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This site exists to serve as a link among those who might be interested in the Lang family of Massachusetts. Benjamin Johnson Lang (1837-1909) could be seen as the Leonard Bernstein of his time-a conductor, a solo pianist, a writer and lecturer, a champion for new music, and a man well acquainted with all the musical schools of his time-a man who influenced the musical growth of his part of the country for over forty years. There is a direct link between these two men; Lang taught Edward Burlingame Hill, and Hill in turn taught Bernstein at Harvard.  “In fact, a history of the life and activities of Mr. Lang for three decades or more would to a considerable extent chronicle the musical life of Boston for the same period.” (Hill, 9) Lang is one who suggested that the Harvard Musical Association present orchestral concerts, and he served on its Program Committee (Mus. Ob., 1884). Louis Elson (quoted by Fox) expressed the same opinion in 1904: “Benjamin Johnson Lang is one of the most typically American figures that we can find in our musical history. He is a man of enterprise beyond European comprehension. Lang is so thoroughly interwoven with musical progress of every kind in the United States that there is scarcely any classification of musicians in which his name would not fitly find a place. It is not an exaggeration to state that no man has done more for the educational advance in America in music than B. J. Lang. The time will come when Americans will recognize him as among the very foremost of those who created musical taste among us.” (Fox, Papers, 1)( Elson, 261) “He was an antidote to the conservatism of Dwight and Dresel, introducing many new works to Bostonians.” (Tara, 41) Amy Beach, writing in 1937 to Arthur Foote remembered, “the time from 1880 to 1900 was a golden time.” (Block, Amy Beach, 284) Having been criticized for allowing the orchestra to overpower the choir, in his Dvorak Stabat Mater performances by the Cecilia in January 1884, he placed the orchestra behind the choir as Haydn had done in his Creation performances. He also used this same arrangement for Apollo Club performances.

He was the founding conductor of two choral groups that are still active in Boston today. The Cecilia, a mixed voice choir began in 1874 as an adjunct of the Harvard Musical Association Orchestra. In 1876 it became an independent group with 100 singers and 300 subscribing members. Lang conducted the choir for 33 years, retiring just two years before his death in 1909. The group was known for presenting new works-Lang gave first Boston performances to 106, with 12 of these being first American performances and another 12 being world premiers. (Hill, 21-23)

The citation on Lang’s honorary AM Degree of 1908 possibly says it best. “His influence on the development of musical culture in Boston for 50 years has been greater than that of any other individual musician.” (Harvard Graduates’ Magazine Vol. XVII 1908-09): 481)

Many pupils, including his three surviving children, continued his influence, the most notable being his eldest, Margaret Ruthven Lang, (1867-1972) who had many musical “firsts” in her lifetime that stretched for 104 years. As late as 1936 critical opinion still held that “In real depth her compositions are superior to [those of] any other American woman composer,” (Barnes, 10) Music continues to be apart of the lives of the current Lang generation with Anne Hooper (daughter of Malcolm’s daughter, Helen Lang Hooper) being a free-lance violinist in Boston today, and a former Manager of the Boston Pro Arte Orchestra.

The information on this site is provided to those interested in a deeper study of this family. Corrections, additions, comments, etc. are welcomed and will be added and cited. Current material has been added even though it might contradict older material; an example of this is the exact sequence of B. J.’s organ career. The material on the Winch Brothers has been added as it was discovered; it will be up to the reader to select and then arrange what information they might need. It is hoped that those who have done research in this area will be willing to share their findings which will lead to a clearer history of this family and ultimately, performances of Margaret’s music.    At one point a book was envisioned-this site will be the book-ever growing, ever-changing, ever becoming more correct. The first research was done c. 1964 and has continued since then with varying states of intensity. Unfortunately, various formats have been used for citations, citations have been changed as the complete site has been moved from program to program and host to host, but the information remains. I hope that the site will be of use.

Copies of Margaret’s works are available on loan. Please message: Jim Johnston at-  langjwj@earthlink.net


Studio portrait of B. J. Lang, Boston, Mass., ca. 1862. Courtesy of Historic New England. At this point, he would have returned from his time in Europe and his study with Franz Liszt, been appointed organist at the Old South Church, been appointed organist for Boston’s premier choral group-the Handel and Haydn Society, had his debut with the Mendelssohn Quintette Club, had assisted Louis Moreau Gottschalk in 20 concerts and he was a year away from being one of the organists who played for the dedication for the Walcker organ at the Boston Music Hall. He was establishing himself very quickly! Oh, and he had been married a year.

Dr. Bell,

I hope you will listen to this 2  1/2 minute piece with the idea that it might take the  place of Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” on your Christmas Concerts this year. You would have the World Premier (it was originally written as an electronic piece). You could use the Anderson as your encore. I can send the score if you wish.

All the best, Jim Johnston, Bradenton (BU: BM-65, MM- 72, ABD-75-82)(I’m sure we both had Joel Sheveloff for a class, I wonder who else?)




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      In an interview published in 1907, Lang recalled his time as a student of Liszt. “I shall never forget my association with the greatest pianist of his time. He was most generous in his artistic advice, which always was given gratis, and I fear this generosity led many to impose upon his good nature, for their own ends.” (Clippings collected by Gould, HMA)(BPL Lang Prog., 6517-article by Storer)

     1855-1858 Three years study in Germany: meets Wagner in Berlin (1857) Carl Baermann also spent time with Liszt during 1857-it is interesting to picture the possibly that Lang and Baermann met at that time. Baermann later came to Boston, and appeared as piano soloist with the BSO in 26 programs between 1882 and 1899-this would average about 2 and 1/3rd. appearances per season. (Howe, BSO, 245) Born in Bavaria in 1839, he was part of a family that had musical talent passed on for many generations.

     Franz Liszt never gave regular piano lessons to anyone, but he did oversee B.J’s piano studies for some time.” (Ryan) The 1897 entry in The Nationa Cyclopedia of American Biography states that Lang “was so fortunate to have the personal direction of Liszt while studying piano.” (Ryan, 430) The meeting of Liszt and Lang may have occurred over a card game when “One evening, at the whist table, he [Lang] had held all the trumps, and when suspected of being a card sharp found a supporter in Liszt. (Boston Globe 100th year article)

     Margaret remembered that “Liszt took father to many concerts.” (Miller-Globe article) “During these years [1855-1858] he [Lang] began a lasting friendship with Franz Liszt and Liszt’s daughter, Cosima. In later years this friendship with Cosima would provide him with an entrée into the circle of luminaries surrounding Richard Wagner.” (Cline, 9) An entry in Cosima Wagner’s Diaries dated July 1, 1871 makes mention of receiving a letter from B. J. offering support for Bayreuth – she notes that they had first met in Berlin 14 years ago (c. 1857). Cosima might also be the link with Hans von Bulow (whom she married in 1857- in 1870 she married Wagner) who hired B. J. as his conductor for concerts in 1875 that included the world premiere of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1.

      Liszt had another Boston connection. “Mr. Chickering took one these pianofortes [which had won commendation from Napoleon III at the 1867 Exposition Universelle], which had been carefully chosen, as a gift to Liszt in Rome. After playing on it sometime before Mr. Chickering and his friend, Mr. Poznanski, Liszt gave Mr. Chickering what he had never before given any pianoforte manufacturer, a testimonial letter setting forth his supreme satisfaction with the Chickering pianoforte. This instrument was Liszt’s favorite in Weimar, and it, with another Chickering, is now preserved in the Imperial Conservatory at Budapest, Hungary, by the Government in the room in which the composer left them.” (Ayars, 114)

      Lang included pieces by Liszt in his recitals throughout his career. The November 28, 1865 organ concert at the Music Hall included a first performance of Lang’s transcription of Liszt’s Les Preludes which he noted in the program was made from the orchestral score. In November 1866, the Providence Journal went “into ecstasies over Mr. Lang’s pianism, thusly: ”We have heretofore expressed our admiration of Mr. Lang’s piano-forte playing. There is something not only in his taste in selecting and his style of rendering music, but in his very looks and manner, as it seems to us, that indicates the presence of the truly conscientious and high-minded musician, who has a perfect sense of the dignity and worth of his art. Last evening he gave us some superb specimens of genuine piano-forte music and playing. The polonaise by Liszt was exceedingly rich.” As early as the “Third Symphony Concert” of the first season of the Harvard Musical Association Orchestra Concerts which was held on Thursday afternoon, February 8, 1866 Lang was the soloist in the “Allegro” from Beethoven’s Third Concerto in C Minor, Opus 37, and also in the Boston premiere of the Polonaise in E Major for Piano by Weber transcribed with orchestral accompaniment by Liszt. Dwight said “The piano playing of Mr. Lang was the theme of general admiration…Mr. Lang has an excellent touch for making the piano do justice to itself in a large place.” The second piece was Liszt’s transcription for piano and orchestra of a Polonaise in E Major by Weber. “Mr. Lang played his part wonderfully well, with finished elegance and ease, keeping up the swift and shining movement without the slightest break or faltering, and overdoing nothing.” (Dwight (February 17, 1866): 19) A December 28, 1869 solo piano concert was given at the Hotel de Rome in Berlin with pieces by Beethoven, Chopin, Bach (2), Mendelssohn, and Liszt’s transcription of a work by Weber. Almost the same program was given on March 11, 1870 in Dresden.

       By early February 1870, the Langs were in Rome where they visited Liszt. They were “ushered up a long staircase with long hall. We could look into his great music room with its Chickering and Erard grand pianos. We heard exclamations and he appeared. (His servant had given him our cards) He came into the room holding a candle in his hand, high above his head and making an impressive picture. He greeted us very cordially and led us into a smaller room where there was a blazing fire. Lel asked him to write his name on a few pieces of paper, for the ladies, and he immediately took out some photographs and wrote on the backs. He asked me [Frances] to try his piano. Lel said ‘You must ask her to sing.’ Then he sat down and kept us spellbound. He played the Benediction, etc. He played like a God. Finally we thanked him and said we must go. He took both my hands in his and made the most delightful little speech about coming back sometime to Weimar, and took me downstairs into the starlight and put me into the carriage. That night we went to Florence.” (Excerpts, 1 and 2)

       During the summer of 1886 the Langs were again in Europe- he sent a notice to his piano pupils saying that he would be back by Monday, September 20. While they were there, Liszt died, and B. J. was considered such a friend to Liszt, that he was part of Liszt’s funeral. Clara Doria the singer (wife of Henry Rogers) wrote of her trip in 1886 to the Bayreuth Festival. “Next day, from our windows, we watched a long and impressive funeral procession, in which we recognized many distinguished musicians-each one having a lighted torch though it was broad daylight. One of the first in the procession to be recognized by us was our fellow Bostonian, B. J. Lang, who was one of the pallbearers, and who, like the rest, was bearing his torch with due solemnity.” She then continues with an observation which reflects Lang’s high standing in at least her musical world of Boston. “How natural it seemed to us that, when any unusual or exciting event was taking place, B. J. Lang should be there. It was the funeral procession bearing the remains of that great artist, Franz Liszt, who had but a few days ago passed on to the beyond.” (Rogers, Two Lives, 166) The funeral was on August 3rd. in Bayreuth.


      At the Boston Music Hall, on Wednesday afternoon March 30, 1864, “B. J. Lang, The Distinguished Organist Will make his Second Appearance in these concerts.” After an opening overture by Mendelssohn (Der Heimkehe aus der Fremde), B. J. played an organ solo Let their celestial concerts all unite from Samson. Then Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony was followed by B. J.’s transcription of selections from Hymn of Praise, and the orchestra ended with Invitation to the Waltz by Weber and Wagner’s Finale from Tannhauser. B. J.’s advocacy of Mendelssohn would continue throughout his career as would his devotion to Wagner: “For the next three decades [from the 1860’s] Wagner remained a fundamental part of his career.” (Briggs, 53)

             Always interested in the new compositions of his time, as ”An ardent Wagnerian, Lang visited Wagner in 1871 and offered his assistance in publicizing the Bayreuth Festival in America. The Saloon Passenger List of the RMS Parthia sailing from Boston to Liverpool listed B. J. Lang as departing on August 7, 1875. An entry in Cosima Wagner’s Diary for August 26, 1875 mentions that she showed B. J. the Bayreuth Theater. In 1876 Lang and his wife were honored guests at the first performance of the Ring in Bayreuth.” (Ledbetter, Amer. Grove, 10) Arthur Foote also attended (Cipolla, Amer. Grove, 150) Frances’ Diary recorded that they sailed from Philadelphia on June 24, 1876 together with Mr. and Mrs. Tucker (she=Jeanie). They were in London from July 4-14, then Paris July 14-23 during which they heard High mass at St. Sulpice where Mr. Widor’s “improvisations were delightful.” The Wagner festival was August 6-23, and 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 (?) She mentioned that they saw four operas, three times each! On the return journey, after another stay in London of August 30-September 5, they set sail from Queenstown, Ireland on the Steamer “Celtic” on September 6th. She noted that Mr. Foote was also on board. (Frances Lang Diary, 1876) Margaret, then aged eight, probably spent the time with Frances” mother. “There were several other groups of Bostonians who went over chiefly on account of the Bayreuth production” including Arthur Foote who was introduced to the London music publishers Schott and Company by Lang. (Foote-Auto., 61).

      Among the American visitors to Bayreuth was Louis C. Elson (critic at the Boston Advertiser 1866-1920) who recorded his impressions of a visit to Bayreuth which he calls “A sleepy German town” in the late 1880s. He began with a reference to the slowness of the Bavarian railroads, and then continued: “July 20th. the town was still its normal condition, dull, sleepy and apathetic; but early on the next morning matters began to change with the rapidity of a fairy transformation scene. Train after train came in, crowed in every compartment, and bearing the motliest assemblage that ever a caricaturist could dream of. Fat, florid, and bespectacled men jostled against lean, long-haired specimens of the genus music professor, and the way in which greetings and kisses were interchanged was appalling to the American eye. At eight in the evening, fresh impetus was given to the growing excitement by the arrival of the special train from Vienna, bearing a vast crowd of South German artists and musicians. Locomotive decked with flowers, and flags hanging over some of the carriages, it slowly pushed into the immense crowd gathered at the station to welcome it…Many Americans were at the station…Correspondents from all over the world were there, and anxiety about lodgings grew apace. It was an odd spectacle to find princes lodging above grocers” shops and princesses coming to dwell with well-to-do sausage makers…It was a great delight to live with a quiet German family during the rush of the festival, and to be able to withdraw occasionally from the bustle of publicity into cool and neat rooms.” Joining him that year were George E. Whiting, Carl Faelten, and Miss Fanny Paine. He later saw Mr. Gericke, Franz Kneisel, Clayton Johns, Arthur Foote, Mrs J. L. Gardner and other Americans. “An entire American colony was formed.” Elson visited Cosima Wagner and was immediately invited into “a room half drawing-room, half boudoir, in which sat a slim and graceful, but not beautiful, lady, writing. She arose and greeted me with cordiality, and in a few moments by kindly question and unaffected conversation put me at ease…She inquired after American friends, and particularly Mr. B. J. Lang.” She asked Elson if he knew how many Americans were in the city, and he replied “that I knew personally of some fifty who were coming, and that I had no doubt the number would reach two hundred or more…The resemblance of Madame Wagner to her father, Liszt, was more marked than ever as she grew animated.” (Elson, Reminiscences, 73-78)

         “His interest in the Bayreuth Festival, the Franz benefit concert, the Dwight testimonial, the Liszt celebration, in short, in every memorable musical occasion has been earnest, thorough and, above all, practical. He has been honored with the personal friendship of the greatest composers of Europe, and his studies of the works of Wagner have been made with the assistance of the great composer himself. He has, like every earnest, original and competent worker, formed for himself a set of followers, pupils and disciples. It is impossible to enumerate these since the number of his pupils who have become concert soloists is over sixty. The work of the Cecilia Club is wholly due to Mr. Lang; that of the Apollo and Euterpe societies largely so. therefore, in the articles on these subjects, the reader will find a continuation of his too-brief personal sketch. Mr. Lang, although he has composed some very fine works, has, as yet, published nothing. As a musician he is armed at all points; he is one of the very surest of ensemble players and never loses his head. We can personally recall many instances where his calmness has saved careless or nervous players from disaster. He is a good organizer and a very efficient leader. At a time when no one else dared undertake playing with, or directing for, the belligerent Von Bulow or the meteoric Joseffy, he did both-and well. He is one of the surest of score-readers and, though not a virtuoso, is one of the best types of true musician. He has long been the organist of a leading Unitarian church. Of his Boston pupils, we may mention Mr. Arthur Foote…Mr. W. F. Apthorp is another of Mr. Lang”s eminent pupils.” (Elson, Musical Boston, 3)

       Wagner was a patient of the American dentist Dr. Newell S. Jenkins who had a practice in Dresden from 1875 until his death in 1883. In 1879 Wagner had the idea of migrating to America with his family. This came about because of various professional problems that he was having in Germany. “His life at this time was so unhappy that he thought he might get the needed support in America. Perhaps what influenced him in part was the fact that America, in 1876, had accepted his Grand Festival March composed for the Philadelphia Exposition, for which he received $5,000, that payment, as he remarked, being the best thing about it.” (HMA, Bulletin No. 21, p. 6) Jenkins sent a letter from Wagner about his possible move to John S. Dwight, “a foremost authority on matters musical and a widely renowned critic and writer” probably not being aware that “the very name of Wagner, let alone his music, was anathema to Dwight, and a less sympathetic consultant could hardly have been found.” (Ibid, 7) Dwight showed the letter to various Boston associates including Lang, who then wrote to Wagner “reproving him for his lack of ‘common sense’ and advising him to withdraw the letter.” (Ibid) Wagner was not to be changed, and he wrote again to Jenkins on July 13, 1880 asking him to find a trusted friend who might be able to manage this enterprise. However, things in Germany improved for Wagner, and so nothing further was recorded about the project.

     Margaret was well acquainted with the Wagners. “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.” (Cline, 11)

      During the summer of 1885 the Lang family and nurse Ellen Sheehan spent the time in Europe. They left Boston on June 13, 1885 on the S. S. Catalonia, and visited Brussels

, Cologne, Wurtzburg and “then Munich 48 Brienner Strauss where we lived 2 winters.” While they were in Munich they visited with Cosima Wagner who was at the Marienbad Hotel. Two of her daughters, Eva and Isolda were also there. Mrs. Lang and Margaret stood outside the Odeon Salle as the “Vorspiel” from Lohengrin was being played by a full orchestra with an audience of one, Cosima Wagner. “A great experience.” (Excerpts from Francis M. Lang’s Note Book, 7)

Ryan felt that “One of the most notable accomplishments of Mr. Lang was the bringing of the Passion-Play of Parsifal by Richard Wagner.[Lang was 53] For a concert presentation on April 14, 1891,[MYB says April 15, and that “Mr. H. E. Krehbiel and Mr. Anton Seidl were associated in a lecture-recital on Wagner’s Parsifal at the Meionaon on April 14″ and that “Dr. L. Kelterborn gave a lecture-recital on Wagner’s Parsifal in Chickering Hall on April 13; stereopticon views were presented.”(MYB 1890-91, 25)] at great expense Lang brought from New York the entire Seidl Orchestra (New York Metropolitan Opera House Orchestra of 75 players together with “a remarkable corps of solo singers including several of the Bayreuth performers”) (Nat. Bio., 430), who had recently played the work in that city. It was a bold and brilliant stroke. No other performance of the great composition has been vouchsafed Boston.” (Ryan, 85) However, in April of 1884 Theodore Thomas directed a Wagner Festival of six concerts which presented scenes from Der Ring des Nibelungen which Apthorp covered (and explained in great detail) in a series of articles for the Boston Evening Transcript. (Nelson, 138)

             The libretto for Lang’s performance listed five German soloists plus Boston’s Miss Lena Little as “A Knight,” six “Flower-Maidens” including Miss Gertrude Franklin, Mr. George J. Parker and Mr. G. W. Want as the “Two Esquires,” and “An unseen Chorus of Solo Singers, large Male and Female Choruses and an ORCHESTRA OF SEVENTY-FIVE PLAYERS.” (Jackson, English libretto)Johnson lists the soloists as Mme. Mielke, and Messrs. Dippel, Reichmann, Fischer, and Meyn, and the chorus as being made up of the Cecilia Society and the Apollo Club. (Johnson, 387) The total number of singers in the chorus was two hundred. (MB 1890-91, 25)

Frances” Diary recorded that: “Lel returned from N. Y. says the rehearsal was a splendid one.” (DuBois e-mail, May 21, 2006) She further mentioned: “The bells from Theodore Thomas” orchestra in Chicago have arrived. Lel fortunately sleeps wonderfully, for the detailed work of giving Parsifal is appalling. Everyone is excited and impressed. I wish I might be a dispassionate spectator for just one hour…Maidie [MRL] and I went to a rehearsal of the Unseen Chorus. O it was so beautiful. Mrs. Gardner was there. There is a tremendous demand for tickets…April 15th. [Day of the performance] Went to the 9 AM rehearsal at the Hall. The 90 members of the N. Y. Orchestra all there, the Bells too. Later Mrs. Gardner came to the house to copy the cuts. I was so thrilled when I got to the hall. The children had been allowed to leave school and with Minnie went to the Organ loft to hear it all. When Lel walked on to the stage he was received with wild enthusiasm. The singing was perfect. Everyone there. Even the hotels were crowded. Tables engaged beforehand where people would eat between the afternoon and evening Acts. We all went home for a cold supper then back to the hall. The whole thing was beautiful beyond description. Such a sense of excitement. Some people cried. All wild enthusiasm. Afterward, we went to Young’s Hotel. Crowds were there among them Mrs. Gardner. The Homers gave Lel a most beautiful silver cup.” [The Homers being friends of the whole Lang family especially Maidie, their brother/ in-law was Winslow Homer who did a sketch of BJ at the organ now in the art museum in Portland Maine-FRD]

      The performance at the Boston Music Hall began with Act One from 4:30-6 PM, followed by Act Two from 7:30-8:30 PM, and Act Three from 8:45-10 PM. This was a private performance with no public publicity, but it was marketed through a prospectus. The English translation made by John P. Jackson was used, and the work was repeated a year later on May 4, 1892 (with Victor Herbert as the first cellist). Margaret, when she was 100, had a different view on that performance. ”Father did the first American (concert) performance of Parsifal but Parsifal has died on me. I can’t say why.” (Miller-Globe article) Seidl had assisted Wagner in the first complete performance of the Ring in 1876. After conducting opera at Leipzig and Bremen he came to New York as the conductor of the Metropolitan Opera in 1885. Six years later he became conductor of the New York Philharmonic, succeeding Theodore Thomas. In 1889 he led the first complete Ring in America.

       Just over a year later, on Wednesday, May 4, 1892 he presented it again, this time with an orchestra of 85 which was advertised as “the so-called Seidl Orchestra from New York.” (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 6) The vocal casts for both performances were pretty much the same. At the end of that year, on December 9, 1892, the Cecilia was part of a “Grand Wagner Programme” conducted by Anton Seidl “and his entire Metropolitan [no opera in the title] Orchestra” at the Boston Theater. Ticket prices were 50c., 75c., $1, $1.50 and $2.

Anton Seidl,  Elson, 215.

1892 was also the year that the English edition of Adolphe Jullien’s (1845-1932) book Richard Wagner-His Life and Works appeared with an Introduction by B. J. The work, originally written in 1886, had been translated into English by Florence Percival Hall, and Lang’s “Introduction to the American Edition” called attention to the fact that “Nothing pleased Wagner more than the knowledge that his works were becoming well known in this country. His interest in America led him to turn his thoughts in this direction as a possible refuge in the period of his life when adversity followed him like a shadow. In later years when both fame and wealth were abundantly his, he sent to the United States a proposition full of practical detail, having for its end the removal of himself and his family to this country, where he purposed devoting the remainder of his life to the composition of new works and their dedication to this country exclusively. However remarkable such a proposition may seem, the fact that it was made in downright earnest is none the less interesting to Americans.” (Jullien,  xxi and xxii) B. J. is not mentioned in the body of this book.

       Foote also relates a story about Bayreuth in the summer of 1898 [or 1893] when he and Lang snuck into the orchestra pit between acts of Gotterdammerung. “The day was hot, everyone being in shirt-sleeves, and we could see how differently the majestic Richter behaved (the orchestra being quite out of sight of the audience). He shouted to different players and to the singers, gave them cues, and was quite a different person from the one we were used to seeing in the concert room. It was a remarkable experience. We were observed sitting in our corner, but the liberty we had taken was winked at.” (Foote, Auto., 78)

       In 1903, on Tuesday, January 6 Lang presented another “Private Performance” of Parsifal, this time at the new Symphony Hall. Act I ran from 4:30 to 6, Act II from 7:45 to 8:45, and Act III from 9 until 10:15. The cast was: Kundry-Mme. Kirk-y Lurr, Parsifal-Herr Gerbauser, Amfortas-Herr Dan Roby, Gurnemanz-Herr Blass, Klingsor and Titurel-Herr Muhlmann, Esquires-Mr. Wilhelm Heinrich and Mr. Stephen Townsend, Knights-Miss Adelarge Griggs and Miss Adah Hussey, Solo Flower-Maidens-Mrs. Follett, Mrs. Kilduff, Mrs. Rice, Miss Knight, Miss. Miller, and Miss Van Kuren, Two Unseen Choirs, Chorus of Flower-Maidens and chorus of Knights of the Grail, sung by members of the Cecilia Society, and an orchestra of seventy players. All of this performance information was listed on the first page of a sixty-three-page booklet published by Thomas Todd of Boston which gave an introduction about the story first, and then the full text with the German on the left page and the English translation on the right page. The ticket price was $5.



The Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto-A WORLD Premier. SC(G). WC.

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Hans von Bulow “is known to have given more than 3,000 concerts during his career as a pianist and conductor. His long and arduous tours took him through a dozen or more countries.” (Walker, vii)

Steven Ledbetter’s assessment in the 2001 “New Grove” was that Lang “ was a solid orchestral conductor and unsurpassed as a choral conductor, in which area he was Boston’s principal exponent for four decades.” (Ledbetter, 231) Almost 100 years earlier (1904) Elson had stated, “Lang’s conducting was generally stronger on the vocal than upon the instrumental side. He could not play on an orchestra as Gericke, Paur, Nikisch, or Thomas have done, but he equaled almost any of these men in conducting or in training a chorus. Fortunately, his chief work led him into that path…. as conductor of the Apollo and the Cecilia clubs, it is simply impossible to overrate his labors.”(Elson, 260). However, Lang conducting of the world premiere performance of the Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto with Von Bulow as the soloist on Oct. 25, 1875 created quite a sensation. (Foote, Auto., 44) Johnson in First Performances states that this concert was not actually part of the regular season given by the Harvard Musical Association, but that the group was “generally speaking the same body of players.” (Johnson, Op. cit., 364)

Verlag Hans Dursthoff-Berlin: J. W. Johnston Collection.

Von Bulow almost did not make it to America in 1875. “During the end of the 1874-75 season, while on a tour to England, he suffered an ”apoplectic stroke” that partially paralyzed the right side of his body. In late June [1875] he wrote Cosima that his health was ”completely shattered,” and he feared he would be ”incapable of starting for America.” A couple of weeks later he was able to view his situation not ”too tragically or pathetically” but still made arrangements for a ”fatal ending,” drawing up his will and giving instructions to Cosima for disbursing his possessions. It was in this debilitated physical condition and cynical state that Bulow began the musical preparation for his American tour.” (Lott, pp. 237 and 238) He had done his will as “He knew that he would be in North America for at least nine months…There was a predictable division of money and personal property to the three daughters Daniela, Blandine, and Isolde (the last whom he continued to call his own.” (Walker, 211)

“The American tour began in Boston, on Monday, October 18, 1875, after a very rough transatlantic crossing on the steamer Parthia, during which Bulow was seasick. Immediately after his arrival in Boston, he locked himself away in his private quarters at 23 Beacon Street. The local newspapers reported that he practiced for eight or nine hours a day-as well he might in view of the workload before him.” (Walker, 213)

For his first concert on October 18th. the Music Hall’s 2,700 seats were filled. His entrance caused some comment: “Bulow walked onto the platform, a short, dapper figure, carrying a hat. This disconcerting appendage he proceeded to place under the piano. He also wore gloves which he ceremoniously removed before surveying the audience with his usual aristocratic distain…This opening concert was hugely successful and Bulow could not have been happier with the press notices…The New York Times accorded him a position of preeminence among the pianists who had visited America during the past fifteen years…During the first few days in Boston, Bulow gave four more concerts. But it was his appearance the following week, on October 25, that has entered the history books.” (Walker, 212 and 213) This was the world premiere of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto.

Dwight’s Journal of November 13, 1875 states that this concert was the fifth in a series of seven, [dates of the concerts were: #1-Monday, October, 18;#2-Wednesday, October 20; #3-Friday, October 22; #4 -Saturday, October 23;#5-Monday, October 25;#6-Friday, October 29; #7-Saturday, October 30] and that the entire program of number five was repeated for the seventh concert. Between the Monday, October 25 Fifth Concert and the Friday, October 29 Sixth Concert, Bulow gave two recitals in Providence! (Lott, 301) “Mr. Peck, to whose enterprise we are indebted for these seven feasts, has made arrangements to have him [von Bulow] return in January [1876] and give some concerts of Chamber music with the Philharmonic Club (Messers. Listemann, etc.).” The program for the Fifth Concert was:

 Overture-Jessonda Weber

Grand Concerto in B-flat (sic) Tschaikowski

Sonata, Opus 27 (Moonlight Sonata) Beethoven

Overture-Prometheus Beethoven

Grand Fantasie, Opus 15 Schubert arranged for Piano and Orchestra by F. Liszt

Wedding March Mendelssohn

“The Overtures went smoothly under the baton of Mr. Lang who had been called to succeed Mr. Bergmann and who [Lang], being himself a pianist and an enthusiastic admirer of von Bulow, was in better sympathy and understanding with him for the rendering of the extremely difficult, strange, wild, ultra-modern Russian score. It is the composition of a young professor at the Conservatory in Moscow, a pupil of Rubinstein’s (indeed the work contained not a few suggestions of the master), and is dedicated to Bulow, who complimented Boston very first performance. A compliment well-meant, and warmly responded to by the applauding audience, -twice-for this program was repeated for the seventh concert…How wonderfully von Bulow rendered it, there is no need of telling; all that a hearty sympathy, a masterly conception and an infallible technique could do for it, it had the fullest degree; and the young author well knew that his work could not suffer in such hands.”(Johnson, First, 364) “Privately, Bulow thought Lang’s performance was ”very decent” and a repeat performance of the Tchaikovsky was ”most spirited.” Publicly, he linked his arm in Lang’s after his first performance and insisted on sharing the applause with him. ” (Lott,  243) Lott amplifies this story in a footnote, saying: “One writer remembered Bulow being ”extravagant in testifying his satisfaction” with Lang and reported this conversation with the pianists: “Did you see my little scene with the conductor?” I said that I did, and asked why he was so desperately demonstrative, and why he made such a scene. “Ah! You ask that? I expected you would,” he said. “But why not? It did me no harm, and it may do him good. Besides, I was so grateful that the conducting was no worse, that I could not restrain myself.”” (Lott, 339) Bulow’s gratefulness extended to having Lang also conduct the sixth concert: “The little orchestra still manifested improvement,” and Lang also appeared with von Bulow in the last piece: “The Chopin Rondo (in C Major for two pianos) was very finely rendered by both artists, who kept perfectly together; and this compliment of Von Bulow to his new conductor, like the one before, when he led him out to share the honors of a recall, found a sympathetic audience.” (Dwight (November 13, 1875): 126) Steinberg muses: “I do wonder, though, what it all sounded like with B. J. Lang’s little orchestra with its four first violins (Steinberg, 477) Dwight had reported in his issue of October 30, 1875 concerning the fifth concert in the series: “Carl Bergmann’s baton gave a fair outline, although, to be sure, four first violins were rather thin and feeble for the great crescendo of the Leonora No. 3. Dwight earlier in this same review had said: “There has been an orchestra, a small one to be sure, with the best conductor in America at its head during the first week” of the von Bulow concerts. (Dwight (Oct. 30, 1875): 118) This would then make Lang better than the best conductor then in America!

The question remains as to why Bergmann was dismissed which then gave Lang his chance to conduct. Bulow recorded that “Bergmann had not taken much interest in the concerts as he had in drinking beer, he had missed two meetings to discuss the concerts which forced Bulow to make suggestions to the orchestra himself, and then, while Bulow was beginning his solo pieces in one of the concerts, Bergmann audibly invited the musicians to ”go get some refreshments,” and brought six of them back half tipsy.” (Lott, 251) At Bulow’s next stop on his tour, New York City, he was asked during an interview with the New York Sun to explain why he had fired Bergmann who was well regarded, especially in the German community. Bulow began “by denouncing Bergmann as incompetent. He then went on to berate him for ”showing more interest in drinking beer” than in pursuing his duties as a conductor…The interview was so outspoken that it created what Harper’s Magazine called a ”hullabulow”. The German press gored him, calling him a great artist but a small man. That only made matters worse. Bulow went on to criticize the Germans in general as a beer-swilling crowd who drank until their brains were stupid, rendering them incapable of appreciating great music because they listened to everything through an alcoholic haze. This led to a further outcry and Bulow received the predictable crop of hostile letters.” (Walker, 214)

As late as the program for the Forth Concert held on October 23rd., Bergmann was still listed as the conductor of the fifth concert to be held two days later! In the fifth concert program, Lang is advertised as the conductor, and also for the sixth and seventh concerts which were a repeat of the material from the fifth concert. Nowhere in the program is there any mention of who the orchestra was. Walker describes the group as “a scratch orchestra of a mere thirty-five players.” (Walker, 213) Also, there were no notes about the music, but only various articles about von Bulow.(HMA Program Collection) Bergmann, as conductor of the New York Philharmonic, had built that group “into a fine orchestra,” but according to Howard Shanet, “the modern chronicler of the Philharmonic,” Bergmann “was now professionally so sloppy, spiritually so depressed, physically so decayed, and continually so drunk that only the great affection that his men bore him kept him in his post.”…”By August 1876 he would be dead.” (Lott, 251 and 152) This was a sad ending for someone who had conducted the New York Philharmonic beginning in 1858: “Bergmann was the Philharmonic’s most potent artistic personality for more than three decades. He also happened to be America’s first potent advocate of the music of Richard Wagner.” (Horowitz, Wagner, 38) The careers of Theodore Thomas and Bergmann “intertwined…Thomas, fourteen years Bergmann’s junior, frequently played the violin under Bergmann’s baton. Bergmann was initially the cellist in the historic chamber-music concerts of Thomas and the pianist William Mason. It was Thomas who brought the work Bergmann had helped begin to a plateau of high fruition.” (Ibid) In Thomas’ autobiography he evaluates Bergmann: “Bergmann was a talented musician and a fair cello player…He lacked most of the qualities of a first-rank conductor, but he had one great redeeming quality for those days which soon brought him into prominence. He possessed an artistic nature and was in sympathy with the so-called ”Zukunft Musik” [”Music of the Future”]. He lacked the force, however, to make an impression, and had no standard. He derived his principal inspiration from our chamber music practice. His readings of Beethoven’s works showed clearly that he had no tradition, and that it was not based on study.” And, if this was not damning enough, Thomas ended with: “Bergmann never practiced.” (Horowitz, Op. cit., 38 and 29)


HMA Program Collection

Von Bulow had made known that “the grand composition of Tschaikovsky, the most eminent Russian maestro of the present day, composed last April and dedicated by its author to Hans von Bulow, has NEVER BEEN PERFORMED, the composer himself never having enjoyed an audition of his masterpiece. To Boston is reserved the honor of its initial representation and the opportunity to impress the first verdict on a work of surpassing musical interest.” (Steinberg, 477) Originally the composer had


Nicolai Rubinstein. Wikipedia, January 10, 2019.

dedicated the piece to Nicolai Rubinstein, Head of the Moscow Conservatory (from its founding in 1866 to his death in 1881), but Rubinstein’s reaction, which Tchaikovsky recorded three years after the event in a letter to his patron, von Meck. so upset the composer that he vowed to ignore Rubinstein’s suggestions and publish the work “exactly as it stands”-which he did (Steinberg, p. 475) He wrote to von Meck: “It transpired that my concerto was no good, that it was impossible to play, that some passages were hackneyed, awkward, and clumsy beyond redemption, that as a composition it was bad and banal, that I had pilfered this bit from here and that from there, that there were only two or three passages which would do, and that the rest would have to be either discarded or completely reworked.” (Lott, p. 241 quoting from a letter) The connection between the composer and von Bulow seems to be Karl Klindworth who “was a colleague [of Tchaikovsky] at the Moscow Conservatory,” and with Bulow, a fellow pupil of Liszt. (Lott, 241) “Bulow had already written favorably of some of Tchaikovsky”s earlier works… Upon receiving the concerto, Bulow wrote to Tchaikovsky: ”The ideas are so lofty, strong, and original. The details, which although profuse, in no way obscure the work as a whole…The form is so perfect, mature, and full of style – in the sense that the intention and craftsmanship are everywhere concealed.”” (Ibid) After such a response, naturally, the work was given to von Bulow.

Not everything was perfect at the premiere. “The distinguished Boston composer George W. Chadwick, then just about to turn 21, heard the performance and recalled in a memoir years later, ”They had not rehearsed much and the trombones got in wrong in the ”tutti” in the middle of the first movement, whereupon Bulow sang out in a perfectly audible voice, ”The brass may go to hell.” This was the first Tchaikovsky piece [I] ever heard and I thought it the greatest ever, but it rather mystified some of our local scribes [critics], who could not have dreamed how many times they would have to hear it in the future.” (Ledbetter, Program Note) “Critical reaction to what is now the world’s favorite piano concerto was decidedly mixed. its lyrical themes and colorful orchestration were immediately recognized and praised, but the sheer length of the work and the rambling first movement, in particular, were obstacles to appreciation. The Boston Evening Transcript found the ”elaborate work [to be] as difficult for popular apprehension as the name of the composer.” because of the ”long stretches of what seems, on the first hearing at least, formless void, sprinkled only with tinklings of the piano and snatchy obbligatos from all the various wind and string instruments in turn.” Dwight judged the last movement of the ”strange, wild, ultra-modern work” to be ”extremely brilliant and exciting,” but he wondered whether the public could ”ever learn to love such music.” …The public’s response was not nearly as guarded. A reporter for the New York Daily Tribune, in Boston for the premiere, thought the performance was ”irresistible, and the effect upon the audience most intense.” In fact, the exhilarating last movement, despite some ensemble problems, was so enthusiastically received that it had to be repeated. Tchaikovsky wrote to Rimsky-Korsakov after Bulow informed him of this demand, which happened more than once: ”Think what appetites these Americans have: after every performance Bulow was obligated to repeat the entire finale! Such a thing could never happen here.”” (Lott, 241 and 242) Having taken over as conductor of the fifth concert, Lang was retained for the sixth concert and then the seventh. For the sixth concert, he had only two or three days to prepare another new piece, the Raff Concerto!

HMA Program Collection.

       Lang was also the conductor for the Sixth Concert on October 29, 1875 (see program above). Note that Lang and von Bulow ended the concert with Chopin’s Rondo in C Major, a piece that Lang would later program with his pupils.

Lang and von Bulow repeated the Grand Concerto as part of von Bulow’s Seventh and final Concert in Boston. Then at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia on Friday, December 17th. and continuing the 18th., 21st. and 22nd. of the same year (1875). Lang’s name was printed as the conductor for the third and fourth concerts and written in as conductor for the first and second concerts, but the Tchaikovsky does not appear in any of these programs. (BPL Lang Prog.) Lang’s biographical entry in the 1886 edition of A Handbook of American Music and Musicians edited by F. O. Jones characterized his conducting as follows: “His calmness and presence of mind under all circumstances and surety of score reading has more than once saved a careless or nervous performer from disaster. These qualities make him one of the best conductors, and enabled him to successfully act in that capacity for the belligerent von Bulow and the meteoric Joseffy.” (Jones – first page of ‘L’ section) Von Bulow played the Tchaikovsky Concerto in 139 out of a total of 172 concerts that he presented that 1875-76 season! As a performer himself, Lang was very considerate of the soloist when he conducted. Apthorp relates more of Lang’s experience with von Bulow in their Philadelphia appearance. Lang, “having heard reports that the Philadelphia orchestra was none of the best at that time, besides knowing that von Bulow was liable to be nervous and at times rather obstreperous at rehearsals, thought it wise to have some rehearsing without his presence. Among other things Beethoven’s G major concert [sic] was to be played; Lang agreed with von Bulow to have the rehearsal at ten o’clock the next morning, but privately sent word to the orchestra that it would be called at nine. This would give him an hour’s rehearsal before von Bulow appeared on the ground. The orchestra assembled as ordered, the orchestral numbers and accompaniments were rehearsed; when it got to be six or seven minutes to ten, Lang and the orchestra were still hammering away at the accompaniment to the G major concerto. But it happened that von Bulow got there some minutes before his appointed time, and, finding Lang already rehearsing without him, took a seat at the back of the hall to wait until this unexpected preliminary rehearsal should be over. Lang standing with his back to the house, of course, did not see him and went on with his work unsuspicious of his presence. When the orchestra got to the tutti hold on the dominant that ushers in the cadenza, and Lang had cut the chord short with a wave of his baton, he was not a little startled to hear von Bulow shriek out behind him in his sharpest and most acrid voice: ‘The woodwind may go to h—ll!’ Lang turned around just in time to see the infuriated pianist jam his stove-pipe upon his head and rush out of the hall as fast as his legs could carry him; von Bulow was not to be found again that morning, and the G major Concerto was played in the evening without rehearsal with the pianoforte.” (Apthorp, 357 and 358) However, the concerts went well: the pick-up orchestra played accurately and expressively under Lang’s meticulous direction. What he lacked in magnetism, Lang compensated for through his careful study and preparation of the orchestra… Bulow’s faith in Lang’s abilities was validated by excellent performances…Bulow continued to share the credit publicly with Lang. After a performance of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto, Bulow grabbed both of Lang’s hands and ”led him impulsively to the footlights to share blushingly the honors of the occasion.” (Lott, 260) Later, Lang himself was the soloist in this work at performances with the BSO in 1883 and 1885. (Steinberg, 473)

Tchaikovsky was very moved by the news of Bulow’s success with his concerto. In a letter dated February 13, 1876 he thanked Bulow for the news of “another American success that I owe to you,” the first being the Boston premiere. (Walker, 214) This second success was the New York performance of the concerto led by Leopold Damrosch whom Bulow had known in Weimar. For this performance, the finale was also encored as it had been in Boston. Tchaikovsky also noted that he had known Bulow “only a short time,” and having been treated so badly by his mentor, Anton Rubinstein, Tchaikovsky expressed to Bulow “the immense gratitude that I owe you, to you who were not my master and who are not even a compatriot.” (Walker,  215)

Bulow had some interesting observations on the musical audience in Boston. A year after his first appearances there, in 1876, Bulow told the Chicago Times: “There are two types of musical cultivation: for want of better terminology. I might call them in-breath and in-depth. In the latter respect. I would consider Boston the most cultivated; but the people are narrow and too pretentious for the measure of their knowledge. Puritanism has frozen art in New England; it’s a miracle that it hasn’t killed it altogether in the last 100 years. The Bostonians feel their indifference not only to an extreme degree: they even display it openly with pride. Presumably, they reckon it as one of the Fine Arts. But that it is not. It is simply a form of paralysis…nevertheless, for a certain sort of technical facility and depth of musical cultivation, Boston takes first place.” (Horowitz, America, 10 and 11)

Lang also learned the solo piano part of the Tchaikovsky work. At the February 19 and 20, 1885 concerts (19th. Pair of the Fourth Season) of the BSO Lang soloed in this work which just ten years earlier he had conducted its world premiere; this time the conductor was Georg Henschel. He had done the “Allegro” only at a Fitchburg concert of March 1883. The Home Journal devoted about ninety percent of its attention to the concerto. The writer spent half of his space telling why he didn’t like the work, and then, in a most convoluted manner, described Lang’s performance. “In regard to Mr. Lang’s performance of the work, we can see no reason for changing our former opinion as to a method which prevents him from playing with either clearness or breadth of tone which it would be extremely gratifying to have him bestow, and which he evidently aims at with the artistic fervor and fidelity that are requisite for an absolutely perfect performance. It is yet our pleasure to acknowledge that we have not yet known him to play in Boston with such excellent taste and to renew our appreciation of his nice sense of phrasing. It is as a master of accentuation that we find him making his efforts that naturally count for more than they are worth. During the past two years his technique has beyond all cavil developed in elasticity, which enables him to play runs and octaves with rare freedom; nor are his mannerisms so pronounced; so that all in all the treatment to which he submitted the concerto was eminently just and masterly. Mr. Lang was enthusiastically applauded and recalled.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives) The Traveller devoted just under one-half of its space to the concerto. The reviewer wrote that: “To one not an especial student of the pianoforte, the concerto of Tschaikovsky which Mr. Lang played makes an unsatisfactory effect. It is not absolute music, though doubtless, the writer conceived with definite outline the picture he would express. It would seem a good plan if modern writers for the pianoforte, beginning with Rubinstein, would search out a new name for what they are now obliged to call concerto, for their methods, and the point of view from which they write for orchestra and pianoforte, are in effect different from those of Mozart or Beethoven, and, therefore, distracting to the student. But the work is not dull; it is only untransparent. The difficulties of what Mr. Lang is playing can never be established by seeing or hearing him play. The most extraordinary technical demands are met by him with just the same fortified complacency. He is never at fault technically, and his impassioned, nervous manner is indicative of a fine, susceptible temperament, which makes his interpretations uniformly just. Mr. Lang was heard with interest by the large audience and warmly recalled.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives) The Transcript reviewer devoted his second half to the concerto saying in general that he liked the work, even if “some portions of the work are marvels of systematized cacophony…Mr. Lang played the concerto with evident enthusiasm, and with a finish of detail that was altogether fine. For grace of phrasing, purity of style and general artistic completeness, his playing could only call forth admiration. Nor was anything wanting in force and vigor of accent. The only thing that we felt the want of was a more commanding volume of tone from the pianoforte; in this, as in many of the modern concerts, the pianoforte has literally to vie with the orchestra in power, and it requires almost superhuman strength to make the solo part really dominate over the accompaniment. Yet it was only in a few passages that any weakness was felt in this respect, and this occasional physical shortcoming was as little when compared with the high intellectual and artistic qualities of Mr. Lang’s playing.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives) The short review in the Globe noted that the concerto “held the closest attention of the audience. Mr. Lang’s clean touch and artistic interpretation gave this well-known concerto [well known only ten years after its world premiere!] new life, the last movement being especially fine.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives) The review in the Courier began by saying: “The piece de resistance of the concert of last night was Schumann’s ”Cologne” Symphony…Not far behind the symphony in interest was the Tschaikowsky concerto played by Mr. Lang. The pianist was greeted with the heartiest applause from first to last, and in the last two movements certainly deserved it. the development of the first movement smacked somewhat of the etude order of music, although the first theme, given first in the orchestra with piano accompaniment and then in reversed treatment, was finely give. Best of all was the second movement, with its pastoral, musette-like opening, and we can complement Mr. Lang on the perfection of ensemble in this movement of the work. He was also successful in the finale, where, in spite of the heavy orchestration, he made his part always clear and intelligible. It was rather a musicianly than a fiery performance., but its clearness and steadiness had a decided charm for both the critic and audience.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives) A review with the headline of “The Nineteenth Symphony Concert” began by noting that the concerto “has been occasionally played” in Boston since its premier,[certainly a different position than the one taken in the previous review] but the reviewer found only small aspects of the work to approve of. “The orchestra did excellent work, and Mr. Lang, who was the pianist, was often strong, clear, sure and effective, although at times his natural nervousness seemed to prevent his doing his best, as an occasional inexactitude in the many double octave passages and dispersed harmonies indicated. The full chords of the introductions were sharply and positively struck, and in the andantino, he read smoothly and lightly.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives) The Gazette review spent close to half its space on the concerto. “The soloist was Mr. B. J. Lang, who played Tchaikovsky’s [sic] concerto for piano, op. 23, a work which, the better becomes acquainted with it, the more pretentious it seems, and the more frivolous and vulgar it is in effect. Of Mr. Lang’s playing there is not a great deal to be said. There was much jumping of hands from the keyboard, much that was spasmodic in style and effect, and but little that was clear. In arpeggio runs the first notes and the last notes were heard, while the intervening notes were scarcely audible. It was the same in nearly all the brilliant passages where the hands took in the whole extent of the keyboard. The opening phrase was attacked with force, and then but little was distinct until the hand sprang up with a thump from the piano at the last note. This restless dancing up and down of the hands, at last, became a distracting feature of the performance. As a reading the performance was barren of interest. The artist played with exemplary pedantry, but with no breadth or largeness of style, and with a phlegmatic coldness that was wearily uninspiring. The best effects were achieved in the first half of the opening movement, and in the middle of the andante. For a performer of Mr. Lang’s long experience his playing throughout showed extraordinary lack of repose and of artistic balance. He was received with great heartiness on his first appearance, and at the end of the concert was applauded and recalled with no less enthusiasm.” [Which must have really upset the reviewer] (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives) The Herald review reported: “Mr. B. J. Lang was the soloist, and his clear, intelligent and accurate presentation of the piano score of the concerto made this number the leading attraction of the evening. The presentation of the work was a far more satisfying one than that
given by the same soloist during the second season of the ill-fated Philharmonic Society, in 1882, and Mr. Lang was enthusiastically applauded at its finish.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives) The last quarter of the review in the Journal noted: “Mr. Lang gave again the evidence of his true mastery in the art when he bestowed upon the technical concerto of Tschaikowsky every atom of beauty and power which the notes would allow. The strong, staccato intonations in the allegro were given with the vividness and grace so peculiar to Mr. Lang, and at each turning point there was the delicate poising on pivotal notes which adds so much to the magnetism of the music.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

Bulow returned to Boston two more times that season. In January 1876 he gave six concerts, mainly of solo pieces, but with some chamber music included. He then returned in April for five solo recitals at the Music Hall which were billed as “Positively his last appearance in Boston.” (HMA Program Collection) But, then he returned on April 15, 16, 17, and 18, 1889 to give 3 PM recitals at the Music Hall of just Beethoven works. Then on May 1, 1889, there was a “Farewell recital,” but that was followed by concerts of mixed repertoire given on Monday, March 31, 1890 and Saturday, April 5, 1890 which were billed as “Positively last appearances.” (HMA Program Collection)

B. J. studying a full score. Collection of Amy DuBois.

      Lang was still conducting this work 25 years later. At a Sunday night December 16, 1900 concert at Symphony Hall, Lang conducted an orchestra of 55 in a “GRAND CONCERT given by and for the benefit of the Musicians” Aid Society.” The orchestra solos were the “Overture” to St. Paul by Mendelssohn and the Overture-In Memoriam” by Sullivan (Mr. J. Wallace Goodwich-organist) The main soloist was Ossip Gabrilowitsch who played the Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto in B Flat Minor Opus 23 and Liszt’s Hungarian Fantasie for piano and orchestra. (BPL Lang Prog., 6664)

       Lang’s orchestral conducting experience began early in his career. On May 12, 1867, at age thirty he conducted (a) Boston Symphony Orchestra at the Mechanic Hall in Salem, MA “In aid of the New Music Hall.” This concert was promoted by Mr. M. S. Downs and also included as soloist “Miss Adelaide Phillips, the celebrated Prima Dona.” The program was:

Symphony # 5 – Beethoven

Song – Donizetti

Overture: A Midsummer Night’s Dream –  Mendelssohn

Cuban Song

Waltz –  J. Strauss


Wedding March: Midsummer Night’s Dream –  Mendelssohn

Dwight’s review said: “The object was to raise funds towards the erection of a new music hall, which Salem surely ought to have, for it is now a city, and has some very musical people, sending quite a delegation always to our oratorios and Symphony Concerts in Boston. The occasion is said to have been in every sense most successful.” (Dwight (May 25, 1867): 39)

       In the fall of 1892 B. J. was part of the judging panel for the “Grand Opera” category of the New York City National Conservatory composition contest. The other judges were: the head of the Conservatory, Antonin Dvorak, and Arthur Nikisch, Anton Seidl, J. K. Paine and Dudley Buck.




RMS ETRURIA. Wikipedia, accessed March 10, 2019.

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

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

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


PREMIERS. WC. 4772. 05/09/2020.   SC(G)

Early:3. Cecilia: 116. Apollo Club: 109. Instrumental: 41. = 267. Students and Colleagues: 16. Composer conducted: 4.    Grand Total = 289.


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

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

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

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

Total: 3.

CECILIA. First Concert (with HMA)-Nov. 19, 1874). Last concert. April 1907, Paine’s opera, Azara.

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

(Boston)       Bach: Bide With Us, Cantata No. 6 (with piano). February 27, 1880.

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

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

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

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

(Boston)       Bach: Mass in b minor. Complete. Handel and Haydn had done only 12, six solos and six choruses, of the 24 sections at their February 27, 1887 performance. (Johnson, First, 18)

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

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

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

(Boston)       Beethoven: The Ruins of Athens (Selections). January 24, 1881. (Also listed in the Instrumental Section)                                                                                                                                            (American)  Berlioz: The Fifth of May, or Cantata on the Death of the Emperor Napoleon for baritone and double-choir; written in 1855. November 28, 1891. (First Wage Earner Concert)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(    ??     )         Goetz: Noenia. Listed in the 1907 Transcript article “The Career of B. J. Lang.” No performance date given.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Boston)       Hood: The Robin, part-song for mixed chorus, March 27, 1884.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Boston)       Liszt: The Legend of St. Elizabeth, Opus 153, November 18, 1886.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Total: 116.


  • First concert under Lang-September 5, 1871.
    Last concert-May 1, 1901.
  • BMYB: Boston Musical Yearbook and the year.
  • MYBUS: Musical Yearbook of the United States and the year.
  • (1) Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians Vol. 5, American Supplement.
  • (2) Johnson, H. Earle. First Performances in America to 1900-Works with Orchestra.
  • (3) First Boston Performance, The Boston Musical Year Book, Vol. I-IV. 1884-1887 by G. H. Wilson.
  • (1)(2) and (3) were used in 2009 by Herb Zeller, Librarian of the Apollo Club to make up his three lists that form the basic structure of this list which is being made in 2020.
  • Transcript Article: “The Career of B. J. Lang” appeared in the Transcript in 1907 and was an enlarged version of Apthorp’s article on Lang written for the Transcript in 1893. It would have been written, or at least supervised by H. T. Parker.
  • (American)  Bach: Cantata 211-Coffee Cantata. March 21, 1885. Part of the Bach 200th Birthday Celebration. Johnson, First, 14.

(Boston)      Becker, R: A Wood-Morning, for Tenor solo, Quartet and Orchestra, Op. 16. April 30 and May 2, 1884. (1)(3)

(World)        Berlioz: Arrangement of La Marseillaise for double chorus and orchestra. February 4 and 9, 1881. (1)

(Boston)       Brackett: Cavalier’s Song at a concert of “Music by Boston Composers.” He sang bass in the choir at this time. April 29, 1885 and May 4, 1885. (Journal review of April 30, 1885)

(Boston)        Brahms: Rinaldo. December 15, 1883, Charles R. Adams, soloist. (December 5 and 10, 1883. (1)(3)

(Boston)          Brambach: Columbus. February 15 and 20, 1888. Date from the program. Johnston Collection. The Club sang it again on February 17 and 23, 1892.

(Boston)          Bruch: “Chorus of Vintagers and Sailors” from Loreley. Bass soloist: A. W. Thayer. MYBUS: 1887-88, 14.

(Boston)          Bruch: Frithiof’s Saga, Op. 23. February 4 and 9, 1881. (1) Also March 5, 1893, MYBUS 1892-93, 15.

(Boston)          Bruch: Salamis. April 26, 1882. (Brainard’s Musical World (June 1882): 93). Also known as Roman Song of Triumph or Triumphal Song of the Greeks.

(Boston)          Buck: Annie Laurie (harmonized for TTBB). December 6 and 9, 1889. BMYB 1889-90, 14 lists this piece, but not marked as a premier. (1) The copyright date for the G. Schirmer TTBB arrangement is 1882.

(Boston)          Buck: Chorus of Spirits and Hours for Tenor solo, Male Chorus and piano, flute, string quintet and organ. February 11 and 16, 1885. (3) The phrase “First Time” appears in the program-Johnston Collection.

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

(World)           Chadwick: Jabberwocky, February 16 and 23, 1887. (3)

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

(Boston)         Cornelius: Scene, “Slumber holds him fast” from the Barber of Bagdad. Tenor- G. J.Parker. February 11 and 16, 1891. MYBUS: 1890-91, 14.

(Boston)         Conradi: Serenade. May 1 and 6, 1889. BMYB: 1888-89, 13.

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

(Boston)         Debois: Lovely Maiden, Sleep On-translation by Charles W. Sprague. December 3 and 8, 1884. BMYB, 1884-85, Vol. 2, 44.

(Boston)         Dregert: Parting. Tenor- A. Wilkie. November 29 and December 5, 1887. MYBUS: 1887-88, 14

(Boston)         Englesberg: Love Song. December 3 and 8, 1884. BMYB, 1884-85, Vol. 2, 44.

(Boston)         Englesberg: Love, As a Nightingale. February 11 and 16, 1885. BMYB, 1884-85, Vol. 2, 45. The phrase “First Time” appeared in the program. Johnston Collection.

(American)    Esser: Mahomet’s Song-Double chorus and orchestra.  December 3 and 8, 1884.  BMYB, 1884-85, Vol. 2, 44.

(Boston)         Foote: Bedouin Song. November 22, 1893. Not mentioned as a first performance, but the world premiere had been less than a year before, December 1892, in NYC. No Boston premiere date is mentioned in Cipolla’s Catalog. The Advertiser review only says: “The Bedouin Song closed the concert which, the ‘Apollos’ may well be proud of.” (Advertiser (November 23, 1893): 4, GB) Also sung May 5, 1897 (Zeller).

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

(Boston)         Foote: Farewell of Hiawatha. May 12 and 17, 1886. BMYB: 1885-86, 51.

(World)           Foote: If Doughty Deeds My Lady Please. April 29, 1885 and May 4, 1885. BMYB: 1884-85, 45.

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

(Boston)        Gauby: A Song to Praise thy Beauty. April 30 and May 2, 1884. (1) BMYB 1883-84, 51.

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

(   ? ?      )       Goldmark: The Flower Net with Piano and Horns. Mentioned in the Transcript article “The Career of B. J. Lang.” April 30 and May 5, 1884. Listed in BMYB 1883-84, 51, but not as a premier. Repeated April 25 and 30, 1888, Johnston program.

(Boston)       Goetz: Overture, Spring, Opus 15 for Orchestra. May 20, 1880. The BSO played this later on March 28, 1895 and again in 1915. Howe, BSO 1881-1930, 199.

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

(Boston)      Grieg: Discovery, composed 1872, (Landkjending, Landsighting or Plainsman’s Song) for bass solo, choir and orchestra. . Mentioned as a Premier in the Transcript article “The Career of B. J. Lang.”   February 14, 1883 (Journal Review), but not mentioned as a first performance.  However, the Schirmer English edition has a copyright date of 1883, and the note, “Orchestra parts always on hand.” So a performance early in 1883 with an orchestra would probably be at least a Boston Premier, if not an American Premier.  Again February 16 and 23, 1887 “with organ and orchestra,” BMYB 1886-87, 44 and April 29 and May 4, 1891-(“Could have been heartier”-Elson), and December 2, 1897 (Advertiser review).

(Boston)      Grossbauer: Love, thine eyelids close. February 20 and 25, 1889. MYBUS: 1888-89 15. Also (1)

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

(Boston)        Hiller: Easter Morning with Soprano solo and piano accompaniment. Mentioned in the Transcript article “The Career of B. J. Lang.” April 25 and 30, 1888. Program-Johnston Collection. This was also sung at Lang’s final concert with the choir

(     ??    )        Hiller: Hope. Mentioned in the Transcript article “The Career of B. J. Lang.”

(World)         Ingraham, (Robert) George: The Owl and the Pussy Cat. April 27 and May 2, 1887-not noted as a premiere in (3-BMYB: 1886-87) nor in the Journal review, but the copyright of the TTBB arrangement (and the original song) is 1866. BMYB: 1888-89 lists other performances on May 1 and 6, 1889. Ingraham may have been the composer who had a ragtime published by (John) Stark Music Co., who was Scott Joplin’s main publisher.

(Boston)       Juengst: Spin, Spin. February 20 and 25, 1889. MYBUS: 1888-89, 13; and April 29 and May 4, 1891. MYBUS: 1890-91, 15.

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

(    ??       )       Lachner: Evening. Mentioned in the Transcript article “The Career of B. J. Lang.”

(    ??       )       Lachner: Warrior’s Prayer. Mentioned in the Transcript article “The Career of B. J. Lang.”

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

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

(World)         Lang, B. J.: Hi-fe-lin-ke-le, February 20 and 25, 1884; May 12 and 17, 1887; and April 30 and May 5, 1890. (1)

(World)         Lang, B. J.: The Lass of Carlisle, solo for baritone sung by Mr. Hay, April 29, 1885 and May 4, 1885. (Journal and Advertiser reviews) Also at Lang’s final concert with Apollo on May 1, 1901 by Clarence E. Hay, who was on the Music Committee. Hay also sang Lang’s The Chase [originally premiered at the Cecilia concert April 12, 1882]. (Zeller, e-mail, October 15, 2012)

(World)         Lang, B. J.: Nocturne-“Up to her chamber window”  for tenor solo, April 29 and May 4, 1885; April 27 and May 2, 1887; April 29 and May 4, 1891 [Program, Johnston Collection] and May 5, 1897. (1)

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

(World)         Lang, B. J.: The Sea-King, duet, June 1, 1874. (1) “Sung by the Brothers Winch.” (Dwight (June 13, 1874): 247) Also March 9, 1880 sung by Dr. Bullard and J. F. Winch. (Dwight (April 10, 1880): 62, GB)

(World)         Lang, B. J.: My True Love Has My Heart, May 12 and 17, 1886. Supported on the 17th. by violins-BMYB: 1885-86.

(World)         Lang, B. J.: Part Song-Who comes so gracefully, gliding along. June 1, 1874. (1)  (Dwight (June 13, 1874): 247) (1) Also March 9, 1875.

(World)         Lang, M. R.: The Boatman’s Hymn. January 18, 1893, MYBUS 1892-93, 15 and May 8, 1895 (Zeller).  “Written for the Club.”

(World)         Lang, M. R.:  The Maiden and the Butterfly. May 1 and 6, 1889. MYBUS: 1888-89, 13 and (1).

(World)         Lang, M. R.: The Jumblies. December 3 and 8, 1890. Date from program-Johnston Collection and MYBUS: 1890-91, 14..

(World)         Lang, M. R., arranged. Paul Lacomel: Estudianfina. Premiered December 6 and 9, 1889. Margaret made an orchestral arrangement of the accompaniment for this well-known piece.

(World)         Lang, M. R., the second arrangement of an “orchestral accompaniment” for Estudiantina by Paul Lacome. March 5 and 9, 1893. (Yearbook, Vol. 10, 15)

(Boston)       Lloyd: The Longbeards’ Saga. December 4 and 10, 1888. MYBUS: 1888-89, 12. Also November 22, 1892. MYBUS: 1892-93, 14.

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

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

(Boston)       MacDowell: Dance of Gnomes. Words by MacDowell. March 3, 1893. Bomberger: MacD, 176. “Enormous success.”

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

(Boston)       Mendelssohn: Antigone of Sophocles, Opus 55. At Tremont Temple on June 7, 1877. Soloists: Dr. Bullard, Powers, Wilkie, Lincoln, Babcock, Allen Brown, Aiken; reader-Prof. Churchill; pianist-Arthur Foote. (1)(2)

(Boston)       Mendelssohn: Oedipus in Colonos, Opus 93. At the Music Hall on January 27, 1880 with orchestra, Lang conducting. Reader-Howard M. Ticknor. (1)(2)

(Boston)       Mohr: The Sea-solo by Mr. Hay. February 20 and 25, 1884. BMYB 1883-84, 51.

(Boston)       Mohr: The Thunder Storm. February 11 and 16, 1891. MYBUS: 1890-91, 14

(American) Nicode: Symphony-Ode, The Sea. March 3, 1894. Transcript review.

(World)        Osgood: In Picardie: “Written for the Apollo Club.”  May 3, 1893 (Advertiser (May 4, 1893): 5, GB); May 8, 1895; and May 5, 1897.

(Boston)       Osgood: Proposal. April 29 and May 4, 1885 (Journal review); February 10 and 15, 1886. (1) January 18, 1893, BMYB: 1892-93, 15.

(World)         Paine: Oedipus Tyrannus-Overture and seven numbers for tenor, chorus and semi-chorus interspersed with readings from the play. Harvard, Cambridge, May 17, 1881. “Fourth Chorus” done April 30 and May 5, 1884, BMYB: 1883-84, 51.

(World)         Paine: Radway’s Ready Relief. April 25 and 27, 1883 (Courier review) Repeated February 20 and 25, 1884, BMYB: 1883-84, 51. A note in the program: “Composed 1863.”

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

(World)         Parker, James Cutler Dunn: The Blind King for baritone solo, male chorus and orchestra. “Written for the Apollo Club.” April 25, 1883. Program-Johnston Collection. Repeated April 29 and May 4, 1885. (Journal review)

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

(Boston)       Prout: Damon and Pythias. December 6 and 9, 1889. MYBUS: 1889-90, 14.

(Boston)       Raff: Italian Suite for Orchestra, five movements, one of his “sunniest” works. December 3 and 8, 1884. BPL Reviews.

(    ??      )        Raff: Warder Song. Mentioned in the Transcript article “The Career of B. J. Lang.” May 3 and 26, 1876. Was the American premiere of the English translation made by Charles J. Sprague

(  ??       )         Randegger: The “Forge Scene” from Fridolin. December 3 and 8, 1884. BMYB, 1884-54, 44.

(Boston)       Rubinstein: Morning. Mentioned in the Transcript article “The Career of B. J. Lang.”

(Boston)       Schubert: The Almighty. Mentioned in the Transcript article “The Career of B. J. Lang.” December 4 and 10, 1888. Listed in MYBUS: 1888-89, 12, but not marked as a premier.

(    ??      )        Schubert: Song of the Spirits Over the Water. Mentioned in the Transcript article “The Career of B. J. Lang.”

(    ??      )       Schumann: Forester’s Chorus. Mentioned in the Transcript article “The Career of B. J. Lang.”

(Boston)       Saint-Saens: The Soldiers of Gideon, Op. 46, for double chorus. February 11 and 16, 1885. (1) BMYB: 1884-85, 45. Also the phrase “First Time” is in the program-Johnston Collection.

(Boston)       Spicker: The Linden Tree. November 29 and December 5, 1887. MYBUS: 1887-88, 14.

(Boston)       Storch: Home. April 25 and 30, 1888. MYBUS: 1887-88, 14.

(Boston)       Storch: Thy Faithful Comrade-with Horn and Piano. November 29 and December  5, 1887. MYBUS: 1887-88, 14. Used First Horn from the BSO.

(Boston)       Strong, Templeton: The Haunted Mill. Mentioned in the Transcript article “The Career of B. J. Lang.” For Baritone soloist, Chorus and Orchestra. February 20 and 25, 1889. MYBUS: 1888-89, 15. Repeated February 11 and 16, 1891. MYBUS 1890-91, 14.

(World)         Strong, Templeton: The Knights and the Naiads for Soprano, Alto and Baritone Soloists, Male Chorus and Orchestra, Op. 32. February 19 and 24, 1890. Written for the Club.

(American)  Strong, Templeton: The Trumpeter for tenor (G. J. Parker) and baritone (C. E. Hay) soloists, chorus and orchestra. February 15 and 20, 1888. From the program. Johnston Collection. Also MYBUS: 1887-88, 14.

(World)          Strube, Gustav: Overture for brass and kettledrums. “Dedicated to the Apollo Club.” January 26, 1898. A violinist with BSO: 1890-1913.

(Boston)        Tabor: Cannibal Idyl. February 19 and 24, 1890.  MYBUS, 1889-90, 15. (From Australia)(HAVE COPY IN PREMIERS FOLDER)

(Boston)       Thayer: Heinz von Stein-Drinking Song. April 27 and May 2, 1887. (1)(3) Also May 1 and 6, 1889. MYBUS, 1888-89, 13.  Not available ill.

(Boston)       Thayer: Hymn to Apollo. April 25 and 30, 1888. “Written for the Club.” Journal review and MYBUS: 1887-88, 14. Repeated December 3 and 8, 1890. MBYUS: 1890-91, 14

(World)         Thayer: Sea Greeting. “Composed for the Club.” February 16 and 23, 1887. (1) MYBUS: 1886-87, 44. Not available at Ill.

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

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

(Boston)       Weinzierl: Thou Lovliest Maid. November 29 and December 5, 1887. MYBUS: 1887-88, 14.

(World)         Whiting: Free Lances. “Written for the Apollo Club.” April 25, 1883. Program-Johnston Collection. Also February 11 and 16, 1891. MYBUS, 1890-91, 14.

(Boston)       Whiting: Henry of Navarre for tenor solo, male chorus and orchestra. April 29 and May 4, 1885. (1)(3) Also February 19 and 24, 1890: tenor soloist, G. J. Parker. MYBUS, 1889-1890, 15.

(World)         Whiting: March of the Monks of Bangor. April 22, 1881. Tenth Anniversary Concert. Also February 16 and 23, 1887. MYBUS, 1886-87, 44.

(Boston)       Whiting: Overture to The Princess for orchestra. April 30 and May 1884. (BPL Reviews) BMYB, 1883-84, 51.

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

(Boston)       Zoellner: The Feast of the Vine in Blossom for Quartet, Male Chorus and Orchestra. April 30 and May 5, 1884. (1) BMYB, 1884-85, 51.

(Boston)       Zoellner: Young Siegfried. February 11 and 16, 1885. (1) BMYB, 1884-85, 45. Also the phrase “First Time” appears in the program-Johnston Collection.




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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Boston) Hiller: Concerto No. 2 in F-sharp minor with HMA January 14, 1875. (Johnson, 195) But, Dwight’s review of February 5 says that Miss Mehlig had already played it.

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

(World?)  MacDowell. Orchestral Fragments. Mentioned in the Transcript article “The Career of B. J. Lang.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Boston)  Wagner: Parsifal (Concert Performance-complete). April 14, 1891. Combined Apollo Club and Cecilia Society and orchestra from New York. (Johnson, First, 387)

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Pamela Fox lists these three pieces conducted by Lang as Philadelphia premiers:

(Philadelphia)  Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1, Opus 23. December 17, 1875. However, the ad for the concert on this date lists Piano Concerto No. 5, Beethoven and Liszt Fantasie Hon. Academy of Music. Summary of B. J. Lang’ Premiers: Works with Orchestra.-Pamela Fox.

(Philadelphia)   von Henselt, Adolf: Piano Concerto in f minor, Opus 16. December 21, 1875. Academy of Music. (Ibid)

(Philadelphia)   Sterndale Bennett: Overture-The Naiads, Opus 15. December 22, 1875. Academy of Music. (Ibid)



(World)           Chadwick: “Introduction and Allegro” (originally called Overture in B-flat) which became the First Movement of his Symphony No. 2. Apollo Club concerts of April 29 and May 4, 1885. Chadwick conducted.

 (Boston)         Hutcheson, Ernest: Concerto for Piano, the composer as soloist; World premiere, Berlin 1898. March 9, 1904. Third of the Chickering Orchestral Concerts. (Herald, February 28, 1904): 39, GB)

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

(Boston)          Smith, David Stanley: Overture-Joyeuse. February 24, 1904. Second of the Chickering Orchestral Concerts. Smith conducted.




Selected Songs of M. R. Lang. Promo for first CD.    http://youtu.be/8OSc8kM5Prc

Irish Love Song. Donald George and Lucy Mauro. Delos promo.   http://youtu.be/McwOxZfuyHM

Summer Noon. Donald George and Lucy Mauro. Delos promo.   http://youtu.be/XEOKSFNh7GA

Songs: Vol. 2.  “New Love Must Rise.”     http://youtu.be/RsDwp8Ed8ug

Donald George-Potsdam recordings.   http://youtu.be/OHdFMg2bx5Y

Irish Love Song. (recorded 1913). Alma Gluck and Efrim Zimbalist.  http://youtu.be/TQuk2oMJK-A

Irish Love Song. (recorded March 1922) Elizabeth Lennox and orchestra. I new interlude for the orchestra appears between verses 2 and 3.  http://youtu.be/DCudna4n2Qg

The Young Lady of Parma.     http://youtu.be/c8Kgkriqcuk

The Old Man With a Beard.   http://youtu.be/lrvBECYQCYE

Story of the poem: The Old Man With a Beard.  http://youtu.be/NmC10Ydt-r8

The Lady in Blue.  http://youtu.be/31AsVcr66gg

Springtime, Opus 30.   http://youtu.be/C1gpw91IvIg

Revery, Opus 31   http://youtu.be/dOvAF6QDqgU

Spring Idyl, Opus 33   http://youtu.be/d2U3KS4GfFo

Elegy: The Spirit of the Old House   http://youtu.be/dOvAF6QDqgU

Twilight:   http://youtu.be/WuMmnt9riqk

Recordings of Irish Love Song by Dan Beddoe, Mary Garden, Carolina White, Cyrena Van Gordon, Jessica Dragonette, Richard Crooks and Ernestine Schumann-Heink. (From a comment on a Youtube recording)



                                 SC(G).           Word Count-3,083. 10/10/2020.

In 1905 Lang suddenly 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)  This instrument would seem to be the one shown in the following color photo-this was the second of three instruments that Lang bought from Hook and Hastings for his own use.

The three are:

1. Hook and Hastings, Opus 1173, 1883. MUSIC ROOM, B. J. Lang, Boston, MA. Two manuals, 12 registers.

2. Hook and Hastings, Opus 1623, 1894. MUSIC ROOM, B. J. Lang, Boston, MA. Two manuals, 17 registers, 9 ranks. This was relocated to Blessed Sacrament R. C. Church in Fall River, MA in 1906 and then restored by Welte-Whalon of Portsmouth N. H. in the 1960s. It was moved to Epiphany R. C. Church, Washington, D. C. c. 2004  by David M. Storey.

                                                  Opus 1623, now in Washington, D. C.

3. Hook and Hastings, Opus 2087, 1905.  . J. Lang, Boston, MA. TEACHING STUDIO. Two manuals, 14 registers. (OHS Pipe Organ Database, accessed February 10, 2016) This instrument was probably bought for Lang’s new studio in the first block of Newbury Street. Lang bought the whole building, and then let some of the teaching studios to his former students.


The organ in Lang’s studio. Photo from Amy Dubois. Probably Opus 2087.



Lang’s three major church positions were: Old South, South Congregational and King’s Chapel.

The older view on the left shows no large buildings around it, and it was before ivy grew over it (the early 1900s)(ivy is seen slightly on the card below), but it does not show a brick surface. (?) Trolley tracks are shown in both. The photo on the left shows no electric wires over the streets for the streetcars, so this was pre-1887. There are no dates on either card, but the postal rate for the card on the left is one cent, while the rate for the card on the right is two cents. Johnston collection.

In 1877

1898. BPL Digital.

“Boston Mass. Washington Street and Old South Church.” c. 1905. Johnston Collection.


“Old South Church, Boston, Mass.” The organ “is an 1822, two-manual organ by Thomas Eliot (1759?-1832), built in London. Henry Corrie (1786-1858), an English organ-builder, accompanied the instrument ‘across the pond’ to superintend its installation. Following its opening on November 22, 1822 Corrie remained in Boston. After working briefly for Thomas Appleton (1785-1872), he settled in Philadelphia and became the leading maker of organs in that city between 1826 and 1850. The Old South organ was rebuilt by E. & G. G. Hook as their Opus 246, 1859, and the projecting desk, shown in the card, is the product of their renovation. An organ fron the 1820’s would have had a recessed keydesk with stopknobs arrangeed in vertical columns at the sides…In 1876, the 1822 Eliot organ was moved second-hand to St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Milford, Massachusetts, where it survived until it was broken up for parts about 1955.”  (Pinel, 15) See entry under “Old South Church” which follows. Johnston Collection.


Postcard. No information on the reverse. Rate, one cent. Johnston collection.

Three postcards showing three different interior arrangements. The Meriden Gravure Co., Meriden, Conn. 1950’s? Johnston Collection.

From the New England Magazine, September 1889-February 1890.

OLD SOUTH CHURCH. Lang began as organist at Old South Church [Old South Meeting House at the corner of Milk and Washington streets] in 1859. The organ there was a three-manual instrument of 22 stops by the English builder Thomas Eliot and installed in 1822. Lang was not pleased with the instrument. “Benjamin Johnson Lang, a strong-minded individual with a penchant for enlarging or replacing organs, had become organist, and in 1859 the noted Boston firm of E. & G. G. Hook was engaged to rebuild the organ at a cost of about $2,000. The rebuilt organ [of three manuals and 45 stops] was ‘opened’ on April 30 with a concert of organ and vocal music, and the event duly reported in Boston’s leading musical journal.” (Owen, “Eliot,” 126) This instrument was the company’s Opus 246. At each of the three churches Lang served from 1859 until his death in 1909, he designed a new organ. Unfortunately, the area where the Old South Church was located was becoming increasingly commercial, and the church members were moving away, many of them settling in the newly developed Back Bay area.” (Owen, Op. cit., 127) In fact Old South bought land in this new area in 1869. Then, in 1872 was the Great Boston Fire which created “sufficient smoke and water damage during the fire as to make it unfit for occupancy, but used for troops to guard the burnt district.” (Owen, Op. cit., 128) However, before this had happened, Lang moved to South Congregational Church and it’s new Hook instrument which he was able to design from scratch.



The red arrow shows the South Congregational Church, 15 Union Park St., located between the catholic Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Washington Street and the fashionable Union Park.

Photo by J. J. Hawes, sometime between 1862 and 1889. BPL, digitalcommonwealth. Behind the church would be Washington Street and the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. This shows the steeple of two sections; the top section was a belfry with twelve slender columns which was lost in a storm.

Photo from the website of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. John the Baptist.

Interior of the present Greek Church. From their website.

The “second” South Congregational Church building at 15 Union Park Street where Lang was organist. The “first” South Congregational Church was at the corner of Washington and Castle Streets and dedicated January 30, 1828. Rev. Edward Everett Hale, the third minister of the church, was installed in the first church on October 1, 1856 and remained with the congregation for 43 years. “He was one of the most untiring workers among the clergymen of Boston, and his literary work had made his name familiar all over the country; within four years a larger church was needed… The new church was begun on June 8, 1861 ‘in the midst of war and rumors of war,’ and with remarkable promptness, this beautiful church was finished in seven months and dedicated January 8, 1862.” (20) B. J. Lang began as organist in mid-1864. This building, just around the corner from Washington Street and within sight of Holy Cross Cathedral, today is the St. John the Baptist Greek Church. Their website has a fine collection of color photos of various church events (but no view of the back balcony and the organ).

Lang served a 20-year tenure at Rev. Hale’s (Unitarian) South Congregational Church, Union Park Street. Dwight’s Journal of July 23, 1864 reported: “The Rev. Edward Hale’s church at the south end, is to have a new organ, built by Messrs. Hook at a cost of $12,000, and Mr. B. J. Lang is to be the organist. This will probably surpass any church organ in the city. The organ of the Music Hall is creating a demand for really noble organs all around us.” (Dwight (July 23, 186 4): 279) This instrument was Opus 349 of Hook and Hastings. Therefore Lang was part of two major organ projects for Boston churches within five years.

         This photo was taken around 1975 by Bob Cornell when a group from Fisk’s [including Barbara Owen] crawled all through the organ. They found it still completely intact, except for the amateur electrification job that thankfully even preserved the console. It had been unplayable for many years due to the failed action and the decayed bellows leather. (Owen, e-mail August 17, 2015) “The South Church organ is so jammed in that it’s hard to get around inside, and the bellows is outside, above the stairway to its left.” (Owen, e-mail August 19, 2015) Barbara also noted that Lang had a “penchant for [designing] organs bigger than the space available for them…This was [also] followed by his King’s Chapel Skinner, that had Pedal pipes sticking up into a hole in the ceiling and needed to have the casework widened.” (Ibid)

A Photo “apparently taken around the 1880s. Note the ‘hosanna horns’ on the top of the case, now missing (although I think some may be inside).” (Owen, e-mail August 17, 2015)

        In July 1864 the Boston Musical Times gave further details of the church and Lang: “Mr. B. J. Lang has been engaged to become the organist of the South Congregational Church, (Rev. E. E. Hale’s). The necessary money has been subscribed to build a new organ, under Mr. Lang’s special direction, and he also has carte blanche to secure the best quartette choir that he can find. The society is certainly to be congratulated upon these negotiations for their advantage, which go into operation on the first of August.” (BMT (July 2, 1864): 101) In December 1864, after four months in his new position, it was reported that ”Mr. Lang’s new organ at Rev. E. E. Hale’s church is a fine instrument, and gives great satisfaction to those whose subscriptions secured its purchase. Mr. Lang gives masterly performances each week. His quartette choir is a good one.” (BMT (December 3, 1864): 182) This new instrument was built in 1864 by E. & G. G. Hook and Hastings “according to specifications of the organist B. J. Lang. It was the largest in any Protestant Church [in the United States] and had Great, Swell, and Choir manuals and Pedale, 38 speaking stops, 7 pedal stops, one a Bourdon with 32-foot tone, and 2260 pipes.” (Ayars, 169) Dwight gave further information about this “thirty-two feet [sic] Bourdon Stop, giving tones low and deep, beyond the power of the ear to discriminate — which are felt rather than heard. It forms a foundation for the grand harmony of the whole, wonderfully pervading and sublime. The case, built by J. F. Paul, Esq., is of Black Walnut, beautiful and elaborate, with emblematical decorations, elegantly carved, and enriched with gold. The front pipes are of a new composition, surpassing in richness and color anything before used. They are highly polished, giving a brilliant silvery appearance, in beautiful contrast with the dark woodwork.. many improvements in scales, voicing, and ”action” appliances are here used for the first time. This installation is located in the gallery and fills a space twenty-three feet high, eighteen and a half feet deep, with a total breadth of over thirty feet.” (Dwight (November 12, 1864): 348) In 1857 the location of this new church on Union Park Street was described as being at “the centre of Boston bourgeois society.” (Chamberlin, 119)

There is a currently functioning Hook organ much like the South Congregational instrument. The E. & G. G. Hook instrument, Opus 171, of 1854/60 still in use at the Unitarian Church in Jamaica Plain shares a similar stop list to Lang’s design for South Congregational Church, Opus 349. Both have three manuals; First Unitarian has 32 stops, but four of them are divided into treble and bass giving a total of 37, while South Congregational has 40 stops. Both instruments have 16′ reeds on the pedal, but South Congregational has the Grand Bourdon 32′ mentioned above. Thomas Murray recorded the complete Mendelssohn Organ Sonatas at First Unitarian (Raven OAR-390) which gives a good representation of what South Congregational’s now unplayable instrument would sound like. (OHS Pipe Organ Database, accessed February 10, 2016)

A year later it was noted: ”A prominent feature in the religious services at the South Congregational Church, both morning and afternoon, is the organ concert by Mr. B. J. Lang, in which he takes pleasure in exhibiting the capacity of the new instrument. The choir at this church is now well selected so that all the musical exercises there are worth listening to.” (BMT (December 2, 1865): 177) It was reported that “the best audience which attends any place of amusement, fill Rev. E. E. Hale’s church twice a month, on the occasions of [the] Vesper service.” (BMT, December 1, 1866): 3) This quote is from a music magazine, but a similar statement was part of a more general book; “It should be noted that…the church began Sunday afternoon vespers, with an excellent choir under the leadership of B. J. Lang. Those were among the first vesper services in the city.” (Sketches of Some Historic Churches of Greater Boston, 129) During the summer of 1866, while Lang was in Europe, Mr. W. Eugene Thayer presided at the organ and conducted the Vesper services. Thayer had just returned from a period of European study. (BMT (June 2, 1866): 83)

The second South Congregational Church as seen in Lang’s time.

A typical selection of church music of the time is reflected in the music list which Dwight published as being performed at the morning and afternoon services at South Congregational on Easter 1873:


Organ Voluntary – Hallelujah Chorus – Handel;  Anthem – Easter  Morning, canon trio – Schumann;   Anthem – The World Itself Keeps Easter Day – Lang,  Mrs. John F. Winch;  Gloria – Lang;  Hymn – Lang.


                                                                                                                                      Easter Carol – Lang,  Mrs. Julia Houston West;                                                                                                                                Selection from the Messiah – Handel;  Te Deum in E-flat – Lang [the same key that MRL would use  for her Te Deum setting] (Dwight (April 19, 1873): 7 and 8)

        Lang is listed as organist and conductor, while the vocalists were: Mrs. Julia Houston West, soprano; Mrs. John F. Winch, alto; Mr. William J. Winch, tenor; and Mr. John F. Winch, bass. (Ibid) This same quartet had also been noted in 1871 and was still intact in 1876. William and John Winch were often soloists with the Handel and Haydn Society. Even later the same quartet performed Saint-Saens’s short Christmas oratorio Noel [Christmas Oratorio] with “Mr. Lang playing the accompaniment, the pastoral prelude, etc., on the organ. The music proved both edifying and artistically pleasing.” (Dwight (January 1, 1881): 6) Arthur Foote speaks of taking organ lessons in 1874 at Dr. Hale’s church on Union Park Street.

The music for Easter, 1887 (probably Lang’s last at this church): Easter Anthem-Stainer, Watchman-Sullivan, I Know My Redeemer Liveth-Handel, Redemption, Part 3-Gounod and Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus. The choir members were not listed. (Journal (April 9, 1887): 6, GB)

Rev. Hale’s son spoke to the attitude of his father toward worship as practiced at South Congregational Church, Union Park Street: “He liked to read the psalms alternately with the people, or sometimes alternately with the choir. He liked to feel that the choir were not merely strangers who had their Sunday work at his church but were as much a part of the church as himself. It was partly this that made Mr. Lang, and Mr. and Mrs. Winch, Mr. John Winch, and Mrs. West so admirably representative of the spirit of the church.” (Hale, Life, 216 and 217)

In 1887 the building was sold to a Jewish community for their use as a Synagogue. Early in the 20th. Century it was again sold, this time to St. John the Baptist Hellenic Orthodox Church. (OHS Pipe Organ Database, accessed August 24, 2015) See the photos above.



King’s Chapel c. 1906. Collection of James W. Johnston. Note the three horse-drawn carriages to the right side of the church.

Drawing-postcard. Note horse and rider, lower left, and horse-drawn carriages to the right. Also, there is no sight of City Hall in the background. Johnston Collection.


Photo, no later than 1895. BPL, Digitalcommonwealth. This organ would be the Bridge’s case with the Hook and Hastings Opus 1205, 3 manuals and 41 speaking stops installed in 1884 that Lang inherited when he began at King’s Chapel.


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. Did Skinner add other pipe sets to the front? Johnston Collection.

The front of King’s Chapel as seen from the choir loft. Johnston Collection.

Tremont Street-1860. King’s Chapel (columns on the left) looking up to Park Street Church, (far right). BPL, digital.

KING’S CHAPEL. In the fall of 1888, Lang became organist of King’s Chapel, and remained there until his death in 1909 (Owen, Organs of King’s Chapel, 17 and 58) He served two ministers: briefly, just a year, Henry Wilder Foote (1861-1889), and Howard Nicholson Brown (1895-1921) until Lang’s death in 1909. During his tenure, the choral music for the morning service was provided by a mixed quartet composed of some of the best professional singers in Boston. At King’s Chapel during the 1898-99 season, Lang initiated a well-received series of afternoon musical services where a mixed choir made up of singers from other city churches presented choral music of a high caliber. Although Lang also occasionally gave evening organ recitals, his best-remembered organ performances seem to have been the improvised postludes to the afternoon services that he always based on the final hymn.” (Op. cit., 58)

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 had been installed in 1884. It had been built into the old 1756 Richard Bridge case. Almost 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)

The Easter Music for 1887: Anthems by Gounod, Spohr and Handel and Te Deum and Jubilate, both by John W. Tufts, the Organist. The choir members were: Miss Gertrude Franklin-Soprano, Mrs. E. C. Fenderson-alto, Mr. J. C. Bartlett-tenor and Dr. S. W. Goddard-bass. This was probably Tuft’s last Easter before Lang took over in 1888. (Journal (April 9, 1887): 6, GB)

Thus the main appointments of Lang’s career as an organist would seem to be:

1859-1864 Old South Church

1864-1885 South Congregational Church-Dr. E. E. Hale

1885-1909 King’s Chapel



List of Works

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.”
OPUS 2 Love Plumes His Wings to Fly Away . SSAA. This work was premiered by the Cecilia 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 instinct as 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.” The piece was repeated in the 1894-95 season.
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 form, written for the club.” At the January 11, 1916 concert of the Apollo Club then conducted by Emil Mollenhauer at Jordan Hall (full house) with Dr. Archibald T. Davison 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 well sung by the club and remanded.” Hughes “Con. Am Com” says p. 434 “&is as fragile and rich as a butterfly”s wing.” Pub. as “Men” s Voices No. 89″ by Schmidt.
OPUS 4 (?) In a Meadow for mixed chorus. Sung at a January 1889 Cecilia concert-many reviews.
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 on Wednesday, December 3, 1890. 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”p. 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. However, about 10 years later, Hughes” opinion of the work is that “”The Jumblies” is a setting of Edward Lear”s elusive nonsense, as full of the flavor of subtile humor as its original. It is for male chorus, with an accompaniment for two pianos, well individualized and erudite.” (Hughes-Con Am Com p. 433)
OPUS 6 Three Songs. Pub. 1891 by Schmid

1. Chinese Song, E min. (c#-e). Words by J. Gautier
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.”


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.
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.”
3. The Sky Ship, A flat (e-a). Words by Frank Demster Sherman.
4. Betrayed, A min. (E-a). Words by Lizette Woodward Reeze. Hughes “fiery passion&highly dramatic until its rather trite ending.”
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 114. Theodore Thomas from Elson, plate one, frontispiece.Also played as the opening work of the American Composers Concert on Friday, August 4 at the Music Hall, and again on Wednesday, August 30 at the noontime Popular Orchestral Concert given by the Exposition Orchestra of 100 conducted by Max Bendix. Bendix had heard that B. J. was in town (to play an organ recital later that day), and he arranged to play the work for the composer to hear. “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 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)
OPUS 12 Orchestra overture, Dramatic Overture. Maestoso in E minor. Elson in “Amer Music” 1925 says- “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. 306The 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 8 at 8PM) of its 12th. Season. Also on the program were a

Recitative and Aria from Faust Spohr
Symphony in C Minor #9 Haydn
Two Songs Schubert
Suite #1 in F Major, Opus 39 Moszkowski
Scherzo Capriccioso, Opus 66 Dvorak

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 kettle-drums. 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.” An April 2, 1893 Apthorp wrote to Margaret: “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 manuscript 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. WILLIAM APTHORP: The entry for William Foster Apthorp in Theodore Baker”s “A Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, Second Edition of 1905” lists his birth as Oct. 24, 1848. He graduated from Harvard in 1869 having taken musical classes with J. K. Paine. He then took piano from B.J. Lang for 7 or 8 years longer. He taught musical subjects at various college-level institutions and also wrote musical criticism being with the “Atlantic Monthly” from 1872-7. From 1881 he was the music critic of the “Evening Transcript” adding the job of drama critic a year later. From 1892 he edited the program books for the BSO. (p. 19) also photo. He died in 1913. (Foote-Auto., p. 139) The entry for William Foster Apthorp in Hubbard”s “History of American Music of ???? states that “William Foster Apthorp is one of the best known of American critics. He was for five years critic of the Atlantic Monthly. In 1876 he became musical critic of the Boston Sunday Courier; in 1878 musical and dramatic editor of the Boston Traveler; and in 1881 he assumed the same position on the Boston Transcript, remaining there until 1903, when he went abroad to live. Mr. Apthorp was for a time program editor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He has also lectured at the leading American colleges. He is the author of several books, among which may be mentioned The Life of Hector Berlioz; Musicians and Music Lovers, and numerous translations.” (Hubbard-History Am. Mus., p. 306) The entry for Apthorp in Howe”s “A Hundred Years of Music In America” of 1889 states that age 12 he was taken to Europe where he studied during the next four years at schools in Dresden, Berlin, and Rome. During these years he also studied art with the intention of becoming a painter. he returned to Boston in 1860, and after preparing for, entered Harvard, graduating in 1869. He had given up art on his return to American, and begab piano studies with John K. Paine in 1863 and continued for four years. He then studied with B. J. Lang for six or eight years more. He taught theoretical subjects at the New England Conservatory beginning in 1874 and continuing until 1886. His career as a music critic began in 1872 when he was hired to edit the newly established musical department of the “Atlantic Monthly” which he continued until December of 1877. (See above for the next assignments) “For the last seven years or so (ie. from 1881)he has been engaged upon Scribner”s ”Cyclopedia of Music and Musicians,” in the work of critical editor. During the last seven or eight years of the symphony concerts given in Bosto
n by the Harvard Musical Association, he was a member of the concert and programme committees of that society. The entry for Wuilliam Apthorp in the HISTORY OF AMERICAN MUSIC edited by Hubbard states that “William Foster Apthorp is one of the best known of American critics. He was for five years critic of the Atrlantic Monthly. In 1876 he became musical critic of the Boston Sunday Courier; in 1878 musical and dramtic editor of the Boston Traveler. And in 1881 he aasumed the same position on the Boston Transcript, remaining there until 1903, when he went to live abroad. Mr. Apthory was for atime the program editor for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He has also lectuired at the leading American colleges. He is the author of several books, among which may be remembered the Life of hector Berlioz, Musicians and Music Lovers, and numerous translations.” (Hubbard, p. 306). Mr. Apthorp is one of the clearest and most satisfactory writers in music that this country has produced. The record above shows, by suggestion at least, how well his work in this capcity has been appreciated by the literary public, for each modification in his way of life has been of the essential nature of a promotion. As he is still comparatively a young man, much may be expected from him in the future.” (Howe-A Hundred Years, p.371) The “National Cyclopedia” article describes Apthorp in the following manner: “Mr. Apthorp”s intelligent appreciation of music and years of study under various masters and in different schools made him a singularly scholarly and vivacious oracle on musical matters. His articles were always interesting. He not only had the power to be serious, but could be witty and whimsical, and even fantastic, and he also had the faculty of fitting the mood to the occasion. He was a delightful master of the art of music criticism, refined but not fastidious, catholic and tolerant but discriminating. ..He died at la Tour-de-Peil, Vevey, near Geneva, Switzerland, Feb. 19, 1913.” (Nat. Cyc., pp. 130-131) From G. L. Howe A HUNDRED YEARS OF MUSIC IN AMERICA, 1889. 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 lanquor. Perhaps the most praiseworthy feature of the overture is in the orchestral coloring of its harmonic development which is altogether excellent.” 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.” 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.”

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. It was sung just before intermission to end the first half.
OPUS 14 Not Used
OPUS 15 Five Songs for Soprano or Tenor

  1. King Olaf”s Lilies. Words by L/ W. Reese.
  2. The Dead Ship. Words by L. W. Reese.
  3. April Weather. Words by L. W. Reese.
  4. The Garden of Roses. Words from “Paul Patoff” by F. M. Crawford.
  5. 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.
NO OPUS Twilight. In (see above), p. 473-477.
OPUS 18 Petit Roman en six chapitres (for piano) 1894, pub. Schmidt. B. J. played this 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.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.”
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.
  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)
OPUS 22 Irish Love Song. Words unknown. Two keys. F major and D major. Pub. 1895 by Schmidt. Price per copy: 40 cents each. Arr. For Women”s Trio (SSA), #516. Orchestration available from Luck”s for Strings, Flute, and Clarinet. The Musical America review of October 30, 1909 said that at the Schumann-Heink Chicago recital “The enormous hit of the day was Marvourneen.” 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.”
OPUS 23 Orchestra Overture Totila.
OPUS 24 Three Arias for Voice and orchestra.
1. Sappho”s Prayer to Aphrodite for contralto. New York 1896 (or 95).
2. Armida for soprano and orchestra. Premier at the BSO Friday afternoon and Saturday night 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:
a. Tschaikovsky-Symphony #6
b. Bruch-Fantasia for Violin, Opus 46
c. Berlioz-Corsair Overture, Opus 21 (to end the concert)
  The order of the concert was: Tsch, Bruch, Lang, and Berlioz. 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 St.The text of this dramatic aria was from Lasso”s “Gerusalemme liberata” Canto IV, Stanzas 70-73. Lang used “Whiffen”s rhymed and exceedingly free” (p. 390 BSO program book) English translation, expunging passages here and there, and substituting her own prose for others in which Whiffen”s diction becomes too anti-musical. Elson (Amer Music-1925) “& 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.” (p. 306) A 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 is simply majestic.” The review ended by saying that the piece was badly sung!
3. Phoebus” Denunciation of the Furies at His Delphian Shrine for baritone.
OPUS 25 The Hawthorn Tree. A Capella 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.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.” (Huges-Amer. Com., p. 433)
OPUS 27 The King is Dead. D (a-d or e). Lib. Of Congress autograph.
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) Also OPUS 29 was used for the song Oh, Love, he went a-straying,” text by Lizette Woodworth Reese, published by Breitkopf and Hartel in 1898.
OPUS 30 Springtime for piano. In “The World”s Best Composers,” ed. By Victor Herbert (1899) New York University Society, IV, 967-970.
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.”
OPUS 32 Two Songs

  1. A Song in May. Pub John Church, Cincinnati, 1899. Poem by Lizette Woodworth Reese. Hughes “Con Am Com” p. 435 “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.
OPUS 35 (Cline lists Te Deumas 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)
OPUS 36 Ballade in D Minor for orchestra. “Won much success in Baltimore in 1901.” (Women”s Work-p. 202). Opened a “Women in Music-Grand Concert” at the Music Hall, Baltimore on Thursday, March 14, 1901 played by the Baltimore Symphony conducted by Ross Jungnickel.
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.
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-Contem. Am. Com., p.520)
5. Tryste Noel. F (f-f) and E flat (e-e) and C (c-c). Words by Louise Imogen Guiney.
6. Northward. 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.
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-Contem. Am. Com., p.520)
3. The Span o” Life. E flat (e-g) Words by William McLennan.
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 that “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. 520-521)
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 major 2pp. 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, says “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.) Lib. Of Congress receipts:
a. 2/20/34 305-high .05 $15.25
b. 5/24/37 305-mezzo .05 $15.25
c. 2/24/43 301-high .05 $15.05
d. 12/14/51 150-B flat .05 $7.50
3. The Bird . F# (f-g#)
4. Love is Everywhere . F (e-g) Hughes felt that this song “carries one along in its grateful entusiasm.” (Hughes-Contem A. Com., p. 521)
OPUS 41 A Song of the Lilac.
OPUS 42 Nonsense Rhymes and Pictures. Pub. 1905 by Schmidt.

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
OPUS 43 More Nonsense Rhymes and Pictures. Pub. Schmidt 1907.
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
  The critic William F. Apthorp had published a song setting of “The Owl and the Pussy-Cat” in 1878.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.
OPUS 44 Grandma”s Song Book for the Children. Words taken from “The Daisy” and “The Cowslip” printed in 1807. Cautionary stories in verse adapted to the ideas of children from four to eight years old.
OPUS 45 Not used (?)
OPUS 46 Three Songspub. 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-Contem. Am. Com., p. 521)
3. Snowflakes. J. V. Cheney. 7 pp.
4. There Would I Be. J. V. Cheney. 5 pp. Lib of Congress autograph.
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 21srt. Sunday after Trinity.
OPUS 52 The Night of the Star: A Christmas Cycle. Words by Denis A. McCarthy. Soli, SATB Chorus, and organ
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 Orchestra

Wind, for eight-part unaccompanied chorus was composed for the St. Cecilia Club. The poem was by John Galsworthy. “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.”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)

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.No. 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.
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.”
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.” 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-ages 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)A review in the Boston Transcript of January 11, 1917 about a concert by the Choral Music Society 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 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.” 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.”
OPUS 58 The Spirit of the Old House: Elegy for piano (1917). Pub. Schmidt. Lib. Of Congress autograph-3 pp.
OPUS 59 One Summer Dayfor piano. Pub. 1919 by Theodore Presser.

1. Hide and Seek in the Barn
2. Morning Lessons
3. Picnic in the Woods
4. Knitting for the Soldiers
5. Driving to the Blacksmith
OPUS 60 Three Pieces for Young Playersfor piano. Pub. 1919 by Theodore Presser.

1. Happy Days
2. Day Dreams
3. Rondoletto

    WORKS WITHOUT OPUS NUMBERS SONGS: Eros . G (d-g) Words by Louise Chandler Moulton. Pub. by Schmidt 1889. Lib. Of Congress autograph. Hughes: “Con Am Com” p.434 says, “…is frail, rare, ecstatic.” Oh What Comes Over the Sea? A min. (e-f) Words by Christina Rossetti. Pub. Schmidt 1889. My Lady Jaqueminot . B flat (f-g) See: In a Garden. Hughes: “Con Am Com” p. 434 ” is exquisitely, delicately passionate.” Ojala . F# (f#-f#) Words from the Spanish Gypsy by George Eliot. Pub. 1889 by Schmidt. Nameless Pain . G (e-g). Hughes: “Con Am Com” p. 434 “Superb.” Ghosts . A flat (f-f) Words by Richard Kendall Munkittrick. Pub. 1889 by Schmidt. Hughes: “Con Am Com” p. 434 “is elfin and dainty as snowflakes.” 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 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???” In the Twilight . E (g-g) Words by H. Bowman. Pub. Schmidt 1889. Lib. Of Congress receipt 12/17/21. Receipt 205 @ .03= $6.15. Song of the Rival Maid . D (f#-g) Words by Joseph Victor von Scheffel. Pub. Schmidt 1889. Meg Merriles . G Minor (d-f) 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. Deserted . E (e-f#) Words b y Richard Kendall Munkittrick. Pub. Schmidt 1890 A Spring Song . E Minor (e-f#) Words by Charlotte Pendleton. Pub. 1890 by Schmidt. My True Love Lies Asleep . Words by Lizette Woodworth Reese. Pub. Schmidt 1893.   PART SONGS-MEN   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.” 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.”   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.   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.

Rental Heavenly Noel $2.50

Oct. 20, ????

518“Old Man Tree” @ .015$6.22

Nov. 20, 1934

505“Irish Love-med.” @ .05$25.25

Jan.25, 1935

505“Irish Love (in F)” @ .05$25.25

Sept. 25, 1935

1028“Irish Love (Women)” @ .01$10.28

Mar. 20, 1936

260“Oriental Serenade” @ .025$6.50

May 20, 1937

305“Day Is Done (mezzo)” @ .05$15.25

312“Grant We Beseech” @ .015$3.74

Nov. 22, 1937

502“Irish Love (high)”@ .05$25.10

Mar. 21, 1938

503“Irish Love (D)” @ .05$25.15

Apr. 20, 1938

303“Irish Love (Med.)” @ .05$15.15

(Apr 20, 1938)? Australian Broadcasting “Irish Love”

1 1/2d..28

May 24, 1938

525“Irish Mother Lullaby (A flat)” @ .05$26.25

210“Summer Noon” @ .05$10.50

Aug. 30, 1938 Two “Irish Love” broadcasting fees $1.81

Jan. 3, 1939

Rental of orch. Parts “Heavenly Noel”$3.00

May 20, 1941

Australian broadcast 4 1/4d..07

May 20, 1941

US broadcasting fees$1.05

May 20, 1941

249 “Irish Love (in F)” @ .05$12.45

Aug. 22, 1941 Performiong fees $14.54

Dec. 19, 1941

1000“Heavenly Noel” @ .025$25.00

Jan. 24, 1942

250 “Irish Love (low) @ .05$12.50

Aug. 24, 1942

301 “Day Is Gone (high)” @ .05$15.05

Apr. 15, 1949

250“Irish Love” @ .05$12.50

Oct. 20, 1949

271“Irish Love (high)” @ .05$13.55

June 20, 1050

250 “Irish Love (low)” @ .05$12.50

Dec. 14, 1951

150“Day Is Gone (B flat) @ .05$7.50

Dec. 14, 1951 Broadcasting fees $9.40         From Half Hours with the Best Composers vol 2, publ: JB Millet Co,1894, Boston  

The following is a list of receipts from Schmidt for her royalties.

Dec. 17, 1921

205“In the Twilight” @ .03$6.15

100“The Harbor of Dreams” @ .04$4.00

148“Five Songs” @ .075$11.10

Jan. 24, 1922

Rental orch. Parts “Heavenly Noel”$5.00

Dec. 20, 1924

1777“An Irish Folk Song (med.)” @ .05$88.85

Dec. 21, 1925

1015“An Irish Love Song (med.)” @ .05$50.75

May 21, 1928

1000 “An Irish Love Song (in F)” @ .05$50.00

Apr. 21, 1931

320“Young Lady of Parma” @ .01$3.20

May 20, 1932

505“Irish LoveSong (in F)” @ .05$25.25

Nov. 21, 1932

103“Rhapsody” @ .065$6.69

Dec. 19, 1933

210“Irish Mother Lullaby-low” @ .05$15.50

Feb. 20, 1934

305“Day Is Gone-high” @ .05$15.25

(Feb. 1939)



Word Count-1,463. 09/30/2020.  SC(G)

The Apthorps were both from Social register families in Boston. Mr. “Apthorp was the direct descendant of officers of the British Crown; one of his ancestors had been paymaster of the British Navy during the Revolutionary War. As a boy he was taken by his parents all over Europe to be educated-France, Dresden, Berlin, Rome-and as a result was fluent in many languages… His parents had first dreamed of his becoming a great painter; now they saw him as a budding concert pianist. Apthorp himself realized he wasn’t quite good enough and began a teaching career in the early 1870s; for some years he taught piano, harmony, counterpoint, fugue, and theory at New England Conservatory of Music and other Boston colleges, but retired from teaching altogether in 1886, by which time his labors as a writer on music had overtaken all else.” (Grant, 69)

In his history of the Boston Transcript, Apthorp is described as “an accomplished scholar and linguist, speaking all the leading languages of Europe, including Turkish, and being deeply versed in musical and dramatic literature. It was quite impressive, in the outer room, to hear his conversation in German, French, Italian, or Spanish, in meeting musical geniuses from abroad. Now and then, his criticisms may have appeared somewhat too redolent of erudition.” (Chamberlin, 206)

Apthorp married Octavie Loir Iasigi “of Boston, a hospitable, gracious woman and a leader of society. The family resided at 14 Otis Place in Boston and spent their summers at their cottage in Nahant. They had one son, Algernon.“ (Nelson, 280) Octavie was the daughter of Joseph Iasigi who was of Greek origin, and in 1852 was had a house on Louisburg Square which thus made him one of the owners of the park surrounding by the Square. As one of the owners, he “received approval and installed the statue of Aristides,” an ancient Greek judge who was “a prominent leader in the formation of the confederacy of Greek city-states known as the Delian league. The Aristides statue was a significant symbol of the Athens of America” image. (Internet. Celebrate Boston-“Athens of America origin”)


Hughes, editor, “Songs By Thirty Americans,” xiv.

The song composer Clayton Johns describes the musical household kept by the Apthorps. “Among other interesting houses in the Boston of those days let me not forget that of Mr. and Mrs. Apthorp. For many years their Sunday evenings were unique. Many times during the winter they gave little dinners of six or eight people, usually having some ‘high-light’ guest like Paderewski, Melba, Sarah Bernhardt, Coquelin, or Salvini. After dinner, special friends were invited to meet the honored guest. Mrs. Gardner and Gericke were always there. Besides, there were members of the younger set-youth and beauty for decoration. Mr. and Mrs. Apthorp were rare entertainers, given to hospitality in its best sense. Later in the evening, beer and cigars lent a Bohemian air to the occasions. Mrs. Apthorp appeared, carrying a large pitcher of beer in one hand, beer mugs hanging from each finger of her other hand. As Blue Laws still obtained, dancing was not allowed until, after midnight, but then it was ‘On with the dance.’” (Johns,  71 and 72) Arthur Foote’s daughter Katharine remembered the Sunday evenings at the Apthorps: “There my parents met many more of the great figures of the world of music, art, literature and the stage, among them Ellen Terry and Henry Irving, Sara Bernhardt, the Kendalls-a husband and wife team who were the Lunts of their day, Eleanora Duse, Melba, and many more that I have forgotten.” (Tara, Foote,  70) “A connoisseur of culinary delights, he was known to don apron and bonnet de chef and whip up some gourmet cuisine.” (Nelson, 282) The Apthorps’s place in the Boston social scene is reflected by the report in the Globe’s “Table Gossip” that “Mr. and Mrs. Wm. F. Apthorp, who will stay abroad some time are now in Dresden, where they will remain a month or two longer.” (Globe (February 3, 1907): 50) “A diligent a worker as he was, his social circle was wide. he was a member of the Harvard Musical Association, the St. Botolph Club, the Tavern Club, and the Papyrus Club, where he served a term as president.” (Nelson, 282)

He was married in 1876 to Octavie Loir Iasigi. “He died in Vevey, Switzerland [1913], whither he had gone in 1903 after giving up active work.” (Dic. Am. Biog., 336) Grant stated that the reason for Apthorp’s retirement was that he was “going blind from all these toils,”-the toils being his BSO program notes, the books that he had written. (Grant, 69) “Their spacious apartment, situated high in a hotel of that resort town, overlooked Lake Geneva and the Swiss Alps. It was their intention to return to Boston someday, as they maintained their Boston ties and even left some furniture. When his Boston friends visited they were distressed at his worsening health. He suffered from cataracts, which were successfully corrected with surgery. He was long afflicted with a bronchial cough, which weakened his heart. Apthorp died in Vevey, 19 February 1913, and was buried there.” (Nelson, 281 and 282)

A newspaper in Beverly, MA reported on Mrs. Apthorp’s social work in Bar Harbor, ME. “Mrs. William F. Apthorp who has become known as one of the most indefatigable social workers at Bar Harbor, and to whom so much of the success of the recent dress ball was due, was before her marriage a Miss Iasigi of Boston, and a sister of the Misses Iasigi, who have a very handsome cottage at Bar Harbor, says Town Topics. All the Iasigi girls are clever, and they have always been great social pets in Boston. Their father, the late Joseph Iasigi, was one of Boston’s oldest and most respected merchants. He was by birth a Smyrniot Greek. He left an immense fortune, which all the children shared alike, including a son. Mrs. Apthorp resides in the winter with her husband in a pretty artistic house in Otis Place, just off Beacon Street, overlooking the Charles River, where they entertain very delightfully. Mr. Apthorp is one of the cleverest musical critics in Boston, as well as a cultivated musician himself.” (Saturday Morning Citizen, Beverly, MA (September 3, 1887): 3)

On February 15, 1897 The New York Times published a story about Octavie’s brother, Joseph A. Iasigi, the Turkish Consul General in Boston, who had been arrested in New York City on “suspicion of misappropriating a considerable portion of a trust fund of $250,000 committed to his care…The exact charge against Mr. Iasigi is that he refuses to or cannot account for certain securities confided to him as a part of a trust fund valued at more than a quarter of a million dollars. Mr. Iasigi inherited the trust fund as he did the office of Consul General for Turkey in Boston, from his father…Mr. Iasigi is well known in the social and business world of Boston. His father was a wealthy merchant, and his sisters, Mrs. W. F. Apthorp, Mrs. Thomas Dwight, wife of Dr. Dwight of Harvard Medical School, and the Misses Mary V. and E. M. Iasigi are society leaders. He is a member of the Somerset, Algonquin, and other clubs, and until recently there was never any idea that he was financially embarrassed. His father left him a comfortable fortune, and he lived a life of leisure with his wife and family on Beacon Street, in the aristocratic Back Bay.” (New York Times, February 15, 1897)

In December 1900 The New York Times printed a story about Mrs. Apthorp:” “WEARS HER HAT IN THEATRES-Mrs. Apthorp of Boston Refuses to Comply with City Ordinance. BOSTON, Dec. 11. Mrs. William F. Apthorp, wife of the musical critic, and sister of Joseph A. Iasigi the former Turkish Consul at this port, who is now at the Massachusetts State prison, is evidently out on a crusade against the theatre hat ordinance, which has been in force in Boston for three years. Mrs. Apthorp is hardly second to Mrs. ”Jack” Gardner as the social queen of Boston and is very elaborately dressed when she goes out in public. Last evening, with her husband, she occupied an orchestra stall at the Hollis Street Theatre and did not remove her bonnet when the curtain rose. An usher requested her to do so, but Mrs. Apthorp declined to comply. The management was appealed to and the lady was informed that she must either remove her hat or leave the theatre. She chose the latter alternative and went home and wrote a letter about it to The Evening Transcript. This evening Mrs. Apthorp went to the Boston Museum and again refused to remove her bonnet. This time she fared a little differently, Manager Field taking her to his box behind the curtain, while Mr. Apthorp remained in his seat.” (Internet archive source: The New York Times, December 12, 1900)

Isabella Stewart Gardner was a great friend of the Lang family. She gave money to the Boston Public Library in B. J.’s name to acquire books, and a special bookmark was created for the new acquisitions. It was she who arranged the flowers at B. J.’s funeral, and for many summers she was a visitor at the Lang farm in New Boston. She was unique:                                “Mrs. Jack Gardner is one of the seven wonders of Boston. There is nobody like her in any city in this country. She is a millionaire Bohemienne. She is the leader of the smart set, but she often leads where none dare follow…She imitates nobody; everything she does is novel and original.” (A Boston Reporter, Museum Site, “An Unconventional Life”)

“On April 10, 1864, her fourth wedding anniversary, Mrs. Gardner was confirmed at Emmanuel Church by Dr. Manton Eastburn, Bishop of Massachusetts. This was the devout expression of her gratitude to God for the gift of a son.” (Fenway Court, 25) John Lowell Gardner, 3rd. only lived until March 15, 1865, and Isabella knew she could not have another child. For the next two years, she was depressed and ill, and in the spring of 1867, on her doctor’s orders, she and John went to Europe for a “Change of scene.” The change “had greatly improved” her health, and on her return “her nature was too buoyant” to remain in seclusion, and she entered into Boston society with reckless abandon. (Ibid, 28,29)

Looking back on the 1870s, “Boston society [was] delightful because it was so small that everyone really knew everyone else; its inability to forgive” Isabella’s “escapades only amused her.” (Ibid, 29) There were regular dances held at the Horticultural Hall or at Papanti’s on Tremont Street. She would arrive quite late, with the many bouquets sent by her admirers. She and another young matron became rivals in this custom with wagers being made on who would bring the most. At the next ball, the other matron arrived laden with more than ever before, but a few minutes later, Belle arrived, but, without a single flower. (Ibid, 29, 30)

One of her favorite quotes was: “Don’t spoil a good story by telling the truth.” (Ibid, 31)

On one occasion when Belle had been invited to music after, but not the dinner itself, and the two lady hostesses had placed the guest of honor firmly between themselves, when Belle arrived, she “took in the situation at once,” and seating herself somewhat apart, coughed enough to attract attention, which forced the hostesses to send the guest of honor to see what Belle’s problem was. “He went, but never came back to report; Mrs. Gardner carried him off in her carriage for a quiet evening a deax.” (Ibid, 32) Such victories the ladies could not forgive.

When Mrs. Gardner was asked for a subscription to the Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary, she replied that she did not think that there was a charitable eye or ear in Boston.” (Ibid, 33)

Through thick and thin Mr. Gardnerr stood by his wife; he had unfaltering faith in her and enjoyed the admiration that other men gave her. In the gaiety that she always created, he shared. (Ibid, 34)

“Every incident in life was an adventure” for Belle. She and John had missed the train to a party on the North Shore-her solution, hire a locomotive to take them there. “The rest of the party…were suddenly startled by the screeching of an engine coming down the trach, and thrilled to see the immaculate Mrs. Jack, in a white Paris gown, descend from the cab, followed by Mr. Jack, hugely pleased with the success of his wife’s idea.” (Ibid, 34)

The Gardners bought the first string of pearls in London 1874, and then, beginning in 1884, every other year another set was bought until Belle had seven. Pearls were to play an important part in Sargent’s painting.

“In the early eighties Boston was truly a provincial city, and life was simple. Boston’s jaw dropped, Boston’s eyes bulged” when the Gardners employed not only a butler but two footmen. When they went out, there were
two men in livery on the box.” In social circles “the Gardner dinners were the best in Boston, rivaled only by those given by Mr. and Mrs. Martin Brimmer. Mrs. Gardner’s dresses were more beautiful than anyone else’s, her jewels more dazzling, and her turnouts smarter; her carriages were made by Binder in Paris; her horses, small but swift, were always driven at top speed; and she was mistress of a house undeniably more fascinating than anyone else’s.” They had bought the house next door, 150 Beacon Street, in order to have a music room. (Ibid, 52)

Belle knew everyone, or everyone knew Belle. Coming back from suburban Boston, her

“Museum Courtyard at Night.” Johnston Collection




WC-3,529. 09/20/2020.

B. J. Lang began his long association [as organist from October 1859 until June 1895: as conductor from June 1895 until May 1897] with the Handel and Haydn Society on October 1, 1859 with rehearsals for Handel’s Samson. An entry in the Society’s History dated October 1, 1859 notes: “Mr. J. C. D. Parker being obligated by pressure of manifold professional duties to resign the place of organist…Mr. B. J. Lang was chosen his successor.” (H & H History, Vol. 1, 194) Parker had served for several seasons. Lang seems to have gotten off to a positive start as in was noted that, for the December Messiah, later in that first season, “The organ voluntaries of the young new incumbent Mr. Lang, were well chosen and effective.” (Perkins and Dwight, History of the Handel and Haydn Society, 195, hereafter known as P&D) In February 1860 the Society was part of “Mr. Zerrahn’s third Symphony Concert, singing in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasia, of which Mr. Lang plays the pianoforte part.” (P&D, Op. Cit., 195) “His rapport with Zerrahn was complete and among the countless references to Lang in the annals of the Society and in the Press there is not one that fails to express confidence, approval, and gratitude for the presence of so sterling a musician. He played the Great Organ in Music Hall throughout its being there and ”made do” with the inadequate instrument that came after.” (Johnson, Hallelujah, 167) When the Society moved to the newly opened Music Hall in 1853, it brought along its own pipe organ-a three manual and pedal instrument built by Thomas Appleton in 1832. “Originally installed in Boylston Hall, the society and its organ moved in 1839 to Melodean Hall. As relocated a second time to the Boston Music Hall, the organ stood in the niche behind the screen of the stage. The Boston Music Hall Association rented this organ for $240 a year, and eventually purchased it.” (Methuen Memorial Music Hall website, 11/26/10, p. 1)

The “inadequate instrument that came after” the Walker was removed was “a very large one-manual Geo. S. Hutchings” instrument. “While having only one manual, the organ provided the widest possible range of accompanimental nuance from a delicate whisper to a thundering tutti. To distinguish this from its noble predecessor, it was opined that it would be known as the ”little” organ (28 stops, 38 ranks.)” The full list of stops was given in an unknown newspaper article dated December 16, 1884 which stated that its first use was in the December 1884 Handel and Haydn Messiah performance. The instrument did have a Contra Bourdon at 32 feet, and six of the stops were enclosed within a swell box.” (Huntington, 32 and 33)

On September 30, 1860 “rehearsals began in the beautiful hall of the new and spacious warerooms of Messrs. Chickering & Sons, on the corner of Avon Place and Washington Street, made free to the Society with the characteristic liberality of the proprietors.” (Perkins/Dwight, History.  195 and 196)

The early 1860s saw a low point in the finances of the Society. The debt of the 1861-62 season was so great that both Zerrahn and Lang “readily agreed to retain office without fixed salary and be content with whatever small balance might remain in the treasury after the expenses were paid. (At the end of the year, July 1, 1862, they got $41.68 each!).” (Perkins/Dwight, History, 199) In contrast, Mr. Muller who was organist for the 1857-58 Season had received $250. (Handel and Haydn Archives, rare Book Room, BPL) One positive note was the election of a new President of the Society. “After the unanimous nomination of Dr. J. Baxter Upham for the office of president, the meeting was adjourned to June 4, when Dr. Upham – a gentleman of culture and large public spirit, a graduate of Dartmouth College in 1842, and of the Harvard Medical School in 1847, a gentleman to whom Boston was indebted more than to any other for the enterprise which built the Music Hall, and secured the noble organ which was soon to adorn it and complete it, and from whose enthusiasm the cause of music in our public schools was still receiving such an impulse – was elected president, with no change of other officers.” (Perkins/Dwight, History, 199)

Other costs to the Society at this time were-$15 per night for the use of the rehearsal room at the Music Hall/Lecture Hall and $75 for the use of the Concert Hall. The orchestra players each received $5 per performance, and on April 1, 1858, Dennis Ryan Sr. received $11 in payment “For Filling the Bellows of the Organ at 11 Concerts.” (Handel and Haydn Archives, bills for 1857-1858).

At the Tuesday morning, May 23, 1865 50th. Anniversary Concert of the Handel and Haydn, a chorus of 600 with an orchestra of 100 performed Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise with Lang as organist. Other concerts that week included Haydn’s Creation on Tuesday night, orchestral and vocal concerts on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, Handel’s Israel in Egypt on Thursday night, orchestral and vocal concerts on Friday and Saturday afternoons, Elijah on Saturday night and Messiah on Sunday night. Lang also gave a solo organ recital Saturday, May 27 at noon as part of the Festival.





Johnston    Collection.


The program shown above listed the musical content of three concerts. The first was Mendelssohn’s St. Paul, given on Thursday, May 7; the second was a “Grand Orchestral and Vocal Concert” which ended with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony given Friday afternoon, May 8; and the third listed the compositions for Lang’s organ recital on Saturday, May 9 at noon.

Also performed during the Festival Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise and his ninety-fifth Psalm, Handel’s Samson, two miscellaneous concerts, Haydn’s Creation and to end, what else but Messiah. (P&D, Vol. 1, xvi) The Society had produced Festivals before in 1857 and 1865, but neither had the scope of this festival. The performers included a chorus of 750, an orchestra of 115, and famous soloists. The choir had been rehearsing all winter and for the last month, there had been four rehearsals each week. Artistically it was a high point and financially the Society was able to add the profit of $3,336.94 to the Permanent Fund that then stood at $7,576.05. (P&D, Op. cit., 278) The Society had made a great financial turn around since the early days of the decade.


On Sunday evening, December 10, 1871, the Theodore Thomas’ Entire Concert Organization presented a “Grand Gala Concert” in honor of the Boston visit of the Grand Duke Alexis. Held at the Music Hall, The Handel and Haydn Society (Mr. B. J. Lang, Organist, Carl Zerrahn, Conductor,  “have kindly volunteered for this occasion.” (Concert Program)  To open the concert the choir sang “The Heavens are Telling” from Haydn’s Creation, and the finale was “Hallelujah” from Handel’s Messiah. During the first section the choir sang an unaccompanied part song by Mendelssohn, Farewell to the Forrest, and to begin the second half they sang, “Thanks be to God” from Mendelssohn’s Elijah.

In the June 1874 Annual Report of the choir, Lang’s role as accompanist was noted. “The pianist who is willing to devote his time to the dry study of the intricate choruses of any new and difficult work with a society of amateurs like ours, who stumble at every step, requiring the closest attention on his part to aid them in their work, most assuredly must be induced to do so from love of the compositions and from the advantages which must thereby accrue to the cause of art, and in this, his chief recompense is found. Mr. Lang has not only shown a self-sacrificing spirit in all this, but he has in no small degree contributed his powerful and valuable support to the chorus from his obscure position behind the Beethoven statue, [at the Music Hall] through the instrumentality of the superb organ under his control. One less skillful than he might have jeopardized many a performance, however able the hand which wielded the baton.” (Dwight (June 13, 1874): 244)

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

After having been the organist for the Handel and Haydn Society for thirty-five seasons, he succeeded Carl Zerrahn as conductor for two years 1895-1897, but this was a period when the group was at a low ebb and torn with dissensions. During the season before he became conductor, Lang had the chance to conduct the Feb. 3, 1895 concert of Handel’s Israel In Egypt as Zerrahn had had an accident. With no rehearsal, Lang conducted a brilliant performance. President Browne’s annual address included these words of praise: “Mr. Lang conducted. He had no time for rehearsal with the chorus, but he held them so firmly and conducted with so much coolness and intelligence that it was a notably good performance.”(History-Vol. II, 47) Secretary Stone wrote: “Under such circumstances, Mr. Lang was the center of interest, and covered himself with glory. He held command of the situation throughout. His depiction of ”There was not one feeble person” was sublime: an amazing revelation of the possibilities of the passage. The chorus worked hard. its performance was somewhat uneven, but always powerful and vital. The reserve power which was flung into the final chorus carried it out with a sweep and rush that was new in the story of the Society….It was voted that the cordial thanks of the Society should be extended to Mr. Lang for his invaluable services, generously rendered without charge, in conducting the performance of Israel in Egypt.” (History-1911, pp. 46 and 47) The critical response was very favorable: the Globe critic was very complimentary. Secretary Stone noted: “A most interesting event of the evening was the appearance of Myron W. Whitney, father and son. Mr. Whitney senior seemed restored to his old greatness, and the son showed himself a youth of noble promise.” (History-1911, 47) Louis Elson wrote: “Probably no audience has ever before heard ”The Lord is a man of war” given by father and son, and the result was something that both might be proud of.” (Ibid)

Lang had also conducted the Society almost twenty years before. At its April 12, 1876 concert at the Music Hall he conducted Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise (their 12th. performance of the work) and the Rossini Stabat Mater (their 20th. performance). J. K. Paine had been the organist. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 2) Perhaps Zerrahn needed a rest or had an engagement with another group, as he had conducted the Society in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion on Palm Sunday, April 9, 1876, just four days before!

At the June 25, 1895 meeting of the Board, President Browne read a letter from Carl Zerrahn saying “that I will withdraw at any time from the candidacy of the conductorship.”(History, Vol II, 54) The letter had actually been written a year before, May 1894 and probably reflected the mood of the Board at that time when “the opposition was so great that Mr. Zerrahn was not as usual elected at the early meetings of the board of 1894 and not until Sept. 10, 1894 when he was elected conducted at a salary of $1,000 and Mr. Lang organist at a salary of $300.” (History-Vol. II, p.55) therefore it probably was not a surprise when the June 25, 1895 meeting decided to accept Zerrahn’s withdrawal as a candidate for the conductor. At the same meeting B. J. Lang was elected as conductor at a salary of $1,000 by a vote of nine yeas and three nays.

President Browne later wrote that “With his (Zerrahn’s) retirement came, for the first time in forty years, the necessity of choosing a conductor, but hardly a question as to who it should be. The excellent musician who has been our organist for thirty-six years, and had, as conductor of the Cecilia and Apollo clubs during a quarter of a century, abundantly shown his high capacity in that regard, was, of course, the choice of the board…It might have been expected that a feeling of unfamiliarity because of the change in conductorship would operate to the disadvantage of the chorus singing, but nothing of the kind was shown. There was no falling off in attendance or interest at rehearsals or as have his skill and success in instruction, so that in some very important respects the chorus improved during the year.” (History-Vol. II, p. 63) Thus with the success of his conducting debut with this group and his long connection as organist, Lang began leading the major choral group of Boston. Tara described Lang’s era: “Lang nursed back to health a Handel and Haydn Society that was almost moribund.” (Tara, Foote, 41)

The repertoire for Lang’s first season included two performances of Messiah in December (the 92nd. and 93rd. time the group had sung this work). One writer said of the first concert, the 701st. by the choir: “As Conductor Lang walked up to the platform warmly applauded by the immense audience that completely filled Music Hall, one could not feel that it was a case of ‘Le Roi est mort; vive le Roi’; for there in the foremost row sat Carl Zerrahn in the audience. As he watched the every motion of the man who now conducts his beloved Society, many an eye grew moist at the deep suggestion of the picture.” (History-Vol. II, 57) It is ironic that he would have to begin his conductorship with this work as “Mr. Lang regarded the singing of Messiah by the Handel and Haydn on Christmas week so many consecutive years as having really no fitness for that season. He viewed as the most fitting music for that season the Christmas Oratorio by John [sic] Sebastian Bach. Bach, he considered the greatest name in Protestant church music.” (Transcript, April 5, 1909) The Globe wrote of the first evening: “The performance was generally good without any marked features of excellence. The solo singing was uneven in quality, the work of the chorus was commendable and there were but few variances between the orchestra and the singers.” (Globe, December 23, 1895, 4) It would seem that “variances” had come to be expected. The review also noted another custom that had come to be expected: “The effect of the closing ”Amen,” as usual, was marred by the departure of uneasy auditors.” (Ibid) This review listed the soloists for the second Messiah performance which were completely different from the first performance. Certainly, this would produce rehearsal problems, and as the vocal demands of the Messiah are not too great, it would seem that this tradition also could be changed if the conductor thought it worthwhile to suggest.

The Verdi Requiem was performed on Feb. 2, 1896 (for the fifth time) to mixed criticism. Part of the problem was that three of the soloists were last-minute replacements!  The Globe wrote: “The choruses were well sung as a rule. The contingents were well balanced, and the gradations from forte to piano were given without too sudden contrasts of tonality…The orchestral work was generally smooth.” (Globe, February 3, 1896, p. 6) Of the soloists, the Globe had generally favorable comments. “The quartet ”Domine Jesu” called forth great applause from audience and chorus, and the trio for tenor, alto and bass was also deservingly applauded.”  (Ibid) On Good Friday, April 3, 1896 Bach’s St. Matthew Passion was presented (for the thirteenth time), also to mixed critical response and a very poor house which led the Society’s Secretary Charles W. Stone to predict the “doom” of this work as an annual feature in the Society’s programming. Only two days later, on Easter Sunday, Haydn’s Creation was given (the sixty-sixth time since 1819) to a full house that produced a profit of $1,282.80. The soloists were well received, the chorus performed well, and Lang was lauded by the critics.

On Sunday evening April 12th, an orchestral program was given at Bumstead Hall featuring works of Bach and Handel; Lang, Foote, and Tucker played the Bach Concerto for Three Keyboards, Lang played a Prelude in C Major by Bach and an Allegro in C Major by Handel on a harpsichord furnished by Chickering and Sons, and Bach’s Coffee Cantata was also performed. A footnote in the program stated, “Except in some portions of the cantata, for which Mr. Lang will play accompaniments from Bach’s figured bass, the original instruments will be used.” The final event of the season was an entertainment held on June 30th.

The Annual Meeting held on May 25, 1896 was described as “stormy.” It was demanded that the correspondence between President Browne and Carl Zerrahn be read to the full meeting. The meeting was continued until June 8 and continued again to July 1 at which time Lang was elected conductor for the next season. The program was to be Messiah in December, Elijah in February, and Horatio Parker’s Hora Novissima in April.

               Philip Hale announced to his Journal readers: “Gentlemen of the Handel and Haydn, now lay aside all strife and unseemly bickering and consecrate yourselves to the arduous labors of nest season. It is rumored-and we see no reason for disbelieving the report-that you will produce on or about Christmas a new work, which has excited considerable attention in Europe. We believe the oratorio is entitled The Messiah. Gird up your loins and buckle yourselves bravely to the taste. Look your conductor straight in the face, and sing “Wonderful! Counselor!” (Journal (June 10, 1896): 10, News Arc.)

For the December concerts Lang was unable to conduct because of pneumonia, and, without rehearsal, George W. Chadwick conducted. The February Elijah performance was called a “triumph” for Lang, and even Philip Hale said “It is only just to say that the performance as a whole deserves hearty praise.” (History-Vol. II, p. 69)

The Bach Passion was not presented this season. The Easter Sunday, April 18th. performance included Lang leading Mendelssohn’s Overture to St. Paul and Hear My Prayer together with J. C. D. Parker conducting his own Redemption Hymn and Horatio Parker conducting his own Hora Novissima.

At the Annual Meeting of the Handel and Haydn Society on May 24, 1897 nine of the thirteen board members elected were seen as “Anti-Lang men”. This board then elected Zerrahn conductor again, and, disregarding precedent, created an executive committee that did not include the Vice-President and Secretary. It also removed from the President the duties of appointing the voice committee and superintendents. The result was that the four major officers of the Society resigned. In a story dated June 23, 1897 in the “Boston Record” the various officers were quoted. Ledbetter summarizes the story-

“The four principal officers of the Society were older men, while new members of the board in 1897 were younger. Nonetheless, these younger fellows preferred Zerrahn to Lang, feeling that his personal magnetism and familiar ways of conducting were more healthful than the stricter discipline immediately imposed by Lang. Lang was at a disadvantage with the orchestra and had difficulty in holding all forces together in concerts. The younger men felt that the older Zerrahn had not outlived his usefulness and wanted him back again…After two years under B.J. Lang, Carl Zerrahn returned to the Society in triumph with audiences giving him cordial, but not tumultuous applause…Mr. Zerrahn served out the season and then was given an honorable and eloquent farewell.” (Hallelujah Amen, pp.167, 168 171)

“This unfortunate situation explains why Elson refers to Lang as a musical ”admirable crichton,” after the sixteenth-century Scottish scholar who was attacked one night by a party of armed and masked men. Crichton recognized one of them as his pupil and offered him his sword, and this young prince of Gonzaga immediately ran him through with it. Lang must have felt acutely the betrayal of the young Boston musicians.” (Fox, Papers, 11)

“The conflict rocked the town, and the Press gave the Society its most complete coverage to date. The Record showed a large drawing of the decrepit Zerrahn leading an orchestra of bald-headed men while disgruntled officers with large portfolios headed toward the Exit sign, above which, in a coffin, rested B. J. Lang on the shelf. The title was Why Do the Heathen Rage? Letters of a most confidential nature were gleefully printed in full in the Journal, and officers, behaving like prima donnas were interviewed…There was even hidden treasure! A rumor ran widespread that a wealthy man in another city intended to contribute about $150,000 to an organization which would use it effectively and that he had communicated with B. J. Lang. Mr. Lang talked it over with the President and Secretary of the Society, Mr. Hagar and Mr. Stone, giving the implication that the long-desired building might become a reality. Thus had the air of being a bid for the conductorship of Mr. Lang…Charges and countercharges upset the musical boat as the newspapers used the words ”row,” ”fight,” ”factions,” ”strife,” ”clash,” in protesting that both sides held Mr. Zerrahn in affection but that the dissenters felt that he had last his ”vital fluid,” and they preferred Lang in perfect health at sixty years of age…The final meeting of September 29, 1897 proved to be quite tame, for the Lang forces withdrew, Zerrahn was ”vindicated,” and an unconvincing attempt made to gloss things over.” (Johnson, Hallelujah, pp. 169 and 170)

 Zerrahn’s return lasted only one year, and after a May 2, 1898 “testimonial concert of Elijah-the work he had first led for the Handel and Haydn on December 3, 1854-combining these three choruses [Handel and Haydn, Worcester Chorus, and the Salem Chorus] with similar groups from Lynn, Lowell, New Bedford, Hyde Park, Chelsea, Quincey, Waltham, a vast throng of 1700 voices with soloists headed by Johanna Gadski, the great Wagnerian prima donna,” Zerrahn retired to Germany. However he spent only five years there, and then “returned to Milton, Massachusetts, where he enjoyed eleven years (1909) of comfortable retirement at the home of his son.” (Ibid, p. 171) Thus Zerrahn and Lang died in the same year.

B. J.: DRAWING FROM 1895 BY WINSLOW HOMER (see Owen, 59)