PEOPLE AND PLACES. SC(G).
WORD COUNT: 37,558 on 10/16/2020.
Mathews, A Hundred Years, 467.
Elson, History of American Music, 345.
By G. A. Klucken-Wikipedia, June 29, 2024.
Eichberg, Julius (b. Dusseldorf, 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, 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 a 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, a 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 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 latter 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 everyone who knew him.” (6353)
Mathews, A Hundred Years of Music In America, 397.
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 the article in 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 1880s and that Prokofiev 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 premiere 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 a 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 in 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 pianist, 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 marvelous 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. Petersburg.” (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 on 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)
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 Melodeon 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 the 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 Grande 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 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)
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 Valparaiso. 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, GB) 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, GB) 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, GB) 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, GB) 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. On 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, GB) 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, GB)
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. Foote was appointed organist at the Church of the Disciples in 1876 through Lang “(whose influence in the way of putting pupils ahead, having them play in public, and in finding church positions was remarkable, and today could not be duplicated, even by as clever a person as he).” (Foote, Auto., 35) Then in 1878 (when he was 25) at First Unitarian Church, Boston where he stayed until 1910, a total of 32 years. When he was appointed, a whole new choir was also appointed-three of the singers were also 25. (Foote, Auto., 36) Wrote many anthems and organ pieces. When he wrote his Auto. in 1946 only one was still well known: Still, Still with Thee, “oddly enough one of the most dificult. I have always been happy that Guilmant, in two of his tours, used compositions of mine, as did Bonnet later.” (Foote, Auto., 38) Clarence Hay, the bass often useed by Lang as a soloist with the Cecilia, sang with Foote the full 32 years and several years after. (Ibid) Attended first Bayreuth Festival in 1876 and for the premier of the complete Ring of the Nibelungen; (Ciplolla, Am Nat Bio, Vol.13, 190) he went with the Langs and the Tuckers. They arrived two weeks early. “We were now informed that there was to be a sort of dress rehearsal of the four operas on the week preceding the date scheduled. And so, not only did I hear the series expected (and paid for at the rate of twenty-five dollars a night), but also the preliminary performances.” (Foote, Auto., 62) Bayreuth in 1876 was still just a town and not prepared for the flood of visitors created by the Festival. “My sleeping place was really a sort of large closet, and the bed consisted of bedding laid on some wooden planks supported by large logs. This was the least luxurious experience in the way of rooms that I ever had, the only similar being that of sleeping in a bath-tub in Munich when the town was overcrowded.” (Foote, Auto., 63) Foote also recorded when he and Lang were exploring back-stage between acts of Gotterdammerung and how they were able to follow the brass players into the covered orchestra pit. “So there we were, in the orchestra itself for the next act. The day was hot, everyone being in shirt-sleeves, and we could see how differently the majestic Richter behaved (the orchestra being quite out of sight of the audience). He shouted to different players and to the singers, gave them cues, and was quite a different person from the one we were used to seeing in the concert room.” (Foote, Auto., 78) Foote later 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 [they were at Harvard together] 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.”  at the Chickering Hall, 156 Tremont Street. (BPL Music Hall Prog., Vol. 3) Another series was presented in 1882. In 1885 he wrote for the Apollo Club The Farewell of Hiawatha, Op. 11 with orchestra accompaniment “which is still  going strong, while the Bedouin Song (1891) for men’s voices (afterward arranged for mixed voices) is probably the most successful piece of the sort written by an American (1892).” (Foote, Auto., 56) Was done at the Boston Pops 5/20/1913 and 6/16/1949 (BSO Archive). Hiawatha was his first work to use a full orchestra-the others had been just for strings or chamber ensembles. (Cipolla, W R., Catalog, xviii)
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)
Gardner, Isabella Stewart. April 14, 1840-July 17, 1924 (Palffy, 263). A 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 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 hostesses, 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)
Isabella was described by a family member as “of medium height, graceful in her movements, her splendid figure shown to advantage by a simply draped, sleeveless black evening gown, which revealed arms that were extraordinarily lovely…Her face, with wide-set eyes and full lips, was distinguished by an apparent strength of character rather than beauty. One of her greatest assets was a low toned, richly modulated voice…Mrs. Gardner knew instinctively the importance of being herself…Her wardrobe, for instance, was their [society women’s’] despair. Her perfect fitting gowns, with extreme simplicity of line, made them feel over-dressed in her presence. One out of a series of priceless gems, worm alone, caused them to feel over-bejeweled…At her throat was a magnificent ruby, her only ornament…All her assets considered, it was probably her infinite capacity to listen that provided a large measure of her attractiveness [to men]. A man found her rapt attention to what he was saying entrancing at a dinner table, where most of the women were talking too much.” After the death of her only child, she began “intensive travels abroad with her husband, planned by him to keep her from living with her sorrow…She discovered in herself an unexpected ability for evaluating great schools of art, represented in the museums of Europe.” After her husband’s death in 1898, she began building the Museum. By the terms of his will, she could take any amount of the principal (that would then go to other family members after her death) at any time for creating her building and filling it with treasures. She never took the smallest amount. “During Isabella’s absence, building operations ceased. She was on the grounds all day until the completion of every detail…She brought her lunch, like the workmen, and ate and drank barley water with them, keeping their hours. They obeyed her implicitly, more from respect than fear, and considered her one of themselves. (Smith,153 through 159)
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 tutelage. 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 helped 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 common ground.” (Ibid)
“Mrs. Jack Gardner’s Palace.” The 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 was born April 18, 1845 in Graz, Austria, and died 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, 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 a 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,” 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.
Signed in the middle of his second period in Boston. IMSLP site.
His salary for his first year 1884-85 was $7,500, and he was at the 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 were 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 rehearsal 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 ax 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… Higginson 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 the 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 violoncello… 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 premiere 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 the 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.
Gottschalk, Louis Moreau.
Mathews, A Hundred Years of Music In America, 639.
Baker, Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, 226.
Page from a Musical Biographical Dictionary. Johnston Collection.
“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) During 1841-46 he studied in Paris privately with Charles Halle and then Camille Stamaty. He had applied to the Paris Conservatoire, but the attitude was that no one “who had passed his first thirteen years in the savage atmosphere of America could become a piano virtuoso.” He was “advised to go home and become a mechanic.” (Schonberg, 217) 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) “Gottschalk fraternized with kings, queens and assorted royalty, moved in the best circles, and had a most satisfactory number of love affairs. During the 1850-51 season he gave more than seventy-five concerts in Paris alone…All the journals referred to Gottschalk as ‘the celebrated pianist,’ which meant that he had arrived. He was spoken of in the same breath as Liszt, Thalberg, Herz, Chopin. Chopin especially. There was a slight resemblance between the two men, to begin with. Both were slim, aristocratic-looking, rather short. Both composed exotic national music-Chopin with his mazurkas, Gottschalk with his plantation tunes.” (Schonberg, 218 and 219) 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. He is an accomplished musician – 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.
Gottschalk “was blessed with a facile technique and a special ability in repeated notes and rapid figurations. He used considerable pedal, and he exploited the upper reaches of the piano…Critics kept referring to his ‘silvery sound,’ and ‘fingers of steel.'” (Schonberg, 221) “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. 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)
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 work. 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.
Born in Norwich, Vermont on Mar. 5, 1854 to a family that had first arrived in Massachusetts in 1638 (“eighth in the 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 the 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 premiere 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 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 vulgar 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 versus 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
“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 into 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) At age 18 he sang the part of Hans Sachs in a concert performance of Die Meistersinger. 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 heard Anton Rubinstein, Carl Tausig, Hans von Bulow and Liszt play. On 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) He became a naturalized English citizen. His conducting career began in the States. “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 on 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 high-strung temperament, fairly outdid itself… They played with a vim and spirit as unusual and startling as the vivid tone color 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 Boston Symphony Orchestra “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 songwriter 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, 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 a 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 a 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 and conducted them for eleven years; 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) His last appearance as a conductor was also with the BSO. At the age of 81 he returned to Boston to celebrate the orchestra’s 50th. Anniversary by repeating the very first concert he had led with the group. Seven months before his death, on his 84th. birthday, he broadcast publicly for the last time. It was one of his favorite songs, Schubert’s Das Wandern, the text of which ends: Dear master and fair mistress too, Let me in peace depart from you And wander-
(copied from the Musical Opinion, October 1934)
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. At 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) The November 1897 issue of the Oliver Ditson magazine, the Musical Record, listed three new duets by Henschel. They were all for alto and baritone and had German and English words. They were: Good Advice, No Embers Nor a Firebrand and O, No One Knows, Or Would Guess It. All were priced at 40 cents each. Would these be from the repertoire that he sang with his wife?
“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 public 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 that 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 glorious 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)
Higginson, Major Henry Lee. The Higginson family first settled in Massachusetts in 1629 and was related to the Cabots, Lowells, Channings, Putnams and other “Boston Brahmin families. (Ledbetter, Higginson and Chadwick, 53) However, Major Lee was born in New York, came to Boston when he was four, and once there had little to do with his wealthy relatives. His father never owned a house until a few years before his death. (Ibid, 54) After Boston Latin School, Higginson attended Harvard, but poor eyesight ended his studies thereafter 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 6:30 AM 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 joined the Army in May 1861 and fought in the Civil War until he was wounded in June 1863. After a year of recovery, he returned to the battlegrounds of Virginia. After marrying the daughter of the Harvard anthropologist, and he tried two business projects. The first was oil wells in Ohio, and after a year his holdings were worthless. Then for several years, he tried to “develop a cotton plantation in Georgia under the new postwar labor conditions brought about by the end of slavery, a goal that he had supported in peace and was for over a decade.” (Ledbetter, Op. cit., 56) Next, he was taken into his father’s banking firm, a modest banking and brokerage firm. “I was taken in at the beginning of 1868 as a matter of charity, to keep me out of the poorhouse; I had been in the War, had been planting cotton in the South, and lost all I had, and more too.” (Ibid, 57) 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.” (Horowitz, Op. cit., 72) George Henschel wrote of Mrs. Higginson: “[She], a daughter of the great scientist, Louis Agassiz, 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-especially 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 England 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 interruptions 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 composing 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 Romanova. (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 Quintette 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 of 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 prominent 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 acknowledging her invitation to him and his father.
Hood, Helen. June 28, 1863 in Chelsea, Mass.- January 22, 1949 in Brookline. 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 . Her most important work is a piano trio, while her two violin suites are also made of excellent material.” (Elson, Women’s Work, 207) Baker says that Hood studied piano with B. J. Lang, composition with Chadwick and Fox adds J. C. D. Parker and J. F. Paine as harmony instructors. (Grove, DWC, 226) She may have studied organ with Lang also. She gave an organ recital on a Saturday night at Tremont Temple with a ticket price of $1, which was quite expensive at that time. The singer Mrs. E. Humphrey Allen assisted and her accompanist was B. J. Lang. A short article that appeared the morning of the concert listed the repertoire as: Handel-Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Bach-Sonata No. 1 in E flat major, Mendelssohn-Sonata No. 4 in B flat major, two Widor symphony movements and a transcription of the “Hallelujah Chorus” from the Mount of Olives by Beethoven to finish. All this and songs too; it seems that the audience did get their dollar’s worth. (Herald (April 23, 1882): 3 and 5, GB) Baker records that her time with Moszkowski in Berlin was for only one year. (Baker, Dictionary, Second Edition, 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 apartments 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 concerts 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 a 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; a 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)
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 embezzlement 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 appeared 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 offenses…He has now served a longer term than anyone convicted of this crime has ever served in Massachusetts, while the amount of his embezzlement 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 whereupon 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.” (Herald (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  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… He 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 premiere 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 anyone, 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, lightning-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 the 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 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) Unfortunately, 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 choose to take in hand.” (Chamberlin, 206) After an 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.”
Johns, Clayton. b. November 24, 1857, d. March 5, 1932. After studying architecture in Philadelphia for two years, he moved to Boston for further study. However, hearing the BSO changed his mind and he studied composition with Paine at Harvard and piano with William H. Sherwood. During two years in Europe, he met Joseph Joachim who introduced him to Franz Liszt. He studied composition and piano in Berlin from 1882 to 1884. He then returned to Boston where he developed a career as a composer, pianist and teacher. Each year, for twenty years, he presented a recital of his own songs; he wrote over 100. In the summer of 1895, he was in London where he arranged performances of his works by such well-known singers as Melba, Eames and Bishop. He wrote an Autobiography (1929) and his The Essentials of Pianoforte Playing (1909) was widely used. He taught piano at NEC from 1912 to 1916. (Article by Margery Morgan Lowens, Amer. Grove, Vol. 2, 576) Elson notes that his “piano woks are practical, melodic, and interesting, but his songs overtop them, and with few exceptions are graceful, elegant and unforced. He does not voice intense passion but is something of an American Mendelssohn in his field…Of course, he has set Heine’s Du bist wie eine Blume-who has not? This poem has been far more frequently set to music than any other. There are nearly three hundred settings known and more are constantly arriving. But Johns’s setting has a raison d’etre, for it is very refined and fitting to the poem…The reprints of his songs also find a good market in Germany…At times he reminds one of Robert Franz, who is also delicate rather than intense.” (Elson, Hist. Am. Mus., 247-8)
Elson, History of American Music, 290.
Pratt, American Music and Musicians, 1920, facing 258.
Joseffy, Raphael. 1852[or 1853]-1915. “Born in 1852, at Muskolcz, Hungary. He first studied under Moscheles at Leipsic and then under Thalberg. Diligent application combined with a great degree of natural talent ensured his rapid progress, and he soon began to astonish the people of Vienna with his wonderful playing…Two or three years ago (1879 or 1880) he came to this country and has regularly appeared in the principal cities of the Union with great success. As a player, he has a marvelous technique, noted not only for brilliancy but also for softness and elasticity.” (Jones, 80) More details were provided in 1981: “The son of a rabbi, Joseffy began his studies in Budapest with Brauer, who had been the teacher of Stephen Heller. When he was fourteen he entered the Leipzig Conservatory, where he had lessons with Reinecke and Moscheles, followed by two years of study with Tausig in Berlin. He was a pupil of Liszt in the summers of 1870 and 1871.” (Ibid, 179 and 180) “His technique. while equal to every possible demand of modern pianoforte composers, is nevertheless remarkable chiefly for its delicacy and finish. For this reason, it has been frequently denied of him, by critics, that he possesses anything of the fire of artistic genius; this, however, is entirely unjust. Many of his interpretations are masterly, and notwithstanding the delicacy of his playing, at times he calls out the entire force of the Steinway pianos, upon which he invariably plays… In person Mr. Joseffy is short, inclining to stoutness. His manners are singularly quiet, but he is witty and, upon occasion, very sarcastic,” (Mathews, 126) The Chicago critic George P. Upton described Joseffy as “a most graceful, polished player, who was a great favorite for many years.” (Upton, 83) Lang conducted the orchestra for three performances of a concert featuring Joseffy, “The Piano Virtuoso” at Horticultural Hall on Thursday evening October 30, Friday Evening October 31 and Saturday Matinee November 1, 1879. Dwight wrote: “On the first evening Joseffy was accompanied in two pieces by a very small but select orchestra, under the able direction of Mr. B. J. Lang.” (Dwight (November 8, 1879): 182) There were two orchestral selections-an opening overture, Prometheus by Beethoven and the “Allegro” from the Italian Symphony by Mendelssohn. Joseffy played three solos and was the soloist in Chopin’s Concerto in E Minor and the concert ended with Liszt’s Hungarian Fantasie. “The two purely orchestral selections were nicely suited to the occasion, and were played with spirit and refinement, as was also the long and pregnant introduction to the Chopin Concerto. A very few bars sufficed to convince the audience of the marvellous touch of the pianist, as well as of a perfect technique… Indeed, we dare not say that we have ever heard in any artists (Rubinstein, Von Bulow, Essipoff, included) a more near approach to absolute perfection in every element of technique and execution… That concert was a fresh sensation and surprise, even to old concert-goers. The result of it was the general feeling that here is a man who unites all the qualities of a complete pianist, with no weakness, no flaw anywhere.” (Ibid) Tickets, from A. P. Schmidt 146 Tremont Street were $1 with reserved seats for an additional 50 cents. (BPL Lang Prog., ) Lang assisted Joseffy in St. Saens Variations on a Theme by Beethoven on Saturday afternoon, May 22, 1880 at 2:30PM at the Music Hall. The rest of the concert was solo material. This was advertised as Joseffy’s “Farewell Paino Concert (Positively his last appearance in Boston), and tickets were $1 with reserved seats 25 cents extra, available from the Music Hall. (BPL Lang Prog.) However in 1882 he did three concerts in Boston (the second with orchestra conducted by Zerrahn) which were also advertised as “his last appearance in Boston.” (BPL Music Hall Prog., Vol. 3) Joseffy was born in Hungary, July 3, 1853; sent as a child to be a pupil of Moscheles and then “to the greater Tausig;” debut in Vienna followed by concert tours around the world; came to America in 1879; “for over five years [1879-1884] he disappeared from the concert platform, studying most zealously during that time; then a new Joseffy came back, – an earnest and powerful musician who strove for the best in art, not for immediate success. He has given his best work to America. As a teacher (in the National Conservatory of New York)[1888-1904], Joseffy has done much for piano playing with us.” (Elson, Hist. Am. Mus, 289) “Of all Liszt’s pupils, Sauer and Joseffy were the most refined, and also the most concerned with presenting Chopin’s style without unnecessary subjectivism.” (Methuen-Campbell, 52) “I incline to the view that of all Liszt’s pupils, the Chopin of Sauer, Joseffy and Rosenthal was probably the most convincing and natural. The three of them played a vast cross-section of Chopin’s works and they appear to have grasped something of the essence of Liszt’s genius as a pianist? This genius was the ability to re-create a piece anew at each performance.” (Ibid, 58) Although Joseffy did make occasional appearances, he was an exceptionally shy man, who cared very little for the applause of an audience. Once his playing had reached maturity, it was beyond criticism. Albert Parsons, an American who had studied with Tausig at the same time, contrasted Joseffy’s playing with that of their teacher as being ”like the multi-coloured mist that encircles a mighty mountain; but beautiful.” James Huneker, who was his assistant for ten years… believed that Joseffy’s playing had greater intellect and greater brilliance than that of Anton Rubinstein.” (Ibid, 180)
New England Magazine, February 1890.
Kneisel Quartet. Grove’s Dic., 1921, facing 588.
Kneisel Quartet. During their 1886-86 Season at Chickering Hall Lang played the first Boston performance of the Brahms Horn Trio Opus 40. (BPL Lang prog., Vol. 5) Then on Monday December 17, 1888 he played the Rubinstein Trio Opus 52 for Piano, Violin and Cello. (BPL Lang prog., Vol. 5) Helen Henschel described the members of the group: “Kneisel himself, leader of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, was a sensitive and charming person; Otto Roth, the second violin, a crazy and lovable buffoon… Otto Roth was always known to his friends as Utter Rot… Then there was Svecenski, gentle, enigmatic, very Slavonic in temperament, playing the viola like an angel; and Alwin Schroder the cellist, I think one of the finest cellists I ever heard in a quartet. He was also rather a quiet person, but crammed with humour which manifested itself in a delightful sort of deprecatory manner, and was quite irresistible… I have always envied Mr. Montgomery Sears of Boston, who in his beautiful music room, on Commonwealth Avenue, used to have the Kneisels to play to him and a dozen or so friends every Tuesday evening after dinner.” (Henschel, H., 67)
Elson, “Musical Boston,” Supplement to “Music and Drama,” June 3, 1882. HMA Collection
Kreissmann, August. 1823-1879. “Born in 1823 at Frankenhausen, Germany. He studied singing at Dresden, Vienna, and Milan, and about 1849 came to the United States, settling in Boston… His singing was expressive and intelligent, and his voice, a tenor, full, sweet and sympathetic. On account of failing health, he returned to Germany in 1876, and died at Gera, March 12, 1879. He was of a kindly nature, and highly esteemed by all who knew him.” (Jones, 83) Director of the “Orpheus Musical Society” c. 1864-1870s. (BPL Music Hall Prog., Vol. 4) “There was also a German society, the Orpheus (male chorus), which, at the time when Kreissmann was the conductor, enjoyed quite a good reputation.” (Ritter, p. 393) On June 13, 1879 the Orpheus Society held a memorial service at their clubrooms in memory of their first conductor. One of the members, F. H. Underwood gave a detailed address of over four columns when it was printed by Dwight. Underwood noted that Kreissmann became friendly with Boston”s leading musical families: “The Chickerings, in particular, were his ardent supporters; and the Dwights, Schlesingers, Dressels, Uphams, Apthorps, Lorings, and many more, were constant and devoted to him… Boston was his heart’s home…He was largely occupied with church music… For a considerable period, he led the choir at the Rev. Edward E. HALE’S church. This situation he resigned on account of ill health. Subsequently he sang at St. Mark’s, and later at Brookline.” He specialized in conducting male voice choirs. In 1854, all the eligible members [of previous groups] were brought together under the name of Orpheus… The Orpheus was the first among societies of the kind in America. Now every city boasts its club, all modelled after their prototype. Kreissmann was leader and the first tenor.” Underwood mentioned that the success of later groups such as the Apollo Club was due in part to the pioneering work done by Kreissmann. (Dwight (August 2, 1879): 123 and 124)
Lang, Benjamin. Father of B. J. Lang. Hannah B. Lang (maiden name, Learock). Mother of B. J. Lang.
July 20, 1860 census entry: age 43; born MA; resident of Ward 5, Salem; wife Hannah B. Lang, age 42; his profession-pianoforte Dealer; one daughter at home, Harriet, born in MA, age 18; one servant, Ann McKinnon, age 23, born Nova Scotia.
June 23, 1870 Census entry: age 54; Traveling Agent; born MA; wife Hannah, age 52, born MA; living in Ward 10 of Boston; five lodgers-N. W. Osborne, no occupation, age 29 and Kate Harding, no occupation, age 53 and Herbert Harding (Kate’s son ?), no occupation, age 18 and Herbert Wesson, bookkeeper, age 23 and James Wesson, bookkeeper, age 25-all lodgers were born in MA; two domestic servants, both from Ireland-May Hurley, age 25 and Hellen Griscole, age 24. Benjamin Lang’s real estate was worth $10,500 and his personal worth was $800.
Hannah B. Lang died on September 25, 1874 from cancer, aged 57 years, 7 months at her home, 93 Waltham Street, Boston. Her birthplace was listed as Salem as were the birthplaces of her father, John Learock and her mother, Hannah. (Death Certificate)
June 10, 1880 Census entry: age 64, widower; residence at 93 Waltham St., Boston; both of parents were born in MA; mentions that he is sick with kidney trouble; occupation, Music Teacher; six boarders-Samuel Gray, married, age 52, born N. H., Ticket Agent and his wife Sarah E. Gray, age 44, born N. H. and Charles Bacon, single, age 24, born in N. Y., Dealer in Glassware and Julia Bacon, widow (mother of Charles ?), age 55, born in MA, at home and Eliza W. Sweet, widow, age 42, born MA, at home and Clara E. Wardell, single, age 36, born MA, at home; two servants, both single-Mary Deady, age 28, born Ireland and Jane Freer, abe 26, born Prince Edward Island.
The 1885 Boston Directory lists Benjamin Lang as having a home at 93 Waltham Street, but boarding at 112 Boylston Street which was the home of Mrs. Johnson C. Burrage. (1885 Boston Directory, 643)
Benjamin’s Death Certificate lists the date of death as December 11, 1909, age 93, eight months after his son B. J. had died. The immediate cause of death was pneumonia, but he had been at Worcester State Hospital suffering from senile dementia for the previous twenty years. He was listed as a widower and the place of birth for his father, also a Benjamin Lang, was listed as Scotland-the place of birth of his mother was listed as unknown. His birthplace was listed as “?, ME.” (Death Certificate)
The Library of Congress has a copy of a Harvest Waltz by B. Lang published c. 1850 by Oliver Ditson. In the second section, in the relative minor, he uses the “Scottish Snap” which may be a reflection of his heritage.
Lang, Miss Alice. A vocalist who sang two operatic solos and a duet with Dr. Langmaid at a charity concert in aid of “Our Dumb Animals” held November 29, 1871 (see also Mr. Dixey) (HMA Program Collection).
Langmaid, Dr. Samuel Wood. Graduated Harvard 1859. Became member of the Harvard Musical Association in 1860 and was its President from 1902-1912. “Has during the past half-century given much of his time and much of his talent as a tenor singer in the interest of the organization. In the records of dinners, Dr. Langmaid and Arthur Foote, ’74, are frequently spoken of as having furnished delightful entertainment. Dr. Langmaid is president, also, of the Harvard Alumni Chorus.” (Darling, 31) “Born in Boston in 1837… Graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1864… His speciality was throat and nose troubles… He attained widespread fame as a throat specialist and many of the world’s most noted singers, and actors as well, were his patients… He was a singer of ability and sang tenor in the quartet of Trinity Church for over twenty-five years. He belonged to various musical organizations: the old-time Chickering Club, the old Parker Club, the Boylston Club, the Apollo, and the Cecilia.” (HMA Bulletin No. 11) At the annual dinner held at the Parker House on January 22, 1877 Langmaid sang Hidalgo “with splendid voice and spirit” accompanied by Lang. He was then asked for an Italian song, but he demurred and the President then said “Since we can’t have the Langmaid, let us have (what we were sure to insist on sooner or later) the Lang without the maid. Great laughter. Lang retired ”to get his music” – but failed to come back!!” (HMA Bulletin No. 10) In the 1888 Clark’s Boston Blue Book their address is 129 Boylston St.
Leichtentritt, Hugo. B. Poland, Jan. 1, 1874, D. Cambridge, MA, Nov. 13, 1951. Sent to America at the age of 15 where he studied liberal arts at Harvard and music with John Knowles Paine graduating with a BA in 1894. He returned to Europe for further study: music during 1894-5 in Paris and 1895-8 in Berlin at the Hochschule fur Musik, and liberal arts at the Berlin University, 1898-1901 where he received a doctorate. After teaching in Berlin until 1933, he returned to Harvard as an instructor in music until he retired in 1940. His early years in Boston would have been 1889-1894, and he recounted them in an article “Music in Boston in the ”Nineties”” published in the December 1946 issue of “More Books” which was “The Bulletin of the Boston Public Library.”
Leonhard, Hugo. d. 1879. Arrived in Boston in 1856, had studied in Leipzig; “has done much here to inspire an interest in the works of Beethoven and the other great ones, but especially of Schumann; but, alas! as it was with Schumann, so it was finally with his enthusiastic follower; his reason was beclouded, and his too-short career was closed in the autumn of 1879.” (Dwight (History of Boston): 442) He often performed with Lang. In the spring of 1860 he advertised as a teacher in the Boston Musical Times with an address of his residence at No. 14 Hudson Street. (BMT, March 24, 1860) Whereas Lang often received special mention in the Boston Musical Times when he appeared as an assisting artist, in a review in that paper of the soirees given by Messrs. Kreissmann, Leonhard, and Eichberg, the pianist’s contribution was that “Mr. Leonhard has rendered efficient assistance at the piano.” (BMT (January 2, 1864): 21) Leonhard “often contributed to” Dwight’s Journal of Music. (Elson, Hist. Am. M., 314) In 1882 Leonhard was described by Elson as someone “whose piano playing was not of the greatest virtuosity of today, but was poetic and thoroughly artistic. He introduced the modern school of piano playing to Boston, and first planted the seed which bore such abundant fruit; that was the triumvirate which first led Boston to its eminence in the modern school of music – Dresel, Kreissmann and Leonhard, of whom the first only is alive now.” (Elson, “Musical Boston,” 2) Leonhard was not able to play at his “Last Piano Matinee” on Friday December 1, 1876 at 3:30PM because of his Doctor’s orders, and so five of his pianist friends stepped in. The concert opened and closed with Bach Concerti for Three Pianos: the first was the Concerto in D Minor played by Lang, Perabo and Parker with Dresel playing the orchestral reduction, and the second was the Concerto in C Major played by the same personnel. Lang and Foote played the St. Saens Variations on a Theme of Beethoven for two pianos in the middle of the program, and Miss Nita Gaetano offered two groups of songs. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 2)
Leschetitzky. Paderewski was his star pupil. “Since the success of Paderewski, which was phenomenal, Leschetitsky has, in a large measure, held the position which Liszt occupied in Europe, and his influence has enabled many pianists of more or less celebrity to obtain their real start in life, – but few of them have been as well prepared by life’s great lesson as Paderewski… No teacher has suffered more from misrepresentation. The ”Leschetitsky method” is talked and advertised by hundreds of his pupils who have become teachers, and each one has a different method. This can only be explained by the fact that Leschetitsky studies his pupils. He is quick to notice their deficiencies, and he applies to each some remedy for his special case. Each pupil then goes forth into the world calling that particular treatment the ”Leschetitsky method,” and applies it indiscriminately to all pupils. Leschetitsky’s method is that of common sense, and is based upon keen analytical faculties… His career as a concert pianist ended with the advent of Annette Essipoff, for whose advancement he used all his influence. That influence was exercised with equal readiness after their marriage was dissolved, and he had married Eugenie Donimierska.” (Lahee, 218-220)
Liebling, Mr. S. In 1877 he was listed as a teacher at the Boston Conservatory. (BPL Music Hall Prog., Vol. 1) On Friday evening March 2, 1879 at 8PM at the Union hall, Liebling and Lang performed the Boston premiere of Raff’s Grand Fantasie for Two Pianos Opus 207. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 2) He often included some of his own piano compositions in his recitals. In 1880 a program listed him as “Herr” S. Liebling.
Elson, “Musical Boston,” Supplement to “Music and Drama,” June 3, 1882. HMA Collection.
One section of an illustration of the ”Boston Philharmonic Club”. Johnston Collection.
Listemann, Bernhard. B. August 28, 1841 in Germany, and died in Chicago, February 11, 1917. Trained as a violin soloist in Germany with David (1856-57), Vieuxtemps (1861) and Joachim (1862), came to America with his brother in 1867 – spent two years in Boston – 1871-74 was concertmaster of the Theodore Thomas Orchestra, and 1881-85 concertmaster of the newly formed BSO. “In 1875-79 he was leader of the Philharmonic Club of Boston, in 1879-81 of the Philharmonic Orchestra which succeeded it, and in 1881-85 of the Listemann String Quartet, of all of which he was founder and moving spirit. In 1885-93 he taught in Boston, but also kept up tours with the Listemann Concert Company. From 1893 he worked in Chicago… Before his retirement in 1911 he once lived more for two years in Boston.” (Grove, American Supplement, 272)
Fritz Listemann, from the same picture above.
Listemann, Fritz. (1839-1909) Brother of the above. Was a member of the groups mentioned above and also the “Boston Philharmonic Club.” (From photo of the group: Johnston Collection)
Liszt, Franz. During the summer of 1873 Amy Fay had lessons with Liszt which were probably much like the lessons that B. J. had 15 years before. She describes Liszt as “the most interesting and striking-looking man imaginable. Tall and slight, with deep-set eyes, shaggy eyebrows, and long iron-gray hair, which he wears parted in the middle. His mouth turns up at the corners, which gives him a most crafty and Mephistophelean expression when he smiles, and his whole appearance and manner have a sort of Jesuitical elegance and ease. His hands are very narrow, with long and slender fingers that look as if they had twice as many joints as other people”s. They are so flexible and supple that it makes you nervous to look at them… But the most extraordinary thing about Liszt is his wonderful variety of expression and the play of feature. One moment his face will look dreamy, shadowy, tragic. The next he will be insinuating, amiable, ironical, sardonic; but always the same captivating grace of manner.” (Fay, 205 and 206) In May 1873 she wrote: “He gives no paid lessons whatever, as he is much too grand for that, but if one has talent enough, or pleases him, he lets one come to him and play to him. I go to him every other day, but I don’t play more than twice a week, as I cannot prepare so much, but I listen to the others. Up to this point there have been only four in the class besides myself, and I am the only new one. From four to six P.M. is the time when he receives his scholars.” (Fay, 210 and 211) Fay described her lessons: “Liszt generally walks about and smokes, and mutters (he can never be said to talk), and calls upon one or other of us to play. from time to time he will sit down and play himself where a passage does not suit him, and when he is in good spirits he makes little jests all the time. His playing was a complete revelation to me, and has given me an entirely new insight into music. You cannot conceive, without hearing him, how poetic he is, or the thousand nuances that he can throw into the simplest thing, and he is equally great on all sides… You can never ask him to play anything for you, no matter how much you’re dying to hear it. if he is in the mood he will play, if not, you must content yourself with a few remarks. You cannot even offer to play yourself. You lay your notes on the table, so he can see that you want to play, and sit down. He takes a turn up and down the room, looks at the music, and if a piece interests him, he will call upon you. We bring the same piece to him but once, and but once play it through.” (Fay, 219 and 220)
Little, Lena. “A socially correct and also beautiful girl of about eighteen [c. 1880] – a fine contralto… Lena Little became the second of Mrs. Gardner’s close women friends.” (Tharp, Mrs. Jack, 112). “Miss Little is one of Mrs. Jack’s favorites and through this lady’s friendship has become the accepted concert singer for that ultra swell coterie.” (Ibid, 195) She appeared as soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on March 21, 1891 singing an aria by Gluck and songs by Brahms, Secchi and Hiller. (Musical Year Book, 1890-91, 11) She also appeared often with the Handel and Haydn Society: December 20, 1891 in Messiah; April 14, 1895. (H and H History-1911)
Loeffler, Charles M.
Pratt, American Music and Musicians, 272.
Elson, Hist. Am. Mus., 219.
Loeffler, Charles Martin (1861-1935). Born Alsace, American by adoption. One of Joachim’s favorite pupils. Came to America, aged 20; spend remaining 54 years here. From 1881-1903 first-desk player with BSO, then composer “and recluse on his Massachusetts farm.” (Friedberg, 25) He “came to Boston in 1882 not as a composer but as a professional immigrant musician to be the new assistant concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra… Loeffler played in the Boston Symphony for twenty-one years. From 1883 until his retirement in 1903, he was featured each season as a soloist and was continually praised for his technique, musicality, and modern repertoire (including the introduction of many French works. His public debut as a composer did not come until November 1891, when he played his own work, Les veilless de l’Ukraine, with the BSO under Nikisch.” (Fox, Rebellious Tradition, 226 and 227)
Lynde Block. This was the building where Father Lang had his piano wareroom on the second floor. It was numbered 143 – 147 – 151, and in an 1853 ad the extra direction, “entrance in the yard” was given. (Salem Register (March 14, 1853): 1)
HMA. Same pose used in Grove’s 1921, Vol. “M-P” facing 4.
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) Buitrago was living with the MacDowell family at the time; Desvernine and Carreno were friends of Buitrago. MacDowell and his mother went to France in April 1877, and after study at the Paris Conservatoire did not suit him, they went to Germany where they ended up in Frankfurt where MacDowell studied with Joachim Raff. He married one of his students, Margaret Nevins, a fellow American studying in Germany, in 1884. He gave up teaching settling in Wiesbaden for four years through 1877 where his chief work was composition. The couple even bought a house.
MacDowell, probably as he looked when he came to Boston in 1888. Johnston Collection. Various Americans would visit the MacDowells and urge them to return to the States. Finally, in 1888, Lang convinced them, and when they arrived had made an apartment for them in his own home. They stayed in Boston for six years.. “During this time MacDowell wrote most of his music.” (Answers.com, accessed January 11, 2009) He “taught and gave concerts, producing his two pianoforte concertos with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Boston, and the Theodore Thomas Orchestra in New York… In 1896 he 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) At the end MacDowell found pleasure “turning the pages of a book of fairy tales.” (Gilman, 54) 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, Unpublished Memoirs) MacDowell had rented a small house on West Cedar Street “and at once became the fashion as a piano teacher.” (Ibid) 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 Pf. Concerto at his concerto concerts and did a lot of talking. 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. At his first appearance (at a Kneisel 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.” (Ibid) Lang supported MacDowell by teaching his 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 on March 30, 1885, conducted by Frank Van der Stucken, Adele Margulies, pianist. MacDowell was the soloist a year later in a Boston Symphony Orchestra performance led by William Gericke on April 13, 1889.(Johnson, First, 225 and 226) Lang also contributed to MacDowell’s support 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)
Maas, Dr. Louis.
Mathews, 127. Also have print with certificate saying published by Theodore Presser, 1900.
Maas, Dr. Louis (Philipp Otto)(1852-1889). Born in Wiesbaden, his father was the principal music teacher of that town, but he was not encouraged in music. The family moved to England, and after graduation from King’s College at age 15, he returned to Germany and enrolled at the Conservatory at Leipzig. He later taught there for five years and taught over three hundred students, two hundred of which were Americans. This interaction with Americans made him “determined to cast his lot in America,” (Mathews, 129) and he was immediately hired in 1880 by the New England Conservatory. Just after he had returned from a visit to Europe, he “died suddenly at Boston, September 18, 1889.” (Ibid)
Mason and Hamlin building. 154 Tremont Street. Warren Devenport, vocal instructor had a studio there. (Ditson, Musical Record, September 1878). The Boston Conservatory of Music led by Julius Eichberg was also located there at this time. (Ibid)
Masonic Temple. Used by the Mendelssohn Quintette Club for their concerts in the early 1850s. It was located at the corner “of Tremont Street and Tremont Place,” it had three stories, and “consisted of school rooms, a Masonic Hall and a 900-seat chapel.” (Dowell, 33) This building was
King’s Handbook of Boston, 7th. Edition, 264.
destroyed by fire in 1864. The cornerstone for a new building on the same site was laid in October 1864 and the building dedicated on June 22, 1867. It had seven stories and three large rooms for meetings-the street and basement levels were rented out to businesses. (King’s Handbook, 264)
Mechanics’ Hall. Part of the building of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics’ Association. Site of B. J.’s chamber music concerts Spring 1874. “Around the 1860s and 1870s, the association’s building, known as Mechanics Hall, was located at Bedford Street and Chancey Street. A new building, Mechanics Hall, was constructed for the association in 1881, on Huntington Avenue, at West Newton Street, near Copley Square… Like its predecessor, the new Mechanics Building featured an auditorium, sometimes referred to as the Grand Hall. The building was demolished in 1959.” (Wikipedia, February 27, 2010) Mechanics’ Hall “was formerly much used for chamber concerts, but is now  principally devoted to the purposes of the association.” (King, 231) The hall must have had an organ: “The concert at Mechanic’s Hall, on Dec. 22nd, proved successful, and the entertainment was very enjoyable. Mr. Thayer presided at the organ.” (Folio, February 1872)
Meionaon, The. A small hall suitable for chamber music built at the lower level of the new Tremont Temple at 78 to 86 Tremont Street. Julius Eichberg, cellist and Hugo Leonhard, pianist presented a series of concerts here in 1859, a year after Eichberg had moved from New York to Boston. (Dowell, 22)
Melodeon Theater at 365 Washington Street, (Dowell says 361 Washington
Melodeon Theater is the red building in the middle of the map.
Street, formerly the Lion Theatre: 1836-39, 25) between West and Avery Streets (Elson, National, 279) It was later the site of the Bijou Theatre-see map.
Site of the 1862 Gottschalk concerts that included B. J. “Melodeon Hall, where Keith’s Theatre now  stands, next door to the Boston Theatre.” (Ryan, 50) This hall was “admirable for sound.” (Ryan, 51) The Handel and Haydn owned the building briefly, 1839-44. (Wikipedia, accessed, June 15, 2019) The Harvard Musical Association leased a room here for it’s library in the 1840s. (HMA Bulletin No. 10) In 1860 it was owned by Hon. Charles Francis Adams who had leased it for a number of years to Mr. John P. Ordway “who is determined to maintain for it an unexceptionable name and character, by introducing only first-class entertainments. The Melodeon is 40 feet in height, 66 feet wide, and 86 feet in length, admirably lighted in the day by four large and twelve small windows, and in the evening by one hundred and thirty-two gas-burners; the clearest atmosphere is preserved, even when the hall is crowded, by means of four of Emerson’s ventilators; and some ides of its acoustic properties may be gained when we state that even the slightest whisper may be distinctly heard in the remotest corners. the plan of seats is excellent, the aisles being sufficiently broad for two persons to walk abreast without inconvenience, while the seats themselves are wide, spacious, liberally stuffed and covered with enameled leather, the frame-work being of black walnut. The floor is carpeted with a thick matting. the size of the stage is 32 x 22, which, together with the dressing rooms, etc., is admirably fitted and furnished in every respect. (BMT (April 7, 1860): 58) Ryan gave the seating as 900, while Dwight claimed 1,200. (Dowell, 25) “In 1860 the Melodeon had a churchlike flat floor auditorium, and its balcony, which ran around three sides of the auditorium, was squared. At the back of its stage, which was more like a platform, was a large organ whose pipes surround it.” (King, 51) However, things change: “The Melodeon, one of the prettiest and best adapted concert-halls in Boston, is about to be converted into a billiard-saloon.” (BMT (September 8, 1866): 3) “The Melodeon had drifted along with sporadic minstrel shows and exhibitions until its closing in 1863 for repairs. From 1867 to 1878 it was the Melodeon Billiard Hall.” (King, 56) Then in 1878 it became the Gaiety Theatre which in 1881 was then gutted, rebuilt and reroofed to become the Bijou Theatre. (Wikipedia, Op. cit.)
Mendelssohn Quintette Club.
Mathews, A Hundred Years of Music, 1889, 295.
Above-Ryan, facing 94.
Members, left to right: August Fries, first violin; Edward Lehman, viola and flute; Wulf Fries, cello; Thomas Ryan, viola and clarinet; Francis Riha, second violin.
Mendelssohn Quintette Club. Begun in the winter of 1849-1850, “The formation of this club for public performances was the result of a chance suggestion. The original members used to meet for private practice and enjoyment of chamber-music, when a lover of classical music pointed out to them the great benefit they might confer on many musical amateurs by giving public performances. Acting up to this suggestion they gave their first public concert at Boston in the piano-rooms of Jonas Chickering, Dec. 4, 1849, when the following program was presented:
Quintet, Op. 8 – Mendelssohn
Solo, Violin, “La melancolie” – Prume
Concertant for flute, violin, and cello – Kalliwoda
Concert for clarinet – Berr
Quintet, Op. 4 – Beethoven
The five original members of the club were:
August Fries, first violin
Francis Riha, second violin
Edward Lehman, viola and flute
Thomas Ryan, viola and clarinet
Wulf Fries, violoncello
During its long existence changes in the membership took place. Thus after the first year Riha retired, and was replaced by Carl Meisel; and, later, August Fries was replaced by William Schultze.” (Ritter, 332 and 333) “No winter passed for many years without from six to ten concerts at Cochituate Hall, at the Masonic temple, at Chickering’s tasteful little hall, at the Meionaon, and other convenient places.” This period was from 1849 to 1858. “Admitting that it was mostly the exclusive privilege of the few, an audience seldom exceeding two hundred persons, and sometimes not half that number, yet was not the good influence sure to make itself felt in ever-widening circles?” (Dwight (History of Boston): 431 and 432)
Melodean (Melodeon). located next to the “Boston Theatre,” on
Boston Manual, Containing Diagrams of Theatres, etc., 1888, 15.
The Melodeon occupied the building of the former Lion Theatre (1836-1839) and Mechanic Institute (1839) (Wikipedia, accessed April 29, 2019) The Handel and Haydn Society owned the building 1839-1844, but it was used for all types of entertainment from the violinist Ole Bull, the actress Charlotte Cushman (who read the Ode at the Music Hall Organ Dedication) to a “Comic Troupe of Acting Monkeys.” (Ibid) In 1896 it was called the Bijou Theatre. (Herald (November 25, 1896): 4, GB)
Mendelssohn Choral Society. Dwight recorded that this choir elected Mr. Thomas Ryan of the Quintette Club as the conductor “of their exercises this summer.” The work to be rehearsed was Beethoven’s Mass in C in Latin. “We trust that ere long they will give us a public hearing of the same with orchestra.” (Dwight (May 6, 1854): 39)
“Mercantile Library, Summer Street, Boston.”
From Ballou’s Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion. Collection of James W. Johnston.
Mercantile Hall. Located at 32 Summer Street, Boston. (HMA Program Collection) The Mendelssohn Quintette Club concerts in the spring of 1859 were held here. (Dwight, March 5, 1859)
Monthly Musical Record (1878-1898) and Musical Record (1898+). Established by Oliver Ditson “in place of Dwight’s Journal of Music… A high class magazine” which was edited by Philip Hale October 1897 until December 1900. In 1901 it was combined with the Music review, which had begun in 1898 as a bulletin to announce new Ditson publications – the new magazine was called the Musical Record & review. (Ayars, 81)
The Mozart Club. Begun “along 1860, lived a short but by no means second rate life. The personnel was composed entirely of amateurs, the concerts were semi-private, no tickets were sold and attendance was by invitation. Carl Zerrahn was the conductor.” (HMA Bulletin No.15)
Winslow, facing 84.
Moulton, Louise Chandler. Boston poet: one of the few poets that Margaret set more than once. “For many years the centre of literary Boston has been located in the drawing-room in Mrs. Louise Chandler Moulton’s house in Rutland Square. Rutland Square is in Boston’s unfashionable South End, and is one of the quiet, shaded places, with the typical Boston swell-front houses, ivy-clad… She has remained steadfast in her loyalty to the home which she has occupied since the time when the South End was the fashionable quarter, before the Back Bay had been reclaimed from water and marsh… She still remains at No. 28 Rutland Square, a house that is world-famous. Thither all the best of the town, those who have achieved anything worthwhile in letters, in art, in science… turn their steps every Friday afternoon of the winter, for she keeps open house then. In London, where Mrs. Moulton spends every summer, she receives as she does at home… She is quite as fully appreciated over there as in her own Boston, and from a literary standpoint, even more highly rated, if that be possible, than she is in her native land… Her weekly receptions in Grosvenor Square call together all the great literary world of London… It is said of her that she has maintained on both sides of the water the nearest approach to the literary salon that is now in existence… At fourteen her first poem was accepted and printed… The name by which the public first knew her was not Louise Chandler Moulton, but Ellen Louise Chandler, although the name under which her poems and stories appeared was simply ”Ellen Louise.”” (Winslow, 77-85)
View from the stage. James Henry Stark, Stranger’s Guide to Boston, 1883. Wikipedia, August 8, 2013.
Walker’s 1883 Map of Boston. Wikipedia, August 8. 2103.
Music Hall. Stood in Hamilton Place where Loew’s Orpheum Theater is now (1955)(Baker, Dic., 10) – see entry for Orpheum Theatre. “The Boston Music Hall was built in 1852, after a donation of $100,000 was made by the Harvard Musical Association towards its construction. Ten years later, the members of the Association raised an additional $60,000 to install in the hall an organ built in Germany by Walker. It was regarded as the largest organ in the United States, containing 5,474 pipes and 84 registers… The organ is now in the Methuen Memorial Music Hall, in Methuen, Massachusetts.” (“Boston Music Hall” entry in Wikipedia.org). This entry has a picture of the room that shows two balconies in the same configuration as Symphony Hall, Boston. Dwight printed a “Letter to the Editor” signed by “E” giving more of the history of the building. He mentioned that the idea was presented at the January 1851 annual supper of the Harvard Musical Association, and that a committee was formed that night that within four weeks presented a Report that included six possible locations-the Bumstead estate being selected. He continued with a description: “The Music Hall is to be 130 feet long, 78 wide and 65 high. The lower floor level, and 78 feet square… two balconies are carried along the sides of the Hall, projecting 8 feet 6 inches from the walls… It is estimated that nearly 3,000 persons can be comfortably accommodated in this Hall-none of whom will be so placed that they cannot both hear and see the orchestra, or easily leave the Hall by some adjacent door leading into the corridors.” (Dwight, April 10, 1852) “The ratio of length to width was five to three, and the ratio of length to height was two to one; with all three dimensions being multiples of thirteen. This was in agreement with the recommendation of John Scottt Russell (1808-1882), a Scottish engineer and early pioneer in the field of architectural acoustics.” Further details were printed in July, just before the opening of the Hall. Mention was made of “The corridors, which traverse the entire length of the two sides of the hall, on the three stories, giving forty-two doors of entrance to the hall.” (Dwight, July 17, 1852) A row of hundreds of gas jets, projecting from the edge of the cornice just below the windows, illuminated the hall by night.
Wikipedia-public domain: June 12, 2010.
Decorated for July 4, 1876. BPL, Digital.
1900, photo by A. H. Rickards. Crawford, facing 216. Also BPL Digital.
Henschel and the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the Music Hall.
“Ladies fair for the poor at Music Hall, Boston, March 8th 1858.” J. H. Bufford’s Lith. BPL, Digitalcommonwealth. Shows the arrangement of the side, as well as the two ends of the hall.
In November Dwight detailed the earlier efforts at building a concert hall for Boston – “The first public action taken upon the subject was at a meeting of the Council of Advice of the Boston Musical Fund Society, held at their rooms, in the old Tremont Temple, on the 27th. Day of September, 1850.” Dr. J. B. Upham had requested the meeting, and a Committee of Five was formed to consider the idea, but after “many meetings” where the group “had labored assiduously at their duties,” their final report was negative, and “the whole matter slumbered for a time.” A few months later, Dr. Upham then presented the idea to the Harvard Musical Association, whose committee presented a favorable report within a month’s time. And raised the amount of $100,000 within sixty days! “About one-fourth part of this sum was given by members of this Association. Foremost in these subscriptions will long be remembered the names of Perkins, Curtis, Chickering and Apthorp, whose munificent aid, at a critical period of the work, ensured its success… Perhaps a third part of the whole was subscribed in large sums by a few persons; for the rest, there is scarcely a professional musician or amateur in Boston, who could command a spare hundred dollars (the price of a share) who is not the owner of one or more shares in our new Music Hall.” (Dwight (November 13, 1852) 45 and 46)
A week later Dwight added that eight builders had been invited to bid on the project, but six refused when they were told that the project must be completed within one hundred and fifty days. However, two bids were submitted, and the lower, by Mr. F. W. R. Emery was accepted, and “Mr. Emery has conducted the various works in his department with such excellent management, that they were finished in a highly satisfactory manner thirty days earlier than the appointed period.” (Dwight (November 20, 1852): 54) The next issue had details of the Grand Opening: “The opening drew an audience of near 2500, not quite filling all the seats. Many waited, more attracted by the promise of the second night. Having easily found our way, by ample corridor and stair-case, to our seats in the first end balcony, opposite the stage, our marvel at the general beauty of the scene was not greater than that at seeing how the well-dressed multitude around us and below us kept silently and mysteriously increasing at every point, through the forty doors of floor and balconies, like spring water softly rising in its basis.” Six columns of details about every aspect of decoration and then details about the music heard followed. The big choral numbers sung by a choir of 500 sounded wonderful, but the orchestral sections had less impact. However, when Alboni sang, “her large and luscious tones told upon every ear with roundness and distinctness; and certainly it cost her but the smallest effort, for she appeared more nonchalant, if possible, than is her wont…
On the next (Sunday) morning, the Rev. Theodore Parker, whose voice is by no means a very strong one, was distinctly heard in every corner of the hall by an overflowing audience.” Dwight ended his report: “The audience seemed delighted with the feast, of ear, and eye and soul; and, lingering in parties here and there to take a last look of the magic scene, the crowds mysteriously melted away through all the forty doors aforesaid. Commonly three minutes would suffice to empty the main hall of any crowd it could contain. We understand that about $1,000 were realized, over, expenses, to go toward an organ fund.” (Dwight (November 27, 1852): 61-63)
In 1853 Dr. Upham published a 43-page treatise entitled “Acoustic Architecture, or the Construction of Buildings with Reference to Sound and the Best Musical Effect.” Discussion topics were drawn from his recent series of articles in “Dwight’s Journal of Music.” The treatise expanded on the discussions given in the articles, reported the results of his further investigation into architectural acoustics, and included several references to allied design and construction considerations of the Boston Music Hall.
Elson, The History of American Music, 1904, 263.
N. Y. P.L. Digital.
Collection of James W. Johnston.
Henry M. Dunham, The Life of a Musician, 31.
The 1861 annual meeting of the stockholders of the Music Hall was held early in June. Receipts for the year were $10,106.98 with expenditures of $7,298.92, thus showing a profit of $2,808.06 “The old Board of Directors was re-elected as follows: J. Baxter Upham, E. D. Brigham, Eben Dale, George Derby, J. M. Fessenden, H. W. Pickering and J. P. Putnam. The President stated that the organ intended for the hall was completed and that it would be ready to be shipped from Rotterdam next month. After discussion, it was voted to allow the Directors to bring it over at the present time or delay till next year, at their discretion.” (BMT (June 15, 1861): 135)
July 4, 1876. BPL Digital.
1881 Summer. Henry Lee Higginson (1834-1919), founder of the BSO, and his associates bought a controlling interest in the Boston Music Hall during the summer while preparations were being made for the debut of the orchestra. The first concert was given on October 22nd. conducted by Georg Henschel.
1884. Despite vigorous protests which included legal action, the “Great Organ” was removed from the Music Hall to provide more platform space for the BSO.
1885. With the organ removed, a large sounding board was built over the stage to help project the sound of the orchestra into the hall.
Musical Fund Concerts. Ran from November 1847 until April 1855. With the addition of “that refined and classical musician Mr. George J. Webb… the great symphonies” were added to the repertoire which had mainly been lighter compositions. The concerts “were commonly given in the old Tremont Temple, then the largest hall in Boston. Public rehearsals, too, were given at a low price of admission, placing such music within the reach of all who cared for it… These Fund Concerts must have contributed essentially to the creation of a taste among our people for the music of the masters. They were continued through eight seasons; the last of which we find mention was in April 1855, and in the new Boston Music Hall.” (Dwight, History of Boston, 428 and 429)
Musical Record, The. “A weekly paper of sixteen pages devoted to the interests of music in general. It is published in Boston by O. Ditson & Co. and edited by Dexter Smith. It has recently [c. 1883] been changed to a 36-page monthly, under the same management and editorship. Subscription price, $1.00 per annum. Established in 1878. Circulation, upwards of 5,000.” (Jones, 106)
Musical Herald. “A monthly magazine of forty pages devoted to the advancement of music in all its branches, especially church music. The first number appeared in January 1880. It is edited by Dr. E. Tourjee, assisted by Louis C. Elson, Stephen A. Emery, W. F. Sherwin and G. E. Whiting. Published by the Musical Herald Co., Boston. Subscription price, $1 per year. Circulation about 10,000. It is one of the most ably conducted journals in this country.” (Jones, 105)
Musicians Club. “Members were some of the best known musical people of the city, including the critic William Foster Apthorp; Louis Elson… the composers Arthur Foote and John Knowles Paine; the conductor B. J. Lang; and Arthur P. Schmidt, the music publisher who brought to the world most of the best works by the Boston School.” (Yellin, 45)
National College of Music. According to Dwight’s article of October 5, 1872, this college was founded by Thomas Ryan and located within the Tremont Temple. its opening recital, September 24, 1872, included Lang, as a professor, playing Liszt’s transcription of Weber’s Polonaise in E minor, and Lang presenting three of his students, Messrs. Adams, Sumner, and Tucker in Bach’s Concerto for Three Pianos in C major, with an accompaniment of string quartet. Sumner had opened the recital with the Last Movement from Mendelssohn’s First Organ Sonata. This notice had appeared in Dwight’s June 15, 1872 issue: “MUSICAL EDUCATION. 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.” During the coming weeks, while the city is full of musical visitors, the Directors will be present at their rooms in Tremont Temple, every day, from 11 to 1 o’clock, to answer questions. A notice in the September Folio also noted: “Another marked feature of this college will be the new vocal teacher, Mr. Cirillo, secured through the agency of Mr. Howard Ticknor, who writes of him pleasantly.” (Folio, September 1872) Ticknor’s remarks centered on how difficult it was to find good vocalists, even in Italy. Ticknor felt that “He is upon the whole the best vocal teacher I have ever met, and he is the man of men whom I would like to bestow on Boston… If he could work in Boston for one year, I’ll stake all my critical reputation that even the unskillful in such matters will recognize his rare merits.” (Ibid) He then mentioned his eight years of journalism “to support the development of good taste.” (Ibid) On April 15, 1873, the college gave “its first Exhibition Concert of the Pupils, closing the Spring term… 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. There was al least the merit of adhering to true time in all the movements; one could trust her teacher for that, who sat at a second piano, helping out the quintet accompaniment.” (Dwight (May 3, 1873): 14) Apthorp, a teacher of the school described its organization: “The teachers in each department look to some one definite head for guidance in the management of their various classes. The head teacher in each department [Lang in piano] has been brought up in the same school of playing or singing as the other teachers under his direction, many of whom have for some years been his own pupils and coworkers [George W. Sumner, Hiram Tucker, William Apthorp, Mr. Dixie, and J. Q. Adams- (Ryan, 172)], so that a pupil may begin at the lowest grade in any department and successively pass on to higher and higher grades, without being forced to adopt a new system at each successive step.” (Musselman, 101) Unfortunately the great Boston Fire of 1872 happened just a month after the school had opened, and this forced many students to withdraw which in turn affected the financial condition of the institution which then closed at the end of its first year. (Ryan, 172-173) The school did present an “Exhibition Concert of the Pupils” which represented the closing of the Spring Term on Tuesday afternoon, April 15, 1873 at Tremont Temple. The students were assisted by their teachers and the Mendelssohn Quintette Club. A Summer Term was advertised to begin April 21, 1873 with a “Corps of Artist Teachers” including Harmony and Composition taught by W. F. Apthorp; the voice instructors were Sig. Vincenzo Cirillo (from the Royal College of Music, Naples), Mr. Charles R. Hayden, and the Director of the school, Mr. Thomas Ryan; the piano faculty were Lang and his pupils G. W. Sumner (who was also the organ instructor). H. G. Tucker. W. F. Apthorp, and R. C. Dixey together with the members of the Mendelssohn Quintette Club: Violin, William H. Schultze and Carl Hamm; Flute and Viola, Edward Heindl; Clarinette and Viola, Thomas Ryan; and Violoncello, Rudolph Hennig. Another page of the program gave further information about the faculty. “The vocal department is so crowded with pupils that the services of two teachers additional to Signor Cirillo have become a necessity… Mr. C. R. Hayden, tenor singer, recently a graduate from Leipsic [sic] Conservatory, and for two years afterward a student under the best singing masters in Naples, has just commenced his labors in the college… The celebrates Tosti, known throughout Italy as a finishing teacher for the opera, in Rome and Naples, has been secured and may be expected next term (HMA Program Collection).
Henry M. Dunham, The Life of a Musician, 41.
Elson, “Musical Boston,” Supplement to “Music and Drama,“ June 3, 1882. HMA Collection.
From King’s Handbook of Boston, 1878, 47.
The Conservatory took over this building in 1882.
“Franklin Square House, Hotel for Young Women.” Hugh C. Leighton Co., Portland, Me. Made in Germany.
It was first built in 1868 as the elegant Saint James Hotel “with four hundred rooms and a steam-powered elevator. Seven stories in height, with a domed center pavilion and flanking wings with corner quoining;” later it later became the New England Conservatory, and later still “was remodeled for the Franklin Square House, a non-profit women’s residence, after the Conservatory moved to Back Bay. Today,  the Franklin Square House is a senior citizen” apartment building.” (Sammarco, 55)
New England Conservatory. “On Monday, February 18, 1867, the New England Conservatory of Music opened its first classes in the Music Hall building, Boston. [Wiki article of 11/3/11 says the school “consisted of seven rooms rented above Music Hall off Tremont Street in downtown Boston; the McPherson and Klein NEC History says the school was on the top three floors of the Music Hall (37)]: its directors were Messrs. Eben Tourjee, who had previously used the class system of instruction in music at the East Greenwich Musical Institute, and at the Musical Institute in Providence, R. I.; and Robert Goldbeck, a New York pianist and composer. In 1868 Mr. Goldbeck went to Chicago, and the directorship was assumed by Dr. Tourjee alone. The instructors were announced as follows: Pianoforte, Otto Dresel, B. J. Lang, Ernst Perabo, S. A. Emery, Robert Goldbeck; harmony and composition, Messrs. Goldbeck and Emery; instrumentation, Carl Zerrahn; vocal culture, Signor Dama, Messrs. Zerrahn and Tourjee; organ, S. P. Tuckerman, G. E. Whiting; violin, W. H. Schultze; violoncello, Wulf Fries; contrabass, August Stein. Opening thus with a faculty composed of foremost musicians of the day, and offering advantages which the directors intended to be equal in rank with those of the renowned conservatories of Leipsic, Paris, Stuttgart, Prague, and others, the new institution at once secured a large enrollment of pupils. In 1870 it was duly incorporated under the laws of Massachusetts. In that year the first class was graduated… In 1882, the Conservatory having outgrown its quarters in Music Hall, the St. James Hotel in Franklin Square was purchased and converted to the uses of a music school. Dr. Tourjee died in 1891, and was succeeded in the directorship by Carl Faelten.” (Goodrich, 89) A year later, the February 1868 catalog listed eleven piano instructors-two from the previous year had left and eight new instructors had joined the department. the February 1869 catalog listed all of the current pupils among whom were Jeanie Burrage and Ruth Burrage-their instructors were not listed. This same catalog listed the “Whole Number of Pupils for the year ending February 15, 1868″ as 1414,” while the “Whole Number of Pupils for the year ending February 10, 1869” was 1827. This gave a “Total attendance at the Conservatory in two years” of 3241. (NEC Catalogs, BPL) By 1877 Lang pupils William F. Apthorp, Arthur W. Foote, Hiram G. Tucker (and possible pupil Fred. H. Lewis) had joined as piano instructors in a department which now numbered twenty-one teachers. By 1901 nither Lang nor his pupils were connected with NEC. The tuition at that time was: $10 for a class of four, two lessons per week, per term of nine or ten weeks, elementary level; $20 for a class of three, intermediate level; $27 for a class of three, advanced level; other studies, Conducting Composition, harmony, Score Reading, etc. had extra charges of from to $25 per term. (Ibid)
1878 edition. Johnston Collection.
Piano and organ information from the booklet above.
Carl Faelten, Mathews, 159.
In a program from the Boston Music Hall of September 1869 the following was was advertised: “The Fall term of the New England Conservatory of Music (located in this building) begins Sept. 13th, 14th and 15th. Pupils received and classified on and after Aug. 30th. Tuition $10 or $15 per quarter of ten weeks, according to study and grade.” (HMA Program Collection-Sept. 11, 1869 Lang Organ recital) Henry Dunham described the Conservatory as occupying “the three upper floors of the western side of the Music Hall building. The entrance to the Music Hall and the Conservatory were side by side at the end of an alleyway extending for some little distance off Winter Street.” (Dunham, 49) Another source stated that the school “consisted of seven rooms rented above” the Music Hall…”In 1870 it moved to the former St. James Hotel in Franklin Square in the South End.” (Wiki. article, August 22, 2011) A one-page ad in a program from the Music Hall of 1872 called the Conservatory “THE LARGEST MUSIC SCHOOL IN THE WORLD.” The ad went on to say that it was “Established upon identical principles with the celebrated Conservatories of Europe, and in many respects offering even greater advantages than they, receives beginners and pupils in every stage of proficiency, and affords the instructions of the most eminent masters at less rates of tuition than any similar institution in this country… A beautiful three-manual Pipe Organ has been constructed with special reference to the requirements of its classes, by Messrs. E. & G. G. Hook and Hastings. Organ practice free.” The ad also noted that there were “Frequent Concerts by leading artists, orchestral and organ Recitals, Lectures, Instruction in Singing and in harmony, and the use of a fine Musical Library, are among the many advantages enjoyed by its pupils, without extra charge.” There were four terms per year: “FALL TERM open Monday, September 16, 1872. WINTER TERM open Monday, November 25, 1872. SPRING TERM opens Monday, February 10, 1873. SUMMER TERM opens Monday, April 21, 1873 (HMA Program Collection). Among the concerts were faculty recitals. “Perhaps [one of] the most attractive features of the conservatory here, as well as among the most improving to the pupils, are the private concerts given by the teachers. Yesterday was given what was numbered as the thirty-first concert of the New England Conservatory, at Chickering’s Hall. The performers were Messrs. Lang and Fries, and Miss Annie M. Granger; the entertainment, short as it was, was peculiarly interesting and artistic. The gentlemen played Mendelssohn’s Sonata in D for piano and violoncello, with great spirit and delicacy of rendering. Mr. Lang gave with the same finish a scherzo of Chopin; and, instead of three as the Programme indicated, one caprice of his own composition. If the suppressed two are as attractive as the one performed, it was a pity the audience should have been deprived of them.” (Advertiser ( January 30, 1869): 1) In the fall of 1878 the Conservatory was advertising that it was the “Largest Music School in the World” having taught 18,000 pupils since its beginning eleven years ago in 1867. Tourjee still headed the school and it was still located in the Boston Music Hall. (Ditson, Musical Record, September 7, 1878) Chadwick recorded when Carl Faelten was named Director [1891?], “at first everything went along well but before long trouble began to develop which culminated in 1897 [when Chadwick was named Director].” (Chadwick, Unpublished Memoirs) Faelten joined the St. Botolph Club on November 30, 1894, and was still a member in 1905. (1905 membership List, 32)
Newspapers, magazines and their critics.
Atlantic Monthly – William Foster Apthorp: 1872-1877
(Boston Daily) Advertiser. Began 1813 – ceased 1929. 20 Court Street (Wikipedia, June 5, 2010) But, King’s says this building was No. 27 and 29 Court Street, the location until February 1883 when the paper moved to Nos. 246 and 248 Washington street and No. 69 Devonshire Street. (King’s Handbook, 7th. Edition-1885, 300)
Wikipedia, June 12, 2010: Daily Advertiser Building (20 Court Street ) c. 1870s?
Another view of the Court Street location. Same basic features. Wikipedia, June 12, 2010: Edward Stanwood, Boston Illustrated, 1886.
King’s Handbook of Boston, 7th. Edition, 1885, 300.
In January of 1869 The Boston Daily Advertiser was a paper of four pages that cost four cents per issue. Each page was nine columns wide (23 inches) and 32 inches high. When the paper was opened to read the two inner pages, the reader was holding a sheet 46 inches wide! The entertainment ads were found on the first page, left a hand column, and these usually filled the entire column. Any comments or reviews were found in the column beside, usually beginning about halfway down the page. E. H. Clement probably did the music reviews, although they were unsigned. (Johnston Collection) Described in 1889 as a paper which “has always been the organ of a select constituency among the wealthier and more conservative classes. its politics are Republican… The afternoon annex of the Advertiser, however, a one-cent paper, The Record, is as frisky and sensational as its parent is sedate, and is a newsy and popular little sheet.” (Grieve, 103) . Eleven years earlier, in 1878, The Daily Advertiser on Court Street was described as “the oldest daily in Boston,” and it enjoyed “substantial prosperity, its circulation being principally among the wealthy and cultivated people of Boston and New England.” It was Republican, and aimed “to represent the advanced and enlightened wing of the party.” The writers gave “to the paper a conservative and cultured tone, which, together with its literary features,” made “it acceptable to a class of readers whose influence was far out of proportion to their numbers.” The Advertiser was “a large folio, well printed on good paper.” (King, 144) Louis Elson was the Music Critic from 1886 until his death in 1920.
(Boston) Courier – William Foster Apthorp
(Boston) Globe – Originally begun in 1872 “as an independent four-cent morning paper, aiming at a high literary character,” it was reorganized in 1878 and became a two-cent paper with Morning, Evening, and Sunday editions. Within six years the circulation went from under 10,000 to 50,000, and by 1889 “the figures for the daily edition were 147,382, and the Sunday 143,592… Throwing off all conservatism of the older papers, the Globe has hesitated at no legitimate and proper scheme to interest and please the masses.” (Grieve, 104 and 105) its building at “Nos. 236 and 238 Washington Street, is large and unpretentious, extending through to Devonshire Street. It was formerly occupied by The Boston Transcript… It has a large corps of special correspondents throughout New England, and at leading centres throughout the United States.” (King, 149)
Wikipedia, June 13, 2010: Illustrated Boston, the Metropolis of New England, 1889.
(Boston) Herald. Started in 1846. Considered in 1889 as one of “two popular newspapers, of the modern ”hustling” order,” the other being the Globe… For several years the Herald had no rival as a two-cent people’s newspaper. its circulation was as large as its enterprise, and it had its particular field all to itself. It is a Republican-Independent paper, or as a latterly coined word expresses it? ”Mugwump”.” (Grieve, 104)
In the mid-1800s Howard Ticknor was the music critic; he also had joined the Apollo Club in 1880 and was still a member in 1891; I wonder who reviewed the choir’s concerts? From 1894 until 1901 Benjamin Woolf had the position, and he was followed by Philip Hale who ruled for thirty years, 1903 until his death in 1933. In 1881 the average daily circulation was 133,000 with a Sunday edition of 117,310. For special events, such as the returns of the Presidential election in 1884, 302,030 copies were printed. (King, Handbook-1885, 307-9) In 1878 the paper moved into an “especially erected” building at 255 Washington Street. “This building is one of the finest newspaper-offices in the world…The Washington-street front, in the French Renaissance style, makes a striking contrast with its dingy surroundings…In politics the Herald is independent.” (Ibid)
Wikipedia, June 11, 2010-Stanwood, Edward (1886) Boston Illustrated, 102.
Wikipedia, accessed July 10, 2020. SUNDAY MORNING-January 8, 1852.
(Boston) Journal. Began 1833. Morning and evening editions. Thrifty middle-class Republicans; special strongholds Maine, New Hampshire and the country towns of Massachusetts. “It aims to secure full, prompt, and reliable intelligence from all quarters of the world…A large and active staff staff of reporters. No attempt is made at fine writing.” (King’s Handbook of Boston, 1878, 148)- merged with the Boston Herald October 1917. 264 Washington Street. Philip Hale, critic 1891-1903. “Since 1860 it has been published from 264 Washington Street… In many respects an excellently edited paper… its features are all arranged in departments… and it corresponds to its constituency, which is largely made up of systematic merchants and families of the old school… It still  adheres to the old four page ”blanket sheet” form, with a supplement when an overflow of matter calls for it…It publishes morning and evening editions.” (Grieve, 103 and 104) “It has attained a firm foothold among thrifty middle-class Republicans; its special strongholds being in Maine, New Hampshire, and the country towns of Massachusetts… It aims to secure full, prompt, and reliable intelligence from all quarters of the world. The local news columns are full and fresh, there being a large and active staff of reporters. No attempt is made at fine writing; and the paper has a practical, business-like tone, which is suited to the tastes of its constituency. The Journal is a large folio sheet, and sells for 3 cents a copy.” (King, 148)
(Boston) Post. Founded in 1831, by the 1930s it “had grown to be one of the largest newspapers in the country, with a circulation of well over a million readers.” It closed in 1956. The music critic Olin Downes wrote for this paper. (Wikipedia, June 5, 2010)
(Boston) Post. “Founded in 1831… its building stands on the site of Franklin’s birth-place on Milk Street. In its palmy days under Colonel Green the Post was one of the ablest democratic journals in the country. It was for many years the standard paper for commercial news, and this, together with its editorial ability, made it a recognized authority among businessmen. Around 1875 it had financial problems, but it was reorganized in 1885 and then “displayed much of its old-time vigor and ability…The Post is still Democratic, but not actively partisan.” (Grieve, 103) Arthur Weld was the critic before the fall of 1890 when Phillip Hale took over. By the 1930s it “had grown to be one of the largest newspapers in the country, with a circulation of well over a million readers.” It closed in 1956. The music critic Olin Downes wrote for this paper. (Wikipedia, June 5, 2010)
Boston Post Building, 15-17 Milk Street, King’s Handbook of Boston, 1881, 146.
The Boston Transcript building rebuilt and enlarged after the Great Fire of 1872.
The Boston Directory, commencing 1885.
(Boston Evening) Transcript. Founded in 1830, ceased publication April 30, 1941. “The Transcript is Republican, but it is elevated and independent in its views on all matters of public interest. It is a genuine type of the high-toned literary journal, and has a large circulation among the very best class of cultivated, disinterested, and clean citizens. It is the standard journal of art and literary criticism, while its news columns cover the wants of its rather select and cultured constituency.” (Grieve, 105) William Foster Apthorp was the Music Critic from 1881-1903.
(Boston Evening) Traveller. Begun in 1845, it was “the first two-cent evening paper in Boston.” It also had weekly and semi-weekly editions. “It was formerly a leading exponent of Republicanism, and is still patronized quite largely by Republicans and Prohibitionists. It is intended to be an elevated family paper, advocating the cause of temperance, education, and moral reform. It is published at the head of State Street, where for more than a century papers have been issued… its politics [are] straight Republican.” (Grieve, 105) “its news-departments are well sustained. The review of the week, long a feature of the Saturday edition, ably conducted by C. C. Hazewell, is valuable for filing as a record of passing events.” (King, 148)
Journal of Music: John Sullivan Dwight.
“Young” Arthur Nikisch. New England Magazine, February 1890.
Nikisch, Arthur. 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. Later in Berlin I heard him conduct for more than twenty years and became well acquainted with his art; he did everything with his admirable musical instinct, not with an effort of intellectual insight. His performances were not the result of carefully prepared study – he was notoriously lazy – but were improvised on the spur of the moment.” (Leichtentritt, 368) When “Mr. Arthur Nikisch came [to the BSO] he found an orchestra already drilled and disciplined, and abounding in excellent material [the results of the work of Wilhelm Gericke]. The new conductor is a Hungarian by birth, with all that nationality’s characteristics of temperament, though at the conductor’s desk he is seemingly as impassive as the sphinx. His greatest success has been won in his readings of the modern school rather than of the classic, and while unquestionably there are some who may regret the absence of the intellectual interpretations of the Gericke regime, still the work of the orchestra has been more popular since Mr. Nikisch took the baton.” (Upton, Musical Societies, 81) 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. ”…In America, Nikisch’s significance was instantly appreciated. W. J. Henderson of the New York Times traveled to Boston to attend his American debut, on October 11, 1889. Henderson’s first impressions confirm precisely with the great reputation Nikisch would later establish in Berlin.” (Horowitz, 56 and 57). Whereas all of the New York critics were enthusiastic about Nikisch, in Boston, the critical opinion was divided. concerning a performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Philip Hale and William Apthorp, although coming from differing critical camps, both found points of interest in the new conductor’s performance whereas Warren Davenport, writing in the Boston Herald found the performance “peculiar,” without “repose,” and generally a “vulgar display of noise.” (Horowitz, 58 and 59) George Chadwick recorded: “In the fall of 1889 Arthur Nikisch came to Boston to conduct the Symphony concerts. He had exchanged 8,000 Marks as first Capellmeister in Leipzig for $8,000 in Boston. 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. At the first concert his magnetic, personal control of the orchestra was at once demonstrated. Besides his uncanny repose, his carefully disordered hair, and his expansive cuffs, proclaimed at once to the susceptible the man of genius. 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. He instituted the custom of having a ”general probe” on Wednesday mornings at which only reading of new works was done. The orchestra began to suspect, that with his marvellous memory this saved a good deal of study on his part…But when he was in the mood Nikisch could be a worse martinet than Gericke. His free and easy methods never prevented his giv[ing] a great performance when he was interested or in the mood, and the orchestra was very quick to catch his spirit.. To the Boston composers he was amiability itself but he never put any of their works on the program until he had played them through.” [Seems like a good policy] (Chadwick, Unpublished Memoirs) “In subsequent seasons Nikisch continued to split Boston opinion. Many an Apthorp review conveyed the thrill of new experience… But Nikisch’s special enthusiasms-for Liszt, Wagner, Tchaikovsky-were not those of Philip Hale… Nikisch departed Boston after four years-one season before the expiration of his contract” to a further career as conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestras (Horowitz, 60 and 61) Chadwick felt that Hale had “fairly summed up” Nikisch’s conducting style in an article in the Musical Year Book. Hale had written: “As a conductor he was a man of emotional nature, and his emotion was dangerously near hysteria. In the reading on compositions of the so called classical school he would sweep brilliantly before him, but was apt to include the music in his sweeping. The orchestra under his direction lost in precision, elegance in detail and there was seldom present an idea of reserve force,” and to this Chadwick added, “but they did gain in elasticity and brilliancy whenever Nikisch took it in his head to require it.” (Chadwick, Op. cit.) A newspaper article of the time reported: “Many rumors have gone abroad regarding the cause of Mr. Nikisch’s resignation. Among them is one that the music critics of Boston had made the position irksome to him, by reason of their unfavorable attitude towards his eccentricities as a conductor, and that he could bear it no longer. this of course, is absurd, for he has proclaimed that he has no time to read criticisms, that he is ignorant of what they may say of him, and consequently cannot be either pained or pleased by them.” (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 paino, 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)
The person who bought this card had heard him conduct the Ring in Leipzig Oct. 13, 14, 16 and 18, 1903, and then om January 14, 1904 had been present at the Gewandhaus symphony concert where Nikisch conducted and Ysaye was the soloist. Johnston collection. Photo dated Leipzig 1902.