CHAPTER 14. TOPIC INDEX SC (G) WC-1530.

  • CHAPTER 14: TOPIC INDEX. (2) SC (G). WC- 1530
  • 5/2. This means Chapter 5, Section 2. Then there will be a list of Topics within that Section.
  • 1883 World Columbian Exposition.  9/1
  • 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.  5/1
  • 6 NEWBURY STREET STUDIOS.  6/2
  • 70TH. BIRTHDAY FOR B. J. 6/2
  • ACCOMPANIST.
  • American Guild of Organists.   5/2
  • AMERICAN MUSIC EDUCATION.   6/2
  • APOLLO: TENTH ANNIVERSARY. 3/4
  • APOLLO CLUB: FORMATION.   3/1
  • Apollo Club-B. J.  Resigns. 5/4
  • APOLLO CLUB PUBLIC REHEARSALS.  3/3
  • APOLLO CLUB SEASON 1872-1873.   3/1                                                                 APOLLO CLUB SEASON 1873-1874.   3/1                                                                 APOLLO CLUB SEASON 1874-1875.  3/2
  • APOLLO CLUB SEASON 1875-1876.  3/2
  • APOLLO CLUB SEASON 1876-1877.   3/3
  • APOLLO CLUB SEASON 1877-1878.   3/3
  • APOLLO CLUB SEASON 1878-1879. 3/4
  • APOLLO CLUB SEASON 1879-1880.  3/4
  • APOLLO CLUB SEASON 1880-1881. 3/4
  • Apollo Club Season 1881-1882. 11th.  4/1
  • Apollo Club Season 1882-1883.  12th. 4/1
  • Apollo Club Season 1883-1884.  13th. 4/2
  • Apollo Club Season 1884-1885.  14th. 4/2
  • Apollo Club Season 1885-1886.  15th. 4/2
  • Apollo Club Season 1886-1887.  16th. 4/3
  • Apollo Club Season 1887-1888.  17th. 4/3
  • Apollo Club Season 1888-1889.  18th. 4/3
  • Apollo Club Season 1889-1890.  19th. 4/4
  • Apollo Club Season 1890-1891.  20th. 4/4
  • Apollo Club Season 1891-1892.  21st.  5/1
  • Apollo Club Season 1892-1893.  22nd. 5/1
  • Apollo Club Season 1893-1894.  23rd. 5/2
  • Apollo Club Season 1894-1895. 24th.  5/2
  • Apollo Club Season 1895-1896. 25th.  5/2
  • Apollo Club Season 1896-1897.  26th. 5/3
  • Apollo Club Season 1897-1898.  27th. 5/3
  • Apollo Club Season 1898-1899. 28th.  5/4
  • Apollo Club Season 1899-1900.  29th. 5/4
  • Apollo Club Season 1900-1901. 30th.  5/4
  • Apollo Sings for the Funeral of John H. Stickney.  5/1
  • APOLLO-SPRING 1881.   3/43
  • Apthorp, William Foster. 2/3
  • Apthorp Lecture.   5/3
  • ARLINGTON CLUB. 3/4
  • Artistic Growth-1860’s
  • Attacks on Lang Through Tucker and Foote.  4/2
  • AVERAGE WEEK.   3/3
  • B. J.’S SISTER-MARIETTA (ETTA) AND FAMILY MUSICALES.  3/1
  • B. J. as a Piano Salesman.   2/1
  • Bach Birthday Concert.   4/2
  • Bach Concerts.   5/3
  • Bayreuth. 5/3
  • Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 1-Boston Premier.   2/3
  • BERLIOZ: DAMNATION OF FAUST.   6/1
  • BERLIOZ: DAMNATION OF FAUST-THREE TIMES!  3/4
  • “Best concert in its history.”  5/2
  • Bible Songs and Youthful Voices.   1/1
  • Birthday Wishes from the Family for MRL.   10/1
  • BIRTH OF MALCOLM LANG. 3/4
  • BIRTH OF ROSAMOND.   3/3
  • Boston: 1850. 1/1
  • BOSTON CHURCH CHOIRS.   3/3
  • BOSTON ORCHESTRAL CLUB. 3/1
  • BOSTON PHILHARMONIC CLUB.  3/2
  • BOSTON PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY.  3/4
  • Boston Singers (Replaced Boylston Club)  4/4
  • Boston Symphony Orchestra and Lang.  4/1
  • Boston Symphony Orchestra Chorus.  5/1
  • BOYLSTON CLUB.   3/1
  • Brimmer Street House Described.  9/1
  • Brown, Allen A.   4/2
  • BSO 100th. Birthday Celebration.    10/1
  • BSO 1966 Honor.    10/1
  • BSO Subscriber Since 1881, First Concert, to the Present: MRL.   10/1
  • von BULOW. 3/2
  • BUNKER HILL-100TH ANNIVERSARY.  3/2
  • Burrage Room-see Ruth Burrage Room.
  • Carreno, Teresa.   2/2
  • CECILIA AFTER LANG. 6/2
  • CECILIA-BEGINNINGS.   3/2
  • CECILIA CONTINUED.   3/3
  • CECILIA DETRACTOR. 3/4
  • CECILIA SEASON 1876-1877.  1st. Indep. 3/3
  • CECILIA SEASON 1877-1878.  2nd. Indep. 3/3
  • CECILIA SEASON 1878-1879.  3rd. Indep. 3/3
  • CECILIA SEASON 1879-1880.  4th. Indep. 3/4
  • CECILIA SEASON 1880-1881.  5th. Indep. 3/4
  • CECILIA SEASON 1880-1881 CONCLUDED. 3/4
  • Cecilia Season 1881-1882. 6th.  4/1
  • Cecilia Season 1882-1883. 7th.  4/1
  • Cecilia Season 1883-1884. 8th.  4/2
  • Cecilia Season 1884-1885.  9th.  4/2
  • Cecilia Season 1885-1886. 10th. 4/2
  • Cecilia Season 1886-1887. 11th.  4/3
  • Cecilia Season 1887-1888. 12th. 4/3
  • Cecilia Season 1889-1890. 14th. 4/4
  • Cecilia Season 1890-1891. 15th.  4/4
  • Cecilia Season 1891-1892.  16th. 5/1
  • Cecilia Season 1892-1893. 17th.  5/1
  • Cecilia Season 1893-1894.  18th. 5/1
  • Cecilia Season 1894-1895.  19th. 5/2
  • Cecilia Season 1895-1896.  12th. 5/2
  • Cecilia Season 1896-1897.  21st. 5/3
  • Cecilia Season 1897-1898.  22nd. 5/3
  • Cecilia Season 1898-1899.  23rd. 5/3
  • Cecilia Season 1899-1900.  24th. 5/4
  • Cecilia Season 1900-1901.  25th. 5/4
  • CECILIA SEASON 1901-1902.  26th. 6/1
  • CECILIA SEASON 1902-1903.  27th. 6/1. HAVERHILL.
  • CECILIA SEASON 1903-1904.  28th. 6/1
  • CECILIA SEASON 1904-1905.  29th. 6/2
  • CECILIA SEASON 1905-1906.  30th. 6/ 2
  • CECILIA SEASON 1906-1907.  31st. 6/2
  • CECILIA SINGS GOV. WOLCOTT FUNERAL.  6/1
  • CENSUS-1880. 3/4
  • CHADWICK PREMIER WITH APOLLO CLUB.   3/4
  • Chadwick-Support by Lang.    4/3
  • CHAMBER MUSIC: SPRING SERIES 1876.  3/2
  • Chaminade of America.  9/1
  • Chickering Agent.   1/1
  • CHICKERING ANNIVERSARY CONCERT.  6/1
  • Chickering Hall Dedication.
  • CHICKERING ORCHESTRAL CONCERTS.  6/1
  • Chickering piano for Master Lang.   1/1
  • Choral Premiers of Margaret’s.   8/1
  • Choral Training Techniques of Lang. 4/2
  • Christmas Season-1864.   2/2
  • Complimentary Concert for B. J., March 1860.   2/1
  • Concert Arias, Three.   9/1
  • Concerto (Piano) Performances Through 1900.  5/4
  • Concert to Help the Patriots of Crete.  2/3
  • Costume Ball.  4/3
  • CRAMER PIANOFORTE STUDIES.   3/3
  • Critics of Lang.   5/1
  • Damnation of Faust.    4/1
  • DEATH.  Benjamin Johnson Lang.   6/2
  • Death.  Margaret Ruthven Lang.  10/1
  • DEATH OF FRANCES’ MOTHER.  6/1
  • Debut as Pianist in Boston.   2/1
  • Diphtheria.   4/1
  • DITSON FUND MEETING.  6/1
  • Dixey, R. C.   2/3
  • Dixey, Richard C.   2/2
  • Dramatic Overture and Witichis. 9/1
  • Dramatic Overture and Witichis Reviews. 9/1
  • Dutton, Alice-Early Lang Piano Pupil.   2/2
  • Dvorak Composition Lesson(s).
  • Dwight, John S. 2/1
  • DWIGHT COMPLIMENTARY CONCERT. 3/4
  • EARLY CHORAL GROUPS;    3/1
  • Early Piano Teachers of B. J.’s. 1/1
  • Etude Interview with Lang About his Teaching. 5/3
  • EULOGIES.   6/2
  • European Study for B. J.  Three Years or Not.   1/1
  • EUTERPE.   3/4
  • Ex-Governor Wolcott’s funeral.  5/4
  • Fall of 1870.   2/3
  • Family Portraits.  5/3
  • Farm: Second Summer Season-1896.   5/2
  • Farm: Summer Seasons 1897-1901.  5/4
  • Farm: Third Summer Season: 1897.  5/3
  • Father B. and B. J. Music Rooms in Salem.   2/1
  • Father Benjamin and B. J. in a joint concert.   1/1
  • Father Benjamin’s Businesses.   1/1
  • Fidelio.    4/1
  • FINAL CONDUCTING APPEARANCE. 6/2
  • FINANCIAL WORTH.   6/2
  • First Child.   2/2
  • First Lectures.   2/3
  • First Symphony Series.   2/3
  • First Walpurgis Night.   2/1
  • FOOTE, ARTHUR.   3/2
  • Frances’ Singing Lessons.   2/3
  • Frances’ Stand. “Opposing Electrocution.”   9/1
  • Frances Morse Lang-Death 10/1
  • Franz Liszt Dinner.   4/1
  • FUNERAL.   6/2
  • “Genius.” Musical America Article about Margaret.    8/1
  • Gericke, Wilhelm.   4/2
  • Gilmore’s Jubilee.   4/3
  • Gilmore Concert.   2/3
  • Globe Theatre Concerts. 2/3
  • Gottschalk and Lang.   2/1
  • Gottschalk and Lang. II.   2/2
  • GREAT BOSTON FIRE.  3/1
  • HALL OF FAME.   6/2
  • Handel and Haydn 50th. Anniversary.   2/2
  • Handel and Haydn Accompanist-October 1859.  2/1
  • Handel and Haydn-First Triennial Festival.  2/3
  • Handel and Haydn Salary.   4/4
  • Handel and Haydn Society.   2/1
  • HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY.   3/2
  • HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY-LANG CONDUCTS.  3/3
  • Handel and Haydn Society-Lang conducts.  “Was the best concert ever.”
  • Hannah Lang letter-1864.  2/2
  • HARVARD-MASTER OF ARTS DEGREE.   6/2
  • Harvard Musical Association New Home.  5/1
  • Harvard Musical Association Orchestral Concerts. 2/2
  • HAVERHILL CHORAL SOCIETY. 6/1
  • Haydn’s-The Seasons.   2/2
  • Heavenly Noel, The.   9/1
  • Henschel and the B.S.O.  4/1
  • HENSCHEL, HELEN,  BOSTON CONCERT.   6/1
  • Henschel: Miss Helen’s Boston Debut Recital.  5/4
  • HENSCHEL, LILLIAN JUNE BAILEY. b. 1860, d. 1901.  3/3
  • HENSCHEL MARRIAGE.   3/4
  • Hill Burlingame, Edward.   5/2
  • Hood, Helen  4/1
  • Hook and Hastings Studio Organ.  5/2
  • HOUSE AT 8 OTIS PLACE.   3/1
  • House Warming: Harvard Musical Association    9/1
  • Hymn of Praise for Charity.   4/4
  • Hymn of Praise Premier.   2/1
  • Immaculate Conception Church.   4/2
  • INCHES, MRS. LOUISE PAINTED BY SARGENT.  4/3
  • Irish Love Song.  9/1
  • Irish Love Song Lives On.   10/1
  • ISABELLA (MRS. JACK GARDNER) PAINTED BY SARGEANT.  4/3
  • Jaell, Alfred.   1/1
  • JOSEFFY AND LANG. 3/4
  • Joy, Clara F. Early Lang pupil.   2/3
  • King’s Chapel: Easter and Christmas 1895.  5/2
  • King’s Chapel: Elijah.   5/4
  • King’s Chapel: Vespers. Lang’s Magic as an Organist.  4/4
  • King’s Chapel-Christmas 1890.   4/4
  • KING’S CHAPEL-CHRISTMAS 1902.   6/1
  • KING’S CHAPEL-CHRISTMAS 1903.  6/1
  • KING’S CHAPEL-VESPER SERVICES 1907. 6/2
  • Lang’s Home: 1864. With Burrages.  2/2
  • LANG’S INFLUENCE LIVES ON.   6/2
  • LANG’S MOTHER DIED.   3/2
  • Lang’s Musical Position in Boston. 4/1
  • Lang’s Musical Talks.   5/2
  • Lang’s Works Premiered by the Apollo Club.   4/2
  • LANG AS ASSISTING ARTIST.  3/3
  • Lang as B.S.O. Conductor?
  • LANG AS HANDEL AND HAYDN ORGANIST: Third Triennial Festival.  3/2
  • Lang Assists.   4/3
  • Lang, Benjamin Johnson.  1/1
  • Lang, Margaret Ruthven.  2/3
  • Lang- Musical Dictator of Boston.  5/3
  • Lang on Piano Playing.   5/1
  • LAST CECILIA CONCERT. 6/2
  • Lecture Business-Lang, Chadwick, Paine and Elson.  4/2
  • Lectures on Piano Technique.  4/2
  • Lincoln’s Funeral.   2/2
  • Lincoln Emancipation Proclamation Concert.   2/1
  • Liszt and Lang.  4/3
  • MacDowell, Edward Alexander.  4/3
  • MacDowell, Mrs.   10/1
  • Margaret’s First Performances.   8/1
  • Margaret’s Musical Style.  8/1
  • Margaret Aged 101.  10/1
  • Marriage to Frances Morse Burrage.   2/1
  • MECHANICS’ HALL CONCERTS: 1873 MARCH.  3/1
  • MECHANICS’ HALL CONCERTS: 1874 FEBRUARY-MARCH.   3/2
  • MECHANICS’ HALL CONCERTS: 1875 APRIL.  3/2
  • MECHANICS’ HALL CONCERTS: 1876 MARCH.   3/3
  • MECHANICS’ HALL CONCERTS: 1880.  3/4
  • MEMORIAL CONCERTS FOR B. J.  6/2
  • Mendelssohn: Son and Stranger.   4/1
  • Mendelssohn-Eighth Book of Songs Without Words.  2/3
  • MENDELSSOHN QUINTETTE CLUB & THE CATHOLIC CHORAL SOCIETY. 3/1
  • Mendelssohn Quintette Club Performances-1860 to 1869.   2/3
  • Mercantile Hall Concerts.   2/3
  • Messages From God. 1927-1939. 10/1
  • Missa Solemnis-Beethoven. Cecilia Sings at Symphony Hall Dedication. 5/4  Popular
  • Missing Pieces: MRL.  9/1
  • Missing Symphony: MRL.  9/1
  • MISS ROBBINS AND THE ACTRESS, MISS MAUDE ADAMS. 6/1
  • Monster Organ.  2/2
  • More B. J. Solo Appearances.   2/2
  • More MRL Song Performances. 8/1
  • MRL’s Biographies of Early Life. 8/1
  • MRS. GARDNER’S NEW MUSIC ROOM. 6/1
  • Munich Conservatory Instructors.    8/1
  • Munich: Margaret begins her studies.  4/2
  • Munich Study-1885.    8/1
  • Murder.   5/4
  • Music Hall Organ Concerts.   2/3
  • Music Hall Organ Dedication.   2/2
  • Music Hall Organ: 1865-66 Season.  2/2
  • Musicians’ Aid Concert.  5/4
  • NATIONAL COLLEGE OF MUSIC.  3/1
  • Nevin, Ethelbert.   4/1
  • New Boston Farm: First Summer Season-1895.   5/2
  • New England Conservatory.   2/2
  • Nikisch, Arthur. 4/4
  • Nikisch, BSO, Play for Margaret’s Instruction.   8/1
  • Ninth Cecilia Season. 1884-1885.   4/2
  • Ojala-1889 Paris World’s Fair.   8/1
  • Ojala-Washington, D. C. Performance.   8/1
  • Old South Organist-1859.   2/1
  • ORCHESTRAL CONCERTS OF LANG.  3/4
  • Organ Positions: Early. 1/1
  • Organ Positions: Old South Church. 1859-1864. South Congregational Church. 1864-1888. King’s Chapel. 1888-1909. B. J.’s Studio Organs. 1/1
  • OTHER CHARITABLE EVENTS (1) (2) (3).  6/1
  • Other Concert Groups.   2/2
  • Other Concerts.  2/3
  • PAINE- AZARA.  6/1
  • Parsifal: Second Time.   5/1
  • Parsifal.  4/4
  • PARSIFAL. 6/1
  • Peace Jubilee: 1869. 2/3
  • Peace Jubilee, World:  1872. See World Peace Jubilee.
  • Performances c. 1899.  9/1
  • Personality.  5/3
  • Petersilia, Carlyle and Lang.  2/3
  • Philharmonic Society Soloist. Lang plays Tchaikovsky.  4/1
  • Pianoforte Concerto Concerts-First Series-1887.  4/3
  • Pianoforte Concerto Concerts-Second Series-1888.   4/3
  • Pianoforte Concerto Concerts-Third Series-1890.   4/3
  • Piano Instructor-Lang’s methods.  4/4. See also: Teacher of Piano.  2/3
  • PIANO RECITALS.  3/4
  • Pianos: Special Double Piano and Silent Practice Piano.
  • Piano Technique Lectures-1867 and 1883.  2/3
  • Portraits of Lang Family-see Family Portraits
  • Premiers of Beethoven and Liszt/Schubert.  2/3
  • PRESIDENT HAYES VISIT. 3/3
  • RAISED $1,000,000+ FOR THE  ENDOWMENT. 6/2
  • RESIGNS FROM THE CECILIA.   6/2
  • Return to Boston-1888.   8/1
  • RETURN TO HARNESS.   3/1
  • Rival Pianists of Lang-Perabo and Petersilia.   2/2
  • Royalties: Margaret Contacts Her Publisher.   9/1
  • RUBINSTEIN PIANO CONCERTO IN G-BOSTON PREMIER.   3/1
  • RUDERSDORF, MADAME ERMINA.  3/1
  • Ruth Burrage Library of Orchestral Scores.  5/4
  • RUTH BURRAGE ROOM-MOVED.   6/2
  • RUTH BURRAGE ROOM  SUMMER 1872. 3/1
  • Salem Academy of Music and Salem Choral Society.   1/1
  • Salem-Amphions.   2/1
  • SALEM CONCERT.   3/2
  • Salem Concert. B. J. as Pianist. 1863.  2/2
  • Salem Concerts. 3: 1866-67. B. J. conducts a “BSO.”   2/3
  • Salem Oratorio Society.   2/3
  • SALEM ORATORIO SOCIETY.  3/1
  • Salem Oratorio Society. 4/4
  • Sargent’s painting of Mrs. Jack Gardner.  4/3
  • Sargent’s painting of Mrs. Louise Inches.  4/3
  • Satter and Lang.   2/1
  • Schumann Piano Works.   4/2
  • Season 1888-1889. 13th.  4/4
  • SECOND SERIES OF CONCERTS AT THE GLOBE THEATRE.   3/1
  • Shakespeare Birthday Concert.   2/2
  • Ship-Typical Journey.   5/2
  • Singing with the Boston Symphony.   4/4
  • Social Events.   5/1
  • SON AND STRANGER-MENDELSSOHN.   3/3
  • Song Performances.  9/1
  • SOUTH BOSTON CHORAL UNION,  CHELSEA CHORAL SOCIETY. 3/1
  • South Congregational Church-Lang leaves.  4/3
  • South Congregational Church Organist.   2/2
  • St. Botolph Club. Chadwick Describes.  4/2
  • ST. BOTOLPH CLUB. HISTORY.  3/4
  • ST. SAENS: NOEL-CHRISTMAS ORATORIO.  3/4
  • ST. SAENS-CONCERTO NO. 2. 3/3
  • ST. SAENS PIANO CONCERTO NO. 2 IN NEW YORK CITY.  3/3
  • STRAUSS: ENOCH ARDEN. 6/1
  • STRAUSS, RICHARD IN BOSTON.  6/2
  • Student Apes the Master.   5/4
  • Student Concerto Concerts.   2/3
  • STUDENT CONCERTO CONCERTS II.   3/1
  • Summer 1860-Europe.  2/1
  • Summer 1866-Europe.   2/2
  • Summer-1867.  2/3
  • Summer- 1871. Europe.  2/3
  • SUMMER-1875.   3/2
  • Summer-1885.   4/2
  • Summer-1888. Europe.  4/3
  • Summer-1897. Europe.  5/3
  • Summer- 1871. Europe.  2/3
  • Summer-1888. Europe.  4/3
  • Summer-1897. Europe.  5/3
  • Summer-1900.   5/4
  • SUMMER-1904. 6/2
  • TABLE GOSSIP.   6/1
  • Taste in Music: How Can it be Cultivated and Refined?  5/4
  • Tchaikovsky.   4/1
  • TCHAIKOVSKY PIANO CONCERTO NO. 1 WORLD PREMIER.  3/2
  • Teacher and Pupil. The Early 1860s.  2/2
  • Teacher of Piano.  2/3 see also: Piano Instructor-Lang’s Methods. 4/4
  • The Ditson Fund. 5/3
  • THE SINGING CLUB.   6/1
  • THOMAS CHORAL SOCIETY.   3/2
  • TOPICS AND PREMIERS.  6/1
  • TREMONT TEMPLE CHAMBER MUSIC CONCERTS OF LANG.  3/4
  • TREMONT TEMPLE NEW ORGAN. 3/4
  • TREMONT TEMPLE REOPENING.  3/1
  • TRIPS BACK TO EUROPE.  3/4
  • Trip to Europe. 1891.  4/4
  • Tucker, Hiram G.   2/3
  • Tucker, Hiram G., Concert.   5/4
  • VON BULOW. 3/2
  • Wagner: A French Life  of-Lang, Preface. 5/1
  • WAGNER AND LANG.   3/3
  • Will-Margaret’s. 10/1
  • WINCH, MR. JOHN F.   3/2
  • Woolf Edward, Benjamin.  2/3
  • WOOLF EDWARD, BENJAMIN-CRITIC.   3/4
  • WORCESTER RECITAL.  3/1
  • WORLD PEACE JUBILEE; 1873.  3/1
  • YALE DEGREE.   6/1
  • Year In Europe-1869 to 70: Berlin Concert. Rome and Liszt. April. Vienna Concert. June. July. August 12th.  2/3
  • Yet More MRL Song Performances.    9/1
  • Youthful Voices.   2/1
  •  Zerrahn, Carl.   2/1

CHAPTER 13. MARGARET RUTHVEN LANG: LIST OF WORKS – ANNOTATED. WC.

LIST OF WORKS-ANNOTATED

Word Count-20,076.  01/01/2020.

OPUS 1 Quintette for Piano and Violins (1879). B.J. told the story of its composition. “It was nothing less ambitious than a quintette for piano and violins, and the little composer wanted to have it performed for some charity that appealed to her youthful heart. Consulting her father as to the probability of its financial success, he told her that if she should charge twenty-five cents for going in and five dollars for coming out before the performance ended, the question of finance would be settled, as every quarter would be supplemented.” In an article written when she was 101 years old she mentioned that this piece was composed when she was 13 or 14 to play with three friends on violins. “That was just fun in the summer,” and she had taken up the violin “because her friends were studying it and [she] learned by watching them play. Later she studied it in Munich, but not seriously, and she gave up the instrument when she left Munich.” (Article by John J. Mullins entitled –“Composer Margaret Lang, 101, just ‘wants to live forever.’”) An article from 1895 describes the work as “a quintet for piano and four strings, that was played privately at her father’s summer residence.” (Musical Courier, January 1895)

OPUS 2 Love Plumes His Wings to Fly Away. SSAA. The Cecilia premiered this work on Wednesday, January 25, 1893 at the Boston Music Hall. Francis H. Jenks of the Musical Herald said “very delicate and bright.” The Musical Courier said: “Her music is melodious and effective; her use of the lower tones of the alto voice is skillful and the composition shows not only musical feeling, but dramatic instincts well.” The Herald said that “the ladies never did better work than in Lang’s tuneful and pleasant” work. The 17th. Annual report of the President of the Cecilia (no Society in their title then) dated May 25, 1893 said “and Miss Lang’s delightful bit of four-part writing for female chorus.” Philip Hale said in his January 26, 1893 review: “Miss Lang”s graceful setting of Mrs. Moulton”s Love Plumes His Wings stood out in delightfull relief [to the greyness of the other pieces], and it was heartily applauded.” (BPL Hale Crit., Vol. 1) The piece was repeated in the 1894-95 season on January 16 and 17, 1895, on February 4, 1902, and again on March 31, 1908.The Globe review of the 1902 performance said that “His daughter’s song, Love Plumes His Wings, with its singularly soaring soprano solo, was beautifully rendered by female voices; and it is high praise to say that the Cecilia singers have never given a female as well unless it be in The Lord Is My Shepherd of familiar memory.” (Globe. February 5, 1902, p. 3) Another review noted: “It began well, but the short interjectional phrases seemed artificial, and gave only thinness to parts of the work without attaining the archness and coquetry of the poem.The end was especially weak in this respect.But the young composer proved that she does not often lapse into an inconsequential vein.” (Scrapbook 1887-1906)

OPUS 3 The Maiden and the Butterfly. TTBB. This work was written for the Apollo Club and sung at their April 1889 concert. Called a “Quaint and ingenious part song in waltz for, written for the club.” At the Jamuary 11, 1916 concert of the Apollo Club then conducted by Emil Mollenhauer at Jordan Hall (full house) with Dr. Archibald T. Davidson at the organ, this piece was sung again. The Musical Courier of January 29, 1916 said: “This composition Miss Lang has written expressly for the Apollo Club. It is well constructed and interesting throughout, and was sung by the club and remanded.” Hughes “Con. Am. Com.” says p. 434 “and is as fragile and rich as a butterfly”s wing.” Published as “Men”s Voices No. 89″ by Schmidt.

OPUS 4(?) In a Meadow for mixed chorus. Sung by a quartet at the January 31, 1889 Cecilia concert-many reviews. The Courier said: “Much commendation must be given to a quartet by our young composer Margaret Ruthven Lang.It is entitled In a Meadow and, although some of the solos phrases sound thin, it has moments of great power.It is melodious in an unwonted degree, and its grace and daintiness (admirably suited to the words) together with the excellence of its execution…made it one of the best appreciated numbers of a programme which, as will be seen, was rich in good things.”The American Musician of February 16, 1889 said: “It proved to be one of the most earnestly listened to of the evening”s selections.”The Globe review of February 1, 1889 described the work as having three verses “differently set, two being led off by the soprano, while the intermediate one is divided between the bass and tenor voices: there is also a diversified and sparkling pianoforte accompaniment which Mr. Lang played with paternal artistic grace.” (Scrapbook) The singers were-Mrs. Galvin, Miss Mary H. How, Mr. G. W. Want and Mr. Wellington [probably all from the choir-How and Wellington are listed as members in 1884-85]. (MYB 1888-89, p. 16)

OPUS 5 The Jumblies words by Edward Lear for male chorus, baritone solo, and two pianos published by Schmidt in 1890: “Men’s Voices No. 116.” For the Apollo Club. First performance at the First and Second Concerts of the 20th. Season on Wednesday, December 3 and Monday December 8, 1890 with Mr. E Cutter Jr. and Mr. Ethelbert Nevin pianists, and Mr. Otto Roth as the baritone soloist[but Roth was the violin soloist for this concert: Program-Johnston Collection]; the work opened the second half of the concert. The review in the Musical Herald for January 1891, page 10 said: “It is impossible to deny Miss Lang’s facility in composition or the grace with which she states her ideas, and while she has constructed a rather formidable work upon Lear’s innocent text, she has shown an original bent in her harmonies, and a sympathetic study of the voices.”(Quoted by Ammer in Unsung, 87) Another performance by the Mendelssohn Glee Club in NYC February 10, 1891 was favorably received. However, Philip Hale in the Post of December 4, 1890 said: “Miss Lang treated it far too seriously…The text calls for simple, jolly music; but from the first measure to the last the singers passionately content with the pianofortes for a hearing…The composition lacks clearness, directness, and humor; its frenzy is out of place.” He also found fault with her vocal writing. Hughes wrote in 1898 that “the touch of the fantastic that makes her song Ghosts a thing so delicately eerie makes a success also of her setting of Edward Lear’s curious nonsense, The Jumblies.” (Hughes article. “Women Composers,” 778) Two years later Hughes’ wrote that “The Jumblies is a setting of Edward Lear’s elusive nonsense, as full of the flavor of subtle humor as its original. It is for male chorus, with an accompaniment for two pianos, well individualized and erudite.”(Hughes-Con Am Com, 433)Writing in 1994, Osborne described the work as “apiece of almost symphonic dimensions in the context of the partsong tradition.The mesh of its lavish web of sound is created by two pianos and choral voices, its balanced sectional structure is truly imposing and there is a cameo accompanied recitative for solo baritone.Lest we think that only her father’s Apollonians could entice from her such an impressive work, both her Boatman’s Hymn, opus 13, and The Lonely Rose, opus 43, possess the same breadth.” (Osborne, 63 and 64)

Eighteen years later Arthur Foote also composed a setting of this poem. Published in 1908 by Arthur P. Schmidt, Foote”s setting was for mixed voices, but without accompaniment. Whereas Lang’s setting fills 22 pages, Foote’s takes only 8 pages. It is the fourth of his Opus 68 and was dedicated to Ralph L. Baldwin and premiered by the Cecilia Society on February 2, 1909, conducted by Wallace Goodrich (Cipolla, 44). Lang sets the opening, “They went to sea in a sieve. they did” to a rolling nautical 6/8 meter where Foote uses a solid 4/4. Lang contiunes in 6/8 and at the same speed for the second section, “Far and few are the lands where the Jumblies live” where Foote has a slower tempo, but still in 4/4. A third section, “And all night long they sailed away” is set as a baritone solo by Lang, but Foote uses his opening melody for this section. Lang sets the next section, “O Timbaloo! How happy we are” still in 6/8, “con espressione” while Foote treats it as an extension of his opening. The next section, “And all night long in the moonlight pale” is set to new material by Lang while Foote uses the second section of his opening. For a repeat of “Far and few” Lang uses a modified repeat of it”s first appearance while Foote copies his exactly. Foote ends his setting with this first verse of the poem while Lang continues and sets the sixth verse ending with the refrain, “Far and few.”

OPUS 6 Three Songs. Pub. 1891 by Schmidt

1. Chinese Song, E min. (c#-e). Words translated by J. Gautier from origianl by Li Tai Pe who also wrote the poems that Mahler set in Songs of the Earth.

2. A Bedtime Song, E (d-d#). Words by Eugene Fiel

3. Lament, D (d-d). Words by S. Galler, 1535. Hughes-p. 434 Con Am Com says: “Her Lament I consider one of the greatest of songs, and proof positive of women’s high capabilities for composition.”Downes said: “Op. 6 includes an interesting Chinese Song, with a very characteristic accompaniment, and a Bedtime Song, after Eugene Field’s poetry.There is in this last a subtle intimacy of sentiment and an exquisite shimmering effect in the accompaniment of the text: ‘Where the firelogs glow and spark, glitter the lights of the Shadowland.’” (Downes article)

OPUS 7 Three Songs of the Night. Pub. 1891 by Schmidt

1. Night, B (d-g#). Words by Louise Chandler Moulton.

2. Slumber Song, G (d#-f). Words by Anon.

3. The Harbor of Dreams, E (d-f#). Words by Frank Dempster Sherman. Receipt dated December 17, 1921 for $4 (100 copies @ .04).

OPUS 8 Three Songs of the East. Pub. By Schmidt

1. Oriental Serenade, E min. (c-f#). No poet indicated. Hughes p. 435, Con Am Com“ is an example of weird and original intervals.” Receipt dated 3/20/36 for $6.50(260 copies @ .025)

2. Christmas Lullaby, F min. (f-e). Words by John Addington Symonds.

3. A Poet Gazes on the Moon. C min. (c-e flat) Words after Tang-Yo-Su, translated by Stuart Merrill.

Downes commented: “Op. 8 contains three songs, two of them of an Oriental character.The first is an piquant serenade; the last a setting of a Japanese poet’s words, translated by Stuart Morrill, ‘The Poet Gazes on the Moon.’This is a shining example of what Miss Lang can do with very simple means.By the use of two or three elementary chords in the key of C minor and a transition to the sub-mediant major, with a voice part of limited compass and the utmost simplicity, she has succeeded in producing a wonderfully atmospheric, Oriental, suggestive impression.” (Downes article)

OPUS 9 Four Songs. Pub. 1892 by Schmidt

1. Heliotrope, F (e-g), Words by F. D. Sherman.

2. Spinning Song, D (d-f#). Words by F. D. Sherman. Hughes Con Am Com p. 434 “is inexpressibly sad, and such music as women best understand, and therefore ought to make best.” Downes felt that this song was “a dramatic picture; and another of the same character belonging to Opus 15. ‘Whether We Love or Hate’ has a pervading melancholy of mood and quietness of key color which must make a strong impression when it is sung.” (Downes article)

3. The Sky Ship, A flat (e-a). Words by Frank Demster Sherman.

4. Betrayed, A min. (E-a). Words by Lizette Woodward Reese. Hughes “fiery passion…highly dramatic until its rather trite ending.” However Downes opinion was that “An intensely dramatic page is the last of op. 9, Betrayed. The stormy, agitated accompaniment and fiery impetus with which the music rushes along, give it, in the writer’s estimation, almost the rank among songs that Chopin’s Revolutionary Etude holds in the realm of piano music.” (Downes article) Blunsom gives a page and one-half to a description of this song citing the influence of Wagner “both in the chromaticism and in the harmonic movement, including the use of diminished chords and ‘Tristan’ chords,” and she notes the similarity of measure 41 with “Wagner’s ‘Traume’ from Wesendonck Lieder. (Blunsom, p. 197)  “Lang’s two spinning songs, however, reveal the depth of the female perspective expressed musicopoetically.” (Blunsom, 239)

OPUS 10 Orchestral overture, Witichis.

Performed on Saturday July 29, 1893 at the Popular Orchestra Concert #45 at the Festival Hall, conducted by Theodore Thomas with the Exposition Orchestra of

FestivalHall_WorldsFairTheodore Thomas, Autobiography, facing page 287.

It was repeated as the opening work of Concert No. 36 of the “Music Hall Series” the on Friday, August 4, at three o’clock; the other works were the Suite Creole by John A. Broekhoven, the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with Maud Powell as the soloist, and the Concert Overture by Hermann Wetzler. The third performance was given on Wednesday, August 30 at the noontime Popular Orchestral Concert given by the Exposition Orchestra of 100 at Exposition Hall conducted by Max Bendix [Max Bendix had been recruited by Theodore Thomas to be the Concertmaster of the new Chicago Orchestra which had completed two seasons before it became the nucleus for the orchestra at the 1893 World’s Fair] “Mr. Bendix, hearing that Mr. B. J. Lang was in Chicago with his family, sent to ask if they would like to hear the Wichitis overture played, and arranged for it to be the first piece on the program of August 30, at 12 noon, Mr. Lang having an organ recital a little later on the afternoon, and it was to be the last day at the fair.” (Musical Courier, January 1895) “The general character of the work is passionate, with a warmth that seems wholly genuine and unsought; and now and then with more idyllic moments of much beauty; and the orchestration is brilliant”(unatributed quote from “Ancestry.com”) A local Chicago paper wrote: “A work in which is displayed excellent management of themes well and carefully woven and sustained in result, while the instrumentation is thoughtful, yielding an effective climax toward the close by discriminating use od the brass.” (Chicago Tribune, August 5, 1893). Margaret’s piece was chosen from only 21 pieces that were submitted.

“10 Miscellaneous orchestra works; 6 Overtures; 7 Chamber music compositions; 3 Cantatas (vocal scores only); 2 Works for voices and orchestra; 1 Piano concerto; 1 Oratorio (vocal score only)” (Musical Year Book 1892-93, XXXI)

BJ’s recital at Festival Hall included three original Bach pieces including the Fantasie in G Major, Andante in C Major, and Pastorale in F Major, Schumann’s Fugue on BACH, his own transcription of Mendelssohn’s Overture to a Midsummer Night’s Dream, an improvisation, and ended with his own transcription of Beethoven’s Overture to Egmont. It was the 62nd. given during the Exposition. (Yearbook, Vol. 10, p. xxvi) The Chicago Tribune described the Bach performances as “sterling and musical” but saw the arrangements as “the same old endeavor to make the organ masquerade as an orchestra, which calls always to mind the fable of the jackdaw with the one peacock feather in its tail.” However the review ended with: “Mr. Lang”s improvisation was interesting.” (Chicago Tribune, August 31, 1893) The following day Alexander Guilmant was the performer at the 3PM Festival Hall organ. (Ibid)TheodoreThomas

Theodore Thomas from Elson, plate one, frontispiece.

A Boston Transcript story of October 10, 1896 related that when Margaret had finished this work in 1893, the BSO conductor, Nikisch said to her, “Would you not like to hear how it will sound? If so, send me the sheets, and I will have the men look it over, and you shall come and hear it.” This experience obviously led to the BSO premier of Opus 12 on April 7 and 8, 1893.

OPUS 11 Love Plumes His Wings. SATB chorus. First performance January 25, 1893. (Cline thesis) Repeated January 17, 1895. The Cecilia Society also sang it at their 154th. concert on February 3, 1902. The program note said, “Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang, born in Boston, is the daughter of the Cecilia’s honored leader. Her musicianship is sincere and strong. Her work has rare individuality and charm, and her songs are sung throughout the country.” The “Globe” review said: “His daughter’s song, Love Plumes His Wings with its singularly soaring soprano solo, was beautifully rendered by female voices; and it is high praise to say that the Cecilia singers have never given a female chorus as well unless it be in The Lord Is My Shepherd of familiar memory.” (Globe, February 5, 1902, p. 3)

OPUS 12 Orchestra overture, Dramatic Overture. Maestoso in E minor. Elson in “Amer Music” 1925 said- “it has some strong contrasts, especially between the chief theme and the subordinate. The first is grim and medieval, the second tender and human. To place these two in juxtaposition in itself gives something of dramatic power and the development of both is singularly unconventional.” p. 306

The premier of this piece in 1893 was conducted by Arthur Nikisch and opened the Boston Symphony 23rd. Rehearsal (Friday afternoon, April 7 at 2:30 PM) and Concert (Saturday, April 8at 8PM) of its 12th. Season. Also on the program were a

Recitative and Aria from FaustSpohr

Symphony in C Minor #9Haydn

Two SongsSchubert

Suite #1 in F Major, Opus 39Moszkowski

Scherzo Capriccioso, Opus 66Dvorak

William F. Apthorp’s program note began with a short biographical note, and then continued:

“The dramatic overture, in so far as its form is concerned, shows the same general tendency to adhere to the spirit of the sonata-form, with a very free interpretation of the letter of the law, that we find in many of Schumann’s symphonic movements. It begins, without preliminary introduction, with the gist of the first theme announced in the trumpets and trombones, with syncopated thuds on the kettledrums. This syncopated accent – the effect of which is purely rhythmical – is characteristic, and comes in again and again, as the development of the theme progresses. The first announcement of the theme is followed by a sinister cadence in the strings, after which a roll on the drums leads to the second phrase of the theme on the wind instruments, followed by another forbidding cadence in the strings, and another roll on the drums. Then the work of developing the theme – which almost has the character of working-out begins in earnest; this is carried out at some length, a new phrase, first appearing in the violins in octaves, seeming at first like a “first subsidiary,” but soon showing itself to be of far greater importance than a subsidiary theme can claim in compositions which hold fast by the classic form. It is really a natural melodic outgrowth of the first theme itself, and, for the development of the work, must be considered as really part and parcel of it. its passionate character well fits it for a ‘dramatic’ companion to the stern parent theme. The relationship of these two phrases is somewhat interesting technically. The first one, given out by the brass, has something of the vague tonality of the old modal writing of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, -a character which is made all the more prominent by the grim cadences on the strings that come after it. The second phrase belongs wholly to our modern tonality, and has that expression of personal, individual emotion that came into music with the discovery of our modern tonal system. Here is a juxtaposition that is in itself dramatic! These two phrases-the one stern, forbidding, and impersonal, the other full of passionate human feeling-are played off against each other, in coherent musical development, for some time, a more cantabile second theme gradually growing into being (its relationship with the second phrase just mentioned is not to be overlooked), and more and more asserting its supremacy.

Exactly where the ‘working-out’ begins was hard to say: the sheer development of the first and second themes has had much of sonata-form (which is also that of the overture) have been to a great extent obliterated. Still, the spirit of the form is unmistakably there. One finds it in the return of the first theme at what should normally be the beginning of the ‘third part.’ Indeed, the working-out proper is rather concise, and the return of the first part of the overture singularly regular for a composition so freely planned out. One feels, as has already been said, a sympathy with the sonata-form, without any predetermined intention of following its dictates to the letter. The overture is scored for the classical ‘grand orchestra,’ with trombones, big drum, and cymbals, but without bass-tuba, bass-clarinet, English horn, or any of the unusual instruments that go to make up the modern ‘Wagnerian’ orchestra. It is especially noticeable, too, that the stronger brass instruments (trumpets and trombones) have been reserved for special effects, and often do not figure at all in fortissimo passages. In this the composer has followed both Beethoven and Wagner in one of their most characteristic veins in instrumentation.”

On April 2, 1893 Apthorp typed a letter to Margaret at 12.43 A.M. [working late?]

“Dear Maidie:

If you find in the programme-books that I have made a botch of your overture, it is really not my fault. I am a poor score-reader, at best-although I can get at the inwardness of anything you please, if I only have time-and manuscript is just the point where the worm in my brain turns! A MS. score is to me like a MS. Story; I have to read it three times, where I should have to read it once in print. The Expiring Phoenix (Chadwick) always laughed at me for my helplessness in this matter, saying that a good MS. was just as good as engraving. But his laughing did not help me. There is something in hand-writing that seems to kill all consecutive perception in me; it is just as bad in words as in music. But I must say that I really and thoroughly enjoyed reading your score-in an incoherent sort of way, letting each measure tell for the moment, just as any idiot listens to music at a concert-and look forward to finding my impression strengthened at the hearing. Where did you get the idea of reinforcing the effect of those jumps from C major to E minor, and E major to A minor, by that Scharfrichter’s rhythm? I don’t know when I have heard that ‘Meyerbeer’ snap of the two short notes and a long one sound so new, and so little as if Meyerbeer had written it. I have also great hopes for the place where the third horn comes in against the twiddle-twiddle in the violins. And how stunning of you to have kept your trombones and trumpets for the preaching, and made your big crashes without them! I hope Nikisch will follow his native bent, and give the final ‘pa-pa-pum——-PUM!’ as it looks in the score. Ever so many thanks, yrs., &c., &c., &c.” (Scrapbook)

       One review began: “This is, we believe, the first time that an orchestral composition by a woman has been played at one of our symphony concerts. it is rather odd how exceedingly little women have done in music-save in the way as singing and playing.” The review continues in the same vain, finishing the idea with, “Upon the whole the record is not brilliant.” But then the attitude changed, and the author wrote that “Miss Lang now comes forward with a work which must certainly stand very high indeed among compositions by women; indeed there is no special need of bringing her sex into the question at all, for this overture of hers does not need to be ranked in a special class in order to have good said about it. The beginning is particularly impressive-a grim phrase is given out by the trumpets and trombones in octaves, interrupted by syncopated thuds on the kettledrums, and is followed by a most effective piece of harmony in the strings-a chord of C-major is struck, and then merges into a passing harmony, which you expect to lead, by a half cadence, directly to the dominant chord of B-major; but no! instead of leading to the dominant, it leads to the tonic chord of E-minor. The effect of this sudden appearance of the chord of E-minor is startling, the chord seems to come from a hundred miles away, the effect is as unearthly as on ”et lux” in Verdi”s ”Manzoni” Requiem. If there is perhaps no other stroke in the overture that equals this in originality and force, what follows it has none the less conspicuous merit of its own. The thematic material is natural and unforced, the treatment coherent,often strikingly ingenious. Only once towards the latter part of the overture does the composer seem to lose her way for a moment in the maze of working-out; but she soon finds it again and pushes on to the end with very sure step. the general character of the work is passionate, with a warmth that seems wholly genuine and unsought-for, and now and then with more idyllic moments of much beauty. The instrumentation is brilliant, always skillfully managed, if not precisely what one would call masterly…Miss Lang”s varied play of color seems at moments more fitful and fantastic than her musical form and thematic development. Yet, in one respect, her scoring shows a very fine instinct; unlike most young composers, she is singularly thrifty in her use of orchestral material and does not waste her heavy artillery on effects of sheer dynamic force where it can be more wisely spent on effects of contrast.Upon the whole, she in no wise lays herself open to the criticism once passed on Augusta Holmes by a Paris musician: that, ”like most women, she tries to prove her own virility by making a tremendous noise,” The overture was admirably played and most enthusiastically received. Mr. Nikisch being called out three times after it.” (Anonymous, undated review, courtesy Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

The Courier review of April 9, 1893 said: “The overture while evidently the work of a skillful and refined musician is nevertheless a very characteristic sample of ‘kapelmeistermusik.’ There is a certain benign composure and nobility of intent in the writing of it, that is all too conspicuous, but the work appears to contain but a single well defined theme which is very reminiscent of the oriental music in Verdi’s Aida. The theme is so tautologically treated and so frequently repeated that the prevailing impression created by it is one on monotony and languor. Perhaps the most praiseworthy feature of the overture is in the orchestral coloring of its harmonic development which is altogether excellent.”

Another review devoted 75 per cent of its content to the new piece: “Of the composition itself there is not much be said that is pleasant in the saying. It is creditable as the result of a laudable ambition to essay an important work, and it may be pronounced a promising first attempt; but it is scarcely of a worth to warrant its performance, unless, indeed, to afford the composer an opportunity to hear it, and to profit by the experience. In the first place, it is hardly an overture, as the term is generally understood, and it is not dramatic in any sense. It has more the character of an orchestral fantasie. Nothing is clearly defined, nothing is completed. it is one long effort to say something, without any very clear idea of what is to be said. the general effect is spasmodic and fragmentary; and the work does not hang well together. the orchestration is vigorous, but is without richness or character. It has strong color here and there, but is never closely knit, and is often foggy. the pervading fault of the work, however, is that its meaning is not made apparent….As an evidence of its composer”s serious study and its application, it is very commendable; but it is immature, and should not have been submitted to public criticisms. It is not gratifying to be compelled to write thus discouragingly of the work of a young composer, but no good is to be accomplished by glossing over the truth, and we are sure that it is wiser and kinder to point out the shortcomings of the composition than to indulge in insincerity and to damn it with faint praise. The audience received it in a very kind spirit, and applauded heartily. An effort was made to call the composer forward, but it was unsuccessful.” (Unsigned review, courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

A review of April 9, 1893 credited to the Courier began with a 19 paragraph about Margaret”s background and education, and then followed that with a second paragraph of 14 lines concerning the work performed. This formed less than one-fourth of the complete review-quite a contrast to the review cited above. The reviewer wrote: “The overture while evidently the work of a skillful, and refined musician is nevertheless a very characteristic sample of kapelmeistermusik. There is a certain benign composure and nobility of intant in the writing of it, that is all too conspicuous, but the work appears to contain but a single well defined theme which is very reminiscent of the oriental music in Verdi”s Aida. This theme is so tautologically treated and so frequently repeated that the prevailing impression created by it is one of monotony and lanquor. Perhaps the most praiseworthy feature of the overture is in the orchestral coloring of its harmonic development which is altogether excellent.” (Unsigned review, courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

Philip Hale in the April 12, 1893 Musical Courier wrote: “Miss Lang’s overture is perhaps a creditable work for a young student. Whether it deserved a place in a Symphony concert is another question. Although Miss Lang in certain songs has shown in the past a pretty melody, the themes of the overture are not of marked originality or striking effect. There are ingenious passages in the detail, but there is a general lack of definite purpose in the conception and in the carrying out. The composer seems to be pricked by the desire of extracting ideas from the orchestral instruments in turn. As a result there is occasional piquancy, and there are pleasing measures, but this dramatic overture is a promise rather than a fulfillment. It is as though the composer deliberately set about to see what she could do in this line, there was nothing musical within that forces its was irresistibly and assumed orchestral shape and color.”

Hale also wrote in the Journal: “The phrase Place aux dames should be without meaning on the concert stage.The conductor of an orchestra should judge the fitness of a composition proposed for performance without consideration of the sex of the composer.Sex is here an accident.” (Fox, Sexual, p. 10) Hale spent two-thirds for his review damning the work in every way that he could: “Her themes are neither of marked originality nor of musical importance…there is not one dramatic stroke in the whole work, nor id there a climax. As a fantastic tone poem, it is vague. Miss Lang finds at her disposal the orchestral paint box, and she colors her themes with this instrumental tablet and with that one; thus she gains, occasionally, a piquant effect, a pleasing passage, but the whole lacks coherency and, is diffuse. In a word, this composition might well please the eye of a prudent and skilled teacher. he might look kindly at the pupil.” (Unsigned review attributed to the Journal, courtesy Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

           Louis C. Elson wrote in the Advertiser wrote that: “It is the reviewer”s task to state that this work was not up to the level of these concerts. Miss Lang has won some deserved successes at the Apollo Club concerts in the field of chorus composition, and has written some graceful bits of instrumental music which have achieved the dignity of publication, but it is a long stride from this to orchestral work in a large form, and to make the first public attempt in a concert course which is supposed to present the finest music that the world affords, to enter a programme which presented selections by Haydn, Dvorak and Moszkowski, was little less than rash.. One may pay tribute to an evident tact in the matter of orchestral coloring that holds forth good promise for the future, but it may be at once added that these concerts are not supposed to be devoted to the presentation of incipient greatness. As the work was entitled a ”dramatic overture,” one need not quarrel with the fact that its form was not powerful enough to sustain interest, nothing was carried to a logical conclusion, much was spasmodic, and at times the whole case could only be diagnosed as orchestral hysteria.” This represented one-fourth of the total review. (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

           Warren Davenport in the Globe wrote that: “It would be a pleasant task to speak in praise of Miss Lang”s orchestral piece but the results gained would not warrant such a course. Miss Lang has written many pretty songs and has shown talent in the pieces written for male voices and sung by the Apollo Club, but the step from this grade of material to the writing of a dramatic overture of sufficient worth to claim a place upon a symphonic concert programme is quite a long one. The effort of this ”dramatic overture” was a purposeless one, and it could as well be called the ”Babes in the Wood,” as far as any dramatic significance is concerned. Any capable student can make such music as this who has a little invention at hand, and to write similarly for the orchestra is not so difficult either, with the hundreds of stereotyped formulas that are available in the works of modern composers and student-writers. The first thing to be considered is what is the musical value of a composition? has it form; has it a defined purpose? Miss Lang should not be discouraged because of this failure to compose a dramatic overture. Through the ill advice of her friends and the lack of discrimination upon the part of the person who arranges the programmes for the Symphony concerts, this youthful composer has had her inability to reach certain heights made plain, and the lesson should be a profitable one. It should not dampen her ambition, however. Her case is not an isolated one. The audience applauded the playing loudly.” These comments took up about one-third of the review. (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archive)

           Another review devoted one-half of its space to Margaret”s work, all of which was complimentary. “Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang”s new dramatic overture was given for the first time at the Symphony last week, the composition by our talented townswoman proving to be of great merit. In the beginning two themes are developed, one sombre and of an antique character,the other passionate and modern treatment, each played against the other and producing a dramatic effect original but melodic. The working out is concise and beautifully harmonizes, and the return to the first part is gradual and regular, without harsh cadences or Wagnerian style of orchestration. The young composer has treated the stronger instruments of the orchestra very effectively, utilizing them for special themes in several instances, which gives a marked tonal color and contrast to the gentler fortissimo passages. The work received a most flattering reception, and Mr. Nikisch”s orchestra gave a delightful interpretation of the number.” (Courtesy of the Boston SYmphony Orchestra Archive)

THE AMERICAN BIOGRAPHICAL LIBRARY entry quotes an unnamed critic as saying: “The general character of the work is passionate, with a warmth that seems wholly genuine and unsought; and now and then with more idyllic moments of much beauty; and the orchestration is brilliant.”

Levy quotes from a letter from Edward MacDowell to his wife: “Wasn”t Apthorpe [sic] shameless about Miss Lang”s overture?And he didn”t say a word about Chadwick.He ought to be kicked.” Another letter said: “Apthorpe, after his slobber act over Miss Lang’s overture (had to) even it up by doing at least likewise with his friend Arthur Foote”s work. I ain”t patient.” (Levy, 90) However, MacDowell’s judgment may be questioned as the critic of the Boston Beacon, Howard Ticknor wrote that MacDowell “so hates Apthorpe that Apthorpe”s good criticism would be sufficient to make him take the opposite side.” (Levy, 91)

           Apthorp had also made in error in Margaret’s biography saying that she had studied with MacDowell. She wrote a stiff note to him correcting this, and also asked her father to write a note to Chadwick on this same subject: “Maidie is toubled by an error in Apthorp’s programme today.” B. J. continued that should the work be a failure, Chadwick would not mind being left out as Margaret’s teacher, but if it were a success, “it will take but a few hours to” correct the matter. B. J. ended by saying that “A misstatement corrected is usually more fully noted than if it were correct from the start.” (Chadwick Archive, NEC) The Monday before the performance Margaret had written to Chadwick telling him of her “good news,” and saying: “I have wanted to tell you about it because I feel so grateful to you for the lessons that helped me so far as even this point.” The rest of the letter mentions that she wrote it during November of the previous year, sent it to Nikisch, but then did not hear anything for a long time. “I dared not tell you of it lest you should jeer at my temerity.” It would seem that her lessons were not concerned with this specific work. She ended with: “I want your good wishes, and I want above all to thank you.” She then asked for his comments after the concert. (Chadwick Archive, NEC) Chadwick seems to have replied in a positive manner. In another letter to him she began: “Your very kind and most charitable letter was an inexpresible relief and pleasure to me, for I had imagined all kinds of horrible things going on in your mind until it came.” She then invited Mr. and Mrs. Chadwick to an evening of billiards, “and then you will talk to me about it. Indeed I have so much to say to you that I shall not know how to begin or when to finish.” (Chadwick Archive, NEC)

OPUS 13 Boatman’s Hymn for Male Chorus and Piano. Cop. 1892 by Margaret. Text is anon., as translated from the Irish by Sir Samuel Ferguson. Was written for the Apollo Club, and they gave its first performance on Wednesday, January 18, 1893 with Mr. T. E. Clifford as baritone soloist and Mr. E. Cutter Jr. as accompanist. (BPL Lang Prog., 6237) It was sung just before intermission to end the first half. The January 18, 1893 review in the “Transcript” said: “Miss Lang’s song with its quaint Irish words was given with a rollicking dash, but the pianoforte and the voices disagreed in the matter of pitch, and the effect was somewhat marred.” The Advertiser felt that “Miss Lang setting of the Boatman’s Hymn (and an odd “hymn” the dashing lines make) was not altogether up to the wild spirit of the poem.Yet it had points of great excellence. The beginning was rich and original in its harmonies, flung to and fro in the vocal parts, were thoroughly in keeping with the subject,” but the effect of the refrain, “tide top, on the tide top, ho!” was inspiring and inspired, and the young composer has again shown good promise in her work.” Warren Davenport review stated: “Miss Lang’s piece is one of the best of her efforts in male composition, for it is fresh and melodious, admirable in its construction and well placed and effective in the voices.The club sang it splendidly.” (Scrapbook)

OPUS 14 Not used

OPUS 15 Five Songs for Soprano or Tenor

King Olaf’s Lilies. Words by L. W. Reese

The Dead Ship. Words by L. W. Reese.

April Weather. Words by L. W. Reese.

The Garden of Roses. Words from “Paul Patoff” by F. M. Crawford.

Spinning Song. Words from “Whether we love or hate…” by H. P. Kimball.

Lib. Of Congress: receipt Dec. 17, 1921 for 148 copies at royalty rate of .075 cents per, totaled $11.10.

OPUS 16 Dear Land of Mine (Mein Theures Land) tr. A. M. K.E (b-f)

OPUS 17 Not used.

NO OPUS Starlight. Piano piece in “Half Hours with the Best Composers,” part 10, edited by Karl Klauser, 478-482, in 1894. Boston: J. B. Millet.Starlight-s1

NO OPUS Twilight. In (see above), pp. 473-477.

Here is a video of this piece. http://youtu.be/WuMmnt9riqk

Twilight_topTwilight Twilight_p2Twilightp3Twilightp4Twilightp5MRLang_HalfHourswiththeBestComposers

From Half Hours with the Best Composers vol. 2, pub: JB Millet Co, 1894, Boston

OPUS 18 Petit Roman en six chapitres (for piano) 1894, pub. Schmidt at a cost of $1.00 per copy with the third section, “Bal chez mme. La Princesse” being available separately for 65 cents.B. J. played the complete work at a “Concert for Young People” given by Miss Orvis (five per season) on Saturday, December 1, 1894 at 11AM. It was followed by six of the Nonsense Songs.The world premier had been less than a month before in Rochester, N.Y. on November 6, 1894: Margaret “composed not only the music, but the accompanying story.” (Musical Courier, January 1895) The same story mentioned that “Miss Lang is also very clever with her pencil and designs the covers for all her music. In justice to her it must be said that the printer and engraver do not always carry them out with the delicacy of the original sketches.” (Ibid)

No. 3 Bal chez Mme. La Princesse. From The Great in Music: “This piece is the third number in a little pianoforte romance, called Petit Roman pour le Piano, en Six Chapitres. Opus 18. The romance has to do with the adventures of the Chevalier and the Prince, the affair terminated by a duel and a neat funeral march and epitaph upon the defunct. The duel, no doubt, grew out of the little waltz with which we are just hear dealing. It seems to have been a pleasant ball, that of the Princess, and when the couple has at last gotten their places and the dance begins, they appear to have a charming time. It is a light, airy and agreeable waltz. After the first figures are finished there is a moment of repose, and here the Chevalier begins to ‘exalt himself,’ as the French explanations gracefully have it. Miss Lang expresses this exaltation by means of the syncopations and the long running arpeggios in the bass. It is a pity that the English language could not have been used for the explanations, for while French may be understood in Boston, and therefore to have been preferred, there are school children even in Boston who know nothing of this language, and outside Boston the United States contains some millions of folk who understand English better than any kind of foreign tongue whatever. The music, however, is cosmopolitan. ”A report of a Tennessee performance on October 27, 1897 by Mrs. Randall (of Chicago) stated: “Mrs. Randall then rendered the Petit Romance by Margaret Ruthven Lang, which is a love story ending tragically, the tale being told in six chapters. Mrs. Randall would tell of each chapter before playing it.Nothing more delightful has been heard here.” (Scrapbook)

A new edition was published in 2000 by Hildegard Publishing edited by Sylvia Glickman and Furman Schleifer.

OPUS 19 Five Norman Songs. All five songs have completion dates of between July 3rd. and 6th. 1894.

1. My Turtle Dove, E flat (c-d). Words by J. A. Symonds. Hughes pp. 434-5 in Con Am Com says, “…In fearlessness and harmonic exploration shows two of the strongest of Miss Lang’s traits.”

2. In the Greenwood. Words by J. A. Symonds. D flat (d flat-e flat)

3. The Grief of Love, F (a-a). Words by J. A. Symonds. Hughes p. 434 Con Am Com says “But womanliness equally marks ‘The Grief of Love’ which is in every sense big in quality.”

4. Before My Lady’s Window, E flat (b flat-e flat). Words by J. A. Symonds.

5. desire, A flat (b flat-e flat). Words by J. A. Symonds.

OPUS 20 Six Scotch Songs

1. Bonnie Bessie Lee, E flat (e flat-g). Words by R. Nicoll.

Lib. of Congress has a hand-lettered design for the front page of these six songs-has also additional notes in German. Prices (in red) are 40 cents, 25 cents, 25 cents, 25 cents and 25 cents respectively.

2. My ain dear Somebody, F (f-f). Words by R. Tanahill. Price per copy: 30 cents.

3. Maggie Away, E flat (d flat-g). Words by J. Hogg.

4. Love’s Fear, G (e-f#). Words by R. Tanahill.

5. Menie, D (d-f#). Words by R. Nicoll.

6. Jock o’Hazeldean, G (d-f#). Words by Scott.

OPUS 21 Rhapsody in E Minor for piano. Pub. 1895 by Schmidt. Receipt dated Nov. 21, 1932 for $6.69 (103 copies @ .065 cents).

“In spite of its good details, it is curiously unsatisfying, -it seems all prelude, interlude, and postlude, with the actual rhapsody accidentally overlooked.”(Hughes-Amer. Com., p. 433) Performed at the “Rooms of the Transportation Club” by Mrs. Stella Hadden on Wednesday, January 4, 1899. Also part of a recital performed by Marion Arletta Mitchell on Jan. 28, 1903 when she opened with this piece and ended with the Weber Concert-Stuck Opus 79 with B. J. playing the orchestral part on a second piano. New edition in American Women Composers: Piano Music from 1865-1915 edited by Sylvia Glickman and published by Hildegard Publishing Company, Bryn Mawr, PA in1990.

OPUS 22 Irish Love Song. Words unknown. Two keys. F major and D major. Pub. 1895 by Schmidt. Copyright renewal in 1928 by Margaret Ruthven Lang. Price per copy: 40 cents for the original copyright but raised to 50 cents in 1928!Arr. For Women’s Trio (SSA), #516.Orchestration available from Luck’s for Strings, Flute, and Clarinet. The “total press run…both high and low voice, was 121,100 copies.” (Cipolla, 3/5/09 e-mail) The next most popular song was Day is Gone at 14,660 with An Irish Mother”s Lullaby third at 13,591 copies printed. (Ibid)

       This song was sung (premiered?) at a Cecilia Society concert on February 12, 1896 by Mrs. Jeannie Crocker Follett. The review said, “Mrs. Follett was utterly unlike the soprano soloists we have heard in recent years, for she sang with no affected airs. Hers is the ideal ballad voice, simple, sympathetic and appealing. Her three songs were admirably chosen, and with Mr. Lang’s skilful accompaniments, gave genuine delight.”The review went on to compare Lang’s “delicate and subdued touch” verses the choir’s accompanist Harry Fry, whose tone was “harsh and noisy.”“Mr. Lang’s pianoforte work was a treat in itself.”Obviously care had been taken to find a soloist with a vocal style that would match the folk-like character of the music.

       The Musical America review of October 30, 1909 said that at the Schumann-Heink Chicago recital “The enormous hit of the day was Marvourneen.”(Scrapbook)

       The “Sousa Archives for Band” at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has band parts that Sousa made for this song.

       The Library of Congress Recorded Sound Division listed two recordings from the Dragonette Collection: (1) a broadcast on May 31, 1935 sung by Jessica Dragonette, soprano with the Cities Service Orchestra conducted by Rosario Bourdon, and (2) a Victor test pressing # 05690813 also sung by Jessica Dragonette with piano accompaniment, pianist not identified.

       Included in the 2000 collection The First Solos: Songs By Women Composers-Vol. I: High Voice edited by Randi Marrazzo. He states that the word “Mavorneen” means “My darling.”

       Pendle notes that this song “is among a number of her works written in a folk idiom. It also exemplifies the widespread interest in folk song among contemporary American composers of art music” (Pendle, p. 218)

       An April 22, 1940 letter from her publisher Schmidt included a permission form from the American Printing House for the Blind asking that they be allowed to set this song in Braille. “When such permissions are given it is without remuneration.” (Library of Congress-Schmidt Collection-Lang Folder)

       Other composers also were inspired by “venacular idioms…Foote”s most famous piece, An irish Folk Song”(1894) sounds like a folk song, but has art song features as well. His I”m Waerin” Awa” to the Land of the Leal, which has a simple choral accompaniment, draws on Scottish folk elements such as modality and a lilting 6/8 rhythm. Foote also arranged two Scottish songs (1900) and composed three more original songs in Scottish folk style, Old Scotish Song (1911), There is a Ship of Dunregan (1912), and The Lake Isle of Innesfree (1920).” (Block, p. 262) The question is whether Dvorak”s May 21, 1893 pronouncement that “I am now satisfied…that the future music of this country [America] must be founded upon what are called negro melodies,” (Block, p. 257) created a resultant reaction of American composers who refuted Dvorak”s position or looked for other ethnic sources for inspiration. Edward MacDowell wrote “that he was vehemently opposed to borrowing from African-American sources, that he much preferred the ”manly and free rudeness of the North American Indian,” and that any attempt to create an American music out of vernacular elements was ”tailoring.”” (Block p. 259) Amy Beach, then only twenty-five, wrote that negro melodies “are not fully typical of our country. The African population of the United States is far too small for its songs to be considered ”American.” It represents only one factor in the composition of our nation…The Africans are no more native than the Italians, Swedes or Russians,” (Block, p. 260) and then she wrote pieces based on her own Celtic background and melodies of the “Indians and Esquimaux.” (Ibid) Beach”s Gaelic Symphony was written between January 1894 and March 1898. B. J. Lang was one who responded to Dvorak”s remarks-he “thought Dvorak should provide an example of how black melodies could be used in concert music.” (Block, p. 279) Dvorak”s position had changed within six months when he wrote that the themes for his New World Symphony had been suggested by both Indian and Negro melodies, and that they in turn resembled both “Scottish and Irish music” which also shared elements with “the folk music of Bohemia-[they] have in commonthe use of the pentatonic scale and the flatted seventh degree.” (Block, p. 261) Finally in 1895 Dvorka”s final comment on the subject was that “It matters little whether the inspiration for the coming folk songs of America is derived from the negro melodies, the songs of the creoles, the red man”s cjant, or the plaintive ditties of the homesick German or Norwegian. Undoubtedly the germs for the best of music lie hidden among all the races that are commingled in this great country.” (Block p. 261 quoting Dvorak, 1895, p. 433) “Thus Dvorak changed in three years from encouraging the use of black folk music to that of any folk music.” (Ibid)

OPUS 23 Orchestra Overture Totila. Completed in c. 1895 but never performed. (Baer, “Honoring Lost Work”).

OPUS 24 Three Arias for Voice and orchestra.

(1) Sappho’s Prayer to Aphrodite for contralto. The New York performance by the Manuscript Society at Chickering Hall on October 24, 1895 with Miss Zora G. Horlocker as soloist and Adolph Neuendorff as conductor received the following notice from the Herald; “The orchestra overpowered the singer. The composition was uninteresting.” A review by Reginald de Koven said “ It was a pity that Miss Lang wrote her song ‘Sappho’ for a contralto voice and scored it for a soprano, for on this account it was ineffective.” The review continued that the soloist was “submerged in the orchestra wave. And yet the song is written in a musicianly way, and has color and both poetic and dramatic feelings.” The New York Times review of October 25, 1895 commended her, and suggested that she fell short as she used Sir Edwin Arnold’s translation rather than John Addington Symonds, “and even that falls far short of the original, which’s simply majestic.”The review ended by saying that the piece was badly sung! This aria was performed at 265 Beacon St. on Wednesday, January 29, 1896 by Mrs. H. E. Sawyer with Arthur Foote at the piano-it would seem that the piano reduction was destroyed along with the orchestral parts! (Scrapbook) A Musical Courier article of January 1895 said that this piece had been written for Lena Little who had done earlier songs by Margaret [i.e. Norman Songs] (Scrapbook).

(2) Armida for soprano and orchestra. Premier at the BSO Friday afternoon (2.30) January 10, 1896 and Saturday night (8.00) January 11, 1896.Conducted by Emil Paur, soloist Miss Gertrude Franklin. Orchestration: 2222 4200 timp, strings. Notes by William F. Apthorp. Also on the program were:

Tchaikovsky-Symphony #6

             Bruch-Fantasia on Scotch folk-melodies, for Violin, Opus 46

Berlioz-Corsair Overture, Opus 21 (to end the concert)

The order of the concert was: Tchaikovsky, Bruch, Lang, and Berlioz. This was the first time for Lang and Berlioz. Listed as Opus 24 and called a Concert Aria. Miss Franklin had an ad in the program book as soprano soloist and vocal instructor at 149A Tremont Street. Miss Franklin seems to have been a favorite BSO soloist, appearing eight times during the first fifteen seasons – she sang under Henschel, Gericke, Nikisch and Paur.

The BSO Program Note began: “The text of this dramatic aria was from Torquato Tasso’s “Gerusalemme liberata” Canto IV, Stanzas 70-73” and then the text was printed in the original Italian.“Miss Lang has not, however, taken the original Italian as the text of her composition; she has written her music to Whiffen’s rhymed and exceedingly free English translation, expunging passages here and there, and substituting her own prose for others in which Whiffen’s diction becomes too anti-musical.” (BSO Program Book, 390) Then the English text was printed, and the note ended with a list of the instrumentation: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 1 pair of kettle-drums, and the usual strings. Elson felt that the piece “… is made from a version that deals rather too freely with Tasso. The setting is by no means as dramatic as its poetic subject, and the composer seems to have missed the majestic power of the great death-scene.” (Amer. Music, 306) The previous December Frances had written in her Diary: “Maidie has shortened her Armida aria, which Miss Franklin will sing in January.” (Diary 2, Fall 1895)

The review in the Gazette said: “Miss Lang’s concert aria is, in a sense, creditable to the young composer; it is scored with taste and knowledge. There is no trace of the old masters in the work, which is modern in idea and treatment, and hints that Miss Lang is an earnest and enthusiastic student of Wagner. Unfortunately in her desire to be modern Miss Lang has forgotten the ideas are as important as form, and so she has taken infinite pains to write an elaborate setting for nothing. She has entirely misunderstood the portion of the poem she set to music, and no skill in orchestration will hide the paucity of ideas, or cause the hearer to confound noisy affectation with the depth of feeling. The cleverness is misplaced, and it is a pity that so much good work should be wasted on a subject in which there is not a trace of imagination, or any of the qualities that go to the making of an enduring work of art. Miss Lang is clever, but it is impossible for even genius to say anything when it has nothing to say.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

The Journal review by Philip Hale said: “The chief trouble with Miss Lang’s concert aria is that while it deals with a dramatic subject, the thing itself is undramatic. Even in the orchestral accompaniment, which recalls the remark of Saint-Saens that when women write for orchestra they wish to prove their masculine mind by being noisier then men, there is no genuine dramatic feeling or accentuation of the text. There is neither pivotal point nor climax. When a woman shrieks or laments there is either a constant recurrence to the cause of woe, or one great spasm to which Nature gives way and finds relief, or at least silence. Miss Lang took her verses from Tasso, who has been reckoned a pretty poet; but it seems, according to the program-book, that poor Whiffen’s English translation was at times too ‘anti-musical.’Miss Lang substituted then her own prose, and the singer was obliged last evening to declaim such intensely musical phrases as ‘persecution’s thrall’ and ‘great Chieftain.’Inasmuch as this aria is without point, without climax, without dramatic declamation, without appealing melody, I wonder at the causes that led Mr. Paur to welcome it to a Symphony concert in Music hall. Miss Franklin displayed the purity of her voice and art; in other words she made as much out of the aria as was in all possible. The audience appreciated her earnestness and her art and she was loudly applauded.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

The review in the Standard said: “Miss Franklin gave Miss Lang’s concert aria, and did the best she could with it. She was in excellent voice, but the orchestration was so vigorous that it at times destroyed the effect of what would otherwise have been a very enjoyable number. It cannot be said that the aria was musically strong. Miss Lang had high ideals, but in their attainment has not reached the objective point with this work. Miss Franklin’s efforts were rewarded with liberal applause, and she was twice recalled. She did not respond with another selection, however, much to the regret of her many admirers who were present.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

Another review took a more positive view: “Miss Lang’s new aria is a work to be considered very seriously. Without being in the least French in feeling, it is very much in the contemporary French dramatic style-a style in which, if the truth be told, we personally are just beginning to find our bearings. It seemed to us that, in her setting of this excerpt from Tasso’s ‘Gerusalemme liberata,’ Miss Lang had struck a very true note of dramatic musical expression; more so perhaps in the arioso portions than in the passages of recitative. Much of the melodic writing is very broad and noble, and the whole treatment of the orchestra admirable; it shows that Miss Lang appreciates well what the true gist of “modern orchestration” is, and that it means something far finer and more subtle than the mere massing together of numerous instruments. Miss Franklin sang the aria with devotion and sincerity; it seemed to us that the composition was conceived for a heavier voice and a larger, more heroic style of singing. But it is ill quarrelling with an artist’s physique; let it be enough to say that Miss Franklin sang like an artist.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

Louis C. Elson in the Advertiser said: “Miss Lang’s new concert aria is by no means great enough for its subject; spite of an easy leading of the parts, a fluency of orchestration. There is a lack of dramatic power in the work, certainly an absence of what sustained breadth which one might demand in a great aria. There were impressive moments but not an impressive whole. The beginning was striking enough and the monotony of sorrow which followed was at least permissible; there was a degree of melody at “Ask me no more” which was enhanced by the skill displayed in the imitations of the vocal part upon the violoncello, and there was enough of dissonance to satisfy the musical radicals; but sustained dramatic power there was not, and the great scene from Torquato Tasso’s ‘Jerusalem Delivered’ demands as mighty treatment as the abandonment of Dido (which it in some degree resembles) and the burning of the palace and the rushing to death in combat cannot be portrayed even by the most respectable music, for true dramatic instinct is here imperative. Of the queer alterations in the words, the contrast of earnest poetry and prose sentimentality we prefer not to speak. It must be added that Miss Lang’s work was placed in a position that would try any composer; it came after the most expressive and dramatic symphony of the modern repertoire, and a most warlike and heroic Fantasie, and it was followed by a very fiery overture. It is quite possible that, heard with less trying surroundings, the work would make a more favorable impression.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

Louis C. Elson added to his earlier review the following: “In the review of Miss Lang’s aria, sung at the Symphony concert on Saturday I inadvertently omitted to speak of the artist who carried it to such success as it won. Miss Gertrude Franklin had a heavy task in the singing of this work, a task that would have crushed almost any artist, for the work began in vehemence and continued in the same vein, with one slight exception which Miss Franklin made the most of; it had no real climaxes, and the orchestration was piled on regardless of the needs of the singer. That, under such circumstances, Miss Franklin was recalled twice at the end of the work, is a fact that speaks for itself.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

The Herald reviewer wrote: “The concert aria by Miss Lang is the most ambitious effort that the composer has placed before the public. The text was found in Tasso’s ‘Jerusalem Delivered,’ and deals with the despair of Armida in her grief at the loss of all that she has loved and lived for. While the composition is not without force and vigor, it is musically uninteresting and unimpressive by reason of the absence of any discoverable central point on which the whole should pivot. It is mainly florid recitative, interrupted once or twice by a brief moment of forced melody, but it all leads to nowhere in particular, and wanders about wildly and vaguely. It is wholly in the extreme modern vein, and gravitates between Wagner and Mascagni without any distinct individual character or any suggestion of originality. It is carefully made, and the instrumentation is clever and effective in its way, but, as a rule, it is overheavy for the voice and frequently obliterates it by solid masses of tone that it piles up against it, especially, and, curiously enough, when the vocal part is written in the weaker of the middle register. The effort is soaring and creditable to the composer in her present stage of development, but it is immature and ineffective, and the preponderance of orchestration which forces the singer into a secondary and almost unimportant position makes it a failure as a vocal concert aria. Miss Lang will do better when she has outgrown the familiar propensity of the young musician to give way to the temptation of overloading a score. Miss Franklin performed her share in the work in the thoroughly artistic spirit and conscience she brings to bear on all that she does. She was called upon for little else than lyric declamation, and this she gave in a broad dramatic style and with impressive emphasis, making all that it was possible for singer to make of a task that must have been equally thankless and discouraging. She was applauded with enthusiasm and twice recalled.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives) This was possibly written by Benjamin Woolf.

Another reviewer took the position that “The Armida aria, by Margaret Ruthven Lang, is not likely to become very popular. The text is taken from Torquato Tasso’s ‘Gerusalemme Liberata,’ Canto IV, and, as may be imagined, is sufficiently tragic and gloom-inspiring. The scoring is rather elaborate, and in certain portions is dramatically effective, but there is much monotonous repetition on heavy, colorless themes. Miss Gertrude Franklin sang the music with splendid expression and gave as much dramatic effect to the composition as was possible. She is a thoroughly well equipped singer whose work is always artistic and satisfying. She was deservedly applauded with great enthusiasm.”

The reviewer of the Globe said: “The ‘eterna femina’ is so rare in her incursions upon the realms of music that a warm welcome was all in readiness for Margaret Ruthven Lang, whose new Armida aria was sung by Miss Gertrude Franklin. For the honorable intent, for the good musicianship displayed that welcome should be given, but it must be modified. This aria is singularly devoid of color, of ‘style’ and of any central musical thought. It flows along monotonously, never offending, but never winning. The orchestration is clean-cut, and once or twice rises to real dramatic force. To paraphrase Dr. Johnson’s words, it may be said that the wonder is not Miss Lang has not done better, but that she has done it at all. Such ability as she certainly has will some day bear fruit of rarer sort. Miss Franklin did all that was possible with the aria, and almost raised its dry recitative to the point of interest.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

However, Thomas Ryan in a letter to the Transcript printed January 13, 1896 wrote: “I think that every good musician who heard the concert aria entitled ‘Armida’ by Miss Lang, at the last Symphony Concert, will agree with me that she has by that composition done the extraordinary.I can find no other word but that to fit the act.It expresses all my surprise at the full evidence of musical ability which is shown in the ‘Armida’ aria.In Boston we have a large number of very skilful musicians in all general routine of playing, and some even of composition.How many from that little army of musicians can we name who could produce a work so remarkable as the ‘Armida’ aria?When listening to it last Friday afternoon, I had no programme.I did not know the words.I simply listened to the music, and it was my first hearing of any composition by the young lady, though I had often heard of her ability.I was delighted with the music from beginning to the end.its noble introduction and recitative was so elevated in style and character-and the cantabile part, from about the middle of the piece to the end, so perfectly beautiful and melodious-that I must confess to being deeply affected by it.I could not help saying to myself:‘Just listen to that lovely, warm melody-that perfect-sounding orchestration-it is quite astonishing,’ Who can say, judging by musical sound and form alone, this work is not just as noble as any other composition we hear from the fine orchestra, no matter by whom composed, provided its content is modern.And to know that it is written by a young girl.It is extraordinary.And when an old musician like myself, who has passed through countless emotional moments given him by the joys of music, is affected by a work like that of Miss Lang’s, I deem it a pleasure as well as a duty to encourage the composer by public praise.And certainly, gallantry will help me to do homage to the ‘coming woman’ of genuine musical talent, our Boston girl, Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang.” (Scrapbook)

Phoebus’ Denunciation of the Furies at His Delphian Shrine for baritone.

OPUS 25 The Hawthorn Tree. A Cappella partsong for SATB and S and T solos. Words by Nathan Haskell Dole. Pub. 1896 by Lang printed by Miles and Thompson, Boston. Harvard Musical Association has a copy with her signed dedication to the poet. Reprinted in 1996 by Walton Music as part of their “Library of Congress Series WLC-1008”-their edition is a photo reprint of the 1896 edition. The Library of Congress also has the printed version available for download. Their note on the piece states: “In 1900 Margaret Lang wrote about her compositional goals: ”My intentions have been poetic and never purely (i. e. merely) musical, often dramatic and sometimes story-telling. I disapprove of painoforte or vocal music which has no definite meaning to convey. I believe that pianoforte music would either paint a picture, tell a story or speak to the heart. The musical setting of a song should be subserviant to its text, according with the poetical color of the text.” (1) Her unaccompanied setting of The Hawthorn Tree (1896) captures two lovers beneath the hawthorn tree. Tenor and soprano soloists are accompanied by a wordless SATB chorus singing ”ah,” depicting the breezes blowing in constant eigth notes. Lang used frequent tempo, meter, and key changes in a highly chromatic style. Her expressive markings are painstakingly detailed. In one measure, four successive eight notes are marked ”ten., mf, mp, dim.” In this part-song, she captues the affect of the poetry and achives her musical goals of painting a picture, telling a story and speaking to the heart. (1) W. S. B. Matthews, ed., The Great in Music (Chicago: Music magazine Publishing Co., 1900), 277-79.” (L. C. Website)

OPUS 25 (also) Bonnie Ran the Burnie Down. Partsong for SATB.7 pp. Lib. of Congress has autograph. Pub. Schmidt 1897: “Mixed Voices No. 66.”

OPUS 26 Meditation for piano, 1899, 5 pp. Lib. Of Congress has autograph. Pub by Schmidt. “A Meditation is bleak, with a strong, free use of dissonance.”(Hughes-Amer. Com., p. 433) In a 1990 edition of this work, Glickman described the piece as “a solemn work, slowly building to a great climax through a series of unusual modulations (E, D-flat, C, E) while varying the accompaniments to the steady rhythm of the chordal theme.” (Glickman, p. xxix)

OPUS 27 The King is Dead. D (a-d or e). Lib. of Congress autograph. Sung by Mr. J. Melville Horner at the January 26, 1899 concert of the Cecilia.

OPUS 28 Three Songs.

1. A Song for Candelmas. A flat (e-f). Words by Lizette Woodworth Reese. The Great in Music-“A pleasant hearty song. … At the end of this song the long holding tones, of which Miss Lang speaks, while the accompaniment continues to recall the main motives of the music. A pleasant idyllic sort of song.”

2. Arcadie, G (d-e). Words by L. W. Reese.

3. My Garden, A flat (e-g). Words by P. B. Marston.

OPUS 29 Evening Chimes for violin, and piano. Performed in 1898. (As listed in Lang article by Adrienne Fried Block in The Norton/Grove Dictionary of Woman Composers, p. 266) This piece opened the March 3, 1898 concert of the Manuscript Society of Chicago played by Alice L. Doty and Rudolph Berliner. (Scrapbook)

Opus 29 (ALSO) Oh, Love, he went a-straying. A song published in 1898 by Breithopf and Hartel, Leipzig. The text is by Lizette Woodworth Reese. This seems to be the only piece by Margaret published by this German company. It was part of a collection of thirteen songs published in 1898 entitled “Album of new Songs by American Composers.” Other composers included were Henry K. Hadley, Louis Adolphe Coerne, Percy Goetschuis, and Victor Harris-Margaret was the only woman included. (Information from Donald George, July 26, 2011 as provided by Dr. Andreas Sopart of Breitkopf and Hartel)

(OPUS 29 After the Storm. A program of c. 1898 recital by students of Lena Little listed Miss Elizabeth Winsor singing The Dead Ship and Miss Jessie Downer singing After the Storm, Opus 29 (manuscript), a song that seems not to have been published.

OPUS 30 Springtime for piano. In “The World’s Best Composers,” ed. By Victor Herbert (1899) New York University Society, IV, 967-970.

http://youtu.be/C1gpw91IvIg

OPUS 31 Revery for piano (1899). Pub. John Church Co. in “The World’s Best Composers.” Hughes Con Am Com p. 438 “…of which the exquisiteness of sleep is the theme. The music is delicious, and the ending is a rare proof of the beautiful possibilities of dissonance.” The Great In Music– “More like a study than an improvisation. In the right hand a persistent figure in double notes, while the melody comes in the left, slightly after the manner of Rubinstein’s ‘Kamennoi Ostrow,’ Opus 22.The main idea is relieved by a pleasing passage of wide chords, in the manner of a harp. Capable of producing a good effect when well played.”A “salon piece of the first water.” (Downes, article)

OPUS 32 Two Songs

1. A Song of May. Pub John Church, Cincinnati, 1899.Poem by Lizette Woodworth Reese. Hughes Con Am Com p. 435 “Her opus 32 is made up of two songs, both full of fire and originality.”

2. Lydia. Pub. John Church, 1899. Poem by above.

Opus 33 Spring Idyll for piano (1899). Pub. by John Church Co. Hughes in Con Am Com says, “captivating.” In The Great In Music, “A pleasant half meditative piece, in a measure not unlike that of a mazurka. The vague impression which the music produces was probably intended as a fit form for voicing the many undefinable emotions which spring awakens in the susceptible breast.”

OPUS 34 An Irish Mother’s Lullaby. Words by M. E. Blake. Two keys: High in A flat and Low in E flat. Pub. 1900 by Schmidt. Price per copy: 40 cents each. Arr. For Women’s Trio (SSA) #517. Lib. of Congress has autograph of the solo with a new violin obbligato written above it. This additional part was added “at Schmidt’s behest in 1910.” The total press run for this piece was 13,591 copies-whereas the Irish Love Song had a press run of 121,100 copies (Cipolla, 3/5/09 e-mail)

Art songs of this period often had obbligato parts: “While the use of obbligato in art songs could be seen as a way to create a more chamber-like piece, its use in the popular song was most likely befitting of the parlor, a way to involve more household members in musical production.” (Blunsom, p. 231) This piece was one of the musical supplements in the August 1903 issue of the magazine “The Musical World” published by Schmidt.

OPUS 35 (Cline lists Te Deum as Opus 35).

“There is ample reason to say that no modern writer has given us a Te Deum which so thoroughly holds to the churchly situation as does the Te Deum by Miss Lang. It never once relaxes from the mood of the church, never a moment of lassitude, of a lapsing from being the voice of the church into the customary inserts of saccharine beauty. It is one of the greatest church Te Deums in existence.”(Syford-article, p. 23)  This work was performed in England in the early 1990s at a joint meeting of the American Sonneck Society and the English 19th. Century Society. “Some people from both conferences elected to form an ad hoc choir for the Victorian 19th-century Matins on Sunday morning, complete with a Te Deum by the American composer Margaret Ruthven Lang.” (Conferences page, Musical Times, no date, c. 1990)

OPUS 36 Ballade in D Minor for orchestra. “Won much success in Baltimore in 1901.”(Women’s Work, 202). Opened a “Women in Music-Grand Vocal and Instrumental Concert” at the Music Hall, Baltimore on Thursday, March 14, 1901 played by the Baltimore Symphony (70 performers) conducted by Ross Jungnickel. In the concert were four vocal soloists and a pianist-the Ballade opened the concert.This concert was “given for the benefit of The United Women of Maryland Showing the Wonderful Progress in the Creative Power of Women in Music during the last decade of the closed century” (Scrapbook) Other composers on the program included Mrs. Beach (“Graduale” from her Mass in E Flat), Liza Lehmann (Song Cycle), Cecile Chaminade (two major works-the Concert-Stuck in E minor for Piano and Orchestra and the Suite de Ballet, Callirhoe, Opus 37), and individual songs by Adele Lewing, Helen Hood, Marya Blazejewics, and Frances Allistsen.The program note began: “Among the most prominent American women, whose position in the front rank of the best modern composers is no longer a question, stands Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang of Boston. Before she had reached her teens Miss Lang was already an artist. That is to say, she was born with the gifts and dispositions which must be born, and with the emotion and temperament conducive to artistic creations and interpretations…Her songs, some fifty in number, are all more or less known, some having become [by 1901] prime favorites; she has also written some excellent piano music.” (Scrapbook)

             There was an eleven paragraph review of the concert in The Sun, but with nine composers, various vocal and instrumental soloists to mention, Margaret’s piece had no critical mention. The whole review was really just description without criticism. The reviewer’s attititude is reflected by this comment: “After excloding all the men composers of the last decade there is really but little music left of superlative interest.” (The Baltimore Sun (March 15, 1901): 12)

Amy Fay notes in a letter of 1902 (?) that “Jungnickel has come back to live in New York again, …He is completely tired of Baltimore and says he has ‘wasted too many years of his life there.’” (Fay, 23) Dwight reported that Jungnickel was often involved in the Peabody Students” Concerts during the 1879-1880 season.(Dwight (May 22, 1880): 88)

OPUS 37 Six Songs. Pub. 1902 by Schmidt.

1. A Thought. D flat (d-f) Words by John Vance Cheney.

2. Out of the Past. D flat (d-f).

3. The Hills o’ Skye. D (b-f) Words by William McLennan. This song was one of the musical supplements in the May 1902 issue of the magazine “The Musical World” published by Schmidt. It was also sung at the August 1903 Convention of the “New Hampshire Music Teachers” Association” by Mr. Willard Flint.

4. Summer Noon. A flat (e-e) Words by John Vance Cheney. Receipt for 5/24/38 for $10.50 (210 @ .05) and another dated 1/20/49 for $7.50 (150 of the medium version @ .05). Hughes described this song as “a quiet but effective picture.” (Hughes-Con. Am. Com., p.520)

5. Tryste Noel. High in F (f-f) and Medium in E flat (e-e) and Low in C (c-c). Words by Louise Imogen Guiney. Lib. of Congress collection letter dated Dec. 7, 1905.“Dear Mr. Schmidt, I shall willingly make the transpositions of Tryste Noel into a higher and lower key as you suggest, and will do so at once…” It took her only one day to make the transpositions, for she then writes: Lib. of Congress collection letter dated Friday, Dec. 8, 1905.“Dear Mr. Schmidt, Here are the two copies of Tryste Noel: in F-for Soprano and in C-for Contralto. I have, as yet, no reply from Little, Brown and Co. who must have received my letter, (with stamped envelope for reply,) on Monday! In haste; very truly, M. R. Lang”  On November 27, 1940 the fellow Boston music publisher Charles W. Homeyer wrote to Margaret saying that he hoped Schmidt would never let this song go out of print. “It is one of the finest Christmas songs that I am familiar with.” (Letters-FDB)

Lib. of Congress collection letter dated Jan. 31, 1906 “Dear Mr. Schmidt, Here is the soprano version of Tryste Noël. It does not seem possible that it should go higher. Thank you for the Lovely Rose copies; it was extremely well done, and I am much pleased with the clearness of the type.”

Lib. of Congress collection letter dated Feb. 9. 1906 “Dear Mr. Schmidt, Your letter is just received, and I hasten to say that both my father and I agree with you that Tryste Noel would best be printed in F and C as at first arranged. My father says that it would be a simple matter to play the song in F#, if it is printed in F; but if published in F# – would be at a disadvantage. So I hope you will keep to the keys we decided upon.”

A Lib. of Congress piece of envelope has the following:

“Lang-Tryste Noel

High 7133 Feb. 1907 200 2 from Leip1/4/24

Med 5567 Mar. 1912 100 4 from Leip 1921 + 22

Low 7134 Sept 1906 3001st. ed.”

Lib. of Congress collection letter dated May 25, 1926 “Gentlemen, Would you be so good as to tell me what steps can be taken toward making a re-print of my Tryste Noel-for which I have had several requests.” Schmidt’s answer of May 28, 1926 was not to re-print, but to do a “revised edition…in a key that would suit the average voice.” Two months later Margaret replied in a letter dated July 29, 1926, “Gentlemen, Here is the copy of Tryste Noel, long delayed because of illness and death in the family.”

In a letter from Schmidt to Margaret dated June 22, 1931 an arrangement of the song for women’s voices by Roy Stoughton was sent for her approval-the letter said “We occasionally have calls for the solo version, and so long as the melody and accompaniment are the same in the present version, in addition to its use as a chorus the octavo edition might be of value to those wishing to secure the song.” Her answer dated June 25, 1931 said that she had made a few alterations; she then gives permission to publish “with the understanding, of course, that I receive my share of the profit on sales. This, however, does not satisfy my request to ___of long ago, to reprint that song, which could have had a good sale, -for there has been much demand for it, and it is a song which has, as it has had, many uses: -not only at Christmas.” She then reminds the company of their request, 2 years ago, to make a “simplified version” which she did, but the man. (uscript) was neither acknowledged nor returned.

Five days later the company reply dated June 30, 1931 stated “We will proceed with the chorus arrangement of T. N. and you will receive royalties on this number after deducting the cost of the arrangement which we have bought from Mr. Stoughton for $10.”They said they had the simplified man. (uscript) and could engrave it if she wished. “We find from our records that since the piece has been out of stock very few orders have reached us,” and suggest using the octavo as it is also in F. Her reply dated July 1, 1931 said: “Gentlemen,…regarding new plates which you are willing to engrave…I would suggest that the one key for the (solo) song be D.” The company reply dated July 10, 1931 said that the man. (uscript) is in D, but they suggested Eb as “more generally useful, as the original medium key (in Eb) was the one mostly in demand.” Margaret’s reply dated July 11, 1931 said that she had sent a man.[uscript] in Eb.

Tryste was sung on Christmas Eve of 1957 at the church of St. John the Evangelist on the backside of Beacon Hill.Everett Titcomb, the organist there, had written to Margaret in October telling her of this coming event.”It is the finest Christmas Song I have ever heard.”The soloist was John Horner, bass soloist of Trinity Church, Copley Square-it seems that Titcomb was able to use Horner and other Trinity Church Choir members for his service as its time of late afternoon did not interfere with their other responsibilities.According to a note on the service bulletin, Margaret was able to attend-she would have been 90 years old.

Charles Homeyer (of the music store at 498 Boyston Street) had said the same thing in a November 27, 1940 letter. “Incidently, I just hope that your good publishers here will never let Tryste Noel run out of print, as it is one of the finest Christmas songs that I am familiar with.”

6. Northward. In F (b-f) Words by Henry Copley Greene. Described by Hughes as “strong.” (Hughes-Con.Am. Com., p. 520)

OPUS 38 Four Songs. Pub. 1902 by Schmidt

1. Orpheus. E flat (e-g) Words from Orpheus by Mrs. Fields.

2. Sleepy-Man.G (d-f). Words by Charles George Douglas Roberts. This song was

sung by Mrs. Onthank on Mar. 11, 1903 as part of a “Program…given at Mr.

Lang’s Music Rooms at 153 Tremont Street.”

3. The Span o’ Life. E flat (e-g) Words by William McLennan.This song “has a dialect text and Scottish features such as the rhythmic snap, but the complex harmonic language and pianistic accompaniment of the song is clearly German.its structure is also more complicated.Instead of a simple strophic setting, the verses are separated by both key and time changes in mm. 29, 42, 77, and 90. (Blunsom, p. 202)

4. Song in the Songless. F (e-g) Words by George Meridith. “One of the most beautiful and poetic songs which we have.”(Syford-article, p. 23). Hughes wrote, “Of the four in Op. 38, the effective Orpheus and the unusual Song in the Songless seem the most striking.” (Hughes-Con. Am. Com., pp. 520-52

“One of the delightful vocal recitals of the week was given Wednesday afternoon before a large audience at the Lang Studios by Mrs. Cora Cutter Wellman. She rendered with great success a varied program which gave her fine opportunity to show her skill as a vocalist,” in a program that included Orpheus and The Span o’ Life. (Globe, January 29, 1911, p. 49)

OPUS 38 (ALSO) This opus number was also assigned to the part song True Freedom which was included in the “Laurel Song Book” published in 1908 by C. C. Birchard of Boston, edited by W. L. Tomlins. The original dates for the materials for this book were 1900 and 1901, the same period as the songs written above.

OPUS 39 Songs for Lovers of Children.

Merry Christmas. E flat 3pp.

Just Because. E flat 4pp.

In the Night. E major 4pp.

Morning. C major 2pp.

Evening. A flat major2pp.

The Sandman. A major 4pp.

To-Morrow. D major 4pp.

Three Ships. F major 5pp. Lib. of Congress has autographs.

OPUS 40 Four Songs

1. Somewhere. G (f-g).

2. Day Is Gone. A (e-g) Lib. Of Congress autograph in B flat (b-d). Letter dated Oct. 27, 1903 she asks for the title to be changed to “the single word Evening.” Another letter dated Nov. 5, 1903 says she has permission from Birchard to change to Day Is Gone. Letter dated Nov. 26, 1906 (written from the Hotel Brighton, Atlantic City where she was indefinitely with her ill mother) responding to Schmidt’s suggestion of publishing a low key version in B flat, said “I cannot imagine Day is Gone sung with any effect by a low voice, as its climax is high and light; but I have not the slightest objection to its publication in the two keys. If you desire it.”(As she was nursing her mother, she asked Schmidt to find someone to do the transposition, but to send the proof to her father for checking.) John McCormack included this song at his Carnegie Hall recital of February??, 1917 and also sang it at Boston’s Symphony Hall on February 20, 1917. The Arthur P. Schmidt ad “Songs From the Concert programmes of Boston Singers” in the Boston Symphony program of May 2 and 3, 1919 lists this song as being sung by Laura Comstock Littlefield. After the first edition in E Major published in 1904 came the B Flat edition-eventually there was also a D Flat edition. When Bossey published this song in London, also in 1904, their edition was in E Flat.

Lib. Of Congress receipts:

2/20/34 305-high.05 $15.25

5/20/37 305-mezzo .05 $15.25

2/24/43 301-high .05 $15.05

12/14/51 150-B flat .05 $7.50 [Note, still producing income in 1951!]

The total press run for this song was 14,660 copies. (Cipolla, 3/5/09 e-mail)

3. The Bird. F#(f-g#)

4. Love is Everywhere. F (e-g) Hughes felt that this song “carries one along in its grateful enthusiasm.” (Hughes-Contem A. Com., p. 521)

OPUS 41 A Song of the Lilac.

OPUS 42 Nonsense Rhymes and Pictures. Pub. 1905 by Schmidt, but first sung from manuscript at the August 1903 14th. Annual Convention and Festival at the Opera House Hampton Beach of the “New Hampshire Music Teachers” Association” by Miss Adah Campbell Hussey. The order and titles of that performance were:

The Person of Filey

The Dolorous Man of Cape Horn

The Old Person of Skye

The Man and the Kettle

Will Nobody Answere this Bell

The Bird in the Bush

The Lady and the Tiger

An undated (probably 1906) Lib. of Congress Collection letter from “8 Brimmer, Friday” said: “Dear Mr. Schmidt, Could you let me have my design for the cover of the Nonsense Songs, for a day or two, to compare the size of lettering with my plan for the inner title-page.” Another letter dated Jan. 28, 1905 said: “Dear Mr. Schmidt, Here is the design for the inside title page; (also the cover design). I hope it’s all right.” On March 11, 1905 she wrote: “Dear Mr. Schmidt, I think the enclosed sample of yellow for the cover of the Nonsense Songs will do very well, and I hope it pleases you-as to shade.”Two and one-half months later she was concerned with the paper: a letter dated June 1, 1905 said”…I could wish that the paper was not the same blue-white which was used in Songs for Lovers of Children. But the type is splendidly clear and I hope you are pleased. In haste-and with thanks for the delightful reproduction of the pictures, and title pages.”The “Table Gossip” column of February 3, 1907 issue of the Boston Globe reported that “One of the society events of the week in Winchester was a progressive luncheon given on Tuesday at the residence of Mrs. Louis Parkhurst to meet Mrs. Tillotson Wheeler Gilson of Chicago.Mrs. Howe of Boston, accompanied by Miss Grebe, sang a group of songs most acceptably.Among other things, she sang four nonsense songs by Margaret Ruthven Lang.” (Globe, February 3, 1907, p. 50)

An ad in the Boston Symphony programme book for May 2 and 3, 1919 placed by Arthur P. Schmidt Co. listing “Songs From the Concerts Programmes of Boston Singers” shows Alice Bates Rice” as performing these pieces.In 1919 she advertised as “Soprano Soloist and Teacher of Singing” with her teaching studio at the Lang Studios, 6 Newbury Street.

Arr. for WOMEN”S voices:#446-The Old Lady of France

#447-The Old Person of Skye

#448-The Person of Filey

#449-The Old Person of Jodd

#450-The Old Man of Dumbree

#637-The Old Man In a Tree

Arr. for MEN”S voices:#351-The Old Man Who Said “well”

#352-The Old Man In a Tree

Arr. for Mixed Voices:#131-The Old Person of Cassel

Osborne comments: “Her Lear miniatures offer considerable delight, each reflecting the fun and nonsensical good cheer of their language…The Old Man in a Tree, a languorous waltz that begins and concludes with extended choral ”Bzz”ing cleverly simulating the ominous darting in and out of ”a regular brute of a Bee.”Another slow waltz introduces us to An Old Person of Skye who ”waltz”d with a Bluebottle Fly.”Constant tremulandos in the pianist”s left hand and two ascending bursts of chromaticism during the final measures reinforce our sense of that odd pair as ”they buzzed a tune to the moon, And entranced all the people of Skye.”” (Osborne, p. 63) Also concerning The Old Man in a Tree: “One of Miss Lang’s souveniers of ‘Mrs. Gardner’s Japs’ (they were then actually employed on the building of the Museum of Fine Arts) was a small brass tray on which they engraved a line of her ‘Nonsense Songs.’Where two of the notes should be there are substituted buzzing bees.” (Miller article, 1967)Tray_view1 Tray_view2 Two views of the tray-Photo by Justin Reinking. Collection of Fletcher DuBois.

The Library of Congress had both printed and manuscript copies of The Old person of Cassel available for download.Their comment on the piece states: “In her SATB setting with piano accompaniment of Lear”s The Old Person of Cassell (1905), she humorously interjects numerous ”ha, ha” responcses to each line of text. The nose of the old person of Cassell was ”finished off in a tassel,” which Lang paints with a stuttering musical figure that sounds like a stifled sneeze.” (L. C. Website)

OPUS 43 More Nonsense Rhymes and Pictures. Pub. Schmidt 1907.A Lib. of Congress Collection dated Sat. Oct. 12, 1907 said: “Dear Mr. Schmidt, I send you very many thanks for a most charming surprise. The new, bound volume of the two Nonsense books-is very ___ to me, and I am delighted. It greeted me yesterday on my return here in the first time in nine months, and added greatly to my joy. Thank you so much for doing it. I’ve always loved surprises, and this is such a nice one!” A year and one-half later Schmidt wrote on March 1, 1909 to suggest that she arrange from Vol. I #1, 3, 7, and 10, and from Vol. II #2 and 7 for women’s chorus-she agreed and said that she was thinking of doing one or two for mixed chorus.

The Young Lady of Parma. Here is a video performance of this song.  http://youtu.be/c8Kgkriqcuk

Arr. for MEN”S voices:#353-The Young Lady of Parma

#354-The Old Person of Ware

#355-The Old Man With a Gong

Arr. for MIXED Voices:#130-The Old Man With a Beard. This was performed at the 2009 National Convention of the ACDA by the “High School Honor Choir” conducted by Tim Sharp using the Library of Congress American Music project.

Lib. of Congress Collection receipt dated 4/21/31

320 Lady Parma @ .01 $3.20

518 Old Man Tree @ .011/510/20/? $6.22

215 More Nonsense at .10 $21.50

Osborne comments: “Lear”s Old Man With a Beard is cursed with ”two owls and a Hen. Four Larks and a Wren, [who] have all built their nests in my beard.”Not only does Miss Lang present us with charming pictorial representations of their calls of lark and/or wren [without, however, the scientific specificity of an Olivier Messiaen], but apparently has conceived her old man as expressing himself with all the passion and anguish of an Italian opera singer, a most pleasant incongruity.” (Osborne, p. 63) The Library of Congress has both the printed and manuscript scores available for download. Their comment on the work states: “Margaret Ruthven Lang”s father often conducted his daughter”s works at his choral concerts. In 1890, his Apollo Club premiered her Jumblies, op. 5, an ambitious part-song on a humorous text by Edward Lear (1812-88) scored for men”s voices, baritone solo, and two pianos. She set at least eight of Lear”s nonsense rhymes to music. In Lang”s setting of Lear”s The Old man with a Beard (1907), the piano part is filled with twittering figures to represent the two owls, one hen, four larks, and a wren who built their nests in the man”s beard. He relates the problem. according to Lang”s musical direction, ”with anguish.””: (L. C. Website)

The critic William F. Apthorp had published a song setting of “The Owl and the Pussy-Cat” in 1878.

A January 9, 1917 ad for a recital by Katharine Dayton, “Diseuse,” listed the repertoire as folksongs from around the world and Thumb-nail Studies in Temper and Temperament, which were the Nonsense Songs, renamed. The “Advertiser” review said, “These songs of M. R. Lang’s (daughter of our former great conductor) have of late lost in popularity; probably because they have not been brought before the public in a way which then could be enjoyed.” Philip Hale’s review said, “Nothing could have been better, for example, than her interpretation of Miss Lang’s music for Lear’s Young Lady in Blue…The comic is Miss Dayton’s forte.”

In 1980 the dancer/choreographer John Wilson created a ballet using “about 20 of the limericks…in a score that ranges in influence from Gottschalk to Amy Beach, with a little hornpipe thrown in for good measure. Marcy Jellison sang and recited the limericks…with Mr. Wilson, looking remarkablely late-Victorian with his canny, slightly world-weary face and his formal evening attire, joining in from the piano…Mr. Wilson set himself a difficult task in attempting to render in movement such lovely conceits as The Man From Putney and his diet of roast spider and chutney, ”which he took with his tea in sight of the sea.”” (New York Times, February 28, 1980, p. C21)

OPUS 43(also) The Lonely Rose. Pub. Schmidt 1906 for SSAA chorus, 19 pp. Listed as a cantata for women’s voices. Lib. of Congress autograph. Letter dated Mar. 13, 1904 says was performed in Jordan Hall last week by the Thursday Morning Musical Club. Another performance was by the Impromptu Club on March 2, 1921. The Library of Congress has both the printed and manuscript scores for this work available for download. Their description of the piece states: “In 1906, Lang wrote The Lonely Rose, op. 43, for Boston”s Thursday Morning Musical Club, the women”s organization that had commissioned Amy Beach”s cantata The Sea-Fairies, op. 59, two years earlier. It is a lengthy setting for women”s voices and piano with a wide-ranging soprano solo. The voice parts are marked meticulously with frequent crescendo and diminuendo marks, often two per bar in several successive measures. The piano part also contains highly detailed pedal markings and even fingerings for some difficult passages. Lang”s father was a student of Franz Liszt, so her piano accompaniments may contain her father”s editorial suggestions that reflect Liszt”s style.” (LC Website: American Choral Music, 1870-1923) In 1911 an Oklahoma newspaper recorded: “A special meeting of the choral class of the Ladies” Music Club has been called for 2 o”clock this afternoon in St. Paul”s parish house. The club is rehearsing the cantata The Lonely Rose, by Margaret Ruthven Lang, which it will present at the March meeting of the club.” (March 3, 1911, Daily Oklahoman, Page 7, GenealogyBank)

OPUS 44 Grandmama’s Song Book for the Children. The words were taken from “The Daisy” (1807) and “The Cowslip” (1811). These are cautionary stories in verse adapted to the ideas of children from four to eight years old with texts by “Elizabeth Turner (Mrs. Turner), an English writer of children’s poetry.These two collections were published in the United States by mid-century and went through upwards of 25 editions by the turn of the century. Lang’s settings of these verses were not published until 1909, some 100 years after their appearance as poems.Her use of these verses exposes the continued attraction of domestic sentiments. Indeed, Lang had little real-life experience with children, certainly no children of her own…Each song in Lang’s collection is an instructive verse on behavior directed at children. As in the poetry collection, each song is accompanied by an illustration related to the theme of the work. In keeping with the sentiments of the text, Lang’s settings are the most unassuming songs she ever wrote.The chromaticism and rich harmonies in Lang’s art songs are completely removed from these settings.Instead they are in the style of parlor songs. They are quite small, all under 24 measures in length…They have uncomplicated diatonic harmonic structures. Melodically, the vocal lines lie within a small range. The piano accompaniment is sparse and generally doubles the melody.” (Blunsom, pp. 205 and 206)

OPUS 45 Not used (?)

OPUS 46 Three Songs pub. Schmidt in 1909.

1. An Even Psalm. M. R. Hall

2. Sometimes. T. S. Jones

3. Out of the Night. Anon. Lib of Congress autograph.

OPUS 47 Spring. Poet unknown. Pub. Schmidt 1909. 7 pp. Lib. of Congress autograph.

OPUS 48 (?) Opus not assigned by Cline. Song of the Three Sisters for SSAA chorus. Pub. Schmidt 1909, 12 pp., “Women’s Voices No. 451.” Copy at Harvard M. A. A 6-page holograph score with no date at Washington Sate Un. at Pullman, WA lists this as the opus for The Wild Brier for women’s voices.

OPUS 49 Not used (?)

OPUS 50 Four Songs

1. A Garden is a Lovesome Thing. T. E. Brown. 5 pp.

2. A Song of the Spanish Gypsies (Solea). Tr. A. Strettell.3 pp. Hughes saw this as “another interesting and original bit.” (Hughes-Con. Am. Com., p. 521)

3. Snowflakes. J. V. Cheney. 7 pp.

4. There Would I Be. J. V. Cheney.5 pp.

OPUS 51 Grant, We Beseech Thee, Merciful Lord. Anthem for SATB and solo quartet. Pub. 1912 by Schmidt: ” Mixed Voices Sacred No. 1063.” Text is the collect for the 21st. Sunday after Trinity.

        Done at St. Paul’s Cathedral as Introit March 2, 1913.

        As anthem, Church of the Advent January 26, 1913, October 12, 1913, October 24, 1915, and November 12, 1916

        Done as the offertory at Boston’s Old North Church on August 16, 1931.

        Done at the Church of the Incarnation, NYC on February 21, 1932.

        Lib. of Congress Collection receipt dated 5/20/37312@ .011/5 $3.74.

OPUS 52 The Night of the Star: A Christmas Cycle. Words by Denis A. McCarthy. Soli, SATB Chorus, and organ. Pub. 1913 Ditson. “Christmas Virgil” published separately. This solo was published in the December 1940 “Etude Magazine” among the musical supplement numbers. Mrs. Hooper recalled that this song was played at a family gathering and she didn’t recognize it. Malcolm thought she was joking, but she wasn’t.

The work was done at the Manchester, N.H. Unitarian Church during December of 1920. On December 25 and 27, 1931 at the Church of the Incarnation in NYC, this was the offertory anthem (all three sections) at Morning Prayer.

Christmas of 1913, the year that it was published, the following Boston area churches performed the work:

St Paul’s Cathedral, Dec, 24, 12:10PM

First Church, Unitarian Dec. 24, 4:30PM

Harvard Musical Club Dec. 24, 9:30PM

King”s Chapel Dec. 25, 11AM

A note in the Scrapbook said that Margaret attended all four of these performances!

The following churches had performed the work the previous Sunday:

     South Congregational-Dr. Hale Dec. 21, 10:30AM

     First Parish, Dorchester Dec. 21, 11AM

     Newton Universalist Dec. 21, 10:45AM

     Eliot Church, Newton Dec. 21, 10:30AM

     Church of the Savior, Chestnut Hill Dec. 21, 10:30AM

     Harvard Church, Brookline Dec. 21, 10:30AM

This certainly represents a broad range of support for Margaret.

The Harvard Musical Association included the work in its Christmas Eve “House Warming of the Julia M. Marsh Rooms” on December 24, 1913, which was the 75th. year of the group. It was repeated again by HMA on Friday December 5, 2003. [CD available]

Later performances include:

          First Methodist Church, Riverside, CA, Dec. 24, 1915 (Riversdie Daily Press, p. 7, GenealogyBank)

      Old South, Copley Square Dec. 24, 1916 Evening

     Old South, Copley Square Dec. 24, 1921

     Emmanuel Church (Lynwood Farnam) December 25 and Dec. 31, 1922

     Emmanuel Church Nov. 4, 1923

     First Parish, Meeting House Hill, Dorchester, MA, December 24, 1942 (Boston Herald, December 24, 1942, p. 25, GenealogyBank)

OPUS 53 Wind. SSAASSAA. Done as part of the 72nd. Season of the Philharmonic Society of New York, Josef Stransky, conductor. Performed on Thursday night, February 26, 1914 and Friday afternoon, February 27. The program was:

Schumann Overture, Scherzo and Finale

Chadwick Three A Capella Choruses-Stabat Mater Speciosa

Lang Wind

Pierne Le Marriage de Marion

Performed by the St. Cecilia Club conducted by Victor Harris

Intermission

 Liszt Dante Symphony for Chorus and Orchestravictor harris

Hughes, editor, “Songs By Thirty Americans,” for High Voice, p. xxii.

           Wind, for eight-part unaccompanied chorus was composed for the St. Cecilia Club. The poem was by John Galsworthy. In commissioning the work Harris “asked that she write something of a ”bright, stirring, and rousing character,” lamenting that ”so much is written for women”s voices that is tender and sweet and quiet in effect” that he found it difficult to program compositions which were good and at the same time faster than Andante.” (Fox, Sexual, p. 10)“Miss Lang has written for orchestra, as well as in smaller forms, piano pieces and songs, and the present work is quite in an unusual vein. It is not only excessively difficult, but what is more unusual, its effectiveness is in direct proportion to its difficulty. The color effects secured by limited means-the orchestration, so to speak, for eight parts, all women’s voices, is unique.” Notes by W. H. Hermiston, no page numbers. Lib of Congress autograph. Pub. by Schmidt: “Women’s Voices No. 585.”

            The “Musical America” review of the work”s premier on January 20, 1914 at the Waldorf-Astoria Ballroom stated: “Miss Lang”s The Wind, dedicated to the club, is written for double chorus in eight parts; harmonically it is individual, as Miss Lang always is; moreover, it is unusually complex.Few women”s choruses will be able to sing it.Yet the St. Cecilians handled it with comparative ease, so carefully had it been prepared.” (Scrapbook)

            The “Musical Courier” review of January 28, 1914 said: “The Wind, by Margaret Ruthven Lang, a double chorus, eight parts composed especially for the St. Cecilia Club, to a beautiful poem by one of the most talented of living English poets, John Galsworthy, Miss Lang did en excellent piece of work in this composition.She has captured the spirit of the wind in a remarkable way and has done this without using any of the tricks which composers from time immemorial, almost, have used to represent the sighing and sobbing of the wind.She has, in fact, made no attempt to imitate the sound of the wind, and the consequence is that she has composed a beautiful piece of music.” (Scrapbook)

            The review in the “Musical Courier” /Feb.? 1914) said: “the beautiful chorus, Wind, by Margaret Rutherford (sic) Lang, again made an excellent impression, as it did on its first performance here, and one cannot but be impressed not only with the beauty of the contrapuntal work of the composer, but with the exceptionally fine interpretation by the chorus of this unusually difficult composition>” Scrapbook This review was of a benefit concert held on January 28, 1914, also at the Waldorf-Astoria Ballroom.

            Other groups did take up this work.The October 14, 1916 issue of the “Musical Courier” reported a performance by the Women”s Lyric Club of Los Angeles.This was a choir of about 100 voices that regularly sang at the Trinity Auditorium to full houses.The choir had sung Wild-brier the previous spring (March 10, 1916)

Arthur Foote describes seeing Victor Harris in Paris during the summer of 1897:
“Victor Harris was also in Paris for some weeks, and used to appear on his wheel. We had known him in Boston, on his visits as accompanist for singers, and a singularly sympathetic one he was; a handsome, attractive, talented man, a charming companion and good friend, a successful teacher of singing in New York, and later a distinguished conductor of the St. Cecilia Women’s Chorus there. He is the composer of some lovely songs.” (Foote-Autobio., p. 87)

Pendle notes that “Some of her (MRL) late works show French influence too, especially Wind, her beautiful and atmospheric double chorus for women’s voices.” (Pendle, p. 218)

OPUS 54 No. 1-Into My Heart. A. Meynell. Lib. Of Congress has autograph signed “M.R.L. Sept. 1914” with the note “given by the composer July 28, 1917.”Note on the back loans this manuscript copy to Mrs. Rice for her use only-not to be copied. Signed and dated March 12, 1915.

2. –Chimes. A. Meynell. Lib. Of Congress has autograph signed and dated as above and given as above.

Cline: “Characteristics: Pleasant, successful song utilizing an ostinato figure in the piano in imitation of bells. An unusual chord cluster and deceptive cadence in final measures. The vocal line has a distinctly whole tone quality.”(P. 153). The Lib. of Congress autograph is signed and dated: “M.R.L. Sept. 1914, given by the composer July 28, 1917.”

OPUS 55 Cradle Song of the War. Words by N. S. D. Lib. of Congress has autograph “M.R.L. Sept. 1915” and note “Given July 28, 1917 by composer.” Musical America for June 24, 1916 said: “We have seen nothing from Miss Lang’s pen in a long time as worthy as A Cradle Song of War. It is strongly repressed and delivers its message calmly, without show of emotion; yet this may be felt all the more deeply through its seeming reticence. The measures in the piano, over which the voice breathes the word ‘Hush,’ very softly, are masterly in conception. The song is published in two keys, for medium voice in D Minor and for low voice a third lower.” Pub. by Oliver Ditson. At the Impromptu Club concert of March 1, 1916, it was sung by Mrs. Foote and accompanied by the composer.

Cline: “Characteristics: A stunning, dramatic song, worthy of the final statement from Lang in the art song genre. use of repeated word, “hush,” has a disturbing effect. Interesting harmonic interplay between keys of B minor and D major.

Subject of Poem. A mother tries to quiet her baby in a war-torn land, promising that help is coming from over the sea.”(p. 154)

OPUS 56 In Praesepio (In the Manger) for SATB Choir. R. L. Gates. Pub. by Schmidt for SATB-“Mixed Voices Sacred No. 1196.” Lib. Of Congress autograph originally subtitles “A Christmas Chorale.” Lib. of Congress has autograph of SSAA arrangement 4 pp. published by Schmidt:” Women’s Voices No. 691.”

     Performances: Church of the Advent Dec. 24, & Dec. 31, 1916 (4PM)Probable premier as this was her church

     Church of the Advent Dec. 31, 1916 (4PM)

     King’s Chapel (Malcolm Lang) Dec. 25, 1916

     First Universalist, Medford Dec. 24, 1916

     St. Paul’s Cathedral Dec. 24 (Evening)

     Wellesley College Vespers Dec. 17, 1916

     Church of the Advent Dec. 24, and Dec. 30, 1917

     Church of the Advent Dec. 30, 1928

OPUS 57 Heavenly Noel for Women’s Choir and instruments by Schmidt: “Women’s Voices No. 692.”NEC has score and eight parts-also an arrangement of the accompaniment for harp and piano. A review in Musical America for Apr. 13, 1918 said: “One of the most important compositions for chorus of women’s voices written by an American in many moons is this work of Miss Lang’s. The dignity of her inspiration, which has won her a place on eminence far above many of her more widely sung sister-composers, permeates this composition, which is a setting of a portion of R. L. Gale’s volume, ‘David in Heaven and Other Poems.’ It was produced last year in New York by Victor Harris with his St. Cecilia Club and made a profound impression. The four-part women’s chorus hums all through the work, while the solo mezzo-soprano sings the words of the poem, until at the close the chorus has a very impressive ‘Sanctus.’ The final chord is an ‘Ah!’ for the chorus. Miss Lang has gone far from traditional lines in this composition and in doing so has achieved one of the most significant compositions of her career. It is a work that will be appreciated by those who admire serious music. It is not for amateur choral societies by any means; they will be able neither to sing it nor understand it.” (the initials written after the review seem to be “U. W. K.”) At the age of 100 Margaret remembered the writing of this piece. “I hadn’t worked over it at all, it just came, it had to be done.”It was about “what the saints do in Heaven on Christmas morning. The chorus makes sounds, they don’t sing words. I had the organ on a single note and it did sound other-worldly. Middle-aged men told me it made them cry. The St. Cecilia Society in New York wanted to do it, and to have me play it for them. I never played the piano in public. And so I went on to New York for that.”(Miller-Globe article)

           There was a review in the Boston Transcript of January 11, 1917 about the January 10, 1917 concert by the Choral Music Society of Boston conducted by Stephen S. Townsend (with Lynnwood Farnam as one of the two accompanists). Presented in Jordan Hall January 10th. included many new pieces; “while the least pretentious among them proved the most distinctive and meritorious-to wit a Heavenly Noel set for a choir of women with an occasional solo voice and with accompaniment of harp, string quartet, piano and organ by Miss Margaret Lang. The verses signed R. L. Gales, are a picture of the stir in heaven on the night in which Jesus was born at Nazareth, fancied and worded in the native and homely manner of old German folksong. St Peter lights up his gate-house cabin of oyster-shells; St. Catherine puts on her best gown; the angels sing mechanically-too curious about what is happening on earth to heed their own voices. Miss Lang has clothed these verses in music that follows plastically the flow and beat of the rhymes and that keeps substance and savor with them; while in itself it is freshly imagined, dexterously conducted and abundant in unobtrusively ingenious and prettily fanciful play with the timbres of the women’s voices and the heightening strings. The setting, indeed, does what such music-making should do-heighten the pleasure of the verse and coordinate with it a pleasure from itself.”The accompaniment of organ, piano, harp, and quartet of strings had been arranged by the composer for this performance by the Choral Music Society of Boston.

           The Boston Globe review of January 11, 1917 said “Miss Lang’s Heavenly Noel sung recently also by the Impromptu Club, is a composition of true beauty, the text reminding of the quaint frankness without loss of reverence of a French Christmas carol, and the use of solo voice effective against the chorus, particularly in the responses of the latter.”

           1917 also saw a performance in New York by the St. Cecilia Club.The “Musical America” review of April 28, 1917 said: “Miss Lang”s The Heavenly Noel was the leading novelty.Set for chorus, mezzo-soprano solo, piano, harp, organ, and strings, it was much admired for its individual quality.Miss Lang presided at the piano, having come from Boston for the occasion, and at the close was brought forward by Mr. Harris.” (Scrapbook)

           The Boston Herald review of January 11, 1917 by Philip Hale said: “Some of the lines (of the poem) are pleasingly naïve. The music, published last year, is not too deliberately quaint, nor is it affectedly modern. It reflects the spirit of the text. The treatment of the added ‘Sanctus’ is simple and effective.”

           The Lib. of Congress has a15p. autograph signed “M. R. L. Sept. 1916”-given by the composer July 28, 1917, and it is an autograph of the piano accompaniment.

           The Glee Club of the Impromptu Club performed this work on November 29, 1922 “conducted by the composer.”

           This work was included in “Book Two-the Singing Bienniel Collection-Massed Chorus Concert” for the National Federation of Music Clubs Fifteenth Biennial Convention April 18-23, 1927. The copy in the Westminster Choir College/Rider University Talbot Library Collection is from the library of John Finley Williamson, and it is inscribed to Gertrude F. Seiberling.

           The MacDowell Club Chorus conducted by Charles Manney did the work at Boston’s St. Botolph Club March 29, 1929.

Set of orchestral parts: Harp, First Violin, Second Violin, Third Violin, Cello, and Double Bass. (Set from Donald George)

Lib. of Congress receipt: orch. Rental 1/20/24 $5

Lib. of Congress receipt: orch. Rental1/3/39 $3

Lib. of Congress receipt: 1000 at .021/2 12/19/41 $25

OPUS 58 The Spirit of the Old House: Elegy for piano (1917). Pub. Schmidt. Lib. of Congress autograph-3 pp. At the very top of the first page is written: “To E. and M.” The entry for this piece in the Boston Public Library Catalog identifies “E. and M.” as Malcolm Lang, Margaret’s brother, and his wife Ethel Ranney Lang.

Opus 59 One Summer Day for piano. Pub. 1919 by Theodore Presser.

Hide and Seek in the Barn

Morning Lessons

Picnic in the Woods

Knitting for the Soldiers

Driving to the Blacksmith

Opus 60 Three Pieces for Young Players for piano. Pub. 1919 by Theodore Presser.

Happy Days

Day Dreams

Rondoletto

———————————————————————————————————

WORKS WITHOUT OPUS NUMBERS

ORCHESTRAL:

Incidental music to The Princess Far Away (1906)(Tara, from Psalm, p. 207) La Princes Lointaine (The Princess Far-away) by Edmond Rostand was published in an English translation of 110 pages by Charles Renauld in 1899 by F. A. Stokes in New York.

SONGS:

Deserted. E (e-f#) Words by Richard Kendall Munkittrick. Pub. Schmidt 1890.

Eros. G (d-g) Words by Louise Chandler Moulton. Pub. by Schmidt 1889. Lib. of Congress autograph. Hughes: Con Am Com, 434 says, “…is frail, rare, ecstatic.”

Fern Song. Words by John B. Tabb. The manuscript was printed in the Indianapolis Sentinal Thursday November 28, 1895 to accompany an article about Margaret. Marked “Allegro grazioso,” it is a short poem set within twenty measures, and was composed for this purpose: “Miss Lang conferred an honor upon the Woman’s edition of the Sentinal when she wrote for this publication” the song. (Scrapbook 1887-1906)

Ghosts. A flat (f-f) Words by Richard Kendall Munkittrick. Pub. 1889 by Schmidt. This song was published in Godey’s Magazine of January 1896 (Cook, p. 175). Hughes: Con Am Com, 434 “is elfin and dainty as snowflakes.” A newspaper review dated May 4, 1889 remarked that this piece, among the group of six under review, “is the simplest in form and harmonies, [and] seems from a single reading the cleverest in invention.It is a remarkably neat, Mendelssohn-like scherzo.” (Scrapbook 1889-1906) Schmidt published a SSA arr. in 1947 by Hugo Gordon (pseud. for Hugo Norden) Lib. of Congress letter-her handwritten reply April 12, 1947 to Schmidt”s letter of April 11, 1947 requesting permission for trio version by “our Mr. Norden” includes as the final line “Why should anybody want to sing this song???” Earlier in the letter she had said: “This is a resurrection of the very dead!” Her further concern about this arrangement is shown in an April 19, 1947 letter which asks to see the proofs “although I feel no responsibility about the arrangement. Are you willing to say ‘arranged by So & So, or his initials? So that it does not look as if the song had been composed as a Part Song?? I should prefer it thus.”(Letters-FDB)

Ghosts is a simple song that lends itself to the parlor. Ghosts was also a popular and critical success despite its uncomplicated nature. On a poem by Richard Munkittrick, it consists of only two verse of text…The text is set completely syllabically and the form is a modified strophic: the second verse begins in m. 16 as a repetition but changes in m. 20 to reflect the text at ‘We are the ghosts of the flowers.’ Nonetheless, its melody is quite simple, rhythmically uncomplicated, with mostly stepwise in motion, and in a narrow range, lying mostly in the 6th from f1 to f2…There are no unexpected dissonances such as those found in many of Lang’s art songs. The vocal line, accompaniment and harmony, all mirror the simplicity of the text which is a typical simple nature poem of this period in which [it] is not invested with any subjective emotion.” (Blunsom, 217)

Hajarlis. Song for baritone premiered at the New York Manuscript second concert of the 1893-4 season. This was a Tuesday evening, it was held at Chickering Hall and Grant Odell was the singer. Undated review published under “Notes of Music.” The manuscript for this song is parft of the collection of the New York Public Library, Music Division.

I Knew the Flowers Had Dreamed of You. A flat (e flat-g flat) Words by John B. Tabb. PUBLISHED by Oliver Ditson.

In a Garden. F (d-f) Words by Algernon Charles Swinburne. Sung by Gertrude Franklin at Cecilia concert May 14, 1891 together with My Lady Jaqueminot and Night. Repeated at Cecilia concert Tuesday January 26, 1892 by Mrs. Arthur Nikisch, wife of the BSO conductor. Also sung by Mrs. Alice Bates Rice at a Cecilia Society concert on April 30, 1896 (in 1906 she was listed as B. J. Lang’s soprano soloist at King’s Chapel-Boston Church and Musical Directory, 1906-1907).

In the Twilight. E (g-g) Words by H. Bowman. Pub. Schmidt 1889. Lib. of Congress receipt 12/17/21 for 205 copies @ .03= $6.15.”…one of the most beautiful lyrical songs we have heard.” “Chronicle” of May 11, 1888. (Scrapbook) The first word of the title had been Songs, but this seems to have been dropped on publication of the work. This was sung on January 13, 2012 Harvard Musical Association concert as part of their “Florestan Recital Project” by Sarah Pelletier, soprano accompanied by Alison d’Amato, piano. They also did Nameless Pain. See further note under this title.

Meg Merriles. 1890 G Minor (d-f)

My Lady Jaqueminot. 1889 B flat (f-g). See: In a Garden. Hughes: Con Am Com, 434 “ is exquisitely, delicately passionate.”A “Jacqueminot” is a deep-red hybrid perpetual rose-from General Jacquement of Paris. (Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary)

My True Love Lies Asleep. Words by Lizette Woodworth Reese. Pub. Schmidt 1893. At the Apr. 14, 1903 Chickering Hall concert to commemorate the 80th. Anniversary of the founding of the House of Chickering and Sons in 1823,  My True Love Lies Asleep was sung by Miss Mary Ogilvie, and B. J. played some pieces on the first piano made by Jonas Chickering in 1823.

Nameless Pain. G (e-g). 1889 Hughes: Con Am Com, 434 “Superb.” This song was performed on January 13, 2012 at the Harvard Musical Association by Sarah Pelletier, soprano and Alison d’Amato, piano. They also performed In the Twilight. The program noted that Margaret had performed for the group in 1891 and that “5 of her songs were performed 5 times between 1901 and 1913; her Christmas Star was featured at the opening of the Marsh Room in 1913.” (HMA Program)

On an April Apple Bough. 1895. E flat. (E flat-g). Words by Sylvia. Listed in the 1913 by Oliver Ditson Catalog. “A vocally gratifying song; effective use of a melismatic figure; an expansive ending. The accompaniment consists of mainly repeated chords in an iambic rhythmic pattern. A hopeful poem about the rebirth of love in the spring.” (Cline, 80)

Oh What Comes Over the Sea? 1889 A min. (e-f) Words by Christina Rossetti. Pub. Schmidt.

Ojala. F#(f#-f#) Words from the Spanish Gypsy by George Eliot. Pub. 1889 by Schmidt.

Song of the Rival Maid. D (f#-g) Words by Joseph Victor von Scheffel. Pub. Schmidt 1889.

Spring Song, A. E Minor (e-f#) Words by Charlotte Pendleton. Pub. 1890 by Schmidt. Hughes in Con Am Com, 435said “…a proof of her taste in choosing words.”

PART SONGS-MEN.

Alastair MacAlastair: arranged for male voices by Margaret Ruthven Lang. Pub. Schmidt 1901: “Men’s Voices No. 278.” Lib. of Congress autograph says “Music taken from an arrangement of the original Scottish air by H. E. Dibdin and published by Wood and Co., Edinburgh…Author unknown.” This arrangement was also included in the last concert that B. J. Lang conducted of the Apollo Club.

Here’s a Health to One I Lo’e Dear. Text by Robert Burns. Autograph in the Lib. of Congress has a note: “From a song arranged by? T. Surence (?) in “The Songs of Scotland” published by Wood and Co. Edinburgh. Pub. by Schmidt: “Men’s Voices No. 279.” B. J. Lang included this piece in the last concert that he conducted with the Apollo Club, May 1, 1909. Donald George made a performing edition from the L. of C. manuscript.

Provided by Herb Zeller, Historian of the Apollo Club, August 2020.

Maiden and the Butterfly, The. Premiered by the Apollo Club on May 1 and 6, 1889. No opus number. I don’t believe it was published.                                     The May 2, 1889 review in the Globe said: “The new things were a quaint and ingenious part song in waltz form, written for the club by Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang, entitled The Maiden and the Butterfly… [this piece] is delicately wrought up from parts which have much independence and even some apparent contradictions, but which, when sung to the composer’s injunctions, blend into a flowing and graceful tissue.” However the Advertiser felt: “I did not like Miss Lang’s The Maiden and the Butterfly as well as some other things she has written. It began well, but the short interjectional phrases seemed artificial, and gave only thinness to parts of the work without attaining the archness and coquetry of the poem. The end is especially weak in this respect. But the young composer has proved that she does not often lapse into an inconsequential vein.” (Advertiser (May 2, 1889): 4) Provided by Herb Zeller, Apollo Club Historian, August 2020.

PART SONGS-WOMEN.

The Wild-Brier for SSAA and piano. Words by John Vance Cheney from “The Time of Roses.” Pub. Schmidt 1909: Women’s Voices No. 452.

White Butterflies for SSA and piano. Words by Swinburne. Pub. C. C. Birchard: 1904.

PART-SONGS-MIXED.

Love Plumes His Wings,  by Margaret Ruthven Lang was premiered at the Wednesday evening, January 16 and Thursday evening, January 17, 1895 concerts at the Music Hall. The secondary headline of one review was: “A Not Particularly Interesting Programme Presented” (Anon., undated) while another review began: “The programme was most excellent and varied…The song for female voices by Miss Lang is charming in melody, and it is most skilfully and effectively arranged. It was sung with intelligence and sympathetic feeling, and was fully deserving of the applause that it won.” (Anon., undated) Hale listed the title of Miss Lang’s piece, but made no mention of the work saying: the concert “was not of special interest.” (Journal, undated) However, another review ended with the comment: “The whole concert was one of the most enjoyable of the smaller ones ever given by the Cecilia,” and described Miss Lang’s piece as “charming through and through.” (651-653) The Herald review wrote that Love Plumes His Wings was “Cleverly set for the voices, and is dainty, pretty and would be wholly admirable if it were more emphatic in its climax. It was tastefully and smoothly sung.” (Herald (January 18, 1895): 7, GB)

ANTHEMS-MIXED

Te Deum in E flat. Autograph in Lib. of Congress. Published by Schmidt as Te Deum in C: Mixed Voices Sacred No. 80. Church of the Advent did the Te Deum in E flat on Easter at the 8PM [?] service, April 7, 1901.

MASS

Margaret “completed a Mass, which was performed at least once at King’s Chapel under the direction of B. J. Lang in November 1898.” (Baer, 28 and 29)

SONGS NEVER PUBLISHED

CECILA CONCERT-May 22, 1890.William J. Winch sang Aladdin’s Lamp, Sing Maiden Sing, and Cradle Song (could these be Grandma Songs?) Blunsom states that “I have discovered references to 31 unpublished works.” (Blunsom, p. 36) Blunsom counts 149 published works with 130 of these being songs. “(Ibid)

INSTRUMENTAL WORKS

“Compositions for violin and piano” and a “string quartet” mentioned in the Downes article in the “Boston Post” of August 25, 1907. The “string quartette” was also mentioned in her May 22, 1893 autobiographical reply to Mr. Krehbiel.

INSTRUMENTAL ARRANGEMENTS

Violin Obbligatos to three Preludes of Bach (mentioned in her May 22, 1893 autobiographical reply to Mr. Krehbiel).

Also mentioned was “an arrangement for orchestra of the acc’t to Estudianfina” by Paul Lacome. She mentions that this accompaniment “has been performed twice by the Apollo Club in Boston and under Mr. A. W. Thayer’s direction in Cambridge.” In fact the first arrangement was premiered by the Apollo Club on December 6 and 9, 1889. A second arrangement, or a repeat of the first was performed on March 5, 1893.

CANTATA

“A cantata for chorus, soloists and orchestra” also mentioned in the Downes article (see above)-this is probably the work entitled The Wild Huntsman with words by Scott that B. J. was trying to get Theodore Thomas to look over for possible performance at the Chicago Columbian Exposition in 1893. She also mentions “A Cantata for chorus, solos and orchestra” in her May 22, 1893 autobiographical reply to Mr. Krehbiel. In the November 23, 1891 Advertiser it was announced: “Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang has just completed a cantata for mixed voices and orchestra.” It was probably this work.

CHAPTER 12. MARGARET RUTHVEN LANG: SONGS AND ANAGRAMS. SC(G). WC.

 SONGS AND ANAGRAMS. SC(G).

Word Count-5,000.   09/30/2020.

SONGS: In spite of her successes in the orchestral field, Miss Lang is best remembered for piano pieces, choral pieces, and over 130 plus songs. “Lang was a discerning critic of literature and made, for the most part, good choices in the poetry she chose to set. She chose the work of a number of women poets, including the poems of Lizette Woodsworth Reese, an important transitional poet between the 19th. and 20th. Centuries. Lang also set three poems of George Eliot, a. k. a. Mary Ann Evans. John Vance Cheney and John Addington Symonds are also favorites in Lang’s songs.” (Cline, 29) A 1915 article on the “Boston Classicists” said, “Although not attaining to such a mastery of the more amplified forms as does Mrs. Beach, Margaret Ruthven Lang has made several successful essays in the form of orchestral overtures, which have been played. Miss Lang’s best-known works, however, are her songs, the widespread popularity of certain ones of which has given her a real and lasting fame as a songwriter.” (Farwell, 343) As early as 1896 Rupert Hughes called Miss Lang “a genius” when he wrote: “While I must confess my blindness to the existence of any downright and exalted genius among women who write music-unless Mlle. Chaminade and Miss Lang are to be excepted-a few of them are doing so much better than the great majority of men, and most of them are so near average, that it is simply old-fashioned bigotry and empty nonsense to deny the sex musical recognition.” Hughes, Godey’s Mag., Jan. 1896, p. 30) Writing in 1993 Victoria Villamil wrote: “The consummately crafted, comelt songs of Margaret Ruthven Lang are happy reminders of an innocent age…Unlike the sentimental parlor songs we generally associate with the period, Lang’s many songs are intelligent and sophisticated settings of tasteful poetry. Lang had imagination and a remarkable melodic gift. Never at a loss for ideas, her songs often develop in unexpected ways, rarely following the usual repetitious strophic patterns and often employing unusual harmonies. What”s more, they are eminently singable.” She then mentions that Recital Publications had reprinted three sets of Lang’s songs, “though 5 Songs, Op. 15 (to the inconsequential poetry of Lizzette Woodworth Reese) is less successful. Nonsense Rhymes and Pictures (Edward Lear) and 10 Songs (for medium voice) make an excellent introduction to Lang’s work.” (Villamil, p. 257) Villamil then makes specific comments about six songs and the Nonsense set. These comments reflect an intimate, personal knowledge of these pieces.

Mathews. 100 Years, 215.

 

Myron Whitney gave the first public performances of Margaret’s songs in December 1887-she was just twenty years of age and recently returned from her European studies. In January 1888, at the first meeting of the Boston Manuscript Club five of her songs were sung. Among the five was Ghosts, which was published the following year. (Fuller, Pandora Guide,  171) Soon after her songs were heard outside of Boston. In 1889 Ojala, words by George Eliot was performed at a concert of American music that was part of the Paris Exposition; the same song was sung as part of the March 26, 1890 concert for the inauguration of the Lincoln Concert Hall in Washington, D.C. A total of eight solo songs have the copyright of 1889, and all were published by Arthur P. Schmidt. The following year, 1890, Schmidt published an additional Four Songs, by Margaret, none with opus number, and the price was 25 cents each. The first songs published with an opus number were the three songs of Opus 6, published in 1891. The great success of these early songs is reflected in the fact that Schmidt issued a collection of songs in 1893 which included some of the songs without opus number and also selected songs from Opus 6, 7, 8, and 9; the cost was one dollar-this only after publishing her first song just four years before. This was quite an achievement for a woman composer aged 26! Clara Rogers had already published five sets of songs with Schmidt during the period 1882 to 1888, but her collection, Album of Fourteen Songs was not published until 1896. (Radell and Malitsky, Vocal, 303) Schmidt immediately started to publicize Lang’s collection (the price of $1); it is mentioned in the Schmidt ad for the 1892-93 The Musical Yearbook of the United States. together with her Five Songs Opus 15 (price of 75 cents) which had the note: “The melodies are many of them quaint and interesting; the accompaniments appropriate and clearly written. Teachers and singers should examine them.” (Yearbook, Vol. 10, ii) The famous singers of the day such as Ernestine Schumann-Heink, Alma Gluck, and John McCormack soon took up her works, and in 1892 Mrs. Gerrit Smith gave a song recital in New York City devoted completely to Margaret’s works. Mrs. Smith was herself the wife of “one of the best composers in the smaller forms of short songs,” Mr. Gerrit Smith (1859-1912) who “was one of the founders, and for some years the president, of the Manuscript Society.” (Hughes, Songs Am. Composers, xvi) Mr. Smith was also the “moving force behind the formation of the American Guild of organists” and its first Warden (later called President). He was also “known as a vigorous champion of American composers.” (Armstrong, 1) Margaret’s Irish Love Song was one of Ernestine Schumann-Heink’s favorites, and was often sung by this artist as an encore (See Discography). This became Margaret’s most popular song with a “total U. S. press run…both high and low voice of 121,100 copies.” (Cipolla 3/5/09 e-mail) Elson describes Irish Mother’s Lullaby, Lament, and Ghosts as “masterly.”She chose poems with great care for her texts and was careful to avoid the norm of her era which tended to “rate gush as feeling and gilt as gold.”Hughes described her harmonies as having “the appearance of spontaneous ease, and the elaborateness never obtrudes itself upon the coherence of the work.”He added that the songs are “singable to a degree unusual in scholarly compositions,” and he placed two or three of her songs “among the chief of their manner.” The continued popularity of Irish Mother’s Lullaby led the Irving Berlin Publishing Company in 1939 to ask for the renewal of its copyright if she possibly had “substantial objections” to its original publisher. If this were so, “then we are interested.” (Blunsom, 168) However, the Irish Mother’s Lullaby had a total U. S. press run with Schmidt of only 13,591 copies-just over 10 per cent of of the 121,100 copies of an Irish Love Song. (Cipolla 3/5/09 e-mail) Possibly Irving Berlin could have done better for Margaret! Arthur Foote also set George Eliot’s Ojala! Would She Carry Me! and it was published by Schmidt just a year after Margaret’s setting, in 1890. Foote’s setting is in 3/4 meter with a tempo of “Non troppo allegro” (quarter note = 96) and is in C Minor. Margaret’s setting is in 2/4, “Andantino-Con moto,” but without a specific speed indication and is in F Sharp Major throughout. With a simple choral accompaniment, her setting is complete in just two pages. Foote uses C Major for the second and third sections and then returns to C Minor for the final section. Foote seems to have set the complete poem-the phrase used by Lang “From the Spanish Gypsy” seems to reflect the fact that she eliminated phrases which resulted in a much shorter setting. Finally, Lang makes no musical reference to Spanish/Gypsy musical styles while Foote’s introduction and accompaniment style are guitar-like with rolled chords and arpeggiated figures. For Foote, this is almost a folk-like setting-for Lang, a much more introspective setting. Foote set An Irish Folk-Song which was published by Schmidt in 1894. The poem by Gilbert Parker sets two verses of text which are followed by ten-measure refrain”s set to “Ah.” Editions for High (Sop. or Ten. in G Minor, 50 cents) and Low Voice (Alto or Bar. in E Minor, 50 cents) were published along with additional editions with added Violin Obbligato (available in both High and Low versions, both 60 cents), and another version with Violin and Cello Obbligato parts for the E Minor, Low version, 60 cents. There was also a Piano Solo version available at 50 cents. The piano introduction sets the mood with dotted-eighth and sixteenth patterns and the text speaks of a child returning to the “glen…yu’ll be comin’ back, my darlin’!” Lang’s Irish Love Song was published a year later by Schmidt in 1895, also in two keys, and this then went on to be her best selling composition-it was even set in Braille. Without any overtly Scottish rhythms, her song was more a ballad in folk-style. As no author is mentioned, and because she always took great pains to acknowledge the text writer, one can assume that she wrote the text herself. For Amy Beach’s most successful song, Ecstasy, published in 1893, she also had written both the words and music. An indication of Margaret’s success as a songwriter is reflected in the publication of an album of her works, Songs of Margaret Ruthven Lang, in 1893. Ten songs were included which ranged from Ghosts of 1889, the first year in which any of her songs had been published, to Betrayed from Opus 9. Within only four years Margaret had achieved enough popularity that Schmidt would feel it a good business move to issue this collection. In comparison, Arthur Foote’s first songs were published in 1884, and he had to wait 23 years for his Album of Selected Songs to be published in 1907. Blumsom created a chart of the five Boston women composers active at the same time that Margaret was composing, and while Amy Beach led in total works published, Margaret Lang had the most songs published.                                                                                                                                                                                             Total Published Works                  Published Songs

Rogers, Clara                                            59                                                   48

Hopekirk, Helen                                      58                                                   37

Beach, Amy                                             243                                                 115

Lang, Margaret                                      149                                                 130

Daniels, Mabel                                         73                                                   34 (Blunsom,  36)

      Margaret’s style of writing for the voice was always very vocal-a gift not given to all who chose this medium. When Philip Hale reviewed the January 1892 first performance of Amy Beach’s Mass, he noted that “The voices are at times treated as orchestral instruments. This is particularly true of certain passages given to the solo voices.” (BPL Hale Crit., Vol. 1)

       Under the baton of her father, The Cecilia presented three world premiers of her works-In a Meadow (Feb. 1, 1889), Love Plumes His Wings for women’s voices (Jan. 25, 1893), and Bonnie Ran the Burnie Down (May 6, 1897).

       In his chapter “The Women Composers” in Contemporary American Composers Hughes stated: “When I find Miss Lang’s work supremely womanly, I would not deny that quality to the sex which Joan of Arc and Jael were not uncharacteristic members.” David Horn writes that Rupert Hughes, who, besides being a music critic, was also known as a novelist, was a great supporter of American contemporary composers. In the forward to Contemporary American Composers of 1900 he states that “lo, these many years! That some of the best music in the world is being written here at home, and that it only needs the light to win its meed of praise.” (Horn, 85) Horn mentions that this 1900 edition was the result of Hughes’ own research, which he gathered by contacting the composers involved, and of the author’s own analysis of published and unpublished scores. At this same period Hughes also wrote Love Affairs of Great Musicians (1903), Songs By Thirty Americans (1904) and a two-volume musical encyclopedia (1903) that was revised in 1939 by Deems Taylor and Russell Kerr as the Music Lovers’ Encyclopedia, a work that has been reprinted many times. His career then moved to Broadway and then Hollywood with nearly fifty movies being made from a Hughes story or novel, but he was also known for his three-volume life of George Washington. He is also credited with being a mentor to his nephew, the reclusive industrialist Howard Hughes.

      Hughes describes Margaret’s song The Maiden and the Butterfly as fragile and rich as a butterfly’s wing. My Lady Jacqueminot is exquisitely, delicately passionate. Eros is frail, rare, and ecstatic. Ghosts is elfin and dainty as snowflakes. The Spinning Song is inexpressibly sad, and such music as women best understand, and therefore ought to make best. But womanliness equally marks The Grief of Love, which is in every sense big in quality; marks the bitterness of Oh, What Comes over the Sea, the wailing Gaelic sweetness of the Irish Love Song, and the fiery passion of Betrayed, highly dramatic until its rather trite ending. Nameless Pain is superb. Her Lament I consider one of the greatest of songs, and proof positive of woman’s high capabilities for composition. Miss Lang has a harmonic individuality, too, and finds out new effects that are strange without strain.

      My Turtle Dove, among the Five Norman Songs, is fearlessness and harmonic exploration shows two of the strongest of Miss Lang’s traits. Her recherché harmonies are no pale lunar reflection of masculine work. Better yet, they have the appearance of spontaneous ease, and the elaborateness never obtrudes itself upon the coherence of the work, except in a few such rare cases as My Native Land, Christmas Lullaby, and Before My Lady’s Window. They are singable to a degree unusual in scholarly compositions. To perfect the result Miss Lang chooses her poems with great taste all too rare among musicians, who seem usually to rate gush as feeling and gilt as gold. Her Oriental Serenade is an example of weird and original intervals, and A Spring Song, by Charlotte Pendleton, a proof of her taste in choosing words.” (Hughes, Con. Am. Com., 433 plus) These previous two paragraphs are taken almost verbatim from the article by Hughes “The Women Composers” in the January 1896 issue of Godey’s Magazine. In this article Hughes took two pages to reprint Miss Lang’s song Ghosts complete, and he ended the article with a manuscript reproduction of the opening three measures of Miss Lang’s piano piece Rhapsody, Opus 21 published in 1895 followed by her full autograph-Amy Beach and Clara Rogers had each been allowed only a page and one-half each.

     Writing two years later for The Century Magazine, in an article that considers both American and also European women composers, Hughes covers many of the same pieces he had covered before, but uses somewhat different language. “The touch of the fantastic that makes her song Ghosts a thing so delicately eerie makes a success also of her setting of Edward Lear’s curious nonsense, The Jumblies, which is arranged for male chorus with the accompaniment of two pianos. Some of Miss Lang’s frailer songs show the qualities many people expect in womanliness more than the works of any of these other writers [Hughes has been writing for nine pages at this point]. The passionate delicacy of A Maiden and a Butterfly and Eros is such as none but a woman could achieve properly; but equally womanly are the pathos of the Spinning Song, the largeness of the Grief of Love, the dreaminess of Oh, What Comes Over the Sea? and the dramatic fire of Betrayed and Nameless Pain. Her Lament I consider one of the greatest of songs, and proof positive of woman’s high capabilities for composition. Miss Lang has a harmonic individuality, too, and finds out new effects that have little sense of effort after strangeness. Personally I see in Miss Lang’s compositions such a depth of psychology that I place the general quality of her work above that of any other woman composer. It is devoid of meretriciousness and of any suspicion of seeking after virility; it is so sincere, so true to the underlying thought, that it seems to me to have an unusual chance of interesting attention and stirring emotions increasingly with the years.” (Hughes, Cent. Mag., 778)

      In his 1900 book, Hughes continued: “Her Opus 32 is made up of two songs, both full of fire and originality. Opus 33 is a captivating Spring Idyll for the piano, for which she has also written a Revery, of which the exquisiteness of sleep is the theme. The music is delicious, and the ending is a rare proof of the beautiful possibilities of dissonance.

Personally, I see in Miss Lang’s compositions such a depth of psychology that I place the general quality of her work above that of any other woman composer. It is devoid of meretriciousness and of any suspicion of seeking after virility; it is so sincere, so true to the underlying thought, that it seems to me to have an unusual chance of interesting attention and stirring emotions increasingly with the years. (Hughes, Contem Am. Com., 433-438)

      Also in 1900 Mathews quote Karleton Hackett as saying: “To the songs of Margaret Ruthven Lang we turn with special pleasure, for in them we find that flowing melody and sympathetic harmonic development which a song demands. There is to be found no daintier bit than Ghosts, no lovelier song than Marvoureen. She catches the spirit of the poem and so infuses it into the music that we feel its beauties with redoubled force. Her songs have not as yet struck a deep note, but in their kind they are perfect and we promise ourselves a richer harvest in the future.” (Mathews, The Great in Music, 277)

      On Monday, November 27, 1911 Margaret was the “Guest of Honor” at the meeting of the National Arts Club, where, together with pieces by Lola Carrier Worrel of Denver and Gertrude Sans Souci of NYC, seven of her songs were sung-soprano Edith Watkins Griswold sang Song in the Songless, Day is Gone, and A Song of the Lilac, while contralto Adah Hussey performed A Garden is a Lovesome Thing (ms.), Summer Noon, A Song of the Spanish Gypsies (ms.), and An Even Psalm; Margaret was the accompanist for both sets of songs. On Friday, May 2, 1913, also for the National Arts Club, the soprano A. Angel Chopourian accompanied by F. W. Riesberg performed Spring, Snowflakes, Song in the Songless, and Day is Gone.

      In 1912 Ethel Syford evaluated Margaret’s gifts as a songwriter: “It would be useless to dwell here upon Miss Lang’s individual gift for melody or even upon the enormous popularity which her songs have for studio and concert use. Perhaps the most remarkable quality which we can note concerning her is the way she insists upon striding on beyond her former self, the unfailing growth which she constantly works for and demands for herself. With her it is a question of on and on, ever reaching for one more last word of light and truth. It is an attitude of high seriousness as regards her demands upon herself. She makes no effort to make an ‘effect’ to gain for herself quick, warm response. She has thrown that to the winds and follows the mood, the truth of the words; is faithful to the moods of the words and devoutly aims to make her music as beautifully a servant of the truth of those words as she can.”(Syford-article, 23)

List of Poets Set (excludes Unknown and translations): If the entry has no number after it, this means that only one text by that poet was set.

Anon, T. B. Aldrich, M. E. Blake, H. F. Blodgett, H. Bowman, T. E. Brown, J. V. Cheney (9)

A. W. Coulter,  Mdm. Darmesteter, G. Eliot (2), E. Field, Mrs. Fields, R. L. Gales (2)

S. Galler, J. Gautier, H. C. Green, L. I. Guiney (2), T. S. Jones, J. Keats

H. P. Kimball, C. Kingsley, E. Lear (one poem and two sets of limericks)

J. M. Lippincott, P. B. Marston (2), W. McLennan (2), G. Meredith, A. Meynell (2)

L. C. Moulton (2), R. K. Munlittrick (2), C. Pendleton, C. G. D. Roberts, C. Rossetti, L. W. Reese (9), J. V. von Scheffel, F. D. Sherman (2), A. C. Swinburne

J. A. Symonds, J. Tabb

       In 1912 Arthur P. Schmidt issued the first Volume of Lyric Fancies-A Selection of Songs by American Composers. This volume came in “High, Medium and Low Voice,” collections with 12 to 15 songs in each. Lang was represented in every volume: High Voice-Arcadie; Medium Voice-An Irish Love Song; Low Voice-An Irish Love Song. This volume had editions copyrighted in at least 1912, 1913 and 1919. Volume II also had the same three voicings: High, Medium and Low with Day is Gone being the Lang selection for all three.

        On February 17, 1913, Victor Harris, conductor of the New York women’s choir, the St. Cecilia Club, wrote Margaret: “The ladies of the Club are most enthusiastic about it [Song of the Three Sisters], and I personally cannot recall anything that we have ever put into rehearsal which has given me more pleasure in the conducting. It is a composition which any composer might be proud.” The club sang this work at the Waldorf-Astoria on March 25, 1913 with a choir of about 125 voices. The work was repeated again seven years later on March 23, 1920. Harris’s letter then asked for a new work for the club. (Scrapbook)

        By mid-1913 Margaret finished the requested new work [The] Wind, Victor Harris wrote on October 3, 1913: “The music is exquisitely conceived and worked out and I know that we will study and produce it this year with the greatest possible pleasure. You have not hesitated to male it difficult but that does not worry me in the slightest, and you may be quite sure that we will put our best efforts into it to such an extent that the performance will be worthy of you and the work.”

        1915 saw two newspaper interviews with Margaret. The February 11th. issue of the Lewiston Maine Journal asked about her life, and she responded that she had always lived in Boston “with the exception of a couple of years spent abroad, where I studied composition in music under Victor Gluth.” When asked about composition, she replied: “Perhaps the most fascinating thing in music is rhythm.” Asked about her teachers, her comment was that “I enjoyed studying orchestration with George W. Chadwick…and when Mr. MacFarell [MacDowell] was in Boston I used to go to him for criticism of my work. His musical judgment is extraordinary.” (Scrapbook) A month later the March 9, 1915 issue of the Boston Evening _____ contained an interview with Margaret with a fine photograph showing her seated in an ornate chair. The reporter asked where she got her inspiration-the reply was: “With me, I think the really good things come with the curious sense of being sent-as if I really had no responsibility in the matter. And this makes one slow to refuse these chance opportunities of action or expression.” (Scrapbook)“Lang’s lessons with Chadwick took place at her maternal grandmother’s home.” (Blunsom, 74 citing Lang Diaries, 1892)

         In an interview in the Boston Globe of——— entitled “Tuneful Minds-Clever Boston Women Who Compose-Miss Lang and Mrs. Beach on Songs and Symphonies-Methods of Fashioning Their Melodious Measures,” the writer began: “Miss Lang, I want you to tell me something of how composers work,’ said a reporter to Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang the accomplished daughter of Mr. B. J. Lang. ‘Do they, generally speaking, work much at the piano, depending upon improvising, for instance, to stumble upon some great motif?”

“I suppose,” said Miss Lang, “the methods of composers vary as much as those of other artists. I can only speak with certainty of my own. Little songs and smaller compositions generally take definite and permanent shape in my mind before I touch my pencil. In greater works, I often find it necessary to deviate somewhat from my original idea when I come to the actual scoring.”

“I think very few composers work at the piano, and often the idea is as spontaneous as a smile or a sigh. I remember once when McDowell was staying with us, he suddenly learned that it was the anniversary of my mother’s wedding day. He immediately turned to me and said: ‘Let us play them a triumphal march at dinner,’ and, seating himself at the desk, he wrote out in about 10 minutes a march that had all the fire, color, balance and poise of a work of art. We played it at dinner to the great delight of the family.”

“Do compositions suggest themselves as simple melodies for you to fill in the harmonies according to your knowledge of counterpoint and the rules of harmony, and do they make their appearance a phrase at a time?”

“Emphatically no. A melody, a simple tune never comes without its accompanying harmonies, and always in more complete form than by single phrases. You know I was really very old, compared with many, when I began to compose. I must have been 11 or 12. I had never given much attention to music, except to playing the violin. I began to fiddle with some other girls, and the idea came to me to compose some concerted music for our special use. I had never studied harmony at all, so I turned my composition over to my father, who walked over the incorrect scoring with his blue pencil, and it was decided that if I were going to compose I must immediately begin the study of harmony, counterpoint, and, finally of orchestration. It seems to me that only a very mathematical mind can enjoy study in harmony for its own sake. It is very difficult, and is interesting only as a means to an end, as an aid to composition.”

“Do you find it necessary to modify or alter your works after hearing an orchestra play them for the first time?”

“I sometimes find that certain effect overbalances the particular effort for which I had striven, but I have an absurd prejudice against working a composition over which I have once considered finished. I vastly prefer writing something quite new, trying to avoid the faults into which I may have previously fallen. After the Boston Orchestra rehearsed my symphony for the first time, the conductor requested me to make a considerable cut in one of the movements. Very much against my wishes I did so, and after the concert one of the first violins came to me and said: ‘O, Miss Lang, why did you make that cut? If you had a child with one leg longer than the other, you would not try to remedy the defect by cutting off the foot. The part cut may have been inadequate, your balance may not have been good, but it was the best you had, and by the cut you simply deprive the movement of any sense of balance whatever. It was exactly like taking off the child’s foot to make the legs of equal length.’I knew how true this was, and if I had been a little stronger, and perhaps a little older, I should have refused to submit to the cutting process, even if it meant the withdrawing of the symphony.” (Boston Globe, ????)

The continued popularity of her songs was shown as John McCormack included The Day is Done [Gone-Op. 40 of 1903] in his recitals at Carnegie Hall on Sunday, February 11, 1917 and at Boston’s Symphony Hall on February 20, 1917. (Scrapbook)

The 1919 Musical America short biography of Margaret lists that “She is a composing member of the New York Manuscript Society, an Honorary Member of the Musical Art Club of Boston, and Honorary Vice-President of the American Music Society.”(Etude, Aug. 2, 1919)“Her last published work appeared in 1919, but her songs and choral works continued to be appreciated for years afterward. Her harmonic language was not as complex as that of Beach, making her works more accessible to the average listener.” (Glickman, 184)”Appreciated for years afterward” continued to 1976 when I Knew the Flowers Had dreamed of You and On An April Bough were included with full annotations in the NATS publication ART-SONG IN THE UNITED STATES, 1801-1976, AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY. In an ad entitled “Songs From the Concert programs of Boston Singers” in the May 2/3, 1919 BSO program, Laura Comstock Littlefield is listed as having performed Day is Gone and Alice Bates Rice is listed as having performed the Nonsense Rhymes. (BSO Program, May 2/3. 1919, 1295) At the end of the program, Ms. Rice had an ad under “Musical Instruction” which listed her as: “Soprano Soloist, Teacher of Singing, Lang Studios, 6 Newbury Street.” (Op. Cit., 1352) Bertha Cushing Child, Contralto, also taught at the Lang Studios as did the pianist Miss Mary Ingraham. (Ibid)

The 1999 entry by Alan Levy for Margaret in the American National Biography outlines her compositional style. “Lang’s composition style was a mixture of German Romanticism and Impressionism, with relatively conservative use of harmonic dissonance and clear elements of Irish and Scottish folk melodies. Critics praised Lang’s music for its unobtrusive spontaneity. Her admirers found her music refreshingly distinct from that of many of the modernists of the early twentieth century whose music was often considered harsh. Champions of the modern styles considered Lang’s music old-fashioned, but traditionalists found its focus on pleasing sonorities rather than compositional techniques to be gratifying. Her conservative critics applauded especially.” (Levy, Am. Nat. Biog, Vol 13, 135)

Copyrighted in 1944 and available from the author at 112 Pinckney Street, Boston 14, Mass., Margaret published a 23-page book entitled “Anagrams In Rhyme” which included 78 examples where “The purpose of each verse is to find a word of the indicated number of letters, which may be altered a given number of times, using only those letters. Thus, a word of four letters, ‘Mite,’ may be changed into time, item, and emit.” She then gave an example:

Word of five letters:

This—–that—–from staid and classic rhyme

May, notwithstanding,—–to pass the time;

But, lest it—–friendship’s fragile tie,

Receive it tenderly, then do or die.

Answer:

(Keyword of this example is Verse.)

This VERSE that VEERS from staid and classic rhyme

May, notwithstanding, SERVE to pass the time;

But, lest it SEVER friendship’s fragile tie.

Receive it tenderly, then do or die.

 

One of the more challenging ones uses a word of five letters, five different ways.

The botanist, who—–among his books,

Seeking to find within their—–some clue

To source of new-found—–, (although he looks

Deeply, and knows the—– both old and new,)

May wrestle with a —–, ere he’s through.

Answer:

(Keyword is Pores)

The botanist, who PORES among his books,

Seeking to find within their PROSE some clue

To source of new-found SPORE, (although he looks

Deeply, and knows the ROPES both old and new,)

May wrestle with a POSER ere he’s through.

Obviously the development of these helped keep her brain at age 77 quite active!

Margaret was one of only two people who were in every edition of Who’s Who In America from Vol. 1 of 1899 through Vol. 35 of 1968. (Scrapbook)

 

CHAPTER 11. MARGARET RUTHVEN LANG CHRONOLOGY. SC(G). WC.

Word Count-372.   9/20/2020.

1867

1881

1884

Born November 27 in Boston.

Age 14, hears the opening concert of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

“Maidie’s 17th. Birthday.” (Diary 2, Fall 1884)

1886-87 Studies in Munich: violin with Dresser and Abel, and counterpoint and fugue with Gluth. (age 18-19)
1887 William Winch sings five of her songs on December 14 at Chickering Hall. (20) Winch filled in for Myron Whitney who was ill.
1888 Five songs are sung at the first meeting of the Manuscript Society, January 19 by William Winch, accompanied by B. J.
1889 Ojala sung July 12 at the Paris Exposition and at the inauguration of the Lincoln Concert Hall in Washington, D. C. on March 26, 1890. (22) First songs published by Arthur P. Schmidt. “Schmidt apparently made no distinction between women and men but rather gave to all the identical royalties of ten percent of the retail price.” (Block, Amy Beach, 41)

“There was also mention [in the newspapers] of Maidie’s Nunc Dimmittis [sic] being sung. It was ruined by the poor singing of Gertrude Franklin.” (Diary 2, Winter 1889) This song was never published with that title.

1890 The Jumblies premier: Apollo Club. “Went in a blizzard to the Apollo Club concert. Among the things performed was Maidie’s Jumblies.” (Diary 2, December 1890)

“Maidie is writing a Kyrie and Waltz.” (Diary 2, Winter 1890) More unpublished pieces.

1892 January 20, Mrs. Gerrit Smith gave the first of all-Lang concerts in New York City. Fourteen works performed. (24)
1893 BSO plays Dramatic Overture, April 7 (25) Witichis Overture at Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition, August 4th., conducted by Theodore Thomas.
1895 Totila Overture, Opus 23

She rents a room at 90 Pinckney Street (around the corner and three blocks away from the family home at 8 Brimmer Street) in which to compose. (Musical Courier, January 1895)

1896 Ghosts published in the January issue of Godley’s Magazine. Sappho’s Prayer to Aphrodite for mezzo-soprano and orchestra. Armida for soprano and orchestra.
1901 Phoebus’ Denunciation of the Furies for baritone and orchestra. Ballade for orchestra, Baltimore, March 14, 1901. (33)

1906 The Princess Far Away incidental music. 1917 Stops composing. (49/50) 1919 Last published work appears. (52) 1939 A letter dated May 26, 1939 is addressed to Margaret at the “Hotel Victoria” in Boston. 1942 Writes to her publisher (Schmidt) that from September 7 her address “until further notice” would be Brimmer Chambers, 112 Pinckney Street, Boston. 1970 Letter to “Darling Ange” shows her address as 2 Brimmer St., Boston. (Copy of letter provided by Fletcher DuBois) 1972 Dies May 29 in Boston. (104)

CHAPTER 10. MARGARET RUTHVEN LANG: 1925 -1972. SC (G). WC. TOPICS.

1925- 1972.

Word Count-4,607.    09/20/2020.

                              Taken c. 1925. Johnston Collection.

Topics:                                                                                                                               Messages From God. 1927-1939.     10/1                                                                             Frances Morse Lang-Death   10/1                                                                                         Mrs. MacDowell.    10/1                                                                                                               Irish Love Song Lives On.   10/1                                                                                                 BSO 1966 Honor.    10/1                                                                                                               BSO 100th. Birthday Celebration.    10/1                                                                     Margaret Aged 101.     10/1                                                                                                        Birthday Wishes from the Family.   10/1                                                                            BSO Subscriber Since 1881, First Concert, to the Present.   10/1                              Death-Margaret’s.   10/1                                                                                                            Will-Margaret’s.    10/1

MESSAGES FROM GOD. 1927-1939.

From 1927 until 1939 Margaret self-published from her home at 8 Brimmer Street a series of leaflets that she distributed at her own expense. Under the overall title of Messages from God, the titles were: Intercession. 1927, 8 pages, A Gift For Almighty God October 1928, 9 pages, The Communion of Silence November 1928, 9 pages, Our Continuing City October 1932, 9 pages, Our Father’s House the Gate of Heaven-a Thanksgiving November 1934, 10 pages, and Christmas and the Cross November 1939, 9 pages. In a biographical note written in 1960 she describes the project thus:

“My music writing stopped soon after The Heavenly Noel’s many performances in many places, with orchestra; with piano; and once at request, with organ, piano, and harp; – for much-involved housekeeping took place during my mother’s last housebound years. At this time I obeyed a very strong spiritual call and began to write, print, send forth, and reply to wide requests for spiritual religious messages-to which I gave my time and money-my life’s best work-over many years, anonymously [underlined twice], but with deep devotion; taking form in privately printed paper tracts. They were used by churches, far and wide, in the United States, England, Canada, and even one in Egypt.” (Lang Scrapbooks, Vol. 17)More details about these writings were included in a two-page “Explanation of Enclosures and Biographical Note by M. R. L. in 1960.”She begins as she had in the above note: “My music writing stopped after the Heavenly Noel for chorus, solo, and orchestra, for much involved housekeeping took its place during my mother’s last, housebound years. But there came to my heart and mind, suddenly and insistently (one by one, a year or more apart,) messages from God, to be written and delivered. There would even be a call in the night, as a phrase or sentence. So, one by one, I would have a “Message” printed, and would send a sample to clergy in various parts of the country, with the offer of any quantity up to 50 copies, which would be sent free of charge, if only the number desired to be indicated. Here are the names of the “Messages” with dates. Each one 8-10 pages.

1927 – Intercession

1928 – A Gift for Almighty God

1928 – The Communion of Silence

1932 – Our Continuing City

1934 – Our Father’s House

1939 – Christmas and the Cross

All my earnings and my savings went into repeated editions of 1000 each; for requests poured in, as the “Messages” became known and used, often sold in church porches. Requests came even from Canada, England, and one from Egypt! One was preached from a pulpit in Canada; some were

reprinted in church magazines and papers.No authorship was ever asked or mentioned; they were “Messages from God,” and the sender was only M. R. Lang; no sex, usually addressed as Mr. M. R. Lang.  So I feel that they are a

vital bit of legacy to leave behind me, because they came from God, and after many years are still being asked for, though at 92 I no longer send them forth. Here they are, bound roughly together for you; and they go to you with my love. Margaret Ruthven Lang.” (Scrapbook)

The 1920 census listed Frances M., aged 80 as head of the house with Margaret, aged 65, three servants: Helen O’Brien, aged 32 born in Massachusetts; Catherine McNulty, aged 55, born in Ireland and immigrated in 1889; and Margaret Magwil, aged 34, born in Ireland and immigrated in 1906-all the servants were single.

Various aspects of Margaret’s character are reflected in that she “had been raised to visit the sick and the ill, and visited Mass General Hospital every week. She wrote to a World War French war orphan until the end of his life. She was also a very practical person who never signed her birthday or other holiday cards ‘so that you could reuse them again!’” (Amy DuBois Interview)

“The Boston Social Register of 1929” had listings for “Lang, Mrs. Benj. Johnson (Frances Morse Burrage) and Lang, Miss Margaret Ruthven” at 8 Brimmer Street, Phone No. 1737 Hay. (Boston Social Register 1929, 113) The 1930 Census listed Margaret, aged 62, her mother, Frances, aged 90 as head of household, and a staff of four: Mary Matthew, nurse from Canada; Catherine Doherty, maid, aged 55 from Ireland; Nora Finn, cook, from Ireland; and Ann McAuliff, maid, aged 35 also from Ireland.

DEATH OF FRANCES M. LANG.

The Herald Obituary Headline of October 16, 1934 was: “BACK BAY WIDOW OF NOTED COMPOSER, BOSTON NATIVE.” The headline also mentioned that she was “aged 94.” The article noted that she had died at her home at 8 Brimmer Street “following a prolonged illness.” Funeral services were private. “Besides her close interest in music, Mrs. Lang was identified with the work of the Boston Home for Incurables.” Her three children were listed-Malcolm at 209 Bay State Road, Margaret, living at home, and Rosamond, Mrs. Frederic R. Galacar of 2 Acorn Street. (Herald (October 16, 1934): 13, GB)

etude 2Etude (June 1935): 322.  One of 44 photos on one page entitled “The Etude Historical Musical Portrait Series.” This pose seems to be a variation of the photo above-here the head is quite erect.

MRS. MACDOWELL.

On June 5, 1955 Margaret wrote to Edward MacDowell’s widow that she had been reading Honegger’s book Je Suis Compositeaur  (probably reading it in the original French). “Honneger is bitter, sarcastic, amusing and almost without hope for hungry listeners of intelligence. Long ago I was thrilled by his King David – and also Jeanne d’Arc. But he is at his best and most sincere in such collaboration.” The letter ends with:

“I am glad that you cannot see our Boston these days. ‘Tis greatly changed. I sit very loose in the saddle, and I really long for release [she was then 88]. But I suppose I must stay here for many a reluctant day. Life has produced nieces and their children; and many old, sick people to be visited in forlorn homes; and I am glad, very glad, not to be active in any musical way, but only a thankful listener.” (Library of Congress Letter Collection)

In a letter dated June 5, 1955, Margaret recalls when the Langs hosted the MacDowells when they first returned to America from Germany. “Have I ever told you of a morning at our house in Boston-when you and Mr. MacDowell were staying while looking for a home? I was upstairs in my room & everybody had, I thought, gone out,-when I heard the piano in our music room [the house had four pianos]. Superb, thrilling playing. And I thought ‘MacDowell himself!’ How wonderful; he thinks he is alone. ‘I crept down the hard-wood stairs in my stocking feet,-sat down on the stairs outside the door & listened. At last, it stopped, & before I could escape-YOU came out of the music room!'” (Quoted in Bomberger, Macd., 126) MacDowell had been her teacher in Germany.

However, Miss Lang’s interest in music “as a thankful listener” continued unabated until her death on May 30, 1972 at the age of 104. Members of her family had occupied seat B-1 of the first balcony almost since Symphony Hall opened in 1900, and she continued to occupy it regularly attending by subway “until three years before her death.” (Fox, Sexual Aesthetics, 5) “The woman next to me wants my seat. We chaff about it. But I want to keep the name Lang on the subscriber’s list.”(Miller-Globe article) The Lang’s family friend, Isabella Stewart Gardner also bought season tickets the first season. She “paid a previously unheard-of premium of $560 each for two $12.00 seats (First Balcony Right, A15 and A16) for the twenty-four concerts of the Saturday evening series.” (Stebbins, 91) “The Lang family used to sit farther down the balcony. Directly behind them was Mrs. Jack Gardner. ”We were simple people. Mrs. Gardner was simple with simple people, not that other thing.” Still, Mrs. Jack could be an embarrassment to her young companion. ”She took me once to a concert and hissed the soprano.”” (Miller, 100th.)

 

IRISH LOVE SONG LIVES ON.

The continued popularity of Margaret’s songs is reflected in a nine-paragraph letter dated May 4, 1939 from “IRVING BERLIN INC. Music Publishers 799 Seventh Avenue, New York” in which the firm asks if the copyright to An Irish Mother’s Lullaby had been renewed. The first paragraphs review the legal aspects of renewal and that their company always would “advise the writer to give the renewal of his copyright to his original publisher,” but they continue with examples of publishers renewing copyrights with no intention of further promotion of the piece. Then, after stating that it is not their usual practice to renew other publisher’s works, they write that “We are interested in acquiring your renewal copyright providing it is not your intention to give the same to the original publisher.” Obviously they had been watching the sales of this song and other pieces by Margaret. The letter finishes with a “P.S. If you would like us to take out the renewal of any of your copyrights in your name, without your assigning the same to us – but for the purpose of holding it subject to your future disposition – we shall be glad to extend that service to you.” unfortunately for IRVING BERLIN INC., THE ARTHUR SCHMIDT CO. had the right of renewal as part of their original contract with Margaret, and they had been making the renewals as they had become necessary.

Her choral pieces also remained popular over a wide range of years. The Herald regularly published the music to be played for the Christmas Services of the major churches in, and around Boston. In 1924 the Harvard Church in Brookline sang the carol In the Manager both on Christmas Day and the Sunday before. (Herald (December 20, 1924): 29, GB) In 1942 First Parish [Unitarian] in Dorchester performed the cantata The Night of the Star, Mary Ingraham, Organist and Choir Director. (Herald (December 19, 1942): 25, GB)

A note from Margaret in the Library of Congress collection dated Aug. 29, 1942, said that after Sept. 7 her address would be Brimmer Chambers, 112 Pinckney Street. Another letter, addressed to Mrs. MacDowell dated Nov. 15, 1955 lists her address as 112 Pinckney. Cline listed her residences as: “Lang lived at the Hotel Victoria for one year, 1939. She lived the rest of her life at #8 and #2 Brimmer Street; 112 Pinckney Street (Brimmer Chambers); and, for a short period before her death, at ”Sherrill House”, Jamaica Plains, Massachusetts.”(Cline-Thesis, 26) In her interview with Margo Miller in 1967 she “exclaimed with glee” that Brimmer Chambers “was for swagger young men. I was the first woman to live there.” (Boston Sunday Globe (February 19, 1967) Margaret send a picture postcard of the “Charles River Basin and Esplanade” with an “X” in ink showing 112 Pinckney St. which seems to have had at that time a clear view to the river. In a letter dated Sept. 9, 1958 to Mabel Daniels Margaret wrote: “Nobody to-day has ever heard of ‘Brimmer Chambers,’ dear old title of 112 Pinckney!” She goes on to mention that she will return her copy of Mabel’s book about her student days in Munich: “Someday it shall go to you, – but first I must re-read it.” Mabel had sent a copy of her Carol of the Rose as a birthday present (Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study, Harvard University, Mabel Daniels papers, MC 266) Mabel also had tickets to the BSO Friday afternoon series. (Ibid) [Need permission to use these quotes]

 

The Caen-stone reredos, carved in England by Peto, was the gift of Mrs. “Jack” Gardner. Both postcards were described as c. 1905. Johnston Collection.

For the English Fair at the Church of the Advent in November 1953 special murals were created in order to turn the Parish Hall into an English green and a Tudor interior. The event ran for 12 hours, 10 AM until 10 PM, and a great number of booths and tables available. At the Garden Booth ivy brought from Canterbury Cathedral in England was on sale; a shine “to St. Francis will look down on the seedlings, potted plants, bayberry, bittersweet, and shells and driftwood for modern arrangements.” (Herald (November 8, 1953): 35, GB) And, reflecting her interest in books, Margaret and Miss Alice W. Clark were in charge of the bookstall.

             Margaret had become an Episcopalian in March 1896, and soon after the Church of the Advent became her home church-one obvious reason was that it was just a block away. The Organist/Choirmaster there was Samuel Brenton Whitney, a musician close to her father’s age. After training in New York, he studied organ, piano, composition and instrumentation with John K. Paine of Harvard. In 1870 he was appointed at the age of 28 to the Advent where he stayed 38 years until his retirement in 1908; he died in 1914. He taught organ at NEC and established a church-music class there that covered skills for both organists and vocalists. He was a published composer, conducted various area choral societies, but the “jewel in his crown” was the men and boy choir that be developed at the Advent. (1000 Mass. Men, 655) How often he performed Margaret’s compositions needs more research.

As late as 1958 Margaret’s career was still well enough known to be outlined in the First Edition of Who’s Who of American Women-A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living American Women published by the A. N. Marquis Company of Chicago. Her bio of twenty lines represented the average length for entries in this volume. It listed her address at that time as 112 Pinckney Street. She had already been included in all 35 editions from 1899 to 1968 of Who’s Who In America. She and only ONE other person held this distinction. (Herald (April 21, 1968): 24, GB) The publisher gave her a Certificate of Honor.

A letter to Fletcher DuBois dated July 16, 1965 is written on notepaper with the address of 2 Brimmer Street. (photocopy of the letter-Johnston Collection) Letters through September 3, 1970 use this address. (Ibid)

BSO 1966 HONOR.

In early November 1966, the BSO Trustees and Council of Friends presented a private concert played by the Boston Symphony Players in the Tapestry Room of the Gardner Museum. Nearly 500 women who had been members of the Friends for twenty-five years or more were invited including Margaret and five other women who had attended the “Symphony since the time of George Henschel…This unique occasion is the first of its kind…The guests were greeted by Henry B. Cabot, president of the Trustees, Erich Leinsdorf, music director and Mrs. Leinsdorf.” (Herald (November 3, 1966): 30, GB) After the event, Alison Arnold, in her column “Social Chatter” noted that these 500 women had been annual contributors to the BSO for 25 years or more, and that “During that time their gifts have amounted to more than $2,250,000…In contrast to the dignified, older Friends of [the] Symphony in their Bostonian hats and serviceable suits, were the new younger Friends with their modish hairdos and chic knee-length dresses. But the two groups mingle pleasantly as they work together for the Orchestra.” (Herald (November 8, 1966): 28, GB)

Until the end of her life, Margaret was in touch with many people. “In those advanced years she still had a voluminous correspondence using three languages, English, French and German.” (F. DuBois e-mail, June 15, 2009)

A note from James A. Wood, organist of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Nashua, New Hampshire dated October 15, 1967 told Margaret of his plan to perform Grant We Beseech Thee. Probably this was at the suggestion of Amy Lang Calfee, Margaret’s niece, who was a member of this congregation. The note mentions that Mr. Wood had read Margaret’s reply to the choir in order to inspire their performance which was in honor of the composer’s 100th. birthday.

Margaret and Erich Leinsdorf, BSO Conductor. Original photo. On the back: “Sun Forum, Fri Makeup, 2 Col Cut, Margaret Lang.” Beginning with Henschel in 1881, she knew them all. Johnston Collection.

BSO 100TH. BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra celebrated Margaret’s 100th Birthday on Friday, November 24, 1967 when Erich Leinsdorf conducted the BSO in the “Old Hundredth Chorale” and the movement “Sheep May Safely Graze” from Bach’s Cantata #208 sung by Chloe Owen “In honor of Margaret Ruthven Lang” (written to celebrate another birthday some 259 years before), and Henry B. Cabot, one of the Symphony Trustees, made a personal contribution of $2,500 to the Commemorative Fund so that seat B-1 could be named in her honor. The next day she made the comment; “Nothing,  nothing yesterday meant-and will forever mean to me-as much as this blessed surprise!” (Record American (January 13, 1968): 21, GB) Before the concert Leindorf had met Blossy in the foyer of Symphony Hall and offered his arm to assist her to the elevator. She refused his kind offer and instead used the stairs as was her custom. (Amy DuBois interview, June 20, 2103)

Margaret’s original seat, B1 of the First Balcony (the seat was in the same position in Symphony Hall), and Isabella Stewart Gardner’s two seats, A15 and 16.

Like a typical Bostonian, even at the age of 100, she used the subway to travel to Symphony Hall. She was described at this time as being “tiny and chipper as a semi-quaver…Dressed in black, with a knotted rope of pearls and rings her adornments, she sat in the long bay window of her Brimmer St. apartment.” (Miller-Globe article) The program book for this concert mentioned that “She has a vivacity and alertness that would put many people half her age to shame.” (BSO Program Book for November 24 and 25, p. 455) In addition to the long article in the Globe, other papers also ran stories. The Monday, November 27, 1967 issue of the Christian Science monitor ran “Birthdays, Bach, and Beethoven” by Roland Nadeau.”Friday afternoon’s concert by the Boston Symphony Orchestra was prefaced by a charming gesture. Seated in the first balcony right was a lady who as about to have a birthday. She had been present at the orchestra’s genesis, a witness to each of its successive conductors, a long-time series subscriber, and a one-time composer for the orchestra.” The orchestra played Old Hundredth and Chloe Owen sang Sheep May Safely Graze in her honor.”The conductor, Mr. Leinsdorf, asked Miss Lang to rise and receive the warm congratulatory applause of her fellow listeners. It was her one-hundredth anniversary and she can be certain of a permanent place at the hall in the future, for the Trustees have named a seat for her, the one at balcony right, B-1.” (Scrapbook) Harold Banks recorded that Margaret’s reply to Cabot was: “Nothing, nothing yesterday meant-and will forever mean to me-as much as this blessed surprise!” (Record American (January 13, 1968): 18, GB) Another Globe article, this one by George Gelles entitled “Leinsdorf, BSO honor 100-year-old friend” gave more details. “Erich Leinsdorf’s words of greeting to Miss Lang were well chosen, to the point, and, undoubtedly representative of the audience’s admiration for this remarkable woman.” (Scrapbook) The Globe Society Editor, Marjorie Sherman wrote that “A brisk figure will emerge from the subway at Symphony Station today with ample time to take her place in a first balcony seat where she has been a familiar sight since the hall was opened in October 1900…Miss Lang has listened to every conductor since George Henschel in 1881.” (Article courtesy Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives, Globe, November 24, 1967) Notice of this Birthday concert had also appeared in the London Daily Telegraph in December 1967.

In January 1968 Jim Morse interviewed Margaret for his column “Hub-Bub” which appeared on the 12th. The title was “This Music Fan Ignores Winter.” “Miss Lang makes the weekly trip to Symphony Hall by subway, after quite a walk from her Brimmer Street apartment. She is 100 years old.” (Herald (January 12, 1968): 11, GB) He continued: “At fourteen she attended the first season of the Boston Symphony, in 1887 [First season was 1881]. She has been attending ever since, under all 11 conductors, first in the old Music Hall in downtown Boston, and then in Symphony Hall since 1900. During a recent discussion of future plans for Boston and Symphony Hall, Miss Lang remarked: ‘Everything is so interesting. I’d like to live to be 125 so I can see how it all turns out.'” (Scrapbook) “With her 91-year subscription to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, she set a record as the longest consecutive subscriber.” (Library of Congress, “Biographies,” accessed October 28, 2019)

MARGARET AGED 101.

An article by John J. Mullins entitled “Composer Margaret Lang, 101, just ‘wants to live forever’ began with a quote: “I’d love to see what’s coming. That’s why I want to live forever.”However, at that time she was living alone in a second-floor apartment at the foot of Beacon Hill, and due to arthritis and the effects of several falls, her doctor had banned her from going out alone. therefore she had to give up going to the Symphony: “I don’t listen to music anymore. I’d rather read a book. Nothing takes the place of the symphony concert, and that’s gone.” However, she still subscribed to her regular seat dreading the thought “of not being able to have a seat,” but instead gave the tickets away. When asked why she stopped composing, her answer was: “Why did I stop, I had nothing to say.” Her first piece had been written for friends when she was 13 or 14. The article finished with: “I’d like to go on living forever. I’m terribly interested in what’s going on in literature and art and society, I mean people human beings.”But as to her view of the future: “I don’t think I should like it probably. I should like to go out-bang-like a candle…but, I’m full of curiosity about what’s coming.” Margaret remembered that “her parents knew opera composer Richard Wagner in Germany, and ‘the other day’ she read a letter written by her mother shortly after she was married saying that Wagner had hidden her bonnet so they couldn’t go home from a visit.” When asked about her own music she replied that “she did not think her music is played any longer-‘I’ve outlived everybody.’” The article finished with her comment that “As for living alone in the old brick building in the area where she spent most of her life, she says, ‘This is all right for me. I was a solitary person. I’m a solitaire.’ She gets up at 5 a.m. and goes to bed at about 8:30 p.m.” An interesting comment was made on her approach to composing: “Don’t say I ‘liked’ to compose. I wasn’t composing because I liked it but because it was given me to do.” (Herald (July 20, 1969): 6, GB) An example of Margaret’s continued interest in the world around her is reflected in Amy DuBois’ remembering that during a visit in 1969, Margaret showed her that she was reading Aldridge Cleaver’s Soul On Ice. (Interview) Another example is that she “was known to correspond with over 60 individuals a month, writing letters in four languages.” (Cline, e-mail July 9, 2008)MRLang_justover100Margaret, when she was just over 100-taken by Amy DuBois.

The BSO kept in touch. Thomas D. Perry, Jr. manager wrote on October 18, 1971 an acknowledgment of her $50 donation. Noting that she could only listen to the BSO he asked: “Do you have a good radio on which to hear the orchestra? It would be a great pleasure if you do not, for us to see that one is set up in your quarters so that you can keep track of your favorite orchestra.” The generous offer reflected her “persistent faith and interest in the Orchestra and your generosity to it over these many years (Ms. Lang, Vol. 24, No. 12). This was when she was at Sherrill House, 135 S. Huntington Ave., and couldn’t travel to Symphony Hall anymore.

BIRTHDAY WISHES FROM  THE FAMILY FOR MRL.

The Lang Scrapbooks (Ms. Lang Vol. 24) contain a folder of birthday greetings from the family.  A photo of Anne Hooper on her way to string quartet rehearsal; congratulations to Aunt Maidie from Fred Galacar; a note from Charles Spencer dated November 27, 1967 saying: “You taught me what real youth and aliveness is! You participate in the vigor and life of change. Do you bemoan the most rapid 100 years of change the world has ever seen? No, you honor it and the people who made it and look forward with excitement, ‘backing’ the people who work for tomorrow.” (Ms. Lang, Vol 24, No. 14, Item 9) A poem from Ambrose was followed by a note from Fletcher: “Dearest Blossy. Happy Birthday-today proves that my dreams do come true. Much love, Fletcher (Ibid, Item 13); David Spencer wrote an Ode in four sections the second of which said: Blossy, you have so richly blest us from your reservoir of zest, For living, surely, better fit for every harvest of your wit. There was also a verse from her sister Rosamond Galacar, a poem from Angela DuBois, a letter from Helen Hooper, a card to Aunt Maidie from Margot, three poems from Rosamond, three sprigs of Scottish heather from Ethel, notes from Ben, David, and Steve, a letter from Kate who was in Paris-Ethel had written to her about the festivities, a photo from Jim III standing on Mount Katahdin that summer signed “For Blossy-after her First hundred years: Jim Hooper, and a hand-made card from Hannah.

BSO SUBSCRIBER FROM 1881  FIRST CONCERT TO THE PRESENT.

Ever a supporter of the BSO, Margaret sent a $50 donation to the Orchestra Fund in honor of the orchestra’s 90th. Anniversary. This was mentioned by Philip K. Allen, the first vice president of the BSO at a Friends of the BSO luncheon. He noted that had been a subscriber to the first BSO concert on October 22, 1881, and that she was “now 104 years old and living in a local Nursing Home.” (Record American (October 25, 1971): 13, GB)

church of the adventJohnston Collection.

DEATH-MARGARET’S.

Long a resident of Beacon Hill and a member of the Church of the Advent, Margaret died on Monday, May 29, 1972. Her last days were spent at a nursing home, Sherrill House in Jamaica Plain, and the Boston Globe obituary said, “She resided at #2 Brimmer St., Beacon Hill.”The funeral was held at the Church of the Advent on Friday, June 2nd. at 2 PM, and she was buried in the family plot at Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge. “In keeping with Lang’s attention to detail in life, she had left directions to the clergy for her funeral and burial services. An interesting part of these directions is Lang’s request for music, ‘the softest possible organ background of Hymnal Music.’ She also asked for the service to be ‘very simple, plain, holy, and earnest.’” (Cline, Thesis, 22) The obituary notice requested that flowers be omitted, and instead, donations in her name were to be made to the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The Boston Globe Death Notice said:

“LANG – In Boston, May 29. Margaret Ruthven Lang, sister of the late Rosamond Galacar of Ipswich and Malcolm Lang of Boston, survived by several nieces, grandnieces, grandnephews and a nephew.”(Globe (Wednesday, May 31, 1973): 39).

Taken by Dr. Rosamond Hooper-Hamersley. E-mailed March 21, 2009.

WILL-MARGARET’S.

Margaret’s will listed the first account amount available in 1972 of $749,929.60 with amounts distributed in 1973 totaling $238,900 with the principal distributions going to relatives as follows:

Charles Galacar $39,000 Son of her sister Rosamond

Frederic Lang Galacar $30,000 Grandson of Rosamond

Charles David Galacar $30,000 Grandson of Rosamond

Margaret Lang Spencer $31,500

Helen Lang Hooper $31,500

Angela Lang DuBois $31,500

Ethel Lang Whitney $31,500

Also two/fifths to friends Phillips Ketchum of Natick, MA and Augustus W. Soule, Jr. of Dedham, MA who also were appointed joint executors of the will.

Jeannette Hart Howe and Constance Schmucher received $2,000 and Annabelle Jones received $5,000;various charities and church related organizations received $200 to $500 while the Boston Symphony received $1,000. In 1976 the fifth and final accounting distributed the residue of the estate of $271,975.87 to relatives as follows:

Charles Galacar$8,666.67 and $28,165.31

Frederic Lang Galacar$6,666.66 and $21,665.65

Charles David Galacar$6,666.67 and $21,665.65

Margaret Lang Spencer$7,000.00 and $22,748.92

Helen Lang Hooper$7,000.00 and $22,748.92

Angela Lang DuBois$7,000.00 and $22,748.92

Ethel Lang Whitney$7,000.00 and $22,748.92

 

CHAPTER 09. MARGARET RUTHVEN LANG: 1893 – 1925. SC(G). WC. TOPICS.

CHAPTER NINE: MARGARET RUTHVEN LANG-1893-1925. SC. (G) Word Count: 14,907. 09/20/2020.

  • Topics:                                                                                                                             Dramatic Overture and Witichis.                                                                              Dramatic Overture and Witichis Reviews.                                                                    1883 World Columbian Exposition.                                                                             Song Performances.                                                                                                    Missing Pieces.                                                                                                                        Irish Love Song.                                                                                                                        Missing Symphony.                                                                                                     Concert Arias, Three.
  • Chaminade of America.
  • Performances c. 1899.
  • Frances’ Stand. “Opposing Electrocution.”                                                               Brimmer Street House Described.
  • Royalties: Margaret Contacts Her Publisher.                                                         More MRL Song Performances.                                                                                       House Warming: Harvard Musical Association.                                                      Heavenly Noel, The.  

       In reviewing her career to this point (1893) Margaret wrote that since returning from studying in Europe in 1887 she had written “30 or 40 songs and also part-songs for male and for female chorus and for mixed voices” which had been published and performed. “My part-songs have been sung by the Apollo and Cecilia Societies of Boston,” and she reports having heard of performances “in England, France, and Canada.” But, she goes on to say that “All my songs have been the expression of my musical thought and with the exception of the above-mentioned orchestra compositions [two orchestral overtures], yet my desire is to write for orchestra and until I have accomplished something of real worth in that direction, I shall not be content.” (Autobiographical reply May 22, 1893 to Mr. Krehbiel)

DRAMATIC OVERTURE and WITICHIS REVIEWS.

When Margaret was twenty-five the Boston Symphony Orchestra premiered her first large orchestral work-the Dramatic Overture, Opus 12 conducted by Nikisch which opened the concert on April 8, 1893 (and 21st. rehearsal April 7 at 2:30 PM) which was the 23rd. Rehearsal/Concert of its 12th.. Season. This was the first time since its founding twelve years before that the BSO had played a work by a woman composer.

Photo below-Niksich in 1890 (New England Magazine, February 1890), probably as he looked when he conducted Margaret’s Overture.

Niksich in 1890 (New England Magazine, February 1890), probably as he looked when he conducted Margaret’s Overture.

Arthur NikischArthur Nikisch from Elson, 1904, 57

The Dramatic Overture was finished in November 1892 and sent to Nikisch for his opinion. Nothing was heard until the spring of 1893 when he sent word that he would “have the orchestra perform the piece in rehearsal so that Lang would be able to hear the full scale of her work.” (Baer, 20) If Nikisch was working under his usual system of never opening a new score until the rehearsal, he, the orchestra and the composer were hearing the work for the first time. Based on that hearing, he asked to perform the piece at a regular BSO concert (Ibid, based on a letter MRL sent to Chadwick)  Margaret asked to attend the orchestral rehearsals during concert week and his reply was that there was a rule against that. But, he then said exceptions prove the rule. “therefore, if you wish to come to our rehearsals tomorrow and Thursday you will be admitted with the greatest pleasure. The piece will be played on both mornings at about 10 o’clock. Most sincerely yours, Arthur Nikisch.” (Note in the collection of the Boston Athenaeum) Frances wrote: “Nickish [sic] played Maidie’s 2d Overture at eleven o’clock this A.M. by appointment. Lel couldn’t be there but I went and was disappointed. I thought it sounded better on the piano. Nickish told Maidie that he would perform it perhaps at the next but one concert.” (Diary 2, Winter 1893) And, so he did. “That Mr. Nikisch considers this second overture of music in any way worthy of performance at a symphony concert makes me of course wildly happy and I can hardly wait for next Saturday evening.” (Lang to Chadwick, Baer, 26)

It seems that Margaret had not shown the Dramatic Overture to Chadwick, who, after all, was her composition teacher, while she was composing it. His first knowledge of the piece came after Nikisch agreed to perform the work with the BSO. Lang wrote to Chadwick: “[Nikisch] did not acknowledge it for so long that I dared not tell you of it lest you should jeer at my temerity but now that it has won its way this far I want your good wishes and I want above all to thank you.” This event was obviously a very important one for Margaret, and she wanted Chadwick’s approval. “It is a very little thing for me to make so much of and I suppose you will laugh at me, but a symphony concert has been a mile-stone I have longed to reach. I am afraid that when Saturday comes you will say that I do not deserve it. Will you please tell me frankly after the concert. I shall be very downcast and humble and this effusion is joy, not pride.” (Baer, 21)

 

music hall programm margaretCourtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archive.

Her work was described as having strong contrasts between the principal and subordinate themes. “It has some strong contrasts, especially between the chief theme and the subordinate. The first is grim and medieval, the second tender and human. To place these two in juxtaposition in itself gives something of dramatic power, and the development of both is singularly unconventional.” (Elson, History American Music, 306) Francis H. Jenks in his Musical Herald review described the work as “an ingeniously devised and constructed composition with evidences of thought at every turn.” Philip Hale reported that the overture was applauded, but the attempt to call the composer forward was in vain. Seventy-four years later Miss Lang remembered the incident well: “I crept up to the balcony and hid.” Hale’s specific comments were probably a trial for the young composer. After listing the program, he wrote: “Miss Lang’s overture is perhaps a creditable work for a young student. Whether it deserved a place in a Symphony concert is another question. Although Miss Lang in certain songs has shown in the past a pretty melody, the themes of the overture are not of marked originality or striking effect. There are ingenious passages in the detail, but there is a general lack of definite purpose in the conception and in the carrying out. The composer seems to be pricked by the desire of extracting ideas from the orchestral instruments in turn. As a result, there is occasional piquancy, and there are pleasing measures, but this dramatic overture is a promise rather than a fulfillment. It is as though the composer deliberately set about to see what she could do in this line; there was nothing musical within that forced its way irresistibly and assumed orchestral shape and color.” (Scrapbook, Musical Courier, April 12, 1893) Hugo Leichtentritt attended this concert-he was a junior at Harvard. Mark DeVoto has translated his Diary entry, originally written in German. “Symphony Concert…At the beginning there was a Dramatic Overture by Miss Lang, a young Boston lady. The beginning is very grandiose and I was already worried that a woman might have written something significant, but let it be said to my shame that I soon discovered that the work lacked spiritual content: short-winded phrases instead of broadly dramatic development. The whole thing skillfully worked out, not at all student-like. +++ ++++++ [two words illegible-possibly “The piece”] succeeded melodiously, even dramatically, but not entirely, nothing sublime in it.” (Letter to Johnston, January 14, 2012) Chadwick made the most specific comments in a letter to Margaret written just after the concert. “I like your main motif extremely, – it is grim, and the cantilena that leads over into G major is lovely. That broken chord for the first horn is a great success. The brass is [sic] very discreet, perhaps a little too discreet. I would like to see the score very much. Please write me another lovely letter and tell me when I can see it. G. W. Chadwick.” (150th. Birthday Exhibit curated by Fletcher DuBois, hampsongfoundation.org)

Elson wrote in 1925, 32 years after the work’s premiere: “It has some strong contrasts, especially between the chief theme and the subordinate. The first is grim and medieval, the second tender and human. To place these two in juxtaposition in itself gives something of dramatic power and the development of both is singularly unconventional.” (Amer. Music, 306)

William F. Apthorp’s program note began with a short biographical note:

Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archive.

On April 2, 1893 Apthorp typed a letter to Margaret at 12.43 A.M. [working late?] “Dear Maidie: If you find in the programme-books that I have made a botch of your overture, it is really not my fault. I am a poor score-reader, at best-although I can get at the inwardness of anything you please, if I only have time-and manuscript is just the point where the worm in my brain turns! A MS. score is to me like a MS. Story; I have to read it three times, where I should have to read it once in print. The Expiring Phoenix (Chadwick) always laughed at me for my helplessness in this matter, saying that a good MS. was just as good as engraving. But his laughing did not help me. There is something in handwriting that seems to kill all consecutive perception in me; it is just as bad in words as in music. But I must say that I really and thoroughly enjoyed reading your score-in an incoherent sort of way, letting each measure tell for the moment, just as any idiot listens to music at a concert-and look forward to finding my impression strengthened at the hearing. Where did you get the idea of reinforcing the effect of those jumps from C major to E minor, and E major to A minor, by that Scharfrichter’s rhythm? I don’t know when I have heard that ‘Meyerbeer’ snap of the two short notes and a long one sound so new, and so little as if Meyerbeer had written it. I have also great hopes for the place where the third horn comes in against the twiddle-twiddle in the violins. And how stunning of you to have kept your trombones and trumpets for the preaching, and made your big crashes without them! I hope Nikisch will follow his native bent and give the final ‘pa-pa-pum——-pum!’ as it looks in the score. Ever so many thanks, yrs., &c., &c., &c.” (Scrapbook)

REVIEWS.

One review began: “This is, we believe, the first time that an orchestral composition by a woman has been played at one of our symphony concerts. It is rather odd how exceedingly little women have done in music-save in the way as singing and playing.” The review continues in the same vein, finishing the idea with, “Upon the whole, the record is not brilliant.” But then the attitude changed, and the author wrote that “Miss Lang now comes forward with a work which must certainly stand very high indeed among compositions by women; indeed, there is no special need of bringing her sex into the question at all, for this overture of hers does not need to be ranked in a special class in order to have good said about it. The beginning is particularly impressive-a grim phrase is given out by the trumpets and trombones in octaves, interrupted by syncopated thuds on the kettledrums, and is followed by a most effective piece of harmony in the strings-a chord of C-major is struck, and then merges into a passing harmony, which you expect to lead, by a half cadence, directly to the dominant chord of B-major; but no! instead of leading to the dominant, it leads to the tonic chord of E-minor. The effect of this sudden appearance of the chord of E-minor is startling, the chord seems to come from a hundred miles away, the effect is as unearthly as on ”et lux” in Verdi’s ”Manzoni” Requiem. If there is perhaps no other stroke in the overture that equals this in originality and force, what follows it has nonetheless conspicuous merit of its own. The thematic material is natural and unforced, the treatment coherent, often strikingly ingenious. Only once towards the latter part of the overture does the composer seem to lose her way for a moment in the maze of working-out; but she soon finds it again and pushes on to the end with a very sure step. The general character of the work is passionate, with a warmth that seems wholly genuine and unsought-for, and now and then with more idyllic moments of much beauty. The instrumentation is brilliant, always skillfully managed, if not precisely what one would call masterly…Miss Lang’s varied play of color seems at moments more fitful and fantastic than her musical form and thematic development. Yet, in one respect, her scoring shows a very fine instinct; unlike most young composers, she is singularly thrifty in her use of orchestral material and does not waste her heavy artillery on effects of sheer dynamic force where it can be more wisely spent on effects of contrast. Upon the whole, she in no wise lays herself open to the criticism once passed on Augusta Holmes by a Paris musician: that, ”like most women, she tries to prove her own virility by making a tremendous noise,” The overture was admirably played and most enthusiastically received. Mr. Nikisch being called out three times after it.” (Anonymous, undated review, courtesy Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

Another review devoted 75 percent of its content to the new piece: “Of the composition itself there is not much be said that is pleasant in the saying. It is creditable as the result of a laudable ambition to essay an important work, and it may be pronounced a promising first attempt; but it is scarcely of worth to warrant its performance, unless, indeed, to afford the composer an opportunity to hear it, and to profit by the experience. In the first place, it is hardly an overture, as the term is generally understood, and it is not dramatic in any sense. It has more the character of an orchestral fantasie. Nothing is clearly defined, nothing is completed. It is one long effort to say something, without any very clear idea of what is to be said. The general effect is spasmodic and fragmentary; and the work does not hang well together. The orchestration is vigorous but is without richness or character. It has strong color here and there, but is never closely knit, and is often foggy. The pervading fault of the work, however, is that its meaning is not made apparent…As an evidence of its composer’s serious study and its application, it is very commendable, but it is immature, and should not have been submitted to public criticisms. It is not gratifying to be compelled to write thus discouragingly of the work of a young composer, but no good is to be accomplished by glossing over the truth, and we are sure that it is wiser and kinder to point out the shortcomings of the composition than to indulge in insincerity and to damn it with faint praise. The audience received it in a very kind spirit and applauded heartily. An effort was made to call the composer forward, but it was unsuccessful.” (Unsigned review, courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

A review of April 9, 1893 credited to the Courier began with a paragraph about Margaret’s background and education and then followed that with a second paragraph of 14 lines concerning the work performed. This formed less than one-fourth of the complete review-quite a contrast to the review cited above. The reviewer wrote: “The overture while evidently the work of a skillful, and refined musician is nevertheless a very characteristic sample of kapelmeistermusik. There is a certain benign composure and nobility of intent in the writing of it, that is all too conspicuous, but the work appears to contain but a single well-defined theme which is very reminiscent of the oriental music in Verdi’s Aida. This theme is so tautologically treated and so frequently repeated that the prevailing impression created by it is one of monotony and languor. Perhaps the most praiseworthy feature of the overture is in the orchestral coloring of its harmonic development which is altogether excellent.” (Unsigned review, courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

Philip Hale: New York Public Library Digital Library.

Philip Hale in the April 12, 1893 Musical Courier wrote: “Miss Lang’s overture is perhaps a creditable work for a young student. Whether it deserved a place in a Symphony concert is another question. Although Miss Lang in certain songs has shown in the past a pretty melody, the themes of the overture are not of marked originality or striking effect. There are ingenious passages in the detail, but there is a general lack of definite purpose in the conception and in the carrying out. The composer seems to be pricked by the desire of extracting ideas from the orchestral instruments in turn. As a result, there is occasional piquancy, and there are pleasing measures, but this dramatic overture is a promise rather than a fulfillment. It is as though the composer deliberately set about to see what she could do in this line, there was nothing musical within that forces its was irresistibly and assumed orchestral shape and color.” (Scrapbook, Musical Courier, April 12, 1893)

Hale also wrote in the Boston Home Journal: “The phrase Place aux dames should be without meaning on the concert stage. The conductor of an orchestra should judge the fitness of a composition proposed for performance without consideration of the sex of the composer. Sex is here an accident.” (Fox, Sexual, 10) Hale spent two-thirds for his review damning the work in every way that he could: “Her themes are neither of marked originality nor of musical importance…there is not one dramatic stroke in the whole work, nor id there a climax. As a fantastic tone poem, it is vague. Miss Lang finds at her disposal the orchestral paint box, and she colors her themes with this instrumental tablet and with that one; thus she gains, occasionally, a piquant effect, a pleasing passage, but the whole lacks coherency and, is diffuse. In a word, this composition might well please the eye of a prudent and skilled teacher. He might look kindly at the pupil.” (Unsigned review attributed to the Journal, courtesy Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

Louis C. Elson wrote in the Advertiser wrote that: “It is the reviewer’s task to state that this work was not up to the level of these concerts. Miss Lang has won some deserved successes at the Apollo Club concerts in the field of chorus composition and has written some graceful bits of instrumental music which have achieved the dignity of publication, but it is a long stride from this to orchestral work in a large form, and to make the first public attempt in a concert course which is supposed to present the finest music that the world affords, to enter a programme which presented selections by Haydn, Dvorak and Moszkowski, was little less than rash…One may pay tribute to an evident tact in the matter of orchestral coloring that holds forth good promise for the future, but it may be at once added that these concerts are not supposed to be devoted to the presentation of incipient greatness. As the work was entitled a ”dramatic overture,” one need not quarrel with the fact that its form was not powerful enough to sustain interest, nothing was carried to a logical conclusion, much was spasmodic, and at times the whole case could only be diagnosed as orchestral hysteria.” This represented one-fourth of the total review. (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

Warren Davenport in the Globe wrote that: “It would be a pleasant task to speak in praise of Miss Lang’s orchestral piece but the results gained would not warrant such a course. Miss Lang has written many pretty songs and has shown talent in the pieces written for male voices and sung by the Apollo Club, but the step from this grade of material to the writing of a dramatic overture of sufficient worth to claim a place upon a symphonic concert programme is quite a long one. The effort of this ”dramatic overture” was a purposeless one, and it could as well be called the ”Babes in the Wood,” as far as any dramatic significance is concerned. Any capable student can make such music as this who has a little invention at hand, and to write similarly for the orchestra is not so difficult either, with the hundreds of stereotyped formulas that are available in the works of modern composers and student-writers. The first thing to be considered is what is the musical value of a composition? Has it form; has it a defined purpose? Miss Lang should not be discouraged because of this failure to compose a dramatic overture. Through the ill advice of her friends and the lack of discrimination upon the part of the person who arranges the programmes for the Symphony concerts, this youthful composer has had her inability to reach certain heights made plain, and the lesson should be a profitable one. It should not dampen her ambition, however. Her case is not an isolated one. The audience applauded the playing loudly.” These comments took up about one-third of the review. (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archive)

Another review devoted one-half of its space to Margaret’s work, all of which was complimentary. “Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang’s new dramatic overture was given for the first time at the Symphony last week, the composition by our talented townswoman proving to be of great merit. In the beginning, two themes are developed, one somber and of an antique character, the other passionate and modern treatment, each played against the other and producing a dramatic effect original but melodic. The working out is concise and beautifully harmonizes, and the return to the first part is gradual and regular, without harsh cadences or Wagnerian style of orchestration. The young composer has treated the stronger instruments of the orchestra very effectively, utilizing them for special themes in several instances, which gives a marked tonal color and contrast to the gentler fortissimo passages. The work received a most flattering reception, and Mr. Nikisch’s orchestra gave a delightful interpretation of the number.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archive)

The American Biographical Library entry quotes an unnamed critic as saying: “The general character of the work is passionate, with a warmth that seems wholly genuine and unsought; and now and then with more idyllic moments of much beauty; and the orchestration is brilliant.” Levy quotes from a letter from Edward MacDowell to his wife: “Wasn’t Apthorpe [sic] shameless about Miss Lang’s overture? And he didn’t say a word about Chadwick. He ought to be kicked.” Another letter said: “Apthorpe, after his slobber act over Miss Lang’s overture (had to) even it up by doing at least likewise with his friend Arthur Foote’s work. I aunt patient.” (Levy, p. 90) However, MacDowell’s judgment may be questioned as the critic of the Boston Beacon, Howard Ticknor wrote that MacDowell “so hates Apthorpe that Apthorpe’s good criticism would be sufficient to make him take the opposite side.” (Levy, 91) Apthorp had also made an error in Margaret’s biography saying that she had studied with MacDowell. She wrote a stiff note to him correcting this, and also asked her father to write a note to Chadwick on this same subject: “Maidie is troubled by an error in Apthorp’s programme today.” B. J. continued that should the work be a failure, Chadwick would not mind being left out as Margaret’s teacher, but if it were a success, “it will take but a few hours to” correct the matter. B. J. ended by saying that “A misstatement corrected is usually more fully noted than if it were correct from the start.” (Chadwick Archive, NEC) The Monday before the performance Margaret had written to Chadwick telling him of her “good news,” and saying: “I have wanted to tell you about it because I feel so grateful to you for the lessons that helped me so far as even this point.” There is a note from Chadwick to Margaret suggesting a time for her lesson, it seems that this lesson was her first with him; “I shall hope to see many pretty compositions from your pen as well as (?) strict counterpoint.” (Boston Athenaeum) The rest of the letter mentions that she wrote it during November of the previous year, sent it to Nikisch, but then did not hear anything for a long time. “I dared not tell you of it lest you should jeer at my temerity.” It would seem that her lessons were not concerned with this specific work. She ended with: “I want your good wishes, and I want above all to thank you.” She then asked for his comments after the concert. (Chadwick Archive, NEC) Chadwick seems to have replied in a positive manner. In another letter to him, she began: “Your very kind and most charitable letter was an inexpressible relief and pleasure to me, for I had imagined all kinds of horrible things going on in your mind until it came. I want very much to show you the score and hear a sermon.” She then invited Mr. and Mrs. Chadwick to an evening of billiards, “and then you will talk to me about it. Indeed, I have so much to say to you that I shall not know how to begin or when to finish.” (Chadwick Archive, NEC)

Margaret’s friend, Amy Beach, sent a note dated April 9th. “I wish to send you my heartiest congratulations upon your success, last evening of your interesting overture, as a woman I cannot help feeling gratified that all your hard work should be so fully recognized and appreciated, and your composition given a place on our symphony program. Its superb performance must have gladdened your heart, while it gave great pleasure to the audience. With all good wishes for your future success, believe me.) (Baer, 26)

                                         MargaretfromHalfHoursetcRyan, 179. Probably from the mid-1890s.

Music Hall. Theodore Thomas, Autobiography, Vol. II, facing 282.

1883 WORLD COLUMBIAN EXPOSITION.

The exposition in honor of Columbus’ discovery of the New World ran six months from May 1 until October 30, 1893. Over 28 million tickets were sold (the population of the United States was 63 million at that time), and this was even during an economic depression. The goal of the organizers was to outdo the Paris Exposition of 1889 which featured the Eiffel Tower. Chicago’s answer was to create a city-within-a-city that hosted 65,000 exhibits. On view were  “The world’s first Ferris Wheel-with cars the size of buses” and full-size replicas of Columbus” three ships which had been sailed from Spain to Chicago. (Bolotin and Laing, vii) At the end of the event, it was found that a profit of $1,000,000 dollars had been achieved! Margaret’s overture Witichis was selected for performance at the Chicago World’s Fair. George H. Wilson who was the Secretary of the Bureau of Music and thus the person making all the decisions on anything musical that was to appear at the Exposition had been a tenor in B. J.’s Apollo Club. (Herald (April 23, 1893): 20, GB)

There seems to be no record of Theodore Thomas seeing the Dramatic Overture, Opus 12 but her overture Witichis, Opus 10 was chosen (along with two others-one of which was by the fellow Boston composer, Coerne) from among twenty-one works presented for consideration to be performed at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. One interesting aspect was that B.J. Lang was a member of the reviewing committee! Other members were – Camille Saint-Saens, Paris, France (Owing to Mr. Saint-Saens’ long absence from France during the fall and winter of 1892-93, his services as adjudicator were regretfully dispensed with); Dr. A. C. Mackenzie, London, England; Asger Hamerik, Baltimore, Maryland; Carl Zerrahn, Boston, Mass.; William L. Tomlins, Chicago, ill.; and Theodore Thomas, Chicago, ill. (Yearbook, Vol 10, xxxi) Each committee member made individual reports on the 21 pieces submitted, and from this group, pieces by seven American composers were chosen for performance. Unfortunately, only four of the chosen works actually had a performance. Theodore Thomas conducted the premiere (August 4) of Lang’s work at one of the regular concerts in the Music Hall (seating for 2,000) (verses concerts in the Women’s Building) with “an orchestra of one hundred” [actually the Exposition Orchestra of 114] in a program that also included the Suite Creole by John A. Broekhoven and the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto played by the American, Maud Powell. “The program was noteworthy for the introduction of a major orchestral work by a promising female composer, but it was a disappointing reminder that America’s most prominent composers had ignored the Bureau of Music’s submission process.”

The reviewer for the American Art Journal stated that it was the largest crowd that he had seen yet in Music Hall and praised Powell’s playing of the Mendelssohn. He credited Lang’s work with ”originality and earnestness of purpose” as well as ”considerable continuity and sustained power. ”He went on to state that the orchestration showed lack of experience but pointed out that even Brahms had similar problems with some of his orchestrations. This review was unusual in that the critic treated an orchestral composition by a woman seriously, without any comments reflecting gender bias.” (Bomberger,  138-139) “A prominent Chicago critic, writing of Margaret Ruthven Lang’s contribution to the American compositions heard at the exposition concerts, says Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang’s overture to Witichis is a real work, a great deal to say of a young woman’s composition…Taste predominates Miss Lang’s overture. At times the meaning is not easy to follow; there is a good deal of ambitious striving for effect rather than for embodiment of idea. But throughout the music is noble and pure in conception, if the conception is not always concrete.” (Herald (August 13, 1893): 18, GB)   From the Fourteenth Columbian Letter: “This program [July 29] is worthy of passing mention, as it brought the overture Witichitis [sic] by Miss Lang, who is certainly developing in a perfectly logical and satisfactory manner. She began with the smaller forms and is ambitiously working her way into the larger forms. The Opus 10 of Miss Lang is more than we had expected of this lady, and I should not be surprised to hear a symphony from her pen ere a year is over our head.” The second performance of Witichis was July 29, 1893 at a Pops Concert held not in the Women’s Building, but in the main concert hall of the Exposition. (Feldman, 7) The overture was included at the third concert under Max Bendix: Wednesday, August 30, 12 noon. “Popular Orchestral Concerts,” Exposition Orchestra of 100.  Max Bendix had been the concertmaster of the Festival Orchestra, but after Theodore Thomas resigned, Bendix was selected to conduct the rest of the concerts at the Exposition. A third overture entitled Totila, Opus 23 was composed in 1901 and premiered in Baltimore. Theodore Thomas, Autobiography, Vol. II, facing page 282.

SONG PERFORMANCES.

Among performances during 1894 was the song for baritone Hjarlis sung by Mr. Grant Odell on Monday, February 5 at the 29th. Private Meeting of the “Manuscript Society of New York” held in Room 8 of Carnegie (Music) Hall (this may have been its premier). “A very charming reception was given to Mr. B. J. Lang and the altos of ”The Cecilia” last Monday evening, at the home of Mrs. Cilley, 175 Beacon Street, Mrs. Dimick of ”The Cecilia;” being hostess.” (Herald (April 8, 1894): 27, GB) Part of the musical program included Bedtime Song by Margaret sung by Miss Griggs. A concert in Boston on Saturday, December 1 at 11 AM presented by Miss Orvis as part of her “Concerts for Young People” (five per season) included B. J. Lang playing Petit Roman followed by six of the Nonsense Rhymes (Filey, Man Cape Horn, Man Skye, When Little, Said well, and Riga) sung by Mrs. Henrietta Hassall. The concert ended with the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto played by Franz Kneisel with the orchestral accompaniment played by B. J. on the piano. The Nonsense Rhymes must have been well received as they were repeated at the concert on Saturday, February 23, 1895. The same six Nonsense Rhymes were sung by Mrs. Hassall a year later (December 7, 1895) as part of the series of “Concerts for Young People” given in Newton Center by Mrs. Bird-B. J. also played his Caprice as part of the concert. This December 1st. performance of Petit Roman was less than a month after its premiere which was given by Mrs. Edward Dudley Marsh at the November 6, 1894 meeting of the “Tuesday Musicale” of Rochester, N. Y. -a note in the program mentions that Margaret wrote both the music and the story. (Scrapbook) Others quickly learned the work-Miss Mary Black included it in her program at Chickering Hall on December 18, 1894.

A short article that was probably a “filler” appeared in a California newspaper early in 1894, having been originated by the Boston Herald. With a heading of “Young Women Composers,” it began: “Two charming and talented young women composers who are making their mark are Helen Hood and Margaret Ruthven Lang. Both of whom have for some years been known as writers of songs of far above musical qualities.” The article then notes their New England connections and finishes with: “It is not a little remarkable that both of these talented girls, whose gifts bear so close a resemblance to each other, can look back not only to a New England ancestry, but to ancestors whose lives touched closely in the same little Massachusetts town of Lynnfield three-quarters of a century ago, and it is not uninteresting to note that the first musical instruction which the grandfather of Margaret Lang received was given to him by the grandfather of Helen Hood.” (Riverside Daily Press, Riverside, CA (February 9, 1894): 1, GB) Another interesting connection with Lynnfield is that some sources state that B. J.’s first organ position was in a small church in Lynnfield-is it possible that Helen Hood’s grandfather had something to do with this?

The piano suite, Petit Roman was also part of a June concert given in Worcester, MA at the “pretty studio of Mrs. Carrie King Hunt [which] was the scene of one of the most delightful entertainments that has been heard in Worcester for very many days.” The society writer gave the full story of the sections of the piece which she probably took from the program book or copied quickly from the performer’s score. She began: “This tells a story-a medieval kind of tale in six chapters, each written in an appropriate and peculiar tempo. The first tells how the chevalier goes to call upon the princess and makes love.” (Worcester Daily Spy (June 20, 1895): 1, GB) No need for five more chapters in this version. In the program notes of the recent CD recording, it reads: “The first piece tells of the knight’s initial visit to the princess, during which he ”speaks of love.”” (Delos DE 3433, notes by Lindsay Koob) Mrs. Hunt learned the piece at the request of B. J. with whom she had been studying for the past year. (Spy, Op. cit.)

In 1895 The Cecilia performed Love Plumes His Wings at the January 16 and 17 concerts while at the Apollo Club concert of May 8, 1895 Margaret’s Boatman’s Hymn was heard. This piece had been first performed by the club in January 1893, and for this second appearance, Apthorp in the Transcript wrote: Miss Lang’s Boatman’s Hymn shows all the young composer’s habitual poetry of feeling and imaginative coloring; from a purely musical point of view, too, it shows itself as one of the best things she has done in this line.” (Scrapbook)

Not all critics were as favorable. Philip Hale in the Musical Courier of January 23, 1895 wrote- “I confess I am amazed at the daring of Mrs. Richard Blackmore Jr. who will give a song recital in a fortnight. She will sing songs by Bizet, Massenet, Cornelius, Mozart, Mascagni, and others; but, mirabile dictu, she announces no song by Miss Lang or Mr. Clayton Jones. You should live here to fully realize the courage of this singer.” (Scrapbook-review destroyed, but written in pen on the scrapbook page.) This attitude had been reflected earlier in the month by Hale’s review in the Journal of January 16, 1895 commenting on Lena Little’s performance of the Norman Songs, Opus 19. “Miss Lang’s songs seemed all of a familiar piece, with the exception of The Grief of Love, which has stuff in it. She is too fertile. She is young and art is long. Why be in such a hurry, even though singers and publishers knock at the door. Study and write, Miss Lang, for you have talent. But practice the Horatian maxim. You will find it in ”The Art of Poetry.” “However the reviewer in the Transcript wrote: “The group of songs by Miss Lang contain much that is charming, and are admirably effective for the singer; there are much vitality and poetry of sentiment in them too. Miss Lang is beginning to show more and more of distinct individuality in her writing, in spite of a sometimes treacherous memory which at moments leads her to make use of material not entirely her own. But she recasts it in her own mold, and the writing bears her stamp. Miss Little sang the songs capitally.”(Scrapbook) The Herald did not mention the Norman Songs by title, but did say that “the songs by Miss Lang seemed far more congenial to the conceptive intuitions of the artist, and were very creditably interpreted.” Miss Little’s performance was part of a series of concerts organized by Mr. Arthur Whiting. (Herald (January 16, 1895): 4, GB)

MISSING PIECES.

In 1893 Frances writes in her Diary: “Maidie is writing out a Fugue she has just composed.” (Diary 2, Summer 1893) At the “Ladies’ Musical Club” on Saturday, April 25, 1895, Mrs. Emma K. Von Seggern performed two pieces for violin, Andante and Allegro Moderato. (Scrapbook 1887-1906) Another missing piece is the song, She Is False that was presented at the Cambridge Art Conference, October 31, 1897. An article (c. 1895) in the Winchester Star (MA) mentioned that at a “Women Composers” program presented to the Fortnightly Club, “One of the best numbers of the programme was an unpublished Andante for violin and piano composed by Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang, daughter of Mr. B. J. Lang of Boston, and loaned to Mrs. Bryant in manuscript.” Possibly this is the same andante that was performed above. Margaret “completed a Mass, which was performed at least once at King’s Chapel under the direction of B. J. Lang in November 1898.” (Baer, 28 and 29)

IRISH LOVE SONG.

1895 saw the publishing of Margaret’s most successful song-Irish Love Song, Op. 22. The song was sung and recorded by the very best singers of its day. The first recording was in 1908 by Ernestine Schumann-Heink followed by Dan Beddoe a year later. Both Alma Gluck and Mary Garden recorded the song c. 1912 while Richard Crooks’ in 1924 was possibly his first record! An article in the Detroit News said: “These American ditties have a charm all their own when sung by Schumann-Heink, with her explosive Germanized dentals and her z-ified final s’s. It was droll, but pleasant still, to hear the German-American version of Margaret Lang’s Irish Love Song with ”Ma – foor – r -r- neen” trolling from the singer’s tongue.” (Scrapbook 1887-1907) “Musically, Lang’s Irish Love Song is set in the simple style of most popular songs. Though it has no refrain, it consists of three verses set strophically. It is quite short, 34 measures in total, but because it is strophic there are actually only 14 measures of music. The phrases are symmetrical and balanced, with essentially two four-bar melodic phrases. The range of the vocal line is essentially an octave. The accompaniment is simple and doubles the vocal line. As in most popular song, the melodic line stands out as the most important musical feature. It is, of course, a love song and, like the popular type, has an intense emotional content. A song of longing, the musical climaxes come at the end of each verse as the melody rises to the last statement of ‘Mavourneen,’ as in mm. 11-12 (‘Mavourneen’ is an Irish Gaelic word meaning ‘my darling’). The climactic drive is to the end of each phrase and ultimately the end of the song, thus emphasizing not only the longing of the thematic content but the heightened emotional state.” (Blunsom, 210) Cipolla noted that “the total U. S. press run for Margaret Ruthven Lang’s Irish Love Song was 120,835 copies, almost 20,000 copies more than for MacDowell’s best-loved song, The Beaming Eyes.”(Cipolla, 91)

Mrs. Crosby Adams reported in 1896 that Margaret found it difficult to work at home without interruption, so she rented a room near her home to use as a studio. It held a shelf full of rejected manuscripts. The Musical Courier reported that this room was at 90 Pinckney Street, just around the corner and three blocks away from the family home at 8 Brimmer Street. (Musical Courier, January 1895) During this time she also went to see various members of the BSO to discuss the capabilities of their instruments so that she might write better for them. The Musical Courier article of January 1895 had reported “Miss Lang spends the morning until one o’clock in work and study, having a studio where no one can interrupt her.” Frances noted: “Maidie has engaged a room at 90 Pinckney St. at $2.50 per week where she can work.” (Diary 2, Fall 1893)

                                                                                     Below: 90 Pinckney Street.

January 29, 1896 saw a performance of the piano Rhapsody at the Rhode Island Women’s Club while on February 5th. at the Matinee Musicale of Indianapolis Indiana, Ghosts was sung by Miss Schrader, and the Maiden and the Butterfly was performed by four solo voices and piano. (Scrapbook) At the February 12, 1896 concert of the Cecilia, Mrs. Jeannie Crocker Follett performed the Irish Love Song, and at their April 29 and 30, 1896 concerts In a Garden was sung by Mrs. Alice Bates Rice. Margaret also served as a translator; at the March 19, 1896 concert of The Cecilia, The Shepherds Decked Him For the Dance (scene from Goethe’s Faust) by Moszkowski was presented as translated by Margaret. As part of the 25th. Anniversary Concert of the Apollo Club on May 6, 1896, Mrs. A. Sophia Marlee sang Betrayed. By 1896 Margaret’s songs were well enough known and thought of that Ghosts, first published in 1889, was included in the January 1896 issue of Godey’s Magazine, the monthly women’s publication. (Cook, 175) For the Third Concert of Miss Orvis’s “Five Concerts for Young People” presented in Chickering Hall on Saturday morning, December 1, 1896, B. J. played Margaret’s Petit Roman sur le Piano en Six Chapitres: also included was her Six Nonsense Rhymes. At the May 7, 1897 concert of The Cecilia Bonnie Run the Burnie Down was programmed. For the January 25 and 26, 1899 concerts of The Cecilia, Love Blumes His Wings for women’s voices and The King Is Dead were performed.

A MISSING SYMPHONY?

An article in the Globe of March 15, 1896 with the headline “Tuneful Minds” was an interview with Margaret Lang and Mrs. H. H. A. Beach. Lang was asked how she composed a piece. “Little songs and smaller compositions generally take definite and permanent shape in my mind before I touch my pencil. In greater works, I often find it necessary to deviate somewhat from my original idea when it comes to the actual scoring.” The reporter asked what part the piano had in composing. “I think very few composers work at the piano, and often the idea is as spontaneous as a smile or a sigh. I remember once when MacDowell was staying with us, he suddenly learned that it was the anniversary of my mother’s wedding day. He immediately turned to me and said: ‘Let us play them a triumphal march at dinner,’ and, seating himself at the desk, wrote out in about ten minutes a march that had all the fire, color, balance and poise of a work of art. We played it at dinner to the great delight of the family.” (Globe (March 15, 1896): 31) In the same article Lang was asked how often she changed a piece after hearing it, and in her answer reference is made to her SYMPHONY. “I have an absurd prejudice against working a composition over which I have once considered finished…After the Boston orchestra rehearsed my symphony for the first time, the conductor requested me to make a considerable cut in one of the movements. Very much against my wishes, I did so,” and after the concert one of the violinists in the orchestra told her that she should not have allowed the cut. “I knew how true this was, and if I had been a little older, I should have refused to submit to the cutting process, even if it meant the withdrawing of the symphony.” (Op. cit.) The first paragraphs of the article had all been about Margaret Lang, and the next paragraph after the quote cited above began with: “The reporter next called on Mrs. H. A. Beach,” and he asked the same general questions of Mrs. Beach as he had asked of Miss Lang. (Op. cit.) therefore, one would assume that the reporter got his notes confused, mingly some of his notes about Beach with those of Lang. Is there any other explanation? But, Beach’s Gaelic Symphony was not premiered until October of 1896, and this article was from March 1896 and so the story about allowing the cut and having an orchestra player mention it after the concert can not apply. Lang’s Dramatic Overture had been premiered by the BSO on April 7, 1893, Nikisch conducting, but I know of no references to that work having been cut. Also, she mentioned “symphony” twice and also said “one of the movements.” therefore, it would not seem that the work being spoken about was not the Dramatic Overture. We are left with a mystery!

THREE CONCERT ARIAS.

Three concert arias were composed in the mid-1890s. The first, Sappho’s Prayer to Aphrodite for contralto was performed in New York on October 24, 1895  at a concert by the Manuscript Society at Chickering Hall on October 24, 1895.  Miss Zora G. Horlocker was the soloist and Adolph Neuendorff the conductor of an orchestra of fifty men. The Herald began: “Miss Zora G. Horlocker, who is gifted with a rich alto voice sang “Margaret’s composition. “The orchestra overpowered the singer. The composition was uninteresting.” However, the review had begun with “several [works] deserving of high praise, none of them without merit.” (Herald (October 25, 1895); 7, GB) A review by Reginald de Koven said “ It was a pity that Miss Lang wrote her song ‘Sappho’ for a contralto voice and scored it for a soprano, for on this account it was ineffective.” The review continued that the soloist was “submerged in the orchestra wave. And yet the song is written in a musicianly way, and has color and both poetic and dramatic feelings.” The New York Times review of October 25, 1895 commended her, and suggested that she fell short as she used Sir Edwin Arnold’s translation rather than John Addington Symonds, “and even that falls far short of the original, which’s simply majestic.” The review ended by saying that the piece was badly sung! it would seem that the piano reduction was destroyed along with the orchestral parts! (Scrapbook)                                                        Soon after, on January 29, 1896, it was sung by Mrs. H. E. Sawyer at a concert at 265 Beacon Street where the accompanist was Arthur Foote; it would seem that the piano reduction was also destroyed along with the full score and parts. A Musical Courier article of January 1895 said that this piece had been written for Lena Little who had done earlier songs by Margaret [i.e. Norman Songs] (Scrapbook). She sang the piece at the “Concert in Aid of the Free Hospital for Women” on March 26th. at 104 Beacon Street.

The BSO performed the second aria, Armida for soprano on January 13, 1896 with Gertrude Franklin as the soloist and Emil Paur conducting. Elson felt that this was “made from aversion that deals rather too freely with Tasso. The setting is by no means as dramatic as its poetic subject, and the composer seems to have missed the majestic power of the great death-scene.” Margaret also wrote a third aria for baritone which was entitled Phoebus’ Denunciation of the Furies At His Delphian Shrine.

Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archive.

Also on the program were:

Tchaikovsky-Symphony #6

Bruch-Fantasia on Scotch folk-melodies, for Violin, Opus 46

Berlioz-Corsair Overture, Opus 21 (to end the concert)

The order of the concert was: Tchaikovsky, Bruch, Lang, and Berlioz. This was the first time for Lang and Berlioz. Margaret’s composition was listed as Opus 24 and called a Concert Aria. Miss Franklin had an ad in the program book as a soprano soloist and vocal instructor at 149A Tremont Street. Miss Franklin seems to have been a favorite BSO soloist, appearing eight times during the first fifteen seasons – she sang under Henschel, Gericke, Nikisch and Paur. The previous December Frances had written in her Diary: “Maidie has shortened her Armida aria, which Miss Franklin will sing in January.” (Diary 2, Fall 1895)

The review in the Gazette said: “Miss Lang’s concert aria is, in a sense, creditable to the young composer; it is scored with taste and knowledge. There is no trace of the old masters in the work, which is modern in idea and treatment, and hints that Miss Lang is an earnest and enthusiastic student of Wagner. She has entirely misunderstood the portion of the poem she set to music, and no skill in orchestration will hide the paucity of ideas. The cleverness is misplaced, and it is a pity that so much good work should be wasted on a subject in which there is not a trace of imagination or any of the qualities that go to the making of an enduring work of art. Miss Lang is clever, but it is impossible for even genius to say anything when it has nothing to say.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

The Journal review by Philip Hale said: “The chief trouble with Miss Lang’s concert aria is that while it deals with a dramatic subject, the thing itself is undramatic. Even in the orchestral accompaniment, which recalls the remark of Saint-Saens that when women write for orchestra they wish to prove their masculine mind by being noisier then men, there is no genuine dramatic feeling or accentuation of the text. There is neither a pivotal point nor a climax.  Miss Lang took her verses from Tasso, but it seems, that poor Whiffen’s English translation was at times too ‘anti-musical.’ Miss Lang substituted then her own prose, and the singer was obliged last evening to declaim such intensely musical phrases as ‘persecution’s thrall’ and ‘great Chieftain.’ Inasmuch as this aria is without a point, without climax, without dramatic declamation, without appealing melody, I wonder at the causes that led Mr. Paur to welcome it to a Symphony concert in the Music hall. Miss Franklin displayed the purity of her voice and art; in other words, she made as much out of the aria as was in all possible. The audience appreciated her earnestness and her art and she was loudly applauded.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

The review in the Standard said: “Miss Franklin gave Miss Lang’s concert aria, and did the best she could with it. She was in excellent voice, but the orchestration was so vigorous that it at times destroyed the effect of what would otherwise have been a very enjoyable number. It cannot be said that the aria was musically strong.  Miss Franklin’s efforts were rewarded with liberal applause, and she was twice recalled. ” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

Another review took a more positive view: “Miss Lang’s new aria is a work to be considered very seriously. Without being in the least French in feeling, it is very much in the contemporary French dramatic style-a style in which, if the truth be told, we personally are just beginning to find our bearings. It seemed to us that, in her setting of this excerpt from Tasso’s ‘Gerusalemme liberata,’ Miss Lang had struck a very true note of dramatic musical expression; more so perhaps in the arioso portions than in the passages of recitative. Much of the melodic writing is very broad and noble, and the whole treatment of the orchestra admirable; it shows that Miss Lang appreciates well what the true gist of “modern orchestration” is, and that it means something far finer and more subtle than the mere massing together of numerous instruments. Miss Franklin sang the aria with devotion and sincerity; it seemed to us that the composition was conceived for a heavier voice and a larger, more heroic style of singing. But it is ill quarreling with an artist’s physique; let it be enough to say that Miss Franklin sang like an artist.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

Louis C. Elson in the Advertiser said: “Miss Lang’s new concert aria is by no means great enough for its subject, in spite of an easy leading of the parts, a fluency of orchestration. There is a lack of dramatic power in the work, certainly an absence of what sustained breadth which one might demand in a great aria. There were impressive moments but not an impressive whole. The beginning was striking enough and the monotony of sorrow which followed was at least permissible; there was a degree of melody at “Ask me no more” which was enhanced by the skill displayed in the imitations of the vocal part upon the violoncello, and there was enough of dissonance to satisfy the musical radicals; but sustained dramatic power there was not, and the great scene from Torquato Tasso’s ‘Jerusalem Delivered’ demands as mighty treatment as the abandonment of Dido (which it in some degree resembles) and the burning of the palace and the rushing to death in combat cannot be portrayed even by the most respectable music, for true dramatic instinct is here imperative. Of the queer alterations in the words, the contrast of earnest poetry and prose sentimentality we prefer not to speak. It must be added that Miss Lang’s work was placed in a position that would try any composer; it came after the most expressive and dramatic symphony of the modern repertoire and a most warlike and heroic fantasie, and it was followed by a very fiery overture. It is quite possible that heard with less trying surroundings, the work would make a more favorable impression.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

The Herald reviewer wrote: “The concert aria by Miss Lang is the most ambitious effort that the composer has placed before the public. While the composition is not without force and vigor, it is musically uninteresting and unimpressive by reason of the absence of any discoverable central point on which the whole should pivot. It is mainly florid recitative, interrupted once or twice by a brief moment of forced melody, but it all leads to nowhere in particular, and wanders about wildly and vaguely. It is carefully made, and the instrumentation is clever and effective in its way, but, as a rule, it is overheavy for the voice and frequently obliterates it by solid masses of tone that it piles up against it, especially, and, curiously enough, when the vocal part is written in the weaker of the middle register. Miss Lang will do better when she has outgrown the familiar propensity of the young musician to give way to the temptation of overloading a score. ” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives) This was possibly written by Benjamin Woolf.

Another reviewer took the position that “The Armida aria, by Margaret Ruthven Lang, is not likely to become very popular. The scoring is rather elaborate, and in certain portions is dramatically effective, but there is much monotonous repetition on heavy, colorless themes.”

The reviewer of the Globe said: “The ‘eterna femina’ is so rare in her incursions upon the realms of music that a warm welcome was all in readiness for Margaret Ruthven Lang, whose new Armida aria was sung by Miss Gertrude Franklin.  The orchestration is clean-cut, and once or twice rises to real dramatic force. Such ability as she certainly has will someday bear fruit of rarer sort. Miss Franklin did all that was possible with the aria, and almost raised its dry recitative to the point of interest.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

However, Thomas Ryan in a letter to the Transcript printed January 13, 1896 wrote: “I think that every good musician who heard the concert aria entitled Armida by Miss Lang, at the last Symphony Concert, will agree with me that she has by that composition done the extraordinary. I can find no other word but that to fit the act. When listening to it last Friday afternoon, I had no programme. I did not know the words. I simply listened to the music, and it was my first hearing of any composition by the young lady, though I had often heard of her ability. I was delighted with the music from the beginning to the end. Its noble introduction and recitative was so elevated in style and character-and the cantabile part, from about the middle of the piece to the end, so perfectly beautiful and melodious-that I must confess to being deeply affected by it. I could not help saying to myself:‘Just listen to that lovely, warm melody-that perfect-sounding orchestration-it is quite astonishing.’  I deem it a pleasure as well as a duty to encourage the composer by public praise.  And certainly, gallantry will help me to do homage to the ‘coming woman’ of genuine musical talent, our Boston girl, Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang.” (Scrapbook)

Phoebus’ Denunciation of the Furies at His Delphian Shrine for baritone.

CHAMINADE OF AMERICA.

An article in a paper from Philadelphia dated December 26, 1897 began by calling Margaret “The Chaminade of America,” and described her as “an attractive and educated young woman [who] has already attained a position which puts her among the four leading women composers of the time, they being Holmes and Chaminade of Paris, Mrs. Beach and Miss Lang of Boston…In appearance Miss Lang is slight and rather under medium height, but bears a very intelligent forehead, well rounded by thought, and her eye discloses a dream of imagination which reflects the gentle tenderness with which she treats the greater number of her compositions. She is at present engaged in the preparation of several important works, the performance of which in the near future will gain her much additional and well-deserved fame.” (Scrapbook 1887-1906)

PERFORMANCES c. 1899.

Performances around the end of the century included Mrs. Stella Hadde-Alexander playing the Rhapsody on Wednesday, January 4, 1899 at the Transportation Club (of NYC?) On Wednesday, November 20, 1901, during the 12th. season of the “National Arts Club” (of Washington, DC?) the tenor Mr. Hobart Smock sang Orpheus. During the spring of 1903 Mavourneen and The Garden of Roses were sung by the soprano Mrs. Wardwell at the Carnegie Chamber Music Hall; while on Monday, March 28, 1904 at the Siegel-Cooper Auditorium the Irish Love Song was sung by the baritone Mr. John Perry Boruff.

In 1899 Ryan stated that Margaret had “attained a position which places her among the four foremost female composers of the world, the other three being Chaminade and Holmes of Paris and Mrs. Beach of Boston.” (Ryan,  86) Her orchestral Ballade in D minor, Opus 36 won much success at its premiere in the concert entitled “Women in Music Grand Concert” given by the Baltimore Symphony March 14, 1901. (New Grove, 2001)

Frances wrote: “Maidie has shown me a piano composition she has just finished which I like very much.” (Diary 2, Summer 1900) Possibly this was the Rhapsody in E minor that Miss Alice Coleman performed at Chickering Hall on February 19, 1901. On Easter Eve and Easter Day services at the Church of the Advent, the Te Deum in E flat major was sung. Frances proudly noted in her Diary: “Maidie’s Te Deum is to be sung at the Advent tomorrow.” (Diary 2, Spring 1901) November 20, 1901 saw the performance of Orpheus sung by Mr. Hobart Smock at the first meeting of the 12th. Season (1901-1902) of the Manuscript Society of New York, which was held at the National Arts Club. A singing teacher presented a recital where seven of her pupils each sang a different Lang song after an introductory “paper on the life and compositions of Margaret Ruthven Lang, the sweet songwriter” was presented by the teacher. Well-known songs were mixed with less well-known: Arcadie, I Knew the Flowers That Dreamed of You, Out of the Past, Hills O’Skye, Irish Love song, Northward Bound and A Thought were performed. (Times of Richmond, Virginia (December 16, 1902): 4, GB)

Frances makes note of a very interesting bit of history concerning concert performances. The question is if this concert included material by Margaret. “Maidie and Lel have gone to Buffalo…Letter from Maidie in Buffalo says that there were 3000 in the audience at the concert.” (Diary 2, Summer 1901) But, certainly Margaret’s pieces must have been included; why would both father and daughter have made the trip? Now, what was the occasion, and what were the compositions?

“Mrs. S. B. Field had a large and representative audience at the first of her three musicales, which she gave on Monday morning in the ballroom of the Somerset…Miss Alice Robbins Cole, contralto, was in splendid voice and looked charming in a white silk bodice, done in black velvet ribbons, and wore a large picture hat.” The article continued with a nineteen line list of important people who attended which included the wife of the BSO conductor, Mrs. Wilhelm Gericke, and “Mrs. B. J. Lang and her daughter Miss Rosamond Lang (whose sister, Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang, by the way, was among the composers represented on the program in Miss Cole’s list of songs).” (Boston Journal (March 8, 1903): 7, GB) Where was Margaret herself?

Margaret’s main publisher, Arthur Schmidt, publisher of a  house magazine called the Musical World. This was monthly that included articles, reviews and usually five pieces of music, each for a different type of performer. The vocal solo composition for the August 1903 issue was An Irish Mother’s Lullaby which had just been published in 1900.

An article in the Saturday, January 16, 1904 issue of the Boston Evening News” entitled “ Boston’s Women Composers Take High Rank” began “Hers is a striking individuality and soon after talking with her one decides that Miss Lang is not quite like anyone else that one has ever met before. She has an original way of expressing herself, she is frank, sincere, yet very reserved, and {yet} there is a broad undercurrent of sympathy which makes one feel that she divines your intentions and thought.” The interviewer then asked her opinion of the state of music-“Music is decidedly on the wing in America. At the theaters, the best music is beginning to be appreciated.” Margaret then mentioned her dog “Mr. Dooley” whom she had trained to play the piano. “At dinner every night when the finger-bowls are brought on the table, ‘Mr. Dooley’ runs to the piano in the library or up to the music room and plays, then runs back again for his reward-a cracker. If I had space I would like to own sixty dogs…Cats I do not care so much for.”Bowler“Bowler,” an earlier pet, painted by Margaret’s friend, Catherine A. Codman. Photo by Justin Reinking. Collection of Fletcher DuBois.

FRANCES’ STAND. “OPPOSING ELECTROCUTION.”

The Massachusetts Anti-Capital Punishment League had submitted petitions in opposition to death by the electric chair in previous years to the legislature, and this was done again in 1904. Frances signed the petition that year and her name joined those of two ex-Governors, many judges, many clergy, and many prominent people. This was but one of many events/causes that she supported. (Herald (January 19, 1904): 11)

 BRIMMER STREET HOUSE DESCRIBED.

One article described the house: “The rows upon rows of books in the library were chiefly titled about music. There were pictures of Beethoven and other great musicians, hung about. Upstairs in the music room is a piano which belonged to Mendelssohn, which to Miss Lang of course is invaluable.” The section on Margaret ended with-“I am sorry not to tell you a great deal about myself. I like to read about others, but when it comes to me I get selfish and become a pig or a turtle though I do not want to appear picknickity, odd, or eccentric.” A later (1911) description of the house mentioned that “the reception room on the ground floor is a cozy study, lined with books. The bound volumes of the Century and of the Symphony programs crowding a heterogeneous mass of great music masters. Portraits of Mr. Lang abound on the walls and one of Lincoln reminds those who knew of the musician’s love for a great man. Open on the piano are Granville Bantock’s Jester songs and the score of the Girl of the Golden West. These things are a reminder of how this house with its story of musical Boston during its splendid period of progress, written in a hundred ways-in photographs, letters, records, collected programs and heaped piles of music-is yet a radiating center for the most modern thinking in music. No home in this country has more associations with the best and most honored and honorable past of music, with artists whose very name epitomizes all there is of the most conservative, most of an ancient regime, composition that stands on the white heights of classic art and faithful adherence everywhere to noble models; and yet no home in the world today speaks more for the progress or gives, in its mental outlook, on fresher woods and newer pastures for composer and artist alike.” (Christian Science Monitor ( March 25, 1911): 3). At the bottom of the article is a photo of the summer home in New Boston showing the house and the music shed by the river.  A third article mentions: “In the little reception-room where ‘Bowler’ [Margaret’s dog] growls a salutation…the master greets you. How many great ones have been welcomed! Memorials of them cover its walls…Upstairs the grand piano is, of course, the special feature of the connecting drawing-rooms, though there are pianos all over the place almost, except in the billiard-room in the upper story. Here the pleasant Sunday afternoons [Open Houses] are held, where so informally and delightfully such good music is interspersed with such good talk.” (Gould Archival Book, HMA)

 MARGARET CONTACTS HER PUBLISHER ABOUT HER ROYALTIES.

Margaret was of course aware of her success and all these performances. She “diligently tracked the public consumption of her songs, gathering data with which she could measure their commercial successes, as revealed in a letter to Schmidt in 1905:

I have been feeling considerable wonder this winter, concerning the irregularity of my songs which-to judge by programmes of private & public performances-must have had moderate success. For instance-Tryste Noel which has been sung considerably in church and in recitals-has apparently retired-having brought no returns since Feb. ’03, & since its publication in 1902-only on 290 copies. Of the set of four songs op. 40-published in the late winter of 1904-a year ago, three of which have had considerable use in public performance-there have been no returns on any of these at any time since their publication, except on Day is Gone which brought returns immediately (in May ’04) on 215 copies-but nothing since then; & yet it has been sung in various places of the U.S. Whereas the Song of the Lilac op. 41 (which has only just appeared) & has been sung less often in public, is more difficult & less pleasing, has brought already returns on twice as many copies, in a fourth less time.  Perhaps these facts have surprised you as they have me, or can you account for it? I am especially struck by the comparison between the Song of the Lilac (new) & the comparatively popular Tryste Noel & Day is Gone.” (Blumsom, 109 quoting a letter to A. P. Schmidt dated March 16, 1905)

MORE MRL SONG PERFORMANCES.

Another All-Lang recital was given on April 28, 1904 at the home of Mrs. Josiah Millet’s at 150 Charles Street, Boston for which Margaret served as the accompanist.

The Hills o’ Skye, An Irish Mother’s Lullaby, The Sea Sobs Low (Ms.), The Dead Ship                                                                                                        Miss Lucie Tucker

The Bird, Song in the Songless, Arcadie, Day is Gone          Mrs. Alice Bates Rice

Tryste Noel, Summer Noon, Chinese Song, A Thought                     Miss Tucker

Somewhere, A Song of May, The Lilac (Ms.), Love is Everywhere     Mrs. Rice

Mrs. Bertha Cushing Child and Miss Edith Chapman gave another all-Lang recital on August 26, 1905 at “The Ark.”

A note to Margaret dated February 26, 1906 from Philip Hale shows a different attitude from that which he had expressed in his January 23, 1895 Musical Courier column.

Dear Miss Lang,

I was very sorry not to hear your songs, but Monday and Tuesday are disgustingly busy days with me. I hear that the songs were beautiful and original and the Nonsense Songs very clever; that Miss Chapman – whom I have never heard – sang well. I should like to have been able to congratulate you personally.

Yours very truly,

Philip Hale

This refers to a concert given at Mr. Lang’s Studio, 6 Newbury Street on February 26, 1906 by Miss Edith Chapman. The program was:

The Bird, Song in the Songless, Day is Gone, The Lilac, Somewhere, Poplar Leaves – (ms.), A Thought Song of the Spanish Gypsies – (ms.).

Intermission.____Lear Nonsense Songs: The Man Who Said “well,” The Young Lady of Lucca, The Lady of Parma – (ms.), The Person of Cassel, 

The Young Lady in White – (ms.), The Bee, The Man Who Said “Hush!” The Man With a Gong, The Lady of Riga – (Anon) (Scrapbook)

At the February 22, 1906 meeting of the Rossini Club of Portland Maine, Mrs. Morong sang Seven Nonsense Songs while at their March 15th. meeting/concert Miss Johnston sang The Hills O’ Skye. The April 2nd. and 10th. concerts by the Wellesley Hills Glee Club included Margaret’s cantata The Lonely Rose with Miss Sanborn as the soloist. April 1906 also saw Mabel L. Hastings including Lang material in her recital in Florence, Italy to benefit “Missione Medica”-the accompanist was Alberto Bimboni. May 1st. saw Mrs. Mary Montgomery Brackett include Poplar Leaves (ms.) at her 18 Saint Botolph Street studio recital-the singer sent Margaret a note saying that several people said it was “the gem of the program.” (Scrapbook)

The February ? 1907 issue of the Musical Courier reported that Margaret was suffering from a serious illness. The same column mentioned that Malcolm was to play on February at his studio a concert including Debussy’s Prelude in A-L’ Apres midi d’un Faune arranged for piano by Margaret. He also included this piece in his Concord Lyceum concert on December 18, 1907. This interest in French music reflects that of her father. At the Waltham Woman’s Club Music Lecture-Recital on March 8, 1907 her Meditation, Opus 26 was performed, and on April 7th the Vesper Service at the Church of the New Jerusalem on Bowdoin Street opened with Praise the Lord O My Soul, called an Antiphonal Anthem for Male Quartette and Chorus-a work that had just been published in 1905. [Was it published?]

MargaretRLangElson (1909), 296, and as late as in a newspaper in 1911.

The year 1908 included a number of different Lang performances. On January 13th. The Concord Woman’s Club presented Mrs. Edith Chapman Gould, accompanied by B. J. in a program, which ended with nine Nonsense Songs-the words for all nine were printed in the program. B. J. also included his own Spinning Song between two Chopin pieces, the Nocturne in C minor and the Scherzo in D flat major. The Tuesday Club concert on January 21st. was all-Lang- songs and piano pieces. On February 19th. Stephen Townsend included The Sea Sobs Low and Spring in his recital at Steinert Hall-this first song, also performed from manuscript in 1904, may not have ever been published. On March 8th. The Thursday Morning Musical Club sang at their Scholarship Concert in Jordan Hall NEC The Lonely Rose, Opus 43. The soprano soloist was Mrs. Marguerite Dietrick Quincy, and a note in the program said that this piece had been written for the club. The Cecilia performed Love Plumes His Wings, Opus 15 for women’s voices on March 31st., and a note in the program mentioned that this piece had been first published in 1892. John Philip Sousa’s sixty-five piece band included Irish Love Song, soloist Miss Lucy Allen, in their October 9th. concert “Devoted to Boston Composers.” Miss Katharine Foote [Arthur Foote’s daughter] sang The Bird at Chickering Hall on November 17, accompanied by Alfred DeVoto. (Scrapbook) Alfred DeVoto was also the accompanist for Mary Desmond “The English Contralto” who included My Turtle Dove and Summer Noon at her Steinert Hall recital. The year ended with a December 7, 1908 letter from the Manager of the “Bijou Dream” [a theater] which told Margaret that three of her Nonsense Songs would be sung on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons of that week.  There was a Person of Filey, The Old Man in the Kettle, and The Old Man Who Said ”well” were sung three times each afternoon at c. 2:45, 4:10, and 5:20. Margaret had loaned three slides for use during the songs. (Scrapbook)

In 1908 Arthur Elson, son of the critic Louis Elson, was to write that Margaret was “another of Boston’s gifted musical women…Miss Lang has published a number of successful part-songs for men’s, women’s, and mixed voices…her piano music is also excellent.”He then goes on to ask: “Who is the greatest woman composer? It is hard to say, for not all have worked in the same direction. In our country, Mrs. Beach holds the foremost position at present, with Miss Lang a good second.” (Elson, A., 202 and 239) A short filler piece had appeared late in 1905 in such varied papers as the Evening Post of Charleston, SC and the Tampa Tribune of Tampa, Florida. “Malcolm Burrage Lang, who wrote the new Harvard song, has a sister, Margaret Ruthven Lang, who is one of the two foremost women composers of the United States today. Her Dramatic Overture [sic] has been played by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Thomas Orchestra.” (Evening Post (December 15, 1908): 7, GB)

Late in March of 1908, Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Goodrich of “Carvel Court” presented a concert that included pieces by 27(!) women composers. Mr. Goodrich was the pianist and he also gave short introductions to each piece. Margaret’s Rhapsody was included in the program. “The guests were highly pleased by this novel recital.” (The Musical Courier, March 28, 18)

In 1909 she joined St. Cecilia and seven other women composers who were

well known at that time, on the cover of Etude magazine. With its national distribution, Etude was THE music magazine of its time. There were 20 different articles in this issue, none about any of the specific composers pictured on the cover. Instead, the titles covered general topics (except for an interview of Edward Grieg on Liszt’s piano playing!). In fact, looking at these general titles, I would suspect that you would not find any of the composers pictured mentioned at all, or, at least, in any depth.

The February 17, 1909 concert of the Apollo Club, then conducted by Emil Mollenhauer, included some of her Nonsense Songs that inspired the Treasurer of the choir, Thomas H. Hall to compose a special invitation to Margaret to attend this concert:

“Two Apollo men jogging along,                                                                                 After singing The Man With a Gong,                                                                              Said ‘Miss Lang must hear us,                                                                                         For she surely will cheer us,’                                                                                           And they hoped she would be in the throng.”

He finished his note by saying “for I know you will laugh and laugh and laugh again.”(Scrapbook) At this concert, there were forty-three tenors and thirty-six basses with only one original member left, George C. Wiswell. In another Lang gesture, the concert ended with a piece that B. J. had programmed so often, the Double Chorus from Mendelssohn’s Antigone.

The Harvard Glee Club sang The Old Man In a Tree and The Old Person from Ware at their December 2, 1910 concert.

On January 23, 1911 The Cecilia Society included The Wild Brier for women’s voices. At that time Max Fiedler was the conductor and Malcolm Lang the assistant conductor. The January 24, 1911 review in the Transcript said: “The old finess, the old transparency, the old delicate variations of volume and emphasis-the old beauty and the old suggestion in short-returned in the singing of Miss Lang’s little piece. The voices were as luminous or as shadowed as the music.”(Scrapbook) The group repeated this piece on March 18, 1915 at Jordan Hall with Arthur Mees as the conductor. The Transcript and Herald reviews were generally negative about the choir’s performance standards. The Transcript review said that there was “No clear definition of the colorful harmony and polyphony of Miss Lang’s Wild Brier.” (Scrapbook) The group performed the piece again on January 13, 1916. The year 1914 saw two groups performing the work: on February 25, 1914 the MacDowell Club sang the work with Malcolm Lang as accompanist, and two days later the Musical Art Club conducted by Arthur Shepard performed the piece at a concert at the Copley Plaza Hotel. (Scrapbook)

The Cecilia Society’s retirement gift to B. J. Lang had been a concert of Pierne’s Children’s Crusade to benefit the Industrial School for Crippled and Deformed Children on St. Botolph Street. Margaret had a similar interest. In February 1911 she wrote a letter to the Editor of the Herald in which she suggested that subscribers to the Boston Opera who were not going to use their tickets for the upcoming [Humperdink] Hansel and Gretel matinee should donate them to the School. She felt that the children would receive “great pleasure” from attending. (Herald (February 14, 1911): 6, GB) Another interest of Margaret’s was the National League of Women Workers. She was among ten women who sold tickets for a home concert in April 1915 to benefit the League. The performers were “Miss Nina Fletcher, violinist, and Miss Leila Holterhoff, the blind singer, lately returned from 10 years’ study in Europe.” (Herald (April 11, 1915): 28, GB) The family had known Edward MacDowell and his wife since their return from Europe in the late 1880s, and so it was natural that Margaret and other members of the family should be members of the Boston MacDowell Club. An article in January 1932 announcing the next concert by the group listed “many prominent members of the club.” (Herald (January 3, 1932): 42, GB) Included were Margaret, Mrs. Malcolm Lang, and listed among the officers was Miss Helen M. Ranney, Malcolm’s wife’s sister (?)

In November 1911 the Boston Chapter of the DAR gave a reception and musicale honoring four Boston women composers: Margaret, Mabel Daniels, Florence Spaulding and Grace Conant. “The composers were invited to play the accompaniments for their own songs,” but no vocal soloists were named. “A sketch on ‘The Progress of Music in New England’ by Miss Alice Warren Pope, was a feature.” (Journal (November 9, 1911): 7, GB)forty years-langphotoPhoto from an article in Music of March 9, 1912 by C. M. Hoover.          Courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library/Rare Books.

Early in 1912 the Musical Art Club MCMXII included as part of their Fourth Season Song in the Songless, Day is Gone, A Song of the Lilac, and Snowflakes (ms.) in their January 4th. concert at Steinert Hall-Margaret accompanied Mrs. Laura Comstock Littlefield. Then on March 28, 1912 the Steinert Hall song recital by Mrs. Littlefield (accompanist-Arthur Shepherd) included Day is Gone which prompted Philip Hale to report that the “Simpler songs were better done…She sang, for example, the songs of Mrs. Beach and Miss Lang with appropriate sentiment, and so effectively that the audience redemanded Day is Gone.” However, Hale’s first paragraph was a critique of her technique-his last paragraph a critique of her French songs. And, his final line was: “The audience applauded heartily.” (Scrapbook) Day is Gone became Margaret’s second best seller at 14,660 copies printed. (Cipolla 3/5/09 e-mail) The Chicago Mendelssohn Club opened the second half of their April 25, 1912 concert with Alastair MacAlastair. The next season they included three Nonsense Songs-The Old Person of Ware, The Old Man With a Gong, and The Young Lady of Parma at their December 11, 1913 concert. This choir of 62 singers was well balanced [at least on paper] with eighteen singers for each of the four parts-TTBB. 1913 also saw “The Greatest Italian Lyric Tenor” Signor Bonci include Day is Gone in his Symphony Hall concert on March 2nd. Another Italian performance was that given by Madame Linda Giorni who included Three Ships in her concert in aid of the Victoria Orphanage in Rome-Mr. Aurelio Giorni [husband?] was the accompanist. On November 27, 1911 Margaret was the “Guest of Honor” at the Manuscript Society of New York concert where the final two sections featured her songs. She accompanied soprano Edith Watkins Griswold in Song of [in] the Songless, Day is Gone, A Song of the Lilac, and contralto Adah Hussey in A Garden is a Lonesome Thing (ms.), Summer Noon, A Song of the Spanish Gypsies (ms.), An Even Psalm, and Spring. (Copy of program)   The Daily Mail review of November 28, 1911 was very complimentary.

On May 2, 1913, The New York Manuscript Society presented a concert entirely of women composers at the National Arts Club. While this event, which “offered musical recognition to American composers” was being presented, the Suffragists were presenting a pageant at the Metropolitan Opera House. Four of Margaret’s songs were sung “with much expression” by the Armenian-American soprano, A. Angel Chopourian. “Snowflakes was a favorite in this group.” (Musical America (May 10, 1913): 32)

HARVARD MUSICAL ASSOCIATION HOUSE WARMING.

In 1913  the HMA received a bequest of $75,000 from the will of Julia M. Marsh. Her husband’s business partner, Eben Jordan, was a HMA member and Julia was probably a piano student of HMA member, B. J. Lang. This seems to be the connection that prompted the original gift of the house in 1892. This bequest required that the Association would “display and maintain her paintings and objects d’art and make her two pianos available to musicians for practicing.”  (Program of the 2003 Concert) To celebrate the completion of the 1913 renovations, a “House Warming” was presented on Christmas Eve, 1913. Margaret’s The Night of the Star was part of the program, and ninety years later the HMA recreated that event on Friday, December 5, 2003. The Serbisches Liederspiel, Opus 32 by Georg Henschel was added to the original program, and Margaret’s piece was again performed as it had been in 1913. (Ibid) Paintings of Charles Marsh (painted by Herbert Herkomer who had also painted B. J.’s portrait) and Julia Marsh (painted by Benoni Irwin) watch over the Association’s activities. (Ibid)

Wind Opus 53 for double chorus of women’s voices with a text by John Galsworthy was commissioned and performed by the St. Cecilia Club of New York in 1914 and 1915 at the New York Philharmonic concerts (Musical America, Aug. 2, 1919). On April 27, 1915 Mrs. Rice gave a recital at her studio at 6 Newbury Street [where B. J. had his last teaching studio] devoted solely to Margaret’s songs with Margaret as the accompanist.The program included:

Somewhere, A Song of the Lilac, April Winter, Into My heart (ms.), The Bird–———-Song in the Songless, Candlemas, Poplar Leaves (ms.),

There Would I Be, Snowflakes, Chimes (ms.) (Scrapbook)

The Impromptu Club gave another all-Lang concert on January 19, 1916. Margaret conducted the chorus and accompanied. Singers throughout the country were performing her songs-the Irish Mother’s Lullaby was sung in Charles City, Iowa, while the Irish Love Song appeared in Aldie, Virginia, and Day Is Gone was programmed in Los Angeles.

             Early in the 1900s Musical America ran a series of short biographies called “Contemporary American Musicians,” one in each issue. By 1919 the series had reached Number 77 which was “Margaret Ruthven Lang.” After her early years and education were covered, the article spent most of its space listing the titles of the instrumental works and the two late choral works which had been performed in New York by the St. Cecilia Club in 1914 and 1915, and at the New York Philharmonic.[?] Also listed were the fact that “She is a composing member of the New York Manuscript Society, an Honorary Member of the Musical Art Club of Boston, and Honorary Vice-President of the American Music Society. (Musical America, 1919) A certain New York perspective seems to be present.

THE HEAVENLY NOEL.

The Heavenly Noel (1916) Opus 57 with words by Richard Lawson Gales was performed by the Choral Music Society of Boston in 1917; this was a work for mezzo-soprano, women’s chorus, organ, piano, harp, and string quartet. The Thursday Morning Musicale gave another performance on February 15, 1917 with Margaret at the piano- In Praesepio and the Cradle Song of the War (Mrs. Frederick Foote, soloist) were also included. The Heavenly Noel was also sung by the MacDowell Club on March 7, 1917 by a chorus of thirteen with Margaret at the piano and acting as conductor; In the Manger was also on this program. Pittsburgh heard The Heavenly Noel on January 29, 1919 sung by the Tuesday Musical Club. The conductor, Charles Boyd, sent Margaret a copy of the program and a note saying: “So well received that we shall probably repeat it later this season.” The repeat was performed on January 27, 1920 with a note in that program: “Repeated by general desire of the Choral.” (Scrapbook) The Heavenly Noel was part of a concert given by the MacDowell Club of Boston at Jordan Hall on January 28, 1920. Margaret was the pianist, Malcolm played the organ, and Mrs. M. N. Foote was the alto soloist. (Herald (January 18, 1920): 34, GB)

1921 saw a January 26th. performance of The Wild-brier by the MacDowell Club. This work and Song of the Three Sisters has been described as “a pair of settings for women’s voices on poems of John Vance Cheney, [which] evoke with wonderful success the dark, brooding nature of their language. In addition, they reveal to the fullest the immense range of her colorful harmonic palette, a late romantic chromaticism so slippery that analysts would often be hard-pressed to define tonal centers with absolute certainty. Her notational landscape is often littered with accidentals signifying a sense of almost perpetual transition.” (Osborne, 64)

Margaret obviously kept up with new musical styles-not only those that she heard at the BSO Friday afternoon concerts, but also such composers as Charles Ives. There are two notes in “The Charles Ives Papers” at Yale which thank Ives for sending her copies of his pieces. A card dated 7 March 1921 says that “I shall take great pleasure in playing it through, at the earliest opportunity,” while on 16 August 1922 Margaret wrote that “Miss Lang begs to thank Mr. Ives for his very interesting + original music so kindly sent, + just received.” (MSS 14, The Charles Ives Papers in the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library of Yale University)

In 1923 Charles Boyd continued to champion The Heavenly Noel by including it in the program for the June 11th. concert of the Festival Chorus of Asheville. Mabel Daniels sent the notice of this concert that she had seen in the Bulletin of the National Federation of Music Clubs-she wrote: “I have missed not seeing you at the Symphonies.” (Scrapbook) Four years later Mr. Boyd again programmed The Heavenly Noel at the National Federation of Music Clubs Fifteen National Convention on April 22, 1927.

Appreciation for Margaret’s works continued through the 1930s. In a letter dated March 13, 1936, Wallace Goodrich, Director of the New England Conservatory and organist of the Church of the Advent wrote to tell her “how much pleasure the singing of your anthem [Grant, We beseech Thee] gave me recently at the Church of the Advent. “The work inspired the choir to sing better than usual,” and he asked her to consider writing a setting of the mass for that church. (Scrapbook)

image042From Hughes, Contemporary American Composers, 520 published in 1900, and Mathews, The Great In Music.

The 1920 Census listed Margaret, aged 52 as daughter with Frances, aged 80 as the head of the household. Also listed as members of the household were three unmarried servants-Helen O’Brien, aged 32 born in Boston; Catherine McNulty, aged 55 from Ireland in 1889; and Margaret Magwil, aged 34, also from Ireland, but in 1906.

image044                         This pose is very much like the 1935 “Etude” photo.

In 1925 Margaret was asked by the General Federation of Music Clubs to prepare a concert of her own works; the Federation would then make available on loan the music for this program to its members. It is interesting to see what she selected:

Women’s Chorus: Love Plumes His Wings-Opus 11

Song of the Three Sisters-1909

Alto or Mezzo Solo: Song of the Spanish Gypsies-Opus 50

A Garden is a Lovesome Thing-Opus 50

Summer Noon-Opus 37

A Thought-Opus 37

Women’s Chorus: In the Manger-Opus 56

The Wild Briar-1909

Intermission

Mezzo Solo: Nonsense Songs-Opus 42 and 43

(four from each opus)

The Old Man of Dunbree

The Old Man With a Gong

The Young Lady of Lucca

The Old Man Who Said. “well”

The Old Person of Rimini

The Old Man with a Beard

The Old Person of Ware

The Old Person of Cassel

Soprano Solo: Day Is Gone-Opus 40

St. Joseph’s Vigil-from Opus 52

Into My Heart-Opus 54

The Bird-Opus 40

Mezzo and Women’s Chorus: The Heavenly Noel

One set of this material was donated to the Boston Public Library on October 8, 1924, and each piece has the handwritten notation, “Gift of the composer through Mass. Federation of Music Clubs.”

1925 saw performances by the MacDowell Club [of Boston] on January 14 of the Song of the Three Sisters and Heavenly Noel. Charles Manney conducted both works, and Margaret played the piano in the piano, organ, harp and strings accompaniment of The Heavenly Noel. The same performers also performed The Heavenly Noel at the St. Botolph Club on March 29, 1925. In New York City the St. Cecilia Club programmed The Heavenly Noel for concerts on January 16th. and 20th. A letter from the group’s conductor, Victor Harris said: “It would interest you to know that we did the Heavenly Noel with an accompaniment of organ, piano, harp, and even chime. I introduced the latter into the section where St. Julian rings the bells, and also again at the end of the Sanctus.” (Scrapbook)

 

CHAPTER 08. MARGARET RUTHVEN LANG: CHILDHOOD AND EARLY CAREER TO 1893. SC(G). WC. TOPICS.

CHAPTER 08.          MARGARET RUTHVEN LANG: CHILDHOOD AND EARLY CAREER TO 1893.  SC(G). Word Count-8,210.

  • TOPICS:                                                                                                                                “Genius.” Musical America Article about Margaret.                                                 MRL’s Biographies of Early Life.                                                                                   Study In Munich-1885.                                                                                             Instructors at the Conservatory.                                                                                 Return to Boston-1888.                                                                                                      Margaret’s First Performances.                                                                                         Ojala-1889 Paris World’s Fair.                                                                                    Ojala-Washington, D. C. Performance.                                                                         More MRL Song Performances.
  • Dvorak Composition Lesson(s).                                                                                       Margaret’s Musical Style.                                                                                            Nikisch, BSO, Play for Margaret’s Instruction.                                                   Choral Premiers of Margaret’s.

The unsigned article below which was written about Margaret is housed in the Rare Book Room of the Boston Public Library. It very succinctly gives the main points of Margaret’s life and her accomplishments.  

“GENIUS.” MUSICAL AMERICA ARTICLE ABOUT MARGARET.

“Fire and passion, an elusive spirit of caprice, delicious nonsense that bubbles over with laughter-provoking humor, are the characteristics of Margaret Ruthven Lang’s music. Much of her larger work is still unpublished. Two of the three overtures, however, have been performed, her Dramatic Overture in Boston by the Symphony, and Witichis in Chicago at three concerts by the Thomas orchestra. Think what a triumph for a young girl, to have such public recognition given spontaneously. When Miss Lang, who is a daughter of B. J. Lang, of Boston, had completed her overture in 1893, Mr. Nikisch said to her, ‘Would you not like to hear how it will really sound? If so, send me the sheets, and I will have the men look it over, and you shall come and hear it.’ This was not refused; but still later, when the music had been rehearsed, the director found it of such merit that he asked the young author to allow him to present it at a regular concert. No songs, unless those of Nevin’s, are in greater demand than Miss Lang’s. The womanly quality is so dominant in those for one voice, that I am upheld in my earlier statement that it is this which to inspire the great composer among women musicians. Another markedly feminine trait is the versatility of her genius. What a range in her Spinning Song of penetrating pathos, Betrayed, of fiery desolation, the harmonies of the Norman Songs, the elfish music of Ghosts, or the delicious fun of her setting of Edward Lear’s Jumblies, for male voices, as sung by the Apollo Club of Boston. The mass of Miss Lang’s unpublished work is only rivaled by the amount that is out. She has over forty songs alone, besides arias for alto and one for baritone. Of the concert aria Armida, given January 1896, at a symphony concert, Mr. William Apthorp, that fearless critic, said, ”Much of the melodic writing is very broad and noble, and the whole treatment of the orchestra admirable. It shows that Miss Lang appreciates that modern orchestration means something finer and more subtle than the mere massing together of numerous musical instruments.” From the scores mentioned, it would seem that this article was written about 1898. In 1909 Stella Reid Crothers wrote in Musical America: “Endowed with exceptional talent, which has been guided and developed by the best instructors, Margaret Ruthven Lang, of Boston, is recognized not only as one of the foremost women composers of the day but one whose work bears the unmistakable stamp of genius.” (Musical America (June 19, 1909): 15) Genius!

MRL’S BIOGRAPHIES OF EARLY LIFE.

 Margaret Ruthven (pronounced Rih-ven; Amy Dubois Interview) Lang, eldest of three surviving children, was born in Boston on November 27, 1867. Her first musical instruction was piano lessons with a student of her father. He, himself later took over her instruction. (Downes, Boston Post (August 25, 1907) In 1872, when she was four years old, her mother said to her, “O Maidie, I hoped God would send me a good little girl.” “And he hasn’t,” said Maidie. (Diary 2, Summer 1872-Rosamond) Her non-musical education was at private schools (Saerchinger, 356). Her mother’s Diary mentions: “Miss Margaret Ruthven called here to-day,” but no other infor- mation is given about this woman for whom she was named. (Diary 2, March 1878) In the summer of 1878 B. J. took Margaret, then aged 11, to South Danvers to show her “the [first] church where he used to play the organ,” and the next summer they visited Salem to see “the Church on Columbia Street [Crombie Church] where he used to go when a little boy.” and where he was organist during his teenage years. (Diary 2, Summers 1878 and 1879) “Her environment has been most helpful to artistic growth, for the Lang home is the rendezvous for gifted people and the informal ‘at homes’ very stimulating to higher thought and purpose. She began violin study in September of 1879-“She is very fierce.” (Diary, Fall 1879) When a child of twelve, [1880] Miss Lang used to play ensemble with two friends who came in for this delightful phase of musical work. It occurred to her to write something for this group, so she launched forth her craft. She humorously relates how her father helped her to ‘paw out’ the consecutive fifths and other startling intruders in well-ordered composition. But he wisely saw that her thought was of more value than its expression, a far-seeing vision which belongs to what is termed the ‘new education.’ But which, new or old, is truth. So the study of musical form was at once enjoined. The steady diet of harmony and counterpoint was fairly loathed by this young girl who, however, daily walked into her Sahara, believing that she would gain a certain facility by this exercise. She had from a child, studied piano and violin. During a sojourn abroad she continued composition and after her return to this country entered an orchestration class.”(Crosby-article, 169) In a letter from Margaret to her mother dated July 19, 1883 (she would have been 15) she talks about composing a piece for a friend: “I would write her something for the piano or violin, and I have written a page of a scherzo in B flat major which is so hard that I can’t play it myself.” (Ms. Lang, vol. 24, item 2B) In a 1907 interview, Olin Downes noted: “Miss Lang began to compose at a very early age. A quintet, in one movement, for piano and strings, and a piano quintet, usually a terrible pitfall, appeared in her 12th. year, as well as several songs.” (Downes, Post, August 25, 1907) Frances noted in her Diary during the summer of 1881 when Margaret was 13, “Maidie’s Quintette comes on apace.” (Diary 2, Summer 1881) It “was played privately at her father’s summer residence.” (Musical Courier, January 1895) Margaret was already becoming part of the Boston musical world. On November 2, 1883 Amy Cheney (Beach) wrote a note, “My dear Maidie,” thanking her for attending Beach’s concert on that “dreadful night.” (Boston Athenaeum) This was probably Amy’s Boston debut where she played Chopin and a concerto with orchestral accompaniment. Margaret was two months older than Amy; they were to remain friends throughout their lives.

In a letter to Mr. Krehbiel dated May 22, 1893 she wrote: “I first studied harmony in Boston with my father, and the pianoforte and violin under various teachers…During a two years sojourn in Munich, I studied counterpoint and fugue with Prof. Victor Gluth, and the violin under (first) Louis Drechsler and then Prof. Abel. On returning to America I studied, in Boston, orchestration with Mr. Chadwick and the pianoforte with my father. During these years I wrote many songs, and after my return from Munich, I published the first group of six songs at the advice and under the supervision of Mr. MacDowell…I have composed a string quartette and violin obbligatos to three Preludes of Bach, a Cantata for chorus, solos and orchestra, and two overtures for full orchestra.” (Scrapbook 1887-1904) In an interview dated February 11, 1905 for the Lewiston Maine Journal she added to her usual bio. “and when Mr. MacFarell [MacDowell] was in Boston I used to go to him for criticism of my work. His musical judgment is extraordinary.” “Miss Lang spends the morning until 1 o’clock in work and study, having  a studio where no one can interrupt her.” (Musical Courier, January 1895) “In order to devote herself entirely to composition, Miss Lang tried a ‘den’ at home, but found her domain frequently invaded. So she hit upon the clever plan of securing a room in the neighborhood, the location of which is known to but one or two members of her family. Here she works several hours each day unmolested. In this room is a shelf which is a repository. She naively confesses to not knowing what she would do without it. There slumber many manuscripts which have served their purpose admirably as ‘lessons.’ Some of these possess commendable qualities, but lack proportions, and are, therefore, laid aside.” (Crosby, Women, 169-70)

Cline states that after this first attempt at composition she became a student of her father.” For the next seven years, she was his pupil in composition and piano. B. J. Lang was a demanding, yet devoted teacher, believing that technique was the basis for excellence in music…Margaret Lang held great respect for her father’s teaching and continued to seek his advice after her career was well-established.”(Cline, 11) In his 1924 Dictionary Eaglefield-Hull also adds the name of Philip Scharwenka as a piano teacher (Eaglefield, 287). ) Another source also lists Philipp Scharwenka (1847-1917) as a piano instructor in addition to her father. (Ebel, 81) This is possible as Scharwenka spent the year 1891-1892 in New York City, (Baker, 515) and had his symphonic poem Fruhlingswogen, Opus 87 played by the BSO on October 28, 1892. (Leichtentritt, 374)

“Margaret Lang was raised in a cosmopolitan household. Visitors from overseas were welcome and frequently present in the Lang home. In addition, Margaret was accustomed to traveling abroad with her parents, making her first trip to Europe at the age of two. She was present, as a child, in the home of Richard Wagner, and knew the Wagner children as playmates. As she grew older and more aware of her musical surroundings she undoubtedly listened with interest to the music performed at the evening gatherings at Wagner’s home. These soirees, involving musicians of the magnitude of Liszt, Wagner, Von Bulow, Dvorak and Paderewski, certainly contributed to Margaret Lang’s sense of sophistication regarding the work of composition.” (Cline, 11)

The painter Winslow Homer was a family friend as shown by the pencil drawing of B. J. playing his studio organ done in 1895. In late November 1884 he had been invited him to an event-possibly a family musical performance, or the Sunday open house, that could have included an early piece of Margaret’s. He answered:

       Lang autograph collection.

STUDY IN MUNICH-1885.                                                                                                                                                             The Lang family and nurse Ellen Sheehan sailed for Europe June 13, 1885 on the S. S. CATALONIA from Boston. They went to Belgium, Germany and Switzerland. Then in October, they met with Cosima Wagner when she was in Munich. (Frances M. Lang’s Note Book Excerpts, 7) There is a passenger “Ben I. Lang” who arrived in NYC from Liverpool on September 21, 1885 on the ETRURIA. His date of birth was given as about 1839, but the occupation can not be read. (ETRURIA Manifest) There are no other Lang family members listed on that ship as Frances and the rest of the family were to stay the winter in Munich so that Margaret could study there.

RMS ETRURIA, accessed Wikipedia, March 2019.                                                                                                                         

The First Atlantic Liners by Peter Allington and Basil Greenhill. Accessed Wikipedia March 2, 2019.

Margaret wrote to her grandmother in 1885 about meeting Liszt. “I saw – -WHO do you think? LISZT. Mamma and I and Vivie (Thompson), hearing he was in town for the day, caught at the chance, and determined to call on him, knowing how very old and feeble he was and therefore he might not live long. We three went to his hotel and after sending in our cards and waiting for some time, were ushered into his presence in a little bed-room. He was stately, beautiful, not very tall, with long soft silver-white hair. Mama spoke of Papa and Bayreuth, and Liszt seemed to remember. We shook hands all around three times, and as I tried to open the door the latch stuck, whereupon Liszt taking hold of the handle said, looking me straight in the eye all the time, ‘It is more pleasant to open the door for you to come in, than it is to let you out.’ Think of that, all to myself. V. and I later brought two photographs of him in the front of which he wrote his name.” (Frances Diary, 2, Fall 1885) This would have taken place at the beginning of Margaret’s study in Munich. “Maidie and I [Frances] went to call on Frau Wagner. And as we rather expected, she doesn’t see callers. However her daughters, Eva and Isolda welcomed us cordially.” (Diary 2, Fall 1885)

paderewsky                                            GG Co. #1992: Johnston Collection.

INSTRUCTORS AT THE CONSERVATORY.

She studied violin with Louis Schmidt beginning in 1883 aged fifteen (Schmidt, who was a Boston Symphony member together with Loeffler who described him as a “simpleton” (Knight, 36), and then at age nineteen (together with her mother) she spent the winters of 1886-87 and 1887-88 in Munich (Ryan,  86) where she studied violin with (first) Franz Drechsler (1862-1934)(he would have been only five years older than Margaret) and then Ludwig Abel (1835-1895)(friend of Hans von Bulow with whom he played chamber music) who was Concertmaster of Hermann Levi’s Court Theatre of Munich Orchestra. (Engel, 449) Levi had conducted the world premiere of Wagner’s Parsifal at Bayreuth on July 28, 1882. (Grove 1921, Vol. F-L, 687) When interviewed at age 101 she said that “she   studied it in Munich, but not seriously,” and gave it up “when she left Munich.” In the same article she recalled that “she took up the violin because her friends were studying it, and learned by watching them play.” (Herald (July 20, 1969): 6, GB) In this same article is mentioned that in Munich she “also studied composition and orchestration.” (Ibid) For counterpoint and fugue, she studied with Victor Gluth (1852-1917), a professor at the Royal Conservatory. George Chadwick had studied at the Munich Hochschule fur Musik beginning in the fall of 1879 where he had also worked with Ludwig Abel who was the “concertmaster for the Wagnerian conductor Hermann Levi.” (Yellin, 38) For the summer of 1887,  B. J. joined them in Europe.

Photo from IMSLP/Petrucci site, accessed February 1, 2019.

Below: The Munich Conservatory as Margaret saw it. Built in 1846, destroyed in the war, 1944. Gluth was the Director here for two years before his death. (Hochschule fur Musik und Theater, Munchen, accessed February 2, 2019)

Lang found lodgings for Frances and the children in Munich at No. 46 Brienner Strasse which “proved to be the most satisfactory. It is a Pension, and the food is served to us, in our own dining-room, very good indeed. In the evening to the Opera…We go to the Opera most every other night…Continuous Concerts, Theatres and Operas.” (Diary 2, Fall 1885) In the spring of 1886 Frau Cosima Wagner and her daughters came to stay at this Pension as the Frau was consulting an eye doctor. (Diary 2, Spring 1886)

RETURN TO BOSTON-1888.

After she returned from Europe in 1888, she continued her work for a time with Professor John K. Paine of Harvard and J. C. D. Parker, (but these names were not mentioned in her 1893 autobiographical entry prepared for Mr. Krehbiel),GeorgeWChadwick (1)From Hughes, 210.

finishing her orchestration studies with George Whitefield Chadwick (who had also been a student in Munich from 1877-1880, studying with Rheinberger). Blunsom, based on Diary entries from 1892, writes that her lessons with Chadwick “took place at her maternal grandmother’s home,” which would have been at the Burrage home. (Blunsom, 74) However, Frances notes in her Diary late in February 1888: “Today it was 10 below zero. Maidie took her first lesson from Mr. Chadwick.” (Diary 2, Winter 1888) The note setting up the first lesson does specify his house for the lesson. It goes on: “I shall hope to see many pretty compositions from your pen as well as the ‘strict counterpoint.'” (Boston Athenaeum) One wonders as to the tone of that remark. She also showed her compositions to Edward MacDowell (who lived in Boston for eight years beginning in 1888 at the suggestion of B.J.). However, Margaret made it clear in a letter to William Apthorp, that she did not study with MacDowell-he had mentioned this fact in his BSO program note for her Dramatic Overture. “It was [B. J.] Lang’s eloquence that convinced MacDowell to return to the USA in the autumn of 1888.” (Grove’s, 419) Further, Lang arranged for MacDowell to appear at an Apollo Club concert on Dec. 10 at the Boston Music Hall. “There is no evidence of the length of time Lang studied with any of her teachers, aside from the continued supervision of her father until his death in 1909.” (Cline, 12) After returning from Europe she did continue her piano study with her father (Autobiographical note for Mr. Krehbiel). She also had special instruction that was probably arranged by her father.  “In her study of the resources of the orchestra, she has had an illustrative talk with each member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra on the possibilities of his instrument, that she may work to better advantage when writing in this form.” (Crosby, Women, 170) How many other young composers could say the same?

MARGARET’S FIRST PERFORMANCES.

The first public performance of a composition by Margaret was given at the second of “Two Vocal-Recitals” sung by William J. Winch, tenor, William Whitney Whitney, bass with B. J. Lang as the accompanist in Boston’s Chickering Hall on December 14, 1887. The Advertiser had called attention to the event two days before: “The second recital of Mr. Winch and Mr. Whitney…has an added local interest, in that Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang, daughter of Mr. B. J. Lang, …will give through Mr. Winch a first public hearing to five of her own songs.” (Advertiser (December 12, 1887): 8, GB)  The five were: O Roemerin (O, Roman Maid)(published as Lied der Nebenbuehler or Song of the Rival Maid in 1889), Ghosts-1889, Song in the Twilight-1889, Lebe wohl (Farewell) and Der Sommer (Summer), the last two were never published. For this concert, B. J., in addition to being the accompanist for the songs, on one hour’s notice substituted the Chopin Scherzo Op. 31 for the material that Mr. Whitney, the assisting artist, who was ill, was to have sung. The reviews were consistently positive. Cline quotes from a review in the “Boston Home Journal” which describes the composer as a “highly promising song composer,” and then goes on to say the “Miss Lang writes for the voice as though she thoroughly understood its requirements and she sympathetically responds thereto with an abundance of talent and originality, not to mention the piquancy and refined quaintness that in the present instance she has shown, in her treatment of words, and with all the musical feeling of a genuine tone poet.” (Cline, 13) The Advertiser singled out Ghosts, “and the single stanzaed, half recitative Songs In the Twilight …Mr. Winch has never sung better than in these fairy-like bits of melody which Miss Lang has made so signal.” The Herald cited Ghosts and Songs in the Twilight as being “particularly graceful in form, and of a pleasing character in every way. Mr. Winch gave his best efforts in the interpretation of those numbers and aroused the enthusiasm of his audience for the songs and the singer as well. (Herald (December 15, 1887): 3, GB) The Saturday evening edition of the Gazette ended its review with: “The young composer is to be complimented sincerely on the excellence of her work and congratulated on the immediate appreciation that attended them and the deserved success they achieved.” The Brookline Chronicle said: “The group of German songs, by Margaret Ruthven Lang were exquisite, not only in their lyrical beauty, but in the unison between the sentiment of the words and that of the music.” Finally, the Courier said: “There was in them all evidence of that delicacy of poetic sentiment to which young American composers seldom aspire.The Songs In the Twilight is a gem.” (Scrapbook 1887-1906) In a letter to Krelbiel dated May 22, 1893 Margaret stated that she published her first group of six songs “at the advice and under the supervision of Mr. MacDowell.” Certainly, this was a very positive beginning to her public career.

Soon after, she had first performances at the Manuscript Club which was “Formed in 1888 under the direction of Evelyn Ames [an amateur musician, Blunsom, 69], this club was founded to offer local composers the opportunity to hear their works performed before an intelligent audience. At the first meeting the program consisted of music by Clara Rogers, Clayton Johns, Owen Wister, Margaret Lang, and Arthur Foote.” (Knight-Loeffler, 69) The date was January 19, 1888, and B. J. accompanied William J. Winch in O Romerin, Ghosts, Lebe Wohl, Songs in the Twilight, and Der Sommer. The Manuscript Club performance was held at the home of Isabel Stuart Gardner at 150-152 Beacon Street.“On Mrs. Gardner’s programme are the autographs of all the composers. This was her way of humanizing records and of giving her friends the pleasure of knowing that she believed their achievements would one day make them famous.” (Carter, 113) A year later, February 28, 1889, the Manuscript Club gave another performance at Mrs. Gardner’s home which included Oh, What Comes Over the Sea, Ojala, and To Tonight sung by Mr. George F. Parker and accompanied by Margaret.“Again Mrs. Gardner secured the autograph of each composer with the opening bars of one of his compositions. A few other concerts were given in other places, but unfortunately the Club had only a brief existence.”(Carter, 114) It would seem that Mrs. Gardner became a good friend of the family as she gave to “the composer Margaret Ruthven Lang her much-prized harpsichord (in remembrance of Lang’s father, the noted organist and conductor B. J. Lang).”(Locke, 107) However, as the thank-you note from Margaret is dated May 14, 1905, the phrase “in remembrance” would not be correct as B. J. was still living. (Date given by Locke, 119)  The Guest Book of the Lang farm in New Boston, NH records visits from Mrs. Gardner on September 28, 1895, July 19, 1902, July 24-29, 1903 and August 6-8, 1907. Another indication of the Gardner-Lang friendship is reflected in the fact the Mrs. Gardner was in charge of arranging the floral offerings at B. J. Lang’s funeral in 1909. Locke also cites many letters from Margaret and B. J. to Mrs. Gardner, and suggests that she may have been “a regular sponsor of his several choral societies. (Locke, 120 and 108) The first contact between the two families may have come as a result of the fact that Mrs. “Gardner’s musical passion found its primary outlet in concert going. After settling in Boston (early 1860s), she faithfully attended the concerts of the Harvard Musical Association” and further contacts may have been made in the 1880s as “Isabella and Jack had become pilgrims to the Wagner Festival at Bayreuth (they went together four times, and she went one other time without Jack).” (Locke, 93)

The New York Herald mentioned in their March 11, 1888 edition that Boston seemed very gay considering that it was Lent. The previous Sunday “was given over to half a dozen brilliant receptions and musicales, all of them largely attended by notable gatherings of prominent people. (New York Herald (March 11, 1888):9, GB) Mrs. William F. Apthorp gave a dinner party which was followed by an evening of music. The parties continued on into the following week with “several teas and musicales on Monday. One of the pleasantest was that given by Mrs. David P. Kimball in the afternoon from four to seven o’clock (music at five), in honor of Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang, the daughter of Mr. B. J. Lang, who has recently made her debut into society.” (Ibid)

At the May 10, 1888 concert of The Cecilia at the Music Hall, Mr. George J. Parker sang four of Margaret’s solo songs: My Lady Jacqueminot, Sing Birdling Sing, Nameless Pain and Songs In the Twilight. The review in the Gazette written by Mr. Woolf said: “Miss Lang’s four songs…charming little fancies, delicately artistic in treatment, were sung by Mr. Parker with rare finish of style and tenderness of sentiment, winning for his really beautiful interpretations, some of the heartiest plaudits of the evening.” (Scrapbook 1887-1906) The Chronicle of May 11 said: “Some of them have been heard here before, and a second hearing only confirms the excellent opinion we formed of their merit. The Songs In the Twilight is one of the most beautiful lyrical songs we ever heard.” (See another review in the “Cecilia” section) (Scrapbook 1887-1906)

The spring of 1889 saw the first of her songs published. A newspaper review of May 4, 1889 covered My Lady Jacqueminot, Ojala, Nameless Pain, Ghosts, In the Twilight, and Song of the Rival Maid. “Miss Lang’s capacities as a composer have been lately displayed in public on several occasions, and these exhibitions have included both songs for a single voice and part songs. They have always proved interesting and sometimes pleasing. It may be said, in a general way, of the songs named, that they reveal an earnest desire to take the words at their full value; or rather to return, in musical expression, all that the words convey or suggest. It results, as in the case of Schumann, that the themes are sometimes wanting in the roundness of form which are characteristic of songs composed more for the sake of the music than the words. Liking for this little group, therefore, will largely depend on the taste of the individual.” Particular praise for Ghosts follows (see under the entry for this work), and the review ends with-“A fancy for changing the rhythm, for a few measures, has governed the young composer in several of the others. These changes seem justified for the sake of strengthening the faithfulness of the translation of words into music, but at times they disturb the flow of the melody.” (Scrapbook 1887-1906) “Despite its simple character and musical structure, Ghosts was a song that helped establish Lang’s reputation as a composer. It was well-received critically and was popular among Boston audiences, being performed many times from 1887 to 1896. Certainly, the song’s simplicity appealed to both the concert-going audience and the music-buying public. The critical response, however, was guided by gendered views. Reviewers note its ‘sentiments soft, delicate and sweet.’ Rupert Hughes in American Composers describes it as ‘elfin and dainty as snowflakes.’ In fact, he reprinted Ghosts as the only musical example of Lang’s work as a composer, while describing her music as ‘supremely womanly.’ Ghosts was perhaps the perfect example of what critics believed was an outlet for female composers, and hence they praised the work for its simplicity and unpretentiousness at the same time recognizing it as a legitimate art song.” (Blunsom, 218)

Songs were not the only pieces that Margaret was writing. An undated article c. 1888 stated: “Miss Lang is said to have recently completed a highly interesting and effective piece of music for French Horn and piano, and will probably be heard in public for the first time at one of the ensuing concerts of the Kneisel quartette.” (Scrapbook)

At their January 31, 1889 concert, Cecilia presented In a Meadow-many favorable reviews appeared. The Herald reviewer felt this quartet to be a “prominent success” of the evening, while the Gazette described it as “ a pretty, graceful and effective bit of writing, with some interesting harmonies and a charming piano accompaniment.” The Courier said that “although some of the solo phrases sound thin, it has moments of great power.It is melodious in an unwonted degree, and its grace and daintiness (admirably suited to the words) together with the excellence of its execution… made it one of the best-appreciated numbers of a programme which was rich in good things.” (Scrapbook 1887-1906) One of the music magazines felt that “it proved to be one of the most earnestly listened to of the evening’s selections.” (American Musician, February 16, 1889) The Globe review described the work as having three verses “differently set, two being led off by the soprano, while the intermediate one is divided between the bass and tenor voices. There is a diversified and sparkling pianoforte accompaniment, which Mr. Lang played with paternal care and artistic grace.” (Globe, undated and unsigned)

1889 PARIS WORLD’S FAIR-OJALA.

Also in 1889 her song Ojala was performed in Paris at the July 12th. concert in the Trocadero during the Paris World’s Fair Exposition; this concert featured American works. The conductor was the American composer/conductor Frank Van der Stuchen who programmed one of his own pieces at this concert together with works by Dudley Buck, George W. Chadwick, Arthur Foote, John K. Paine, and Henry Holden Hess; Margaret’s song was accompanied by Edward MacDowell and MacDowell was the soloist in his own Piano Concerto No. 2. (Chase, 350-51) Whereas other countries had multiple concerts, this concert was the only one devoted to American works-the full program was:

American Concert, 12 July 1889. Soloists: Edward MacDowell (piano), Willis Nowell (violin), Maude Starvetta (mezzo-soprano), Emma Sylvania (soprano), and The Orchestre de l’Opera-Comique.

In the Mountains, overture, Op. 14 (1886) Arthur Foote                                   Concerto No. 2 in D Minor for piano Edward MacDowell                                   Three Songs:                                                                                                                                            In Bygone Days George Whitefield Chadwick                                                   Milkmaid’s Song Arthur Foote                                                                                      Where the Lindens Bloom Dudley Buck                                                                                                                                               La Tempete, orchestral suite, Op. 8 Frank van der Stucken

Intermission

Melpomene, dramatic overture (1887) George Whitefield Chadwick        Romance et Polonaise for violin and orchestra Henry Holden Huss             Oedipus Tyrannus, incidental music, Op. 35 (1881) John Knowles Paine           Prelude Carneval Scene, Op. 5 (1887) Arthur Bird                                                Three Songs:                                                                                                                 Moonlight Frank van der Stucken                                                                               Ojala, text by George Eliot (1889) Margaret Ruthven Lang                              Early Love Frank van der Stucken                                                                          Festival overture on Star-Spangled Banner Dudley Buck

“Van der Stucken was apparently invited sometime in May to conduct the July 12 concert, forcing him to act quickly in choosing repertoire and soloists. One of his first invitations went to Edward MacDowell, the rising young American pianist and composer who had lived in Europe from 1876 to 1888…according to Otto Floersheim of The Musical Courier, van der Stucken was allowed to use the auditorium free of charge…The orchestra was that of the Opera Comique, one of the best in Paris. They had a total of five rehearsals, during which Floersheim reported that they were put through the wringer:” Also did they take Mr. Van der Stucken’s not always very complimentary remarks and his frequent criticism with the utmost good nature and followed all of his instructions in the most careful and minute manner.”…None of the works received its premiere in Paris, as the conductor opted for a program of ”chestnuts” from the recent American repertoire. To the French critics, though, all the works were unfamiliar…The program was subject to change until a few days before the concert, as indicated by the postcard from MacDowell to Margaret Ruthven Lang in Boston:

 10 July Paris

Dear Miss Lang,

I showed your songs to van der Stucken who says he will put Ojala on his programme. I expect to accompany it myself and hope to bring down the house. Concert is day after tomorrow. All well. Kind regards to all.

E. A. MacDowell (Scrapbook)

“The concert was eagerly anticipated by the American community in Paris. An anonymous letter to the editor of the Paris edition of the New York Herald spoke in glowing terms of Miss Sylvania, one of the featured singers….At this period in French history, American singers were enjoying disproportionate success on the operatic stage, so it is not surprising to learn that the performance of the two vocal soloists was very well received. Both of them used stage names for this performance, but Floersheim identifies them as Mrs. Starkweather of Boston and Miss Walters of Philadelphia.” (Bomberger, 46-52) Mrs. Starkweather used the stage name of Mmd. Maude Starvetta while she was in Paris as a pupil of Mathilde Marchesi. (Bomberger, “Concert Americain”) An undated review described Miss Sylvania as “a young artist with a brilliant future. She has a voice of great purity, fine and penetrating, that traveled to the limits of the vast hall in the most piano passages. She sang well, and will certainly be heard of again before long…Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang’s Ojala is also a pleasing composition, that reminds one somewhat of Virginia Gabriel.” Another review mentioned that the singer was not yet 20. The French reviewer for Le Monde Musical penned “what may be the worst review ever published of a concert of American music. (Bomberger, review) Brument-Colleville missed the opening overture and left before “the last two sets as well,” and thus had no comment on Margaret’s’ song. (Ibid) But he certainly had opinions on what he heard: “Not one of these gentlemen, neither MacDowell, nor Van der Stucken…nor Huss, nor Bird, not one I say, had three measures that belonged to him, truly to him. There is some of everything in this music, a filet of Mendelssohn with a salami of Schumann, some hors-d’oeuvres from here, from there, from Wagner or from Brahms, not a few nebulosities, and for dessert, boredom and monotony…The notes come…but the ideas…!!!” (Ibid) Special scorn was saved for MacDowell’s Second Piano Concerto: “Up to the end (two eighth notes on the fourth E-A) everything is pastiched, copied, repeated.” (Ibid) However, Chadwick’s overture Melpomene was seen as a piece “That is grand, wisely and seriously conceived and it is art (very German art, to be sure) but it is art in every sense of the word.” (Ibid) MacDowell must have considered this to be an important concert as his only fee was to be expenses. MacDowell’s father wrote to his son: “If you would go, he would want you to start about the end of June [from Boston where he was currently living], to be one week in Paris, and all he could offer would be your actual expenses of travel there and back and hotel expenses for the week. If he made any profit over & above the expenses he would share a percentage with you which can not be counted on.” (Bomberger, 46)

OJALA-WASHINGTON, D. C. PERFORMANCE.

Ojala was also part of the Inauguration Concert of American Composers at the Lincoln Concert Hall in Washington, D.C. on March 26, 1890. This concert was organized and conducted by Van der Stuchen, and Ojala was placed among three songs just before the finale (Buck’s-Festival Overture on the Star-Spangled Banner), which was the same placement as used for the Paris concert the year before. Miss Eleanor Warner Everest was the soprano. Unfortunately, there was no information about the composers of the three songs in the sixteen-page program which otherwise gave full composer information and details of each piece for the instrumental works to be played! The concert was promoted by Mrs. Thurber, founder of the New York City National Conservatory, and used an orchestra of 40 from New York. This was the first of a series of concerts featuring American composers that were to be presented throughout the country,(Dvorak was the head of this conservatory from 1892 until 1895).

MORE MRL SONG PERFORMANCES.

In 1890 and early 1891 various singers were beginning to program her songs. Miss Clara E. Smart in 1890 sang My Lady Jacqueminot, Eros, In the Twilight, Ghosts, and Ojala. The Transcript review by Apthorp said: “Each one of these lovely little bits is perfect in its way and a second hearing finds nothing in them of the irksomeness of the merely ”sweetly pretty” tune. ” (Scrapbook 1887-1906) Mr. George J. Parker programmed Ojala, My Lady Jacqueminot, and In the Twilight when he appeared as an assisting artist at an organ recital given by Henry M. Dunham on January 3, 1890, and repeated these songs when he assisted in Arthur Foote’s concert at Gill’s Hall in Springfield on June 6, 1890. A month before, May 8, 1890, he also assisted Foote in a “Piano-forte and Song Recital” at Perkins Institution for the Blind where the same three songs were sung together with Eros and O What Comes Over the Sea. (Scrapbook 1887-1906) He included Deserted in his January 11, 1891 recital at the St. Botolph Club, and on March 18, 1891 he sang Deserted, My Lady Jacqueminot, In the Twilight, and Beautie’s Eyes (with cello obbligato) at the Lasell Seminary. At the January 19, 1891 meeting of the “Fortnightly Club” the Boston Symphony conductor Mr. Nikisch accompanied his wife in Ojala and Meg Merriles, and on February 28, 1891 Mr. G. W. Dudley included A Spring Song in his recital at Chickering Hall. At the Thursday, May 14, 1891 concert of the Cecilia, My Lady Jacqueminot, In a Garden, and Night were sung by Gertrude Franklin. Fame was becoming international; Miss Louise Laine performed Ghosts and Ojala at her recital in Halifax, Nova Scotia on January 21, 1891. Most of these songs had only been published less than two years before. Margaret was the vocalist at an open house given by Mrs. Apthorp when the special guest was Mr. Courtenay Thorpe. She sang “the Christmas song that she composed.” (Herald (December 27, 1891): 23, GB) That was mostly likely Opus 8, No. 2, Christmas Lullaby with text by J. A. Symonds.

At the January 27, 1892 concert, the Cecilia Society performed In a Garden. On January 20, 1892 the New York soprano Mrs. Caroline Garrit [Gerritt] Smith “gave the first of many all-Lang concerts.” (Block-Norton/Grove, 265)(Glickman, 184) “In all, fourteen songs by Lang were performed at this concert, including five settings of Edward Lear limericks, works which would remain unpublished until 1905.” (Cline, 14) One newspaper story referred to the event as an “informal musical reception” given at Mrs. Smith’s studio, 573 Madison Ave. that was “comfortably filled with society people.”Another story, entitled “They Sang Their Songs,” listed the singers as Miss Winant, Mr. Clarke, Mrs. Smith herself, and MISS LANG-certainly one of the few vocal performances given by Margaret. A letter from Mrs. Smith asked Margaret to sing the Nonsense Songs. Mrs. Smith continued to sing Margaret’s songs: Ghosts and Meg Merriles on February 18, 1892 and Ghosts again on March 19, 1892. Others in New York City were also including Lang compositions: at the February 16, 1892 recital of pupils from the Purdon Robinson and Victor Harris Studio, Mrs. Anna Mooney-Burch (soprano) sang Ghosts, Nameless Pain, and In the Twilight. Mrs. Gerritt Smith’s husband was an organist at the South Church in NYC, professor at Union Theological Seminary, and President of the Manuscript Society (Baker, 549-550).

Margaret’s songs were also performed within the family circle. Blunsom notes a November 24, 1892 Diary entry that mentions “Three ladies came & dined…We talked & Maidie sang her Nonsense Songs & Heliotrope & Olaf” while Frances herself performed in late July. “It came up without my being able to help it that I sang Maidie’s songs-Ojala, Twilight, Lady Jaquemont, Night, Harbor of Dreams, Ghosts. The accompanist is not mentioned. On another occasion, Frances recorded: “This evening we played Whist until Miss Silsbee and Miss Mitchell came. Maidie sang delightfully a dozen songs beginning (by request) with the Nonsense Songs of Lear. They were enchanted.” Within the Lang social circle, Margaret’s songs were very favorites. “Maidie went to Gretchen Franklin’s reception. Miss Little sang. Miss F. sang Maidie’s Night…To Alice Jones to a tea for Mrs. Laurence Hutton where I met many interesting people. Mrs. Matthews sings Maidie’s songs delightfully.” (Blunsom, 139 and 140)

DVORAK COMPOSITION LESSON(S).

The opening concert of the 17th. Cecilia  Season presented the Boston premiere of the  Requiem of Dvorak. It was conducted by the composer at the Music Hall on Monday evening, November 28 and Wednesday evening, November 30, 1892 with orchestra and B. L. Whelpley at the organ. Dvorak had conducted the world premiere at the English Birmingham Festival on October 9, 1891, and the American premier had been in New York City in February 1892. (Johnson, First, 132). Hale wrote: “The performance of the chorus was in the main excellent, an honor to the Cecilia and the city. It was evident that the chorus had been carefully and intelligently drilled by Mr. Lang, for in attack and in observance of the nuances there was little to be desired.” The soloists were praised, and “Mr. Dvorak was welcomed with warmth, frequently applauded, and at the end recalled with enthusiasm. It was a pleasure to see this simple. modest, kindly man of great talent directing his own music…The man, as well as his music, made a profound impression. (Journal, undated)

Dvorak as he would have looked to the choir. From Music Magazine, September 1893. Johnston Collection.

Dvorak wrote: “Yesterday I came to Boston to conduct…the Requiem [which] will be given with several hundred performers. The concert on December 1st. will be for only the wealthy and the intelligentsia, but the preceding day my work will also be performed for poor workers who earn 18 dollars a week, the purpose being to give the poor and uneducated people the opportunity to hear the musical works of all times and all nations. That’s something, isn’t it? I am looking forward to it like a child.” (Sourek, 151)

George Chadwick recorded: “There was much curiosity to see the man but he was a poor conductor and could not speak English, consequently he got no effect out of the work, which after all is not one of his best. I did not meet him.” (Chadwick, Memoirs) It sounds like it upset him.

Chadwick may not have received the attention that he thought he deserved, but being the conductor’s daughter did have its privileges. In Frances’ Diaries, there are references to Dvorak looking over Margaret’s instrumental compositions. It seems that the Lang’s were hosting the composer, as Frances mentions taking him to a BSO concert and various conversations that the family members had with Dvorak. On the Apollo Club rehearsal night, Tuesday, November 29th., Frances wrote in her Diary: “Dvorak asked to see Maidie’s overture (the first one) and gave her a long and most interesting lesson on it. Later, her songs.” (Baer, 17) If the overture were the first one, it would have been Witichis which had its premiere after her first overture, the Dramatic Overture. This instruction had probably been set-up by B. J. Unfortunately, Frances records no specifics of what Dvorak said about any of the pieces he examined.

B. J. had wasted no time in making use of Dvorak’s presence in America-he had only just arrived on September 27, 1892!

MARGARET’S MUSICAL STYLE.

“Margaret Lang’s style, in general, is grounded in late nineteenth-century German musical language, with rich harmonies, dense textures and complex chromaticism. Most notable is the obvious influence of Wagner’s musical language on Lang: she often relies on Wagnerian harmonic progressions even in her most straightforward songs. However, she is also eclectic: at various points, she utilized features of various styles, including impressionism, orientalism and folk tunes…Chromaticism, dominant 13ths and augmented 6ths are prevalent, especially in their [Lang, Beach, Rogers, Daniels and Hopekirk] art songs.” (Blunsom, 187 and 188) Betrayed, Opus 9, No. 4 shows these influences. Downes’ opinion of this song was that “An intensely dramatic page is the last of Op. 9, Betrayed. The stormy, agitated accompaniment and fiery impetus with which the music rushes along, give it, in the writer’s estimation, almost the rank among songs that Chopin’s Revolutionary Etude holds in the realm of piano music.” (Downes article) Blunsom gives a page and one-half to a description of this song citing the influence of Wagner “both in the chromaticism and in the harmonic movement, including the use of diminished chords and ‘Tristan’ chords,” and she notes the similarity of measure 41 with “Wagner’s ‘Traume’ from Wesendonck Lieder. (Blunsom, 197)  “Lang’s two spinning songs, however, reveal the depth of the female perspective expressed musicopoetically.” (Blunsom, 239)

As to the texts set, women tended to set poems by women. “Amy Beach used women’s poems in 48% of her songs, Margaret Lang 35% and Mabel Daniels 42%. Arthur Foote, as a comparison, set poems by women in only 16% of his songs…Texts on the subject of love make up the overwhelming thematic majority…The common themes of nature, night and the sea, however, also appear as non-love songs…The German lied served as the primary model for the American art song…Interestingly, the German songs of Lang…were written early in “her career.” (Blunsom, 189, 190, and 191) Interest in things French “was steadily gaining favor in Boston: the city had a French Library and a women’s French society club…At the Chromatic Club, for example, French songs were invariably well-represented…Lang’s Lament, for example, was one of her most critically successful songs. Its style is not based on dense chromaticism or complex harmonic movements, but on the clear texture and open, sonorous harmonies with a fluid melodic line…Lament is the song noted by Rupert Hughes as her best song.” (Blunsom, 192)

        In July of 1892 B. J. Lang wrote to Theodore Thomas concerning a major work that Margaret had composed which might be performed at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago for which Thomas was the musical director. “If at any time in your busy life you can look at a musical work in three parts, say twenty-five minutes long, for solo voices, chorus and full orchestra, words The Wild Huntsman by Scott, music by my daughter Margaret Ruthven Lang, you will, I am sure, be surprised and pleased at seeing a work of great picturesqueness and originality. The thing is scored with, what seems nowadays to be so common, great apprehension of orchestral color. I do wish you’d look at it but I’ll not send it excepting of your bidding. (Feldman-“Being Heard”). Margaret herself had some input into the programming for the Exposition as she was a member of the “Advisory Council of the Women’s Branch of the World’s Congress Auxiliary on Music” effective September 15, 1892 by Mrs. Potter Palmer, President. (Scrapbook)

NIKISCH, BSO, PLAY FOR MARGARET’S INSTRUCTION.

       Probably because of her father’s standing in the Boston musical community, Margaret was able to use his connections for her own benefit. She recalled: “They told me…to take some Grieg to the orchestra (BSO) and hear how it sounded, so I could learn about orchestration. So I went to one of Nikisch’s rehearsals and they played for me. Things were so easy in those days.”(Miller-100th. birthday interview) The more relaxed standards of the time are reflected in a story recorded by Leichtentritt. “A scene I witnessed at a rehearsal of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra years later [after his Boston years] showed Nikisch’s habitual practice. A complicated new work by Max Reger was to be rehearsed for the first time. Nikisch stepped to the conductor’s desk with his customary aplomb. When he opened the printed score before him, it turned out to have uncut leaves, a sure proof that he had never looked at it before. He became acquainted with a new work only as he rehearsed it, relying on his amazing musical instinct and his vast experience as a conductor. Studying scores at home as a preparation for the performance did not appeal to him.” (Leichtentritt, 368)

CHORAL PREMIERS OF MARGARET’S.

        On Wednesday, January 18, 1893 the Apollo Club gave the premiere of the Boatman’s Hymn at the 2nd. Concert of their 22nd. Season. This work had been written for the group, and the soloist was the baritone, Mr. T. E. Clifford. It was placed just before intermission to end the first half of the concert (The work was repeated at the May 8, 1895 concert where it opened the program). A few days later, January 25 and 26, 1892 The Cecilia Society included In a Garden sung by the wife of the Boston Symphony conductor, Mrs. Arthur Nikisch as part of the second concert of their 16th. Season. A year later the Cecilia did her Love Plumes His Wings for female voices on January 25, 1893 (the work was repeated at the January 16 and 17, 1895 concerts). The review by Louis C. Elson in the Advertiser said: “The other work is one by Miss Lang; it is entitled Love Plumes His Wings (the words being by Louise Chandler Moulton) and is the best I have yet heard by this composer. It is charmingly melodic, has enough of imitative treatment in the voices to keep up continuous interest from the harmonic or contrapuntal side, and its unaffected grace and daintiness appeal to musician and non-musician alike. It received most abundant and continued applause (and deserved it, too), but an encore was denied.” (Scrapbook) Philip Hale in the Journal of January 27, 1893 complained that the overall mood of the concert was “gray,” but that this “work stood out in delightful relief and it was heartily applauded.” (Scrapbook) A month later the group repeated this work at a concert on February 8, 1893 in Salem, MA that also included the solo song Meg Merriles sung by Miss Harriet S. Whittier.

Margaret (1)

       The earliest image of Margaret. Found in the Ladies Home Companion, October 1896; in The Century Magazine, March 1898 (facing left); and in the Home Journal, May 7, 1898.

The Musical Courier of January 25, 1893 announced that Margaret Ruthven Lang “will visit New York next month as the guest of Mrs. Winslow Homer, the wife of the well-known painter. It will be remembered that several receptions were given here last year in Miss Lang’s honor, notably one at Dr. and Mrs. Gerrit Smith’s, at which several of the lady’s works were performed to the delight of all who listened. Similar receptions are being planned for her this season, in order that Miss Lang may meet as many as possible of New York’s prominent musicians and in order that the latter may have an opportunity of becoming acquainted with this gifted and beautiful woman.” (Scrapbook)

The Chicago Record reviewed a concert given at the Music Hall of the World’s Columbian Exposition in early August 1893. Margaret’s other overture was played. The paper wrote: “Witiches proves to be a pleasing composition worked out with firmness of touch and an evident understanding of form.” (Chicago Record (August 5, 1893): 3, GB) Two other pieces by American composers were played and Maud Powell gave the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto a “fine and discriminating performance as would be expected of her.” (Ibid)

 

CHAPTER 07. BENJAMIN JOHNSON LANG CHRONOLOGY. SC(G) WC.

  CHAPTER SEVEN-BENJAMIN JOHNSON LANG CHRONOLOGY. SC(G) WORD COUNT-7,132. 9/30/2020.

1837 Born Dec. 28, Cambridgeport MA. Father-Benjamin Lang and mother, Hannah Breed Learock Lang (New Boston Questionaire)

Childhood homes. 1841 – 12 Liberty Street; 1844 – 34 Summer Street; 1851 – 49 Lafayette Street (fire, see below)

First organ lessons.

1850 First organ recital: Danvers, MA age 13.                                                      Harvard Musical Association (founded 1837) led by physician Dr. Jabez Baxter Upham (1820-1902) raised $100,000 in 60 days to build the Boston Music Hall. Other earlier groups had failed.

1851, February 10th. c. 2 PM. The  Fire destroys the inside of the house where the Lang’s were living: 49 Lafayette Street. Two valuable pianos were moved out of the house before the fire reached them.

1851 Organist Dr. Cook’s church in Lynn, MA age 14

June 20, 1852: Organist Crombie St. Church in Salem, MA  age 14 (B. J. Lang, Teenage Diary)November 20, 1852, Boston Music Hall opened. Seated 2,585; two tiers of balconies; built in the middle of a block with entrances off Tremont Street opposite Park Street Church and down Central Place off Winter Street.

1852 Dwight’s Journal of Music begins-last issue in 1881.

 

1855 Organist Dr. Neale’s First Baptist, Somerset St., Boston.  January 20, 1855: “played at the organ opening at Dr. Neale’s” church. (B. J. Lang Teenage Diary) Contained the largest organ in Boston at that time. On February 1 Lang wrote that his father heard from a First Baptist Music Committee member that they would meet that night and request the resignation of the current organist, Mr. Bradford. This happened and B. J. was appointed organist on February 9, 1855; he had just turned 17.

1855 Arranges accompaniments to Bible Songs by Marion Dix Sullivan. Actually published in 1856

1855  Listed in the 1855 Boston Directory: “B. J. Lang music teacher, 20 Somerset.”

1855 October-receipt for music bought by Frances Burrage shows that B. J. taught through the fall quarter, October, November and December of 1855.

1855 December 24-was accompanist for this Music Hall concert-also on the program was one of B. J.’s teachers, the “celebrated pianist” Gustave Satter. (Broadside, American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, MA)

1856 March 21-was part of a performance of Dramatic Recitations. He played his own piece, Fantastic Original, and was an accompanist.

1856 In mid-June B. J. joined three other musicians for a three-week tour of the Canadian Maritimes

1856 July (?) leaves for Europe.

1855-1858 Three years study in Germany: meets Wagner in Berlin (1857) age 17-20. No listing has been found (Summer of 1856) for this crossing; he probably went steerage, and thus his name did not appear on any ship passenger list. He would have had to return to Boston in the late fall of 1857  to arrange for the concert appearances that began early in 1858. Thus his time in Europe was more likely to be just half of three years quoted in many sources (one being a Lang interview).

1858 First concert appearance in Boston (Tuesday, February 2, 1858 at Mendelssohn Quintet Club concert: first Boston performance of Beethoven’s Trio In C Minor, Opus 1, No. 3. However, Ryan wrote: “He made his debut at fifteen years of age in one of the Mendelssohn Quintette Club’s concerts.”(Ryan, 84)-that would have been between December 1852 to December 1853. However, Dowell does not list Lang as an assisting artist for a Boston concert during that period, nor in any of the non-Boston concerts. Age 20.

1859 His first composition performed publicly: Mendelssohn Quintette Club concert of Friday, January 29 included Mrs. J. H. Long singing Lang’s Breath of Spring with the composer as accompanist.

1859 Soloist in American premiere (February 29, 1859) of Mozart’s Concerto in E-Flat, K. 482 age 21.

1859 October 1, aged nineteen (Brainard’s, July 1881, p. 98) appointed organist of Handel and Haydn: serves as accompanist for 37 years (1859-1896) and as conductor for two years (1896-1898). Brainard was wrong–in October of 1859, Lang was three months short of 22.

1859-1864: Organist, Old South Church.

1859. Teaching studio listed as 18 Tremont Street. Boards Salem [probably at home]. (1859 Boston Directory-published 1 July 1859).  1860  and 1861 boards at 11 Bulfinch. (1860 B. D.) A notice was published that he would “resume teaching, on and after Monday, September 12th.” (Transcript (September 7, 1859): 3. GB)

1860 Feb.-Benefit concert so that he can return to Germany to study during the summer. On April 11th., 1860 Lang applied for a passport which described him as: Age-22; Stature- 5′ 7″; Forehead-high; Eyes-blue; Nose-large; Mouth-medium; Chin-short; Hair-light brown; Complexion-light, and Face-oval. His signature is quite legible with a flowing style. (Passport Application from ancestry.com) Lang left May 16 on the steamer CANADA with Mr. S. A. Bancroft. The officer in charge was Capt. Lang!  (Transcript (May 16, 1860): 2, GB) In September he returned from Europe. (Dwight (Oct. 6, 1860): 221) A “Mr. B. J. Lang, Professor, aged 30” arrived in Boston from Liverpool on the AMERICA, a ship of 984 tons, September 10, 1860. (Boston Passenger and Crew Lists, 1823-1943 and America Manifest) Dwight printed that “Mr. B. J. Lang has returned from a tour in Europe, which we doubt not has passed both agreeably and profitably to himself. His many friends are glad to welcome him home again.” (Dwight (October 6, 1860): 221) Not bad for one whose career is only two years old.

Father Lang “moved to Boston previous to the Civil War.” (Herald (June 28, 1899): 12, GB) 1862 Boston Directory listed his profession as “pianist” and that he boarded at 16 Warren Street.

1861 Early In February Lang gave a concert in Salem with the Mendelssohn Quintette Club, his Salem choir, the Amphions, and Miss Lang who was making for first public appearance. This was probably B. J.’s sister?

1861 Marries Frances Morse Burrage in Boston on October 10 by Rev. Chandler Robbins.  His age 23, her age 21. He moves into the Burrage home at 36 Edinboro Street.

1862 In October places an ad offering piano and organ lessons and listing the address as 36 Edinboro Street.

1862 First Boston performance Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise at Old South Church: January 30-only organ four-hand accompaniment

1862   Conducting debut: at Music Hall- Mendelssohn’s First Walpurgis Night: May 3, 1862. Grand orchestra, a choir of 150.

1862 Youthful Voices: A Collection of Hymns and Tunes, For the use of Sunday Schools, edited by Benjamin J. Lang published in Boston.

1862 In the fall Louis Moreau Gottschalk hired Lang to perform with him. Gottschalk was so impressed with Lang’s playing that he included him as a “collaborator for a series of twenty concerts, in which compositions for two pianos were the features.” (Transcript, May 9, 1909) The announcement for Gottschalk’s ‘Most Positively Last Concert in Boston’ on Saturday, Oct. 18, 1862 (which had to be moved to the Melodean Theater in order to accommodate the expected crowds with reserved seats at 75 cents and unreserved seats at 50 cents), also said “Mr. B. J. Lang, The Distinguished Pianist, has consented to assist Mr. Gottschalk in his Last Concert.”

1863 Jan. 1, 1863 shared with Zerrahn conducting of the concert at Music Hall celebrating Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. The original proclamation had been issued on September 22, 1862, and it declared the freedom of all slaves in any state of the Confederacy that did not return to Union control by January 1, 1863 while the second part of the document listed the specific states which were effected-this second part was issued on January 1, 1863.  Age 25

1863 Played at the November 2nd. Dedication of the Walcker Organ of the Boston Music Hall. Age 25

1864 Lang has the idea that the Harvard Musical Association might sponsor orchestral concerts. These begin in November 1865.

1864 February-Promotes his own “Sacred Concert” at the Music                 Hall-uses a vocalist and the violinist Eichberg as assisting artists. Age 26

1864 Shakespeare’s Tri-Centennial Anniversary Birthday Concert: Music Hall, Saturday evening, April 23. First Boston performance of Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Music complete with soli, female choir and orchestra.  Age 26

112 Boylston Street is probably the higher building just at the right edge of the photo. Courtesy Bostonian Society.

1864 Burrages and Langs have moved to 112 Boylston Street. Father Lang’s profession was listed as “pianofortes” at 514 Washington Street and he was a boarder at 3 Harrison Street. (1864 Boston Directory)

1864 August-begins as organist of Rev. E. E. Hale’s South Congregational Church. Age 26

1864 First child-Harry Allston Lang born October 4, in Boston. He was to die less than two years later, in August 1866 while his parents were in Europe. (New Boston Town History Questionaire, February 11, 1914)

1865 B. J., Frances, and their first-born, Harry Allston Lang were living with her parents, the Burrages at 112 Boylston Street. (Diary-Rosamond)

1865 February 2-Slavery abolished; April 10-the South surrendered; April 15-Lincoln shot and buried on the 19th. (Diary-Rosamond)

1865 Helped found Harvard Musical Association orchestra concerts.  Age 27. “It was he who first suggested” these concerts. (Observer, January 26, 1884).

June 14, 1865. At the end of his sixth season as organist with the Handel and Haydn Society, at a “pleasant social reunion” Lang was presented a gold guard chain. (H & H History, Vol. 1, 239) The Society’s Secretary and the conductor also received gifts.

1866 March: first Boston performance of Haydn’s Seasons-Gathered a chorus of 250 and hired an orchestra and three soloists (one from New York!).                                                                                                                                                     SS  CHINA. Cunard. Among the first single screw. First Class: 268 and Second (or forward) Class: 771. Sleeping berths were on the main deck below the saloons. (Norway Heritage, accessed February 15, 2019)

1866 Summer in Europe-left May 26 from Boston to Liverpool on the CHINA: B. J. and Frances accompanied by Miss Annie Keep (aged 21) and Mr. Richard Dixey. B. J. and Frances returned at the end of September on the CUBA. (BMT, October 6, 1866, p. 3) While the Langs were away, their first-born, Harry died on August 7th. Miss Keep married George G. Crocker, a lawyer in 1875 (Marriage Cert.)

1867 February-Boston and New England Conservatories open within a week of each other. February 1-HMA Concert: Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 2 (first Boston performance) and Liszt/Schubert Wanderer Fantasia for piano and orchestra with Lang as soloist.

1867 Father Lang, a piano dealer at 6 Temple Place and he “Boards at 93 Waltham,” but the entry for 1868 has this as his house. In 1865 and 66 he had boarded at 4 Dover Street and sold pianos first at 365 Washington Street, and then the next year, at 6 Temple Street.                                                    B. J. has studios at 246 and 554 (?) Washington Street and still lives with the Burrages. (1867 Boston Directory)

1867 B. J. Lang and J. C. Burrage arrive in Boston on September 12, 1867 on the CHINA. They had left July 31st. planning to be gone “six weeks.” (Diary 2-Rosamond)

1867 First surviving child: Margaret Ruthven- Nov. 27, 1867 at 112 Boylston Street. Benjamin’s occupation was “Musician.” (Birth Certificate)  Age 29

1869 Spring. April 6, 13, and 20. Presented three orchestral concerts at Mercantile Hall. Concertos in each: Mendelssohn Serenade and Allegro in B Minor with Miss Alice Dutton, his pupil; Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 with Mr. Hugo Leonard, a fellow Boston pianist; and the Beethoven Violin Concerto with Mr. Bernard Listermann.

1869 “After a long illness, [Lang] sailed to Europe with his family and several of his pupils, intending to spend about a year principally in Dresden. Fall and Winter: In Europe: gave piano recitals in Berlin, Leipzig, Dresden.” (History of H. and H., 288). Left Boston on November 30, 1869 “in S. S. SILESIA for Hamburg. The party consisted of Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Burrage, four Misses Burrage, Mr. and Mrs. Dixey, Mr. Tucker, Maidie and nurse Waldwell. Arrived Hamburg Dec. 12th. Christmas in Berlin.” (Frances M. Lang’s Note Book, Excerpts, p. 1). The four Misses Burrage were Helen, Emma, Ruth (cousin) and Marian. Also listed next to these names was that of Miss Emma Ware who might have been a Lang pupil. Age 31

1870 Census. Father Lang listed as “Traveling Agent” with Hannah “Keeping House.” Their Boarding House had one single female aged 29, a mother and son aged 53 and 18, two brothers, both Book Keepers aged 23 and 25, with two servants from Ireland. The address was only given as Ward 10.

1870 A note from Helen Bell to Mrs. Lang at 1 Otis Place has a note from Margaret saying that the family lived there before 1870. (Ms. Lang, Vol. 24, No. 3) The 1871 and 1872 Boston Directories list the Langs as still living with the Burrages at 112 Boylston Street.

1870 Spring: In Europe-the census taken July 19, 1870 was submitted by neighbors who listed B. J., aged 37 organist-in Europe, “Fanny,” aged 32-in Europe, and “Mary,” [Margaret] aged 2-in Europe(Census, 1870).“Mr. Lang arrived on Tuesday, after a year’s stay in Europe, with health thoroughly restored, enriched with musical experience and strong for the winter’s work.” (Dwight, September 24, 1870). He arrived in Boston on September 20, 1870 on the PALMYRA from Liverpool with his age being listed as 26,[?] and an “Estimated Birth Year” of abt. 1844.[?] Traveling with him were Miss Burrage, aged 28 a spinster and Mr. H. G. Tucker, aged 18. (Boston Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1943)

1871 Four Chamber Music Concerts-Globe Theatre-Thursday afternoons, alternating with the HMA Orchestra concerts-Jan. 15, Feb. 1, Feb. 16, and Mar. 2. Used Mendelssohn Quintette Club as assisting artists both as individuals and as an ensemble.

1871. Four Piano Concerts-Bumstead Hall-Monday afternoons-featured his students playing solos, duets and concertos. Lang played the orchestral reductions on a second piano.

1871 B. J. (Lel) was due to sail from New York on May 31-he arrived in Switzerland on June 12th.  “Maidie (Margaret) wouldn’t look at him, nor speak to him for a long time.” (Diary Excerpts) She was then three and a half years old.

1871 and 1872 Father Lang still a dealer of pianos, but he now had a home at 93 Waltham Street. B. J.’s teaching studio was at 635 Washington Street and he and his family still lived with the Burrages. (1871 and 1872 Boston Directories)

1871 Langs visited Wagner: Lunch mid July-offers support for Bayreuth. Age 33. On October 13 Lang and Frances arrived in Boston from Liverpool on the ALEPPO together with the father and mother of Frances and four of her sisters and Nurse Waldwell. Three of her sisters’ names are not listed, only their ages of 23, 20, and 18, but the name of the fourth sister was given as Margaret, aged 1. (Aleppo Manifest)

1871 Named as the first conductor of the Apollo Club at age 33-resigned in 1901, aged 63.

1872 “The Lang’s went away for the summer. No mention of where.” (Diary-Rosamond)

1872 Teaches for one year at the National School of Music.  Age 34

1872 First Home. Nov. 1st. moved into 8 Otis Place. “Many changes will have to be made.” (Diary-Rosamond) “Corner of Otis Place and Brimmer.” The studio still at 635 Washington Street. (1873 Boston Directory) Father Lang still listed as a piano dealer.

1872 Boston Fire: begins the evening of November 9, 1872-under control by Sunday 2 PM.

1873 January 9. Conducted the Boston Choral Union at Wait’s Hall; April 17-Elijah with the same choir. Another conductor took over the next year.

1873 Returns as a piano instructor to the New England Conservatory of Music. Age 35

1873 December: re-elected as conductor of the Chelsea Choral Society (Folio, Dec. 1873, 164)

1874. “June 25th. Today we went to Blue Hill [Milton] to spend the summer.” (Diary 2, June 25th., 1874)

1874  MARRIAGES:  MILLAR-LANG. “In Blue Hill, Milton, August ??, by Rev. Mr. Wright of Boston, assisted by Rev. Dr. Merison of Milton, Mr. Leslie Millar  and Mrs. [?] Henrietta M. Lang, both of Boston.” (Traveler (August 14, 1874): 3, GB)

1874 B. J.’s mother, Hannah B. Lang (maiden name-Learock) dies from cancer on September 25, 1874 at 93 Waltham Street, Boston-57 years, 7 months. She had been born in Salem. Her father was listed as John Learock, also born in Salem, and her mother was also named Hannah, and she had been born in Salem. (Death Certificate)

1874 Founded The Cecilia as an adjunct of the Harvard Musical Association-conducted for 33 years. Age 36.

1875 “June 12th. We moved to Milton for the summer.” (Diary 2, June 1875) B. J. then went to Europe from August 7 through September 18.

NYC to Liverpool; 200 in First Class and 1050 Third Class; Cunard; first to have bedrooms-one on the port and one on the starboard; did 119 voyages, first in 1870 at Dumbarton, sold in 1883. Three masts rigged for sailing and a single funnel. Wikipedia, accessed December 4, 2017.

RMS PARTHIA

1875 Trip to Europe: the Saloon Passenger List of the RMS PARTHIA sailing Boston to Liverpool lists B. J. Lang and Mr. George W. Sumner as departing on August 7, 1875. No other family members are listed. (BPL, Lang Prog., Vol 2). Frances’ Diary says Mr. Breed and Mr. Tucker went with him. (Diary 1875) While at Bayreuth Cosima shows (August 26) B. J. the opera house. During this trip he buys music by Saint-Saens for his own use and the use of the HMA. B. J. returned September 20, 1875 on the BATAVIA.

BATAVIA. Also built at Dumbarton in 1870 for Cunard, but with only two masts and the stack between them.

1875  October 25: B. J. conducts the world premiere of the Piano Concerto No. 1 by Tchaikovsky with von Bulow as the soloist.

1876 February 3: Soloist in the Saint-Saens Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Harvard Musical Association. This is the first of many French works that Lang introduced to Boston. In February 1882 Lang presented the Boston premiere of the Requiem by Berlioz; In January 1886 it was the Rhapsodie d’Auverge by Saint-Saens; in 1890, Eve by Massenet in March of 1890 and his Mary Magdalen in November of the same year, and then his Land The Promised Land in 1902; in 1894 it was Saint-Saens’ Samson and Dalila; also in 1902 the Psalm 150 by Franck; in 1905 Charpentier’s The Poet’s Life; in 1906 another St. Mary Magdalen, but this time by d’Indy; and finally Pierne’s The Children’s Crusade in February 1907 which he then asked to have performed again as his retirement concert later that year. Then there are additional works by the composers listed which were performed by the Apollo Club, his students and in chamber music concerts in which he played. The composers represented were: Debussy, Berlioz, Franck, Godard, Massenet, Perilhou Saint-Saens (5 works).

1876 Thursday afternoon March 30 concert produced by Lang at Mechanics Hall: he plays the solo part of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 with the accompaniment played by Arthur Foote-also in this concert Lillian Bailey made her Boston debut, at the age of 16.

1876 May. Performs St. Saens Christmas Oratorio (Noel) at South Congregational. A year later, in May 1877, the same work is performed as part of the Handel and Haydn Society’s “Fourth Triennial Festival.”

File:Britannic.jpg

White Star Line. Four masts for sailing and two funnels.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/25/SS_Britannic.jpg

This was the first of three ships named SS BRITANNIC, her twin sister ship was the SS GERMANIC.  The first voyage was on June 25, 1874. There were two classes: 220 Saloon passengers and 1,500 Steerage with a crew of 150 (one source says the capacity was 1,300, another says 1,200). Wikipedia, accessed December 4, 2017.

 

White Star diagram for Second-Class and Steerage. In Steerage the beds seem to be side-by-side and head-to-head. The Second-Class Cabin Plan shows 13 rooms, some with two beds, some with four, and some with six. Each room seems to have a washbasin and there appear to be three toilets. No toilets are obvious on the plan for the Steerage passengers. The ad said that a Surgeon and Steerage Matron were available on each steamer.

 

An old advertising card. It does show full sail and both stacks at work.

 

The BRITANNIC was built in Belfast in 1874. Made record-breaking crossings of 7-plus days. It was a single-screw steamship that did the Liverpool to New York route for nearly thirty years, carrying mainly immigrants.

1876  “June 24, 1876 B. J. L. and I sailed from N. Y. in the BRITANNIC.” (Frances M. Lang Note Book Excerpts, 6) Summer in Europe. Honored guests at Bayreuth for Ring premier. A letter from Frances dated August 9, 1876 from Bayreuth tells about the Festival. Apparently only the parents went on this journey as the letter is addressed to the children (?) Saw four operas three times each! They returned to New York on September 18, 1876 on the CELTIC from Liverpool. (Ancestry, All New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957) Arthur Foote and the Tuckers (newly-weds) traveled with them.

1877 “June 14th. To Blue Hill [Maine] for the summer. (In August they went to Stockbridge for a visit).” (Diary 2, June 14th., 1877)

1878 Second child: Rosamond Lang- Feb. 5, 1878 at 3 Otis Place (Birth Certificate). His occupation was listed as “Organist,” and her mother’s name was listed as “Fanny.” Age 40

1878  February 8, 1878 concert by Cecilia is conducted by Arthur Foote as B. J. had broken his left upper arm.

1878. June 3rd. “We moved to Lynn to the Red Rock House.” In April: “I took Maidie with me to Lynn to see Mrs. Pages rooms at the Red Rock House, where we may possibly spend the summer. I liked the whole place very  much.” (Diary 2, Spring 1878)

A nice drawing depicting the Germanic in port. Wikipedia illustration.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fe/Verso.jpg

     July 13, 1878 B. J. arrived in New York from Liverpool on GERMANIC. Age 40. Listed as “J. B.” rather than “B. J.” (1851-1891 New York Port Ship Images, Ancestry.Com)

1878 Clark’s Boston Blue Book has Lang’s address as 3 Otis Place-Robert E. Apthorp is at #2, and William Foster Apthorp is not listed.

1879 June 5th. “We moved down to Lynn for the summer, and in our carriage which was overflowing with bags and boxes.” (Diary 2, June 5, 1879) September. “I sang many songs at the Peabody party last evening, and Lel played.” (Diary, Fall 1879) September 3oth. Moved [back] to Boston.

1880 Census gives the address as 3 Otis Place; age of B. J. as 40; age of Fanny M. as 38; age of Margaret R. as 12; age of Rosamond as 3; and three servants-Ellen O’Connell (age 50), Alice S. McGuire (age 19), and Ellen O’Gorman (age 19). Malcolm was born the next year.

1880 Boston Directory: William F. Apthorp, “music teacher,” boards at his brother Robert’s house at 2 Otis Place. Robert is in real estate. Benjamin Lang (father) is listed at 93 Waltham St, no profession. B. J. Lang, “teacher of music at 156 Tremont St.,” home at 3 Otis Place. Johnson Burrage, business at 74 Franklin and home at 112 Boylston.

1880 May 3rd. “Went down to Lynn to see about our rooms for the summer. Decided on the ones on the waterside. June 3rd. We all moved down to Lynn. We drove down with our dear horse ‘Fly.’ Baby [Rosamond] happy all the way…Aug. 12th. To Stockbridge. [Burrage family summer house] It is gay, every moment here. Music, parties, callers, etc…Sept. 30th. We moved to Boston.” (Diary 2, Summer 1880)

1880  June 17 Benjamin Lang, aged 63 (B. J.’s father) marries for the second time-to Clara E. Wardwell, aged 36. (Marriage Certificate) But, Frances had noted Father Lang’s 64th. Birthday on January 14, 1880. (Diary 2, January 1880) The 1880 Census listed Clara E. Wardwell as a “Boarder” with the occupation of “At home.” So it seems Father Lang married one of his Boarders. In the Census  his age is listed as 64. At this time in Father Lang’s Boarding House, there were two middle-aged couples and two single women aged 42 and 36 with two servants. (1880 Census)

1880 Berlioz’s: Damnation of Faust. Boston Premiere: Friday, May 14. Second Performance: November 12. Third Performance: November 30. Age 42. The Theodore Thomas “Unrivalled Orchestra” together with the “Thomas Choral Society” led by J. B. Sharland gave two performances of the piece on January 28 and January 29, 1881-two of the soloists were Lang’s friends: Georg Henschel and Clarence C. Hay. (Program) Lang gave later performances on May 14, 1885, May 25, 1887, March 15, 1899, December 2, 1903, July 2, 1903 for a Teachers’ Convention and December 13, 1904. (“Facts in Life of B. J. Lang”-looks like Margaret’s handwriting)

1881 “May 26th. To Lynn for the summer. Rosamond, Maidie and Lel drove in the buggy. But I went on the train. My baby should arrive fairly soon…Mother is here, also Emma (Mrs. Lang’s sister)…June 14th. After a night of pain, at five minutes past four A. M. our 2nd. boy was born. Thank God! Lel went for the Doctor at 2, when I left my room to occupy the big one. Dr. Flanders came promptly, and she came none too soon. No one in the house suspected what was happening. I was so glad that mother did not know about it. Lel went to her room at 6 o’clock in the A.M. and said,-‘Fanny wants to see you for a  minute, if you can come.’ She came immediately and was overcome to find me comfortably in bed with the new baby. (Next day). Baby performed all his functions, sneezed once, and slept. The nurse is a treasure” (Diary 2, May 1881) Third child: Malcolm Burrage Lang- June 14, 1881, Prescott Place in Lynn, MA. Benjamin’s occupation was listed as “Music Teacher.” (Birth Certificate). Age 44

1881 During the twenty-three years between 1858 and 1881 Lang returned to Europe fourteen times-this averages out to slightly less than every two years! (Brainard’s Musical World, July 1881, p. 98) I have found only eight!

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.

1881 September 3-Last issue of Dwight’s Journal of Music.

1881 December 4th. “At church today Lel asked Dr. Hale if he would Baptise our baby next Sunday. Lel wants to have him named Siegfried…December 11th. Baby Baptised Malcolm Burrage Lang.” (Diary 2, December 1881)

1882. January 28th. “Last evening Lel had a long talk with Oscar Wilde at the St. Botolph Club.” (Diary 2, January 1882)

1882 “Lel is much exercised in his mind about whether or no to give up playing in public, and rest on his laurels.” (Diary 2, May 1882)

1882 “Waltham, near Tremont Street-Mortgage-Benjamin Lang to Benjamin J. Lang, for $10,000, buildings and land, Jan. 6, 1882.” (Journal (January 14, 1882): 6, GB) From 1876 through the late 1880s there is no profession listed after Father Lang’s name in the Boston Directories. His wife, B. J.’s mother had died the year before and this may have begun to affect him with the eventual result that B. J. had to assume responsibility for 93 Waltham Street.

1882 Berlioz: Requiem advertised by Cecilia for February 12, 1882. First Boston performance.

1882 Damnation of Faust. March 24, 1882. Second performance.

1882 Beethoven: Fidelio with soloists, full chorus and orchestra. March 28, 1882. Georg Henschel among the soloists.

1882 Bruch Odysseus by Cecilia with full orchestra and Georg Henschel-May 10, 1882.

1883 Schumann-complete piano works in five Thursday afternoon recitals in March 1883.

1883 “May 19th. We are packing now in real earnest. Leaving 8 Otis Place for good, also moving to Arlington Heights for the summer…May 24th. Moved to Arlington Heights for the summer…Poor Lel is having to do so much work at the 8 Otis Pl. house. He should be worn out.” (Diary 2, May 1883)

1883 June 2nd. Moved to Lynn for the summer. B. J.’s sister, Etta, very ill and is later sent to New York to be under a Doctor’s care. Late in the summer, Frances visits her mother in Stockbridge-Rosamond goes with her. (Diary 2, Summer 1882)

1883 Mother Burrage offers Langs the complete 3rd. floor at 112 Boylston Street for the winter. They move probably in the fall of 1883. (Diary 2, Summer 1883)

1883 “Lel took me to see his wonderful new Room (Studio)…Lel’s eye is badly infected. He can hardly see. He conducted the Cecilia rehearsal with his left hand over the eye.” (Diary 2, Fall 1883)

1884-85 Lang presents twelve lecture/concerts on the upcoming concerts of the BSO.

1884 “The Apthorps are to build a house on Otis Place near Mt. Vernon St.” (Diary 2, Winter 1884)

1884-1886 Johnson Burrage died in April 1881 and for the years 1884-1886, the Lang’s address was 112 Boylston Street, the Burrage home. (1884 and 1886 Boston Directories) It would seem that Frances and B. J. had moved back possibly to help settle the estate; because of the length of time involved, this may have included selling their own home on Otis Place. By 1887 Mrs. Burrage had been settled in her new home at 307 Boylston Street and the Lang’s had taken up temporary residence at the Hotel Kensington until they bought 8 Brimmer Street. (1887 Boston Directory)

1884 Mid-January Cecilia concert, The Transcript noted that Lang placed the choir in front of the orchestra; this had been done earlier with great success by the Apollo Club.

1884. Lang credited with having already taught over sixty pianists “who have become concert soloists.” (Observer, January 26, 1884)

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.

1884. Spent summer at the Clark Farm in Weston. “We have visitors constantly.” Mr. and Mrs. had planned a Europe trip but canceled because of the chance of Cholera. She had been unhappy about leaving the children: “Mt heart drops into my boots.” The Apthorps did go. Later in the summer, Lang brought the BSO conductor Gericke “with him from Boston. Mr. G. almost no English, but Will Apthorp understood him better than the rest of us did. He was modest, handsome and really delightful.” In October Lang took Gericke to the St. Botolph Club. (Diary 2, Summer and Fall 1884)

1884. October 14th. “Moved back to Boston. At Mother’s again.” (Diary 2, Fall 1884)

1885. March 21-Bach 200th. Birthday Concert: Four keyboard concertos (one using harpsichord) and the Coffee Cantata.

1885  May 14, 1885. Cecilia presents Berlioz Damnation of Faust again but without Georg Henschel. Third performance.

1885 The Lang family and nurse Ellen Sheehan sailed for Europe June 13, 1885 on the S. S. CATALONIA from Boston. Went to Belgium, Germany and Switzerland. In October met with Cosima Wagner when she was in Munich. (Frances M. Lang’s Note Book Excerpts, p. 7) There is a passenger “Ben I. Lang” who arrived in NYC from Liverpool on September 21, 1885 on the ETRURIA. His date of birth was given as about 1839, but the occupation can not be read. (ETRURIA Manifest) There are no other Lang family members listed on that ship as Frances and the rest of the family were to stay the winter in Munich so that Margaret could study there.

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.

1886 January 2-plays St. Saens Rhapsodie d’Auvergne Op. 73 with the BSO, Gericke conducting.

1886 “Letter from Lel telling me that Herkomer is painting his portrait.” (Diary 2, Winter 1886) Hubert von Herkomer’s (1849-1914) career was mainly in England, but he made two trips to America to paint portraits. During the second, December 1885 to May 1886 was when this painting was done.  He was very successful, later becoming Sir Hubert. “Sunday. MacDowell and Mr. Loeffler came, also many others. They admired Lel’s portrait.” (Diary 2, February 1889)

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

1886  Acted as one of the pallbearers at Franz Liszt’s August 3rd. funeral in Bayreuth.

1887 March-presents advanced students in the first set of four Pianoforte-Concerto Concerts at Chickering Hall.

1887 Berlioz-Damnation of Faust, March 25, 1887. Fourth performance.

1887 Arrived in New York on August 17 from Antwerp on the WESTERLAND-Lang’s age listed as “42, born abt. 1845,” and traveling with him was Mrs. Lang, aged 40; Miss M., aged 27; Miss R., aged 25; Master M., aged 20; and a maid, aged 24. (New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957)

1888 Named organist of King’s Chapel. Age 50

April-presents four advanced students in the second set of Concerto Concerts at Chickering Hall.

June 7th. “Moved to Lynn for the summer…14th. Heat frightful. Never passed such a night. But Lel always sleeps through everything. Yesterday we all went down the Ocean Walk…Lel sails for Europe…Tried over Maidie’s new song for piano, violin and voice [no song with violin was published]…Wonderful letter from Lel about going to a Soiree at the Wagners.” (Diary 2, Summer 1888)

1888 European Trip. Visited a number of festivals including Birmingham and Bayreuth. Persuaded Edward MacDowell to move to Boston. Collected many new pieces for consideration by Cecilia and the Apollo Club-both officially still had music selection committees.                                               Typical ship fares: First Class-$35 and $40. Dutch ships First Class were $40, $50 and $60. Second Class-$26. Dutch ships Second Class was $32. Steerage was universally around $20. Their $20 is equal to our $532 while their $60 is equal to our $1,598. (As of 2019) (Herald (April 14, 1889): 7)

1888 The 1888 Boston Directory lists 8 Brimmer Street for the first time-the previous year the Lang’s address had been the Hotel Kensington (a map of “Parts of Wards 9 & 10” shows the Langs at Otis Place and Abby Davis at 8 Brimmer)

1889 June. “Moved to Lynn for the summer…July. Lel leaves tomorrow for Bar Harbor.” (Diary 2, Summer 1889)

1889 Fall. “Maidie to Mrs. Whitman’s to sit for the first sketch of a portrait…Went to Mrs. Whitman’s to see Maidie’s Portrait. Like it, excepting that it seemed, all of it too pink…Christmas Day. Lel greatly surprised and pleased with the Whitman portrait of Maidie.” (Diary 2, Fall 1889)

1889 “A beautiful Upright [?] Harpsichord arrived at the house…Lel had bought it.” (Diary 2, December 1889)

1890 “Miss Keyes [a family friend] has much improved the Carlo Moratti by filling in the cracks.” (Diary 2, February 1890)

1890 March/April-third set of Concerto Concerts-three concerts this year. (were there none in 1889?)  Herald review said this was the fourth series. (Herald (April 2, 1890): 4, GB).

1890 “Lel’s Concerto Concert was delightful…Lel has written to Frau Wagner to ask her permission to give Parsifal in concert form…Lel is writing a song…I have decided to give the Orchestral Score of Parsifal to Lel, as a surprise gift. It will cost $100…Copied music all day…We stayed at home this evening. Lel working on Parsifal cuts. ” (Diary 2, Spring 1890)

1890 May 22nd. Cecilia Concert. “Mr. Lang’s three songs seem to us to reach about the high-water mark in American songwriting. They show such genial melodic invention, such easy command of style, and are withal so essentially lyrical in character… Both in form and expression, they are songs pure and simple; the lyrical element always predominates. In a word, they are charming. They were capitally sung, with great expressiveness, by Mr. Winch.” (Cecilia Reviews) Aladdin’s Lamp; Sing, Maiden, Sing; and Cradle Song.

1890 June 5th. Moved to Hinsdale for the summer. “Mother and Emma to arrive tomorrow…Everyone here completely happy excepting Maidie who hates it…The piano arrived untuned. Most annoying…Lel arrived and is enchanted with the place, and the mountain views.” (Diary 2, June 1890)

1891   Presents Boston premiere of Parsifal on Wednesday, April 15. Age 53. Also performances on May 4, 1892 and January 6, 1903.

1891 June 11th. Went to Hinsdale for the summer. “The journey on the train was frightfully dusty. Lel is not coming until later, and meanwhile, the cook and a maid will look after him. Mother and Emma will arrive here tomorrow…June 26th. Lel and Maidie to N. Y. where they will sail on the UMBRIA for Europe. I returned to Hinsdale…Miss Keyes is here. She sketches every day…Letter from Europe. Maidie and Miss Otis very ill on the boat. Lel says that both Miss Otis and Mr. Hall are very satisfactory traveling companions…Oct. 1st. Returned to Boston.” (Diary 2, Summer 1891)

1891 April 12th. Death of Eben Tourjee, Director of NEC, not yet 57. Carl Faelten. aged 44,  elected Director. He “severed ties with some of Boston’s most prestigious musicians, including Carl Zerrahn, B. J. Lang and Eugene Thayer, insisting on full-time teachers.” (McPherson, 50) B. J. had taught from the opening of the school in 1867, 24 years before.

1891 On September 14, 1891 B. J. and Margaret left Liverpool for New York on the UMBRIA. The list of passengers seems to show that Margaret shared a room with Miss Marien Otis.

1891 The Cecilia begins Wage Earner Concerts (tickets at 25, 35 and 50 cents). Except for 1897-1898, these continued until the 1909-1910 Season. (Hill, 9)

1892  Conductor Handel and Haydn Society, two years. Age 55-57

1892 Parsifal a second time, May 4; forces almost the same as 1891.

1892 “May. I went to Wilton N. H. to look at a possible Boarding place. Went to Petersham Mass and fell in love with the place.” When they moved for the summer they took a chest of books and a piano; first by train, and then Frances had to “bargain with the Stage Driver” to bring them from the train station in Athol. (Diary 2, Spring 1892) “Lel has gone to the White Mountains to visit the Kimballs…Miss Keyes is to visit…Lel has gone to York Harbor…Lel is going to give two concerts here. One will be for the benefit of the church…Today we drove to the wonderful Stone place. Gorgeous view and superb trees. Lel considers buying it. With every day we feel drawn to owning a place here.” (Diary 2, Summer 1892)

1892 Cecilia sings Dvorak’s Requiem under the composer’s baton Nov. 28 and 30.

https://greatships.net/scans/LE-MA02.jpg

https://greatships.net/scans/PC-MA31.jpg

1893 Lang and Foote in Bayreuth: in the orchestra pit. They possibly left on March 15, 1893 on the MAJESTIC from New York for Liverpool. The entry, however, is for M. B. Lang, but the birthdate of 1839 is as close as these lists get many times. (Ancestry, All New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957)

1893 “June 20th. We moved bag and baggage to Charles River Village. [Between Needham and Dover] Terrible frog noises at night. “We are to have tennis and croquet here very soon…We have a new boat which is a delight…We are tormented by mosquitoes. In fact, the food is poor and there seems always a shortage of water…Beginning to be very busy getting ready for our going to the Worlds Fair in Chicago.” After the Fair, they returned to Charles River Village. “All this month Lel has been talking about making improvements in our Brimmer Street house. He calls it an old hole and says it is depreciating…Lel has had organ stops of chimes put into the King’s Chapel organ…Lel stayed in Boston to go to Guilmant’s first organ recital…Oct. 7th. We left Charles River Village.”  (Diary 2, Summer 1893)

1893 Gave a talk on the “vices and virtues of piano playing” on Friday afternoon, November 10 at Chickering Hall.

1894 February “Lel will have to give up his studio and find another.” (Diary 2, February 1894)

1894 “April. Wrote Miss Hagar at Kendal Green that we would go there for the summer.” (Diary 2, Spring 1894) “June 14th. We went to Kendal Green for the summer…Many Wayland people have called. It looks as if we shall be gay…Lel and I now visiting the Whitney’s at Cohasset. I am reminded that if our precious Harry had lived, he would be now 29…Lel has written to Mr. Higgenson to ask the price of his Petersham house…Lel may buy land at Tenant’s Harbor. Everyone wild over the place…Lel has proposed to Malcolm and Mr. Byrne that they go with him to the Auction of a farm in New Boston N.H. and perhaps buy it if it seems a good investment. They are in high feather at the idea…Sept. 6th. They went to the New Boston Auction. On their return, there was great excitement over the news that Lel had bought the Farm. The cost $4000.” (Diary 2, Summer 1894) Returned to Boston October 7th.

1894 October. Lang begins fortnightly talks on the repertoire for the Symphony concerts. Plays four-handed arrangements of the pieces to be heard aided by Perabo.

1895 July. Is elected conductor of the Handel and Haydn Society.

1895 “Catherine Codman has painted a superb portrait of Bowler. [Maidie’s dog] Miss Keyes is going to varnish it, then shortly it is to be lent to an Exhibition.” (Diary 2, Fall 1895)

1895 “Maidie has shortened her Armida aria, which Miss Franklin will sing in January.” (Ibid)

1896 March 8th. “Maidie has joined the Episcopal Church, and was yesterday confirmed at St. John’s church in  Roxbury. She is very happy, therefore I am.” (Diary 2, Winter 1896)

c. 1895-96. Founding member of the American Guild of Organists

1897 Lang reelected President and Trustee of the Oliver Ditson Fund.

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Online.

Wikipedia, accessed February 15, 2019. 622 ft. long and 65 ft. 3 inches at the beam. The engines were five decks high! The largest liner when christened in 1893. Was the fastest liner afloat 1894-1898. 2,000 passengers total: 600 first, 400 second, and 1,000 third class. A crew of 424. The interiors represented the Victorian Age at its peak. Some said that the extreme decoration degenerated into “grandiose vulgarity.”

1897 On the CAMPANIA B. J. is listed as a musician. The ship from New York arrived in Liverpool on July 23, 1897.    B. J. and F. H. B. Byrne shared a room on the LUCANIA which left Liverpool on August 21, 1897. Francis H. B. Byrne worked at the Chickering Factory at 791 Tremont Street (1899 Boston Directory)                                                                                                                                 The Herald had a short paragraph in the Social Section: “Mr. B. J. Lang, who has returned from Europe, where he attended the Bayreuth festival, succeeded in securing the American rights for the production of Berlioz’s Troyen and a new and beautiful work by Humperdinck, the author of Hansel and Gretel.” (Herald (September 26, 1897): 27, GB) The Humperdinck was the Pilgrimage to Kevlaar which the Cecilia performed on January 13, 1898.

LUCANIA. Wikipedia, accessed February 15, 2019.

 

LUCANIA. Wikipedia, accessed February 15, 2019.

 

 

LUCANIA at sea. Wikipedia, accessed February 15, 2019.

1897 “Mrs. Page is painting a portrait of Rosamond. Price $250. Christmas Day. The great excitement was the unveiling from behind a green cloth, of Rosamond’s portrait. Lel was so surprised and pleased that he cried. Mrs. Gardner came in the afternoon to see it.” (Diary 2, Winter 1897)

1898 Fall. Wage Earner Concerts resumed by the Cecilia.

1899. January 8, 1899 issue of the Herald reported the worth of B. J.’s Real Estate to be $21,300 and his Personal Estate to be worth $85,000. His tax bill was $1,417.68. (Herald (January 8, 1899): 43, GB)

1899 “Dec. 24th. Sunday. Mr. and Mrs. Paderewski the first guests to arrive. She is a dear. He remembered our Tree and the Holy Family, and was much moved. He kissed my hand many times.” (Diary 2, Winter 1899)

“WFA”[William Foster Apthorp] ended his review with praise both for the Club and Lang. “If there be any constant here in Boston, the Apollo is the quantity…Sureness of attack, a well-formed habit of giving the final notes of phrases their full value, pure intonation, exquisite beauty and flexibility of tone – these are qualities for which the club’s chorus has long been noted; it has had a standard set for it, and seldom lapses therefrom.” (Undated review)

1900 “Lel told me that Roy Gardiner is to take Apthorp’s place as Music Critic on the Transcript.” (Diary 2, January 1900)

1900 April. The Cecilia was incorporated and the word “Society” was added to its name. (Hill, 8) “Lel in his efforts to raise money for the Cecilia has received $5000, from Charles Ditson.” (Diary 2, Winter 1900) “Mrs. David Kimball has told Lel that she will give $5000, toward the Cecilia fund.” (Diary 2, Spring 1900)

1900 Summer in Europe-due back September 15 (referenced in a letter from George Hutchins to Lee Higginson). B. J. and Malcolm left from New York July 22, 1900 as first-class cabin passengers on the CAMPANIA. (Herald (July 23, 1900): 1, GB) The rest of the family spent the summer at the New Boston farm. (Herald, Social Life (July 22, 1900): 31, GB)

1900 “Nov. 4th. Lel and I to New York. Had a fine room at the Waldorf Astoria. In the evening dined at the Homers, then to see L’Aiglon. The next day we drove to Grant’s tomb. Then made many calls. Back to Boston in the late afternoon…Lel and I are dining at the Apthorp’s this evening to meet Minnie Maddern Fiske the actress. She is here doing Becky Sharpe…Lel because of a slightly weak heart, is taking medicine prescribed by Dr. Sears. Maidie follows him around to see that he takes it.” (Diary 2, November 1900)

1900 November. “Last night Lel and I dined at the Henry L. Whitney’s in Brookline, and we went in an automobile!” (Diary 2, November 1900)

1901 January 31st. Sarah Janes, Father Lang’s sister, and B. J.’s aunt, dies. Her Requiem was held at the Advent Church on February 2nd. The Lang family was Unitarian; Margaret was the only Episcopalian. (Diary 2, Winter 1901)

1901 May 1-Resigns from the Apollo Club. Age 63

1903 Degree-Master of Arts from Yale.

1903 Mrs. J. C. Burrage, mother of Frances Lang died on August 7, 1903 at the age of “about 88 years.” (Herald (August 8, 1903): 3, GB)

1903 Parsifal-a third time.  “Mr. B. J. Lang’s private performance of the music of Wagner’s Parsifal at Symphony Hall, Boston, Tuesday, January 6, 1903.”

1904 B. J. (teacher-aged 65) and Rosamond (teacher-aged 24) returned from Europe (Liverpool) on the REPUBLIC arriving September 2, 1904. (Boston Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1943) Also listed next to the Langs were (1) John H. Gutterson, aged 39, music teacher, (2) F. H. B. Byrne and (3) Miss Alice S. Larkin, possibly a pupil. Lang made “more than 30 trips to Europe.” (Globe (April 5, 1909): 1) In 1881 he had made 14 trips (see 1881 entry). Thus he made an additional 16 between 1882 and 1904-I have found mention of only 4!                                                                                                            “Since the age of eighteen years he has been to Europe nearly every year…during which time he made the acquaintance of many of the noted living masters of music, from whom he feels that he has somewhat developed himself.” (1,000 Mass. Men, 366)

1905 Buys 6 Newbury Street which became teaching studios.

1907 Spring: Resigns from The Cecilia Society. Age 69

1908 Degree-Master of Arts from Harvard.

1909 Last appearance as a conductor. Age 71

1909 Died on April 4, aged 71.

1909 B. J.’s father, Benjamin Lang died on December 11, 1909, having had dementia for the last 20 years. He was then 93 years old and had been born in Maine. His wife, Hannah, had died in 1874. Benjamin Johnson Lang’s father who was named just Benjamin Lang, had been born in Scotland. No information is listed for his mother. (Death Certificate)

 

CHAPTER 06. (Part 2) BJL: FINAL YEARS: 1901-1909. SC(G). WC. TOPICS: RICHARD STRAUSS IN BOSTON-HALL OF FAME.

CHAPTER 06. (PART 2)  WC-10,260.  SC(G)

  • RICHARD STRAUSS IN BOSTON.
  • SUMMER of 1904.
  • THE CECILIA: 1904-1905.
  • FINANCIAL WORTH.
  • 6 NEWBURY STREET STUDIOS.
  • RUTH BURRAGE ROOM-MOVED.
  • THE CECILIA: 1905-1906.
  • THE CECILIA: 1906-1907
  • LAST CECILIA CONCERT.
  • RESIGNS FROM THE CECILIA. RAISED $1,000,000+ FOR THE
  • ENDOWMENT.
  • KING’S CHAPEL VESPER SERVICES. 1907.
  • AMERICAN MUSIC EDUCATION.
  • 70th.BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION.
  • MASTER OF ARTS DEGREE FROM HARVARD.
  • FINAL CONDUCTING APPEARANCE.
  • THE CECILIA AFTER LANG.
  • SKINNER ORGAN
  • DEATH.
  • FUNERAL.
  • EULOGIES.
  • MEMORIAL CONCERTS.
  • LANG’S INFLUENCE LIVES ON.
  • HALL OF FAME.

CECILIA PREMIERS:

(Boston)              Bruckner: Te Deum. December 11 and 12, 1905.

(Boston)              Charpentier: A Poet’s Life. April 4 and 5, 1905.

(Boston and       D’Indy: St. Mary Magdalene. February 5 and 6, 1906. probably America)

(Boston)               Mozart: Te Deum. December 10 and 11, 1906. First-time in Boston mentioned in the Journal ad of December 1, 1906.

RICHARD STRAUSS IN BOSTON.

Lang had done many performances of Strauss’ Enoch Arden during 1902 which showed that he was familiar with the works of Richard Strauss. At the Symphony Hall recital that the composer gave with his wife and Mr. David Bispham late in March 1904, both B. J. and Rosamond were in attendance. It was a very “social” affair with all the major families being present. The social reporter wrote: “Mme. Strauss de Abna was looking finely in her Cleopatra robe of white satin, with a tunic of white lace. The unlined lace yoke was spangled with gold and outlined with dark embroidery.” (Herald (April 3, 1904): 34, GB) Later in the month “His friends, countrymen and symphony orchestra members gave him a pleasant evening.” (Herald (April 20, 1904): 2, GB) A reception and dinner were given at the Hotel Lenox for about 80. “Among the most noted persons present were prominent officers of the German societies around Boston, members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, B. J. Lang…and many others.” (Herald (April 20, 1904): 2, GB)

SUMMER of 1904.

B. J. (teacher-aged 65) and Rosamond (teacher-aged 24) returned from Europe (Liverpool) on the REPUBLIC arriving September 2, 1904. (Boston Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1943) Also listed just above B. J. was John H. Gutterson, age 39, teacher, and after Margaret was Mr. F. H. B. Byrne and Miss Alice S. Larkin. Bryne had traveled with B. J. during the summer of 1897.

THE CECILIA: 1904-1905.

The opening concert of the season was on Tuesday evening December 13, 1904. The work, La Damnation de Faust by Berlioz, was to have been conducted by the French conductor, Edouard Colonne (1838-1910). Many sources say that he did conduct-they are only half correct. He was known for his interest in Berlioz when that composer was better known in Germany and England than in France. He also supported Wagner and Saint-Saens, two composers also championed by Lang. As the choir had sung this work less than a year and one-half before, the notes were probably well in place. The performance was dedicated to Franz Liszt in commemoration of the one-hundredth anniversary of the composer’s birth. The program book of 24 pages included the complete text in English and an unsigned program note of two pages. On the program’s back page was an announcement of the next concert-the Requiem by Dvorak to be given February 6, 1905. (Program, Johnston Collection)

“Was to have been” because Colonne had gone to New York right after the Wage Earners’ concert on Monday night to prepare for a concert there and, then as Arthur Foote was forced to announce from the stage, the amount “of snow which troubled the railroads to the south of us, made it useless for Colonne to attempt to get here in time.” (Journal (December 14, 1904): 6, GB) Much publicity had been released about his visit; the papers noted the date of his sailing from France. His name was highlighted when the Society released the repertoire for the 1904/05 Season, a particularly ambitious one including Dvorak’s Requiem, Charpentier’s Life of a Poet and Debussy’s Blessed Damazel. (Herald (October 9, 1904): 32, GB) Also on October 9th. in the Herald, the Society Columnist wrote: “Among the good things that Mr. Lang brought home from Europe for the Cecilia, is a contract with Colonne to conduct this season a performance of La Damnation of Faust.” The next month she wrote that his concerts were “the most fashionable events of the musical season…for those of us who know our Paris,” and that “debutants look [to his concerts] for introduction to the very best audiences of Paris…As a conductor he stands beyond any French musician.” (Ibid)

Colonne’s Monday night performance was “one of engrossing interest,” (Herald (December 14, 1904): 7, GB) and the Herald felt that the “chorus and orchestra were still under Mr. Colonne’s enthusiasm, and their work was often of a very high order.” (Ibid) Previously some had felt that Lang’s performances of this had been unemotional, but on Tuesday, the concert was one of “fire and flexibility…So far as the chorus and orchestra are concerned, the work has had no better performance in Boston. It was brilliant, accurate, elegantly balanced in tone, and altogether an artistic success.” (Journal (December 14, 1904): 6, GB)

The next concerts were Monday, February 6-Wage Earners’ and Tuesday, February 7, 1905-Subscription and the work was the Requiem of Dvorak. The Journal reviewer started by saying: “It needs a big and fiery performance, a sure and certain technical proficiency, and a conductor of much magnetism and emotional force to make it worthwhile.” (Journal (February 8, 1905): 6, GB) He earlier wrote that the work “is not of sustained interest throughout.” (Ibid) With such an attitude comments such as: “the chorus was less spontaneous than usual…there were slips…the orchestra seemed to be traveling unfamiliar ground sometimes” began the review. However, “the occasional defects were not enough to mar the enjoyment given by much of the singing” (Ibid) of both the chorus and the soloists. He brought special note to Miss Hussey, who “sang admirably” who had formerly been a member of the chorus herself, and “her advance in her art is so marked” from when she formerly “used to step out rather shyly from the ranks of Cecilia contraltos.” (Ibid)

The final concerts were given on April 4 and 5 and included the American premiere of Gustave Charpentier’s symphony-drama, A Poet’s Life, and the Boston first performance (with orchestra) of Debussy’s Blessed Damozel. Philip Hale wrote: “The event will be one of more than ordinary importance.” (Herald (March 26, 1905): 30, GB) The two Sundays before the concert he had written extensive articles about first the Charpentier (March 26), and then the Debussy (April 2). In these articles, all aspects of the pieces were covered-the composers’ lives, the circumstances of the pieces’ creation, for the Charpentier, a detailed description of all the action in great a detail, for the Debussy performance, even the photos of the three soloists were included! Hale ended the Charpentier article with: “It is hoped that the Cecilia will be encouraged substantially in the production of these works.” (Herald (March 26, 1905): 30, GB) Did Lang’s recent performances of Massenet pieces lead him to the Charpentier? It was dedicated to Massenet. Another connection was that Colonne had conducted the premiere at the Paris Conservatory on May 18, 1892. (Ibid)

Gustav Charpentier. Wikipedia, accessed June 14, 2020.

Hale’s review noted the “much-interested audience of good size,” and took the position that since these two compositions were by “members of the ultra-modern French school,” that instead of a detailed review of the actual performance, a review of the details of “the brave and honest attempt to introduce these works” would be more appropriate. (Herald (April 5, 1905): 5, GB) He then recalled many of the details of his previous two articles making critical comments as he went along. He found that the balance in the Debussy favored the chorus which should have been “a few hand-picked voices,” and that the orchestra part was not a cantata accompaniment but something that needed to be “rehearsed as carefully as for a symphony concert.” The choir’s actual performance was praised-excellent in intonation and attack and even better than usual in dynamic expression, but what was missing was “atmosphere…Everything was too frank, unveiled” In the Charpentier the choir was also too large for the orchestra, partly because of the extra instruments required and the back-stage band and ???? The chorus also struggled with voice -parts with no instrumental accompaniment, and these were not without errors. Even with these obstacles, “the vocal performances were generally excellent. It was appropriately spirited and poetic. Mr. Lang had evidently drilled the chorus with care and intelligence, and he conducted with gusto in the face of difficulties that would have disheartened many experienced conductors. [And then a remark not often heard from Hale] The orchestra played as though it were interested in the task.” (Ibid) The Debussy was sung in a clumsy English translation by Frank Damrosch, but the Charpentier was done in French; a translation was printed in the program book.

As to the Charpentier performance, it was wasn’t French enough. Hale’s final year of European study was in Paris, and in addition to studying the organ at Trinty Church through his lessons with Guilmant, he seems to have studied much else that Paris has to offer. He thought that the “drunken and frenzied utterances of the poet on Montmartre” sounded like they were being sung by an English Cathedral singer. The Boston musicians “were not men and women of Gallic blood” to whom Montmartre was very present. It seemed “necessary to comb Charpentier’s hair a little before presenting him to a Boston audience.” (Ibid) But, because “on the whole, a good idea of the strength and the weaknesses of the composition” had been presented, and (most) all was forgiven. The two pieces were great opposites, but, “the mansion of art has many chambers, and the goddess smiles and welcomes all that have found out beauty and revealed it in any form to a material world.” (Ibid)

 

FINANCIAL WORTH.

It was the custom to print the financial data of each family in Boston-both the worth of the real estate and also the personal worth were included. The figures for the Lang family were:

Real Estate                          Personal Estate

1890                                     $21,500                                                 $65,000

1900                                    $21,300                                                 $90,000

1901                                    $23,100                                                 $95,000

1902                                   $21,300                                                 $100,000

1904                                    $21,200                                                 $110,000

1905                                    $21,200                                                 $115,000   Figures from the Herald of each year.

6 NEWBURY STREET STUDIOS.

In 1905 Lang faced eviction from his studio at 153 Tremont Street as the building was “to be torn down in 10 days.” He listed his studio instrument for sale: “New splendid church organ, built by Hastings for B. J. Lang’s studio. Is for sale at $950; unprecedented opportunity for a church; 2 banks of keys, 2 1/2 octave pedals, 18 registers; warranted in perfect condition.” (Herald (April 15, 1905): 14, GB). Lang then bought 6 Newbury Street, which became his teaching studios and also the studios of many of his pupils after he made extensive improvements. The property, which adjoined the St. Botolph Club, had been a private home. “It is  one of the very few Back Bay estates on Newbury Street that has an extensive frontage, being a four-story octagon brown-stone front brick house.” (Globe (April 30, 1905) 46)

RUTH BURRAGE ROOM-MOVED.

In 1905 came the announcement that the Ruth Burrage Room was now located in the Steinert Hall building with the pianos and the use of the room being a gift from Messrs. M. Steinert & Sons. With its library of “four-hand and eight-hand music for two pianos intended for the use of persons who play such music tolerably well at first sight…Information about the rules for the use of the room may be obtained from Mr. B. J. Lang, 6 Newbury Street.” Since the library had first opened, there were frequent additions that came from the Miss Ruth Burrage bequest. (Herald (September 24, 1905) 37, GB) An earlier article in April 1905 has mentioned that the scores would be available “as a free circulating library at Mr. Lang’s new studio, 6 Newbury Street.”  (Herald (April 23, 1905): 38, GB) Certainly having Steinert host the library and provide the pianos was a much better solution.

THE CECILIA: 1905-1906.

The 165th. Concert of the choir was on Monday evening, December 11, 1905 where Bruckner’s Te Deum was given its first Boston performance. Also on the program was a repeat of The Blessed Damozel by Debussy from last April and The Departure of Hiawatha by Coleridge-Taylor. This last work had been premiered in London in 1900 and later that year was first sung in Boston by the Cecilia. The Journal’s second level headline was: “Excellent Variety in Program and Work of Six Soloists Was of Most Brilliant Order.” (Journal (December 13, 1905): 9, GB) Journal: The Te Deum “has all the massive solemnity characteristic of the composer in his symphonies, and it has also feeling, which much of his purely instrumental work lacks.” (Ibid) The Journal did find a “Handelian touch that was highly effective.” The Debussy made a “much deeper impression…Its exquisite and ethereal beauty acknowledged before, is all the more fascinating now…The chorus singing was finely shaded and expressive.” (Ibid) Of the Coleridge-Taylor, “repeated hearings but increase admiration for the spontaneous, melodious, peculiarly expressive and altogether fine music of the English negro genius who wrote it.” (Ibid) Choir-no mention.

For the third concert of the 1905-1906 season, the group presented a mixed program which featured the cantata St. Mary Magdalene by Vincent d’Indy who had recently visited Boston. Miss Rose O’Brien was the mezzo soloist with the piano and organ accompaniment provided by “Miss Ingraham and Mr. Whelpley respectively, and [which] added much to the effectiveness of the whole.” (Globe (February 7, 1906): 4) The reviewer called the concert “another artistic success” which could be “placed to the credit of Mr. Lang’s well-drilled organization.” (Ibid) Philip Hale found the “soloists unsatisfactory,” but he did note that “Some are inclined to sniff at a concert of part songs, and many do not realize the fact that the diligent practice of such music is necessary to the health if a chorus…The fine qualities of the Cecilia chorus were shown in full last evening in the part songs…for the music of these pieces called for delicate gradations of tone and rhetorical and poetic effects as well as for euphony, sonority and scrupulous accuracy in attack and intonation.” Hale did not care for the d’Indy: “it has little or no importance.” (Herald (February 7, 1906): 7, GB) The Journal found the D’Indy to be a simple piece told in a straightforward manner. It mentioned a Bach double-chorus motet and smaller pieces by Franck, Taneieff, and Elgar together with solo songs by the two female soloists. (Journal (February 7, 1906): 12, GB) Dvorak, Parker, McCunn and Franck. The Waters of Babylon by Loeffler t(Program: Johnston Collection)

On Monday evening April 2, 1906 The Cecilia Society repeated from the previous season The Life of a Poet by Gustave Charpentier scored for chorus solo, voices, three orchestras and organ-Mr. B. L. Whelpley was the organist. Also on the program was Taillefer, a Ballade by Richard Strauss which used chorus, solo voices and orchestra. The Strauss had first been performed at Heidelberg in 1903 as a thank-you gift to the University of Heidelberg making him a Doctor of Music. The first American performance being given by the New York Oratorio Society on March 14, 1905 conducted by Frank Damrosch. This was its Boston premiere according to the Globe. (Globe (February 7, 1906): 4). Hale provided an extensive background article on the Strauss as he had done for the Charpentier the year before. He gave the history of the term “jougleur; how the main character “Taillefer” was one; how he led the Normans at the Battle of Hastings; all in over 15 long paragraphs. Strauss called for an orchestra of 100; “the orchestra at the Cecilia performance will not be so large” Hale mused. (Herald (April 1, 1906): 40, GB) He then quoted a New York performance review: “Huge and intricate instrumentation: trombones labor in stertorous gaspings and piccolos shriek wildly. Bells are hammered in a way that suggests that William’s forces stopped in the heat of battle to shoe their horses. Violins indulge in whirring figures suggestive of whizzing arrows. Drums bang and thump incessantly. While it is going on the veterans of the Oratorio Chorus stared in shocked amazement at the indecent antics of the orchestra.” (Ibid)

Hale’s review does mention the reaction of the chorus. They were noted for singing the choruses in the Strauss “lustily” and then in the Charpentier they “sang well.” However, much of the review lamented the inadequate size of the orchestra which made the Strauss “battle scene” a “sham affair, as the Knights wore pasteboard helmets and their swords were of lath. Their arrows were for drawing-room use…[The horses] had the speed of rocking-horses.” (Herald (April 4, 1906): 8, GB) The final insult was: “There was neither the orchestra nor the conductor to make them wildly effective.”  But, “The audience, a comparatively large one, was generous with applause.” (Ibid)

THE CECILIA: 1906-1907.

After the major works of the previous season, the 31st. Season began on December 11, 1906 with a small orchestra used in Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Te Deum (first time in Boston-mentioned in Journal ad, Dec 1st.), a Michael Haydn motet and an instrumental Te Deum for Organ and Strings by Sgambati. Verdi’s unaccompanied Hymn to the Virgin and Mozart’s Ave Verum with strings were the highlights of an “otherwise insufferably dull and tiresome” concert which was reflected in the singing of the usually “excellent chorus.” (Herald (December 12, 1906): 16, GB) The Sgambati “was not effective, partly because the music itself has not much character, partly because the strings were numerically weak.” (Ibid) The second level headline had been: “Programme for the Most Part Dull, and Performance Phlegmatic.” (Ibid) Most of the pieces had been part of the Mozart 150th. Birthday Concert in Salzburg the previous August, but the Journal found them “monotonous…the concert lacked much of being either artistically or popularly successful.” It was probably because the ‘dim religious light’ was not present to create the mood. On the other hand, Michael Haydn’s unaccompanied motet was “a delight to hear” itself, and “was expressively and richly sung.” The Coronation Mass was the “most important part of the evening’s music. (Journal (December 12, 1906): 3, GB) The second level headline had been: “Mozart’s Work’s Given Prominent Place on the Program-Haydn’s Tenebrae Well Sung.” (Ibid)

On Sunday, February 14, 1907 Hale wrote a detailed story about all aspects of Pierne’s The Children’s Crusade. It was six columns wide and 1/2 page deep. He ended by pointing out that the world premier had only been just over two years ago, January 1905 in Paris, and the American premier had been in New York less than 2 1/2 months ago. Another instance of Lang keeping very much with the times. All performances featured children’s’ choirs of about 200 voices, and for the Boston premiere a chorus from Somerville prepared by Mr. S. Henry Hadley who had “drilled them carefully and skilfully” so that they were “alert and ready,” and they produced a “fresh and thrilling” sound. (Herald (February 27, 1907): 4, GB) “Excellent also was the choral work of the Cecilia in quality of tone, in grades of dynamic force, in the details of technical proficiency.” (Ibid) The music written for the solo voices was generally “thankless,” and the soloists were not memorable. There was the usual problem of the slipshod, indifferent orchestra, but “due tribute should be paid some of the solo players for pleasing displays of artistry.”  There was also the usual:  “Mr. Lang is more successful with a chorus than with an orchestra…There was a large audience, which seemed to be much interested,” (Ibid) and in the end, isn’t that the most important thing. And, that audience had been there year after year after year.

LAST CECILIA CONCERT.

Lang’s final concert with The Cecilia was on April 9, 1907 when he led John Paine’s opera, Azara. In spite of “extraordinary unpleasantness of the weather,” the concert had “the aspect of a gala event.” (Globe (April 10, 1907): 9) The work was composed during Paine’s leisure time during the decade 1890-1900, but “it has never been found practicable, for one reason or another, to stage it as yet.” (Ibid) How appropriate that Lang should make a “World Premier” the content of his last concert! One of the headlines for the Globe review said: “Presentation Fitting Climax for Director Lang’s Work.”(Ibid) Wagnerian in style, “the work contains much of recitative and yet frequent passages of exquisite melody that deeply stirred the auditors.”(Ibid) The  “American Grove Works List” gives the date of May 7, 1903 for a concert performance of this work; it also gives the composition dates as 1883-98 with a publication date of 1901 by a firm in Leipzig. (AM Grove, Vol. III, 461) Paine did not live to hear Lang’s performance-he had died on April 26, 1906. (Ibid) Philip Hale’s review mentioned that 60 players from the Boston Symphony accompanied the work. (Herald (April 10, 1907): 7, GB) He also mentioned that Paine had seen the work published and had hoped to see the work “performed either in the Metropolitan Opera House or in some theatre of Germany,” but this was not to be. “The composer died having heard only performances of the ballet music and other excerpts.” (Ibid) This would seem to contradict the May 7, 1903 performance mentioned above. “Mr. Lang was welcomed when he came upon the stage by warm and long-continued applause. There were other demonstrations of the goodwill entertained toward him by the Cecilia audiences and of the appreciation of his services in the cause of music during his long and honorable career as conductor of the society.” (Ibid)

RESIGNS FROM THE CECILIA. RAISED $1,000,000+ FOR THE ENDOWMENT.

In the spring of 1907, Lang retired as conductor of The Cecilia Society. He was then 69. “On May 9, 1907, upon his retirement after 33 years service, he was presented a hall clock from the chorus and bound volumes of Cecilia programs from the directors.” (Hill, History, 10) The Globe article called the gift “a magnificent mahogany hall clock standing about eight feet high and furnished with all the fashionable attachments such as moon and tide indicators.” (Globe (May 3, 1907): 9) Dr. Henry C. Baldwin credited Lang “with having placed the Cecilia at the head of the list of singing societies of its kind.” (Ibid) An article in Herald dated January 25, 1907 entitled “Lang Will Give Up Baton of Cecilia” mentioned that his leadership had spanned 31 years [or 33, see above] and was ending with B. J. helping to raise $40,000 as an endowment fund (The same as raising c. $1,070,000 in 2018)- $5,000 of this was contributed by Lang himself (c. $133,500 in 2018)(Transcript article January 25, 1907), and he added another $1,000 to this fund in his will. “The result of his work in raising the endowment fund which he has just completed will be his leave-taking of the society whose concerts he has conducted since its organization.” (Herald, Friday, January 25, 1907) “On 25 January, the day after Benjamin Johnson Lang’s retirement from the Cecilia conductorship, the Transcript ran an article titled ”Two Musical Generations.” Lang, it acknowledged, was the last link between the current musical generation in Boston and that of thirty or forty years before. ”Boston is a larger, more diversified formal life now. The change was inevitable. It is part of the broadening, richer, and more aesthetically hungry life of a democratic new America.” Bostonians continued to struggle with the transition. By 1923 Loeffler was disgusted: ”Boston is getting stuffier and stuffier and will soon graduate to the astounding grade of ‘the largest village on earth'” (Fox, Rebellious Tradition, 230)

Elson, writing in the Advertiser, gave his view of Lang’s leadership of the Cecilia Society: “The history of the Cecilia Society will show that no other choral society in America has been so active in producing new works. If the Handel and Haydn Society made musical history in the first half of the nineteenth century, the Cecilia Society certainly did this in the last half.” (Elson quoted in Musical America (April 27, 1907): 4)

Many eminent guest-conductors had led the group including “Bruch in 1882, Parker in 1889, Dvorak in 1892, Henschel in 1902 and Colonne in 1904.” (Pratt, 156) To mark the end of his conductorship, the chorus asked B. J. if they could present a concert in his honor. As President of the group Arthur Foote wrote on March 16, 1907:

Dear Mr. Lang,

Thirty-one years ago, the Cecilia Society began its concerts under your direction. The Society desires to express to you in some way its appreciation of what you have been, and what you are to it and to the cause of music in Boston. The directors, therefore, ask you to allow them to give a concert in your honor, at such time and in such circumstances as may be agreeable to you.

Lang’s answer of March 18 was:

Dear Mr. Foote,

I thank the Cecilia most heartily for its kind proposal of a concert in my honor. If the Society will sing at a performance of the Children’s Crusade, it will give Pierne’s beautiful work in a peculiarly fitting way, and give great pleasure to… Yours sincerely, B. J. Lang.

An article in the Globe wrote of the upcoming concert: “Rarely has a combination of pleasant events, creditable enthusiasms and worthy objects come together for hard work more happily than in the plan for a concert next Wednesday night in Symphony Hall in honor of B. J. Lang, on his retirement from the conductorship of the Cecilia Society…No musician in Boston is better known or more loved than he.” (Globe (April 14, 1907): ?) The concert was given on Wednesday night, April 17, 1907 to benefit the Industrial School for Crippled and Deformed Children by the Cecilia Society, nine soloists, a chorus of 100 children, and sixty players from the Boston Symphony. Tickets were $2, $1.50, and $1, and could be ordered from the fifteen members of the Auxiliary Board of Managers that included Mrs. John L. Gardner of Fenway Court. The “audience and chorus arose to welcome Mr. Lang as he came to the conductor’s stand. He was forced to bow repeatedly, and it was only after prolonged applause that the performance could begin. After the second movement of the work, the moment’s intermission was much protracted by the presentation of flowers and wreaths, and the enthusiasm was repeated at the close of the performance.” (Herald (April 18. 1907): 9, GB) The Herald’s Social Life page described Lang “standing before a sympathetic, distinguished and deeply interested audience…There was no speechmaking, only graceful bending of the head in acknowledgment. Everyone seemed to feel the deep significance of the occasion, and Mr. Lang must certainly have been gratified by such a tribute, evidently so heartfelt. ” (Herald (April 21, 1907): 27, GB) Then followed a long list (66 lines!) of socially important people and what the women wore, with it noting that “Mrs. B. J. Lang, in black voile with white lace, and Miss Rosamond Lang, in gray with lace of the same tone” were in the audience. (Ibid) Margaret was not mentioned-was she singing in the choir?

Photo 1907 by Odin Fritz. (Herald (April 18, 1907): 9,GB)

The success of the Children’s Crusade is reflected by other later performances of the work. Four years later: “Thursday evening, February 16 [1911] is the date set for the second concert of the Cecilia Society and the Boston Symphony under the leadership of Max Fiedler. The work to be given then will be Gabriel Pierne’s musical legend The Children’s Crusade that the Cecilia has given twice in recent years with much success. In addition to the chorus of the Cecilia Society, there will be a chorus of 100 children and the entire Symphony orchestra will be employed. Edmond Clement, the distinguished French tenor, will make his first appearance in concert in Boston on that occasion. (Globe (January 29, 1911): 49)

Lang continued to support the Cecilia through attending its concerts. In March 1909, under a social column headline of “Cecilia Concert Attracts Usual Brilliant Company” included “Mr. and Mrs. Richard C. Dixey, Mrs. Dixey in black liberty with white lace…Mr. Arthur Foote and his daughter, Miss Katharine Foote…Miss Frances Horton, whose niece, Miss Phyllis Robbins (one of the best singers in the Vincent Club),[owner of the farm in New Boston that Malcolm eventually bought] is a member of the Cecilia chorus…Mr. B. J. Lang and his daughter, Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang…Benjamin Whelpley and George W. Chadwick.” (Herald (March 28, 1909): 31, GB)

KING’S CHAPEL VESPER SERVICES. 1907.

Several writers mentioned the beautiful, moving services that Lang prepared for the Sunday afternoon Vespers during his time at King’s Chapel. The Herald gave specifics of one such service. “The vespers at King’s Chapel last Sunday drew a large and fashionable audience. Mr. Lang gave parts of the [Bach] Passion music, including a bass aria sung by Mr. Cartwright, with a violin obbligato by Miss Bessie Collier, and the beautiful soprano air sung by Mrs. Rice with a flute accompanying.” (Herald (March 24, 1907): 34, GB)

AMERICAN MUSIC EDUCATION.

In 1907 Lang was interviewed in an article entitled “The Advance of Musical Education in America” written by H. J. Storer. Lang recalled the musical situation in Boston c. 1860. “On my return to America, I began teaching and playing in Boston, and for fifty years I have been active. There was absolutely nothing in the way of a musical atmosphere here in those early days. I was successful from the start, perhaps owing to enthusiasm, with a natural aptitude for doing pioneer work at a time when things were ripe for musical development. My enthusiasm led me to carry through projects to which I had set myself to carry through and felt they must succeed. In this way, I gave the first performance of Berlioz’s Damnation of Faust and the Requiem, several concert performances of Wagner’s Parsifal, Brahms” Requiem, and other works, most of which were, I believe, played for the first time in America as well as Boston. I have also played for the first times at least two score or more concertos for piano and orchestra, besides introducing a large number of other piano works.” (Storer, article) Lang further recalled that “When I was young, perhaps I was the only one in Boston who could play certain of the larger works for piano and orchestra; now you may find many, even among those living on the back streets, who can play such works fairly well. Here, at least, is an evidence of the advance that has been made during my years of teaching. In these days the student need not go to Europe for technical training of any sort; he can get it here, – all he needs.” (Ibid)

70TH BIRTHDAY.

To honor Lang’s 70th. Birthday the Globe ran an extensive article that covered aspects of his whole career beginning with his early teachers, his various organ positions: “I’ve been paid for going to church ever since I was 12 years old.” (Globe (December 22, 1907): 33) Also covered were his major conducting responsibilities, his extensive piano-teaching career, and his musical wife and children. “When a mere boy Salem, his father being taken suddenly ill, young Lang was at a moment’s notice obliged to take so many pupils that every day and every hour were devoted to teaching.” The interviewer probably asked him to state the reasons for his success.” He has been long accustomed to making each moment count. With constant industry and a marked business ability, he has prospered in a material way and no doubt his life-long abstemious habits have enabled him to carry his endless list of pupils. Few artists live to the age of 70 without the use of spirits, tobacco, tea or coffee, as Mr. Lang has done.” (Ibid) A year later, under a headline of “B. J. LANG 71 YEARS OLD” the article was much shorter, but it did mention that “Mr. Lang is in excellent health and full of vigor and energy.” The next paragraph noted the many pupils, both “past and present” who had called at Lang’s studio at 6 Newbury Street or sent good wishes “by mail and telegraph…A profusion of flowers bore evidence of the widespread regard in which he is held by those nearer home.” (Globe, December 29, 1908, p. 3) The Herald headline was “Benjamin Johnson Lang Felicitated on his 70th. Birthday…Aside from a family celebration at his home on Brimmer Street the night before, Mr. Lang observed the event very quietly…”There is nothing to say except that I am very grateful to my friends for remembering what an old man I am”…On Sunday evening he was one of the chief speakers at the memorial service for Mr. Daniels, [Mabel Daniels” father] late president of the Handel and Haydn Society, which organization Mr. Lang has served for more than 30 years as organist, conductor and now as honorary member.” (Herald (December 29, 1908): 14, GB)

HARVARD-MASTER OF ARTS DEGREE.

B. J. was one of two Master of Arts Degree recipients at the 1908 Harvard graduation ceremonies. President Eliot read the degree citation: “Benjamin Johnson Lang, musician and composer, church organist at 15; as teacher, organist and conductor for many years the servant and guide of the best singing societies in Boston.” (Herald (June 25, 1908): 14, GB)  The Journal had a one-line comment: “Harvard did well to honor Benjamin Johnson Lang, the greatest single power for good that music has had in Boston for many and many a year.” (Journal (June 25, 1908) 6, GB)

FINAL CONDUCTING APPEARANCE.

“His last appearance as a conductor was on Feb. 12, 1909, when he conducted the BSO and a chorus at a Lincoln Memorial Service at Symphony Hall.” (Pratt,  268) The chorus numbered 200. Lang conducted the same music from Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise that he had conducted almost fifty years before at the celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation. “It was fitting that in it should have been the scene: ”Watchman, will the night soon pass?” ”The night is departing, the day is approaching.”” (Transcript article May 1, 1909) Lang was presented with a bronze bas-relief of Abraham Lincoln mounted on a base of green marble by the chorus which took part in the Lincoln exercises sponsored by the city at Symphony Hall on Feb. 12, 1909. This was a copy of the well-known head of Lincoln by V. D. Brenner done in 1907. The inscription said: “B.J. Lang, from the Chorus at the 100th. Lincoln Anniversary, 1909.”       

THE CECILIA AFTER LANG.

That bright future and the emphasis on new works was continued during the conductorship of Arthur Fiedler who prepared the chorus for the world premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms which had been commissioned by Koussevitzky and the BSO and presented on December 19 and 20, 1930. “The Boston Symphony introduced new works before 1930, but it rarely-if ever-commissioned them. Even before the turn of the century, the orchestra gave the world premiers of many American works, mostly by Boston composers, and, of course, American premiers of the newest compositions from Europe. Serge Koussevitzky’s decision to commission a group of new pieces from the leading composers of the day to celebrate the orchestra’s first half-century began a tradition that continues to the present.” (Ledbetter. Program Note, Symphony of Psalms) Koussevitzky believed in the work so much that he repeated it in the same season on February 20 and 21, 1931, and also at the New York concerts of March 5 and 7, 1931. Further performances, all with the Cecilia Society Chorus were performed in 1932, 1936, 1939 and 1942. (Ibid)

SKINNER ORGAN.

During the time that Lang was at King’s Chapel, he played a Hook and Hastings, Opus 1205 of 41 stops on three manuals that has been installed in 1884. It had been installed in the old 1756 Richard Bridge case. Almost

Photo was taken between 1910 and 1920. therefore, this is the new Skinner organ that B. J. had designed and which Malcolm played during his ten-year tenure at the Chapel. Skinner added additional pipe sets to each side. Johnston Collection.

immediately he requested changes, and this situation went on for years. Just before his death, Lang had been able to design a new, larger, four-manual organ for King’s Chapel. It was developed with Ernest M. Skinner, “a friend of B. J. Lang,” and “the two had several consultations about the new instrument, and Mr. Skinner will carry out the wishes and suggestions by the former organist as faithfully as if Mr. Lang had been spared to supervise the work.” Skinner said that this instrument would be the only one in Boston to have an “orchestral oboe and English horn.” (Herald (July 24, 1909): 2, GB) Barbara Owen noted that in order to get all the pipes in, Skinner had to have “pedal pipes sticking up into a hole in the ceiling and needed to have the casework widened.” (Owen, e-mail August 19, 2015) The instrument was a gift to the church from one of its Vestrymen, Frank E. Peabody who was a supporter of the music program and of Lang. He had a Skinner organ in his own home, and it is said that he told Lang that he “could have everything he wanted, and in any way he wanted it.” (Owen, Organs and Music-Kings, 19). He got three separate Diapason stops on the Great keyboard, two separate Bourdon 16 foot stops in the Pedal plus additional pipes to make a third Bourdon at 32 feet, and Brass stops galore including Ophicleide, Tuba and Clarion, all in the Pedal. (Ibid, 72) The Hook organ was electrified and relocated to the Baptist Church in Brockton by Skinner. It no longer exists. (OHS Pipe Organ Database, accessed August 24, 2015)

  Thompson, Life of Ethelbert Nevin, 27.

DEATH.

B. J. died at his home on April 4, 1909 at 8 Brimmer Street (his home for the last twenty-five years-he also had a summer home on 600 acres in New Boston, New Hampshire, “passing away just as the bell in a nearby church was striking the hour of 9″ after suffering from a heavy cold for three weeks that turned into four days of pneumonia; his three children were at his bedside, but his wife was confined to her bed due to a fractured leg that had happened three weeks before while returning from church. He was 71 years old.” [71 Years, 3 Months, 7 Days-Death Certificate] The Death Certificate listed the Primary Causes of Death as Lobar Pneumonia for 4 days and Pericarditis (Sack around the heart) for 2 days. A Contributory Cause was Osteitis Deformans (Paget’s Disease-enlarged bones-a form of arthritis) which he had been suffering for an unspecified number of years.

On Wednesday night he had attended the opera. Though he wasn’t feeling well, he wished to accompany his daughter to the performance and the next morning he was unable to rise from his bed.” (Herald, Obituary, April 5, 1909) “It is told the Listener that on Palm Sunday evening, while B. J. Lang was dying, the quartet at the Old South were singing the Hymn of Praise, which he (probably for the first time) did at the original Old South thirty or forty years ago.” (Gould clippings) Less than a week later, at the BSO concerts of Apr. 8 and 10, Mozart’s Masonic Funeral Music was played in his memory. The Mozart opened the program and was followed by the world premiere of Chadwick’s Theme, Variations, and Fugue for organ and orchestra. Also on the program was another Boston premier, “Spring” from Musical Picture for Orchestra Opus 34 by Glazounoff. How appropriate that the concert should include two premiers-this was probably more a tribute to the work of bringing new music to Boston done by B. J. than was the playing of the Mozart.

The various obituaries contained a variety of misinformation. The Journal article of April 5 listed the three children, “Malcom, Rosmond and Mary Ruthven,” each spelled wrong. (Journal (April 5, 1909): 1 and 3, GB) It also had the dates of B. J.’s organ positions incorrect with him being “at the Old South Church for twenty years, and following this, he played for a short time at Dr. Everett Hale’s South Congregational Church.” (Ibid) The article in the Herald of the same date was longer than that in the Journal, and much more detailed, however it did list Margaret as Mary. (Herald (April 5, 1909):  1, GB)

FUNERAL.

       The funeral at King’s Chapel included music sung from the galleries by the groups with which B. J. had been associated; the Cecilia Society, the Handel and Haydn Society, and the Apollo Club with Wallace Goodrich (who succeeded Lang as conductor of the Cecilia Society) from Trinity Church as the organist. The “volume of sound produced by so many trained voices probably never before was heard in King’s Chapel… Void of all display, save for quantities of beautiful flowers, and with as simple a service as possible, the funeral of Benjamin J. Lang, musician, teacher and conductor, was held this forenoon. The service took place at eleven o’clock from King’s Chapel, and long before the time for opening the doors, a crowd awaited an opportunity to pay reverence.”

       Rev. Howard N. Brown, minister of the church where Mr. Lang had so long been in charge of music, met the body at the porch. Over the black broadcloth casket was thrown a purple pall, on which rested several fronds of sago palm, this final preparation having been made by Mrs. John L. Gardner, who, with a few assistants, had previously arranged the mass of floral tributes around the casket.” (Funeral notice-Transcript, Apr. 9, 1909) The Journal added: Mrs. Gardner placed a large floral harp of roses and ferns sent by the Boston Symphony in a central position and then arranged other “choice pieces” from the Handel and Haydn Society, the Cecilia Society, the Apollo Club, and the Baermann Club around it. She also placed a purple pall over the coffin while it was in the vestibule “before the body was borne into the sanctuary.” (Journal (April 8, 1909):. 7, GB) The three children sat in the front row, but Frances could not attend because of her recent fall. Except for accompanying the hymns, the organ was silent, “as though its very silence were a mute tribute to him whose fingers were so familiar with every detail of its keyboard.” (Transcript, Op. cit.) The hymns were the choruses O’er The Strife and Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand accompanied by Wallace Goodrich.

       Various newspaper reports mention those in attendance who included the crème de la crème of Boston musical, literary and artistic life: A. Lawrence Lowell, President-elect of Harvard; the Manager and Assistant Manager of the Boston Symphony and its founder, Maj. Higginson; organists George Whiting, Benjamin J. Whelpley, Arthur Foote, E Cutter, Jr., H. G. Tucker and S. B. Whitney; Mrs. John L. Gardner (Isabella Stuart Gardner); Miss Elizabeth Porter, Courtney Guild and Clayton Johns. (Herald (April 8, 1909): 3, GB) A further article in the Herald gave the names of additional attendees: Mr. and Mrs. Richard C. Dixey, Mr. and Mrs. Henry M Rogers (Clara Doria), A. Wadsworth Longfellow, Timothee Adamowski, Ralph Adams Cram, and H. L. Burrage. (Herald (April 11, 1909): 28, GBB)

EULOGIES.

Many articles appeared soon afterward. The Herald wrote a wonderful summation of Lang’s life and work:

Obit. Herald IObit Herald IIspirit were heroic.

Obit Herald IIIObit Herald IVProbably by Hale. (Herald (April 6, 1909): 6, GB)

The Globe ran an extensive article just one day after Lang’s death. “He loved all music that was good, making no arbitrary distinctions against any school or composer, and in the last half-century probably introduced more new music into this country than did any other one man. In his devotion to music, and trained appreciation of what is best, his many-sided ability, he held a place that will not be easy to fill.” This same article also mentioned that Lang was a member of the “Thursday Club, the St. Boltoph Club and several New York social organizations…He had had the personal acquaintance of Wagner and Liszt, Sir Sterndale Bennett and Michael Costa, Rubinstein, Widor and Saint-Saens. And on his more than 30 trips to Europe, he made the acquaintance of nearly every present-day musician of prominence abroad. (Globe (April 5, 1909): 1)

The Transcript article, entitled “The Distinction of Mr. Lang,” centered on the fact that “From the beginning to the end his working world was the little world of Boston and no other.” The article began with: “It was the paradox and the distinction of Mr. Lang’s career that while he did all his work in a single city and was little known elsewhere, the range of was wider than that of any other choral conductor of his time in America, and perhaps in all Europe.” The two groups that he led were mentioned and the Cecilia was highly praised. “By years of training, he brought the Cecilia in particular to the accuracy, the finesse, the elegance of choral singing that have made it unusual among such choirs.” Of his work as a pianist: “As a concert pianist of the sixties and seventies, he had been quick to add new pieces to his repertory.” This emphasis on new works also applied to the choral groups that he conducted. “To Mr. Lang, our public owes a long line of choral pieces that it might not otherwise have heard and that traverses the whole course of modern and ultra-modern choral from Berlioz and Schumann through Strauss and Debussy. To him no less it owes its first adequate performances of such great masterpieces as the two great masses of Bach and Beethoven. From him came its first knowledge of Wagner’s Parsifal, albeit in concert form, and, at the ”production concerts” of the nineties, its first acquaintance with the orchestral music of Debussy, and of other daring composers who were battling for a hearing…Few, if any, in Europe in our time have matched his record in the number and the interest of these compositions.” (Transcript)

The day that Lang died, George Whitefield Chadwick, at that time the head of the New England Conservatory, wrote in his Diary: “April 4th. B. J. Lang died this evening of pneumonia after an illness of four days. He had been losing his grip for two or three months and his time had come. He died peacefully and without suffering, seventy-one years old. Probably there never was a more ambitious man than B. J. Lang. He had excellent talent, especially for the technical side of piano playing, great perceptive powers and good brains for study. There was not a lazy bone in him, and he accomplished more by his energy and indomitable will-power than many people can do with genius. His playing was interesting musically and at times, when he forgot his mannerisms, powerful and effective. He was ambitious as a composer and is credited in Scribner’s Encyclopedia with having composed oratorios, symphonies and other large works, although I never have met anyone who ever has seen or heard any of them. He was a loyal friend to anyone who needed him, even to those who had no claims to his friendship, and his personal life was that of a true-hearted, cultured, decent gentleman, a type of musician none too common in this day and generation. He had some bitter pills to swallow in his life, and one of them was to be succeeded by me as organist of the South Congregational Church where he had been organist for a very great number of years. He had his revenge however for they ”fired” me out subsequently! On March 21st. he wrote to me ‘You ought to thank God for your sense of humor, and it is always good-humor too.’ We were always good friends in spite of a few spats, in which I think that he always got the worst of it, but liked me all the better for it.” (Chadwick, Unpublished Memoirs) Chadwick had known Lang professionally and personally for over thirty years. A second entry dated Wednesday, April 7th. noted: “Funeral of Mr. Lang at King’s Chapel; very simple and dignified; no music except the congregational hymns. Wallace Goodrich played the organ.” (Op. cit.)

Reginald C. Robbins writing on November 5, 1909 very effusively sees B. J.’s role as a local and national one. “Primarily and professionally a musician, Mr. Lang was throughout his long and wonderful career, as genuinely, as effectually musical as any man of his generation. In every department of musical technique an expert, in every side of musical life an active, organizing and leading force, he has impressed upon the culture of this city and his nation an insight and power which demonstrate beyond the possibility of cavil the presence in this person of musical talent, of musical genius, of musical inspiration as the dominating spiritual meaning of every moment of his life. And with this mighty contribution to the sum of our civilization only addition and extra praise to Mr. Lang can accrue, when we consider in him a conduct and character equally admirable… Musician wholly, he was also a kindness counselor and most discerning friend.” (undated, no newspaper noted)

A short newspaper article entitled “Here in Boston” told that “A little bunch of lilies of the valley was sent to Symphony Hall, on Saturday, with a note unsigned and requesting that they be laid in the seat-in the second row of the first balcony on the right near the stage-that the late Mr. Lang had occupied for many years at the evening concerts. The request was fulfilled, the flowers remained on the seat through the evening, and they were then sent with a word of explanation to Mr. Lang’s family.” (Undated article)

An article by Frances E. F. Cornish in the April 22, 1909 Christian Register entitled “Mr. Lang as Church Organist” said: “During the last week in Boston words of just praise for the wonderful life and character of Mr. B. J. Lang have been spoken, -words which while they show love and appreciation can but faintly express, after all, the deep sorrow and the lasting gratitude of countless people. Mr. Lang’s personality was in truth so rich, so original, so many-sided, that when we think of him we, in turn, touch the inspiring teacher, the forceful leader, the generous friend, and these qualities blend into the whole character which we have loved and honored. Yet to many of us it was as organist at King’s Chapel that he was particularly close. Here he was not the interpreter of the music of others, but expressed himself: here his powers were especially and intimately revealed. Those who have worshipped in the churches where he played have realized how truly music may be the handmaiden of the Lord. To very many souls, seeking after spiritual comfort, his playing brought uplift and peace. Who that has heard his aspiring improvisations-a form of expression in which his genius was peculiarly happy-can ever forget the moments of solemn beauty, the exquisite harmony that seemed like the breath of a living creature, the triumphant rush of glorious sound, which swept the worshipper with it, as it seemed, into the very presence of the King of Kings. We shall never hear the like again, and in our sorrow for the loss of a friend we also deeply mourn the loss to the world, in that this creative power of radiant beauty is gone. For us, all life has been enriched because of this great gift, and is the poorer for its loss.”

The music programmed at King’s Chapel after Lang’s death was reported in the papers: “Kings Chapel-At 10:30 A. M. Easter Psalm (chant), the Te Deum in F major, Tours; Jubilate in F major, Arthur Foote, and the choir will also sing a musical setting by Woodward of Tennyson’s Crossing the Bar in memory of Benjamin Johnson Lang, who died on Sunday, April 4, and who for so many years was organist at this place of worship. The organ numbers will include a portion of the first part of Resurrection music from Gounod’s oratorio, The Redemption, and for a postludium the chorale Unfold, ye Portals from this same work. Choir-Mrs. Alice Bates Rice, soprano; Mrs. Bertha Cushing Child, contralto; George Deane, tenor; Earl Cartwright, baritone.” (Newspaper notice)

B. J.’s career and standing in the musical community was probably best summed up by the remarks of Margaret who at the age of 95 wrote to Barbara Owen that “He was an example in all ways: honor, uprightness, and principle… he has left with me a standard of cultivated beauty.”(Owen, 59) But, Foote had already written over 65 years earlier that “Lang was a musician of great gifts and very versatile; a composer of originality, who would have been considered one of our leading men had he published.” (Foote, Auto., 45) In a 1911 article Margaret “said that the last work with which he [B. J.] was interesting himself [just before his death] was the translation from the Italian of a book on Gregorian music.” (Christian Science Monitor, March 25, 1911) She also noted that the last work he conducted with the Cecilia Society was by a contemporary French composer.

B. J.’s concern extended beyond his own pupils. “”B. J.” as we liked to call him, was never weary of doing kind things, quietly. He was President of the Oliver Ditson Fund For Needy Musicians, and it was astonishing to see the amount of time and trouble that he would take in investigating cases of destitution; he insisted on first knowing that an applicant for aid was deserving, and when that was the case no amount of pains was too great for him to take. In matters of that sort a good heart is not enough, there must be a good head, too. In that charity, his keen intelligence as well as sympathy will be sorely missed.”(Transcript, May 1, 1909)

An obituary article in the Springfield Massachusetts newspaper had a couple of negative comments: “His gift was not for the piano, where his touch was faulty and lacking in delicacy. He was much more at home at the organ, and his church work was quite as important as his directing of choruses. As a drillmaster of singers, he had much success, and was a great favorite with his choruses; with the orchestral instruments, he was never on such easy terms. As a teacher, he was popular and successful, and he was a social favorite. In all these ways he exerted a great influence on the musical life of Boston, surviving from the old simple days which John Sullivan Dwight has depicted in his critiques into the most complicated and sophisticated musical Boston of the 20th. century.” (Springfield Republican (April 5, 1909): 5, GB) Certainly, this last comment was a very important one, for throughout his career Lang kept up with the changes in the musical world universal. His interest in French music in his later years was reflected in his conducting of Debussy for the Chickering Concerts.

The Journal obituary mentioned that among “Mr. Lang’s personal friends were Wagner, Liszt, Rubinstein and Saint-Saens.” It also mentioned: “For twenty-five years [from c. 1884] he has lived in Brimmer Street, Boston, having also a summer home with 600 acres in New Hampshire.” (Journal (April 5, 1909): 3, GB)

One of the senior Boston critics was Louis C. Elson who had written for the Daily Advertiser and reviewed Lang’s performances for almost 25 years. In Musical America, he is quoted: “He was conductor of the Apollo Club for thirty years. That club, under his leadership, became the very best male chorus in the United States.” The Cecilia Society became known for its adventurous programming. “No choral society in America has so active in producing new works.” Then, in closing: “Altogether our city owes Mr. Lang a debt of gratitude which will not be fully recognized until time shall have given it a greater perspective. But in the history of American music, no name will deserve more honor than that of Benjamin Johnson Lang.” (Musical America, April 1907)

MEMORIAL CONCERTS.

The Apollo Club was the first to honor Lang as they had a concert scheduled the day after Lang’s funeral. “Each program was provided with a memorial insert, giving the facts in Mr. Lang’s musical career…It is worthy of note that at this 203rd. concert the only original member of the club present at its formation by Mr. Lang in 1871, George C. Wiswell still sings among the basses.” The final number in the concert was Gounod’s Gloria, and after that their conductor Mr. Mollenhauer led the group in Sullivan’s Long Day Closes. “The great audience stood reverently and departed silently without applause.” (Globe (April 8, 1909): 6)

The Cecilia Society gave its first concert of the 34th. Season on Thursday, December 2, 1909 as a tribute to Lang. The new conductor, Walter Goodrich chose Mozart’s Requiem and the “Grail Scene” from the first act of Parsifal. Among the soloists in the Mozart were soprano Mrs. Edith Chapman Gould and bass Leverett B. Merrill. Gould made a collection of articles about Lang which is now are part of the HMA collection, and Merrill had been Lang’s bass soloist at King’s Chapel. (Globe (December 3, 1909): 6) “The chorus of the society will be augmented on this occasion by many singers who were at one time or another [were] associated with Mr. Lang.” (Herald (November 14, 1909): 4, GB) The Herald noted: “He was happy conducting the Apollo Club; he enjoyed his seasons with the Handel and Haydn, but his heart and soul were in the Cecilia…The city owed much to Mr. Lang. He worked for musical righteousness when music was not fashionable. He knew not the word discouragement. His tact and shrewdness enabled him to enlist in his cause not only the sympathy but the substantial backing of those who were acquainted with his perseverance, industry and courage. Thus was he often enabled to bring about praiseworthy results when others might have failed.” (Herald (December 3, 1909): 8, GB)

The next night, Friday, December 3, 1909,  the Harvard Musical Association remembered Lang with an “In Memoriam” Concert played by the Hoffmann Quartet: Jacques Hoffmann, First Violin; Adolf Bak, Second Violin; Karl Rissland, Viola; Carl Barth, Violincello. The concert opened with “Andante funebre e doloroso ma con moto” from Quartet Op. 30  by Tchaikovsky, and continued with Quartet in E Flat major by Dittersdorf, Quartet Op. 14 by Alexandre Winkler (first Boston performance), and finally the “First Movement-Allegro” from Beethoven’s Quartet Op. 59, No. 1. It was certainly appropriate that a first performance should be part of a program in honor of Lang.

WILL.

Late in August the Herald ran a story, “TWO ESTATES APPRAISED.” It listed stocks and bonds valued at $575,037 and real estate of $59,500 which included $40,000 for studio building at 6 Newbury Street, $11,500 for the 8 Brimmer Street home, and $8,000 for his father’s house at 93 Waltham Street. There were also securities of the American Telephone and Telegraph Co. worth $32,226 and of the Boston Elevated Co. worth $33,250. (Herald (August 28, 1909): 11, GB)

The Cecilia Society, the Apollo Club, and the Handel and Haydn Society each received $1,000 in his will, and after other bequests, a trust fund of $150,000 was established for the benefit of his widow while each of the children also had trusts created for their benefit. The total estate valued over $600,000 (equivalent to over $12,000,000 today), a rather incredible amount for the time, especially considering his profession. An article entitled “Benjamin J. Lang Left Big Estate – Inventory Places Late Organist’s Property at Total of $634,587-About $375,000 Worth of the Property Is in Stocks and Bonds” goes on to state that “According to the inventory filed at the Suffolk Registry of Probate, the property left by B. J. Lang is estimated at $634,587.The personal property, consisting of gilt-edge stocks and bonds, is rated at $575,087, and the real estate at &59,500. The real estate includes the property at 6 Newbury Street, $40,000; property at 8 Brimmer Street $11,500, and the house at 93 Waltham Street [which had been his father and stepmother’s home]  $8,000. Two of the largest items in the personal estate are holdings in the stock of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company and the Boston Elevated, valued at $33,226 and $33250, respectively. The appraisers are  A. Palmer Browne, John L. Saltonstall and Alfred J. Rowan.” (Journal (August 28, 1909): 6, GB) Elson described him as “a perfect organizer. He was a man of enterprise beyond any European comprehension.”

In B.J.’s will (1909-#145059) he gave Margaret “my autographs of eminent people, framed and unframed and my Parsifal cup” while to Malcolm he gave “music and books, my body of programs and notes, and the Handel and Haydn Society watch.” A watch chain had been given to B. J. at a reunion of the Handel and Haydn chorus members held on June 14, 1865. Speeches were made, Gilmore’s full band performed, various gifts were presented, and F. G. Underwood “then presented to Mr. B. J. Lang, organist of the Society, a handsome gold watch chain, prefacing it with an admirable speech, to which Mr. Lang responded…The reunion was the happiest social gathering that has ever been held under the auspices of the Society.” (BMT (July 1, 1865): 100 and 101) To Rosamond, he gave “Music and books remaining, my silver box of Liszt’s hair, my Cecilia silver cup… and my music watch.” $5,000 each was given to Harvard and Yale to benefit their Music departments. He further gave $10,000 each to the Handel and Haydn Society and the Cecilia Society and $5,000 to the Apollo Club.

Among the properties that were disposed of was: “In South Boston, the frame building and 3750 feet of land, all rated at $5,600, of which $3,200 is on the land at 764 East Fourth, corner of M. Street, has been purchased by Annie L. Ray, who took the title from Frances M. Lang.
(Herald (December 30, 1910): 5, GB) If this is OUR Frances, it would be interesting to know why the family owned this property in the center of South Boston.

 

LANG’S INFLUENCE LIVES ON.

The programming of the Boston Singing Club’s 1909-10 Season reflected the model established by Lang. The first concert included Bach’s  Thou Guide of Israel and the first performance of Chadwick’s Noel. The second concert was a miscellaneous selection while the final concert was Bach’s St John Passion “with Mr. Arnold Dolmetsch and others assisting with old-time instruments.” (Globe (November 28, 1909): 51) The conductor was Lang’s longtime pupil, H. G. Tucker. Mrs. Isabella Stuart Gardner donated money to the Boston Public Library to set up the “Gardner Fund in Memory of Benjamin Johnson Lang.” A special bookplate was created. (Un. of Delaware William Augustus Brewer Bookplate Collection)

HALL OF FAME.

In the fall of 1909 the Globe ran an article asking for nominations of 50 New Englanders for “Boston’s Hall of Fame.” Among the first to be nominated were Nathan Hale, Oliver Wendell Holmes and Lang. “His devotion to all that is best in music, his pioneer work for the last 50 years in bringing new music to Boston, the influence of a truly great soul ex—ted at all times for the uplifting of musical ideals of not only Boston, but the whole country, entitle him to a lasting place in the hall of fame. Permit one of his pupils to suggest his name. Worcester, Sept. 17, R. C. R.” (Globe (September 20, 1909)

>>>Part: 1  2

CHAPTER 06. (PART 1) BJL: FINAL YEARS: 1901-1909. SC(G). WC. TOPICS, PREMIERS, CECILIA SINGS GOV. WOLCOTT MEMORIAL SERVICE-CHICKERING CONCERTS. (P1)

FINAL YEARS: 1901-1909.

Word Count-9,108.   SC(G)

TOPICS:

  • PART 1.
  • TOPICS AND PREMIERS.
  • CECILIA SINGS GOV. WOLCOTT FUNERAL.
  • STRAUSS: ENOCH ARDEN.
  • TABLE GOSSIP.
  • MISS ROBBINS AND THE ACTRESS, MISS MAUDE ADAMS.
  • THE CECILIA TWENTY-SIXTH SEASON: 1901-1902.
  • HELEN HENSCHEL BOSTON CONCERT.
  • THE CECILIA TWENTY-SEVENTH SEASON: 1902-1903. HAVERHILL.
  • CHRISTMAS 1902: KING’S CHAPEL.
  • MRS. GARDNER’S NEW MUSIC ROOM.
  • PARSIFAL.
  • PAINE- AZARA.
  • DITSON FUND MEETING.
  • OTHER CHARITABLE EVENTS (1) (2) (3).
  • BERLIOZ: DAMNATION OF FAUST.
  • THE SINGING CLUB.
  • CHICKERING ANNIVERSARY CONCERT.
  • YALE DEGREE.
  • DEATH OF FRANCES’ MOTHER.
  • CHRISTMAS AT KING’S CHAPEL: 1903.
  • THE CECILIA SEASON: 1903-1904.
  • CHICKERING ORCHESTRAL CONCERTS.
  • PART 2.
  • RICHARD STRAUSS IN BOSTON.
  • SUMMER 1904.
  • THE CECILIA: 1904-1905.
  • FINANCIAL WORTH.
  • 6 NEWBURY STREET STUDIOS.
  • RUTH BURRAGE ROOM-MOVED.
  • THE CECILIA: 1905-1906.
  • THE CECILIA: 1906-1907.
  • LAST CECILIA CONCERT.
  • RESIGNS FROM THE CECILIA. RAISED $1,000,000+ FOR THE ENDOWMENT.
  • KING’S CHAPEL VESPER SERVICES. 1907.
  • AMERICAN MUSIC EDUCATION.
  • MASTER OF ARTS DEGREE FROM HARVARD.
  • FINAL CONDUCTING APPEARANCE.
  • THE CECILIA AFTER LANG.
  • DEATH.
  • FUNERAL.
  • EULOGIES.
  • MEMORIAL CONCERTS.
  • LANG’S INFLUENCE LIVES ON.
  • HALL OF FAME.

 

PREMIERS:                                                                                                     INSTRUMENTAL:

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

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

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

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

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

CECILIA PREMIERS: dates from the 1907 List, except where noted.

(Boston)        Bach: B minor Mass. December 3, 1901. Second American performance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FINAL YEARS: 1901-1909.

BJLang_5Elson, The History of American Music, 1904, 258.

CECILIA SINGS BRAHMS GERMAN REQUIEM AT MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR GOV. ROGER WOLCOTT. 

Mr. Wolcott had been a major presence in Boston, but only governor for three years. However, the number of people expected for his memorial service dictated the use of Symphony Hall. The service, on Thursday, April 18 began with Wagner’s overture to Parsifal played by “72 members of the Boston Symphony, conducted by Wilhelm Gericke, followed by part of the German Requiem by Brahms. (Herald (April 5, 1901): 7) This was sung by the Cecilia Society, accompanied by the orchestra. Mid-way through the service, the choir sang another part of the Requiem. No paper recorded exactly what was sung from the Requiem; the Herald said “selections” while the Journal said “portions.” Possibly the connection between the Cecilia Society and Gov. Wolcott was that he was a Vestryman at King’s Chapel. This certainly was a major event for the choir to be asked to take part in; the Herald’s report covered eight full columns, and the names of those attending ran into the hundreds. (Herald (April 19, 1902): 16)

STRAUSS: ENOCH ARDEN.

Contemporary music continued to interest Lang even late in his career. Beginning in December of 1901 and continuing through early 1903, performances of the Richard Strauss melodrama Enoch Arden (words by Tennyson) were read by George Riddle with the music played by Lang. Frances recorded: “Lel is rehearsing with George Riddle for a performance of Strauss’s Enoch Arden. This evening played the music to us. It is quite beautiful.” (Diary 2, Fall 1901) A note from the program said: “The musical setting is by Richard Strauss, who is today attracting the attention that Richard Wagner did forty years ago.” The first performance was probably in Salem on December 4, 1901 followed by a second at Boston’s St. Botolph Club on December 15. It was then presented for the Harvard Musical Association on December 27, and that was followed by three performances in March in Dedham, Wellesley College, and Jamaica Plain. A regional tour followed in April with four performances in New Haven, Providence, New York City, and Philadelphia with a Chickering Hall, Boston performance in the middle of this tour. The Globe wrote of this Boston performance: “Mr. George Riddle gave a most effective reading last night…of Enoch Arden.” (Globe (February 20, 1902): 2) Of Lang’s part: the “subtleties were well brought out.” (Ibid) Another Boston performance was given at Chickering Hall on April 21, 1902 and this was noticed in the Society Page of the Herald. The audience was “cultivated and appreciative” while “Mr. Riddle’s talent has never been so conspicuously and brilliantly shown…Mr. Lang’s part, it goes without saying, was beautifully done.” Among those attending were Lang’s friends Mr. and Mrs. R. C. Dixey and Rosamond Dixey and nineteen others who were named. (Herald (April 27, 1902): 31, GB) A final performance eight months later was presented in Washington, D. C. on January 19, 1903. Just making the concert and travel arrangements for this project must have been a major undertaking!

TABLE GOSSIP.

The Boston Globe newspaper had a section called Table Gossip that chronicled the social events of the major Boston families. The Langs were certainly part of this social scene. The January 26, 1902 edition covered many columns, and one section mentioned that “Mrs. Samuel J. Mixter gave her first at home on Friday evening at her residence, on Marlboro St. Mr. Harold Bauer, the distinguished pianist, was the guest of honor…Among the guests were [listed in order as they originally appeared] Mr. B. J. Lang [but not Mrs. Lang], Miss Margaret Lang…the Misses Little, Mr. Arthur Foote.” (Globe (January 26, 1902): 38) Another entry noted: “A second concert was given at Chickering Hall Monday afternoon by the Fortnightly Club before an audience completely filling the hall. Miss Ogilvie sang three songs by Mr. Foote, and Miss Bemis sang others by Mr. Clayton Johns, Miss Margaret Lang and Grieg. Mr. Edward B. Hill [a Lang pupil] played his own piano compositions.” (Ibid)

Frances recorded their interaction with one of Boston’s major social leaders, Isabella Stewart Gardner. “Maidie and I went, after church, to Mrs. Gardner’s Palace among a few of her friends to have a private view of that most inexpressibly beautiful Museum.” A private view! “Mrs. Gardner and others came to dinner…At Lel’s suggestion Malcolm went to Mrs. Gardner’s and played through his Hi Ki Ya [his Hasty Pudding show]. Although Malcolm was not anxious to do this, he returned wildly enthusiastic over the Palace which was shown to him, also said that Mrs. G. was very enthusiastic over his music.” B. J. was also moving among the movers and shakers. He was invited to New York to hear the opera by Paderewski, Manru, and the composer sat beside him. After the performance, he went backstage and the conductor, Damrosch, “introduced the orchestra to him, man by man.” Back in Boston, he received “an invitation to go to the Thursday Club at the Sear’s to meet Prince Henry of Prussia.” Frances writes: “From Lel’s Studio windows I watched Prince Henry of Prussia’s procession.” (Diary 2, Winter 1902)

MISS ROBBINS AND THE ACTRESS, MISS MAUDE ADAMS.

In January 1901 the Herald reported on the opening of a play starring Maude Adams. This play was L’Aigion in which she played the role of a “delicate, fair-haired, sweet-faced and boyish young duke.” (Herald (January 20, 1901): 30) Miss Adams appeared in a number of these male roles, her most famous being “Peter Pan.” The reporter sought out B. J. for his opinion of this role. “It was especially interesting to hear Mr. Lang’s unstinted praise, for he had seen Bernhardt in Paris and in New York, and still felt that the young American actress was more than holding her own.” (Ibid) Miss Adams was known to Lang as Phyllis Robbins wrote of seeing “Miss Adams at a distance coming out of Boston’s famous old King’s Chapel on one of the Sunday evenings when B. J. Lang sometimes played the organ for his invited friends. He had sent her a card, though at that time she did not know him personally.” (Robbins,  69) Miss Robbins arranged a personal meeting through a dinner party given at 44 Commonwealth Avenue, the home of Miss Robbins’ aunt. “There could never have been a pleasanter gathering in the long history of 44 than a Sunday evening in 1906-one of several throughout the years-when Mr. Lang came to dinner there to meet Miss Adams, and then escorted us to King’s Chapel, where we sat in the organ loft alone with him while he played to us in the dark and empty church.” (Ibid)

Miss Robbins “had a small farm all my own, which I longed to show to Maude.” This finally happened in October of 1906 which turned out to be Maude’s birthday and the “first snowstorm of the season.” (Robbins, 118) “Summer was the time when Maude’s visits to us could be longest; sometimes ten days, sometimes ten weeks.” During the period of 1906 through 1909 visits to the Lang farm became frequent. B. J. had been instrumental in helping Miss Robbins buy the farm-she obviously knew the Langs before Miss Adams entered the scene. It was when visiting the Lang farm that Miss Robbins had seen what was to become her farm. “The owner, an obdurate old woman, did not want to sell. Mr. Lang broke through her resistance on my behalf, after paying her many calls, by bringing a doll to her granddaughter.” (Robbins, 125) Miss Robbins described the Lang’s farm. “Pianos were scattered here and there on the Lang’s big farm. There was one in the ‘Chalet’; another in the ‘Crow’s Nest’; and two in the ‘Mill.’ We listened to Beethoven with an accompaniment of rushing water. Even the bullfrogs contributed their choral chant, which varied so little from evening to evening that it was found possible to compose an obbligato and a piano accompaniment to their serenade.” (Ibid) Another Lang piece lost! When Lang died Miss Adams made another visit to the farm. “Though Maude never said so, I think she came up for those few hurried days to help us adjust to New Boston without him.” (Robbins, 138)

Malcolm Lang was to eventually buy this farm for his own use, and it was here that his daughters grew up. But, before that Malcolm, probably of college-age, went to visit Ms. Robbins. As he approached the house, he saw Maude Adams hanging out an upper story window squeezing out a sponge. This was a special moment for him as Ms. Adams was a heart-throb of his. (Amy DuBois interview, June 20, 2013)

Maude_Adams1

Maude Adams (1872-1953) 1892 Photo when she was aged 20. The incident mentioned above probably happened about ten plus years later. Wikipedia (Accessed November 1, 2013).

THE CECILIA TWENTY-SIXTH SEASON: 1901-1902.

Frances recorded in her evaluation of the fall 1901 concert: “Cecilia Concert. A great performance of the Bach B minor Mass. A huge was wreath presented to Lel. Newspapers full of praise the next day.” (Diary 2, Fall 1901) To open his second twenty-five years with the Cecilia, Lang selected a major challenge for the choir. The Herald had once described the piece as “the most elaborately difficult piece of choral writing known.” (Herald (February 28, 1887): 4, GB, incomplete Handel and Haydn performance) At this earlier performance, only six of the choruses had been sung, and with just six sections to learn, the choir had begun to rehearse them a full year before the performance. The ad noted the Boston First Performance, but also noted that it was only the second complete performance in America-the first had been given just one year before by the Bethlehem Bach Choir in Pennsylvania. (Johnson, First, 19) Lang added to the authentic sound by using the baroque trumpets and rarer still, two hautbois d’amour which belonged to Mr. Damrosch from New York. “The organ part has all been carefully registered by Mr. Lang, who has given ceaseless labor to the preparation of the work.” (Herald (December 1, 1901): 36, GB) It was reported that the rehearsals were “going splendidly,” and in fact, “Pilgrim Hall cannot hold the visitors who are drawn to the rehearsals.” (Herald (November 24, 1901): 44, GB) The Herald review praised the choir-“Sang Magnificently”- but found the “Solos Less Satisfactory.” The choral parts were balanced in the fugues and the double choruses. “Mr. Lang conducted with more than his usual authority, and the orchestra joined readily in quick and satisfactory response. The antique instruments added quaint and gentle beauty to their obligati, and the high trumpets imparted a peculiar light and exhilaration to the joyfully moving choruses in which they were used. The audience was very large, remaining almost in a body to the end, which came late. Applause was frequent and full, and a large laurel wreath was sent up with cheers to Mr. Lang.” (Herald (December 4, 1901): 7, GB) The Herald Society Reporter, after describing the colors of the dresses worn by the lady soloists, gave more detail-it was “an immense laurel wreath, which it took two men to carry, tied with broad ribbons and decorated with large bunches of roses.” (Herald (December 8, 1901): 31, GB) Philip Hale, writing for the Journal, did not argue that a complete performance was needed. He gave the history of the work, its lack of performances during Bach’s time of any kind, liturgical or concert, and then suggested that “judicious cutting would honor Bach and spare the audience. I once heard a complete performance in berlin. Earnest and sweating Germans roared lustily for two hours and more. It was a terrible night-one never to be forgotten.” (Journal (December 4, 1901): 8, GB) Hale mentioned that this performance had been put together in a “comparatively short time,” and noted that a performance at the Paris Conservatory in 1891 had required the choir of 79 picked singers two years of rehearsal “and there had been many orchestral rehearsals,” something that Hale knew was not the case in Boston. He wondered if the use of the “antique instruments” really added to the performance, but then cited the”exquisite oboe d’amore obbligato by Mr. Lenom…the brilliant playing of the trumpets” or the flute playing of Mr. Maquarre. (Ibid) He cited the large audience and generous applause but objected to the choir applauding so often-the entrance of the soloists, the performances of each soloist, the conductor. “It is surprising that it did not applaud its own work. It is a pity that this foolish practice is allowed in a society of such dignity.” (Ibid) Having done all of this work in 1901, it was decided to repeat the work on April 7, 1903.

December 3, 1901, ad, GB.

The headline of the Globe review of February 5, 1902 for the second Cecilia concert was “Four Boston Composers-Their Works Beautifully Given at the Cecilia Concert.” The review began by saying that “None of the many excellent Cecilia programs of recent seasons has proved better worth a thoughtful hearing, and few have been more enjoyable than the Cecilia concert last night in Symphony Hall.” Pieces from Arthur Foote, Charles Loeffler, John Paine, and Margaret were performed. “His daughter’s song Love Plumes His Wings with its singularly soaring soprano score, was beautifully rendered by female voices; and it is high praise to say that the Cecilia singers have never given a female chorus as well unless it be in The Lord is my Shepherd, of familiar memory…It is a pity that there were some vacant seats at a concert so varied and so worthy of a greater audience. There was a good representation of Boston’s musical colony present, and the second concert of the Cecilia’s 26th season will go down in the annals as a notable one.” (Globe (February 5, 1902): 3) Lang’s interest in Paine’s opera Azara was reflected in his programming of an aria from this work. A complete concert performance would be Lang’s last concert with Cecilia. The Foote piece in the concert, called “a Motet,” was Vita Nostra Plena Bellis (Mortal life is full of battle), Op. 47 for four or eight-part chorus with a text by Alanus de Insulis [Insulanus] translated by John Lord Hayes from “Corona Hymnorum Sacrorum” (Cipolla, Foote Catalog, 45). This piece was reprinted as part of Walton Music”s “Library of Congress Series” where it is described as “A choral tour de force with a text by Alain de Lille (ca. 1128-1212).” (www.waltonmusic.com/congress.html) The Globe review noted: “Mr. Foote conducted his own exceedingly forceful and inspiring, but unaccompanied ”Motet” based upon a resonant old Latin hymn, and composed by the President of the Cecilia with his own club’s special powers of interpretation in mind.” (Globe, Op. cit.) Two years later, in 1904, Foote acknowledged his debt to Lang through the dedication of his Suite in D major, Op. 54 to B. J. (Cipolla, Op. cit., 68) An earlier dedication to Lang had been the Quartett in G Major, Op. 4 where the manuscript is dated “6 Aug 84.” (Cipolla, Op. cit., 72) “The Loeffler piece was L’Archet which had had a private premiere the previous winter in Mrs. Sears’s music room under Lang’s direction using voices from the Cecilia. For this performance, the work was sung in French by 40-ladies voices, and there are to be special lessons in diction from the same charming Parisienne who gave the finishing touches last winter.” (Herald (January 12, 1902): 29, GB) Leave it to Lang to make sure that these details were seen to.

The Promised Land by Massenet was sung on April 8, 1902. The world premiere had been just two years earlier in Paris at the church of Saint-Eustache on March 15, 1900. The Society page of the Herald wrote: It “is to be regarded as Massenet’s tribute to this country [USA], now when everyone over there is intent on doing us honor. He said: ”Now I must write something for America,” and the Promised Land was the result. It suggests what the composer’s idea of us is – full of brilliancy, dash and vigor, beautiful and joyous after the victory. The Cecilia will make it a red-letter night and everybody will be there.” (Herald (March 23, 1902): 31, GB) In the Music Section of the Herald on the same day, the paper did its best to create excitement: “The Cecilia means to make the production of this particular work the most memorable in its annals.”  Certain parts were mentioned: “The fall of Jericho is an example of the intensity of the orchestral and choral effects. The March round the walls is an overwhelming piece of orchestration, the seven trumpets standing out against the rest with thrilling insistence.” (Op. cit., 36, GB) Two days before the event, the Herald again gave extensive coverage to the upcoming concert and made the suggestion the those who would be attending should read those sections of the Bible that Massenet had chosen: “It will not hurt anybody to have a little broader acquaintance with the story.” (Herald (April 6, 1902): 35, GB) However, after hearing the piece, the Herald quite lengthy review was mainly negative. It praised the choir for its preparation and wished that the soloists had done the. The soloists’ diction was very poor and they were obviously unprepared to sing in French which “made some grotesque and dreadful blunders in the text, and their phrasing.” (Herald (April 9, 1902): 9, GB) The suggestion was made that the work should be heard in church, for which the piece had been written, rather than in a concert hall.

Hale, in the Journal, headlined his review: “A Work Without Dignity and With Little Beauty.” He quoted from the Program Book often: first that “Massenet himself has it his favorite work.” Hale’s comment was: “Massenet has this amiable weakness for all his compositions, whether it be one of his pornographic operas or his latest work.” Massenet had required the Cecilia to agree to certain conditions before he would allow the work to be performed in America. One was that it must be sung in French, and the choir thus included coaching in the language as part of their rehearsal schedule. The result was that any choir member “would have no difficulty in obtaining a good bargin…at any respectable shop in Montreal or Quebec.” Overall Hale found the work “as a whole, without solidity, dignity, or abiding beauty. The music is often boresome; and when ie should be most impressive, it is cheaply theatrical. It will never be ranked among even the second-best compositions of Massenet, who for the last few years has been incredibly industrious in the attempt to prove that he is still the leader in French music.” (Journal (April 9, 1902): 5, GB) A CD was made in 2000 by the Oratorio Choir of the Cote d’Azur and a DVD was made in 2012 of a performance at the Massenet Festival.

The Cecilia Society was the choir chosen for the 80th. Birthday Celebration for Edward Everett Hale held April 3, 1902. The event was organized by Henry L. Higginson and the opening was Lang leading the choir in Cesar Franck’s 150th. Psalm. They also sang Gounod’s Send Out Thy Light and Salamaleikum by Cornelius with the baritone soloist Mr. Stephen Townsend. (Cecilia Reviews)

HELEN HENSCHEL BOSTON CONCERT.

The Society page of the Herald reported: “Mr. Henschel and Miss Helen Henschel are receiving so much attention from their old friends that they are not able to accept half the invitations which are pouring in upon them.” They had just been in Bar Harbour and “today they are visiting Mr. and Mrs. B. J. Lang at their country home in New Boston, N. H.” Probably the fall presentation of Herschel’s Requiem was a topic of conversation, if not rehearsal, as Helen was to sing the soprano part.

THE CECILIA TWENTY-SEVENTH SEASON: 1902-1903.

Mrs. Henschel                                                              Helen Henschel.

On December 2, 1902 the choir presented Georg Herschel’s Requiem, conducted by the composer. This work was written in memory of his first wife, Lillian, who died in 1901, aged 41. Their daughter Helen was the contralto soloist. (BSO webpage on Henschel) This was a world premiere as the composer had only finished the full score in April 1902. Helen Henschel wrote about its creation: “They had been parted only very rarely during the twenty-two years they had known each other. When they did have to separate, they wrote to each other every day. Father took no step without her, had no thought apart from her, no joy away from her either in work or play. Out of his first passion of grief came the Requiem Mass. he started it straight after my mother’s funeral, and worked at white heat until the piano score was finished three months later. Each evening he would play and sing me what he had written so that I knew by heart the whole beautiful thing when it was complete…The full score was finished by the autumn of 1902, and in early December of that year, the work received its first performance. In Boston, and rightly so. One of Boston’s foremost music critics, after hearing rehearsals, wrote this: ”The Cecilia Society announces the new Requiem by George Henschel for the December concert. The composer will conduct the work, and the soloists will be Miss Henschel, Miss Woltmann and Mr. Ellison van Hoose…It is fitting that the first performance should be here in Boston, though it will be produced later in other parts of the United States, and at Leipzig by Mr. Nikisch. It was in Boston that Lillian Bailey had her debut, under the guidance of Mr. B. J. Lang who is now instrumental in producing the Requiem. She was an enthusiastic member of the Cecilia and when, a year ago last spring, Mr. Henschel gave his Stabat Mater here, in which Mrs. Henschel sang in Boston for the last time, the choral parts were sung by the Cecilia…The day before this performance, Mr. and Mrs. Henschel had given their daughter her Boston debut, on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the mother’s first appearance. This young daughter will sing the solo soprano part in the work which commemorates her mother…Since then, the Requiem has been performed in many different places. Only in London, it has not yet been performed since my father’s death. I longed to produce the work myself, but how could I possibly engage Queen’s Hall, an orchestra, a chorus, and a conductor?” Her friend Thomas Dunhill [the composer?] suggested that she show the work to Claud Powell at Guildford who was able to arrange a performance in April 1937 which possessed a quality and produced an effect which I have never experienced before or since.” (H. Henschel, 203-206)

The second concert featured one composer; Mr. S. Coleridge-Taylor who was described by the Herald as “the mulatto musician of London. The first half was the Boston premiere of The Death of Minnehaha, the middle section of the trilogy, which “contains little that either edifies, impresses or delights. It has its pleasant, winning moments…his music has a conventional, perfunctory and insincere sound…[but] There are beauties of form and color in the composition, unstrained, generous and felicitous art in the orchestral scheme, but the moods and manner of the music are not those of the poem.” (Herald (February 4, 1903): 11, GB) The for second half Hiawatha’a Departure was sung. It is the third section, and “seems to us indisputably the best,” and it “came relievingly and refreshingly. It has more inspiration and spontaneity, its scenes are vivid, bright, shone upon with sun” (Ibid) “The singing of the Cecilia was unequal. The latter part of the concert was in their best style, but the earlier sounded as if they found little ease and content in it…All through the evening, the verbal enunciation was inexcusably protoplasmic: even with the book in hand it was not always possible to discover where the singers were. The orchestral support was adequate, and Mr. Lang was his ever faithful and discreet self. The audience was very large and fine, cared little for the Minnehaha, but clearly enjoyed the other.” (Ibid) These three cantatas were still being performed at Royal Festival Hall to full halls in the early 1970s. On one side of the stage, there was an Indian campfire.

HAVERHILL-As B. J. was preparing the above concert he was also being considered for a new conducting position. With the heavy responsibilities of conducting the Handel and Haydn Society, the Apollo Club and also other Boston-area choral groups, Emil Mollenhauer decided to resign from one of the suburban choirs. February 24, 1903 was his last appearance with the Haverhill Choral Society-the repertoire was Gounod’s Gallia and Rossini’s Stabat Mater. “His successor has not been decided upon, although the choice lies between B. J. Lang and J. Wallace Goodrich, if their services can be obtained.” (Herald (February 25, 1903): 7, GB)

Having short recitals as part of Cecilia rehearsals has been mentioned before. The Society Writer for the Herald probably attended one. “Mrs. Onthank was the soloist at the Cecilia rehearsal last week, with songs by Brahms and Miss Lang. Her interpretations were rarely beautiful. There [?] was a fine rehearsal of the Bach mass.” (Herald (March 15, 1903): 30, GB)

On Tuesday, April 7, 1903 the choir again sang Bach’s B minor Mass. Having spent all the time in 1901 to prepare the Boston premiere, Lang no doubt wanted to have the singers experience the work again, building on all the work they had put in for the earlier concert. Philip Hale’s review of 1901 had suggested that a complete performance was probably not a good idea, either for the performers, nor the audience, and for 1903 Lang seems to have taken his advice. Hale’s 1903 review title included-“Wisely Ordered Cutting.” “The performance of the chorus was generally excellent, and the ‘Cum santo spirit’ was remarkably well given. The difficulties are incessant and great, but the chorus sang for the most part with spirit and confidence.” (Journal (April 8, 1903): 7, GB) Hale felt Bach applied contrapuntal formulas without reference to the text so that “page after page is without blood or soul.” But, because Bach wrote some inspired works, “the fetishist asserts loudly that all his works are great,” and as the fetishist is always the louder voice, “the crowd, however, bored it may be, sides with him, and feigns to enjoy even while it stifles yawns.” (Ibid)

CHRISTMAS 1902: KING’S CHAPEL.

On the day after Christmas, the Globe published a number of stories about the Christmas services and how the churches were decorated. At King’s Chapel, “In the decoration of the church, which was done in laurel and evergreens, the elegance of architectural lines and their spotless white of pillar and panel were enhanced, evident care having been taken that there should be no overloading…The special music program was rendered under the direction of Dr. B. J. Lang by the regular King’s Chapel Choir, comprising of Mrs. Alice Bates, soprano, Miss Lena Little, alto, Herbert Johnson, tenor and L. B. Merrill, bass.” (Globe (December 26, 1902): 9)

MRS GARDNER’S NEW MUSIC ROOM.

On New Year’s Night 1903 nine singers (including Lena Little) from the Cecilia Society sang at the opening of the Music Room of Mrs. Gardner’s new home at Fenway Court. They opened the concert with a Bach chorale, (Tharp, Mrs. Jack, 243) and the remainder of the program was performed by fifty members of the Boston Symphony conducted by Mr. Gericke-pieces by Mozart, Chausson and Schumann. Mr. Apthorp pronounced it to be a “perfect hall,” and after the music, the guests were led to the inner courtyard where “No one was in the least prepared for the fairy beauty that greeted his eyes…Here, in the very midst of winter was ‘a gorgeous vista of blossoming summer gardens…with the odor of flowers stealing toward one as though wafted on a southern breeze. There was intense silence for a moment broken only by the water trickling in the fountains; then came a growing murmur of delight, and one by one the guests pressed forward to make sure it was not all a dream.’” (Carter, Gardner, 200)

gardiner venetian palace boston 1904“Mrs. Jack Gardiner’s Venetian Palace.” Published and postmarked 1904. Johnston Collection.

“Word got around that the musicians had been treated like servants and ordered out a side door by an officious flunkey. Members of the famous Cecilia Society were supposed to be particularly insulted because they got no glimpse of the palace and no chance to partake of doughnuts and champagne.” (Tharp, 247) Just three month’s later women’s voices from the choir were to sing at Mrs. Gardner’s Birthday Party on April 13, 1903, but before this could happen, Mrs. Gardner “personally assured the 16 young women…that the New Year’s incident was one she deeply regretted,” and these words convinced the choir members to abandon their “strike’ and perform which they did “with the usual musical appreciation.” (Tharp,   341) The music was all by her friend and Boston Symphony member, Charles M. Loeffler. B. J. was the accompanist for six solo songs, and the choir took part in L’Archet (Carter, 205) of which they had sung the world premiere just two months before.

PARSIFAL.

On Tuesday, January 6, 1903, Lang presented, for the third time, a private performance of Parsifal, this time at the new Symphony Hall on Huntington Avenue. Act One was scheduled for 4:30 to 6 PM, Act Two 7:45 to 8:45 PM and Act Three 9 to 10:15 PM.  Most of the leading parts were sung by German singers while the “solo flower maidens were” members of the choir. This meant extra work for the family. “We have begun planning the invitations. Rosamond is mending the Parts. I shall address the envelopes. There will be 2000 to do.” 2000 envelopes to hand address! And, this is the third performance for which she has had to do this! “We are all working like dogs…Lel has to go to New York frequently.” (Diary 2, Fall 1902) The Society Columnist of the Herald recognized this unique situation: “It is probable that nowhere in the musical world is another impresario who is at once conductor, manager and the financial backer of so great an enterprise. Some outsiders suppose that the Cecilia Society, with its notable body of supporters, is the guaranty of this production, but it is not so.” (Herald (January 4, 1903): 31, GB)

The principal soloists were:

Mme. Kirkby Lunn-Kundry

Herr Gerhauser-Parsifal

Herr Van Rooy-Amfortas

Herr Blass-Gurnemanz

Herr Muhlmann-Klingsor and Titurel

Mr. Wilhelm Heinrich-Esquire

“The best possible soloists have been engaged for the six flower-maidens, knights, and unseen chorus; there will also be male and female choruses and an orchestra of seventy players. Owing to the restrictions on the production of Parsifal, there can be neither public sale nor advertisement of the tickets. Those who wish to hear this performance should fill out and send the enclosed blank to Mr. Byrne, 100 Chestnut Street, receiving, in return, directions for the selection and payments of seats…The tickets are five dollars each.” (6693-94) The Cecilia provided the “two unseen choruses.” (Globe (January 4, 1903): 33)

Before the concert, the Herald called it “the most important musical affair of this week-and one might perhaps call it the most important event in the season…The restrictions placed upon any performance of this work are for the present still so strict and exclusive that the use of the score is prohibited on any occasion which can be called public in the usual sense of the term. therefore, even a concert reading must be at least technically private-there can be no advertisement, no tickets may be put on open sale, and all who attend must be either subscribers or invited guests.” (Herald (January 4, 1903): 36, GB)

The Herald felt that among all of Wagner’s operas, Parsifal needed the visual element in order to be successful. “Wagner makes the greatest demand for the effects which must be had through the eye.” The reviewer also felt that this opera needed the stage settings which were missing in this concert presentation. Of the performance itself: “As it was, it was nearly perfect, being competent, right-minded, beautiful, noble and impressive. It was vastly superior to its predecessor of 10 years ago…Mr. Lang conducted with firm, steady authority and a sustained calmness which he does not always command…The audience was distinguished and elegant, and its size was a proof that the slight formalities about admission had not been [a] deterrent to any who cared to come. No applause intruded upon the course of the acts, but it was plentiful, hearty and long at the close of the acts. There was a deservedly great ovation for Mr. Lang at the evening’s end…” (Herald (January 7, 1903): 9, GB)     The review was unsigned-it may, or may not have been by Philip Hale who began on the Herald that year.

Mr. and Mrs. J. Montgomery Sears held a lavish reception after the performance for which “Society Turn[ed] Out in Force.” (6698) This took the place of their regular Tuesday musicales.

PAINE-AZARA.

The Globe reported: “There is now being circulated in Boston, and signed by hundreds of musical people, a petition, headed by Mr. B. J. Lang, addressed to Herr Conrad, the new head of the Metropolitan Opera company in New York, asking that the grand opera Azara, written by Prof. John Knowles Paine of Harvard, be produced.” (Globe (April 27, 1903): 4) This was in connection with a concert staging of parts of the work that were to be given on Thursday evening, May 7 in Chickering Hall conducted by Ephraim Cutter Jr. “This concert will consist wholly of scenes from Azara.” (Ibid) Lang himself conducted a concert version of the work with the Cecilia in 1909 as Herr Conrad had not responded to the petition.

DITSON FUND MEETING.

The Trustees of the Fund held their Annual Meeting on May 22, 1903 at the home “of the late Mr. Ditson.” Elected were: Lang as President, Charles H Ditson as Treasurer, Charles F. Smith as Clerk with Trustees of Lang, A. Parker Brown and Arthur Foote. “its income has been drawn upon largely the past year to aid infirm and otherwise helpless musicians who had come to want. The fund exists solely for the temporary succor of such, and is not available (as many think) for educational purposes.” (Herald (May 26, 1903): 14, GB) The same slate of officers was elected at the May 20, 1904 meeting. (Herald (May 29, 1904): 23)

OTHER CHARITABLE EVENTS (1).

The month before the Lang meeting the Journal reported that “a movement was on foot, promoted by B. J. Lang to give a great concert” to benefit Signor Rotoli, a well-known singing teacher, who had recently had a number of misfortunes. (Journal (April 3, 1904): 8) Lang must have worked quickly as a concert at Symphony Hall honoring Rotoli was given April 20th. Rotoli had taught at the New England Conservatory and so many of the performers were from its faculty; but other Boston musicians also contributed-the Boston Symphony conductor, Mr. Gericke led a group from the Symphony. B. J. led Bach’s Concerto in d minor with Messrs. Fox, Gebhard and Proctor as the pianists. “The chorus was made up of members of the Cecilia, Choral Art and Handel and Haydn, and Mr. Kloepfel [trumpet] and string players from the Boston Symphony Orchestra offered their services.” (Ibid)

Augusto Rotoli (1847-1904) Rotoli began singing at various Roman churches when he was nine, ending his soprano career as a member of the choir at St. Peter’s where he sang for five years until he was sixteen. After college-level study he became known as a composer, earning membership in the Order of the Cross, given in 1873 by the Queen of Portugal. In 1885 he “accepted the call of the New England Conservatory to come to Boston and represent in their course the best traditions of Italian art…He has a fine tenor voice, rich, expressive and highly cultivated.” (Mathews, 200 and 202)

OTHER CHARITABLE EVENTS (2).

“On Thursday evening society, with a large ‘S,’ will wend its way to the Berkeley Temple for the annual benefit concert arranged by Mr. Lang.” (Herald (March 20, 1904): 33, GB) This congregation had begun in 1827 as the Pine St. Church (Congregational) in central Boston, and then in 1860 a new building was built in the South End at the corner of Berkeley Street and Warren Avenue. It was designed to seat 1,800, and “Good music was from the first a feature of attraction. A double quartet and chorus were provided.” (Pratt, S. B., 38) By 1896 the church had 1,100 members and was the largest Congregational church in New England. (Op. cit., 44) By this time the direction of the church was to aid those in need, and possibly this yearly concert was one means of raising funds. Lang played Bach, a violinist played the Andante from Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto and a harpist joined Lang and the violinist in an Andante in G by the French composer Perilhou, which never had been performed in America. [It had only just been published in Paris by Heugel in 1899-BnF catalog; again, Lang was right on top of the latest publications.] The final artist was Miss Millicent Brennan, “whom Mr. Lang is bringing out on this occasion,” who sang songs by Dvorak and Beethoven. The Herald listed “some of the patronesses,” and this very long list began with Mrs. J. Montgomery Sears and included Mrs. Louis Agassiz, Mrs. Julia Ward Howe, Mrs. Curtis Guild, Mrs. Tryphosa Bates-Batcheller,  Miss Alice Farnsworth and very many others. (Herald (March 20, 1904): 33, GB) This important list appeared in both the February 28th. (“the subscription list is steadily increasing,” 31) and March 20th. editions.

OTHER CHARITABLE EVENTS (3).

Many fellow musicians were openly jealous of Lang’s position as “teacher to Boston’s Society.” However, there must have been a number of times when these lessons were a chore. One such was giving vocal lessons to the socialite Tryphosa Bates-Batcheller who was one of the sponsors of the concert above. Lang is listed together with Henschel, Marchesi, Sgambati and Giraudet as some of her famous vocal instructors. At the age of 18 she went to Paris where Madame Marchesi advised that if she would give up all other studies, she would become among the most remarkable voices of the century. She didn’t do this, instead returning to Boston and beginning studies at Radcliffe. A further two years in Paris, then marriage, the rest of her life was that of being a “relentless social climber who chased after aristocrats and royalty.” (Wikipedia, accessed March 27, 2019) A month before Lang’s concert noted above, Mrs. Bates-Batcheller gave a song recital “at the solicitation of numbers of them [friends].” (Herald (February 7, 1904): 31, GB) Among the patronesses of this concert were Mrs. Julia Ward Howe, Mrs. John L. Gardner, Mrs, Eben D. Jordan, Mrs. William Gericke, Mrs. Philip Hale, Mrs. Charles Inches, and…Mrs. B. J. Lang. Only patronesses were listed; no patrons, no Mr. Lang. The current Wikipedia article compares her to Florence Foster Jenkins, calling her even a “greater” bad singer. An example of her voice can be heard on YouTube.

BERLIOZ: DAMNATION OF FAUST.

A National convention of music teachers provided Lang the opportunity to present one of his favorite compositions. The performance dates were July 7 and 9, 1903 at Symphony Hall. Lang was the Chairman of the “Music Committee” for the event which included among its 12 other members – Allen A. Brown, G. W. Chadwick, Carl Faelten, Arthur Foote, Wilhelm Gericke, Henry L. Higginson and John K. Paine. Certainly a very impressive group! (6713) As many of his own singers were on vacation, Lang invited other choirs to participate. He wanted 150 men. In addition to the Cecilia men, the Handel and Haydn Society provided 50; his own Apollo Club, 25; “and others came from the Boston Singing Society and the Amphion club…The Cecilia was equal to the demands for female voices so that no outsiders were necessary in the sopranos and altos.” (Globe (July 5, 1903): 32) Four choral rehearsals were required-all held within two weeks. Among the soloists were the soprano Louise Homer-Marguerite, who had been locally trained, and the bass Leverett B. Merrill-Brander, who was then Lang’s bass soloist at King’s Chapel. The other soloists were: Mr. Joseph Sheehan-Faust, Mr. Gwilym Miles-Mephistopheles and Mrs. Bertha Cushing Child-Heavenly Voice.

The fact that Lang was willing to undertake such a major performance in July when “singers are loath to sing and orchestral players are scattered” was commended. For the first performance “the chorus was for the most part excellent…The magnificent Easter hymn and in the burlesque fugue, the visitors had an opportunity of hearing our choral singing at its best. The orchestra can not be praised. Its performances were often ragged in the purely orchestral numbers and the accompaniments were a hindrance rather than an assistance to the solo singers.” (Herald (July 8, 1903): 12, GB) The second performance was “enjoyed in spite of warm weather” by an audience of about 2,500. The Herald reported the choir to have 200 male and 100 female voices. (Herald (July 10, 1903): 5, GB)

THE SINGING CLUB.

Additional choirs were formed often depending upon the financial help of the same donors as helped Lang. His former pupil, Hiram G. Tucker conducted a concert at Chickering Hall in April 1903 which “called out a large and fashionable audience, the subscription list being among the smartest in the city. Among those present were,” and a list of about 60 names followed. Included were Mrs. Henry B. Cabot, Mrs. George H. Chickering, Bishop Lawrence, Colonel Frank E. Peabody, Mr. Courtenay Guild, Mr. S. Lothrop Thorndike, Mrs. John L. Gardner and Mr. L. P. Codman. (Journal (April 12, 1903): 3, GB)

CHICKERING ANNIVERSARY CONCERTS.

Lang’s continued prominent place within the Boston musical community is reflected in his role as a featured performer in the Tuesday evening, April 14, 1903 Concert commemorating the founding of the House of Chickering & Sons eighty years before in 1823. “On opposite sides of the stage…were placed the first piano made by Jonas Chickering and a modern Concert Grand.” (Commemoration, 14). The concert consisted of five songs sung by Miss Mary Ogilvie accompanied by Mrs. S. B. Field which included Margaret’s My True Love Lies Asleep followed by an address by Dr. Edward Everett Hale (who was also celebrating his 80th. year) with a conclusion of two pieces played by B. J. First he played The Battle of Prague by Kotzwara that was “a piece of music greatly in favor about 1823,” and then a portion of La benediction de Dieu dans la Solitude by Liszt, “a composition in vogue at the present time.” (Commemoration, 14 and 15) The program book included engravings of the first Chickering factory at Washington Street that was destroyed by fire in December 1852 and then the factory that replaced it in 1853 which covered a full city block.

YALE DEGREE.

Elson felt that “Mr. Lang’s influence as a teacher was also far-reaching. He gathered around him a circle of distinguished pupils who have become in a degree disciples…It was very fitting that Yale University, in 1903, should have given an honorary degree of M.A. to Mr. Lang. His was a talent of high order, working in a sensible and practical manner. One may recognize limitations while acknowledging all the great results achieved… The time will come when America will recognize him as among the very foremost of those who created a musical taste among us: and when one views the many directions in which this beneficent influence has been exerted, one feels tempted to call Mr. Lang a musical ”admirable Crichton.”” (Elson, History of American Music, 261)

The New York musical press took every possible opportunity to “rib” their associates in Boston. The Herald reprinted the following from the June 29th. New York Sun. “The desirable degree of master of arts was conferred upon that estimable organist and director of choruses in the exclusive city of Boston, Benjamin J. Lang. The honoring of this well-deserving person must have given a fillip to the authorities of Harvard, to whom such a graceful action seems never to have occurred…It was for Yale and Prof. Parker, the head of her musical department, to discover the virtues of Mr. Lang and to honor them with a degree which was not only appropriate to him but also peculiarly suitable to his musical mastership.” (Herald (June 30, 1903): 14. GB) The writer went on to note that the degree Doctor of Music had been given out in America too frequently and by institutions that were “utterly without authority to confer degrees of any kind.” (Ibid) Yale’s choice of Master of Arts elevated the honor for Lang for this was a degree which the university might give to a “learned teacher of Latin or a notable practitioner of letters…No degree could be more suitable to a scholar of music than which is applicable to a scholar of [?], namely, master of arts.”(Ibid)

The Herald reported on the event and listed the other Master of Arts Degree recipients. They were: Herbert Wolcott Bowen, who was a Harvard graduate of 1878 and was now our Minister to Venezuela; George S. Hutchings, who had just finished building the organ in Woolsey Hall; Charles Millard Pratt, President of the Pratt Institute and Vice-President of the Long Island Railroad; and Louis Comfort Tiffany of Tiffany Glass. (Herald (June 25, 1903): 10, GB)

“More recently he was given the degree of master of arts by Harvard.” (Boston Transcript, Apr. 5, 1909)

DEATH OF FRANCES’ MOTHER.

On Friday, August 7, 1903 Mrs. Johnson C. Burrage, the mother of Frances Lang died “at her home, 50 Highland Street, West Newton.” She had been “born at Groton about 88 years ago. After her marriage, she resided for many years on Boylston Street, Boston. On the death of her husband, she removed to West Newton. She was a member of the First Unitarian Church of West Newton and had always taken an active interest in its affairs. She is survived by six children. Mrs. B. J. Lang of Boston and Mrs. J. W. Carter, Mrs. C. T. Morse, Miss Emma Burrage, Edward Burrage and Henry E. Burrage of Newton.” (Herald (August 8, 1903): 3, GB) As with many estates, this one took a long while to be settled. In 1910 this house was sold by the “trustees of the estate.” (Herald (July 26, 1910): 7)

CHRISTMAS AT KING’S CHAPEL: 1903.

With the interior of its artistic architecture outlined with ropes of green and above the chancel, an evergreen “star of Bethlehem,” the choir gave “an elaborate programme of song” for the Christmas Day service. The choir was “composed of Mrs. Alice Lane, soprano; Miss Lena Little, contralto; George Dean, tenor and R. B. Merrill, basso.” Included among the pieces presented were an organ arrangement of the Overture to Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Purcell’s Christmas Anthem, Lang’s Te Deum in D Major, Barnaby’s Jubilate, and Lang’s Christmas Carol. (Herald (December 26, 1903): 2, GB)

THE CECILIA SEASON: 1903-1904.

Dame Nellie Melba (1861-1931) in 1904. Wikipedia-accessed June 23, 2020.

Madame Melba had returned from Europe and then been on tour of the States singing to “immense audiences.” Before returning to Europe, she had come to Boston to appear with the BSO and tour with them to New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore, and the Cecilia was able to obtain her services while the Metropolitan Opera had been turned down. (Herald (November 29, 1903): 4, GB) Dame Melba was a favorite with the BSO appearing in 12 seasons between 1890 and 1917 for a total of 37 concerts. (DeWolfe Howe, BSO: 1881-1931, 255) The December 2, 1903 concert was The Damnation of Faust by Berlioz and was given in honor of the anniversary of the composer’s 100th. birthday. The performance was advertised as “the most adequate presentation of Berlioz’s work ever given in Boston.” (Journal (November 26, 1903): 7, GB) As the choir had sung the work only six months before (July 7 and 9), they were well prepared. Dame Melba was to sing Marguerita and the ad said that the “Male Chorus and Orchestra greatly enlarged for this occasion.”

At the third concert of their season at Symphony Hall, the choir sang a miscellaneous program with the assistance of a bass vocalist, Mr. Giraudet “of the Grand Opera of Paris (his first and only appearance in Boston this Season,” and violin soloist, Mr. Karl Ondricek. (Herald (April 3, 1904): 22, GB). The violinist was enjoyed, but the vocalist “electrified his hearers.” (Ibid) Mr. B. L. Whelpley was the organist and Miss Lucy Drake was the choir accompanist. “Of the choral numbers, the part songs seemed to find the most favor.” Tchaikovsky’s Legend was “exquisitely moving…the performance a delight to hear,” and Dvorak’s part song, “a piquant bit, was most persistently applauded…The audience was deplorably small, but appreciative, and hearty in its enthusiasm.” (Herald (April 13, 1904): 3, GB) The April 3rd. ad listed that the Mendelssohn motet was a first Boston performance as was one of the Tschaikovsky Russian Church Songs. (Herald, Op. cit.)

CHICKERING ORCHESTRAL CONCERTS. ADS SAID-CHICKERING PRODUCTION CONCERTS.

B. J.’s interests in orchestral conducting and introducing new music continued even late in life. The Chickering Piano Company asked Frederick S. Converse, Arthur Foote, Charles M. Loeffler and B. J. as Chairman to form a committee to “arrange a series of concerts in Chickering Hall…February 10, 24 and March 9 and 22, 1904…The purpose of these concerts is to give the public an opportunity to hear new and interesting compositions in a hall of moderate size…the orchestra will number between fifty and sixty.” B. J. was to be the conductor. G. W. Chadwick’s name was also listed as a committee member on the “Chickering Orchestral Concerts” stationary, but his name was crossed off on letters sent from Lang to Chadwick. At the First Concert the American premiere of Debussy’s Three Nocturnes (with female choir) was given as the second item of the concert and also repeated as the final number-the same procedure that B. J. had followed forty years earlier in introducing new works by Mendelssohn. The concert opened with the Overture to La vie pour le Czar by Glinka, and also included a scene from L’Enfant du Christ (Le Repos de la Saint Familie) by Berlioz. The Herald mentioned that “there were not so many as there should have been for the first of the four orchestral concerts arranged by Messrs. Chickering & Sons, to produce compositions not otherwise likely to be heard.” (Herald (February 14, 1904): 30, GB) However, this article mentioned some of those who did attend, and it included many of the Boston musical community: Arthur Foote and his daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Burlingame Hill, Mrs. Gardner, Mr. Loeffler, Mr. and Mrs. Converse, Mr. and Mrs. Adamowski, Mr. and Mrs. Longy, and Mrs. Lang along with others less well known. (Ibid)

The program of Second Concert, February 24, included:

     Overture to Iphigenia in Aulis – Gluck (arr. Wagner)

     Concerto in D Minor for Three Pianos – Bach with George Proctor, Heinrich Gebhardt and Felix Fox as soloists

     L’apres-midi d’ un Faune – Debussy

     Les Djinns for Piano and Orchestra – Franck (Boston premiere), soloist-Mrs. Jessie Downey Eaton

Four Songs – Faure, sung by Mrs. Julie Wyman

     Overture-Joyeuse – David Stanley Smith (conducted by the composer) This must have been a substitution as an article dated January 21 had listed two movements from Hadley’s Symphony that won the Paderewski and the Conservatory prizes to be led by the composer. (Herald (January 21, 1904): 10, GB)

The Journal referred to “increasing interest in the programs of the Chickering ‘Production’ Concerts, and the third of the series” promises to add much to the popularity.” (Journal (March 1, 1904, 1904): 4, GB)

The Herald noted the pleasure already given to patrons by the first two concerts and cited “the important results for the cause of music not only in this city but throughout the country. The programmes already presented have been reproduced by newspapers in all the large cities” (Herald (February 28, 1904): 39, GB) These concerts had done much “for the reputation of Boston as a musical centre.” (Ibid)

The Third Concert on March 9, 1904 included:

     Prelude from the Birds of Aristophanes – John K. Paine (Boston premiere, conducted by the composer; World premier by Theodore Thomas at Chicago, February 28, 1903)(Herald, Op. cit)

     Concerto for Piano – Ernest Hutcheson (Boston premiere, the composer as soloist; World premiere, Berlin 1898)(Herald, Op. cit.)

     Two Fragments: The Saracens and The Beautiful Alda – E. A. MacDowell

     Rhapsody for Baritone and Orchestra: Cahal Mor of the Wine Red Hand – Horatio Parker with Stephen Townsend as the soloist. Accompaniment rescored after the BSO premiere March 30, 1895. (Herald, Op. cit.)

     Suite Algerienne – Saint-Saens

The Fourth Concert on March 23, 1904 included:

     Suite from Castor and Pollux – Rameau (arr. Gevaert)

     Symphonic Sketches – Chadwick (conducted by the composer) (In a letter to Chadwick asking him to conduct these pieces, Lang referred to them as “three pieces of yours that Mollenhauer once played on a tour.” (NEC Collection)

Aria for Mezzo-Soprano – Strube with Miss Josephine Knight

     Concerto for Violin and Orchestra Op. 26 – Bruch with Miss Nina Fletcher

     Poem Symphonique Op. 13 – Glazounow

The Second Season (1905-06) was very different; there were at least twelve concerts, but they were all of chamber groups, and the Artistic Director was H. G. Tucker (one of Lang’s piano pupils).

During the Third Season (1906-07) two songs by Margaret were performed – The Sea Sobs Low [never published ?] and Spring sung by Bertha Cushing Child, contralto accompanied by Arthur Colburn. During the next season Summer Noon was sung on January 6, 1907 by Miss Mary Desmond, “the English Contralto” with Mr. A. de Voto as accompanist. At the January 10, 1909 concert Arnold Dolmetsch used a harpsichord and Clavichord built by Chickering.

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