has used, or whether or not it has been of assistance or a hindrance to his development. The art in him will come out in any case. The teacher must be governed by each individual case.” (Storer, “Advance of Musical Education In America,” The Musician, (October, 1907): 1)

SCHUMANN PIANO WORKS SERIES.

The month before Lang’s second B.S.O. appearance, he presented a series of five recitals playing the complete piano works of Robert Schumann. Presented on March 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29, 1883 on Thursday afternoons at 2:30PM at the Bijou Theater, each recital was advertised to be about two hours in length. “For these recitals Mr. Lang has chosen the Bijou Theatre on account of its fine acoustics, which must be conspicuous on these occasions, when audiences of but three or four hundred are assembled.” (BPL Lang Prog., ) “The remarkable acoustics of the old auditorium when known as the Melodean and Gaiety Theratre have been imporved by its new arrangement.” (Herald (March 2, 1883): 4, GB) Each piece had a short explanation printed in the program. Other pianists and vocalists also took part: Madame Schiller, H. G. Tucker,  John A. Preston, W. F. Fenollosa, Joshua Phippen, Arthur Foote and G. W. Sumner were the assisting keyboards artists. Single tickets were $1.50 and season tickets, $5 from A. P. Schmidt”s Music Store. (BPL Lang Prog.) For the first program Mrs. J. E. Tippett was the vocalist; for the third, Mr. George L. Osgood; and for the fourth, Mrs. Georg Henschel. The Advertiser noted that the “house was just about comfortablely filled” with an audience that was “distinctively musical.” (Advertiser (March 9, 1883): 5, GB)

The second concert “attracted another very large audience.” Mme. Madeline Schiller and Mr. H. G. Tucker were the assisting pianists while Mr. Henschel was the vocalist. Lang’s performance presented the “composer’s ideas clearly, intelligently and vigorously,” Mr. Tucker “exhibited good technical abilities,” Mme. Schiller’s “playing was more fully realized than ever before,” and Mr. Henschel’s small contribution “was as faultless as when heard at his own recital last season.” (Herald (March 9, 1883): 1, GB)

The fouth recital had a “very large and unusually attentive audience.” John A. Preston and Joshua Phippen were the assisting pianists. “The programme of piano selections, as a whole, proved one of the most interesting of the series.” Mrs. Henschel was the vocalist, and she sang three songs. Her voice being heard with rare enjoyment in such a perfect auditorium, and the applause which followed the singer’s efforts was a fitting tribute to the artistic abilities of the singer.” (Herald (March 23, 1883): 5, GB)

The Herald noted that Lang’s sixth Schumann recital (it seems that an additional recital was added to the original five, or what would have been the original nine except for the diphtheria outbreak) would be on Friday afternoon, April 6 “for the purpose of playing the children’s pieces which exists in such profusion and variety. A set of four-part songs for female voices…, and the Andante and Variations for two pianofortes, will be included in the programme.” (Herald (March 18, 1883): 10, GB)) No mention was made of who would sing the part-songs.

LECTURES ON PIANO TECHNIQUE.

In 1883 Lang announced a series of three lectures “upon pianoforte playing” for May 1, 5 and 8 at Chickering Hall at 2:30PM. The three lecture titles were: “Teaching the Art of Playing the Pianoforte,” “Mr. Lang’s System of Modern Piano-forte Technics,” and “The higher development of the Musical Senses.” Tickets were Three Dollars for the series and individual lectures could be bought for $1.50 if seats were available. (BPL Lang Prog.) This announcement inspired a lengthy article “Mr. Lang’s Lectures” in support of this presentation. “Mr. B. J. Lang is one of those artists whose personality and whose work are best enjoyed when one can come close to them. Thoughtful, delicate and sensitive, his temperament is inclined to shrink from those larger and more public tests of professional accomplishment…when he has to stand out alone before a great public, something of the freedom is at times lost, and those who have only heard and known him on such occasions, have not fully heard him and known him…He has studied and taught the pianoforte for many years, to many pupils of various minds and dispositions. Such experience brings much to a man who thinks, and we were glad when Mr. Lang began modestly to tell something of his experiences and his thoughts a few months ago. Since that time he has arranged what he wants to say into three lectures upon pianoforte playing as he understands and teaches it, and upon that awakening and development of the artistic sense, which are as essential in music as in painting. If we may judge the future by the past, these conferences (for they will be more than mere bald lectures) will have interest for many other persons than students of the pianoforte, and will shall hope that Chickering Hall will be filled with an audience so interested and sympathetic that Mr. Lang will speak as brightly and suggestively as he often does to a single friend.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives) Another article, unsigned and without title, also referred to Lang’s series of lectures. “It was a characteristic idea of Mr. Lang to set an unusual hour for his lectures on pianoforte playing, and to ask so high a price for the tickets, and then to follow it up by his subsequent action. When the audience has assembled for the first lecture, he confessed that he had felt a great curiosity to know if any one in town cared enough for the matter to pay a big price and submit to an inconvenient hour, for the sake of what he might have to say. His ruse had proved successful, and he should therefore make the audience his guests, and their ticket money should be returned to them the day of the second lecture.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

THIRTEENTH APOLLO CLUB SEASON. 1883-1884.

On Wednesday afternoon November 7, 1883 at 3PM and in the evening at 8PM, the Apollo Club closed the concerts dedicating the new “Chickering Hall.” They sang Mendelssohn’s To the Sons of Art. Lang and Perabo also played in these concerts the Hommage a Handel by Moscheles. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 4)

For the first (December 5, 1883) and the second (Monday evening, December 10, 1883) concerts of its Thirteenth Season the opening piece was Rinaldo, Op. 50 by Brahms with Charles R. Adams as the soloist. Also included was the first American performance of The Language of Flowers [Suite de ballet, Set One, 1880; a copy of the full score is available from the Sibley Library Mirroring Project at the Eastman School of Music], a suite of six orchestral movements by the English composer Frederic H.  Cowen [1852-1935]. The Transcript called the suite “wholly charming” and “fanciful…yet the composer has not been content to be merely fanciful, but has given his work musical coherence and beauty.” (Apollo reviews-unsigned, undated) Rinaldo was a Boston first performance. The Transcript called the piece “the work of genius with great melodic beauty.” (Transcript, Apollo Reviews) Lang experimented with the orchestral placement in this concert. Instead of the normal orchestra in front and chorus behind, “The orchestra was placed behind the chorus, so that the men could sing point blank at the audience without having the sound of their voices filtered through the orchestra.” The reviewer mentioned that he had suggested this arrangement some ten to fifteen years before. (Ibid) Taking the opposite view, Ticknor in the December 16, 1883 Herald wrote: “If Brahms showed a cold, phlegmatic side to his nature he did it in the beginning of Rinaldo. The cantata would have been more warm-blooded had Max Bruch had a hand in its production.” (Johnson, First, 87) Howard M. Ticknor, a Harvard graduate, was the son of the founder of the book-publishing firm of Ticknor and Fields. He had also been a member of the bass section of the Apollo Club according to the 1883-1884 Membership List.

The Traveller noted that the choir was “in semicircular lines, so that the four parts were more merged into one volume of tone…The voices will now stand out, as they should, and the instruments make their proper background.” (Traveller (December 6, 1883): unsigned review) The Courier approved of the new performing arrangement, and had compliments for the orchestra and the choir; the concert “deserves to rank with the most enjoyable ever given” by the club, and “the entire concert seemed as pleasant to the audience as to the critic.” (Courier) Elson writing in Key Note spoke of the Cowen suite: “Every one of these pieces is a gem.” (Key Note, December 9, 1883)

For the Wednesday night, February 20, 1884 concert, a lighter miscellaneous program, the Daily Advertiser printed a “review” set as a conversation between two attendees. The first thought the repertoire was “throughout a concession to popular taste,” while the other admitted that “there are concessions which have to be made to the popular taste,” and then this second man asked of the first: “But if you had the matter in hand, could you do better?” (Advertiser (March 1, 1884): 2, GB)-full text listed by date in Geneology Bank) Lang programmed his own arrangement of a Swedish folksong Hi-fi-kin-ke-le which the audience loved and demanded an encore. “Mr. Lang, with marked modesty, declined for a time to accede to their calls, but at the last, after a half-dozen times bowing a denial, he was forced to direct the last two stanzas over again.” (Journal)

Another lighter number was the world premier of a Fantasie that the pianist Ernst Perabo arranged from themes in Sullivan’s Iolanthe. The Advertiser described the work as “so brilliant, so captivating, and so well written a composition that he was obliged to accept an encore for it.” (Advertiser) Perabo had shown this work to the composer Carl Reinecke of Leipsic ” who hailed it as a high-minded and brilliant addition to pianoforte music and calculated in a good sense to interest the public at large.” (Undated, unsigned review) For the repeat of this concert on February 25, 1884, Lang and Perabo played Moscheles’s Hommage a Handel. Perabo repeated his Iolanthe Fantasie and for his encore played again selections from this work. (Unsigned, undated review)

For the fifth and sixth concerts in the season presented on Wednesday evening, April 30 and Monday evening, May 5, 1884, the main works were not choral, but orchestral. Ovide Musin played Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, and the Overture, The Princess by George E. Whiting received its Boston premier. Musin, born in Belgium was an experienced soloist who had played successfully in Vienna, Paris, and London. Choral highlights included a chorus from Paine’s Oedipus followed by a double chorus from Mendelssohn’s Antigone. “I can honestly say that the American work lost nothing by the juxtaposition.” (Brainard’s,  May 14, 1884) The Advertiser noted that “Mr. Lang conducted with even more than his wonted skill, and the orchestra, composed of the very best men, accompanied all well, and the concerto with wonderful taste and accuracy.” (Advertiser, undated and unsigned review) Possibly the reviewer was Howard Ticknor. His appreciation of the conductor and orchestra was a nice change from the predictable harangues of some reviewers. The concert was very popular with all the seats taken, as were “all the good standing places.” (Traveller (May 1, 1884): unsigned review) The Times thought the program “of unusual interest,” and the performance “at all times smooth, delicate, finished and brilliant.” (Times)

The reviewer for the New York City Key Notes wrote of his visit to Boston when he heard the choir at the Centennial celebration of the Battle of Bunker Hill. “The Apollo Club covered itself with glory. The singing made a far more profound impression that the oration, and the orator was and is one of the most eloquent men in Massachusetts. We haven’t any club in Brooklyn or New York that can hold a candle to it. The truth is, in vocal music, Boston people are ahead of New York, because they give their mind to it. Why Charley Howard would no more think of absenting hmself from a rehearsal than from his own funeral.” (Key Notes, May 5, 1884)

CHURCH OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION.

Immaculate Conception Church. Johnston Collection.

In 1883 Frances noted in her Diary that “Lel has been asked to take the position of Organist of the Church of [the] Immaculate Conception.” The organ was Opus 322 built in 1863 by E. & G. G. Hook, and it had three manuals, forty-five stops and fifty-five ranks. It was rebuilt in 1902 as Opus

Nave, Gallery, and Organ Case. Photograph by William T. Van Pelt 1999-05-04. The Organ Historical Society Pipe Organ Database.

1959 with four manuals, sixty-three stops and sixty-nine ranks. (OHS Pipe Organ Database) B. J. did not take the job.

The organ has been removed and is in storage at Boston College awaiting the building of a concert hall, and the building has been converted into condos.

EIGHTH CECILIA SEASON. 1883-1884.

The season began on Monday evening, November 19, 1883 at the Music Hall with full orchestra and B. L. Whelpley as organist. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Parts One and Two and Gade’s Crusaders were presented. The Transcript review was critical of the orchestra, especially in the Bach, but allowed that they were better in the Gade, although “again left much to be desired.” This reviewer noted that the choir had sung the Gade “at least four times before, but that the piece “wears well.” (Transcript, Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2) The Courier writer mentioned his seat position “behind the wood wind,” but in this review he did note that “The shading of the chorales in the Bach work and the orchestral work throughout the latter part of the evening was excellent.” (Courier, Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2) In an article written sixteen years later, December 1899, it was recalled that “the papers acclaimed Mr. E. M. Bagley the hero of the hour; he played the first trumpet part exactly as Bach wrote it, by having a D crook put to a small E-flat cornet, thus playing almost without a flaw Bach’s part for a D trumpet, high C’s and all. Mr. Bagley would have his Bach ”straight,” by hook or by crook.” (Cecilia Programs, Vol. 4)

Dvorak’s Stabat Mater had its world premier in Prague in 1880 followed by first performances in Berlin in 1881 and London 1883. The Cecilia performed five numbers from the work on Thursday evening, January 24, 1884 with full orchestra, J. Phippen (organist) at the Music Hall, while the American premier of the complete work was given by Theodore Thomas and the New York Chorus Society on April 3, the same year (Cecilia programs-clippings) President Thordike’s Annual Report made mention of “the floods which poured from the sky and through the streets.” He also wrote of the Dvorak: “Genius is visible throughout, in the orchestration, the vocal treatment, the development of themes, the simple but grand musical effects. The choir sang con amore, and the hearers listened with increasing delight. The demand for a performance of the entire work at an early date was universal.” The Evening Transcript notice of Friday, January 25, 1884 mentioned: “The Cecilia has followed suit to the Apollo Club in placing the orchestra behind the chorus, and with equally gratifying results. Indeed, the effect was so incomparably finer than that of the old arrangement, that one could not help wishing that the club would repeat the great Berlioz Requiem… so that the chorus could be heard to better advantage in it thans before.” (Ibid) The Evening Transcript closed with: “Mr. Lang conducted, and the performance constantly showed his taste and training, which had not, however, been able tp prevail on the male chorus to pronounce ”mountain” and ”fountain” correctly.” The January 1884 partial performance inspired a letter to the Editor of the Transcript critical of only being given sections of the work. “It was like asking a man to shake hands with a new acquaintance around a corner, and to form an estimate of his character from the warmth and pressure of the hand.” It was signed by “S. B. W.” and created so much comment that S. B. Whitney, a well-known Boston musician wrote to the Editor saying it was not he who had written the first letter. A third writer supported the original “S. B. W.,” but went on to point out “even a Boston audience (musical as it is)” needed a balanced program of new and old pieces at each concert. He further pointed to the many “repetitions of The Messiah, Elijah, and the Passion Music by the Handel and Haydn Society,” and that “we almost always find an old friend or two among the numbers on our Apollo programme, while the Boylston Club is beginning to be associated with The Desert and some old part-songs which it has sung many times… Boston vocal societies have certainly a hard task before them in striving to be truly musical in the highest sense of the word and at the same time to keep the wolf from the door.” The reviews of this concert reflected the extremes in the Boston critical fraternity: “Mention should also be made of the spirited rendering of the Vintagers Song from The Loreley” (Folio) verses “The Vintage Chorus was deserving of better success, but it was so tamely sung that it seemed to contain more water than wine.” (Courier-January 27, 1884). Perhaps these Letters to the Editor gave the group the will to present the Boston premier of the complete work, which it did a year later at the Music Hall on January 15, 1885 with full orchestra and Mr. Arthur Foote as the organist. The work was again repeated four years later on Thursday evening, March 28, 1889 at the Boston Music Hall with an orchestra and two organists: Mr. E. Cutter, Jr., and Mr. Hiram Hall.

The third concert of the season was given on Thursday evening, March 27, 1884 at the Music Hall. “It began with an organ sonata by Mendelssohn, admirably played by Mr. Arthur Foote, but in which the fact that the organ was out of tune was lamentably noticeable. The flute stops, especially disagreed with the rest of the organ.” Foote’s playing of the Mendelssohn was one of the “last utterances” of organ before it was banished from the Music Hall. [Was this neglect of the organ part of Higginson’s plan to have it remove from the hall?] The reviewer noted: “the club are [?] making good artistic advancement, and have improved in the matter of refined shading.” The writer also noted that the size of the group seemed larger than ever before. This review seemed to be in a magazine as it covered a number of different types of concerts and it was signed by L. C. E. (Louis C. Elson)(Cecilia Reviews, Vol. 2). The second half of the concert was The Fair Melusina by Hofmann, which did not seem to create much excitement in any of the reviews, especially as the accompaniment was only by piano. “One sees no valid reason why Heinrich Hofmann should have a claim upon the charity of Boston music-lovers… We have yet to discover the interesting or charming side of Hofmann’s cantatas… The solo parts especially are kill-joys of the most baleful description.” (Cecilia Reviews, Vol. 2)

The fourth concert of the season was held on Thursday evening, May 15, 1884 at the Music Hall with full orchestra. It was described as “A concert of highest character, educational for the masses, yet thoroughly enjoyable to musician and non-musician alike… It presented Mendelssohn’s Athalia [not given by the Club since 1878] and the third part of Schumann’s Faust. The later work, or rather its fragment, was heard to better advantage than on the occasion of its presentation by the society last season.” Interestingly, whereas in some cases the club was rebuked for only giving parts of a work, this reviewer felt that “The presentation of a single part and that part the culmination of the whole work, was just suited to awakening the public’s interest and sustaining it… A complete performance of this masterpiece is rather too heavy a dose at one time for the coi polloi, even if they are an especial kind and attend club concerts… of the choruses we can only speak in the highest terms. The sweetness of tone, the solidity in the stronger passages, the excellent ensemble throughout, made this one of the best concerts that the club has given-worthy to be ranked with the greatest performance of the Crusaders years ago.” (Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2)

President Thorndike’s Annual Report of June 1884 reviewed the first ten years of the choir; the first two years as part of the Harvard Musical Association, and then eight as an independent organization. “The conductor was appointed who has ever since led us so faithfully and well. Now and at all times it is our duty and our pleasure to express the debt of gratitude which we owe to Mr. B. J. Lang.” In addition to maturing as a singing group, Thorndike wrote: “We have arrived at a more perfect understanding of our real sphere—the performance of cantatas of some magnitude and importance. Our miscellaneous programmes are not favorites with either singers or audience.” He then listed the various first performances, both Boston and American, and then addressed the subject of soloists: “We have neither the money nor the inclination to procure expensive soloists. We propose that our club shall be chiefly made up of amateurs, and that our solos shall be chiefly sung by members.” He ended his report with details of the following season, “a large and brilliant plan, requiring an orchestra for every performance”—a first for the choir. (Cecilia Clippings. President’s Annual Report, June 1884)

LANG PREMIERS BY THE APOLLO CLUB.

Between 1884 and 1887 four pieces composed by B. J. were sung during Apollo Club concerts; two were repeated in later seasons. Hi-fi-lin-ke-le, premiered on  February 20 and 26, 1884; repeated May 12 and 17, 1886 and  April 30, 1890 (Program, Johnston Collection). Two solos were written specifically for the April 29 and May 4, 1885 concerts. The Lass of Carlisle, a solo for baritone was performed by Mr. Hay, while Nocturne, a solo for tenor was sung by Mr. G. J. Parker. These two pieces were repeated on April 29 and May 2, 1887. Finally, My True Love Has My Heart  was premiered at the May 12 and 17, 1886 concerts. (Apollo Scrapbook, Vol. 3)

concerning Hi-fi-lin-ke-le the Advertiser wrote: “…a delicious little bit of writing by Mr. Lang, in the shape of a Swedish love ditty, set to a melody to be sung by the whole chorus in unison, except for the harmony of the close.” (Scrapbook) It was encored. Another review suggested that shouting the final chords a little louder could make a better effect. The Journal said: “Another work of decidedly humorous character was Mr. Lang’s song composed upon a Swedish poem reciting the fate of the maid ”who will not when she might,” and when she would, cannot. It is a light but thoroughly well arranged composition, and brings out the vocal resources of the club as few of the numbers in its repertory are able to do. It was much admired by the audience, who were urgent in their demands for a repetition. Mr. Lang, with marked modesty, declined for a time to accede to their calls, but at last, after a half-dozen times bowing a denial, he was forced to direct the last two stanzas over again.” (Apollo Scrapbook, Vol. 3)

Words from the program of Wednesday evening, April 30, 1890 at the Boston Music Hall: 121th. Concert, 5th. of the 19th. Season. Johnston Collection.

concerning The Lass of Carlisle and Nocturne the Journal said: “its melody [The Lass of Carlisle] is singularly quaint, and in the refrain it has just the queerness which fits the queer poem of Ettrick Shepherd. In Mr. Aldrich’s ‘Up to her chamber window,’ – called on the bill a Nocturne – Mr. Lang found fancy and feeling happily combined in a poem, finely adapted to his delicate skill as a composer.” The piece was encored. (Apollo Scrapbook, Vol. 3)

LECTURE BUSINESS – LANG, CHADWICK, PAINE AND ELSON.

In addition to appearing as a soloist, Lang had other connections with the B.S.O. During the fourth season he, together with George W. Chadwick, gave “lectures on the structure of the Beethoven symphonies as they were played” through the season. (Howe, BSO, 68) Early in October of 1884, B. J. announced a series of 12 “Symphony—Concert Lessons” to be held at Chickering Hall on alternate Thursdays beginning October 23. “The music of the following Symphony-Concert will be explained, analyzed, and made more interesting by helpful information, beside being played through upon two Piano-fortes. So far as possible, the solo performer for each concert will play his respective part. A full explanation of the construction of a symphony will be given, together with a description of all orchestral instruments, their quality, range, &c.” (BPL Lang Prog.) The cost for the series of 12 lectures was $5. In reviewing the programs it becomes obvious that the preparation represented an enormous amount of work; doing the analysis, deciding what “helpful information” to give, finding (or making) the two piano arrangements of all the repertoire with a period of only two weeks between each presentation was a major undertaking. And, in the middle of the series he was the soloist in the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto! The series ended with the 12th. Lecture on Thursday, March 19, 1885 which covered two orchestral works, one vocal solo, and the “First and Second Parts” of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio! (BPL Lang Prog.)

George Chadwick felt that this idea for public lectures had been stolen from him! He wrote in his Diary: “Teaching began quite prosperously. Mrs. Oliver Peabody organized a class in symphonic analysis among her friends and so at last I began to get into [the] sacred higher circle of Boston society. These nice women, all of them quite mature met at my studio in the church [Park Street Church] every Friday morning and went to the Symphony rehearsal in the afternoon. I talked and played to them the music of the current Sym. concert and sometimes that of other concerts. It paid me about $10 per hour and was very pleasant. I suppose I must have interested them for they continued the class the next year and also got up for me another class of their daughters and other young ladies some of whom were very good pianists and could read the Symphonies with me ‘a quatre mains.’ But the most sincere feature of all came from Mr. Lang who hearing of my success at the game went into it with a public class, which he held in Chickering Hall! Of course he had a perfect night to do it and it did not cut into my classes in the least but I felt at the time that it showed a kind of professional greed to which a really generous nature would not have stooped… And so began the great industry of Symphonic lectures.” (Chadwick, Unpublished Memoirs, 1880-1893) Louis Charles Elson, writing as “Proteus” in 1884 gave this impression of the lecture scene: “Boston is tending toward musical lectures. Mr. B. J. Lang is giving Symphonic Analysis at Chickering’s, Mr. Chadwick is doing the same at his studio, Prof. J. K. Paine is giving historico-musical lectures once a week, [and] Mr. L. C. Elson is analyzing symphonies once a week at the New England Conservatory of Music.” (Faucett, Bio-Bib., 235 and 236)

ALLEN A. BROWN.  

Ryan, Recollections, plate opposite 38. Ryan is incorrect using the middle initial of “T”. (BPL Music Site)

Lang was very fortunate to have the help of many important men and women of Boston. One of these was Allen A. Brown (1835-1916). Barbara Duncan, BPL Music Librarian writing in 1941 began her short notice with: “The life of Allen A. Brown was happy and enviable.” She noted that he had been born in Boston, attended Roxbury Latin, and entered Harvard in the class of 1856. In college he began collecting the scores and books that were to become the nucleus of the collection that he presented to the BPL. He was a musical amateur “of more than ordinary attainments”-he played violin and had a fine tenor voice. He sang in church “and in the Foster, Parker, Chickering, Apollo, and Cecilia Societies for many years,” and he was the secretary and librarian of “these singing societies and did an enormous amount of arranging, copying, and translating for them… The unique feature of the collection is the wealth of material with which he grangerized the volumes.” Reviews, ticket stubs, anything related to the event were all included, and all was carefully indexed. “The Brown music library is an interesting example of what can be done with some money, knowledge of the subject, a love of collecting, and prodigious industry.” (Duncan, 12 and 13) Brown “has been one of the most earnest organizers of the Apollo, and his great musical library has always been at the disposal of the club, and has been of material service in many instances.” (Elson, Musical Boston, 3)

Allen A. Brown donated to the Boston Public Library “the largest musical library in the country, a historical collection consisting not only of numerous scores and a tremendous amount of general musical literature, but also of arranged and classified data regarding musical performances, criticisms, notices, covering the last twenty years [c. 1880-1900]; in short, a unique collection such as must aid not only the general musician, but the musical historian, at every step.” (Elson, American Music, 91) Another volume included the facts that Brown was a businessman, and that the collection began with 7,000 volumes, but then grew by 1910 to 11,000 items, and later [1920] to 15,000 items. “It is rich in many different directions-in scores of every sort, instrumental and vocal, in standard critical editions of the complete works of great composers, in historical, theoretical and critical works about music, in unique collections of programs, etc.” (Pratt, 145) Brown joined the St. Botolph Club in June 1889. (E-mail from Roger Howlett) It would be interesting to know if Lang sponsored him.

ST. BOLTOPH CLUB.

Chadwick was asked to join the St. Botolph Club [c. 1884], which at that time was located at 85 Boylston Street. Lang had been a Founding Member, joining in January 1880. “The President was Francis Parkman” and, “at that time the membership, as the Constitution stated, [was] composed of men interested in literature and art.” Painters, architects, writers, and of “musicians, there were not so many.” therefore Chadwick felt honored to join “Eichberg, Lang, Henschel, Foote and Preston… therefore I really felt much honored by my election and proceeded to become quite a ”clubable” man.” (Chadwick, Unpublished Memoirs, 1880-1893) “There was much stimulating and diverting conversation at the club. Every Saturday night there was a supper after which congenial souls gathered about the tables and discussed the artistic and other affairs of the town and the nation. And as many members came directly from the Symphony concert, we often had the soloists of the evening with us… There was a nice little gallery extending to Park Sq. where we had three or four picture exhibitions each year and thus was an advantage to both our local painters and the public who were admitted there.” (Op. cit.) Lang and Chadwick continued to have professional contact at this club. Both are listed as active members in the 1909 membership list. (Clark’s Boston Blue Book, 681 and 683) By 1889 it was “situated on Newbury Street, and was modeled after the plan of the Century Club in New York. its particular feature is its Saturday evening and monthly meetings, to which men eminent in literature and art are invited. its gallery contains a choice collection of sculptures and pictures. It is noted for its musicales, “smoke talks” and theatricals. On Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons a stringed quartette not only plays a choice repertory, but also compositions by members of the club. These concerts are very popular and are one of the features of this peculiarly artistic club, whose membership is limited to men of literary and aesthetic tastes and pursuits,” (Grieve, 100) Among the notable events held during the years that both Lang and Chadwick were members would be the display by member John Singer Sargent of his portrait of Mrs. Gardner which cused “some stir” and the first Boston exhibit of works by Claude Monet, “many of whose paintings were loaned by Club members.” (Club Website)

WILHELM GERICKE (b. April 18, 1845, d. October 27, 1925).

Elson, 54.

Gericke conducted the BSO from 1884 until 1889 and again from 1898 until 1906. Lang was a soloist with him for three concerts during his first tenure. “He was assistant conductor at the Vienna Hofoper when Henry Lee Higginson heard him conduct a performance of Aida in October 1883 and invited him to replace George Henschel as conductor of the Boston SO…He was a stern drillmaster, and after his first season dismissed 20 members of the orchestra and replaced them with young European players. At first there were complaints in Boston about this procedure, but most observers soon agreed that the orchestra’s improvement justified it…Gericke’s programs were thoroughly serious,” (Green, 283) in contrast to those of Henschel, who had customarily opened with a symphony and filled the rest of the program with miscellaneous lighter pieces; Gericke also broke with a long-standing tradition by offering concerts without guest soloists. As a friend or personal acquaintance of Wagner, Brahms, Bruckner, and Liszt, he included a great deal of their music and introduced new European works, as well as compositions by American composers such as Chadwick, Beach, Converse, and Foote. Gericke “undertook the difficult but needed reform of replacing a number of old musicians, formerly prominent in the city’s musical life, who were holding their posts in the orchestra principally through courtesy, with younger musicians from Europe… For five years Gericke remained at the head of this organization, at the end of which time he returned to Germany and resumed the leadership of the Concert Society in Vienna, which he conducted until 1895. Then followed a period of three years’ freedom from professional activities, and in 1898 Gericke was again engaged to conduct the Boston Symphony Orchestra. For eight years longer Gericke directed the body of musicians which he had brought to its present perfection of ensemble; then, in the season of 1905 and 1906 resigned his post, and in the latter year returned to Vienna… Gericke is said to have forwarded the cause of music in America more than any other one man, with the possible exception of Theodore Thomas. Elson speaks of him as the finest drillmaster among conductors… His reading of scores is considered remarkable” (Ibid) Among the new musicians that he hired for his second season was the twenty-year-old concertmaster, Franz Kneisel, and “numerous other new members to replace ‘old’ and ‘overworked musicians’ no longer fit for the demands of modern and more difficult orchestral ensemble. He subdued the brass in order to perfect the balance and tone of the ensemble. He insisted on rehearsals conditions never imposed by Henschel or Carl Zerrahn. He disciplined musicians who took the stage intoxicated, in some cases repeatedly… His repertoire, stressing Beethoven, was less adventurous than Thomas’ in New York, less conservative than has been Dwight’s and the Harvard Musical Associations’s. As he disciplined his orchestra, Gericke disciplined his audience, and not by insisting on more “serious” programs. Latecomers were not admitted except during pauses. Encores were discouraged… Gericke himself called his Boston listeners ‘one of the most cultivated and best understanding musical publics I Know’… Henschel had adopted the formulas of ‘lightening heavier programmes;’ Gericke had not.

But Gericke supported the notion of a summer season modeled after the garden concerts of Germany and Austria. As it happened, the initial summer Promenade season materialized in 1885, near the beginning of Gericke’s tenure… For the Promenade concerts the Music Hall’s downstairs seats were removed and replaced with tables and shrubs.. Light alcoholic beverages were served (a breach of public morals requiring a special annual permit). On opening night Boston’s highest social circles turned out in force and there were not enough tables and waiters to meet the demand.” (Horowitz,  50-54)

Lang was responsible for acquainting the Gericke with what had already been presented to Boston audiences. The critic Apthorp remembered in 1911 that: “Shortly after Mr. Gericke’s arrival in Boston, B. J. Lang asked him if he would not be interested to see the programmes of past symphony concerts in our city; to which he replied he had already seen them all, and had studied them carefully. ‘All’ sounded rather startling; so Lang asked him how many seasons of programmes he had seen. ‘Oh, there have been only three,’ answered Mr. Gericke. ‘Ah, I see’ said Lang, ‘you mean the programmes of the Boston Symphony; but wouldn’t you like to see the programmes for the seventeen years of concerts given by the Harvard Musical Association, before the Symphony existed?’ Mr. Gericke’s eyes opened wide at this, and he eagerly accepted the offer. So Lang gave him the two bound volumes of programmes, which he returned in a few days, saying, ‘I am completely dumbfounded! I do not see what is left for me to do here. You seem to have had everything already; more, much more, than we ever had in Vienna!’” (Howe, Op. cit., 67).

Lang did his best to make Gericke feel at home. In 1884 Lang invited him to the Lang’s summer home which was a farm in Weston. Luckily the critic and Lang’s former piano pupil, William Apthorp was also invited as Gericke spoke almost no English, Apthorp saved the evening as he understood him “better than the rest of us did.” (Diary 2, Summer 1884) Frances found him “modest, handsome and really delightful.” (Ibid) In the fall of 1884 Lang took Gericke to the St. Botolph Club. (Diary 2, Fall 1884) At this time the two of them were trying to decide what piece Lang should play with the Symphony the following February-Gericke suggested the Schumann Concertstuck, but Lang preferred Bach or Tschaikovsky.” (Ibid) Lang prevailed-On February 19 and 20, 1885 he played the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1, just about ten years after he had conducted the world premier with von Bulow as the soloist.

FOURTEENTH APOLLO CLUB SEASON. 1884-1885.

The caliber of voices in the 1884-85 membership of the Apollo Club is reflected by the fact that Lang used George J. Parker, one of the tenors, and Clarence E. Hay, one of the basses as soloists with The Cecilia. They both had solo parts in Schumann’s Paradise and the Peri given by The Cecila with orchestral accompaniment on November 17, 1884. This was fifth time that the choir had performed this Schumann work. (BMYB 1884-85, 46) Both singers were also soloists in The Cecilia’s performance with orchestra of The Damnation of Faust by Berlioz at the end of the season, May 14, 1885. (Op. cit., 47) However, in the June 1885 issue of the Courier the following appeared: “It is true that the Apollo Club is not quite up to its standard of a few years ago, but it is none the less above the standard attained by any other American male chorus.” (Baker, 11)

The April 29 and May 4, 1885 concerts featured “selections composed by prominent local musicians, most of the numbers having been written especially for the club…With a programme of this character it was to be expected that the good and the indifferent would be presented, and such proved to be the case.” (Journal (April 30, 1885): 4, GB) Included among the world premiers was Arthur Foote’s If Doughty Deeds My Lady Please, words by Graham of Gartmore, which was then published by Schmidt in 1885 as Oct. no. 34 (Apollo Club Collection no. 1). (Cipolla, 35) The piece was dedicated to Allen A. Brown, fellow Apollo Club member and donor of the beginning music collection of the Boston Public Library. Foote’s piece was a “fine bit of harmony and was throughout a very pleasing number.” (Journal, Op. cit.) After the orchestral opening to the concert, the choir sang Frank H. Brackett’s Cavalier’s Song with its “dashing melody, following closely in description the proud, knightly words of the text. It was strong and vigorous in character and eminently pleasing. In its rendering the club could not be excelled.” (Ibid) The “gem” of the evening was the “exquisite little song” Proposal by Geo. L. Osgood,
“a beautiful melody appealing to the very soul of music. It well deserved its quick repetition, nothing that the club has presented was more enjoyable.” (Ibid) In addition to these three premiers, two pieces that the club had premiered in previous years were again performed; The Blind King by J. C. D. Parker and Henry of Navarre by George E. Whiting. The final premier repeat was Lang’s own song, The Lass of Carlisle based on James Hogg’s “eccentric poem.” The review found little to like except the “vocal gymnastics of the refrain, when the words, ‘Sing hey, hickerty, dickerty, hickerty, dicherty dear,” were set to a queer, qucikened strain, taxing to the highest degree the vocal ability of the singer.” (Ibid) The final local composer included was Harvard’s Professor of Music, John. K. Paine, who had two excerpts from his Oedipus music performed; the overture opened the concert and one of the choruses closed the evening.” (Ibid)

A comparison of the 1885 Boston Directory with the 1883-84 membership list of the Apollo Club gives an interesting in sight into the broad range of social backgrounds of the singers. There were Professional Musicians, Financiers, Merchants, Lawyers, Salesmen, Clerks, Doctors and Government Officials.

It was reported in the Worcester Spy “applications for membership in the Apollo Club are so numerous that his was nearly the 400th. waiting to be acted upon, and it was eleven years before he could become a member…The Apollo is very prosperous, and has an abundance of means to enable it to make a fine appearance in public.” (Worcester Daily Spy, (September 24, 1885): 2) Certainly Lang could be very proud of such an achievement.

NINTH CECILIA SEASON. 1884-1885.

The first concert was on Monday evening, November 17, 1884 at the Music Hall with full orchestra. Schumann’s Paradise and the Peri [possibly given three times before] was presented with Clarence E. Hay, bass and George J. Parker, tenor as the main soloists. Here the problem of using soloists from the group was again noticed; the Herald review wrote that the performance “suffered somewhat in having an array of light-voiced soloists in almost all of the solo numbers. As this work consists of an almost unbroken string of solos, it is hazardous to give it with any but the best of artists… Even when given at its best, Paradise and the Peri suffers from too much solo.” (Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2) Woolf in the Evening Gazette wrote an extensive review calling the performance “dull and inadequate as an interpretation” which then led to an extensive critique of Lang as an orchestral conductor. “It has long been our conviction that Mr. Lang is a mistake whenever he takes the baton in hand to interpret an important work or to lead an orchestra… His peculiar leaning towards mechanical literalness leads him constantly to present the cold body of a work without its soul… His jerky and eccentric beating of time is always confusing.” Woolf then refers to the Frog of fable fame which probably inspired the following printed in a different newspaper:

The Wolf and the Lang.

A Fable.

A peaceful Lang was one day teaching a little band of tadpoles to        follow their leader through an orchestral stream. A savage wolf, who  occupied by chance a slightly elevated position hard by, was so much affected at the sight that, to conceal his own emotions, he sprang upon the defenseless Lang and tore him to pieces with his cruel pen.

Moral 1. Everybody does not always know how to conduct himself.

Moral 2. It is often harder to play upon two pianos than upon a harp with one string.

Woolf then continued in another article to savage Lang in response to words written by William Foster Apthorp. Woolf saw the Cecilia Club as “simply a ramification of a small and tyrannical clique that has for years attempted to establish a dictatorship over musical affairs in Boston… The Cecilia Club is but another name for the head of this clique, and the Apollo also is one of its pseudonyms.” Then Lang’s career as a piano teacher was attacked. “They are not particularly good players, for they have absorbed all the faults, and, they are many, of Mr. Lang’s method… Whenever any of these pupils appear in public, the mouthpiece of the clique [Apthorp], also one of Lang’s pupils, expatiates to the extent of half a column upon their merits, their poetic feeling, their deep artistic sentiment and their earnestness of style; in fact, everything but their playing, all of which is indirectly a laudation of Mr. Lang… There is too much of Lang and of Langification in our musical affairs.” (Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2)

The second concert was given on January 15, 1885 with full orchestra and Arthur Foote as organist. Dvorak’s Stabat Mater was given in full, and the Advertiser review spent much time on the soloists, saying, in effect, that they were not really up to the task. “Last night the quartette was composed of Mrs. J. E. Tippett, whose slender, sweet voice is also as cool as it is clear; Mr. W. J. Winch, who never lacks manly, earnest directness and energy, but who is not emotional, to use a much perverted word; Dr. Bullard, whose pleasant and cultivated organ has not the depth and massiveness the music ought to find, and Miss Mary H. How, who alone of all the four sang as if she felt the composer’s spirit and was seeking to convey it. Add to this that the volumes and timbres of the four voices were widely different, and it will easily be understood that, carefully and well in their respective manners as the vocalists sang, there could be no real ensemble in their union.” (Advertiser, Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2) The Gazette, while finding the choir’s singing to be “creditable and characterized generally by smoothness and promptness,” used a final paragraph of twenty-one lines to fault Lang’s conducting. “The nervous unsteadiness of his beat frequently created an indecision among the performers that seemed to foretell impending disaster, from which, however, escape was always made,” which must have disappointed the critic, Mr. Woolf. (Gazette, Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2)

The third concert was held on Thursday evening, March 19, 1885 at the Music Hall and consisted of Mendelssohn’s operetta Camacho’s Wedding: “Mr. [H. G.] Tucker left his triumphs in pianoforte music and became Camacho for the occasion.” The Advertiser wrote: “Mr. Tucker, after his first nervousness wore off, made the small part quite telling, although it must be confessed that he is more happy as a pianist than as a vocalist.” It was advertised as the first performance since its Berlin premier in 1827, but the Home Journal felt that it should never have been revived; in fact the writer thought, “It would be unfair to presume that the esteemed conductor of The Cecilia entertains a very high opinion of the work.” The accompaniment was by two pianos with Lang playing the solo and recit. accompaniments with Mr. Sumner and Mr. Preston “at a second piano and accompanied the choruses where Mr. Lang took up the conductor’s baton.” The Evening Transcript noted: “Of the duet-playing of the overture, it can only be said that the two pianists owed it to their reputation (if to nothing else) not to attempt to play with the instruments so far apart that it was physically impossible they should keep together.” The Courier recorded the eight different soloists involved, but noted: “Their ensembles generally were very ragged and insecure. The chorus did better, and some numbers were very pleasing, but, the whole performance lagged because there was little in the music and nothing in the libretto to interest… This was one of Mendelssohn’s earliest attempts at opera.” (Courier, Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2)

The final concert on Thursday evening, May 14, 1885 at the Music Hall with full orchestra was of the Damnation of Faust by Berlioz. The principal soloists were Mrs. E. Humphrey Allen, Mr. George J. Parker (Tenor) and Mr. Clarence E. Hay (Bass), and “The Male Chorus of the Club is enlarged for this occasion by sixty gentlemen, who have kindly volunteered their services.” [Apollo Club?] The review in Key Notes of May 1885 by Louis C. Elson noted: “The soloists were not great enough for the inordinate demands of the work.” Elson then remembered “the absolutely great performance given by Mr. Henschel.” However he ended with: “The general excellence of the choruses, and the steadiness of the orchestra combined to make the concert one worth going two miles in a rain storm to see; therefore there will be no more vitriol thrown upon it this week from the pen of L. C. E.” The Advertiser felt that the addition of sixty male voices “added greatly in fullness and richness of tone, the bass being particularly smooth and strong,” but the reviewer felt that “the contraltos were sometimes lost [don’t altos sing with tenors in the traditional Berlioz three part texture?]… The chorus singing was generally most creditable in accuracy of time and tune, but not always nice in finish or positive in accent… The orchestra was made up of the very cream of local players, and as a consequence most of the instrumental work was finely done… In spite of the tempestuous night, the audience was large, very few desirable seats being left vacant.” The Courier mentioned repeated previous performances of this work by the Club, “nevertheless the repeated performances have resulted in a choral performance that is almost beyond criticism. All of the chorus work was of a character that calls only for praise… The orchestral work, also, calls for much commendation. The Rakoscky March was given in a very brilliant manner, and won and deserved an imperative encore.” This reviewer also found the soloists not up to the task and the memory of Henschel’s “glorious performance of some five years ago” was again mentioned. “The Cecilia may add this occasion as one of the many triumphs which have graced their history.” (Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2)

BACH BIRTHDAY CONCERT.

B. J. Lang organized a concert for March 21, 1885 in celebration of J. S. Bach’s 200th. birthday. “It appears, from research by the writer, [William Lyman Johnson] that there was only one harpsichord in Boston in 1885 in playable condition. It was the property of Mr. Morris Steinert, founder of the house of M. Steinert and Sons. In Bach’s Coffee Cantata there is the need of a harpsichord, and Mr. Lang played Mr. Steinert’s instrument. This was probably the first time for a period of sixty years that a harpsichord had been used in a public concert in Boston.” (HMA Bulletin No. 14) However, other reports mention that Chickering built the harpsichord used. The concert on Saturday afternoon, March 21, 1885 at 2:30PM at Chickering Hall included the concertos for two, three and four keyboards with Lang, Foote, Tucker, Sumner and W. S. Fenollosa as the soloists. Lang soloed in the Concerto in A minor.

Also on the program was the American premier of the Coffee Cantata with Louise Gage, William J. and John F. Winch as the soloists. In a pre-concert article in the Herald the writer compared Bach’s “keen sense of the ridiculous” to that of “Arthur Sullivan’s more modern efforts in this line.” (Herald (March 15, 1885): 10, GB) The basic story is of a father trying to break his daughter’s coffee habit. This leads to such unusual recitatives as: “Don’t be cross, father dear, for if I’m not allowed to drink three cups of coffee clear, my strength will fall and down I’ll break, like a poor donkey overladen;” this sung to Bach’s usual vocal style. (Ibid) For some reason Johnson listed this as a first Boston performance by the Apollo Club. (Johnson, First, 14)

SUMMER OF 1885. MARGARET BEGINS HER STUDIES IN MUNICH.

During the summer of 1885 the Lang family and nurse Ellen Sheehan moved to Europe. Frances, in her Diary entries of 1884 and then more so in 1885 noted “I am tired to death all the time…I have a feeling that I shall drop suddenly…So busy. I am miserable fighting against all sorts of aches and pains…Too tired for anything.” (Diary 2, Fall 1884 and Spring 1885) She and B. J. had spoken at length about the best direction for the whole family. One Doctor had diagnosed exhaustion and nervousness while a second said that “I must be keep from all excitement, go out very little, no late hours, and on no account stand,” but the same day she received these instructions she forced herself to make calls and attend two big affairs.(Diary 2, Spring 1885) So the only way to keep her from this schedule was to remove her from it, and she knew this. “I know from something he said, that he would like to take us all abroad. (Next day) I told Lel that I had decided it might be best for us to go abroad. He seemed much relieved and delighted.” (Ibid) They left Boston on June 13, 1885 on the S. S. CATALONIA [launched May 14, 1881, 200 in First Class and 1500 in Steerage, covered the Boston/Liverpool route], and visited Brussells, Cologne, Wurtzburg and “then Munich 48 Brienner Strasse where we [Frances and the children only] lived 2 winters.” The Music Conservatory was just three blocks away. While they were in Munich they visited with Cosima Wagner who was at the Marienbad Hotel. Two of her daughters, Eva and Isolda were also there. Mrs. Lang and Margaret stood outside the Odeon Salle as the “Vorspiel” from Lohengrin was being played by a full orchestra with an audience of one, Cosima Wagner. “A great experience.” (Excerpts from Francis M. Lang’s Note Book, 7)

When B. J. returned to Boston in September 1885 he gave an extensive interview to the Herald which was entitled “Mr. B. J. Lang chats About Music in Europe.” The article began with the story of how Lang was able to reach his steamer back to American two hours AFTER it had sailed. “A tug was chartered and a race for the lead with the steamer was begun with some disadvantage for the tug. This proved successful for the smaller vessel, and the captain of the steamer Etrurfa could not refuse a passage to such a determined passenger when the tug puffed up alongside and demanded the courtesy for her solitary passenger.” Lang and family attended the Handel Festival at the Crystal Palace where Israel In Egypt was given with 1,000 in the orchestra and 3,000 in the chorus with an audience of 24,000. The effect of these large forces no not even the same as “20 performers in Boston Music Hall.” Tempos were slowed and the greatest soloists of the time including the “soprano Albani and Lloyd, the tenor…were barely audible.” However, “the Handel performance in Westminster Abbey, to an audience of 10,000 people, two-thirds of whom stood for three hours in rapt attention to listen to the Dettingen Te Deum and an anthem by Handel, was spendid.” Lang found the performance of a choir from Amsterdam conducted by Daniel de Lange to be of great interest. They did pieces by Sweelinck, Dufay, Lassus, both sacred and secular. Lang heard Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado, but felt it musically one of “Sullivan’s feeblest efforts,” but the production at the old Savoy Theatre “was a feast for the eyes, as well as being bright and charming altogether.” In Frankfurt Lang was “surprised to find there an opera house of great beauty and comfort, with an orchestra, chorus and artists of the very best order…Here he heard some of the best performances of opera to be heard in Germany…Mr. Lang has left his family in Germany, and proposes to return there in the spring, spending his time in north Germany and Norway.” Lang also attended the Birmingham Festival in England. He recalled that the “public are made to feel these performances are costly” as he had to pay $5 per seat for each concert. (all quotes from the Herald (September 27, 1885): 13, GB)

FIFTEENTH APOLLO CLUB SEASON. 1885-1886.

The 97th. concert was sung at the Music Hall on Monday evening, February 15, 1886. This was the fourth concert of the fifteenth season. The assisting artists were Mr. Fritz Giese, cellist, and Miss Zippora Monteith, soprano. The opening piece was the Song of the Viking by George W. Chadwick (with piano accompaniment). A part song by Georg Henschel, The King and the Poet, and The Soldiers of Gideon, Opus 46 for double chorus by Saint-Saens were the two other major choral pieces in the first half. Solos for the two assisting artists and the premier (?) of the Proposal by George L. Osgood, “Written for the Apollo Club” were major parts of the second half. The finale was the double chorus from Oedipus by Mendelssohn. (Program, Johnston Collection)

The 97th. and 98th. concerts were sung on Wednesday evening, May 12 and Monday evening, May 17, 1886. Included in the program was the premier of Arthur Foote’s The Farewell of Hiawatha, Op. 11 that was “Written for the Apollo Club.”  “The earliest ‘Indian’ cantata was the product of Arthur Foote…Foote set the concluding portion of the final canto of Longfellow’s The Song of Hiawatha (1885) for his The Farewell of Hiawatha (1886). This lengthy poem is generally considered the initial major work in American literature to elevate and humanize the Indian. Of more importance to this study is the remarkable resemblance between Longfellow’s Hiawatha and Jesus Christ. Each came to earth to help his people and returned to heaven when his mission was completed. Foote did not use aboriginal melodies in his cantata. Later composers did, however, as they were able to benefit from the work of ethnomusicologists, which began in earnest in the 1880s.” (Stopp, 392) Six months later another Foote premier was conducted by Lang, but this time, with the Cecilia Society. The Club again performed this piece on May 10, 1938 under the direction of Thompson Stone. (Cipolla, 34) The other major work was “Scenes from Frithiof’s Saga” by Max Bruch for soprano and baritone solos, male chorus and orchestra. The soloists were Miss Gertrude Franklin and Mr. John F. Winch. Winch had sung at the Boston premier of the work given by the Apollo Club on February 4 and 9, 1881. A third performance of the work would be given on March 5 and 8, 1893. Lang include two of his own pieces in this program-a part song, My True Love Hath My Heart and the arrangement of the Swedish folksong, Hi-Fe-Lin-Ke-Le. The part song was a premier while the folksong had been premiered two years before. The finale was a Lang favorite-“Double Chorus” from Antigone by Mendelssohn. (Program, Johnston Collection)

TENTH CECILIA SEASON. 1885-1886.

Dated October 20, 1885, the Cecilia sent out a letter outlining the coming season. “An increase in the number of Associate members is necessary to enable the Society to carry out its plans as it desires.” Four concerts on Thursday evenings were advertised with the two major works being a repeat of Bruch’s Odysseus to be given with “full orchestra and competent solo singers” (Advertiser)(last given by the Society in May 1882) and Dvorak’s Spectre’s Bride “the most conspicuous success of the recent festival at Birmingham. England.” The yearly fee was $15 for which you got four tickets to each performance. “The chorus of the Society is as large and efficient as ever; the best orchestral and solo talent possible will be employed; and the concerts will be given under the direction of the conductor of the Society, Mr. B. J. Lang.” (BPL Lang Prog.) At the June Annual meeting Mr. S. L. Thorndike, President since the choir’s formation declined re-election, and Mr. A. Parker Browne was elected to the post.

The “early months of autumn [1885] were rather anxious times” wrote the Cecilia’s new President (a year later in his Annual Report of 1886) as the President for the past nine years had declined re-election, “and it seemed to many that the Club could not well get along without him. The expenses of the [previous] season had used up both income and surplus, and there was no certainty that our income for the new year would enable us to continue in the way we had been going.” However, by the fall, the associate members had made their contributions, and with only two of the concerts using orchestra, the Club finished the season “without debt.” (Annual Report 1886)

The first concert was on Thursday evening, December 10, 1885 at the Music Hall performing Bruch’s Odysseus with full orchestra as promised and with most of the solos taken by chorus members. The Transcript noted the previous performances of this cantata by the Cecilia calling the work: “one of the finest; one of those which best repay repetition. The performance last evening, in so far as the work of the chorus is concerned, was very fine indeed… In a word, the singing of the chorus was admirable.” The orchestral work was also praised, but the soloists were found lacking: “Mr. Adams, who was cast for the title role, had the ill luck to be completely out of voice.” the other main soloists had various problems, and “the other solo parts were acceptably filled.” So much for the promise of “competent solo singers.” (Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2)

In 1885 the poor financial condition of the country also affected musicians. Samuel L. Thorndike, former President of the Cecilia Society, wrote to the Treasurer of the Harvard Musical Association: “I am so poor this winter that I am unable even to go to the [Harvard Orchestra] concerts, – or any other concerts, though it is worse than having one’s teeth drawn to stay away. It is not ”virtuous economy,” but absolute incapacity to pay for a ticket that keeps me away.” (Hepner, 21)

As part of the February 4, 1886 Music Hall concert, Miss Bockus, a member of the club sang songs by Schubert, Chadwick, Hiller and Lang’s Sing, Maiden, Sing. (Yearbook, Vol. 3, 52) “This was an unusual programme for the Cecilia, the chorus giving all their numbers, except The Nixie, without accompaniment. The pleasure our audience manifested on this occasion would seem to indicate that though our field is confessedly that of Cantata, with orchestral accompaniment, we shall hazard no loss of support if we occasionally present such a programme as this.” (President’s Report, June 1886)

The third concert, a miscellaneous program, was held on Thursday evening, March 25, 1886 at the Music Hall and included excerpts from Handel’s Acis and Galatea [this was the second time that the Club had done excerpts from this work which led the Club’s new President to “hope we may soon give it with orchestra”] with the soloists, Miss Brockus, Mr. Webber, and Mr. J. F. Winch. Lang and Mr. J. A. Preston, the accompanist for the evening, played Homage a Handel for two pianos by Moscheles which the Courier found “rather tame and uninteresting,” while the Traveler found that the work “added zest and contrast,” but a third reviewer found the performance of this work “rather dry, but that may have been the fault of the work itself, certainly the ensemble was good.” Mr. Winch “was excellent in Mr. Lang’s spirited song The Chase, giving it with hearty abandon and fire… The concert was evidently thoroughly enjoyed by the audience.” Another review wrote that the concert “may be classed as one of the successes of the club, particularly in the chorus work which was resolute and of good volume.” So much for President Thorndike’s recent comments about how neither the audience nor the choir enjoyed a miscellaneous program. Another review mentioned Lang’s song noting that it had been sung “with real brio and splendid voice. He was enthusiastically recalled, and certainly deserved it.” This review also mentioned that Winch had come to grief in his Handel “Oh ruddier than the cherry,” and had been saved by Lang “who at the piano, skipped over all breaks with the vocalists, and covered his retreat with courage and ability. It would have been total shipwreck, and the singer never would have reached a port of safety, had it not been firm the calmness of Mr. B. J. Lang.” The Courier also had noted Lang’s “admirable presence of mind. It is not the first time that we have admired this quality in Mr. Lang; and we can add that the important accompaniments, in his hands, became as elastic and effective as public, or singer, could desire.” (Courier, Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2)

The fourth concert was held on Thursday evening, May 13, 1886 at the Music Hall with “a small but excellent orchestra assisted.” The featured work was The Spectre’s Bride by Dvorak with Miss Kehew (The Maiden), Mr. George J. Parker (The Spectre), and Mr. Max Heinrich (The Narrator). In fact Miss Kehew became ill, and Mrs. J. R. Tippett “very kindly assumed [the part] at a day’s notice.” The Traveler review ended with: “Mr. Lang got a good grip on everything during the performance, and the success of the work is mainly due to his relentless rehearsing of the chorus through the few weeks given to a study of the work. No audience at a Cecilia concert in Boston ever received a new work with so many evidences of appreciation, and in adding it to their repertoire the Cecilia has put the town under obligations,” (Traveler, Cecilia Reviews) while a second reviewer began:” I am still enthusiastic over the work and the glorious manner in which the choruses were sung. The Society surpassed itself in this concert.” This review ended with: “This work made a profound impression, and we trust will be repeated next season.” A third review began: “Last Thursday was a red letter night with the Cecilia Club, and a more successful performance than that given to Dvorak’s new work could not be desired, save by the hypercritical.” This reviewer wrote “the chorus did more than well. Their precision” was perfection. A final comment in the review made reference to a problem noted by many earlier reviewers-audience members leaving before the end of the final number. “Not a person, so far as we saw, left before the final pizzicato notes had brought the cantata to its impressive end, and after that the applause burst forth with a vehemence unusual in a club concert. We thank Mr. Lang and the club for giving such a work in such a manner, and believe that concerts such as these give a true educational aim to the work of the Cecilia Society.” (Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2)

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PREMIERS.

CHORAL (Other than the Cecilia Society and Apollo Club).

(Boston) Haydn: The Seasons, March 24, 1866 at Music Hall, unnamed chorus. “In part only” (Johnson, First, 190)- H and H sang it complete in 1875 under Zerrahn, (Ibid) but he had conducted it with the Salem Oratorio Society in 1869. (Johnson, First, 189)

(Boston) Mendelssohn: First Walpurgis Night. May 3, 1862. Combined choirs; unnamed choir; soloists – Mrs. Kempton, Dr. Langmaid, Messrs. Wadleigh and Weterbee. Boston Music Hall. (Johnson, First,  255)

(Boston) Mendelssohn: Hymn of Praise, Opus 52 at Old South Church; combined church choirs; used only an organ four-hand accompaniment for the overture, and J.S.D. Parker as the organist for the rest of the work, January 30, 1862. (Johnson, First, 250)

Total: 3.

CECILIA. First Concert (with HMA)-Nov. 19, 1874). Last concert

CECILIA PREMIERS-TAKEN FROM:
Chapter 3: 1871-1881.
Chapter 4: 1881-1891.
Chapter 5: 1891-1901.
Chapter 6: 1901-1909.                                                                                                              All from the 1907 List unless noted.

(Boston)       Bach: Bide With Us (with piano). February 27, 1880.

(Boston)       Bach: Blessing, Glory, Wisdom and Might (with piano), January 24, 1894.

(American)  Bach: Christmas Oratorio, Part VI, April 2, 1883.

(Boston)       Bach: God’s Time is Best (with piano). December 13, 1880.

(Boston)       Bach: Ich hatte viel Bekummemiss. March 16, 1876.

(Boston)       Beach: The Rose of Avontown. Mrs. Beach was the accompanist. February 4, 1897.

(Boston)       Beethoven: Missa Solemnis.  March 12, 1897.

(Boston)       Beethoven: The Praise of Music, March 22, 1888.

(Boston)       Beethoven: The Ruins of Athens (Selections). January 24, 188                                                                                                                                            (American)  Berlioz: The Fifth of May, November 28, 1891. (First Wage Earner Concert)

(Boston)       Berlioz: Requiem, Op. 5, February 12, 1882 (Johnson, First, 69). Second American

(Boston)       Brahms: German Requiem, December 3, 1888.

(Boston)       Brahms: Gipsy Songs, May 16, 1889.

(Boston)       Brahms: How Long Wilt Thou Forget Me, O God?  January 25, 1892.

(Boston)       Brahms: Naenie, May 22, 1890 (with piano).

(Boston)       Bruch: Fair Ellen. March 19, 1877.

(Boston)       Bruch: The Lay of the Bell, May 16, 1883 (Bruch conducting).

(Boston)       Bruch: Odysseus. December 22, 1879.

(Boston)       Bruch: Siechen rost. January 25, 1893.

(Boston)       Bruckner: Te Deum. December 12, 1905.

(Boston)       Buck: The Golden Legend, January 24, 1881.

(Boston)       Chadwick: Phoenix Expirans. December 3 and 5, 1900.

(World)         Chadwick: The Pilgrims. April 2, 1891.

(American)  Charpentier: The Poet’s Life. April 4, 1905.

(Boston)        Coleridge-Taylor: Death of Minnehaha. February 3, 1903.

(American)  Coleridge-Taylor: Hiawatha’s Departure.  December 3 and 5, 1900.

(Boston)       Coleridge-Taylor: Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast. March 12 and 14, 1900.

(American)  Coleridge-Taylor: Overture to Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast. March 12 and 14, 1900.

(American?) Cornelius: The Barber of Bagdad (selections) May 10, 1888.

(Boston)        Debussy: The Blessed Damozel. April 4, 1905.

(  ??        )        Dvorak: A Patriotic Hymn, March 22, 1888.

(Boston)       Dvorak: Requiem. November 28 and 30, 1892. Second American-Dvorak conducted.

(Boston)       Dvorak: The Spectre’s Bride, May 13, 1886.

(Boston)       Dvorak: Stabat Mater, January 15, 1885.

(Boston)       Elgar: Dream of Gerontius. January 26, 1904.

(Boston)       Elgar: My Love Dwelt in a Northern Land. January 17, 1895. Second American.

(Boston)       Fanchetti: Academic Festival Hymn (with piano). January 24, 1894.

(American)  Foote: A Motet: Vita Nostra Plena Bellis (Mortal Life is Full of battle), Op. 47. February  4,  1902.

(World)         Foote: The Wreck of the Hesperous, January 26, 1888 (with piano) and March 27, 1890 (with orchestra).

(Boston)       Franck: Psalm 150. February 4, 1902.

(Boston)       Gade: Comala. January 21, 1876. (first Boston performance with orchestra)

(American)  Gade: The Crusaders (with piano). January 11, 1877. (with orchestra) February 7, 1879.

(Boston)       Gade: Psyche (with piano and organ), January 18, 1883.

(    ??     )         Gade: Spring Fantasy, March 22, 1888.

(Boston)       Goring: The Swan and Skylark.  January 13, 1898.

(Boston)       Grieg: At the Cloister Gate (with piano). December 13, 1880. (with orchestra) January 24, 1881.

(Boston)       Handel: Acis and Galatea. May 17, 1878.

(Boston)       Handel: L’Allegro ed Il Penseroso (selections). April 21, 1879. (first Boston with orchestra)

(    ??     )         Handel: Zadok the Priest, March 25, 1886.

(Boston)       Haydn: Salve Regina. March 20, 1896.

(World)         Henschel: Requiem. On December 2, 1902. Henschel conducted.

(Boston)       Henschel: Stabat Mater. March 31, 1901.

(Boston)       Hofmann: Cinderella (with piano) November 30, 1881.

(Boston)       Hofmann: The Tale of the Fair Melusina, December 6, 1877.

(Boston)       Hood: The Robin, March 27, 1884.

(Boston)       Humperdinck: Pilgrimage to Kevlaar. January 13, 1898.

(World)         Hutcheson: Piano Concerto. March 9, 1904. Lang conducted.

(American)  d’Indy: St. Mary Magdalene. February 6, 1906.

(Boston)       Jensen: Brier Rose, May 10, 1888.

(World)         Jones: Up the Hillside, May 5, 1887.

(World)         Lang, B. J.: The Chase, April 12, 1882.

(World)         Lang, B. J.: The King is Dead. January 25 and 26, 1899.

(World)         Lang, B. J.: Sing, Maiden, Sing, February 4, 1886.

(World)         Lang, M. R.: Bonnie Ran the Burnie Down. May 6, 1897.

(World)         Lang, M. R.: In a Garden.  April 30, 1896.

(World)         Lang, M. R.: In a Meadow, February 1, 1889.

(World)         Lang, M. R.: Irish Love Song. February 13, 1896.

(World)         Lang, M. R.: Love Plumes His Wings. January 23 and 25, 1893. Repeated January 16 and 17, 1895.

(Boston)       Lassus: Matona, Lovely Maiden, May 22, 1891.

(Boston)       Loeffler: L’Archet. February 4, 1902. Loeffler played.

(Boston)       Liszt: The Legend of St. Elizabeth, November 18, 1886.

(Boston)       MacCunn: It Was a Lass. January 22, 1891.

(Boston)       MacCunn: Lord Ullin’s Daughter. January 22, 1891.

(Boston)       MacDowell: Barcarolle. May 22, 1890.

(American)  Massenet: Eve, March 27, 1890.

(American?) Massenet: Mary Magdalen, November 20, 1890.

(American)  Massenet: The Promised Land. April 8, 1902.

(Boston)       Mendelssohn: Ave Maria, May 10, 1888.

(Boston for music and World for combined) Mendelssohn: Athalie, January 27, 1887 (First performance of the Racine text and Mendelssohn’s music). Myron Whitney-soloist; Howard M. Ticknor-reader. Boston Orchestral Club (an amateur group usually led by Bernhard Listemann). Also December 6, 8 and 11, 1897-sung in French at Harvard with Mrs. Alice Bates Rich as the principal soloist and Prof. de Sumichrast as the narrator.

(Boston)       Mendelssohn: Camacho’s Wedding, March 19, 1885 (Was not the Second world performance-Johnson lists two American performances before this one, both in 1875, both presented by the Thomas orchestra)(Johnson, First, 257).

(Boston)       Mendelssohn: Forty-third Psalm. (unaccompanied) February 27, 1880.

(Boston)       Mendelssohn: Laudate pueri-motet for female voices. March 16, 1876.

(Boston)       Mendelssohn: The Lorely. March 18, 1875.

(Boston)       Mendelssohn: Motet for solo voices, chorus and organ composed expressly for the nuns of La Trinita, Rome. (Herald (April 3, 1904): 22 ad, GB)

(Boston)       Mendelssohn: 13th. Psalm, May 22, 1890.

(Boston)       Moskowski: Scenes from Faust, March 20, 1896.

(Boston)       Mozart: Te Deum. December 11, 1906.

(World)         Nevin: If She be Made of White and Red. May 11, 1893.

(World)         Nevin: The Night Has a Thousand Eyes, January 31, 1889.

(World)         Nevin: Wynken, Blynken and Nod, May 22, 1890.

(World)         Paine: Azara. April 9, 1907. First complete-in concert form.

(Boston)       Palestrina: Sanctus. May 2, 1894.

(Boston)       Palestrina: Missa Brevis. February 13, 1901.

(Boston)       Parker: Legend of St. Christopher, Opus 43. December 6, 1899. The  world premier had been just the year before. Parker conducted.

(American)  Perosi: The Transfiguration of Christ. April 14 and 26, 1899. The work had been premiered in Italy a year earlier, March 20, 1898.

(Boston)       Pierne: The Children’s Crusade. February 26, 1907.

(American)  Raff: Romeo and Juliet Overture, November 20, 1890.

(Boston)       Rheinberger: Toggenburg. November 25, 1878.

(Boston)       Saint-Saens: Samson and Dalila (Delilah). November 27 and 28, 1894.

(Boston)       Schubert: Miriam’s Song of Triumph. May 14, 1891.

(Boston)       Schubert: 23rd. Psalm. December 27 and 28, 1875.

(Boston)       Schumann: Manfred. April 24, 1880.

(Boston)       Schumann: Mignon’s Requiem, April 12, 1882 (with Piano).

(Boston)       Schumann: Paradise and the Peri. February 18, 1875. With HMA. (First time with orchestra)

(American)  Schumann: Scenes from Faust. March 28, 1881.

(Boston?)     Sgambati: Andante Solenne (Organ and orchestra). March 20, 1896 at a Cecilia Concert.

(Boston)       Stanford: Phandrig Crohoore. March 14, 1900.

(Boston)       Strauss: Taillefer. April 3, 1906.

(Boston)       Thomas: The Swan and the Skylark. January 13, 1898.

(Boston)       Tinel: St. Francis of Assisi (Selections). November 23 and 24, 1893. Second American.

(Boston)       Tchaikovsky: Cherubim Song. January 24, 1900.

(Boston)       Tchaikovsky: Cherubim Song or Vesper Song-neither ad nor review says which one. (Herald (April 3, 1904): 22, GB)

(Boston)       Verdi: Hymn to the Virgin. January 26, 1899.

(American)  Verdi: Stabat Mater. December 5 and 7, 1898.

(American)  Verdi: Te Deum. December 5 and 7, 1898.

(Boston)       Wagner: “Quintet and Chorus” from Die Feen. January 31, 1899.

(Boston)       Wagner: Parsifal (Concert Performance). April 14, 1891 by the Cecilia Society and the Apollo Club with 75 members of the New York Philharmonic. (Johnson, First, 387)

Total: 116.

APOLLO CLUB.

First concert under Lang-September 5, 1871.
Last concert-May 1, 1901.
Chapter 3: 1871-1881.
Chapter 4: 1881-1891.
Chapter 5: 1891-1901.

(Boston)      Becker: A Wood Morning. April 30 and May 2, 1884. Sung by a quartet. (1)(3)

(World)        Berlioz: The Marseillies Hymn “instrumented” for the club. February 4 and 9, 1881. (1) WFAC.

(Boston)      Brackett: Cavalier’s Song. April 29, 1885 and May 4, 1886.(1)(3)(4)

(Boston)      Brahms: Rinaldo. December 15, 1883, Charles R. Adams, soloist. (1 says December 5 and December 10, 1883 based on Wilson Yearbook I-IV: 1884-1887)

(Boston)      Brambach: Columbus. February 20, 1888. Date from program. Johnston Collection. The Club sang it again February 17 and 23, 1892.

(Boston)          Bruch: Frithiof’s Saga, Op. 23. February 4 and 9, 1881. (1)

(Boston)          Bruch: Salamis. April 26, 1882. Brainard’s Musical World, June 1882,  93.

(Boston)          Buck: Annie Laurie (harmonized for TTBB). 1889 (1)(4)

(Boston)          Buck: Chorus of Spirits and Hours. February 11 and 16, 1885. (1)(3)(4)

(Boston)          Buck: King Olaf’s Christmas. December 7 and 12, 1881. Advertiser review mentions that this was the Boston premier. The work was published in 1881.(4)

(World)           Chadwick: Jabberwocky, February 16 and 23, 1887. (4)

(World)           Chadwick: The Viking’s Last Voyage. Chadwick conducted. April 22, 1881. Part of Apollo Club 10th. Anniversary Concert (Lang’s sixty-eighth with the club). Have vocal score. WFAC.

(American)    Cowen: The Language of Flowers. A Suite for Orchestra. December 5 and 10, 1883. (1) (3)

(Boston)         Debois: Lovely Maiden, Sleep On-translation by Charles W. Sprague. December 3 and 8, 1885. (1)(3)

(Boston)         Englesberg: Love Song. December 11 and 18, 1885. (1)(3)

(Boston)         Englesberg: Love, As a Nightingale. February 11 and 16, 1886. (1)(3)

(Boston)         Esser: Mahomet’s Song. December 3 and 8, 1885. (1)(3)

(Boston)         Foote: Cavalry Song, April 27 and May 2, 1887. Boston Musical Yearbook 1886-87, p. 12, 44 and 45. Sung by a Quartet.

(Boston)         Foote: Farewell to [of-Cipolla] Hiawatha. May 12 and 17, 1887. (1) [Cipolla says 1886]

(World)           Foote: If Doughty Deeds My Lady Please. April 29, 1885 and May 4, 1886. (1)

(Boston)        Foote: Into the Silent Land, April 27 and May 2, 1887. Boston Musical Yearbook 1886-87, 12, 44 and 45, but Cipolla Foote Catalog says sung as part of the 250th. Anniversary of Harvard, 1636-1886. [Of course, strictly speaking, this was a Cambridge, not Boston performance] Was published by Schmidt in 1886.

(Boston)        Gauby: A Song to Praise thy Beauty. April 30 and May 2, 1884.(1)

(Boston)       Gericke, Wilhelm: The Autumn Sea. November 22, 1899. Premier mentioned in the November 23, 1899 Advertiser review. NEW, not on lists.

(Boston)       arr. Grieg: Fair Toro, a Norwegian folk-song. March 22, 1899. Premier mentioned in the November 23, 1899 Advertiser  review. NEW, not on lists.

(World)         Henschel: The King and the Poet. April 26, 1882. Gazette review probably written by B. E. Woolf.

(Boston)       Kremser: A Venetian Serenade. February 20 and 25, 1884. (1)(3)

(Boston)       Lachner: Woodcock Song. December 7 and 12, 1881, mentioned as a Boston premier in the Advertiser review.

(World)         Lang, B. J.: Her I Love, sung by Mr. William J. Winch, March 3, 1874. (1) WFAC.

(World)         Lang, B. J.: Hi-fe-lin-ke-le, February 20 and 25, 1884; May 12 and 17, 1887; and April 30, 1890. (1)

(World)         Lang, B. J.: Nocturne for tenor solo, April 29 and May 4, 1885; April 27 and May 2, 1887; April 29, 1891 and May 5, 1897. (1)

(World)         Lang, B. J.: The Lass of Carlisle, solo for baritone sung by Mr. Hay, April 29, 1885 and May 4, 1885. (1)

(World)         Lang, B. J.: The Two Roses, sung by Mr. William J. Winch, March 3, 1874. (1) WFAC.

(World)         Lang, B. J.: The Sea-King, duet, June 1, 1874. (1) “Sung by the Brothers Winch.” (Dwight (June 13, 1874): 247) WFAC.

(World)         Lang, B. J.: My True Love Has My Heart, May 12 and 17, 1886.

(World)         Lang, B. J.: Part Song-Who comes so gracefully, gliding along. June 1, 1874. (1)  (Dwight (June 13, 1874): 247) WFAC.(1)

(World)         Lang, M. R.: The Boatman’s Hymn. January 18, 1893.

(World)         Lang, M. R.:  The Maiden and the Butterfly. May 1 and 6, 1889. (1).

(World)         Lang, M. R.: The Jumblies. December 3 and 8, 1890. Date from program-Johnston Collection.

(Boston)       MacDowell: Bonnie Ann, Opus 53, text by Robert Burns (?). March 22, 1899. Premier mentioned in the November 23, 1899 Advertiser  review. NEW, not on lists.

(Boston)       MacDowell: Midsummer Clouds, November 30, 1898. (Advertiser (December 1, 1898): 4, GB)

(Boston)       Massenet, Jules: The Monks and the Pirates. November 22, 1899. Premier mentioned in the November 23, 1899 Advertiser  review. NEW, not on lists.

(Boston)       Mendelssohn: Antigone of Sophocles, Opus 55. At Tremont Temple on June 7, 1877. Soloists: Dr. Bullard, Powers, Wilkie, Lincoln, Babcock, Allen Brown, Aiken; reader-Prof. Churchill; pianist-Arthur Foote.

(Boston)       Mendelssohn: Oedipus in Colonos, Opus 93. At the Music Hall on January 27, 1880 with orchestra, Lang conducting. Reader-Howard M. Ticknor.

(Boston)       Mohr: The Sea. February 20 and 25, 1884. (1)(3)

(World?)      Osgood: In Picardie. May 3, 1893. (Advertiser (May 4, 1893): 5, GB)

(Boston)       Osgood: Proposal. April 29 and May 4, 1885 (1)(3) and February 10, 1886, and May 4, 1886. (1)

(World?)       Osgood: In Picardie. May 3, 1893. (Advertiser (May 4, 1893): 5, GB)

(Boston)       Paine: Summons to Love. April 26 and May 2, 1882. (1) –Brainard’s Musical World, June 1882, 93.

(World)         Parker, J. C. D.: The Blind King for baritone solo, male chorus and orchestra. “Written for the Apollo Club.” April 25, 1883. Program-Johnston Collection. Repeated April 29 and May 4, 1885. (1)

(Boston)       Parker, Horatio W.: Three Words. November 22, 1899. Premier mentioned in the November 23, 1899 Advertiser review. NEW, not on lists.

(Boston)       Raff: Italian Suite. December 3 and 8, 1884. BPL Reviews.

(Boston)       St.-Saens: The Soldiers of Gideon. February 11 and 16, 1885. (1)(3)

(World)         Strong, Templeton: The Knights and the Naiads. February 19 and 24, 1890. Written for the Club.

(Boston)       Strong, Templeton: The Trumpeter. February 20, 1888. From the program. Johnston Collection.

(World)         Thayer: Sea Greeting. February 16 and 23, 1887. (1)(3) Not available at Ill.

(Boston)       Thayer: Heinz von Stein. April 27 and May 2, 1887. (1)(3) Not available ill.

(Boston)       Wagner: “Chorus of Sailors” from the last act of Flying Dutchman. December 7 and 12, 1881. Advertiser undated review.

(Boston)       Wahlgemuth, Gustav, arranged by: Secret Love. Premier mentioned in the November 23, 1899 Advertiser review. NEW, not on lists.

(World)         Whiting: Free Lances. “Written for the Apollo Club.” April 25, 1883. Program-Johnston Collection. Also February 11, 1891.

(Boston)       Whiting: Henry of Navarre. April 29 and May 4, 1885. (1)(3) Also February 19, 1890.

(World)         Whiting: March of the Monks of Bangor. April 22, 1881. WFAC’s Tenth Anniversary Concert. Sung again January 8, 1924. (1)

(Boston)       Whiting: Overture to The Princess for orchestra. April 30 and May 1884. (BPL Reviews)

(Boston)       Williams, C. Lee: Song of the Pedlar. Premier mentioned in the November 23, 1899 Advertiser review. NEW, not on lists.

(Boston)       Zoellner: The Feast of the Vine in Blossom. April 30 and May 2, 1884. (1)(3)

(Boston)       Zoellner: Young Siegfried. February 11 and 16, 1885. (1)(3)

TOTAL: 64

 

INSTRUMENTAL.

Chapter 2: 1858-1871.
Chapter 3: 1871-1881.
Chapter 4: 1881-1891.
Chapter 5: 1891-1901.
Chapter 6: 1901-1909.

(American) Bach: Coffee Cantata. March 21, 1885 (2) Herald pre-concert article of March 15, 1885, 10, GB, says this was an American premier.

(Boston) Bach: Concerto in G minor, No. 7 [BWV 1058] with the Mendelssohn Quintette Club quartet of strings, February 14, 1865. (Dowell, 414)

(American) Bach: Concerto for Four Keyboards and String Accompaniment. Lang Concert at Mechanics’ Hall on April 1, 1880. (Dwight (May 8, 1880): 79)

(Boston) Beethoven: C minor Trio, Opus 1, No. 3 with Mendelssohn Quintette Club (August Fries-violin and Wulf Fries-cello, February 2, 1858. (Dowell, 363). Chickering Saloon, Masonic Temple.

(Boston) Beethoven: Concerto No. 1 with HMA January 16, 1868 (Johnson, First, 46)

(Boston) Beethoven: Concerto No. 2 with HMA, February 1, 1867 (Johnson, First, 46)

(Boston) Beethoven: The Ruins of Athens (Selections), January 24, 1881.

(Boston) Beethoven: Triple Concerto with HMA February 27, 1868 with HMA, Zerrahn conducting, Eichberg-violin and Fries-cello (Johnson, First, 50)

(Probably American) Bennett: Capriccio for Piano and Strings, Friday February 25, 1859 (Dowell, 373) with Mendelssohn Quintette Club, and then with full orchestra at the February 11, 1860 concert of the Philharmonic. (Dwight (February 18, 1860): 374) Somehow Johnson missed this 1860 performance, and lists the “first time in Boston with orchestra” as the January 29, 1874 Music Hall performance with the HMA conducted by Zerrahn and also with Lang as soloist. (Johnson, First, 59) This was not Johnson’s fault as he was only quoting from Dwight’s review of February 7, 1874 on page 174.

(Boston) Bennett: Capriccio in E with HMA January 29, 1874. (Johnson, 59) He had played it in the chamber form before.

(American?) Bennett: Piano Sonata in A Flat, Op. 46-The Maid of Orleans. Mentioned in one Obit-do not know when.

(American) Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Georg Henschel conductor, March 14 and 15, 1884.

(Boston) Brahms: Trio, Opus 40, Kneisel Quartet, February 1887.

(Boston) von Bronsart: Concerto in F-sharp minor with HMA March 25, 1880. (Johnson, 93)

(Boston) von Bronsart: Piano Trio in G Minor, March 20, 1879.

(American) Debussy: Three Nocturnes (with female choir), Chickering Concert, February 10, 1904-Mr. Georges Longy conducted (Herald ad, (January 30, 1904): 10). Was the second piece on the program and then repeated for the final piece.

(Boston) Dussek: Sonata for Piano and Violin in B flat with Edward Schultze, first violinist of the Mendelssohn Quintette Club, January 8, 1867. Chickering Hall, Washington Street. (Dowell, 421)

(Boston) Dussek: Quartette for Piano and Strings in F minor, Op. 41 with the Mendelssohn Quintette Club, February 12, 1861. Chickering Hall, Washington Street. (Dowell, 390)

(Boston) Franck: Les Djinns for Piano and Orchestra, Chickering Concert, February 24, 1904-Lang conducted. Soloist-Mrs. Jessie Downey Eaton.

(Boston/American) Glazunov: Symphonic Poem, Opus 13, “Stenka Razin.” Chickering Concerts, March 23, 1904.

(Boston) Goldmark: Pianoforte and String Quintet in B Flat, Opus 30. Lang Concert at Mechanics’ Hall, April 29, 1880. (Dwight, May 8, 1880, 79)

(American) Graedener, Karl Georg Peter: Quintette in G minor, Op. 7 with the Mendelssohn Quintette Club, March 19, 1862, Chickering Hall, Washington Street. (Dowell, 399)

(Boston) Hiller: Concerto No. 2 in F-sharp minor with HMA January 14, 1875. (Johnson, 195)

(Salem) Hummel: Concerto in A-minor [No. 2, Opus 85] with HMA February 15, 1867 (Johnson, First, 196) Actually, the Dwight review of this February 15, 1867 concert has J.C.D. Parker as the soloist. Lang had played the work in Salem at “Mr. Lang’s Piano Forte Soiree” on April 13, 1863 with the orchestra part played by Mr. Steele. (Salem Register, (April 13, 1863): 2, GB)

(Boston) Mendelssohn: complete music for a Midsummer Night’s Dream, April 23, 1864, on the Tercentennial of Shakespeare’s birth.

(Boston and or American) Mendelssohn: Eighth Book-Songs Without Words. March 18, 1868. (Dwight (March 28, 1868): 215)

(American) Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat, K. 482 (1785) with Philharmonic Society, Carl Zerrahn, cadenza by Lang, February 26, 1859. (Johnson, First, 268)

(Boston) Mozart: Concerto for Two Pianos in E-flat, K. 365 (1779) with Harvard Musical Association Orchestra, Carl Zerrahn, November 21, 1867. The second pianist was J.C.D. Parker. (Johnson, First, 269)

(Boston)  Paine: Prelude to the Birds of Aristophanies (Paine conducted, March 9, 1904, Chickering Concerts.

(American) Perilhou: Andante in G Major for Violin, Harp and Organ. March 24, 1904 Benefit Concert arranged by Lang for the Berkeley Temple (Congregational) Church. Herald, March 20, 1904, 33.

(American) Raff: Sinfonietta, Op. 188 for ten woodwinds. Tremont Temple, February 24, 1881. Dwight review, March 26, 1881. Herald review February 25, 1881, 4, GB.

(Boston) Rubinstein: Concerto in G major with HMA February 1, 1872. (Johnson, 302)

(Probably Boston, maybe American) Rubinstein: Octet for Piano, Strings and Woodwinds. Tremont Temple Concert, February 24, 1881. Dwight review, March 26, 1881.

(Boston) Rubinstein: Quintet in F Major for Piano and Woodwinds. Tremont Temple Concert, February 24, 1881. Dwight review, March 26, 1881. Herald, February 25, 1881, 4, GB.

(American) Saint-Saens: Concerto No. 2 in G minor with HMA February 3, 1876 (Johnson, p. 309) He then played it in New York with the Philharmonic Society conducted by Leopold Damrosch ONE DAY after Annette Essipoff had played it’s New York premier on December 8, 1876 with the Thomas Orchestra!

(Boston) Saint-Saens: Sonata for Cello and Piano in c Minor. Fries and Lang at a Lang Concert on April 1, 1880. (Globe Archive, April 2, 1880, 2).

(Boston) Schubert/Liszt orchestration: Wanderer Fantasia with HMA February 1, 1867. (Dwight (February 16, 1867): 398)

(Boston) Schumann: Concertstuck in G-minor (Introduction and Allegro) with HMA, Zerrahn conducting, February 6, 1873. (Johnson, 330)

(Boston) Schumann Piano Concerto. Played by Lang and Otto Dresel on two pianos at a concert in the Music Hall on December 10, 1864. Lang then played part of the concerto at a concert by Mme. Parepa on one evening, and the rest of the work the next evening. Dresel gave the orchestral premier with the HMA orchestra on November 23, 1866. (Johnson, First, 328).

(Boston) Tomasek: Three Ecologues with the Mendelssohn Quintette Club on Tuesday, March 2, 1869. (Dowell, 430)

(Boston) Weber/Liszt orchestration: E-flat Polonaise with HMA February 8, 1866. (Dwight, February 17, 1866, 191) He played this work again at the HMA “Symphony Concert Extra” given in April 1867. The regular season of nine concerts had been so successful  that this tenth concert was added in celebration. (Dwight (April 27, 1867): 22)

 

LANG STUDENT PREMIERS:
Chapter 2: 1858-1871.
Chapter 3: 1871-1881.
Chapter 4: 1881-1891.
Chapter 5: 1891-1901.

(Boston) Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 37. According to Dwight, Alice Dutton was the first to play the entire work. With HMA in February 1870.[xii] Johnson credits J. L. Hatton, pianist with the Musical Fund Society led by George J. Webb on December 8, 1842.[xiii]

(Boston) Dvorak’s Concerto No. 2 in B Minor; on March 25th. Mr. Whelpley played the Boston premier (Herald, March 2, 1890, 9, GB)

(Boston) Godard: Introduction and Allegro, Op. 49 at the B. J. Lang Pianoforte Concerto Concert of April 10, 1888 with Mr. G. W. Sumner as the soloist. (Boston Musical Yearbook 1887-88, 12)

(American) MacDowell: Piano Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 15, B. J. Lang Pianoforte Concerto-Concert” where Lang conducted and his pupil B. J. Whelpley played the solo part, April 3, 1888 (MYB, 1887-88, 12). This would have been the first American performance of the complete work; sections had been played earlier in New York. (Johnson, First, 225)

(Boston) Mendelssohn: Serenade and Allegro Giocoso for Piano, Opus 43. Alice Dutton on March 21, 1866 at the Music Hall, Carl Zerrahn was the conductor. J. C. D. Parker played the same work ONE day later with the Harvard Musical Association Orchestra, also with Carl Zerrahn conducting.[xiv]

(Boston) Mozart: Concerto No. 23 in A, K. 488 (1786) and Concerto No. 12 in A, K. 414 (1782) by Mr. H. G. Tucker with HMA, Music Hall, Zerrahn conducting, December 19, 1878. (Johnson, 268 and 266) Tucker “came in at a day’s warning” as a substitute for a singer. (Dwight (January, 18, 1879): 15)

(Boston) Mozart: Concerto for Three Pianos in F with Miss Ann Gilbreth, Mr. G. W. Sumner and Mr. Arthur Mayo at the B. J. Lang Piano-Concerto Concert on April 1, 1890. (Boston Musical Yearbook-1889-90, 13)

(Boston) Reinecke: Concerto in G-minor, Op. 33. Music Hall, Mr. R. C. Dixey, unnamed orchestra, Lang conducting, April 18, 1872. (Johnson, 292)

(Boston) St.-Saens: Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 17 by Joshua Phippen. (Herald (March 30, 1887): 2, GB)

(American) Saint-Saens: Concerto No. 4 in C-minor, Op. 44 at Music Hall, Mr. John A. Preston, with HMA, Zerrahn conducting, February 14, 1878. (Johnson, 310)

(American) Saint-Saens: Variations for Two Pianofortes on a Theme by Beethoven, Opus 35 at Mechanics’ Hall on March 23, 1876.

(Boston) Schumann: Concert Allegro with Introduction for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 134, Music Hall, Mr. H. G. Tucker, HMA with Zerrahn conducting, February 17, 1876. (Johnson, 330)

(American or Boston) Sgambati: Concerto in G minor, Op. 14 (ca. 1881), with Hiram G. Tucker as soloist at the Music Hall, BSO with Nikisch conducting, October 31, 1890. (Johnson, First, 336).

(Boston) Wagner/Tanzig: Ride of the Walkurea, December 19, 1879. A solo by Mr. H. G. Tucker at the HMA concert where he played Mozart concerti; see above.

SHIPS

SS UMBRIA.

RMS ETRURIA. Wikipedia, accessed March 10, 2019.

SS SILESIA. Hamburg American Line. Hammonia class ship. Had both a steam engine and also set of traditional masts holding eleven sails. Two engines drove a single 10 foot screw with 2,200 horsepower making 54 revolutions per minute. Twelve men shoveling coal continuously from four coal bunkers kept her engines running around the clock.

Plans for the SS FRISIA (1872) which were almost the same as those for the SS SILESIA.

The ship was launched in Grenock, Scotland on April 14, 1869 and made her maiden voyage from Hamburg to New York on June 23, 1869. 600 passengers-the bottom line says 100 First Class, 140 Second Class and the rest steerage. All information from the Wikipedia article SS SILESIA (1869) accessed March 15, 2019.

PEOPLE AND PLACES (O-Z). SC. WC.

PEOPLE AND PLACES. SC.
WORD COUNT-34,674-07/03/2019
All illustrations in place.
All references to Dwight are to his Journal unless cited differently.
OPQRSTUVWXYZ

O

Odd Fellows’ Building. 515 Tremont Street. Eugene Thayer’s organ studio in this building contained “one of the finest Church organs in American. Terms from $40 to $60 per Quarter, with advantages never before offered to Organ Students [?].” Another note in the same issue said that “Organists visiting Boston will always find a pleasant welcome at the elegant studio of Eugene Thayer, Tremont, corner of Berkeley Street.” (Ditson (Musical Record): Fall 1878)

Orchestras – “According to W. S. B. Mathews, the first real symphonic ensemble in America to play great music of European composers regularly was that formed in Boston by the German oboist Gottlieb Graupner in 1810 and lasting to 1824, a ”Philharmonic Society,” (a generic title given to innumerable short-lived groups in various cities during those times). Graupner had played in Haydn’s orchestra in London, and the Bostonians, primarily European emigres like himself, played mostly Haydn symphonies (Beethoven was as yet a more advanced taste)… Graupner, together with Thomas Smith Webb and Asa Peabody, also organized America’s first enduring performing ensemble, the Boston Handel and Haydn Society, founded in 1815, and still going strong.” (Grant, 33 and 34) See The Musical Fund Concerts: Nov. 1847-Apr. 1855. George J. Webb.

SEQUENCE OF ORCHESTRAS – SOURCE: LETTER TO THE EDITOR FROM ELIZA HALL, AND FURTHER INFORMATION PROBABLY BY PHILIP HALE. (Herald (April 22, 1917): 40, GB)

Philharmonic Society gave its first concert on December 9 (or 19), 1843 conducted by J. G. Jones. Two conductors followed until Carl Zerrahn took over on November 24, 1855. The last concert by this group was probably on April 11, 1863.

Boston Musical Fund Society, F. Suck conductor (also C. C. Perkins and J. C. D. Parker), first concert at Tremont Temple on Nov. 27, 1847 conducted by C. H. Mueller, and concerts at the Boston Music Hall as late as April 21, 1855. The orchestra numbered 55 which was all the talent then available in Boston.

Orchestra Union, Carl Zerrahn conductor, first concert Boston Music Hall, Nov. 22, 1854. 30 members. Their last concert seems to have been on March 4, 1868 and George Sumner made his first public appearance playing the Capriccio in B minor for piano and orchestra. Organists often played solos among the orchestra pieces. In January and February 1864 five different local organists played.

Harvard Musical Association Orchestra, Carl Zerrahn was the conductor from December 28, 1865 to March 9, 1882.

The Philharmonic Society of Boston, Bernard Listermann conductor, gave concerts in the Boston Music Hall from October 24, 1879 to May 5, 1881. Then Listermann became the Concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The Philharmonic continued for one season under Dr. Lois Maas from November 10, 1881 until April 13, 1882. They began again with Carl Zerrahn as conductor on November 29, 1882 and ended for good on April 4, 1883.

Boston Philharmonic Orchestra gave concerts at the Boston Theatre and Tremont Temple in the early 1890’s conducted by Mr. Listermann, who, at this point was no longer Concertmaster of the BSO.

Obviously the name of Carl Zerrahn was connected to many of these groups. Orchestral Union: November 22, 1854 until March 4, 1868. Philharmonic Society: November 24, 1855 until April 11, 1863.  Harvard Musical Association Orchestra: December 28, 1865 until March 9, 1882. The Philharmonic Society of Boston: November 29, 1882 until April 4, 1883. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Philharmonic Society: 1843+. This group gave its “first concert December 9, 1843, under the leadership of J. G. Jones, presented for several seasons popular music but nothing better.” (HMA Bulletin No. 7, 6)

Philharmonic Orchestra: 1855-1863, 54 members. Carl Zerrahn (flutist with Germania). Dwight says these concerts began in 1857, and that they kept “alive the interest in classical symphony-music, relieved by lighter or more brilliant works, and introducing not a little that was new. To him we were indebted for our best privileges in this kind, almost steadily until the spring of 1863. Then the nation was in the middle of the great war, and subscriptions naturally fell off.” (Dwight, History of Boston, 440) Lang was the soloist in the third concert of the 1860 season playing W. S. Bennett’s Capriccio for piano and orchestra and the piano part in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasia. Dwight wrote that “The Capriccio, which Mr. Lang played, and played so well, is of this character; graceful, fluent, florid, pervaded by a shadowy beauty; much finer as heard now with the orchestra, than last year with quartet accompaniment, but still not greatly impressive; a delicate leaf from the album of an artistic quietest.” (Dwight (February 18, 1860): 374) Of the Beethoven Dwight recorded that the performance “made a most delightful impression; and the choral portion, finely given by the Handel and Haydn, had to be repeated… Mr. Lang acquitted himself of his difficult and delicate task at the piano most successfully; he had remarkable ease and skill of execution already; he has gained greatly in artistic feeling and fine appreciation of his [this] composer.” (Op. cit., 375) In March 1860 Dwight wrote that “this fourth Concert of the season would be Mr. Zerrahn’s last attempt to provide great orchestral music for a so-called ”musical” city, which has so poorly patronized these opportunities for three or four years past… The Symphony [Beethoven’s Seventh] was rendered with the usual excellence by the orchestra of forty-not perfectly, to be sure…but with much verve and spirit; and there was every evidence that it was enjoyed particularly well.” (Dwight (March 10, 1860): 398) However, this was not to be the Philharmonic’s last performance; it was reorganized in June 1860 under the name of “A Boston Philharmonic Society” with Thomas Ryan as President. (Dwight (June 9, 1860): 86) But, by early 1862 the effects of the Civil War had thinned the ranks of the group, and Dwight thanked “Carl Zerrahn for gathering up such forces as were left, and organizing them to such good purpose, so that we still may not altogether lack the refreshment of orchestral music, nor forget the sound of Beethoven and Mozart… Our conductor had collected not so bad an orchestra after all. It numbered thirty-five or forty instruments; with six first and six second violins-the seconds, however, by no means relatively so efficient as the first. There was but one bassoon, and he a new one, with a violoncello for his mate. The other wind parts were reasonably well filled; some of them very well.” (Dwight (January 18, 1862):, 334) In Dwight’s “review of the Season” 1861-62, he mentioned that the Philharmonic “has necessarily been small, though scarcely smaller than during several past years. Forty instruments has been the complement of the Philharmonic band;-too weak in quantity of strings for the full effect of a Beethoven Symphony, but yet so fair in quality as to recall those works to us with no small edification.” (Dwight (June 14, 1862): 86) Dwight was unhappy with a Philharmonic concert early in 1863 that did not include a symphony, but instead featured a “wonder child,” Teresa Carreno. “The accustomed Symphony-about as indispensable to a Philharmonic concert as the altar at the junction of the nave and transept to a cathedral-was pushed out.” However, Dwight did have to admit that this program drew a large audience, and Carreno played “marvellously well for a child.” (Dwight (January 31, 1863): 350)

Harvard Musical Association: Chamber music-1844 until 1849. The HMA sponsored a chamber music series beginning in 1844. R. E. Apthorp was part of the group that “were authorized to ”make such arrangements as they might deem necessary for carrying into effect the proposed plan for a series of Chamber Concerts to be given under the patronage of the Association”… The concerts were given in the ”music room” of Jonas Chickering at 334 Washington Street [provided by him without charge], the dates being November 13, 26, December 10, 31, 1844.” The programs balanced pieces which would appeal to the “popular as well as to cultivated taste.” A string quartet played these four programs for a total cost of $124 (which included extra payments for those who had played solos. 150 sets of tickets (these seating of the concert room) were sold at $2.00 for the series, and they made a profit which led to offering another series in January and February of the next year, 1845. A final series was given in December 1849, this time at Cochituate Hall, opposite Kings Chapel, which seated 300. (HMA Bulletin No. 7, 6 through 10)

Orchestral Union. c. 1861-1873. Ryan wrote: “The orchestral Union was made up from our best musicians – about forty in number – Carl Zerrahn being the director. The concerts were held in the Music Hall on Wednesday afternoons only. The entrance fee was modest. programmes were of mixed music: an overture, symphony, waltz, characteristic pieces, and opera selections. The great organ in Music Hall was built about the time the Union began their concerts. Our best organists were invited in turn to play organ solos at each concert. The Union existed about ten years, then ended its life for lack of support.” (Ryan, Recollections, 102) In 1859 Dwight mentioned that the size of this orchestra “was about one half of the Saturday evenings [Philharmonic-fifty instruments: Dwight, same issue]-but quite an efficient one-four first violins, four second, two bassos, and so on:” both groups were conducted by Zerrahn. (Dwight (February 12, 1859): 366) In April 1860 the Boston Musical Times reported that “The twenty-second of the Afternoon Concerts, by the orchestral Union, was given on Wednesday afternoon. Their success grows greater as the season advances. Why can’t they be continued throughout the summer?” (BMT (April 7, 1860): 55) Also in April 1860 Dwight recorded that the Orchestral Union had just played their “twenty-fourth and last of the Wednesday Afternoon Concerts… These concerts have done us one great service this winter… The audience this time was very large, so that late comers could not drop into seats without some searching. This would seem to show that the ”Union” are leaving off just as the tide is turning in their favor.” (Dwight (April 21, 1860): 31) A typical program is reflected in the selections chosen for the First Concert of their Seventh Season of Concerts at the Music Hall held on February 27, 1861:

Overture Fra Diavolo – Auber                                                                           Two-Part Song arr. for two cornet-a-pistons – Mendelssohn Symphony No. 1 – Beethoven                                          INTERMISSION.                                                                        Overture Tannhauser – Wagner                                                                           New Waltz Forget Me Not – Zerrahn                                                           Miserere from Il Trovatore – Verdi                                       Gallop Marseillaise – Lumbye.

“A new and happy feature in these programmes is the place assigned the Symphony-at the end of the first part. We trust this satisfied both those who cavil at playing the Symphony first, on account of the interruption caused by the slamming of doors of late comers, (and late comers are not the only door-slammers), and that other few whose classical ears are offended by a genial, flowing waltz of Strauss, or a clever potpourri of operatic selections, and therefore cannot sit through their performance and wait for the Symphony at the end of the concert. The orchestra is composed of about the same performers as last season, under the direction of Mr. Zerrahn. (BMT (March 9, 1861): 21) Tickets were 25 cents each on the day, or packages of six tickets could be bought for $1 and used “at pleasure.” (BMT (February 23, 1861: 12) On Wednesday, March 27, 1861, “Mr. B. J. Lang, the distinguished Pianist, who will perform a Grand Concerto by Mozart,” the Concerto in E flat which ended the first half of this afternoon concert. (HMA, Program Collection) Later that same year the Union joined with the Germania Band to give Saturday Evening Concerts, but after the second attempt proved to be a “disastrous failure, pecuniarily,” the effort was discontinued. “It is impossible to get the public to listen arrectis auribus to anything of a symphonic character now-a-days, so that our city musicians are compelled to enlist in the regimental bands, if they have not been fortunate enough to lay by something for a rainy day. We hope better times are in store for them.” (BMT (June 15, 1861): 135) However, less than nine months later it was reported that “The ”Union” has been on the crest of the wave of success for nine weeks, and the crest exhibits no signs of breaking yet.” The hall was full; but there was still too much “buzzing of busy tongues” of the young girls; however, “the programmes are unusually excellent;”… “May a Union affording so much happiness [during this time of war], and doing so much musical good, ever be preserved.” (BMT, April 5, 1862) A month later it was reported that the season was drawing to a close. Fourteen performances had been given by this “small but clever orchestra” with two more remaining, but before those last concerts, the Music Hall would be taken over by a “horse tamer… We made some reference to this turning the Music Hall into a stable a year ago, and it is unnecessary to reiterate our sentiments then expressed.” The article ended with a plea to have these concerts held “all the year round.” (BMT (May 3, 1862): 39) A final notice concerning the season of sixteen concerts rated them “all good-hardly a choice between any one or two or three-though the last equalled any earlier one.” The comment was made that several regular players were missing due to visits to the fatherland or having to take part in various military bands-this being the time of the Civil War. “But we are very sure that the familiar faces will return, and that another season will bring the same pleasant concert, (with the increasing quiet, we may hope), and the good instruction and love of good music they inculcate.” (BMT (June 7, 1862): 55) An effort to have summer Promenade Concerts was begun on July 12, 1862 at the Music Hall with Carl Zerrahn conducting an orchestra where the “Germania Band” formed the nucleus. Popular music of the Jullien School will have full exposition, and this with the Operatic Pot-pourris and military music, for which the Germanias are celebrated, cannot fail to attract large and brilliant audiences.” (Ibid) This orchestra must have had a large segment of Orchestral Union players, as a notice from early September referred to the Promenade Concerts of the Orchestral Union. In the end these concerts did not prove to be popular, and the musicians “did not care to ”pipe for nothing” any longer… The orchestra was composed of the best of the musicians now in the city, and the programmes were happily selected.” But few people were willing to promenade – “A few couple would sail round the hall once or twice, and then, as if frightened at their own boldness, relapse into the galleries… But it is one of the unaccountable things of this world why the Germania Band of the Orchestral Union are less successful, pecuniarily, with promenade concerts, than other organizations with more clap-trap and less merit.” (BMT (September 6, 1862): 101 and 102) However, six months later the report was that the Wednesday afternoon concerts at the “Music Hall are more interesting than ever… The orchestra plays with all that delicacy and precision which is a characteristic of their performances, and in which they cannot be excelled by any company of musicians in America.” (BMT (January 3, 1863): 166) The audience was attentive as “the army has absorbed a multitude of the young and thoughtless who, in years gone by, have made themselves so conspicuous, and the passage of the corridors so perilous,” (Ibid) In April the end of the season was reported: the concerts “have provided a delightful series of entertainments, have been liberally patronized and have heightened the musical culture of our city. Inexpensive, admirably planned, judiciously carried out and popularized by a variety of combined influences, it is not strange that a general regret should prevail upon their retirement for the season, and a general desire spring up that they may institute Summer evening entertainments.” (BMT (April 4, 1863): 21) This season of concerts had been given at the Boston Theatre. At the final concert, “the house was crowded from top to bottom, and hundreds were forced to stand in the lobbies and aisles. The occasion being musical, and the price of admission trifling, many who have thought it wrong to go to the theatre embraced their first opportunity for seeing the interior of the building.” (BMT (May 2, 1863): 37)

Early in January 1864 a new season [10th.] was announced for the Music Hall, and as an added feature the new “Great Organ is [to be] employed at each concert, and skillful artists succeed each other in displaying its powers. Owing to the increased cost of all musical material, the price of tickets has been raised to fifty cents.” (BMT, January 2, 1864, 21) In April of that year it was reported: “The Wednesday Afternoon Concerts of the Orchestral Union have succeeded, even at the advanced prices, beyond their most sanguine expectations. Indeed they have always drawn full houses. The programmes are very well selected, though the general public would fancy a trifle more of lighter music. The audiences have been extremely mannerly and quiet this season, the change in the back balcony precluding noisy running, flirting and the like on the part of those who go for other objects beside the enjoyment of good music. Our best organists, Lang, Willcox, Thayer, Tuckerman, Parker, Mrs. Frohock, and the rest, take turns in officiating at these concerts.” (BMT ( April 2, 1864): 3 and 4) On January 20, 1864 Lang’s organ solos were – Fugue on Bach by Schumann and the “Andante” from Mendelssohn’s Third Sonata. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 1) On February 17, 1864 his solos were – Prelude and Fugue by Bach and the “Adagio and Allegretto” from Rink’s Flute Concerto. (Ibid) On March 30, 1864 he played “Let Their Celestial Concerts All Unite by Handel and “Selections” from The Hymn of Praise by Mendelssohn. (Ibid) For this concert Dwight felt that “Mr. Lang was especially happy in the treatment of his organ pieces; the great instrument has never been made more expressive for such subjects. His choice of stops in the Mendelssohn selections came closer to the idea than ever. He prefaced the grand final chorus of Samson with the Minuet from the overture, charmingly rendered with soft stops.” (Dwight ( April 2, 1864): 215) Dwight listed the major pieces performed that spring noting that the concerts were “Afternoon (Rehearsal) Concerts,” and that the orchestra “rarely exceeded 25 instruments.” Lang was a soloist in the following: Hummel’s Introduction and Rondo in B flat, Op. 98, Mendelssohn’s Concerto in D minor (twice), and Lang and a pupil played Mendelssohn and Moscheles Duo Concertante for two pianos on the March in Preciosa.” (Dwight (June 25, 1864): 263) A report of the Spring 1866 series of Wednesday Afternoon Concerts said that they “are, as usual, well attended by young ladies and gentlemen who like to flirt through the heavy symphonies, and to listen to the light waltzes and redorras, which they play so gracefully well. The programmes are evenly balanced, and the season promises to be very successful.” (BMT (February 3, 1866): 21) But “Mr. Apthorp, reviewing at a much later date… gives a correct and dismal picture of the state of orchestral music. ”…the war had well nigh killed music in Boston. The earnest nut more futile efforts of Mr. Zerrahn and the Orchestral Union to keep music alive… Those were troublous times… a second bassoon was an unheard of luxury… the Seventh Symphony in the Music Hall was given with three first and two second violins… At last things came to such a pass that it was evident that Mr. Zerrahn and the Union could bear their burden no longer and, unless stronger power stepped in, orchestral music in Boston would die outright of sheer inanition.” The stronger power was at hand and ready to step in. It was the Harvard Musical Association.” (HMA Bulletin No. 15) In 1896 Apthorp remembered: “What a time that old Orchestral Union had! Their concerts came on Wednesday afternoons, and were at first very well attended. But, with the war, audiences began to drop off as the times grew harder. The orchestra was a variable quantity: there were only two horns, and a second bassoon was not to be thought of. The second bassoon-part had to be played on a ”cello; and uninitiated visitors used sometimes to wonder what that solitary ”cello was doing in the midst of the wood-wind. Hamann, the first horn, had little technique, but a good tone, and was moreover an excellent musician; he had a fad of playing the easier Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven horn-parts on a real plain horn, which he had had made to order and viewed with unconcealed affection. I don’t think there were ever more than six first violins; I certainly remember one performance of the seventh symphony with only three first violins and two second. The solitary bassoonist was conspicuous by his singularity, not by his virtuosity. I remember a benefit concert tendered to Mr. Zerrahn, at which a small picked ”chorus of young ladies” sang the ”Lift thine eyes” terzet from Elijah; the few measures of introductory tenor recitative were played as a bassoon solo, and the hapless bassoonist got most of the notes wrong. I don’t think I have ever heard such a tremulous tone issue from any other wind instrument.” (Apthrop, BSO Program March 6 and 7, 1896, 594 and 595) Lang soloed with this group on “Fast Day Afternoon,” Thursday, April 2, 1868. He played the Liszt orchestration on Weber’s Grand Polonaise in E Major. Julius Eichberg was the Leader of the Orchestra at that time, and the conductor was Carl Zerrahn. Tickets were 50 cents. (BPL Lang Prog.) Lang also appeared with the group as organist for a performance of Mendelssohn’s Saint Paul on April 2, 1868. The choir was a combination of the Worcester Mozart and the Beethoven Choral Union. (Ibid) A program [probably 1880] dated Wednesday January 24 3PM of the “Tenth Afternoon Concert” noted at the bottom of the program that “The Orchestral Union, [is] composed of members of the Germania Musical Society, Musical Fund Society, Mendelssohn Quintette Club, and the Serenade Band.” They gave “concerts every Wednesday at 3 o’clock during the season. Packets of six tickets, $1.00, single tickets, 25 cents.” (BPL Music Hall prog., Vol. 4)

Germania Musical Society: Apr. 1849-1854. Carl Lenschow, then Carl Bergmann. See separate entry.

Small Occasional Orchestra: “was made up by some of the musicians (”the cream of the Musical Fund,” several of the disbanded Germania, and the Mendelssohn Quintette Club), which gave cheap afternoon concerts, combining symphony and lighter things in fair proportions. These concerts, easily given, inexpensive, very moderately remunerative to the musicians, were kept alive through periods when all else failed. Indeed, a series of them was given every year down to the spring of 1868.” (Dwight, History of Boston, 440)

Boston Mozart Club. Dwight recorded the founding of this amateur group in January 1861 noting that the officers were “names well known in the community… The Club meets every Monday evening at the Piano Warerooms of Messrs. Hallett & Cumston, 339 Washington Street.” (Dwight, January 12, 1861, 335) On Monday evening, April 23, 1862 at the “Fourth and Last Social orchestral Entertainment” presented “To the Associate and Honorary Members” at Mercantile Hall on Summer Street, this group, conducted by Carl Zerrahn performed the Symphony in D Major by Mozart together with two vocal solos by “A Lady Amateur.” (HMA Program Collection) This group existed from 1860-1864. (Boston Musical Year Book, Vol. 1, 1883-84, 57)

Harvard Musical Association Orchestra: 1866-1882. Carl Zerrahn. First proposed at the January 1865 annual dinner of the Association.

The Boston Orchestra Club. Through the efforts of Mr. Percival Gassett, this group was organized in October 1884 “to furnish amateurs and young professionals of both sexes opportunity for the practice of orchestral music. Mr. Bernard Listemann conducted the weekly rehearsal and the three concerts given before its associate members.” (BMYB, 1884-85, 56) Mr. Gassett was a member of the First Violin Section.

Philharmonic Orchestra: The Orchestra of 1879 became the Philharmonic Society in 1880. The program for the opening concert on October 24, 1879 had a one-page introduction of this new group. “THE BOSTON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA has been recently organized to meet the wants of a permanent Orchestra in Boston – a want too generally admitted to call for further comment. The new organization has for its conductor Bernard Listemann, and counts among its members the very best performers of the HARVARD SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA. The plans of the new organization for the coming season include a series of five popular Symphony Concerts, at Boston Music Hall, on the evenings of Friday, October 24th, November 7th and 21st, and December 5th, and Saturday afternoon, December 13th. Subscription tickets, with reserved seats for the five concerts, @.50 each; single reserved seats for each concert, 75 cents; admission tickets, 50 cents, and packages of five admission tickets, $2.00. The programme of these concerts, though of a popular character, will be made up with a view of presenting a good variety of compositions, in which modern works of acknowledged ability will find a prominent position… Accomplished Vocal and Instrumental Soloists will contribute to each programme. The Orchestra is open for Concerts, and other engagements, for the coming season, and further particulars can be had upon inquiry at the Music Hall office, where a subscription sheet for the Concerts is now open” (HMA Program Collection). The debut concert on Friday evening, October 24, 1879 presented a group of only “32 instruments-4 first violins, 2 ”cellos and 2 basses.” (Dwight, November 8, 1879, 181) Dwight’s review of the “second of these concerts” [second season] given at the newly opened Tremont Temple on Tuesday, October 12, 1880 mentions an orchestra “of forty instruments.” (Dwight (October 23, 1880): 174) A month later Dwight wrote of “Listerman’s thoroughly drilled and excellent orchestra” who play to an audience that was “large and evidently well pleased.” (Dwight (November 20, 1880): 190) Bernhard Listemann had been the former concertmaster of the Thomas Orchestra.

In April 1881 The Musical Herald reported the formation of the “Philharmonic Society of Boston” which was incorporated to “procure the best performances of orchestral music.” J. K. Paine was the President, Oliver Ames the Treasurer, and there were 12 corporators. (Musical Herald (April 1881): 79) In July 1881 the officers were Luther H. Wightman-Clerk, Oliver Ames-Treasurer, and among the 23 directors were J. K. Paine, George L. Osgood, Julius Eichberg, John Orth, B. E. Woolf, S. A. Emery, W. J. Winch, G. W. Chadwick, in order words many well known men of musical and business background. This new orchestra gave its first concert on March 10, 1881 with a program that was “a rather heavy feast for the general public, but highly interesting for musicians. The orchestra did not differ much from that of the Harvard Association, and was composed of some members of the old Philharmonic, with some notable additions to the strings. The orchestral work was excellent, the effect of the rehearsals being very apparent. (Musical Herald (April 1881): 78) However, “In January 1882, the Boston Philharmonic Society offered its baton to Theodore Thomas, but Thomas elected to relinquish Boston to Higginson: he would no longer tour New England. The Philharmonic Society folded. The Harvard Musical Association terminated its concerts.” (Horowitz, 50) The 1883-84 Boston Musical Year Book noted that “The ”Philharmonic Society” gave three seasons of symphony concerts from 1880-81, under conductors Mr. B. Listermann, Dr. Louis Maas, and Mr. Carl Zerrahn. During the season preceding the establishment of the Philharmonic Society, Mr. Listermann gave a series of Symphony Concerts with an orchestra called the ”Philharmonic.”” (BMYB Vol 1, 58) On December 19, 1882 Lang was the soloist with the Philharmonic Society of Boston, conducted by Carl Zerrahn in the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1. For the 1890-91 Season “The Boston Philharmonic Orchestra (sixty players), Mr. B. Listemann, Conductor; Ch. C. Parkyn, Manager, gave seventeen Sunday-evening concerts at the Boston Theatre.” Ten works were given for the first time in Boston, but only one was by an America composer – Gavotte for Strings by Arthur Bird. (MYB 1890-91, 23 and 24)

Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. In the Boston Daily Advertiser of Saturday Morning, January 10, 1891 both the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra were advertising their concerts. The BSO had Nikisch as its conductor and its concertmaster, Timothie Adamowski as the soloist in Wieniaski’s Concerto in D Minor, while the BPO’s conductor was Bernard Listermann and the soloists were Miss May A. Bosley, contralto and Mr. William Sherman, pianist. The ad said: both “will have solo numbers.” (Johnston Collection) The BSO played on Friday afternoon and Saturday night at the Music Hall while the BPO played Sunday night at the Boston Theatre.

Boston Symphony Orchestra: Feb. 1881. Chadwick wrote: “The new Symphony orchestra under Mr. Henschel was really our same old H. M. A. orchestra with local additions. They had plenty of time to rehearse carefully but had been playing so long in the old domestic, happy go lucky (or unhappy) was without any real standard that no conductor could have made them into anything but a mediocre organization. Certainly not Henschel who, though very enthusiastic, had no idea of orchestral discipline. Further than to get notes right, it did not take long for the old stagers to find this out, with the result that Georg was in hot water most of the time…He was a good a good program maker of the classic type. He drew the line at dance music but played several of the overtures by Auber. There was plenty of Wagner, Liszt and Berlioz, and of course Brahms, but otherwise not many novelties… Tchaikovsky and Franck had not yet made their appearance.” (6357 and 58) Elson in 1900 wrote: “The highest standard, however, which America ever attained, has been achieved by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, an organization which may well compare with any of the orchestras of Europe…It began its labours in 1881. In order not to antagonise the orchestras then existing in Boston, its generous founder, Mr. Henry L. Higginson, took the off-night of the week for his concerts. The old Puritans considered Saturday night as the beginning of the Sabbath; long after this religious idea has passed away, Boston still held Saturday night sacred as regards theatre or public performances; up to the last quarter of the nineteenth century the oldest theatre of the city, the Boston Museum, closed its doors on Saturday night. It was this unused night which the Symphony Orchestra chose for its concerts, and Saturday, Oct. 22, 1881, the Boston Symphony concerts were begun.” (Elson, National Music, 300 and 301) After the first three seasons under Henschel, William Gericke was hired and was given latitude to remold the Symphony. “In the ranks were many old musicians who had passed the zenith of their powers, but were kept on for sentimental reasons…Great was the indignation when the new broom began to sweep! Especially harsh seemed the replacing of the great violinist, the musical pioneer, the leader of the orchestra (concert-meister), Bernhard Listemann,–by a beardless young Roumanian. [Franz Kneisel]” (Op. cit., 304 and 305) However, with the personnel changes made by Gericke, the orchestra became a younger ensemble which then with few changes through 1900 “rehearsed together thousands of times.” (Op. cit.  305 and 306)

Orpheus Club. This choir “was never in so flourishing a condition as at present. its director is Mr. Carl Zerrahn, who conducts the rehearsals with as much precision as if each were the immediate precursor of public performance. The Club is numerous, enterprising, and full of spirit. They are engaged to give concerts in several of the leading cities and towns of Massachusetts during the present winter, and we learn that preparations are making by them [?] for a grand masquerade ball at Music Hall, to be given on a scale of magnificence never surpassed in this city.” (BMT (December 2, 1865): 177) “The Orpheus Musical Society gave a concert to a crowed audience at Tremont Temple, Feb . 9th. Under the baton of Mr. C. Gloggner Castelli, this society is winning new laurels.” (Dexter Smith’s (March 1872): 53)

Elson, “Musical Boston,” Supplement to “Music and Drama,” June 3, 1882. HMA Collection.

Baker, Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, 428.

Men of Progress-1896… Massachusetts, 796.

Osgood, George Laurie. Born April 3, 1844 in Chelsea, Mass. Died December 12, 1922 in Godalming, England. Elson describes Osgood as “a lineal descendant of John Osgood, the Puritan, who landed in Salem in 1632.” (Elson, Hist. Am. Mus., 252) “A descendant of John Osgood who emigrated to Massachusetts in 1638. As a child he showed an acute sense of pitch, and was given every musical advantage from his earliest years. At Harvard, where he was graduated in 1866, after studying composition and the organ under John Knowles Paine, he directed the college glee club and orchestra for three successive years. After graduation he went to Germany,  where he remained three years studying singing in Berlin [composition with Haupt and singing with Sieber]… German song and choral music with Robert Franz. He then went to Italy for three years of further study at Milan under Francesco Lamperti, after which he made a successful concert tour of Germany. As a result Theodore Thomas engaged him in 1872 for a winter tour of the United States with his orchestra as tenor soloist. One newspaper printed: “Mr. Geo. L. Osgood has been engaged to appear at all of Mr. Theodore Thomas’ concerts next season. This is most welcome news.” (Dexter Smith’s (September 1872): 204) In the spring of 1872 it was reported: “Mr. Geo. L. Osgood, of Chelsea, who has been studying in Europe for several years, is now creating a great sensation in Vienna. The Germans pronounce him the most perfect interpreter of the songs of Schubert and Robert Franz. Welcome home, George!” (Folio, May 1872) The next issue announced that he would be sailing home from Liverpool at the last of May. (Folio, June 1872) “Mr. George L. Osgood has returned from Europe to his home in Boston. He has declined several very handsome offers of engagement to sing in opera. He will probably give a series of concerts in the principal cities next season, commencing in Boston. We have a rare treat in store.” (Dexter Smith’s, July 1872) Once he first returned to America, in the Fall of 1872 he was “tendered a complimentary concert” by the citizens of his hometown, Chelsea, on September 19th. Assisting in the program was the Mendelssohn Quintette Club, and also the bass, M. W. Whitney, who had also just returned from Europe. “The Academy of Music was well-nigh filled, and among the audience we noticed the faces of several of our well-known Boston critics… It is noticeable that Mr. M. W. Whitney made this his first appearance since his return from the Continent.” (Folio (November 1872): 132) However, not all of his concerts were so well received. Just three months later a review of Osgood’s appearance with the Thomas Orchestra published in the Rochester, N. Y. Musical Times recorded: “Mr. Osgood disappointed everyone. His voice is only an ordinary baritone tenor, tolerably well cultivated. His toilet attracted more attention than his singing, although the latter was pleasing, yet far below many tenors that have sung in this city.” (Folio (December 1872): 170)  For some thirty years Osgood played a leading part in Boston’s musical life. He was very popular as a teacher and brought out a number of successful singers. He also directed an annual series of chamber-music concerts of a high quality, and completely transformed the Boylston Club of Boston, of which he was conductor from 1875 to 1893, from a male chorus into a mixed choral organization of two hundred voices. Under the name of the Boston Singers’ Society (1890), he established its reputation for brilliant performance of difficult pieces.” (Dic. Am. Bio., 78) I  Composer of “songs and part-songs; many of the latter (including madrigals, glees, carols, and other forms of choral work) have been sung at the Boylston Club concerts.” (Jenks, 483) On Wednesday evening, May 7, 1879 Osgood presented a concert “at Mechanic’s Hall [which] was one of the most interesting and unique that we have had. Indeed, it was full of most charming matter charmingly interpreted.” The pianist was B. J. Lang who not only accompanied the soloist, but also played a Liszt solo, Benediction de Dieu dans la Solitude, and was the pianist in St. Saens’s Quartet in B Flat for piano and strings – “Mr. Lang played the piano part superbly.” (Dwight (May 24, 1879): 85) “After 1903 he made his home in Europe, first in Geneva, and later, in Godalming, England, where he had a large country estate and where he dies.” (Dic. Am. Bio., 78) He seems to have kept some Boston connections-in 1905 he is listed as an “Absent member” of the St. Botolph Club which he had joined on January 3, 1880, being one of the Charter members. (1905 Members List) He published a “Guide in the Art of Singing,” a work of 200 pages which went through eight editions, and he also published “anthems, choruses, part-songs, and over 50 songs.” (Pratt,  428) Over thirty of his published compositions are preserved in the Library of Congress collection, “Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, 1870-1885.” Among his SSAA compositions published by the Boston Music Company are Song of the South (martial hymn), The Rock-A-By-Lady (Eugene Field), and his arrangement of Ethelbert Nevin’s Wynken, Blyken and Nod. It would seem that the Theodore Thomas Orchestra was trying to create a local connection by announcing that “Mr. Osgood had been engaged at all of Mr. Theodore Thomas’ concerts next season. This would seem to be a most unusual artistic decision to have the same soloist for every program throughout the season.

Osgood is also credited with being one of the originators of “One of the largest collections of choral music in the world… the Harvard Glee Club Library… There is a wonderful story connected with the largest single addition to this collection. Many years ago, (this was written in 1952) Dr. Davison was poking around in the newspaper files on Floor D of the basement of Widener Library. In the semi-darkness he stumbled upon a stack of choral sheet music which turned out to be the complete private library of George L. Osgood, ’66, Boston choral conductor, member of the Harvard Musical Association and composer. With the volunteer assistance of members of the Harvard Glee Club and the Radcliffe Choral Society, the entire collection was sorted out and catalogued, and now resides permanently in the choral library of the Department of Music.” (HMA Bulletin No. 20, 12 and 13)

Vol. 7 of the Musical Year Book reported: “The Boyston Club dissolved. The Boston Singers Society succeeded it.” (MYB 1889-90, 26)

The first season, 1889-90, of the Boston Singers’ Society opened on December 27 and January 3 with concerts for supporters, and then the program was repeated on January 6 for the general public with an admission fee. The pieces were piano accompanied, or unaccompanied, and were grouped by Mixed Voice, Male Voice and Female Voice selections. A second concert on February 27, 1890 used an orchestra of 44 and programmed four longer works, while the final concerts on April 23 and 25 used an orchestra of 26 but consisted of many shorter pieces, again arranged by Mixed Voice, Male Voice and Female Voice groupings. (MYB 1889-90, 16, 17 and 18) Miss Gertrude Franklin was one of the soloists in the second concert.

The 1890-91 Season of the Boston Singers’ Society with 190 members (its second season) consisted of three concerts. Osgood was the Conductor, F. H. Ratcliffe the Secretary and Clayton Johns, the Accompanist. A miscellaneous program on December 13, 1890 was followed on February 18, 1891 by a concert accompanied by an orchestra of forty-four, and the final program, given on May 6 and 9 was entitled a “Historical Program” which ranged from a Palestrina motet to a madrigal by the Boston critic, B. E. Woolf entitled Hark, the Lark. (MYB 1890-91, 17 and 18)

In the fall of 1891 the Boston Singers’ Society, which Osgood directed, was invited to “consolidate” with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Philip Hale had constantly praised the group the previous season. “Two choral works of large dimensions will be given in the series of concerts.” (Hale Crit., Vol. 1) The question is – did this union only last two years? Hale noted in May 1893 that the Boston Symphony Chorus “is now dead and buried. It dug its own grave and then killed itself, and it thus won loud applause… This unhappy chorus made two appearances in the Ninth Symphony, and in a double bill that included Brahms’ A Song of Destiny and Foote’s Skeleton in Armor.” (Ibid) The Foote was a “First Boston Performance” and the concert dates were February 3-4, 1893. The world performance had been on April 28, 1892 in New York by the American Composers Choral Association conducted by Emilio Agramonte. (Cipolla, 45)

The Oliver Ditson 1913 Vocal Catalog listed the following Osgood songs: Brown eyes has that little maiden; Down the shadowed lane she goes; Flower may hide its lovely face, The; My little woman; Shadow; She wears a rose in her hair; Somebody; Sunshine of her eyes, The; Wake not, but hear me, love. Except for two songs, each was published in two keys, high and low, and one had a third edition, medium. (Oliver Ditson 1913 Vocal Catalog, 80)

“Ottoman Quartet.” Boston had “for pianoforte playing – what was sometimes jokingly called the ”Ottoman Quartet.” The four leading resident pianists – Otto Dresel, B. J. Lang, Hugo Leonhard, and J. C. D. Parker – were fond of playing pieces for right hands (a otto mani) in public, now and then; hence the nickname.” (Apthorp, “Entr’acte,” March 6 and 7, 1896 BSO Program Book, 594) For the Opening Soiree of Chickering’s New Music Room in 1860, the eight hands opened the concert with Fugue for Two Pianos, Eight Hands by Moscheles. (Dwight (November 10, 1860): 262)

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               Spy cartoon (Leslie M. Ward) from 1899-part of a strip of three printed in 1915. Johnston Collection.

Paderewski. George Chadwick recorded that Paderewski came to America in the fall of 1891, and after an appearance in New York, he played his own Concerto in A Minor with the BSO “and made a great hit. Probably none of us had heard the piano played with such diabolical recklessness as he put into that last movement.” Chadwick also noted that he had attended an orchestra only rehearsal of the concerto where “not the smallest detail escaped” Nikisch’s notice… Paderewski speedily became very much at home in Boston. He liked the Tavern Club very much (both Adamowskis were then members) and spent a good deal of time there when he was in Boston. Especially he loved to be with us at our Christmas celebrations and sometimes put himself out a good deal to get there! On one memorable occasion he played the piano for Tim and Joe [Adamowski] to dance the Polish sword dance. It was well worth seeing and hearing.”(6456-6457) Arthur Foote’s daughter Katharine recalled that “when Paderewski first came to America [1891-93] he hardly knew anyone. The Footes befriended him. The lonely Paderewski constantly visited the Footes when in Boston: ”I remember the first time he came to dinner he was TWO hours late. He never acquired any sense of time. He was a delightful companion, played endlessly for us and even played Papa’s duets with me! Later he had many friends and we saw little of him. But he always played papa’s Study in 3rds, which he liked very much, wherever he went.” The piece was one of the Nine Pianoforte Studies for Musical Expression and Technical Development, Op. 27 which Foote composed in the summer of 1891 and Arthur P. Schmidt published in 1892.” (Tara, Foote, 71) Henry Dunham, organ instructor of the New England Conservatory remembered attending “a recital there [Blumstead Hall, the amphitheater under the Music Hall] by Paderewski, which was the gift solely of Mrs. Jack Gardner to the musicians of Boston, she standing at the door giving out the programs. A remarkable woman was ”Mrs. Jack,” a real live wire in musical Boston. Unfortunately her type is very rare.” (Dunham, 49) Helen Henschel described Paderewski: “He had a truly astonishing complexion, a skin of almost transparent whiteness, which heightened the expressiveness of his smoldering and rather melancholy eyes, and a great aureole of bright red-gold hair.” (Henschel, H., 87)

Elson, History of  American Music, facing 338, Plate XII.

Facing 596, Vol. M-P, Grove’s 1921.

Paine, John Knowles

Born in Portland, Maine on January 9, 1839, Paine was taught piano, organ and composition with Mr. Kotschmar. He gave his first recital on June 25, 1857, and after another year of study he went to Berlin for three years where his main study was organ under the well known virtuoso August Haupt. When he was not practicing the organ, he took lessons in piano and composition. “In 1861 he returned to America, the first concert organist here possessing the complete virtuoso technique, according to German stands.” (Mathews, 675) In 1862 he became the first music instructor at Harvard University and then in 1876, he became a full professor. His first major work, Mass in D was premiered in Berlin to good reviews. Next came St. Peter, premiered in Portland, Maine June 3, 1873; he had written the libretto. The Handel and Haydn Society performed the work in 1874, and the reviews were very positive. Harvard produced Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannis in 1881 in the original Greek; Paine wrote the incidental music of an overture and seven other pieces. He wrote a number of instrumental works, but none were published in his lifetime.

Papyrus Club. Geroge Chadwick mentions c. 1883 that “at that time [the club was] largely made up of St. Botolph men. Their monthly meetings at the Revere House in Bodoin Square were celebrations for the wits and wags that gathered… Great dinners were these, somewhat too convivial at times. One night we had Theo Fordt as a guest with the result that he had to stay in bed all the next day and could hardly get up to sing at the H & H concert in the evening!.” (Chadwick, Unpublished Memoirs)

Parker, George J. A tenor member of the Apollo Club who joined in 1877 and was active in the group through the 1890s, he was also often a soloist with the Handel and Haydn Society. At the Easter Sunday, April 14, 1895 performance, he “carried off the honors of the occasion.” (History-1911, 51) He had sung in the Bach Passion given on Good Friday, April 15, 1892. (Op. cit., 19)

Parker Hall.

Note arrow, lower middle. The dot is the corner of Berkeley and Appleton.

Parker Hall, Boston Blue Book, 1909.

 

Parker House.

Postcard; no credit for the drawing. Johnston Collection.

Postcard; same period as the drawing above. Johnston Collection.

Parker, James Cutler Dunn.

J. C. D. Parker, Elson, History of American Music, 232.

Parker, James Cutler Dunn. Born in Boston on June 2, 1828 and died in Brookline, Massachusetts aged eighty-eight on November 27, 1916 (aged eighty-nine). “His grandfather was successively rector of Trinity Church and bishop of Massachusetts. His father was long senior warden of Trinity. James attended the Boston Latin School and Harvard College. Graduated in 1848, he studied law for three years, but a taste for music, pronounced in boyhood, led him to become as his friend John S. Dwight phrased it, ”the first son of Harvard to forsake a dry profession [the law] and follow the ruling passion of his life.”” (Dic Am Bio, 228) One article phrased it that he was born in Boston “where he spent his early years, and where he had a large family connection.” (NEC Mag-review, Dec 1916-Jan. 1917, 45) He studied music in Leipzig 1851-4 under Moscheles, Richter, and Hauptmann and Plaidy. “Organ playing he studied with Schneider.” (Op. cit., 46) “In September 1854 Parker returned to Boston for a life-time of playing, composing, and teaching for which his through professional training and social standing admirably fitted him. He was always the gentleman, courteous, unassuming, and scholarly. In 1864 he was chosen organist of Trinity Church. He held this position at the old edifice, destroyed by fire in 1872, and for many years at the new church in Copley Square under its

Both unused; the lower card mentions that this is the new High Altar and Chancel dedicated in 1938. Johnston Collection.

celebrated rector, Phillips Brooks, for whose consecration as Bishop and also at whose funeral he played. His church programs were conservative, as were his own compositions.” (Op. cit., 228 and 229) He served Trinity Church as organist and choirmaster until 1891, a total of twenty-seven years, and for many years organist of the Handel and Haydn Society (? – when)… Translated Richter’s Manual of Harmony; published an original Manual of Harmony (1855) and Theoretical and Practical Harmony (1870). (Baker-Bio. Dic., 437-38) He was also a soloist in Harvard Musical Association concerts, and at his death was its oldest member. “Early invited by Dr. Eben Tourjee to teach at the New England Conservatory of Music, Parker was a member of its faculty for thirty-seven years, teaching piano-forte and theory.” (Dic. Am. Bio, 229) “The Blind King, his only secular composition of importance, was written for the Apollo Club.” (Ibid) His Redemption Hymn first was performed by the Handel and Haydn Society in 1877 and was described as a “national property, and is held in universal favor.” [And was programmed by Lang during his second season as conductor of the H and H] Parker “has been long a quiet but active agent in the elevation of musical taste in Boston. The pianoforte, the organ, the church choir, and the choral society have been the means with which he has wrought, employing in their guidance scholarly powers and exquisite taste. Some of us remember gratefully the little club of singers which gave us in Chickering Hall – then on Washington Street, near Summer Street – our first hearings of cantatas of Gade, Mendelssohn, Berlioz, Schumann, and others, through several seasons, beginning in 1862. The Parker Club, as it was called, included nearly every singer of real merit living in the city; indeed, it was a distinction to be a member of this select body.” (Jenks, 480) The Parker Club gave many Boston first performances, although only with piano accompaniment, among which were “Comata of Gade, the Walpurgis Night of Mendelssohn, the Flight into Egypt of Berlioz, Schumann’s Paradise and the Peri and Pilgrimage of the Rose.” In 1867 this mixed choir was being referred to as the “only club of its kind in Boston,” and as such could easily “double the number of concerts” that it might give.” (BMT (May 4, 1867): 42) Lang was not to found the Cecilia Society until 1874.

Parker, Henry Taylor. b. Boston 1867, d. 1934. “A Boston native and Harvard dropout” who spent a number of “vagabond years in Europe… [he was] not even able to read music… He eventually returned to Boston and after several years as a journalist in various jobs succeeded Apthorp as the music and drama critic for the Boston Evening Transcript in 1905… Owlish-looking and bespectacled, short of stature, a life-long bachelor, a man of polymorphous curiosity, he sometimes wrote on politics and world affairs and was also a dance critic and drama critic… A legendary workaholic and eccentric in journalism circles who avoided all social contact with actors and musicians, Parker had some affectations: applauding by the continental method of stamping his cane on the floor… What he lacked in musical booklearning H. T. Parker made up for in intuitive discernment and a sensitive, poetic prose” (Grant, 96) From 1892 a journalist, his “pen often drew blood.” Horowitz noted that “his signatures included a fedora, a huge bamboo walking stick, [and] a German cavalry overcoat… A learned Harvard dropout, he could not read music but keenly adored it. One object of his adoration was Muck and his ”incomparable orchestra of the world,” at ”the apogee of its attainment.”” (Horowitz, 79) Johnson quotes David McCord: “Since late in another century, when he first became an harmonies initial, he has been known, read, feared, damned, and praised as H. T. P. In Boston, these letters as insidious as G. B. S.; and many a New York manager”s complexion has suddenly paled or freshened at what was abundantly said in type above them. It is hardly enough in two fields to call him dean of American critics. One can be dean and intellectually dead. Parker was never more alive.” (Johnson, Hallelujah, 160) Resident in New York at the Murray Hill Hotel; in Boston, first at 132 Bowdoin Street, and later at the Hotel Vendome; and in London at the Hotel Lanham in Portland Place. “Thirty years of the Transcript: A column and a quarter to a two column daily review, a daily page to edit, two pages of magazine material for Saturdays, monthly ventures to New York, and a vast amount of consequent reading have left him, in the season, time for nothing but more work… Friends who are interested once calculated that in these thirty years he has written and printed the equivalent of 300 full sized novels; or close to a novel a month” (McCord, 5, 7 and 8) “If you should dare to address him, he will answer briefly, cigarette in mouth, his head bobbing emphatic emphasis behind a cloud of volcanic ash. His manner does not suggest long interviews,” (Op. cit., 140) “At the symphony his seats are in the first row of the first balcony, just to the right and above the orchestra, where he perches, a small and bitter gargoyle above the Brahmin sea. He has a Continental method, and rather objectionable, of applauding by bringing his cane into sharp contact with the floor. An accurate myth relates that once he brought it down on the toes of Mrs. Jack Gardner, with whom he was sharing a box. The fireworks that followed will likely survive them both.” (Op. cit., 15 and 16) His career included 1899 as the London correspondent of the Globe and Transcript. In 1902 he was the New York correspondent for the Transcript. By 1905 he was at the Boston headquarters of the Transcript. “Every summer he goes to Europe, gives up cigarettes, and smokes a pipe… Festivals of music, a week of ballet, Salzburg, Weimar, and the great art centres, are annual flames to his annual moth.” (Op. cit., 23) His only published book was entitled Eight Notes, and he felt that “impermanence” was the best quality of a newspaper article – “The more daily a paper is, the better.” (Op. cit., 24) From pages 102-111 in “Two Scribes” in Eaton’s The Boston Opera Company. “Parker’s initials were inevitably expanded to ”hell-to-Pay,” which doubtless gratified him in certain moods.” McCord wrote that Parker”s days “were confounded it seems between New England where he was born, England, where he went to school, Harvard, where he ranked with the class of 1890, New York, where he began as a critic, Boston, where he lives, and Germany, where he intends to die.” His professional musical training was slight: “It has been said of H. T. P., even by his stoutest admirers, that he was virtually a musical illiterate, unable, for example, to tell the difference between a major and minor chord and certainly lacking the ability to read notes. Still he knew music ”from the outside, if not from the in,” acquiring a corpulent body of information. Furthermore, his instincts were sound, more so than Hale’, and he labored under fewer blind spots.” “Parker could fill three twenty-inch columns of closely set seven- or eight-point type with an opera review and still count on a column for concerts or theater… McCord estimated that H. T. P. through thirty years had turned out (and seen printed!) the equivalent of three hundred full-sized novels, or close to a novel a month.” Whereas Hale also wrote a separate society column, “Parker’s was the only description of the ”social” side of Boston life the Transcript permitted. This mirror of all that was good, true, pure, and beautiful in Boston never demeaned itself to the ”social column” level, subscribing to-or perhaps having promulgated-the tenet that a real lady”s name appeared in the public press only three times: at birth, on her wedding, and after her death.” Parker “displayed more idiosyncrasies in manner and dress [than Hale]- McCord described him as a ”small, fierce-eyed individual, of graying mustache and adequate age, tweedish clothing, Habig fedora, huge bent bamboo cane, and a German cavalry overcoat made for him with belt and saddle-split by a military tailor in Wiesbaden” who “perched like ”a small and bitter gargoyle above the Brahmin sea”” from his seat in the first row of the first balcony at Symphony Hall where he “almost invariably [sat] alone in one of the conventional pair of critic”s seats.” Whereas Hale did not appreciate much of the modern music, especially upon first hearing, “Parker, on the contrary, appreciated even the exalted intricacies of Bruckner and Mahler, and was one of the first honorary members of the Bruckner Society.” McCord summarized Parker thus: “The bon vivant, the traveler who ”by synthetic accident of foreign clothes, tri-lingual facility, and the Continental manner is assumed in London to be a Frenchman, in Paris a German, and in Berlin an Englishman,” who journeyed alone and the faster for it into legend, Parker remains unique.” McCord predicted: “Not until one tries to fill his shoes will Boston realize the cosmic particle she harbors.” When Apthorp was working for the Boston Evening Transcript, its average size was “ten to twelve pages,” but “by 1913, the tenth anniversary of Parker’s term, the newspaper had mushroomed to three and even four times it’s former size. Where columns had been just that-columns-they were now pages… With space limitation no longer an important factor, his [Parker’s] writings were quite long. Whereas Apthorp utilized a column or two to report on a concert, Parker took a whole page. He did not take advantage of the additional space, unfortunately, to include more detail. He simply was more expansive in his prose…regarding the conductor, Parker seems to have belonged to the ”Admiration Society for Conductors of Esteemed Boston Musical Aggregations,” for he never failed to give conductors of the Boston Symphony orchestra, the Handel and Haydn Society, the Cecilia Club, or the Boston Opera House the highest praise he could muster… regarding content, Parker began his reviews with an introductory paragraph highlighting who did what… Seldom was much said of the music itself; instead, the articles focused on the key figures and the performance. There were few musical terms used, no mention was made of arias, movements, expressive markings, etc. Parker’s writing style was completely different from what the Transcript had witnessed previously. He had a knack for describing the music without really saying very much about it. After reading a paragraph, some readers might still wonder what his point was… Parker was adept at portraying for his readers a general impression of what the music felt like, as had John S. Wright.” (Nelson, 111-115) “There was such a local cult around Parker in Boston that when he died the Transcript ran articles, letters, reminiscences, and photographs of him almost daily for an entire month.” (Grant, 97) Parker, “critic of music and drama for the Boston Transcript from 1905 until his death, March 30, 1934, was crusty and feared, an arrant individualist, full of prejudices explosively announced. He had love and sentiment, but both were hidden. Only those close to him – and they were few – knew his humanity… He prided himself on his knowledge of Rhine wines and smoked cigars which shot out embers like Fourth of July sparklers. His seat was in the first row right of the first balcony, near Mrs. Jack Gardner’s. Sometimes he thumped his walking stick on the floor when sour notes came from the stage. Once, legend says, he brought the bamboo stick down on the toes of Mrs. Gardner and got a look which would have killed the leopard with which she once walked down Tremont Street. Enemies said H. T. P. was tone-deaf – but they could never catch him at it. He died at 66.” (Herald article on the BSO, December 15, 1940)

Horatio W. Parker. Elson-1904, Hist. Am. Mus., 191.

Horatio W. Parker c. 1914. Hughes and Elson, American Composers, facing 174.

Facing 622, Vol. M-P, Grove’s 1921.

Parker, Horatio W. (September 15, 1863-December 18, 1919) Studied theory with Emery, composition with Chadwick, and piano, not with Lang, but instead John Orth. From 1882-1885, just as Margaret had, he studied at the Conservatory in Munich-Rheinberger was his composition teacher. His oratorio Hora Novissima of 1893 was taken up by many choral groups, including at England’s Three Choir Festival held at Worcester in 1899. Parker very quickly became popular with British choral societies and this led to an honorary MusD from Cambridge University in 1902. (Wm. Kearns, New Am. Grove-Vol. 3, 475-479) The work had already been published by the English firm of Novello’s in 1893. In 1893 Parker became organist/choirmaster of Boston’s Trinity Church, a post he held until 1902. A year later he took on the additional responsibility of the Battell Professorship of the Theory of Music at Yale. a post he held until his death in 1919.

Cecilia gave the Boston premier of Parker’s Legend of St. Christopher, Opus 43 on Wednesday, December 6, 1899-Parker conducted. The  world premier had been in New York just the year before. “This work was performed at virtually every festival in America in the decade following its premiere. The unaccompanied chorus ‘Jam sol recedit’ is considered Parker’s finest achievement.” (Johnson, First, 285) “Jam sol recedit” was performed on April 25, 1900. The orchestra was members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and B. L. Whelpley was the organist. The fact that Mr. and Mrs. Lang were in the audience was noted in a society column which also recorded that “to look over the audience one would scarcely imagine than anything else musical of special import was going on.” The piece “met with the triumph it deserved.” Also in the audience were Mr. and Mrs. John F. Winch, Mr. Gericke conductor of the BSO, Prof. Carl Faelten of the New England Conservatory and Mr. and Mrs. Henry M. Rogers (she the former singer Clara Doria). “Mrs. Caroline Shepherd, the soprano, was handsome in white silk, with lace, which was incrusted with crystals, and pale blue velvet on the bodice.” (Anon., undated) Elson in the Advertiser wrote: “A considerable audience listened to the orchestral rehearsal of The Legend of St. Christopher on yesterday afternoon. It is pronounced one of the most remarkable pieces of work yet produced by Mr. Parker, and in his warmest and most melodious vein.” Referring back to the recent Cecilia Perosi performance, Elson gave his opinion that “we need not go to Italy to look for new masters of oratorio.” Of the performance: “The orchestra was kept well in hand by the composer, who conducted the performance, and was enthusiastically greeted by the audience. The chorus sang the difficult work wonderfully well.” Elson then went on to say that he preferred Chadwick, Strong or MacDowell for purely instrumental works,” but he felt that this work by Parker should “make a high place, and at once, in our native repertoire and in the scant list of good contrapuntal works of the modern world.” (Advertiser, undated) Apthorp in the Transcript felt that Parker composed too easily: “He is too often satisfied with saying a thing, without considering whether it might not be said better. His very ease often seems like carelessness…The performance last evening was generally very good, indeed, solo singers and chorus sang capitally, and the orchestra seemed, for once, to have forgotten its determination to play no better than necessary.” (Transcript, undated)

Paur, Emil. BSO conductor from 1893 to 1898. “Emil Paur programmed too much Richard Strauss for Higginson”s liking, and was not in a class with Gericke and Nikisch in any case. Higginson deposed him after five seasons and in 1898 got Gericke back.” (Horowitz, 73) However Paur then moved to New York as the conductor of the New York Philharmonic, and a year later, in 1899, he succeeded Dvorak as Director of the National Conservatory. He held both positions until 1902, and then he returned to Europe. A year later he was back in American as conductor of the Pittsburgh Orchestra until it disbanded in 1910. (Amer. Grove, III, 490)

Mathews, 157.

Elson, “Musical Boston” Supplement to “Music and Drama,” June 3, 1882. HMA Collection.

Men of Progress-Massachusetts, 1896, 907.

Perabo, Johann Ernst. November 14, 1845 – October 29, 1920. “Pianist, teacher, and composer, was born in Wiesbaden, Germany… The father was a school teacher and, according to German requirements, also an organist, pianist, and violinist, hence he was well qualified to train his nine children, all of whom became musicians. Ernst… proved to be the most gifted, and he began the study of piano with his father when he was five years old. In 1852 the family emigrated to America, settling first in New York, where they remained for two years. He knew Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavichord by heart at eight years of age.” (Elson, Musical Boston, 5) After short periods in Boston and Chicago, in 1858 [aged 13] Ernst was sent back to Germany for four years, “but he had to struggle against ill health, which prevented serious music study. In 1862 he entered the Leipzig Conservatory,” returning to America in 1865.” In 1864 Dwight gave a different account of Perabo’s time in Germany: “He has been gone nearly six years, the greater part of which time has been wisely spent in laying the foundation of his general education, which had been neglected too much in favor of music. He has only been a couple of years at Leipzig… Many of our readers in Boston will remember Master Perabo, who resided here, with his parents, some seven years ago, and who, at that time, being not twelve years old, used to play (by heart) a score or two of Bach’s fugues, sonatas of Beethoven, etc. Once we heard him play prelude and fugue by Mendelssohn at sight… A subscription was raised among musical persons in New York and Boston, Mr. Scharfenburg taking the lead, to send the boy to Germany for his education.” (Dwight (June 11, 1864): 255) “He established first himself in New York, as a teacher and pianist, and gave a number of concerts that were so successful that he decided to give a series of matinees, at which he performed the sonatas of Schubert… In 1866 he transferred his residence to Boston and remained there until his death. He never gave concerts on a grand scale but devoted himself to teaching, in which he was most successful. For many years he played annually at the Harvard concerts at which he gave many works unknown at that time in America… He was a zealous conservative, but he approached new works in a spirit of open-mindedness.” (Dic. Am. Bio., 457 and 458) “Ernest Perabo, just out of boyhood, returned from study in Leipsic in 1866, and made a brilliant impression in the closing concert of the first symphony season; since which day he has always held his own among the ablest interpreters of great piano music.” (Dwight, History of Boston, 454) “Pianist of a super-sensitive nature who could give expression to a five-finger exercise.” (HMA Bulletin No. 11) he was “one of the foremost musicians and pianists in Boston. Of a retiring and modest nature, an almost super-sensitive musician, an inspiring teacher, and a pianist of unusual skill in execution and interpretation.” (HMA Bulletin No. 16) “After some hesitation, he in March, 1866, settled in Boston. He was invited to play at the last concert of the season given by the Harvard Musical Association, which occurred April 21st.” (Jones, 132) Lang quickly became introduced to Perabo; the connection may have been that both had studied piano with FRancis Hill. In 1866 Perabo gave two “Matinees” at Chickering Hall: for the second, on Wednesday afternoon, May 9, 1866 at 3:30PM, the Assisting Artists were Miss Clara M. Loring, Soprano (her first appearance in public), Mr. B. J. Lang, Pianist, Mr. Henry Suck, Violinist, and Mr. Howard M. Dow, Accompanist. Lang and Perabo played the Diversions (for four hands) Opus 17 by Bennett, and the Rondo (for two pianos) Opus 73 in C Major by Chopin (HMA Program Collection). Tickets were “One Dollar Each;” rather expensive in light of Wednesday afternoon concerts by the “Orchestral Union” at the Music Hall were offered at 50 cents that same year (HMA Program Collection). Lang was also an Assisting Artist at Perabo’s “Fourth Schubert Piano Matinee” at Chickering’s Hall on Thursday afternoon January 31, 1867 where Lang and Perabo performed the Rondo in E minor Opus 84, No. 2 by Schubert, and the Fantasie in F Minor Opus 103 also by Schubert (HMA Program Collection). Since his arrival in Boston in 1866, “he has regularly appeared at one or more concerts” of the HMA. “He has also given every season a series of recitals and matinees of his own, which are of the highest order. Among other things he has played the whole of Schubert’s piano sonatas in public. His repertoire includes the best works, and he is particularly happy as an interpreter of Beethoven. As a teacher of the piano he is surpassed by few, and he always has a large number of pupils.” (Jones, 132) “He has published several piano compositions both here and in Germany, and is one of the best interpreters of Beethoven that Boston has possessed.” (Elson, Musical Boston, 5)

In 1869 “after a year’s rest from concert playing,” Perabo announced two sets of chamber concerts. The first, of four concerts, was in the fall of 1869 and a highlight was to be “a number of the rarely heard Sonatas of Beethoven”s latest period.” The second series, of eight concerts once a fortnight, began in January 1870 and were “Historical.”(Dwight (September 25, 1869): 111)  Not all comments were complimentary: “Mr. Perabo’s Matinee on the 5th was not so good as we had expected. For the hundredth time, we refer to his marked fault in piano-playing. His execution cannot be surpassed. Otherwise, he performs as if a river of ice was drowning every sentiment of sympathy and expression in his soul.” (Folio, February 1872) In the fall of 1879 Dwight reported: “Ernst Perabo has returned, after a second residence in Leipzig, not in such good health as his many friends had hoped to see him.” The report continued that while he was in Germany he “was not idle,” and he published there a number of “brilliant and interesting works of a high order of merit, thoughtful and musicianly in treatment, and of value to students both an artistic and technical point of view.” (Dwight (Nov. 8, 1879): 184)

Elson, “Musical Boston” Supplement to “Music and Drama,” June 3, 1882. HMA Collection.

First published in 1900 by Theodore Presser. Johnston Collection.

Petersilea, Carlyle. “Boston born in 1844, pianist who attained high eminence in music; he studied abroad; established the Petersilea Academy of Music (1871-1886); later joined the faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music.” (HMA Bulletin No. 16) The 1886-87 “Musical Yearbook of the United States” reported: “The Petersilea Academy is dissolved, Mr. Petersilea joining the staff of the New England Conservatory.” (MYB 1886-87, 50) An early (1872) ad for his school promised that “This institution offers to those wishing to acquire a MUSICAL EDUCATION advantages unequalled by any Conservatory or Music School in the world [!]. It is conducted on an entirely new and Original Method, which will advance pupils to a higher degree of perfection with Less Time and Labor than any plan of instruction heretofore employed. Every department, Vocal and Instrumental, is in charge of thoroughly competent Teachers, and all of the pupils are under the direct personal supervision of Mr. Petersilea. All branches are taught at VERY MODERATE TERMS, the rates of tuition for beginners on the Piano-Forte being especially low. The Petersilea System for the Piano-forte, by which such phenomenal results have been attained, will be exclusively in this school… Applications can be made at all times to Carlyle Petersilea, Director, 238 Washington Street, Boston.” (Dexter Smith’s (February 1872): 46) In 1872 B. J. Lang did not advertise in this magazine. In September 1872 the same magazine reported: “Carlyle Petersilea’s popular Music School has been removed from 1 Central Court to 339 [ad said 238] Washington Street, where enlarged and improved accommodations will enable the eminent Principal and his efficient board of teachers to impart the most thorough instruction. The Fall Term commences Sept. 16th.” (Dexter Smith’s (September 1872): 204) Another publication noted: “It gives us pleasure to note the gratifying success attending Mr. Carlyle Petersilea’s Music School. Although but a short time in existence, it has already risen to high rank, and we can recommend it to any one of our friends in search of a thorough, practical musical education.” (Folio, February 1872)                                                                              Petersilea was born in Boston January 18, 1844 and he inherited his musical gifts from his father who had studied with Hummel. Carlyle entered the Conservatory of Leipzig in 1862 and graduated with honors in 1865. While there he played with orchestra the Concert Fantastique by Moscheles (1863), Chopin’s Concerto in F minor (1864) and Henselt’s Concerto for Pianoforte (1865). After graduation he toured Germany and then returned to Boston where he founded his Academy. The spring of 1884 was spent with Liszt in Weimar, and on April 10 he gave a recital in Berlin that was highly praised by the local critics which included being compared to Rubenstein. His edition of the complete scales and arpeggios was used extensively in America and Europe. His “phenomenal” musical memory was shown in the performance of the complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas. (Mathews, Hundred Years, inter alia 134-137)

Philharmonic Orchestra. The Musical Fund Society, which existed from 1847 until 1855 sponsored a Philharmonic Society that “eventually numbered from fifty to sixty instrumentalists, all of them professionals and committed to playing the best music. The musicians shared in the proceeds from the concerts. The performances started off at the Melodeon, which seated nine hundred. The orchestra got a reputation for rather decent playing, as compared with the previous academy and Philharmonic orchestras, and soon had a sizeable subscription audience. Two years later, the Musical Fund orchestra moved to the Tremont Theater (later renamed the Tremont Temple), which seated fifteen hundred. Directed first by Thomas Comer, an Irish musician, and later by George Webb, the Music Fund Society played symphonies by Pleyel, Haydn, Mozart, Kalliwoda, and early Beethoven. Regrettably for it, after a few years the audience shrank, and despite some small donations and a gift of one thousand dollars from Jenny Lind, it was headed toward extinction. One wintry evening, fate decided the issue. Owing to the freezing rain and dangerous ice conditions of the street, the instrumentalists left their instruments at the Temple building after the Saturday night concert. A fire broke out that night and destroyed music, instruments, and other properties of the society. It never recovered from the disaster.” (Tara, Psalm, 94 and 95). This would have been about 1858. Ryan describes Thomas Comer “as originally an actor. He had a passion for music-could compose a little, played the violin tolerably well, was leader of an orchestra in the Boston Museum for many years, and afterwards in the Boston Theatre. He was just the man for the times-popular on all sides, ”hand and glove” with every one, as the old saying went.” (Ryan, 52) Ryan also said that the “Germania Musical Society, which had been in Boston for two seasons, really gave the coup de grace to the Musical Fund Society by its fine orchestra and its superior performances.” (Ibid) “From 1855 to 1863 a Philharmonic Orchestra under Carl Zerrahn existed.” (Elson, National, 291) Zerrahn had been the first flute of the Germania Orchestra that had folded in September of 1854. This Philharmonic had “fifty-four men,” and Zerrahn “and the orchestra would continue to give regular concerts until 1863, when the Civil War forced a stoppage. Sad to relate, the quality of its playing was not the equal of that of the Germania Society, although it was certainly better than that of the other ensembles previously mentioned. Writing about concerts he had heard around 1860, William Apthorp said: ”The orchestra was an exceedingly variable quantity: there were only two horns, and a second bassoon was not to be thought of. The second-bassoon part had to be played on a ”cello; and uninitiated visitors used sometimes to wonder what the solitary ”cello was doing in the midst of the wood-wind. Hamann, the first horn, had little technique, but a good tone… I think there were hardly ever more than six first violins: I certainly remember one performance of Beethoven’s A major symphony with only three first violins and two second. The solitary bassoonist was conspicuous by his singularity, not by his virtuosity.”” (Tara, Psalm, 97) Zerrahn announced in February 1860 that the Fourth Philharmonic Concert would be the last in the series, and “the last subscription series he will ever undertake on his own responsibility in this city. For five years he has labored with unremitting diligence to supply the most refined taste of the community with that entertainment which it craved… For five years he has expended time, disbursed money, and neglected his private interests, to accomplish this noble purpose, each year holding out to him promises of future success which have never been fulfilled.” (BMT (February 25, 1850): 6) The program for this concert described the orchestra as “Perfectly complete in all its details, [and] will consist of FIFTY of the best Boston musicians.” (HMA Program Collection) Just a few weeks later his fellow Boston artists organized a Benefit Concert for April 14, 1860 “in order to repair the losses he has sustained in his effort to provide entertainment for the highest musical tastes of our community.” (BMT, March 24, 1860) The program for this concert said “The Grand Orchestra is composed of FORTY of the best resident musicians. (HMA Program Collection) Early sales at fifty cents per ticket were good, and in addition to the full orchestra volunteering their services, Miss Fay, Mrs. Harwood, and Miss Washburn volunteered their talents also.

Zerrahn kept trying! In June 1860 it was reported that thirty-four “prominent professors of instrumental music” had formed a committee and “signed a truly admirable constitution” which would create the “Boston Philharmonic Society.” Thomas Ryan of the Mendelssohn Quintette Club was the President, and Carl Zerrahn was one of the three Associates. “Concerts will only be given when a sufficient sum shall have been secured to cover all expenses, and guarantee to each of those who may perform at a particular concert (and only those who do perform can receive compensation), the sum of twelve dollars. By way of preparation for each concert, four rehearsals will be given, of which two will be public.” (BMT, (June 2, 1860): 120 and 121) Further details emerged throughout the fall – “They propose to give six concerts to subscribers, for two dollars and a half for the series, a price which will put the entertainments within the means of all who desire to listen to such music as they will produce. Subscription lists are left at all music stores, and one thousand names will be required before the concerts can be given. No runners will be sent round to solicit signatures (a procedure which we heartily commend) for it is thought that those who are ready to support these concerts will be interested enough to apply personally for the means of admission.” (BMT  (December 1, 1860): 330) However, almost a year later the goal was reduced to 800 subscribers, and without that number “under no circumstances can the concerts be given… We cannot believe that Boston music lovers will consent to allow two seasons in succession to pass without what has come to be almost a necessity, and have no doubt but that Mr. Zerrahn’s undertaking will prove eminently successful.” (BMT (November 30, 1861): 229) Finally enough support was found so that “Mr. Zerrahn has decided to give a series of Philharmonic Concerts, the first of which will take place Jan. 11th. [1862]… The programmes will be more varied than strictly classical concert might admit; but we are willing to leave this matter to Mr. Zerrahn’s discretion. We only wish to bespeak for him a patronage from non-subscribers commensurate with his former efforts to afford them and us a high degree of musical gratification.” (BMT (December 28, 1861): 246) The season began “most auspiciously,” and the second concert, held at the end of January included Miss Mary Fay as a soloist, “Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Wagner’s Overture to Faust, Schindelmeisser’s Overture to Uriel Acosta, and Julius Eichberg (who plays a Concerto of his own).” (BMT (January 25, 1861): 261) The success of these Winter Concerts led to a second series in the Spring, but “the result of the second attempt was a pecuniary failure, which forced him to discontinue the concerts. The truth is that the number of people who really understand, and thoroughly enjoy, the highest grade of orchestral performances is not sufficiently large to repay one for undertaking them.” The reviewer mentioned the Germania ensemble concerts-when they first there were great crowds, but “afterwards this affection faded away… Every season the lovers of orchestral concerts make strenuous efforts to establish them on some permanent basis; but the attempt has never yet succeeded.” It seems that the audience of this era was ready for the “Boston Pops” as reflected in the offerings of the Orchestral Union, but not yet ready for the “Boston Symphony Orchestra” which would appear twenty years later.

In January 1863 it was announced that “Mr. Carl Zerrahn has at length received sufficient encouragement from the musical public to warrant him in commencing a new series of these admirable entertainments [Philharmonic Concerts]. There will be six concerts on alternate Saturday evenings, commencing January 10th. A grand symphony will introduce each performance, and much other new and artistic music will be given. Mr. Zerrahn’s orchestra was never so large or effective, and we anticipate a decided success for this enterprise.” (BMT (January 3, 1863): 166) But, it seems that the series did not go well. In fact “Mr. Carl Zerrahn’s sixth and last Philharmonic Concert will be given at the Boston Theatre on the evening of Saturday April 11th., and will take the form of a benefit to himself… The experience of the last concert, two weeks ago, has taught Mr. Zerrahn, what the Boston press have labored in vain to teach him, that a fearfully heavy selection, unrelieved by anything of a generally attractive nature, may win the applause of half a dozen severe intellects, but will invariably have the effect of frightening away the masses upon whom most dependence must be placed by public servants for support.” (BMT (April 4, 1863): 22) Tickets were advertised at 50 cents, 25 cents for the Family Circle, and Private Boxes at $6. (HMA Program Collection) At the same time that he was presenting his Philharmonic Concert Series, Zerrahn was also conducting the concerts of the Boston Mozart Club. This was a group of “ardent amateurs” who presented “Social Orchestral Entertainments” to “their also ardent friends and associate members.” They performed at Mercantile Hall and the “creditable” program of March 23, 1863 would seem to be typical. (BMT (April 4, 1863): 21)

Overture – Cosi fan tutte – Mozart

Grand Symphony, No. 19 in D major – Haydn

Allegretto from 7th Symphony – Beethoven

Concert March – Kunze

Serenade for select orchestra – Eislodt

Overture – Barber of Seville – Rossini

The Mozart Club gave their “third Social Orchestral Entertainment on Monday, March 14th., at Mercantile Hall which was filled by a refined and cultivated audience of invited listeners. The performance, led by Zerrahn was good.” The program included a Mozart symphony, overtures by Mendelssohn and Mozart, and an orchestral Romance for English horn and flute by Halevy. (BMT (April 2, 1864): 4)

There were few regular orchestral concerts in Boston from 1863 until 1866 when the Harvard Musical Association took up the task-their series lasted until 1882. However, another Philharmonic Orchestra (the third use of this name in Boston) was begun in 1879 and reorganized into a Philharmonic Society in 1880. The successive conductors of this group were Bernhard Listemann, Louis Maas, and Carl Zerrahn. “The Harvard Musical Association represented musical conservatism, the Philharmonic Society was identified with radicalism of the most decided type.” (Elson, National,  293 and 294) A one-page introduction was printed in the opening program of October 24, 1879. “The Boston Philharmonic Orchestra has been recently organized to meet the wants of a permanent Orchestra in Boston-a want too generally admitted to call for further comment. The new organization has for its conductor Bernard Listemann, and counts among its members the very best performers of the Harvard Symphony Orchestra. The plans of the new organization for the coming season include a series of five popular Symphony Concerts, at Boston Music Hall” during November and December 1879. “Subscription tickets, with reserved seats for the five Concerts, $2.50 each; single reserved seats for each concert, 75 cents; admission tickets, 50 cents, and packages of five admission tickets, $2.00. The programmes of these concerts, though of a popular character, will be made up with a view of presenting a good variety of compositions, in which modern works of acknowledged ability will find a prominent position. The great composers will be represented by the following works:”then followed a list of c. 35 works… “Accomplished Vocal and Instrumental Soloists will contribute to each programme.” (HMA Program Collection) Elson remarked that both groups, the HMA Symphony and the new Philharmonic suffered from the lack of patronage, which led to too few rehearsals of musicians whose main income, came from other musical pursuits, and thus “could not give more than a perfunctory attention to the symphonic task.” (Elson, National, 294) Tara’s description was that “Bernard Listemann organized another Philharmonic in 1880, in direct competition with the [Harvard] association orchestra. Previously, Listemann had acted as concertmaster in the Thomas orchestra. The Philharmonic played no better than its rival and succeeded only in dividing the relatively small audience, so that both ensembles operated at a loss. The quietus was given to both ensembles when the Boston Symphony orchestra began life in 1881.” (Tara, Psalm, 99) But, from the Introduction to the first concert, printed above, it would seem that competition between the groups was not seen at that time especially as the new Philharmonic printed that their concerts were of a “popular” style, and the orchestra had among its membership the “very best performers of the Harvard Symphony Orchestra.” This new Philharmonic presented concerts at the Music Hall from October 24, 1879 until May 5, 1881. At that point Listemann became the concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, but the Philharmonic Society was reborn again conducted by Dr. Louis Maas and functioned from November 10, 1881 until April 13, 1882.[see next paragraph about the orchestra that Dwight mentioned in February 1881] They began yet again on November 28, 1882 under Carl Zerrahn, but lasted only until April 4, 1883. In the early 1890s a Boston Philharmonic Orchestra led again by Bernard Listemann gave concerts on Thursday afternoons at 2:30PM at the Boston Theater and the Tremont Theater. (HMA Program Collection). 1891-92 was listed as their Second Season-each program had notes about the pieces and included ads. During this season Edward A. MacDowell played his Piano Concerto No. 2 at their December 31, 1891 concert, and then repeated it at the concert of January 14, 1892. (HMA Program Collection) Lang was the soloist in the Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto on Tuesday afternoon December 19, 1882 at 2:30PM. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 3)

All that changed in 1881 with the founding of the Boston Symphony Orchestra by Henry L. Higginson. Dwight announced yet another “New Orchestral Club” in his February 12, 1881 issue-called a club because its main support would be from a group of supporters and associate members. Controlled by a Board of 25 members with Prof. J. K. Paine as its first President, “over six hundred persons have already signed as associate members, and the secretary reports that twice that number could be obtained if desired. The expense of five concerts proposed for the first year is thus already guaranteed. No tickets will be sold for the evening concerts, each member being entitled to four; rehearsals will, however, probably be given in the afternoon, for which tickets can be purchased.” After giving a long history of other orchestras in Boston, Dwight ended with the thought: “Can a city which hardly sustains one set of concerts [Harvard Musical Association] do any better for two?” (Dwight (February 12, 1881): 28)

 

Phillipps, Adelaide. B. 1833 in Bristol, England and died in 1882 at Carlsbad, Bohemia [Jones says in southern France, 137]. She was a contralto who grew up in Boston and made her stage debut there at the age of nine. “After studies in London with Manuel Garcia (1852-53) made debut in Italy. Returned to U.S. (1855); made debut at New York’s Academy of Music (1856)… sang with Maretzek company in Havana; returned to Europe; appeared in U.S. with Parepa-Rosa company (1867-71); was heard widely in concert. Oratorio, operetta (1879-81).” (Sablosky, 302) In October 1858 Dwight described her voice: “The rich contralto voice seemed even to have gained in mellowness and fullness, as well as in clear and equal development throughout its compass. She has, in a great measure, overcome what seemed an organic difficulty, a certain thickness in her sounds. There is more of artistic finish; more of sustained purity of artistic finish; more of sustained purity of tone and finished phrasing; more of flexibility-indeed, quite enough for any but a high soprano voice-while good taste and genuine sentiment restrain her from false ornament, from overstrained effect, and keep her within the bounds of chaste, pure style. It is a great pleasure to listen to the singing of Miss Phillipps.” (Dwight (October 30, 1858): 247) In August 1862 Dwight published a number of clippings from her reviews in Belgium: “Her voice, which is a rich contralto, is fresh, sonorous and even in every tone.” Another said: “Her voice, of perfect evenness and of most sympathetic quality, is of great compass; it is an admirable instrument, which she manages with perfect art and exquisite taste.” A paper in Liege wrote: “Miss Phillips is the star of the troupe. She is a skillful singer, possessing a beautiful contralto voice, flexible and of great compass. Her acting is full of energy and feeling… Her reputation is fully established with dilettanti, owing to her triumphs in America, at Les Italiens in Paris, and later, at the Theatre Royal in Madrid.” One final report: “In the name of the Associated Press of the City of Liege; and by a committee chosen for this express purpose, and in which every newspaper was represented, a crown was offered to Miss Phillips, and the audience by its prolonged bravos, signified its approbation of this demonstration by the Press of Liege.” (Dwight (August 2, 1862): 143) In the spring of 1863 it was reported in Boston that “she has been singing for some time in Amsterdam, and seems to have created a grand furore. Her voice and acting are described as most admirable.” (BMT (April 4, 1863): 20) On Saturday evening, April 30, 1864, “Miss Adelaide Phillipps gave her first concert in four years at Music Hall. She is not only recognized as one of the world’s best contraltos, but as an excellent and estimable lady in all social and domestic relations, and her popularity in Boston is immense. She was assisted by Mme. Guerrabella (with whom she has been singing in Havana); by her own sister, Miss M[athilde] Phillipps, a pupil of Bendelari; by Mr. B. J. Lang who played the D Minor Concerto of Mendelssohn; and by Mr. Zerrahn’s orchestra. Of course the house was crowded. Miss Phillipps never looked or sang to better advantage.” (BMT (May 7, 1864): 68) An article in 1865 described her voice as “rich, round and fresh, the supply is always equal to the demands on it. Moreover, she knows how to sing. What nature could not do, art has accomplished. Her style is the purest Italian, her execution exceedingly fine, and her versatility unusual, for she is equally at home in dramatic, comic, and sacred music… And Miss Phillips is a fine actress as well as a singer.” (BMT (June 3, 1865): 86) She was the soloist at the May 1867 concert that B. J. conducted in Salem to raise funds for a new concert hall. “Adelaide Phillipps was as much a regular operatic stand-by in those days as Brignoli himself [one of the few operatic singers who appeared with regularity in Boston-most lasted just 2 or 3 seasons]. She began as a dancer at the Boston Museum, but soon developed a rich, luscious contralto voice, which she had admirably trained… She was a grand singer and one of the best actresses of the day on the lyric boards.” (Swan-Apthorp, 75) Amy Fay wrote: “I am doubt whether indeed the Germans know what the best singing is. They have most wonderful choruses, but when it comes to soloists they have none that are really great-like Parepa and Adelaide Phillips.” (Fay, 34) In the summer of 1868 Miss Phillipps visited Europe, and to raise funds for this a “Complimentary Concert” was given at the Music Hall on Thursday evening June 4th. The assisting artists were Madame Camilla Urso-violin, Mr. Carlyle Petersilea-piano, Mr. Wm. Macdonald-vocalist and a “Full Orchestra” conducted by B. J. Lang. The concert began and ended with orchestral pieces, and Camilla Urso played the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto while Mr. Petersilea played two movements from the Chopin Piano Concerto in E Minor. Miss Phillips sang three different times during the concert. Tickets were $1. After her return from Europe that summer, Miss Phillips presented another major concert on December 12, 1868 at the Music Hall using six assisting artists and a “Grand Orchestra” again conducted by B. J. Lang. Lang’s pupil, Alice Dutton, was one of the guest soloists playing in the first half Mendelssohn’s Serenade and Allegro for Piano and Orchestra and also a Liszt solo in the second half. (HMA Program Collection) Tickets were also

$1 for this event. (BPL Lang Prog.,)  To open the concert Lang conducted the orchestra in the “Allegro Vivace” movement from Mendelssohn’s Fourth Symphony and to close, Beethoven’s Prometheus Overture. Her voice was described as “a pure, rich contralto with a compass of 21/2 octaves, ranging up to B flat in alt. She was not only a fine artist, but a kind-hearted, noble woman, and her death was lamented by a very large circle of friends.” (Jones, 137) Photo to the right: Wiki, accessed September 12, 2019.

Phippen, Joshua. Piano pupil of Lang and composer of “pianoforte pieces; sonata for pianoforte and violin.” (Jenks, 483) He was the “Curator of Music” at the Essex Institute of Salem as reflected by a program dated December 26, 1881 which opened with a Trio in E Flat by Mozart played by Chas. N. Allen, Wulf Fries and A. W. Foote. (Program, Foote, Scrapbooks) He was one of the assisting artists in Lang”s series of five recitals of the complete piano works of Schumann in 1883. (BPL Lang Prog., 4) He also served as pianist for the Apollo Club as reflected in their May 12, 1887 (???) program where he played two piano solos, (BPL Lang prog., Vol. 7) and the November 29/December 5 1887 concerts where he also accompanied a horn solo. Philip Hale’s review of Phippen’s early 1890 recital said: “Mr. Phippen was not so fortunate in the selections and arrangement of his program [as Arthur Whiting’s had been]. Our old friend the Bach-Tausig arrangement was heard again, and the eight pieces of D’Albert seemed at one hearing singularly uninteresting. Mr. Phippen showed earnestness and the results of long and patient study.” (BPL Hale Crit., Vol. 1) During the 1889-90 Season Phippen gave a series of three recitals on December 20, 1889, January 17, 1890 and February 14, 1890. (MYB, 1889-90, 24) Phippen won the Piano Concerto section of the competition sponsored by the National Conservatory of Music in NYC in honor of Dvorak being named head of that institution.The piece was played at the Madison Square Garden Concert Hall with the composer as the soloist and the orchestra led by Dvorak. The NY Times felt that the winners in the Symphony, Piano Concerto and Suite sections of the competition were all “extremely crude…Mr. Phippen’s piano concerto was sadly deficient in thematic material, but such melodies as the composer had were fairly well divided between orchestra and solo instrument. There were some passages of good contrapuntal writing also.” The article had noted that Phippen, born in Salem, had studied piano with Lang and harmony with C. J. Capen. “In harmony he is self-taught.” (NY Times (March 31, 1893): 4)

Post, Boston. See Newpapers.

Preston, John Aiken Jr. Pupil of B. J.; (May 31, 1856-1902 Passport Application or May 1855-1900 Census) in Manchester, MA (1900 Census)? – 1914) Editor, teacher, pianist and publisher. (Ellinwood, 302); part of a group “Messrs. G. W. Sumner, G. A. Adams, H. G. Tucker, Arthur Foote, and J. A. Preston, all of whom give concerts and recitals of their own programmes of great interest, and rank as excellent pianists.” (Dwight, History of Boston, 455) Listed among Lang’s pupils who “deserve mention because of musical prominence,” Preston “has appeared in the leading symphony concerts of Boston, and is recognized as a prominent musician.” (Elson, Supplement,  3) In 1875 he was listed as the organist of the Broadway Unitarian Church in South Boston-had he also taken organ lessons from Lang? (Advertiser (February 8, 1875): 2, GB) Preston soloed with the HMA Orchestra in February 1878 in the first Boston performance of Saint-Saens Piano Concerto No. 4 in C Minor. “Mr. Preston, one of the youngest of our concert pianists, a pupil successively of Mr. Parker and of Mr. Lang, proved himself easily equal to all the rare difficulties of the new Concerto by Saint-Saens. He has great aplomb, remarkably sure, firm execution, a good touch, great facility and smoothness in running passages, even rapid ones in sixths and fourths. He plays too with considerable expression, and with good conception of the intentions of the composition and its capabilities of effect. His manner is modest, quiet, and yet resolute. Of the Concerto itself there are various opinions… We found its power and beauty growing on us.” (Dwight (March 2, 1878): 191) In April 1876 Preston played the Chopin Concerto in E Minor with the orchestral reduction at a second piano as part of a pupils’ of J. C. D. Parker concert given at the College of Music of Boston University. (Dwight (April 15, 1876): 214) At a Boylston Club concert in September 1878 given “for the relief of the sufferers at the South,” Preston was the accompanist for the vocal soloist Miss Fanny Kellogg and his performance was described as “well accompanied.” (Dwight (September 28, 1878): 311) In February 1879 he presented a solo recital at Mechanics’ Hall “which was alike remarkable for the ambitious tasks which he essayed and for the success with which he acquitted himself in them… It was Mr. Preston’s second public appearance only before a Boston audience as solo pianist; his first was in a Symphony Concert last year, when he made his mark in a Concerto by Saint-Saens… His look and manner are those of a very serious artist; he takes all in earnest, and never trifles with his work.” (Dwight (March 15, 1879): 46) Over a year later Preston again soloed at Mechanics’ Hall where he played to a “goodly number of appreciative listeners.” In this concert Mr. William J. Winch was an assisting artist. In reviewing his performance of Kreisleriana by Schumann, Dwight was “astonished not only by the technical excellence, the clearness and finish, the sustained poise, ease and freedom of Mr. Preston’s execution, but still more by a mental grasp and an interpretation of the work which left nothing vague or dull, but took strong hold of the attention and held it to the end. It would be hard to name his superior among our young pianists.” (Dwight (June 19, 1880): 102) Lang saved a notice advertising three organ recitals at new organ of the Tremont Temple that Preston gave in October 1880. (BPL Lang prog., Vol. 3) Dwight found the selections of the first concert “interesting” and noted that Mr. George Chadwick would join Preston during the second concert for the Fantasia for Four Hands by Adolf Hesse. (Dwight (November 6, 1880): 176) After the third organ recital, Wednesday noon, October 27, Dwight wrote: “We are glad to see, [that this concert] was better attended than the previous one.” He ended with the comment: “The gifted young pianist has certainly made his mark also as an organist by these three concerts.” (Dwight (November 6, 1880): 182) Preston’s growing importance in the Boston musical world was furthered when he joined the St. Botolph Club on June 1, 1880, just six months after it was founded. (1905 List of Members, 40) In the 1880 Census Preston’s address is listed as 149 Tremont Street: his occupation as music teacher: his age as 24, and that he was single.[see below about children] Preston made just one solo appearance during the first fifteen years of the BSO-it was during the First Season (1881-82: Henschel) (BSO Programs 1881-96) The BPL has three pieces that he edited, all published by B. F. Wood: Arenski: Valse, Op. 36, Liszt: Consolations 1-6 and 3 Liebestraume, and Napravnik: Melancolie. (BPL Music Room Catalog) The 1900 census lists his profession as “Music Publisher,” his address as 311 Fairmount Ave., Hyde Park, MA, two children: Carleton E. Preston (single, aged 21-born November 1878) and daughter, Louise Preston (married, aged 27-born April 1873). John A. Preston’s Passport Application of 1879 described him as: age-22, stature- 5″ 10″; forehead-medium; eyes-hazel; nose-regular; mouth-small; chin-medium; hair-very dark brown; face-oval, and having been born in Dorchester, MA. Another Passport Application of 1887 for John (then aged 30) and his wife, Susan W. Preston (aged 28) and her maid servant Agnes Lynch (aged about 20 years), lists his birthplace as Dorchester, MA. The only additional information was: complexion-dark. A third Passport Application of 1899 added that his father is a native citizen of the United States, and that he, John did “not follow any occupation.”

Proctor, George. One of the musicians that Mrs. Gardner supported. “From the moment she had first seen Proctor, as a boy chorister at the Church of the Messiah, and later when at fifteen he was organist at the Church of the Redeemer in South Boston, Mrs. Jack had been charmed by his Byronesque features and girlish dimples. For the rest of her life, she took the keenest interest in his happiness. Johns thought well of his talent, as did William [sic] Gericke, and when Paderewski endorsed their opinion, she sent Proctor to study under Leschetizsky in Vienna…” (Palffy, 142) His record of fifteen appearances with the Boston Symphony between the 1896 and 1914 compares favorably with William Sherwood’s record of seven appearances during the period 1881 to 1893 or the three appearances during the period of 1883 to 1886 of Arthur Foote. Lang played seven times-once on organ in 1883 and six times on piano between 1883 and 1889. (Howe, BSO, 249, 253, 257 and 258)

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Wikipedia, accessed November 2019.

Reese, Lizette Woodworth. Poet of many of Margaret’s songs. “A well-respected American poet… Reese’s clear and concise style is believed by many scholars to have had a significant influence on many poets of the early twentieth century.” (Blunsom, 196) Born January 9, 1856 in Waverly, Maryland and died December 17, 1935, she was a schoolteacher from 1873 until 1918. “During the 1920s, she became a prominent literary figure, receiving critical praise and recognition, in particular from H. L. Menchen, himself from Baltimore. She has been cited as an influence on younger women poets and has been compared to Emily Dickinson.” Her earliest collections of poems were A Branch of May (1887), A Handful of Lavender (1891), and A Quiet Road (1896), followed in 1909 by “A Wayside Lute. (Wikipedia article, August 10, 2008) Others have seen that both Teasdale and Millay were deeply indebted to her. The fact that she “was a professional, independent woman from the time that she left high school in 1873” may have resonated with Margaret. (www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/poems/791.html)

Frontpiece, Memories of a Musical Career.

Rogers, Clara. Born in Cheltenham, England on January 14, 1844 to the English opera composer John Barnett (1802-1890), her grandfather was the famous English song-writer, Robert Lindley. Her earliest musical instruction was from her parents, and then she attended the Leipzig Conservatory from 1857-1860 (the same time that B. J.Lang was doing his German study). She discovered “upon her arrival that she was too young to attend the conservatory. She was eventually allowed to enroll because of the extraordinary talent she showed in her audition, and because of the director’s sympathy for her family’s situation. When she began to study, Clara was the youngest student ever admitted to the conservatory… At the conservatory, Clara’s first area of concentration was the piano. After three years of lessons with Louis Plaidy and Ignaz Moscheles, she was invited to play Chopin’s Concerto in E Minor in the graduation recital… At the age of fifteen Clara was admitted to vocal study and her progress led to her to choose opera singing as a career.” (Radell and Malitsky, Keyboard, 131 and 132) Further study in Italy led to her operatic debut in Turin, and she sang major roles in various Italian companies from 1863-1867. Her stage name was “Clara Doria.” (Ibid) She then returned to England for four years “before joining the Parepa-Rosa Opera Company on their American tour. This company was “formed by two Leipzig colleagues, Carl Rosa and Euphrosyne Parepa-Rosa. Her Boston performances were enthusiastically reviewed, and she returned to that city the following year with the Max Maretzak Company.” (Ibid) After settling in Boston she sang professionally at Trinity Church and performed frequently at the Harvard Symphony Concerts. “Following her marriage to the prominent attorney Henry Munroe Rogers, Clara gave up public performing but continued to teach and compose… She joined the faculty of the New England Conservatory in 1902… Since she had been denied a place in the composition classes at the Leipzig Conservatory because of her gender, she felt most confident writing in the smaller forms… Between 1882 and 1906 Rogers published fifty-seven songs… Rogers’s first set [of songs] Op. 10, was published in 1882” by Arthur P. Schmidt. (Radell and Matitsky, Vocal, 300) During a “career that spanned nearly sixty years, Rogers collaborated with the successive conductors of the newly formed Boston Symphony Orchestra, taught at the New England Conservatory, and shared manuscripts with her fellow composers, who are known collectively as the Second New England School.” (Radell and Malitsky, Keyboard, 131) “Henry Rogers was a source of support for her, both personally and professionally, and together they shared a circle of friends that included some of the most important people in Boston, as well as artists, actors, and writers of international reputation.” (Radell and Malistsky, Keyboard, 133) Rogers “…claims she was one of the first to hold weekly musical evenings in her home. One of her objectives was to bring together fledgling instrumentalists and vocalists, established composers, other noted musicians, music critics, and patrons. When not listening to music, they could enter into discussions and exchange views. Those who attended included the composers Foote, MacDowell, and Chadwick, conductors of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, B. J. Lang, the music writers Dwight and Apthorp, and friends like Julia Ward Howe.” (Tawa, Foote, 110) The respect shown by the Lang’s is reflected in the letters by both B. J. and Margaret written after the performance of Roger’s Sonata Dramatico at the first concert of the Boston Manuscript Club in 1888 which also included songs by Margaret. (Radell and Malitsky, Keyboard, 133) Roger’s Romanza, op. 31 for piano was published in 1894 in the same volume, Half-Hours with the Best Composers which included two piano pieces by Margaret. (Radell and Malitsky, Keyboard, 134) She also wrote a sonata for cello, a piano scherzo, and “her songs are many in number and excellent in quality. Among them are two sets of Browning Songs, six Folk Songs, and such favorites as The Rose and the Lily, Clover Blossoms, Confession,  At Break of Day, and many others.” (Elson, Women’s Work, 203)

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Salem, Massachusetts Musical Groups and Businesses

Chickering Piano Dealers. On the front page of the January 9, 1860 issue of the Salem Register was an ad placed by Chickering & Sons originally dated March 16, 1859 announcing that Messers. B & B. J. Lang had been appointed “our sole Agents in Salem and its environs for the sale of our manufacture. All pianos purchased of Messers. LANG will be warrented by us, to be as low in price, and as perfect and satisfactory in every respect, as if obtained directly from our warehouses in Boston.” (Salem Register (January 9, 1860): 1, GenB)

(Salem Register  (November 7, 1859): 3, GB). The first paragraph mentions that Benjamin (the father) had been in business for 20 years.

Appearing just under this ad was another announcing that Mr. C. H. Towne was available for piano tuning, just having completed “six months of practice at Brown and Allen’s Piano Manufactory” in Boston. (Ibid) He was to be contacted at D. B. Brooks & Brothers Music Store on Essex Street. Just under this ad was a third where J. Kaula and S. M. Stetson announced the opening of a music store where they were available for lessons on the “piano, organ, &c. [also] Piano Fortes and organs tunes and repaired. Also Music arranged and furnished for Brass and Quadrille Bands, at the shortest notice” (Ibid) They had “taken rooms” at # 11 Cramer’s Block, Essex Street.  The partnership of B. Lang and B. J. Lang only lasted until October 1860. At that time Chickering & Sons took an ad saying that the Agency was moved to just Mr. B. J. Lang, and he was described as “a gentleman possessing unusually fine qualifications for the purchasing and selection of Pianos.” (Salem Register  (October 29, 1860): 2, GB)

Postmarked 1906. Johnston Collection.

The Essex Institute sponsored concerts. In 1877, the second program was given by a female vocal quartet with Arthur Foote as the accompanist, and as solos he presented the Liszt Fifth Hungarian Rhapsody, Nocturne Op. 32, No. 1 by Chopin and melody by Rubinstein. In the third concert, January 8, 1877, Lang “and his pupil Miss Grace Sampson” played Schumann’s Variations for Two Pianofortes Op. 46, Mozart’s Sonata in D Major for two pianofortes, and the concert ended with the Saint-Saens Concerto in G minor, Op. 22 – the soloist was not named. George Sumner was the pianist in the fourth program given January 22, 1877. (Dwight (February 17, 1877): 391 and 392). The next year the concerts were given “once a fortnight.” In the January 14, 1878 program Arthur Foote and Mr. Tucker shared a program with Wulf Fries and the singer, Mrs. J. W. Weston. Piano duo pieces were Two Marches. Op. 18 by Gade, “Serenade and Scherzo” from Suite in D by Saint-Saens, and the Bridal Music (two numbers) by Adolf Jensen. As solos, Tucker performed Two Ecossaises by Chopin and Liszt’s Study in D Flat Major – Foote gave no solos. (Dwight (February 16, 1878): 183 and 184)

  Lyceum as it looks today (2017)

Lyceum. This building was used as a concert hall by Lang and others. The Salem Lyceum Society bought the land in 1831 and built the brick building that still satnds there today. Located on Church Street, the building cost $4,000 and “could accommodate 700 patrons in amphitheater-style seating.” (Website, “Salem Massachusetts, The City Guide,” written by Jim McAllister). It was “built on top of the former site of Bridget Bishop’s apple orchard…The building is reportedly haunted by the ghost of Bridget Bishop, the first victim of the Salem Witch Trials…Stories of ghostly apparitions continue to surround the old Lyceum building since it opened as a restaurant in 1989. numerous people have reported seeing a woman in a long white gown floating above the Lyceum building’s main staircase and her image has been seen in windows and mirrors throughout the building…Many famous writers and public officials of the time spoke at the hall such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Frederick Douglass, John Quincy Adams and Henry David Thoreau. Alexander Graham Bell also conducted the first public demonstration of the telephone at the hall in 1877.” (Website of Rebecca Beatrice Brooks, “Historic Lyceum Building Renovated,” accessed November 11, 2016) “The record for the most appearances unquestionably belonged to Emerson, who spoke nearly 30 times…Like many other authors of the era, Emerson used Lyceum audiences to gauge the popularity of an essay or book before going to the expense oof publishing it. (McAllister, Op. cit)

The Salem Oratorio Society. Begun in the fall of 1868 – Carl Zerrahn, conductor – two hundred singers at the first rehearsal-first concert was Haydn’s Creation on Thursday evening February 11, 1869 with soloists from Boston and the Mendelssohn Quintet Club who “assisted as orchestra” – in June 1869, two hundred and sixty members of the choir took part in the National Peace Jubilee in Boston-John S. Dwight reviewed their Elijah performance of May 1870 very favorably. “There were about 250 fresh voices-nearly all of them young people, at least in the Soprano and Alto,-remarkably well balanced… You knew that there were no dummies… Particularly were we struck by the perfection of the rendering of several of those rapid choruses… The performance as a whole, of course, had not the massiveness of our Handel and Haydn presentation of such works. But, until we shall hear better (which we do not expect to do very soon), we shall have to point to Salem for a model of good, true chorus-singing.” (Dwight (May 21, 1870): 247) By 1871 “there were four hundred and two members.” (Whipple, 124) This group performed Mendelssohn’s St. Paul at Mechanic Hall with Boston soloists, the Germania Orchestra and B. J. Lang playing the “New Concert Organ.” The choir numbered about four-hundred voices for this performance.

Johnston Collection.

For most concerts various Boston soloists were used: among them, Mr. Whitney (bass), Dr. Langmaid (tenor), Miss Houston (soprano, later Mrs. Houston-West); W. J. Winch (tenor) and J. F. Winch (bass). On December 29, 1886 the choir joined with the Lowell Choral Society (another of Zerrahn’s groups) to present a “Second Performance” of Gounod’s Redemption at Mechanic Hall. Geo. W. Sumner was listed as the organist and the Germania Orchestra was listed as the accompaniment. This would be a very late use of the Germania name. At the bottom of the program the audience was advised: “Extra train for Swampscott, Lynn and Boston will leave at 10:40, also Horse-cars to surrounding towns at [the] close of [the] Concert.” (Program offered on Ebay during August 2017 for $36) When Zerahhn retired his place was taken by Emil Mollenhauer. (Ibid) Mollenhauer seemed to collect many of Lang’s and Zerrahn’s positions as they became vacant.

The Salem Schubert Club. Organized May 3, 1878 – number of singing members limited to sixty-associate members limited to one hundred and fifty – Wm. J. Winch first Musical Director, and remained with the group until his departure for Europe in October, 1883 – George W. Chadwick conducted in 1883 and 1884 – followed by Arthur Foote in 1885 and 1886 – repertoire was “cantatas, part-songs and music of like character… The Salem Schubert Club has done some very creditable work and given many admirable performances. It has given the people of Salem an opportunity of hearing the better class of cantatas, part-songs and glees, performed by a well-drilled chorus with the best solo assistance, Mr. and Mrs. George Henschel, Wm. J. Winch, Dr. S. W. Langmaid, Mrs. Humphrey Allen and others.” (Whipple, 127, 128 and 129)

 

Satter, Gustave. Born February 12, 1832 in Yugoslavia. According to “recurrent statements in the press, Gustave Satter surpassed them all by the quality of his musicianship. He was a fluent technician, imbued with the spirit of the new music by Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, and Chopin. Satter first played in New York on February 20, 1855 at a Quartet soiree of Theodore Eisfeld, beginning in the Schubert Trio, Op. 100.” (Johnson, Satter, 61) Satter then appeared with the New York Philharmonic Society conducted by Henry C. Timm at Niblo’s Rooms on March 10, 1855 in the New York premier of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto (Johnson, 48). Then Boston heard him with the Mendelssohn Quintet Club on April 2, 1855 at Chickering Hall again playing the Schubert Trio. It would seem that Dwight’s personal description of Satter in his April 7, 1855 issue is the only one available. “He is a fresh, youthful-looking person, with an air of decision and at the same time a good-humoured Austrian bon-hommie about him… Mr. Satter is yet a very young man, exuberant in power and enterprising ready of talent, ambitious too to take a high and really artistic stand, and a zealous student of the real character of Art; but it would be too much to expect of him all that earnest depth of feeling and of inward experience which should leave nothing to be desired.” (Johnson, Satter, 62) Satter’s professional position is reflected by Johnson’s statement – “According to recurrent statements in the press, Gustave Satter surpassed them all [eleven previously cited artists who had come from Europe to America to better their professional lot during the years 1832 through 1852] by the quality of his musicianship. He was a fluent technician, imbued with the spirit of the new music by Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, and Chopin.” Johnson then quotes the New York correspondent of Dwight’s Journal of Music as saying that “His playing is, in my opinion, beyond anything that we have yet heard here… His style is that of Liszt… combining immense force, astonishing fluency, great sweetness and expression where it is needed, and the art of making the notes sing, and often sound out and vibrate like those of an organ.” (Johnson, 62 and 63) Satter assisted the Mendelssohn Quintette Club in their subscription concerts during the springs of 1855 and 1856. (Dowell,  21) Satter stayed in Boston two years [1855-57], teaching and performing, but he felt that he had to defend himself for programming his own fantasias on national airs such as Yankee Doodle and Hail Columbia. After spending the summer and fall of 1858 in Philadelphia, he returned to Boston where he again programmed mainly his own works, but also achieved great success with a performance of Beethoven’s Concerto in G Major on January 25, 1859. The Boston Musical Times (BMT) reported that Satter and S. B. Mills would be playing a concert in Providence “on Tuesday next”, and also that “Mr. Gustav Satter is engaged to be married to Miss Lillie S. McClelan, only daughter of the late Hon. Judge McClelan, of the Supreme Court of Edinburgh, Scotland. Miss McClelan is an American by birth.” (BMT (December 1, 1860): 328) By 1861 Satter was back in Paris and during the next twelve years he traveled throughout Europe, but by 1875 he was back in America. In 1865, while he was in Dresden, the rumors circulating through the city about him led him to write a letter “To my Enemies” in which he threatens to take them to court! The writer in the BMT wrote: “This individual, whose excellence as a musician, and impudence [immodesty-shamelessness] as a man, are well remembered here, has been talked about in Dresden as he was in New York and Boston. Thinking himself ”whiter than snow, and purer than gold,” he objects to” the rumors…Alas, poor Satter.” (BMT (December 2, 1865): 179) “He stayed in the New York vicinity until 1877, when he went South… It is believed he died in 1879 at the age of forty-seven in a place unknown to us.” (Johnson, 69) “A Biographical Sketch” published in Savannah, Georgia in 1879 was probably autobiographical. Baker gives a different birthday: “Gustav Satter (b. Dec. 2, 1832 in Rann, Slovenia and d. (?) Savannah, Georgia, 1879) Pianist; trained as an amateur in Vienna, then in Paris, whither he had gone to study medicine. He threw over the latter profession, toured the United States and Brazil with much success in 1854-60, and returned to Paris, where Berlioz warmly praised his compositions; he resided successively in Vienna, Dresden, Hanover, Gothenburg, and Stockholm, later revisiting America.” (Baker, Bio. Dic. 511) Satter had played the New York premiere of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto with the Philharmonic on March 10, 1855.

Saturday Evening Gazette. Established in 1813. “It is [1889] a large four-page sheet, devoted to the higher walks of literature and education. It is Republican in politics, and is largely read in the old families of Boston.” (Grieve, 105)

Scharwenka, Xaver. b. 1850, and d. 1924. “Played in Boston for the first time on February 6, 1891… This strikingly handsome man of Polish-German extraction was one of the most brilliant virtuosi of his time. Every piano-maltreating miss in America had, of course, played his Polish Dance in E flat minor, one of the most popular pieces of piano literature… Among the mass of piano works published by Scharwenka, his first piano concerto in B flat minor acquired special celebrity and was frequently played by him and by others. He made his Boston debut most impressively with this concerto. At that time Scharwenka had already been conducting the New York branch of his conservatory for two years.” (Leichtentritt, 373 and 374)

 

Henry M. Dunham, The Life of a Musician, 67.

Schmidt, Arthur Paul. April 1, 1846-May 5 1921. Born at Altona, Germany. Worked for ten years as a clerk for a music store in Boston. “In October 1876 he began a prosperous and valuable career as a publisher and importer of music (chiefly at first as a gent of the well-known Litolff edition), with branches later at Leipzig and New York. The publications listed in the catalogue in 1932 reached the number of nearly fifteen thousand… A chief interest with him from the first was the encouragement of American composers… Most important, he was a pioneer in the publication of works in larger forms (orchestral scores and parts, for example) that had no possibility of being commercially successful. The first score of an important composition of the kind in the United States was the second symphony, im Fruhling, of John Knowles Paine, published in 1880 by subscription.” During the forty years 1880-1920 he published major works by many of the New England School. “The encouragement he thus gave to composers cannot be overestimated; in a period of remarkable development in American music he made a note-worthy contribution.” (A. F., 440) “He was the first to recognize the gifts of Arthur Foote, George Chadwick, Henry Hadley, Mrs. H. H. A. Beach and many other leading American composers. ”He also appreciated the genius of Edward MacDowell when he returned in 1889 from Europe with his reputation entirely European and could find no New York publisher for his manuscripts.”” (Ayars, 39)

Anton Seidl: Elson, History of American Music, 214.

Seidl, Anton. b. May 7, 1850 in Pest, Hungary, d. New York City, March 28, 1898. “His death left a gap in the operatic forces of the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, and Covent Garden, London; robbed the Philharmonic Society of New York of a conductor under whom it enjoyed six seasons of unexampled prosperity; weakened the artistic props of the Wagner Festivals at Bayreuth… orphaned a number of undertakings which looked to the edification and entertainment of the people of the United States and Canada in the course of coming seasons… Mr. Seidl’s activities in New York compassed twelve seasons. He came in the fall of 1885, to be the first conductor of the German opera, then domiciled at the Metropolitan Opera House, and he remained at the head of that notable institution until… 1891. (Krehbiel, 757) “He became an American citizen, believing that this country the best in which to work out his ideals.” (Dic. Am Bio., 311) When Theodore Thomas left the Philharmonic for Chicago in 1891, Seidl became his successor beginning in the fall of that year. “During the entire period of his American residence, he conducted a vast majority of the orchestral concerts given under other auspices than those of the institutions mentioned, and he was extending his activities more and more widely with each year, so that it may correctly be said that, had he lived to carry out the plans which he had laid down for the next season here and abroad, he would have been unique among the world”s conductors in the variety and extent of his labors and the reach of his influence…” (Krehbiel, 758)

“The most important musician ever to visit the United States and stay, he became an American citizen, bought a country house in the Catskills, and would not be addressed as ”Herr.” His ”America-mania” included a fondness for mixed drinks and excited approbation of the prospective Spanish-American War. He befriended Edward MacDowell, and-in an excess of partisanship for the Wagner cause he extolled-called the American composer greater than Brahms.” (Horowitz in Beckerman, 92 and 93)

Seidl began his study at the Leipzig Conservatorium in the fall of 1870, and early “in 1872 he went to Bayreuth, and was employed by Wagner to make the first copy of the score of the Nibelungen trilogy [aged 21]. He also assisted at the festival in 1876. In 1879, through Wagner’s recommendation, he obtained the post of conductor at the Leipzig Opera-House, and remained there until 1882. After touring Europe conducting Angelo Neumann’s “Nibelungen” opera troupe, he was appointed conductor of the Bremen Opera House. In 1885 he married [the singer, Augusta Krauss], and in September of that year he began his work at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.” (Grove, Third Edition, 709) “He conducted many American premieres of Wagner operas, and with his traditions and the years he had spent with Wagner he was able to produce absolutely authentic performances and interpretations. In 1893 he also conducted the American premiere of the ”New World” symphony by Anton Dvorak, who was his intimate friend.” (Howard, 562) Howard’s article also quotes H. T. Finck as the source of the fact that “None of the printed accounts of his life gives the names of his parents, and by some it was supposed that he was the natural son of Franz Liszt.” (Howard, 561)

Sharland, John. B. Conductor of the choir below, which began as the Boylston Club, “but that has been only a small part of his labors. He is an organist of much ability, and as a teacher of music in the public schools is doing great work.” (Elson, Musical Boston, 5 ) Sharland-b. Halifax, 1837-d. Boston, 1909. “Was early in Chickering’s piano-factory, but turned to piano-playing and conducting, led many choral societies in or near Boston, and from 1870 was music-supervisor in the schools.” (Grove, Am. Supp, 27) In 1861 he was organist of the West Church in Boston (built in 1806) whose congregation was “numerous, influential and wealthy, as may be inferred from the fact that during the past season [1861]-universally conceded to be the most trying and stringent in financial affairs ever experienced in this country-they have had a new organ erected, at the expense of about $5,000, which is entirely paid for.” The choral music was supplied by a double quartet “arranged somewhat upon the antiphonal plan with four voices on each side.” His wife was one of the altos. For hymn singing each side alternated verses with all eight voices joining for the final verse. “Mr. Sharland, who has been an amateur musician for many years, has now adopted it as a profession… He has considerable experience as an organist, and for the past six or seven years has officiated in this capacity at the West Church.” (Dwight (October 12, 1861): 223)

Sharland Chorus. Another mixed choir in Boston whose membership in 1876 was c. 300 voices. It was part of the first Boston performance of Bach’s Magnificat in D (1723) given at the Music Hall on March 1, 1876 together with the Thomas orchestra. The soloists were Mrs. H. M. Smith, Flora Barry, G. H. Oakes, William J. and John F. Winch with John Knowles Paine as the organist. (Johnson, First, 5)

Elson, “Musical Boston,” Supplement to “Music and Drama,” June 3, 1882. HMA Collection.

Elson, Story of American Music, 285.

Hughes, Contemporary American Composers, 1900, facing 382.

Sherwood, William Hall. Born Lyons, New York, January 31, 1854. First teacher was his father, the Rev. L. H. Sherwood who had established “the Lyons Musical Academy at Lyons, N. Y. in 1854-the year which Mr. Sherwood was born. At an early age young Sherwood commenced the study of music under his father”s instruction. In 1871 Mr. Sherwood went to Europe, where he studied with several eminent teachers, among them the illustrious Liszt.” (Elson, Musical Boston, 5) His second American teacher was Dr. William Mason. Amy Fay wrote in 1872 – “There is a young fellow named Sherwood, who is only seventeen years old, and he not only plays splendidly but composes beautifully, also.” (Fay, 170) “Sherwood is Kullak’s pet and pride, and indeed, since his advent in the conservatory Kullak has shut up entirely on the subject of American want of talent.” (Fay, 187) Fay further recorded: “Sherwood is going ahead like a young giant. Today Kullak said that Sherwood played Beethoven’s E flat major concerto (the hardest of all Beethoven’s concertos) with a perfection that he had rarely heard equalled. So much for being a genius, for he is still under twenty [Feb. 1873], and has only been abroad a year or two. But he studied with our best American master, William Mason, and played like an artist before he came. But, then, Sherwood has one enormous advantage that no master on earth can bestow, and that is, perfect confidence in himself.” (Fay, 192 and 193) Dwight reported: Mr. and Mrs. William Sherwood. “Both Americans, (the latter will be pleasantly remembered in this city as Miss Mary Fay) have lately given a concert in the Sing-Akademie in Berlin, of which the entire press there speaks in terms of highest praise.” (Dwight (April 29, 1876): 223) Fay referred to Mrs. Sherwood as Mrs. Wrisley of Boston saying that she and Mrs. Wrisley left Kullak to study with Deppe at the same time. After successful concerts in Germany, Mr. and Mrs. Sherwood returned to America in 1876. After a “large and brilliant concert tour” of the States, they settled in Boston and began teaching. He “taught for a few years in the New England Conservatory, Boston, and then moved to New York” (Dic. Am. Bio.,  103). In 1878 Mr. Sherwood gave ten piano recitals at his music rooms, No. 21 West Street, Boston, on Fridays at 3:30PM. Mrs. Sherwood played the orchestral reductions. These concerts were repeated on Monday evenings at 8PM. (HMA Program Collection) The soloists in the first Boston performance of the Bach’s Concerto for Four Claviers in A Minor were “Mr. and Mrs. Sherwood, J. C. D. Parker, and Benjamin J. Lang.” (Johnson, First,  10) This was presented at Mechanics Hall on April 1, 1880. “Since 1889 his chief work has been in the West, where his teaching… has made Chicago a centre for piano music… His concert tours have extended everywhere, north, southeast, and west. Canada and Mexico have heard him, as well as the United States. Every great symphonic orchestra in the country has had his services at one time or another. All together, it is not too much to say that the first American piano virtuoso is (and has been for many years) William H. Sherwood.” (Elson, Hist. Am. Mus., 285) “He was the first to play the Grieg concerto in America, and was the first soloist to appear with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under George Henschel… he possessed a flawless technique, delicacy and refinement of expression, and through musicianship. He rarely gave a recital without including one American composition… He had a large following as a teacher, especially through his summer courses at Chautauqua, N. Y., where for twenty-two years, from 1899 until his death, he was head of the piano department… He possessed a lovable nature, very affable, simple, and unpretentious. His first wife, Mary [Nielson] Fay, of Williamsburg, N. Y., to whom he was married in 1874 while a student in Berlin, was also a gifted student of Kullak, and they often played together successfully. His second wife, Estelle [Estella] F. Abrams… to whom he was married in 1887, was his student in Boston. He had three daughters by the first marriage, and two by the second” (Dic. Am. Bio., 104). In January and February 1876 Mr. and Mrs. Sherwood presented five piano concerts with assisting artists, George L. Osgood and members of the Boston Philharmonic Club. (HMA Program Collection) Mr. Sherwood played on seven different programs with the BSO during the seasons ’81, ’83, ’84, ’92, and ’93 (which was equal to Lang’s piano and organ appearances with the Symphony). (Howe, BSO, 258) Alfred Hollins mentions that during the 1888 tour of America the Principal of his College, Mr. Campbell discovered “an appliance called the Technicon, used for developing the muscles of the arms, hands, and fingers.” (Hollins, 178) William Sherwood, “one of Boston”s leading pianists and musicians “had been “keenly interested” in this device, and Campbell set Hollins to using it for an hour each day. (Ibid) However, Hollins had no patience for the device.

St. Botolph Club. “St. Botolph was founded in a golden epoch of the City of Boston. Arts, literature, music, architecture, clubs and public affairs, as well as the vast commercial, shipping and professional empires that supported them, were all experiencing a great flowering. Many of the eminent individuals connected with all these were original members of our Club. A ”Committee of Ten” had sent out invitations to several hundred friends and colleagues, and upon receiving an enthusiastic response, founded the Club on January 3rd., 1880.” [Massachusetts Historical says January 10, 1880] First location “at 87 Boylston Street.” (Williams, 32) “Members drawn from Boston’s upper class… John Quincy Adams, Philips Brooks, Francis Parkman,[First President] William Dean Howells and Henry Cabot Lodge, H. H. A. Beach” and among musicians, “William Apthorp, George Chadwick, Philip Hale, and B. J. Lang… The St. Botolph Club, in particular, had artistic intentions from its inception… Concerts were also encouraged, and to that end they bought in 1882 a Chickering grand piano.” (Blunsom,  134 and 135) “The Club was to be inexpensive, with dues of not more than thirty dollars,” (Williams, op. cit.) and there was to be no restaurant. Arthur Foote and George Parker (both members) performed Margaret’s Deserted at a club function. (Blunsom, Op. cit.) B. J. was “a Resident and Founding Member of the St. Botolph Club (January 1880).” (Howlett, e-mail, November 30, 2009) Other members of the Lang circle and their dates of joining include: Arthur Foote-January 1887; Philip Hale-May 1890; William F. Apthorp-1880, but William Foster Apthorp-March 1896 [?]; Allen Augustus Brown-June 1889; George Laurie Osgood was a founding member, January 1880; G. W. Sumner-1880; William Johnson Winch-1883. (Howlett, e-mail, January 4, 2010) In 1889 it was “situated on Newbury Street, and was modelled after the plan of the Century Club in New York. its particular feature is its Saturday evening and monthly meetings, to which men eminent in literature and art are invited. its gallery contains a choice collection of sculptures and pictures. It is noted for its musicales, “smoke talks” and theatricals. On Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons a stringed quartette not only plays a choice repertory, but also compositions by members of the club. These concerts are very popular and are one of the features of this peculiarly artistic club, whose membership is limited to men of literary and aesthetic tastes and pursuits,” (Grieve, 100) William Foster Apthorp sang the part of “Prof. J. Bolingbroke Smythe” in the musical farce “The Aesthetic Barber” presented at the Club on December 23, 1881. Dr. S. W. Langmaid sang “Charles Chestnut” and Mr. H. G. Pickering sang “Columbus Bunker. ” (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 5) After a few years the club moved to larger quarters at 4 Newbury Street, “the site which is now the parking lot of the Ritz Carlton Hotel. It was just what they wanted; and they lived in it happily, if with increasing worries about financing it, for fifty-five years.” (Williams, 33) This new location allowed for a new art gallery, and then a kitchen and dining room were added. In 1941 the Club moved to smaller quarters at 115 Commonwealth Avenue, on the “sunny side” of the street. A final move was made to 199 Commonwealth Avenue in 1972. (Club Website) The Club presented “John Singer Sargent’s first one-man show in America in 1888. Works by Claude Monet were displayed in 1892, 1895, and 1899. Monet’s first show in the United States was held in February 1891 at the Union Club in New York.” (St. Botolph Club Records: Guide to the Collection, 1 and 2. Massachusetts Historical Society)

Mathews, A Hundred Years of Music in America, 693.

Frank Van der Stucken was born in Texas Oct.15, 1858 and when he was eight years old (1869 his parents took him to Antwerp where he studies with Peter Benoit in Antwerp; during 1876-78 resided primarily in Leipzig where he studied with Carl Reinecke, Grieg and Langer; later traveled in Europe; was active in Paris 1880-81; 1881-82 was engaged as kapellmeister at the Breslau Stadt Theater; in 1883 met Liszt (to whom he had been introduced by Grieg) at Weimar who arranged for him to present a concert solely of his own works; moved to New York in 1884 where he succeeded Leopold Damrosch as conductor of the Arion Society, a male chorus, which he conducted until 1895; gave a concert with this group during the 1884-85 season devoted exclusively to American works; during the 1887-88 season he gave a series of five concerts devoted entirely to American composers; at the July 12, 1889 concert at the Paris Exposition included songs of Margaret. “Upon the whole, it is not too much to say what (sic) at the present time of writing Mr. Van der Stucken is the most promising young conductor in this country.” (Mathews, One Hundred, 694) He served as conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra from 1895-1907; from 1906-1912 he conducted the biennial Cincinnati Music Festival, returning every two years from Europe where he went to live in 1908. (Mus. Am. Article, Nov. 25, 1922) He then spent most of his time in Europe until his death in Hamburg in 1929. He did return to the United States to conduct the May Festival in 1923 and then served as its Music Director in 1925 and 1927. The Mus. Am. article says that he returned to America in 1917.

Suck, Mr. F. A violinist active in Boston in the 1850s. (Dowell, 22)

Ryan, Recollections, plate opposite 262.

Sumner, George William. Born 1848-Died 1890. In 1876 listed as organist of the Arlington Street Church (Cong. Unit,) (Dwight (May 27, 1876): 240) Sumner was the soloist with the Orchestral Union in Mendelssohn’s Capriccio in B Minor for Piano and Orchestra on Wednesday afternoon March 4, 1868. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 1) However Dwight recorded that Sumner made his debut at the Music Hall organ in the fall of 1869 “winning praise from those who know what organ playing should be.” Sumner and another Lang pupil, Mr. G. Arthur Adams presented a concert at the Chickering Hall on September 30, 1869 where Lang provided a second piano accompaniment to the Concerto No. 5 by Beethoven with Adams as the soloist, and the Chopin Concerto in E minor, Op. 11 with Sumner as the soloist. Adams was described as: “Here is a still, pale Massachusetts boy, the first we ever knew of whom was hearing him on this occasion actually play with certainty and power and good aplomb the greatest of Concertos, the ”Emperor” of Beethoven.” Sumner’s performance was “even greater in respect to musical feeling… The whole air of both the young men was quiet, self-possessed, ingenuous and modest.” (Dwight (October 9, 1869): 118) On December 26, 1872 Sumner was the soloist with the HMA Orchestra at the Music Hall in Chopin’s Piano Concerto in F Minor, Op. 21. Even though this day “came with the great snow-storm of the winter….The orchestra was full and well prepared; the programme one to charm away all thought of ”winter and rough weather.”” (Dwight (January 11, 1873): 366) Dwight felt that Sumner was well prepared, but that the work really did not suit him. “The only mistake was in the selection of the work…There is too much good stuff in him, to let this discourage him.” (Ibid) By 1874 Sumner had connected with the Mendelssohn Quintette Club. Dwight recorded that he had accompanied Thomas Ryan in Schumann’s Romances for Piano and Clarinet, Op. 94. At some point Sumner married Ryan’s daughter. (Dwight (March 7, 1874): 191)

Thomas Ryan wrote: “My acquaintance with Mr. Sumner began when I was searching for good pianoforte teachers for the National College of Music. Inquiries made among the older artists usually brought out strong recommendations of ”young Sumner.” He therefore became one of our teachers, and it was not long before he married my oldest daughter.” Ryan then reprinted from the Boston Transcript of August, 1890: “Mr. George W. Sumner was born of a musical family in Spencer, Mass., in 1848. He early showed his musical proclivities, and while still a child displayed enough talent to warrant his exhibition in public.” His father, a music teacher and dealer in Worcester got his son the best teachers, the last being B. J. Lang. He soloed with the Harvard and Boston Symphony orchestras, played in chamber music, was organ/piano accompanist for the Handel and Haydn Society, the Cecilia, Apollo and Boylston clubs, and he served as Director of Music at Arlington Street Church for eighteen years. “Personally, he was a man of genial temperament, unaffected and sincere. He left a widow, the daughter of Mr. Thomas Ryan, and a young daughter.”

Sumner conducted his Orpheus Club on the second evening of the May 1890 Hampden County Musical Association [Springfield, MA]. The main work was “Grieg’s brilliant Discovery, in which Gardner L. Lamsom of Boston” sang the baritone solo. George Chadwick was the “drill-master of the chorus rehearsals,” and also “conductor-in-chief of the concerts.” Victor Herbert was his assistant. The management of the Festival assured the public the “irruption of bad manners and polyglot vocalization” of the previous year would not be part of the 1890 event. (Springfield Republican (March 1, 1890): 4, GB) This was to be his last Festival. “Mr. E. Cutler, Jr., of the Apollo Club has been elected director of the Springfield Orpheus Club.” (Herald (September 21, 1890): 19, GB) Thus Lang’s influence was continued in this group.

Sumner died in August of 1890 and his funeral was held at Arlington Street Church. His Springfield choir sent a floral tribute: “It will be in the form of an antique harp, and it will stand five feet high…and on a scroll attached to the harp will appear four bars of music written in G clef.” (Worcester Spy (August 19, 1890): 8, GB) The church, except for the galleries, was completely filled with friends and pupils. Lang played the organ, “his playing demonstrating rare feeling. He rendered two selections: an improvisation as the church was entered and at the close a solemn march from Beethoven’s Third Symphony.” Lang also sent “a wreath of ivy and wheat.” Three of the bearers were his pianist friends, Arthur Foote, Joshua Phippin and Hiram Tucker, while the other three were members of the Springfield Orpheus Club. “There were also large delegations from musical societies throughout New England.” (Springfield Republican (August 20, 1890): 7, GB) The Worcester Spy published an article drawing from various other papers. The Springfield Republican mentioned that he had published none of his own compositions, and that they were “chiefly settings of hymns and anthems and arrangements for his Boston choir. [Shades of Lang here] The Boston Post mentioned that Sumner had been a member of a quartet of pianists who had studied at about the same time with Lang-W. F. Apthorp, Arthur Foote and Hiram Tucker. Sumner had been a member of the Harvard Musical Association and the St. Botolph Club-probably in both cases his sponsor had been B. J. The Boston Transcript wrote: “Mr. Sumner’s musical tastes, though refined and exacting, were broad and comprehensive. Personally he was a man of genial temperament, unaffected and sincere.” (Worcester Spy (August 18, 1890): 8, GB) A Memorial Vesper Service was given at Arlington Street Church on Sunday, October 19, 1890. Three of his own pieces were included, but the titles were not given. “In one of Mr. Sumner’s compositions was included a beautiful solo for Miss Edmands, and this was reverently and delightfully sung.” The Pastor spoke of how Sumner was really a Minister of music, and that he was willing to practice that calling whenever needed. “If he was needed in the Sunday School, or at a Lenten Service, he was always there, ready for any work that he could be called upon.” (Journal (October 20, 1890): 4, GB)

Dwight wrote for the Transcript about the November 25th. 1890 Memorial Concert for Sumner held at the Music Hall. “The great Hall was at least two-thirds filled with sympathetic, serious listeners. Nearly all the leading singers, pianists, teachers, composers, and high-class musicians of our city, lent their aid most heartily to the carrying out of a significant and worthy programme.” B. J. was among them (Ryan, Recollections, 264-266) Among the 32 musicians listed as giving “their services for this occasion” were Carl Baermann, George W. Chadwick, Arthur Foote, Miss Gertrude Franklin, Edward A. MacDowell, Ethelbert Nevin, Arthur Nikisch, Ernst Perabo, Joshua Phippen, H. G. Tucker, B. L. Whelpley, Arthur Whiting and William J. Winch. Tickets were three dollars. (BPL Lang Prog.) Lang’s contribution to this event was as part of a quartet of pianists at two pianos who played Les Contrastes, Opus 115 by Moscheles; the other three pianists were Baermann, Nikisch and Perabo. The Bach Concerto in C Minor for Two Pianos was played by Mr. Foote and Mr. Tucker with Mr. Whelpley playing Dresel’s arrangement of the string accompaniment. (MYB 1890-91, 24) This great number of performers in the concert reflects on Sumner’s honored position in Boston’s musical life.

In the early 1870s Sumner was the organist for many of the Salem Oratorio Society concerts which was led by Carl Zerrahn, and his contribution was acknowledged in most reviews.

In February 1874 Lang was part of a “Pianoforte recital” at the Worcester County Music School where Sumner was listed as a teacher, playing the solo part in Mendelssohn’s Concerto in G Minor together with two solos, Nocturne in C Minor, Opus 48 by Chopin and Lang’s own Caprice in C Major. Lang finished the concert with Liszt’s transcription of Weber’s Polonaise in E Minor. (6544) In December 1875 Sumner joined “Mr. B. D. Allen of Worcester, one of the teachers” at NEC in performing Schubert’s Divertissement as one of the musical illustrations that Allen gave in a lecture about Schubert. (Dwight (December 11, 1875): 142) Sumner soloed with the HMA Orchestra in the fall of 1877. “Mr. Sumner played the brilliant, piquant, Krakowiak [Op. 14] of Chopin very neatly and distinctly, showing a thorough study and a right conception of it, and bringing out many of its quaint melodic motives and great vividness and fineness. The only failure was of strength of touch; there was a lack of resonance for so large a space [Music Hall].” (Dwight (December 8, 1877): 142) In December 1878 Sumner presented “one of the most delightful of the smaller concerts of the season at Mechanics’ Hall on Monday evening, December 16.” He was assisted by the Mendelssohn Quintette Club, and his piano solos included “Tausig’s extremely difficult arrangement of the Toccata and Fugue in G Minor by Bach, which showed a remarkable development of his powers as a pianist-now taking rank among our foremost ones.” (Dwight (January 18, 1879): 15)

B. J. probably proposed Sumner for membership in the Harvard Musical Association where he seems to have taken an active part as a performer. The report for the March 1, 1878 social meeting has him performing duets with his fellow Lang pupil, Tucker, twice in the program: “Two short 4-hand pieces by Heinrich Hoffman,” and a Grotesque Chinese Overture to Turandot by Weber (HMA Bulletin No. 11). An announcement dated August 1, 1872 listed Sumner as the accompanist for a “Grand Musical Combination” which was formed by the “celebrated English soprano, Madame Erminia Rudersdorff” who had come to Boston the year before as a soloist with the Handel and Haydn Society and then with the “Great Peace Jubilee.” She and her husband, a “barytone,” and a contralto also from England were the vocalists, and the ensemble also included a violinist. “In the case of societies wishing to give Oratorios, and requiring a first-class tenor singer, Mr. G. L. Osgood, who has just returned from Europe, may be engaged upon special additional terms with Madame Rudersdorff’s party.” Mr. Sumner was also listed as the conductor in the various sample programs that were provided: “Ballad Concert, German repertoire, Sacred Selection, and Operatic ” (HMA Program Collection). Listed among the Lang pupils “who deserve mention because of musical prominence,” Sumner was described as “a teacher and pianist of much capability.” (Elson, Supplement, ) Lang may also have sponsored Sumner”s membership in the St. Botolph Club which he joined in 1880, remaining a member until his death in 1890. (1905 membership List, p. 58) Sumner received a very good notice in an article written by Elson in March 1884, probably for the Musical Courier. “At Mr. Sumner’s concert I had barely an opportunity to hear the Rubinstein Sonata, Op. 18, for cello and piano, in which Mr. Giese proved again that he is probably the greatest violoncellist in America, and was ably seconded by the power and breadth of Mr. Sumner’s playing.” (Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2)

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Tavern Club. Founded 1884. Musician members included “Frederick Converse, Timothee Adamowski, Arthur Foote and Charles Loeffler.” (Blunsom, 134) “One of Boston’s most novel clubs is the Tavern Club, on Boylston Place. It was started in behalf of good cookery by a few professional men… its members are mostly lawyers, doctors, bankers, and literary men. At its famous dinners all stiffness is put aside, and boyish good humor is the prevailing spirit… This club has a sort of international character, and has entertained some of the leading professional men of Europe… its frolics are never made public, though they are all of a clean and elevated character.” (Grieve, 101) There are two legends concerning the formation of this club. The first is that “the Club owed its formation to a man who ate with his toes” while the second was “that the man who proposed the idea of forming such a club was not himself admitted to membership. There is some truth behind these legends. A group of young men – doctors, painters, and others of like bent – had formed the habit of dining together at restaurants in the neighborhood of Park Square. On one occasion, so it is said, a troupe of vaudeville freaks invaded the place, and the armless wonder fed himself with his toes. This was too much for the founding Taverners and they determined to find themselves their own table in their own private room. The second legend centered around an Italian teacher who proposed the idea of the club but whom the others didn’t especially care for. So when the Tavern was founded this man was left out.” (Williams, p. 39) Another explanation was; “A few clever men found the Somerset Club too smart and the Union Club too dull.” (Ibid) The Somerset Club had the movers and shakers while the Union Club members were those who managed the money of the Somerset members. “The Tavern started, like so many others, as a dining club of youthful and congenial spirits. They soon came to roost in rooms at No. 1 Park Square under the friendly studio of Frederick Porter Vinton… In the first fall months of 1884 they gave dinners in honor of Gericke, conductor of the Boston Symphony, Edmund Gosse, the author, and Henry Irving, the actor. All this was to set the pattern for the future. Within three years they bought and moved into the house at 4 Boylston Place… there, in expanded quarters and despite a severe fire in 1956, they still [1970] hold forth… Mr. Howe records a visiting Englishman saying: ”I had been told that American clubs were rather informal – but my word!” This may have been the same Englishman who is supposed to have reported to a circle at the Somerset Club the spectacle of a half-naked, tattooed member lunching at the Tavern. He is said to have received the reply: ”What, only one?”” (Williams, pp. 40 and 41)

Taylor, Deems. “Was once a vaudeville comic.” (Grant, xx) Also his “first wife later had an affair with Gilbert Seldes, then married a Spanish fascist and became the Nazi counterpoint of Tokyo Rose, making Axis broadcasts from Berlin as the infamous ”Georgia Peach.”” (Grant, xxi)

Thomas Choral Society. In January 1875 a new choir was formed and named in honor of the conductor Theodore Thomas. The aim was to perform major choral works of the highest standard using the Thomas Orchestra. The membership drew from various quartette choirs, some from the Cecilia and the Boylston club and “other musical organizations. The society has adopted a high standard for candidates, and believes that the best results cannot be attained any other way.” (Advertiser (January 21, 1875): 1, GB) The weekly rehearsals were on Monday nights with Mr. Sharland as the conductor and Mr. Petersilea as the pianist. The plan was to give some works never performed in America including “a new work by Wagner, the vocal and orchestral scores of which are now on the way from Europe.” (Ibid) Non-sing associate membership was offered which gave admission”to alternate Monday rehearsals, to all the public exercises and performances of the society, and as most of the latter will probably be given in connection with Mr. Thomas’s orchestra, it is presumed that the list of candidates for associate membership will soon be filled.” (Ibid)

The next month it was announced that the society “will take up a cantata by Bach and one by Mendelssohn, neither of which has ever been performed in this country. The society will give both pieces to the public in a few weeks with the assistance of [the] Thomas orchestra.” (Advertiser (February 22, 1875): 2, GB)

Then, in March the name of the Bach cantata was revealed-My Spirit was in Heaviness. “The celebrated cantata is one of the grandest works of the great master, and has never been brought out in this country.” (Advertiser (March 18, 1875): 1, GB) The performance was projected for April 3, and it was to be the principal number on the program. No mention was made of the Mendelssohn work spoken of in February.

In April 1875 the choir placed an ad in the Advertiser saying that the “Thomas Choral Society will receive a limited number of Tenors and Basses.” (Advertiser (April 1, 1875): 1. GB)

Theodore Thomas, Elson, History of American Music, frontispiece.

Upton, Musical Memories, facing  182.

Thomas, Theodore. “b. Oct. 11, 1835 in Esens, Hanover; d. January 5, 1905 in Chicago. See biography by Charles Edward Russell, The American Orchestra and Theodore Thomas (New York, 1927).” (Sablosky, 304) Thomas conducted Margaret’s Witichis Overture at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago; he also had lent to B. J. from his Chicago orchestra the bells he needed for the 1891 performance of Parsifal.

“Not merely the first American conductor, Theodore Thomas was without doubt the most important pioneer of the symphony orchestra in the United States… Thomas was a dynamo, a born leader, and when he decided in 1862 ”to form an orchestra for concert purposes,” the history of the American symphony orchestra began.”

“Thomas came to New York from Germany at age ten, and in his teens, largely self-taught, was already earning his way as a violinist. He played in Jullien’s orchestra in 1853, gained membership in the New York Philharmonic Society… Impatient with the Philharmonic Society”s narrow scope, Thomas determined, at twenty-seven to organize an orchestra of his own and to devote his energies ”to the cultivation of the public taste for orchestral music.” …His concerts were an immediate and unqualified success. But the hoped-for benefactor did not soon appear. For nearly thirty years Thomas strove to realize his goal of the permanent, independent orchestra; it was a heroic struggle that culminated in the founding of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1891, under Thomas” leadership and according to his plan.” (Sablosky, 71) “He traveled on horseback and carried a pistol… Busy though it was, the Thomas Orchestra could not offer steady employment unless it toured, and so it did. Thomas” core itinerary of twenty-eight cities in twelve states became known as the ”Thomas Highway.” Performing in sundry auditoriums, railroad stations, and churches, Thomas offered overtures and dances as an enticement for symphonic masterworks, doled out one movement at a time… The showman in Theodore Thomas owed something to the examples of Jullien and Gilmore. Thomas had been one of Jullien’s first violins… Beethoven and Wagner were the ”pillars” of Thomas” programs… Thomas” orchestra was a model of Germanic discipline and polish.” Anton Rubinstein said that “I know of but one orchestra that can compare with that of Theodore Thomas, and that is the orchestra of the national conservatory of Paris… In Thomas, the conductor, catholic program-maker, and educator were a unity.” (Horowitz,  34-36) “Thomas organized his own professional orchestra in New York in December of 1864. As a pioneer in the art of building an entire program in which each piece bore some relationship to the others on the concert, Thomas was very successful… Thomas tried to achieve a balance between giving the public popular music and introducing new and difficult works. He was not adverse to programming light music,” but he also championed Wagner, “when that composer was virtually unknown in this country. for example, in 1870, Thomas’s orchestra preformed the Ride of the Valkyies for the first time in the United States. (Tischler, 51) Thomas commissioned Wagner at a fee of $5,000 for a Grand Inaugural March for the concert series he planned for the 1876 Exposition in Philadelphia. These concerts financed privately with Thomas taking much of the risk. The Wagner work was a dud, and Thomas’s concert series “lost so much money… that his entire music library, including scores, books, and arrangements, even his music stand and baton, were sold at a sheriff’s auction.” (Op. cit., 56) However “there was some small help forthcoming. Dr. Franz Zinzer of New York purchased Thomas’s entire collection at the auction for $1,400. In 1878 he presented it to Mrs. Thomas for her husband”s use…Thomas began almost immediately to reorganize his orchestra and to give concerts throughout the United States…” (Ibid) For the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago the funding for concerts was part of the overall budget and Thomas was paid to be the overall Director of Music. Thomas conducted the Exposition Festival orchestra “which ranged in size from 100 to 150 players” in three different concert series during the six months of the event. A “festival Hall Series of twenty-seven concerts between May 22 and August 5 appealed to popular tastes. There were numerous choral concerts… Orchestral music by Richard Wagner occupied an important place on the programs in this series, as, by 1893, the American audience was beginning to develop a fondness for the music of the genius of Bayreuth, thanks in part to the earlier efforts of Theodore Thomas” and also B. J. Lang. “In general, American composers were only modestly represented on this series… But there was considerably more music by American composers on the programs of the Popular orchestra Series of fifty-three concerts between May 3 and August 11.” Margaret’s Overture Witichis was presented on July 29 at this series. (Op. cit., 61) “Performances of Thomas’s orchestra were supplemented by guest appearances by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the New York Symphony Society, and the Cincinnati Festival Orchestra in this thirty-six concert series… On August 4 Thomas and his orchestra presented three compositions that had been submitted to the examining committee chosen to review works in answer to the call for music that Thomas had issued in late 1892 [B. J. Lang was a member of this Committee]. Margaret Ruthven Lang’s Witichis was part of that concert.” (Op. cit., 62)

Thorndike, Samuel Lothrop, 1829-1911. Harvard, Class of 1852; long time resident of Cambridge; lawyer; director of numerous corporations; trustee of the Suffolk Savings Bank, Perkins Institute, etc.; choir master of Christ Church, Cambridge; member of the Handel and Haydn Society; president of the Cecilia Society; president and treasurer of the Harvard Musical Association; treasurer and vice-president of the New England Conservatory. (Boston Athenaeum note attached to his scrapbook of Boston musical programs).

Ticknor, Howard Malcolm. Assistant editor of the Atlantic Monthly under James Russell Lowell, the poet, who was the Atlantic’s first editor. Ticknor doubled at the same time as music critic for three different Boston papers. In January 1866 he “retired from the musical department of the Advertiser, and became the critic of the Saturday Evening Gazette.” (BMT (January 6, 1866): 4)

Tremont Street.

                   

This postcard was advertised as being c. 1910, and the comment was made that there were no cars in the picture, only horse drawn vehicles. First complete building on the right has the sign “Weber Pianos” on both the two windows at the second floor level. The next building has “Estey Organs” on the two windows at the third level. After the third complete building is the entrance to the Tremont Theater, which is the last building in that block. The buildings to the left foreground are the entrances to the Boylston Station Underground-the intersection of Tremont and Boylston being just behind the back of the viewer as this photo was taken. Johnston Collection.

Another view-the Tremont Theatre is just beyond the pink awning. Weber Pianos awning can be seen, incomplete, in the very lower right. Johnston Collection.

Postmarked 1909. First floor: “Tremont Theatre” facing the street, and Show title: “Klaw & Erlancer, Advanced Vaudeville” facing the side walk. Sign facing the side walk at the third floor advertising “Dance Academy-Social, Classes, Private Lessons Daily.” Sign on the roof repeating the title of the current show. Johnston Collection.

Tremont Temple. 

Top half of a postcard showing the same view of Tremont Street in 1843 and 1907. (1843 obviously taken from the painting below) Tremont Temple, on the right is quite different from the 1896 building that stands today. This building was opened September 24, 1827 as the Tremont Theatre, but during its 16 year use for entertainment it never turned a profit. It was designed by the architect Isaiah Rogers in the Greek Revival style. On December 28, 1843 the Free Church Baptists bought the building and renamed the building the Tremont Temple. There were fires in 1852, 1879 and 1893. (Wikipedia, September 8, 2013) Johnston Collection.

“Tremont Temple” c. 1843, Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Painted by Philip Harry, an American, born in England. Note the front of King’s Chapel just two more buildings away. Wikipedia article on the “Tremont Theatre.” September 8, 2013.

   Tremont Temple c. 1851. In George Adams, The Boston Directory For the Year 1851, 68. Note  the Boston Musical Gazette had an office here.

King’s Handbook of Boston, 1878, 229. This building burned in 1879. “The main hall, 120 feet long, 72 feet wide, and 50 feet high, has deep galleries, and is capable of seating about 2,000 people. Beneath it is a smaller hall, called Meionaon, with seats for 800 people.” (King’s, 229)

Interior, 1874. Boston Public Library, Digital Commonwealth. This organ was the Hook Opus 149, 1853, 4 manuals, 54 speaking stops, burned in 1879. Lang was one of four organists who dedicated this instrument. (Owen e-mail, October 23, 2013)

King’s Handbook of Boston, 4th. Edition, 1881. Wikipedia, August 7, 2013. The instrument above is the 1880 E. & G. G. Hook and Hastings instrument, 4 manuals, 51 speaking stops, Opus 975. Lang played half a program with Whitney for the opening of this instrument. (Owen, e-mail, October 23, 2013) This instrument was destroyed in the fire of 1893. The next instrument was a 40-stop Jesse Woodberry 3-manual organ which was used until 1923 when it was replaced by the current pipe organ (non functioning), a Casavant, Opus 937 4-manual which was installed within the Woodberry case. (illustration below)

      

Johnston Collection. Postcard postmarked 1910. The organ console is on the right side, in the choir loft.

Johnston Collection. Postcard mailed in 1947. The description on the back states: “The present building, the fourth to be erected upon this site, was dedicated in 1896 and contains one of the largest and most beautiful church auditoriums in New England, having a capacity of more than 2500. Among its attractions is the Casavant organ, so constructed with echoes and attachments that it is possible for a player to duplicate the tones of many instruments.” It looks like there is a grand piano to the left, under the first balcony, and at the same level as the rostrum chairs.

Johnston Collection. No postmark. The description on the back mentions “The famous D. L. Moody described the church ”as the pulpit of America.”” Converse Hall, shown here, is one of the largest and most beautiful auditoriums in New England. The great 96 stop Casavant organ is seen in the center of the picture.

Close view of the very ornate ceiling. Copyright 1898.

1907 magazine picture of the building at 82 Tremont Street that replaced an earlier Temple after its 1893 fire. This building was opened in May 1896. Johnston Collection.

Boston Manual, 1888, 18
This would be the arrangement after the 1872 remodelling and before the 1893 fire.

Clark’s Boston Blue Book, 1888, p. 316. Seating Capacity – 2,528.

Clark’s Boston Blue Book, 1888, 317.

Tremont Temple. The first building at 88 Tremont Street was a playhouse built by a group of wealthy Bostonians. It was designed by Isaiah Rogers in the Greek Revival style, and opened on September 24, 1827. Even though big-name performers appeared, it never was profitable for its 16 years as a theatre. The Free Church Baptists bought the building in late 1843 and renamed it the Tremont Temple, and it was used primarily by the church, but was also let out for other functions. It suffered from fires in 1852, 1879 and 1893 when it was rebuilt in its present form which opened in 1896. “Designed by architect Clarence Blackall, it was intended to be a church with an auditorium suitable for business purposes. The building originally had stores on the ground floor and commercial offices on the upper floors. Revenue from business rents and rental of the auditorium for concerts enabled the church to continue to provide free seats to all worshippers. At various times films were exhibited at Tremont Temple, though commercial leasing ended in 1956.” (These first sentences from the Wikipedia article downloaded on December 28, 2009)

“Boston has six theaters and three concert halls, two of which can seat thirty-five hundred persons. It is in one of these, the Tremont, that I gave my concerts. It is in my opinion the best for hearing and the most magnificent concert hall in the world.”-Quote from Gottschalk dated February 26, 1864. (Tawa, Psalm, 112) In the fall of 1872 it was noted: “Tremont Temple is being thoroughly remodelled. Opera chairs are being substituted for the settees, and other changes are making it a most elegant and comfortable-as it is commodious-music hall. its fine organ is being put in excellent condition, and will be furnished with the Hydraulic Motor and Meter Association’s improved Organ Blower. T. P. Ryder is the organist…We wish, while the improvements are being made, that the stage could be reconstructed so as to admit of scenery being put in, for operatic performances. The Temple would make an admirable opera-house.” (Dexter Smith (September 1872): 204) “Tremont Temple will be re-opened, Sept. 24th [1872] with a grand concert by the Mendelssohn Quintet Club, assisted by Miss Edith Abell – her first appearance since her return from Europe-; Sig. Vincenzo Cirillo, – his debut in America; Mr. W. Whitney-first appearance since his return from London-; Mr. B. J. Lang; Mr. Charles Hamm and Mr. Rudolph Hennig.” (Dexter Smith (October 1872): 232) In his October 5, 1872 issue Dwight wrote: “Tremont Temple, clean and bright with fresh paint and ornament, casting off its old gloomy aspect, and much more comfortable as to seating, was reopened on Tuesday evening, September 24, with a concert on the part of the new ‘National College of Music,’ just established within the walls of the Temple, Mr. Thomas Ryan, Director.” (Dwight (October 5, 1872): 318) This building replaced an older building that had burned on the night of March 31, 1852. Very soon after the fire, a new hall was begun with “an average of 75 hands or more being constantly employed on it… the new Temple is an immense structure… the building covers an area of 94 feet front by 136 feet deep, and is 75 feet high in the front… The building, as may be supposed from its immense size, contains most extensive accommodations for both public and private uses. In the first place, there is the principal hall, or Temple, which… will have seats for nearly 2,500 persons. Next, there is a smaller hall, or temple, capable of seating from 800 to 1,000 persons; and, adjacent to this, is a third hall, designed for… 300 persons… the grand hall, or temple – This is to be a noble room… 124 feet long, 72 feet wide, and 50 feet high. It has a gallery on three sides of it, but one that projects over the seats only about seven feet; and being entirely supported by trusses, there is nothing to obstruct the view of the platform from any part of the hall… Back of the stage, in a recess, is to be placed a noble organ, one of the largest, if not the largest ever built in the United States. The Messrs, Hooks are the builders… the floor of the main hall is to rise from about the center, so as to afford every person in the hall an unobstructed view of the platform… The seats on the floor are to be placed in a semi-circular form from the front of the platform, so as to bring every face towards the speaker or singer. The seats, which are all to be numbered, are to be the most convenient and comfortable kind, each slip capable of holding ten or twelve persons, with an aisle at each end, and open through from end to end.” (Dwight (February 26, 1853): 162 and 163) Nineteen years later the building was remodeled. “Tremont Temple is being thoroughly remodeled. Opera chairs are being substituted for the settees, and other changes are making it a most elegant and comfortable-as it is commodious-music hall. its fine organ is being put in excellent condition, and will be furnished with the Hydraulic Motor and Meter Association”s improved Organ Blower. T. P. Ryder is the organist… We wish, while the improvements are being made, that the stage could be reconstructed so as to admit of scenery being put in, for operatic performances. The Temple would make an admirable opera-house.” (Dexter Smith’s (September 1872,): 204) “Tremont Temple will be re-opened, Sept. 24th., with a grand concert by the Mendelssohn Quintette, assisted by Miss Edith Abell-her first appearance since her return from Europe-; Sig. Vincenzo Cirillo,-his debut in America; Mr. W. Whitney-first appearance since his return from London; Mr. B. J. Lang; Mr. Charles Hamm and Mr. Rudolph Henning.” (Dexter Smith’s (October 1872): 232) “During the summer of 1879 that hall was destroyed by fire and the Cecilia was driven for the next season to the Music Hall.” (Cecilia Program Clippings) The organ building firm of Hook and Hastings “erected in 1880” an instrument of “4 manuals, 65 stops, and 3,442 pipes, beside 10 pedal movements, including a grand crescendo, like that in the Music Hall organ, Cincinnati. In size it is excelled by several organs in this country, but in artistic completeness and perfection it is second to none.” (Jones, 76) Lang and Mr. S. B. Whitney demonstrated the instrument in a “private exhibition, numerously attended, on Friday evening, October 8, 1880.” Lang opened the concert with “that grand, full-flowing, five-part Fantasia in G Major of Bach, with its sparkling prelude, which Mr. Lang used to play some years ago on the great organ of the Music Hall,” and the “was followed by an exquisitely sweet and tender movement from Bach’s Pastorale in F. The former showed the full organ…the latter was played upon a stop so soft, and delicate, that, with some noise around, we found it difficult to hear parts of it. Then came one of Schumann”s fugues on the letters of Bach’s name.” It was left to Whitney to display the “Stentorphone” and “Tuba Mirabilis” “which he casually let loose,” and whose tones were “of startling solidity and loudness, such as might wake the dead.” (Dwight (October 23, 1880): 174) In an another article in the same issue Dwight mentioned that this new instrument was the fourth built by Messrs. E. & G. G. Hook and Hastings for the Temple. “The two large ones which preceded it in 1846 and 1853 having been burned in 1852 and 1879 respectively… In the matter of size it is exceeded by several in the city”, but “in thoroughness of construction, it is outranked by none… It bears a strong resemblence to the most famous French instruments, and it will be found especially adapted for the performance of transcriptions of orchestral compositions… As for its sound, we can safely say that it gave great satisfaction to those who take most delight in brilliancy.” (Dwight (October 23, 1880): 175)

History of the Handel and Haydn Society, Vol. II, facing 135.

Tucker, Hiram G. November 11, 1851 in Cambridge (Birth certif.)-October 5, 1932. He went with the Langs to Europe in November 1869. In 1871 he was described as “an accomplished pupil of Mr. Lang” when he played at the 145th. concert given by the New England Conservatory at Wesleyan Association Hall in Bromfield Street. (Dwight (March 25, 1871): 423) At the Dedication of a new concert hall at 409 Washington Street on December 3, 1870 Lang played the solo in Mendelssohn’s Concerto in G Minor Opus 25 with Tucker providing the orchestral reduction. (BPL Lang Prog Vol. 1) In May 1875 “Mr. H. G. Tucker’s Concert at Mechanics Hall (Wednesday evening May 6) was an occasion of considerable interest… Mr. Tucker, well known as one of the most accomplished pupils of Mr. Lang, gave ample evidence of steadfast improvement in all these various renderings. He is an earnest student, and quite unaffected; and his great strength, which serves him so well, is accompanied by great self-possession, and is becoming also more refined into as delicacy of style resembling his master’s. His execution is indeed quite remarkable, and often brilliant.” (Dwight (May 29, 1875): 30 and 31) Almost twenty years later he was still presenting recitals. An announcement appeared in the Herald of a recital to be given in Bumstead Hall on Friday evening, February 15 with compositions by Chopin, Liszt, Schumann, Scarlatti, Bach, Dvorak, Rubinstein and Brahms. (Herald (February 3, 1895): 16, GB)

On December 7, 1875 the Rev. Edward E. Hale married Tucker (aged 24) and Jeannie Donaldson (aged 20). (Marriage certif.)

Tucker and Arthur Foote shared a concert at Mechanic’s Hall on May 3, 1876 which Dwight did not attend, but “which we learn was very successful.” Together they played the Variations on a Theme of Beethoven by Saint-Saens “which was introduced in Mr. Lang’s concert,” and he soloed in the Introduction and Allegro, Op. 154 by Schumann, “which he had played before with orchestra in one of the last Harvard Concerts.” Possibly at the suggestion of B. J. Lang, “Miss Lillian Bailey sang.” (Dwight, May 13, 1876, p. 231) Mr. and Mrs. Tucker again went to Europe with the Langs in 1876. In a “Benefit Concert for the sufferers from yellow fever at Savannah and other Southern cities” given at the Music Hall on Monday evening, October 16, 1876, Tucker was one of the assisting artists who gave their services for free.” (Dwight, October 14, 1876, p. 319) Tucker was listed as the conductor of the Newton Musical Association’s performance of Haydn”s Creation on December 16, 1878. Fellow Lang student John A. Preston was the pianist, and Dr. S. W. Langmaid and John F. Winch were among the soloists. (BPL Music Hall Prog., Vol. 2) For the Harvard Musical Association Orchestra concert on December 19, 1879, Tucker, “who came in at a day’s warning when the committee was disappointed by a singer, generously sacrificed himself in some degree to give us the not too common pleasure of hearing a Mozart Concerto. This one in A major is very beautiful [No. 23, K. 488, Johnson, First, 268]… The brilliant, strong, young virtuoso did not seem to feel quite in his element… taken as a whole it is a rich and beautiful Concerto. Mr. Tucker had his chance for strength and brilliancy in Tansig’s transcription of the ‘Ride of the Walkuren.'” (Dwight (January 18, 1879): 15) The Mozart concerto and the Wagner-Tausig were both Boston premiers. (Ibid) So it would seem that when Lang himself was not presenting premiers, he was preparing his students to do so! Tucker continued to present a recital each spring. On Thursday afternoon, May 20, 1880 he played at Mechanics’ Hall assisted by the tenor Mr. Charles R. Adams. He began with the “the novelty of the occasion,” the Rubinstein Sonata in A Minor, Op. 100, which was “three quarters of an hour,-a length seldom reached by a grand Symphony.” Dwight missed the first two movements, but of the final two movements, he reported: “It offered a plenty of difficulties, and called for great strength and endurance in the interpreter, to which Mr. Tucker proved himself abundantly equal.” Of the Chopin pieces Dwight wrote: “In the two Chopin Preludes, [E Flat Major and E major] Mr. Tucker showed more of grace and delicacy than was his wont. The Concert Allegro in A Major of Chopin was played with great brilliancy and freedom. ” (Dwight (June 19, 1880): 102) On Friday evening April 1, 1881 the venue was Chickering Hall at 156 Tremont Street; and on Monday evening March 20, 1882 again at Chickering Hall. In each of these three recitals one vocalist appeared as an assisting artist. (BPL Music Hall Prog, Vol. 5) Dwight’s comment of the 1881 concert was: “Mr. H. G. Tucker, the strong and brilliant young pianist, never appeared to better advantage than in the concert which he gave at Chickering’s on Friday, April 1.” (Dwight (April 23, 1881): 69) Tucker gave two performances at 152 Tremont Street on March 31 and April 7, 1884. Assisting artists were Mr. Wulf Fries, Mr. Edward Schorman and Mr. De Ribas. The programs were all chamber works-Tucker played no piano solos. (Program, Foote Scrapbooks)

Tucker was soloist with the BSO during the Second Season (1882-83: Henschel), during the Sixth Season (1886-87: Gericke), and during the tenth Season (1890-91: Nikisch) (BSO Programs 1881-96) At a Boston Art Club concert on Monday evening March 4, 1889 Tucker and Lang played An der Nixenquelle Opus 29 for two pianos by Templeton-Strong, and they finished the concert with the Variations on a Theme of Beethoven by St. Saens. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 5) Tucker advanced to being a soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra when he played the Sgambati Concerto for Piano in G Minor, Op. 15 on November 1, 1890 conducted by Arthur Nikisch during the Symphony’s Tenth Season. (Musical Year Book, 1890-91, 9) Lang had prepared Tucker for this appearance by having him play the work the previous March 10, 1890 at the opening concert of Lang’s Third Season of “Piano-Concerto Concerts” at Chickering Hall. (Musical Year Book, 1889-90,  13)

Probably Lang proposed him for membership in the Harvard Musical Association. In the report of the March 1, 1878 social meeting of the club, Tucker joined fellow Lang pupil in piano duets: “Two short pieces by Heinrich Hoffmann, and a “Grotesque Chinese Overture to Turandot” by Weber. (HMA Bulletin No. 11) At the Friday, December 17th. meeting he played piano solos and joined with Arthur Foote in works for four-hands. (Ibid) During the 1889 season he performed with Wulf Fries, the cellist. (Ibid) Listed among Lang’s pupils “who deserve mention because of musical prominence,” was Tucker “whose excellent work we have recently [c. 1882] recorded in the columns of this journal.” (Elson, Supplement, 3) At some point he also soloed with the HMA orchestra. (HMA Bulletin No. 5, 6) In early March 1890 Tucker played the solo part to the Concerto in G Minor Opus 15 by Sgambati in one of Lang’s “Concerto Concerts,” and this led to his appearance with the BSO in late October of the same year playing the same piece. However Hale felt: “It is a thankless work for the player, as severe a task for him to play as for the audience to hear.” (Hale Crit., Vol. 1) Tucker was the pianist for the 1895-96 season of the Handel and Haydn Society-Lang’s first year as conductor. (6656-Annual Meeting Address, May 25, 1896) But, he had also appeared with the Society during the 1894-95 Season as pianist in the April 12, 1895 performance of Bach’s Passion Music with Lang as the organist. One assumes that his role was as the continuo player. (History-1911, 49) Before this he had “played the pianoforte accompaniments to the recitatives with admirable judgment in the March 31, 1893 performance of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion.” (History-1911, 31) Just a few days later, on April 2, 1893 he was the pianist for Handel’s Samson with Lang as organist and an orchestra of 57. (Ibid) This may be the same H. G. Tucker who founded a singing club in 1900, which then became the “Boston Singing Club” in 1901 which “was a mixed chorus for the performance of music of all schools, including modern choral works, oratorios, and a cappella music of the 16th and 17th centuries, but without attempt to reproduce conditions of older times. It is supported by associate memberships, and the sale of tickets, and gives three concerts annually, each preceded by public rehearsals for music students.” (Grove’s, 1921, 369) Louis Elson felt that his solo recital February 1895 in Bumstead  Hall was too long. “At all events it served to show the popular pianist in many moods and proved him to be of versatile attainments.” (Advertiser (February 16, 1895): 5, GB) His technique was praised, but Elson felt that poetry was missing. The recital attracted a large audience, and there was much applause throughout the evening.

Tucker’s obituary provides more information. He was head of the music department at Wheaton College for 45 years. He was 71 when he died. His education was at Chauncey Hall School and then with Zerrahn and Lang; no college is mentioned, but among clubs that he belonged to was the Harvard Club. He was survived by his wife, son-Donald, and three grandchildren. “He conducted numerous musical events of high order, and appeared a number of times as soloist with the Boston Symphony orchestra.” (Herald (October 6, 1922): 6, GB)

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Union Hall. 18 Boylston Street; but the Boston Blue Book-1909 says the address was 48 Boylston and that the seating capacity was 502. This was a recital hall that was part of the Christian Union Building. The rental rates were: For all day or evening, without scenery – $30. For morning or afternoon, without scenery – $20.

Mathews, A Hundred Years of Music in America, 373.

Upton, George Putnam. 1834-1919. “Celebrated critic of the Chicago Tribune was born at Roxbury, Mass., October 25, 1834. He graduated at Brown University.” Nat. Biog. says he graduated from Brown University in 1854 and taught school for a year in Plymouth, MA. He then moved to Chicago [1855] and began a career in journalism. “From 1856 to 1862 he was city editor of the Evening Journal, and during this period he started the first distinctive musical column that had appeared in any of the Chicago papers… In 1862 Mr. Upton took the post of city editor of the Chicago Tribune, and also performed the duties of musical critic… This latter department he gradually enlarged, and commenced printing musical intelligence from abroad. He remained in this capacity until about 1882.” One of his major works was Women in Music. (Mathews, A Hundred Years, 371 and 372) “In 1862 he went south as war correspondent. He was the first president of the Apollo Musical Club, which was founded after the fire of 1872…Among his writings are…Standard Oratorios, Standard Cantatas, and The Life of Theodore Thomas.” (Nat. Bio., 419) “Upton was a total musical amateur who did not even play an instrument, but he was a booster and activist for local performing ensembles… As a music critic Upton wrote under the pseudonym ”Peregrine Pickle”.” (Grant, 73)

Elson, HISTORY OF AMERICAN MUSIC, p. 308.

Ryan, facing  164.

Urso, Camilla. Born 1842 in Nantes, France; died New York, January 20, 1902; child prodigy; age seven became the first girl admitted to the Paris Conservatoire; came to USA in 1852 at the age of ten; toured with the Germania Musical Society; 1855 stopped concertizing and retired to Nashville to practice; resumed career in 1863 (Am. Grove, Vol. 4, 439). She was the soloist in a Philharmonic concert early in February 1863. “The Music Hall was very nearly filled; the return of the lady violinist, Camilla Urso, for the first time since her child triumphs here in 1853 and 1854, proving as great an attraction to the many, as the Beethoven Symphony was to more than a few.” Dwight noted the “exceeding purity and finesse of Camilla’s playing, which constituted a positive artistic pleasure in itself,” and he described “her pale, serious, intellectual face, beautiful and childlike still when seen in front and at some distance, the melancholy dark eyes, the calm dignity of pose and manner, the beautiful movement of her bow arm, and the perfect truth and purity of every tone, assured you, in the first three or four bars, of a real, finished artist, and from that moment to the end of her playing the whole great audience listened with a silence that is itself a remarkable sensation… It was a great treat to hear Camilla Urso again, and a particular satisfaction to find for once the promise of a ”wonder-child” so finely realized in artist womanhood.” (Dwight (February 14, 1863): 366 and 367) On the following Wednesday Urso appeared with the Orchestral Union playing the same material that she had played with the Philharmonic with the result that “every corner of the house was filled.” (Dwight (February 14, 1863): 367) Lang was one of the assisting artists when Urso gave her Farewell Concert on Saturday, May 16, 1863 before leaving for Europe. “It will certainly be an occasion of great interest, being the last chance we shall have to hear her for at least several years.” (Dwight (May 16, 1863): 31) Dwight’s review of this concert mentioned that “Mr. Lang”s aid was most efficient in the brilliant Duos; and he made admirable choice in the three pieces that he interpreted alone [Prelude in E Minor – Mendelssohn, Fugue in E Minor – Handel and Rondo Capriccio, Op. 44 – Mendelssohn].” Dwight wrote that the purpose of Urso’s European stay was to “hear and learn as much new music as possible for several years to come, and then return to us with a rich repertoire of classical as well as merely concert music. (Dwight (May 30, 1863): 39) It was reported in 1865: “Camilla Urso, the admired violinist, was recently reported in London, and has gone to Germany, intending to study some time with Vieuxtemps in Frankfort and then make the tour of Europe.” (BMT (November 4, 1865): 162) In 1866: “Camilla Urso has won triumphs in Paris surpassing any of her successes here. For her performances of classical music, she has received the congratulations of such great characters as Gounod, Rossini, Auber, Liszt, Sivori, Leopold de Meyer, Vieuxtemps, and others. She has played before the Emperor and Empress at the court concerts.” (BMT (June 2, 1866): 83) The Chicago critic, George Upton recorded: “She began playing the violin in her sixth year. I think when I first met and heard her she was about fourteen, and she appeared on the stage as if born to it. Even as a child Camilla Urso was an extraordinary player, with a remarkable technic as well as purity of tone. I next heard her in 1866, when she played in a Philharmonic concert in Chicago, and again in 1867, when she appeared with the old Boston Mendelssohn Quintet Club, then in all its glory. She was then in her twenty-fourth year, but still had that same pale, serious, inscrutable face, the same dark, lustrous, melancholy eyes, and the same calm but gracious dignity of manner.” (Upton, 71) On January 24, 1869 a testimonial concert was given for Madame Urso by “the Musical Fraternity of Boston” which “was remarkable in many ways, and was peculiar in respect of the programme presented to the audience. It does not often happen that a full orchestra-if not a ”grand orchestra of sixty”-and a brass band, [Hall’s Boston Brass Band-BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 1] and choruses of male voices, and of female voices, and of mixed voices, join in the performance at a single concert. And when to these are added solo singing by a soprano, and piano-forte and violin playing by eminent artists, it is safe to say of the resultant programme both that it will not be homogeneous and that it will be sure to hit the tastes of all in one way or another… The Music Hall was literally packed with auditors, and the performance was generally of a very high order of excellence… The other numbers of most musical interest were Mendelssohn’s B minor Caprice for the piano-forte, performed by Mr. Lang… Mr. Lang rendered the airy and graceful Caprice by Mendelssohn with neatness and delicacy.” (Advertiser (January 25, 1869): 1) Reserved seats were $1.(BPL Lang Prog., 6261) At the second of “Concerts Classiques” presented by Urso at Horticultural Hall dated March 2, 1874, Lang was one of the assisting artists when he played the accompaniment to the Sonata for Violin and Piano, Op. 69, No. 1 by Dussek. Other assisting artists in this concert were three members of the Mendelssohn Quintette Club (Second Violin, Viola, and Cello), and Miss Clara Doria, Soprano. There were four different pianists and four different vocalists at each of the concerts. Tickets were $1 each, or $3 for the series of four (HMA Program Collection). At a March 1875 performance Lang joined Urso in “the great Schumann Quintet” with piano in the second concert of her series that year “for which the audience was very large.” (Dwight (March 7, 1874): 191) In December of that same year Dwight published a short article concerning Urso’s “method of practice. Every day she takes an hour for slow and patient practice in making long-sustained notes. This is to obtain a strong, pure tone. Then she plays scales and finger exercises of all kinds for two or more hours, and then such sonatas and other works as she uses in her concerts. In all this she never hurries, never gives any particular expression to her music, and seldom plays up to full time in which the piece is written. Everything is played slowly and thoughtfully. When the long practice hours are over and she comes upon the stage to play, all thoughtful effort is abandoned, and her emotions control the music. The practicing was mere mental and technical work-the performance the blooming of a great genius in music.” (Dwight (December 12, 1874): 352)

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Hotel Vendome. According to the message on the back, The Vendome was being used as a hotel in the early 1920’s. Johnston Collection.

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Weld, Arthur Cyril Gordon. Born March 4, 1862, Jamaica Plain, MA, and died in an automobile accident on October 11, 1914, near West Point, N. Y. (Grove, American Supplement, 1957, 401). After graduation from Harvard, he studied in Europe 1879-87: composition and orchestration in Dresden, then Berlin, and then in Munich studying with Rheinberger, Abel and Levi, graduating from the Munich Conservatory with honors. Margaret may have met him as she was in Munich at the same time and also studied with Abel. He conducted his Italia orchestral suite which was played by the BSO February 28, 1890; this led to a correction by Philip Hale of the erroneous mention in an article in the Herald that when he returned from his European studies, “he was made leader of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.” (Herald (October 12, 1914): 6, GB) He later went to Milwaukee (c. 1892) where he was a drama critic and conducted an orchestra. In 1898 he was President of the Milwaukee Press Club. He then moved to New York City where he sprang “into prominence as the conductor of” the first performances of the comedy Florodora. (Ibid) In 1892 he was listed as a member of Boston’s St. Botolph Club. (Clark’s Boston Blue Book 1892, 437)                                                                                                                                          His time (late 1880’s) as a critic for the Post (after the death of Richard Herard) was praided by Philip Hale who found his reviews catholic in taste, musically knowledgeable with “delightful independence and unaffected enthusiasm.” (Herald, Op. cit., 12) He was a particular supporter of the BSO’s conductor Arthur Nikisch.                                               He married three times-his first divorce was in Boston in 1892; in 1893 he married, “much against her parents” wishes” the daughter of a Milwaukee “brewer and capitalist.” This ended when he moved to NYC and in 1903 she filed for divorce “on the ground of desertion.” (NY Times May 22, 1903) His third wife was an actress whose stage name was Jane Peyton. She was in the car when he died of apoplexy. “He was a striking looking man and was a commanding figure in the orchestra pit. He always wore a monacle.” (NY Times, October 12, 1914) “He wrote several light operas, incidental music for various plays and many songs.” (Grove, Op. cit.)

 Wesleyan Hall. Bromfield Street. In an 1880 review of a “Piano-forte Matinee” given by Ernst Perabo, Dwight referred to this hall as “that hot, close, gloomy, noisy little hall in Bromfield Street.” (Dwight (April 10, 1880): 62) its southern wall backed onto the Music Hall’s northern wall with just a small alley between them.

Whelpley, Benjamin Lincoln. Whelpley was one of the soloists at Lang’s “Third Pianoforte-Concerto Concert” on March 22, 1887 where he played Chopin’s Grand Fantasie Sur des air Polonais Opus 13. (BPL Lang Prog.,Vol. 5) The following year he and Lang were assisting artists at a “Vocal Duet Concert” on Wednesday evening November 14, 1888 at 8:15PM. They played Dance of the Elfs for two pianos by Templeton-Strong and Reinecke’s Fantasie on a Theme from Schumann’s Manfred also for two pianos. One review called the first work “a light, graceful” work which was played “with great effect,” while the second work was not mentioned. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 5) Phillip Hale’s April 11, 1891 review of a Whelpley recital began: “Mr. Whelpley has good fingers and many excellent musical ideas. He is careful and conscientious in his work, and there are many things to be admired and praised in his playing. He belongs to a certain school of pianists [Lang’s], a prominent school in this city; and this is unfortunate, and it hampers his artistic development. For the members of this family do not pay sufficient attention to tone production and gradation of tone; the legato is so slighted by them, and the use of pedals is so imperfectly understood that song-passages are not sung; and these players are deficient in appreciation of rhythm and rhythmic effects. And when any one of this school plays in public, the hearer is at once aware of the fact that the pianoforte is a percussion instrument.” After getting this off his chest, Hale continued, “Not that Mr. Whelpley pounds.” (BPL Hale Crit., Vol. 1) On Monday April 16, 1894 at 3:30PM Whelpley presented himself in recital at Bumstead Hall, and Lang played the orchestral reduction for the final piece of the program, Russian Fantasie by E. Napravnik. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 6) Whelpley was the organist for the Cecilia concert Wednesday evening April 27, 1898. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 7) He was also the organist for the Monday evening, April 2, 1906 performance by The Cecilia Society of La Vie du Poete (The Life of the Poet) by Gustave Charpentier for solo voices, chorus and three orchestras and organ, and Richard Strauss’s Taillefer, a Ballade for chorus, solo voices and orchestra. (Program, Johnston Collection) Boston Music Co. advertised Seven Piano Pieces, Op. 20, Grade 2c on the back of a composition with a copyright date of 1919.

Mathews, A Hundred Years of Music in America, 249

Whiting, George Elbridge. Born Holliston, Massachusetts September 14, 1842; first public organ performance at age thirteen; at sixteen succeeded Dudley Buck at the North Congregational Church in Hartford; studied in England with Best of Liverpool; moved to Boston, five years organist at King’s Chapel; then further study in Berlin; returned to Boston and taught organ at NEC until 1898; for many years organist and music director at the Church of the Immaculate Conception; “He is the best organ composer of

           Church of the Immaculate Conception. Johnston Collection

America”, also composed for choral forces including the March of the Monks of Bangor for the Apollo Club.” (Elson, Hist. Am. Mus., 265 and 266) Probably his best pupil was Henry Morton Dunham, who in turn taught Wallace Goodrich. (Ibid) Lang often took part in special services organized by Whiting at Immaculate Conception. The organ was a E & G. G. Hook  three manual, 47 speaking registers (but no 32-foot stop) originally designed by John Henry Willcox. (Dwight (March 5, 1864): 199) Willcox was first at St. Paul’s Church (later Cathedral) from 1850 and then at Immaculate Conception from c. 1863 until 1874. (Mathews, One Hundred, 241)

Myron W. Whitney from Mathews, 215.

Upton, Musical Memories, facing  132.

 

 

Photo by G. K. Warren. Philip Hale Collection. BPL, Digitalcommonwealth.

Whitney, Myron W. “Considered by many to be the greatest among American-born basses.” (Baker, 100) “Born in Ashby, Massachusetts, became one of the most famous singers of his time, first in Boston, then in Europe. No festival in America was properly given without Whitney to sing with taste and feeling all the great bass roles of oratorio, often under the direction of Theodore Thomas.” (Johnson, Hallelujah, 102) Sablosky records: “b. 1836 in Ashby, Mass; d. 1910 in Sandwich, Mass. Bass. “At the age of sixteen he went to Boston and studied with E. H. Frost.” (Jones, 174) After his Boston debut in Messiah (1856), sang in oratorio and concert in U.S. for ten years, but was “dissatisfied with his attainments” (Ibid); went to Florence and studied for some time with Luigi Vennucini. He then studied in London oratorio literature with Randegger. After singing successfully in Great Britain, returned to U.S.; appeared prominently in concert, oratorio and opera.” (Sablosky, 305) Dwight reported on a Complimentary Concert given Whitney on his return from Europe. He “has certainly made the most of his short period of study in Milan and London… His tones, always grand and manly, have grown more round and musical throughout their compass, especially in the upper range, and he does all with more artistic certainty and ease.” Miss Alice Dutton’s contribution was the Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody, “which she played even better than before, and on the ”New Orchestral Grand” of Messrs. Hallet, Davis & Co., which is certainly an instrument of great power and richness.” The “brothers Winch contributed a duet… but the most remarkable thing in its perfection, and the most enjoyable, was the male part-singing of the ”Chickering Club,” who came out from their privacy in compliment to Mr. Whitney, who is a fellow member.” (Dwight (May 8, 1869): 30 and 31) Early in 1872 it was reported: “Mr. M. W. Whitney has had very great success thus far; and competent musical critics allege that if Mr. W. will establish himself here, there is no question of his taking the first rank as basso.” (Folio, January 1872), while six months later an additional report stated: “Mr. Whitney, the Boston basso, is meeting with most wonderful success in England. His efforts are widely appreciated.” (Folio, June 1872) Late in 1872 it was reported: “Mr. M. W. Whitney is engaged as basso at Christ Church, New York, at a salary of three thousand dollars per annum. He goes to that city Saturday nights, returning home on Mondays.” (Dexter Smith, November 1872, p. 255) A critic for the Haverhill, Massachusetts Publisher wrote: “Mr. Myron W. Whitney, who has traveled in foreign climes, and who was the pet of St. Petersburg and the envy of Edinburg (sic); Whitney of the herculean frame and the ponderous voice; who delights to be a ”Bold Buccaneer” and ”roam o”er the broad blue sea,” and who can growl among the leger lines below till Gyles Kimball’s double bass viol hangs its head in despair!” (Dexter Smith (April 1873): 94) Late in 1873 Whitney soloed with the Theodore Thomas Orchestra in a series of concerts, “appearing in every concert. His manner is more finished and even, his delivery more impressive and his voice grander and deeper (if possible) than ever.” (Dwight (December 27, 1873): 151) “Since 1876 he has refused all offers from abroad and remained in his native country… As an oratorio singer he has few equals. he is in every way a great artist, and possesses a magnificent bass voice of nearly three octaves compass, extending from B flat below the staff upwards.” (Jones, Op. cit.) In May 1881 he had an impossible schedule: “During the week of the New York Festival, [he] will sing on alternate days at New York and Philadelphia; and the following week, at Brooklyn on Monday evening; Boston, Tuesday evening; Brooklyn, Wednesday; Boston, Thursday; Brooklyn, Friday and Saturday; thus living on trains between times.” (Musical Herald (May 1881): 104) Whitney appeared as soloist with the BSO in four programs during the seasons ’04, ’06, and ’09. (Howe, BSO,  261)

Wilson, George H. First writer of program notes for the BSO. He had sung in the 1872 Second World Peace Jubilee in 1872, “and he was a member of the Apollo Club and the Handel and Haydn Society.” He was also the editor/publisher of “The Musical Year-book of the United States... In 1892 Wilson left Boston for Chicago, where he continued his musical activities. His departure left open the editorship of the program notes for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the task fell to William Foster Apthrop. He passed the work to Philip Hale nine years later.” (Brian, 163 and 164)

From Men of Progress-Massaachusetts, 1013.

Winch, William Johnson (tenor) and John F. Winch (bass). “Boston merchants, whose part-time careers as tenor and bass ranked them only a little lower than the angels.” (Johnson, Hallelujah, 135) “The Winch brothers, tenor and bass, illustrate a difference in temperaments. John F. Winch, the bass, was direct and positive in his acceptance of engagements. William J. took a long time to make up his mind whether or not he was available, whether or not he wanted to sing the role offered, or whether or not the price was acceptable, with or without expenses of hotels and travel. Inasmuch as he was the best tenor for the music of Bach, some patience was needed to obtain a definite commitment.” (Op. cit., 133) Both Winch brothers were just beginning their professional careers in 1866 singing Messiah for the Handel and Haydn Society. Dwight noted: “Mr. Wm. J. Winch, a fresh young tenor, whose voice and style raised high hopes at the rehearsal, and for basso Mr. J. F. Winch, of whom the like may also be said.” (Dwight (December 22, 1866): 367) Dwight’s review of the Winchs’ Messiah noted: “The younger Mr. Winch (Wm. J.) has a beautiful, clear tenor voice, of good power, not yet developed, and sings with so good a method, in so classic a style, and with so much intelligence that it was to us a great pleasure to hear him, [more so] than we find in many more experienced and would-be impassioned tenors. The performance was somewhat cold and dry, but seemed to warrent high hopes. The new basso, Mr. J. F. Winch, has a capital deep voice and sings as if more study and experience would make him a superior oratorio singer.” (Dwight (January 5, 1867): 375)

Joseph Russell Winch, born April 14, 1825, spent his early life on the family farm. After an education in the “district school,” at age 21 he left home and apprenticed as a boot and shoe maker. A time as a vocal class teacher in Middlesex County followed, and at age 33 he moved to Boston and worked for four years in the boot/shoe business. Then in 1862 he formed a partnership with George Hosmer: “Hosmer and Winch.” His brother John joined the business in 1868: “Hosmer and Winch Brothers,” and upon the death of Hosmer in 1875 the firm became known as “Winch Brothers.” Their store and its contents were totally lost in the Boston fire of 1872, but within a few days they were back in business. In 1874 they moved to 130 and 134 Federal Street, and as the business grew and prospered the building next door was added. By 1896 the firm employed 95 persons and had five traveling salesmen. Their goods were sold in the States, Canada and Europe.                                                                                         John Francis Winch was born on November 27, 1838, and after schooling like his brother worked in a dry goods store. In 1863 he moved to Boston and entered the wholesale boot/shoe business and after three years he became a partner in the firm of Damon & Co. Two years later he joined his brother’s firm which now became Hosmer and Winch Brothers. He became a manager of the financial affairs of the company. He sang in Dr. Edward E. Hale’s church choir for twenty-three years. Both he and his brother were charter members of the Apollo Club. Information for this paragraph from Men Of Progress-Massachsetts, 1012-1014.

Easter Sunday 1874 the Handel and Haydn Society presented Mendelssohn’s Elijah. “The new point of interest was the rendering of the Prophet’s part by Mr. J. F. Winch whose rich, elastic quality of voice gave unusual life to all the music. And he improved as he went on; rarely anywhere have we heard the beauty and deep pathos of ”It is enough,” or the emphatic energy of ”Is not the word’ more satisfactorily brought out.” (Dwight (April 18, 1874): 215) W. J. Winch led a performance of Gade’s Crusaders with the Salem Schubert Club December 30, 1879 at Plummer Hall; the soloists were Miss Clara L. Emilio, soprano, Dr. S. W. Langmaid, tenor, and Mr. Clarence E. Hay, baritone. (Dwight (January 31, 1880): 16) Winch appeared as soloist with the BSO on nine programs during the seasons ’85, ’89, ’90, ’91 and ’92. (Howe, BSO, 261) The 1892 appearance was as the tenor soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. (MYB 1892-93, 10) When Chadwick and his wife returned from their summer in Europe (1888) they “went by previous arrangement to Wm. Winch’s in Brookline, to stay until we found a place to settle down. His house was on Longwood Ave. next to the present No. 124 which was then a vacant lot… We had a delightful time at the Winchs, with fun and music every night and we made many new acquaintances among the nice people who live in that neighborhood. One night uncle Joseph, the eldest of the three Winch Bros. was at the house. We coaxed him to sing ‘Every Valley’ which he did in remarkable style for a man of seventy.” (Chadwick, Unpublished  Memoirs) Clara Rogers described William Winch: “the ever genial and witty, and who had, happily, remained immune from tenor-itis… overflowing with fun, as usual.” (Rogers, Two Lives, 191) In 1891 he was the tenor soloist in the Handel and Haydn performance of Dvorak’s Stabat Mater, “and he again sustained his enviable reputation…His solo, ‘Fac Me Vere,’ was a vocal gem, and his admirable skill in such work has never been more prominently displayed than in this number, which won him him a grand demonstration of the pleasure it gave to his hearers.” (Herald (February 2, 1891): 2, GB) Winch had sung the part earlier in New York with Theodore Thomas, and he had just returned from Europe “after a study of the work with the composer.” (Journal (February 2, 1891): 4, GB) Of his Handel and Haydn appearance, the Journal said: “Mr. Winch was at his best, and the lines of the tenor are admirably adapted not only to his voice but to his clear, legato singing.” (Ibid)

Photo dated February 4, 1895. Philip Hale Collection. BPL, Digitalcommomwealth.

 

 

Photo signed and dated October 1895. Philip Hale collection. BPL, Digitalcommonwealth.

Woolf, Benjamin Edward (London: February 16, 1836 – Boston: February 7, 1901). “Born in London [moved to America aged three], multifaceted, was a composer, violinist, and libretto writer who married an actress, joined the Boston Globe in 1870 and the following year the Saturday Evening Gazette, [a weekly] for which he wrote music and drama reviews; in the 1890s he left the Gazette for the Herald. [Did he add that to editing the Gazette which he began in 1894?]  Another source had Colonel Parker, the editor of the Saturday Evening Gazette hiring Woolf in 1871. “With the exception of a brief connection with the Globe, covering its first eighteen months (1872-1873), Mr. Woolf’s entire journalistic career has been spent in the service of the Gazette. He became its chief editor upon the death of Col. Parker in 1892.” (Men of Progress, 106)

He was the leader of the orchestra at the Boston Museum [conducted by Julius Eichberg] from 1859 until 1864. He then lead orchestras “in Philadelphia and New Orleans. He married Josephine Orton, an actress, [of the Boston Museum Stock Company, Dic. Am. Bio, 514] on 15 April 1867, and then returned to Boston, where Woolf became editor of the Saturday Evening Gazette in 1871… He created or collaborated in six operettas, including The Doctor of Alcantara (1862), music by Julius Eichberg. As a critic he was a musical conservative with exacting standards and a caustic pen, but his breadth of knowledge and his musical skill did much to elevate the quality of American criticism. Throughout his career Woolf’s versatility was his greatest asset, but it was also a limitation: ‘His labor.’ the Herald observed in its obituary, ‘might have been concentrated upon fewer objects with better effect.'” (Am. Grove, Vol. 4, 561) One of his most popular operettas was The Almighty Dollar, and the opening of another work, Pounce & Co., for which he wrote both the words and music, “was a brilliant affair.” (Men of Progress, Op. cit)

Arthur Foote described Woolf, when he was writing for the Saturday Evening Gazette as “a musically well equipped critic, who was more feared than loved. How he did delight to pitch into John S. Dwight and B. J. Lang. He could never find any good in either.” (HMA Bulletin No. 4, 2) “He became music critic of the Herald [1895], and for it he wrote reviews notable for their clarity and severity.” (Dic. Am Bio., 514) The American organist Henry M. Dunham wrote in his memoirs of Woolf’s criticism, ‘We disliked him extremely because of his rough and uncompromising style. He had almost no concession to offer for anyone’s short-comings, and on that very account what he had to say carried additional weight with the artist he was criticizing.’ [Dunham, Life, 220] On the other hand, Philip Hale, Woolf’s Herald successor, asserted that Woolf had been caustic only toward ‘incompetence, shams, humbugs, snobs and snobbery in art,’ and noted that when Woolf began to write in the Gazette, music criticism in Boston was mere ‘honey daubing’ of local favorites. Hale added that toward ‘really promising beginners,’ Woolf was never severe but gave personal advice and often financial aid.” (Grant, 68)

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Carl Zerrahn from, Elson, 35.

Mathews, A Hundred Years of Music in America, 431.

Grove’s 1921 Vol. T – Z, 594.

Ryan, Recollections, facing 80.

Pratt’s entry includes the following:

Zerrahn, Carl (July 28, 1826, Malchow, Germany: Dec. 29, 1909, Milton, Mass.). His first lessons, at twelve were in Rostock, and later he studied in Hanover and Berlin… In 1855-63 he conducted one of the several orchestras in Boston known by the name Philharmonia, and was practically the only leader of the concerts of the Harvard Musical Association in 1865-82. Besides his work as conductor of the Handel and Haydn Society (elected conductor in August 1854) and of the Worcester Festivals, he was for many years in charge of the Salem Oratorio Society and other smaller organizations. At the second Peace Jubilee (1872) he led the chorus of 20,000. He was also a teacher of singing, harmony and composition at the New England Conservatory. In all these ways he left a significant impress upon the development of American choral music.” (Pratt, 410-11) Sablosky (p. 306) adds that he taught at the New England Conservatory until 1898, and that his tenure with the Worcester Festival was from 1866-1897. Ryan wrote, “Taking Mr. Zerrahn in all points, he was and is still a rare man. He has filled a long life with honor to (of a week long festival) as he was at the first.”(Ryan, 81-82) The 1914 entry in The Art of Music adds that Carl Zerrahn was one of the German musicians “who had come to America during the revolutionary troubles of 1848” (Mason, Art of Music, 189). He was a flute player in “The Germanic” orchestra, a traveling orchestra that gave the majority of its concerts in Boston. He was described at that period as a “tall young flute-player.” (Elson, National Music, 289) The Germain dissolved in 1854. (Op. cit., 290) In 1855 he founded an orchestra which became known as the Philharmonic – this group gave regular concerts in Boston until 1863. In 1866 he began his association with the orchestra of the Harvard Musical Association. “This was really the first permanent orchestra of value that greater Boston possessed, and during the twenty years of its existence it clung with remarkable consistency to the highest musical ideals.” (Mason, 189) However its conservative programming policy led to the formation in 1879 of the Philharmonic Orchestra (a name used htree times in Boston’s musical history) which became the Philharmonic Society in 1880. “The conductorship of this orchestra was held successively by Bernhard Listemann, Louis Maas, and Carl Zerrahn.” (Elson, National Music, 293) That orchestra in turn was superseded by the Boston Symphony begun in 1881 with it’s first conductor, George Henschel.

“But nothing could fluster Mr. Zerrahn; I never saw him lose his head, nor any performance come to grief under his baton. And, with the orchestral material and few rehearsals of those days, things were on the verge of coming to grief pretty often.” (Swan-Apthorp, 73) Apthorp continued with examples. “At one of the Handel and Haydn festivals (I think the first one, the demi-centennial), the then famous boy soprano, Richard Coker, sang Meyerbeer’s ”Robert, toi que j’aime” at an afternoon concert. He was accompanied on the pianoforte by his father. When the air was about half through, Coker Sr. discovered to his dismay that the remaining sheets of the music were missing; Mr. Zerrahn immediately sprang to the conductor’s desk, waved his baton, and the rest of the air was accompanied from memory by the orchestra. I remember another instance of Mr. Zerrahn’s presence of mind. It was at a performance of Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise by the Handel and Haydn. The tenor had just finished that air with the incomprehensible words, ending with the oft-repeated question: ”Watchman, will the night soon pass?” In reply to this, the soprano should strike in unaccompanied in D major, with ”The night is departing,” twice repeated, the wood-wind coming in piano on the second ”departing,” and the whole orchestra fortissimo on the last syllable. On this occasion, the soprano was standing a little farther forward on the stage than Mr. Zerrahn; so she could not see his beat without turning her head. She struck in bravely with her ”The night is departing,” but unfortunately not in D major-it was fairly and squarely in C major, a whole tone flat. A shutter ran through the orchestra and a good part of the audience; what was Mr. Zerrahn to do with the ensuing D major? His mind was made up in a second; he motioned to the wood-wind not to come in with their chords, and patiently waited for the hapless soprano to finish her phrase, and then let the orchestra come in with its D major fortissimo afterwards, instead of on the last syllable. But now came one of the most comical tugs of war I have ever witnessed between singer and conductor. Of course the soprano was entirely unconscious of having made a mistake; so, not hearing the usual 6-4 chord on her second ”departing,” she evidently thought the wind-players had counted their rests wrong, and held her high G (which ought to have been an A) with a persistency worthy of a better cause, to give them a chance to catch up with her. She held that G on and on, looking as if she would burst; but still no 6-4 chord. Mr. Zerrahn waited imperturbably with his baton expectantly raised. At last-it seemed like hours-human lungs could hold out no longer, and the breathless soprano landed panting with her final ”ting” on C-natural, amid a deathlike silence of orchestra and chorus. You could have heard a pin drop. Just as she was turning round to see why she had been thus left in the lurch by the accompaniment, Mr. Zerrahn’s baton came down with a swish, and the orchestra thundered out its D major.” (Apthorp, BSO Program March 6 and 7, 1896, 595-598)

Zerrahn conducted part of the 1872 Jubilee Concert Series, but he had to sue “the Executive Committee for payment for services in conducting the chorus.” (Dexter Smith’s (December 1872): 284)

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PEOPLE AND PLACES (E-N). SC. WC.

PEOPLE AND PLACES. SC.
WORD COUNT: 34,475 on July 4, 2019.
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Mathews, A Hundred Years, 467.

Elson, History of American Music, 345.

By G. A. Klucken-Wikipedia, June 29, 2024.

Eichberg, Julius (b. Dusseldorff, June 13, 1824 and d. January 18, 1893). Born to a musical family, he “was taught at first by his father, and could play the violin acceptably when he was seven years old. Among his other teachers were… Rietz, who introduced his pupil to Mendelssohn.” (Dic Am Bio, 57 and 58) Dwight, writing about Eichberg noted: “As a reminiscence, it may be mentioned that some years ago Mr. B. J. Lang, the eminent pianist of this city, called upon Rietz, and in the course of the conversation the maestro told him that he had one pupil in America of whom he was proud” – Eichberg. (Dwight, July 2, 1881, p. 106) Came to America in 1859 – career as a conductor and educator. Established Boston Conservatory in 1867 – active in Boston from c. 1860, “the first seven of which were passed as leader at the Boston Museum.” In 1862 he presented there his best known operetta, The Doctor of Alcantara, “which has made its way all over the country.” Was also head of music in the Boston Public Schools for many years. (Jenks, 478-also had photo, taken from the right side) As late as 1930 Howard wrote that his “The Doctor of Alcantara is still a favorite, and the patriotic chorus, To Thee, O Country [written for the annual combined high school choirs concert, and done yearly with an accompaniment of orchestra and organ] is widely sung.” (Howard, 224) Dwight describes him as “a person of marked originality of character, strong in reason and understanding, endowed also with rapid and keen perception, a lively sense of the beautiful, a tenacious memory, and resolute, firm will… such is the fertility of his mind, and such his power of illustration, that he is one of the most delightful of companions, a man with whom one can talk until two in the morning.” (Dwight ( July 2, 1881): 106) “At the age of fourteen, young Eichberg became musical director of the opera at Elberfield, which post he retained for the period of two years, at the expiration of which he went to Brussels… At Brussels he became a pupil of Fetis, for perfection in composition, and of DeBeriot and Meertz on the violin.” (BMT (April 7, 1860) 57) After graduation from the Brussels Royal Conservatory with first prizes in violin and composition, he began his career in Geneva-director of an opera troupe, professor in the Conservatory, and director of music in a major church. He stayed eleven years, and then moved to New York in 1857 “with a view of benefiting his health… In 1859 he came to Boston and found a home. He was first engaged as director of music at the Museum… Mr. Eichberg remained at the Museum seven years. After a year of rest he established the Boston Conservatory of Music… Not far from the same time he was appointed general supervisor and director of music in all the high schools of the city.” (Dwight, Op. cit) Lang may have had something to do with Eichberg coming to Boston. “Some years ago, Mr. B. J. Lang the eminent pianist of this city, called upon Rietz, and in the course of the conversation the maestro told him that he had one pupil in America of whom he was proud.” (Dwight, Ibid) “Those who know him will bear willing testimony to his accomplishments as linguist and scholar, and to those Christian graces of the true gentleman-self respect, sweetness of disposition, and unflinching integrity-which justify the declaration that he has not an enemy among men.” (BMT (April 7, 1860): 58) In April 1864 Dwight noted: “Tomorrow evening, a ”Sacred Concert,” that is to say a Sunday Concert in the Music Hall by that excellent musician, JULIUS EICHBERG, who has composed for the occasion several pieces for Violin, Violincello, Piano and Organ. Two organ pieces will be played by Mr. Lang; two soprano songs will be sung by Miss Houston, and two baritone songs by Mr. SCHRAUBSTAEDTER.” (Dwight (April, 30, 1864) 23) No review appeared in subsequent editions. In September 1866 it was announced that “Boston has lost Julius Eichberg. His powers are appreciated, and remunerated handsomely in New York, and Messrs. Baker and Smith retain him at the New York Theatre where they will give a season of English opera.” (BMT (September 8, 1866) 3) “Mr. Eichberg is quite a lion in N. Y. musical circles. He is busily engaged in forming his new opera troupe which will perform at Baker and Smith”s New York Theatre. He will open with the Doctor of Alcantara and follow that with the The Two Cadis, which he considers his best work.” (BMT (October 6, 1866): 4) Soon after Eichberg quit as leader of the Boston Museum Orchestra, the Boston Musical Times reported: “The orchestra at the Boston Museum needs reinforcement sadly. It is numerically small and musically flat. From being the best of our city orchestras it has degenerated into the worst. It is to be hoped that the excellent manager of the establishment will institute an immediate reform.” (BMT (October 6, 1866) 3) However, things did not go smoothly at the New York Theatre: “Mr. Eichberg has withdrawn from the New York Theatre, and is teaching in New York City.” (BMT (December 1 , 1866) 3) He “became Supervisor of Music in the public schools… He is noted especially for establishing the Boston Conservatory of Music, which school was later absorbed by the New England Conservatory of Music. The present Boston Conservatory is a different and later organization.” (HMA Bulletin No. 15)

“He composed much for his instrument, including graceful solos and valuable studies as well as various ensemble numbers. Among the later were an Ave Maria and Reverie for violin, ”cello, piano, and organ, given in the old Music Hall.” (Dic Am Bio, 58) B. J. and he often played Eichberg’s Religious Meditation for violin and organ.

Chadwick, in his Diary, described Eichberg as “another rare soul whose genial though pungent wit and most lovable personality endeared him, Jew though he was, to every one who knew him.” (6353)

Mathews, A Hundred Years of Music In America,  397.

Johnston Collection.

C. 1910. Johnston Collection.

Inscription: “Your teacher and friend, Louis C. Elson.” A photo card glued into the front of Elson”s The History of American Music, 1904, owned by his pupil Ralph Howard Pendleton of Philadelphia, PA. Johnston collection.

Elson, Louis Charles. 1848-1920. “Was active from 1882, a Boston-born, Leipzig-educated pedant, head of theoretical instruction at the New England Conservatory. While ardent and analytical enough to please the most exacting listener, Elson was no great assist to the cause of ”the newness” as the era of the ”eighties was called.” (Johnson, Hallelujah,  158) The New Grove Dictionary of American Music entry adds: born in Boston-April 17, 1848 and died there, February 14, 1920. He studied music in Boston and at the Leipzig Conservatory. “It was as a critic, lecturer, and writer on music that he was most important.” (Am Grove 1986, 43) He returned from Leipzig in 1877, and “became associated with several leading music journals, including Vox Humana and the Musical Herald, both of which he eventually edited. He was music editor of the Boston Courier and then of the Boston Daily Advertiser from 1886 until his death.” Henry Dunham, organ instructor of the New England Conservatory felt that Elson was “too affable, too anxious to say nothing unkind to become great as a critic; always interesting however, and very much read; his fund of general information was prodigious.” (Dunham, 220) Also see article on Daily Advertiser.

He taught theory at the New England Conservatory beginning in 1880, and became head of the department in 1882 upon the death of Stephen Emery. (Green, 212) “In 1945 his widow established a memorial fund at the Library of Congress for the presentation of lectures on music. His son was the writer Arthur Elson [1848-1920].” (Am Grove 1986, 44) The 1986 American Grove article lists 15 books that he wrote or edited. His last book was published in 1918 – Women In Music. “He has acted as choral director on various occasions in Boston, notably a festival in 1886, the programs including music selected all the way from the medieval beginnings of the art up to the present time. As a composer, his work is mostly in the smaller forms, including several piano-pieces, three operettas, and other songs. He has also made translations and arrangements of a great number of French, English and Italian songs, and of operas… As a vocalist, he has been connected with several of the leading choirs of Boston… Mr. Elson’s diction is concise, often humorous, and reveals in every line broad and genuine culture fused with the specialized knowledge of the trained and experienced musician. His distinguished contemporary, W. S. B. Mathews speaks of it as a ”ripe and finished literary style, rarely found outside the ranks of professional authors.”” (Green, 212) “In this field [musical criticism] he led the way to a more detailed and thorough estimate of musical works and performances than had been customary in the United States, and incidentally treated all artists under his review with courtesy, even when adverse comment proved necessary… In 1873 he married Bertha Lissnere, who survived him with their son, Arthur Elson. A memorial tablet was placed in the New England Conservatory of Music, where he served so long and faithfully, teaching up to the very day of his death” (Dic. Am. Bio., C. A. W., 199 and 120). Elson also “holds the dubious distinction of being the American critic with the most citations in Slonimsky’s Lexicon of Musical Invective… A singer and composer of modest attainments, Elson was not university trained but studied privately in Leipzig before returning to his native Boston in 1877 to begin a career of musical journalism on various magazines and newspapers.” (Grant, 94) His reviews “reflect a man who, while obsessed with correcting what he saw as bad musical grammar, had the discernment to report clearly what he heard… Unlike some of his contemporaries, Elson found even Debussy cacophonous. Pedantic references to theory and harmony abound in his critiques. Ravel and the Sibelius Fourth Symphony were too much for him, let alone Schoenberg.” (Grant, Op. cit., 95 and 96)

Elson, Arthur. “Is a well-known musical critic and writer. His books, Women’s Work in Music, Orchestral Instruments and Their Use, A Critical History of Opera, Modern Composers of Europe, and frequent contributions to musical periodicals, have added to the luster of the family name. The two, father [Louis] and son, deserve especial mention as representative of the best modern thought concerning the future of the woman musician. They are truly American in their fair-minded recognition of her ability to do more than she has been permitted to do by the foreigner.” (Green, 212)

Elson, History of American Music, 342.

Mathews, A Hundred Years, 655.

Dunham, The Life of a Musician, 51.

Emery, Stephen Albert. Born Paris, Maine 1841, son of a distinguished lawyer and judge. After one year of Colby College, he left because of ill health and impaired sight, and “then as a pastime, took up the study of piano and harmony.” (Howe-One Hundred, 656) He spent 1862 to 1864 studying music in Leipzig and Dresden, returned to Portland for two years and then moved to Boston after the Great Fire in 1866. He quickly obtained positions at the New England Conservatory and the Boston University College of Music. “Many of the younger American composers have been indebted to Mr. S. A. Emery for their instruction in the art of composition, and he stands in the front rank of American theorists.” (Howe-One Hundred, 656) In 1889 he was credited with composing about one hundred and fifty published pieces.

Manuel Emilio. (1812-1871) Came to America with Manuel Fenollosa and settled in Salem. He married one of Fenollosa’s sisters, Isabel (Fenollosa) Emilio (1822-1888). In 1841 Emilio organized a concert for Thanksgiving Eve with the assistance of his companion, Manuel Fenollosa, and of the Manchester Brass Band.” (Salem Gazette (November 23, 1841): 2) His oldest son, Luis Fenollosa Emilio (1844-    ) enlisted in the 23rd. Mass. Infantry at the age of sixteen (some say 17) on October 19, 1861. After service with that unit, on March 30, 1863 he was appointed by the Massachusetts Governor second lieutenant in the 54th. Regiment Mass Volunteer Infantry, the first regiment of black soldiers formed in the North.  After two weeks he was a first Lieutenant and then a month after that he became a captain. He was mustered out on March 27, 1865. (Bio. Sketch, Luis F. Emilio Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society, 1)

 

Annette Essipoff. Photo by Mora. Philip Hale Collection. BPL, Digitalcommonwealth. On the back it mentions that she toured the USA in the 1880’s and that Prokofief was one of her pupils.

Essipoff, Madame. Born: February 12, 1851 (St. Petersburg, Russia). Died: August 18, 1914 , aged 63 (St. Petersburg, Russia) (Wikipedia article, 7/1/11). One-time wife of Leschetizky, Paderewski mentioned that “there were several Mesdames Leschetizky-all musical-all charming!” (Paderewski,  120) He further stated that “her playing in many ways was perfect, except when it came to strong, effective pieces-then she was lacking in real force, as women pianists usually are… She was very feminine in her playing, and small poetic pieces she could play admirably. She was an intelligent woman with evident culture, attractive to look at, and with a very pleasing personality altogether, which was a great asset to her on the concert platform.” (Ibid, 121) In fact she played the world premier of Paderewski’s Piano Concerto as the composer “had not studied the concerto sufficiently for a great public performance.” (Ibid, 121) Later in his career Paderewski met Madame Essipoff again. “She was already divorced from Leschetizky and was professor of music at the Conservatory at St. Petersburg. Madame Essipoff was no longer young, but she was still fine-looking and always brilliant, and enjoyed a great success there as a professor. She had already stopped her career as a pianist.” (Paderewski, 298)

She was born at St. Petersburg in 1851. First taught by her father who was “an enthusiastic amateur musician,” at 14 she entered the St. Petersburg Conservatory where she “became a pupil of Theodore Leschetitsky, who had adopted her and who found her as headstrong as she was talented.” Rubinstein thought that she should study the voice, but “Leschetitsky was equally urgent that she should make the pianoforte her life study. She decided on the pianoforte, and in 1876-77 she carried off the prize not only for execution but also for sight-playing. Her public career began somewhat before this time. For she appeared in Vienna in 1874 and scored a triumph, as she did also in England in the same year. A letter written at that time describes her as ”far more able than Von Bulow and not nearly so incorrect.” She played Chopin better than anybody. Many critics placed her higher as a pianist than Rubinstein or Madame Schumann, in fact second only to Liszt. She was considered a wonder. After having traveled far and wide for eight years and established a great reputation, she married her former teacher, Leschetitsky, in 1880. Madame Essipoff made a tour in America in 1877, but notwithstanding her remarkable talent, her success was small… In 1893 she separated from her husband, though her admiration for him as a musician and a teacher was as great as ever. Leschetitsky, on his part, showed his regard for her by using his influence to secure her his own former position as pianoforte instructor at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, a position which she resigned early in 1900.” (Lahee, 299-301) In 1874 Dwight published an account of her English appearances: “At the morning concert of Saturday May 16, a new pianiste, Madame Essipoff, made her debut in England, choosing for the occasion Chopin’s Concerto in E Minor. This accomplished lady, a native of Russia, fully realized in all that Rubenstein, Auer, Henselt, and more recently Dr. Von Bulow, had affirmed respecting her truly marvellous talents. Madame Essipoff four years ago, at the Conservatoire of St. Petersburgh, carried off the prize not only for execution, but for sight-reading, the great test of musical competency. In Vienna last winter her performance at the Philharmonic concert was a great triumph; and at three concerts given by Mdme. Essipoff on her own account, she created a legitimate ‘sensation’, particularly in the music of Chopin, manifestly her forte.” (Dwight (June 13, 1874): 245) “Essipov was acclaimed as one of the finest pianists of her time, though opinions differed about her appearance: some said she looked masculine, others described her as ‘attractive.’ She had very small hands, and Paderewski wrote that her playing was very feminine, contrasting her with Teresa Carreno, whom he thought ”a strong pianist, even too strong for a woman.” Essipov, whose only fault was that she was always hungry, could play with great delicacy of feeling, and her conceptions were emotionally moving. Her extraordinary clarity of technique added to the effect of simplicity and directness in her playing, and she was widely cultured and a good teacher… Schnabel also had lessons with her.” (Methuen-Campbell,  60) Essipov was “one of the first pianists to devote recitals entirely to Chopin”s music. She was not afraid of presenting a Programme which would defeat most pianists today: all twenty-seven Etudes and all twenty-four Preludes. She played virtually the whole of Chopin’s oeuvre, and made her first important appearance at the Salzburg Mozarteum in 1869 with his E Minor Piano Concerto. Her interest in Chopin’s works increased when she went to study with Leschetizky in St. Pertersburg.” (Ibid) “It is interesting that Rachmaninov and Essipov, two of the greatest technicians of all time, used a great deal of slow practice.” (Methuen-Campbell, Op. cit., 116)

Euterpe, The. “This society, though young, has a strong board of officers and occupies a prominent position. It was organized Dec. 13, 1878, and gave its first concert on the 15th. of January following. its object is the encouragement of chamber music and the production of the best compositions in this line. The number of members is 150, and all money received is expended on the concerts, after allowing for the necessary running expenses. Connected with the society are some of Boston”s most prominent musicians, among whom are C. C. Perkins (president), B. J. Lang (vice-president), W. F. Apthorp (treasurer), Julius Eichberg, John Orth, S. B. Whitney, J. C. D. Parker, etc. F. H. Jenks is (Dec. 1882) secretary.” (Jones, p. 18) During their 8th. Season, 1885-86 the group presented only string quartet concerts which were held at the Apollo Hall, 151 Tremont Street. B. J. was listed as the Vice President with his address at 152 Tremont Street. In Vol. 7 of the Musical Year Book it was reported: “The Euterpe concerts were suspended.” (MYB 1889-90, 26)

 

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Fay, Abby B., Miss. Vocalist active in Boston in the late 1850s. B. J. and the Mendelssohn Quintette Club “assisted” her in a concert given to benefit “An Invalid” at the Melodean Theatre on Saturday March 27, 1858 (Dwight, March 26, 1858, p. 413). Early in 1861 the Boston Musical Times reprinted an item from the Florence correspondent of the New Orleans Picayune which reported “At the last Philharmonic Concert, Nov. 17th, Miss Abby Fay, of Boston, made her second appearance before a Florentine audience, and met with a most flattering success… Her voice of pure soprano register, is true and sweet, and she is capable of executing the most difficult music. She has made very great progress within six months… She is now prepared to accept an engagement for Sonnambula, and other operas of that genre, and I am confident that she will be successful in light and brilliant music.” (BMT (January 26, 1861): 392)

Mathews, A Hundred Years, 1889, 139.

Fay, Amy. Born on a plantation in Bayou Goula, Louisiana on May 21, 1844 to Rev. Dr. Charles Fay and Charlotte Emily, daughter of an Episcopal Bishop, she died “in 1928, at the age of 83, in a nursing home in Salem [MA].” (Fay, xiv) “The families were musical on both sides, but Mrs. Fay was a veritable musical genius, and although she had no musical instruction after her tenth year, she kept up her practice herself, and after her marriage she learned the great concert pieces of Thalberg and de Meyer, the pianists of the day, and always extemporized on any given air in a remarkable manner… Amy was the third of a family of seven children (six girls and one boy), all of whom were gifted musically… Amy was made to learn Latin and Greek, German, and French, as a child.” (Mathew, 137 and 138) At nineteen she moved to Cambridge where she studied with Prof. Paine at Harvard and attended classes with Otto Dresel at NEC. Lang used her in his May 3, 1862 performance of First Walpurgis Night where she and Lang played Thalberg’s Grand Duo on Themes from Norma. “Upon the advice of John Knowles Paine (1839-1906), later known as the dean of American composers, with whom she studied Bach, Amy Fay went to Europe to refine her musical taste and improve her technique.” (Fay, ix) At the age of 25 she went to Europe studying with Tausig in Berlin for one year, and then Dr. Kullak for three years. In all she spend the five years, early November 1869 until 1875 in Germany. In the summer of 1873 she studied with Liszt. “Franz Liszt seems to have been the only teacher in Europe who championed no specific technical approach, yet he conveyed the most to his piano classes.” (Fay, xi) Tausig was said to be “a young man who plays the piano like forty thousand devils.” (Fay, x) He had been a pupil of Liszt, and he was described as “an eccentric, impatient man possessing an easily triggered, high-powered temper. An unhappy misanthrope, he loathed piano teaching. Nevertheless, his conservatory had one of the highest enrollments.” (Ibid) “Tausig has such a little hand that I wonder he has been able to acquire his immense virtuosity. He is only thirty years old, and is much younger than Rubinstein or Bulow.” (Fay, 39) Beginning in the fall of 1870 she began lessons with Kullak – “He looks about fifty and is charming. I am enchanted with him. he plays magnificently, and is a splendid teacher, but he gives me immensely much to do, and I feel as if a mountain of music were all the time pressing on my head. He is so occupied that I have to take my lesson from seven to eight in the evening.” (Fay, 100) Fay then changed to Deppe who had made a study of the technique of piano playing. Whereas Kullak said: “Practice always Fraulein. Time will do it for you some day. Hold your hand any way that is easiest for you. You can do it in this way-or in that way-showing me different positions of the hand in playing the troublesome passage-or you can play it with the back of the hand if that will help you,” Deppe showed her exactly how to conquer each difficulty. “In short, he makes the technique and the conception identical, as of course they ought to be, but I never had any other master who trained his pupils to attempt it.” (Fay, 319) “The positive benefits of Deppe’s approach convinced Amt to base her future playing and teaching on Deppe’s principles, as did the eminent pianists and teachers William Sherwood, Donald Francis Tovey (1875-1940) and Emil von Sauer (1862-1942).” (Dumm and Shaffer, 7) “She returned to Boston and “was at once pronounced an artist by the press, and played with Theodore Thomas” orchestra at the Sanders Theatre in Cambridge, and at the Worcester, Mass. Musical Festival [Beethoven’s B-flat Major Concerto with the Germaina Orchestra conducted by Carl Zerrahn][Dumm and Shaffer, 7]. She was the first pianist to introduce the playing of piano concertos at these festivals, which has been done ever since.” “On her return to the United States, Amy gave her first concert in New York’s Chickering Hall in December 1875… Amy’s recitals in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she made her home in 1876-78, were attended by the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a close personal friend, and the American critic John Sullivan Dwight.” (Dumm and Shaffer, 7) After three years in Boston she moved to Chicago in 1878 where she remained. “Liszt has included Miss Fay’s name in the roll of his best pupils, in a list made out by himself.” (Mathews, 138, 140 and 141) Her book Music Study in Germany is well known even today: it is a collection of letters written to her elder sister “Melusina (”Zina”) (1836-1923), Amy’s surrogate mother, who recognized their historic value and arranged their publication.” (Dumm and Shaffer, 4)

Fay, Miss Mary A. (or Miss Mary Neilson Fay, Jones, p. 155) “Born at Williamsburg, N. Y., about 1855. She studied under Wm. Mason, Richard Hoffman, Gustav Satter, and for a short time with Rubinstein during his stay in this country. Upon advice of the latter she went to Berlin and placed herself under the instruction of Kullak. After her marriage with Mr. Sherwood in the autumn of 1874, she accompanied him on his travels, and assisted him at his last concert in Berlin. Since returning to the United States, she was frequently taken a part in her husband’s recitals, and is well-known everywhere. Besides being one of the finest lady pianists of our time, she is very successful as a teacher.” (Jones, 155) She had been an assisting artist in the January 14, 1859 concert given by the Mendelssohn Quintette Club at the Mercantile Hall (entrance on Summer Street) playing Beethoven’s Piano Trio in B Flat, op. 97 (“Archduke”) (Dowell, 370) This was her first Boston concert appearance. (Dwight (January 8, 1859): 327) However Dwight felt that as “a very youthful debutante, whose extraordinary ease and fluency of execution of the most difficult piano-forte music, especially modern music, has for a year or two past been a theme of admiration in the houses of her friends” had been unwisely counseled in attempting the Beethoven… Miss F. has a nice touch,” but “such a work requires far more than execution; it requires imagination, soul, passion, deep experience, grasp of mind.” (Dwight (January 22, 1859) 342) Based on the dozen or so times that Dwight had heard this piece in Boston, this performance just did not measure up to his standard. On Saturday evening March 3, 1860 Miss Fay appeared at the Philharmonic Concert at the Music Hall conducted by Carl Zerrahn performing Mendelssohn Concerto in G Minor and the Romanze and Rondo from the Concerto in E Minor by Chopin. The program noted that she “will make her first appearance on this occasion.” (HMA Program Collection) Dwight’s review mentioned “The exquisitely delicate, dreamy and poetic Romanza, and the bright Rondo from Chopin’s E Minor Concerto – one of the most difficult of piano pieces as to mere execution, and demanding fine musical feeling and perception besides. It certainly was a bold attempt for a young girl of twenty… Two years ago, at a Mendelssohn Quintet Concert, she astonished by her brilliant execution in a Trio by Beethoven. Since then she has studied earnestly, severely, under the best direction, and this time her triumph was complete. Such clear, distinct, even, sustained, brilliant, graceful pianism, is seldom heard. Not a note was lost, even in that large hall… In Mendelssohn’s G Minor Concerto Miss Fay sustained herself at the height already won, well at home apparently with the orchestra, and proving herself quite equal to the performance of so formidable a work in public.” (Dwight, March 10, 1860, p. ???)

In November 1860 she was part of the Opening Soiree of Chickering’s new Music Room where she played Mendelssohn’s Variations Serieueses which prompted Dwight to say that “Miss Fay, excited a positive enthusiasm by her brilliant execution, showing the rarest natural capacity and most delicate and facile touch, combined with a vigor and power rarely found in a lady executant. In the duet played by her with Mr. Dresel [Duet for Two Pianos on the March from Weber’s Preciosa], she showed herself a worthy pupil of an accomplished instructor.” (Dwight (November 19, 1860): 262) In a January 1861 notice of one of “Miss Fay’s Soirees” the reviewer mentioned: “In the more sedate music of Beethoven and Schumann, while there is no lack of technical ability, there seems to be a want of soulful expression in Miss Fay’s playing; but the compositions mentioned above [Hiller Bolero and Chopin Polonaise in A flat, Op. 53), and others of the same class. she plays with a vigor and clearness quite remarkable.” Within days of this solo performance, Miss Fay was also part of the Philharmonic Concert conducted by Mr. Zerrahn. (BMT,( January 25, 1861): 261) The Boston Musical Times reprinted a notice from the New York Weekly Programme which reported that “Miss Mary Fay gives a concert in Boston soon, in which she, with Mr. Lang, will play Thalberg’s Grand Fantasia on Themes from Norma.” (BMT (March 9, 1861): 22) On April 20, 1861 she presented a “Matinee” at Chickering’s Hall when she was assisted by Lang, Eichberg and Fries. Included in the program was Mendelssohn’s Second Piano Trio in C Minor, Op. 49, the Grand Fantasie on Norma for Two Pianos arranged by Thalberg, and the final piece was the Fantasie on Moses in Egypt also arranged by Thalberg. Dwight had not attended and only printed the program. (Dwight (April 27, 1861): 30) In January 1862 Dwight printed that Miss Fay would present four concerts at Chickering”s Rooms.” (Dwight (January 18, 1862): 335) Dwight praised the one of her solo pieces in the first concert saying: “Hiller’s difficult and brilliant Bolero was well suited to the powers of Miss Fay, and she distinguished herself in it,” but he was not impressed by the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto played with just piano accompaniment. (Dwight (January 25, 1862): ???) B. J. joined her in the final number of her second Soiree given on Saturday, January 25, 1862 playing the Fantasie on Norma for two pianos by Thalberg; on the same program she also was assisted by Mr. F. Suck and Mr. Henry Suck. Based on the repertoire listed, Mr. F. Suck and Mr. Henry Suck both played violin. Dwight did not attend, but noted that the “second Soiree did take place, we understand, on Saturday evening, in spite of the worst weather ever known. Some forty persons listened.” (Dwight (February 1, 1862): 351) This concert was part of a series of four-“Sets of For Tickets, $3; Single Tickets, $1 each; to be had at the music stores.” (HMA Program Collection) For the third Soiree she “had a good audience and a pleased one” which again included the two Sucks and W. Fries. (Dwight (February 15, 1862): 367) All in all this was a major undertaking for such a young artist. Fay was also an assisting artist with the Mendelssohn Quintette Club during 1861-62 season. (Dowell, 21) She appeared again with the Philharmonic on Saturday February 1, 1862 playing the Capriccio in B Major for Piano and Orchestra by Mendelsohn, and the Introduction and Variations on the Barcarole from L’Elisire d’amore by Thalberg. On the same program Jules Eichberg was the soloist in his own Violin Concerto. (Ibid) During January and February 1862 she presented four “Soirees.” (Ibid) According to the Dic. Am. Biog, she had been born in Williamsburg, N. Y., and she married William Hall Sherwood in 1874 while they were both students of Liszt, “and Liszt stood godfather to their first child. In the course of years, incompatibility of temperament was discovered and a divorce followed.” (Lahee, 202) In a June 2, 1876 Music Hall program, she is listed as Mrs. Sherwood, formerly Miss Mary A. Fay. (BPL Music Hall Prog., Vol. 1) Mrs. Sherwood was the soloist with the HMA on November 9, 1876 playing Mendelssohn’s Concerto in G Minor. Dwight wrote: “Mrs. Wm. H. Sherwood, whom many remember as Miss Mary Fay, of Boston, a pupil eighteen or twenty years ago of Otto Dressel, and who even in her girlhood excited admiration by the ease and brilliancy of her performances in public. Returning now from studies in Germany, the wife of of a gifted pianist, she brings musical experience, a rich repertoire, and more maturity of musical character and culture… Hearty applause followed all her efforts.” (Dwight (November 25, 1876): 342)

Fenollosa, Manuel. 1822-1878. Left Malaga Spain for Salem when he was 16. (OCLC WorldCat search October 20, 2017) He, and his future brother-in-law Manuel Emilio were hired musicians on the American naval vessel, the “United States”; Emilio was the band’s conductor. When the ship returned to Boston, the two musicians stayed on board. After forming a band that toured New England, they both settled in Salem and contributed to various civic causes throughout their lives. (Globe, article by Jim Dalton, accessed October 20, 2017)

   Manuel Fenollosa

Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society

The “favorite and excellent teacher” returned to Salem after a fifteen month trip to South America the purpose of which was to “recruit his health.” (Salem Observer (June 29, 1850): 2) His first stop was five months in Rio, and then he made the voyage around Cape Horn to Valpariso. He then went to Costa Rica, Nicaragua and San Juan, and then took voyage to Chagres and ended by taking the Crescent City to New York. There is a Diary at the Peabody Essex Library in Salem covering a trip to Italy and Spain in 1848 and to Rio in 1849. In detail he records his voyages on the Bark Sophia Walker and the Bark A. G. Hill. (WorldCat entry) While he was in Rio he saw slaves being used for jobs rightly done by horses. As soon as he reached America he began to support the Abolitionist cause. He celebrated Emancipation by staging a concert to benefit the “Freedmen of the Country.” (Globe, Jim Dalton, February 1, 2011, accessed October 20, 2017) Oliver Ditson published his choral piece, Emancipation Hymn, with a dedication to the “Salem Union League.” This group was founded in 1861 to promote patriotism. Manuel was a founding member. The Peabody Essex Museum holds the Salem Union League Records, 1861-1863.

Late in 1851 the music store run by D. B. Brooks announced a new Instruction Book compiled and arranged by Fenollosa. It contained “principally” works from the lesser known composers of the day, and also an “Extensive Collection” of mainly popular pieces with “many Original Pieces by the Author.” It had 152 pages. (Salem Register (December 8, 1851): 1) The collection seems to have had an international circulation; there are copies at the British Library and the State Library of Queensland. (OCLC search October 20, 2017)

In 1854 he advertised that he continued to give lessons in Piano, Violin and singing at his home No. 5 Chestnut Street on Tuesdays and Fridays, and he could “accommodate a few more pupils on those days. (Salem Register (November 13, 1854): 3) A year later he added Mondays and Thursdays to his previous schedule, and he added a second location, No. 7 Central Street, over the Mercantile Bank. Just above his ad Carl Hause offered lessons in Thorough Bass, and “the higher branches of Piano Playing.” He was interested in teaching Concert Artists or Advanced Teachers. (Ibid)

In 1856 another teacher, Manuel Emelio (his brother-in-law) announced that he was leaving the area. This caused Fenollosa to advertise that he would “hereafter devote all his time to the practice of his profession in this city. (Salem Register (December 22, 1856): 3) It would seem that he expected to take over all of Emelio’s students. However, another teacher was offering lessons in voice and the “advanced principles of Music, including Harmony and Thorough bass..” (Ibid) Mr. M.D. Randall’s studio was in the Masonic Hall, 27 Washington Street. (Ibid)

In 1857 Fenollosa branched out into singing classes for beginners. For the fall of that year he offered “Two Elementary Vocal Classes.” He also announced that he was re-opening his Monday Evening Singing Class for more advanced students. He was teaching these classes at his music rooms on Central Street. The cost was $5.00, in advance, for 24 weekly meetings. (Salem Register (September 3, 1857): 3) In 1859 he wanted to start a “Gentlemen’s Class” as soon as a sufficient number signed up. It would start in May and last for 24 weeks at a cost of $5.00. (Salem Register (May 2, 1859): 3)

A Ladies’ Association in Salem had started a campaign to buy “Mount Vernon.” Fenollosa supported this by staging a concert at Lyceum Hall featuring his “Pupils and Friends.” The first ad gave no date, but it was held before the end of February. (Salem Register (February 10, 1859): 4) “The concert was a complete success.” The music was “exceedingly creditable even in an artistic point of view, and charmed all the listeners…Mr. G. Breed, another of our resident teachers accompanied Mr. F. in one of Beethoven’s Sonatas in a most admirable style…This concert realized the sum of $232.25.” (Salem Register (February 28, 1859): 2) This would be about $6,414 in today’s money; certainly a very good result for a “pupils’ Recital.” On Monday evening November 26, 1860 the Charity Concert at the Lyceum Hall was in aid of the proposed “Home for Aged Indigent Females.” (WorldCat entry) He continued to support local charities. On June 24, 1863 he organized a “Patriotic Festival” with over 100 pupils and friends at Mechanic Hall under the auspices of the Salem League, for the benefit of the Sanitary Commission. (WorldCat entry) Fenollosa produced a number of charity events. He advertised a “Patriotic Festival” again using “over one hundred of his pupils and friends” on June 24, 1863 co-sponsored by the Salem League and for the benefit of the Sanitary Commission. (WorldCat entry). Probably his first Charity Concert was given on December 21, 1857 at the Lyceum Hall; the charity that was to benefit was not mentioned. (WorldCat entry) He organized a concert for the Grand Army Fair to benefit Post 34 in 1873. (WorldCat entry)

William S. Fenollosa. This photo is from the Michigan paper cited at the end of the article.

Fenollosa, William S. William died at his home in Salem, MA on February 15, 1941-he was born in 1855. His estate was worth $215,000 – $40,000 in realty and $175,000 in personal property. (Boston Herald, Saturday, March 15, 1941, p. 13 GenB) which would have the buying power in 2017 of $3,681,409.93. Born in Salem, he attended Salem High School where, at the Graduation ceremony he and another student presented “An Original Greek Dialogue.” He also wrote the music for the parting song, “Now Has Come the Hour of Parting,” words by a fellow graduate, Mary A. Kimball. (Salem Observer (July 22, 1871): 29, GenB) He then went to Harvard, graduating in 1875, (the same year as Arthur Foote) and a year later received his Master’s degree in music (just as Foote did). He started teaching piano in Boston, but after a short time, he returned to Salem. (Boston Herald (February 16, 1941): 63, GenB) William attended the fall 1930 concert by the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by George Henschel; he would have been 26 when the orchestra began under Henschel in 1881. (Boston Herald (October 12, 1930): 34, GenB) By the 1880s he was an active musician in the Boston area. His concert at Wesleyan Hall, which he shared with a singer, “was attended by a good sized audience,” and proved to be “an enjoyable one.” (Boston Herald (April 25, 1882): 5, GenB) He assisted Lang in the fifth of a series of six concerts of the complete piano works of Schumann which were held at the Bijou Theatre. At the March 29, 1883 program he played the Sonata in G minor, Op. 22. Mr. H. G. Tucker (piano) and George L. Osgood (tenor) also performed at the concert. (Boston Herald, March 30, 1883) and  (BPL Lang prog., Vol. 4) In late April 1884 he gave a concert at Chickering Hall. William supported music-making in Salem. He is listed as a Board Member of the Salem Oratorio Society (as was Joshua Phippen, Jr.) when it was announced that the Society was “out of debt” as the “net proceeds of the fair were $703.40” which more than covered “the net loss on concerts and rehearsals of $133.79.” (Beverly Citizen (May 11, 1889): 2, GenB) Another talent was card playing. “Mr. William S. Fenollosa of Salem, MA, is a skillful musician and a man of all  round culture and plays whist and writes on it with an ability that few can surpass.” (Bay City Daily Tribune, Bay City Michigan (March 4, 1900): 2, GenB)

Arthur Foote.

Grove, American Supplement-1920, 206 & Elson, Hist. Am. Mus., 1904, 188.

New England Magazine, February 1890.

Foote, Arthur (b. March 5, 1853 at Salem, MA and d. April 8, 1937 at Boston, MA). Lang piano pupil from age 14. In 1870 he began at Harvard having “the good fortune to find John K. Paine there. His coming in 1869 marked the beginning of real musical instruction and of the development of a Department of Music… There were naturally few students for Paine at that time; in fugue I was the only one, taking my lessons at his house. He was college organist as well, and I had sense enough to appreciate the beautiful improvisations which I heard at chapel. I owe a great deal to him, not only for the excellent teaching but also for the important influence which he had on me at a time when it was sadly needed.” (HMA Bulletin No.4, 1) Graduated Harvard 1874-had organ lesson from Lang that summer-Lang convinced him to continue his music study. Graduated Harvard with the first MA in music 1875. Opened piano studio next door to the Harvard Musical Association, and became a member then. Appointed organist Church of the Disciples 1876, then 1878 at First Unitarian Church, Boston where he stayed until 1910. Attended first Bayreuth Festival in 1876 and the premier of the complete Ring of the Nibelungen (Ciplolla, Am Nat Bio, Vol.13, 190) – made eight trips abroad over a twenty year span. Married 1880 – only child, Katharine born 1881. On Wednesday April 22, 1891 Foote led “The Ladies” Vocal Club of Salem” at the Cadet Armory Hall in one of three “Popular Concerts” sponsored by the “Salem Oratorio Society” whose conductor was Carl Zerrahn. In addition to the vocal numbers, piano pieces included Lang playing the Etude, Opus 25, No. 7 by Chopin and “Scherzo” from Sonata, Opus 31, No. 3 by Beethoven; Lang and Foote playing the Variations on a theme from Beethoven by Saint-Saens: and the piano quartet of Lang, Foote, Phippen and Fenollosa playing the “First Movement” from Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony and Les Contrastes by Moscheles. Foote taught at NEC from 1921 until his death in 1937. (Cipolla, 150) “Though he lived to 1937, Foote absorbed no twentieth-century styles. He was not a bigot, like Dwight. Rather, he acknowledged his timidity with typical equanimity: ”My influence from the beginning, as well as my predilection, were ultra-conservative.” Foote’s failure to grow was typical of Boston: like the writers he knew and admired, he was both supported and stifled by a benign cultural environment.” (Horowitz, 99) following the lead of his teacher B. J. Lang, Foote presented a series of eight chamber music concerts “on every Saturday evening in February and March.” [1881] at the Chickering Hall, 156 Tremont Street. (BPL Music Hall Prog., Vol. 3) Another series was presented in 1882.

Franklin, Miss Gertrude. A review by Dwight in 1880 made mention that she “has good voice and training… Her forte, as we have since learned, is the florid kind, like ”Rejoice Greatly,” or the ”Jewel Aria” in Faust.” (Dwight (April 10, 1880): 62) In a March 1881 review of Schumann’s Faust with the Cecilia, the writer noted: “her voice lost nothing of its sweetness and beauty even when pushed to a force that threw the voices of the amateur vocalists upon the stage in the background.” (Cecilia Programs, Vol. 1) In May 1881 it was announced that she would be the soprano in the quartet for the Roxbury Universalist Church. (Musical Herald (May 1881): 104) She is listed in 1886 as the soprano in King’s Chapel Choir. B. J. became organist there in 1888. Lang was the accompanist at her Saturday February 16, 1889 concert at Chickering Hall. (BPL Lang Prog. Vol. 5) In an 1890 review of Cecilia’s Haydn Seasons concert, Hale praised Franklin: “Her musical nature was seen in little details often despised and ignored by singers… Her phrasing and her technique were alike worthy of high praise.” (BPL Hale Crit., Vol. 1) She also appeared with the Handel and Haydn Society: March 31, 1893 in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. (Bradbury, History, Vol. 2, 30) On January 6, 1893 she was part of the concert given during a ladies night at the Harvard Musical Association where she performed two songs by Brahms and Near Thee by Roff. Franklin was a soloist with the BSO in its Third Season (1883-84:Henschel), Fourth Season (1884-85: Gericke), Fifth Season (1885-86: Gericke), Sixth Season (1886-87: Gericke), Seventh Season (1887-88: Gericke), Eighth Season (1888-89: Gericke), Ninth Season (1889-90: Nikisch), Fourteen Season (1894-95: Paur) and Fifteenth Season (1895-96: Paur). (BSO Programs 1881-96)

Site of Miss Gertrude Franklin’s apartment/teaching studio. Johnston Collection.

Ryan, facing 26.

Fries, Auguste. “I begin with Auguste Fries. He was a good, genuine violinist, especially in quartette, he played with deep sentiment, was painstaking, and no rehearsals were too long for him. He was the broadest man, had the oldest head, of the organization, and was altogether a good leader. In social character he was full of geniality, could be the life and spirit of every party, and he thus endeared himself to a very large number of personal friends…. He was very firm in purpose and set in his ways; he could not accommodate himself to some things; but sterling integrity was the main point in his make-up. He was an excellent man for younger people to start with.” (Ryan, 106 and 107) After ten years with the group he returned to Bergen, Norway where he spent the rest of his life except for one season when he returned to Boston to be concertmaster with the HMA Orchestra. However, Dwight reported the return of Fries in October 1873 saying that after working for fifteen years in Norway, his return would “be warmly greeted by the older generation of our music-lovers,” (Dwight (October 18, 1873): 111)

Ryan, facing 136.

Fries, Wulf Christian Julius. 1825-1902. (Bio-Bib., 135) Cellist, “Born at Garbeck, a village of Holstein, in Germany, Jan., 10, 1825. He began his favorite instrument when only nine years old, and at twelve had his first and only lessons from a local player.” (Jones, 60) As his father could not pay for lessons, he sent Wulf to a neighboring city where he learned on the job, playing in various municipal groups. “What he learned in the art of playing was chiefly through hearing the soloists who gave concerts while passing through the city…. In September, 1847 he came to America and settled in Boston, which has since been and still is (May, 1885) his home. About 1849 he organized assisted by his brother, August, three years his senior, the ”Mendelssohn Quintette Club,” the immediate occasion of which was the performance at a private house of Mendelssohn’s Quintet in A. The original members of the club, with which he was connected for twenty-three years were August Fries, 1st. violin; Herr Gerloff, 2nd. violin; Theodor Lehman, 1st. viola; Oscar Greiner, 2nd. viola; and Wulf Fries, ”cello. August Fries was leader for ten years, when his place was taken by William Schulze… He is also professor of the violincello at the Boston and New England Conservatories of music, and an esteemed musician.” (Ibid) Mathews credits the clarinetist Thomas Ryan, then aged 22, as the founder of the Club, and lists the original members as: August Fries, Francis Riha, Edward Lehmann, Thomas Ryan and Wulf Fries, and describes their first consert as being given “at the piano warerooms of Jonas Chickering, Mr. Ryan playing a clarinet concerto by F. Berr, and also the viola parts in quintets by Mendelssohn and Beethoven…Naturally the personnel has been frequently changed…For forty years Mr. Ryan has been the leading spirit of the organization, and now he is the only one of the members who was at the foundation of the society.” (Mathews, p. 294) He left the Mendelssohn Quintette Club in 1872, and “was a founding member of the Beethoven Quartet in the following year. He belonged to the Musical Fund Society and played (sometimes as soloist) with the Harvard Musical Association, and then with the Boston SO (1881-2). He taught in Boston at the New England Conservatory (1869), Carlyle Petersilea’s Music School (1871), and the Boston Conservatory of Music (1889)… Papers and music from his estate are in the collection of the Harvard Musical Association.” (Am. Grove, 170) Fries played with the Mendelssohn Quintette Club for twenty-two years. In 1880 Dwight reported on a “Tribute to Wulf Fries, suggested and arranged by a number of the most musical ladies of Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, etc., in whose families the favorite artist had been for years esteemed and loved as teacher and companion in the parlor practice of classical trio and sonata music.” This “took the form of a beautiful Chamber Concert at Horticultural Hall on Saturday evening, December 4, 1880. The audience was very large and sympathetic, the Programme very rich and choice.” B. J. Lang and Arthur Foote contributed the Saint-Saens Variations for Two Pianos on a Theme of Beethoven, Op. 35., and Lang was probably the pianist in the Schumann Quintet for Piano and Strings, Op. 44. (Dwight (December 18, 1880): 207)

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Gardner, Isabella Stewart. April 14, 1840-July 17, 1924 (Palffy, 263). Good friend of the Lang family-visitor to the family farm in New Hampshire; in charge of arranging the flowers at B. J.”s funeral; among the “first visitors at Beverly Farms [in 1895] were… B. J. Lang” – the summer home of the Gardner”s – they had just returned from a almost a year in Europe. (Carter, 154) At the January 6, 1893 “Ladies Night” of the Harvard Musical Association she “was warmly welcomed home as one of the hostess, with Mrs. Henry M. Rogers, Mrs. Arthur Whiting, and Miss Lang… Mrs. Gardner in simple black, looking very fresh and young after her voyage.” (HMA Bulletin No. 11)

Mrs. Gardner was known for her good works. Among the young men in her circle was the composer Clayton Johns who had taken a young piano student, Heinrich Gebhard under his tutalege. Johns had Gebhard play for Paderewski who was on tour in America-the suggestion was that Gebhard should study with Leschetizky. “However, before I left for Vienna, Mr. Johns wanted to present me to the Boston public as his pupil. So in April, 1896, a concert was arranged in Copley Hall, where I played before a large representative audience a program [that included] the Schumann Concerto accompanied by sixty-five players of the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the leadership of Franz Kneisel. Mrs. Jack Gardner, that wonderful and brilliant woman, who so often was a benefactor to young promising talents, in her great generosity footed the bill for this expensive concert.” (HMA Bulletin No.13)

The car would place this card c. 1915 (?). Johnston Collection.

“The Foote’s were frequently to be seen at the Gardner home.” (Tara, Foote, 71) In fact Mrs. Gardner was the Godmother to their only child, Katharine. “Mrs. Jack insisted they go with her to the Copley Society’s costume ball. She dressed Arthur and his wife Kate in elaborate Korean costumes, which greatly impressed Katherine ”when they let me see them before they left. Mrs. Gardner was such a wonderful Godmother to me, and such a good friend to Papa and Mama.”” (Ibid) Mrs. Gardner help Arthur Foote in many other ways. “Throughout her life she remained a staunch and encouraging friend of his family. She introduced Foote to men and women who could benefit him, whether at her home or during travels in Europe. Her summer home in Beverly, Massachusetts, was at his disposal for vacations and peaceful seclusion so that he could compose music. Foote was asked to play at her musical evenings before distinguished gatherings.” (Tara, Foote, 111)

Johns, Reminiscences of a Musician, 74.

John Singer Sargent, 1888.

This portrait was first displayed at the St. Botolph Club, but her husband, John Gardner found it so offensive that it had it removed. It now hangs in Fenway Court, but she did not allow it to be shown to the public until after her death.

Anders Zorn: “Isabella Stewart Gardner in Venice,” 1894.

She did not always attract attention to herself; the “Table Gossip” column of the Boston Globe of February 3, 1907 noted that “Mrs. John L. Gardner herself was much in evidence at Fenway Court during the hours when it was open to the public this week, although the majority of the visitors were unaware of the identity of the short, slim figure in black, wearing a flat black hat and carrying a gold filigree bag.” (Globe (February 3, 1907): 50) But, Arthur Foote wrote “that Boston began its greatest musical growth soon after he started living there. He attributes much of this growth to the local women and their clubs… The preeminent example of a woman dedicated to the arts was the wealthy Isabella Stewart Gardner, Foote’s kindly friend and patron. She gave moral and monetary support to musical performers, composers, painters, and sculptors… She exerted herself in helping musicians to establish the Boston Composers’ Manuscript Society. its aim was to give local composers a hearing.” (Tara, Foote, 57) Gardner’s biographer, Morris Carter was quoted as saying: “Whether a social renaissance was created or not may be a question, but ”the Brimmer set, which represents the old Puritan aristocracy,” and ”the Apthorp set, which represents the new Bohemianism,” did meet in her house on a common ground.” (Ibid)

“Mrs. Jack Gardner’s Palace.” Message is dated Christmas 1906, and so this is how it appeared to B. J. Lang. (Johnston Collection)

On one occasion when Mrs. Gardner visited Malcolm’s home, she noted the two candlesticks on his table and said, “How wonderful, I have the other four,” but Malcolm did not take the hint and present them to her. (Amy DuBois Interview)

 

Elson, The History of American Music, 54.

Rogers, Story of Two Lives, facing 74.

Gericke, Wilhelm. b. April 18, 1845 in Graz, Austria, and d. October 27, 1925 in Vienna. Studied at the Vienna Conservatorium 1862-65: began conducting career in Linz; then in 1874 offered second conductorship of the Hofoper in Vienna?there became associated with Hans Richter; took over the Vienna Singverein in 1880; 1884 appointed to the BSO and stayed five years, resigning due to health issues; returned to Vienna for three years, and then reappointed to the BSO “whose great efficiency is largely due to his indefatigableness and skill as a drill-master, his conscientious devotion to high ideals, and his remarkable sense of euphony and tonal balance.” (GROVES DICTIONARY, 1921, Vol. II, p. 159.) “Mr. Higginson brought Mr. Wilhelm Gericke from Vienna to take his [Henschel] place. Gericke was a rigid disciplinarian, a musical purist, and a devotee of two more B”s than Henschel [whose B. had been Beethoven]. Namely Bach and Brahms. He made several changes in the personnel of the orchestra, and introduced reforms which unquestionably heightened its excellence; but meanwhile he was not currying favor with the people. He made his programmes extremely severe, and rigidly excluded popular music from them, besides unnecessarily antagonizing American composers; and as the outcome of it all he fell victim to the populace, intellectual and orthodox in taste as it claims to be. As the result of his policy, however, when the new leader Mr. Arthur Nikisch, came, he found an orchestra already drilled and disciplined, and abounding in excellent material.” (Upton, “Musical Societies,” p. 81) Gericke “undertook the difficult but needed reform of replacing a number of old musicians, formerly prominent in the city”s musical life, who were holding their posts in the orchestra principally through courtesy, with younger musicians from Europe. That he accomplished this successfully and built up an orchestra in which perhaps fewer changes were later made than in any other in the world during a period of twenty years or more, is proof that Gericke possessed wonderful tact, judgment and executive ability. These qualities, combined with musical insight and tireless energy, have made the Boston Symphony Orchestra his debtor for its international position and comparative financial independence. For five years Gericke remained at the head of this organization, at the end of which time he returned to Germany and resumed the leadership of the Concert Society in Vienna, which he conducted until 1895. Then followed a period of three years” freedom from professional activities, and in 1898 Gericke was again engaged to conduct the Boston Symphony Orchestra. For eight years longer Gericke directed the body of musicians which he had brought to its present perfection of ensemble; then, in the season of 1905 and 1906 resigned his post, and in the latter year returned to Vienna… Gericke is said to have forwarded the cause of music in America more than any other one man, with the possible exception of Theodore Thomas. Elson speaks of him as the finest drillmaster among conductors… His reading of scores is considered remarkable” (Green, 283) “He was assistant conductor at the Vienna Hofoper when Henry Lee Higginson heard him conduct a performance of Aida in October 1883 and invited him to replace George Henschel as conductor of the Boston SO… He was a stern drillmaster, and after his first season dismissed 20 members of the orchestra and replaced them with young European players. At first there were complaints in Boston about this procedure, but most observers soon agreed that the orchestra’s improvement justified it… Gericke’s programs were thoroughly ”serious,” in contrast to those of Henschel, who had customarily opened with a symphony and filled the rest of the program with miscellaneous lighter pieces; Gericke also broke with a long-standing tradition by offering concerts without guest soloists. As a friend or personal acquaintance of Wagner, Brahms, Bruckner, and Liszt, he included a great deal of their music and introduced new European works, as well as compositions by” American composers such as Chadwick, Beach, Converse, and Foote. “Gericke’s tenure saw the orchestra’s first concerts in New York (1887), and the construction of Symphony Hall for its permanent home.” (New Am. Grove, 198) Gericke conducted the BSO from 1884 until 1889 and from 1898 until 1906.

His salary for his first year 1884-85 was $7,500, and he was at time thirty-nine years old. “He was a bachelor, short and stocky, with a dark beard and handlebar mustache, both neatly trimmed. He was a vivacious conversationalist. He looked more like a shoe dealer or bank cashier than a musician.” (Horowitz, 50) “But he was not unhappy when he was settled in well-appointed bachelor quarters at 5 Mt. Vernon Place, near the crest of Beacon Hill. He would walk across the Common on a fine day, no doubt well-tailored and gloved, to have his dinner at the ”Tavern Club.”” (Burk, 173) Among the new musicians that he hired for his second season was the twenty-year-old concertmaster, Franz Kneisel, and “numerous other new members to replace ”old” and ”overworked” musicians ”no longer fit for the demands of modern and more difficult orchestral ensemble.” he subdued the brass in order to perfect the balance and tone of the ensemble. he insisted on rehearsals conditions never imposed by Henschel or Carl Zerrahn. He disciplined musicians who took the stage intoxicated, in some cases repeatedly… His repertoire, stressing beethoven, was less adventurous than Thomas’ in New York, less conservative than has been Dwight’s and the Harvard Musical Association’s. As he disciplined his orchestra, Gericke disciplined his audience, and not by insisting on more ”serious” programs. Latecomers were not admitted except during pauses. Encores were discouraged… Gericke himself called his Boston listeners ”one of the most cultivated and best understanding musical publics I Know…Henschel had adopted the formulas of ”lightening heavier programmes;” Gericke had not. But Gericke supported the notion of a summer season modeled after the garden concerts of Germany and Austria. As it happened, the initial summer ”Promenade” season materialized in 1885, near the beginning of Gericke’s tenure… For the Promenade concerts the Music Hall’s downstairs seats were removed and replaced with tables and shrubs. Light alcoholic beverages were served (a breach of public morals requiring a special annual permit). On opening night Boston’s highest social circles turned out in force and there were not enough tables and waiters to meet the demand.” (Horowitz, 50-52)

Hale, in reviewing Nikisch’s first BSO concert reminded his readers what Gericke had achieved. “In applauding Mr. Nikisch, the patient and abiding work of Mr. Gericke should not be forgotten. He gave the orchestra technique. He taught it precision, he called attention to detail. Without the noble rage of the born conductor, he gave a cold and finished reading of whatever work was on his desk. He seemed to abhor contrasts; he shrank from great effects; he appeared at times to entertain contempt for brass instruments. Gorgeous and daring coloring was not so dear to him as a pale monochrome. So the orchestra became under his leadership an admirable machine, which one looked at and admired. Not without reason, then, did an irreverent New Yorker dub it, ”The Boston Music Box.”” (Swan, 88) Gericke replaced many players. “The axe had fallen, twenty players were dropped, and as many new ones, mostly young men from Central Europe or France, were brought over to take their places. These included a new concertmaster, Franz Kneisel. Kneisel was conspicuously young, like many of the newcomers, very much younger than Bernard Listermann, whom he replaced. The orchestra was being swept of the cobwebs of antique custom and provincialism… Civic pride was aroused, comparisons began to be made. Gericke’s name was mentioned with that of Theodore Thomas, the only other symphonic conductor America had known of strictly the first standing.” (Burk, 175) “The continued growth of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the seasons following was consistent with Gericke’s beginnings. A certain amount of niggling opposition continued, and continued to be overborne by a widening respect for a tireless conductor. As his fifth season was drawing to a close, Gericke decided he would need a rest of ”at least a year.” Perhaps his fatigue was as much mental as physical… Higginison said in a farewell speech at the Tavern Club: ”Mr. Gericke made our orchestra.” (Burk, 176)

Gericke returned to the BSO in 1898, nine years after his departure. The situation was “far different from the one he had faced in 1884. There was no longer now a provincial orchestra and audience, but an orchestra at least as expert as the one he had left, and a public seasoned by acquaintance with two not inconsiderable conductors. They had experienced the Hungarian ardors of the romanticist Nikisch and the vigorous onslaughts of Paur. Paur had been insistently up-to-date in his programs. By now Brahms was loudly applauded… He had brought a handful of new (and choice) players with him, including the oboist from the Lamoureux Orchestra in Paris-Georges Longy. (Burk, 179 and 180) It fell to Gericke to conduct the opening concert on October 15, 1900 at the new Symphony Hall on Huntington Avenue. “In the end, what the Boston Symphony’s new home most resembled was its old home. In size and feel, if not in proportionate dimensions, it was the Music Hall, not the Gewandhaus, that proved Higginson’s inescapable model. Like the Boston Music Hall, Symphony Hall was a simple rectangle whose shallow balconies which had no bad seats. Like Music Hall, it secured a special bonding of music, auditors, and venue, a feeling of cultural community sealed by its town-0meeting plainness… Henry Higginson had built a house as bold and obdurate, severe and warm as the gentleman himself.” (Horowitz, 75) The main piece at this concert was Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis. Lang and the Cecilia Society using members of the BSO had presented the first Boston performance of this work only three years before, on March 12, 1897. (Johnson, First, p. 55) It was Gericke’s BSO that Richard Strauss called the “most marvelous in the world.” (Horowitz, 75) In 1906 “Gericke announced he would not come back the following fall.” (Ibid)

GERMANIA MUSICAL SOCIETY.

THE GERMANIA ORCHESTRA, FROM AN OLD PRINT.

CARL BERGMANN, CONDUCTOR, SEATED AT CENTER.

CARL Zerrahn, STANDING AT EXTREME LEFT.

Howe: BSO, An Historical Sketch, photo between 8 and 9.

Germania Orchestra. In 1848 a group of young musicians in New York who had recently emigrated from Europe organized themselves into an orchestra, but they made Boston their headquarters and chose Carl Lenschow as their first conductor. “They were young men, friends, who had been drawn together in a little social orchestra in Berlin. This was in 1848, the year of social revolution. By much playing together they had grown expert in the interpretation, or at least the expressive outlining, of the master compositions; they were at home in Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Spohr, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Gade, and even Liszt, Berlioz, and Wagner.” (Dwight, History of Boston, 429) “They made their first appearance in Boston April 14, 1849, where they gave twenty-two concerts in the Melodeon in six weeks. The effect was magical. The Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture had to be repeated thirty-nine times, such was the exquisite precision, delicacy, and poetic beauty of the reading. Yet they only numbered twenty-three musicians; they had but pairs of violins, violas, basses, as of reeds and flutes, and but a single violincello… In three winter seasons they performed here nearly all the great orchestral compositions. In one season they gave more than twenty concerts, besides filling the Music Hall, mostly with young ladies, by their public afternoon rehearsals.” (Ibid, 430) “When in 1850 their conductor, Carl Lenschow, chose to remain in Baltimore to head the Gesangverein, Carl Bergmann, then a cellist with the orchestra took his place… Under Bergmann [then in his late twenties], the Germania Society acquired a more dynamic approach to interpretation, as well as a braver repertoire. Bergmann championed Wagner and Liszt. He also programmed quantities of beethoven and mendelssohn. Eventually the Germanians gave over nine hundred concerts in the United States.” (Horowitz, Wagner, 39) “In 1850 the orchestra consisted of twenty-three musicians, with Carl Bergmann at its head. Among the band was a tall young flute-player, named Carl Zerrahn, who subsequently was made director. This orchestra may be called the first organization which gave satisfactory performances of the great symphonies in America. The orchestra soon grew to fifty members and even the greatest works, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony for example, were interpreted. The Germania dissolved in 1854; in five seasons it had given nearly ninety concerts in Boston and had made a succession of tours to New York and to other cities, giving Americans the first true model of orchestral work in the classical forms.” (Elson, National, 289 and 290). But “in 1853 the Germania’s Boston premier of Beethoven”s Ninth drew over three thousand listeners. Overflowing audiences, with others turned away, were excited reported in Dwight’s Journal.” (Horowitz, 31)

“In the eighty or ninety concerts which they gave here [Boston], the little orchestra was sometimes doubled by the addition of the best resident musicians. In the United States the Germania gave over seven hundred orchestral concerts, besides about one hundred concerts of chamber music, sonatas, trios, quartets, etc.” (Dwight, History of Boston, 430) “Most of its members would remain in the Boston area and generate other important musical endeavors. For a few tantalizing years [1848-1854], these Germans had given Bostonians a sample of what it was like to have a truly competent resident group of players entertain them with the finest in musical literature.” (Tara, Psalm, 96 and 97) Their first flute player, Carl Zerrahn “immediately after the dissolution of the Germania in 1855, established the Philharmonic Orchestra with fifty-four men. He and the orchestra would continue to give regular concerts until 1863, when the Civil War forced a stoppage.” (Ryan, 97) “In New York, Carl Bergmann, an incipient Wagnerite, was made conductor of the Philharmonic.” (Horowitz, 31)

 

Globe, Boston. See Newspapers.

Seating diagram from Boston Manual of 1888 showing the 1874 building. Johnston Collection.

Globe Theater. Site of B. J.’s chamber music concerts in 1872. Opened in 1867 as Selwyn’s Theatre, its “entrance at 364 Washington Street, a lobby ran 93 feet back to a 68-foot-wide auditorium rear. To the left was the parquet floor, with its circle slightly raised, and six boxes in the rear. Above were stacked two balconies called dress and family circle, while six boxes fronted the proscenium. Walls were blue-paneled on an amber background. Parquet seats were covered in crimson satin, while upper seats were done in Bismark damask. Some 50 feet above was a dome beautifully frescoed with panels of amber, blue and scrollwork of the Muses, and in its center blazed a gas burning Frink’s reflector chandelier, producing light and ventilation. The heat from these huge gas chandeliers was vented by a shaft to the roof, pulling fresh air into the auditorium from various outside vents, doors and windows. Selwyn’s proscenium arch was 36 feet square, its stage 65 feet deep and 63 feet wide. The new theatre boasted 118 sunken footlights, having three color reflectors of white, red, and green; 196 border lights hung above the stage. All of the gas lamps were controlled from the prompter’s desk. Architect B. F. Dwight provided an iron roof, brick division walls, and ample ingress and egress; a second entrance from Essex Street to parquet rear was 12 feet wide by 60 feet long” (King, 56) In 1870 this theatre was sold to Arthur Cheney who changed its name to the Globe Theatre. (Ibid, 59) On May 30, 1873 this building was destroyed by fire, but “plans were immediately drawn for a larger and finer replacement.” (Ibid, 60) “The new Globe Theatre opened on December 4, 1874… The new Globe was larger than its predecessor: its parquet was 74 feet long by 72 1/2 feet wide, and height to the dome was 65 feet. The house used an innovation in seating arrangements: a row of boxes separated the first balcony from the second, and a family circle was above the latter. Capacity was 825 in the parquet, 475 in the balcony, 650 in the second balcony and family for a total seating of 2,180.” (King, 63)

Gluth, Victor. Teacher and composer; (b. Pilsen, May 6, 1852). Teacher at the Kgl. Akademie der Tonkunst in Munich. Has composed the operas Der Trentajager (Munich, 1885; rewritten, Munich, 1911), Hornad und Hilde (prod. Munich); Et Resurrexit (not yet produced). Address: Schackstrasse 6, Munich, Germany. (Entry from Saerchinger, 227) Gluth would have been in his early thirties when Margaret studied with him.

Mathews, A Hundred Years of Music In America, 639.

Baker, Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, 226.

Page from a Musical Biographical Dictionary. Johnston Collection.

Gottschalk, Louis Moreau. “He died worn out by excessive exertion.” Amy Fay wrote: “I was dreadfully sorry to hear of poor Gottschalk’s death. He had a golden touch, and equal to any in the world, I think. But what a romantic way to die!-to fall senseless at his instrument, while he was playing La Morte. It was very strange. If anything more is in the papers about him you must send it to me, for the infatuation that I and 99,999 other American girls once felt for him, still lingers in my breast!” (Fay, 42) b. New Orleans, La., May 8, 1829; d. Rio de Janeiro, December 18, 1869. “The eldest of seven children. His father, Edward Gottschalk, was a wealthy and cultured English broker born in London, but not of Jewish ancestry, as has been generally stated. He emigrated to America at the age of 25 and settled in New Orleans where he married Aimee Marie de Brusle, a Creole of rare charm and beauty… Her family., of noble French lineage, had migrated from the island of Santo Domingo, where her grandfather had been governor of the northern province.” (Dic. Am. Bio. 441 and 442) He studied in Paris 1841-46, and after his brilliant debut in Paris in 1845, he played concerts throughout Europe. “His triumphs were repeated in the U. S. beginning in New Orleans, he traversed the length and breadth of the land, playing his own pf.-works, and conducting his orchestral works at grand festivals.” (Baker, 226) “On 2 April 1845, shortly before his 16th. birthday, he gave a highly successful recital in the Salle Pleyel at which Chopin predicted that the young man would become ”the king of pianists”… Gottschalk made his formal debut as a professional pianist in the Salle Pleyel on 17 April 1849, in a recital including a group of his ”Creole” compositions, then the rage of Paris… During the summer of 1850 he toured Switzerland and the French provinces with spectacular success… Later in 1851 he decided to try his luck in Spain where he quickly won the enthusiastic approval of Isabella II.” (New Am. Grove, 262) “On his return to Paris in 1852 [he] created a genuine furore by his unexampled performances on the piano, both his own compositions and those of the great masters. On his leaving for New York early in 1853, Berlioz wrote of him, Feb. 4 of that year: ”Gottschalk is one of the very small number who possess all the different elements of a consummate pianist-all the faculties which surround him with an irresistible prestige, and give him a sovereign power. His is an accomplished musicians – he knows just how far fancy may be indulged in expression. He knows the limits beyond which any liberties taken with the rhythm produce only confusion and discord, and upon these limits he never encroaches. There is an exquisite grace in his manner of phrasing sweet melodies and throwing off light touches from the higher keys. The boldness and brilliancy and originality of his play at once dazzle and astonish… thus the success of M. Gottschalk before an audience of musical cultivation is immense.”” (Mathews, 637 and 638) “He gave his first American concert at Niblo’s on February 11, 1853, and met with a flattering reception. In October of that year he gave a concert in the Music Hall, Boston, but was coldly received, and met with unfair treatment from the critics, who at that time could see nothing of merit that was not of German origin.” (Mathews, 638) “Although he was unfavorably received in Boston, his playing was so popular in New York that in the winter of 1855-56 he gave eighty concerts there (Dic. Am. Bio., 442). From 1853 until 1856 he toured America with a “long interlude in Cuba (1854),” but on February 7, 1857 he sailed to Havana with the young Adelina Patti. For the next five years he traveled all over the Caribbean area and South America returning to America in February of 1862. “In four and a half months Gottschalk traveled 15,000 miles by rail and gave 85 recitals, a brutal pace which he maintained for more than three years. By the time he arrived in California for a far-western tour in April 1865, he estimated that he had given some 1,100 American recitals and traveled some 95,000 miles.” (New Am. Grove, 262) In September 1865 an affair with a young student forced him to flee to South America-he never returned to America.

“As a pianist, he was one of the greatest of his period; he was decidedly the best American performer. He had a brilliant technique and an appealing quality of tone, tinged with deep melancholy. Undoubtedly his fascinating performance of his own compositions, which he always featured, contributed greatly to their popularity. Though he was a notable interpreter of Beethoven, he seldom performed this master”s works, choosing to please rather than to educate an unsophisticated public. He was endowed with a most lovable personality. He was modest and generous almost to extravagance, and possessed an ingratiating presence. Like his father, he was a proficient linguist, speaking five languages fluently. Though English was his mother tongue, he thought and wrote in French and nearly all of his compositions bore French titles” (Dic. Am. Bio., 442).

FRITZ GRIESE.

Fritz Griese. Ryan, Recollections, facing page 72.

Griese was the third cellist of the Mendelssohn Quintette Club. (Ryan, 156) He remained for five years, and then after various temporary players, Anton Hekking joined the Club. “It is to be seen that the Club has had, from first to last, the best of cellists to help make its reputation.” (Ibid)

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Johnston collection.

Johnston collection.

Winslow, facing 34.

Hale, Edward Everett. Born Apr. 3, 1822 and died June 10, 1909. He “was born in Boston, the fourth of his parents” eight children, and died, at eighty-seven, in the house, in the Roxbury district of Boston, in which he had lived for forty years.” (Dic Am Biog., 99) “He was no prodigy, but was warmly sandwiched between six brothers and sisters; having the middle place, he was protected from those external influences which may affect the oldest or the youngest, protected, yet set in keen competition with a bright family, and having to keep his end up or go under.” (Winslow, 84) His father bought the Boston Daily Advertiser in 1814 and was the editor for nearly fifty years. E. E. entered Harvard at the age of thirteen and graduated aged seventeen in 1839, second in his class. “It was always taken for granted that he would enter the Unitarian ministry,” (Ibid) but first he taught at Boston Latin School while studying theology “under private guidance.” In “April 1846 [he] was ordained minister of the Church of the Unity in Worcester, Mass. Ten years later he became minister of the South Congregational Church in Boston, his only other parish for the forty-three ensuing years through which he was to continue his active ministry,” (Ibid) In a June 1857 issue of the Boston Transcript this church was described as “the centre of Boston bourgeois society.” (Chamberlin, 119) HALE’S “literary work has been stupendous, reaching to fifty volumes, and ten times fifty volumes in uncollected articles, studies, and sermons. He has caught the popular fancy, as few purely literary men have done, with ”My Double, and How He Undid Me” and ”The Man Without a Country.”” (Winslow, 37 and 38)

Hale, Irene (Baumgras). “American composer; born at Syracuse, New York. Studied piano at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, taking the Springer gold medal in 1881. Later studied in Berlin under Moskowski and Oscar Raif. In 1884, in Berlin, she married Philip Hale, the distinguished Boston musical critic. Her health was undermined and she was obliged to give up her wok. After her marriage she became a resident of Boston, and has produced a number of songs and piano works, the latter under the pseudonym of Victor Rene.” (Green, 343)

Courtesy of Smith College.

Below: Signature from the period when Hale was a student of Guilmant who thought enough of him to dedicate an organ piece to him. Johnston Collection.

Hale, Philip. Born in Norwich, Vermont in Mar. 5, 1854 to a family that had first arrived in Massachusetts in 1638 (“eighth in line of descent from Thomas Hale,” Horowitz, 63), he was organist at the Unitarian church in Northampton, Mass. at fourteen, studied at Phillips Exeter Academy, “where he also had a private tutor,” (Ibid, 63) and then graduated from Yale in 1876. After graduation studied organ with Dudley Buck; then studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1880; practiced for two years in Albany; then spent five years in Dresden and Berlin studying music followed by a time in Paris with Guilmant; returned to Albany in 1887 for two years where he began writing music criticism; fall of 1889 went as director of music to the First Unitarian Church of Roxbury, MA (where he stayed for 17 years)[Church of the First Religious Society, Roxbury (Universalist)] and while there did criticism to supplement his income. (Nat Bio., 462) Grant adds that his piano study was with Xavier Scharwenka, and that his study with Rheinberger and Guilmant was in the area of composition (Grant, 74). “Hale early acquired a formidable breadth of learning, lightly worn. The breezy aplomb of his worldly prose set him apart from other Boston writers.” (Horowitz, 63)

“In the summer of 1884, while studying in Berlin, he was married to Irene Baumgras of Washington, D. C.” (Dic. Am. Biog., 369)

Courtesy of Smith College

“A man of the world, good-natured and affable, full of wisdom, love of life and social graces was Philip Hale, music and dramatic editor of the Boston Herald from 1903 until his death, November 30, 1934…Hale, who looked like a noble old Roman in his latter years, was born in Norwich, Vt. He could have become a professor at his alma mater, Yale, but all he asked of life was to let him remain a newspaperman. Symphony lovers will always remember him as a music critic in the flesh, with a flowing bow tie of red or black, sitting in his accustomed seat in the third row, right, second balcony, Symphony Hall… The busy Mr. Hale found time to edit his own humorous Herald column, “As The World Wags,” and to write editorials on any subject, with delightful obscurities raked out of his fertile mind as illustrations. In the course of his comic sallies, Philip Hale invented a foil for himself called Herkimer Johnson, the Clamport philosopher. To many, Herkimer, with his preposterous dissertations, seemed as real as Philip Hale. And the latter was as close to genius as any man in the history of Boston journalism… He died at 80.” (Herald article on the BSO, December 15, 1940)

His fellow critic Huneker “bestowed the ultimate accolade, an artist in prose.'” (Grant, 74) Lawrence Gilman, music critic of the New York Herald Tribune wrote of Hale: “He never hesitated to lighten musical instruction with diversion and with wit,” while Grant wrote that “A dry understated humor was a steady weapon in HALE’S armamentarium,” and that “his acidic tendencies were feared by musicians.” (Grant, 78)

Hale was organist of the Albany, N. Y, Unitarian Church in 1889. He gave a recital on January 28, 1889 that included Fugue in G Minor by Guilmant which had been dedicated to Hale. (Hale Crits., Vol. 1)

HALE’S NEWSPAPERS:                                                                                                               Boston Home Journal:  1889-1890. A saturday evening weekly in magazine shape; sixteen pages, four columns each; good arts coverage.                                                                                                                             Boston Post: 1890-1891                                                                                                    Boston Journal: 1891-1903. Also daily column “Talk of the Town [Day?].”                                                                                                                             Boston Herald: 1903-1933.  Also comic column, “As the World Wags.”             Also Herald Drama Critic: 1908-1933

MUSIC JOURNALS:                                                                                                         Editor   Boston Musical Record: 1897-1901                                                                    Musical World: 1891-1893                                                                                                Music Journals:  Associate Editor                                                                                Boston Musical Herald: 1891-1893  (see below, 1901-1903)                                  Provided articles for: Musical Courier (New York) Looker-on. (Mitchell, 2)

“Philip Hale is another eminent eastern critic. From 1889 to 1891 he was musical critic of the Boston Home Journal. In 1890 he accepted a position as critic for the Boston Post, and in 1891 went to the Boston Journal in the same capacity (he remained with the Journal for 12 years and resigned in May 1903 to take a position on the staff of the Boston Herald, to which he contributed, besides musical criticism and editorials, a special column on ‘Men and Things.'”(Nat. Bio., 462) Grant stated that, “Settling in Boston, Hale started writing music reviews for the Boston Post in 1890 and the next year moved to the Boston Journal, where he quickly became a colorful presence, writing not only music criticism but also a daily column called ”Talk of the Town,” that covered a broad human canvas. When in 1903 he moved over to the rival Herald, he wrote a similar column titled ”As the World Wags,” which retailed the exploits of such fictitious characters as Herkimer Johnson… and Halliday Witherspoon, a pseudonymous travel correspondent. He also for a few years in the 1890s wrote for the Musical Courier, edited the Boston Musical Record, and was music and drama critic for thirty years for the Herald (1903-1933).” (Grant, 74 and 75) “Since 1897 he has been editor of the Boston Musical Record and was for some years correspondent of the Musical Courier. He has lectured throughout the country on musical subjects. Mr. Hale is known as one of the most brilliant and forceful writers in the interest of music connected with the American press. His articles are fair and judicious and also tinged with unique humor.” (Hubbard, 305) (Saerchinger, 252) adds dates for the Boston Musical Record of 1897-1901 and editorship of The Musical World of 1901-1903, and mentions that Hale began writing the program notes for the Boston Symphony Program Books in 1901.

The Nat. Bio. entry states “Mr. Hale is one of a small group of brilliant writers identified with musical criticism in America who command respect quite as much for the literary quality of their work as for their special knowledge upon which their observation and verdicts are based. He is conspicuous among critics by reason of his pronounced individuality and he extended range of his information. His influence on musical art bids fair to be as permanent as that of any of his contemporaries in criticism, because the force and pungent flavor of his utterance fix them in the memory, and because, beneath the wit that illuminates his dicta, and beneath the occasional outbursts of contempt for mediocrity and humbug, there is manifest devotion to the high ideals that should, and often does, stimulate those who write temporarily under his lashing to stern endeavor toward improvement.” (Nat. Bio., 463) Johnson wrote: “After 1889 Philip Hale was on hand to touch with surest wit and perceptiveness every musical and theatrical event. Trained in Germany, he also studied with Guilmant in Paris and lived there during an exciting period of artistic Impressionism. HALE’S writing was accurate, learned, brilliant in expression and lively in satire and humor.” (Johnson, Hallelujah, 160) Leichtentritt noted Hale among the early writers of the “Historical and Descriptive” notes in the BSO programs. “During the season of 1890-91 and a part of 1891-92 [these notes] were written by G. H. Wilson. On December 18, 1891, his name vanished and that of Philip Hale, destined to become the most famous of the Boston commentators appeared for the first time. From January 1892 to the end of the season, however, no author is given at all. Is Hale hidden behind the anonymity? In the two seasons of 1892-94 William F. Apthorp wrote the notes.” (Leichtentritt, 367) These seasons included Margaret’s April 1893 premier of Opus 12, Dramatic Overture. Apthorp was still doing the notes in 1896 as he wrote them for Margaret’s Opus 24 Armida premiered in January of that year.

Hale also wrote a daily column entitled “The Talk of the Town.”[or “Taverner” Swan, 87], and in May of 1903 he joined the editorial staff of the The Boston Herald and began a daily column “As the World Wags.” The Langs were mentioned in both of these columns. (Dic. Am. Biog., 269 and 270) “When he moved to The Boston Herald in 1903, he was a securely established critical power in the city; however, the thirty years at the Herald were truly the years of ”Philip the Great” (or ”the Terrible,” depending upon one’s point of view). In those decades Boston could boast of two critics, Hale and Parker, with international reputations at least equal to those of the powerful New York critics of the day (Krehbiel, Finck, Henderson, Aldrich).” (Swan, 87) In 1878 The Boston Herald was described as “the most successful of the local papers. its first number appeared in 1846 as an evening daily, neutral in politics. It was a small paper, issued at one cent a copy, containing four pages of five columns each. The edition was 2,000 copies.” (King, 145) The paper grew to morning and evening editions, and increased in copies produced so that a special edition giving the election returns in 1876 sold 223,256 copies. In 1878 the paper was located at 255 Washington Street. “It is said that The Herald presses can print more papers in any given time than the presses of all other Boston dailies combined.” (King, 146)

Hale was certainly a man of his own convictions. “He had no fear of the Olympian gods of music who had been placed by great critics upon heights of Parnassus. He could be derisive when he spoke of Wagner and Brahms, and in a lesser scale he could pour his scorn upon Sir Edward Elgar and others. Among his idols was Debussy.” (Dic Am. Biog., 370) In the June 1, 1899 issue of the Boston Musical Record he wrote: “We heard lately in Boston the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven. The performance was technically most admirable. But is not the worship paid this Symphony mere fetishism?. Is not the famous Scherzo insufferably long-winded? The Finale is to me for the most part dull and ugly. I admit the grandeur of the passage ”und der Cherub steht vor Gott,” and the effect of ”Seid unschlungen Millionen!” But oh, the pages of stupid and hopelessly vular music. The unspeakable cheapness of the chief tune, ”Freude, Freude”! Do you believe way down in the bottom of your heart that if this music had been written by Mr. John L. Tarbox, now living in Sandown, N. H., any conductor here or in Europe could be persuaded to put it in rehearsal?” (Grant, 78) “A dry understated humor was a steady weapon in Hale”s armamentarium… His acidic tendencies were feared by musicians…Hale? who, persisted in wearing a loose black tie on all occasions into the Roaring Twenties, looked by that time like a creature from a yester era… Hale also was far less moralistic and puritanical than his predecessor Apthorp… He was modest enough to reverse earlier negative opinions upon later hearings, as with his opinion of much Strauss… He never learned to like Brahms and is apocryphally credited with punning, when Symphony Hall was opened in Boston, that the fire exits should be marked ”Exit in case of Brahms.” (Ibid., 78 and 79) He once summed up his total life”s work by saying: “Mere collections of passing opinions, criticisms that prove stale in a day-whether they be signed by Reichardt in 1792, Hanslick in the Eighties or Krehbiel in 1908 – those are tolerable neither to gods nor men.” (Ibid, 80)

Lawrence Gilman of the New York Herald Tribune wrote that Hale “never hesitated to lighten musical instruction with diversion and with wit. He knew much besides music; and he was able to peptonize for the reader his vast and curious erudition. He could tell you about the maceration of oriental women, and what action is described by the word ”tutupomponeyer,” and who invented the first chess-playing automaton, and how locomotives engines are classified, and what Pliny said concerning the bird called penelope… [HALE’S] amazing annotations, traversing all history and the ceaseless tragi-comedy of life, assure us that a Programme note may sometimes, if an artist has contrived it, be more rewarding than the music that occasioned it. Philip Hale transformed the writing of Programme notes from an arid and depressing form of musical pedagogy into an exhilarating variety of literary art.” (Grant, 75)

However he had his very particular views. He “denounced the influence of Dvorak the ”negrophile.” In 1910-fully six years after Dvorak’s death-Hale was still contesting the New York view that the composer had struck an American chord. ”The negro,” he wrote, was ”not inherently musical.” His ”folk-songs” were founded on ”sentimental ballads sung by the white women of the plantation, or on camp-meeting tunes.” It would be ”absurd,” Hale concluded, ”to characterize a school of music based on such a foundation as an ”American school.”” (Horowitz)

The obit notice in Time Magazine of December 10, 1934 said: “For thirty years his shrewd scholarly criticisms made him Boston’s oracle on music and the theatre. He wore bright Windsor ties, carried a big umbrella and a green felt hat. Last week’s Symphony audience stood to show its respect for wise Philip Hale.” “He was a man of distinguished though unconventional appearance. He wore a loose black silk tie and, even in an era when the facial adornment was fast disappearing, he continued to wear a large mustache.” (Dic. Am. Biog., 370) Grant’s description was: “Hale? who, persisting in wearing a loose black silk tie on all occasions into the Roaring Twenties, looked by that time like a creature from a yester era.” (Grant, 78 and 79) “Hale was tall and elegantly trim; his sartorial signature was a loose black silk tie; for the opera, he always wore white tie and tails. His courtly manner was also caustic. Nothing more inflamed his pen than the influence of German music, language, and mores.” (Horowitz, 64)

The scholarly view of the 1980s is reflected in the following: “Hale is best known for his program notes for the Boston SO; written between 1901 and 1934, these are scholarly, witty, and ample, and became the model for American program annotators. His insistence on evaluating each work as it appeared to him, and the quotability of his negative opinions (he once said of Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto that ”the finale, with the endless repetitions of a Kangaroo theme, leads one to long for the end”) have caused him to be represented as a crabbed reactionary, cringing at Brahms. In reality he was a fair-minded and forward-looking critic, one of the first American champions of Debussy and an often shrewd evaluator of later music.” (Shirley, 307)

Around 1900 it was written that “Hale is known as one of the most forceful and brilliant writers for the American musical press; his articles in the Looker-on, Musical review, Music Herald, etc., are valuable contributions to musical literature, as well as being interesting for the humor they contain.” (Green, 343)

Comments from Eaton: “”Philip the Great,” occasionally ”Philip the Terrible,” and more intimately, ”Phil.”” Hale and Parker were opposites in many ways. Hale with private prep school, Yale, music study in Germany and Paris, professional work as an organist and choir director verses Parker with early schooling in England, Harvard, but “he was virtually a musical illiterate, unable, for example, to tell the difference between a major and minor chord and certainly lacking the ability to read notes.” Both died in 1934. Hale had retired the year before and moved, with his wife, into the

Johnston Collection.

 

“staid Hotel Vendome… This hostelry had been dubbed by the more irreverent set as ”God’s Waiting Room,” because so many of Boston’s more or less affluent elders choose it as an antechamber to Heaven.” Their writing styles were also different: “Hale used one word to his colleague’s five, yet matched him in consumed space for his more varied output.” Olin Downes, forever his disciple and later the main critic of the New York Times wrote: “If only one work could be saved from the English literature on music, we would vote for the preservation of the thirty-odd volumes of program notes which Mr. Hale has compiled.” In addition to his musical and dramatic writings, he also was “the anonymous author of a column called ”As the World Wags,” [in which] he let his fancy roam over the world… Bostonians waited eagerly for the adventures of Herkimer Johnson, an alter ego Hale created to comment on men and affairs… His humor, clean and bright, seldom curdled to satire, but he could demolish a fledgling pianist, who should never been allowed at the starting point, with four words: ”She consumed valuable time.”” Hale was offered the higher paying position at the New York Times, but he refused “believing that Boston air nourished the individualist as New York’s tended to submerge him.” Hale had a particular style of dress: “HALE’S personal badge, a flowing bow tie of either red or black, in later years occasionally enlivened by polka dots (some said depending on his charitable or uncharitable mood).” For attending the opera he wore “white tie and tails, a slim, tall figure, reminding his young assistant of a grand duke.” While H. T. Parker sat in the first row of the first balcony at Symphony Hall, usually alone, “Hale, usually accompanied by his wife, occasionally by a crony, reigned serenely a few rows behind.” All critics have their prejudices, but “HALE’S Germanophobia extended beyond Wagner even to Bach, whose music he described as ”counterpoint by the yard-you can begin anywhere and end anywhere; a sausage factory.” He was, of course, known for suggesting a sign in Symphony Hall to read: ”Exit in Case of Brahms.” Later in life he mellowed somewhat and must be credited with warm and perceptive reviews of Richard Strauss” Salome and Electra at a time when other pens dripped horror and vitriol.” HALE’S writing style was described as being an “open progression of thought and brevity of sentence. HALE’S mind clearly worked through his lean, pointed prose. ”Terse, idiomatic sentences were characteristic of the clarity of his thinking and the quick and penetrating processes of his mind,” Downes wrote after his death.” To sum it up: “Equally lofty on a pinnacle of scholarship, genuine humanity, and sheer musical competence, the proud Hale, twice honored by academia with honorary degrees, selected for a scholarship award of Sigma Delta Chi, professional journalistic fraternity, dubbed by Carl Engle, the musicologist and editor of Musical Quarterly, the ”Eaglet of Seventy” in 1924, flew banners brilliantly in to the third decade of the century.” (Musical Quarterly, 102-111)

Paderewski had met Hale many times, and he described Hale as “a highly educated man of great culture and he knew many things besides music. But his criticisms were sometimes – I would not say adverse, but so sardonic, in their suggestion as to be unmistakable. There was always some little personal remark. He was witty, and wit is a very dangerous weapon in a critic, and in any one practically, because witty people cannot refrain from making witty remarks, and witty remarks are not always amusing when they are a little bit ironical. There was something in me though, which always shocked him-I cannot find another word for it, and that was my hair! He apparently could never get used to it. I must confess it was always a question in my mind whether Hale was envious of my hair, or simply disturbed by the sight of it. At any rate he always had to overcome to a certain extent his feeling and his annoyance, though it often trickled through into some rather caustic remarks in his notices, which was natural enough, feeling as he did.” (Paderewski, 200 and 201)

Henry Dunham, organ instructor of the New England Conservatory wrote: “we looked upon Hale as a pupil of Wolf [sic]. They were seen almost always together at the concerts and his style and even opinion seemed more or less influenced by the older man. After a few years, Wolf disappeared from the scene and Philip Hale continued on to become the famous critic he is today, and I am sure none the less so from his intimacy with B. E. Wolf.” (Dunham, 229)

Handel and Haydn Society. It would seem that the early 1870s were a difficult period for the group. “The Handel and Haydn Society of Boston is about played out. its white headed members are beginning to grow famous by their squeaky, husky voices-and they ought to know it. They wouldn’t think of retiring in the background, or of admitting young voices and fresh talent into their exclusive ranks. They have grown old-fogyish in their notions, and can’t give a respectable concert without outside assistance. Their day is past; and our hopes now centre in the rising Apollo Club, from which the public is led to expect many wonderful successes.” (Folio, February 1872)

Elson, History of American Music, 51.

Henschel, Georg. Born February 18, 1850 in Breslau of Polish descent – “He was the only son of his mother, though there were three other children by his father”s first marriage.” (Henschel, H., 9) He died September 10, 1934 in Aviemore, Scotland at his holiday-home “Alltnacriche.” At the age of twelve he played the piano solo in Weber’s Concertstuck “at a new music school which his professor had just started in Berlin.” (Ibid, 10). In 1867, aged seventeen, he went to study at the Conservatory in Leipzig where his favorite piano teacher was Ignace Moscheles. He studied voice with Goetze whom he felt gave him “the solid foundations of a vocal structure of great simplicity, intended for duration rather than show.” (Ibid, 11) Henschel’s daughter remarked that “this instinct was fully justified, as anyone will realize who heard my father broadcast on his eighty-fourth birthday or who is familiar with the records he made just before he was eighty.” (Ibid) At about this time he met Liszt who invited him to his Weimar home. At one of Liszt’s Sunday mornings “at-home” Henschel was part of a group that included Anton Rubinstein, Carl Tausig, Hans von Bulow and Liszt. At this occasion Wagner’s Valkyrie was played from the recently published score? Henschel was then just eighteen, and it made a great impression on him. In 1870 Henschel transferred to Berlin to study at the High School of Music headed by Joseph Joachim, and Professor Schulze was his vocal teacher. “During his stay in Berlin he met Madame Schumann, the Joachims, and most of the other great musicians living there.” (Ibid, 13) In 1874 Henschel first met Brahms. Henschel”s first appearance in England was at “a Monday ”Pop” in St. James” Hall on February 19th., 1879, the day after his twenty-ninth birthday.” (Ibid, 14) First conductor of the BSO, “Henschel made a strong impression in Boston, not only as a singer and composer, but also, at a concert of the Harvard Musical Association, as a conductor. In a surprise appearance, he led the orchestra in his own Concert Overture, and even John S. Dwight was struck by ”the revelation (from the very first measures of the work) of that rara avis, a born conductor.” Higginson evidently was impressed too: that concert took place March 3, 1881; within the month he had conceived a new orchestra and engaged Henschel as its conductor.” The opera singer Clara Rogers recorded: “Georg Henschel, who had come to America in July, 1880, with his bride-elect, Lillian Bailey, offered both his and Lillian’s services as soloists for the last symphony concert of the [HMA] season, with the understanding that he should conduct an overture of his own composition. The orchestra, roused to unwonted effort by the magnetism of Henschel’s ardent and highstrung temperament, fairly outdid itself… They played with a vim and spirit as unusual and startling as the vivid tone colour displayed in their performance. Mr. Higginson was quick to recognize his man at once. No further search for a conductor was necessary.” (Rogers, Two Lives, 69) Henschel recorded in a letter : “I engaged the members of the orchestra, selecting them, at Mr. Higginson’s very wise suggestion, as nearly possible from those of the old Harvard Society and among other local players.” (Henschel, H., 31) The BSO “numbered at the outset sixty-seven musicians, and its first conductor was Mr. George Henschel, who prior to that time had been better known as a song-writer and pianist of exceptional ability. He remained as conductor until 1884. He was an ardent devotee of Beethoven. His concerts began with The Dedication of the House, and each season closed with the Ninth Symphony. All the nine symphonies were played during his administration, but his work was not confined to Beethoven, for the classical and modern composers had a fair representation on his programmes, and he gave considerable attention to American compositions. Notwithstanding his ability he did not succeed, however, and in 1884 Mr. Higginson brought Mr. Wilhelm Gericke from Vienna to take his place.” (Upton, Musical Societies, p. 80) “There was some criticism of the selection at first, partly because Henschel”s appointment was deemed a slight to local conductors and partly because his multiple talents aroused suspicion as to his competence in any one area, but he came to be regarded as a fine musician, if not a stern drillmaster… At Higginson’s suggestion, his first season included all the nine Beethoven symphonies played in chronological order; the Ninth was performed at the last concert of the season with a volunteer chorus of subscribers and others.” (Am Grove, 372) “The early days of the orchestra were not by any means peaceful. The Press, for some reason, were almost unanimous in trying to kill the new venture… Fortunately, they seem to have had no effect on public opinion.” (Henschel, H., 31) Henschel was “a young German singer-composer who came to the United States in 1880 to appear in concerts as soloist and in company with his fiancee, Lillian Bailey, a gifted soprano who had grown up in Boston. The couple had met in London, where Henschel was well launched on a career when Bailey arrived from studies in Paris.” (Sablosky, 249) “While in Boston before their wedding, they performed several recitals and appeared as Mephistopheles and Gretchen in B. J. Lang”s performance of Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust (1880).” (Am. Grove, 372) After leaving the Boston Symphony Orchestra Henschel did return to Boston on various occasions. “Mr. and Mrs. Georg Henschel gave four vocal recitals in the Meionaon, Tremont Temple, March 21, 23, 28, 30. Only Mr. Henschel’s compositions were sung at the concert of the 30th., at which Miss Gertrude Edmands, Contralto, and Mr. G. J. Parker, tenor, assisted.” (MYB, 1888-89, 24)

He first appeared in England (1877) as singer; engagements during the following years included those with the Bach Choir (1878) and at London Philharmonic (1879), where he sang a duet with the American soprano Lillian June Bailey (1860-1901)(her London debut), who became his pupil and later his wife (1881). At Henschel’s “Second Vocal Recital” held at Tremont Temple on January 31, 1881, Lang and Miss Lillian Bailey were listed as assisting artists. Lang and Henschel played the Hommage a Handel by Moscheles for two pianos. Whether Henschel accompanied himself and Miss Bailey is not clear from the program. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 3) At the fourth concert in the 1881-82 “Season of Mr. and Mrs. Georg Henschel’s Vocal Recitals” held at the Meionaon on Monday January 9, 1882 Lang was an assisting artist along with three other performers-two singers and a pianist (Miss Lamson, probably a Lang pupil). Lang did two solos, and he and Lamson accompanied selections from Op. 52 and 65 Liebeslieder Waltzes by Brahms. (BPL Prog., Vol. 3) Lang had also taken part in the earlier three concerts in the series. For the first on December 6, 1881 he played two solos and was probably the accompanist. For the second on December 16, 1881 he played three short solos, and for the third on December 27, 1881 he played two Bach pieces as arranged by St. Saens. (BPL Prog., Vol. 4)

After three years as a conductor of the Boston Symphony (1881-84), Henschel made his home in England, where he succeeded Jenny Lind as professor of singing at Royal College of Music (1886-88); he established London Symphony concerts; appeared in Britain and on Continent as both conductor and singer. (Sablosky, 297-98) “At his final concert [with the BSO] on March 22, 1884, Henschel gave the downbeat for Schumann’s Manfred Overture only to see the entire orchestra rise and begin playing Auld Lang Syne. At this, the audience stood and proceeded to sing along. he was too much moved to speak.” (Horowitz, 50)

Portrait by Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1879. Wikipedia article, downloaded February 28, 2010.
“Henschel at the piano of Alma-Tadema, Townshend House”

Henschel returned to Boston as a singer and composer in 1892. “A friend of Brahms and Joachim, [he] was distinguished in many fields and highly honored in London, where he had finally settled. On April 14, 1892, the Boston Symphony Orchestra performed his Opus 50, Suite from the Music to Shakespeare’s Hamlet, under his direction. In the same concert his wife, a former pupil of his, sang arias by Handel and Massenet. In March and April 1892 they gave four vocal recitals, classed among the finest of the season. At another concert Henschel’s ballad for contralto and orchestra, Here Was An Ancient King, was sung; and Arthur Foote included five vocal quartets by him in his concert of April 13, 1893, in which oboe pieces and a piano suite by Foote were performed.” (Leichtentritt, 380)

“He brought out many of the newer compositions and revised [revived?] forgotten works of excellence. From 1893-1895 [he] conducted the Scottish Orchestra in Glasgow and gave a command performance at Windsor Castle. His compositions include a suite in canon form for stringed orchestra, the 130th. Psalm for chorus and orchestra, a serenade for chorus and orchestra, and several part-songs.” (Green, 370) The Cecilia Society performed his “Missa pro defunctis, composed in memory of his wife, in which he and his daughter Helen took the leading vocal parts.” (Am Grove, 372) Ledbetter’s list of compositions includes “two operas, a number of sacred choral works, about 20 piano pieces, and many songs and duets. Besides his book of memoirs, he published Personal Recollections of J. Brahms (1907) and Articulation in Singing (1918).” (Am. Grove, 372) “To do justice to Henschel’s personal character would need many words. Suffice it to say that he was a man of great physical and mental vitality, of outstanding intellect, and of notable charm and kindness.” (Musical Times (Oct. 1934): 895)

 

 

Lillian and Georg Henschel. Boston Symphony Archive.

Henschel, Lillian June. “1860-1901. Lillian Bailey, a gifted soprano, was born in Ohio. Her first teachers were her uncle, C. Haydn, and Mme. Rudersdorff. When but sixteen years old she made her first pubic appearance in Boston, and met with much success. In 1878 she went to Paris and became a pupil of Mme. Viardot-Garcia. It was while singing at the Philharmonic in London that she met Georg Henschel. Later she became his pupil, and in 1881 they were married in Boston. Wherever Mrs. Henschel sang she met with success; her method was excellent and her voice possessed a charm which merited the applause given her. She appeared with her husband in song recitals in most of the largest cities in America, and delighted most critical audiences, as well as the pubic at large. She died in London in 1901.” (Green, 370) Her “first public performance” referred to above may have been a concert that she presented at the Revere House on Friday evening, April 7, 1876 where B. J. Lang was among the seven assisting artists. In this concert she only sang three songs with the majority of the concert being provided by the guest instrumentalists and vocalists (HMA Program Collection) Arthur Foote referred to this concert: “In 1876 I assisted at two of Lang”s concerts in Boston… In these concerts a wonderful young girl, Lillian Bailey, afterwards Mrs. George Henschel, made her first appearance: a lovely voice and most beautiful singing-one of the finest artists I have known. She, her mother, brother, and uncle (Charles R. Hayden), lived at the top of Hotel Pelham (where the Little Building now stands), and I was a frequent visitor, making music there with her.” (Foote, Auto., 44) On February 10, 1877 she presented a concert at Union Hall which was “appreciated by a large and cultivated crowd. This gifted lady, yet in her teens, shows a remarkable improvement since her first semi-private appearance a year ago. Her fresh, sweet, penetrating voice has developed into larger volume and capacity of various expression… For she has intellectual talent likewise, and seems to be prompted by a genuine musical enthusiasm… Miss Bailey’s teacher, Mr. C. R. Hayden, [her uncle] to whose judicious training the young maiden bore such testimony” also sang. Lang students Sumner and Foote were the accompanists. (Dwight (March 3, 1877): 399) Fifteen months before Mr. C. R. Hayden had been called “one of the best tenors of our concert rooms” when he took part in the 452nd. recital of NEC. (Dwight (December 11, 1875): 142) In December 1877 Miss Bailey was the soloist at the Second Harvard Musical Association Orchestra Concert singing both with orchestra and piano accompaniment. Dwight wrote: “Miss Lillian Bailey, with her delicate, sweet, fresh voice, her charming naturalness of manner, and her artistic, earnest feeling and expression, sang to great acceptance. She has gained much in power and style within a year, and, being very young, she will gain more. But it is already a rare treat to listen to her.” (Dwight (December 8, 1877): 142) A month later she presented herself in a concert that “was very agreeable and lively. The audience, which filled Union Hall, was of as select and flattering a character as a young artist could be honored with.” Her uncle also sang and Mr. Dresel was the vocal accompanist. (Dwight (February 2, 1878): 175) Later that spring she appeared again at Union Hall at a “testimonial concert tendered to the favorite young Soprano by the Second Church Young People’s Fraternity.” It was a great success: “Union Hall was crowded: Miss Bailey sang her best.” Again her uncle was part of the performance, and Lang served as accompanist and piano soloist playing the Nocturne in C Minor and Etude in E Flat Major by Chopin and the “Introduction and Scherzo” from the G Minor Piano Concerto by Saint-Saens. (Dwight (May 11, 1878): 231) In October she sang the soprano solos in Messiah for the Handel and Haydn Society. “Miss Bailey, who sang here for the first time since her studies in Paris, and her successful career in England, took the soprano solos; and, considering her youth, and the yet juvenile though much improved quality of her voice in firmness, evenness and fullness, acquitted herself most creditably… The young lady’s tones are pure and clear as a bird, her intonation faultless, and all the exacting arias were well studied and agreeably sustained with good style and expression.” (Dwight (October 23, 1880): 174) A month later it was noted that she was “affianced to George Henschel. (Dwight (November 20, 1880): 191) Two months later Bailey and Henschel were sharing recital programs where he “splendidly played all the accompaniments.” Lang and Henschel played the Moscheles Homage a Handel, a duet for two pianos to finish their January 31, 1881 concert at the Tremont Temple. (Dwight (February 26, 1881): 37) Twenty-five years later, on Saturday March 13, 1901 3PM at the Association Hall, Lang and Foote repeated the St. Saens’s Variations on a Theme of Beethoven for two pianos which they had performed at Lillian’s Boston debut (which this 1901 program said had happened on March 13, 1876 “at Mr. Lang’s concert”), but this time the concert’s featured artist was Lillian and Georg Henschel’s daughter, Helen Henschel. This 1901 concert was a family affair, for part of the program was a group of duets sung by mother and daughter, accompanied by father. (BPL Lang Prog.) Helen, the Henschel’s daughter, recorded the remarks of Edith Hipkins who remembered that in 1879 Georg’s London debut been “like a great wind, with his glorius voice, his flashing eyes and his splendid vitality. He was invited everywhere at once, and appeared even to be everywhere at once… As for your mother, she was too charming for words. And how jealous we all were when your father got engaged to her. That this glorious creature should be going to marry a very young and unknown singer from America seemed unbearable! But quite understandable, too. How pretty she was. So gentle and amusing. And she sang like a little bird.” (Henschel, H. 14)

 

Below: Bust-Higginson.

Bust-Higginson.

 

Higginson, Major Henry Lee. After Boston Latin School, Higginson attended Harvard, but poor eyesight ended his studies there after only a few months. The next few years were spent mainly in Europe, ending in Vienna aged twenty-three, where he began a two-year period of music study. He arose each day at 6:30AM and followed a regimen of nine music lessons and two lectures per week. At the end of this intensive period he determined that he “had no special talent for music,” and returned in 1861 to Boston. (Horowitz, 70 and 71) he fought in the Civil War until he was wounded in June 1863. After marrying the daughter of the Harvard anthropologist, and then having suffered several failing business projects, he was taken into his father”s banking firm. Here he made his mark and was able to “amass a sufficient fortune to undertake his true lifework. The Boston Symphony, on which he expended nearly one million dollars in deficit relief alone, was the most generous of his many philanthropies.” (Ibid, 72) George Henschel wrote of Mrs. Higginson: “[She], a daughter of the great scienist, Louis Agazziz, was one of a small circle of ladies who held what in France they call a ”salon,” at whose afternoon teas the representatives-resident or transitory-of art and science, music and literature, used to meet and discuss the events and questions of the day. These highly cultured women, among whom I recall with delight dear old Mrs. Julia Ward Howe… Mrs. George D. Howe, with Mrs. Bell and her sister Mrs. Pratt, Mrs. John L., familiarly Mrs. Jack-Gardner, were the leaders of what certainly was society in the highest and best meaning of the word.” (Quoted by Tara, Foote, 110) Higginson died in Boston on Friday, November 14, 1919 at the age of 84. (Methuen Memorial Music Hall website, 11/26/10, 5)

Hill, Edward Burlingame. b. 1872 in Cambridge-d. 1960 in Francestown. Graduated “summa cum laude” from Harvard in 1894 in Music-it had been a one-professor department. All his music curses had been taught by John Knowles Paine. Feeling that he needed more instruction, during the year 1894-95 he studied piano with Lang and composition with Frederick Field Bullard. The next two years, 1895-97 he spent in New York City. For three months during the summer of 1898 he studied composition with Charles Marie Widor and piano with Ludwig Breitner. The fall of 1897 saw Hill back in Boston where he began a period of seven years privately teaching piano and harmony.  “Novel harmonic experimentation-especcially with seventh and ninth chords-reveals inklings of [his] new French persuasion.” (Tyler, Bio-Bib, 6) In 1902 Hill took the orchestration course given by Chadwick at the New Englad Conservatory. Late in the fall of 1901 he began a series of jobs as a music journalist. First, as Assistant Music Critic of the Evening Transcript which went, with some interuptions until 1908 (he wrote only two reviews of the Apollo Club, none of the Cecilia Society, and one of the melodrama, Enoch Arden by Strauss); second as editor of the Musical World for 1902-03; and third he regularly wrote for Etude and Musician. In 1908 began a teaching career at Harvard that lasted thirty-two years. He spent his summers either in Europe or compsoing at his “small workshop” in Francestown. For his Orchestration class he used examples mainly from the French repertoire. He also taught a class on Modern French Music with an emphasis on D’Indy, Faure and Debussy. To prepare for this class Hill spent one summer in Paris where he met Ravel, Debussy, and other French composers. Among his pupils were Roger Sessions, Elliott Carter, Walter Piston, Ross Lee Finney, Virgil Thomson and Leonard Bernstein. (Wiki article, accessed June 10, 2017) Hill was a guest at the Lang’s farm, first in 1895 when he left four measures of a song in the Guest Book. He visited a second time in September of 1896 and again in 1897 when he wrote eight measures of a piano piece. The summer of 1898 was spent in Paris. He must have enjoyed that area of southern New Hampshire as he bought a home in Francestown,

Hill, Francis G. “The sudden death of Mr. Francis G. Hill, which occurred a week ago at his residence in Newtonville, was a painful blow to very many musical and other friends of the deceased, who, by his sweet and kindly disposition, his rare modesty, his sincere interest in Art and fellow artists, and his zeal for their success, more almost than his own, had become attached to him. Mr. Hill was among the first of Boston young men who went to Germany to study music. He returned a really accomplished pianist, but his extreme modesty, ever inclined to underrate his own abilities, kept him from public performance. As a teacher he was faithful and successful, and as a friend all who have come within his quiet sphere have valued him.” (Dwight (June 1, 1872): 247) another notice mentioned that he was 44 years and 10 months old. (Journal (May 25, 1872): 3) The short notice in the Folio mentioned that his death “on May 24th, resulting from an overdose of chloral, will not only carry sadness to the hearts of many who knew him, but ought to serve a severe lesson to those like addicted.” (Folio, July 1872) Chloral was first discovered in 1832 by Justus von Liebig, and “its sedative properties were first published in 1869… It was widely used recreationally and misprescribed in the late 19th. century.” (Wikipedia “Chloral hydrate,” May 7, 2010) Mixed with alcohol it becomes a “Mickey Finn,”” and “it has been speculated that it contributed to” the death of Marilyn Monroe. (Ibid) James Bond was drugged by it, and in “Russia With Love” it was used to knock out Tatiana Romanava. (Ibid) The brief notice in Dexter Smith’s noted: “In the death of Mr. Francis G. Hill, the musical profession lost a zealous worker, and his many friends parted with one whose modest worth will be held dear as long as memory shall preserve to us the remembrance of his kindly heart and open hand.” (Dexter Smith’s (July 1872): 154) In the spring 1860 issues of the Boston Musical Times he had advertised himself as a “Teacher of the Piano-Forte” with an address of 21 LaGrange Place. (BMT (March 24, 1860) A short notice in the Boston Musical Times listed Hill’s teachers as Dreyschock and Ch. Mayer. Hill was described as “a modest gentleman, and a teacher of experience and ability. During the past ten years [1853-63] Mr. Hill has numbered among his pupils a large number of the most accomplished amateurs who have obtained recognition in our city; and his style as well as his thoroughness in whatever pianism he undertakes, commend him to the consideration of all who doubt as to whom they had best employ teach their children. So much testimony we bear in common justice to Mr. Hill, without his solicitation or knowledge.” (BMT (April 4, 1863): 22) A year later he had an ad asking for players to form a Quntette Club. The players he needed were cello, tenor violon [viola?] and flute. “For particulars apply to Francis Hill, 13 1/2 Court Square.” (Herald (October 10, 1864): 3) Was this group ever formed?

Homer, Louise. Howe, in BSO, 1881-1931 lists  a total of eighteen appearances with the orchestra in nine seasons between 1904 and 1922. (Howe, BSO, 252)

Homer, Sidney. (1864-    ) “Husband of our great opera singer” was an organ pupil of George Whitefield Chadwick in the mid 1880s. (Chadwick, Unpublished Memoirs)

Homer, Winslow. 1936-1910. In the Portland Maine Museum of Art is a pencil sketch of Lang made in 1895. It was given to the Museum in 1991 by William D. Hamill. The card under the drawing records: “Winslow Homer shared confidences with his sister-in-law Martha, known as Mattie. Married to Homer’s brother Charles, Mattie preserved their correspondence, thus providing a glimpse at the artists’s social life at Prouts Neck, Boston, and in New York. This rare portrait is of Mattie’s great friend Benjamin Johnson Lang and, when combined with Homer’s letter to Mattie, serves as a document of the tight-knit Homer family. Lang – a prominenet Boston symphony conductor, pianist, and organist – sat for Homer on April 19, 1895, in the musician’s studio on Newbury Street in Boston. Homer sent the sketch to Mattie the following day as a token of his affection, along with a detailed letter describing the fidgety sitter.” (Portland Museum, item 1991.19.3) The Portland Museum also has a short note dated November 29, 1884 from Homer to Mrs. Lang acknowleding her invitation to him and his father.

Hood, Helen. June 28, 1863 in Chelsea, Mass.-      Hood “is one of America’s few really gifted musical women. Boston has been her home and the scene of her chief work, although she has traveled abroad, and studied for two years with Moszkowski. Endowed with perfect pitch, she has composed from her earliest years, and her music won for her a medal and diploma at the Chicago Exposition [1893]. Her most important work is a piano trio, while her two violin suites are also made of excellent material.” (Elson, Women’s Work, p. 207) Baker says that Hood studied piano with B. J. Lang and composition with Chadwick. But, Baker records that her time with Moszkowski in Berlin was only one year. (Baker, Dictionary, Second Edition, p. 282) In 1905 her list of compositions had reached Opus 28, Sacred Songs, and included solo songs, part-songs, and chamber music for strings. (Ibid) She came from a musical family; her father, George H. Hood (President of Boston Rubber) had a fine voice which he displayed at Masonic events. There was a musical connection between the Hood and Lang families. Three-quarters of a century ago Margaret’s grandfather (Benjamin Lang:      -1909) received his first organ lessons from Helen’s grandfather, the Rev. Jacob Hood, who was a congregational minister in Lynn. (Herald (January 1, 1894): 28, GB)

Hopekirk, Helen. (b. Edinburgh, May 20, 1856 and d. Cambridge, MA, November 19, 1945). When Helen returned to Scotland in 1919, she was given a “silver bowl-among the donors” names engraved on that bowl was M. R. Lang, so presumably Margaret Lang and Helen Hopekirk were good friends.” (Ammer, Unsung, Century Edition, 112)

Print from the lower first page of Harper’s Weekly, April 13, 1867. Johnston Collection.

Clark’s Boston Blue Book 1888, 320.

 James Henry Stark, Stranger’s Guide to Boston, 1883. Wikipedia, accessed August 8, 2013.

Wikipedia, accessed October 12, 2019. The Hall on the left with Park Street Church on the right.

Horticultural Hall-dark blue arrow; Music Hall-green arrow; Tremont Temple-Purple arrow.

Horticultural Hall (c. 1871) “In 1865 Horticultural Hall moved again to the building at Tremont and Bromfield Streets the site of the first Boston Museum, opposite the Studio Building.” (King, 56) “Stores were on the ground floor, and the auditorium was on the second floor. In 1882, the new Dime Museum took over the first floor.” (Ibid, 57) “A plan by G. J. F. Bryant and A. Gilman was adopted, the design being in accordance with that in the modern public buildings in France. The building, which is constructed of white Concord granite, fronts on Tremont Street, and covers the lot between Bramfield Street and Montgomery Place. The lower floor is devoted to stores, and the second story contains a hall 51 by 57 feet and 17 feet high, with various apartments for the use of the Society. The third story contains a grand Exhibition Hall, 50 by 77 feet, and 26 feet high… The exterior of the building is ornamented by three large statues in white granite… The material used was white granite from Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire, and it presented great difficulties in the mechanical execution.” (Harper’s Weekly,  1) The Society’s first building was on School Street and was finished in 1844. This was torn down and replaced by the present building in 1865. One of the aprtments on the second floor was the Library, “comprising over 4,000 volumes, the most valuable collection of horticultural works in the United States…[Both halls] are often used for concserts and the better class of entertainments.” (King’s Handbook of Boston, Seventh Edition, 254)

Houston, Miss J. E. Soprano-Was one of the assisting artists in Lang’s “Sacred Concert” given at the Music Hall in February 1864 (the organ had just been opened the November before). Lang presented solo organ pieces, and other artists included the violinist, Mr. Eichberg and the organist, Mr. Willcox. In 1861 she had been an assisting artist with the Mendelssohn Quintette Club at a concert in Jamaica Plain where she was listed as a member “of the Old South choir,” and the evaluation was that she “sang two songs to great acceptance.” (Dwight (March 23, 1861): 415) Perhaps Lang introduced her to the Club.

Hughes, Rupert. 1872-1956. “Among the brightest of the younger writers on musical topics in America, yet not permanently attached to any of the great dailies, is Rupert Hughes. He is a Westerner, having been born in Lancaster, Missouri, January 31, 1872.” Educated in Iowa, he graduated from Western Reserve University, and began work in New York City. After his early work (c.1900) centered on American composers, he turned from “the compilation of popular volumes on music to fiction, an early example of which is Zal (1905), a study in the psychology of the concert pianist.” (Lueders, 145) A writer of fiction, verse, essays and criticism, he wrote a number of books on music. “Mr. Hughes is an indefatigable student of facts, yet one of the liveliest and wittiest of American authors.” (Elson, 327) Grant describes him as a “millionaire novelist and screenwriter who also wrote a biography of George Washington.” (Grant, xx and xxi) Grant also cites him as “the only classical music critic to become millionaire and Hollywood celebrity.” (Grant, 208) He began “as a quiet journeyman classical music critic and appreciation book writer. He ended up the author of fifty books of fiction and nonfiction (one of which helped influence the creation of the observance of Mother’s Day); prolific screenwriter; silent movie director whose films are even today generating a cult among cinephiles; soldier under Pershing in the 1916 Mexican expedition to catch Pancho Villa; radio commentator; controversial George Washington biographer; publicly declared agnostic; and Hollywood chum of the stars. He was also the uncle of billionaire Howard Hughes, but Uncle Rupert earned his own fortune, thank you.” (Grant, 208) As a writer, “So far ahead of his time was he that he even included a chapter on ”Women Composers” in his 1900 book on composers; Hughes was a staunch advocate of women’s rights in those suffragist days.” (Grant, 209)

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Ipsem, Mrs. L. S. Wife of the designer of the programs for the Apollo Club, she performed as a singer with Lang in various concerts in the mid-1870s. She would often include a group of Norwegian songs. (BPL Lang prog., Vol. 2)

Kansas City Journal (November 26, 1897): 8, GB)

Iasigi, Joseph A. Brother of William F. Apthorp’s wife.                                       He was arraigned for embezzelment on April 22, 1897, and released on bail of $25,000, part of which was provided by his sister, Mary Iasigi. He had been arrested in New York, possibly just before he was to flee the country. In November of 1897 he was sentenced to “not more than eighteen years nor less than fourteen years in state’s prison, with one solitary day of confinement and the rest of the term at hard labor.” (Kansas City Journal (November 26, 1897): 8, GB)                                                                                                                           In June 1909 a petition was made for the release of Iasigi. Friends appearred as did his wife and son; he was only within two years of the expiration of his fourteen year term. (Journal (June 10, 1909): 6, GB) The Executive Council found this plea sound and gave him his pardon. (Journal (June 17, 1909): 6, GB)  His wife then began to appear in society again. “Mrs. Joseph Iasigi of Brookline is with Mrs. Oscar Iasigi at her Stockbridge home, Clovercroft.” (Herald, July 30, 1911): 14, GB)                    An earlier request had been made in 1905 and signed by “44 Prominent Citizens.” Their position was that his sentence has “excessive in comparison with other sentences for similar offences…He has now served a longer term than any one convicted of this crime has ever served in Massachusetts, while the amount of his embezzelment is less than in many other cases.” (Herald (July 6, 1905): 4, GB) It was later pointed out that “‘Boss’ Tweed was given only 12 years for stealing $6,000,000 from the city of New York.” (Herald (January 25, 1917): 10, GB) However Gov. Douglas declined to support the pardon with the rather hollow reply, “his excellency did not consider this a case where executive clemency ought to be extended.” (Herald (August 12, 1905): 4, GB) Two subsequent appeals were denied by Gov. Guild.                                                                                           Iasigi died at home in Brookline in January 1917. It was noted that he had studied in Paris from the age of 8 until 14 and had later graduated from Seton Hall in New York where upon he joined his father’s firm. He was first named vice-consul of France but then after five years as acting consul-general of Turkey, he assumed the full title in 1888 from his brother, Oscar. He was a prominent yachtsman and a Commadore at the Eastern Yacht Club; his home was “a mansion at 245 Beacon Street.” (Hearld (January 25, 1917: 10, GB) From the moment of his sentencing his wife, the former Miss Marie P. Homer, “started her long and determined fight to free her husband.” (Ibid) At least one newspaper moralized on the length of the sentence. “It was not to be assumed for a moment that there was one kind of justice for a poor man and another for one who had moved in the circles of rich men in Massachusetts.” (Herald (November 18, 1897): 6 GB)

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Jaell, Alfred. Born Trieste-March 5, 1832 and died in Paris-February 27, 1882. “Began his career [1843] at eleven years old as a prodigy, and seems to have acquired his great skill by constant performance in public.” In 1844 [aged 12] “he was taken to Moscheles, who called him a Wunderknabe.” (Lahee, 144) After his debut in Venice, he then appeared in Vienna in 1844, and in Brussels 1845-46. After the French Revolution in 1848, “he went to America for some years. In 1854 he returned to Europe. In 1862 he played at the Musical Union in London… from that time he played frequently in England… Her always showed himself anxious to bring forward new compositions; and played the concertos of Brahms and of Raff at the Philharmonic, at a time when they were unknown to that audience.” (Grove Dictionary-1921, 524) Lahee notes “the revolution of 1848 appears to have been of direct benefit musically to the United States, for many excellent musicians sought these shores and made America their permanent home. Others merely remained until the difficulties had passed, and Jaell was one of those who found the United States a resort convenient and lucrative for a time. He is described by one who heard him in the sixties as a short, rotund man, with a countenance beaming with good humour, and, in spite of his unwieldiness, full of life and energy. A drawback to his playing was the constant staccato of short fat hands, which made legato, such as was common in the playing of Henselt, Thalberg, and Liszt, impossible to him. But his tone was round, full, yet sweet and penetrating – the very biggest, fullest pianoforte tone to be heard at the time. Jaell married in 1866 Mademoiselle Marie Trautman, also a distinguished pianist.” (Lahee, 144) Baker, Bio. Dic., 293 adds: “Pupil for violin and piano of his father, Eduard J.; pianistic debut at Venice, 1843, after which time his almost continual concert-tours earned him the title of “le pianiste-voyageur.” From 1852-54 he traveled in America; after this he made Paris, Brussels, or Leipzig his temporary home… He was made court-pianist to the King of Hanover in 1856. His playing was remarkable rather for suave elegance and refinement than forceful energy… He wrote many extremely effective transcriptions from Wagner, Schumann, Mendelssohn, etc. (Ibid) The Chicago critic George P. Upton described Jaell as “a showy, brilliant player in the Thalberg manner, and a charming, likeable man, whose greatest delight, moved perhaps like von Bulow, by sense of rhythm, was to beat the bass drum when the Germania drummer had a night off.” (Upton, 83) While in Boston he was an assisting artist with the Mendelssohn Quintette Club. (Dowell, 39) Alfred Jaell, a virtuoso whose highest honor in life, perhaps, was the offer once made him to become director of the Leipzig Conservatory. (Transcript, Apr. 5, 1909) Lang had probably heard Jaell who had been the soloist in the Boston premier of Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 40 with the Germania Musical Society at the Melodeon Theatre on February 19, 1852 conducted by Carl Bergmann. Early in 1853 Dwight wrote: “Alfred Jaell is now, we suppose, generally acknowledged the foremost pianist who has visited this country. Evident to any one, who once hears him play, in whatever music, is the brilliancy of his touch, the liquid purity and smoothness and consummate finish of his passages, the well-conceived, clear, elegant rendering of the whole piece, with just regard to light and shade and fair proportion, and full bringing out of every point, and above all, the happy certainty and ease with which he does it… He certainly possesses the genius of execution. It is not any possible method or amount of practice that could place another by his side, unless equally gifted… In the two winters he has spent in Boston, he has interpreted to us a pretty long list of compositions of the nobler masters… [Describing his performance of the Symphony Concerto by Littolf Dwight noted] It was Jaell’s crowning triumph in the way of execution; octave passages of incredible rapidity, lightening-like leaps from bass to treble, and all sorts of difficulties were achieved, with only a little more air of determined concentration, but with his usual success… Mr. Jaell’s audience, though the Music Hall had capacity for many more, was very large – at least fifteen hundred persons – which proved the high estimation in which he is held, seeing that he can be heard at every Wednesday afternoon rehearsal of the Germanians for an almost nominal price.” (Dwight (January 22, 1853): 124 and 125) In June 1861 it was reported: “Alfred Jaell, the young pet, some years ago, of our whole public, young and old, the caressed of the young ladies, the feted of the young men, has taken a position in Europe which his early abilities promised. He has been giving concerts in Paris during the last winter, and the best journals of the city speak warmly of his powers… It seems that Jaell has all the versatility which characterized him in this country, when he would go from a Chopin concerto to his own concert polkas, and thence to a Beethoven sonata with equal power and beauty in all… We are pleased to record all this, for Alfred Jaell has always remained in our memory and affections as among the very noblest of the pianists who have visited this country.” (BMT (June 15, 1861): 133) Six months later the same newspaper reported: “Alfred Jaell is at Zurich. After making a professional tour through Switzerland, he will proceed to Northern Germany, and give concerts in Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden , Leipzig, etc. The papers don’t add that he will go to America next. The papers may be right in not doing so. We only wish they were not. What a treat it would be to hear the dapper little pianist once more.” (BMT (December 28, 1861): 243) Under “Musical Gossip” the Boston Musical Times reported that: “Mr. Aldred Jaell, formerly a distinguished teacher of the piano in this city, has recently given a brilliant concert in London, which, the World says, netted him a large amount of money. Mr. Jaell is as popular as he is able.” (BMT (October 1, 1864): 147) In 1866 Jaell was married was married to Mlle. Marie Trautmann. “A wedding like this has happy auspices. Not only is the prospective bridegroom a pianist of incontestable and universal ability, but the lady is a brilliant executant on the same instrument, such as the present day has rarely witnessed.” (BMT  (September 8, 1866): 3) Unfortuneately Jaell died “quite suddenly in 1882, aged only 49, leaving Marie a 35-year old widow.” (Wikipedia, March 9, 2009)

Bradbury, History of the Handel and Haydn Society, Vol. 2, photos in the back, no numbered pages.

Jenks, Francis H. (1838-1894) Assistant to Apthorp at the Boston Transcript from 1881 whose function was to do “the regular and constructive work of the department, and indeed everything that Mr. Apthorp did not chose to take in hand.” (Chamberlin, 206) After education in the Boston schools and graduation from the English High School, Jenks spent the next 25 years working for various paper manufacturing firms. However, during that time he “contributed largely to the various newspapers, among others the Saturday Evening Gazette, the Courier, Advertiser, and Globe, besides to many periodicals in and out of the city. To Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians, he contributed the greater part of the biographical [material on American musicians].” (Advertiser (December 10, 1894): 5, GB) Early in life he was a church organist serving in two different positions. He held membership in many clubs; the ones that included Lang were the Apollo, (Boylston) and Cecilia, and was he was Secretary of the Clefs and Euterpe, and finally Director and Librarian of the Handel and Haydn Society. The Advertiser wrote that when he joined the Transcript, he was “placed in charge of the music and drama columns and in special charge of the Weekly Transcript; this is somewhat different from being “an Assistant to Apthorp, as described by Chamberlin, see above. He was also a general editorial writer. He was a fine musician and had collected one of the finest musical libraries in the city. He married in 1865, aged 27, and there was one child, Edwin M. Jenks who was “a clerk in the Hamilton National Bank” in Boston. (Ibid)

Elson, History of American Music, 251.
Johns, Clayton. See another photo in “Lang’s Social Circuit.”