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CONTACT JAMES JOHNSTON:  langjwj@earthlink.net

MRL_SnowflakesSnowflakes, Opus 50, No. 3, 1912.

This site exists to serve as a link among those who might be interested in the Lang family of Massachusetts. First: Benjamin Johnson Lang (1837-1909) and then his three children; MARGARET RUTHVEN LANG, the composer; Malcolm known as a church musician and conductor and Rosamond the pianist. B. J. Lang 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 a part 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.

 

 

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LISZT:

      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.

WAGNER:

      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 in 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, crowded 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 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)

                                               Lawton, Schumann-Heink, 261)
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 that 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, 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 onto 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.

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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

Song

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.

 

SHIPS

Various ships that the Langs used for their European visits.

SS UMBRIA.

RMS ETRURIA. Wikipedia, accessed March 10, 2019.

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

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

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

PREMIERS. WC. SC(G)

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

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.

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

(Boston)       Bach: Bide With Us, 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). The first Boston performance was given on March 21, 1862 at Chickering Hall by J. C. D. Parker leading a “Club of Amateurs” of 30 singers. (Johnson, First Performances, 144.

(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, Opus 23, 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.

APOLLO CLUB.

  • 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.

TOTAL: 91

 

INSTRUMENTAL.

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)

TOTAL: 41

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

(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.

TOTAL: 14

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)

TOTAL: 3

  • COMPOSER CONDUCTED PREMIERS:

(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.

VIDEO PERFORMANCES-MRL WORKS. WC. SC(G).

VOCAL PERFORMANCES-MRL WORKS.  WC-167.  SC(G).

HERE ARE THE CURRENTLY AVAILABLE PERFORMANCES ON YOUTUBE OF WORKS BY MARGARET RUTHVEN LANG.

Selected Songs of M. R. Lang. Promo for first CD.

Irish Love Song. Donald George and Lucy Mauro. Delos promo.

Summer Noon. Donald George and Lucy Mauro. Delos promo.

Songs: Vol. 2. “New Love Must Rise.”

Donald George-Potsdam recordings.

Irish Love Song. (recorded 1913). Alma Gluck and Efrim Zimbalist.

Irish Love Song. (recorded March 1922) Elizabeth Lennox and orchestra. I new interlude for the orchestra appears between verses 2 and 3.

Story of the poem: The Old Man With a Beard.

Springtime, Opus 30.

Revery, Opus 31

Spring Idyl, Opus 33

Elegy: The Spirit of the Old House

Twilight:

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)

ORGANS AND ORGAN POSITIONS. SC(G) WC.

               ORGANS AND ORGAN POSITIONS

                                 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.

  ———————————————————

OLD SOUTH CHURCH, WASHINGTON STREET, BOSTON.

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.

———————————————————–

SOUTH CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH.

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:

Morning:

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.

Vespers:

                                                                                                                                      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, TREMONT STREET, BOSTON.

 

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

**********************************************************

 

LANGS’ SOCIAL CIRCUIT. SC(G). WC.

LANGS’ SOCIAL CIRCUIT: MRS. APTHORP, GARDNER, & RODGERS.

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

 

HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY. SC(G). WC.

HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY. SC(G). 

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.

FIRST TRIENNIAL FESTIVAL

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.

GRAND GALA CONCERT FOR GRAND DUKE ALEXIS.

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)

CONCERT PROMOTER-BENJAMIN JOHNSON LANG. SC(G). WC.

CONCERT PROMOTER.

SC(G).    Word Count-18,559.     10/10/2020.

       Before promoting his own concerts, B. J. was a featured artist with many Boston groups. Soon after returning from his three years of European study, he appeared in the fourth and last orchestral concert conducted by Carl Zerrahn at the Music Hall. Dwight felt that the orchestra of only thirty players was too small to realize the “grand conceptions” of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. Lang was the soloist in Mendelssohn’s Concerto in D Minor –Dwight’s review was not overly complimentary. (Dwight  (March 6, 1858): 390) Lang also was part of the vocalist Mrs. Long’s Annual Concert where he, with the brothers Fries, “renewed the delightful impression of a part of Beethoven’s early Trio in C Minor, namely the Theme with variations and Scherzo. The same young pianist also proved his skill and tact in the nice matter of accompanying some of the vocal pieces” (Ibid)-Lang’s Boston premier had been with the Beethoven.

      On Saturday evening, February 11, 1860 B. J. was the soloist at the Third Philharmonic Concert at the Music Hall led by Carl Zerrahn in W. S. Bennett’s Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra [recording available on Hyperion CDA67595 “The Romantic Piano Concerto No. 43 with Howard Shelley and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra] and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasia with the choir being the Handel and Haydn Society. A year before, March 12, postponed to March 14. Lang had performed this piece with only the accompaniment of the Mendelssohn Quintette Club at a “Grand Complimentary Concert” for the sing Elisa Biscaccianti-in the second half of this concert he performed as a solo, Fantasie from “Il Puritani” arranged by Prudent.[?]. (HMA Program Collection) Late in February 1860, Lang was part of a Mendelssohn Quintette Club concert “in the pleasant new hall in Bumstead Place, with [a] large audience, and, for the most part, excellent programme.” Lang’s contributions were in the Mendelssohn Sonata Duo for Piano and Violoncello, Op. 58 where he “displayed his fine crisp qualities of easy execution to fine advantage” together with cellist Wulf Fries. As a solo, he performed the Chopin Ballade in A Flat, Op. 47 which “was played with facile brilliancy; and yet there was a lack of life in it; one missed the aura of Chopin.” This concert was the sixth in the series for the Club. (Dwight (March 3, 1860): 390) A month later, in March 1860, he arranged a “Compliment Concert” to raise funds for his European stay the following summer. “The new Hall in Bumstead Place was fuller than it has ever been.” Assisting artists were the Mendelssohn Quintette Club, vocalists Mrs. Long and Mr. Wetherbee, and pianists Dresel, Parker, and Leonard. Highlights of the concert included the “Adagio and Scherzo” from Mendelssohn’s Sonata in D for Piano and Violoncello with Wulf Fries and two eight-hand arrangements for the four pianists. “Mr. Lang was rich in audience and in programme, rich in the friendly aid of other artists, in his own strength, and particularly rich in pianos; since there were two of those superb Erard-like Grands, just manufactured by the Messrs. Chickering.” (Dwight (March 31, 1860): 6) Dwight mentioned in this review a mannerism which he had observed in Lang-“With all the excellencies of this rapidly rising young pianist, it is but friendly justice to him to make him aware of this one little unartistic habit which he has of running his fingers unmeaningly over the instrument when he sits down to play something. It is not preluding: it does not express a mind full of the music and the meaning coming; it is just an idle or a nervous physical outbreak of the fingers; and often, we have noticed, even fails to modulate into the key in which the piece commences. Mr. Lang will not find such things done in Germany.  is such crudities which make it desirable for a young native musician, be he ever so facile and brilliant an executant, to pass some time in a musical atmosphere like Germany, and get imbued with the artistic tone.” (Dwight (March 31, 1860): 7) Dwight also mentioned that Lang was to receive another “Complimentary Concert” in his hometown of Salem.

      On November 30, 1861, at a “Private Concert” held at Old South Church, the musicians included a vocal quartet of Miss Houston, Mrs. Macfarland, Mr. Downs and Mr. Weterbee with Mr. Bancroft as pianist [Bancroft-organist of Emmanuel Church?] (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 1) Three days before Lang had been an assisting artist for the opening concert of the Mendelssohn Quintette Club’s Thirteenth Season when, on Wednesday, November 27, 1861 he played the Mendelssohn Second Piano Trio with Schultze and Fries at Chickering Hall. (BPL, Lang Prog., Vol. 1)

      Lang appeared in the closing concert, the eighth of their thirteenth season, in March of 1862 with two movements from the same Mendelssohn work again, and Chickering Hall “had scarcely standing room for all who came on Wednesday night.”He also was part of the American premiere of the Graedener Piano Quintet in G Minor, Op. 7-the composer lived then in Hamburg and was seen as a follower of Schumann. (Dwight (March 22, 1862): 407) Lang was an assisting artist for Mr. Eichberg’s Soiree at Chickering Hall on February 14, 1863 where he was the pianist in the Mendelssohn Trio in D Minor, accompanied Eichberg in Beethoven’s “Variations and Finale” from Sonata Op. 47, and offered three piano solos. Tickets were 75 cents each or two for $1.00 (HMA Program Collection). Dwight’s opinion of the evening was it “was a success, and, for lovers of good classical music, who filled the hall, one of the pleasantest musical offerings of the season.” (Dwight (February 21, 1863): 374) The previous month Lang had assisted at Mary Fay’s Soiree on Saturday, January 25, 1862 at Chickering Hall where he joined Fay in the Fantasie on Norma for two pianos. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 1)

“Mr. B. J. Lang gave recently a concert in Salem, his old home, with so excellent a programme, that, even at this late hour, we wish to record it.

Grand Sonata, Op. 22 Beethoven

“Jerusalem” from St. Paul Mendelssohn

Scherzo, Op. 31 Chopin

Andante for two Pianos Schumann

Song of Spring Mendelssohn

Rondo Capp. Op. 14 Mendelssohn

Prelude in E Minor Mendelssohn

Fugue Handel

The Mother’s Song Kucken

Concerto, acc’p’t by 2nd. Piano Hummel

Mazurka, F Sharp Minor Chopin

Impromptu Mason

Mr. G. W. Steele played the second piano, and Miss J. E. Houston was the vocalist. The Salem people do not often have so fine a treat.” (Dwight (May 16, 1863): 32)

At the February 4, 1864 concert by the Mendelssohn Quintette Club Lang played two solos, Agitato in A minor, Op. 15 by Schulhoff and Slumber Song in D flat, Op. 81 by Heller, and Dwight noted that “Mr. Lang’s brace of piano-forte pieces were nicely rendered and very acceptable, especially the charming Slumber Song by Heller, which had to be repeated.”Lang also was part of the Mendelssohn Quartet in B minor for Piano and Strings that Dwight noted was Opus Three by the composer, written two years before the Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture. “Truly a wonderful work for a boy; as full of charming and surprising thoughts, and skillful, genial mastery of means, as it is of difficulties of execution. These were admirably surmounted by Mr. Lang and his associates, and the whole work produced a fine impression.” (Dwight (February 20, 1864): 190) Within days Lang was also appearing with the Orchestral Union in their Fifth Concert of the season where he “played a good sterling Prelude and Fugue in C, by Bach, one which we have not had before, and played it well and won applause…The rest of the programme consisted of the “Adagio and Allegretto” from Rink’s Organ Concerto in F (with flute solo); the Turkish March from a Sonata by Mozart, arranged for orchestra by Thomas Ryan; and the Faust potpourri as usual.” This was a program that resembled those of the Boston Pops one hundred years later under Arthur Fiedler.

Within the same week, Sunday evening, February 7, 1864 at 7:30 PM, Lang presented at the Music Hall a “Grand Sacred Concert” to be given with “The Great Organ” and with the assisting artists, Miss J. E. Houston (vocalist), Mr. Julius Eichberg (cellist), and Mr. J. H. Willcox (Pianist). Lang opened and closed the concert with major organ solos, Miss Houston sang twice, the second being the aria “In Praise of the Organ” from Handel’s Ode to St. Cecilia, and Eichberg and Lang performed Eichberg”s Religious Meditation for organ and violin. The tickets were 50 cents. (BPL Lang Prog.) The same format was used for “Mr. B. J. Lang”s Grand Sacred Concert” at the Music Hall on Sunday evening March 6, 1864. The three soloists used before returned with the addition of Mr. J. C. D. Parker and Mr. S. A. Bancroft. Parker and Lang played the “Overture” to Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise, Eichberg’s Religious Meditation was repeated and Mr. Bancroft was featured in one organ solo, the Grande Offertoire in F Major by Lefebure-Wely. Miss Houston sang three different selections spread throughout the program and Lang again opened and closed the concert. (BPL Lang Prog.)

The next month, March 1863, Lang was an assisting artist at the inaugural concert given on the “New Organ at the Church of the Immaculate Conception” where J. H. Willcox was the organist. The builders of the instrument, Messrs. Hook described the organ as “the most complete and effective Organ ever built in America…As a well balanced. full and admirably constructed organ it is without an equal among our largest and very best instruments.” Lang and Willcox played solos and the church choir and soloists completed the program. Bach’s Concerto No. 1 in G: Allegro, Grave, and Presto and Bird Song by Willmers, arranged for organ were B. J.’s contributions. (BMT (March 5, 1863): 38)

       On March 12, 1864, Lang was the soloist in Mendelssohn’s Concerto for Piano in D minor at the second and last of “Mr. Julius Eichberg’s Orchestral Soirees” which took place at Chickerings’Hall. “The audience was large and discriminating” for a program that began with Mozart”s “Overture” to Cosi fan tutte, continued with two movements from Mozart’s Symphony No. 4 (Jupiter), then the piano concerto, and ended with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8.” There was no critical comment about the concert, only a final sentence: “Mr. Eichberg has commenced a good work, which we hope he may continue in future seasons.” (BMT (April 2, 1864): 3) As Eichberg left Boston for New York City two years later, things must not have continued successfully, but my appearing in concerts put on by other musicians, Lang was getting a good education in concert management.

       On the tercentennial of Shakespeare’s birthday, April 23, 1864, Lang conducted the first Boston performance of Mendelssohn’s complete music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Dwight announced the event as follows: “Next Saturday, the 23rd. of April, is the great Tricentennial, or Ter-centenary (as they call it in London-either name is awkward enough and well enough) anniversary of the birth of SHAKESPEARE (great type of all that there is genial in human life); and Mr. B. J. Lang announces a musical celebration thereof, to consist of the music to the “Mid-summer Night’s Dream,” to be followed by ”The First Walpurgis Night,” both by Mendelssohn. It will be given in the Music Hall, with the combined force of the best quartet choirs hereabouts, and four principal singers: Miss Houston, Mrs. J. S. Cary, Miss Annie L. Cary, probably Mr. Wm. Schraubstaedter (just returned from California) for tenor, Schraubstaedter frere, baritone, and Mr. Ryder, basso. Mr. Lang is bestowing careful pains on the rehearsals, and all musical lovers of Shakespeare and of Mendelssohn will look out in season to secure the privilege of listening.” (Dwight (April 16, 1864): 223). Dwight then reported: “It was fit that music should bear a part in the honor paid to Shakespeare in the worldwide observance of the three-hundredth anniversary of his birthday.” He then noted because of the effects of the Civil War, the observance was rather unorganized, but Lang’s concert was called “notable…Mr. Lang made the best choice possible in his selection of music. First, the Midsummer Night’s Dream” music entire…the choruses were sung by a large choir of the freshest and best voices in the city, and the Orchestra, under Carl Zerrahn, played with more than usual delicacy and spirit, to the credit of themselves and of Mr. Lang’s conductorship.” The second half of the concert was Mendelssohn’s First Walpurgis Night, “so admirably brought out by Mr. Lang two years ago…The audience was immense, and the enthusiasm great, and Mr. Lang”s good services will be remembered.” (Dwight (April 30, 1864): 23) The Boston Musical Times review began: “The Music Hall was filled on Saturday evening, April 23rd. by one of the most intelligent and appreciative audiences that Boston can assemble to listen to music…Mr. Lang deserves and certainly receives, the applause of everybody for the artistic and well-arranged entertainment which he conducted…Altogether the entertainment was a delightful one; one that is eminently in Mr. Lang’s sphere of musical thought and ability. No one understands or more thoroughly loves Mendelssohn than he, or is better to bring out his beauties.” (BMT (May 7, 1863): 68) Between the two Mendelssohn choral works, the orchestra played Beethoven’s Overture to Coriolanus. (BPL Lang Prog.)

       On December 10, 1864, Lang was an assisting artist at the “Third Piano-Forte Concert” given by Otto Dresel at Chickerings’ Rooms. In addition to Lang, Hugo Leonhard and J. C. D. Parker were assisting artists. The opening piece was Bach’s Concerto for Three Pianos in C Major in three movements with “The stringed Quartette Accompaniment arranged for a Fourth.” The program does not state who played the solo parts and who played the orchestral reduction. It also does not show who played the other pieces for multiple pianos. Tickets were $1.50, and at the bottom of the program was the notice: “To prevent annoyance to the listener, Mr. Dresel respectfully desires that persons will refrain, as far as possible, from entering or leaving the hall, during the performance of a piece” (HMA Program Collection). Johnson records that the Schumann Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54 was also part of this concert-Dresel played the solo part and Lang played the orchestral reduction. Dressel would give the Boston premiere of the work two years later on November 23, 1866, with the Harvard Musical Association Orchestra conducted by Carl Zerrahn. But, between the 1864 and 1866 performances, Lang played “part of the work at a concert by Mme. Parepa on one evening and the other half the next evening in 1865.” (Johnson, First, 328)

       Lang also was active as an accompanist. Early in 1865, Dwight reported on various performances of the Messiah “in smaller cities…In Worcester, it was given on Tuesday evening by the ”Mozart Society” without orchestra, Mr. Lang accompanying on the great Worcester Organ, and Mr. B. D. Allen conducting.” (Dwight (January 7, 1865): 373) Two months later Lang was again in Worchester for a Friday evening concert on March 10, 1865, where he opened the Worchester Mozart Society concert with an “Organ Improvisation.” The rest of the program was the choral work The Transient and the Eternal by Romberg. Only a pianist and Lang were listed-probably they shared the accompaniment of the choral work. The tickets were 25 cents. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 1)

       In March of 1865 Lang was part of a “Boston Musicians’ Union” Concert played “by the united forces of the orchestras and bands…of from 90 to 95 musicians, many of them accomplished…The Boston Theatre was crowed to excess the first time, making the repetition on last Sunday evening imperative. The charitable, or, what is better, the fraternal object of the concerts must have been largely furthered, and a substantial nucleus formed for a mutual Benefit Fund for sick and needy musicians…Mr. Lang played the Andante and Capriccio Op. 22 of Mendelssohn very beautifully on a Chickering Grand Piano of remarkable power, as well as pure, sweet, musical quality, or the performance would have been lost in that place.” The musicians presented the conductor, Mr. Zerrahn in appreciation for his work in the concert.(Dwight (March 18, 1865): 414 and 415)

       On Saturday, March 24, 1866, Lang presented for the first time in Boston Haydn’s The Seasons at the Music Hall with Miss J. E. Houston, George Simpson (from New York), and J. Rudolphsen as the soloists and “a full orchestra.” (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 1)Johnson describes this concert as “in part only. The Handel and Haydn Society did not sing this work entire until 28 March 1875.” (Johnson, First, 190)A full orchestra accompanied the “Select Chorus.” All tickets were $1 with all seats reserved. Dwight reported: “Mr. B. J. Lang deserves well of the republic for having given us, for the first time in Boston, a hearing of all four parts of Father Haydn’s genial and delightful Cantata, Pastoral, or whatever it may be called. He had gathered together a crowd of heartily interested singers, some 250 voices, fresh and telling, and drilled them well; a full orchestra for the rich and graphic instrumentation; and secured competent vocal artists for the three characters that individualize a large part of the poetry, which follows mainly in the beaten track of Thomson. The performance last Saturday evening was extremely interesting; the Music Hall almost crowed, in spite of the east Wind…On the whole, the work was very fairly rendered for a first time, considering too that the fear of its great length must have made the conductor somewhat nervous…Mr. Lang should feel rewarded for this brave effort, and we trust the ‘Seasons’ will come round again.” (Dwight (March 31, 1866): 215)

       Lang appeared in two concerts in May 1866-a handwritten notation records that his solos were encored. At the May 21, 1866 Concert at Chickering Hall given by Mrs. H. F. Dupree vocalist, Lang played the “Andante” from Rondo Capriccio in E Minor by Mendelssohn and Liszt’s transcription of Weber’s Polonaise in E major-both were encored, but nothing else in the program was encored. Earlier in the month at the Saturday evening May 5, 1866 Benefit Concert for Miss Annie Cary his Liszt/Weber performance was doubly encored!. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol 1)

       Lang continued to appear with the Mendelssohn Quintette Club. At a concert presented in Providence during 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, but what shall we say of the Mendelssohn trio?…To Mr. Lang must surely be accorded the honor of playing here the greatest and best piano-forte compositions to which our citizens have ever listened.”” (BMT (December 1, 1866): 5 and 6) Lang had appeared with the Club in Boston earlier in the year: “The last of the series of Chamber Concerts by the Mendelssohn Quintette Club, will be given at Chickerings’ Hall on Tuesday evening next, March 8th., when Mr. Lang will be the pianist. The programme is one of great merit, and we shall anticipate a large attendance.” (BMT (March 3, 1866): 37) The Times didn’t later print a review-during this period, 1865-66, the Boston Musical Times carried few detailed reviews.

       The Mendelssohn Piano Trio No. 1 was again played at the Club’s concert at Chickering’s’ Hall on Tuesday, January 8, 1867-it was the second concert in the series. “The Piano Trio, in D minor was wonderfully well played; each performer exerting himself to the utmost to do justice to his part in this most beautiful creation of the tone-poet, Mendelssohn. Mr. Lang’s interpretation of the piano part, in particular, was as chaste and finished a performance as we have ever had of this portion of the composition; we do not remember, ever, to have heard it better played than on this occasion.” Lang also played the first Boston performance of Dussek’s Sonata for Piano and Violin in B flat. The reviewer didn’t think this piece was at the same level as the rest of the program, but “the manner in which it was played” made amends “for whatever there was found wanting in the music.” (BMT (February 2, 1867): 14) By 1867 the Boston Musical Times was back to including full reviews of a number of concerts in each issue-however, only one piece of music was included per issue whereas in earlier years there had sometimes been three pieces in each musical supplement.

       Lang and the vocalist Miss Clara M Loring were the assisting artists at the “Fourth Schubert Matinee” presented by the pianist Mr. Perabo on January 31, 1867. The repertoire was all by Schubert. “The Rondo (in E minor) in which Mr. Lang played the Primo, and Mr. Perabo the Seconda part, was most brilliantly executed, and in exact time, there being no apparent unevenness in the tempi of the two performers. It is a charming composition and at once found favor with the audience. The Fantasia (in F minor) created a profound impression; it is one of those compositions of Schubert which the musician must ever delight to study. Greater interest seems to be attached to it than to many of the other works by the same composer. This time Mr. Perabo played the Primo and Mr. Lang the Seconda parts; the sight of two such artists, working together with but one object in view, and that was to do honor to the music of one of Germany’s greatest composers, was indeed gratifying…It certainly was one of the finest instances of piano duet playing that we have ever had…On the whole, it was as fine a concert as Mr. Perabo has yet offered. The hall was full and the audience of the most appreciative kind.” (BMT (March 2, 1867): 19)

       While Perabo was featuring Schubert, Carlyle Petersilia was presenting Schumann. The “Second Schumann Soiree” was performed “on Saturday evening, January 26, [1867 at] Chickerings’ Hall [which] was filled by an audience of music-lovers eager to hear the performance of a programme which, in point of magnitude, and contrast of subjects, is unequaled in our annals of piano concerts”. Lang took part in three of the four major pieces; a vocalist, Miss Edith Abel sang four songs scattered throughout the program. Petersilia performed the solo parts to the last two movements of Chopin’ Concerto in E minor and Schumann”s Piano Concerto in A minor with Lang providing the orchestral accompaniments at a second piano “with nicety of execution and truthful conception, thereby adding greatly to the performance.” The final number of the concert was Schumann’s Variations for Two Pianos where “Messrs. Lang and Petersilia completely electrified the audience.” (BMT (February 2, 1867): 15 and 16)

       Just over two weeks later, on Monday, February 18, 1867, the Harvard Musical Association arranged a benefit concert to aid “the exiled and starving women and children of the Cretan patriots, fighting for liberty against the Turks.”The Music Hall was sold out with many standing for the performance, and all the musicians donated their talents. Lang, together with Messrs. Dresel, Leonard, and Perabo performed the Duet for Two Pianos-Les Contrastes by Moscheles; Lang had included this same piece in his “Complimentary Concert” during the spring of 1860. The piece “was made very effective, however, in the execution; for four masters were united in it, and it was done with a power, a precision, a perfect unity and aplomb which could not fail to make an impression.” (Dwight (March 2, 1867): 407)

       Lang returned to his hometown of Salem and arranged a concert for Monday evening, March 4, 1867 at Lyceum Hall. He opened as the soloist in Mendelssohn’s Concerto No. 2 in D Minor, Opus 40 with his student, Alice Dutton playing the orchestral accompaniment. After a song by Miss Sarah W. Barton, Miss Dutton was the soloist in Mendelssohn’s Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Opus 25 with Lang providing the orchestral accompaniment. Miss Barton sang two other solos, Lang played Liszt’s Transcription of Weber’s Polonaise in E, Opus 72 and the program ended with Lang and Dutton playing the Grand Duo on themes from Norma by Thalberg. (BPL Lang Prog.) The success of this concert may have led to the following orchestral concert.

       In an article headed “Salem, Mass,” Dwight noted that “Last Monday evening [May 20, 1867] this old town rejoiced in its first ‘Symphony Concert,’ given by Mr. M. S. Downs, with the aid of Miss Adelaide Phillipps and ‘the Boston Symphony Orchestra,’ under the direction of Mr. B. J. Lang. 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. This was the programme:

Symphony No. 5, Op. 57 Beethoven

“Oh mio Fernando” from Favorita Donizetti *

Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream Mendelssohn

Cuban Song Gradyer *

Concert Waltz The Village SwallowsJ. Strauss

Brindisi Galathes Masse *

Wedding March Mendelssohn

(Dwight, May 25, 1867, p. 39)

* = solos by Miss Phillipps (BPL Lang Prog.)

       On Saturday afternoon, October 26, 1867 Lang presented a lecture on the piano at Chickerings’ Hall primarily to pupils of the New England Conservatory, but other interested parties attended.“Mr. Lang spoke about three-quarters of an hour in an off-hand and rather pleasant manner. The merit of his lecture was in the practical suggestions he threw out, which were evolved from his own experience as a teacher. He promised at the state that he should be crude, and he was a little so, but the information imparted was more than an offset. Some of his anecdotes were a little musty and not always apropos, but he gave on the whole satisfaction to his hears. For a first attempt it was fair. But it is no injustice to Mr. Lang to say that he plays better than he preaches.”Among his comments: he preferred “Uprights” over “Squares;” there are too many that attempt to learn the piano-“Mere practice, however long continued, will not make a player unless there is an original capacity [talent] for it;” in his travel abroad, he found the best piano in Spain and the worst in Ireland; “A Boston piano, made by Boston mechanics, is good enough;” regular chairs were better than piano stools; “He thought ladies were naturally better players and teachers than men, as they have a power to easily acquire and impart.”The article had originally appeared in the Post. (Dwight (November 9, 1867): 136) The Boston Musical Times also used the Post article, noting, in addition to what Dwight reported, that “Mr. Lang’s views with regard to popular musical entertainments are exceedingly severe, and do not accord with those of a vast majority of the people, but he deserves credit for frankness…Mr. Lang gave much good and practical advice as to learning and teaching the piano. He uttered some pretty severer things against the music of the day, and regarded miscellaneous concerts as crude and unsatisfactory. Entertainments in which a whole symphony is given he regards as something worthwhile to listen to. In this connection, he commended the concerts of the Harvard Musical Association and Orchestral Union…Some of the English peculiarities of playing the piano were adverted to, and their absurdities pointed out. The English have their way in the matter of piano playing just as they do in some other things, and stick to it whether good or bad. As to the art of playing and the manner, he said he could not state it. It defied language to express. it was a thing to hear, not to describe…The merit of his lecture was in the practical suggestions he threw out, which were evolved from his own experience as a teacher. He promised at the start that he should be crude, and he was a little so, but the information imparted was more than an offset.” (BMT (November 2, 1867): 87)

       On February 5, 1868 Lang took part in a “Complimentary Concert, Given in Honor of the Members of the Commercial Convention” and sponsored by the “Boston Board of Trade.” Lang appeared three times in the first half of the concert. First, he played two organ solos, Fantasia in G by Bach and a “Chorus” from Elijah displaying the “Vox Humana stop,” and then he joined with the Julius Eichberg in Eichberg’s Religious Meditation for Violin and Organ, and the first half ended with the Bach/Gounod Ave Maria sung by Mrs. Smith with Eichberg on violin, Lang probably on piano, and Dr. J. H. Willcox on organ(HMA Program Collection). An interesting mix of classic and popular for this convention of tradesmen. Part two of the concert was presented by Gilmore’s Band!

        In March 1868 “Mr. B. J. Lang had ‘the pleasure’ he so courteously craved ‘of introducing to the musical public of Boston’ the Eight Book of Songs Without Words (first brought to light so recently) by his favorite composer. (Mendelssohn) He must have had that pleasure in a high degree, introducing them to an audience so select, so large, and so much gratified as that assembled in Chickering Hall on the afternoon of March 18.” The concert opened with Beethoven’s Sonata Op. 22 and ended with Mendelssohn’s Sonata Op. 58 for Cello and Piano. “ We did not think Mr. Lang quite so happy in his interpretation of the Beethoven Sonata as he is with Mendelssohn; but the Sonata Duo, with Wulf Fries, went splendidly and was worth the whole.” (Dwight (March 28, 1868): 215) In Langs announcement of this concert he mentioned that these Mendelssohn pieces had been “published for the first time last month and just received from Europe.” It would seem that this was another Boston or American first performance by Lang. The tickets were $1. (BPL Lang Prog.)

       John S. Dwight-“He had found in Dwight’s Journal of Music an ideal medium through which to propagate his vision of music. The extent of Dwight’s influence, however, is unclear. The precise circulation of the journal has never been ascertained. And Dwight himself was becoming isolated. His purist, Germanic view of music never really reflected the tastes of the Boston public. As his views hardened, he became increasingly distanced from the reality of Boston concert life.

Dwight nevertheless remained a powerful figure in Boston’s musical circles. His power base came from his connection to elite society, which was centered in two organizations: the Saturday Club and the Harvard Musical Association. As a member of the Saturday Club Dwight was admitted into the inner sanctum of the elite. The club joined literature and power; its membership included some of the richest, most prominent men in Boston, such as Thomas G. Appleton, Charles Francis Adams, and James Elliot Cabot, as well as some of the age’s, most important literary figures, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry W. Longfellow, and Nathaniel Hawthorne…

His (Dwight’s) friendship with Emerson and Parker, his principal entrée into intellectual society, had been forged when his work in German literature far outweighed his musical accomplishments. No other musician was a member of the Saturday Club, although by the 1880s there were other potential candidates in Boston, such as William Mason and B. J. Lang. No painter, sculptor, or other visual artist was a member.” (Broyles, 306 and 307)

Dwight’s support of Lang as a new member of the Boston musical community is shown through his printing of Lang’s program for a solo piano concert given at the Town Hall in Milton even though “other engagements, we are sorry to say, prevented us from hearing it.

Benediction de Dieu Dans la Solitude:    Liszt

Rondo Cappriccioso [sic] in E minor. Op. 12:    Mendelssohn

Etude in D flat major-Cradle Song:    Heller

Caprice in C major:    Lang

Caprice in A flat major:    Lang

Fantasie in A minor:    Mendelssohn

Fantasie in E minor:    Mendelssohn

Scherzo in B flat minor, Op. 31:    Chopin

Transcription of Themes from a Polonaise by Weber:   Liszt.”

(Dwight (October 10, 1868): 326)

       The programs for the 1869 “Mr. B. J. Lang’s Symphony Concerts at Mercantile Hall” were:

       Tuesday, April 6, 1869  3:30 PM

Overture to Prometheus:    Beethoven

Symphony # 3 in E Flat:    Mozart

Serenade and Allegro in B Minor:    Mendelssohn

                    Miss Alice Dutton

Symphony # 4 (Italian):    Mendelssohn

 

       Tuesday, April 13

Symphony # 8:    Beethoven

Overture: Calm Sea…:   Mendelssohn

Piano Concerto # 4:    Beethoven

                       Mr. Hugo Leonard

Overture: The Naiads Sterndale Bennett

 

       Tuesday, April 20

Symphony # 6:    Beethoven

Overture: The Hebrides:    Mendelssohn

Violin Concerto:    Beethoven

                        Mr. Bernhard Listemann

Symphony # 7 in G Major:   Haydn (BPL Lang Prog.)

The brochure announcing the series had a slightly different order of pieces, and the location was listed as Chickering Hall. A second brochure reflects the program as listed above and the location to be the Mercantile Hall (both in the HMA Program Collection). Dwight referred to them as a “short after-summer [season]” following “The close of the great season, with the last Symphony Concert and the Easter Oratorios…Mr. Lang’s very successful experiment is over for the present. Mercantile Hall has been crowded each time, and with the best kind of audience…The only drawback to the full enjoyment of those orchestral performances was in the character of the hall, which neither has a musical and cheerful aspect, nor very good acoustic qualities. To all but the remotest listeners the sounds were hard and dry, the fortissimos more striking than inspiring; the timpani, for instance, in the storm part of the Pastoral Symphony, dealt something more like blows than sounds upon our tympanum…Mr. Lang is rapidly making himself at home in his new function as Conductor, and he does wisely to take a small and modest house at first,-a picked orchestra of a few more than thirty instruments (six first violins); capable and faithful with a few, he may yet be ruler over many…Mr. Lang has made many thankful for this fine little after-season of symphonic life and sunshine” (Dwight (April 24, 1869): 22 and 23)

        The fall of 1869 and winter/spring of 1869-70 saw Lang in Europe where he gave a number of solo piano recitals. At the Hotel de Rome in Berlin on December 28, 1869 he played Beethoven’s Sonata Opus 22, Chopin”s Scherzo Opus 31, two works by Bach, Mendelssohn’s Caprice in E Opus 16, and ended with Liszt’s arrangement of Weber’s Polonaise. (BPL Lang Prog.) On Friday, March 11, 1870 Lang played at the “Saale des Herrn Hof-Pianofortefabrikant Ronisch in Dresden.” The program was much the same as in Berlin, but he included Mendelssohn’s Concerto in G Opus 25 (no mention of who played the orchestral part) and two pieces, Phantasien in A dur and in C dur of his own composition. (BPL Lang Prog.) A concert in Vienna on Friday, May 13, 1870 at Bosendorfer’s Hall included the Mendelssohn Concerto, the Liszt/Weber and four songs by Lang sung by Carl Adams of the Opera House: their titles were Spring, Spinning, Love and Lied-Psalm 86. (BPL Lang Prog.)

       Lang continued to appear at the concerts promoted by others. On Saturday evening, December 3, 1870 Mr. J. W. Brackett invited listeners to the opening of “his new Music Hall, No. 409 Washington St.,” and the program included Lang playing Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto in G Minor, Op. 25 with the orchestral accompaniment played art “a second Piano Forte by Mr. H. G. Tucker [his pupil]” (HMA Program Collection).

       Dwight announced that “Mr. B. J. Lang has made arrangements to give four concerts at the Globe Theatre on Thursday afternoons, beginning Jan. 19 [1871], and alternating with the Harvard Symphony concerts. There will be a piano trio, a piano concerto and a string quartet at each concert.” (Dwight (December 31, 1870): 375) “The Programmes [see next page] have been made up with special consideration for the younger class of Concertgoers.” The series cost $5, or single tickets were $1.50. (BPL Lang Prog.) The first was given on Thursday afternoon, January 19 and “drew a very choice and (for a chamber concert) a large audience. There were at least three hundred good listeners, seated mostly in the parquette of the handsome theatre, in comfortable seats with everything cozy and harmonious about them.” The Mendelssohn Quintette Club also participated in Mozart’s Quintett Opus 108, Beethoven’s Trio in C Minor Opus 1, No. 4, and formed the accompaniment, with the addition of a double bass, for the Mendelssohn Piano Concerto in G minor, Opus 25 for which “Mr. Lang’s was a very fervent, carefully studied, finished and intelligent performance.” As a solo, he played the Chopin Scherzo in B flat minor, Opus 31, “and conveyed it to his hearers so well that one scarcely thought of the masterly ease of execution it involved.” The end of the review listed the works for the second concert: Beethoven-String Quartet in A, Beethoven-Piano Concerto No. 1, Chopin-Ballade in A flat, and Mendelssohn- Trio in C minor. Dwight’s final comment was that “These concerts come in pleasant alternation with the Harvard Symphony Concerts.” (Dwight, January 28, 1871)

       In fact, this second concert on Thursday afternoon February 1, 1872 at 3:30 PM opened with Schubert’s String Quintet in C, Opus 163 in place of the advertised Beethoven Quartett in A Major Opus 18. Again using the Mendelssohn Quintette Club as the accompaniment for the Beethoven First Piano Concerto Opus 15, Dwight felt that “with only the shadow of an orchestra (string quartet with double-bass) it sounded to us more dry and tame than” when Lang had played it with full orchestra three years previously. However, he ended with: “We are thankful for the too-rare chance of hearing such a work.” The comment on B. J.’s contribution as a pianist was: “Mr. Lang had ample sphere for all his fine, clear, finished technique, and tasteful phrasing.” This probably referred to his performance of Chopin’s Ballade in A Flat major Opus 49. The concert ended with Mendelssohn’s Trio in C Minor Opus 66.

       This third concert of the series on Thursday afternoon February 16, 1872 again using the Mendelssohn Quintette Club as assisting artists presented the repertoire as previously advertised. It began with the Haydn-Quartet No. 67, continued with two piano solos: Capriccio, Opus 22 by Sterndale Bennett and Benediction de Dieu dans la Solitude by Liszt, and ended with“the great B-flat Trio [Opus 97] of Beethoven.” (Dwight, February 11, 1871) Dwight’s felt that the Liszt piece’s “inspiration had all faded out before the end,” but that “Mr. Lang played it, however, con amore and devoutly, with much expression, and had the close (no doubt with many the sympathetic) attention of the audience throughout.” (Dwight (February 25, 1871): 406 and 407)

        The fourth and last concert of this chamber music series was given Tuesday afternoon, March 2 to “an uncommonly large and cultivated audience.” The program was:

Quintet in B Flat major, Op. 87 Mendelssohn

Concerto in C Major for Three Pianofortes Bach

Pianoforte Pieces Lang

Pianoforte Concerto in D Minor, Op. 40 Mendelssohn

Messrs. Lang, Leonhard, and Parker played the Bach with an accompaniment of string quartet plus double bass. Dwight commented on Lang’s pieces: “For piano solos, Mr. Lang played a couple of very graceful, airy, finished little fancies of his own, which were much enjoyed, and, in answer to an encore, another, not (we should think) from the same source, which seemed a little tame.” Dwight continued: “The D-minor Concerto of Mendelssohn, was, if we remember rightly, first introduced to a Boston public by Mr. Lang, with orchestra, more than a dozen years ago. It is needless to say that he plays it very finely now, but the Quintet abridgment feebly supplied the place of the orchestra. And so the pleasant company dispersed, rather reluctantly at thinking that no more such feasts remained.”(Dwight (March 11, 1871): 415)

       Later, that same spring (1871) Lang presented a series of four piano concerts given on successive Monday afternoons during April in Bumstead Hall featuring his pupils.Mr. G. W. Sumner, Mr. W. F. Apthorp, Mr. G. A. Adams, and Mr. H. G. Tucker performed solo works, duets, and concertos “before large and cultivated audiences… The young knights summon witnesses to see that their spurs are well won, for they shrink not from the highest tasks. It must be acknowledged that so far they have acquitted themselves with honor…Mr. Lang himself (teacher and ”head centre” of the group) outlined the orchestral parts upon another piano.” (Dwight ( April 22, 1871): 14)

On Friday evening October 27, 1871 Lang was one of the assisting artists in “Mr. Peck’s Popular Concerts” at the Music Hall. He played the solo version of Liszt’s Grand Fantasie on Weber’s Polonaise in E Major. Among the other guest artists were Mrs. Frohock who opened the concert with an organ solo (un-named) and Miss Phillipps. General Admission was 25 cents with reserved tickets at 50 cents. (BPL Lang Prog., 6272) Lang played in another Peck concert on Thursday evening December 28, 1871. His solo was Liszt’s Fantasie on La Charitie. This concert opened with an organ introduction played by Mr. Eugene Thayer. Miss Adelaide Phillipps was also among the assisting artists for this event as she was for a similar concert advertised for Saturday afternoon December 30, 1871 and Sunday evening December 31, 1871. (BPL Lang Prog., 6273)

“Mr. B. J. Lang began his second series of four Concerts, at the Globe Theatre again, on Thursday, February 14, [1872] at 3 P.M.The attendance was flattering both in character and numbers; the social and artistic atmosphere and the surroundings very pleasant.” The Mendelssohn Quintette Club shared the program, and opened with Mozart’s String Quartet No. 8 in F major. Then Lang played two Chopin pieces-the Nocturne in C Minor, Opus 48, and then, “to eke out its brevity he also played one of the most admired of Chopin’s Ballades with rare grace and finesse.” The final piece was the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 1 in B Flat, Opus 19 with the accompaniment played by a second piano (Mr. Sumner), string quintet and flute. The work had only been played in Boston once before: January 16, 1868 by the Harvard Musical Association with Lang as soloist. Dwight’s review of the first performance mentioned that “There is abundant opportunity for the player to show his good taste, ease, and reserve power, the subjection of deft, thoroughly practiced hands to expression, all of which Mr. Lang eminently did show. It was a most elegant and happy rendering of a charming composition with which all were glad to have made acquaintance.” (Johnson, 46) In an evaluation of this second performance, Dwight wrote: “It was an admirable rendering throughout.”The review ended with the program for the second concert to be held on Thursday, February 29-Beethoven String Quartet No. 7 in F Minor, four Nocturnes Opus 23 by Schumann, and the Mendelssohn Sonata for Cello and Piano, Opus 58. The review for this concert began: “The charming little theatre has been fuller each time…Instead of the four Nocturnes, however, Mr. Lang played only the first, -so interesting in itself, so well interpreted, that one could not be quite resigned to the withholding of its promised three companions.”The reason for this change was that the Beethoven Piano Concerto in B flat was repeated from the first concert. Also, the Beethoven Quartet was No. 11, rather than No. 7. The March 14 third concert included a Concerto by Bach for two violins; a four-hand composition by Mr. Bradlee, an accomplished amateur of our city; Chopin’s Etude in C sharp minor, Opus 25; and a Trio in B flat by Rubinstein. Lang and Mr. Perabo played the Bradlee work which led to an encore of the first movement of Rubinstein’s Ocean Symphony which prepared the audience for the Rubinstein Trio which was “played con amore and with great life and spirit, [and] charmed the audience, unfolding richer and richer as it went on.”Lang’s Chopin solo was mentioned: “As a technical etude it presents great difficulties, but these the hearer was not allowed to think of, so fully was he made to feel the charm and meaning of the piece.” The final concert on March 28 was advertised as having the Bach Concerto in D minor for Three Pianos, two movements of a Quintet in C by Lachner, and the Third Piano Concerto by Beethoven. (Dwight (March 23, 1872): 207)

Lang presented a series of four concerts on Monday afternoons at 3:30 PM beginning with April 10, 1871. These featured his pupils Mr. G. A. Adams, Mr. William F. Apthorp, Mr. G. W. Sumner, and Mr. Tucker. The first concert included:

          Prelude in C (Well-tempered Clavichord, No.1 – Bach (Adams)

          Fugue in E Minor, Fourth Suite – Handel (Adams)

          Three Diversions, Piano Four hands, Opus 17 – Sterndale Bennett

          Concerto in F Minor Opus 21 – Chopin (Sumner)

          “Festspiel und Brautlied” from Wagner’s Lohengrin – Liszt (Tucker)

The second concert on Monday, April 17 included:

           Concerto in E Flat Opus 73 – Beethoven (Adams)

           Fantasia Cromatica e Fuga in D Minor – Bach (Sumner)

           Concertstuck in F Opus 79 – Weber (6275) (Tucker)

The third concert on Monday, April 24 included:

           Ballade in A-Flat Opus 53 – Chopin (Sumner)

           Concerto in A Minor Opus 54 – Schumann (Tucker)

           “Arioso (Tristan’s Vision)” from Die Walkure – Wagner (Apthorp accompanist for Dr. Langmaid)

            Rondo in C for Two Pianos, Opus 73 – Chopin (Sumner & Adams)

The fourth and final concert on may 1 included:

            Andante, Spianato and Polonaise Brillante Opus 22 – Chopin (Adams)

            “Slow Movement” from Fantasia Opus 17 – Schumann (Sumner)

             Ballade in A-Flat Opus 20 – Reinecke (Tucker)

             Concerto in C Minor for thee pianosBach (6276)(Adams, Sumner,and Tucker with Apthorp playing the orchestral part)(Citations from                   BPL LangProg., 6293-4)

Lang gave another series of four Globe Theatre Concerts on Thursday afternoons at 3 PM in 1872. The program for the fourth concert included:

              String Quintette in B Flat – Mendelssohn

              Piano Concerto No. 3 – Beethoven

              Grand Trio in B Flat major – Rubinstein

              Concerto for Three Pianofortes – Bach

The second series of Thursday afternoon 3 PM orchestral concerts was performed April 11, 18, 25 and May 2, 1872 at Mechanics’ Hall, Bedford Street. Lang’s announcement stated: “Mr. Lang begs leave to remind his friends of the Symphony Concerts which he once gave at Mercantile Hall, of the Bumstead Hall Pianoforte Concerts of last Spring, and to announce that he now proposes to give a series of Symphony Concerts, at Mechanics Hall (Bedford St.) on Thursday Afternoons. ” (BPL Lang Prog.) Season tickets were $4, single tickets were $1.25. An appreciation of Lang’s concert giving activities is reflected in an announcement printed in the Folio: “The public will learn, with no small degrees of pleasure, that our talented pianists, Mr. B. J. Lang proposes to give a second series of Symphony Concerts, at Mechanic’s Hall, beginning on Thursday afternoon, April 11th, at three o’clock. There will be four concerts in the series. We need offer no remarks relative to the great worth and importance of these classical entertainments.” (Folio, May 1872) The critic William F. Apthorp was one of the soloists, and the announcement for the series reminded patrons of the Bumstead Hall Pianoforte Concerts held last spring. The first concert on April 11, 1872 featured Mr. G. A. Adams as the soloist in Schumann’s Concerto in A Minor Opus 51. (BPL Lang Prog.) Dwight reviewed the second and third of “these attractive ”Thursday Afternoons” (which) have shown improvement in the orchestral performance and increase of interest.”The second program included Beethoven’s, Symphony No. 7, Reinecke’s Concertstuck, Opus 33 played by B. J.’s pupil, Mr. R. C. Dixey, the “Aria and Gavotte” from Bach’s Suite in D Minor, the “Barcarole” from Sterndale Bennett’s Piano Concerto No. 4 played by Mr. William F. Apthorp, and the finale was the Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream. “Beethoven’s Seventh was rather a large Symphony for an orchestra of thirty, yet for the most part, it was remarkably well rendered and appreciated…Mr. Dixey was received with warm signs of favor…Mr. Apthorp’s selection was of a less pretentious and altogether graceful, pleasing character…Not demanding any high degree of execution, -except that it grows a little tasking toward the end, -it showed the taste and musical intelligence and feeling of the ardent young interpreter to good advantage.” The review for the third concert of April 25 praised the playing of B. J.’s young pupil, Mr. H. G. Tucker in Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto.” (BPL Lang Prog.) These concerts at Mechanics Hall were seen to be “supplementing in some sense, in a smaller hall, the larger Symphony Season.Dwight ended his review by mentioning Lang’s fourth and final concert in the series which “passes fairly over into the domain of Chamber Music, dispensing with full orchestra and offering the flowing selections: Hummel’s Pianoforte Septet (played by Mr. G. W. Sumner); Beethoven’s Septet; Concerto for Three Pianofortes in C, Bach, (played by Mr. G. A. Adams, Mr. G. W. Sumner, and Mr. H. G. Tucker)” with presumably B. J. playing the orchestral part on a fourth piano. (Dwight (May 4, 1872): 230 and 231) Dwight’s review of the fourth concert was rather brief and ended with compliments to the three pianists: “It was a sweet and wholesome ending to a choice and enjoyable little after-series of concerts. With the accession of all these able young pianists Boston may feel rich indeed in that department.” (Dwight (May 18, 1872): 239)

The Great Boston Fire began on the evening of November 9, 1872, and it was not until the following Sunday at 2 PM that it was put under control. Sixty-five acres were destroyed which included 776 buildings. The total cost of personal property and merchandise lost was “estimated at close to $7 billion in today’s dollars.” (Puleo, 178) Lang’s former church, Old South was threatened but saved. “Flames licked at the venerable church’s door, even as crews poured streams of water on its walls and several brave firefighters climbed the roof to sweep away sparks. Even Burt [Postmaster General who had advocated blowing up buildings to stop the fire] resisted demands that Old South be blown up. The battle to save the church raged through the night, and when the steeple clock struck 6:00 AM, one bystander said, ”Dear old church, I’m afraid we shall never hear that bell again.” But at the last moment, a steam engine from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, arrived; it had been loaded on a flatbed train with the Portsmouth fire company and taken to Boston. Fresh firefighters and equipment turned the tide; the fire was stopped at Washington Street and Old South survived.” (Puleo, 181)

      In presenting concerts, Lang not only had the effects of the Great Boston Fire to contend with, but also the safety of his concert goers. The Boston musical paper published by Dexter Smith reported in December 1872: “Boston is now the most unsafe city in the Union, as regards life and property. Nearly every day brings its murder or robbery, and the victim is not allowed a choice between being shot down in his own doorway (like a dog), or cut up, packed in barrels and thrown into the river. A ”committee of safety” is being talked of by the citizens, and we hope it will result in something more than talk. A little old-fashioned hanging would be a good thing now.” (Dexter Smith‘s (December 1872): 284)

      Even in these difficult times, Lang was able to continue his career. Early in 1873 he conducted a performance of the “Boston Choral Union.” Held at Wait’s Hall on January 9, 1873, there were five assisting vocalists and Mr. G. W. Sumner as the accompanist. Tickets were 50 cents. Strangely the composers’ names were not listed after the choral selections-they only sang six pieces. (BPL Lang Prog.)

       In 1873 B. J. gave a series of four concerts at Mechanics’ Hall: March 6 and 20 and April 3 and 17 at three o’clock. No orchestra was mentioned. Season tickets were $4. (BPL Lang Prog. (The first concert, given to a completely filled hall, “a large and fashionable audience,” (Folio, April 1873): 104) included Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto, which “was rendered by Mr. Lang with delicacy and refinement,” (Ibid) (Mr. Sumner supplied the outline of the orchestral accompaniment effectively on a second grand piano), three songs by Mendelssohn sung by Mr. Charles R. Hayden, the Cello Sonata, Opus 69 by Beethoven, played by Mr. Wulf Fries who “sustained his usual good reputation,” (Ibid) Six Pieces for piano Opus 72 by Mendelssohn, and the Mozart Sonata for Two Pianos, Opus 53 “which was admirably rendered by Mr. J. C. D. Parker and B. J. Lang.” (Ibid) Dwight reported: “Mozart’s Sonata for two pianos was a most acceptable novelty, full of the truest Mozart life and charm throughout, and the performance by Mr. Parker and Mr. Lang was all that could be wished. The six little Kinderstucke by Mendelssohn were a pleasant offering gracefully presented.” (Dwight (March 22, 1873): 406 and 407) The second concert which “was even more interesting than the first,” featured Bach’s Concerto for Two Pianos in C major played by Lang and Mr. Otto Dresel with string quartet accompaniment-“Even more beautiful than that for three pianos.” Lang played two solo pieces by Bach and Chopin’s Nocturne in C minor, Op. 48, and the concert concluded with Schumann’s Quintet for Piano and Strings which “was given with great spirit and triumphant mastery, as if the whole thing were the inspiration of the moment.” (Dwight (April 5, 1873): 414)(BPL Lang Prog.) The third concert had the following program:
img_5602smallHMA Program Collection

The third concert included solo piano works, Schumann’s Sonata for Violin and Piano Op. 105, “and then, having forgotten to bring the notes of a Beethoven Rondo promised in the programme, he repeated, to the delight of all, the wonderful Nocturne in C Minor by Chopin, op. 48, in a masterly manner. Chopin’s Rondo in C, op. 73, for two pianos, very finely played by Mr. Hugo Leonhard and Mr. Lang, brought the concert grandly to a close.”The fourth and final concert, given on April 17 included two piano concertos (Beethoven Concerto in C Minor Opus 15 and Mendelssohn’s Concerto in D Minor Opus 40) played by B. J. with orchestral parts played by Mr. G. W. Sumner, songs by Beethoven and five of his piano Bagatelles, and Schumann’s Andante and Variations, op. 46 for two pianos with Mr. Ernst Perabo.(Dwight (May 3, 1873): 14)

      Lang conducted another concert by the “Boston Choral Union” on Thursday evening April 17, 1873 at Phillips Church, South Boston. The work was Mendelssohn’s Elijah and the accompaniment was by Mr. H. G. Tucker at the piano and Mr. G. W. Sumner at the organ. Among the soloists were Mrs. Julia Houston West, Mr. W. J. Winch and Mr. John F. Winch. The tickets were 50 cents. (BPL Lang Prog.)

      Lang continued to appear as a soloist in concerts of other organizations. The “First Grand Concert” by the “Boston Orchestral Club,” an orchestra of forty-five, presented a concert at the Music Hall on Sunday evening April 19, 1874 with Frederic F. Ford and Lang as soloist in the Second Part of the concert performing Capriccio in B Minor for Piano and Orchestra by Mendelssohn. Lang was only one of five other assisting artists plus a Horn Quartette! (HMA Program Collection)(BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 2) Tickets were fifty cents.

      From c. 1874 until 1884 Lang gave “a series of pianoforte concerts, the present season (1884) forming the only exception. He has given five different sets of symphony concerts, and in these has always followed the good German idea of a large orchestra in a small hall, so that no possible effect should be lost.” (Mus. Ob., 1884)

       The 1874 series of Thursday afternoon 3:30 to 5 PM Chamber Music Concerts at Mechanics’ Hall began on February 19, 1874 with a program opening with Beethoven’s Sonata in C minor, Op. 30 for Violin and Piano and closing with the Fantasie in form of a Sonata, Op. 5 by Saran which “Mr. Lang played with unflagging spirit and great brilliancy…to the delight of the whole company” except for Dwight who felt that there was just too much expression even though he did have to admit that the title did allow “more or less of moody freedom in this regard.” (Dwight (March 7, 1874): 190)A review by Dwight did not always guarantee a positive evaluation of Lang. The second concert “offered to a crowded audience” included Mendelssohn’s youthful Piano and String Quartet in B minor, Op. 5 with three members of the Mendelssohn Quintette Club “which he composed over two years before the Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture…Mr. Lang showed an easy mastery of its great difficulties, and the work went well as a whole.” Songs by Schubert and Beethoven were sung by Mr. George L. Osgood, and Lang played Chopin’s Fantasie in F minor, Op. 49, but not to the best review: “We have had [it] better played in concerts of Mr. Dresel and, more recently, of Rubenstein.Mr. Lang was not at his best in it, -at least not so happy as in his rendering of some other not less trying works of Chopin.”The concert ended with Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E flat major, Op. 44-no critical comment was made. (Dwight (March 21, 1874): 178 and 179) On March 12, which was the third in the series, Mendelssohn’s Trio in C Minor was played by Lang and the brothers August and Wulf Fries.” Mr. Lang repeated the Fantasie Sonata by Saran, with the same brilliancy and clearness as before, and, to our feeling, much more satisfactorily with regard to evenness of tempo and chaste simplicity of expression.The concert closed with an admirable performance, by himself and Wulf Fries, of the Introduction and Polonaise, Op. 3 for piano and cello, by Chopin.”A tenor, Mr. Charles R. Hayden also took part. (Dwight (April 4, 1874): 206 and 207) The final concert in that year’s series was given on March 26: it “was a remarkably attractive one, -at all events Mechanics’ Hall was thronged. The great feature was the Trio in B flat, Opus 52, [for piano, violin and cello] by Rubinstein, a fiery, strange, effective work, bristling with difficulties from which many a deft and staunch pianist might well shrink; but Mr. Lang seemed in his element while resolutely, gracefully surmounting them, and came out loudly cheered…Mr. Lang’s piano solos came all together in a series of six pieces in the middle of the concert…finally, again by Chopin, that ever welcome great Nocturne in C minor (Opus 48), for which we have several times expressed our indebtedness to Mr. Lang, who played it con amore.” (Dwight (April 18, 1874): 214) The vocalist Clara Doria also took part. Wiliam F. Apthrop gave a very favorable review of the series; “Mr. Lang’s series of concerts at Mechanic’s Hall closed March 26. They have been decided favorites with the lovers of classical music, every concert being largely attended. With able assistants, Mr. Lang presented on each occasion good selections, and rendered them in a manner worthy of his high reputation as a musical artist.” (Brian, 59: original in Folio (May 1874): 148) Of course this was written by a former pupil of Lang’s.

       In addition to promoting his own concerts, B. J. appeared in those organized by others. After the headline “Boston Philharmonic Club” Dwight wrote: “The first Classical Matinee of Mr. Bernard Listemann and his accomplished associates, took place Nov. 30th., in Mechanics Hall, before a very appreciative audience. And it was one of the finest chamber concerts we have heard for many a day.” After the String Quartet in D minor, Opus 77 by Raff, and a French Horn solo, “The piano selections were interpreted by Mr. Lang; that happy little, bright Allegro from Handel, with which he pleased so much last year, was played more exquisitely than ever; and that almost impossible Etude of Chopin, with the wide arpeggio chords, kept up unflaggingly, all came out clearly and effectively.” The concert ended with Beethoven’s Trio Opus 87 for Piano, Violin, and Cello. (Dwight (December 12, 1874) “The Boston Philharmonic Club” was organized much like the Mendelssohn Quintette Club in that it was a combination of string and wind players. The players in 1874 were: Bernard Listemann, violin; Fritz Listemann, violin; Emil Gramm, viola and violin; Adolph Hartdegen, cello; Eugene Weiner, flute, and Adolph Belz, horn and viola. The piano accompanists listed were E. Gramm. A. Belz, and F. Listemann (HMA Program Collection).

       “Mr. B. J. Lang gave the first of two concerts, at Mechanics’ Hall, last Thursday afternoon (April 22, 1875), which drew the large audience which his concerts always command; and it was a concert full of interest.” Two artists assisted: Miss Grace Sampson, one of his pupils, played Mozart’s Sonata in D for Two Pianos” with her teacher; the two giving us a very finished and artistic rendering…Miss Sampson’s touch is nice, her execution clean and even, and her whole performance had not a little of the fineness as well as the vigor of her master’s.” Miss Ita Welsh, not in the best of voice, sang four songs to Lang’s accompaniment, and his solos included Chopin’s Impromptu in F Sharp Minor, Handel’s Bourree in G, and the concert ended with Schumann’s Concertstuck in G, Op. 92 with Lang as soloist and his pupil playing the orchestral accompaniment. Dwight mentioned that Lang had played this work twice before with orchestra. (Dwight (May 1, 1875): 15) The second concert on April 29 used the same three performers and the same program arrangement. At this concert Miss Ita Welsh was in fine voice earning and encore, “and in all her songs she succeeded admirably.” (Dwight (May 29, 1875): 30)

       The two 3 PM chamber music concerts held in the spring of 1876 were given on Thursday afternoons March 23 and 30, again at Mechanics’ Hall. “His programmes were unique, the distinctive feature being the great prominence given to the French composer who has excited so much interest here of late, Camille Saint-Saens…On his visit to Europe last summer Mr. Lang was commissioned by the Harvard Musical Association to procure, for its Library and its Concerts, some of the principal compositions of Saint-Saens.” For the March 23 concert, Lang and Arthur Foote opened with the American premier [Foote, Auto., 44] of Saint-Saens’ Variations for Two Pianofortes on a Theme by Beethoven, Opus 35 which had just been composed and published only two years before in 1874. “These were the days when St. Saens” music came to us as a stunning novelty.” (Ibid) About twenty-five years later the Bostonian Mabel Daniels, who was a music student in Munich at that time (1902) recorded that she played this piece with her teacher. “I think it is great, especially the big fugue at the end.” (Daniels, Am. Girl, 258) It would be interesting to know if she had previously heard the work in Boston. In the same concert Miss Ita Welsh sang two songs, Lang played four short Bach pieces as transcribed by Saint-Saens and the concert ended with Lang as the soloist and Foote providing the orchestra parts in Saint-Saens’ Concerto No. 2 in G Minor.Lang had played the American premiere of this work two months before with Carl Zerrahn conducting the Harvard Musical Association at the Music Hall. Lang was able to play the work with an orchestra again at the end of the year. He performed with The New York Philharmonic Society led by Leopold Damrosch on December 9, 1876, but the New York premiere of the work had been done only one day before with the Thomas Orchestra at Steinway Hall with Annette Essipoff, piano! The program of the second chamber music concert again followed

 

the outline of the first. The Trio in F Major for Piano, Violin, and Cello by St. Saens played by Lang and the two Wulf brothers opened the concert, followed by two songs, this time sung by Miss Lillian Bailey were separated by four Bach/Saint-Saens transcriptions, and the concert ended with Lang as the soloist in the Tschaikowsky (sic) Piano Concerto in B Flat Minor and the orchestral part played by Arthur Foote. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 2) This was Miss Bailey’s debut: ” She is a bright, enthusiastic maiden of sixteen, with a soprano voice of singular purity and sweetness, and of a sympathetic quality. For one so young she seems to have made careful studies, as well as to possess intelligence beyond her years.” Dwight did not enjoy the Tchaikovsky: “The Russian Concerto suffered peculiarly by being deprived of its orchestral background; for it is a work conceived in the extreme modern style, dependent upon brilliant accessories and color contrast for its full effect…Mr. Lang had mastered its immense technical difficulties surprisingly well; but it did seem as if, in putting off the gala dress, the soul had also faded from the features. How much of the pretentious music of today can bear this test? But Beethoven is Beethoven if you only feel his shadow pass you in the twilight!” (Dwight (April 15, 1876): 213 and 214) Lang had been the conductor of the world premiere of the Tchaikovsky concerto with Hans von Bulow as soloist only six months before (October 25, 1875). The opera singer Clara Rogers was also present at Bailey’s debut, and she noted: “Her singing at that time was almost amusingly unbridled, but her fresh, young voice and musical instinct had a charm of their own. She had not then the remotest idea how to adapt the spoken sentence to the musical phrase; good diction was an unknown quantity to her! I mention this because it was precisely the timely acquisition of good diction in her studies abroad that made her a finished artist; the distinguishing feature of her delightful singing being her faultlessly clear enunciation of every word.” (Rogers, Two Lives, 70 and 71)

       Lang presented two concerts at Mechanics Hall late in March 1876. Dwight noted that the “distinctive feature” was the preponderance of music by Saint-Saens, “organist at the Madeline in Paris, a musician thoroughly trained in the best classical school, at home in Bach [important to Dwight], and with a streak of genius in him…On his visit to Europe last summer Mr. Lang was commissioned by the Harvard Musical Association to procure, for its Library and its Concerts, some of the principal compositions of Saint-Saens.” HMA performed the Second Piano Concerto with Lang as the soloist, the Concerto for Cello with Mr. Wulf Fries and the symphonic poem, Phaeton. For Lang’s first concert on March 23rd. he and Arthur Foote opened with the Variations for Two Pianos on a Theme by Beethoven, Op 35 and the concert ended with Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 22 by Saint-Saens with Lang as soloist and Foote providing the orchestral reduction. Lang also included four Bach transcriptions for solo piano as arranged by Saint-Saens. The second concert on March 30 opened with Trio in F Major, Op. 18 by Saint-Saens, included four more Saint-Saens solo piano transcriptions from Bach, then the Andante from the First Piano Concerto, Op. 17 by Saint-Saens, and ended with the Tschaikowsky First Piano Concerto in B Flat Minor, Op. 23. “The Russian Concerto suffered peculiarly by being deprived of its orchestral background; for it is a work conceived in the extreme modern style, dependent upon brilliant accessories and color contrasts for its effect.” Then Dwight weighed in with his critical comment on the work. “Without these, what intrinsically remains, with all its ingenuity and brilliancy, seems poor and uninspired and dull. Mr. Lang had mastered its immense technical difficulties surprisingly well…How much of the pretentious music of today can bear this test? But Beethoven is Beethoven if you only feel his shadow pass you in the twilight.” Dwight also remarked on the vocalist: “A fresh and interesting feature of this concert was the singing of Miss Lillian Bailey,-her first public effort, we believe. She is a bright, enthusiastic maiden of sixteen, with a soprano voice of singular purity and sweetness. For one so young she seems to have made careful studies, as well as to possess intelligence beyond her years, and we should say a decidedly musical nature.” Lang seems to have found and helped yet another young talent. (Dwight (April 15, 1876): 213 and 214)

      On Friday evening, April 7, 1876 Lang was one of the assisting artists at a concert given by Miss Lillian Bailey at the Revere House. Early in the program, Lang made his only appearance, playing three solos: Allegro in C Major by Handel, his own Spinning Song in A Major, and the Caprice in E Minor by Mendelssohn. The concert ended with Mendelssohn’s Trio in D Minor Op. 49, a work often played by Lang, but in this case, the piano part was taken by his pupil G. W. Sumner (HMA Program Collection). Foote described Bailey as having “a lovely voice and most beautiful singing-one of the finest artists I have known. She, her mother, brother, and uncle (Charles R. Hayden), lived at the top of Hotel Pelham (where the Little Building noiw stands).” (Foote, Auto., 44)

       In May of 1876 Lang presented the operetta Son and Stranger (Heimkehr aus der fremde) by Mendelssohn at the new hall of the Young Men’s Christian Union on Boylston Street “before a very large and cultivated audience who had purchased tickets privately under the double inducement of artistic pleasure and of sympathy for want.”…The performers were amateurs and volunteering artists, Mr. Lang conducting, under whose direction the performance had been most carefully prepared, so that the representation of the work, both musically and scenically, was complete.” The overture was arranged for two pianos, eight hands and played by Lang, Mr. Parker, Mr. Leonard, and Mr. Sumner.The critic, Mr. Wm. F. Apthorp “was capitally made up for the respectable old German Mayor, and sang his one note in the Trio doubtless quite as well as the composer’s brother-in-law, the painter Hensel, for whom the part was written… Altogether the performance was a great success…The accompaniments were beautifully played by Mr. Lang, Mr. Leonhard assisting him again in the interlude (“Night and Morning’).” (Dwight (May 13, 1876): 231) Mendelssohn had written this work in 1829 for the silver wedding anniversary of his parents. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 2) Clara Rogers (Clara Doria) wrote: “A group of my friends, in which Mrs. James Lodge, Mrs. George Howe [Mrs. Lodge and Mrs. Howe were sisters], Mrs. [Leslie] Codman, the [Ellerton] Pratts, and Mr. Richard S. Fay were prominent, got it up to raise a goodly sum for a deserving benevolence. It was in the character of an amateur performance, though some professional musicians took part in it, the direction of the music being in charge of B. J. Lang…The cast was as follows: Lisbeth-Clara Doria; Ursula-Ita Welsh; the Mayor-William Apthorp; Hermann-Nat Childs; Hans-Doctor C. E. Bullard; Martin-A. S. Dabney…The rehearsals took place for the most part in my music room…It was a great success, a large proportion of Boston Brahmins turning out for the occasion, and a handsome sum being raised for the charity.” (Rogers, Memories, 448)

       On Saturday evening, November 4, 1876 Lang was one of five assisting artists in a concert given by Miss Ita Welsh, soprano, at Mechanics Hall. Lang accompanied August Fries in Grieg’s Sonata in F Major Op. 3 for violin and piano, and near the end of the program played three solos, Prelude by Bach, Caprice by Widor, and Gavotte by Bach as arranged by Saint-Saens (HMA Program Collection).

       Lang was part of another Complimentary Concert on Saturday evening, April 28, 1877 at Union Hall, 18 Boylston Street. Given for Miss Louie A. Homer, Lang and Wulf Fries opened the program with the “Allegro” from Mendelssohn”s Sonata in D Major for Cello and Piano. They also played a Polonaise for Cello and Piano by Chopin, and Lang presented three solos: Nocturne in C Minor by Chopin, his own Spinning Song in A Major, and Caprice in E Minor by Mendelssohn-these last two pieces being the same repertoire as he had presented on April 7, 1876 (HMA Program Collection).

       “Mr. B. J. Lang’s two concerts at Mechanics’ Hall, on Thursday afternoons, March 6 and 20, were choice and somewhat unique in character. Both were very fully attended, especially the last, and by the most refined, appreciative sort of audience.” (Dwight (March 29, 1879): 54) The first concert opened with Beethoven’s Piano Sonata, Opus 81 played by Miss Jessie Cochrane, continued with eight songs sung by Mr. W. J. Winch including B. J.’s The Two Roses, and finished with Rubinstein’s Concerto No. 3, Opus 45 with B. J. as the soloist. Miss Cochrane was a pupil of Lang’s and she had also studied in Europe with von Bulow. Lang had played the Rubinstein with orchestra seven years ago-this time the accompaniment was at a second piano played by Mr. W. S. Fenollosa. “It gave full scope for all the vigor, fire, and finished, brilliant virtuosity of Mr. Lang, who, we are sure, brought out all the soul and all the interesting detail of it…Mr. Lang’s mastery of its exacting difficulties was supreme.” (Ibid) Lang’s own song was “a graceful, dainty fancy, [and] was heartily appreciated.” (Ibid)  The second concert opened with the first Boston performance of a Trio in G Minor with piano by Hans von Bronsart, then active in Leipzig. “Mr. Lang was at his best in it.” (Ibid) Mr. Winch offered another set of songs including Lang’s Absence and Her I Love, but neither was mentioned in Dwight’s review. Beethoven’s Grand Trio, Opus 97 completed the concert.

       Early in 1879, Lang was involved in the founding of a new performing group-Euterpe. For each concert, a different four-person committee chose the music. For the first concert held on Wednesday evening January 15, 1879 the committee included Charles C. Perkins, J. C. D. Parker, George L. Osgood and Jules Eichberg. The committee for the Second Concert included B/ J. Lang, John Orth, J. K. Paine and W. S. Fenollosa while the third group included W. F. Apthorp and H. G. Tucker (both Lang pupils), and Lang was again part of the fourth committee. The season was one concert per month; January through April 1879. For the Second Season, five concerts were schedules running December 1879 through April 1880. Committees were not named, but instead, F. H. Jenks was listed as the Secretary on the Season Announcement. The Third season 1880-81 also included five concerts on Wednesday nights at 7:45 PM performed at the Meionaon (part of Tremont Temple), and the repertoire was mainly string quartets. The Fourth Season of four concerts, November 9, 1881 through February 1, 1882 were all performed by the Beethoven Quartet, and the first two concerts used Camilla Urso as the First Violin player. In June 1882 the officers were: President, Charles C. Perkins; Vice-President, B. J. Lang; Secretay, F. H. Jenks; Treasurer, Wm. F. Apthorp; Directors, Julius Eichberg, A. A. Brown, John Orth, W. Burr Jr., Hamilton Osgood, S. B. Whitney, J. C. D. Parker, and H. G. Tucker. “It is an understood thing that all of the money collected shall be expended on concerts-or as nearly as practical-allowing for outside expenses.” (Elson, Musical Boston, p. 4) For the Sixth Season of four concerts, December 12, 1883 until March 12, 1884 performed at Apollo Hall, 151 Tremont Street, two were played by the Campanari Quartet and the other two by the Beethoven Club. The Seventh Season of four concerts was also performed at the Apollo Hall and ran from January 7, 1885 until March 25, 1885. For the Eight Season 1885-86, a subscription was sold for $7 which gave you three tickets for each concert. For this season B. J. Lang was listed as Vice-President, W. F. Apthorp as Treasurer, and F. H. Jenks continued as Secretary. (HMA Program Collection)

In April 1880 Lang presented another group of two performances at Mechanics’ Hall at 3 PM. On Thursday, April 1, 1880, at the first of two concerts. Lang included the premier of Saint-Saens Sonata Opus 32 for cello and piano played by lang and Mr. Wulf Fries. Dwight didn’t find the Saint-Saens exciting.”But what woke us all up to new life, dispelling all possibility of doubt about its genial excellence and beauty, was the Concerto for Four Pianofortes [by Bach] with string accompaniment,[eight additional players were listed on the program] given for the first time in America. It consists of three short movements: Moderato, Largo, and Allegro. The four pianos were played by Mr. And Mrs. Sherwood, Mr. J. C. D. Parker, and Mr. Lang; and they did it con amore. Dwight enthused: “It is wonderfully interesting, not merely for its contrapuntal skill and learning, but for its fresh ideal beauty.” (Dwight (May 8, 1880): 79) The concert opened with “a repetition of the Trio in G minor by Hans von Bronsart, which excited so much interest last year…The interpretation lacked nothing of spirit or discrimination, and the impression which the work before made of nerve, originality and power was confirmed.” (Ibid) George L. Osgood performed ten songs as part of this program. The second programme, on Thursday afternoon April 29 at 3 PM, opened with a Quartet by Raff, followed by ten songs sung by Mr. William J. Winch who was “in excellent voice and sang with fervor, with artistic finish, and with fine expression.” (Ibid) The concert ended with the Boston premiere of Goldmark’s Pianoforte and String Quintet in B Flat, Opus 30. (Ibid)(BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 3) Lang discovered this work very quickly as it had only been published in Europe the year before, 1879. (Program notes, CPO recording) Dwight wanted to hear this piece again before recording his impressions. Tickets for the season were three dollars available from Chickering”s Pianoforte Warerooms. (BPL Lang Prog.)

       Fox writes, “Support for French music did come from other corners, however [in addition to that supplied by Loeffler]. Benjamin Johnson Lang, for example, gave the American premieres of the Saint-Saens Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Harvard Musical Association on 3 February 1876, the Saint-Saens Rhapsodie d’Auverge, op. 13 (1 January 1886), and Massenet’s Eve (27 March 1890), as well as the Boston premiere of the Berlioz Requiem (12 February 1882).” (Fox, Rebellious Tradition, 240) She does not mention the next, very important work.

       On Friday evening, May 14, 1880 at the Music Hall, Lang presented, as his own private undertaking, the first Boston performance of La Damnation de Faust by Berlioz. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 6) Early in May, Dwight reported that this first performance had been postponed from a previous date, “and after fresh rehearsal, it cannot fail to be a success.” (Dwight (May 8, 1880):  79) Dwight praised Lang’s “great zeal and energy in bringing out” this work, and reported that the evening was “crowned with success.The means employed were adequate: an excellent orchestra of sixty (Mr. Listemann at their head), a select, well-trained, efficient chorus, of two hundred and twenty mixed voices, and four good solo singers. The rehearsals had been through, the reports from New York had excited eager interest in advance, and the Music Hall was crowded with the best kind of an audience. The result was in the main most satisfactory. Hundreds came away convinced of the inventive genius and originality, the many-sided power, the rare musicianship and learning, the consummate savoir-faire of Berlioz…Mr. Lang had orchestra and chorus well in hand, and all was complete except that the two harps were replaced by two pianos. The only drawback of importance was, that the orchestra too frequently covered up the voices.” [well that is a change] (Dwight (May 22, 1880): 87 and 88) The importance that Lang attached to this event is reflected in the chorus announcement of March 4th. which stressed that every singer “must have attended every rehearsal of his or her part. This condition will be secured by the distribution at each rehearsal of a new entrance ticket, good only for the following rehearsal.” There were four male sectional rehearsals and three female women’s rehearsals followed by three combined rehearsals. The choral announcement ended with” N.B.-Persons who are not quite sure of being able to attend every rehearsal, will do Mr. Lang a favor by declining this invitation.” (BPL Lang Prog.) The sectional rehearsals were held in March at the “Apollo Rooms,” and the combined rehearsals were scheduled for April 5, 7, and 13 at Bumstead Hall for a performance date originally advertised as Thursday, April 15. Apthorp gave further details: “Since his performance of Haydn’s Seasons in 1864, he had mounted no large choral work on his own account, his conducting having been confined to his own occasional courses of orchestral concerts and to those of the Cecilia and the Apollo Club. The time was singularly propitious: he was at the height of his popularity with the Boston public and still continually before the public. But the task was an arduous one. None of the singers available for choral productions in Boston had ever grappled with an important work of the advanced French school; they had never sung anything bristling with such trying rhythmic complications as this work of Berlioz’s, and were moreover unaccustomed to the peculiar distribution of the voices in his choruses. Instead of the familiar soprano, alto, tenor and bass of the German choral writers, the choruses in Berlioz’s Faust are for the most part written, for male chorus with first and second soprani ripieni, the female voice seldom having independent parts to sing…But in spite of the unusual difficulties of the music, the Damnation of Faust was triumphantly brought out with Mrs. E. Humphrey-Allen, Mr. William J. Winch, Mr. Clarence E. Hay, and Mr. Sebastian B. Schlesinger in the solo parts. The performance was one of the most brilliant successes Lang had ever had, and the work was repeated several times, later with the Henschels and others, and afterward by the Cecilia.” (Apthorp, 358 and 359)

      concerning the second performance of the Berlioz on Friday, November 12, 1880 at the Music Hall, Dwight recorded that “we can only say, at present, that it was a great improvement on the first presentation here last spring, both as regards choruses, male and female, orchestra, and solo singers, and that the interest and fascination of the strange, weird, in parts extremely beautiful music grow upon one as he becomes more familiar with it…The chorus of 200 male and 100 female voices had the charm of careful, critical selection, beautiful ensemble of tone quality, as well as of precise, well-shaded, and finely effective execution.”(Dwight (November 20, 1880):  191) An additional attraction in this performance was the appearance of George Henschel as Mephistopheles, “in which he has made [a] very great success in Europe.” (BPL Lang Prog.) The other soloists were Lillian Bailey, William J. Winch and Mr. C. E. Hay. (BPL Lang Prog.)

       On November 30, 1880 “Lang gave his third presentation of the Damnation of Faust, this time at the Tremont Temple; and it must be admitted that all the details of the music, all its greatest and its least effects, came out with a remarkable distinctness, and with satisfactory intensity of sound. It was an even better rendering, under, in some sense, better acoustical conditions, than the two before…The orchestra was remarkably complete and satisfactory, from violins, oboes and bassoons, to cymbals, gong, and all the kitchen utensils. The Racockzky March created a furore.” (Dwight (December 18, 1880): 207) The soloists were the same except that Mr. Jules Jordan replaced William J. Winch. Margaret lists other performances of this piece on May 14, 1885, May 25, 1887, March 15, 1899, December 2, 1903, July of 1903 for a Teachers’ convention, and finally on December 13, 1904. (“Facts In the Life of B. J. Lang” by Margaret-Scrapbooks) Obviously this was a work that B. J. believed in deeply. He also presented the work with the Cecilia in 1894. The singer Clara Kathleen Rogers (Clara Doria) also mentioned the Cecila performance, but gave the date as 1885 “on which occasion Mrs. Humphrey Allen was the Margherite.” She then mentions further performances by Lang “in 1887, 1888, and 1889, when Melba sang the Margherite music.” (Rogers, Two Lives, 147)

       These performances may have inspired Theodore Thomas to do the same!. Just two months after Lang’s third performance, “Theodore Thomas” Unrivalled Orchestra” and “The Thomas Choral Society,” J. B. Sharland Chorus-Master presented two performances at the Music Hall on Friday evening, January 28 and Saturday afternoon, January 29, 1881 using a “Complete and Newly Revised Translation.” Thomas used some of Lang’s soloists: Georg Henschel sang Mephistopheles and Clarence E. Hay sang Brander. The other soloists were Miss Fanny Kellogg as Marguerite and W. C. Tower as Faust. (Program advertised on E-Bay, November 2010)

       Lang was one of thirty-five Boston musicians who volunteered their talents for a “Complimentary Concert for Mr. John S. Dwight” held on Thursday afternoon, December 9, 1880 at 2:30 PM. “The Boston Music Hall Association has given the use of the Music Hall for this occasion, without charge, and Mr. Peck, the Superintendent, his assistant, the ticket sellers, doorkeepers and ushers also contribute their services.” The orchestra was “of the Harvard Symphony Concerts,” Mr. Berhard Listermann, leader and Mr. Carl Zerrahn, conductor. (BPL Lang Prog.)

       Not all criticism was positive.”A letter printed in the Philharmonic Journal sometime during the winter of 1880-1881 identifies ”the powers” controlling music in Boston. Named were Dwight, the ”educated music critic,” Otto Dresel, B. J. Lang, J. C. D. Parker, Chickering, and institutions like the Handel and Haydn Society, the Apollo Club, and the Cecilia Club.It declares Lang to be the head of ”this clique.”Benjamin Edward Woolf, an English-born and exceedingly right-wing musician who wrote mainly for the Saturday Evening Gazette, launched constant attacks on Lang. Woolf found Lang’s musical tastes too radical and his dominance too insidious.” (Tara, 42)

       Lang promoted two chamber music concerts on Thursday afternoons at 3 PM, February 24 and March 10, 1881 at the Tremont Temple; it was announced that only the floor and first balcony of the hall would be used. Dwight’s announcement also mentioned that “Mr. Lang will have the assistance of the Philharmonic and Beethoven clubs, and of Messrs. G. W. Sumner, A. W. Foote and J. A. Preston, pianists; as well as of Mrs. Humphrey Allen and Mr. F. Korbay of New York, vocalists.” (Dwight (February 12, 1881): 28) The February 24th. concert featured woodwinds, opening with Rubinstein’s Quintet in F major, Opus 55 for piano and four winds, and concluding with Raff’s Sinfonietta, Opus 188 for ten winds. “The Rubinstein Quintet alone brought Mr. Lang’s excellent pianoforte-playing into requisition, but all the instruments seemed to be equal in importance.” (Dwight (March 26, 1881): 52) Between these works, five songs were sung by Mr. Korbay who performed his own accompaniments. The March 10th. concert included vocal solos and an Octet in D Minor, Opus 60 by Rubinstein for piano, strings, and winds-“It can hardly be called an octet in the strictest sense of the word, as it partakes more of the character of a pianoforte concerto with a septet accompaniment.” (Dwight (March 26, 1881): 52) The announcement had originally listed Rubinstein’s Quintette, Opus 53 for piano and four winds instead of his Octet (BPL Lang Prog.) Also performed were Mendelssohn’s Octet and Bach’s Concerto for Four Pianos with G. W. Summer, Arthur Foote, J. A. Preston, and B. J. as the soloists with an accompaniment of an octet of strings. The eight strings were from the Philharmonic Club-B. Listermann, F. Listermann, J. C. Mullaly and H. Heindl and from the Beethoven Club- C. N. Allen, G. Dannreuther, J. Ackroyd and Wulf Fries. (Ibid) Mr. Lang is to be thanked for these two instructive concerts, and for the opportunities he afforded for hearing new works of such importance as the quintet and octet of Rubinstein, and the sinfonietta of Raff.” (Dwight (March 26, 1881): 52)

       For 1881 Lang moved concert locations for his orchestral concerts and presented them on the two Sunday evenings after Easter-April 24 and May 1. One unannotated report mentioned that “An orchestra that has been formed on a basis of fifteen first violins-nearly double our usual number of strings…The acoustic properties of the church are particularly favorable for music,” and the church was chosen “For the purpose of reproducing, so far as possible, the effect of a very large orchestra in a small place, as in the Gewandhaus at Leipzig and at the Conservatoire in Paris…As the expenses must [not] exceed the receipts, there can be no complimentary tickets.” The series of two concerts cost $4. (BPL Lang Prog.) Dwight, in his April 23, 1881 issue gave good advance publicity for this new series. “Mr. Lang’s first concert at the new Brattle Square Church, which seats about six hundred, with a grand orchestra of seventy-five, will take place tomorrow Sunday (evening). He will give the Overture to St. Paul, the Pastoral Symphony of Beethoven, and the first movement of Rubinstein’s Ocean Symphony. Mrs. Allen will sing ”Angels ever bright and fair,” and Mendelssohn’s ”Jerusalem.” The occasion is one of novel and especial interest. —On Sunday evening, May 1, Mr. Lang’s orchestra will play the great Schubert Symphony, Mendelssohn’s Overture: Becalmed at Sea, and Prosperous Voyage, and Beethoven’s Coriolanus Overture. Mr. Henschel and Mr. John F. Winch will sing.” (Dwight (April 23, 1881): 69) Dwight also in the same issue reprinted a notice about the concerts that had appeared in the Advertiser which included additional information that he had not mentioned.Mr. Lang will give two remarkable orchestral concerts in the church formerly occupied by Dr. Lothrop’s parish on the evenings of the first and second Sundays after Easter. The orchestra will number about seventy-five performers, including fifteen first violins, as many second violins, eight violoncellos, and eight double basses. The programmes will be of the noblest character, that of the first concert opening with the overture to Mendelssohn”s St. Paul, including selections of sacred vocal music, sung by Mr. Henschel, and ending with Schubert’ ‘s great symphony in C. The programme of the second concert will be of the same sort and will include one of the great Beethoven symphonies, probably the fifth. There will be thorough and numerous rehearsals in advance. Two-thirds of the tickets have already been taken; the remainder may be subscribed for at Chickering’s, the price being $4 for both concerts. –Advertiser.” (Dwight (April 23, 1881): 62) Dwight further supported these concerts by reviewing them two weeks later. “Mr. B. J. Lang’s concerts of orchestral music in the new ”Brattle Square” Church (Commonwealth Avenue) on the last two Sunday evenings, were of exceptional interest, not only as good renderings of good programmes, but also as illustrations of his special object, which was to show the superior sonority, intensity of tone, and more effective ensemble of music given by a large orchestra in a comparatively small hall. For this end he prepared two capital selections, good intrinsically, well contrasted, and almost more than reasonably short, neither concert lasting over one hour and a half.” The church sat about six hundred people and had a Gothic ceiling like the Music Hall. “It was found a bad place for the speaking voice, and hence abandoned as a church. For music, at all events for an orchestra, it seems very good.” Dwight noted that the ensemble consisted of a total of seventy-five instrumentalists-fifty-four strings to the usual twenty winds; “and it is not yet proved that such an orchestra would not sound as well or better in the great Music Hall.” (Dwight (May 7, 1881): 77)

       Another special event during the spring of 1881 was Lang’s conducting of Mendelssohn’s youthful operetta, The Son and Stranger (Heimkehr aus der Fremde) at the Boston Museum. This performance was to benefit the proposed “Hospital for Convalescents” [as part of the Mass. General Hospital-Boston Herald] and it attracted a full house. “A notable company of soloists, a large chorus and an orchestra of from 30 to 40 musicians” performed. (Herald, (May 13, 1881): 4)

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

       On Wednesday evening, March 28, 1882 at 7:45 PM Lang presented a concert performance of Beethoven’s Fidelio with full chorus and orchestra. Among the six soloists, the most notable was Georg Henschel although Miss Dora Henninger was brought from Cincinnati to make her first Boston appearance. (Concert ad, Herald (March 25, 1882): 3) There was also a “Public Rehearsal” the afternoon before at 2:30 with admission for 50 cents; Lang, the businessman was making as much money from this event as he could! (Ibid) The Herald reviewer felt  that Miss Henninger should continue her vocal studies, but change teachers, as she had abilities but not learned to breathe properly, phrase correctly, “and her execution is amateurish in every way.” (Ibid) She had been strongly endorsed by the officials of the Cincinnati College of Music as one of their most successful pupils. Mr. Henschel had the greatest success of the evening with the Pizarro aria. “The rarely beautiful instrumental work of of the orchestral score was admirably well played throughout, especially the overture, No. 1, and the “Leonore, ” No. 2.  A very large audience attended, and much enthusiasm was manifested over the more successful numbers of the performance.” (Ibid)(BPL Lang Prog.)

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

        1883 saw yet another presentation of Berlioz’s Damnation of Faust, this time “for the benefit of the Associated Charities of Boston.” Held on Monday evening March 24th at the Music Hall, the soloists were “Mrs. Henschel, Mr. Charles R. Adams, Mr. Henschel and Mr. Sebastian Schlesinger” and “an orchestral of unusual size.” There were fewer sectional rehearsals for the chorus this time: only one for the ladies (March 19th.) and three for the men (Monday the 17th., Tuesday the 18th., and Wednesday the 19th.) with two full orchestral/choir/soloists rehearsals. “It is thought that with the rehearsals so near together, an exceptionally good performance could be given by singers who already know the music.” (BPL Lang Prog. )

       In 1883 B. J. presented a series of five recitals playing the complete piano works of Robert Schumann. Presented on March 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29 on Thursday afternoons at 2:30 PM at the Bijou Theater, each recital was advertised to be about two hours in length. “For these recitals, Mr. Lang has chosen the Bijou Theatre on account of its fine acoustics, which must be conspicuous on these occasions when audiences of but three or four hundred are assembled.” (BPL Lang Prog.) Mr. Lang begs his audience to assemble promptly at half-past two o’clock”. Each piece had a short explanation printed in the program. Other pianists and vocalists also took part: Madame Schiller, H. G. Tucker, George L. Osgood, John A. Preston, W. F. Fenollosa, Joshua Phippen, Arthur Foote and G. W. Sumner were the assisting keyboards artists-“The names of the singers will be announced later.” Single tickets were $1.50 and season tickets, $5 from A. P. Schmidt’s Music Store. (BPL Lang Prog.) For the first program Mrs. J. E. Tippett was the vocalist; for the third, Mr. George L. Osgood; and for the fourth, Mrs. Georg Henschel.

       “The 1885 concert mounted by B. J. Lang for the celebration of J. S. Bach’s 200th. birthday was ‘almost certainly the first time in sixty years or more that a harpsichord had been heard in public concert in Boston.’” (Fox, Rebellious Tradition, 244 quoting from Larry Palmer, The Harpsichord In America. 172, n. 5) “It appears, from research by the writer,[William Lyman Johnson] that there was only one harpsichord in Boston in 1885 in playable condition. It was the property of Mr. Morris Steinert, founder of the house of M. Steinert and Sons. Mr. B. J. Lang, who did much for enlarging the horizon of music in Boston, organized a festival for the celebration of the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Bach, born March 21, 1685. In Bach’s Coffee Cantata there is the need for a harpsichord, and Mr. Steinert’s instrument was played by Mr. Lang. This was probably the first time for a period of sixty years that a harpsichord had been used in a public concert in Boston.” (HMA Bulletin No. 14) Other reports mention that the harpsichord used was built by Chickering, but as Arthur Dolmetsch did not come to America until 1899, this is probably incorrect. (Ibid) The concert on Saturday afternoon, March 21, 1885 at 2:30 PM was held at Chickering Hall. The first piece was the Concerto in C Minor for Two Pianofortes with Arthur Foote and Lang as soloists; next was the Concerto in A Major for One Harpsichord “played upon a harpsichord like those of Bach”s time;” then the Concerto in C Major for Three Pianofortes with Arthur Foote, H. G. Tucker and Lang as soloists; then the Coffee Cantata with Miss Louise Gage, Mr. W. J. Winch and Mr. J. F. Winch as the soloists; and finally the Concerto in A Minor for Four Pianofortes with W. S. Fenollosa, G. W. Sumner, H. G. Tucker and Lang as soloists. One part of the announcement noted:”the original instrumental accompaniments will be played throughout this programme.” (BPL Lang Prog.)

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

       On March 1, 1887 Lang presented the first of four “Pianoforte-Concerto Concerts” at Chickering Hall. For these 2:30 PM afternoon concerts B. J. conducted and featured a variety of vocal and instrumental soloists. For the first concert, four soloists were used; at the second concert on March 8 Ethelbert Nevin was the soloist in Liszt’s Piano Concerto no. 1, and the final two concerts on March 22 and 29 both used four soloists each.

       George Whitefield Chadwick noted in his Diary that during the 1887-88 season “B. J. Lang gave four concerts of concertos which his pupils played. He made them sell (and buy) the tickets too!”

       Chadwick made an interesting observation about the 1888-89 musical scene in Boston. After listing the great variety of concerts presented, he noted: “Does not this show that Boston was a more musical place in 1889 than at the present time? Most of these concerts were homemade and as a rule, well supported. Nowadays we depend almost entirely, with the exception of a few young pianists and singers, on artists and companies from N. Y. or Europe and they take the money away with them. Choral societies cannot pay their way. We have no chamber music + no opera,. But a star even of the 2nd. or 3rd. magnitude can fill Symphony Hall on Sunday afternoon, especially if he or she is a Jew.”

       In March 1890 Lang presented his advanced pupils in two “Concerto Concerts” which used orchestral accompaniment. Early in the month, Mr. Tucker played the Concerto in G Minor Opus 15 by Sgambati; Mrs. March played Mendelssohn’s Capriccio Brilliant Opus 22; Mr. Phippen played Chopin”s Concerto No. 2 in F Minor. For the second concert late in the month Mr. Whelply played Dvorak’s Concerto No. 2 in B Minor; Mr. Foote p[layed Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, and Miss Louise May played Beethoven’s Concerto No. 3 in G Minor Opus 37. (Hale Crit., Vol. 1)

       On Monday evening March 16, 1891 8 PM at the Music Hall was given a “Concert under the Direction of Mr. B. J. Lang, for the benefit of the AURAL DEPARTMENT OF THE MASSACHUSETTS CHARITABLE EYE AND EAR INFIRMARY.” Members of the BSO generously gave their services, and Arthur Nikisch conducted the opening Overture to Leonore No. 3 by Beethoven, Mrs. Nikisch sang three songs in German, and the major work was Massenet’s Eve with the Cecilia Society and orchestra conducted by Lang. The full English text of this work was printed in the program book. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 6)

       On December 1, 1898 and January 12, 1899 Lang arranged two Bach Concerto Concerts performing on an Erard harpsichord imported from Paris (Grove-American-Ledbetter-p.10) This was done “by the kindness of Messrs. Chickering and Sons,’ who had brought the instrument “from Paris for these occasions.” (BPL Lang Prog.) The purpose of these concerts which were held at the Association Hall at three o’clock was the “enlarging of the Ruth Burrage Library by the addition of full orchestral scores for the home use of Musicians.” (Ibid) At the first concert Lang and Madame Hopekirk played the Concerto in C Major for two keyboards, Lang played the Concerto in D Minor on the harpsichord, and Lang, Mr. Foote, and Mr. Proctor played the Concerto in C major for three keyboards. At the second concert Lang and Madame Szumowska played the Concerto in C Minor for two keyboards, Lang played the Concerto in F Major on the harpsichord, and the concert ended with Lang, Mr. Baermann, and the BSO conductor, Mr. Gericke performing the Concerto in D Minor for three keyboards. The accompaniment for all the concerti was provided by an orchestra under Mr. Kneisel. (Ibid)

       These early music performances were not the first for B. J. At a concert at Bumstead Hall on Sunday April 12, 1896 he included the Bach Concerto in C Major for Three Pianos which he followed with the Prelude in C Major by Bach and the Allegro in C Major by Handel which were performed on a harpsichord built by the Boston keyboard maker, Chickering. The concert finished with Bach’s Coffee Cantata using members of the Handel and Haydn Society. A note at the end of 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.”

       Parsifal was again presented by Lang in a “Private Performance” on Tuesday, January 6, 1903, this time at the new Symphony Hall on Huntington Avenue. The principal soloists were:

Mme. Kirkby Lunn- Kundry

Herr Gerhauser- Parsifal

Herr Van Rooy -Amfortas

Herr Blass -Gurnemanz

Herr Muhlmann- Klingsor and Titurel

Mr. Wilhelm Heinrich- Esquire

       “The best possible soloists have been engaged for the six flower-maidens, knights, and unseen chorus; there will also be male and female choruses and an orchestra of seventy players. Owing to the restrictions on the production of Parsifal, there can be neither public sale nor an advertisement for the tickets. Those who wish to hear this performance should fill out and send the enclosed blank to Mr. Byrne, 100 Chestnut Street, receiving, in return, directions for the selection and payments of seats…The tickets are five dollars each.” (Lang Prog.) Mr. and Mrs. J. Montgomery Sears held a lavish reception after the performance for which “Society Turn[ed] Out in Force.” This took the place of their regular Tuesday musicales.

       Lang’s continued prominent place within the Boston musical community is reflected in his role as a featured performer in the Tuesday evening, April 14, 1903 Concert commemorating the founding of the House of Chickering & Sons eighty years before in 1823.“On opposite sides of the stage…were placed the first piano made by Jonas Chickering and a modern Concert Grand.” (Commemoration, 14). The concert consisted of five songs sung by Miss Mary Ogilvie accompanied by Mrs. S. B. Field which included Margaret’s My True Love Lies Asleep followed by an address by Dr. Edward Everett Hale with a conclusion of two pieces played by B. J.First he played The Battle of Prague by Kotzwara that was “a piece of music greatly in favor about 1823,” and then a portion of La benediction de Dieu dans la Solitude by Liszt, “a composition in vogue at the present time.” (Commemoration, 14 and 15)

       Lang produced La Damnation de Faust by Berlioz again on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, July 7 and 9, 1903 at Symphony Hall for the “National Educational Association Convention at Boston.” the soloists were:

Madame Louise Homer-Marguerite

Mr. Joseph Sheehan-Faust

Mr. Gwilym Miles-Mephistopheles

Mr. Leverett B. Merrill-Brander

Mrs/ Bertha Cushing Child-Heavenly Voice.

       About 2/3rds of the chorus was from the Cecilia Society, with another 42 members, mainly men from the Handel and Haydn Society, an additional 24 male voices from the Apollo Club, ten more male voices from the Amphion Club, and a final 61 voices “From other organizations of Boston and Vicinity.” (Lang Prog.) Lang was the Chairman of the “Music Committee” for the event which included among its 12 other members – Allen A. Brown, G. W. Chadwick, Carl Faelten, Arthur Foote, Wilhelm Gericke, Henry L. Higginson and John K. Paine. Certainly a very impressive group! (Ibid)

       B. J.’s interests of orchestral conducting and introducing new music continued even late in life. The Chickering Piano Company asked Frederick S. Converse, Arthur Foote, Charles M. Loeffler and B. J. as Chairman to form a committee to “arrange a series of concerts in Chickering Hall…February 10, 24 and March 9 and 22, 1904…The purpose of these concerts is to give the public an opportunity to hear new and interesting compositions in a hall of moderate size…the orchestra will number between fifty and sixty.” B. J. was to be the conductor. G. W. Chadwick’s name was also listed as a committee member on the “Chickering Orchestral Concerts” stationary, but his name was crossed off on letters sent from Lang to Chadwick. At the first concert the American premiere of Debussy’s Three Nocturnes (with female choir) was given as the second item of the concert and also repeated as the final number-the same procedure that he had followed forty years earlier in introducing new works. The concert opened with the Overture to La vie pour le Czar by Glinka and also included a scene from L’Enfante du Christ (Le Repos de la Saint Familie) by Berlioz.

The program of the second concert included:

Overture to Iphigenia in Aulis – Gluck (arr. Wagner)

Concerto in D Minor for Three Pianos – Bach with George Proctor, Heinrich Gebhardt and Felix Fox as soloists

L”Apres d un Faune – Debussey

Les Djinns for Piano and Orchestra – Franck (Boston premier)

Four Songs – Faure sung by Mrs. Jessie Downey Eaton

Overture-Joyeuse – David Stanley Smith (conducted by the composer)

The Third Concert on March 9, 1904 included:

Prelude from the Birds of Aristophanes – John K. Paine (world premiere, conducted by the composer)

Concerto for Piano – Ernest Hutcheson (world premiere, the composer as soloist)

Two Fragments: The Saracens and The Beautiful Alda – E. A. MacDowell

Rhapsody for Baritone and Orchestra: Cahal Mor of the Wine Red Hand – Horatio Parker with Stephen Townsend as the soloist

Suite Algerienne – St. Saens

The Fourth Concert on March 23, 1904 included:

Suite from Castor and Pollux – Rameau (arr. Gevaert)

Symphonic Sketches – Chadwick (conducted by the composer) (In a letter dated ??? 16th to Chadwick asking him to conduct these pieces, Lang referred to them as “three pieces of yours that Mollenhauer once played on a tour.” (NEC Collection)

Aria for Mezzo-Soprano – Strube with Miss Josephine Knight

Concerto for Violin and Orchestra Op. 26 – Bruch with Miss Nina Fletcher

Poem Symphonique Op. 13 – Glasounow

The Second Season (1905-06) was very different; there were at least twelve concerts, but they were all of chamber groups, and the Artistic Director was H. G. Tucker (who was one of Lang’s piano pupils). Mr. A. de Voto was the pianist in the seventh concert – December 17, 1905.

During the Third Season (1906-07) two songs by Margaret were performed – The Sea Sobs Low [never published ?]and Spring sung by Bertha Cushing Child, contralto accompanied by Arthur Colburn. During the next season Summer Noon was sung on January 6, 1907 by Miss Mary Desmond, “the English Contralto” with Mr. A. de Voto as accompanist. At the January 10, 1909 concert Arnold Dolmetsch used a harpsichord and Clavichord built by Chickering

Mathews, One Hundred, 427 (Probably about 1889)

at the time of this photo (circa 1889), Lang was described as “hale and hearty, a young man, (though he was then in his early fifties) albeit somewhat thinly thatched with white and gray upon the top of his well-rounded skull…He is happily married and lives in elegance.”(Howe-One Hundred, 429)