CHAPTER 05. Part 4.
- Apollo Club Twenty-eighth Season: 1898-1899. Murder. Cecilia Twenty-fourth Season: 1899-1900. Apollo Club Twenty-ninth Season: 1899-1900. Missa Solemnis-Beethoven. Cecilia Sings at Symphony Hall Dedication. Popular Taste in Music: Can It be Cultivated and Refined? Summer 1900. Musicians’ Aid Concert. Student Apes the Master. Ex Governor Wolcott’s funeral. Cecilia Twenty-fifth Season: 1900-1901. Hiram G. Tucker Concert. Farm: Summer Seasons 1897-1901. Ruth Burrage Library of Orchestral Scores. Miss Helen Henschel’s Boston Debut Recital. King’s Chapel:Elijah.
- Apollo Club Thirtieth Season: 1900-1901.
- B. J. Resigns from the Apollo Club. Concerto Performances Through 1900.
APOLLO TWENTY-EIGHTH SEASON: 1898-1899. Henry Basford, the club’s secretary sent out a notice to Associate Members dated October 3, 1898 saying that “the system of reserved seats adopted for our concerts three years since will be continued the present season. There will be no assessment.” The cost of a season ticket for four concerts was $6 for seats on the floor of Music Hall in front of the balcony and for seats in the front row of the first balcony. For all other seats, the price was $4. The November 30, 1898 concert opening its 28th. Season was performed “before a large and cultured audience. The (active) club membership is full, and among the 75 voices were never a better array of talent. Mr. Lang’s 28 years’ leadership of this organization bears richer and finer fruit every season.” Clarence Ashenden, a baritone, sang the solo in Lachner’s Abendlied-“never has the solo been given so superbly.” MacDowell’s Midsummer Clouds was given its Boston premier, and “Mr. Lang graciously repeated it. The theme is of weird beauty.” (Advertiser (December 1, 1898): 4, GB) “Mr. E. Cutter, Jr. accompanied on a piano of too muffled a tone.” (Courier, unsigned review of December 4, 1898) Two pieces were by Boston composers. The concert opener, Mr. H. W. Parker’s Blow, thou Winter Wind-words by Shakespeare had “much of the wintry glitter and crackle into his pianoforte score, but caught felicitously the urgent pressure of the opening words of each strophe and gave a lively touch, quite in a good old English manner, to the refrain, the club bringing out clearly his changes of fancy.” (Ibid) After speaking of Arthur Foote’s success more as an instrumental composer rather than as a choral composer, the Courier continued: “But we cannot recall nothing which so touched us with a true and tender pathos and a poetry accordant with that of the words, as this chorus, rising and falling as the pulse of the ages poet swelled and sank through the stanzas, as the great yet gentle thought of death and its mighty outgoing tide grew in his soul.” (Ibid) He was writing about Foote’s setting of Tennyson’s Crossing the Bar. The former Boston composer, Mr. E. A. MacDowell wrote both the words and music for Midsummer Clouds-it was described as “a not particularly interesting study in four and five part harmony, quite ungracious for singers.” (Ibid) This was a first Boston performance and Lang “graciously repeated it.” (Record, December 1, 1898, unsigned review) The Transcript had a short notice that described the choir as “improving from year to year…it could not improve. Certainly it is now at its best. The singing last night was, almost throughout, of a very high order of excellence.” (Transcript, undated and unsigned review) Short notices begin to be written for the Society Columns. In the Herald Miss Sara Anderson, who had been so successful at the recent Worcester Festival, was described as a “very handsome woman, and her stage presence is charming. She is a tall blonde, with an erect figure and a perfect neck, which her low-cut gown, without ornamentation, showed to perfection.” (Herald, undated and unsigned society notice.) The full particulars of her dress were then described and the final half of the column listed the names of many in attendance. For the January 18, 1899 concert with E. Cutter, Jr. as accompanist, the main work was Damon and Pythias by the English composer Prout. The soloists were from the choir-all did well-“Mr. Lang conducted inspiringly and Mr. E. Cutter, Jr. accompanied finely at the piano.” (Courier, January 22, 1899, unsigned review) The Courier said no more about the Prout and make sparing comments about the rest of the program. The BSO conductor, Mr. Gericke provided a part-song, O World, thou art so fair a sight called “smooth and pleasant and well laid down for the voices” and the final chorus was from Brambach’s Alcestis “which was as flat as a flounder,” (Ibid) The March 22, 1899 concert had E. Cutter, Jr. as accompanist and the tenor, Mr. Whitney Mockridge as the assisting artist. This was the third concert of the season and it attracted the usual large crowd. “Mr. Mockridge soon attached to him his audience by reason of a great sweetness of tone and some display of intelligence in phrasing.” (Advertiser, undated) The reviewer thought that he might have had a cold as his sound was thin, the lower notes lacked color while the “higher notes range from thinly metallic to piercingly sweet…It is but fair to say that he improved steadily during threw evening.” (Ibid) His greatest triumph of the evening came in the aria “Onoway! Awake Beloved” by the English/African composer Coleridge Taylor “which secured a recall and an encore.” (Ibid) The two club soloists, Mr. Ashenden and Mr. Townsend were in excellent voice. The choral highlights included two first performances; Fair Toro, a Norwegian folk-song arrangement by Grieg, and Bonnie Ann by MacDowell. The first “is a beautiful piece, weirdly mystical, Scandinavian in fact,” while MacDowell’s piece was “spritely and tuneful.” (Ibid) Orlando di Lasso’s Villanelia or Echo Song also secured the choir a recall. The final concert of the season was sung on May 3, 1899 with Miss Marie Brema, soprano as the assisting artist; her special accompanist was Mr. Isidora Luckstone who had accompanied the Apollo for one concert, January 28, 1896. The choir accompanists were Mr. E. Cutter, Jr., piano, and Mr. B. L. Whelpley, organist. Miss Brema chose to do the Schumann cycle of eight songs, Frauenliebe und Leben, Opus 42, a work of some twenty-five minutes that some thought did not belong in such a large hall as the Music Hall. However, her performance proved the critics wrong. “The audience listened in rapt, unbroken silence to the end, and then applauded and recalled the singer with unmistakable heartiness,” (Transcript, May 4, 1899 unsigned review) Two of the choral pieces were repeats from other concerts; the opening piece was Chadwick’s Song of the Viking (sung February 15, 1886 and April 29 and May 4, 1891) and the final piece was Damrosch’s Danny Deever (sung May 4, 1898) which the Courier said they sang with “snap and go.” (Courier, undated) Mr. Edward A. Osgood was the baritone soloist in the Damrosch. (Program, Johnston Collection). The Chadwick was described as an “old-fashioned rattler.” (Ibid) ========================================================= Frances Lang Diary Excerpt. “June 25th. We went up to Boston because of a nose operation that Malcolm had to under go, the next day. June 26th. Went with Malcolm to the Doctor’s. He was given Cocaine after a long preparation. The bone had to be sawed through. At the end of the an hour all was over and we returned to the house. “[in Boston. This put Malcolm in Boston for the event of the next day] ========================================================= MURDER. Sometime between 4AM and 6AM on Tuesday June 27, 1899 B. J.’s father killed his second wife [Clara Elena Wardwell, b. April 14, 1844, Andover, MA., Find a Grave] with an ax at their home. As none of the five boarders heard anything, she must have been struck while asleep. She had been planning a week’s visit “to some friends. The thought that his wife was to be away from the house this length of time, it is now believed, preyed upon the mind of the old man, which of late years has been noticeably weak.” Once he was in his cell he kept repeating the words: “She was going away, was she?” and then would laugh in “an utterly childish manner.” As B. J. was at he New Boston farm, Malcolm, then aged twenty was sent to the prison. Upon seeing his grandfather his question was, “Why grampa!” A telegram was sent to B. J., and the family met at the prison that night together with their family doctor, Dr. Frank E. Bundy (who had been Lang’s physician for 25 years).” (Herald, (June 29, 1899): 10, GB) When the police had arrived at the scene, Lang Senior had been preparing to kill himself. “Mr. Lang was straddling the window sill, forty feet below was the bricked rear yard. A leap would have meant instant death…The case is looked upon by police as one of the saddest they have ever been called upon to investigate.” (Ibid)
Mr. Benjamin Lang.
APOLLO TWENTY-NINTH SEASON: 1899-1900. The November 22, 1899 concert included five Boston premiers: The Autumn Sea by Wilhelm Gericke, Horatio W. Parker’s Three Words, Secret Love arranged by Gustav Wahlgemuth, Jules Massenet’s The Monks and the Pirates and the Song of the Pedlar by C. Lee Williams. Parker’s piece is a setting of two verses; below is the first verse. Even a quick once-over will reveal the extent of technical problems in voice ranges, balance among parts, etc. Certainly the Apollo Club had come very far from its beginnings thirty years before, and all of that time guide by B. J. Lang.
The second verse uses the same musical setting. Library of Congress, American Choral Music Project. Opus 33, published by G. Schimer in 1893. The Song of the Pedlar “proved a favorite by reason of richness, variety of color and humor…[while The Monks and the Pirates] proved far more melodramatic than brazen and the ‘war and pillage’ was not of even the penzance order…[and] Secret Love [was] a charming romantic bit from the 18th. century.” (Advertiser-Elson (November 23, 1899): no page number) Mrs. Wilson, the guest artist sang Margaret’s An Irish Love Song. “WFA” [William Foster Apthorp] ended his review with praise both for the Club and Lang. “If there be any constant here in Boston, the Apollo is the quantity…Sureness of attack, a well-formed habit of giving the final notes of phrases their full value, pure intonation, exquisite beauty and flexibility of tone – these are qualities for which the club’s chorus has long been noted; it has had a standard set for it, and seldom lapses therefrom.” (Undated review) In mid January the club sang at the Music Hall and the Herald “Social Life” page wrote: “There was a great audience, and an exceptionally interesting and well rendered programme. The club had the valuable assistance of Mr. David Bishop. His singing aroused real enthusiasm.” A list of “some of those” who attended included: “Mrs. B. J. Lang, Miss Margaret Lang [but no Malcolm or Rosamond], Mr. and Mrs. Tucker, Mrs. Clarence E. Hay and her daughter [wife of the soloist often used by Lang] and twenty-one others. (Herald (January 21, 1900): 31, GB)
On Wednesday March 7, 1900 the club gave its third concert of the season with E. Cutter, Jr., pianist and B. L. Whelpley, organist. “From the moment when the large audience greeted Mr. Lang until the close of the last song, the usual genial Apollo Club atmosphere prevailed, and almost every number on the programme was enthusiastically received.” The reviewer thought that the lighter numbers fared the best. “In contrast to these more serious numbers [by Schumann, Brahms and Wagner], the second group consisted of” pieces by Foote, MacDowell and Van der Stucken. The guest soloist was Miss Gertrude Stein who brought along her own accompanist. (Advertiser (March 8, 1900): 8 GB) The fourth and final concert was “in accordance with the time-honored custom, a miscellaneous one.” It was also the group’s farewell to the Music Hall. Three pieces from the club’s early days opened the program; Schubert’s The Lord Is My Shepherd, Schumann’s Gipsy Life and Handel’s Crown With Festal Pomp. Elson felt that the highlight was “Jam sol recedit” from Hora Novissima by Horatio Parker, “a number of which any composer in the world might be proud, and one of the very best achievements of the American muse.” (Advertiser April 26, 1900: 8) CECILIA SINGS AT SYMPHONY HALL DEDICATION. BEETHOVEN MISSA SOLEMNIS. The exterior of the hall some thought severe: “Some wit has suggested that the architecture might be called Puritanin instaed of North Italian Renaissance.” (Advertiser (September 22, 1900): 8) In size, “the dimensions are almost the same as the old hall, the variation being only a foot each way.” (Ibid) The interior of the hall was also one foot longer than the Music Hall which allowed and increase of over 172 seats [2569 instead of 2397]. The acoustics were perfect: “A person in the second balcony, far back, can hear conversation carried on in ordinary tones on the stage.” (Ibid) The seats for this first season were auctioned off, and two tickets in the first balcony, “on the right-hand side, near the front of the house” had been bought for a premium of $560 each.” (Herald (September 21, 1900): 9) The normal price was $12 for the series of 24 concerts. These seats were well located for hearing by the occupants and for seeing by everyone in the hall. The owner of these tickets had been kept secret, and so everyone, 3,000 sets of eyes, were most interested to see who would sit in them. At the first regular concert of the season Mrs. “Jack” Gardner appeared escorted by the pianist Mr. George Proctor. She had paid just over $47 ($1,343 in 2018’s money) for each of the tickets, and this compared to other concert-goers, some of whom were able to pay 25 cents for the “rush” seats available on the day. Mrs. Gardner’s seats were not too far from those bought by the Lang family. Postmarked 1906. It looks like the ladies of the Friday afternoon performance arriving. Johnston Collection. Postmark not readable. This example has both an early auto on the left and a horse-drawn carriage to the right. Johnston Collection. Postmarked 1935-cars look older. All men in the scene-no women. The two men standing in the street on the right don’t seem to be worried about the traffic. Johnston Collection. “No more brillant or important event has ever figured in the musical history of Boston, it is quite safe to say, than that which occurred in so eminently successful a manner last evening-the formal inauguration of Symphony Hall.” (Herald (October 16, 1900): 1) After the opening Bach chorale, Mr. Higginson gave a “report.” He noted that the land had been bought back in 1893, and the Directors pondered long over what might be the best design. The “Greek Theatre” design by their architect, Mr. McKim was eventually put aside for the rectanular box design much like the Music Hall and also like the concert hall in Leipzig. They tried to include a smaller hall for chamber music, but this was not possible. The original cost was to be $500,000 of which when $410,700 was subscribed, construction began. In the end the total cost was $750,000 which required the Directors to take out a mortgage for $350,000. (Op. cit., 7) For the first ten years the hall was leased to Mr. Higginson who would “meet [the] costs of administration, taxes and all charges, and to pay to the stockholders the rest of the receipts.” (Ibid) Between the Cecilia’s 24th. and 25th. Seasons the Missa Solemnis was repeated for the opening of Symphony Hall. One story, written before the concert which was on October 15, 1900, pointed out the honor that was being shown to the choir in being part of this concert, and that “it is also a fully deserved recognition of the society’s rank in the musicianship of Boston. Mr. Lang put it to a vote whether they would undertake the great Mass or a less exacting work. The Mass was chosen unanimously…One hears reminiscences of how Mr. Lang met his singers four and five times a week, when the Mass was sung so successfully several years ago; but all that hard study tells now…Mr. Gericke is much pleased with the work of the club, and in speaking to them of their singing in the Ninth Symphony, said that ”nothing had given him more pleasure.” (Anon., undated) For the choir the work was very difficult, “and its difficulties throw even the trials of the Ninth Symphony into the shade.” (Advertiser (October 16, 1900): 1) “The Cecilia has invited guests, all personal friends, to assist in the dedication, and a large representation from the Apollo Club responded to Mr. Lang’s invitation. Every singer is pledged to attend all rehearsals, which are arranged for May and late September…Mr. Lang is to be congratulated on such a consummation of the work to which he has given himself so steadfastly, so generously for so many years.” (Anon., undated) Another newspaper reported many of the same facts, and ended with: “Mr. Lang receives some of the honor he deserves, not always accorded to prophets, in the honoring of his club.” (Anon., undated) The performers were the BSO, Mr. Kneisl, solo violin; Mr. Goodrich, organ; the Cecilia Society [275 voices]; and Mme. De Vere, Miss Stein, Mr. Williams and Mr. Bornstein. (Advertiser (October 8, 1900): 7) A non-musical writer asked that “Perhaps a more cheerful work than the Mass might have been chosen for such an occasion…There are long sketches of elaborate effort, than weary rather than delight…The technical difficulties of the whole work are huge; so exacting that it is seldom presented at its possible best, as it was very nearly last evening. It really seems as if the results hardly repaid the trouble…Mr. Gericke achieved a spendid success with the chorus.” (Herald, Op. cit, 7) Then words of praise for Lang; “It was a genuine triumph of chorus drilling…The occasion was a brilliant one, musicially and socially, and a new and interesting page has been turned in the musical history of Boston.” (Ibid) HOW CAN POPULAR TASTE IN MUSIC BE CULTIVATED AND REFINED? This was the title of an article in the Globe early in 1900. Lang, at the age of 63 was among the Boston “experts” who were called upon to answer this question. His answer began: “So far as Boston and vicinity is concerned, in view of what Mr. Higginson is doing with his orchestra, the Cecilia Society with its wage-earner concerts, and the public schools in their preliminary way, I am surprised that it is thought necessary to ask the question.” (Globe (February 25, 1900) 28) Lang did have one suggestion: “I will say, however, that improvement in general musical taste might in a measure be reached if the standard of musical material used in the large majority of our Protestant churches were to be greatly raised.” (Ibid) He ended with a rather surprising observation: “The coster, coon and ragtime songs now in vogue are not to be despised. Some of them have merit than an immense amount of more orderly music entirely lacks.” (Ibid) SUMMER 1900. The summer trip to Europe for 1900 was enjoyed by B. J. and Malcolm. One bit of excitement was that the ship that they took to Europe, the Cunard liner the Campania, was almost blown up when it struck a bark carrying explosives in the Irish Sea. In a Dispatch printed on page one of the July 23rd. edition, the writer noted: “If the steamer had struck the smaller craft fore or aft, [where the dynamite was stored], the great ocean greyhound would have been destroyed. As it was, 11 of the crew of 18 on the bark were drowned. The sunken vessel was the iron bark Embleton, bound for New Zealand…Within 30 minutes after that horrible catastrophe the passengers of the first and second cabins and the steerage had collected 700 Pounds aid for the wrecked survivors and for those dependent on the dead” (Herald (July 23, 1900): 1, GB) A week later the story seemed less exciting. “Luckily the ocean liner struck the ill-fated bark amidships, so that the damage was slight and a bad fright was the only result of the accident.” (Herald (July 29, 1900): 31, GB) The rest of the family spent the summer at the Lang farm in New Boston. (Herald, Social Life (July 22, 1900): 31, GB) MUSICIANS’ AID CONCERT. On Sunday night, December 16, 1900 Lang led “a concert given by and for the Musicians’ Aid Society” at the recently opened Symphony Hall. The featured soloist was the 22-year-old Russian pianist, Ossip Gabrilowitsch who played the Tschaikowsky First Piano Concerto. The article pointed out that Lang had led the world premier of this piece 25 years before. In 1875, “when the concerto was submitted to Bergman [the conductor from New York who had been conducting the other concertos in Von Bulow’s series], he pronounced it to be impossible in the limited time. In this emergency Von Bulow consulted Mr. Lang, and, with less than 24 hours intervening, Mr. Lang directed the performance of the then new work with such success that Von Bulow cabled the first message from Boston to Moscow telling Tschaikowsky of the hearty greeting which the composition had received from the Boston public.” (Herald (December 16, 1900): 17, GB) STUDENT APES THE MASTER. A day after the above concert, Lang’s student, Hiram G. Tucker conducted “the third in a series of concerts” at the People’s Temple, on Columbus Avenue. “Able soloists, a large chorus and full orchestra” presented Horatio Parker’s new piece, A Wanderer’s Psalm, “which was composed for the Hereford festival [Three Choirs Festival] in England, and performed there in September of this year. It was heartily praised by the leading English critics, and the announcement of its presentation here has aroused much interest.” (Herald (December 16, 1900): 17, GB) Here we have Tucker mounting a program that was in direct competition with the programming of the Lang’s Cecilia. Coming just four months after its premier in England, Tucker could probably claim a first Boston performance, if not a first American performance. One wonders what B. J. thought. Tucker’s selection of this work turned out to be unfortunate. While the reviews of the provincial English press were positive, those in the London papers “were considerably more discerning.” Philip Hale’s review of Tucker’s performance was also unfavorable: “This Psalm was written to order, and I regret to add that it makes the impression of perfunctory labor.” Many saw it as a watered down Hora Novissima which had been performed to great applause at the Worcester Three Choirs Festival the year before. However, The Wanderer’s Psalm “disappeared from the concert stage after the Boston concert of 1900.” (Kearns, Parker, 130) EX GOVERNOR WOLCOTT’S FUNERAL. Among Lang’s duties at King’s Chapel was that of playing for funerals. At the end of December 1900 Lang played this service which included the March from Handel’s Saul as processional music and the first hymn, With Silence as Their Only Benediction had words by Whittier and music by B. J. This would seem to be Lang’s last composition. For this service Lang used “the regular singers from King’s Chapel, with 12 or 14 from other churches.” (Herald (December 23, 1900): 9, GB) Lang was also involved in the Memorial Service held at Symphony Hall the following April. The BSO played Wagner and the Cecilia Society sang two sections from the Brahms Requiem. “The Hon. Henry Cabot Lodge delivered an address,” (Herald (April 19, 1901): 16, GB) which began with Wolcott’s boyhood and covered his full career in public service. There was “a distinguished Massachusetts audience” (Ibid) including Frances who was listed as having a seat in the gallery [second balcony?] CECILIA TWENTY-FIFTH SEASON: 1900-1901. Probably hoping to build on the success of the two Coleridge-Taylor works already presented, next the choir sang the The American premier of his Hiawatha’s Departure, Opus 30 No. 4 (1900). This was sung with Boston Symphony Orchestra accompaniment at Symphony Hall on Monday December 3 and Wednesday December 5, 1900, B. L. Whelpley was the organist. (Cecilia program) The world premier had been given by the Royal Choral Society at Royal Albert Hall in London less than a year before. Also on the program was Phoenix Expirans by Chadwick with the composer conducting. A note in the program described the Chadwick work: “So fresh and lovely is it in melody, so dignified and consistent in conception, so delicate yet rich in its orchestral coloring, and so churchly yet warm in its harmony.” (824) Chadwick had been appointed conductor of the Worcester Featival and Director of the New England Conservatory three years before, in 1897. The Herald review thought the Coleridge-Taylor to be “the feature of the evening. It is a thoroughly charming work, with a delightful freshness of inspiration…The instrumentation is of great beauty, and the full resources of the modern orchestra are used with skill and knowledge…Mr. Coleridge-Taylor is yet in the early twenties.” Of the Chadwick: “Mr. Chadwick’s strongly effective cantata was heard again with pleasure and interest. The audience was large and very applausive.[?] Both Mr. Lang and Mr. Chadwick were cordially received and the soloists were generously appreciated.” (Herald (December 6, 1900): 3, GB) Hale in The Journal found that after one hearing of the Coleridge-Taylor work showed the composer to be “a man of pronounced individuality, true and deep emotion, and native instinct for rhythm and gorgeous instrumentation. No doubt his sense of rhythm and color is a birthright…for his father was a mulatto physician from Sierra Leone, and his mother was an English woman.” The Herald wrote that the “chorus writing is admirable, and some of the most lovely moments in the cantata are found in this element of the score. The music is never dull, is in perfect sympathy with the spirit of the poem, and the composer sustains his long flight with spirited ease, and ends with it with a large and splendid burst of triumph.” The review continued in this vein for a fulsome six paragraphs-possibly the writer was B. E. Woolf. (Herald (December 6, 1900): 3 or 8, GB) Of the Chadwick, which had been first given by the Handel and Haydn Society with Nordica as one of the soloists: “The cantata is one of great beauty; it is in some respects unique, with exotic flavor permeating sound workmanship…There was a good-sized and applausive [?] audience. ” (828-829) Apthorp in the Transcript wrote: “The performance was one of the best the Cecilia has ever given; chorus, solo singers and orchestra seemed animated with one spirit.” The Chadwick “struck me as still very beautiful, very vital, strong and brilliant. Even coming after Coleridge-Taylor’s more modern and resonant orchestration, it lost nothing by the comparison. Mr. Chadwick’s orchestra fits his idea as nicely as Coleridge-Taylor’s does his. Of the other things on the programme I will say nothing.” (Transcript, undated) The concert had opened with Beethoven’s “Hallelujah Chorus” from the Mount of Olives: “The Hallelujah would not be sung by any chorus today if Beethoven had not signed his name to it. Let us record one more instance of fetish-worship.” (Ibid) On Sunday evening March 31, 1901 the Cecilia was part of an all-Henschel concert which included three works by the composer; Morning Hymn for chorus and orchestra, Serbisches Liederspiel, a Cycle of  Romances for Four Solo Voices and Piano, Op. 32, and the first Boston performance of Stabat Mater for Soli, Chorus and Orchestra, Op. 53. Mr. B. L. Whelpley was the organist and the orchestra of sixty was from the BSO. Mrs. Henschel was the soprano soloist. (Anon., undated) Mrs. Henschel (Lillian Bailey) and Georg Henschel. BSO Archive. In mid April the choir sang Samson and Delilah “with a fine cast in which Mr. Arthur Beresford as the high priest made the marked success of the evening. The role eminently fitted his wonderful voice, and the audience showed its appreciation by a tremendous demonstration in his favor.” (“Social Life,” Herald (April 14, 1901): 31, GB) Cecilia had sung the Boston premier of this work by St.-Saens on November 28, 1894. This “Social Life” notice also included the names of “a few of those” who attended. These included Mrs. Lang and the “Misses Lang,” but no Malcolm Lang, Arthur Foote and his daughter, the BSO conductor Herr Gericke and his wife, the wife of the President of Cecilia-Mrs. S. Lothrop Thorndike, Mr. and Mrs. George W. Chadwick and Mrs. Charles Marsh. In all 33 names were listed. (Ibid) The Transcript ran two stories about the choir’s Annual Meeting at the Hotel Vendome in May 1901 which would celebrate the choir’s twenty-five years of existence, “during which B. J. Lang has been the sole conductor.” After the business meeting there was to be music “by several members of the organization and supper will be served, and it is probable that in a purely informal way short congratulatory addresses will follow. (Transcript, undated) The second story noted that Lang had been presented “a handsome silver bowl on which was inscribed the recipient’s name, also that of the society and the dates 1876-1901…The gift emphasizes the general feeling prevalent on the part of the members that in no small measure is the past success of the organization due to Mr. Lang’s faithful service and interest.” (Transcript, undated) The Herald also did a story after the event. It recorded that long-time former President, Mr. Thorndike was present; that Miss Laura Hawkins, accompanist of the choir played; and that Mr. B. L. Whelpley played two of his own compositions. In replying to the presentation of the loving cup, Lang “said that no words could express what the Cecilia’s 25 years have meant to him. He said, however, that it is not to be considered that he has preferred them over the Apollo Club, though he has resigned the latter work while keeping his conductorship of the Cecilia, and he asked a cheer for the Cecilia’s ”elder brother.” which was given with a will. He spoke of future plans for the Cecilia. Mr. Lang was cheered to the echo. As a memento of a memorable occasion, the company was photographed in the supper room by flash light.” (Herald, undated) Arthur Foote gave the President’s Report at the 1901 meeting-this was the third year that he had held the post. He cited the Wage Earners’ Concerts which Cecilia had begun in 1891. “It is a good thing that no change has been made as regards the “Wage Earners’ concerts. These have continued to be as much desired as ever by the audience for which they were intended. The listeners have been highly appreciative, and would have been greater if the hall could have been made elastic. No one can doubt that in these concerts the Cecilia is doing a good work, one in which it helps itself by helping others.” (quoted by Tawa, Foote, 279) HIRAM G. TUCKER CONCERT. Lang continued to support his pupils. Tucker emulated his teacher in presenting a series of orchestral concerts. “At the second of the series of Mr. Tucker’s concerts-which are proving so brilliant-on Monday night, the admirers of Mr. Paur [the BSO conductor] had a love feast. The demonstration of the personal enthusiasm and affection when the former conductor of the Symphony orchestra first appeared to take up the baton was remarkable in its intensity. One does not often hear such genuine applause.” Among those listed as attending the concert were Mr. and Mrs. B. J. Lang and Miss Lang, Mrs. Apthorp, Mrs. H. M. Rogers, Mrs. John L. Gardiner, Mr. George Proctor, Mr. Clayton Johns, Mr. and Mrs. H. M. Ticknor, Mr. and Mrs. George Chadwick, Mr. Perabo, and “indeed, all musical Boston. Mr. Tucker received many congratulations upon the evening’s success.” (Herald (December 2, 1900): 31, GB) FARM: SUMMER SEASONS 1897-1901. Emeline Burrage returned in June 1898 together with Emma Burrage as did Charles S. Homer and his wife Martha. B. L. Whelpley, a Lang piano pupil left a cartoon figure labeled “M. B. L.” and a note: “I never in my life did dream of having twice a day ice-cream until I visited Lang Farm. (It’s done me anything but harm).” Edward [?] Burrage and his wife Julia Severance Burrage visited July 10, 1898 for the day. Another Burrage, Elsie Aldrich Burrage stayed August 8-10, 1899. One guest left a four page, typed story with pen an ink illustrations about his visit dated September 4, 1899 – the initials seem to be J. H. B. The title was “An Idle (Idyl) (Uncommon Particular Metre).” The story mentions that “your train leaves shortly, just after noon.” Arthur Foote’s daughter, Katharine was a guest in 1899. Isabella S. Gardner was an early visitor, June 28, 1900, and she was followed in July by Emma Burrage and then Emeline Burrage. Mrs. Apthorp came on August 17, 1900. The visit on July 27, 1901 by Frederic Ruthven Galacar, Rosamond Lang’s eventual husband, produced a four stanza poem, “A Soliloquy” in German. RUTH BURRAGE LIBRARY OF ORCHESTRAL SCORES. In January 1901 Lang opened this library of c. 500 scores at 153 Tremont Street. “It contains all the orchestral scores that are usually played at Symphony concerts.” The Boston Public Library had a fine collection of such scores, but “these cannot be taken out of the building.” Lang raised the money to buy these scores through two concerts given at Association Hall “about a year ago. Among those who assisted at these concerts were Mme. Hopekirk, Mme. Szumowska and Messrs. Baermann, Foote, Gericke and Proctor.” Ruth Burrage had been a piano pupil of Lang (and his wife’s cousin) who had died at a young age and left money “to be used for musical purposes.” Lang had used the original bequest to establish, 27 years before, a library of music for two pianos, and instruments on which to play this music. This was before the success of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and now he felt a need to provide different material to help young music students. “It is Mr. Lang’s idea to eventually turn over the library for orchestral scores to the Boston Public Library.” (Herald (January 8, 1901): 3, GB) MISS HELEN HENSCHEL’S BOSTON DEBUT RECITAL On March 30, 1901 the daughter of Georg Henschel and his wife, the former Miss Bailey, presented their daughter for her Boston debut. It was a friends and family affair. Miss Henschel was assisted by her mother with whom she sang duets accompanied by her father. “Mr. Henschel played in the duets, as he always does, like a master.” (Herald (March 31, 1901): 8, GB) Old family friends, Arthur Foote and B. J. Lang played the Variations for Two Pianos on a Theme by Beethoven by Saint-Saens. “It was very pleasant to see some of our familiar native artists once again on the concert stage as pianists, and Mr. Lang and Mr. Foote met with a hearty welcome…It is hardly necessary to speak of the well-known ability of the two pianists who are so highly appreciated by our public.” (Ibid) ELIJAH AT KING’S CHAPEL. Among the special Sunday afternoon services that Lang presented at King’s Chapel was Mendelssohn’s Elijah sung by a choir of 30 voices from “various churches.” The soloists were Mrs. Rice, soprano, Miss Little, alto, Mr. Merrill, bass, “all of the King’s Chapel quartet,” and Mr. Walter Hawkins of the Shawmut Congregational Church. “Mr. Lang presided at the organ and had charge of the singing.” The service was so successful, “the chapel being filled 10 minutes before the hour of beginning,” that an additional service was announced for the following Sunday which would present Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise. (Herald (April 1, 1901): 7, GB) APOLLO CLUB THIRTIETH SEASON: 1900-1901. Due to the sale of the Music Hall and its redevelopment, a new site for the concerts needed to be found. “For many years the Club has believed that Music Hall was too large for the production of its best musical effect, and, as Symphony Hall is considerably larger than Music Hall, the Club has voted unanimously to give its concerts the coming season in Copley Hall, on Clarendon Street, near Copley Square…Reserved seats for the season of four concerts are offered at $6.00 each. Tickets for single concerts will not be sold. Applications for reserved seats will be filled in the order received.” (Letter to Associate Members dated September 24, 1900 from the Secretary, Mr. Henry Basford.) The first concert of Lang’s last year as conductor was given at Copley Hall on November 14, 1900. Mr. E. Cutter Jr. continued to be the choir’s accompanist and Miss Shannah Cumming was a soloist. The Boston pieces were Valentine by Horatio W. Parker, O World, Thou art so fair a sight by Gericke, The Rose Leans Over the Pool by Chadwick, My Boy Tammy, an old Scottish song arranged by Arthur Foote and The Lark now leaves his watery nest by Horatio W. Parker. The concert opened with Mendelssohn’s Rhine Wine Song and ended with Schubert’s The Almighty with Mr. Shirley as the soloist. Often a major Mendelssohn chorus would close the concert, but in this case the double chorus from Antigone, “Fair Semele’s High Born Son” was in the middle-the solo quartet was sung by chorus members, Messrs. Shirley, Faunce, Osgood and Hay. The Transcript review found the new room to be very much like being “locked up inside a Saratoga trunk; then, though small, the hall is rather dead, voices have little brilliancy there.” (Transcript, November 15, 1900 review by W(Iliam) F(oster) A(thorp)) The soloist, Miss Cumming “showed herself as a very intelligent and pleasing singer, she has a good voice and a technique which, if not masterly, is still above the average, but she has an instinct to get at the musical meaning of things, and to show forth the meaning clearly.” (Ibid) Elson noted that the seats in the new hall might fit the average Bostonian but if “a German of usual size attends, he had better take two seats!” (Advertiser, November 15, 1900 review by Louis C. Elson) Elson described the Gericke part song; “It was of a direct melody and dainty harmony that made it one of the most pleasing numbers on the programme.” (Ibid) This was the third time that the club had sung this piece-January 18, 1899 and November 14, 1900. He also cited Parker’s Valentine for “especial mention.” The January 23, 1901 review mentioned no accompanist for the choir; the guest soloist was the contralto Madam Josephine Jacoby. “Miss Jacoby has a remarkable contralto voice, excellently trained, and she sang her numbers with that broad depth of feeling that characterizes the artist that she is.” (Advertiser, undated) Some choir favorites reappeared; Mendelssohn To the sons of Art, the Gounod-Buck The Grasshopper and the Ant, together with the new Saint-Saens A Song of Ancestry. “The chorus sang with excellent taste and precision, Mr. Lang’s efficient leadership again showing its supreme effectiveness, and he himself accompanying a few numbers at the pianoforte in masterly style. The concert was a delightful one in every respect, and the club was greeted by a large and fashionable audience of friends.” (Ibid) After only two concerts at the Copley location, the club decided to move to the new Chickering Hall at 239 Huntington Avenue, just a block away from the new Symphony Hall. This involved reissuing all new tickets, hopefully close to the corresponding sections of the Copley Hall. “Copley Hall tickets will not be good in Chickering Hall.” (Announcement to Associate Members dated March 11, 1801) The first concert held at Chickering Hall, the third of the season, was given on March 20, 1901 with Mr. C. P. Scott as the accompanist and the violinist, Maud Scott as the guest soloist. New works included The Sailors of Kermor by Saint-Saens translated by J. C. D. Parker and Hush! Hush! by MacDowell. The Transcript review mentioned that finally the choir had found a proper home. “The old Music Hall was ridiculously large, so much so as to be excusable only on the ground of an enormous associate membership-which had somehow to be housed….Copley Hall, its interim lodging place, has been called as much too small as the other was too large…There could have been no thought of an orchestra there…Chickering Hall seems to solve the problem to perfection. It is not too large for the best musical effect, and the acoustics seem wholly favorable; moreover, there will be ample room for an orchestra, whenever the club wishes one. It can seat all the audience needed. Never before has the Apollo Club been so well situated.” (Transcript, undated) Miss Powell’s performance was briefly noticed; “her pieces were “excellently played…and much appreciated by the audience.” (Ibid) No specifics were given.
B. J. RESIGNS FROM THE APOLLO CLUB. In the spring of 1901 an insert in the Wednesday evening May 1, 1901 concert program at Chickering Hall (their 171st. concert) noted that Mr. Lang “positively declines a renomination” as conductor. “Mr. Arthur Brown of the Apollo Club has asked me to give him a suggestion as to what the Club might give to Lel, as the latter has decided not to continue as its conductor (It was a Tiffany lamp). (Diary 2, Spring 1901) This final program appropriately opened with Sullivan’s The Long Day Closes followed by two choral pieces by Margaret Ruthven Lang, Alastair MacAllistair (Old Scotch Song) and Here’s a Health to One I lo’e Dear (Old Scotch Song). In the second half, Mr. Clarence E. Hay sang two of Lang’s own solo songs, The Lass of Carlisle and The Chase. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 7) An article in 1907 updating Apthorp’s article of 1893 included “A Partial List of the Important New Music First Performed in Boston Under Mr. Lang by the…Apollo Club” listed the following: Berlioz: Arrangement of “La Marseillaise” for double chorus and orchestra. Brahms: Rinaldo. Bruch: Frithjof: Roman Song of Triumph; Salamis. Chadwick: The Viking’s Last Voyage. Foote: The Farewell of Hiawatha. Goldmark: The Flower Net. Grieg: Discovery. Hiller: Easter Morning; Hope. Lachner: Evening; Warrior’s Prayer. Mendelssohn: Sons of Art; Antigone; Oedipus. J. C. D. Parker: The Blind King. Raff: Warder Song. Rubinstein: Morning. Schubert: The Almighty; Song of the Spirits Over the Water. Schumann: Forester’s Chorus. Templeton Strong: The Trumpeter; The Haunted Mill; The Knights and the Naiada. A.W. Thayer: Sea Greeting. G.E. Whiting: March of the Monks of Bangor; Free Lances; Henry of Navarre (Gould Collection) In 1909 Arthur Foote’s evaluation of Lang was that “As a conductor his influence was great in raising the standard of singing here. One of the first things he obtained with the Apollo Club was the clear enunciation which still distinguishes it; musically he believed (as Theodore Thomas did) that the way to educate the public was to coax and not to bully it; so that the Apollo Club pleased its audiences and was trained itself at first with German and other part songs, being thereby later able to give the great compositions for men’s voices and orchestra; in this, as often, his tact prevailed.” (Transcript, May 1, 1909) Ethel Syford in the “New England Magazine” in April 1910 wrote: “Perhaps no other club has been so constant in its attainment of refined excellence. If I were going to speak sweepingly, I should say without fear that the three essences of American artistic refinement are the Apollo Club of Boston, the Kneisel Quartet and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The latter two by right of the quintessence of masterly achievement; the Apollo Club of Boston by virtue of its achievement and a distinctively Bostonian esprite de corps as well. The spirit of the organization is unmatched. One is conscious instantly that its audience is entirely en rapport with itself. It is a most unusual atmosphere of absolute sympathy, and a distinctive salon-like éclat which marks the Apollo Club of Boston as unique.” This quote was used in 1947 by John O’Connor in an article announcing the appointment of Nicolas Sloninsky as the new conductor of the choir. After the quote he wrote: “The same thing could be written about the club today.” (Herald (September 21, 1947): 27. GB) The Osborne article on the Apollo Club ends with “Perhaps the spirit of the whole enterprise can be grasped in this quatrain from Oliver Wendell Holmes that concluded the 1884-85 season: So, with the merry tale and jovial song, The jocund evening whirls itself along, Till the last chorus shrieks its loud encore, And the white neckcloths vanish through the door.” (Osborne, 40)
The Apollo Club continues even today under the leadership Florence Dunn who had become the accompanist in 1955 and then the conductor in 1969. Rehearsals are still (2006) held on Tuesday nights in the Harvard Musical Association building concert room, with a repertoire of show tunes and lighter material that is performed for various service groups in the Boston area. (Telephone call with Ms. Dunn, January 2006) The club has established a very interesting site at: http://apolloclub.org which also has aural and video examples of their work.
CONCERTO PERFORMANCES OF B. J. LANG THROUGH 1900: List complied by James Methuen-Campbell; additional information by Johnston shown in [ ] Bach D Minor BWV 1052 (harpsichord) Bach G minor BWV 1058 Bach A major BWV 1055 (harpsichord) Bach F major BWV 1057 Bach Two keyboard BWV 1061 (twice) Bach Two keyboard C minor BWV 1060 (twice) Bach Three keyboards C major BWV 1064 (ten times) Bach Three keyboards D minor 1063 (twice) Bach Four keyboards A minor BWV 1065 (twice) Beethoven Concerto in C major (four times) Beethoven Concerto in B flat major (three times) Beethoven Concerto in C minor (three times) Beethoven Choral Fantasia (two times) Beethoven Triple Concerto (two times) Sterndale Bennett Allegro Giojoso or Caprice in E (three times) Brahms Second Piano Concerto (once) Bronsart Concerto (once) Hiller Piano Concerto (two times) Hummel Piano Concerto (in Salem c. April 1863) Hummel Introduction and Rondo on a Russian Theme, Op. 98 (two times) Mendelssohn Concerto in G minor (three times?) Mendelssohn Concerto in D minor (five times) Mendelssohn Capriccio Brillant (three times) Mozart Concerto in D minor (once) Mozart Concerto in E flat major (once) Mozart Concerto for Two Pianos (twice) Napravnik Concerto Symphonique (once) Rubinstein Third Piano Concerto (four times) Saint-Saens First Piano Concerto (once) Saint-Saens Second Piano Concerto (four times) Saint-Saens Third Piano Concerto (once) Saint-Saens Rhapsodie D’Avergne (once) Schubert/Liszt Wanderer (twice) Schumann Piano Concerto (once) Schumann Introduction and Allegro Appass. Op. 92 (two times) Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto (twice) Weber/Liszt Polonaise Brillant (three times and sometimes in the solo version) 1891-1901.Thus ended a decade of major importance in Lang’s life-many triumphs and a few bumps, the major one being his two years as conductor of the Handel and Haydn Society. By giving up his conductorship of the Apollo Club, he now had time to explore new musical experiences.