By 1864 all of his business was conducted through Chcikering & Son. Again no fee was

mentioned, but the fees in the next two ads are interesting. Wetherbee was a well-known singer with foreign experience; he could ask $30 to $50, but Miss Cragin, even though she could list B. J. as a reference, was only able to ask $15. (Transcript (January 2, 1864): 1, GB)










A month after Lang’s debut with the BSO playing the Third Piano Concerto by Rubinstein, his pupil, Hiram G. Tucker made his own BSO debut playing the Fourth Piano Concerto by Rubinstein! One critic gave a very negative review. “It is not pleasant to make severe remarks, but it is my unpleasant duty this time to say, that the gentleman in question was totally unable to cope with the difficulties of the works he tried to play. The Rubinstein Concerto was altogether too ambitious a task for him, the last movement being nothing but a great scramble from beginning to end, the solo numbers were no better…Mr. Henschel, the conductor of these Symphony Concerts, has brought out several pupils of Mr. Lang, thereby no doubt earning the gratitude of this gentleman, but certainly not rendering any service to art or the public of Boston, since he only lowers the standard of these concerts by engaging such mediocre soloists.” (Undated, unsigned review found in Foote’s Scrapbooks.)

Arthur Foote, Elson, 1888.

A second attack against Lang was made through a review of Arthur Foote’s BSO performance of the Hiller Concerto in F Sharp minor, Op. 69, a work that Lang had performed for the first time in Boston on January 14, 1875 with the HMA Orchestra. This concert was held on Saturday, November 10, 1883. The review begins listing Lang’s known attributes-that he “is well-nigh incomparable in his excellent ability to read some of the most difficult of classic and modern pianoforte music at first sight.” (Ibid) The author goes on to list other compliments, and then lists three elements of Lang’s teaching of piano technique with which he does not agree. The first was that Lang’s piano technique did not strengthen the third and fourth fingers of both hands; the second was that the technique was “more dependent upon mannerism for its popular success than upon any legitimately artistic effects,” while the third was that it produced “a so-called technique that is not only rigid in its outlook, but that is suggestively corpse-like in its effect upon the keyboard.” (Ibid) The reviewer then cited specific examples that he felt he heard in Foote’s performance. (1) “Very many notes struck by him with the third and fourth fingers of either the right or left hand were plainly to be distinguished in the tone that was produced. (2) He illustrated, and no doubt with an alluring effect upon nine-tenths of his audience, some of the most stylish mannerisms of the school to which he belongs; and last, but not least (3) his execution of the mere notes of the concerto was almost wholly lacking the elasticity that should have belonged to it.” (Ibid) The reviewer then softened his previous statements. “Let us note, then, that we were charmingly impressed by the sincerity of the performance; that the interpretation, while it was far more scholastic and scholarly, was nevertheless based upon the very best models; and, thirdly, the extreme technical difficulties of the concerto were mastered to a very precise degree…He was very cordially received and applauded by the audience, and this very just recognition of his ability as a musician was unquestionably his due.” (Ibid)

For all of the reviewer’s knowledge of Lang’s teaching technique, it would seem to be refuted by Lang’s own words on the subject. “I care little for ”methods” as such. Like ”quack medicines,” there are many which may have desirable points, and have been of more or less value. But individuality is the thing. One who has it in him will become a pianist, no matter what method he has used, or whether or not it has been of assistance or a hindrance to his development. The art in him will come out in any case. The teacher must be governed by each individual case.” (Storer, “Advance of Musical Education In America,” The Musician, (October, 1907): 1)


The month before Lang’s second B.S.O. appearance, he presented a series of five recitals playing the complete piano works of Robert Schumann. Presented on March 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29, 1883 on Thursday afternoons at 2:30PM 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., ) “The remarkable acoustics of the old auditorium when known as the Melodean and Gaiety Theratre have been imporved by its new arrangement.” (Herald (March 2, 1883): 4, GB) Each piece had a short explanation printed in the program. Other pianists and vocalists also took part: Madame Schiller, H. G. Tucker,  John A. Preston, W. F. Fenollosa, Joshua Phippen, Arthur Foote and G. W. Sumner were the assisting keyboards artists. 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 Advertiser noted that the “house was just about comfortablely filled” with an audience that was “distinctively musical.” (Advertiser (March 9, 1883): 5, GB)

The second concert “attracted another very large audience.” Mme. Madeline Schiller and Mr. H. G. Tucker were the assisting pianists while Mr. Henschel was the vocalist. Lang’s performance presented the “composer’s ideas clearly, intelligently and vigorously,” Mr. Tucker “exhibited good technical abilities,” Mme. Schiller’s “playing was more fully realized than ever before,” and Mr. Henschel’s small contribution “was as faultless as when heard at his own recital last season.” (Herald (March 9, 1883): 1, GB)

The fouth recital had a “very large and unusually attentive audience.” John A. Preston and Joshua Phippen were the assisting pianists. “The programme of piano selections, as a whole, proved one of the most interesting of the series.” Mrs. Henschel was the vocalist, and she sang three songs. Her voice being heard with rare enjoyment in such a perfect auditorium, and the applause which followed the singer’s efforts was a fitting tribute to the artistic abilities of the singer.” (Herald (March 23, 1883): 5, GB)

The Herald noted that Lang’s sixth Schumann recital (it seems that an additional recital was added to the original five, or what would have been the original nine except for the diphtheria outbreak) would be on Friday afternoon, April 6 “for the purpose of playing the children’s pieces which exists in such profusion and variety. A set of four-part songs for female voices…, and the Andante and Variations for two pianofortes, will be included in the programme.” (Herald (March 18, 1883): 10, GB)) No mention was made of who would sing the part-songs.


In 1883 Lang announced a series of three lectures “upon pianoforte playing” for May 1, 5 and 8 at Chickering Hall at 2:30PM. 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 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 than mere bald lectures) will have interest for many other persons than students of the pianoforte, and will shall 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 a 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 any one 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)


On Wednesday afternoon November 7, 1883 at 3PM and in the evening at 8PM, the Apollo Club closed the concerts dedicating the new “Chickering Hall.” They sang Mendelssohn’s To the Sons of Art. Lang and Perabo also played in these concerts the Hommage a Handel by Moscheles. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 4)

For the first (December 5, 1883) and the second (Monday evening, December 10, 1883) concerts of its Thirteenth Season the opening piece was Rinaldo, Op. 50 by Brahms with Charles R. Adams as the soloist. Also included was the first American performance of The Language of Flowers [Suite de ballet, Set One, 1880; a copy of the full score is available from the Sibley Library Mirroring Project at the Eastman School of Music], a suite of six orchestral movements by the English composer Frederic H.  Cowen [1852-1935]. The Transcript called the suite “wholly charming” and “fanciful…yet the composer has not been content to be merely fanciful, but has given his work musical coherence and beauty.” (Apollo reviews-unsigned, undated) Rinaldo was a Boston first performance. The Transcript called the piece “the work of genius with great melodic beauty.” (Transcript, Apollo Reviews) Lang experimented with the orchestral placement in this concert. Instead of the normal orchestra in front and chorus behind, “The orchestra was placed behind the chorus, so that the men could sing point blank at the audience without having the sound of their voices filtered through the orchestra.” The reviewer mentioned that he had suggested this arrangement some ten to fifteen years before. (Ibid) Taking the opposite view, Ticknor in the December 16, 1883 Herald wrote: “If Brahms showed a cold, phlegmatic side to his nature he did it in the beginning of Rinaldo. The cantata would have been more warm-blooded had Max Bruch had a hand in its production.” (Johnson, First, 87) Howard M. Ticknor, a Harvard graduate, was the son of the founder of the book-publishing firm of Ticknor and Fields. He had also been a member of the bass section of the Apollo Club according to the 1883-1884 Membership List.

The Traveller noted that the choir was “in semicircular lines, so that the four parts were more merged into one volume of tone…The voices will now stand out, as they should, and the instruments make their proper background.” (Traveller (December 6, 1883): unsigned review) The Courier approved of the new performing arrangement, and had compliments for the orchestra and the choir; the concert “deserves to rank with the most enjoyable ever given” by the club, and “the entire concert seemed as pleasant to the audience as to the critic.” (Courier) Elson writing in Key Note spoke of the Cowen suite: “Every one of these pieces is a gem.” (Key Note, December 9, 1883)

For the Wednesday night, February 20, 1884 concert, a lighter miscellaneous program, the Daily Advertiser printed a “review” set as a conversation between two attendees. The first thought the repertoire was “throughout a concession to popular taste,” while the other admitted that “there are concessions which have to be made to the popular taste,” and then this second man asked of the first: “But if you had the matter in hand, could you do better?” (Advertiser (March 1, 1884): 2, GB)-full text listed by date in Geneology Bank) Lang programmed his own arrangement of a Swedish folksong Hi-fi-kin-ke-le which the audience loved and demanded an encore. “Mr. Lang, with marked modesty, declined for a time to accede to their calls, but at the last, after a half-dozen times bowing a denial, he was forced to direct the last two stanzas over again.” (Journal)

Another lighter number was the world premier of a Fantasie that the pianist Ernst Perabo arranged from themes in Sullivan’s Iolanthe. The Advertiser described the work as “so brilliant, so captivating, and so well written a composition that he was obliged to accept an encore for it.” (Advertiser) Perabo had shown this work to the composer Carl Reinecke of Leipsic ” who hailed it as a high-minded and brilliant addition to pianoforte music and calculated in a good sense to interest the public at large.” (Undated, unsigned review) For the repeat of this concert on February 25, 1884, Lang and Perabo played Moscheles’s Hommage a Handel. Perabo repeated his Iolanthe Fantasie and for his encore played again selections from this work. (Unsigned, undated review)

For the fifth and sixth concerts in the season presented on Wednesday evening, April 30 and Monday evening, May 5, 1884, the main works were not choral, but orchestral. Ovide Musin played Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, and the Overture, The Princess by George E. Whiting received its Boston premier. Musin, born in Belgium was an experienced soloist who had played successfully in Vienna, Paris, and London. Choral highlights included a chorus from Paine’s Oedipus followed by a double chorus from Mendelssohn’s Antigone. “I can honestly say that the American work lost nothing by the juxtaposition.” (Brainard’s,  May 14, 1884) The Advertiser noted that “Mr. Lang conducted with even more than his wonted skill, and the orchestra, composed of the very best men, accompanied all well, and the concerto with wonderful taste and accuracy.” (Advertiser, undated and unsigned review) Possibly the reviewer was Howard Ticknor. His appreciation of the conductor and orchestra was a nice change from the predictable harangues of some reviewers. The concert was very popular with all the seats taken, as were “all the good standing places.” (Traveller (May 1, 1884): unsigned review) The Times thought the program “of unusual interest,” and the performance “at all times smooth, delicate, finished and brilliant.” (Times)

The reviewer for the New York City Key Notes wrote of his visit to Boston when he heard the choir at the Centennial celebration of the Battle of Bunker Hill. “The Apollo Club covered itself with glory. The singing made a far more profound impression that the oration, and the orator was and is one of the most eloquent men in Massachusetts. We haven’t any club in Brooklyn or New York that can hold a candle to it. The truth is, in vocal music, Boston people are ahead of New York, because they give their mind to it. Why Charley Howard would no more think of absenting hmself from a rehearsal than from his own funeral.” (Key Notes, May 5, 1884)


Immaculate Conception Church. Johnston Collection.

In 1883 Frances noted in her Diary that “Lel has been asked to take the position of Organist of the Church of [the] Immaculate Conception.” The organ was Opus 322 built in 1863 by E. & G. G. Hook, and it had three manuals, forty-five stops and fifty-five ranks. It was rebuilt in 1902 as Opus

Nave, Gallery, and Organ Case. Photograph by William T. Van Pelt 1999-05-04. The Organ Historical Society Pipe Organ Database.

1959 with four manuals, sixty-three stops and sixty-nine ranks. (OHS Pipe Organ Database) B. J. did not take the job.

The organ has been removed and is in storage at Boston College awaiting the building of a concert hall, and the building has been converted into condos.


The season began on Monday evening, November 19, 1883 at the Music Hall with full orchestra and B. L. Whelpley as organist. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Parts One and Two and Gade’s Crusaders were presented. The Transcript review was critical of the orchestra, especially in the Bach, but allowed that they were better in the Gade, although “again left much to be desired.” This reviewer noted that the choir had sung the Gade “at least four times before, but that the piece “wears well.” (Transcript, Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2) The Courier writer mentioned his seat position “behind the wood wind,” but in this review he did note that “The shading of the chorales in the Bach work and the orchestral work throughout the latter part of the evening was excellent.” (Courier, Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2) In an article written sixteen years later, December 1899, it was recalled that “the papers acclaimed Mr. E. M. Bagley the hero of the hour; he played the first trumpet part exactly as Bach wrote it, by having a D crook put to a small E-flat cornet, thus playing almost without a flaw Bach’s part for a D trumpet, high C’s and all. Mr. Bagley would have his Bach ”straight,” by hook or by crook.” (Cecilia Programs, Vol. 4)

Dvorak’s Stabat Mater had its world premier in Prague in 1880 followed by first performances in Berlin in 1881 and London 1883. The Cecilia performed five numbers from the work on Thursday evening, January 24, 1884 with full orchestra, J. Phippen (organist) at the Music Hall, while the American premier of the complete work was given by Theodore Thomas and the New York Chorus Society on April 3, the same year (Cecilia programs-clippings) President Thordike’s Annual Report made mention of “the floods which poured from the sky and through the streets.” He also wrote of the Dvorak: “Genius is visible throughout, in the orchestration, the vocal treatment, the development of themes, the simple but grand musical effects. The choir sang con amore, and the hearers listened with increasing delight. The demand for a performance of the entire work at an early date was universal.” The Evening Transcript notice of Friday, January 25, 1884 mentioned: “The Cecilia has followed suit to the Apollo Club in placing the orchestra behind the chorus, and with equally gratifying results. Indeed, the effect was so incomparably finer than that of the old arrangement, that one could not help wishing that the club would repeat the great Berlioz Requiem… so that the chorus could be heard to better advantage in it thans before.” (Ibid) The Evening Transcript closed with: “Mr. Lang conducted, and the performance constantly showed his taste and training, which had not, however, been able tp prevail on the male chorus to pronounce ”mountain” and ”fountain” correctly.” The January 1884 partial performance inspired a letter to the Editor of the Transcript critical of only being given sections of the work. “It was like asking a man to shake hands with a new acquaintance around a corner, and to form an estimate of his character from the warmth and pressure of the hand.” It was signed by “S. B. W.” and created so much comment that S. B. Whitney, a well-known Boston musician wrote to the Editor saying it was not he who had written the first letter. A third writer supported the original “S. B. W.,” but went on to point out “even a Boston audience (musical as it is)” needed a balanced program of new and old pieces at each concert. He further pointed to the many “repetitions of The Messiah, Elijah, and the Passion Music by the Handel and Haydn Society,” and that “we almost always find an old friend or two among the numbers on our Apollo programme, while the Boylston Club is beginning to be associated with The Desert and some old part-songs which it has sung many times… Boston vocal societies have certainly a hard task before them in striving to be truly musical in the highest sense of the word and at the same time to keep the wolf from the door.” The reviews of this concert reflected the extremes in the Boston critical fraternity: “Mention should also be made of the spirited rendering of the Vintagers Song from The Loreley” (Folio) verses “The Vintage Chorus was deserving of better success, but it was so tamely sung that it seemed to contain more water than wine.” (Courier-January 27, 1884). Perhaps these Letters to the Editor gave the group the will to present the Boston premier of the complete work, which it did a year later at the Music Hall on January 15, 1885 with full orchestra and Mr. Arthur Foote as the organist. The work was again repeated four years later on Thursday evening, March 28, 1889 at the Boston Music Hall with an orchestra and two organists: Mr. E. Cutter, Jr., and Mr. Hiram Hall.

The third concert of the season was given on Thursday evening, March 27, 1884 at the Music Hall. “It began with an organ sonata by Mendelssohn, admirably played by Mr. Arthur Foote, but in which the fact that the organ was out of tune was lamentably noticeable. The flute stops, especially disagreed with the rest of the organ.” Foote’s playing of the Mendelssohn was one of the “last utterances” of organ before it was banished from the Music Hall. [Was this neglect of the organ part of Higginson’s plan to have it remove from the hall?] The reviewer noted: “the club are [?] making good artistic advancement, and have improved in the matter of refined shading.” The writer also noted that the size of the group seemed larger than ever before. This review seemed to be in a magazine as it covered a number of different types of concerts and it was signed by L. C. E. (Louis C. Elson)(Cecilia Reviews, Vol. 2). The second half of the concert was The Fair Melusina by Hofmann, which did not seem to create much excitement in any of the reviews, especially as the accompaniment was only by piano. “One sees no valid reason why Heinrich Hofmann should have a claim upon the charity of Boston music-lovers… We have yet to discover the interesting or charming side of Hofmann’s cantatas… The solo parts especially are kill-joys of the most baleful description.” (Cecilia Reviews, Vol. 2)

The fourth concert of the season was held on Thursday evening, May 15, 1884 at the Music Hall with full orchestra. It was described as “A concert of highest character, educational for the masses, yet thoroughly enjoyable to musician and non-musician alike… It presented Mendelssohn’s Athalia [not given by the Club since 1878] and the third part of Schumann’s Faust. The later work, or rather its fragment, was heard to better advantage than on the occasion of its presentation by the society last season.” Interestingly, whereas in some cases the club was rebuked for only giving parts of a work, this reviewer felt that “The presentation of a single part and that part the culmination of the whole work, was just suited to awakening the public’s interest and sustaining it… A complete performance of this masterpiece is rather too heavy a dose at one time for the coi polloi, even if they are an especial kind and attend club concerts… of the choruses we can only speak in the highest terms. The sweetness of tone, the solidity in the stronger passages, the excellent ensemble throughout, made this one of the best concerts that the club has given-worthy to be ranked with the greatest performance of the Crusaders years ago.” (Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2)

President Thorndike’s Annual Report of June 1884 reviewed the first ten years of the choir; the first two years as part of the Harvard Musical Association, and then eight as an independent organization. “The conductor was appointed who has ever since led us so faithfully and well. Now and at all times it is our duty and our pleasure to express the debt of gratitude which we owe to Mr. B. J. Lang.” In addition to maturing as a singing group, Thorndike wrote: “We have arrived at a more perfect understanding of our real sphere—the performance of cantatas of some magnitude and importance. Our miscellaneous programmes are not favorites with either singers or audience.” He then listed the various first performances, both Boston and American, and then addressed the subject of soloists: “We have neither the money nor the inclination to procure expensive soloists. We propose that our club shall be chiefly made up of amateurs, and that our solos shall be chiefly sung by members.” He ended his report with details of the following season, “a large and brilliant plan, requiring an orchestra for every performance”—a first for the choir. (Cecilia Clippings. President’s Annual Report, June 1884)


Between 1884 and 1887 four pieces composed by B. J. were sung during Apollo Club concerts; two were repeated in later seasons. Hi-fi-lin-ke-le, premiered on  February 20 and 26, 1884; repeated May 12 and 17, 1886 and  April 30, 1890 (Program, Johnston Collection). Two solos were written specifically for the April 29 and May 4, 1885 concerts. The Lass of Carlisle, a solo for baritone was performed by Mr. Hay, while Nocturne, a solo for tenor was sung by Mr. G. J. Parker. These two pieces were repeated on April 29 and May 2, 1887. Finally, My True Love Has My Heart  was premiered at the May 12 and 17, 1886 concerts. (Apollo Scrapbook, Vol. 3)

concerning Hi-fi-lin-ke-le the Advertiser wrote: “…a delicious little bit of writing by Mr. Lang, in the shape of a Swedish love ditty, set to a melody to be sung by the whole chorus in unison, except for the harmony of the close.” (Scrapbook) It was encored. Another review suggested that shouting the final chords a little louder could make a better effect. The Journal said: “Another work of decidedly humorous character was Mr. Lang’s song composed upon a Swedish poem reciting the fate of the maid ”who will not when she might,” and when she would, cannot. It is a light but thoroughly well arranged composition, and brings out the vocal resources of the club as few of the numbers in its repertory are able to do. It was much admired by the audience, who were urgent in their demands for a repetition. Mr. Lang, with marked modesty, declined for a time to accede to their calls, but at last, after a half-dozen times bowing a denial, he was forced to direct the last two stanzas over again.” (Apollo Scrapbook, Vol. 3)

Words from the program of Wednesday evening, April 30, 1890 at the Boston Music Hall: 121th. Concert, 5th. of the 19th. Season. Johnston Collection.

concerning The Lass of Carlisle and Nocturne the Journal said: “its melody [The Lass of Carlisle] is singularly quaint, and in the refrain it has just the queerness which fits the queer poem of Ettrick Shepherd. In Mr. Aldrich’s ‘Up to her chamber window,’ – called on the bill a Nocturne – Mr. Lang found fancy and feeling happily combined in a poem, finely adapted to his delicate skill as a composer.” The piece was encored. (Apollo Scrapbook, Vol. 3)


In addition to appearing as a soloist, Lang had other connections with the B.S.O. During the fourth season he, together with George W. Chadwick, gave “lectures on the structure of the Beethoven symphonies as they were played” through the season. (Howe, BSO, 68) Early in October of 1884, B. J. announced a series of 12 “Symphony—Concert Lessons” to be held at Chickering Hall on alternate Thursdays beginning October 23. “The music of the following Symphony-Concert will be explained, analyzed, and made more interesting by helpful information, beside being played through upon two Piano-fortes. So far as possible, the solo performer for each concert will play his respective part. A full explanation of the construction of a symphony will be given, together with a description of all orchestral instruments, their quality, range, &c.” (BPL Lang Prog.) The cost for the series of 12 lectures was $5. In reviewing the programs it becomes obvious that the preparation represented an enormous amount of work; doing the analysis, deciding what “helpful information” to give, finding (or making) the two piano arrangements of all the repertoire with a period of only two weeks between each presentation was a major undertaking. And, in the middle of the series he was the soloist in the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto! The series ended with the 12th. Lecture on Thursday, March 19, 1885 which covered two orchestral works, one vocal solo, and the “First and Second Parts” of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio! (BPL Lang Prog.)

George Chadwick felt that this idea for public lectures had been stolen from him! He wrote in his Diary: “Teaching began quite prosperously. Mrs. Oliver Peabody organized a class in symphonic analysis among her friends and so at last I began to get into [the] sacred higher circle of Boston society. These nice women, all of them quite mature met at my studio in the church [Park Street Church] every Friday morning and went to the Symphony rehearsal in the afternoon. I talked and played to them the music of the current Sym. concert and sometimes that of other concerts. It paid me about $10 per hour and was very pleasant. I suppose I must have interested them for they continued the class the next year and also got up for me another class of their daughters and other young ladies some of whom were very good pianists and could read the Symphonies with me ‘a quatre mains.’ But the most sincere feature of all came from Mr. Lang who hearing of my success at the game went into it with a public class, which he held in Chickering Hall! Of course he had a perfect night to do it and it did not cut into my classes in the least but I felt at the time that it showed a kind of professional greed to which a really generous nature would not have stooped… And so began the great industry of Symphonic lectures.” (Chadwick, Unpublished Memoirs, 1880-1893) Louis Charles Elson, writing as “Proteus” in 1884 gave this impression of the lecture scene: “Boston is tending toward musical lectures. Mr. B. J. Lang is giving Symphonic Analysis at Chickering’s, Mr. Chadwick is doing the same at his studio, Prof. J. K. Paine is giving historico-musical lectures once a week, [and] Mr. L. C. Elson is analyzing symphonies once a week at the New England Conservatory of Music.” (Faucett, Bio-Bib., 235 and 236)


Ryan, Recollections, plate opposite 38. Ryan is incorrect using the middle initial of “T”. (BPL Music Site)

Lang was very fortunate to have the help of many important men and women of Boston. One of these was Allen A. Brown (1835-1916). Barbara Duncan, BPL Music Librarian writing in 1941 began her short notice with: “The life of Allen A. Brown was happy and enviable.” She noted that he had been born in Boston, attended Roxbury Latin, and entered Harvard in the class of 1856. In college he began collecting the scores and books that were to become the nucleus of the collection that he presented to the BPL. He was a musical amateur “of more than ordinary attainments”-he played violin and had a fine tenor voice. He sang in church “and in the Foster, Parker, Chickering, Apollo, and Cecilia Societies for many years,” and he was the secretary and librarian of “these singing societies and did an enormous amount of arranging, copying, and translating for them… The unique feature of the collection is the wealth of material with which he grangerized the volumes.” Reviews, ticket stubs, anything related to the event were all included, and all was carefully indexed. “The Brown music library is an interesting example of what can be done with some money, knowledge of the subject, a love of collecting, and prodigious industry.” (Duncan, 12 and 13) Brown “has been one of the most earnest organizers of the Apollo, and his great musical library has always been at the disposal of the club, and has been of material service in many instances.” (Elson, Musical Boston, 3)

Allen A. Brown donated to the Boston Public Library “the largest musical library in the country, a historical collection consisting not only of numerous scores and a tremendous amount of general musical literature, but also of arranged and classified data regarding musical performances, criticisms, notices, covering the last twenty years [c. 1880-1900]; in short, a unique collection such as must aid not only the general musician, but the musical historian, at every step.” (Elson, American Music, 91) Another volume included the facts that Brown was a businessman, and that the collection began with 7,000 volumes, but then grew by 1910 to 11,000 items, and later [1920] to 15,000 items. “It is rich in many different directions-in scores of every sort, instrumental and vocal, in standard critical editions of the complete works of great composers, in historical, theoretical and critical works about music, in unique collections of programs, etc.” (Pratt, 145) Brown joined the St. Botolph Club in June 1889. (E-mail from Roger Howlett) It would be interesting to know if Lang sponsored him.


Chadwick was asked to join the St. Botolph Club [c. 1884], which at that time was located at 85 Boylston Street. Lang had been a Founding Member, joining in January 1880. “The President was Francis Parkman” and, “at that time the membership, as the Constitution stated, [was] composed of men interested in literature and art.” Painters, architects, writers, and of “musicians, there were not so many.” therefore Chadwick felt honored to join “Eichberg, Lang, Henschel, Foote and Preston… therefore I really felt much honored by my election and proceeded to become quite a ”clubable” man.” (Chadwick, Unpublished Memoirs, 1880-1893) “There was much stimulating and diverting conversation at the club. Every Saturday night there was a supper after which congenial souls gathered about the tables and discussed the artistic and other affairs of the town and the nation. And as many members came directly from the Symphony concert, we often had the soloists of the evening with us… There was a nice little gallery extending to Park Sq. where we had three or four picture exhibitions each year and thus was an advantage to both our local painters and the public who were admitted there.” (Op. cit.) Lang and Chadwick continued to have professional contact at this club. Both are listed as active members in the 1909 membership list. (Clark’s Boston Blue Book, 681 and 683) By 1889 it was “situated on Newbury Street, and was modeled after the plan of the Century Club in New York. its particular feature is its Saturday evening and monthly meetings, to which men eminent in literature and art are invited. its gallery contains a choice collection of sculptures and pictures. It is noted for its musicales, “smoke talks” and theatricals. On Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons a stringed quartette not only plays a choice repertory, but also compositions by members of the club. These concerts are very popular and are one of the features of this peculiarly artistic club, whose membership is limited to men of literary and aesthetic tastes and pursuits,” (Grieve, 100) Among the notable events held during the years that both Lang and Chadwick were members would be the display by member John Singer Sargent of his portrait of Mrs. Gardner which cused “some stir” and the first Boston exhibit of works by Claude Monet, “many of whose paintings were loaned by Club members.” (Club Website)

WILHELM GERICKE (b. April 18, 1845, d. October 27, 1925).

Elson, 54.

Gericke conducted the BSO from 1884 until 1889 and again from 1898 until 1906. Lang was a soloist with him for three concerts during his first tenure. “He was assistant conductor at the Vienna Hofoper when Henry Lee Higginson heard him conduct a performance of Aida in October 1883 and invited him to replace George Henschel as conductor of the Boston SO…He was a stern drillmaster, and after his first season dismissed 20 members of the orchestra and replaced them with young European players. At first there were complaints in Boston about this procedure, but most observers soon agreed that the orchestra’s improvement justified it…Gericke’s programs were thoroughly serious,” (Green, 283) in contrast to those of Henschel, who had customarily opened with a symphony and filled the rest of the program with miscellaneous lighter pieces; Gericke also broke with a long-standing tradition by offering concerts without guest soloists. As a friend or personal acquaintance of Wagner, Brahms, Bruckner, and Liszt, he included a great deal of their music and introduced new European works, as well as compositions by American composers such as Chadwick, Beach, Converse, and Foote. Gericke “undertook the difficult but needed reform of replacing a number of old musicians, formerly prominent in the city’s musical life, who were holding their posts in the orchestra principally through courtesy, with younger musicians from Europe… For five years Gericke remained at the head of this organization, at the end of which time he returned to Germany and resumed the leadership of the Concert Society in Vienna, which he conducted until 1895. Then followed a period of three years’ freedom from professional activities, and in 1898 Gericke was again engaged to conduct the Boston Symphony Orchestra. For eight years longer Gericke directed the body of musicians which he had brought to its present perfection of ensemble; then, in the season of 1905 and 1906 resigned his post, and in the latter year returned to Vienna… Gericke is said to have forwarded the cause of music in America more than any other one man, with the possible exception of Theodore Thomas. Elson speaks of him as the finest drillmaster among conductors… His reading of scores is considered remarkable” (Ibid) Among the new musicians that he hired for his second season was the twenty-year-old concertmaster, Franz Kneisel, and “numerous other new members to replace ‘old’ and ‘overworked musicians’ no longer fit for the demands of modern and more difficult orchestral ensemble. He subdued the brass in order to perfect the balance and tone of the ensemble. He insisted on rehearsals conditions never imposed by Henschel or Carl Zerrahn. He disciplined musicians who took the stage intoxicated, in some cases repeatedly… His repertoire, stressing Beethoven, was less adventurous than Thomas’ in New York, less conservative than has been Dwight’s and the Harvard Musical Associations’s. As he disciplined his orchestra, Gericke disciplined his audience, and not by insisting on more “serious” programs. Latecomers were not admitted except during pauses. Encores were discouraged… Gericke himself called his Boston listeners ‘one of the most cultivated and best understanding musical publics I Know’… Henschel had adopted the formulas of ‘lightening heavier programmes;’ Gericke had not.

But Gericke supported the notion of a summer season modeled after the garden concerts of Germany and Austria. As it happened, the initial summer Promenade season materialized in 1885, near the beginning of Gericke’s tenure… For the Promenade concerts the Music Hall’s downstairs seats were removed and replaced with tables and shrubs.. Light alcoholic beverages were served (a breach of public morals requiring a special annual permit). On opening night Boston’s highest social circles turned out in force and there were not enough tables and waiters to meet the demand.” (Horowitz,  50-54)

Lang was responsible for acquainting the Gericke with what had already been presented to Boston audiences. The critic Apthorp remembered in 1911 that: “Shortly after Mr. Gericke’s arrival in Boston, B. J. Lang asked him if he would not be interested to see the programmes of past symphony concerts in our city; to which he replied he had already seen them all, and had studied them carefully. ‘All’ sounded rather startling; so Lang asked him how many seasons of programmes he had seen. ‘Oh, there have been only three,’ answered Mr. Gericke. ‘Ah, I see’ said Lang, ‘you mean the programmes of the Boston Symphony; but wouldn’t you like to see the programmes for the seventeen years of concerts given by the Harvard Musical Association, before the Symphony existed?’ Mr. Gericke’s eyes opened wide at this, and he eagerly accepted the offer. So Lang gave him the two bound volumes of programmes, which he returned in a few days, saying, ‘I am completely dumbfounded! I do not see what is left for me to do here. You seem to have had everything already; more, much more, than we ever had in Vienna!’” (Howe, Op. cit., 67).

Lang did his best to make Gericke feel at home. In 1884 Lang invited him to the Lang’s summer home which was a farm in Weston. Luckily the critic and Lang’s former piano pupil, William Apthorp was also invited as Gericke spoke almost no English, Apthorp saved the evening as he understood him “better than the rest of us did.” (Diary 2, Summer 1884) Frances found him “modest, handsome and really delightful.” (Ibid) In the fall of 1884 Lang took Gericke to the St. Botolph Club. (Diary 2, Fall 1884) At this time the two of them were trying to decide what piece Lang should play with the Symphony the following February-Gericke suggested the Schumann Concertstuck, but Lang preferred Bach or Tschaikovsky.” (Ibid) Lang prevailed-On February 19 and 20, 1885 he played the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1, just about ten years after he had conducted the world premier with von Bulow as the soloist.


The caliber of voices in the 1884-85 membership of the Apollo Club is reflected by the fact that Lang used George J. Parker, one of the tenors, and Clarence E. Hay, one of the basses as soloists with The Cecilia. They both had solo parts in Schumann’s Paradise and the Peri given by The Cecila with orchestral accompaniment on November 17, 1884. This was fifth time that the choir had performed this Schumann work. (BMYB 1884-85, 46) Both singers were also soloists in The Cecilia’s performance with orchestra of The Damnation of Faust by Berlioz at the end of the season, May 14, 1885. (Op. cit., 47) However, in the June 1885 issue of the Courier the following appeared: “It is true that the Apollo Club is not quite up to its standard of a few years ago, but it is none the less above the standard attained by any other American male chorus.” (Baker, 11)

The April 29 and May 4, 1885 concerts featured “selections composed by prominent local musicians, most of the numbers having been written especially for the club…With a programme of this character it was to be expected that the good and the indifferent would be presented, and such proved to be the case.” (Journal (April 30, 1885): 4, GB) Included among the world premiers was Arthur Foote’s If Doughty Deeds My Lady Please, words by Graham of Gartmore, which was then published by Schmidt in 1885 as Oct. no. 34 (Apollo Club Collection no. 1). (Cipolla, 35) The piece was dedicated to Allen A. Brown, fellow Apollo Club member and donor of the beginning music collection of the Boston Public Library. Foote’s piece was a “fine bit of harmony and was throughout a very pleasing number.” (Journal, Op. cit.) After the orchestral opening to the concert, the choir sang Frank H. Brackett’s Cavalier’s Song with its “dashing melody, following closely in description the proud, knightly words of the text. It was strong and vigorous in character and eminently pleasing. In its rendering the club could not be excelled.” (Ibid) The “gem” of the evening was the “exquisite little song” Proposal by Geo. L. Osgood,
“a beautiful melody appealing to the very soul of music. It well deserved its quick repetition, nothing that the club has presented was more enjoyable.” (Ibid) In addition to these three premiers, two pieces that the club had premiered in previous years were again performed; The Blind King by J. C. D. Parker and Henry of Navarre by George E. Whiting. The final premier repeat was Lang’s own song, The Lass of Carlisle based on James Hogg’s “eccentric poem.” The review found little to like except the “vocal gymnastics of the refrain, when the words, ‘Sing hey, hickerty, dickerty, hickerty, dicherty dear,” were set to a queer, qucikened strain, taxing to the highest degree the vocal ability of the singer.” (Ibid) The final local composer included was Harvard’s Professor of Music, John. K. Paine, who had two excerpts from his Oedipus music performed; the overture opened the concert and one of the choruses closed the evening.” (Ibid)

A comparison of the 1885 Boston Directory with the 1883-84 membership list of the Apollo Club gives an interesting in sight into the broad range of social backgrounds of the singers. There were Professional Musicians, Financiers, Merchants, Lawyers, Salesmen, Clerks, Doctors and Government Officials.

It was reported in the Worcester Spy “applications for membership in the Apollo Club are so numerous that his was nearly the 400th. waiting to be acted upon, and it was eleven years before he could become a member…The Apollo is very prosperous, and has an abundance of means to enable it to make a fine appearance in public.” (Worcester Daily Spy, (September 24, 1885): 2) Certainly Lang could be very proud of such an achievement.


The first concert was on Monday evening, November 17, 1884 at the Music Hall with full orchestra. Schumann’s Paradise and the Peri [possibly given three times before] was presented with Clarence E. Hay, bass and George J. Parker, tenor as the main soloists. Here the problem of using soloists from the group was again noticed; the Herald review wrote that the performance “suffered somewhat in having an array of light-voiced soloists in almost all of the solo numbers. As this work consists of an almost unbroken string of solos, it is hazardous to give it with any but the best of artists… Even when given at its best, Paradise and the Peri suffers from too much solo.” (Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2) Woolf in the Evening Gazette wrote an extensive review calling the performance “dull and inadequate as an interpretation” which then led to an extensive critique of Lang as an orchestral conductor. “It has long been our conviction that Mr. Lang is a mistake whenever he takes the baton in hand to interpret an important work or to lead an orchestra… His peculiar leaning towards mechanical literalness leads him constantly to present the cold body of a work without its soul… His jerky and eccentric beating of time is always confusing.” Woolf then refers to the Frog of fable fame which probably inspired the following printed in a different newspaper:

The Wolf and the Lang.

A Fable.

A peaceful Lang was one day teaching a little band of tadpoles to        follow their leader through an orchestral stream. A savage wolf, who  occupied by chance a slightly elevated position hard by, was so much affected at the sight that, to conceal his own emotions, he sprang upon the defenseless Lang and tore him to pieces with his cruel pen.

Moral 1. Everybody does not always know how to conduct himself.

Moral 2. It is often harder to play upon two pianos than upon a harp with one string.

Woolf then continued in another article to savage Lang in response to words written by William Foster Apthorp. Woolf saw the Cecilia Club as “simply a ramification of a small and tyrannical clique that has for years attempted to establish a dictatorship over musical affairs in Boston… The Cecilia Club is but another name for the head of this clique, and the Apollo also is one of its pseudonyms.” Then Lang’s career as a piano teacher was attacked. “They are not particularly good players, for they have absorbed all the faults, and, they are many, of Mr. Lang’s method… Whenever any of these pupils appear in public, the mouthpiece of the clique [Apthorp], also one of Lang’s pupils, expatiates to the extent of half a column upon their merits, their poetic feeling, their deep artistic sentiment and their earnestness of style; in fact, everything but their playing, all of which is indirectly a laudation of Mr. Lang… There is too much of Lang and of Langification in our musical affairs.” (Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2)

The second concert was given on January 15, 1885 with full orchestra and Arthur Foote as organist. Dvorak’s Stabat Mater was given in full, and the Advertiser review spent much time on the soloists, saying, in effect, that they were not really up to the task. “Last night the quartette was composed of Mrs. J. E. Tippett, whose slender, sweet voice is also as cool as it is clear; Mr. W. J. Winch, who never lacks manly, earnest directness and energy, but who is not emotional, to use a much perverted word; Dr. Bullard, whose pleasant and cultivated organ has not the depth and massiveness the music ought to find, and Miss Mary H. How, who alone of all the four sang as if she felt the composer’s spirit and was seeking to convey it. Add to this that the volumes and timbres of the four voices were widely different, and it will easily be understood that, carefully and well in their respective manners as the vocalists sang, there could be no real ensemble in their union.” (Advertiser, Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2) The Gazette, while finding the choir’s singing to be “creditable and characterized generally by smoothness and promptness,” used a final paragraph of twenty-one lines to fault Lang’s conducting. “The nervous unsteadiness of his beat frequently created an indecision among the performers that seemed to foretell impending disaster, from which, however, escape was always made,” which must have disappointed the critic, Mr. Woolf. (Gazette, Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2)

The third concert was held on Thursday evening, March 19, 1885 at the Music Hall and consisted of Mendelssohn’s operetta Camacho’s Wedding: “Mr. [H. G.] Tucker left his triumphs in pianoforte music and became Camacho for the occasion.” The Advertiser wrote: “Mr. Tucker, after his first nervousness wore off, made the small part quite telling, although it must be confessed that he is more happy as a pianist than as a vocalist.” It was advertised as the first performance since its Berlin premier in 1827, but the Home Journal felt that it should never have been revived; in fact the writer thought, “It would be unfair to presume that the esteemed conductor of The Cecilia entertains a very high opinion of the work.” The accompaniment was by two pianos with Lang playing the solo and recit. accompaniments with Mr. Sumner and Mr. Preston “at a second piano and accompanied the choruses where Mr. Lang took up the conductor’s baton.” The Evening Transcript noted: “Of the duet-playing of the overture, it can only be said that the two pianists owed it to their reputation (if to nothing else) not to attempt to play with the instruments so far apart that it was physically impossible they should keep together.” The Courier recorded the eight different soloists involved, but noted: “Their ensembles generally were very ragged and insecure. The chorus did better, and some numbers were very pleasing, but, the whole performance lagged because there was little in the music and nothing in the libretto to interest… This was one of Mendelssohn’s earliest attempts at opera.” (Courier, Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2)

The final concert on Thursday evening, May 14, 1885 at the Music Hall with full orchestra was of the Damnation of Faust by Berlioz. The principal soloists were Mrs. E. Humphrey Allen, Mr. George J. Parker (Tenor) and Mr. Clarence E. Hay (Bass), and “The Male Chorus of the Club is enlarged for this occasion by sixty gentlemen, who have kindly volunteered their services.” [Apollo Club?] The review in Key Notes of May 1885 by Louis C. Elson noted: “The soloists were not great enough for the inordinate demands of the work.” Elson then remembered “the absolutely great performance given by Mr. Henschel.” However he ended with: “The general excellence of the choruses, and the steadiness of the orchestra combined to make the concert one worth going two miles in a rain storm to see; therefore there will be no more vitriol thrown upon it this week from the pen of L. C. E.” The Advertiser felt that the addition of sixty male voices “added greatly in fullness and richness of tone, the bass being particularly smooth and strong,” but the reviewer felt that “the contraltos were sometimes lost [don’t altos sing with tenors in the traditional Berlioz three part texture?]… The chorus singing was generally most creditable in accuracy of time and tune, but not always nice in finish or positive in accent… The orchestra was made up of the very cream of local players, and as a consequence most of the instrumental work was finely done… In spite of the tempestuous night, the audience was large, very few desirable seats being left vacant.” The Courier mentioned repeated previous performances of this work by the Club, “nevertheless the repeated performances have resulted in a choral performance that is almost beyond criticism. All of the chorus work was of a character that calls only for praise… The orchestral work, also, calls for much commendation. The Rakoscky March was given in a very brilliant manner, and won and deserved an imperative encore.” This reviewer also found the soloists not up to the task and the memory of Henschel’s “glorious performance of some five years ago” was again mentioned. “The Cecilia may add this occasion as one of the many triumphs which have graced their history.” (Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2)


B. J. Lang organized a concert for March 21, 1885 in celebration of J. S. Bach’s 200th. birthday. “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. In Bach’s Coffee Cantata there is the need of a harpsichord, and Mr. Lang played Mr. Steinert’s instrument. 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) However, other reports mention that Chickering built the harpsichord used. The concert on Saturday afternoon, March 21, 1885 at 2:30PM at Chickering Hall included the concertos for two, three and four keyboards with Lang, Foote, Tucker, Sumner and W. S. Fenollosa as the soloists. Lang soloed in the Concerto in A minor.

Also on the program was the American premier of the Coffee Cantata with Louise Gage, William J. and John F. Winch as the soloists. In a pre-concert article in the Herald the writer compared Bach’s “keen sense of the ridiculous” to that of “Arthur Sullivan’s more modern efforts in this line.” (Herald (March 15, 1885): 10, GB) The basic story is of a father trying to break his daughter’s coffee habit. This leads to such unusual recitatives as: “Don’t be cross, father dear, for if I’m not allowed to drink three cups of coffee clear, my strength will fall and down I’ll break, like a poor donkey overladen;” this sung to Bach’s usual vocal style. (Ibid) For some reason Johnson listed this as a first Boston performance by the Apollo Club. (Johnson, First, 14)


During the summer of 1885 the Lang family and nurse Ellen Sheehan moved to Europe. Frances, in her Diary entries of 1884 and then more so in 1885 noted “I am tired to death all the time…I have a feeling that I shall drop suddenly…So busy. I am miserable fighting against all sorts of aches and pains…Too tired for anything.” (Diary 2, Fall 1884 and Spring 1885) She and B. J. had spoken at length about the best direction for the whole family. One Doctor had diagnosed exhaustion and nervousness while a second said that “I must be keep from all excitement, go out very little, no late hours, and on no account stand,” but the same day she received these instructions she forced herself to make calls and attend two big affairs.(Diary 2, Spring 1885) So the only way to keep her from this schedule was to remove her from it, and she knew this. “I know from something he said, that he would like to take us all abroad. (Next day) I told Lel that I had decided it might be best for us to go abroad. He seemed much relieved and delighted.” (Ibid) They left Boston on June 13, 1885 on the S. S. CATALONIA [launched May 14, 1881, 200 in First Class and 1500 in Steerage, covered the Boston/Liverpool route], and visited Brussells, Cologne, Wurtzburg and “then Munich 48 Brienner Strasse where we [Frances and the children only] lived 2 winters.” The Music Conservatory was just three blocks away. 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)

When B. J. returned to Boston in September 1885 he gave an extensive interview to the Herald which was entitled “Mr. B. J. Lang chats About Music in Europe.” The article began with the story of how Lang was able to reach his steamer back to American two hours AFTER it had sailed. “A tug was chartered and a race for the lead with the steamer was begun with some disadvantage for the tug. This proved successful for the smaller vessel, and the captain of the steamer Etrurfa could not refuse a passage to such a determined passenger when the tug puffed up alongside and demanded the courtesy for her solitary passenger.” Lang and family attended the Handel Festival at the Crystal Palace where Israel In Egypt was given with 1,000 in the orchestra and 3,000 in the chorus with an audience of 24,000. The effect of these large forces no not even the same as “20 performers in Boston Music Hall.” Tempos were slowed and the greatest soloists of the time including the “soprano Albani and Lloyd, the tenor…were barely audible.” However, “the Handel performance in Westminster Abbey, to an audience of 10,000 people, two-thirds of whom stood for three hours in rapt attention to listen to the Dettingen Te Deum and an anthem by Handel, was spendid.” Lang found the performance of a choir from Amsterdam conducted by Daniel de Lange to be of great interest. They did pieces by Sweelinck, Dufay, Lassus, both sacred and secular. Lang heard Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado, but felt it musically one of “Sullivan’s feeblest efforts,” but the production at the old Savoy Theatre “was a feast for the eyes, as well as being bright and charming altogether.” In Frankfurt Lang was “surprised to find there an opera house of great beauty and comfort, with an orchestra, chorus and artists of the very best order…Here he heard some of the best performances of opera to be heard in Germany…Mr. Lang has left his family in Germany, and proposes to return there in the spring, spending his time in north Germany and Norway.” Lang also attended the Birmingham Festival in England. He recalled that the “public are made to feel these performances are costly” as he had to pay $5 per seat for each concert. (all quotes from the Herald (September 27, 1885): 13, GB)


The 97th. concert was sung at the Music Hall on Monday evening, February 15, 1886. This was the fourth concert of the fifteenth season. The assisting artists were Mr. Fritz Giese, cellist, and Miss Zippora Monteith, soprano. The opening piece was the Song of the Viking by George W. Chadwick (with piano accompaniment). A part song by Georg Henschel, The King and the Poet, and The Soldiers of Gideon, Opus 46 for double chorus by Saint-Saens were the two other major choral pieces in the first half. Solos for the two assisting artists and the premier (?) of the Proposal by George L. Osgood, “Written for the Apollo Club” were major parts of the second half. The finale was the double chorus from Oedipus by Mendelssohn. (Program, Johnston Collection)

The 97th. and 98th. concerts were sung on Wednesday evening, May 12 and Monday evening, May 17, 1886. Included in the program was the premier of Arthur Foote’s The Farewell of Hiawatha, Op. 11 that was “Written for the Apollo Club.”  “The earliest ‘Indian’ cantata was the product of Arthur Foote…Foote set the concluding portion of the final canto of Longfellow’s The Song of Hiawatha (1885) for his The Farewell of Hiawatha (1886). This lengthy poem is generally considered the initial major work in American literature to elevate and humanize the Indian. Of more importance to this study is the remarkable resemblance between Longfellow’s Hiawatha and Jesus Christ. Each came to earth to help his people and returned to heaven when his mission was completed. Foote did not use aboriginal melodies in his cantata. Later composers did, however, as they were able to benefit from the work of ethnomusicologists, which began in earnest in the 1880s.” (Stopp, 392) Six months later another Foote premier was conducted by Lang, but this time, with the Cecilia Society. The Club again performed this piece on May 10, 1938 under the direction of Thompson Stone. (Cipolla, 34) The other major work was “Scenes from Frithiof’s Saga” by Max Bruch for soprano and baritone solos, male chorus and orchestra. The soloists were Miss Gertrude Franklin and Mr. John F. Winch. Winch had sung at the Boston premier of the work given by the Apollo Club on February 4 and 9, 1881. A third performance of the work would be given on March 5 and 8, 1893. Lang include two of his own pieces in this program-a part song, My True Love Hath My Heart and the arrangement of the Swedish folksong, Hi-Fe-Lin-Ke-Le. The part song was a premier while the folksong had been premiered two years before. The finale was a Lang favorite-“Double Chorus” from Antigone by Mendelssohn. (Program, Johnston Collection)


Dated October 20, 1885, the Cecilia sent out a letter outlining the coming season. “An increase in the number of Associate members is necessary to enable the Society to carry out its plans as it desires.” Four concerts on Thursday evenings were advertised with the two major works being a repeat of Bruch’s Odysseus to be given with “full orchestra and competent solo singers” (Advertiser)(last given by the Society in May 1882) and Dvorak’s Spectre’s Bride “the most conspicuous success of the recent festival at Birmingham. England.” The yearly fee was $15 for which you got four tickets to each performance. “The chorus of the Society is as large and efficient as ever; the best orchestral and solo talent possible will be employed; and the concerts will be given under the direction of the conductor of the Society, Mr. B. J. Lang.” (BPL Lang Prog.) At the June Annual meeting Mr. S. L. Thorndike, President since the choir’s formation declined re-election, and Mr. A. Parker Browne was elected to the post.

The “early months of autumn [1885] were rather anxious times” wrote the Cecilia’s new President (a year later in his Annual Report of 1886) as the President for the past nine years had declined re-election, “and it seemed to many that the Club could not well get along without him. The expenses of the [previous] season had used up both income and surplus, and there was no certainty that our income for the new year would enable us to continue in the way we had been going.” However, by the fall, the associate members had made their contributions, and with only two of the concerts using orchestra, the Club finished the season “without debt.” (Annual Report 1886)

The first concert was on Thursday evening, December 10, 1885 at the Music Hall performing Bruch’s Odysseus with full orchestra as promised and with most of the solos taken by chorus members. The Transcript noted the previous performances of this cantata by the Cecilia calling the work: “one of the finest; one of those which best repay repetition. The performance last evening, in so far as the work of the chorus is concerned, was very fine indeed… In a word, the singing of the chorus was admirable.” The orchestral work was also praised, but the soloists were found lacking: “Mr. Adams, who was cast for the title role, had the ill luck to be completely out of voice.” the other main soloists had various problems, and “the other solo parts were acceptably filled.” So much for the promise of “competent solo singers.” (Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2)

In 1885 the poor financial condition of the country also affected musicians. Samuel L. Thorndike, former President of the Cecilia Society, wrote to the Treasurer of the Harvard Musical Association: “I am so poor this winter that I am unable even to go to the [Harvard Orchestra] concerts, – or any other concerts, though it is worse than having one’s teeth drawn to stay away. It is not ”virtuous economy,” but absolute incapacity to pay for a ticket that keeps me away.” (Hepner, 21)

As part of the February 4, 1886 Music Hall concert, Miss Bockus, a member of the club sang songs by Schubert, Chadwick, Hiller and Lang’s Sing, Maiden, Sing. (Yearbook, Vol. 3, 52) “This was an unusual programme for the Cecilia, the chorus giving all their numbers, except The Nixie, without accompaniment. The pleasure our audience manifested on this occasion would seem to indicate that though our field is confessedly that of Cantata, with orchestral accompaniment, we shall hazard no loss of support if we occasionally present such a programme as this.” (President’s Report, June 1886)

The third concert, a miscellaneous program, was held on Thursday evening, March 25, 1886 at the Music Hall and included excerpts from Handel’s Acis and Galatea [this was the second time that the Club had done excerpts from this work which led the Club’s new President to “hope we may soon give it with orchestra”] with the soloists, Miss Brockus, Mr. Webber, and Mr. J. F. Winch. Lang and Mr. J. A. Preston, the accompanist for the evening, played Homage a Handel for two pianos by Moscheles which the Courier found “rather tame and uninteresting,” while the Traveler found that the work “added zest and contrast,” but a third reviewer found the performance of this work “rather dry, but that may have been the fault of the work itself, certainly the ensemble was good.” Mr. Winch “was excellent in Mr. Lang’s spirited song The Chase, giving it with hearty abandon and fire… The concert was evidently thoroughly enjoyed by the audience.” Another review wrote that the concert “may be classed as one of the successes of the club, particularly in the chorus work which was resolute and of good volume.” So much for President Thorndike’s recent comments about how neither the audience nor the choir enjoyed a miscellaneous program. Another review mentioned Lang’s song noting that it had been sung “with real brio and splendid voice. He was enthusiastically recalled, and certainly deserved it.” This review also mentioned that Winch had come to grief in his Handel “Oh ruddier than the cherry,” and had been saved by Lang “who at the piano, skipped over all breaks with the vocalists, and covered his retreat with courage and ability. It would have been total shipwreck, and the singer never would have reached a port of safety, had it not been firm the calmness of Mr. B. J. Lang.” The Courier also had noted Lang’s “admirable presence of mind. It is not the first time that we have admired this quality in Mr. Lang; and we can add that the important accompaniments, in his hands, became as elastic and effective as public, or singer, could desire.” (Courier, Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2)

The fourth concert was held on Thursday evening, May 13, 1886 at the Music Hall with “a small but excellent orchestra assisted.” The featured work was The Spectre’s Bride by Dvorak with Miss Kehew (The Maiden), Mr. George J. Parker (The Spectre), and Mr. Max Heinrich (The Narrator). In fact Miss Kehew became ill, and Mrs. J. R. Tippett “very kindly assumed [the part] at a day’s notice.” The Traveler review ended with: “Mr. Lang got a good grip on everything during the performance, and the success of the work is mainly due to his relentless rehearsing of the chorus through the few weeks given to a study of the work. No audience at a Cecilia concert in Boston ever received a new work with so many evidences of appreciation, and in adding it to their repertoire the Cecilia has put the town under obligations,” (Traveler, Cecilia Reviews) while a second reviewer began:” I am still enthusiastic over the work and the glorious manner in which the choruses were sung. The Society surpassed itself in this concert.” This review ended with: “This work made a profound impression, and we trust will be repeated next season.” A third review began: “Last Thursday was a red letter night with the Cecilia Club, and a more successful performance than that given to Dvorak’s new work could not be desired, save by the hypercritical.” This reviewer wrote “the chorus did more than well. Their precision” was perfection. A final comment in the review made reference to a problem noted by many earlier reviewers-audience members leaving before the end of the final number. “Not a person, so far as we saw, left before the final pizzicato notes had brought the cantata to its impressive end, and after that the applause burst forth with a vehemence unusual in a club concert. We thank Mr. Lang and the club for giving such a work in such a manner, and believe that concerts such as these give a true educational aim to the work of the Cecilia Society.” (Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2)


CHORAL (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

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 (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)       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, 188                                                                                                                                            (American)  Berlioz: The Fifth of May, 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 Hesperous, January 26, 1888 (with piano) and March 27, 1890 (with orchestra).

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

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

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

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

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

(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, 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, 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 premier had been just the year before. Parker conducted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Total: 116.


First concert under Lang-September 5, 1871.
Last concert-May 1, 1901.
Chapter 3: 1871-1881.
Chapter 4: 1881-1891.
Chapter 5: 1891-1901.

(Boston)      Becker: A Wood Morning. April 30 and May 2, 1884. Sung by a quartet. (1)(3)

(World)        Berlioz: The Marseillies Hymn “instrumented” for the club. February 4 and 9, 1881. (1) WFAC.

(Boston)      Brackett: Cavalier’s Song. April 29, 1885 and May 4, 1886.(1)(3)(4)

(Boston)      Brahms: Rinaldo. December 15, 1883, Charles R. Adams, soloist. (1 says December 5 and December 10, 1883 based on Wilson Yearbook I-IV: 1884-1887)

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

(Boston)          Bruch: Frithiof’s Saga, Op. 23. February 4 and 9, 1881. (1)

(Boston)          Bruch: Salamis. April 26, 1882. Brainard’s Musical World, June 1882,  93.

(Boston)          Buck: Annie Laurie (harmonized for TTBB). 1889 (1)(4)

(Boston)          Buck: Chorus of Spirits and Hours. February 11 and 16, 1885. (1)(3)(4)

(Boston)          Buck: King Olaf’s Christmas. December 7 and 12, 1881. Advertiser review mentions that this was the Boston premier. The work was published in 1881.(4)

(World)           Chadwick: Jabberwocky, February 16 and 23, 1887. (4)

(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 vocal score. WFAC.

(American)    Cowen: The Language of Flowers. A Suite for Orchestra. December 5 and 10, 1883. (1) (3)

(Boston)         Debois: Lovely Maiden, Sleep On-translation by Charles W. Sprague. December 3 and 8, 1885. (1)(3)

(Boston)         Englesberg: Love Song. December 11 and 18, 1885. (1)(3)

(Boston)         Englesberg: Love, As a Nightingale. February 11 and 16, 1886. (1)(3)

(Boston)         Esser: Mahomet’s Song. December 3 and 8, 1885. (1)(3)

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

(Boston)         Foote: Farewell to [of-Cipolla] Hiawatha. May 12 and 17, 1887. (1) [Cipolla says 1886]

(World)           Foote: If Doughty Deeds My Lady Please. April 29, 1885 and May 4, 1886. (1)

(Boston)        Foote: Into the Silent Land, April 27 and May 2, 1887. Boston Musical Yearbook 1886-87, 12, 44 and 45, but Cipolla Foote Catalog says sung 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)

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

(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.

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

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

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

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

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

(World)         Lang, B. J.: Nocturne for tenor solo, April 29 and May 4, 1885; April 27 and May 2, 1887; April 29, 1891 and May 5, 1897. (1)

(World)         Lang, B. J.: The Lass of Carlisle, solo for baritone sung by Mr. Hay, April 29, 1885 and May 4, 1885. (1)

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

(World)         Lang, B. J.: The Sea-King, duet, June 1, 1874. (1) “Sung by the Brothers Winch.” (Dwight (June 13, 1874): 247) WFAC.

(World)         Lang, B. J.: My True Love Has My Heart, May 12 and 17, 1886.

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

(World)         Lang, M. R.: The Boatman’s Hymn. January 18, 1893.

(World)         Lang, M. R.:  The Maiden and the Butterfly. May 1 and 6, 1889. (1).

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

(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)       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.

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

(Boston)       Mohr: The Sea. February 20 and 25, 1884. (1)(3)

(World?)      Osgood: In Picardie. May 3, 1893. (Advertiser (May 4, 1893): 5, GB)

(Boston)       Osgood: Proposal. April 29 and May 4, 1885 (1)(3) and February 10, 1886, and May 4, 1886. (1)

(World?)       Osgood: In Picardie. May 3, 1893. (Advertiser (May 4, 1893): 5, GB)

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

(World)         Parker, J. C. D.: 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. (1)

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

(Boston)       Raff: Italian Suite. December 3 and 8, 1884. BPL Reviews.

(Boston)       St.-Saens: The Soldiers of Gideon. February 11 and 16, 1885. (1)(3)

(World)         Strong, Templeton: The Knights and the Naiads. February 19 and 24, 1890. Written for the Club.

(Boston)       Strong, Templeton: The Trumpeter. February 20, 1888. From the program. Johnston Collection.

(World)         Thayer: Sea Greeting. February 16 and 23, 1887. (1)(3) Not available at Ill.

(Boston)       Thayer: Heinz von Stein. April 27 and May 2, 1887. (1)(3) Not available 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.

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

(Boston)       Whiting: Henry of Navarre. April 29 and May 4, 1885. (1)(3) Also February 19, 1890.

(World)         Whiting: March of the Monks of Bangor. April 22, 1881. WFAC’s Tenth Anniversary Concert. Sung again January 8, 1924. (1)

(Boston)       Whiting: Overture to The Princess for orchestra. April 30 and May 1884. (BPL Reviews)

(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. April 30 and May 2, 1884. (1)(3)

(Boston)       Zoellner: Young Siegfried. February 11 and 16, 1885. (1)(3)




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

(American) Bach: Coffee Cantata. March 21, 1885 (2) Herald pre-concert article of March 15, 1885, 10, GB, says this was an American premier.

(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 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)

(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)

(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)

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

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

(American) Raff: Sinfonietta, Op. 188 for ten woodwinds. Tremont Temple, February 24, 1881. Dwight review, March 26, 1881. Herald review 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, p. 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 premier 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 premier 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) Weber/Liszt orchestration: E-flat Polonaise with HMA February 8, 1866. (Dwight, February 17, 1866, 191) He played this work again at the HMA “Symphony Concert Extra” given in April 1867. The regular season of nine concerts had been so successful  that this tenth concert was added in celebration. (Dwight (April 27, 1867): 22)


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

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

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

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

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

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

(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.



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.




Gustav Satter.                                                                                                                   Lang’s Boston Debut as a Pianist. February 1858.                                                 John S. Dwight.                                                                                                                           B. and B. J. Music Rooms in Salem.                                                                                        Old South Organist 1859.                                                                                                 Handel and Haydn Accompanist. October 1859                                                              Carl Zerrahn.                                                                                                        Complimentary Concert.                                                                                             Summer in Europe-1860.                                                                                         Autograph Collection.                                                                                                      Salem-Amphions.                                                                                                                     B. J. as a Piano Salesman.                                                                                                 Marriage to Frances Morse Burrage.                                                                                B. J. Household.                                                                                                                     Hymn of Praise Premier.                                                                                               Youthful Voices.                                                                                                                         FirstWalpurgisNight.                                                                                                                      Handel and Haydn Society.                                                                                    Gottschalk and Lang.                                                                                                      Lincoln Emancipation Proclamation Concert.                                                       Teresa Carreno.                                                                                                                      More Gottschalk and Lang.                                                                                              Salem Concert.                                                                                                                  Teacher and Pupil.                                                                                                              Organ Dedication at the Music Hall.                                                                            More solo Appearances.                                                                                        Shakespeare Birthday Concert.                                                                                        South Congregational Church Organist.                                                                   First Child.                                                                                                                                 Alice Dutton-Early Lang Pupil.                                                                                         Busy Christmas Season 1864.                                                                                         Other Concert Groups.                                                                                                      Lang’s Home.                                                                                                                     President Lincoln’s Memorial Concert.                                                                     Handel and Haydn 50th. Anniversary.                                                                    Harvard Musical Association Orchestral Concerts.                                             Haydn-The Seasons.                                                                                                          Pianist Rivals-Perabo and Petersilea.                                                                    Summer 1866-Europe.                                                                                                        Mr. Richard C. Dixey.                                                                                                             New England Conservatory.                                                                                            Lang and Carlyle Petersilea.                                                                                           Premiers of Beethoven and Liszt/Schubert.                                                         Gilmore Concert.                                                                                                                   Concert to Help the Patriots of Crete.                                                                          Salem Concerts.                                                                                                                      Lang Pupil-Miss Clara F. Joy.                                                                                     Summer 1867.                                                                                                                            Piano Technique Lecture.                                                                                           Margaret Ruthven Lang.                                                                                               Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 1-Boston Premier.                                     Mendelssohn-Eighth Book of Songs Without Words.                                              First Lecture.                                                                                                                Mercantile Hall.                                                                                                                       First Symphony Series.                                                                                                      Organ Hall Concerts.                                                                                                              Year In Europe-1869-1870.                                                                                              Fall of 1870.                                                                                                                             Hiram G. Tucker.                                                                                                                   Piano Teacher.                                                                                                                          Other Concerts.                                                                                                                       Globe Theatre Concerts.                                                                                             Frances’ Singing Lessons.                                                                                             William Foster Apthorp.                                                                                             Benjamin Edward Woolf.                                                                                                 Salem Oratorio.                                                                                                                          Mr. R. C. Dixey.                                                                                                                    Student Concerto Concert.                                                                                           Another European Summer.                                                                              Mendelssohn Quintette Performances.


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

(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: 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 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.

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

(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)

(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) 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)

(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)

(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)

(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)

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

(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 premier 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) 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)


(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) 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.[xiv]



Gustav Satter. Wikipedia article, January 26, 2013.

A 1886 entry listed B. J.’s teachers. Among them was Gustav Satter who was touring in America in 1857-9. (Johnson, Satter, 65) The Boston critic William Foster Apthorp wrote shortly after Lang’s return from Europe: “Gustav Satter was astonishing American audiences with his wonderful playing and daring transcriptions. When he visited Boston, Lang temporarily gave up almost all else to be constantly in his company. Satter had taken a strong fancy to the young pianist, and, after being with him all day, and playing at his own concert in the evening, would take him up to his room in the Tremont House, and there play to him night after night, far into the small hours of the morning. To a close and keen observer like Lang these nocturnal sittings were of inestimable value.” (Apthorp article, Music, August 1893) Lang may have first heard Satter play before his three-year period of European study. On April 2, 1855 Satter appeared in Boston playing the Schubert Trio, Op. 100 with the Mendelssohn Quintette Club. He also played the Boston premier of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata, Op. 57 “Appassionata.” (Johnson, Satter, 63) Dwight described Satter: “He is a fresh, youthful-looking- person, with an air of decision and at the same time a good-humored Austrian bon-hommie about him…Mr. Satter is yet a very young man, exuberant in power and enterprising, ready of talent, ambitious too to take a high and really artistic stand.” (Op. cit., 64) In other words, Dwight really approved of the man. Lang may have also shared this opinion, as Satter was probably the best pianist to have visited Boston up until that time, even though he was primarily self-taught. (Op. cit., 61) The fact that Lang and Satter were close in age, only five years apart, also contributed to the bond between the two men. Satter stayed in Boston for two years playing and teaching. His vast ego and belief that he was of Napoleonic lineage lead to a life of wandering between America and Europe that continued until a final return to the States in 1875. He had given himself the title of “Doctor,” and after various disappointments in New York and Philadephia “he stormed the South, taking Richmond,Mobile, Atlanta, and Eufaula! Indeed, Satter disappeared into the South where it is believed he died in 1879 at the age of forty-seven in a place unknown to us.” (Op. cit., 68 and 69) An Autobiography was published in Savannah which he signed as “An Ex-Confederate Soldier and whilom resident of Paris.” (Ibid) As he called himself, he was the “noblest of them all.” (Ibid)


After Lang’s return to Boston in 1858 he immediately began to develop contacts that would frame the early years of his professional career in Boston. One of his first contacts was with the Mendelssohn Quintette Club. This Club had given its first public concert in December of 1849, and played throughout New England for over fifty years. (Ryan, 92) Baker’s entry in 1905 went so far as to say that, “This little band of excellent musicians has visited every town on any size in the United States.” (Baker, 504).

Ryan, fronticepiece. Members, left to right: August Fries, first violin; Edward Lehman, viola and flute; Wulf Fries, cello; Thomas Ryan, viola and clarinet; Francis Riha, second violin.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             William Foster Apthorp wrote of Lang’s debut: “On his return from abroad Lang made his first public appearance in Boston as a pianist [on Tuesday, February 2, 1858] at a concert of the Mendelssohn Quintette Club, taking part in Beethoven’s C Minor Trio, Opus 1, No. 3 (its first performance in the city). Thus, at his first appearance before a Boston audience, he already gave evidence of a tendency that has since become characteristic of him-a constant desire to introduce new works to the public.” (Apthorp Article in Music, August 1893) Another writer commented in the same manner: “Ever afterwards it was his unique and far-famed characteristic to acquaint the public for the first time with the choicest novelties in music, yet he did not neglect the classics.” (Herald (April 5, 1909):  8, GB) Dwight reviewed this concert: “The piano part was played by Mr. B. J. Lang, with a precision, cleanness, and expression that would have done honor to far more experienced artists. We do not remember a more promising debut in this kind.” (Dwight (February 6, 1858):359)

Apthorp was incorrect in saying the above was Lang’s “first public appearance in Boston as a pianist,” for this took place a month earlier on January 8, 1858 when he was the pianist for a presentation of selections from an opera by Lucian H. Southard (1827-1881). Southard’s Omano was performed at Chickering’s Saloon-among the soloists were Mrs. J. H. Long and Mr. C. R. Adams “assisted by several amateurs.” (Program, GB) Southard was ten years older than Lang, and was among the first Americans to publish art songs, his first, David’s Lament for Absalom having been published in 1848. (Upton, Art-Song, 55)

A second, long-ranging musical contact was established with Lang’s first orchestral appearance on February 27 1858 when he played the Mendelssohn Concerto No. 2 in D Minor at the Music Hall with Carl Zerrahn as the conductor as part of Carl Zerrahn’s “Last Grand Concert.” (Program, GB) Zerrahn was the major conductor in Boston at this time. He conducted choral groups, the most important being the Handel and Haydn Society, and also symphonic groups.  The Boston Journal wrote: “Mr. Lang’s performance of Mendelssohn’s Concerto in D-minor betrayed the presence of tact and ability. For one so short a time a student of this character of music, it was a rare performance.  Mr. Lang is fast attaining to eminence, and a few years more of such application as that of the two years past will entitle him to rank among the first pianists of the age.” (Quoted in “Musical Matters,”  NEC Foote Clippings)

These two early 1858 appearances suggest that the “three years” that Lang studied in Europe would really be more like just over 1 and 1/2 years at the most, as Lang left Boston sometime after December 24, 1855. This was the date of a concert organized by Geo. Hill under the title of “City Crier’s Concert.” Lang was the accompanist for the five soloists-Gustave Satter, “The Celebrated Pianist” was the solo artist. (Program, GB) Thus he would have had all of 1856 and into the fall of 1857 in Europe. He would have had to return to Boston sometime in the fall of 1857 in order to make contact with the Mendelssohn Quintette Club, Mr. Southard and Carl Zerrahn and arrange the two concert appearances noted above. Possibly Lang’s youthful reputation had been known to both before he left Boston.

One of the featured soloists at Zerrahn “Last Grand Concert” in addition to B. J. was Mrs. J. H. Long.  She hired Lang as one of the assisting artists for her “Second Annual Concert” which was at the Mercantile Hall, 16, Summer Street on March 1, 1858. The other assisting artists were Mr. C. R. Adams and the Mendelssohn Quintette Club. (Program, GB) However Long and Lang had worked together the previous year. “Mr. B. J. Lang of Salem, with Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Long of Boston, took passage in the streamer Europa, yesterday, for Halifax, where they have professional engagements for the coming week.” (Salem Register (November 5, 1857):  2, GB) This reinforces the comment in the paragraph above of Lang having to return in the fall of 1857 in order to make the contacts for the concerts that began at that time.

Another 1858 appearance with the Mendelssohn Quintette Club was on Thursday, November 18 where his solo by Liszt, “Benediction de Dieu dans la Solitude” from Harmonies Poetiques et Religieuses ended the first half of the concert. (Dowell, 368) At the end of that same year, 1858, Dwight wrote: “Mr. B. J. Lang, who assists the Club this season, is one of the most promising of our young pianists, already at home in a pretty large repertoire of difficult classical and modern music, and evincing a facility of technical acquisition in which perhaps there lies some danger.”  Dwight then went on to disparage Lang’s choice of Liszt’s “Benediction de Dieu, Dans las Solitude” ending with the comment that “if there is any charm in such things, it must lie in Liszt’s own playing of them.” (Dwight (November 27, 1858): 279) This comment did not keep Lang from playing this piece throughout his career.

Lang continued to appear with the Mendelssohn Quintette Club. On Friday, January 28, 1859 he assisted as accompanist for the soprano Mrs. J. H. Long who sang The Violet by Mozart and the first performance of one of Lang’s own songs, Breath of Spring. On February 25, 1859 (Dowell, 373) Lang contributed the piano part to the first Boston performance of Sterndale Bennett’s Capriccio at a “Grand Complimentary Concert” for the singer Elisa Biscaccianti. (HMA Program Collection) “This Capriccio is very brilliant and sparkling in the piano, forte part, full of arpeggio, and taxing execution, to which Mr. Lang proved fully equal.” (Dwight (March 5, 1859) 390) Eleven months later Lang played the Capriccio with full orchestra at the Third Philharmonic Concert on Saturday evening, February 11, 1860, [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 from the Handel and Haydn Society.

Just a day after the first Capriccio performance, Lang was the soloist at Carl Zerrahn Philharmonic concert at the Music Hall playing the American premier of Mozart’s Concerto in E Flat, “a delicious piece, played with fluency and spirit, (so we judge from a rehearsal) by young Mr. Lang, with the addition of a nicely made elaborate cadenza, in the place usually left for such things, of his own.” (Dwight (March 5, 1859): 390) This was Concerto No. 22 in E-flat, K. 482 (1785) (Johnson, First, 268) Two years after his debut with the Mendelssohn Quintette Club, Lang had been part of six of their concerts and performed at least four premiers which included one of his own compositions.

On Saturday evening February 19, 1859 Lang (aged 22) was part of a “Complimentary Concert” at the Music Hall given by “His brother Artists” for the pianist Joseph Trenkle. Among those taking part were Zerrahn’s Philharmonic Orchestra, Kreissmann’s Orpheus Glee Club, the vocalist Mrs. Harwood and pianists J. C. D. Parker, H. Leonhard and Otto Dresel. Thus Lang was already recognized to be an equal with Boston’s other finest pianists. The four pianists played Les Contrastes, Op. 115 by Moscheles and L’Invitation a la Valse by Weber. The reason for the concert was to raise funds as “the esteemed young artist, who has been compelled, by the critical state of his health, to leave us for a more genial climate.” (Traveler (February 11, 1859): 3, GB). Mathews (100 Years) says that Trenkle immigrated to the USA in 1859, and so it would seem that Boston was his first stop. Possibly Lang had become acquainted with Trenkle in Germany and was responsible for the organization of the concert.

On the same day that the concert above was advertised, another ad appeared for a “Testimonial Benefit to James Pilgrim” to be held at the Boston Theatre on Saturday February 12th. Scenes from plays were offered and also various dances among which was a PAS SEUL (solo dance) by Henrietta Lang! This was the name on the birth certificate of B. J.’s younger sister, although she was called Harriet at home. Surely the dancer and Henrietta were the same person? Henrietta would have been 13 years old at this time. (Ibid)

On April 23, 1859 Lang was part of a Complimentary Concert for Mr. Charles R. Adams (1834-1900) where again he was included with Boston’s finest- the organist J. C. D. Parker, the Handel and Haydn Society and a grand orchestra conducted by Carl Zerrahn. (Transcript (April 21, 1859): 2, GB) Two days before the event a very detailed list of all the artists and what they would be performing was placed in the Transcript-it was eight inches high. Lang’s contribution was the “Presto” from Mozart’s Concerto in Eb (Transcript (April 21, 1859): 3, GB) Lang knew Adams as he had been the tenor in Lang’s choir at the First Baptist Church in Boston. Within days of Lang beginning at that church he was doing concerts as Adams’ accompanist. Adams later had a European career which included roles at the Vienna Opera (NEC Foote Clippings) where he sang for nine years.”Since then he has sung at Covent Garden, La Scala, Madrid and at many theatres in Germany…He settled in Boston in 1879, and has remained there ever since, engaged in teaching and singing. He is an admirable exponent of Wagnerian music, and has also gained [a] great reputation as an actor. He has been one of the finest tenors of the present generation.” (Matthews, 100 Years, 218)


Cooke, John S. Dwight, page opposite frontispiece.
Cooke, John S. Dwight, page opposite frontispiece.


Cooke, John S. Dwight, page opposite frontispiece.

The early favorable reviews by John S. Dwight were very helpful to Lang’s early and middle career. Lang and Dwight’s Journal of Music intersected at a fortunate time. The first issue had appeared on April 10, 1852 and ended 1,051 issues later on September 3, 1881 at which point Lang was entering his “Middle Years.” (Sablosky, 1) There were probably “never more than a thousand subscribers” for Dwight’s Journal (Op. cit., 6) Dwight was responsible during that period for over eight thousand “densely set pages.” (Op. cit., 2) Before he began the Journal, he had graduated from Harvard Divinity School in 1836 and then tried parish ministry for five years. When this was not satisfactory, he joined the experiment in communal living at Brook Farm where he gave piano lessons, helped farm the land and wrote about music. “Music, more than anything else embodied for him the possibility of harmony for mankind.” Great music was to elevate and refine “out [our] crude and swaggering democratic culture.” (Op. cit., 3) After his wife’s death in 1860, he took up residence in the Harvard Musical Association building-this group had been the main backer for his publication, and he served as the group’s President and Librarian for many years. He died there in 1893, just four months after his eightieth birthday.


A notice in the Salem Register in April 1859 would seem to indicate that father Benjamin, and son B, J, had gone into business together. “Messrs. Lang’s New Music Rooms, in the Downing Block, are worth a visit. They are spacious, pleasant, handsomely furnished, convenient in every respect, and admirably adapted for musical purposes. The lofty ceiling and general construction of the rooms, when thrown into one, are highly favorable for good acoustic qualities, and must give a charming effect to a properly arranged Chamber Concert, as well as aid greatly in developing the qualities of Chickering’s celebrated pianos, of which there are several in the apartment.-See advertisement of Messrs. B. & B. J. Lang, for the purposes to which their elegant quarters are devoted.” (Salem Register (April 7, 1859): 2, GB)


Johnston Collection.

Lang was to be part of two organ projects for Boston churches within five years. At Old South, a three-manual instrument of 22 stops by the English builder Thomas Eliot installed in 1822 seemed not to please Lang. “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 35 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) On November 30, 1861 at a “Private Concert” held at Old South 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)


Upper card-organ removed. It was then a museum. Lower card-organ in the right balcony. Box pews reflect its use as a church. Johnston Collection.



Carl Zerrahn, Photo Card by WARREN of Cambridgeport. On the back someone has written that Zerrahn was “among many artist who emigrated to U. S. after Revolution of 1848 in Germany.” Johnston Collection.

Working with Carl Zerrahn probably led to Lang’s next major professional appointment, organist for the Handel and Haydn Society which Zerrahn conducted. B. J. began his long association with this choir (as organist from October 1859 until June 1895: as conductor from June 1895 until May 1897) 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.” He seems to have gotten off to a positive start as in was noted that later in that first season “The organ voluntaries of the young new incumbent Mr. Lang, were well chosen and effective.” (Perkins/Dwight, History, 194) Dwight had made this same comment originally: “The organ voluntaries during the assembling of the singers, by Mr. B. J. Lang, were well chosen and effective. But is it not rather a questionable custom, this of preluding to an overture with a whole long oratorio at its heals. Is it not a cloying superfluity? (Dwight (December 31, 1859): 319) In February 1860 the Society was part of “Mr. Zerrahn third Symphony Concert, singing in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasia, of which Mr. Lang plays the pianoforte part.” (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, accessed November 26, 2010, 1)

File:Boston music hall.jpgMusic Hall when first opened. Wikipedia, accessed January 12, 2017.

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)

“Ladies Fair for the Poor at [the] Music Hall March 8, 1858” Front of the Hall to the left. This view shows the sides of the room and the side and rear balconies.

CARL ZERRAHN. (July 28, 1826, Malchow, Germany: Dec. 29, 1909, Milton, Mass.)

Carl Zerrahn, Grove’s 1921 Vol. T – Z,  594.

The careers of Lang and Zerrahn ran parallel and intersected for thirty-five years. “In 1855-63 he conducted one of the several orchestras in Boston known by the name Philharmonia, and was practically the only leader of the concerts of the Harvard Musical Association in 1865-82. In addition to his work as conductor of the Handel and Haydn Society (elected conductor in August 1854) and of the Worcester Festivals, he was for many years in charge of the Salem Oratorio Society and other smaller organizations. At the second Peace Jubilee (1872) he led the chorus of 20,000. He was also a teacher of singing, harmony and composition at the New England Conservatory. In all these ways he left a significant impress upon the development of American choral music.” (Pratt, 410-11) Sablosky adds that he taught at the New England Conservatory until 1898, and that his tenure with the Worcester Festival was from 1866-1897. (Sablosky 306)

At the height of Zerrahn’s career, in the early 1880s when he was fifty-five years old, his rehearsal schedule included seven evenings of choral groups: Handel and Haydn, Boston; Festival Association Chorus, Worcester; Oratorio Society, Salem; Choral Union, Lynn; Choral Union, Lowell; Beethoven Society, Tauton; and Choral Union, Exeter, N. H. During the day he did the rehearsals and concerts for the Harvard Musical Association; taught conducting, harmony, counterpoint, etc. at the New England Conservatory; and taught private pupils. This was his regular schedule-he often was off conducting a special festival! “It might be supposed that such a multiplicity of care, too much for an ordinary man, would leave no leisure for study…He thoroughly enjoys hard work, and thrives on an amount that would break down any common man.” (Musical Herald (December 1881): 264)

“But nothing could fluster Mr. Zerrahn; I never saw him lose his head, nor any performance come to grief under his baton. And, with the orchestral material and few rehearsals of those days, things were on the verge of coming to grief pretty often.” (Swan-Apthorp, 73) Apthorp continued with examples. “At one of the Handel and Haydn festivals (I think the first one, the demi-centennial), the then famous boy soprano, Richard Coker, sang [a Meyerbeer aria] at an afternoon concert. His father accompanied him on the pianoforte. When the air was about half through, Coker Sr. discovered to his dismay that the remaining sheets of the music were missing; Mr. Zerrahn immediately sprang to the conductor’s desk, waved his baton, and the rest of the air was accompanied from memory by the orchestra.” (Ibid)

“I remember another instance of Mr. Zerrahn presence of mind. It was at a performance of Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise by the Handel and Haydn. The tenor had just finished that air with the incomprehensible words, ending with the oft-repeated question: ‘Watchman, will the night soon pass?’ In reply to this, the soprano should strike in unaccompanied in D major, with  ‘The night is departing,’ twice repeated, the woodwind coming in piano on the second ‘departing,’ and the whole orchestra fortissimo on the last syllable. On this occasion, the soprano was standing a little farther forward on the stage than Mr. Zerrahn; so she could not see his beat without turning her head. She struck in bravely with her  ‘The night is departing,’ but unfortunately not in D major—it was fairly and squarely in C major, a whole tone flat. A shutter ran through the orchestra and a good part of the audience; what was Mr. Zerrahn to do with the ensuing D major? His mind was made up in a second; he motioned to the wood-wind not to come in with their chords, and patiently waited for the hapless soprano to finish her phrase, and then let the orchestra come in with its D major fortissimo afterwards, instead of on the last syllable. But now came one of the most comical tugs of war I have ever witnessed between singer and conductor. Of course the soprano was entirely unconscious of having made a mistake; so, not hearing the usual 6-4 chord on her second ‘departing,’ she evidently thought the wind-players had counted their rests wrong, and held her high G (which ought to have been an A) with a persistency worthy of a better cause, to give them a chance to catch up with her. She held that G on and on, looking as if she would burst; but still no 6-4 chord. Mr. Zerrahn waited imperturbably with his baton expectantly raised. At last-it seemed like hours-human lungs could hold out no longer, and the breathless soprano landed panting with her final ‘ting’ on C-natural, amid a deathlike silence of orchestra and chorus. You could have heard a pin drop. Just as she was turning round to see why she had been thus left in the lurch by the accompaniment, Mr. Zerrahn baton came down with a swish, and the orchestra thundered out its D major.” (Apthorp (BSO Program-March 6 and 7, 1896): 595-598)


The Boston Musical Times reported in its issue dated February 25, 1860 that a “Complimentary Concert” was to be given: “Mr. B.J. Lang will be complimented and benefited by the concert to be given this evening, in the new Bumstead Hall (the room under the Music Hall), for which the Mendelssohn Quintette Club, Mrs. J. H. Long, Mr. Wetherbee and Messrs. Dresel, Parker and Leonhard, have volunteered their assistance as a farewell testimonial, prior to his departure for Europe, of the esteem in which he is held by them. Such an array of talent, introduced in a highly judicious programme, induces us to anticipate one of the most gratifying musical entertainments of the season.

In common with all who know him, we entertain for Mr. Lang, personally, a cordial regard; while his ability and success as a pianist-marvelous in one so young-achieved by unremitting industry impelled by inherent genius-entitle him to the respectful consideration of most cultivated connoisseurs.

Mr. Lang intends to pursue his studies in Europe during the coming summer, and we indulge no shadow of doubt that an appreciating public will present him to-night such a manifestation of their confidence in his future as will fill many an hour with cheering and happy memories of his distant home.”(BMT (February 25, 1860): 37)

Dwight’s review stated: “The Compliment to this young artist, on Saturday evening, previous to his departure for Europe, was general, hearty, and substantial. The new Hall in Bumstead Place was fuller than it has ever been… 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…In his own person Mr. Lang, besides taking the upper part at one of the two pianos in the eight-hand pieces, gave us in the first place an excellent rendering of the two movements from Mendelssohn’s piano and violoncello Sonata, admirably supported by Wulf Fries…We hear that Mr. Lang is also to receive a Complimentary Concert in his native place, Salem. With all these expressions of interest, and good wishes, which we certainly share, he will go abroad with hope and high artistic purpose strengthened.” (Dwight (March 31, 1860) 6 and 7) This reflects the high esteem shown by Lang’s fellow Boston musicians-he had certainly achieved much in the two years since his arrival back in Boston from his European studies.

Courtesy of the Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA.

Here we have an early Lang composition, Polka de Salon, “Alice.” Who was Alice?


On April 11, 1860 Lang applied for a passport that described him as:

Age – 22; Stature – 5’7″; Forehead – high; Eyes – blue; Nose – large; Mouth – medium; Chin – short; Hair – light brown; Complexion – light, and Face – oval. His signature is quite legible with a flowing style. (Passport Application from

Lang left during the first week of May on the steamer CANADA (side-wheeler) with Mr. Silas A. Bancroft (1823-1886) (BMT (May 19, 1860): 103). The officer in charge was Capt. Lang! (Transcript (May 16, 1860): 2, GB) Mr. Bancroft, born in Boston on April 14, 1823 was the son of a merchant and his mother traced her lineage back to one of the Mayflower passengers. “As his father was comfortably well off, Silas did not have the incentive to work very hard…still he was for over thirty years one of the prominent organists of the new England metropolis.” (Metcalf, 294-295) In 1860 he was just finishing as organist for the Mount Vernon Congregational Church, and soon after this European trip he became organist for Emmanuel Church where he served for over twenty years. He died on November 18, 1886. (Ibid) Frances noted in her diary that it was a dangerous voyage with great storms. She also noted that she had her head shaved while B. J. was away and wore caps. (Diary Excerpts, 1)

The following was transcribed from B. J.’s Diary (which is not in the BPL Rare Book collection) and covers the summer of 1860.


Copy provided by Fletcher DuBois.

In September Lang returned from Europe. (Dwight (Oct. 6, 1860): 221) A “Mr. B. J. Lang, Professor, aged 30” arrived in Boston from Liverpool on the AMERICA, a ship of 984 tons, September 10, 1860. (Boston Passenger and Crew Lists, 1823-1943 and America Manifest) The Boston Musical Times of September 20, 1860 reported that: “The many friends of Mr. B.J. Lang, the young pianist will be glad to learn that he has returned from his European tour, in excellent health; and that he is prepared to resume the duties of his profession with renewed vigor. Mr. Lang has, during his absence, listened to some of the finest pianism of the first masters of our time, and we doubt not that his eager mind will infuse into his own teachings, some of those sweet influences, which none can appreciate so fully as a pianist like himself.” (BMT (Sept. 20, 1860): 249) Dwight printed that “Mr. B. J. Lang has returned from a tour in Europe, which we doubt not has passed both agreeably and profitably to himself. His many friends are glad to welcome him home again.” (Dwight (October 6, 1860): 221) Not bad for one whose career was only two years old. A year later Lang was advertising in the Transcript (August 31, 1861): 3, GB). Bullfinch was his bachelor address. Two

years later he could add the Old South Church and the Handel and Haydn Society to his ad, and he could be reached through Chickering & Sons. Now his residence address was Edinboro Street, which was that of the Burrage family. Lang and Frances Burrage had been married in 1861 and moved in with her family. It would be a number of years before they could afford their own home. There was no mention of the fee in this 1863 ad. By 1864 all of his business was conducted through Chcikering & Son.


Provided by the Galacar family.

The letter makes reference to a number of people in Lang’s life. His sister Etta: “She cares for nothing but herself, and a young gentleman that we have no interest in: but I hope for the best.” He and his friend, Mr. Bancroft, who was traveling with him in Europe, had a parting of the ways. Bancroft is a childhood friend, probably also an organist, who is mentioned in Lang’s Diary c. 1854.  Fanny B[urrage], Lang’ future wife, “is going to spend a time, the last week of this month with us. I hope she will enjoy herself; I shall do the best I can to make her time pass pleasantly.” Lang asked his mother about the possiblity of presenting three concerts in Salem, and her answer, with some words changed, could easily be written today. “Glorius music in Salem, with few exceptions, is casting pearls before swine…a first class Concert will not pay the expenses.” Her final wish reflected her religious beliefs: I “leave you in the care of that being who watches the sparrows fall.”


       The Boston Athenaeum has a number of autographs that Lang collected beginning in 1859.

(1) The earliest dated autograph is a four-measure musical excerpt dated March 7, 1859. There is no signature, but instead the phrase “Amitie pour Amitie.”                                                                                                                                       (2) There is one dated Berlin, 20 Juli 1860 from Hans von Bulow which also has a four-measure musical excerpt in ¾ time marked Vivace.                                                                                                                                          (3) The date of another is 16th. October 1860 with the signature of Robert Leitch (?) with a note “Commander of the ‘Connaught’ ship ——–.”                                                                                                                                  (4) The English singer Simms Reeves signed London June 25, 1860 and added the first three measures of Handel’s “Sound an alarm.”                                                                                                                                             (5) Edward Everett signed Marlboro 9 March 1860 and included a four-line poem.                                                                                                                                           (6) Alexander Wheelock Thayer signed on May 13, 1880 and included a six-line poem.                                                                                                                                   (7) J. Massenet signed with a four-line inscription-undated.                                                                                                                                   (8) Anton Seidl sent a note dated New York March 13, 1893 saying that the date that Lang had proposed for his rehearsal would not interfere with any rehearsal of his.                                                                                                                       (9) There are two long letters from Templeton Strong. (a.) the first dated September 15, 18—asks if Lang would be willing to look at a new piece for men’s choir and orchestra. He also asks Lang to show the manuscript to Mr. Schmidt with the idea that it might be published before the premier. (b) The second is a P. S. to the first lesson where he gives detailed instructions concerning the more difficult sections. Since he was sending the only score to Lang, he felt that he should include this P. S. as he might forget important details if he tried to write this at a later date.                                     (10) A note signed by Booker T. Washington saying that he was also sending a copy of the latest Annual Report to the Board of Trustees of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute which he hoped “will interest you.”  (11) A one-phrase from B. J. to his daughter Margaret: “I (hope?) God will bless and (keep you?) every possible good Margaret Ruthven Lang, is the fervent prayer of her proud and loving father B. J. Lang.” Dated Boston, ???. 2(?) 86.  (11) A one-phrase from B. J. to his daughter Margaret: “I (hope?) God will bless and (keep you?) every possible good Margaret Ruthven Lang, is the fervent prayer of her proud and loving father B. J. Lang.” Dated Boston, ???. 2(?) 86.                                                                                                                                       (12) A note from George Chadwick dated February 22, 1888 where he invites her to his house for a lesson. Based on the wording, it would seem that this was her first lesson with him.                                                                                                                                                     (13) A short note from Arthur Nikisch just dated Tuesday saying that there is a rule not allowing people into the rehearsals of the BSO.  But, he adds, what is a rule if exceptions can’t be made?  “therefore if you wish to come to our rehearsals tomorrow and Thursday, you will be admitted with the greatest pleasure. The piece will be played on both mornings at about 10 o’clock.” These would have been the rehearsals for her Dramatic Overture which premiered on April 8, 1893. This was important because it was the first orchestral piece by a woman composer played by an American orchestra.


Lang’s first conductorship of a male voice choir was with a group he organized in Salem in 1860. Known “under the name of the Amphions, rehearsals were held weekly at Mr. Lang’s room [his father’s music shop]. The first and only concert was given at Mechanic Hall, April 18, 1861. There were twenty singing members and a roll of honorary members. Much of the music used by the club by Mr. Lang selected while in Europe. The Amphions assisted the Mendelssohn Quintette Club at a concert in Salem and were invited to take part in a series of classical concerts in Boston.” (Whipple, 121) The Salem Register late in January 1861 announced “the Salem public is to be regaled by a first-class concert by the very best talent. Mr. B. J. Lang, our townsman, deservedly eminent as a Pianist-everybody knows that-announces” a concert with the Mendelssohn Quintette Club and the “Amphions of this city-a new musical association, not yet known to fame, but soon to become so-consisting of twelve gentlemen of Salem, who, under the instruction of Mr. Lang, have been practicing Mendelssohn’s celebrated Four-Part Songs.” (Salem Register (January 28, 1861): 2, GB) No date for the concert was given, but as twelve singers were mentioned for this concert and as Whipple mentioned twenty singers, there may have been two concerts. Another Salem paper announced this concert as being the Thursday evening next. Not only were the Mendelssohn Quintette Club and the Amphions to perform, but also Miss Lang. (Salem Observer (January 26, 1861): 2, GB) The Civil War “thinned the ranks of the organization and it was dissolved in 1862.” (Whipple, Op. cit.)

Courtesy of the Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA.

Almost the same program was repeated just over a week later on Wednesday, May 1st. at a “Grand Concert In Aid of the Families of Our Volunteer Soldiers.” The same performers appeared, but Miss Adams sang Viva la America by Millard instead of an English Ballard, and Lang’s Grand Piano Fantaisie was on America rather than themes from an opera.  Neither program identified the theme for Lang’s Grand Transcription for [the] Left Hand Alone. (Programs from the Phillips Library)

The Civil War “thinned the ranks of the organization and it was dissolved in 1862.” (Whipple, Op. cit.)


On October 1, 1860 Chickering & Sons “transferred the Agency for the sale of our PIANO FORTES from Mr. Benjamin Lang to Mr. B. J. Lang, who will hereafter represent us and attend to our interests, at his Warerooms in the Downing Block. It affords us a more than common pleasure to recommend Mr. Lang to our numerous friends and the citizens of Salem, as a gentleman possessing unusually fine qualifications for the purchasing and selection of Pianos, and we can assure them that Sales made through can be depended upon, and will be guaranteed as strongly as though obtained directly from the Establishment in Boston.” (Salem Register (October 29, 1860): 2, GB)


On October 10, 1861, when he was 23, B. J. married Frances Morse Burrage (Dec. 18, 1839-Oct. 15, 1934) who was two years younger than he. “Benjamin Johnson Lang did, in fact, marry into the upper class. His wife, Frances Burrage, came from an upper-class family,” (Blunsom, 28) and they were listed in the Social Register of Boston. Blunsom, using material from Frances Lang’s Diaries, describes her: “Frances Lang was not merely a housewife. Like most upper class women, she was involved in a variety of cultural and charitable endeavors: the Browning Society, Mrs. Fields’ Dante Club, a literary club called Uncut Leaves, and visiting the incurables. Moreover, she was steeped in Boston’s musical life: hosting receptions for visiting musicians, attending rehearsals of her husband and daughter, going to concerts almost every night. Indeed, Frances Lang was an accomplished musician in her own right, having studied with B. J. Lang before their marriage and at times being asked to critique young singers.” (Blunsom, 55)

B.J. had known Frances for ten years before their marriage as he had taught her piano beginning in August 1851-there is a letter dated Aug. 16, 1851 to Mrs. Burrage stating that he will contact her soon about lessons (Ms. Lang, Vol. 24, 2c). If this dating were correct, he would have been 14. However, an entry in his Diary mentions that he began teaching Frances in January of 1855. (Diary, January 4, 1855) A signed receipt from B. J. dated Oct. 7, 1855 lists six pieces “Miss Fanny Burrage” he was buying for her lessons, and this may reflect his teaching style. There were Mazurkas by Chopin and Henselt, a polka by Dodworth, and three other pieces with no composer named which added up to $2.63. This would probably be the repertoire for one-quarter of study as it matches another bill dated Oct. 20, 1858 that charged $20 for instruction and $2 for etudes and music. (Ms. Lang, Box 27, Folder 24, No. 4) Margaret wrote the following about her mother’s first piano lesson. “At the first lesson she said: ‘Mr. Lang I want to say two things. First-I will not practice, second, I shall never play anything which has more than four sharps!’ Mr. Lang was 20 at this time and well-known as a teacher.” (Ms. Lang, Vol 24, No. 2) These two receipts bookend Lang’s study time in Europe that is always listed as 1855 to 1858. The Oct. 7, 1855 receipt implies that B. J. planned to teach Frances for the Fall Quarter of October/November/December while the Oct. 20, 1858 receipt shows that he immediately resumed lessons with Frances upon his return from Europe. What made B. J. leave for Europe so impetuously, and more important, how was this time in Europe financed?

Frances’s parents were Johnson Carter Burrage and Emeline Brigham Burrage. In the 1850 Census, the Burrage family was listed as Johnson Burrage, aged 34, Emeline Burrage, aged 35, Frances, aged 9, Edward, aged 8, Hubert, aged 4, and Helen, aged 2 with two servants. Mr. Burrage was listed as a merchant with a value of real estate owned of $40,000. In comparison, in the same year B. J.’s father was listed as a music teacher with a value of real estate owned of $3,000.( 1850 Census) Frances was well-regarded as a singer though she never became a professional. Their three surviving children inherited their musical aptitudes: the first child, Harry, “died in infancy while B. J. and Frances were in Europe.”(DuBois e-mail, May 21, 2006) The child’s full name was Harry Allston Lang, and he had been born in Boston on October 4, 1864 and he died in August 1866 in Hingham, Massachusetts.(New Boston Town History no. 199, February 11, 1914) The first surviving child was Margaret Ruthven Lang, born in Boston (Nov. 27, 1867 – May 30, 1972) and known primarily as a composer; next was Rosamond Lang Galacar also born in Boston (Feb. 6, 1878 – Aug. 11, 1971) who was regarded as a brilliant sight-reader at the piano; and finally, Malcolm Burrage Lang born in Lynn, MA. (June 14, 1881 – Mar. 7, 1972), known as a pianist and organist. Mrs. Lang

FrancesBurrageLangFrances in 1922.

passed her musical and longevity genes on to her children: she died at age 94, and Margaret at 104, Rosamond at 93, and Malcolm at 90: all three children died within ten months of each other.

Brimmer Street, just above the “Public Garden” and to the right of “Union Boat Club.” The Lang home at No. 8, was just above the word “St.” and on the right. Walker’s 1883 Map of Boston, BPL Collection, Wikepedia, August 8, 2013.


Life in the B. J.’s household as described by his daughter Margaret was very regimented. “My father’s breakfast was the same every morning. We couldn’t keep cooks very long. Breakfast, and it had to be prepared to father’s specifications, was cold cracked wheat in a mold and a corn bread. Then he would walk across the Public garden to his studio on Newbury St.” (Miller, Globe article). Another aspect of B. J’s character is shown by the story related by the singer and composer, Clara Kathleen Rogers: “It was well-known to all his friends, and set down to his credit, that Lang had never taken a stimulant of any kind-that his one and only dissipation was ice-cream, which brings to mind a certain evening at our house when Anton Seidl, the Conductor of the Metropolitan Opera, and Krebhiel, the famous critic, had been dining with us after an afternoon lecture on Wagner, delivered by Krebhiel, with musical illustrations by Seidl. We had invited a score or so of musical friends to meet them after dinner, when we improvised a little music, consisting largely of Wagner’s songs, in which Seidl accompanied me. I had arranged on this particular occasion to have light refreshments served upstairs instead of descending to the dining room for supper, and orders were given to serve them punctually at half past ten. At this not very opportune moment some unaccountable impulse seized on Seidl to seat himself at the piano, — under the spell of Wagner — and play excerpts from Parsifal, which proved to be quite lengthy! A halt was called to the handing around of the ices, and there sat Mr. Lang, at that particular moment more interested in ice cream than Parsifal, with his eyes tragically fixed on those frozen works of art gradually melting into a rainbow-tinted liquid! Poor Lang! Like unto the ices my heart melted to him.” (Rogers (Two Lives ): 147-148)


On January 30, 1862 Lang conducted the First Boston performance of Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise at Old South Church using only an organ four-hand accompaniment. He had organized a choir of quartet singers totaling sixteen singers from various (unnamed) churches [the Transcript article of April 13, 1907 expanded it to “twenty-eight or thirty voices]; the soloist was the bass J. Q. Wetherbee. Dwight reported “The Hymn of Praise without an orchestra loses much; especially the introductory Symphony, a long instrumental work of several movements, which was represented by a four-hand arrangement for the organ, in playing which Mr. Lang was assisted by Mr. J. C. D. Parker. It was played well, but for want of other instruments, violins especially, proved tame and tedious. The choruses were all remarkably well sung by the small but effective choir of four voices on a part, and the accompaniments were very skillfully suggested —to say the least—by Mr. Lang’s combinations of the organ stops, and such treatment in whole and in detail as showed thorough study of the music. There was some excellent solo singing too… Before the Hymn a short miscellaneous First Part was given. (Dwight (February 8, 1862): 358) This First Part included Fest Fantasy on a theme of Haydn (for organ) by Koehler, a bass song by Mr. Wetherbee, and Andante from the Fifth Symphony by Beethoven. Probably the performance of the Mendelssohn given a month later, March 1, 1862, by the Handel and Haydn Society “with the entire Philharmonic Orchestra” in “Commemoration of the recent NATIONAL VICTORIES” was at Lang’s suggestion. Lang had said on various occasions that “a performance of a work, otherwise than according to the full original score, ought never to go on record as a performance. (Transcript, Op. cit) therefore the writer of this memorial article, following Lang’s “principle.” did not consider this a Boston premier “as it was given on this occasion with only organ accompaniment.” (Ibid) Everyone else lists it as the Boston premier!


In 1862 Walker, Wise and Co. published Youthful Voices: A Collection of Hymns and Tunes For the use of Sunday Schools for the Committee of the Boston Sunday School Teachers Institute. It contained 102 different tunes and the “Music [was] edited by Benjamin J. Lang.” The Preface said that this book “contains little that is new, but has not been prepared without much pains-taking labor. The depositories of Sunday School books and papers have been carefully researched, as well as every attainable collection of Sacred Music. A large body of secular music has also been explored and brought into service, when it could be used without introducing disturbing associations; and it is believed that all of the hymns and tunes finally chosen, possess some fitness for the purpose for which they were taken.” There were indexes of tune names and first lines, but no listings of composers or authors. However, it is possible that Frances contributed four tunes. Frances was not named in full, but one citation was “F. M. L.,” her married name- Frances Morse Lang. (Copy in Johnston Collection) This collection was a second collection that Lang and Sullivan had together worked on. In 1856, Bible Songs, by Marion Dix Sullivan, harmonized by Mr. J. B. [sic] Lang, organist, Salem, Mass. was published by a firm in Boston. It is a smaller collection, and it seems that none of these first songs were used in the 1862 collection. (Phillips Library)


B. J. Lang made his first real appearance as a conductor with the first Boston performance of Mendelssohn’s First Walpurgis Night with chorus, soloists, and orchestra on Saturday evening, May 3, 1862 at Boston’s Music Hall; he was now 24. As the work was not known in the city, he presented it twice at the same concert. Pre-concert publicity was good. In early April under “Musical Gossip,” the Boston Musical Times printed this notice: “Mr. B. J. Lang, our excellent young pianist, has undertaken a ‘labor of love,’ for which he is deserving the highest commendation. It is the public performance of Mendelssohn’s splendid composition, Walpurgis Nacht. Mr. Lang has gathered together a carefully selected choir of 100 voices, and a full orchestra, and we may confidently expect the first performance in Boston of this work will be most excellent.” (BMT (April 5, 1862): 19) Lang wrote in the program book: “The enthusiasm which a performance of The First Walpurgis Night has invariably created among musicians, the interest it awakens among the most careless concert goers, and the fact that this beautiful composition has never been heard in Boston before form the only apology Mr. Lang can offer for giving two entire performance of it on the same evening. He ventures on this unprecedented step confident that it is amply justified by the novelty and beauty of the music.” (Fox, Lang Papers, 6) The program listed “A Grand Orchestra, a Select Chorus of 150 voices.” The soloists were “Mrs. Kempton, Mr. S. W. Langmaid, Mr. W. H. Wadleigh, Mr. J. Q. Wetherbee, and Mr. Ryder.” The program began with the new work, then a Grand Duo on Themes from Norma by Thalberg for two pianofortes played by Lang and his pupil, Miss Mary Fay. Then there was the Overture to Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream Music and the concert ended with the repeat of First Walpurgis Night. This idea of repeating a new work in the same concert “has since been adopted on several occasions, and always with excellent results, by Henry Leslie, Hans von Bulow and others.” (Transcript, April 13, 1907)

Dwight’s review reported: “The Music Hall appeared filled, and with such an audience as only the expectation of something really fresh and good could have called out-those who respond only to best appeals… The second performance naturally was the best, the singers having become more at home in it. The solo singers, especially, improved upon their first trial of their voices in the large hall and in a position rather new to several of them. The chorus of 150 voices, all young, fresh, telling, (with no dummies), and finely balanced, sounded remarkably well throughout, and was always up to the mark. We have seldom heard so fine a body of soprani and contralti in any of our Oratorio or choral performances. It shows that counting up voices by hundreds is not much use unless they are effective; 150 effective ones are more to the purpose than twice their number as we sometimes hear them. The orchestra did its work well in the exceedingly ingenious, descriptive, difficult accompaniments; and Mr. Lang himself, the youthful conductor, appeared very well at ease and master of his position, new to him as the position was. There was unity of design, rightly conceived, and carried through with energy, in this somewhat bold enterprise of his; and the result was in the highest degree creditable to him… His conductorship, however, was remarkable for a beginning. Practice will bring more self-possession, and more liberty to pay regard to light and shade. Everybody came away thanking Mr. Lang, for a rich evening and a fresh experience.” (Dwight (May 10, 1862) 46) Twelve years later Lang used the same work for the debut concert on November 19, 1874 of the newly formed Cecilia choir in its inaugural season as the choral adjunct to the Harvard Musical Association. 


The early 1860s saw a low point in the finances of the Handel and Haydn 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) 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.” (Ibid)



Johnston Collection.

In the fall of 1862 Louis Moreau Gottschalk hired Lang to perform with him. Gottschalk was so impressed with Lang’s playing that he included him as a “collaborator for a series of twenty concerts, in which compositions for two pianos were the features.” (Transcript, May 9, 1909) The connection between Gottschalk and Lang was possibly made by Lang’s early piano teacher, Francis G. Hill, who was a friend of Gottschalk (see letters from Gottschalk to Hill in Notes of a Pianist). These concerts were part of an incredible tour for Gottschalk beginning in New York City in February 1862 and ending in California in September 1865 during which he “estimated that he had given some 1,100 American recitals and traveled some 95,000 miles. During this time he did more than any other American musician to obliterate the line between high and popular art. (New Grove article by Irving Lowens and S. Frederick Starr, 200).     

The Boston Musical Times announced the coming concerts in this manner: “Gottschalk is coming at last. His concerts will commence on the 17th. How he has been prevailed upon to break his self-imposed barrier of hate of Boston, we do not know nor care; but can only congratulate him on his good sense in doing so. We doubt not that he will be received in the most friendly manner, and add a large ‘Boston quota’ to his already immense list of admirers-particularly among the gentler sex.” (BMT (October 4, 1862): 118) This hatred of Boston was probably based on his appearances nine years before where “he imagined he was received with unaccountable coldness.” (BMT (November 1, 1862): 134) In October 1862 Dwight wrote an extensive article about “Gottschalk’s Concerts” in the middle of the five concerts that the pianist had announced. The article did acknowledge that Gottschalk was a fine pianist: his “touch is the most remarkable we ever heard; in power, in fineness, in free vibratory singing quality it leaves nothing to be desired.” (Dwight (October 18, 1862): 231) Then Dwight reviewed Gottschalk’s compositions using phrases such as “fine finger tricks…a freak…jack o’lantern freaks in it.” Dwight wrote of the William Tell Overture arranged for two pianos with Lang at the one piano playing the original parts and Gottschalk at the other piano “now trilling and twiddlidg, with senseless, painful repetition, in those piccolo octaves, now startling by a tremendous rush upon the lowest bass-and this was the arrangement! …Our excellent pianist, Mr. Lang, we pitied him.”(Ibid)                               

However, not all agreed with Dwight. After a tepid response to the first concert, Gottschalk’s success was so great during this October series of concerts that “Chickering’s Hall was found to be too small for the increasing numbers, and the Melodean was secured, and this spacious [Music] Hall could not accommodate the audience at the last concert. (Ibid) The announcement for the Boston “Second Grand Concert” on Monday Oct. 11, 1862 included the phrases, “Mr. B. J. Lang, The Distinguished Pianist, has consented to assist Mr. Gottschalk in this Concert.” They ended the concert with Gottschalk’s four-hand version of Ojos Criollos; earlier they had played his Marche Funebre. During the first part of the concert they played Grand Duet from William Tell as arranged by Gottschalk. Miss Caliste Huntley and Mr. J. Eichberg, violinist, were also assisting artists. Tickets were $1. The announcement for Gottschalk’s ‘Most Positively Last Concert in Boston’ on Saturday, Oct. 18, 1862 (which had to be moved to the Melodean Theater in order to accommodate the expected crowds with reserved seats at 75 cents and unreserved seats at 50 cents), also said “Mr. B. J. Lang, The Distinguished Pianist, has consented to assist Mr. Gottschalk in his Last Concert.” They performed the Duette di Bravura on Themes from Trovatore for two pianos that had been originally composed for performance with Mr. Sigismond Thalberg, and which was “performed with immense success, for the first time in New York on the 25th. of December, 1856. Mr. Lang will perform that which was played by Mr. Thalberg.” (HMA Program Collection) Doyle quotes the New York Times critic describing the piece: “The fourth piece on the programme was the great attraction of the evening… a grand duet on themes from Il Trovatore, composed expressly for this occasion (Dec. 26, 1856) by Mr. Gottschalk and performed by that gentleman and Mr. Thalberg. Bravura pieces of this kind do not invite criticism. They are written for a certain purpose, and the test of their excellence is the success they achieve. Judged by that standard Mr. Gottschalk’s duet is an extraordinary production. The Audience was electrified with it, and, notwithstanding its length and difficulty, demanded an encore.” (Doyle, 302 and 303)

The Chicago critic George P. Upton described Gottschalk as having “an extremely delicate touch, and a singing quality which I have never heard excelled. And yet he had great power when it was needed, for he was a very strong man, notwithstanding his delicate appearance. Personally he was very fascinating. He had beautiful hands, and was as vain of them as Artemus Ward used to be of his. He had a fastidious way of encasing them in the most immaculate of gloves, which it took him some time to remove before he began to play. This was not an affectation, as many thought. He said it gave him time to compose himself and get at ease. As he was very shy, he did not make many intimate friends.”(Upton, 77 and 78)  When Upton asked him about his repertoire choices, Gottschalk reply was that “the dear public don’t want to hear me play it [classical repertoire]. People would rather hear” my own pieces. “Besides, there are plenty of pianists who can play that music as well or better than I can, but none of them can play my music half so well as I can. And what difference will it make a thousand years hence, anyway?” (Ibid)

The success of these first Boston concerts led to a repeat set the next month, and we find an announcement for Saturday, Nov. 15, 1862 saying that “In consequence of the crowded state of the Hall at the Concert on Wednesday Evening, and the large number of persons who were unable to gain admittance,” Mr. Gottschalk will give “One More concert.” The soprano Miss Carlotta Patti and B. J. were the assisting artists with Mr. S. Behrens listed as Musical Director and Conductor; the Duett di Bravura was included again. Gottschalk’s Notes of a Pianist mentions further concerts in Boston. “November 30-Concert at Boston. Very great success… December 2-Concert at Boston. Great success… December 3-Matinee in the “Music Hall” with the grand organ. L___ plays remarkably.” (Gottschalk, 309) One presumes that L___ refers to Lang. Gottschalk appreciated not only the Boston organ, “That glorious monument,” but also its concert halls. “Boston possesses what New York has not yet contained, two concert halls, which are in no wise inferior to any of the largest concert halls in the world, and which, as to acoustics, I consider superior to the best of this continent and of the old world (Tremont Temple and Music Hall).” (Gottschalk, 311) In a letter dated February 26, 1864 he raves that “Boston… is par excellence the aristocratic city. It pretends to be the most intellectual in the United States. It is not to be denied that it has made enormous progress in the sciences and arts. The university at Cambridge is the most celebrated in the United States. Her poets are known the world over. She has for eight years possessed the largest organ in America… Boston has six theaters and three concert halls, two of which can seat thirty-five hundred persons. It is in one of these, the Tremont, that I gave my concerts. It is in my opinion the best for hearing and the most magnificent concert hall in the world. (Tara, From Psalm to Symphony, 112)


On January 1, 1863 Lang (now aged 25) shared with Carl Zerrahn the honor of conducting a concert in celebration of Lincoln’s “Emancipation Proclamation.” The original proclamation had been issued on September 22, 1862, and it declared the freedom of all slaves in any state of the Confederacy that did not return to Union control by January 1, 1863 while the second part of the document listed the specific states which were effected-this second part was issued on January 1, 1863. The “Grand Jubilee Concert” at the Music Hall with “tickets at $1.00, or 50 cents, according to location,” was advertised for 3PM [Dwight says noon], and was in “Honor of the Day! The Proclamation! The Emancipation of the Slave! The Spirit of the Fathers and the Constitution,” with “the proceeds of the sale of tickets to be appropriated to the benefit of the freed slaves, under the auspices of the Educational Commission” among whom were H. W. Longfellow, Edward E. Hale, R. W. Emerson, and O. W. Holmes (Program from the HMA Program Collection). Ralph Waldo Emerson read from one of his own poems which included the line, “God said: I am tired of kings!” (Herald (April 5, 1909): 8, GB)

Dwight recorded more details: “Emerson first read his famous Boston Hymn for prologue; and the music consisted of the Egmont Overture; the solo and chorus from the Hymn of Praise ,”Watchman, will the Night soon pass?” (Mr. Kreissmann, vocal soloist) and the response, ”The Night is Departing,” in which the clear clarion tones of Miss Houston (Mrs. West) made a thrilling impression; Beethoven’s E-flat Concerto, played by Otto Dresel; Dr. Holmes’s Army Hymn, composed for solo [again Mr. Kreissmann] and chorus by Dresel; Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus,” and the overture to William Tell, all music up to the true pitch and sense of the occasion.” (Dwight, History of Boston) Also listed in the program was the chorus “He, watching over Israel” from Elijah and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Lang rehearsed and conducted the choral pieces. “Mr. B. J. Lang threw himself into it [the rehearsals] with fervor, raising, drilling, and leading the choral forces.” (Perkins/Dwight, 207) Obviously the Emancipation Proclamation meant a lot to B. J., as a Lang family story relates that when he heard about the “Proclamation,” he grabbed a boy to pump the organ and rushed into Old South Church where he began to play the Te Deum in celebration. At the same time the minister of the church was ascending the pulpit to recite the Jubilate, his own expression of celebration. (Amy DuBois Interview)



Fisher, 45.

Throughout his career Lang was involved in the development of young talent. Early in 1863 Teresa Carreno, aged nine and originally from Venezuela, had made her Boston debut both as a solo recitalist and also as an orchestra soloist. Carl Zerrahn invited her to play at the second Philharmonic Concert of the season-but the piece requested, Mendelssohn’s Capriccio Brillante was not in her repertoire, and there were only ten days before the concert. Four days before the concert a copy of the music finally arrived from New York-the first rehearsal was set for Friday and the concert for Saturday. She was able to memorize the piece and her performance was well received. Carl Zerrahn hailed her as “the greatest prodigy which the world has known since the days of Mozart,” and he invited her to appear with the Philharmonic again on January 24, 1863. On December 22, 1863 she had celebrated her 10th. birthday with a concert at the Music Hall, which she shared with B. J. at the organ. She had spent the previous months in Cuba practicing and giving concerts, “the result being that she has gained in physical strength, in musical skill and understanding, and has added largely to her repertoire both classical and of the virtuoso kind.” However, in performing a solo piano recital in such a large hall, and alternating with pieces played on the new, large organ, she was putting herself at a great disadvantage. “If therefore under all those drawbacks the young maiden made a fine impression and won plentiful applause, as indeed she did, it was so much the more to her own credit…Mr. Lang’s organ pieces were played in his usual masterly manner, the Pastoral Symphony [Handel] and Freyschutz Overture being loudly and persistently encored, to which he responded in kind, that is by playing again a part of the same, and not something else.” (BMT (January 2, 1864): 6 and 7)

Lahee, Famous Pianists, 303



Baker, Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, 226.

Six months after Gottschalk’s “Farewell to Boston Concerts,” he returned! in order to stimulate excitement, he advertised a bigger and better program. For his “Grand Sacred Concert” on Sunday May 10, 1863 held at the Boston Theater the Bretto Brothers were the featured performers. Bernard, a violinist aged eleven and his brother, Richard, a cornetist aged seven were given top billing with Lang having second billing. In fact the playbill looked like a circus announcement listing all the various acts in many different typefaces and sizes! “Mr. Gottschalk himself comes to us flushed with recent fresh triumphs in New York, where at Irving Hall, he has given concert after concert, to large and critical audiences. It is delightful to know that he will introduce some of his new compositions never before performed in Boston.” (BMT (May 2, 1863): 37) The grand finale of this “Grand Concert” was the newly composed Grand March from Tannhauser in Gottschalk’s arrangement for FOUR pianos-the players were: Gottschalk, Lang, G. W. Steele and S. Behrens. An interesting anecdote about this piece was given by the composer himself who related that at a San Francisco performance featuring local amateur pianists: “The most complaisant ear would have hardly been able to distinguish any shreds of Wagner’s theme floating here and there like waifs in the midst of an ocean of false notes, in a deafening storm of continuous pedal (the storm cannot be described), and of the complete wreck of the measure and spirit of the author; it was no longer to be thought of.” (Doyle, 326) However, even greater effects were heard in a Rio de Janeiro performance where thirty-one pianists and two orchestras were used. All that exists of these various scores is only a single piano part, marked Piano C, which is a five-page autograph (Ibid). A notice in the Boston Musical Times stated that the piece “was better fitted for a grand jubilee entertainment than for a sacred concert on a sacred evening…The pianist [Gottschalk] played in his usual showy manner, exciting the admiration of very young ladies and the criticism of connoisseurs.” (BMT (June 6, 1863) The same notice mentioned that three different halls had been used for this cycle of concerts-Tremont Temple, the Boston Theatre, and Chickering’s Hall. Lang received a separate paragraph that equaled one-third of the length of the review: “Mr. B. J. Lang has supported Gottschalk in all his concerts, and though there is less dash and gymnastic exercise, in his fingering and in his manner, his performance on the piano was quite as good. He is a fine artist, conscientious, industrious. A musician who believes in all that is intrinsically most valuable to his art, and does what he can to make it apparent; but he is as modest as he is skillful, and is therefore regarded by the unsophisticated, as a supporter rather than as a star himself. His pianism added much to the excellence of Gottschalk’s entertainments.” (Ibid)

The only sacred aspect of this concert was that it was held on a Sunday. On Friday at 2PM of this same week at Chickering’s Music Hall, a “One Matinee Musicale… Previous to his positive departure for New York” was advertised-tickets were 75 cents. At this May 15th. concert Gottschalk and S. Behrens did Gottschalk’s arrangement of the Overture to William Tell and Gottschalk’s own Reponds Moi (Danse Cubaine, Opus 50), and the concert ended with Lang appearing again for the Duett di Bravura from Trovatore. Gottschalk was certainly affected by Dwight’s attacks on his own compositions. “At one concert, Gottschalk took a delicious revenge on Dwight on behalf of American composers everywhere. He played a work of his own and attributed it to Beethoven in the program, also playing a Beethoven work identified as his own; Dwight, predictably, praised the ”Beethoven” composition and lambasted Gottschalk’s music for its ”amateurish inanities.” Afterwards, Gottschalk wrote to Dwight to apologize for the unfortunate error.” (Gann, Internet article, accessed November 3, 2011)

To his audience, Gottschalk “became romance personified. His love affairs were pleasant scandal over the teacups, the envy of the most fastidious debutantes. New York delighted in his mannerisms, and applauded wildly when he seated himself at the piano, lazily drawing off .his glove and running his fingers over the keyboard in prelude, as if dusting it. He had a melancholy air a little at odds with the trimly pointed mustache and an impeccably tailored suit, and he was apt to play with his head thrown back-and often with a cigar in his mouth-nonchalantly pretending to be alone with himself, to the hysterical joy of the listeners he treated so highhandedly.” (Milinowski, 28 and 29)

Eight months later on Monday, February 29, 1864 Gottschalk announced “His Second and Last Farewell Concert Prior to his Positive Departure for Europe.” B. J. was again part of the program with the Duett di  Bravura. Based on the programs in the Lang Scrapbooks, this concert seems to be the last Boston appearance that Gottschalk gave that included Lang. Dwight noted in his March 19 edition that “Gottschalk, aided by Mme. D’Angri, the contralto, has given two ‘farewell’ concerts, and has come back and clinched them with two more.” (Dwight (March 19, 1864): 207) In June 1864 Gottschalk wrote a letter to the Home Journal that was reprinted by the Boston Musical Times: “In the month of June I gave thirty-three concerts in twenty-six days. In fourteen months, during which I was off duty only fifty days, I gave more than four hundred, and traveled by railroad and steam nearly eighty thousand miles; while, in a few weeks, I shall have reached my thousandth concert in the United States.” (BMT (June , 1864): 82)


Lang continued to return to his roots in Salem. The local paper wrote before his Salem concert: “Mr. Lang has taken a high rank in the most cultivated musical circles of Boston and the people of his native city should testify their pride in his abilities, industry and accomplishments, by a grand welcome” (Salem Register (April 13, 1863): 2, GB). After the concert the paper wrote: “Mr. L. completely satisfied the audience by the extraordinary skill, taste, and varied power and delicacy of his performance, and fully sustained his reputation as a first class pianist.” (Salem Register (April 16, 1863): 2, GB)


On the same page in the Evening Transcript both Lang and his pupil, R. C. Dixey were advertising their availability as piano teachers. Dixey’s ad appeared ten slots higher than did Lang’s, and both offered piano and organ lessons. Dixey charged $20 per term; Lang listed no specific fee. Dixey listed Lang as one of his four references. Lang’s ad directed students to call at “Chickering & Sons” Pianoforte Rooms, on Mondays or Thursdays, between the hours of eight and five.” (Evening Transcript (November 7, 1863): 1, GB) Thus Lang’s schedule of teaching eight full hours was begun early in his career.

In October of 1862 Lang had placed an ad in the Traveler: “B. J. LANG, Organist of the Old South Church and the Handel and Haydn Society, Teacher of Piano Forte and Organ. Terms $36 per quarter. Those residing in or near the city will be instructed at their residences without extra charge. Residence No. 36 Edinboro’ Street, or address Chickering & Sons.” (Traveler (October 27, 1862): 2, GB-some words missing from the photocopy) “Edinboro’ Street is only one block long-it is in the northern part of today’s Chinatown and the Rt. 93 Tunnel passes right under it.



A Trade card for Parker Brothers, Importers and retailers of Fancy Goods and Jewelry, Silver Plated Ware, Russia Leather Goods, Toys, etc., etc., etc.” 13 and 15 Winter Street. Music Hall Entrance to the left. The street to the Music Hall was called “Music Hall Place,” and it was located between 15 and 17 Winter Street. Card is 2 inches wide by 2 and 1/2 inches high. Johnston Collection.

A Card 2 and 1/4 wide and 4 inches high, published by M. Ormsbee, # 11 Broadway, New York. The grand piano on the platform to the right shows how shallow the stage was. It helps show why Higginson would want the instrument removed so that his Symphony would have enough room to play their instruments. This photo also shows the placement of the two balconies. Johnston Collection.

Lang’s quick rise within the Boston musical establishment is shown by the fact that on November 2, 1863, within just five years of his returning to Boston, he was one of the organists who played at the inauguration of the E. F. Walcker organ at the Boston Music Hall. “It took the Walckers five years to build an instrument containing 89 registers and 5,474 pipes. When finished in 1862, the $60,000 organ had to be transported to this side of the Atlantic. Successfully evading Confederate vessels, it arrived safely in Boston and, after seven months of installation work was fully ensconced in the Music Hall. It was a handsome instrument, with a casing splendidly carved by the New York firm of Herter Bros. [The case design was by Hammatt Billings (1818-1874) who had been trained by Boston architects. He also designed the case for Lang’s E. & G. G. Hook 1864 instrument at South Congregational Church.” (Owen, 37)] “With a glorious sound, it was then the largest specimen of its kind in the United States and fourth largest around the world. As with the Music Hall itself, the [Harvard Musical] Association had quietly but effectively made a valuable contribution to music in Boston” by raising the money for the organ. (Hepner, 40) Back in 1850 Dr. Jabez Baxter Upham had urged the Boston Musical Fund Society to build a concert hall worthy of the city, but nothing came of their efforts. Dr. Upham then turned to the Harvard Musical Association, of which he was a member, who received the idea enthusiastically. “A committee examined four possible sites and chose Bumstead Place, now Hamilton Place to purchase this estate and to warrant beginning the erection of a hall $100,000 was necessary. It was raised in the astonishing period of sixty days. The building rose quickly, watched by an interested and excited populace.” (Nutter, 10 and 11)

At the Monday, November 2, 1863 Dedicatory Concert Lang played the Sonata #3 by Mendelssohn and was listed as organist of Old South Church and the Handel and Haydn Society. Dwight reported that: “This Great Instrument complete now in its majesty and beauty, and flooding the Music Hall with harmony, has swept into its strong, sonorous current nearly all the musical interest of the past week or two. The subject is so much more interesting than any other that can just now come up to us, and is at the same time so large, as necessarily to almost monopolize our columns. In spite of ourselves, therefore, and at risk of being called the organ of the Organ, we make this an Organ number of our paper.” (Dwight (November 14, 1863), 32 and 133) The “Private Test” had been performed on Saturday evening, October 31 “in the presence of the subscribers and the stockholders of the Music Hall Association, members of the city government and other invited guests, numbering about a thousand gentlemen.” When the guest entered they saw only a huge green curtain that covered the entire organ, “All eyes are wandering with pleasure over the renovated walls and ceilings of the hall, for years so dingy and discolored.” The gas lighting system had been updated, the seats newly upholstered, and the hall now held 2654 seats with orchestra seating and two balconies. The concert began with soft sounds from the organ for fifteen minutes that then grew into a crescendo. The curtain descended, “revealing first the full length of the cherubs with their gilded instruments surmounting the domes of the two central towers; then the chaste beauty of the ribbed and rounded domes; then the triple columns of huge silvery pipes, with St. Cecilia throned in beauty on the summit of the arch between; and so little by little the whole breath and grandeur of the superb facade, with its grand caryatides, its figures, heads, and wealth of carvings. From the work to the author; three cheers were called for, rousing ones, and given with a will, for Dr. J. B. Upham, to whose first suggestion, enthusiasm, wise and persistent energy, in the face of one may imagine how much incredulity and worse, for seven long years, the whole enterprise, now crowned with such complete success, is mainly due.” The music opened with Mr. Morgan of Grace Church, NYC playing the William Tell Overture. Then came a speech by Dr. Upham thanking all who should be thanked, including the builder, Mr. Walcker and his son and shop foreman. Then, B. J. played “a sweet Andante by Mendelssohn, and part of Rink’s [sic] flute concerto, tickling the ear of the curious.” (Dwight (November 14, 1863): 133)

The official inauguration was on Monday, November 2 with tickets at ”three dollars (it might safely have been five ) performed to a full house. Reminiscent of Handel’s Messiah premier in Dublin, ladies were requested to appear in demi-toilette- “presumably to avoid taking up too much space with oversized hoop shirts, bustles, and hats.” (Owen, 51) Organists and music-lovers from almost every State were present.” After an ode recited by Miss Charlotte Cushman, and a speech by Friedrich Walcher, son of the builder, the concert began with the sounds of Bach’s Toccata in F. Lang played Mendelssohn’s Sonata in A-No. 3 upon which Dwight commented that “Mr. Lang’s choice of stops in the Mendelssohn Sonata was most appropriate, and revealed rare beauties in the organ as well as in the composition; it was richly enjoyed.” (Dwight (November 14, 1863): 132-135) Also performing at the dedication were John H. Wilcox (born in Savannah, Georgia in 1827: his chief work was done in Boston), John K. Paine (Music Professor at Harvard: 1839-1906), Eugene Thayer (1838-1889), Dr. S. P. Tuckerman (born in Boston, studied in England, returned to Boston, organist at St, Paul’s Church, later the Cathedral), and G. W. Morgan (born and trained in England, his main work was in New York City after 1853).”This was probably the most famous gathering of organists that had ever assembled in America. (Elson, 262)

Lang was also involved in the Handel and Haydn Society’s “Grand Choral Inauguration of the Great Organ at the Boston Music Hall” concert on Saturday, Nov. 28, 1863. The Society donated its services with the purpose that the proceeds of the evening be devoted toward extinguishments of the Organ Debt. The program included Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise with orchestra (again, probably a Lang suggestion), and in the first half Handel’s Ode to St. Cecilia’s Day (first American performance) was performed with Lang playing his own transcription of the orchestral parts on the new organ “and Lang’s registrations were praised.” (Owen, 64) If Lang played with the orchestra in the Mendelssohn he would had had his first introduction to the problem of playing with Boston orchestras of this time who regularly tuned to the old English pitch of around A-449 while the organ had been built in the new French pitch of A-435. Probably the remedy Lang used was to transpose his part a half step higher, which “was surely a tribute to his fabled musicianship.” (Owen, 74) This concert was repeated by request on Sunday Dec. 6. From the very first days of the instrument’s installation there had been comments about its slowness of speech that was a problem for a soloist, but even more of a problem for an accompanist. A review in 1876 had been critical of Prof. Paine’s performance as continuo player in a Bach Magnificat performance-“The chorus and orchestra were not together.” However, Lang was never criticized for this problem. “Whether Lang routinely played ahead of the beat…is something that can now only be conjectured, for no complaints about his accompaniments have been recorded. (Owen, 14)

On February 7, 1864 at 7:30PM, Lang himself 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 (violinist), 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. 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.

BPL, Lang Program Collection.

This concert must have been a succcess as Lang arranged another a month later. Two additional musicians were added, but the program followed the foremat of the February concert.

BPL, Lang Program Collection.

Lang continued among the solo recitalists. For his January 24, 1866 program he included the usuals-Bach, Mendelssohn, an improvisation and Wagner.

Massachusetts Historical Society, used by permission.

In June 1866 Dwight published as part of his review of the repertoire played at for all concerts of the 1865/66 Season, a section on organ recitals, primarily those at the Music Hall. At this time the schedule was for these events to be on Wednesday and Saturday and noon and Sunday evening. Audiences ranged from 50 t0 300 with an average of over 100 giving the hall an income of nearly $7,000. (Dwight, June 23, 1866) During the year there were at least 130 Organ Recitals with the majority given by the Resident Organists B. J. Lang, G. E. Whiting (each 19 times), Mrs. Frohock, (17 times), J. K. Paine of Harvard (9 times), and Dr. Tuckerman at St. Paul’s and J. H. Willcox at the Church of the Immaculate Conception (each 5 times). There were others with only one or two concerts. (Ibid) Lang’s repertoire was heavily Bach, with Mendelssohn, Schumann and Rinck appearing often, but there were also a number of “Adaptations” both by Lang and others from orchestral and keyboard literature-“Overture” to Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night and Chopin’s Funeral March. (Ibid) Another feature of Lang’s recitals were “fequent improvisations in free style,” an element not found as often in the recitals of other players. (Ibid)

On July 18, 1868 again the usuals-Bach, Mendelssohn, an improvisation, and then a Beethoven arrangement and an arrangement by the English organist, William Best.

Harvard Musical Association Library, used by permission.

In 1896, William Apthorp writing an “Entr’acte” article for the February 14th. and 15th. BSO concert program book referred back to the dedication of the organ thirty-three years before: “Speaking of the Great Organ reminds me of a bogus story that went the rounds soon after it was set up in the Music Hall, to the effect that a mouse had been blown through one of the huge thirty-two-foot pipes, and came to a violent death by being hurled against the ceiling.” (Apthorp, BSO Program Book for February 14th. and 15th., 1896, 527))


In March Lang was the soloist in the last of two Soirees produced by Eichberg at Chickering’s Hall. “We do not remember to have heard the D Minor Concerto of Mendelssohn, his second, played here since Mr. Lang made his mark with it two years ago in the Music Hall… Mr. Lang has vastly gained as an executive and interpretative pianist since the time alluded to, and did his work most admirably, with no lack of fire in the Allegro, of delicate poetic feeling in the Adagio, of crisp, sparkling precision in the Finale… Mr. Eichberg had drilled his orchestra into quite a delicate and more than mechanical rendering of the accompaniments.” However, the orchestra only numbered “twenty-four; the chief want being that of the bassoon, (strange that Boston lacks bassoons!), which of course is only constructively made good by the violoncello.” (Dwight (March 19, 1864): 206) Lang had also been part of the First Soiree held the previous month where he played the Mendelssohn Piano Trio in D Minor, and three solo pieces. (Dwight (February 14, 1863): 367)

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)

Lang also appeared with the Orchestral Union at their 3PM Wednesday afternoon concerts at the Music Hall. On January 20, 1864 he played a Fugue on Bach by Schumann and the “Andante” from Mendelssohn’s Third Sonata early in the concert, and then after Mendelssohn’s Fourth Symphony (Italian) he played Rink’s [as spelled at this time] Flute Concerto in F. (Transcript (January 19, 1864): 2, GB) At their Fifth Concert 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. A month later Lang again appeared with the Orchestral Union in a concert that “was about the best programme and the best concert of the season.” He played as organ solos two excerpts from Handel’s Samson, and selections from Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise. Dwight wrote: “The great instrument has never been made more expressive for such subjects. His choice of stops in the Mendelssohn selections came closer to the idea than ever. He prefaced the grand chorus of Samson with the “Minuet” from the overture, charmingly rendered with soft stops.” (Dwight (April 2, 1864): 215)

Adelaide Phillips gave her first concert in four years on April 30, 1864, at the Music Hall. A Grand Orchestra conducted by Zerrahn took part and Lang played the Mendelssohn D minor Concerto. There were two other assisting artists including Adelaide’s sister, “Miss M. Phillips,” who made her “second appearance in public.”(Transcript (April 28, 1864): 3, GB)

On Sunday evening, May 1, 1864 Lang was an assisting artist in an Eichberg “Sacred Concert.” He played two solos, and also played Eichberg’s Religious Meditation for Violin and Organ, and in two pieces composed for this concert, Ave Maria and Reverie, both written for Violin, Cello, Piano and Organ.  (Transcript (April 27, 1864): 3, GB)

Lang was one of 10 assisting artists in “Mr. Alfred P. Peck’s Sacred Concert” on Sunday, May 15, 1864. He, Julius Eichberg (Violin), Wulf Fries (Cello) and John H. Willcox (Organ) played the Ave Maria written by Eichberg in the concert’s first half. To end that section Lang played “Organ Improvisation and Selections.” In the second half Lang, Eichberg and Wilcox played Eichberg’s Trio for Violin, Piano and Organ. (Program, GB)

On December 16, 1865 Lang was the soloist with orchestra in the “Andante and Rondo” from Mendelssohn’s Concerto in G Minor. In the second half he played as a solo Caprice in E Minor, Op. 33 by Mendelssohn and Wanderstundem, Op. 60, No. 2 by S. Heller. These were just two items among 14 items in a “Bateman concert.” The orchestra conductor was Herr Carl Anschutz. At the end of the program was a notice for a Sunday night “Sacred Concert” at which the Gounod Ave Maria would be played by Willcox, Lang and Herr Carl Rosa. (Program, GB)


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… 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 world-wide 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.) A short note in Lang’s hometown Salem newspaper suggested: “Salem ought to furnish a large delegation to this fine entertainment. There will be a late train for the occasion.” (Salem Register (April 21, 1864): 2, GB) Imagine, special trains for concerts-those were the days!


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.

In August 1864, at the age of 26, Lang left Old South Church after five years and began a 20-year tenure at Rev. Edward Everett Hale’s D. D. (Unitarian) South Congregational Church, Union Park Street. (Hale: b. 1822- d. 1909, served South Congregational Church from 1856 until 1901) 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) Here he was able to design the second organ of his career. 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, 1864): 279) In July 1864 the Boston Musical Times announced: “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: “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)

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) A Vesper Service bulletin of July 1, 1865 lists a Te Deum Laudamus in A by Lang. (Scrapbooks) It was reported that “the best audience which attend any place of amusement, fill Rev. E. E. Hale’s church twice a month, on the occasions of Vesper service.” (BMT (December 1, 1866): 3) During the summer of 1866 while Lang was in Europe, Mr. W. Eugene Thayer presided “at the organ, and conduct[ed] the fortnightly concerts at the South Congregational Church.” (BMT (June 2, 1866). 83) Thayer had just returned from a period of European study. (Ibid)

This new instrument was built in 1864 by E. & G. G. Hook and Hastings # 349 “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 Pedal, 38 speaking stops, 7 pedal stops, one a Bourdon with 32 foot tone, and 2260 pipes.” (Ayars, 69 quoting from Dwight’s (Journal of Music):, Nov. 12, 1864 Vol. 24, 339-40 and November 26, Vol. 24,  351-2) In a “Description of the Large Organ built by E. & G. G. Hook, of Boston for the SOUTH CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH of Boston, Mass” the organ is described as “the last of three immense Organs” built by the firm in the last year. It was further described as “In size over any to be found in Protestant Churches in the United States; and in quality and style of finish, is in no way surpassed if equaled. Though so large, only four months were occupied in its construction.” (BPL Lang Prog. 6241-43) 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.” (Ibid) 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 (Nov. 12, 1864): 348) [Dwight was quoting from the dedication program]

The instrument’s public dedication was Monday, November 2, 1864 and it was described in the program as “one of the largest and most complete instruments of the kind in the state.” In the second part Lang played the Mendelssohn Sonata No. 3 which Dwight praised  his stop selection which “revealed rare beauties in the organ as well as in the composition.” (Owen, Great Organ, 61). Six other organists also took part.  On Saturday evening, November 12, 1864 Lang was part of a concert on the new instrument  playing two selections: “Allegro Vivace” from Organ Sonata No. 1 by Mendelssohn and “Selections” from Hymn of Praise “displaying the Vox Humana Stop.” Two other organists appeared-Mr. G. B. Brown and Mr. J. H. Willcox who ended the program, together with vocalists Miss J. E. Houston and Mr. Barry. (BPL Lang Prog.) Another concert of similar design was performed on Saturday evening, November 19, 1864, but using only Lang and Mr. Willcox. (BPL Lang Prog.) Dwight noted the 32 foot pedal stop, the “Grand Bourdon,” and he mentioned that the Music Hall organ had no such stop. “The front pipes are of a new composition, surpassing in richness and color anything before used. They are highly polished, giving a brilliant silverey appearance, in beautiful contrast with the dark woodwork.” (Dwight (November 28, 1884): 348) Lang opened another concert with Bach’s Fantasia in G Major (displaying the full power of the Organ), performed an Improvisation in the middle, later performed Rink’s [sic] Concerto in F Major-three movements, and ended the concert with another Improvisation. “The Organists and Choirs of the South and Unitarian Churches” assisted. (BPL Lang Prog.)


The Lang’s first child, Harry Allston Lang, was born on October 4, 1864 in Boston. Frances entered in her Dairy: “June 1st. [1865]. Harry’s first tooth. Went for a short drive with the horses and new carriage. July 7. We all went to Hingham for the summer. Aug. 12. Lel bought Hogarth’s complete works at an Auction. Paid $4.19. Oct. 4 Harry’s first birthday. He was baptized this noon at 12 o’clock by Rev. Dr. Robbins, here at home in the parlor. He behaved beautifully, and looked the same. We asked a few of our intimate friends.” (Diary-Rosamond) He died the following year, August 1866, in Hingham while his parents were in Europe. (New Boston Town History Questionnaire, February 11, 1914)


In early October 1864 the Boston Musical Times reported: “Little Alice Dutton, the child pianist, who is to make her appearance this evening at the Music Hall, is a musical prodigy. We have heard some of her private performances with wonderment, so remarkable a power does she possess for reading music and execution on the piano. We have seen difficult pieces of music, which she had never seen nor heard of, placed before her for the first time, and heard her play them with a facility and skill such as few practiced amateurs could accomplish after careful study of those same pieces. Since she came here she has lived in retirement, and taken finishing lessons in style from Mr. B. J. Lang. We look forward to her performance to-night with confident anticipation of success.” (BMT (October 1, 1864): 48) However, Dwight reported that Miss Dutton made her “maiden concert” in October 1865 at Chickering’s rooms. She was then thirteen, and had come “from the West two years ago with a musical talent that had been growing up wild, with no sure direction, and who has been studying with Mr. Lang, and eagerly listening to the best music, is now really an accomplished pianist, in technical facility quite remarkable… Mr. Lang turned over the leaves with anxious and we dare say proud interest in his pupil. The audience was not so large as we could have wished; but it contained some of the most musical persons, and the impression made on critical artists, as well as on friends and willing public, was highly favorable to the young player.” (Dwight (October 28, 1865): 127) However, both reports were wrong. In fact, Dwight, himself, had written in April 1864 that Lang “and his pupil Alice Dutton, a child of 12 years” would play the Grand Duo Concertante for two pianos on the Gypsey March in Preciosa arranged by Mendelssohn and Moscheles, and that this would be “her first public appearance.” (Dwight (April 16, 1864): 223)

On December 17th. she returned to her home state of Iowa and gave a recital in Burlington, a program that she shared with “Mr. Strasser, an able violinist, who is well known in the West. But few had ever heard of this girl, and many doubted when they saw the programme, that she would be able to sustain her share in it. But they were soon undeceived.” The article went on to tell of her early training which began when she was nine years old with a teacher in Davenport who “instructed her in a course of Clements’, Moscheles’s and Czerny’s Studies. She then came to Prof. Lange [sic] in Boston, whose tuition she enjoyed for two years. Now she is giving concerts in order to raise the funds which will enable her to go to one of the conservatories of Europe.” Unfortunately, her programs were too heavy for Iowans at that time, and “up to the present, not successful.” (BMT (January 6, 1866): 2 and 3)

Returning to Boston, in March of 1866 she soloed with the Orchestral Union playing Mendelssohn’s Serenade and Allegro Giojoso [sic], “and played it wonderfully well for one almost a child. [She was then fourteen] Her hand spans hardly an octave… The girl has talent and the air of being sincerely absorbed in her art.” (Dwight (March 31, 1866): 215) On Sunday evening February 3, 1867 Dutton, listed as a pupil of B. J. Lang, appeared as one of eight assisting artists at one of “Gilmore’s Grand Sacred Concerts” at the Music Hall. She played Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto in G Minor, Opus 25, and a hand-written notation on the program records that B. J. Lang conducted this piece. (BPL Lang Prog.,) (Also BPL Prog., Vol. 1) On Monday evening March 4, 1867 Lang arranged a concert at Salem’s Lyceum Hall at which he played the solo part of the Mendelssohn Concerto No. 2 Op. 40 with Alice playing the orchestral reduction. Then she was the soloist in Mendelssohn’s Concerto No. 1 Op. 25 with Lang playing the orchestral part, and the concert ended with Grand Duo on Themes from Norma by Thalberg played by Alice and Lang. (BPL Prog., Vol. 1) Her career progressed well with a Spring 1867 concert featuring the Weber’s Concertstuck for Piano and Orchestra and a February 1868 Mendelssohn Piano Concerto in G Minor with the Orchestral Union. Zerrahn was the concert’s conductor, but also here a handwritten note on the program states that Lang conducted this concerto. (BPL Prog., Vol. 1)

Probably Lang introduced her to the Mendelssohn Quintette Club, for in March 1868 Dwight mentioned that “So successful a reading of the pianoforte part [Beethoven Trio, Op. 97] by so young a maiden [She was now sixteen] as Miss Alice Dutton was clear proof both of rare native faculty and rare development in so few years in a sound direction. It is clear that she loves the best music, feels it, and conceives it vividly… she has acquired such technical facility and certainty that she now has all the treasures of this fine world open to her.” (Dwight (March 14, 1868): 206) In January 1869 she repeated the Weber Concert-Stuck, this time with the Harvard Musical Association Orchestra, and Dwight noted: “Miss Alice Dutton, though yet very young and hardly past the stage of pupilage, has so distinguished herself not only by her talent, but by what with talent is too rare, a true musical spirit.” In the Weber “the swift passages of the Rondo giojoso were beautifully bright and liquid.” (Dwight (January 30, 1869): 390) Lang used Miss Dutton as one of the soloists in his series of three Mercantile Hall concerts in April 1869. At the first concert she played the Mendelssohn Serenade and Allegro in B Minor with orchestra, and Dwight commented: “Miss Dutton, as a classical pianist, gains in favor by each effort.” (Dwight (April 24, 1869): 23) In the same month she appeared again with the Mendelssohn Quintette Club playing Mendelssohn’s Quartet in B Minor, Op. 3. “The early Piano Quartet of Mendelssohn was a fortunate revival showing Miss Alice Dutton’s powers to good advantage.” (Dwight (April 27, 1869):15) She soloed with the HMA Orchestra in February 1870 in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 37. “The entire C-Minor Concerto of Beethoven had never been played here before. Mr. Lang, in the second season of the Concerts, played the first movement only, which is certainly the most significant, with the Cadenza by Moscheles. This time his fair pupil, Miss Dutton, allowed us to hear the whole…Miss Dutton won much praise by the performance, showing marked improvement, though the strength flagged a little near the end.” (Dwight (February 12, 1870): 191) Now in her early twenties, she advertised to give a “Complimentary Concert” assisted by Miss Adelaide Phillipps, Mr. W. H. Fessenden, Mr. Wulf Fries, Mr. B. J. Lang, and Mr. G. W. Sumner at Mechanic’s Hall on Saturday evening, February 14, 1874. Lang’s only part was to provide the “Orchestral accompaniment on a second grand piano” for the opening Concerto [G Minor] by Mendelssohn (HMA Program Collection) Dwight attended this concert which had “a goodly audience, who listened with much interest to the young lady’s clean, forcible, and brilliant execution.” Dwight felt that in the forte passages her “sound was hard and cutting, -too much hammer, so to speak,” but he did suggest that this might have been the fault of the piano used (no brand named). (Dwight (February 21, 1874): 183) Dutton and Mr. C. R. Hayden shared the New England Conservatory 376th Concert. This might imply that she was now a faculty member. “The lady plays very much as formerly, with neat and brilliant execution,” and of Hayden, Dwight wrote: “His tenor voice has certainly improved in power and quality, and in his management of it he has grown less stiff and spasmodic.” (Dwight (October 31, 1874): 327)

Certainly, having such a talented pupil early in his teaching career was a great boost to Lang’s reputation.


Provided by the Galacar family.



Dwight reviewed the “Christmas Music” of December 1864 and mentioned the two Messiah performances of Saturday evening, December 24 and the repeat on Christmas Day presented by the Handel and Haydn Society saying that ” The choruses went remarkably well that night [the second night], the Great Organ accompaniment by Mr. Lang replenishing them with great waves of harmony.” Lang had also acted as the organ accompanist (no orchestra) for a Messiah performance given by the “Mozart Society” of Worcester conducted by Mr. B. D. Allen using the “great Worcester organ.”(Dwight (January 7, 1865): 374 and 375)


On December 10, 1864 Lang was an assisting artist at the “Third Piano-Forte Concert” given by Otto Dresel at Chickering’s 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. Dresel would give the Boston orchestral premier 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 Worcester for a Friday evening concert on March 10, 1865 where he opened the Worcester 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. Tickets were 25 cents. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 1)

The cause of abolition of slavery was one that Lang supported. He was part of the “31st. National Antislavery Subscription Anniversary” event at which there were two speakers and Lang furnished “appropriate and various music during the evening.” This was held at the Music Hall, and the sponsoring committee listed 33 members, all women. (Transcript (January 25, 1865): 3, GB)

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 crowded 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.” (Dwight (March 18, 1865): 414 and 415)


At this time “Mr. and Mrs. Lang were living with the Frances’ mother and father at 112 Boylston Street.” (Diary-Rosamond) Both families had moved there in 1864 from 36 Edinboro Street. This had been the Burrage family home in 1861 when B. J. married Frances and moved into the Burrage family residence under the no doubt watchful eye of his father-in-law, Johnson Carter Burrage. Mr. Burrage was a Harvard graduate and a successful dealer in woolen goods, and the family moved in the upper social circles. B. J. and Frances did not have their own home until November 1, 1872 when they moved into 8 Otis Place. This was at the corner of Otis and Brimmer (location of their second and final home), at the foot of Beacon Hill.

Johnson Carter Burrage. Family Tree: Lynn MacDonald.


The Civil War ended on April 9, 1865, but all concerts in celebration of this event were cancelled when President Lincoln was assassinated on Good Friday, April 14. Early in May concerts began again but “Boston’s formal memorial for Lincoln did not occur until Thursday, June 1.” Held at the Music Hall, Lang played an “Introductory on the Organ” of a Mendelssohn sonata movement and Chopin’s Funeral March and also acted as accompanist for the Handel and Haydn selections. “Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote a hymn for the occasion, and Senator Charles Sumner, one of Lincoln’s friends and supporters, gave the eulogy.” (Owen, 100) Ironically Lang’s “last notable public performance [before his own death] was as conductor of part of the programme at Symphony Hall, on the night of [the] Lincoln Memorial service, Feb. 12, [1909] when he led the Boston Symphony Orchestra and a chorus.” (Unidentified obit, BPL Rare Books Collection)

Frances noted in her Diary: “Today [April 19] our beloved President was buried, and appropriate services were held in all churches in the U. S. A. Edward, Julia [brother and sister of Frances] and I went to Dr. Hale’s church. It was draped with black, also American flags. Lel (Lang) played as if inspired and Dr. Hale was wonderful. Afterwards we saw many houses draped in black.” (Diary-Rosamond)


At the Tuesday morning, May 23, 1865 50th. Anniversary Concert of the H and H, a chorus of 600 with an orchestra of 100 performed Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise with Lang as organist. He must have been pleased that the major choral group of Boston had now taken up this work which he had given the Boston premier in January 1862. 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.

       Elijah was then performed again in December as part of the 1865-1866 Season.

From the Handel and Haydn website (downloaded December 2014)-researched by Herb Zeller.


Their first concert was given late in November 1865. An article in 1884 credited Lang with the creation of these concerts: “It was he who first suggested the great series of Harvard Symphony Concerts; it was he who more than any other held the programmes up to their first high level; he has also been one of the leading subscribers since the beginning of the series.” (Observer, January 26, 1884) “In 1865, when the Harvard Orchestra opened the first season of symphony concerts, to be followed by sixteen seasons, Gen. Lee had surrendered at Appomattox on April 9, Lincoln had been assassinated on April 14, and on the 15th. Andrew Johnson had taken the oath of office as President of the United States.” (HMA Bulletin No. 16) “But, little imagination was needed to foresee the difficulties: scarcity of professional musicians, professional bickerings, jealousy, captious critics, an uncertain and grumbling public, financial problems. None was escaped.” (Ibid) Arthur Foote recorded that “The audience was mainly composed of people of the kind found in our own membership, and they were not there to be in the fashion; there were always a number of music students also, but there was no thought then of appealing to the public at large. As I remember, there were no cheap seats (twenty-five cents) as was later the case with our present orchestra. I should say that, by subscription price, tickets were a dollar, but I am not sure.” (HMA Bulletin No. 4, 2)

“The first concert of the series of eight to be given under the auspices of the Harvard Musical Association took place at the Music Hall on Friday afternoon [the series had been announced for Thursday afternoons], Nov. 23. The weather was unpropitious enough, the day being dark and stormy, and the streets in the least favorable condition for pedestrians. Notwithstanding these untoward circumstances, the hall was filled with an audience of earnest lovers of music, eager to enjoy the feast of good things which the programme promised…The orchestra engaged for these concerts is large and very effective, numbering in all fifty performers, each member having been selected on the strength of his individual merits and ability as a musician, thus ensuring perfect concord and precision in the execution of the music. One noticeable feature is the great number of stringed instruments, the lack of which in many former orchestral combinations has been the cause of much complaint…In the present instance there is a grand foundation of seven contra-basses, with a corresponding number of ”cellos and tenors, ten first and ten second violins, with the reed and brass instruments admirably proportioned to the rest of the orchestra; surely a band so carefully organized, and skillfully directed by Conductor Zerrahn, could not fail to give complete satisfaction even to those disposed to be most critical.” (BMT (December 1, 1866): 5)

At the second concert of the season on Thursday January 25, 1866 at 4PM in the Music Hall, Zerrahn conducted the first half, but Lang conducted the second section that was the “Double Chorus” [opening choral section] from Antigone for male voices by Mendelssohn. (Note handwritten in the program) Lang probably also conducted the three choruses for male voices that opened the third section of the concert. The Antigone was repeated at the fourth concert on March 1, 1866.

For the third concert in the series on February 8, 1866, Lang was the soloist in Polonaise in E Flat by Weber with orchestral parts created by Liszt.


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 crowded, 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)


Mathews, 157.

When Lang returned to Boston from Europe in 1858, he was the talented local boy who had just spent a period of time in Europe. His timing was fortunate as some of the older Boston pianists such as Dresel and Parker were nearing the end of their performing careers. Lang was quickly made a regular pianist with the Mendelssohn Quintette Club, and he began his career as a concerto soloist. His status as the up and coming artist continued until the fall of 1865 when Ernst Perabo returned from Leipzig. “This gifted young pianist and musician, who left this country some six years ago, a boy of extraordinary promise, to seek both his general and his musical education in Germany, is now probably on his way home, if he has not already arrived. We have read what honors he has borne off at the Conservatory in Leipzig, both as performer and composer. (Dwight (November 25, 1865): 143) Originally born in Germany of humble parents, he came with his family to America when he was five. “About eight years ago some musical gentlemen in New York and Boston, with Mr. Scharfenberg and Mr. Dresel at their head, were struck with the importance of rescuing such a talent from an aimless wild growth…and by a subscription for a term of years the boy was sent to Germany.” (Dwight (April 28, 1866): 231) First there were four years of general schooling with the piano taking second place. This was followed by three years at the Leipzig Conservatory. Perabo was only twenty when he returned to Boston “a musician of rare and many-sided accomplishment…His musical memory is extraordinary; perhaps it would take Hans von Bulow to go beyond it.” (Ibid) His memorized repertoire was enormous, ranging from “entire Suites and Partitas of Bach” to the Sonatas of Beethoven, “even the last movement and greater part of Op. 106!” (Ibid)


Mathews, 135

A year later a second local boy returned from his European studies. Carlyle Petersilea “has returned from his three years” studies in Leipzig and with von Bulow at Munich, crowned with concert triumphs in both cities. Another Boston boy! He has already been heard in private and must take rank among our most finished, brilliant, tasteful pianists. He and Perabo are warm friends, and it is refreshing to see two who might be rivals so warmly interested in each other’s success.” (Ibid)

It would seem that Lang befriended both Perabo and Petersilea. At Perabo’s Third Matinee on February 2, 1872 Lang joined him in a four-hand arrangement of the Tragic Symphony in C Minor of Schubert. At the Fourth Matinee Perabo played the “Serenata” movement from Bennett’s Sonata in C Minor, Op. 13, a work that Lang possibly had introduced to Perabo, Lang having premiered a number of Bennett’s pieces in Boston. (Dwight (February 24, 1872): 190) He may have also introduced Bennett’s Fourth Piano Concerto to Perabo who then played the Boston premier with the HMA Orchestra. (Dwight (May 15, 1875): 22) With Perabo musical education having been exclusively in Germany, he might not have known of the Englishman, William Sterndale Bennett.[1816-1875]

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 that 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)


S. S. CHINA. 268 first-class and 771 second-class or steerage passengers. Launched October 8, 1861. Maiden voyage Liverpool to NYC on March 15, 1862. Two engines with an aggregate of 560-horse power. The sleeping berths were on the main deck, below the saloons. (Norway Heritage site)

The summer of 1866 saw the Lang’s in Europe. B. J. and Frances left Boston on the Cunard S.S. CHINA for Liverpool on May 26, accompanied by his pupils Miss Annie Keep and Mr. Richard Dixey. The day that they arrived, they went directly to hear the organist W. T. Best at St. George’s Hall [where he was appointed in 1855-his repertoire was said to include some five thousand pieces (Levien, Best, 17)] as B. J. had met him previously on prior voyages. “Later that same day [we] arrived in London and went to her Majesty’s Theatre to hear Dinorah Santley a singer. On June 6th. we heard Alfred Jaell and big orchestra in Queen’s Hall [Queen’s Hall did not open until 1893]. On June 12 [in] London [heard] Dickens’ last reading Dr. Marigold and Trial in Pickwick.” Next they went to Switzerland. “Interlaken. Rose at 4:30A.M. and saw sun rise on the Yungfrau…Lel has written a very lovely song to the words ‘A little child dwelt by the flowing sea.’…(They went to Paris and Vienna among other cities). England. York.” (Diary 2, 1866) By August they were in Paris, and on August 16th, took part in the great celebration of the Emperor’s Fete.” When they later returned to London they also heard “the great concert in which Jenny Lind sang and Moscheles played.” They returned at the end of September on the CUBA. (BMT (October 6, 1866): 3) Their first-born, a son, “little Harry” had died on August 7 while they were away. (Excerpts from Frances M. Lang’s Note Book, 1)


Lang was fortunate to have many well-off pupils who lived on Beacon Hill. Among them was Richard C. Dixey (b. 1844—d. 1915), a “Capitalist,” who owned a home at 44 Beacon Street, four floors, 9,752 square-feet, that needed five servants to support it. (1900 Census) The house had been built in 1806 for the third mayor of Boston, Harrison Gray Otis for his daughter. [Sold for $7 million plus in 2010. currently divided into four apartments] Dixey accompanied the Lang’s on their May to late August 1866 European trip (Excerpts from Frances’ Note Book, 1), and also again in the fall of 1869 when he was then aged 24. He seems to have been a gifted amateur rather than a professional pianist. He was the accompanist for the vocalists at a New Bedford Lyceum concert January 12, 1864 where B. J. Lang was the featured artist. (BPL Prog., Vol. 1) Dixie also opened the program at a Lang organized concert at Salem’s Mechanic Hall on Monday evening March 10, 1865. (Ibid) He was an assisting artist in a “Soiree Musicale” in Aid of the Fair “For Dumb Animals,” organized under the patronage of Mrs. W. M. Appleton, Mrs. R. E. Apthorp (William Foster Apthorp’s mother), and Mrs. G. J. F. Bryant held at Mechanic’s Hall on Wednesday evening, November 29, 1871. Among the soloists was Miss Alice Lang, a vocalist [a distant Lang relation?]. (HMA Program Collection). His career progressed to the point that in April 1872 he presented selections from Wagner’s Lohengrin at Mechanic’s Hall. “We noticed eminent musicians, artists, and littérateurs.” Dixey was “assisted by able talent, and [the performance] was one of the most enjoyable [events] of the season.” (Folio, June 1872)

The Dixey family became close family friends of the Lang’s. Arthur Sturgis Dixey (son of above, b. November 1880) left a colored drawing in the Lang Farm Guest Book dated August 3, 1896. (New Boston Farm Guestbook) Ellen Sturgis Dixey, Arthur’s mother, Richard’s wife, did the same dated June 27, 1897, and under the drawing are also the signatures of Richard C. Dixey and Rosamond Dixey (daughter, b. June 10, 1887 at Boston) (1900 Census). Possibly their daughter, Rosamond, may have been named for the Lang’s second daughter.

The son, Arthur S. Dixey died in Seoul, Korea on July 26, 1905. The cause was “heart failure, following an illness of a week, during which he received every attention.” (Herald, (July 28, 1905): 7, GB) He had graduated from Harvard in 1902, then entered Harvard Law School and had passed the bar examination. He spoke and wrote in both French and German, and his posting to Korea was as the secretary to Ambassador Edwin D. Morgan  seemed to indicate a career in the Foreign Service. He had been in Korea less than a year before his illness. Arthur had been responsible for the costumes and scenery for the Hasty Pudding Club musical of 1902 for which Malcolm Lang composed the music.

In January 1915 Richard “threw himself from a third-story window of his home at 44 Beacon Street yesterday and was dead when discovered. Dixey had been suffering from a nervous disorder for some time…Richard C. Dixey was retired. He had lived in the Beacon Street house for nearly 40 years. He was born in Marblehead, and was recognized at one time as a most accomplished pianist…Mr. Dixey had a summer place in Lenox he called ”Tanglewood.”” (Herald  (January 20, 1915): 2, GB) This house had been inherited by his wife and her sister, Miss Mary Tappen. It eventually became the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. While at Tanglewood the previous summer Dixey had been “under the treatment of Dr. Bruce Paddock, and he returned to Boston in November in better health and spirits than on his arrival at his country house. Over 40 years Mr. Dixey had been going to Lenox for resort and recreation.” (Springfield Republican (January 20, 1915): 11, GB) He was described as “an accomplished musician, dilettante of fine arts, linguist, highly accomplished and well read,” and he “drew about him and to Lenox musicians and scholars who made up his group of friends. Several of these guests, including Timothee Adamoski, gave concerts at Tanglewood.” (Ibid) His wife had been one of his piano pupils. (Ibid)


In February 1867, Boston and New England Conservatories opened within a week of each other. “Boston Conservatory of Music is the name of a new music school on a large-scale, which went into operation last Monday, after short notice, in the new white marble building [fouth floor] upon [154] Tremont Street, partly occupied by Messrs. Mason and Hamlin. its founder and director is Mr. Julius Eichberg, which is in itself a good guaranty of thorough, scientific tone and influence.” Dwight then listed the teachers associated with the school followed by a five-point listing of the “advantages of the Conservatory system.” Immediately 130 pupils enrolled. “Scarcely was the above announced, when by a sudden coup d’état a ‘New England Conservatory’ dropped from the clouds, captured the Music Hall, flooded Boston with grandiloquent Circulars, created ‘Professors,’ by the score, and gathering up pupils fast, is ready to open next Monday…We must pause, observe and think.” (Dwight (February 16, 1867): 399) A year and five months later the New England Conservatory had an enrollment of 1,500 students. (Dwight (July 4, 1868):  270)

On Monday, February 18, 1867, the New England Conservatory of Music opened its first classes in the Music Hall building, Boston. [Wiki article of 11/3/11 says the school “consisted of seven rooms rented above Music Hall off Tremont Street in downtown Boston]. Henry Dunham described the Conservatory as occupying “the three upper floors of the western side of the Music Hall building. The entrance to the Music Hall and the Conservatory were side by side at the end of an alleyway extending for some little distance off Winter Street.” (Dunham, 49) its directors were Messrs. Eben Tourjee, who had previously used the class system of instruction in music at the East Greenwich Musical Institute, and at the Musical Institute in Providence, R. I., and Robert Goldbeck, a New York pianist and composer. A year later Mr. Goldbeck went to Chicago, and Dr. Tourjee assumed the directorship alone. The piano instructors were announced as follows: Pianoforte, Otto Dresel, B. J. Lang, Ernst Perabo, S. A. Emery, and Robert Goldbeck. Opening with a faculty composed of foremost musicians of the day, and offering advantages that the directors intended to be equal in rank with those of the renowned conservatories of Leipsic, Paris, Stuttgart, Prague, and others, the new institution at once secured a large enrollment of pupils. In 1870 it was duly incorporated under the laws of Massachusetts. In that year the first class was graduated… In 1882, the Conservatory having outgrown its quarters in Music Hall, the St. James Hotel in Franklin Square was purchased and converted to the uses of a music school. Dr. Tourjee died in 1891, and was succeeded in the directorship by Carl Faelten.” (Goodrich, 89) A year later, the February 1868 Catalog listed eleven piano instructors-two from the previous year had left and eight new instructors had joined the department.

St. James Hotel, Franklin Square.

Built as the “St. James Hotel” in 1868, the Conservatory took over the building in 1882 using it both for instruction and also as a dormitory. In 1902 it became the “Franklin Square House, a hotel for young women” , and today it serves as 193 units of affordable senior housing. (Wikipedia, accessed December 16, 2017). Johnston Collection.

The February 1869 catalog listed all of the current pupils among whom were Jeanie Burrage (the sister of Frances) and Ruth Burrage (her cousin)-their instructors were not listed, but Lang probably taught both. The school flourished the total attendance for the first two years was 3,241. (NEC Catalogs, BPL) By 1877 Lang pupils William F. Apthorp, Arthur W. Foote, Hiram G. Tucker (and possible pupil Fred. H. Lewis) had joined as piano instructors in a department which now numbered twenty-one teachers. By 1901 neither Lang nor his pupils were connected with NEC.

A one-page ad in a program from the Music Hall of 1872 called the Conservatory “THE LARGEST MUSIC SCHOOL IN THE WORLD.” The ad went on to say that it was “Established upon identical principles with the celebrated Conservatories of Europe, and in many respects offering even greater advantages than they, receives beginners and pupils in every stage of proficiency, and affords the instructions of the most eminent masters at less rates of tuition than any similar institution in this country…A beautiful three-manual Pipe Organ has been constructed with special reference to the requirements of its classes, by Messrs. E. & G. G. Hook and Hastings. Organ practice free. (HMA Program Collection). Among the concerts were faculty recitals. “Perhaps [one of] the most attractive features of the conservatory here, as well as among the most improving to the pupils, are the private concerts given by the teachers. Yesterday was given what was numbered as the thirty-first concert of the New England Conservatory, at Chickering’s Hall. The performers were Messrs. Lang and Fries, and Miss Annie M. Granger; the entertainment, short as it was, was peculiarly interesting and artistic. The gentlemen played Mendelssohn’s Sonata in D for piano and violoncello, with great spirit and delicacy of rendering. Mr. Lang gave with the same finish a scherzo of Chopin; and, instead of three as the programme indicated, one caprice of his own composition. If the suppressed two are as attractive as the one performed, it was a pity the audience should have been deprived of them.” (Daily Advertiser, (January 30, 1869): 1) In the fall of 1878 the Conservatory was still advertising that it was the “Largest Music School in the World” having taught 18,000 pupils since its beginning eleven years ago in 1867.


Carlyle Petersilea (1844-1903) presented a series of concerts centered on Schumann. The “Second Schumann Soiree” was performed “on Saturday evening, January 26, [1867 at] Chickering’s 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 unequalled 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’s 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 Petersilea completely electrified the audience.” (BMT (February 2, 1867): 15 and 16)


On February 1, 1867, at the fifth concert of the second season of HMA, Lang was the soloist in two more Boston premiers when he played the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 2 and the Liszt/Schubert Wanderer Fantasia Op. 15 for piano and orchestra. Dwight felt that the first two movements were not Beethoven’s best, “but the whole Rondo finale, quaint and piquant, is full of vitality, and become electric under Lang’s touch…Mr. Lang really surpassed himself in this performance.” (Dwight (February 16, 1867): 398) Of the Schubert/Liszt, Dwight generally approved of Liszt’s work which included embellishing “the piano part, making it a very effective piece and of great difficulty.” (Ibid)

Below: Ryan, facing 186.


Two days after the HMA concert Lang was the guest conductor of a Gilmore Grand Sacred Concert. On February 3, 1867 B. J. conducted his pupil, Miss Alice Dutton as soloist in Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25. The next month he played the orchestral part for this work when one of his pupils soloed at a concert at Chelsea City Hall on March 7, 1867.


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) The concert made a net profit of the “very noble sum of $2,249.22.” (Dwight (February 1867) 416)[in 2017 that amount would be equal to $35,544.52]


Lang returned to his hometown of Salem to be part of “A Grand Sacred Concert” at the South Church under the direction of Mr. M. S. Downs on February 19, 1866. Among the other assisting artists were Miss. J. E. Houston and Mr. Julius Eichberg. Just over a year later Lang 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, Lang and Dutton switched places with Miss Dutton as 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 Swallows-J. Strauss, Brindisi Galathes-Masse, * Wedding March-Mendelssohn. * = solos by Miss Phillipps (BPL Lang Prog.) (Dwight (May 25, 1867): 39)


Miss Clara F. Joy performed Chopin’s piano solos Andante Spianato and Polonaise at a concert given by the Orchestral Union on April 10, 1867. Dwight wrote that she played “in a really artistic manner, at least for a pupil.” (Dwight (April 13, 1867): 15). This was Miss Joy’s debut, and the Journal wrote that she played “with most excellent effect. To an easy and graceful execution she unites power and distinctness, together with an intelligent rendering which marks the true artist. Her performance made a splendid impression and was greatly applauded.” (Dwight (April 11, 1867): 4, GB) On the evening of this same day, at a concert to raise funds for the Consumptives” Home, “two piano pieces from the skillful fingers of Messrs. Lang and Perabo (one a four-handed piece, and the other for two pianos)” were presented. The concert “was largely attended and proved a very excellent entertainment.” (Ibid) On the same program was heard “a nicely executed bugle solo”-something for everyone.

SUMMER 1867.

“July 31st. Lel sailed for Europe, taking father. [J. C. Burrage, Frances’ father] to be gone six weeks.” (Diary-Rosamond)


On Saturday afternoon, October 26, 1867 Lang presented a lecture on the piano at Chickering’s 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 start 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: “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.” (BMT (November 2, 1867): 87)


On November 27, 1867 the Lang’s first surviving child, Margaret Ruthven Lang, was born at 112 Boylston Street. B, J.’s occupation was listed as “Musician.” (Birth Certificate) He was 29. B. J.’s family was still living with the parents of Frances.


On January 16, 1868 Lang played the Boston premier of this concerto. Dwight felt that this concert “was one of the most fully attended and most interesting presented recently….Beethoven’s Concerto in C, the earliest of the five, though hitherto entirely passed over in favor of the greater ones, fully justifies Mr. Lang’s choice…The three movements are very individual in character…In the piano part there is no great striving after brilliant effects or rioting in intricate embellishment. There was abundant opportunity for the player to show his good taste, the ease of reserved power, the subjection of deft, thoroughly practiced expression; all which Mr. Lang eminently did show…To speak of improvement in so accomplished a master of the instrument as Mr. Lang has been for years, would seem supercilious almost; yet we must note with pleasure the more even and subdued force which he now shows in the strong passages, without any sacrifice of contrast or emphatic point.” (Dwight (February 1, 1868): 182 and 183)


In March 1868 “Mr. B. J. Lang had ”the pleasure” he so courteously craved ”of introducing to the musical public of Boston” the Eighth 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.” The sequence of six pieces was played twice. (Dwight, March 28, 1868, 215) In Lang’s 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. Tickets were $1. (BPL Lang Prog.,)

Possibly to make ends meet, or to stay in the good graces of Zerrahn, Lang was still traveling to Worcester. He was organist with a “Full Orchestra from the Boston Orchestral Union” at an April 2, 1868 performance of Mendelssohn’s St. Paul given by the Worcester Mozart and Beethoven Choral Union. (Program, GB)


Another area in which Lang supported the HMA Orchestral Concerts and broadened his pupils musical knowledge was through pre-concert lectures. Dwight praised him for “assembling a hundred or two of his pupils and their friends on the Thursday preceding that of each concert, and, with the aid of a brother pianist (Mr. Perabo), playing over the entire programme to them with historical and analytic explanations. “December 1868 was the third winter that he had been doing this. (Dwight (December 12, 1868): 367)


Mercantile Library, corner of and Hawley Summer Streets. From an issue of Ballou’s Pictorial, 1856. Johnston Collection.

 From Spectacles for Young Eyes, Boston, 1862. Wikipedia, accessed November 2, 2017.

In 1852 the club advertised that it had 12,000 volumes, and that the Reading Room subscribed to 150 magazines and newspapers. In addition to both sponsoring concerts and renting out to other concert groups, lectures were a major part of the club’s program. In the 1840s such speakers as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edward Everett, Horace Mann and Charles Sumner appeared. In the 1850s, Harry Ward Beecher, Rufus Choate, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. spoke. These lectures continued until 1877 when the collection of 18,000 books was given to the South End Branch of the Boston Public Library. From the second illustration above you can see that the ground floor was let out to various businesses. The second floor housed the Mercantile Academy, the Musical Education Society and the Mercantile Library Association,  and there was also a third floor. (Wikipedia, accessed December 15, 2017)


In the spring of 1869 Lang expanded his conducting/concert production activities by presenting a series of three orchestral concerts on Tuesdays at 3:30PM. The programs for “Mr. B. J. Lang’s Symphony Concerts at Mercantile Hall” were:

Tuesday April 6, 1869                                                                                                              Overture to Prometheus – Beethoven; Symphony # 3 in E Flat – Mozart; Serenade and Allegro in B Minor – Mendelssohn, Miss Alice Dutton (Lang’s pupil); Symphony # 4 (Italian) – Mendelssohn.

Tuesday April 13                                                                                                                   Symphony # 8 – Beethoven; Overture: Calm Sea… – Mendelssohn; Piano Concerto # 4 – Beethoven, Mr. Hugo Leonard (a fellow Boston pianist); 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.).

Dwight referred to these concerts 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)


Dwight printed an overview of the repertoire for the organ recitals presented at the Music Hall during the previous two years. He reviewed FORTY concerts and noted that Lang and J.  H. Willcox had each played nine times, Eugene Thayer seven times, Mrs. Frohock and G. E. Whiting each five times, and John K. Paine, among others had only played once. He also noted a concert that Lang gave at his own church, “South Congregational “which was crowded with invited listeners.” (Dwight (July 17, 186): 71) Dwight finished his review with this evaluation: “On the whole, there has been a great deal of perversion of the noble instrument to very trivial uses, and though doubtless the Organ has been played on many ”popular” occasions of which our memoranda have no note, the sound, religious, real Organ music seems to have maintained its ascendancy, and Bach and Mendelssohn make the best show.” (Ibid)


This European year of 1869-70 began with the Lang’s departure on Tuesday, November 30, 1869 on the S. S. SILESIA bound for Hamburg.

SS SILESIA (These drawings are SS FRISIA), same design as SS SILESIA. Accessed Wikipedia, March 12, 2019. Steel hull, two masts, and one steam funnel. It took 12 men shoveling coal continuously from her four coal bunkers to keep her engines running around the clock (Wikipedia). It carried 600 and its maiden voyage was June, 23, 1869.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               “After a long illness, [Lang] sailed for Europe with his family and several of his pupils, intending to spend about a year principally in Dresden.” (History of H. and H., 288) “A cat got into Miss S’s [a Lang pupil?] cabin last night and caused much excitement. Maidie [Margaret] well and happy playing with her doll Marie Antoinette. Sea is getting rougher.” (Diary 2-Rosamond) “During the fall and winter he gave piano recitals in Berlin, Leipzig, Dresden.” (Ibid). Also traveling with them were Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Burrage (parents of Frances), Mr. and Mrs. Dixey, (he was a Lang piano student of independent means who owned a home on Beacon Street close to the State House), Mr. Tucker, (also a Lang piano pupil), Margaret and nurse Wardwell. They arrived in Hamburg on December 12th. and spent Christmas in Berlin. (Frances M. Lang’s Note Book, Excerpts, 1). The List of Passengers also listed as traveling with J. C. Burrage and his wife, “Misses Helen, Emma, Ruth and Mariam Burrage.” These would be three sisters of Frances and her cousin, Ruth. Mr. Tucker’s name was not listed; possibly he was with the “And others in the Steerage.” (Program, GB)

HMA Program Collection.

BERLIN CONCERT. Lang gave a recital at the Hotel de Rome in Berlin on December 28, 1869 with the following program: 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.) Frances wrote in her Diary: “I am now 30 years old (Dec. 18th.). Lel’s [B. J.’s name within the family] concert [in Berlin] a great success. Hall crowded, in spite of snowstorm. Afterwards a number of people returned to our rooms where we had a big supper.” (Diary 2-Rosamond) They then went onto Dresden where they heard “a marvelous Rubenstein concert,” followed by three days in Prague, and then to Vienna where they heard Clara Schumann play. Some days were spent in Venice and Florence and then to Rome where “we saw the Pope. He was just as jolly as possible. He blew his nose on a horrid blue handkerchief.” (Diary 2) B. J. bought a painting. “I could hardly believe it. We are now the owners of a veritable Carlo Morotti painting. A Madonna and Child. It is exquisite. I shall never sleep thinking of it.” (Diary 2)

DRESDEN CONCERT. On Friday March 11, 1870 Lang played at the “Saale des Herrn Hof-Pianofortefabrikant Ronisch in Dresden.” (Hall of the Rhoenisch Piano-forte Warehouses) 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, but it was probably his student Mr. Tucker who was with him. With Lang as soloist and Tucker as accompanist, they had played this piece in Boston in December of the previous year). Also performed were, Phantasien in A dur and in C dur of Lang’s own composition. (BPL Lang Prog.) In his April 9, 1870 issue, Dwight printed a translation of a review by Carl Banck, “the distinguished critic” of the Dresdener Journal. “Herr B. J. Lang, of Boston, gave a piano concert on Friday, March 11…His playing showed a technique very clean and thorough, with an easy handling; while his rendering evinced a sound musical culture, and an intelligent conception shaping all with fine and careful shading… Of the two fantasies of his own composition, short lyric pieces-Songs without Words-the first particularly showed a right fine and thoughtful feeling. Herr L. will give another concert by the end of this month.” Another paper, the Tageblatt said: “The artistic understanding with which the programme was put together showed, that Herr Lang belongs among those virtuosos, whose power results from aesthetic striving, and not from mere mechanical studies. With equal excellence he interpreted Bach, Handel and Mendelssohn, as well as Chopin and Liszt… His own two Fantasies, in A major and C major, with whose rendering Herr Lang gave pleasure, are cleverly invented, and particularly distinguished by enchanting modulation.” (Dwight (April 9, 1870): 223) While in Dresden B. J. “bought some autograph letters of Mendelssohn, Bach, Hummel and Liszt.” (Diary 2, April 1870)

Margaret talked about these European sojourns: “Later when we lived in Munich-we had gone abroad because of my mother’s health-we knew the Wagners very well. They used to send Isolde under my mother’s wing to go to concerts. Isolde would go very faint listening to Liszt and we had to take her out of the concert. That made me very mad! (Miller, Globe article) Isolde had been born in 1865-Margaret and her mother were in Munich in 1886-87 when Margaret was a student-Isolde would have been 21 then, possibly too old to be fainting. Perhaps there are other entries in the Frances’ Diaries that refer to this.

ROME AND LISZT. By early February they were in Rome where they were to visit Liszt. Referring to Liszt: “We say the Pope. He was just as jolly as possible. He blew his nose on a horrible blue handkerchief. Lel came in with the most wonderful purchase today. I could hardly believe it. We are now the owners of a veritable Carlo Morotti [or Marotti] painting. A Madonna and Child. It was exquisite. I shall never sleep thinking of it.” (Diary 2, Winter 1870-Rosamond) For their visit with 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.” But of course I couldn’t and wouldn’t because my cold was so bad. Then he sat down and kept us spellbound. He played the Benediction  [Benediction de Dieu dans la Solitude-a piece that Lang played regularly throughout his career], 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 bringing the baby, and took me downstairs into the starlight and put me into the carriage. We were all breathless. That night we went to Florence.” (Frances’ Diary Excerpts, 1 and 2) Maidie, then two years old had remained in Dresden with her nurse. (Diary 2, Winter 1870-Rosamond)

  1.  B. J. was considered such a good friend to Liszt, that he was part of Liszt’s funeral cortege. Clara Doria the singer (wife of Henry Rogers, the Boston lawyer) wrote of her trip in 1889 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 pall bearers, and who, like the rest, was bearing his torch with due solemnity.” She then continues with an observation that 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)

APRIL. The Lang’s traveled to Milan and then returned “to Dresden to see that all was well with little Maidie. At Dresden Lel bought some autograph letters of Mendelssohn, Bach, Hummel and Liszt. Lel left for Leipsic. Heard from him later that the 2 concerts he gave there, were the greatest possible success. He was called 4 times before the curtain, and cheered. He writes that all is very gay there, and he is going all the time.” (Diary-Rosamond)

VIENNA CONCERT. A Lang 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.). Carl Adams had been the tenor in Lang’s quartet at the Baptist Church in Boston where Lang played just before he went to Europe to study. “Lel wrote me from Vienna after his second concert which was a great success. Adams sang 3 of Lel’s songs, also his 86th. Psalm, which everyone was wild over.” (Diary-Rosamond) An article mentioned that Lang had been one of the few Americans who had successfully performed in Europe. (Mus. Ob., 1884) After Vienna they went to Venice and Florence “remaining a few days in each,” before going on to Rome. (Diary-Rosamond)

JUNE. It appears that the whole party rented a villa in Switzerland-Villa Rosa. “I played with Tucker on his piano. Lel showed us his music for 4 Psalms. We go to Dresden for shopping. Helen and Emma each have a piano in their rooms…Lel busy all day, writing music for the Psalms. He showed me 2 of them, and I thought them very lovely. O I shall lose my voice if I don’t sing more. With all the pianos, there is music all the time. Parties every evening, everything so gay.” (Diary 2, April 1870-Rosamond)

JULY. July 4th. Fireworks at the American Consuls” and big party afterwards…Sister Helen’s 22d Birthday. Lel wrote some lovely music for her. Lel is leaving to be gone 5 days. First to Zurich and then Lucerne. I went up the Rigi on horseback. O the mountains!” (Diary-Rosamond)

AUGUST. AUGUST 12th. Frances recorded the progress of the war-Paris on the defense. “Great Prussian victories…Lel to St. Moritze. The rest of us to Munich.” The family seemed to be able to travel easily in spite of the war. However, Tucker, in traveling to Rotterdam “was delayed by the masses of wounded soldiers…Lel is in Paris. Perhaps years later I shall be glad that Lel could be in Paris at this exciting time…Miss C. told me today that Napoleon has surrendered to the King of Prussia. Metz has surrendered, Gen. McMahon and 150,000 prisoners. So all the Prussians need do is to march on to Paris…Great excitement: parades, illuminations, etc. Today they fired 10 guns when news was received that Napoleon had been captured…I have been married 9 years!” At about this time B. J. sailed to Boston, leaving his family at the Swiss villa. (Diary-Rosamond)

As the Lang’s were in Europe during the summer of 1870, neighbors submitted information for the July Census. B. J., was listed as aged 37 organist-in Europe, “Fanny,” aged 32-in Europe, and “Mary,” [Margaret] aged 2-in Europe (Census, 1870). The family address at this time was 1 Otis Place according to a note Margaret added to a letter written at that time. (Ms. Lang, Vol. 24, No. 3)

“Mr. Lang arrived on Tuesday, after a year’s stay in Europe, with health thoroughly restored, enriched with musical experience and strong for the winter’s work.” (Dwight (September 24, 1870): 319). He arrived in Boston on September 20, 1870 on the Palmyra from Liverpool with his age being listed as 26, [?] and an “Estimated Birth Year” of about 1844. [?] Traveling with him were Miss Burrage, aged 28 a spinster and Mr. H. G. Tucker, aged 18. (Boston Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1943.) The Miss Burrage was probably Ruth-if the age 28 was really 20 miss read, then it was certainly Ruth as she had been born in 1850. Frances’s father and Mr. and Mrs. Dixey, had probably returned to Boston previously. Frances’s mother and her sisters remained with her until the following February 1871.

FALL OF 1870.

Frances noted in her Diary that B. J. had written “he already had 40 pupils. [He] also has been engaged to conduct Midsummer Night’s Dream for Mrs. Scott Siddons.” (Diary, Rosamond)

HIRAM G. TUCKER. (1851-1932).

After his year in Europe with the Lang’s, Tucker enrolled in the New England Conservatory. In 1871 he was described as “an accomplished pupil of Mr. Lang” when he played at the 145th. concert given by the New England Conservatory. (Dwight (March 25, 1871): 423) At the Dedication of a new concert hall at 409 Washington Street on December 3, 1870 Lang played the solo in Mendelssohn’s Concerto in G Minor Opus 25 with Tucker providing the orchestral reduction. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 1) In May 1875 “Mr. H. G. Tucker’s Concert at Mechanics Hall (Wednesday evening May 6) was an occasion of considerable interest…Mr. Tucker, well-known as one of the most accomplished pupils of Mr. Lang, gave ample evidence of steadfast improvement in all these various renderings. He is an earnest student, and quite unaffected; and his great strength, which serves him so well, is accompanied by great self-possession, and is becoming also more refined into as delicacy of style resembling his master’s. His execution is indeed quite remarkable, and often brilliant.” (Dwight (May 29, 1875): 31)

Tucker and Arthur Foote shared a concert at Mechanic’s Hall on May 3, 1876 that Dwight did not attend, but “which we learn was very successful.” Together they played the Variations on a Theme of Beethoven by Saint-Saens “which was introduced in Mr. Lang’s concert,” and he soloed in the Introduction and Allegro, Op. 154 by Schumann, “which he had played before with orchestra in one of the last Harvard Concerts.” Possibly at the suggestion of B. J. Lang, “Miss Lillian Bailey sang.” (Dwight (May 13, 1876): 231) Mr. and Mrs. Tucker again went to Europe with the Lang’s in 1876. Tucker was listed as the conductor of the Newton Musical Association’s performance of Haydn’s Creation on December 16, 1878. Fellow Lang student John A. Preston was the pianist, and Dr. S. W. Langmaid and John F. Winch were among the soloists. (BPL Music Hall Prog., Vol. 2) For the HMA Orchestra concert on December 19, 1879, Tucker, “who came in at a day’s warning when the committee was disappointed by a singer, generously sacrificed himself in some degree to give us the not too common pleasure of hearing a Mozart Concerto. This one in A major is very beautiful [No. 23, K. 488, Johnson, First, 268]…The brilliant, strong, young virtuoso did not seem to feel quite in his element…taken as a whole it is a rich and beautiful Concerto. Mr. Tucker had his chance for strength and brilliancy in Tausig’s transcription of the Ride of the Walkuren.” (Dwight (January 18, 1879): 15) The Mozart concerto and the Wagner-Tausig were both Boston premiers. (Ibid) So it would seem that when Lang himself was not presenting premiers, he was preparing his students to do so!

Tucker continued to present a recital each spring. On Thursday afternoon, May 20, 1880 he played at Mechanics Hall assisted by the tenor Mr. Charles R. Adams. He began with  “the novelty of the occasion,” the Rubinstein Sonata in A Minor, Op. 100, which was “three quarters of an hour, -a length seldom reached by a grand Symphony.” Dwight missed the first two movements, but of the final two movements, he reported: “It offered a plenty of difficulties, and called for great strength and endurance in the interpreter, to which Mr. Tucker proved himself abundantly equal.” Of the Chopin pieces Dwight wrote: “In the two Chopin Preludes, [E Flat Major and E major] Mr. Tucker showed more of grace and delicacy than was his wont. The Concert Allegro in A Major of Chopin was played with great brilliancy and freedom.” (Dwight (June 19, 1880): 102) On Friday evening April 1, 1881 the venue was Chickering Hall at 156 Tremont Street; and on Monday evening March 20, 1882 again at Chickering Hall. In each of these three recitals one vocalist appeared as an assisting artist. (BPL Music Hall Prog, Vol. 5) Dwight’s comment of the 1881 concert was: “Mr. H. G. Tucker, the strong and brilliant young pianist, never appeared to better advantage than in the concert which he gave at Chickering’s on Friday, April 1.” (Dwight (April 23, 1881): 69) At a Boston Art Club concert on Monday evening March 4, 1889 Tucker and Lang played An der Nixenquelle Opus 29 for two pianos by Templeton-Strong, and they finished the concert with the Variations on a Theme of Beethoven by St. Saens. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 5) Tucker was soloist with the BSO during the Second Season (1882-83: Henschel), during the Sixth Season (1886-87: Gericke), and during the tenth Season (1890-91: Nikisch) (BSO Programs 1881-96) The concerto for the tenth season was the Sgambati Concerto for Piano in G Minor, Op. 15 that he played on November 1, 1890 with Arthur Nikisch. (Musical Year Book, 1890-91, 9) Lang had prepared Tucker for this appearance by having him play the work the previous March 10, 1890 at the opening concert of Lang’s Third Season of “Piano-Concerto Concerts” at Chickering Hall. (Musical Year Book, 1889-90:  13) However Hale wrote of the Sgambati: “It is a thankless work for the player, as severe a task for him to play as for the audience to hear.” (Hale Crit., Vol. 1)

Probably Lang proposed Tucker for membership in the Harvard Musical Association. In the report of the March 1, 1878 social meeting of the club, Tucker joined fellow Lang pupil in piano duets: “Two short pieces by Heinrich Hoffmann, and a Grotesque Chinese Overture to Turandot by Weber. (HMA Bulletin No. 11) At the Friday, December 17th. meeting he played piano solos and joined with Arthur Foote in works for four-hands. (Ibid) During the 1889 season he performed with Wulf Fries, the cellist. (Ibid) Listed among Lang’s pupils “who deserve mention because of musical prominence,” was Tucker “whose excellent work we have recently [c. 1882] recorded in the columns of this journal.” (Elson, Supplement, 3) Tucker was the pianist for the 1895-96 season of the Handel and Haydn Society-Lang’s first year as conductor. (Annual Meeting Address, May 25, 1896) But, he had also appeared with the Society during the 1894-95 Season as pianist in the April 12, 1895 performance of Bach’s Passion Music with Lang as the organist. One assumes that his role was as the continuo player. (History-1911, 49) Before this he had “played the pianoforte accompaniments to the recitatives with admirable judgment in the March 31, 1893 performance of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion.” (History-1911, 31) Just a few days later, on April 2, 1893 he was the pianist for Handel’s Samson with Lang as organist and an orchestra of 57. (Ibid) This may be the same H. G. Tucker who founded a singing club in 1900, which then became the “Boston Singing Club” in 1901 which “was a mixed chorus for the performance of music of all schools, including modern choral works, oratorios, and a cappella music of the 16th and 17th centuries… [the choir] gives three concerts annually, each preceded by public rehearsals for music students.” (Grove’s-1921, 369)


During the ten years, 1860-70, Lang built a piano and organ teaching career of great success; he was considered a very thorough teacher. He had first begun teaching in 1852 when a sudden illness “of his father’s compelled Mr. Lang to take over the former’s pupils…He has continued to give instruction with uninterrupted activity ever since.” (Groves-1921, 631) An article in the January 26, 1884 issue of the Musical Observer credited him with over sixty pupils who had become concert artists. Arthur Foote studied organ with Lang and characterized his teaching as being concerned with basic musical values; one was not allowed to break a phrase or disturb the rhythm in order to change stops. Improvisation was also a Lang strong point, and in teaching this skill he insisted upon his pupils taking a specific theme or motive and sticking to it.


Lang continued to appear in 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 at “a second Piano Forte by Mr. H. G. Tucker .” (HMA Program Collection).


Seating diagram from BOSTON MANUAL of 1888 showing the 1874 building. The building that Lang had used burned in May 1873, and this new building now seated over 2,000 patrons. Johnston Collection.

Lang expanded further his concert production activities during the spring of 1871 using the Mendelssohn Quintette Club as assisting artists-in the past he had been the assisting artist at their concerts… 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 have been made up with special consideration for the younger class of Concert goers.” 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 participated in Mozart’s Quintet, 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.” (Dwight (January 28,  1871): 391)      Dwight’s final comment was: “These concerts come in pleasant alternation with the Harvard Symphony Concerts.” (Ibid) The Journal mentioned “apprehensions” about the acoustics with the sage hangings, carpeted floor, etc. “Notwithstanding these facts the effect of the music was much better than was anticipated.” This reviewer found that the orchestral accompaniment of only five instruments “sounded thin and unsatisfactory compared with the full and rich harmonies produced by Thomas’s orchestra no longer ago than Wednesday afternoon, but Mr. Lang distinguished himself by a very fine rendering of the piano part.” (Journal (January 20, 1871): 1, GB)

The second concert on Thursday afternoon February 1, 1871 at 3:30PM opened with Schubert’s String Quintet in C, Opus 163. Again, the Mendelssohn Quintette Club was used as the accompaniment for the Beethoven First Piano Concerto Opus 15 with Lang as soloist, 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 No. 2, Opus 66. (Dwight (February 11, 1871): 399)

This third concert of the series on Thursday afternoon February 16, 1871, again using the Mendelssohn Quintette Club as assisting artists 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): 406 and 407) Dwight 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.” (Ibid)

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: Mendelssohn Quintet in B Flat major, Op. 87; Bach-Concerto for Three Pianofortes; Pianoforte Pieces-Lang; Mendelssohn-Pianoforte Concerto in D Minor, Op. 40. Messrs. Lang, Leonhard, and Parker played the Bach with an accompaniment of string quartet plus double bass. Dwight’s 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 abridgement 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)


In January 1871 Frances, her mother, and her sisters were still in Dresden. In January Frances took the opportunity to take German lessons and also singing lessons from Herr Sharfe. At the first lesson he said “that I must learn to breathe more easily. He is to come twice a week” (Diary 2, January 1870). By the end of February she could write: “Today I sang Schubert’s Hark Hark the Lark, to Herr Sharfe’s entire satisfaction.”


Apthorp as a young man. Rogers, Story of Two Lives, facing 190.

Many reference books make mention that Lang taught piano to Apthorp (see paragraph above) for seven or eight years after Apthorp had graduated from Harvard in 1869. As Lang spend the year 1869-70 in Europe, Apthorp’s instruction probably began in 1870. He was the “son of Robert Apthorp and Eliza Hunt. Since before the American Revolution, Apthorp’s ancestors had participated in the mercantile and intellectual life of Boston.” (Saloman, Am. Nat. Biog., Vol. 13, 567) Grant gives more about his family background. “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. He taught “piano and theory at the National College of Music from 1872 to 1873, then taught piano, theory, counterpoint and fugue at the New England Conservatory from 1873 to 1886. He also held classes in aesthetics and the history of music in the College of Music of Boston University until 1886” (Saloman, Op. cit.) During his one year at the National College of Music, he was part of the piano faculty that Lang headed, which consisted of only former Lang students.

He graduated from Harvard in 1869 having taken musical classes with J. K. Paine. “Coming from an old Boston family whose efforts in the cause of art have always been most intimately linked with its progress in the city, he has won a career not less worthy than any of his line.” (Elson, Supplement, 3) Apthorp’s musical tastes were influenced in part by Dwight’s Journal which began when Apthorp was four years old. “Since it is such a significant chronicle of the music scene in America, it would naturally reflect musical tastes of society, especially in Boston, during Apthorp’s formative years. These tastes and convictions would become a permanent ingredient of Apthorp’s personality and musical sense which, in turn, would be reflected in his own criticisms and commentaries.” (Brian, 39)

Baker, A Biographical Dictionary of Music, 19

Apthorp wrote musical criticism, first with the Atlantic Monthly from 1872-77. “His most remarkable work, however, was for the Evening Transcript, from 1881-1903.” (Nelson, vi) His reviews of Lang concerts were always positive, but not without critical aspects. He added the job of drama critic a year later. The Evening Transcript was first published on July 24, 1830, and by the 1880s it had assumed the place of “the tea-table paper of Boston, its principal function consisting in presenting the news of the day in a manner especially acceptable in the quiet and refined homes of Boston.” (Nelson, 99 quoting the Daily Advertiser) “Apthorp was praised for his open-mindedness, perception, and common sense, and he successfully balanced progressive and conservative viewpoints in his criticisms. He championed new music and American music. Ever mindful that the public was his true audience, his lucid, instructive writing style appealed to everyone.” (Nelson, vi) In all he “served as music critic for twenty-two years, from 1881 to 1903.” (Nelson, 99) From 1892 he edited the program books for the BSO.

Ms. Apthorp

In 1876 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 [which they had built right on the edge of the Charles River] 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 had a house on Louisburg Square. (Internet. Celebrate Boston- “Athens of America origin”) Mrs. Apthorp seems to have had a mind of her own. 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, 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)

The song composer Clayton Johns describes the musical household kept by the Apthorp’s; the Lang’s would have attended many of these events. “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 Apthorp’s: “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, the Kendall’s-a husband and wife team who were the Lunt’s 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 Apthorp’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)

Mathews, A Hundred Years of Music in America, 369.

Apthorp “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, and 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)

BENJAMIN EDWARD WOOLF. (London: February 16, 1836-Boston: February 7, 1901)

Woolf was almost always negative in tone when reviewing a Lang event. Arthur Foote described Woolf, when he was writing for the Saturday Evening Gazette as “a musically well-equipped critic, who was more feared than loved. How he did delight to pitch into John S. Dwight and B. J. Lang. He could never find any good in either.” (HMA Bulletin No. 4, 2) Woolf, “Born in London, multifaceted, was a composer, violinist, and libretto writer who married an actress, joined the Globe in 1870 and the following year the Saturday Evening Gazette, [a weekly] for which he wrote music and drama reviews; in the 1890s he left the Gazette for the Herald. The American organist Henry M. Dunham wrote of Woolf’s criticism; “We disliked him extremely because of his rough and uncompromising style. He had almost no concession to offer for anyone’s short-comings, and on that very account what he had to say carried additional weight with the artist he was criticizing.” [Dunham, Life, 220] On the other hand, Philip Hale, Woolf’s Herald successor, asserted that Woolf had been caustic only toward ”incompetence, shams, humbugs, snobs and snobbery in art,” and noted that when Woolf began to write in the Gazette, music criticism in Boston was mere ”honey daubing” of local favorites. Hale added that toward ”really promising beginners,” Woolf was never severe but gave personal advice and often financial aid.” (Grant, 68)

He had been the leader of the orchestra at the Boston Museum [conducted by Julius Eichberg] from 1859 until 1864. He then led orchestras “in Philadelphia and New Orleans. He married Josephine Orton, an actress, [of the Boston Museum Stock Company, Dic. Am. Bio, 514] on 15 April 1867, and then returned to Boston, where Woolf became editor of the Saturday Evening Gazette in 1871… He created or collaborated in six operettas, including The Doctor of Alcantara (1862), music by Julius Eichberg. As a critic, he was a musical conservative with exacting standards and a caustic pen, but his breadth of knowledge and his musical skill did much to elevate the quality of American criticism. Throughout his career Woolf’s versatility was his greatest asset, but it was also a limitation. The Herald observed in its obituary that  his labor might have been concentrated upon fewer objects with better effect.” (Am. Grove, Vol. 4, 561)


This choir presented Mendelssohn’s St. Paul on March 2, 1871. Carl Zerrahn contacted, the brothers W. J. and J. F. Winch were the male soloists, and B. J. “presided at the organ.” No mention was made of an orchestra. (Metronome (April 1871): 2)


Lang’s pupil, Mr. Dixey organized a concert to raise funds for a “Museum of Fine Arts.” Dwight gave advanced notice of the event and wrote: “The Editor of this Journal will be happy to receive orders for tickets.” (Dwight (April 22, 1871): 15) The concert was to given on April 27, 8PM at “the beautiful Mechanics” Hall on Bedford Street with tickets priced at two dollars each.” Certainly this price was above the going rate for that time, but the purpose of the concert dictated this. The program included “a Trio by Rubinstein,” probably the one just programmed by Lang, and two movements of the Schumann Piano Concerto with Dixey as soloist and Lang providing the orchestral accompaniment.

A year later Dixey organized a “semi-public” performance of excerpts from Lohengrin. He played the instrumental parts on the piano with the aid of another Lang pupil, Mr. Tucker, and the three principal roles “were sung quite admirably by amateurs with excellent voices…And for the choruses, some of which were charming, and all finely sung, in German, there was a select choir of four ladies and eight gentlemen. The evening will be remembered with much passion.” (Dwight (May 4, 1872): 231)  Dwight’s position on Wagner can be summed up with a phrase he used earlier in the review: “The long stretches of recitative, with bits if instrumentation during and between them, give it all a certain slow and drowsy character, despite the splendor…There is a lack of ‘go’ to it.” (Ibid)


In the spring of 1871, Lang presented a second series of four concerts on Monday afternoons at 3:30PM, beginning with April 10, 1871. These concerts 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, Bach (Adams)                             “Fugue in E minor,” Fourth Suite, Handel (Adams)                                            Three Diversions, Piano Four hands, Opus 17, Sterndale Bennett
 (Apthorp)Concerto in F minor Opus 21, Chopin (Sumner)                         “Festspiel und Brautlied” from Wagner’s Lohengrin arr. 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 (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 Mmnor for Three Pianos, Bach (Adams, Sumner, and Tucker with Apthorp playing the orchestral part) (Citations from BPL Lang Prog.)


With the Spring of 1871, Lang, then aged 33, finished the first thirteen years of his Boston career, and during the summer another European trip was made. This time the party was all family: B. J., Frances, Margaret Ruthven, the parents of Frances-Johnson Carter Burrage and Emeline Brigham Burrage, and three of her sisters, Helen, Emma and Minnie.(ALEPPO Manifest) While in Germany, B. J. and Margaret visited Wagner, and B. J. offered to help raise funds in America for the building of Wagner’s theater in Bayreuth.

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 premier of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1.

In the month (July 1871) that Lang visited Cosima he recalled the details of their first meeting. On the following day, July 21, B. J. and his wife visited the Wagners for lunch during which he repeated his offer of support for the building of Bayreuth. Cosima noted that their four girls were presented to the Langs. She recorded that she enjoyed speaking English, but that Richard regarded it not a serious language, but only a dialect.(Cosima, Diaries, 394)

The Langs did not return to Boston until the fall. On October 13 B. J., Frances and Margaret (aged four) arrived in Boston from Liverpool on the “Aleppo” together with the father and mother of Frances and three of her sisters and Nurse Waldwell. The sister’s names are not listed, only their ages of 23, 20, and 18. (Aleppo Manifest)


Below: Ryan, MQC in 1849, 94

The Mendelssohn Quintette Club continued to be an important part of B. J.’s performing career. At the end of February 1860 Lang played in the sixth of eight concerts, at the new Bumstead Hall [the hall in the basement of the Music Hall]. For this concert on Tuesday, February 28, 1860 Dwight recorded: the 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, and as a soloist, 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.”  (Dwight (March 3, 1860): 190)

On December 4, 1860 Lang played again with the Club in the second concert of their 1860-61 Season. The performance featured Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, “and it was generally conceded that the piece had never been more successfully performed here. Mr. Lang also played Liszt’s transcription for piano, La Charite [by Rossini] with nice finish and clear execution.” (BMT (December 15, 1860): 344) Dwight wrote of Lang: ” We have not heard this artist for some time [one year], but he seems to have added to his great ease and strength of execution a nicer taste and deeper feeling, than we noticed before.” (Dwight (December 8, 1860): 295)

During this same month Lang appeared again with the Club on Tuesday December 18, 1860 playing the Mendelssohn Trio No. 1 (repeated by request), and Dwight again praised Lang. “Mr. Lang did himself a great deal of credit by playing his part of the Piano Trio by Mendelssohn as well as he did. The first, third and fourth movements were especially good. He played with taste and feeling, and many passages were exquisite. …Mr. Lang does honor to America, and Boston especially, and we were glad of the very favorable remarks his playing elicited from the very greatest of living pianists, Dr. Liszt, as we happen to know from a trustworthy source.” (Dwight (December 22, 1860): 310)

Just two months later, in February 1861, Lang and the Club shared three concerts within two weeks! The February 9, 1861 issue of the Boston Musical Times reported: “Mr. B. J. Lang gave a concert in Salem, last Thursday week. Mr. Lang was assisted by the Mendelssohn Quintette Club, the Amphions, an amateur vocal society, and Miss Lang, who made a first appearance in public, and who is said to have a voice of great purity, and to give promise of high attainments in the divine art.” (BMT (February 9, 1861): 410) This Miss Lang would have been B. J.’s sister, Henrietta Maria (Harriet), who was then fifteen years old. Later in that same month at the Fourth Saturday Concert Lang performed the “Adagio and Scherzo” from the Mendelssohn Piano Trio in D minor with the Club together with a selection of Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words.

Within days “The Club had the assistance of Mr. Lang, and were greeted by a large and pleased audience” for their Seventh Regular Concert. [Tuesday, February 12, 1861, Chickering Hall, Washington Street] Lang’s part included the Boston premier of Dussek’s Quartette for Piano and Strings in F minor, Op. 41 and Mendelssohn’s Capriccio in B minor for Piano with Quintette accompaniment. “Mr. Lang’s performance of the Mendelssohn Capriccio was masterly in the extreme. The two styles, so different, of Dussek and Mendelssohn, were alike artistically presented. He is rapidly rising to a high position among the pianists in this country.” (BMT (February, 23, 1861): 3) Just a few days later Lang was part of another Club concert performing Song Without Words by Mendelssohn and the piano part of the “Adagio and Scherzo” from Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio in D minor. (Ibid) In November of the same year he played Mendelssohn’s Second Piano Trio in C Minor, Op. 66, and Dwight felt that this work “gave us the opportunity to see how greatly Mr. B. J. Lang, always clever, has improved his uncommon talent for the piano. He played it with perfect clearness and marked, intelligent emphasis…This piece made the great impression of the evening.” (Dwight (November 30, 1861): 279)

Within two weeks Lang was playing in a concert given by one of his pupils. “Miss Mary Fay gives a concert in Boston soon in which she, with Mr. Lang, will play Thalberg Grand Fantasia on Themes from Norma.” (BMT (March 9, 1861): 22) Lang was to play the same piece in another of Miss Fay’s concerts less than a year later. Then, within two weeks Lang was the soloist in Mozart’s Concerto in E flat with the Orchestral Union conducted by Carl Zerrahn. Unfortunately, few braved the storm that raged that day, but those who did “were amply repaid…Mr. Lang played the Mozart Concerto most admirably. It is evidently a favorite with him, and we have rarely heard him play anything with more expression. In reply to a persistent encore, he played a clever little polka, unknown to us.” (BMT (April 6, 1861): 54)

Such busy schedules seemed to be the norm in the early years of the Civil War. “If music will preserve the Union, the Mendelssohn Quintette Club deserves credit for contributing their share toward the preserving grace. Witness their last week’s labors:

Monday evening-private concert in Brookline.                                                  Tuesday evening-regular concert in Boston.                                                   Wednesday afternoon-concert of Orchestral Union.                                     Wednesday evening-concert in Salem.                                                                 Thursday evening-concert in New Bedford.                                                          Friday evening-concert in Worcester.                                                                Saturday-Eichberg’s concert in Boston.

In addition to the above concerts, a portion of each forenoon is devoted to rehearsals of the Club, and each member has more or less pupils to attend to during the remaining portion of the day, if anybody can discover what portion remains not devoted to traveling.” (BMT (March 9, 1861): 22

Other Boston musicians were making use of Lang’s talents. J. H. Willcox, (1827-1875) who was the director of music of “the New Catholic Church” which was “seventy feet longer than the Music Hall” and was “the finest building for sound, either for music, or…for speaking” [Immaculate Conception, which had a new, large Hook organ] used Lang as an

Church of the Immaculate Conception, Boston, Ma.  Johnston Collection

accompanist which inspired Dwight to say: “With such skillful accompanists [Lang and Wilcox] it will be seen that there was nothing wanting to please the immense audience that filled every seat in the church.” (Dwight (March 2, 1861): 390) Lang was one of the assisting artists in a “Complimentary Concert” for Master C. R. Rentz on January 3, 1861. Held at Chickering’s Rooms at 246 Washington Street, in addition to the seven performers taking part, a “Committee of Arrangements” of twelve including seven who were “Esq.” were in charge. (Program, GB) A month later, February 7, 1861, Lang was the accompanist for Signor Giorgio Stigelli at Washburn Hall in Worcester. The assisting artist was Carlotta Patti, “The Celebrated Vocalist from New York”-Lang was listed as “The Distinguished Pianist.” Lang had two solo spots; in the first half he played “Etudes for Piano Forte,” no composer listed. In the second half he played an Impromptu that he had composed. (Program, GB) This same concert was presented at Howard Hall in Providence. “Signor Stigelli will appear, with Carlotta Patti, Formes and B. J.  Lang, a weight of talent that seldom graces a single stage.” (Providence Evening Press (January 26, 1861): 2, GB)


Lang assisted the Mendelssohn Quintette Club in two concerts during the 1861-62 Season, their thirteenth. For the fifth of eight concerts, on Tuesday, February 5, 1862 he again played the Liszt Benediction de Dieu dans la Solitude” (The Blessing of God In Solitude) from I Harmonies poetiques et religieuses and the Chopin Scherzo in B-flat minor, Op. 31 (Dowell, 396). The Liszt has been described as a work “Most rich and incense-laden,” one that is “most chaste yet voluptuous; a work of supreme contemplative ardour in which a central blessing is flanked by outer sections suggesting both the promise and fulfillment – or after-glow – of this momentous event…Liszt saw life as ”a prayer, a perpetual adoration,” and felt that in the Benediction he had, at least partially, expressed such a state of grace.”” (Bryce Morrison, program note for the Stephen Hough CD Liszt on Virgin Classics: VC 7 90700-2) The work lasts just over seventeen minutes. Lang may have studied this piece with Liszt and then became its American leading proponent.

Lang also played in the final concert of their 13th. season which “was attended by an audience which filled not only the hall of Messrs. Chickering, but the ante-rooms besides. The programme was well selected, and the Club played with even more nicety than usual. A prominent feature in the concert was the American premier of a pianoforte Quintette in G minor, Op. 7 by C. P. Graedener, a new name here. The work is highly interesting and of considerable originality, though the movements, particularly the last, close with an abruptness rather startling. The piano part was finely rendered by Mr. Lang.” (BMT, April 5, 1862) C. P. Graedener was described as a composer who “followed in the wake of Schumann,” and after describing each of the movements, ended by saying that he hoped “to hear this work again, when we may note its character more closely. Mr. Lang seemed to enter quite into the spirit of it.” (Dwight (March 22, 1862), 407)

Lang also played with other groups. He was an assisting artist for Mr. Eichberg’s Soiree at Chickering Hall in 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 Thalberg Fantasie on Norma for two pianos. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 1)


On December 3, 1862 Lang took part in the second of the 1862-63 Series with two solos: Beethoven’s Sonata in B-flat Op. 22 and two of Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words (Dowell, 401). A month and one-half later, on Thursday, January 29, 1863 Lang appeared with Stelle in Schumann’s Andante and Variations for Two Pianos, Op. 46 and as a soloist in the Rondo by Hummel (Dowell, 405).


For the February 4, 1864 concert by the Club, Lang was part of Mendelssohn’s Piano Quartet in B-minor, Op. 2, and he played two solos by Julius Schulhoff and Stephen Heller, the second of which was encored (Dowell, 410). In the Tuesday, December 20, 1864 concert Lang’s pupil Alice Dutton played Chopin’s Scherzo in B-flat minor, Op. 31, a work that Lang had played in the Club’s performance on February 2, 1862 (Dowell, 412).

“Mr. Thomas Ryan, whose labors in the cause of classical music, in connection with the Mendelssohn Quintette Club from the very birth thereof, as well as with all our orchestras, and with hosts of pupils, have so identified him with the musical life of Boston, and the country around, had an interesting benefit concert at Chickering’s last Saturday evening” in which Lang soloed with two Mendelssohn Songs Without Words and was the pianist in Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio in D Minor, Op. 49, Allegro and Scherzo. “A fine bust of Mendelssohn wreathed with ivy” adorned the stage. (Dwight (May 30, 1863): 39)


At the third of four concerts in the 1865-66 Season of the Mendelssohn Quintette Club, Lang performed another first Boston performance-the Bach Concerto for Clavier No. 7 in g [BWV 1058] was played at Chickering Hall on February 14, 1865 using a quartet of strings which led Dwight to comment in his Journal of February 18: “A novelty, a quaint one, and as it proved, quite captivating was a concerto by Bach in G minor for pianoforte with quartet for strings. Mr. Lang played it with delicacy and nicely, entering into the lightsome, racy humor of it; and it gave great delight, especially the first and middle movements. After this experiment, and those of Mr. Dresel, may we not say that the Bach bug-bear is already vanishing?” (Johnson, First, 8) In this concert Lang also was part of the Beethoven Piano Trio in B-flat, Op. 97 (“Archduke”) performance with Schultze and W. Fries (Dowell, 414). “Mr. Lang played the really ‘Grand’ Piano Trio in B Flat by Beethoven… its charm is infallible, if decently well played, and this time the interpretation was masterly.” (Dwight (February 18, 1865): 399) On Tuesday, March 13, 1866 Lang repeated the Bach Concerto from the previous year and played as a solo the “Andante Con Moto and Presto” from Three Caprices for Piano, Op. 16 by Mendelssohn. (Dowell, 419) At a concert presented in Providence during November 1866, the Providence Journal went “into ecstasies” over Mr. Lang’s pianism: ”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 pianoforte 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)


The Mendelssohn Piano Trio No. 1 was again played at the Mendelssohn Quintette Club’s concert at Chickering’s Hall on Tuesday, January 8, 1867. “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)


In addition to his own appearances with the Club, he also arranged to have his pupils appear with the group. Dwight described the second of four monthly concerts given on February 4, 1868 by the Club as “one of the very best classical Chamber concerts ever enjoyed in the Chickering Hall, whose walls have been seasoned by so many.” Lang’s part in this concert included solos—Mendelssohn’s Two Caprices Op. 16: Andante con moto and Presto, and accompanying Wulf Fries in Mendelssohn’s Sonata for Piano and Cello Op. 58. “Mr. Lang of course played the Mendelssohn Caprices with all grace and delicacy, and they were much enjoyed, as they always are when well played. But the Sonata-Duo was an event of the season… Admirable it was on the part of both artists.” (Dwight (February 15, 1868):191) The next month on Tuesday, March 3, 1868 Lang’s pupil Alice Dutton appeared again with the Club as pianist in the Beethoven Archduke Trio that Lang had played with the Club in February 1865. (Dowell, 426)


At the Tuesday, March 2, 1869 concert given by the Club, Lang, substituting for his pupil Alice Dutton, gave the Boston premier of Three Ecologues by Jan Vaclav Tomasek, (Dowell, 430) Otto Dresel had found these pieces in Leipzig and had sent them to the library of the Harvard Musical Association where they were eventually discovered by Lang. Tomasek dates (1774-1850) show him to be a contemporary of Beethoven, and Dwight gleefully noted that the reviewers the day after the concert called him “a new composer, rising into fame” while another felt that these pieces had an “affectation of Chopin” (1810-1849) while a third thought them “imitations of Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words.” (Eight Books: 1829-1845) (Dwight (March 13, 1869): 415) Throughout his career Tomasek published seven collections of Ecologues, six in each collection. The Opus numbers were Op. 35, Op. 39, Op. 47, Op. 51, Op. 63, Op. 66 and Op. 83. (Wikipedia article, accessed November 21, 2017) No mention of Opus numbers is made in any of the written material. Dwight noted that the three chosen by Lang were all fast. (Ibid)

At the end of the month, on March 30, 1869 Alice Dutton played in Mendelssohn’s Piano Quartet in B minor, Op. 3 that Lang had played with the Club just over ten years before on December 6, 1859. (Dowell, 431) On Saturday, March 1, 1873 at the Meionaon at Tremont Temple Lang played the piano part of Schumann’s Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 110 with Schultze and Hennig, and then soloed with Jan Dussek’s Piano Sonata in E-flat Op. 75. (Dowell, 434) The next week the Club used another Lang pupil, George W. Sumner who accompanied Hennig in Mendelssohn’s Sonata in D for Piano and Cello, Op. 58 that Lang had played on February 4, 1868. (Dowell, 435) Sumner was again employed by the Club on February 28, 1874 as accompanist for Ryan in Schumann’s Romances for Piano and Clarinet, Op. 94, and as pianist in Graedener’s Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 7 which was described on the program as a Boston first performance, but Lang had done the first performance with the Club twelve years before on March 19, 1862! (Dowell, 441) Sumner appeared again with the Club on Saturday, October 13, 1877 at Union Hall, Boylston Street when he played the accompaniment to Dannreuther in Beethoven’s Sonata in F for Violin and Piano, Op. 24 and served as accompanist for the vocalist, Ella C. Lewis. (Dowell, 459). This was the last appearance listed by Dowell for Lang or his pupils. The group’s last season was 1889-90. (Dowell, 469)








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.

The Young Lady of Parma.

The Old Man With a Beard.

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

The Lady in Blue.

Springtime, Opus 30.

Revery, Opus 31

Spring Idyl, Opus 33

Elegy:The Spirit of the Old House


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


Established Musical Force: 1891-1901. S.C. TOPICS, Word Count-41,135.


Social Events.                                                                                                                      Apollo Sings for the Funeral of John H. Stickney.                                                Cecilia Sixteenth Season: 1891-1892.                                                                        Apollo Club Twenty-first Season: 1891-1892.                                                     Parsifal: Second Time.                                                                                                        New: Boston Symphony OrchestraChorus.                                                                    A French Life of Wagner.                                                                                                 Harvard Musical Association New Home.                                                               Lang’s Critics.                                                                                                                       Cecilia Seventeenth Season: 1892-1893.                                                                    Lang on Piano Playing.                                                                                                         1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.                                                     Cecilia Eighteenth Season: 1893-1894.                                                                      Apollo Club Twenty-third Season: 1893-1894.                                                    Edward Burlingame Hill.                                                                                                Lang’s Musical Talks.                                                                                                          Hook and Hastings Studio Organ.                                                                                 Cecilia Nineteenth Season: 1894-1895.                                                                           Apollo Club Twenty-fourth Season: 1894-1895.                                                      New Boston Farm: First Summer Season-1895.                                                   Typical Journey by Ship.                                                                                                  Cecilia Twentieth Season: 1895-1896.                                                                       King’s Chapel: Easter and Christmas1895.                                                                    Apollo Cllub Twenty-fifth Season: 1895-1896.                                                      Farm: Second Summer Season-1896.                                                                   American Guild of Organists.                                                                                           Lang as Handel and Haydn Conductor. “Best concert in  its history.”         Lang- Musical Dictator of Boston.                                                                             Cecilia Twenty-first Season: 1896-1897.                                                                 Apollo Club Twenty-sixth Season: 1896-1897.                                                         Etude Interview with Lang About his Teaching.                                                        The Ditson Fund.                                                                                                                   Farm: Third Summer Season: 1897.                                                                            Lang’s Summer Trip to Europe-1897.                                                                       Cecilia Twenty-second Season: 1897-1898                                                            Apollo Club Twenty-seventh Season: 1897-1898.                                           Apthorp Lecture.                                                                                                           Bayreuth.                                                                                                                                   Bach Concerts.                                                                                                                       Cecilia Twenty-third Season: 1898-1899.                                                                Apollo Club Twenty-eighth Season: 1898-1899.                                   Murder.                                                                                                                                          Cecilia Twenty-fourth Season: 1899-1900.                                                              Apollo Club Twenty-ninth Season: 1899-1900.                                                        Cecilia Sings at Symphony Hall Dedication-Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis. How Can Popular Taste in Music be Cultivated and Refined?                       Summer 1900.                                                                                                                Musicians’ Aid Concert.                                                                                                 Student Apes the Master.                                                                                                                                          Ex Governor Wolcott’s funeral.                                                                                                                                   Cecilia Twenty-fifth Season: 1900-1901.                                                                  Hiram G. Tucker Concert.                                                                                                 Farm: Summer Seasons 1897-1901.                                                                             Ruth Burrage Library of Orchestral Scores.                                                             Miss Helen Henschel’s Boston Debut Recital.                                                           Elijah at King’s Chapel.                                                                                                           Apollo Club Thirtieth Season:1900-1901.                                                                                                                   B. J. Resigns from the Apollo Club.                                                                                      Concerto Performances Through 1900.              

CECILIA PREMIERS: All from the 1907 List unless noted.

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

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

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

(American)    Berlioz: The Fifth of May, November 28, 1891. (First Wage Earner Concert)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(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 premier had been just the year before. Parker conducted.

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

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

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

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

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

(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.

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

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

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

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


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

(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.

(World)            Lang, Margaret: The Boatman’s Hymn. January 18, 1893.

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

(World?)          Osgood: In Picardie. May 3, 1893. (Advertiser (May 4, 1893): 5, GB)

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

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

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


(Boston??)     Sgambati: Piano Concerto in g minor, Op. 15. Hiram G. Tucker pianist with the BSO on October 31, 1890, Arthur Nikisch conductor. (Johnson, First, 336)



As an “Established Musical Force” it fell to the Langs to host , attend or support many social events. During this ten-year period the newspapers are full of reports listing Mr. and Mrs. attending, Mr. and Mrs. supporting, Mrs being a Patron, Mrs. and one or more of the children attending, etc. In addition to the regular Lang Sunday afternoon open houses which would sometimes include musical performances, there were special events. “Dec. 28th. Lel gave a dinner of 12 for Paderewski. Some of the guests were  Nickish, Higginson, Chadwick, Foote, MacDowell, Johns, Apthorp and Winch…Also present at the dinner were Paderewski’s old school friends Joe and Jim Adamowski [Boston Symphony members].” (Diary 2, December 1891) The doyen of Boston Society, Isabella Stuart Gardner, was a family friend. “Mrs. Gardner has invited me to a luncheon given for Paderewski.” (Diary 2, Winter 1892) “Leonora Van Stesch [violinist] is staying with us. She receives a steady stream of callers. But also practices many hours each day.” (Ibid) In the fall Antonin Dvorak would be a house guest. Even rival conductors were welcomed: Mr. Damrosch dined with us before his concert.” (Diary 2, Winter 1893) For one Sunday open house: “We had a big crowd here Sunday afternoon to hear Eleanor Hyde sing.” (Ibid) “Went to the big supper for Paderewski at Mrs. Gardner’s.” (Ibid) The Langs knew the greats of their time: “Edwin Booth is dying. How well I remember going behind the scenes at the Boston Theatre and his being presented to us.” (Ibid) Then there were the composers: “Last evening Mr. and Mrs. Horatio Parker and Mr. and Mrs. Chadwick came to dinner. Afterwards all went up to the Billiard room.” (Diary 2, Fall 1893) “Our Sunday afternoons are getting very crowed. People seem to enjoy coming.” (Diary 2,Winter 1894) “At a big Tavern Club dinner Lel was called upon to make an impromptu speech. Afterwards Will Apthorp told him that it was one of the best speeches he had ever heard.” (Diary 2, Spring 1894) “Another wonderful party at Mrs. Gardner’s last night.” (Ibid) “There is not a moment to breathe. We are always on the go, or people are coming here.” (Diary 2, Spring 1895) “Our Sunday afternoons are more crowded than ever…Our days are filled with receptions, parties, concerts and the Opera.” (Diary 2, Winter 1896) Another side of society life was charity work. How did she have the time? “I am now going regularly to the Home for Incurables. I enjoy talking with them, also singing to them, which they often ask me to do.” (Ibid) “I am almost dead with so much going on.” (Ibid) The pace didn’t let up. An entry, “We go to the Opera almost continuously,” was closely followed by, “We had a brilliant Sunday afternoon yesterday. The talented Mr. Kittredge who played with Mrs. Robinson in In a Balcony sang exquisite French songs, playing his own accompaniments…I try to rest but there is never time…Now that April is here we have discontinued our Sunday afternoons” (Diary, 2 Spring 1898) However, ours had a longer season. “We went to a brilliant Garden Party at Mrs. Gardner’s. Next Day. Went to a large dinner at Mrs. Gardner’s. There were 16 of us, and after dinner we had the greatest fun playing a Haydn Kinder Symphony.” (Ibid) There were also family obligations that took up time; “Mrs. Gardner went with Lel and me to see Noble’s School play against Roxbury Latin Sch. Malcolm played short-stop. Roxbury won 5-4” (Ibid) The Sunday Afternoons late in 1898 began on December 4th. (Diary 2, Winter 1898)


On November 18, 1891 the choir sang at the funeral of John H. Stickney who was the only surviving member of J. C. D. Parker’s original twelve singers of the Chickering Club-he had often been a soloist with the Club. Such changes were reflected in Phillip Hale’s review of an 1892 concert where he wrote, “the first tenors are not now as strong as of old. Death and resignation took away valuable old members” (Baker, 15)  However H. M. Ticknor (bass in the choir and on the Harvard faculty) wrote in the Globe “of first tenors applying for membership, 31% are accepted, 26% of second tenors are accepted, and only one out of every five basses who apply are admitted to membership.” However critics grew more negative as reflected by this 1894 comment from B. E. Woolf in the Gazette-“B. J. Lang’s prevailing weakness as a conductor is evident…[he is] somewhat of an anachronism.”


The headline in the Transcript was: “CECILIA AS AN EDUCATOR.” This season presented “Wage-Earners Concerts,” held the night before the regular concert with ticket prices of 15 and 25 cents. The idea had first been tried in Chicago, to great success, and in Boston, “judging by the size of the gathering and the warm interest of the listeners the first trial of the plan was a complete success.” (516) The Herald headline was in three parts: “THE BEST MUSIC—LOW PRICES. The new Departure of the Cecilia Outlined. A Repetition of the Club Concerts at Low Prices-Plans for Distributing the Tickets for Sale to Wage-Earners-A Worthy Effort in the Right Direction.” This paper reminded their readers that it had reported on the efforts of the Apollo Club of Chicago when they first began: “The Herald was very anxious that steps should be taken to establish a similar course of concerts in this city, but at the time, for various reasons, it seemed to be impossible…During the last few weeks, a gentleman representing the club has visited substantially all the large employers of labor throughout the city with a view of interesting them in this enterprise…The Cecilia must be congratulated on the enterprise they have shown and the unselfishness with which their singers have gladly given their services.” (Herald, undated) Another paper also had an extensive headline: “MUSIC FOR THE MILLIONS. CECILIA’S NEW SERIES. Her Brave Effort to Play to Boston’s Wage Earners Has a Measure of Success. THROUGH MANY BIG SALARIES GOT IN.” (Anon. article)

The Wage Earner Concerts were continued for twenty years with prices of 25, 35 and 50 cents. Blocks of tickets were given to companies who then distributed them to their employees. Unfortunately many tickets fell into the hands of those who could afford to pay full price, and this led to a discontinuing the concerts during the 1897-1898 Season. However, these concerts “had become a source of considerable revenue, and were renewed the following year and continued regularly until the season of 1909-1910.” (Hill, 9)

The first concerts of the season were presented on Sunday evening, November 29 (Wage-Earner Concert) and Monday evening, November 30, 1891, both at the Music Hall, both with orchestra with concertmaster Kneisel, and both with the same repertoire: Dvorak-Patriotic Hymn, Bruch-Fair Ellen, and Berlioz-The Fifth of May whose text had been translated from the French by Margaret Ruthven Lang. The Musical Herald said: “Miss Lang is to complimented for her translation…Mr. Lang has a great troop of workers under him this year…An admirable orchestra, led by Mr. Kneisel, assisted at this concert.” (Musical Herald, undated)

The second concerts were held on Tuesday evening, January 26 and Wednesday evening, January 27, 1892 at the Music Hall with B. L. Whelpley as organist and Mrs. Arthur Nikisch singing two groups of songs which included Margaret’s In a Garden-this was the fourth time that her works had been part of Cecilia concerts. The Advertiser noted that the club “never sang before a more attentive, decorous audience than that which filled the big hall on the occasion of the second in the ”Wage-Earners’ series…Mrs. Nikisch found favor with the audience, and was given applause and recalls.” (Advertiser, undated)

The third concerts were given on Wednesday evening, March 30 and Thursday evening March 31, 1892 at the Music Hall with orchestra with the work being Schumann’s Paradise and the Peri. The Transcript reviewed the earlier Boston performances of this work beginning with one given by the Parker Club in the early 1860s. It was then given by the Harvard Musical Association when the Cecilia was part of that group, and then again ten years later when the Cecilia was an independent chorus. “The performance last evening, in so far as chorus and orchestra were concerned, was very fine indeed; the chorus, in especial, sang with noble firmness, vigor, and vitality, and also with the nicest attention to effects of light and shade. Better chorus singing could not be asked for.” The comments about orchestral accompaniment may have had some effect. “The orchestra, too, played with far more care and attention to their parts, and to the conductor, than they have done of late, outside of the symphony concerts, thus doing much to wipe off the stigma which they have, on more than one occasion, brought upon themselves.” (Herald, undated) The Herald also recorded: “The work of the chorus was especially good throughout the evening, and showed the body of singers to the best advantage, evidences of the thorough study given under Mr. Lang’s direction being evident in all their leading numbers…The orchestra was from the ranks of the Symphony men, and, under Mr. Lang’s baton, the many beauties of the instrumental score were most happily interpreted.” (Ibid) Woolf, in the Gazette, did his usual pan. Of the work itself: it is “dull, monotonous, and unimpressive,” and of the performance: it was “as a whole, far from praiseworthy, and showed in many directions the result of careless and inadequate rehearsing, and had a distressing go-as-you-pleaser aspect, generally.” (Gazette, undated) However, another reviewer, H. G. Hopper in the Times wrote: “Especially commendable was the performance in every detail and the whole work was a brilliant success, due, of course, to the care of the conductor, Mr. B. J. Lang, in the numberless rehearsals which must have taken place to produce such completeness…Of course every seat in the great hall was filled and the audience most attentive and enthusiastic.” (Times, undated)

The fourth concerts were given Wednesday evening May 11 and Thursday evening May 12, 1892 at the Music Hall with a miscellaneous program which included Mrs. H. H. A. Beach playing two groups of piano solos, one of which included her own work, Fireflies. Under the heading MUSIC AND THE DRAMA Hale wrote another positive review. “It is a pleasure to hear the Cecilia in such concerts, for the balance and the march of the parts are more clearly observed, and the quality of tone and the observance of dynamics carry greater authority than when the singers are drowned in orchestral floods…Last evening the concert was thoroughly enjoyed by many who at the end of the season, stunned and dazed by orchestral crashes and pianoforte pyrotechnics, realize that,after all, the human voice is still the noblest, the most potent of all instruments. The singing of the society was generally excellent.” (535-536) Warren Davenport praised Lang as an accompanist. “Mr. Lang played the accompaniments to the vocal solos in his own charming manner, an accomplishment that few possess.” He also noted the effect of having assigned seats-after the first piece late comers were admitted, “and all along, for a half hour or more after the performance began, the listeners were disturbed by people going to their reserved seats” including a music critic, whose arrival was noted at 8:20. (537) One final review (possibly from the Gazette) was also very positive. “In fact, the Cecilia has not acquitted itself more satisfactorily this season than it did on this occasion. The pleasure it afforded the audience was frequently manifested in the hearty and fairly earned applause that rewarded the singing.” Mrs. Beach “was also cordially applauded and recalled” as was the soprano soloist, Mrs. Wyman who was “recalled three times” after her songs. (Anon. , undated)

The success of the Wage-Earner Concerts is reflected in a letter from “J. L. C.” written after their first season where he noted: “My daily or weekly wage is not low enough to fall into the one class benefited by the generosity of this singing club, nor high enough to enable me to afford and associate membership. Is this unfortunate middle class to be always shut out from the enjoyment of these concerts.” He then suggested a third [!] performance with tickets prices of “say 50 cents, or even 75 cents…Give the unfortunate middle class a chance.” (Anon.)


The second concert was given on Tuesday February 23, 1893 at the Music Hall with orchestral accompaniment. The opening work was The Trumpeter by Templeton Strong. Elson wrote: “After hearing several of Mr. Strong’s compositions I believe him to be the foremost of the young American composers in ease of treatment of orchestra and in spontaneity of ideas.” (Advertiser (February 24, 1892): 4, GB) The final piece was March of the Monks of Bangor, words by Sir Walter Scott and music by George E. Whiting. Elson thought it was taken too fast-“as if the monks were in the direst hurry” but he ended his review with the statement that the “work, by itself, might make him famous.” (Ibid) Whiting had written the work for the tenth anniversary of the Apollo Club who sang the world premier April 22, 1881. For this 1881 performance the Club printed an edition of just the choral parts, and in 1887 the work was popular enough for John Church Co. of Cincinnati to bring out an edition for voices and piano.

The last concert was on April 27, 1894. By tradition this concert was “a pleasant dessert after a solid feast “of the heavier works in earlier concerts. (Advertiser (April 28, 1894): 5) For Louis Elson: “Pleasant are those concerts which require no analytical reviews.” (Ibid) The opening and closing works were choruses from Mendelssohn’s Antigone, but the middle was full of “folksongs and musical sugarplums” which included Foote’s I Love My Love (encored) and Mr. E. Cutter’s ( the club’s accompanist) Farewell. Elson found both needed “more directness and less contrapuntal imitation.” (Ibid) The violinist Camilla Urso included one piece that had “simultaneous bowing and pizzicato,” played brilliantly. The vocalist, Lillian Blauvelt’s had a very successful debut, but her encore of The Last Rose of Summer, a work sung far too often and so “few people weep over it as copiously as they used to do. The fount of tears is nearly dry, and this particular rose is not a hardy perennial.” (Ibid)

The 22nd. Annual Meeting was held at the club’s rooms, 2A Park Street on Tuesday afternoon, June 7.  Those elected were: President-Arnold A. Rand; Vice President-George H. Chickering; Clerk-Arthur Reed; Treasurer-Charles Howard; Librarian-John N. Danforth, and Musical Director-B. J. Lang. (Journal (June 8, 1892): Vol. LIX, GB) For all the years that Lang conducted this group, he only had a year-to-year contract!


Just before the final Cecilia concerts mentioned above, Lang presented his second private performance of Wagner’s Parsifal on May 4, 1892. As the Globe noted, this concert was given without the aid of newspaper ads or public sale of tickets. There were not quite as many attending as for the first performance, a year before, but there were “very few vacant seats in the auditorium…Yesterday’s performance was almost an exact duplicate of last year’s production. The large Metropolitan Opera House orchestra was brought here again; the Cecilia again provided the choral singers, and, with one exception, the same soloists were heard again…It must be said, that the production reflected great credit upon its promoter and those who aided him in the undertaking. There are few in Boston who would be equal to the task so successfully accomplished by Mr. Lang.” (Globe (May 5, 1892): 2)

As usual the Lang family was very involved in the preparations. From Frances’s Diary: “Went to a Bell Foundry on Allen Street to see bells for Parsifal. Shall go to see some in Worcester. Lel sent me to Worcester to see an experiment with bells…April. Lel to New York to have a Parsifal rehearsal with the Metropolitan Orcheatra…People are agog to hear Parsifal again. Lel is terribly busy planning every single detail, and constantly having rehearsals…Parsifal performance-House packed and everyone wildly enthusiastic. It is the most beautiful music in the world.” (Diary 2. Spring 1892)

However, the Herald reported that the “attendance was considerably below that at last year’s production of this work, [but] the audience was most enthusiastic in its recognition of Mr. Lang’s enterprise and the merits of the performance…Taken as a whole, the performance reached a high degree of merit in all its parts, and the ovations which greeted and rewarded Mr. Lang were well deserved.” (Herald (May 5, 1892): 5, GB) However, the Advertiser noted that the audience was over 2,000-“a most brilliant one, and the closest attention as well as abundant enthusiasm were manifested throughout.” (Elson, Advertiser (May 5, 1892): 4, GB) The orchestra numbered 85 players and the chorus was large and performed very well. Two languages were used-the soloist in German and the chorus in English. “The whole performance calls for an expression of thanks to Mr. Lang, who has in it shown an appreciation of the musical wants of our city.” (Ibid)


       In the fall of 1892 the Boston Symphony Orchestra announced that it was organizing a chorus of 200 voices “which will be trained by Arthur Foote.” (New York Tribune (September 19, 1892): 4, GB) Philip Hale recorded: “At the beginning of the season much was said about a new chorus that was to play the part of annex to the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Unfortunately performance gave lie to promise. The chorus made two appearances, in the Ninth Symphony and in a bill that included Brahms” Song of Destiny and Foote’s Skeleton in Armor. The chorus was weak and timid. It was disbanded at the end of the season.” (MYB (1892-93): x) It was after this that the Cecilia began singing with the Symphony.


       In 1892 the Boston publisher, J. B. Millet Co. brought out an English translation of Richard Wagner: His Life and Works. This was written by the well known French author on musical subjects, Adolphe Jullien with the translation by Florence Percivel Hall and an introduction by B. J. Lang. The book was based on Jullien’s own collection of Wagner material that “is so vast that he has been able to add very considerably to the knowledge even of those who have read the german biographies.” (New York Tribune (May 22, 1892): 18, GB) Lang mentioned that most of the previous books in English were by German writers, and that American readers were quite ignorant concerning French scholarship about this composer. Naturally the three years that Wagner spend in Paris is an important chapter, and the fourteen caricatures by Faustin-Latour were called “admirable and full of suggestion.” (New York Times (July 3, 1892): 5) This was a special edition, in two volumes, and limited to 1,000 copies.


In November 1892 the HMA moved from 11 Park Square to 1 West Cedar Street, a building which they bought. Dwight made the move and he wrote to a friend about all the alterations that had to be made. On the second floor a concert hall was built. “We shall have a beautiful long room, three parlors end to end, with solid pine floor, uncarpeted; and I think eye and ear will find it very agreeable. ” (Cooke, Dwight, A Biography, 292) Dwight approved the repertoire that was chosen for the opening concert: “Beethoven’s great B-flat Trio (Lang, Kneisel and Schroder of the Symphony Orchestra); Adelaide, sung by W. J. Winch; and a Bach bass aria, sung by Lamson.” (Op. cit., 293)


Lang’s performances were not the only ones that received contradictory reviews. In the 77th. Annual Report of the Handel and Haydn Society, the writer took the time to quote from reviews of the group’s Messiah performance. Elson (Advertiser) wrote that the orchestra was insecure, rough and “worse than anything we have heard in oratorio for a long time.” However Hale felt that “the work of the orchestra was unusually good.” The Herald echoed this by saying; “The orchestral work was all that the severest critic could demand,” while the Traveler took a middle position: “The orchestra played smoothly most of the time, with spots of raggedness that were entirely inexcusable.” The Beacon agreed with this position, but the Home Journal wrote: “The orchestra played uncommonly well.” (probably Hale) Finally the Courier felt that “The orchestral playing was much better than is usually the case at the oratorio performances.” (H. and H. History, 16)


The opening concert of this season presented the Boston Requiem of Dvorak, conducted by the composer at the Music Hall on Monday evening, November 28 and Wednesday evening, November 30, 1892 with orchestra and B. L. Whelpley at the organ. Dvorak had conducted the world premier at the English Birmingham Festival on October 9, 1891, and the American premier had been in New York City in February 1892. (Johnson, First, 132). Hale, now writing for the Boston Journal used this three-sectioned headline: ” THE CECILIA. Antonin Dvorak Directs his Requiem Mass. Thoughts Suggested by the performance.” Hale began by writing: “It is now safe to say that he is a man of great musical talent, and it is possible that posterity will recognize him as a genius.” But, he then wrote that the composer wrote for the voice as though it were an instrumental instrument. “When the voice is treated as an orchestral instrument the composer suffers as well as the singer, for his intention is rarely carried into effect..” Of the performance itself: “The performance of the chorus was in the main excellent, an honor to the Cecilia and the city. It was evident that the chorus had been carefully and intelligently drilled by Mr. Lang, for in attack and in observance of the nuances there was little to be desired.” The soloists were praised, and “Mr. Dvorak was welcomed with warmth, frequently applauded, and at the end recalled with enthusiasm. It was a pleasure to see this simple. modest, kindly man of great talent directing his own music…The man, as well as his music, made a profound impression. (Journal, undated) Under the banner DRAMA AND MUSIC, this review called the performance a “gathering of social and artistic significance…The vocal scoring is rich and ”singable,” that is, it does not require a voice of phenomenal range for any of the parts. But the original treatment of the accompaniments by the instruments strews difficulties in the vocal pathway, which the quartet were quite successful in surmounting, and the same may be said of the choiristers…The choruses were finely given, especially the parts allotted to the basses, and the orchestra played very smoothly.” (Anon.) Apthorp’s extensive review in the Transcript included: “We may be wrong, but our present impression is that the Requiem is a stronger work than the composer’s Stabat Mater,” but it would rank behind the Spectre’s Bride and the Patriotic Hymn. “The Requiem is a succession of brilliant, impressive and glowing pictures…One feels the work to be a great feat, powerfully performed. At least this is the first impression it produces-and beyond this we naturally cannot go now…The performance was exceedingly fine: never [!] have the Cecilia sung with more vigor and vitality of style… Although not accustomed to Dr. Dvorak’s beat, the singers followed him admirably, and responded to his every sign immediately and vigorously…The orchestra played with fire and spirit, if not always with the greatest nicety. But few such immensely difficult choral works have had so fine a performance in this city.” (Transcript, undated) The Herald noted “with gratitude” the many first performances given by the Cecilia. “The singers of the Cecilia are to be heartily commended for their faithful work in preparing this difficult work,” and the choir was also praised following Dvorak, who as a conductor, “is almost entirely lacking in personal magnetism, [and] has little force to control either singers or musicians, and withal is not a graceful man in either repose or motion.” (Herald, undated) Elson, also in an extensive review in the Advertiser called the Requiem “one of the most important and elaborate master-works that has been produced here for many years…The manner in which the Cecilia sang the choruses was extraordinarily able, under the circumstances. It was made clear that they had been industriously and intelligently rehearsed, and they sang with steadiness, a precision and a fidelity to the composer’s indications in respect to the marks of expression that left little if anything to be asked for. Now and then there was false intonation, but if a composer insists on writing ear-baffling, and voice-trying intervals, he must take the consequences if they cannot be sung readily.” Dvorak’s conducting style was described: “With his primitively artless beat, he extracted from the orchestra a beautiful pianissimo, perfect crescendos and diminuendos, and other fine nuances…Mr. Dvorak was often applauded, and when all was over, he was recalled with exciting enthusiasm.” (Advertiser, undated)

“Pemberton Sq., Boston                                                                                           December 15, 1892

My dear Doctor,

I am directed by the government and members of the Cecelia to extend to you their cordial thanks for the honor which you conferred upon them in conducting their first performance of your glorious Requiem. The opportunity thus given them of making your personal acquaintance, of listening to your instruction, of singing under your baton and of paying you their sincere homage, is something which will not be easily forgotten by them.

Of the beauty of your noble composition it would be impertinent to speak. When the musical world has already spoken, any small body of music lovers can find nothing to add. Boston is fortunate in receiving its first impression of the great work at the hand of its great composer.

In the earnest hope that your stay in America may be pleasant to yourself as it will surely be profitable, and that Boston may have many more occasions of renewing an acquaintance so delightfully begun, I am my dear Doctor, most gratefully and respectfully yours.

S. Lothrop Thorndike”

(Beckerman, 193)

Philip Hale noted: “Dvorak conducted his Requiem Mass at a concert given by the Cecilia. There was naturally animal curiosity to see the man; but who recalls the work or the performance. The Cecilia maintained its reputation, however, as an excellent body of singers.” (Yearbook, Vol. 10, ix)

George Chadwick recorded: “There was much curiosity to see the man but he was a poor conductor and could not speak English, consequently he got no effect out of the work, which after all is not one of his best. I did not meet him.” (Chadwick, Memoirs) Dvorak was probably a house guest of the Lang family as Carl Faelton, in writing to Dvorak about visiting the New England Conservatory, mentions that he had asked B. J. “whether you might be not be interested to look over our Institution.” (Ibid) In Frances Lang’s Diaries there is also a reference to the composer looking over Margaret’s instrumental compositions. B. J. has wasted no time in making use of Dvorak’s presence in America-he had only just arrived on September 27, 1892! Horowitz mentioned the critical response to this work: “Imagine denouncing such a refined work as ”barbarous”! This was Boston shorthand for ”Slavic” or ”non-German.”” (Horowitz, Dvorak, 116) Luckily there were other considerations that would overcome this first American negative reaction. Dvorak could take comfort in his salary as Director of the National Conservatory of Music for which he was paid $15,000 per year, a figure that exceeded “by one-third that of the mayor of New York.” (Horowitz, Op. cit., 21) He also could reflect that his duties included teaching “for two hours every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. This is fewer hours than he originally planned,” and this left him more time to compose. (Horowitz,  33). He also had part of his family with him in New York-his wife, Anna and two children, his daughter Otilka aged fourteen and his son Antonin aged nine, but four remained back in Prague. However, the four came to America in the summer of 1893, and the whole family spent the summer in Spillville, Iowa which had been settled primarily by Czechs. The Conservatory itself was a fine school-begun in 1885 by Jeannette Thurber, who had attended the Paris Conservatory, she had built a solid staff including James Gibbons Huneker, the critic, who also taught piano at the school. Victor Herbert, who was then the principal cellist in Seidl’s two orchestras, the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera, also taught composition at the school. By the end of 1893 Dvorak would also have the triumph of the premier of his Symphony No. 5, in E Minor, From the New World, conducted by his now good friend, Anton Seidl. In a letter dated 27. XI, 1892 written from Boston’s Parker House Hotel, Dvorak wrote : “Yesterday I came to Boston to conduct my obligatory concert (everything connected with it being arranged by the highly esteemed President of our Conservatory, the tireless Mrs. Jeanette M. Thurber) at which the Requiem will be given with several hundred performers. The concert on December 1st. will be for only the wealthy and the intelligenzia, but the preceding day my work will also be performed for poor workers who earn 18 dollars a week, the purpose being to give the poor and uneducated people the opportunity to hear the musical works of all times and all nations. That’s something, isn’t it? I am looking forward to it like a child.” (Sourek, 151). The performances were actually on November 29 and 30, 1892. (Sourek, 153) “Each program was given before an audience of wage-earners and their families on the evening preceding the regular concert.” (MYB 1892-93, 15)

The second concert was held on Wednesday evening, January 23, 1893 at the Music Hall with Maude Powell as the featured soloist. This was a miscellaneous program which included the premier of Love Plumes His Wings by Margaret Ruthven Lang for female voices. Elson called this piece “the best I have yet heard by this composer. It is charmingly melodic, has enough of imitative treatment in the voices to keep up continuous interest from the harmonic, or contrapuntalside, and its unaffected grace and daintiness appeal to musician and non-musician alike. It received abundant and continued applause (and deserved it, too) but an encore was denied.” (Anon.) The Herald wrote: “The ladies never did better work than in Margaret Lang’s tuneful and pleasing Love Plumes Her [sic] Wings.” (Herald, undated) Hale, in his short two-paragraph review found the “programme not sufficiently diversified. its color was gray,” but “Miss Lang’s graceful setting of Mrs. Moulton’s Love Plumes His Wings to Fly Away stood out in delightful relief, and it was heartily applauded…The singing of the chorus was, as a rule, excellent in quality of tone, in balance of the parts and in phrasing.” (Undated) Another review, under “Theaters and Concerts” found that: “Miss Lang’s dainty and exceedingly cleverly written Love Plumes His Wings was a welcome ray of light in the midst of all this.” This reviewer felt that the program, as a whole, was “melancholy.” (Anon.) Another reviewer found that the program had a “lack of contrasts” which made it “somewhat dull.” However, “a pleasing feature of the concert was Miss Lang’s delightful music to Mrs. Moulton’s poem, Love Plumes His Wings to Fly Away. It was a wholly charming song, and met with cordial applause.” (Anon.) One final review wrote of: “the pure and elevated sentiment of the musical setting by Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang, to the words of Love Plumes His Wings, [which] contributed a very welcome share to the interesting character of the programme.” (Anon.) The choir President S. Lothrop Thorndike called the piece an “altogether delightful bit of four-part writing for female voices.” (Annual Report, 1892-1893)

The Cecilia presented a concert in Salem under the sponsorship of the Salem Oratorio Society [Arthur Foote conductor?] on Thursday evening February 9, 1893 at Cadet Hall which included Margaret’s Love Plumes His Wings. No reviews were preserved, but President Thorndike wrote that the choir “evidently did itself credit; for the audience and newspapers were unanimous in their approval of the excellence of the singing, of the dresses of the ladies, and, especially, of the fact that Mr. Lang had not only conducted the concert admirably, but had, at an earlier period, taken occasion to be born in Salem.” (Op. cit.)

The Monday evening, March 22, 1893 concert at the Music Hall presented The Damnation of Faust by Berlioz with Miss Elizabeth Hamlin, soprano; Mr. Geo. J. Parker, Tenor [and member of Apollo]; Mr. Max Heinrich, Baritone; Mr. Ivan Morawski, Bass; with orchestra. (BMYB 1892-93, 16) One review said of the piece: “This work is one of immense power in certain essentials, but it must be confessed that much of it is painfully labored in effect. Berlioz, whatever his merits may have been otherwise, was not richly endowed with the gift of melody…The best moments of the work are its more stormy and bizarre…the difficulties of the work are very great, for both the singers and the players. that they were fully met on this occasion can hardly be conceded. The choruses were, on the whole, sung with fine precision, clearness and steadiness.” But, “the singing was too persistently and monotonously noisy…A similar effect was observable in the playing of the orchestra…Worse than this, however, was the roughness and raggedness of much of the playing; the happy-go-lucky manner in which difficulties were surmounted, the uncertainty in attack and the laxity in precision generally.” (Anon.) It had seemed as reflected in previous reviews that the orchestra performance had improved, but, it seems that this was not the case. Another review entitled “Berlioz’s Damnation of Faust receives a Fine Presentation” was more enthusiastic. “Soloists, chorus and orchestra each did their part to make the perfect whole, and it is doubtful if the work was ever given better in Boston…The Hungarian March was given with a snap and precision that brought forth hearty applause…The real climax of the piece, the wonderful ”Ride to hades” was grandly done…under the skillful direction of Mr. Lang.” (Anon.) In a third review Warren Davenport wrote of the choir: “The singing of the chorus was always good and mostly excellent as regards precision, good intonation and balance of tone in the parts.” However, “the orchestra generally throughout the evening was loud, disjointed and careless in its efforts, but for the past four seasons this has been its general style.” Of the soloists: “Generally speaking the solo parts in this work are ungrateful tasks, melodically dry and technically difficult…These singers deserve great praise for overcoming the difficulties of their respective parts in the artistic manner that marked their efforts.” (Globe?, undated) The Herald noted the concert in its social listings: “Miss Elizabeth Hamlin was a picture in her empire gown of satin white and enormous blue puff sleeves and bodice, as ”Marguerite,” at the Cecilia concert at Music Hall Wednesday night. Among the large and fashionable audience were noticed Mr. and Mrs. J. Montgomery Sears, Mrs. B. J. Lang, Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang, Dr. and Mrs. H. H. A. Beach, Mrs. John L. Gardner, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Foote and many others.” (Herald (March 26, 1893): 26, GB)

Boston is today known as an Early Music City with its Festival of Early Music every two years and various musical groups that use authentic performance practice techniques, but B. J. Lang, 120 years before brought Boston an awareness of Early Music in the May 11, 1893 Music Hall Concert in honor of Shakespeare which used a harpsichord “kindly loaned by Messrs. Chickering & Sons.” The title of the concert was “Music in Shakespeare’s Time and Shakespeare In Music.” The assisting artists were Miss Fanny Richter, pianist who played Bach’s Italian Concerto and Mr. Ericsson F. Bushnell, bass. A first part of Renaissance material, and a concluding part of contemporary works including pieces by Foote (When Icicles Hang By the Wall from Love’s Labors Lost) and Fenelosa based on Shakespeare texts was separated by three harpsichord solos by Byrde (Prelude in C Major and Pavan in A Minor)and Gibbons (Galliard in C Major) played by Lang. (BMYB 1892-93, 16) The Cecilia records have seven reviews of this performance! Hale felt that “Miss Fanny Richter played the Italian Concerto of Bach with a certain facility, but without individuality and without rhythmic distinction: in a word she played like an industrious pupil of an advanced class.” He also pointed out that the piece had no connection with this program. “Mr. Lang played a prelude and pavane by Bryd and a galliard by Gibbons on a harpsichord, a substitute for the virginal of Shakespeare’s day…It was a pleasure to hear the tinkling with its thin, acid tone, and such an instrument might be recommended to any modern formidable pianist who delights in thundering at length; if he exerted his strength he would break the harpsichord and thus give an excuse for the early departure of the audience.” (Journal, undated) The Globe noted: “A quaint and vastly interesting contribution to the evening’s pleasure was made by Mr. Lang in his performance upon the old harpsichord of the Chickering collection of a prelude in C major and a pavan in A minor by William Byrde and a galliard in C major by Orlando Gibbons, these old time compositions on such an instrument constituting a novelty, which was greatly enjoyed.” (Globe, undated) The Advertiser (Louis C. Elson) noted: “The twanging, picking style of the instrument was a new flavor to the modern concert room, but of course the instrument (the harpsichord is first cousin to the virginals) was not powerful enough for the hall…had the actual virginals been used they would have been quite inaudible…Mr. Lang played the two old dances and a prelude…in a manner that completely won the audience.” (Advertiser, undated) Another review entitled “THE CECILIA CONCERT. Mr. B. J. Lang’s Harpsichord Recital Much Applauded” noted: “Mr. Lang himself received most of the applause for his numbers on the harpsichord,” while about the choir: “Chorus singing such as the Cecilia’s at the concerts conducted by Mr. Lang deserve all the praise they get.” (Anon. review) Under the heading “Music In Boston” Hale wrote repeated his point made in an earlier review that many pianists might benefit from having to deal with the limited dynamic range of the harpsichord. he ended this article with: “The season as a whole was a dull one.” (Journal, undated) The Advertiser under “Theatre and Concert” called the concert “A most interesting evening…We doubt if the majority of the Cecilia audience ever enjoyed a concert more than this one last evening; Shakespeare was the bait, and they all took it greedily…Mr. Lang’s playing of the Virginals music on an old harpsichord was quaintly suggestive of how the music would have sounded if one could have heard it; but the disproportion between the size of the hall and the feeble voice of the instrument was so great that the effect was more imaginative-poetic than intelligibly musical…Mr. Lang and the forces under his baton are highly to be congratulated upon the artistic success of their ”Shakespeare evening.”” (Advertiser, undated) Warren Davenport praised the choir: “There was a good degree of contrast in the dynamic expression, and a fair observance of the nuances. The voices also were well balanced, and the singers attentive.” Of Lang’s harpsichord solos: “Mr. Lang touched the harpsichord with delicacy and clearness, and evoked ther heartiest applause of the evening.” (Globe, undated) Certainly the choir had not expected such a positive response. In the May 1893 Annual Report the President wrote: “We were agreeably disappointed on the morning after the performance, when some of the best critics said that the concert was a good one, not merely from the antiquarian and educational, but from the musical standpoint…This was very satisfactory, and led us to believe that, after all, we had not made a bad ending of a notable season.” (1893 Annual Report)

At the Annual Meeting of the choir on May 25, 1893 it was reported that the ware-earner concerts had continued to be a success. “Enough tickets to fill the house were taken, at fifteen cents or twenty-five cents, according to location, by leading firms on behalf of their employees, and by individuals of the working class; and the audiences were as large and as enthusiastic as those of our regular concerts.” However, it was noted that some richer persons were using these tickets, and the President asked: “Will our friends kindly look to it that this does not happen again.” (1893 Annual Report) The President was S. Lothrop Thorndike who returned to the position after “an interval of eight years,” and he thanked “my worthy successors, now my predecessors, Colonel Browne and Mr. Coale.” He noted that during that period “the club, by inate strengh and worth, survived three of four other organizations working in the same field, which had begun, continued, and ended, during the existence of the Cecilia.” (Ibid) In announcing the next season he mentioned that its third concert would be “our one hundredth,” and that “the Walpurgisnacht of Mendelssohn with which we began almost twenty years ago” would be presented. (Ibid)


The first concert of the club’s 22nd. season was given on Tuesday November 22, 1892 with E. Cutter, Jr., as pianist. The assisting artists were Mrs. Corinne Moore-Lawson, soprano and Mr. Alwin Schroeder, cellist. The concert began with The Longbeards’ Saga by the English composer Charles Harford Lloyd (1849-1919) for male voices and piano obbligato-there was no mention of an orchestra. “Piano obbligato” is a strange term to use for an accompaniment that is obviously needed. The work was published c. 1887 and thus was written when Lloyd was organist at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. Lang probably discovered the work during the summer of 1891 which he spent in Europe with Margaret. Hale thought that the work was well made “but as a whole rather long winded and tedious.” (Journal (November 23, 1892): 7, GB) However, he thought that “as a whole this concert was worthy of the reputation of the club.” (Ibid)

The final concert was held on Wednesday night, May 3, 1893 at the Music Hall and before an audience of the usual great size. Louis Elson in the Advertiser noted that the chorus “has not been so rich in soloists this season as in previous years, and the first tenors have not been quite as brilliant as heretofore, but the club is still one of the leading societies of its class.” (Advertiser (May 4, 1893): 5, GB) The Journal critic wrote: “It is doubtful if this excellent club ever appeared to greater advantage, even under the skillful baton of Mr. B. J. Lang.” (Journal (May 4, 1893): 7, GB) This was  a programme was of a lighter nature which included a new part song by the Boston conductor/singer/composer,  G. L. Osgood entitled In Picardie. It was praised for its melody and graceful harmony. “The lights and shades in this number were deliciously artistic.”(Ibid) The assisting artist was the violinist Henri Marteau whose selections were of a lighter nature to fit with the rest of the program.

The 23rd. annual meeting was held at the club rooms at 2A Park Street on June 6, 1893. Those elected were: President-Arnold A. Rand; Vice-President-George H. Chickering; Clerk-Arthur Reed; Treasurer-Charles T. Howard; Librarian-Robert T. Harlow; Musical Director-B. J. Lang; Committee on Music-Allen A. Brown for three years; Committee on Voices-L. H. Chubbuck and Henry Basford for two years. (Journal (June 7, 1893): 6, GB)


“The ‘talk’ announced by Mr. B. J. Lang at Chickering Hall yesterday afternoon upon ‘Piano Playing. its Cause and Effect,’ proved a vastly interesting occasion to an audience which filled the auditorium selected for this event. Mr. Lang chatted in a delightfully informal fashion about the vices and virtues of piano playing, and spoke in his usual frank fashion about his performances in such matters. He gave practical demonstrations of his theories upon the pianos, told anecdotes of tests he had applied to show how much prejudice has to do in judging of the pianos of various makers, related his experiences, and altogether gave much interesting and valuable information upon the subject selected for his talk.” (Herald (November 11, 1893): 10, GB)


The conductor Theodore Thomas was the musical director of the Exposition. One aspect of the program was a call for American composers to submit their compositions for possible inclusion in one of the many orchestral concerts scheduled throughout the event. At first just Thomas was to evaluate the compositions, but in order to avoid criticism, he formed a seven member committee to make the decisions. He was one member, and the choral conductor of the Exposition was another, and then there were three Americans, and Lang was one of the three. The other two positions were filled by the English conductor/composer A. C. MacKenzie and the French composer Camille Saint-Saens. (New York Tribune (September 19, 1892): 4, GB). One of Margaret’s compositions was selected-her Overture: Witichis was played on Saturday July 29, 1893 at the Popular Orchestra Concert #45 at the Festival Hall, conducted by Theodore Thomas with the Exposition Orchestra. It was repeated August 4 at a Music Hall Series concert. (Guion) The work was played again on August 30th., this time conducted by the Concertmaster Max Bendix who had been promoted to the post of conductor after Thomas quit on August 12. “Mr. Bendix, hearing that Mr. B. J. Lang was in Chicago with his family, sent to ask if they would like to hear the Wichitis overture played, and arranged for it to be the first piece on the program of August 30, at 12 noon, Mr. Lang having an organ recital a little later on the afternoon, and it was to be the last day at the fair.” (Musical Courier, January 1895)  The orchestra concerts continued for one more week: September 2-7, but after that the orchestra was disbanded for lack of funds. “When Thomas resigned, many contracts were cancelled in order to save money. Had his plans been fulfilled, conductors Hans Richter and Arthur Nikisch, and composers Alexander Mackenzie, Jules Massenet and Camille Saint-Saens would have appeared in the later months of the fair.” (Ibid)

MusicHall The Music Hall, located at one end of the Peristlyle, was 246 feet long, 140 feet wide, and three stories high. Snap Shots, F. Dundas Todd, 1893. Unnumbered pages. The audience seating was 2,000 to 2,500; their was space for an orchestra of 120 and a chorus of 300; there was also a smaller hall of 500 seats which was used for chamber music and recitals.      PeristyleandMusicHallSnap Shots, F. Dundas Todd, 1893. Unnumbered pages. The Peristyle was the welcome gate for those arriving by boat. The Music Hall is on the left, and at the  opposite end of the Peristyle was the Casino, which was a visitor welcome center. The Casino and Music Hall mirrored each other in design. The total cost for the two buildings and the Peristyle was $200,000.

The fair covered 633 acres and admission was 50 cents; it had 14 major buildings, most being in the Beaux-Arts style, and each was covered in white stucco which led to the nickname “The White City,” but neither of the concert halls were among the 14; the total number of buildings was 200 with 65,000 exhibits; the admission was 50 cents; one major exhibit included Bach’s clavichord and Mozart’s spinet; 43 states and territories had independent buildings as did 23 foreign countries; America’s answer to the Eiffel Tower was the giant Ferris Wheel, designed and constructed by the Pittsburgh bridge-builder, George Washington Ferris, Jr. There were 36 passenger cars, each with 40 revolving seats and with standing room, space to accommodate up to 60 people-thus a total capacity of 2,160; other new inventions included electric lamps, elevators, burglar alarms and irons and products which are familiar today, such as Shredded Wheat, Pabst Blue-Ribbon Beer, Aunt Jemima syrup and Juicy Fruit Gum, made their first appearance; Edison built an 82 foot Tower of Light which displayed over 18,000 bulbs; electricity was relatively new, and this was reflected by having one of the major buildings, The Electricity Building. During the six months that the Exposition was open, over 27+ million visitors attended (when the total population of the USA was 63 million) and this was during an economic depression that was to last four years. At the end of the six months there was a surplus of $1,000,000 that was returned to the 30,000 shareholders. (The World’s Columbian Exposition, internet site)

Ferris-wheelWikipedia article-August 11, 2015.  Public Domain.

A four-manual organ of 63 ranks, Opus 700, was installed in the 7,000 seat Festival Hall which was also called the Choral Hall. The stage area was large enough to seat a chorus of 2,000 and an orchestra of 200. It was built by Roosevelt Organ Works of New York, but had a name-plate of the Detroit firm of Farrand & Votey who had recently bought the Roosevelt company. The instrument was not finished on time. In fact the dedication was on July 30, three months after the opening of the Exposition. Thus all of the recitals were pushed into the second half of the Exposition. with a frequency of about two every three days. The total budget for and organ rental and the recitalists was $12, 079.50. With the organ rental costing $10,000, this left only $2,079.50 for fees for the players. In fact only $1,925 was spent-this gave an average fee of $31.05 per recital. A second large organ was planned for the Music Hall which seated 2,000 and was the site of classical concerts, mainly orchestral. Theodore Thomas made sure that the design of the stage area would not allow for an organ! The Festival Hall instrument was actually on loan (rental) to the Exposition for a fee of $10,000, and it was later sold to the University of Michigan for $15,000 and installed in University Hall. This was a win-win situation; the University got a bargain and the organ builder was able to cover the total cost of the instrument, $25,000.

ChoralHall3Choral/Festival Hall. Snap Shots, F. Dundas Todd, 1893. Unnumbered pages. Stage seating of 2,500 and audience seating of 6,500. There were no galleries. “A large foyer extends around the building, giving ample room for a promenade.” (White and Ingelhart, 410) The budget had a sum of $175,000 to hire an orchestra of 144 players for the six month period of the fair. Thomas used many members of the Chicago Orchestra (predecessor of the Chicago Symphony) of which he had just been named as conductor. The plan was to use the orchestra in 300 concerts during the period of the Exposition. (Ibid, 412)

Clarence Eddy was the official organist of the Exposition which gave him the responsibility of selecting the other organists who were to give recitals. In the end there were 21 organists from 14 different cities who gave a total of 62 official recitals. Eddy gave 21 and the French organist, Alexandre Guilmant, making his first American tour, gave four recitals. Two other Boston organists played-George E. Whiting gave three early in the season, Louis A. Coerne gave one and Lang played one recital late in the season. (Smith, 23)(Hammann, 26) The date was Wednesday, August 30, at 12:30PM. His program was more severe than most with three Bach pieces to open, then the Schumann Fugue on B-A-C-H, his own transcription of Mendelssohn’s Overture to a Midsummer Night’s Dream, an Improvisation, and then a final piece, his transcription of Beethoven’s Overture to Egmont. Alexandre Guilmant was in the audience-probably Lang had met him on one of his many European visits. One reviewer noted that Lang was not among the “many-fingered race of modern organ virtuosi, but he is a solid and artistic player.” (Friesen, Stopt Diapason (April 1983, Vol.4, No. 2): 15) Another questioned the place of transcriptions: Lang’s two “show the same old endeavor to make the organ masquerade as an orchestra, which calls to mind the fable of the jackdaw with the one peacock feather in its tail.” (Chicago Daily Tribune (August 31, 1893): 4, GB)

Attending an organ recital at Festival Hall was a challenge for the listeners. The intramural trains that past the building every minute took the opportunity to add their musical contribution by plowing their whistle. In loud passages this was not noticed, but in soft sections the effect was off-putting for both the player and the audience. At the end of each performance the hall’s ushers would shout “Out, out—get out, quick”; did they allow for encores? (Friesen, Stopt Diapason, June 1983, Vol.4, No. 3, 10) A final distraction was having the ushers put up flags during the concert which necessitated that they shout to each other across the room! (Op. cit., 13) The charge for these concerts was 25 cents and the audiences ranged in size from a full house for Guilmant to a very small house for some of the American players. It didn’t help that the recitals were at many different times. Lang’s time was 12:30PM, but the four recitals just before him were at 3:00PM, 12 noon, 4:30PM and 1:00PM. (Friesen, articles in Stopt Diapason).

InteriorofChoralHallInterior of the Choral/Festival Hall. Snap Shots, F. Dundas Todd, 1893. Unnumbered pages.

The Cecilia Society was among 39 American choirs and seven instrumental organizations to take part in the Exposition; the Apollo Club was also invited. Their membership was noted as being 175 while the Apollo total was 65. Carl Zerrahn brought three groups: the Handel and Haydn Society (410 singers), the Oratorio Society of Salem, MA (250 singers), and the Worcester County Musical Association (500 singers). Boston was represented instrumentally by the Boston Symphony of 75 players conducted by Arthur Nikisch and the Mendelssohn Quintette Club. The only other New England groups to take part were the Haydn Society from Portland, ME conducted by Hermann Kotzschmar (125 singers), and the Arion choir from Providence, RI conducted by Jules Jordan (400 singers). (Upton, Musical Societies, 79)


Boston premiers continued with the oratorio St. Francis of Assisi Op. 36 by the Belgian composer Edgar Tinel (1854-1912) given at the Music Hall on November 23, 1893 with Mr. Almon Fairbanks as the organist. The American premier had been given less than a year before in New York City conducted by Walter Damrosch. Henderson in the New York Times of March 19 said: “It is simply a natural advance on the path in which the oratorio has traveled ever since its birth.He has made his advance under the lines indicated by Mendelssohn. He has adopted the Wagnerian style of instrumental accompaniment. But the simple truth is that the work does not appeal forcibly to the general musical public.” (Johnson, First, 367) Hale in the Journal noted that the piece had been cut, but of the performance he wrote: “First of all, the warmest praise may be awarded justly to the women of the chorus. Their body of tone was fresh, beautiful and sonorous. they sang with intelligence and with skill. The men were not heard to such advantage. Their attack was often timid…at times they were inaudible…With the exception of Mr. Ericsson F. Bushnell, the solo singers were not equal to the task imposed on them…The orchestra worked faithfully, but many rehearsals are necessary for a satisfactory performance of such a difficult work.” (Journal, undated) Warren Davenport called the sections that were omitted “the most striking numbers,” but he too wrote that “the chorus did admirably,” and that Mr. Bushnell was the best soloist “meriting thereby the warm applause he received.” Davenport wrote extensively of “the poor success” of Mr. Ricketson who had “no sense of the rhythmical demands of the role, to say nothing of an inability to even keep the time…It  was well that Mr. Lang paid no heed to the singer in this case, but kept firmly in hand the orchestra and let the singer tag along in his own way.” (Globe, undated) The Courier praised the choir, thought “the solo work was inadequate,” and then spent the remaining half of its space to how badly the orchestra played. “The orchestra played away unintelligently and without distinction, overpowering the soloists, and making a thick, muddy mess of sound even when only the strings and wooden wind [sic or clever] were employed. (Courier, undated) The Transcript wrote of the piece: “We could find nothing particularly remarkable in it,” but “the performance was inexpressibly fine, in so far as the chorus was concerned; the chorus singing was absolutely superb at every point. the orchestra was far less satisfactory.” This review ended with a plea for more financial support for the choir so that it could continue to present “important choral works” without having to deal with “ridiculously insufficient orchestral rehearsing, and with solo talent that, on th average, barely comes within the boundaries of the excusable.” (Transcript, undated) Elson in the Advertiser noted “The roll of such works [Boston/American premiers] which this organization has first presented in Boston is a very large one, and scarcely any famous composition for chorus and orchestra has failed of a Boston hearing, thanks to its officers and energetic conductor. St. Francis d’Assisi by Edgar Tinel, is not the least of these, and its initial performance was an event of much importance in our musical annals.” He cited the ladies of the choir who “sang very finely…There were moments of timidity in some of the difficult numbers, and a number of places where the ensemble was not perfect, but this was to be expected in a first performance of so great an oratorio…where the scoring is the boldest ever attempted in an oratorio.” (Advertiser, undated) President Thorndike described the work in his 1894 Annual Report: “its splendid beauty and religious impressiveness, the richness of its harmony and orchestration, and the height and nobility of its inspiration have been sufficiently described by the critics. its length required vigorous cutting to bring it within the limits of one evening; but the curtailment was judiciously done by our conductor…The chorus singing was well done, the women winning especial praise; the solo work, entirely by singers from without the Club, was in the main adequately performed; and the orchestra, thanks to good conductorship, did far better than might be expected from somewhat meagre rehearsal of a very difficult composition.” (1894 Annual Report)

The second concerts of the season were give on Wednesday January 24 and Thursday, January 25, 1894 at the Music Hall with Charles P. Scott as the organist, Arthur Foote as pianist, and Miss Currie Duke as violinist: “She made a very favorable impression.” Two Boston composers were represented: Miss Duke played Mrs. Beach’s Romance for violin and piano and the choir sang “a brief and pretty trio for female voices by Mr. Clayton Johns, which was carefully and expressively given.” This reviewer felt that while the performance was “creditable to the organization,” it “was not fully up to its best standard.” (Anon. review) However, another reviewer began by saying: “Those who were fortunate enough to have tickets to ”The Cecilia” on Thursday evening heard one of the best concerts given for a long time by the society…The chorus of ladies were very picturesque, and added much to the appearance of the stage, as they were all costumed in light colors, blue, pink, and white, which was very effective.” No word on what the men wore. Miss Duke played “with so much success that she was obliged to respond with an encore. Mr. Lang accompanied her in his most finished manner.” (Anon. review)

The choir appeared again in Salem on Monday February 5, 1894. This was mentioned in the program for the choir’s 100th. Concert-March 1894. “It remains to add to the history of the Club that it has never, except in two instances, sung outside of Boston. Upon these two occasions it sang in Salem, desiring to pay tribute to the old music-loving town which gave birth not only to its conductor, but to others whose names have often appeared upon its programmes.” (100th. Concert Program)

In March 1894 “our male chorus assisted at a concert of the Apollo Club in Nicode’s cantata, The Sea, and shared the honor which always attends a performance of our renowned brother society.” (Anon. review)

”Membership sometimes ran as high as 200 voices, but it never went below 100, but it was still referred to as the ‘small’ chorus in Boston as the Handel and Haydn Society often did Messiah with 500 singers. (Gould-Our History part 3, 3) Until 1900 no tickets were sold to individual concerts and thus no advertisement was needed. Tickets were sold by the season to 300 “associate members” and each singer was given 6 tickets per concert to be distributed to friends. Thus the Cecilia performed to full houses, but fundraising was always needed to balance the books. In most seasons an orchestra was employed for only two of the four concerts and many works with orchestral accompaniment were performed only with keyboard accompaniment. As a final gift to the choir, B.J. headed an Endowment Drive, which was able to raise $40,000, but even this support was not enough to guarantee the high ideals of Lang. The $2,000 yearly income from this endowment covered Arthur Fiedler’s salary of $600 per concert but little else. Luckily the Boston Symphony covered all the other major expenses. In 1894 the Board wrote that it hoped to pay its conductor $1,000 per season, but Lang never actually received more than $500, and often this amount was returned to the group via “purchase of tickets or direct contribution.” (Gould-Our History part 2, 3)

       The March 15, 1894 concert was the 100th. since the founding of the group in 1874. To mark the occasion the same work was performed in 1894 that been presented in 1874-Mendelssohn’s First Walpurgis Night. Schumann’s Selections from Faust were also performed. The program for that concert gave a three page history of the group and then listed the current singers – Soprano: 55, Alto: 47, Tenor: 45, and Bass: 50. Among the tenors was Edward C. Burrage and among the basses was H. G. Tucker. Neither Frances nor Margaret were singing members at that time. “The vocal capacity of the Club has been greatly improved both in quantity and quality since its early days, when its hundred voices found it hard to cope with the full orchestra of the Harvard Association or to fill the great space of Music Hall. It has now nearly two hundred voices. The vocal parts are well balanced; and each part, by dint of strict conditions of admission and of ruthless weeding out of useless material, is of excellent quality and power.” (100th Concert Program) The choir had continued since 1874 “outliving three or four organizations working in the same field, which have begun and ended during its existence.” (Ibid) During its first twenty years “its presidents have been Charles C. Perkins, S. Lothrop Thorndike, A. Parker Browne, and George O. C. Coale.” (Ibid) The Gazette found the Schumann “dull and almost tiresomely monotonous,” which generated applause that was “very slight and merely formal at that,” but the Mendelssohn “was much better done, and was far more favorably received.” Woolf had to include his usual comment on Lang’s conducting: “On Mr. B. J. Lang’s peculiar methods of conducting, it is unnecessary, and would be wearisome to dwell again. They are admirable object lessons to young conductors, on what to avoid.” (Gazette, undated) Warren Davenport wrote: “As a choral body last evening it must be said that it acquitted itself admirably. In the Faust number the singing was excellent, when the difficulties of the work are considered…The singing of the club in the Walpurgis Night, with one exception, was excellent.” The orchestra again was panned: “The playing throughout the whole performance was devoid of precision, expression, and proper attention to the firm and definite beat of the conductor. [Interesting evaluation of Lang’s conducting]  The unheeding attitude of the players, with eyes fixed upon their music or with attention divided among themselves, produced results that might be expected from a circus band only, while the total disregard of the conductor’s movements can be referred to as little less than disgraceful. Mr. Lang’s endeavors were of the best, and with the chorus accomplished admirable results. The accompaniment was a blot on the performance.” (Globe, undated)

Also in March 1894, for the third concert of their season, The Damnation of Faust by Berlioz was performed. In his Annual Report for 1893-94, President Thorndike referred back to Lang’s presentation in 1880 which had been “his own private undertaking.” He had asked the critic Apthorp which performance had been better-Apthorp thought that the first in 1880, while Thorndike thought the second in 1894, “But why make comparisons. Both performances were excellent, even remarkable.” (BPL Lang Prog.)

“On April 13 and 14 our ladies, with Mrs. Smith and Miss Whittier [members of the soprano section of Cecilia] in the solo parts, cheerfully accepted Mr. Paur’s invitation to sing the fairy music in the Midsummer-Night Dream, and made the symphony concerts for those days more than usually attrctive.” (1894 Annual Report)

The final concerts of the season were given on Wednesday evening May 2 (Wage Earner Concert) and Thursday evening May 3, 1894 at the Music Hall with Almon Fairbanks as the organist. Edward MacDowell played his Shadow Dance Opus 39, No. 8 and March Wind Opus 46, #10, but Warren Davenport wrote: “Mr. McDowell [sic] was not at his best,” but “he was recalled after the performance of his group of pieces.” (Globe, undated) Hale reported that MacDowell also played pieces by Bach, Chopin, Alabieff-Liszt and Geisler in addition to his own compositions. “He gave much pleasure, and he was twice recalled.” (Journal, undated) The Transcript wrote of the soprano soloist, Miss Anita Muldoon, who was new to Boston: she “made a very favorable impression…She has a rich voice of considerable compass…she uses it uncommonly well, singing musically and with a great deal of ”temperament.” Mr. MacDowell’s pianoforte playing was a delightful feature of the concert and excited well-merited enthusiasm; he was twice recalled. The club sang admirably as ever, proving itself to be, as of yore, a chorus of which Mr. Lang may well feel proud.” (Transcript, undated) President Thorndike’s Report referred to MacDowell’s playing, saying that all the pieces had been “presented with great brilliancy of technique and charm of expression.” The choir had sung the Eia Mater by Dvorak, Mendelssohn’s Hear My Prayer, and “sundry part songs of the usual sort.” (1894 Annual Report)

“The Cecilia Society often gave evidence of its affection and regard for Mr. Lang. Twenty years of service as conductor were marked on May 24, 1894 by a reception when he was presented an inlaid mahogany table and carved chair from the chorus.” (Hill, History, 10) In 1901, when Arthur Foote was the President of the Cecilia Society, he was responsible for a commemoration on May 9, 1901 at the Hotel Vendome that honored Lang’s twenty-five years as conductor. Foote made the main speech and presented to Lang a silver bowl [that was passed on to Rosamund on B.J.’s death]. The Herald noted the event: “All Boston surely sends laurels to the festival which the Cecilia holds on Thursday, at the Vendome, in honor of Mr. Lang…The club began its existence under his leadership, and owes to him its present well earned fame…The club opened the season with the Beethoven mass at the dedication of Symphony Hall, and also sang farewell to the old hall at the last Symphony concert there. These things suggest the intimate relation this society holds with the life of the community, and to what a noble position and outlook it has been brought by the leader to whom it pays loving tribute.” (Herald  (May 5, 1901): 30)

The May 1894 Report of the President noted that the club had just finished its twentieth year, eighteen years of that being an independent group. “I am sorry to have to find fault with the attendance at rehearsals, and I recommend to the officers having charge of that matter a more strict enforcement of the by-laws provided for the case. The constant attendance of the best musicians is as necessary as that of the poor ones, in some respects more necessary. It isn’t enough that they already know their parts. What would happen if a dozen of the best string players in the Symphony Orchestra were to attempt to offer that excuse for non-attendance at rehearsals?” He then urged that more members be used for solo parts: “We have sometimes made a mistake in going outside for work that could be done just as well from within the Club. The course suggested would, moreover, benefit the Club itself. We should get many valuable additions if it were clearly understood that the only chance of singing at a Cecilia concert would be by joining the Cecilia.” (1894 Annual Report)


The first concert was given on November 22, 1893 with the wife of the conductor of the Boston Symphony as assisting artist. Mrs. Emil Paur played Beethoven’s Variations in C minor in the first half, and in the second half she presented four lighter pieces which were highly praised. Hale called the choice of the Beethoven “unfortunate” and the performance “accurate” but “dry.” (Journal (November 23, 1893): 5, GB) My Native Land by Meyerbeer was “beautifully rendered” by the tenor from the choir, Mr. E. E. Holden, and “the soft repeating of each line by the chorus after the soloist was a device that was truly worthy of Meyerbeer…In the last verse the effect of the rolling river was truly wonderful.” (Advertiser (November 23, 1893): 4, GB) An unusual number which was a surprise to many was Stephen Foster’s Old Folks at Home in an arrangement that was called “Glorified.” The arranger was Mr. Frank Van der Stuken and the soloist was Mr. Clifford whose performance was “sweet and pathetic.” (Ibid) Hale noted that “the power of a popular and simple melody was again shown by the loud applause that followed” this arrangement. (Journal (November 23, 1893): 5, GB) This arrangement had just been copyrighted on the previous October 20, 1892-was this its Boston premier? The Bedouin Song ended the concert in a the performance of which the choir “may well be proud of.” (Ibid) It was noted that “Mr. Lang has brought his forces to a degree of such enviable perfection that scarcely a defect can be found by the most critical.” (Advertiser (November 23, 1893): 4, GB))

The next concert was given on Wednesday January 17, 1894 at the Music Hall. Mr. Clifford was also a soloist in this concert. Philip Hale noted “his natural advantages; he has an excellent voice and a manly presence,” but he sang as though he were being “driven recklessly over a stoney street.” (Journal (January 18, 1894): 4, GB) Hale was complimentary about five of the choir’s pieces, but he had a number of negative comments concerning Buck’s King Olaf’s Christmas. These comments included balance problems between the piano and organ, poor attacks, “and in the 10th. verse the true pitch seemed an unknown quantity.” (Ibid) Hale could always be counted on for a pithy comment. The vocal soloist was Miss Marguerite Hall who “sang at times above the true pitch.” (Ibid) Then another Hale comment: “She was applauded heartily and gave in answer a Scotch ballad.” (Ibid)

The third concert was held on Wednesday, March 7, 1894 with an orchestra. The main work was the symphonic ode The Sea (1889) by Jean Louis Nicode (1853-1919). It used soprano soloist, Mrs. Jennie Patrick Walker and used a large number of the male singers of the Cecilia Society. “The work is a stupendous one, splendidly conceived and treated with the genius of a master. In style it is nearly akin to Wagner….The chorus of 120 voices and more was not equal to the gigantic task in power, though excellent quality was noticeable.” (Advertiser (March 8, 1894): 5, GB) A note in the score asks for Tenor One-50 singers, Tenor 2-40, Baritone-40 and Bass 2-50 for a total of 180 singers. The work is in seven sections with the first, “The Sea” and the fourth, “Phosphorescent Light” being for orchestra only. A group of partsongs by McDowell was praised for it’s shading and ensemble.

The fourth concert was given Wednesday, May 9, 1894 at the Music Hall before the usual large and enthusiastic audience. Among the partsongs was one by Arthur Foote and another, Jack Horner by Mr. E. Cutter, Jr., the choir’s accompanist. He “was obliged to bow his acknowledgement.” (Journal (May 10, 1894): 5, GB) The violinist Miss Carrie Duke was the assisting instrumentalist. Her lighter pieces were well received, but in the more difficult Polonaise by Wieniawski “her intonation was at times distressingly false.” (Ibid) Then the usual sly comment by Hale to finish: “She was loudly applauded and recalled.” (Ibid)

The annual meeting was held on Tuesday afternoon, June 5, 1894 at the Club’s rooms at 2A Park Street. The officers elected were: President-Arnold A. Rand; Vice President-George H. Chickering; Clerk-Arthur Reed; Treasurer-Charles T. Howard; and Librarian-Albert F. Harlow. (Herald (June 6, 1894): 6, GB)


Photo from Wikipedia, accessed February 15, 2019.

Born in 1872 into a musical home, Hill was to teach music at Harvard from 1908 until 1940. After four years at Harvard where he graduated summa cum laude in 1894, Hill felt that his musical education under the one person music department of Prof. John Knowles Paine, was incomplete. During the summer of 1894 he studied piano with Lang, and the fact that he was a visitor to the Lang farm during the following summers of 1895, 96 and 97 would indicate that Hill had become part of the Lang musical circle. During the summer of 1897 Hill studied composition with Charles Marie Widor who was then composition professor at the Paris Conservatoire. Why Hill chose to study in France rather than Germany is not known for sure, but possibly Lang’s interest in French music at that time, Hill’s admiration for Edward MacDowell’s who had studied in Paris for three years, or Hill’s interest in the music of Charles Martin Loeffler, assistant concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, whose music the BSO was beginning to program, any, or all of these factors may have influenced Hill.

Before his Harvard appointment in 1908, one of Hill’s means of support was as a reviewer for the Evening Transcript, a position he held from 1901 until 1908. For this paper he wrote reviews of Lang’s Enoch Arden performance in 1902 and reviews of the Apollo Club in 1906 and 1907, Dubois’s Cantata in 1902, and reviews of The Boston Singing Club, conducted by Lang’s pupil Hiram Tucker, in 1902 (2) and 1908, and an article in 1907 about the coming production of Paine’s opera Azara, which was Lang’s final concert with the Cecilia Society.


On October 23, 1894 Lang the “first of a series of 12 lessons. conversations or talks about the symphony concert programme of the week.” Chickering Hall was “well filled” and Lang organized his remarks  “based upon the supposition that his audience were students rather than professionals…In addition to a four-hand pianoforte reading of the leading works of the present week’s programme, in which Mr. Ernst Perabo gave his valuable assistance,, Mr. Lang told many facts relating to the several compositions.” (Herald (October 24, 1894): 5, GB) These talks were to be continued every two weeks throughout the Symphony Season.


In 1894 Lang ordered this organ for his teaching studio. It is now in the Church of the Epiphany in Washington, D. C.

hh 1894 epiphanyrc dclang organ


The fall of 1894 saw the Boston premier of the opera Samson and Dalila by Saint-Saens given at the Music Hall on Tuesday November 27 (Wage Earner Concert) and Wednesday evening, November 28 with the Boston Symphony. The soloists were Mrs. Julia L. Wyman, Clarence B. Davis, Heinrich Meyn, W. H. Clarke, Robert T. Hall, and Stephen S. Townsend, the last two being members of the Cecilia. Carl Zerrahn had conducted the work at the Worcester’s Mechanics Hall just two months before. The Courier wrote that even though the work was called a biblical drama, “the music has a certain unmistakable oratorio flavor,” and as a staged version was probably not to be given in Boston, as it was one of “the composer’s most famous creations, it is far better to hear it given in this way than not at all…The performance had many fine points. The chorus sang admirably from beginning to end, with accuracy, authority and effect.” When the soprano soloist, Mrs. Wyman “sang the more famous passages…she dropped from English into the original French; a proceeding which may be criticisable on the ground of good taste, but was none the less welcome to us; it gave the music its true flavor, and showed it forth in a far more brilliant light…The orchestra, if we except some occasional moments of not perfectly clear playing, did well, doing justice to the wealth of color in the scoring and giving the often intricate detail-work with good effect. The Cecilia is heartily to be thanked for giving us so good an introduction to a work which every music-lover is interested to hear, and one which holds unquestionably high rank among the dramatic productions of the last quarter of the present century.” (Courier, undated) Hale in the Journal wrote that the first four scenes suffered from Lang’s “sluggish” tempi. “If the conductor is not a man of marked talent in orchestral leadership and the rehearsals are few, the most skillful players are apt to appear at a disadvantage. The chorus was generally excellent. It sang with beauty of tone, as a rule, and with understanding…It was a pleasure to hear it again, even with perhaps inevitable drawbacks. may the day soon come when this opera will be heard here as an opera.” (Journal, undated) Warren Davenport referred to Hale’s remarks about “sluggish” tempi, but wrote that he felt “Mr. Lang’s tempi was [sic] well conceived, in my opinion.” Of the other aspects of the performance: “The work of the chorus was admirable in every particular, and Mr. Lang conducted the performance in a firm and confident manner.” (Globe, undated) Another review wanted to see the work as a staged opera “rather than perverted into an oratorio. The result of this perversion was that there was an absence of warmth and of color contrast…Palestine was changed to Boston, and the Philistines metamorphosed into Puritans…Nothing but praise is due to the chorus, all the members of which sang with spirit and with feeling. It may be truthfully said that, from an art-viewpoint, the chorus performed the best work of the evening…A word of protest may be urged against Mrs. Wyman’s bad taste and small art in singing several of her numbers in French, while the remainder of the opera was sung in English. Musically, there is no merit in pronouncing French correctly, and art propriety [what is that?] is of far more importance than linguistic skill. It remains to be added that at every available opportunity Mrs. Wyman was greeted with applause, which was enthusiastic at the conclusion of the love song in [the] first act.” (Anon., undated) Interesting ideas!

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

The third program of the season was given on Thursday evening March 28, 1895 at the Music Hall with orchestra and H. G. Tucker as organist. The Brahms Requiem and selections from Act One of Wagner’s Parsifal were performed. The Courier described the Brahms as “a long, heavy and complicated work, intensely honorable, thoroughly academic.” The writer thought little of the Wagner excerpt “which is vain and irrelevant without its context and poor concert material anyhow.” (Courier, undated) Hale called the Brahms “this crabbed and tiresome Requiem…It is unemotional, it does not provoke a good or mental emotion; it is without a religious feeling…Mr. Lang conducted in a perfunctory manner and without disclosing possible beauties that may lurk concealed…The chorus sang carefully and faithfully, but without marked distinction in dynamics. It must not be forgotten that the task of the chorus is exceedingly difficult, and the attacks and the intervals are dangerous even for picked and long-drilled singers. The orchestra did its best in the absence of a firm conductor.” Hale did not approve of opera excerpts, and the most positive thing that he could say was: “The performance was one of good faith.” (Journal, undated) The Transcript wrote that this second performance by the Cecilia of the Brahms “gave one fresh insight into the work; at the first performance, a few years ago, one listened to it, as one is often impelled to listen to something at once new and evidently beautiful and sublimity is a rather general way, but without very definite musical understanding…The Cecilia last evening sang the great music admirably for the most part; with careful attention to light and shade, firmness of attack, and often brilliancy…One wished that the singers would only sing with more of individual fervor, with more buoyancy of phrasing, in a word, with more style…The selections from Parsifal were sung far more satisfyingly, and made a very powerful impression. The singing of the small choirs behind the stage was one of the most beautifully perfect things of its kind we have ever heard. The orchestra played unusually well throughout the concert; only in some portions of the Parsifal music was a certain lack of dynamic balance between different groups of instruments to be noticed.” (Transcript, undated)

The usual miscellaneous program finished the season on Thursday evening May 2, 1895 at the Music Hall with Frederic H. Lewis as the pianist and Rose [Laura, 1870-    ] and Ottilie [1872-    ] Sutro as the featured guest soloists. There pieces were by Mozart-Fugue, Chopin-Rondo and Brahms-Theme and Variations Op. 56. Among the choral pieces were two by Boston composers, The Robin by Helen Hood and From a Bygone Day by George Osgood. Warren Davenport wrote: “The performance of the Sutro sisters was a delightful one, the ensemble of the effort being faultless. It was a thoroughly artistic effort devoid of affectation or sensationalism.” After the Chopin piece, “these admirable artists were recalled and played in a charming manner a Scherzetino by Charmenade.” [sic] “Mr. Lang conducted with his accustomed attention to detail and the concert was an agreeable experience on the part of the audience.” (665) The Sutro sisters were then in their early twenties, and there career continued to blossom to a point that they appeared during the 1916 Season of the Philadelphia Orchestra, probably conducted by Leopold Stokowski. (Wister, 227)

One “Wage-Earner” from Cambridge wrote to the Transcript saying that he was very insulted by the insert which had appeared in the last program which noted that the concerts: “are given at no profit to the club, and at great personal inconvenience to the members of the chorus.” He asked: “Are not the conductor, orchestra and many members of the chorus wage-earners? ” (Transcript, undated)

Winslow Homer (United States, 1836-1910) Benjamin Johnson Lang (1837-1909), April 19, 1895. Graphite on paper, 16 x 13 3/8 inches. Portland Museum of Art, Maine. Gift of William D. Hamill, 1991.19.3. Reproduced by permission. Can not be downloaded without a fee to the Portland Museum.

An article entitled “Recent Accession-A Portrait Drawing by Winslow Homer” written by “JH” for a publication of the Portland Maine Museum of Art gives the specifics behind this work. It is “thought to have been drawn in the Lang Studios at 6 Newbury Street, and dated 19 April 1895…The Homers were good friends of the Langs and often visited them at their home on Brimmer Street. In a letter to Homer’s sister-in-law, Mrs. Charles S. Homer, Jr., on April 20, 1895, Homer reported; ”I send today the sketch of Mr. Lang. He was very prompt in giving me permission and opportunity and he likes the sketch. The light was bad and he was a hard subject. Such as it is you are now welcome to it. On no account think of sending me that $25 that you may think was a trade between us-as I shall not take it.”…This drawing is a strong work from the peak period of Homer’s career. its informality of pose and costume-an embroidered smoking jacket with contrasting collar-place the composition closer to Degas and Eakins than to Sargent’s flamboyance; Homer was always a precise draftsman while knowing what to accent and what to omit. the simplification is seen in the modeling of the head with its features intent on the effect of pulling a stop. The drawing is a fine instance od one artist’s appreciation for another united by their common interest in music.” The article mentions that Winslow played the guitar and sang when alone, and that he was a patron of musical events. “He shared with Lang an appreciation of Wagner.”

This Mrs. Charles S. Homer, Jr., known as Mattie, who requested the work was among the leading society dames of the period. “At the turn of the century on Prout’s Neck, Winslow Homer’s sister-in-law Mattie was the leading hostess; for one soiree she invited Madame Melba, the leading prima donna at the Metropolitan Opera.


The first concert was given during a storm on Wednesday November 21, 1894. “Not a single unworthy selection did the programme contain-if we may be pardoned for this left-hand complementing a club that for years, even from its first season, has been noted for the high artistic worthiness of its concert programmes.” (C. L. Capen in the Advertiser, November 22, 1894, 5) The major work was The Pilot by Max Spicker which Capen called a “masterpiece.” The assisting artists were the tenor, Mr. C. B. Shirley and Miss Mary Louise Cary whose voice was described as “both cumbersome and unpliant, voluminous but not pleasing, and with faulty and indecisive production of tone. (Ibid) However, the third soloist, Mr. Thomas L. Cushman displayed “a tenor voice of rare purity, sympathy and trueness, and with as refined and delightful phrasing as one would care to hear.” (Ibid) Mr. Basset was the pianist and Mr. Cutter the organist. The choir’s President, Mr. Arthur Reed, had the idea of interspersing appropriate selections from the poems of the late Oliver Wendell Holmes among the musical pieces.


the lang residence“The Lang Residence, New Boston, N. H.”  Johnston Collection.

After spending many summers in many different places, the Langs began to look for a place of their own. A house owned by the BSO founder was considered, land in Tenant’s Harbor was so appealing that Lang “came back crazy over it. He started us making house plans.” Then a farm auction in New Boston, New Hampshire came to their attention, they went and it was bought for $4,000. At first Frances was not impressed, but found the setting beside “a lovely river and a mill…picturesque.” (Diary 2, Summer 1894)This was a working farm, and so the Langs had to hire “a Farmer…Lel took Rosamond with him to New Boston yesterday. He talked with 2 different men who have applied” for the position. (Ibid) Neither was hired. By early October Lang had “received innumerable applications from Farmers..” (Diary 2, Fall 1894)

In June 1895 the Langs started a Guest Book for the “House of Lang,” his newly bought summer home in New Boston, New Hampshire. During the first summer Mrs. Lang’s relatives visited: Emeline Burrage who visited that first month, June 1895, followed by Edward Burrage and Julia Severance Burrage, June 22, 1895. Elizabeth May Marsh, a B. J. piano pupil visited June 25, and the critic William F. Apthorp visited in July 1895 writing, “Push it along, it’ a good thing.” Another of Lang’s piano students who would later become a music professor at Harvard, Edward Burlingame Hill signed on August 3, 1895 and included four measures of a song. Martha E. Homer , the sister-in-law of Winslow Homer, signed on August 6, 1895 as did Charles H. Burrage and Lydia L. Burrage on August 19. 1895. Caroline Severance Burrage stayed from September 2nd. until the 5th., 1895. Lang’s pupil E. Cutter then arrived on September 5th. and stayed through the 7th. leaving both an eight line poem and a musical quote from [his?] Fugato-Suite in G Minor. The next day, September 8, 1895 Herbert E. Burrage as did Ruby M. Burrage. Isabella Stewart Gardner signed on September 28, 1895  and she seems to be the last guest of the first season, and certainly the most famous.

Isabella Stewart Gardner by John Singer Sargent, 1888.

This portrait was first displayed at the St. Botolph Club, but her husband, John Gardner found it so offensive that it had it removed. It now hangs in Fenway Court, but she did not allow it to be shown to the public until after her death. From this painting it is obvious that Mrs. Gardner was the “possessor of a slender, curvy body,” and while the Boston women in the mid 1860s were still wearing hoops, she was wearing the latest fashions from Paris. When one gentleman remarked, “Pray, who undressed you?” she was able to drop the name of a most famous Paris designer of the day with her reply: “Worth, didn’t he do it well.?” (Vigderman, 37 and 38)

Isabella Stewart Gardner (April 14, 1840-July 17, 1924) was a good friend of the Lang family, so much so that she was in charge of arranging the flowers at B. J.’s funeral. The Langs also visited the Gardners-among the “first visitors at Beverly Farms [in 1895] were… B. J. Lang” – this was the summer home of the Gardner’s – they had just returned from a almost a year in Europe. (Carter, 154) In a more informal situation: “Rosamond rode on her bicycle to Mrs. Gardner’s to make a dinner call.” (Frances’ Diary Excerpts)

Mrs. Gardner helped many in addition to B. J. Among the young men in her circle was the composer Clayton Johns who had taken a young piano student, Heinrich Gebhard under his tutalege. Johns had Gebhard play for Paderewski who was on tour in America-the suggestion was that Gebhard should study with Leschetizky. “However, before I left for Vienna, Mr. Johns wanted to present me to the Boston public as his pupil. So in April, 1896, a concert was arranged in Copley Hall, where I played before a large representative audience a program [that included] the Schumann Concerto accompanied by sixty-five players of the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the leadership of Franz Kneisel. Mrs. Jack Gardner, that wonderful and brilliant woman, who so often was a benefactor to young promising talents, in her great generosity footed the bill for this expensive concert.” (HMA Bulletin No.13)

Arthur Foote wrote “that Boston began its greatest musical growth soon after he started living there. He attributes much of this growth to the local women and their clubs… The preeminent example of a woman dedicated to the arts was the wealthy Isabella Stewart Gardner, Foote’s kindly friend and patron. She gave moral and monetary support to musical performers, composers, painters, and sculptors… She exerted herself in helping musicians to establish the Boston Composers’ Manuscript Society. its aim was to give local composers a hearing.” (Tara, Foote, 57) Gardner’s biographer, Morris Carter was quoted as saying: “Whether a social renaissance was created or not may be a question, but ”the Brimmer set, which represents the old Puritan aristocracy,” and ”the Apthorp set, which represents the new Bohemianism,” did meet in her house on a common ground.” (Ibid)

Phyllis Robbins had a farm in New Boston which she found during a visit to the Langs. “The owner, an obdurate old woman, did not want to sell. Mr. Lang broke through her resistance on my behalf, after paying her many calls, by bringing a doll to her granddaughter.” (Robbins, 125) Robbins mentioned that: “Pianos were scattered here and there on the Langs’ big farm. There was one in the ‘Chalet’; another in the ‘Crow’s Nest’; and two in the ‘Mill.’ We listened to Beethoven with an accompaniment of rushing water. Even the bullfrogs contributed their choral chant, which varied so little from evening to evening that it was found possible to compose an obbligato and a piano accompaniment to their serenade.” (Ibid) Yet another missing Lang composition! The Robbins farm was “a tiny white house, near the river, under a giant elm.” (Ibid) Quite often the actress Maude Adams would spend time during the summer at the farm of Miss Robbins. Miss Adams was also a friend of the Langs. “I had seen Miss Adams at a distance coming out of Boston’s famous old King’s Chapel on one of the Sunday evenings when Mr. B. J. Lang sometimes played the organ for his invited friends. He had sent her a card, though at the time she did not know him personally.” (Robbins, 69)

Maude Adams in 1892. Wikipedia article accessed July 10, 2016.


As the summer of 1895 was the first year the Lang family spent at the New Boston farm, no one went to Europe. However, the earlier trip of 1893 in the ship MAJESTIC could have been much like what follows. A passenger on the Steamer PAVONIA made a ten-day westward journey from London to Boston, “sailing in early August,” thinking that the passage would be “pleasant,” but “the words ‘very unpleasant’ will have to characterize it.” From the first day it rained and was “exceedingly chilly. The wind blew you about, while the steamer pitched, then rolled and tossed about in the tumultuous sea.”

Steerage and second-class passengers boarded by means of a tender-thus you loaded all your luggage unto this small boat that took you out to the steamer that was in the middle of the river, and then unloaded all that luggage unto the steamer. Those in first-class waited until the steamer docked, and then easily boarded-you could get a train from  London that arrived shipside just fifteen minutes before sailing and still have time to board! As so many ships needed to dock, each ship was allowed only one hour load and then sail. Seeing people off was still a novelty; the crowd gave the “imprewion that Liverpool men and women would ratheer watch the departure of a ship off to sea than work.”

There were 102 first-class passengers, which was an unusually large number of returnees for so early in the season. Because of the weather, many people didn’t come to the dining room, but instead took their meals “on deck or in the seclusion of their rooms.” During the first night they sailed into a storm and they were awakened the next morning “by the goods and chattels in our rooms tumbling about in a very lively manner. At breakfast there were very few indeed.”

The last stop before heading out into the Atlantic was Queenstown in Ireland. Here “bum-boats” surrounded the ship and the women in these boats were “hauled up by ropes with their baskets” of wares that included “sets of lace collsrs and souvenirs of oak.” Other women were selling “fruit and eatables” in second class and steerage. “The trading was continued even from the tender by means of a basket and rope, as a penny placed in the basket entitled you to four small apples.”

For the times when the passengers felt well enough to eat, French, English and American menus created by one of the best caterers in the Cunard fleet were available. “French soups and entrees, English game and bacon, we had such tempting American dishes as ice cream, sherbets,and ices daily, with codfish balls and apple dumplings to make us feeel that we were eating at home.”

As they were nearing Boston, vaccinations had to be given to second class and steerage passangers. For entry into New York, only steerage passengers were required to have this done. “This is the reason that there is always a larger number of second cabin passengers to New York than to Boston. The ship’s surgeon has always to use considerable tact and diplomacy when there are several hundred and often 1,000 steerage to be vaccinated.”

Due to the winds of the various storms, the ship arrived in Boston at 7:30PM of the day before it was due. Unfortunately no one was at Quarantine to do the inspection, and so the passengers spent the evening within sight of Boston which aggravated many of them. The next morning “we were aroused for an early breaakfast, unbearable heat and the trials of the custom house.” All quotes from “A Midsummer Ocean Trip,” (Herald (August 25, 1895): 33 GB)


The opening concert at the Music Hall on Thursday evening, December 5, 1895 presented the Berlioz Requiem. Hale gave his usual hedged review noting how difficult the score was, how large the orchestra; “It is seldom, then, that this mass is ever heard as it looks in the score and may be imagined from it. To say that the performance last evening was wholly excellent would be to say the thing which is not. Yet it may be said truthfully that the performance was respectable throughout, and at times admirable.” He ended his review: “In spite of the shortcomings, some of them inevitable, to which I have alluded, the performance was a creditable one, and this phrase applied to the Requiem means much.” (Journal, undated) Another review noted: “Considering its difficulties the Requiem was surprisingly well sung, although now and then the singers were in advance of or lagged behind the orchestra…It was, however, all conscientious and well studied work, and at times reached a high point of excellence…No fault could be found with the excellent work of the orchestra [and then a few faults were listed].” (Anon., undated) The Globe first headline was “Another Splendid Performance of Berlioz’s Requiem” while the second headline noted “Last night Cecilia for 3rd. time in this city.” (Globe (December 6, 1895): 8) It also noted that in spite of the extremely inclement weather, there were only a very few seats empty. “The singing of the chorus was uniformly excellent and almost all the work was done by the chorus…The chorus throughout was well balanced, and the basses and sopranos sang remarkably well.” (Ibid) The reviewer had noted earlier that the work “is written without an alto part, but Mr. Lang utilized his contraltos by having them sing in unison with the tenors. The effect of this combination was very pleasing and the tenor part was decidedly stronger than it is in most of our concerts.” (Ibid)

The second concert was presented on Thursday evening February 13, 1896 at the Music Hall with Harry Fay and Frederic H. Lewis pianists. Margaret’s Irish Love Song was sung by Mrs. Jeannie Crocker Follett who seems to have had an ideal voice for this piece. The Transcript wrote: “Mrs. Follett was utterly unlike the soprano soloists we have heard in recent years, for she sang with no affected airs. Hers is the ideal ballad voice, simple, sympathetic and appealing. Her three songs were admirably chosen, and with Mr. Lang’s skillful accompaniments, gave genuine delight.” The review continued with comments about one of the accompanists. “We venture to suggest to Mr. Fay that he profit by the lesson given him by Mr. Lang. [Fay was a Lang pupil] Where the latter’s touch was delicate and subdued, Mr. Fay’s seemed harsh and noisy. Mr. Lang’s pianoforte work was a treat in itself. Mr. Fay’s made one squirm.” (Transcript, undated) On the other hand, the Globe wrote: “Messrs Fay and Lewis are to be congratulated for their work in the Wynken, Blinken and Nod accompaniment.” (Globe (February 14, 1896): 8) However, Lang’s paying was also praised: “The fine hand of Mr. Lang was probably not more noticeable in any other number on the program than in this [Wynken,Blinken and Nod]. The lights and shades were beautifully done.” (Ibid) Mrs. Follett’s rendering of Margaret’s Irish Love Song  “was especially good.” She had also done the solo in Wynken, Blinken and Nod. The concert opened with “O Gladsome Light” from Arthur Sullivan’s The Golden Legend, a work that Lang would do in its complete form in April 1898.

The third concert was given on Friday evening March 20, 1896 at the Music Hall using a string orchestra, harp and organ for the accompaniment; Foote and Lewis were the organists. Margaret’s work also appeared in this concert-not as a composer, but as the translator of a scene from Goethe’s Faust which opened the second half of the concert. The translated title was “The Shepherd deck’d him For the Dance” with music by Moritz Moszkowski, his Op. 44. The Gazette review was lukewarm: “The concert was solemn as befitted the occasion and somewhat dull.” The reviewer felt that “the Moszkowski music came in as appropriately as a clown at a death bed; it drew the line at solemnity and converted it into farce. A sample of bad taste not often heard at dignified concerts. The piece was not bad in itself, but its place was surely not on a programme of a religious or semi-religion [sic] nature.” Three movements of the St. Saens Noel found favor, and “the singing was admirable throughout, the soloists being surprisingly good…the orchestra played with independence; a large audience was liberal in its applause and the Cecilia may be congratulated on the excellent work done.” (Gazette, undated) Louis C. Elson also thought the Moszkowski “a bit of an interruption to the prevailing thought of the evening, but in itself proved a sparkling sketch of bucolic fun and laughter.” He approved of the Sgambati Te Deum for organ and strings which he described as “replete with spiritual exaltation” and played “with just the right touch of religious fervor, portraying a churchly pageant rather than a humble prayer.” (Advertiser, undated) Elson also enjoyed the Saint-Saens noting especially the chorus work in the final section. “Their splendid precision of attack, purity of tone, surety of intonation, were given free scope in that inspiring finale.” The choir’s performance inspired Elson to devote a paragraph to their place in Boston’s musical world. “With all due excuses for a display of local pride we take pleasure in renewing our own assurance of unrivalled distinction for the Cecilia in the way of a body of ensemble singers, after hearing most of the best chorus work done in America. Even the patron saint of the society would find satisfaction in the tone quality of the soprani. Rarely in a body of singers are there to be found such distinctive qualities as refinement, power, tone and temperament, but in the Cecilia the combination is refreshingly patent.” (Ibid)

The fourth concert was given on Thursday evening April 30, 1896 at the Music Hall with Ernst Perabo as the guest soloist and Lewis as accompanist, and Elson noted that he played “with discretion and good taste.” Elson also wrote: “Miss Margaret R. Lang’s In a Garden was graceful but nothing more; Miss Lang must beware of taking so long a time to say nothing.” He ended the review with the comment: “Altogether the evening was a pretty and unambitious ending to a season that has been even above the praiseworthy standard generally maintained by the Cecilia.” (Advertiser, undated) The Transcript review didn’t mention Margaret’s piece directly, but noted: “Mrs. [Alice] Rice’s three songs were a delight to the ear and soul,” and of the solo pianist: “Mr. Perabo played exquisitely as ever.” (Transcript, undated) Hale also noted the pianist’s performance: “Mr. Perabo played with his customary thoughtfulness and reverence for the composers,” and of Margaret’s song: “Mrs. Bates-Rice sang [her three songs] with technical skill and genuine feeling.” (Journal, undated)

President Thorndike’s Annual report of May 28, 1896 wrote: the “kind public has greeted our successes with appreciative favor. Even the critics…have not found fault oftener than is the wont of their tribe or, perhaps, oftener than we have deserved.” He also called attention to the “higher standard of performance of the Cecilia” and cited one of the factors:”the playing of Mr. Higginson’s orchestra is superior to that of the orchestra of the Harvard Musical Association. And I am never tired of saying that the Cecilia owes most of this to Mr. Lang, who must have great pride in the manner in which the club has grown under his hands.” Thorndike then reflected on the general growth during the previous twenty years of all aspects of music in Boston. “The musical life of the city is far more intense and pervading, far more a necessary part of daily existence, than ever before. Fifty girls play the piano fairly well to one who played it fairly well when Mr. Lang and Mr. Dresel began to teach. ” He then addressed the younger members of the club: “Upon you, young people, it rest to see that the Cecilia takes its proper place in this general progress. You are the inheritors of all the gains that it has made in the time that is past, and it depends upon you to add like gains in the time that is to come.” One area of needed attention was financial support: “We could do much more than we have done if we had more associate members, and we must, each and all, neglect no opportunity of obtaining them.” The continued success of the Wage Earner Concerts was noted as was the continued abuse by some who used these cheap tickets even though they could afford to become Associates. “This dishonesty manifestly causes pecuniary loss to the Cecilia. Mr. Ryder [Secretary of the Wage Earner Committee] well remarks, ”If the evil cannot be abated, the Wage Earner Concerts must stop.”” The Report ended with news of the following season: “The next season will begin with a repetition of Dvorak’s The Spectre’s Bride, not heard here for seven years. In a later concert Massenet’s Eve will be repeated.” (1896 Annual Report).


Just horse-drawn carraiges-no cars yet. Johnston Collection.

The music for Easter Sunday 1895 included a Te Deum in G Flat Major by Lang together with Lang’s Easter Carol. While “G Flat Major” is possible, it is more probable that the “G” was a mis-print for “B” which is located just below “G” on the keyboard. The choir for that day was: Mrs. Josslyn, Miss Lena Little, Mr. W. J. Winch and Mr. Max Heinrich. (Herald (April 12, 1895): 7, GB)

“Unitarians from all parts of the city attended the Christmas services at King’s Chapel yesterday forenoon [December 25th.] The interior of the chapel was elaborately decorated with evergreen and hemlock…The choir rendered a special musical programme. The numbers included Christmas Carol by Lang…Te Deum in D Major by Lang. (Herald (December 26, 1895): 6, GB)


The first concert of the 25th. season was on Tuesday, November 26, 1895. The sole work was Oedipus Tyrannus by Harvard’s Prof. J. K. Paine which was accompanied by a full orchestra. This was the first complete performance, the Prelude having been given about fourteen years previously. Mr. George Riddle was the reader and Mr. William H. Rieger was the tenor soloist. (Herald, (November 24, 1895): 16, GB) On Friday, November 29 the Club repeated the work at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre. For this performance, all the parts were again read by George Riddle. The reviewer had “frequently spoken of it as the leading American work in music ” since its premier in 1881. [That  is the opposite of the third sentence] Mendelssohn had set Oedipus in Colonos and Antigone and had planned to set OedipusTyrannus before his death. “Comparisons are naturally in order between Mendelssohn and Paine,” but Mendelssohn, in his two Greek settings had “not attained the direct strength and majesty which characterize Prof. Paine’s setting.” Sanders Theatre was “more perfect in its acoustics than any large hall in Boston, and the chorus rang out with a virility and vigor that it could not have attained in Music Hall.” The auditorium was filled and all the performers, Paine, who conducted the Overture, Riddle and Lang were greeted with “ardent” applause. (Louis C. Elson in the Advertiser (November 30, 1895): 8, GB)


Apollo Club-25th. Anniversary Concert, May 6, 1896. Courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public    Library/Rare Books.

The 25th. Anniversary Concert was given on Wednesday May 6, 1896 together with the Mendelssohn Glee Club of New York. A visit by the New York group to Boston during the winter of 1870-71 had led to the formation of the Apollo Club. Philip Hale wrote what would seem to be a rave from his pen: “The many excellent characteristics of the singing of the Apollo are familiar to all music lovers in Boston, and it is sufficient to say that last night the members were in the vein and the performance was of the best.” Hale then continued with an extensive section on the performance by the Mendelssohn Glee Club which ended: “In a word the singing of this society was long to be remembered. It was on a level with the best of the Symphony and Kneisel concerts.” He finished with a short paragraph about the soloist, Mrs. A. Sophia Markee “who flattered parochial pride by singing songs of Mrs. Beach, Mr. Chadwick and Miss Lang. Her singing was a disappointment. Her intonation was frequently impure.” (Journal (May 7, 1896): 8, GB)


The same angle as the post card used for the First Year entry. Taken 2011 by Quent and Carolyn Peacock.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The first guest of the second season was Benjamin Lang, B. J.’s father who wrote: “well done my boy, I’ve seen the farm. its hill and dale and every charm. May heaven always bless you all.” Dated June 14, 1896. The singer Lena Little visited July 11-12, 1896, and Arthur Sturgis Dixey signed on August 3. 1896 and left a colored sketch. Emeline Burrage, Caroline Severance Burrage and Edward Burlingame Hill made return visits during September 1896. Winslow Homer’s brother, Charles and his wife, Martha E. Homer also stayed during September.


Lang was one of the founding members of the American Guild of Organists whose first President was Gerrit Smith; his wife had organized in New York City a recital of Margaret’s songs. Other prominent Boston AGO members were Arthur Foote, John K. Paine. Horatio Parker, George Whiting and Dudley Buck who was named Honorary President during the period 1896-99. (Orr, 85)

LANG AS HANDEL AND HAYDN CONDUCTOR. “Best concert in its history.”

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. However, he conducted the “best concert in its history” with the Elijah performance. (Secretary notes)[February 1897] 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, 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 had 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!

                                                                                                                                                     Handel and Haydn Scrapbook. BPL.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         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, 55) therefore it probably was not a surprise when the June 25, 1895 meeting decided to accept Zerrahn’s withdrawal as a candidate for 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, 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: ”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.” (Bradbury, 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 Herald noticed “many innovations in regard to the time in which the choruses were take…for a more rapid pace was adopted.” This worked well in some cases but the “more flowery passages could not be sung clearly and steadily by so large a body of singers, and the effect was confused and muddy.” However, one of the most difficult, “For Unto Us a Child Is Born, was finely sung, with strong emphasis, admirable color and impressive spirit,” and nothing said about the roulades! “Mr. Lang was evidently suffering from nervousness, for he did not always hold his forces together, and there were many moments when he was at odds with both the singers and orchestra.” (Herald (December 23, 1895): 5, GB) Philip Hale in the Journal also noted the faster tempi: “Certain choruses were taken at a faster pace than has been the custom, and the majority of these choruses gained thereby.” However, those with roulades “were for the most part indistinct and without accent.” To Hale the choir didn’t sound any different than it had under Zerrahn. The orchestra played poorly, and Hale wrote: “This was not the fault of the orchestra; it was the fault of Mr. Lang, who is apt to bury his head in the score, forgetting that even the most experienced player is often anxious for a cue.” (Journal (December 23, 1895): 5, GB) For the Sunday concert the choir numbered 368 with an orchestra of 54; for the Monday concert the numbers were 310 and 54. (Bradbury, History, Vol. 2, 57)

The Verdi Requiem was performed on Feb. 2, 1896 (for the fifth time) to mixed criticism. On Good Friday, April 3, 1896 Bach’ 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. The choir numbered 381 and the orchestra 69. (Bradbury, History, Vol. 2, 58)

On Good Friday, April 3, 1896 the choir sang its 13th. performance of Bach’s “Passion Music with a chorus of 323, an orchestra of 61 and the usual boy choir.” (Bradbury, History, Vol. 2, 60) Ticket sales were very poor, and although the the Society’s Secretary wrote that the “choral performance was superb, finer than ever before in the work,” (Bradbury, 60) this marked the last performance of the work.

A week later [!] the Society gave their 66th. performance of Haydn’s Creation. “The chorus numbered 354 and the orchestra 55. The house at this concert was full [ as opposed to the Bach performance] and not papered, for the receipts were $3,762.42 and the direct profit of $1,282.80. (Bradbury, 61) One of the soloists cancelled at just a few hours’ notice, but Mrs. Henschel stepped in, singing, as Secretary Stone reported, “very well, evading the high notes and hard places in the highest style of the art.” (Ibid) “In almost every number the chorus executed its task in a manner to do credit to itself and to the training of Mr. B. J. Lang (Louis C. Elson), and “the chorus sang splendidly with vim, accuracy, sharpness of attack, and all due shading (Transcript-probably Apthorp).” (Ibid)

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 Journal had multiple headlines for its story: “A CONTEST OVER B. J. LANG; Handel and Haydn Society Have a Contest; What the Conductor Has to Say on the Subject; Secretary Stone talks Freely of the Affair”. Lang was asked by the Journal reporter what he knew about this situation, and Lang replied that he was just the conductor and not a member of the society. He did not attend meetings and so knew nothing of the affairs of the choir. The reporter brought up the deficit of c. $1,000 for Lang’s first season, but Secretary Stone replied: “There have been very few seasons for 12 or 15 years when we have paid expenses out of the season’s receipts.” concerning the Annual meeting Lang mentioned: “What happened, by the way, doesn’t concern me particularly. In the course of the day I have met perhaps 40 or 50 friends and pupils. Not one of them said anything to me about the incidents of last night’s meeting.” (Journal (May 27, 1896): 7, GB)  

The meeting was continued until June 8. Two days later the Worcester Daily Spy reported: “The war in the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston is nominally ended, and Mr. Lang will continue as conductor. Two more directors favorable to him were elected by the Society, Monday night, so that the board stands 9 to 2 in his favor…There are hints, however, that the suspension of hostilities against Mr. Lang is merely a truce and not an established peace.” (Worcester Daily Spy (June 10, 1896): 4, GB) The actual vote was Nine in favor, Four against. At a final meeting on July 1 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.

For the December 20 and 21, 1896 concerts Lang was unable to conduct because of pneumonia. “From an attack of conjestion of the lungs, he was confined to his home by the imperative order of his physician.” (Herald (December 21, 1896): 5, GB) Without rehearsal, George W. Chadwick conducted the Messiahs. “It may be said, however, that there were no serious hitches, and that, all things considered, he acquitted himself with much credit.” (Ibid) “It will suffice to say of the chorus work that it was steady and generally praiseworthy. To criticise it more closely would not be kindly.” (Ibid) For the Sunday performance there was a chorus of 346 and an orchestra of 54; for Monday’s concert the numbers were 304 and 54. (Bradbury, History, Vol. 2, 68)

The February 7, 1897 Elijah performance was the 50th. for the Society and every seat in the hall was filled. The Society first sang the work on February 13, 1848, just nine months after its premier in England. “So great was its success that it was performed on the next eight Sunday nights.” (Bradbury, Op. cit., 69) This 50th. 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.” (Ibid) The Globe gave more details. The second paragraph began: “The only notable novelty about the performance was the appearance of the distinguished boy soprano, Henry Donlan, in the part of the youth.” (Globe (February 8, 1897): 5) Before this date, this part had always been sung by a soprano. The ease with which he sang the high A at the end of his section was noted. However, another critic noted that he “lapsed from correct intonation,” and that instead of singing in “a simple childish manner,” he had been coached to produce a ” maturity of feeling quite out of keeping with his age, and that deprived his efforts of anything resembling sincerity.” (Herald (February 8, 1897): 4, GB) However, “Master Donlan received an ovation such is seldom seen anywhere. At intermission, when he left the stage, the audience arose and shouted for him.” (Worcester Daily Spy (February 8, 1897): 3. GB)

Another highlight of the performance was the singing of the Welshman Ffrangeon Davies, in the part of Elijah. He received “most generous applause” for his main aria, but also he was applaued for his recitatives, “the entire performance coming to a pause, while conductor Lang, resting his arm upon his music stand, waited for quiet to be restored.” (Ibid)

Of the choir: “Mr. Lang has made distinct improvements in his handling of the chorus. He has better control and leads with more confidence. The work of the great body of singers was unusually good. There was precision of attack and exact unanimity of action without which the effect of the work of a chorus is sadly marred. The balance was fairly good, though a little more volume of sound from the alto section would not have been amiss. The shading of tone volume was beautifully done, the chorus responding as accurately and surely to the conductor’s command as an organ does to the drawing of its stops.” (Ibid) The Worcester paper reported that this concert had been “one of the best in the history of the Handel and Haydn Society.” Lang had brought about “excellent dynamic effects of light and shade in both chorus and orchestra, good attacks and improved pronunciation” was evident, “while the orchestra was held well in hand and made more than usually effective in the solo accompaniments.” The young boy soloist “Master Donlan received an ovation such is seldom seen anywhere. At the intermission, when he left the stage, the audience arose and shouted for him.” (Worcester Spy (February 8, 1897): 3, GB) The Society’s Secretary wrote: “This was pronounced by the friends of the society the best concert of it history. It was a day of triumph for Mr. Lang…The chorus sang with amazing ease, grace, flexibility, responsiveness and power. its work was a revelation. [!] Immense enthusiasm attended the performance, and even the hostile critics [see Hale above] had not the termerity to deny it.” (Secretary notes, 261) But yet he was not hired for the next season! The choir numbered 334 and the orchestra 55. (Bradbury, History, Vol. 2, 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. The high point of the performance was to have been the first Boston appearance of the English soprano, Miss Ella Russell, but “her rendering of the solos in Hear My Prayer was heavy and lacking ” in style, color, freedom and warmth of sentiment while the speed was so slow that “grace of phrasing were quite out of the question.” (Herald (April, 19, 1897): 8, GB) Her major solo in Hora Novissima, “O Bona Patria” was marred by “the unimpassioned manner in which she interpreted it.” (Ibid).  The Redemption Hymn was “again listened to with pleasure and interest.” (Ibid) End of comment. The work of the chorus was “praiseworthy in every way…It has done nothing better than its firm and solid rendering of the difficult a capella chorus.” [In Hora Novissima] (Ibid) The orchestra played well, especially under Horatio Parker, and “the concert may be confidently pronounced the most commendable of the society’s season.” (Ibid) The choir numbered 329 and the orchestra 59. (Bradbury, History, Vol. 2, 70)

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.” (Johnson,  Hallelujah Amen, 167, 168) The four offiers were: President: Eugene Hagar, Vice-President: Gen. F. Daniel and Secretary: Charles W. Stone with Treasurer M. Grant Daniel resigning later. (Journal (June 23, 1897): no page number, GB) These men “had long been valued officers of the society.” (Ibid)

When Lang was questioned about this, he pointed out that he was not at this business meeting: “I am a musician. I have nothing to do with the business of the society…I understand that some gentlemen who are termed ‘anti-Lang’ were put into power…But I don’t know. Mr. Stone [Secretary of the Society] knows, I daresay. He lives on Mt. Vernon Street.” (Journal (May 25, 1897,: 6. GB) The Journal was Boston’s more sensational paper of its time, and so Lang’s comments generated this headline: “MR. LANG AT SEA. He Doesn’t Know What Happened at the Handel and Haydn Society Meeting or What It Means.” (Ibid)

“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 primadonnas 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. This 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 lost 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, 169 and 170) Zerrahn’s “Loss of vital fluid” some felt was due to having lost his wife the previous year, “and [he] naturally showed less vigor and strength for a time thereafter.” (Advertiser (May 26, 1897): 8, GB)

Herald (September 17, 1897): 1, GB). On the front page!


This September meeting elected officers for the coming year, but no one would stand for the post of President. E. P. Boynton, [lower left] “who has been all along the leader of the Zerrahn contingent” was elected Vice President…It has been freely hinted outside the meetings that those who are running the society at present would like to get for the new president such a man as either Col. H. L. Higginson or Richard H. Dana, and the failure to elect last night is construed as giving a semblance of probability to the story.” (Globe (September 30, 1897): 8) At the previous Annual Meeting on May 24, 1897, the four primary officers were reelected but the eight Directors and the Librarian were all “Anti-Lang Men.” As soon as the were elected, they passed a number of rule changes so that “the President was to be merely a figure-head, and the Vice-President not even as much as this…In consequence of this action Messrs. Hagar [President], Daniels [Vice-President], Stone [Secretary], and Daniell [Treasurer] resigned.” (History II, 78) In an interview of June 23, the Vice-President, M. G. F. Daniels said: “There is no particular objection to Mr. Lang or his methods of directing the society, but Mr. Zerrahn possesses what may be called more magnetism than Mr. Lang and consequently he is more popular as a director. He is a much easier conductor to work under than Mr. Lang for the reason that he is less thoro [sic] in his methods and much less of a disciplinarian. Mr. Lang has brought the work of the society to a degree of excellence which it never before attained and this is solely due to the superiority of his methods.” (Op. cit., 79)

At the September 16, 1897 “Special Meeting” the four letters of resignation were read out and Mr. Simmons moved for acceptance. But before this, the long-time former President of the choir, Mr. A. Parker Browne, moved that this new board resign. The vote was Yeas 56 and Nays 57. By just one vote history was changed. After the vote, “Mr. Browne, followed by a large number of the Lang faction, left their seats in the hall.” (Op. cit., 92)

Between the meeting May 24th. and September 29th. meetings various other candidates for conductor were mentioned. One longtime member suggested “young Mr. Chadwick ” who had conducted a few times last year and was considered “first rate…I think he would do more to bring up the society than any other man.” (Advertiser, Op. cit.) Other suggestions were Emil Mollenhauer and Horatio Parker. Mollenhauer was trained as a violinist and he began his career in New York City at the age of 9. He moved to Boston and joined the BSO in 1884. In 1889 he resigned and became concertmaster of the newly formed Boston Festival Orchestra, and after three years, he then became the conductor for the following 22 years; c. 1892-c. 1914. After Lang’s two years with the Handel and Haydn Society and a following one final year with Zerrahn, Mollenhauer became the Society’s conductor “which he reorganized and revitalized after a period of musical decline. He took over the directorship of the Apollo Club after Lang’s retirement in 1901, and [much like Zerrahn] also led choral societies in Brookline, Lynn, Salem and Newburyport.” (Ledbetter entry in Vol. 3. The New Grove Dictionary of American Music, 255-256)

The Herald wrote on September 19, 1897 an article based many of the many articles published previously. “The published reports of the meeting in Bumstead Hall one evening last week indicated an intensity of feeling on the part of the vanquished [Lang’s men] that fell little short of indiscretion, to say nothing of oblivion to the dictates of becoming dignity. Nothing lasts forever, even the supreme control of an organization by a faction or a clique.” (Herald (September 19, 1897): 29, GB) The article then wished that all the energy generated by bickering had been instead directed to discussing how the choir could be returned to a place of major influence in the musical life of Boston, as it had ” ceased to be a prominent factor in musical progress here.” (Ibid) The ending sentence hoped that the incoming faction would be “inspired by like zeal for the welfare of the society.” (Ibid)

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 [H and H, 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, 171) Thus Zerrahn and Lang died in the same year.

While Lang was the conductor of the Handel and Haydn Society he had greater prestige among Boston Social Circles. The “Social Life” section of the Herald reported on the list of those who had already signed up as subscribers or patrons of the Castle Square Theatre, “that beautiful playhouse with the best people.” (Herald (September 27, 1896): 27, GB) He was the first on the list: “Mr. B. J. Lang, director of the Handel and Haydn and Cecilia Societies.”  Others listed were Mrs. W. B. Sewall of Commonwealth Avenue, Mrs. Skinner of Marlboro Street, Mrs. E. J. Andrews of Beacon Street, etc. The Langs now moved in very elevated circles.


Lang occupied a major place in the musical world of Boston, and various other musicians were envious of the power that they thought Lang wielded. George W. Chadwick’s comments have been noted earlier. Another Boston organist, Henry M. Dunham, thought enough of his own career that he wrote an autobiography. In a Chapter entitled “Centers of Musical Activity” he wrote: “Further up on Tremont Street, and still opposite the Common, musical activity centers in the Chickering pianoforte warerooms and the studio of Mr. B. J. Lang. These places were the centers of activity for the musically inclined aristocracy of Boston, the headquarters, one might say, for the Cecilia Singing Society and the Apollo Club, both of which organizations owed their creation and fame to Mr. Lang, their conductor.” (Dunham, 77) Dunham then continued that he played the organ part for Haydn’s Creation during the period that Lang conducted Handel and Haydn Society. This would seem to be a generous offer on Lang’s part as Dunham was certainly not one of his pupils, and Lang had many pupils who could have done the job. Lang’s good deed did not soften Durham’s views. “Mr. Lang was neither a great pianist nor organist, and yet he was in considerable demand as soloist on both these instruments…For many years we dubbed him ”The Musical Dictator of Boston,” which in a large degree was true.” (Dunham, Ibid)

W. J. Henderson in the New York Times wrote of another who thought that Lang exercised too much power. “There is something curious about Boston. At any rate, many artists who please New York find the atmosphere over there altogether too cool for them. Lillian Carlismith, for instance, spent some six years in the hub of the universe in a desperate struggle against those three fates, Gertrude Franklin, Gertrude Edmands, and B. J. Lang, and finally she gave it up and came to New York…This year she has sung in concert two or three times, and her voice and style have evoked hearty praise. But she will find New York a hard field to plow, too. It is not quite as full of cliques as Boston, but one must pull wires here to get started in music. This is unfortunate-wrong, indeed-but it is true.” (New York Times (January 24, 1897): Sunday Supplement, SM 14).


The opening concert was on Friday evening December 4, 1896 with full orchestra at the Music Hall. This was the choir’s 121st. concert and the featured work was Dvorak’s The Spectre’s Bride with George J. Parker singing the role of the Spectre-it was the third time that he had performed this part. The Herald [Woolf] didn’t care for the work, but noted that “The chorus singing was excellent throughout in admirable quality of the tone and th clearness and steadiness of its work generally,” but then found fault with the choir’s “persistence with which it emphasized the first beat in a bar…The orchestra acquitted itself with a strongly manifest attention to its task, but it was not always together, owing to causes which are too familiar to dwell upon again.” All orchestra shortcomings were Lang’s responsibility and they were due to “the apparently irremediable eccentricities of Mr. Lang’s use of the baton. The audience, a large one, applauded often and warmly.” (Herald, undated) Hale in the Journal wrote that this was the fourth time that Mr. Parker had sung the work-the Boston premier on May 13, 1886, the second time on March 17, 1887, the third time on December 2, 1889 and now this performance. Hale also did not like the work: “I confess that the more I hear the cantata the less truly dramatic does it seem to me. Dvorak often shows on Olympian indifference to the sentiment of the text, which is presumably the same in Bohemian as in English. There is no true blending of music and drama.” Of the performance: “The chorus singing was most excellent last night in these respects: body and quality and balance of tone, pure intonation, and precision of attack. If in phrasing, and such included matters as accentuation and punctuation, they fell short occasionally of reasonable expectation, it was because they followed the conductor’s instruction; for the chorus of the Cecilia is made up of singers of more than ordinary intelligence, nor do I know a chorus anywhere that is capable of finer and more effective work under wholly satisfactory and favoring conditions.” Hale then cited a couple of places where the choir sang forte rather than the marked pianissimo, and blamed Lang “who does not insist rigidly at rehearsals on a proper following of the dynamic indications” probably because he was busy training the choir in all the positive aspects that Hale had listed earlier. Hale seems to not allow for any conductor decision that does not follow exactly what he sees on the page, whether or not that marking is effective or chorally appropriate. Hale spent a long paragraph listing the faults of the soloist Mr. Max Heinrich [who had also sung at the Boston premier]:”Last night Mr. Heinrich was guilty of offences for which there is no pardon.” (Journal, undated)

A review for their Wednesday evening [Wage Earner] February 3, 1897 Music Hall concert began: “Listening to the Cecilia is such a restful musical pleasure; there is never a moment of insecurity or suggestion of a possible flaw in their performance.” (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 8)

The second concert, February 4, 1897 at the Music Hall included Phippen and Lewis as pianists and Mrs. H. H. Beach as soloist. She was the accompanist for the first Boston performance of her own The Rose of Avontown for women’s voices, and she also played a group of solos by Beethoven and Chopin in place of “Mr. Proctor” who was “ill and unable to play.” (700) Hale in the Journal said of the Beach work: “This composition is indeed a pleasing one, written with skill that is not ostentatious. The emotion is gentle and becomingly womanly…The performance was all that could be desired so far as the chorus was concerned; and I know of no female chorus that for purity and beauty of tone, courage and intelligence under a difficult task, and general musical sense can equal the women of the Cecilia.” (Journal (February 5, 1897): 3, GB). There must have been much applause when this was read at the next Cecilia rehearsal. Of Beach’s piano selection: “She appeared to her best advantage in the waltz [Chopin in E Minor]. In the Chopin prelude and in the variations by Beethoven there was little or no tonal color, and there was frequently metallic attack, as well as rigidity in phrasing.” (Ibid) Elson (?-the review is marked “Adv,” but this does not sound like Elson) in the Advertiser began negatively: “The chorus is poorly balanced, the male section being far more ready and dynamically stronger than that of the ladies. The sopranos have sweet voices, but only half enough of them; the altos are colorless and slow. Mr. Lang is not magnetic or inspiring as a conductor, but his taste in programme-making and shading is unquestionable.” The Beach piece was a positive: “Nothing but praise can be said regarding the composition or its performance-both interesting and artistic…Her [Mrs. Beach’s] accompaniment to her own composition was quite a part of its success. Conductor, chorus and pianist seemed in sympathetic, friendly accord, resulting in a beautiful ensemble in every sense of the word…Mr. Phippen’s accompanying of Madam Wyman’s songs were noticeably excellent.” (Advertiser, undated) Pieces by two other Boston composers were included-George L. Osgood’s Christmas carol, Listen, Lordlings, Unto Me, and a solo song by Mrs. Clara Rogers, River Floweth Strong, My Love.

Friday , March 12, 1897 saw the first performance in Boston of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis in D. Op. 123 which had not even been mentioned in the previous Annual Report of repertoire for the following year! In fact, what had been planned was a repeat of Massenet’s Eve, but “it occurred to the Musical Council to do something for the third concert a good deal better…It had been mentioned hesitatingly in the Musical Council for a number of years. Mr. Lang had taken care that it should not be lost sight of. It had always been passed over with the feeling that by-and-by we should be stronger. But at last the Council was convinced that the time had come.” (1897 Annual Report) Sung at the Music Hall accompanied by members of the BSO, the soloists were Helen B. Wright, Lena Little, Frederick Smith, Arthur Beresford with Franz Kneisel, violin and Arthur Foote, organ.With so many other premiers having been offered by the Cecilia, it is strange that it took this long for this work to be sung in Boston. Wright and Smith were members of the choir! The New York first performance had been in 1872, and it was sung in Cincinnati at the May Festival with a chorus of 600 in May 1880 (Johnson, First, 55). The Cecilia sang this same work at the dedication of Symphony Hall on October 15, 1900 conducted by Gericke. One review said: “The performance was one of the finest the Cecilia has given; finer than its recent one of Berlioz’s Danremont-Requiem. And, considering the character of the work, such a performance is a triumph like few for any choral society. We have listened carefully to two performances, score in hand; we could not detect a single false entry in any of the parts, we heard only a very few timid and ineffectual ones. the quality of tone was in general fine, smooth and musical, at times brilliant; expression marks were regarded and implicitly obeyed. And just here let us thank Mr. Lang for two things: for his never exaggerating Beethoven’s pianissimo, not hushing it to that double and treble pianissimo which belongs solely to more modern works…Mr. Lang had the artistic feeling to allow Beethoven to speak as he speaks in the score, underscoring nothing, putting nothing in job type…The Cecilia may well be proud of being able to take a soprano and a tenor from its own ranks for the quartet in the Missa Solemnis; few even of the great singers of the world care to attack these terrible parts. The whole solo quartet did wonderfully well…Finer even than the individual performances of the four singers was their excellent ensemble; they sang together, as if they had long known the music and one another…In a word Mr. Lang and the Cecilia may be fairly proud of each other. Together, they have given one of the greatest works in existence, not impeccably, but solidly and intelligently well. They have made a date in the musical history of Boston.” (Anon., undated) Hale basically said that the work was not worth all the trouble taken to present it. He found the soloists inadequate and of the choir: “The chorus, too, was brave and its performance was often surprisingly good; yet in the terrible fugues in the Gloria and Credo the singers were so tired, especially the sopranos, that the result was unmusical in that there was no clear walk of the parts, no pronounced attack of the subject. I know of no chorus in this country that would have made a more courageous attempt or accomplished as much.” Hale then raised the question of whether doing such a difficult work was worth it. “For the sake of the record, let us then rejoice that the Missa Solemnis has been attempted in Boston. I do not believe that repeated hearings or even incredible performances would turn the vocal score into a marvel of strength and beauty, or convert the dry, thick, at times brutal orchestration into a glory for all time.” (Journal, undated) The Gazette recorded that: “Many extra rehearsals had been devoted to the preparation of the mess [!], and the performance was most honorable to the Cecilia.” The solo quartet “undertook the great tasks of the solo quartette and acquitted themselves excellently. There was a good-sized orchestra from the Symphony, which took much pains. Mr. Kneisel assumed the violin obbligati and Mr. Lang directed with intelligent and correct command.” (Gazette, undated) The Courier said of the work: “It is not a loveable work,” and not how difficult the work was. “The singers are to be congratulated for attempting to do what they were incapable of doing well. The work is most trying and most difficult…He knows what he wants and if singers are unequal to the demands, so much the worse for them…We have now heard the Missa Solemnis; let us now be grateful that the hiatus in our education has been filled in and the work done.” (Courier, undated)

The fourth concert was given on May 6, 1897 at the Music Hall with Phippen as accompanist and Adele aus der Ohe as piano soloist. Part of the program was Margaret’s Bonnie Ran the Burnie Down of which Hale in the N.Y. Musical Courier wrote: “Mr. Lang is not a good understudy for the Roman Father. If he were he would not have allowed his daughter’s amorphous, colorless, rhythmless piece to go into rehearsal.” He also complained: “Miss Aus der Ohe, I intreet you, extend your repertory! For heaven’s sake leave the exasperatingly familiar rut!” (N.Y. Musical Courier, undated) In another review Hale wrote: “Miss Lang’s part-song, Bonnie Ran the Burnie Down is without rhythm or color; a dull thing, clumsily written, amorphous.” Of Miss Aus der Ohe, after disparaging her Bach and Mendelssohn, he wrote: “She played her own superb Etude, in which she displayed amazing brilliancy, and a Rhapsodie of Liszt, which called forth thunderous applause.” (717-719) Under the title “Last of the Cecilias” the Transcript wrote: “The Cecilia Society is always heard at its best in these short selections, and last evening’s performance was no exception to the rule. The programme included nine choral numbers, mostly from the modern school….Miss Margaret Lang contributed a musical setting of Bonnie Ran the Burnie Down which was well received. The musical scenery along the brook was very pretty, if not diversified….The work of the chorus was excellent throughout…Of Miss der Ohe’s piano numbers it need only be said that they were of her usual standard.” The Liszt “gave abundant opportunity for a brilliant display of marvelous technique…Altogether the concert was one of the most successful of the season.” (Transcript, undated) Another review said of Margaret’s piece: “Miss Lang’s song appeared to please, perhaps because of the spirit and dash with which it was sung.” Of the pianist: “Everything she does is backed by an honest sincerity which makes her performances wholly enjoyable. She was much applauded, and after her first appearance responded graciously to an encore. After her second appearance she received many recalls. There was a large audience present, but it was not especially demonstrative, except over the playing of the soloists. ” (Anon., undated) President Thorndike wrote: “Miss Lang’s Bonnie Ran the Burnie Down, written with the scholarship and musical feeling which always mark her compositions, was sung with spirit, and received great applause.” (1897 Annual Report) Of the accompanist Joshua Phippen, the President wrote that the choir was “indebted for such valuable service.” (Ibid)

President Thorndike began his Annual Report of May 27, 1897: “The Club has not only maintained but has added to the distinction of its record. It has in its third concert, to use the language of one of our friendly critics, ”made a date in the musical history of Boston.”” [with the Missa Solemnis performance] He continued: “There are today few, perhaps no choirs of two hundred voices on either side of the water capable of finer and better work.” Again, as in the report of the previous year, he gave credit to Lang: “Mr. Lang may well be proud of what he has made the Cecilia, as the Cecilia has always been proud of Mr. Lang.” Of the Wage Earner Concert tickets we wrote: “It is manifest that the plan is a failure and entails a distinct loss.” He then announced that he was retiring as President after sixteen years as he felt that the choir would be “made stronger by the infusion of fresh blood, and the time always comes when the elder should give place to the younger.” He called his time with the choir “the pleasantest years of my musical life and [these musical] friendships [are] not easily forgotten.” (1897 Annual Report)


“The opening concert [November 24, 1896] enjoyed the attendance being large and a [performance] of excellent quality…The singing was eminent for beauty of tone, fine projection in the parts, sensitiveness and even poetry of expression, and smooth, steady command of the material elements of song.” (Courier, unsinged, undated) There were two soloists, a soprano and the violinist. “Mr. Carl Halir, who comes to this country with a reputation of one of the great violinists of Europe…His debut was thoroughly successful.” (Ibid) Very little was said about the individual pieces on the program. Philip Hale’s three paragraph review spent the first paragraph on Halir’s background and career to date; the second, longer paragraph, praising his musical qualities; the third, shortest paragraph gave one sentence to the vocalist and a second sentence listed the names of the composers of the choir’s pieces with no critical comment. The third, and final sentence was the typical snide Hale comment: “there was a very applausive audience.” (Journal (November 25, 1896): GB) The Herald review also consentrated on the violinist. It began: “The choral part of the program was about the same as usual in selections and effect,” and then went on to mention that Mr. Halir would be the soloist with the BSO the following week and gave 21 lines about his pieces and technique. The soprano soloist was mentioned at all. (Herald (November 25, 1896): 10, GB) Louis C. Elson wrote a well balanced piece noting that the vocalist, Miss Stein, “made an excellent impression, being recalled many times,” but,” her enunciation is not very clear, and she was almost unintelligible in three different languages.” (Advertiser (November, 25, 1896, 8, GB) He also made some sly comments about three of the choir’s pieces. In one he wrote: of the Brahms’ Lullaby-“Where 70 sturdy men sing one little infant to sleep.” (Ibid) However, he had to record that these three pieces “won the heartiest of encores!” (Ibid)

In mid May the Club performed at Steinert Hall and the Herald noted that Lang’s Hi-fe-lin-ke-le was included. “It is not often that Mr. Lang comes before the concert-going public with an example of his powers as a composer, and when he breaks through the rule, the event calls for special recognition. In reply to an inquiry from a correspondent who was not present on the occasion, it may be stated confidently that Hi-fe-lin-ke-le is not a musical setting of one of Sir Edwin Arnold’s eastern poems, nor did its inspiration take root in Omar Khayam’s famous work. The oriental aspect of the title is misleading. the piece is merely a bit of musical humor, and its name has no more significance than has ”tooral-looral-loo” or ”tra-la-la-la,” and was doubtless thrown off in a moment of mirthful leisure, showing the composer, as it were, ”en pantoufles.”” In truth, these nonsense syllables were part of the original Swedish text and had nothing to do with Lang’s inspiration. The correspondent asking the original question then went on to ask if the work was published. “Mr. Lang has published few of his compositions: in fact, as far as can be ascertained, none of them except some of the earlier inspirations of this genius, which are now difficult to obtain a sight of except in the cabinets of collectors.” This piece is itself from an earlier period having been premiered by the Apollo Club in 1884 and then published by Charles Homeyer some time after. Did the author of this article actually know of other Lang pieces that were published?

The Herald Social Page called the concert “a love feast…The place was crowded with every musician, music publisher, singer and player, past and present, we should think, in Boston. It was really a great occasion for them socially, as well as artistically. Mr. Lang seemed particularly happy in his part of the work, and there was an enthusiasm and a good fellowship in the air which were delightful. Mr. George H. Chickering was a prominent figure in one of the boxes, and Mrs. Gardner was in another with Mr. Proctor and a fellow-musician. The lady wore a hat which was loaded with roses, and a black and white silk blouse.” (Herald (May 16, 1897, 26, GB) The previous Sunday the Herald Society page had noted that his concert had “aroused especial enthusiasm, as the programme was made up of requests, so that everyone enjoyed over again an old favorite. Mr. Myron Whitney had a perfect ovation after his noble rendering of the Two Grenadiers, and Mr. George Parker, another past member of the club, had a most gratifying reception.” (Herald (May 9, 1897): 27, GB)

The concert was repeated on Wednesday, May 12th. The Herald noted that Joshua Phippen was the piano accompanist and played a solo by Paderewski. “The programme was received with much appreciation, and the hall was well filled…with guests of the conductor and the active members.” (Herald (May 13, 1897): 6, GB)


The interviewer began with this introduction: “Among the many conversations and discussions about things musical The Listener indulges in, few have proved as interesting and instructive as the little talk he arranged especially for The Etude with Mr. B. J. Lang from Boston.” (Etude, May, 1897, online, 8/9/2011) Next Lang’s weekly schedule was mentioned. “Mr. Lang’s entire week-day is filled with piano and organ teaching; his Sunday with two church services at historical King’s Chapel, where he is the organist and director of the quartet choir. His evenings during the winter are given to rehearsals with the three singing societies he directs,-the Handel and Haydn Oratorio Society, the Apollo Club (a male chorus), and the Cecilia (a chorus of mixed voices),-the three constituting as well-trained and thoroughly enjoyable ensemble singing as is to be found in America. Each society gives four or five concerts every season.. Imagine such an amount of rehearsal work on top of teaching and playing. Mr. Lang’s endurance is an object of wonder and admiration, spiced with envy in some quarters…Mr. Lang’s studio where he teaches is a large sunny apartment, fitted up with a pipe organ at one end, a grand piano not far distant, a great cheery open fire-place, and some interesting pieces of furniture. On the walls hang pictures signed by celebrated artists who presented their children of paint to ”friend Lang,” also framed autograph letters and poems from authors now famous. There we sat, while the afternoon sun streamed in across our flow of talk, Mr. Lang looking unworn and vigorous as though ready for anything, his kindly Scotch-blue eyes showing now and then a twinkle of bon camaraderie, suiting well his fresh, clear skin and friendly looking grey beard, set off by a dark velvet smoking-jacket which he wears for comfort while teaching.” (Ibid)

The first question asked of Lang was “Who should Take Lessons.” “well, if I could have my own way I would enforce legislation that would debar all people who were not musical from studying the piano.” Lang then decried the “pounding, pounding, pounding” that was not only a curse but lowered “the general tone of art as well.” In order the his time and the time of the pupil was not wasted, “I frequently take pupils on a three month’s probation so that we may both be certain before we go ahead,” and if musicality was not present, the pupils were told this. “Perseverance and industry without native talent many mean brilliant success in some kinds of work, but to my mind they do mean anything of the sort in the world of art.”

Lang then showed The Listener a unique aspect of his teaching. “I have two grand pianos, side by side, one the regulation height, the other built lower just so the end of the keyboard will fit under the end of the pupil’s…In this way I make illustrations of phrasing. The pupil plays a phrase unmusically-I say, ”Listen, this is how the way the composer meant it to go.” Then I repeat the phrase on my piano, showing where her fault lay, giving my idea of the best way to play it. This arrangement was my own idea, and I save an infinite amount of time and strength by it.”

The next question concerned the use of a silent practice clavier, a practice that was popular at the time-some pupils spend a whole year using them. Lang noted that the ear of the pupil would not be developed by such a machine, and if used at all, it should be for a limited amount of time.

“How do you advise pupils to memorize music” asked The Listener. The answer: “Memory is not a talent, it is a habit…As soon as children can play pieces they ought to be made to memorize them.” His method was to learn the notes as an actor learns his words, by “indelibly impressing every note on the brain.” Lang then told of one pupil who had no success memorizing a piece after three weeks of effort. “I had her sit down at the piano with a piece she had never seen before; then I told her to commit the notes as she would words. We worked together until, at the end of fifteen minutes, she knew four pages, and understood for the rest of her life what memorizing meant.”


Among Lang’s other responsibilities was being President of the Ditson Fund which provided financial help to musicians in need. The Annual Meeting for 1897 was held late in May at the home of Mrs. Oliver Ditson. Lang was reelected President and Trustee. The other Trustees were Arthur Foote and A. P. Browne. Not all the money available had been distributed, but “in the near future more deserving cases will be brought to the notice of the officers.” (Advertiser (May 28, 1897): 9, GB) Other donors had been inspired by Ditson’s bequest and had added donations of their own putting the Fund in a very positive position.


Top: front of the house in 2011. Bottom: the ell, built in 1740, which was the original building. Photos by Quent and Carolyn Peacock.

In the summer of 1897 former pupil and now family friend Richard C. Dixey and his wife Rosamond were guests. Helen Hood’s visit during July 1897 was remembered by an original song, Reminiscence. Apthorp and his wife Octavie both signed with verses on July 10, 1897, followed by the third visit of Edward Burlingame Hill who left an eight measure piece for piano, A Hedge Log[?] Danca. Severance Burrage returned for a third time, July 31-August 4, 1897 and drew two flowers found on the farm. The following week saw three more Burrages-Ruby M. Burrage, Alice Burrage and Eleanor ? Burrage. The conductor Georg Henschel’s visit on September 16, 1897 was remembered with a verse and a three measure musical quote. Arthur Foote, on September 24, 1897 also left a four measure theme.


RMS (Royal Mail Steamer) CAMPANIA.

B. J. did not spend the whole summer with the family at the farm. On July 23, 1897 he arrived in Liverpool, having sailed from New York on the CAMPANIA. The passenger list puts his profession as musician and he seems to have been traveling along. However, B. J. and Francis H. B. Byrne shared a room on the LUCANIA which sailed from Liverpool back to New York on August 21, 1897. According to the Boston Directory Byrne was a neighbor of Lang as he lived at the foot of Brimmer Street, 5 Otis Place, and his work address was given as 791 Tremont Street. This was the Chickering Piano Factory. The Herald reported in August that “Mr. B. J. Lang and Mr. Arthur Foote are both enjoying themselves hugely at Baireuth [sic]. Mr. Lang expects to be home about the 1st of September, and Mr. and Mrs. Foote and their daughter will come back the last of that month.” (Herald (August 22, 1897): 27, GB)

RMS LUCANIA. Cunard.  Was the same dimensions and specifications as the CAMPANIA. Was the largest passenger liner afoat when launched in 1893. 2,000 total passengers: 600 in First (Saloon); 400 in Second and 1,000 in 3rd.  1894 to 1898 was the fastest ship crossing  the Atlantic. In April 1897 Cunard advertised fares from Boston to Liverpool, via Queenstown, Cork: Cabin-$75 and upward, according to steamer and location; Second Cabin-$42.50 and upward; Steerage-at lowest rates. (Herald (April 19, 1897: 8, GB)   The Warren line, sailing the same route, matched Cunard’s rates for First and Second, and quoted Steerage at $25.50. (Ibid)

Wikipedia, accessed February 17, 2019.

Below: RMS LUCANIA at sea. Wikipedia, accessed February 17, 2019.



1897-1898. Bruch’s Odysseus was again performed, this time on Thursday evening, December 2, 1897 at the Music Hall with orchestra. The Gazette didn’t like the work: “It is not cheerful; it makes no strong appeal either to the heart or the head; it is without color or inspiration,” but of the performance: “It was well sung throughout, the chorus work being excellent. There was no dragging, no lack of unevenness of attack, and the singing was spirited and very effective.” Many of the soloists were given positive comments. (Gazette, undated) The President’s Report of May 1898 noted that choir members were used for eight of the twelve solo parts. Hale in the Journal also found the work “dull” but praised the choir. “The performance, so far as the chorus is concerned, was excellent in quality of tone, balance of parts, precision of attack.,” while the “orchestra played about as it pleased.” (Journal, undated) Just before this concert the Transcript had an article giving the “Reasons Why the Cecilia Suspended” the Wage Earners Concert for the 97-98 Season. “The two great causes of the abandonment of the concerts were a lack of interest on the part of the wage-earners themselves, and the misuse of the tickets by those to whom they were intrusted for distribution.” It seems that “agents of business houses distributed the tickets among their personal friends instead of to wage-earners.” Thus the Club losing “attendance at their own regular club concerts.” (Transcript, undated)

The Cecilia provided the chorus and solo singers for a performance at Harvard of Athalie by Racine. Mendelssohn’s music was used and the orchestra was composed of members of the BSO. The performances were given under the direction of the Harvard’s French Department, and held on the evenings of December 6, 8 and 10, 1897. The cast was a combination of students, graduates, the Department’s Instructor “together with Miss Louise Cushing and Miss Mary Coolidge of Boston, who will play respectively the parts of Athalie and Joas. (NY Times (November 7, 1897): 11)

The second concert was on Thursday evening January 13, 1898 at the Music Hall with orchestra, and the repertoire was Brahms-Song of Destiny, Humperdinck-Pilgrimage to Kevlaar, [first Boston performance-had been done in NYC and Milwaukee in 1896:Johnson-First Performances] and The Swan and Skylark by Goring Thomas [first Boston performance-had been given by Zerrahn and the Worcester County Music Association on September 23, 1897, this Worcester performance was cited as the third time in this country: Johnson-First Performances]. The Herald reviewer praised the concert: “The chorus again distinguished itself by the precision, the steadiness and the admirable color of its singing,” with special praise going to the women’s voices who “can hardly be overpraised…the concert, taken altogether, may be ranked among the best that the organization has ever given. The audience was large and appreciatively bountiful in its applause.” (Herald, undated) T. P. Currier in the Journal found the Goring Thomas to suffer “for want of contrast. It is too much alike.” Two choir members were had solos in this concert were praised: Miss Palmer’s contralto solo “was well sung,” but the size of her voice was “hardly equal to the task of filling Music Hall,” while Mr. Townsend “was no less successful with the bass solos. The orchestra played for the most part admirably. The concert was wholly creditable to the club and its conductor.” (Journal, undated) The Gazette found the Humperdinck “pleasing and gracious” and the Goring Thomas “delightful, full of poetic imagination and artistic charm…The work was interpreted in the most satisfactory manner the chorus calling for particular praise. It sang with unusual spirit and fine intelligence…The concert throughout was most enjoyable, and there was hardly a fault of commission or omission to mar the pleasure. from beginning to end the chorus was admirable. There was full harmony between it and the orchestra, and it is a pleasure to record the Cecilia won a triumph that was well deserved. The art level was the highest yet reached by this society.” (Gazette, undated) It would seem from the tone of this last review in the Gazette that a new reviewer had been hired by that paper.

Schumann’s The Pilgrimage of the Rose was the main work presented on Thursday evening March 3, 1898 at the Music Hall with Foote as the accompanist-the other works were unaccompanied. The Transcript wrote: Foote “did full justice to the most beautiful poetic feature of this composition.” Most of the soloists were praised, but “Mr. Dunham was hardly the right man in the right place. The tenor part is not a particularly grateful task, but it need not be monotonous, tame and stiff.” (Transcript, undated) The Courier review was based “only upon the report of a listener on whose tried judgment we depend.” This person felt that the work was passe, and should only be sung in “a small space as it was meant for and its leading singers should be accomplished not less than well-intentioned. But the Cecilia had to depend mainly upon its own members for soloists, whose performance naturally lacked something of the authority of experienced singers. The chorus acquitted itself honorably as usual, and the male choir showed especial volume and richness.” (Courier, undated)

For the final concert of this season, “an opportunity will be afforded a small non-membership public to attend the final concert on Wednesday evening April 27.” The major work was Arthur Sullivan’s The Golden Legend which had only one previous Boston performance, on May 8, 1887 by the Boston Oratorio Society conducted by Frederick Archer. At that time Hale wrote: “twas a dull night.” (Johnson, First, 350) Zerrahn had also given the work with the Worcester County Musical Association on September 23, 1896. (Ibid)  The Cecilia concert used professional soloists and “a large orchestra from the Boston Symphony players,” and Mr. B. L. Whelpley as the organist. (Anon., undated)

The Courier wrote that the performance “was chiefly meritorious for its fine, equable, rich and noble choir work…The orchestral support was correct enough so far as reading the notes went, but beyond that it cannot be commeneded…Mr. Whelpley got remarkably fine effects from the organ.” (Courier, undated) The Gazette thought little of the Sullivan work, but noted: “The best work of the evening was that done by the chorus that sang with unusual spirit, purity of intonation and intelligence. The soloists were less admirable; they sang in dry and perfunctory manner, and without any particular respect for the work in hand.” Of the orchestra: “The playing was without color or grace, and if any guidance were given to them they were inexcusably careless in not paying heed to it. The audience was good-natured and frequently gave applause where it was not deserved.” (Gazette, undated) Hale wrote that the soloists were inadequate and that one of them, Mr. Heinrich “was indisposed, and fainted while singing Lucifer’s mockery of the pilgrims.” He also noted that the orchestra “played without attention to dynamic indications…It was the fault of Mr. Lang, who, keeping his eyes fixed curiously on the score, gave no cues, gave no signals for dynamic gradations, but beat time mechanically, and often with an injudicious and unmusical choice of tempo. There was a good sized audience and applausive [!] audience.”(Journal, undated) On the other hand the Globe reported: “The chorus parts as a rule deserve commendation. The attacks were prompt and the lights and shades were well defined and smoothly sung….The orchestra performed its duties well and the whole performance was a credit to the club.” (Globe (April 28, 1898): 6) For this concert there was also a social notice which recorded: “Miss Gertrude Edmands, who is always one of the best dressed of our local singers, was in deep yellow and white brocade, opening over a petticoat of white lace.” This notice also recorded that among those in the audience were the choir’s former president, Mr. Lothrop Thorndike, Mr. and Mrs. William Winch, and Mrs. Gardner. (Anon., undated)

The Transcript called the Sullivan “a decidedly weak work…It sounds old as the hills, without the dignity of age…Nowhere in the work does Sullivan strike a distinctly dramatic note…The performance by the chorus last evening was admirable in the extreme, admirable at all points…In rich fulness of tone, precision and vigor of attack, beauty of light and shade, the choral performance left nothing to be desired. The orchestra played with unusual smoothness, for men who had made up their minds to be uninterested in their work, but almost constantly too loud for the solo voices, and exasperatingly monotonously.” (Transcript, undated) The Annual Report of May 26, 1898 presented by the new president Arthur Astor Casey reviewed the Wage Earner Concert cancellation admitting that their cancellation had not added to the ranks of Associate Members in an amount “important enough to be significant,” but he listed the advantages that these concerts did provide to the choir. “They are useful, in the first place as dress rehearsals,” and secondly, “they add to the work of the society a larger motive of public spirit.” For these reasons he had recommended that they be reinstated, which they were. (1898 Annual Report) Among his overall comments was one about the men: “I have heard, and I believe it to be true, that the male chorus never has sung so well as it has this winter, and that the chorus as a whole has never sung better. Upon this result of their labors we must congratulate both leader and chorus.” (Ibid)

In the fall of 1898 it was announced that the Wage Earners Concerts would resume on Monday nights with the regular member concerts being on Wednesday nights.. “As before, the club proposes to give precisely the same concerts in all details to its audiences of wage-earners that it gives to its associate members.” (Anon., undated)


A miscellaneous program opened the season, but the soloist, not the choir was the “Glory of the Occasion.” (Advertiser (December 12, 1897): 5) The choir’s “shading was generally excellent…and there was a splendid robustness in Grieg’s Discovery…there were many encores during the concert,” but the French bass M. Plancon was “a revelation.” (Ibid) He sang six songs in all, one of which included a trill “as pure as Melba’s.” This “astonished the sudience into enthusiasm, whereupon our flexible basso ceased trilling and became thrilling, giving Schumann’s Two Grenadiers in a manner that was simply stupendous.” At its end the audience “began cheering. Such a scene of enthusiam has never been seen in a club concert, and very seldom anywhere,” and those who attended would remember it for the rest of their lives. (Ibid)

The second concert was on January 26, 1898 and it included pieces by three Boston composers, one of whom was an Apollo member. This member, J. K. Smyth, composed a barcarolle entitled The Canoe Song which was described as “very pretty and expressive,” and after its performance the composer “was obliged to acknowledge the very hearty applause with which it was receieved.” (Advertiser (January 27, 1898): 2) H. W. Parker’s My Love was encored and Chadwick’s “little ditty” The Boy and the Owl was called “a dainty little bit of humor,” and was well sung.” Performance standards were stressed; “admirable company of singers…precision of attack…artistic shading…sympathetic shading,” all combined “to produce a most enjoyable performance.” (Ibid) Except for the final piece which was called trivial; “to see and hear a hundred men, the majority of whom are-well, not youthful, sing an ever-recurring refrain of ‘Tra la la’ is not what one can call inspiring.” (Ibid)

The third concert was on March 23, 1898 and had the soprano, Miss Trebelli as the guest soloist. “The program was not one of sustained interest throughout, though much of it gave sincere pleasure.” (Advertiser (March 24, 1898): 8) The most classical piece in the program, di Lasso’s Villanella, was encored. The comment on Chorus of Spirits and Hours was: “Much of the Dudley Buck music is strong and dramatic, while the remainder seems undeniably dull and heavy.” (Ibid) Almost half of this review was about the soloist which was summed up by this comment: “Miss Trebelli left nothing to be desired, and by those of last night’s audience who appreciate true artistry, it will not soon be forgotten.” (Ibid) The choir ended the program with a Lang favorite, the double chorus from the music to Oedipus by Mendelssohn.

On May 4, 1898 the club gave its 159th. concert. “A very large audience testified its most enthusiastic appreciation of an excellent and well rendered programme.” (Daily Advertiser (May 5, 1898): 8, GB) The review noted that the club had lost “a dozen or more of its voices, some of the best,” but so good was the performance that “it was scarcely noticeable.” In fact, the “choir reaffirmed its right to be considered one of the best male choruses of its size and character in the country.” It was “a tribute to Mr. Lang, to whose care is due the precision of attack, and brilliancy and vehemence of the ensemble and masterful ease of phrasing.(Ibid) There were three vocal soloists, and E. Cutter Jr. was the pianist and B. L. Whelpley the organist. No mention was made that any of the pieces were premiers. “Every number was received with loud plaudits and several encores were given.” (Ibid)

cutterE. Cutter Jr. Taken from the website of the Springfield, MA Orpheus Club. Cutter conducted this male choir from 1890-1894.

The Herald “Social Life” section had a paragraph concerning the concert. Musically, it mentioned that the solo tenor from New York, Mr. Evan Wiliams “was in superb voice, and carried all before him,” whereas his appearance at the Cecilia concert the week before had been marred by a cold. A list of notables who were in the audience was next, and the final comments centered on Isabella Stewart Gardner. “Mrs. Gardner occupied a prominent balcony seat with Mrs. B. J. Lang. On her head was an odd creation of a bonnet tied under her chin, made of rose tulle and black plumes, the latter standing well up in front of her head.” (Herald (May 8, 1898): 26)

                                                                                                                                          APTHORP LECTURE.                                                                                                                                                                                     Below: Baker, A Biographical Dictionary of Music, 19

In the middle of April 1898 William F. Apthorp gave a lecture at Steinert Hall on the subject “Musical Criticism.” The Social Life section of the Herald covered this event noting that there was “prolonged and hearty applause” at the end of the lecture which was attended by “an exceedingly fine and cultivated audience…There was not a dull moment in the talk of nearly an hour, and it abounded in delicious wit and humor.”  Among the fellow critics in attendance were Mr. Louis Elson, Mr. and Mrs. Philip Hale, and Mr. and Mrs. H. M. Ticknor. Among the important members of Boston’s musical circle noticed were Mrs. Apthorp, the Langs and Miss Lang, Mrs. Gardner, Mr. Perabo, Arthur Foote, Miss Lena Little, Mrs. Iasigi (Mrs. Apthorp’s mother) and Miss Iasigi (Mrs. Apthorp’s sister). It would be interesting to know how many audience members were the subject of the “delicious wit and humor.” (Herald (April 17, 1898): 27, GB)


Foote 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)


Spring 1898. Frances wrote in her Diary: “Lel wants to perform, next winter, all the Bach Concertos on a Harpsichord, which is to be sent from Paris. I do not smile on this idea, as he has given up piano playing in public, and he is before the public so much anyway, with the 2 singing societies, his organ playing etc. and etc…Lel is going on with his plan, only has decided to ask different musicians to play. Erard + Co. in Paris will send the harpsichord here.” (Diary 2, Spring 1898) On December 1, 1898 and January 12, 1899 Lang arranged two Bach Concerto Concerts performing on the Erard harpsichord imported from Paris which was done “by the kindness of Messrs. Chickering and Sons.” (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) As usual Frances and family members were involved in the details. “I worked almost all day on the Announcements for the Bach Concerts. They are very handsome. The work of Updyke…Directed envelopes all day. Bach concerts.” (Diary 2, Fall 1898)

Johnston Collection.

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. “The subscription list will include the first names in Boston, as Mr. Lang’s clientele is a distinguished one, and orders are pouring in at the Music Hall.” (Herald-Social Life (November 13, 1898): 31, GB)

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.” (Anon., undated)


December 5 and 7, 1898 saw the American premier at the Music Hall of Verdi’s Te Deum for Double Chorus and Orchestra whose world premier had been only a few months earlier in Paris, March 20, 1898! Mr. B. L. Whelpley was the organist and Miss Sara Anderson the soprano soloist for this concert. Verdi’s Stabat Mater and other shorter works were also on the program. (Cecilia program) Hale approved of the Verdi pieces, noted that the soprano “evidently gave pleasure to the large audience, [but] was not the Miss Anderson who triumphed at the Worcester Festival,” and ended his review with his now familiar complaint: “But, as we know, orchestral rehearsals are few before Cecilia concerts, and Mr. Lang is not at his ease before an orchestra.” (Journal, undated) H. M. Ticknor gave more credit to Lang, but echoed the rehearsal problem: “Mr. Lang conducted and obtained more faithful attention from the orchestra than the Symphony men always give to a leader not their own; but the Verdi hymns needed much more rehearsing than any of our choral societies can afford to pay for.” Ticknor also faulted the choir’s diction. “A mere stream of pulpy vowels without distinctive consonants means so little.” (Courier, undated)

The second concerts of the season (134th. in all) has given on Wednesday evening January 25, and Thursday evening January 26, 1899 at the Music Hall with two new accompanists, Miss Alice Coleman and Miss Laura Hawkins. Mr. Melville Horner sang Margaret’s song, The King is Dead and the choir sang Love Plumes His Wings. [for SSAA choir] Elson wrote that “there had not [been] a single weak number on the programme…Once more the Cecilia has done a good deed for Boston’s music. When one remembers how many new works have been heard here because of the energy of this society, it seems as if a very large debt of public gratitude was due to this organization.” Of Margaret’s choral piece: “Love Plumes His Wings is a dainty bit of composition, well worth the singing, and the female voices gave it with felling and finesse.” (Transcript, undated) The Herald headline was: “Fine Volume and Quality of Tone of the Singing of the Chorus—Miss Rock Piano Soloist.” This review recorded that there was “a very large audience present, and applause was generous and well deserved. The chorus sang in tune throughout the evening, with a fine volume and quality of tone. It sang expressively too, and was a credit to itself and its conductor.” Miss Rock played twice in the concert “in a manner which provoked the heartiest applause.” Nevin’s Wynken, Blynken and Nod was also part of the program. (Herald, undated) The Globe wrote: “The concert attracted a large and appreciative audience to the Music Hall last night. Mr. B. J. Lang’s marked ability as a conductor of chorus music was demonstrated anew…Miss Moulton’s love stanza, Love Plumes His Wings was given new meaning by Miss Lang’s melodious setting of the words…Miss Frances Rock assisted at this noteworthy concert, giving three piano compositions.” (Globe (January 27, 1899): 5)

The third concert was La Damnation de Faust by Berlioz, and “On account of the unusual expenses incurred to produce [this work], by reason of the artists engaged and an enlarged orchestra, a certain number of tickets will be placed on public sale at the Music Hall Box Office on and after March 1. Price, $1.50 and $2 each.” (Anon., undated) The performances were on Monday evening March 13, and Wednesday evening March 15, 1899. The Transcript wrote: “We think the performance, as a whole, the best the Cecilia has yet given of the Damnation, indeed, the best that has been heard since Mr. Lang’s first productions of the work here, in the Music Hall in 1880, and in Tremont Temple in 1881…It is getting past the time for praising the Cecilia chorus; their wonderful excellence in singing is becoming proverbial. The orchestra did better than usual…What was evidently lacking was sufficient rehearsing of all save the chorus.” (Transcript, undated) The Advertiser also praised the choir: “The work of the chorus from the very outset to the very end was admirable and always full of merit.” (Advertiser, undated) However, Hale began with the headline: “A Poor Performance of Berlioz’s Damnation of Faust in Music Hall Last Night.” he continued: “The performance last night was neither coldly accurate nor brilliantly wrong. It was colorless, dull, slovenly. Let me first of all praise the chorus for what it was allowed to do.” He continued with more praise of the choir, especially in unaccompanied works, but then wrote that when the group did orchestrally accompanied works, “it’s life is taken away by a stick, and it is sacrificed, as upon an altar and in the presence of the people.” (Journal, undated) That is certainly a new way to comment on Lang’s conducting. Another review began by saying  that this was  “a performance which had marked merits and serious faults, but was upon the whole interesting and creditable. The many delicate points and fine shades of the score were not to be found in the rendering, can not be denied. But probably the heaviest blame for this should rest rather upon the singers than the conductor.” The writer, possibly a choral singer himself, then remarked on how often the conductor would call attention to points of interpretation only to have them forgotten and/or ignored the next time through. “One might fancy that common sense had temporarily deserted many of them.” He then mentioned the orchestra players, who knowing that little can be covered in the in-adequate rehearsals provided, “will play neglectfully, even if they are not wilfully recalcitrant. A strong, obstinate and quite expert leader might get better results than are generally obtained, but we doubt if even such as one could come very near to perfection.” (Anon., undated)

The fourth concert broke the usual pattern of a Miscellaneous Program with just piano accompaniment, instead, The Transfiguration of Christ by Perosi was given on April 14 and 26, 1899 at the Music Hall with Mr. B. L. Whelpley as the organist and members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Perosi was then only twenty-six but was already the Music Director of St. Mark’s in Venice. This performance was a Boston and American premiere-it had only been premiered in Italy a year earlier, March 20, 1898. A story written before the performance began with: “No event in the musical annals of Boston has ever been attended with greater or more deserved interest than the production of the Perosi oratorio by the Cecilia on the 27th.” [Actually April 24 and 26-Annual Report ] This writer noted that London, which was known to have much experience with “oratorio composers” and praised this work should account for much more than then the “grumblings of the Viennese” audience.  “Everything concerning the new composer is being read and discussed with an interest thoroughly Bostonian. There remains little to be said until we hear what he says for himself.” (Anon., undated) Hale’s review included interesting comments about Italian concert life. “We heard an oratorio by Perosi last week. How do you account for the success of the work in Italy? Perosi has two powerful backers; The Church and a rich and indefatigable publisher.” [Ricordi] He then suggested that The Church wanted to have the “dramatic intensity” of modern Italian opera “used in its own service,” but “unfortunately Perosi does not show himself in the works that I have heard to be a musician of either technical proficiency or marked temperament.” From the first “to the very last note of this story of the demonic child there is not a beautiful or moving phrase, there is nothing in recitative or in accompaniment that excites any emotion whatever, religious or dramatic, there is nothing that suggests religious contemplation or leads to it…It is a bitter disappointment. For we all hoped to hear religious music that would move and uplift; and we heard music that is inherently, continuously and irretrievably dull.” After all this (and more) Hale had no space to say anything about the performance itself. Another Hale review said: “Verdi’s most effective Te Deum, sung for the second time at these concerts, brought relief, pleasure, and the heartiest admiration” after the Perosi where “the singers had performed bravely their repulsive tasks. Mr. Herbert Johnson, to whom fell the burden of the evening, sang with marked purity of voice and style. Alas! he had nothing to sing but notes-notes-notes.” (Journal, undated) Another reviewer noted the advance publicity which suggested that “a new musical genius was expected.” But, this reviewer felt that the composer handled “his art like a thoughtless amateur…To compare him to Palestrina, as his admirers have done, is to indulge in the most crushing satire…The concert ended with Verdi’s Te Deum, and it gave the audience the opportunity of judging between genius and incapacity.” (Anon., undated) After the concert Richard Bliss of Newport, writing  a Letter to the Editor of the Daily News noted: “It can scarcely be denied that Perosi has been absurdly overpraised by his countrymen,” but Bliss was concerned that all the Boston critics (except Louis C. Elson) “had been not only supercilious in tone, but [also] unfair and indiscrimination in substance.” Bliss did acknowledge that the work “seems to me like a number of musical fragments written at different times, and finally tacked together. That many of the individual parts are of great beauty does not make the work as a whole satisfying.” Of the performance: “The vocal parts were excellently well done, both by the soloists and choiristers. But here praise for the execution must cease. The orchestra played with a carelessness and indifference that is astounding.” At the end of his letter he returned to the choir: “The singing of the choristers was admirable, and their work was worthy of the highest praise.” (Daily News, undated)

This season also saw the choir taking part in performances by the Boston Symphony Orchestra on March 10 and 11 when the male voices took part in Liszt’s Faust Symphony, and on April 7 and 8 when “the full chorus, enlarged for this occasion, sang in the Manfred by Schumann.” Finally the choir “again enlarged, sang in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the BSO…This makes a total of fourteen concerts which the Cecilia has taken part in this season.” These additional concerts were reported in the Annual Report of May 25, 1899 where it was also reported that “a contribution of one thousand dollars a year for the next five years has been secured from anonymous subscribers, to enable the Society to rearrange its system of sale of seats in such a way as to make receipts larger and the amount of work smaller, at least, than the amount you have done during the last year…The resumption of the ”Wage-earner Concerts” had been an entire success…The increased demand, it is interesting to note, seemed to come from teachers in the public schools.” President Carey then announced that due to having had to miss so many meetings, he was stepping down as President after only two years, but “I shall always feel the liveliest interest in the welfare of the Cecilia, and the greatest sympathy with it in its problems.” (1899 Annual Report)


Henry Basford, the club’s secretary sent out a notice to Associate Members dated October 3, 1898 saying that “the system of reserved seats adopted for our concerts three years since will be continued the present season. There will be no assessment.”  The cost of a season ticket for four concerts was $6 for seats on the floor of Music Hall in front of the balcony and for seats in the front row of the first balcony. For all other seats, the price was $4.

The November 30, 1898 concert opening its 28th. Season was performed “before a large and cultured audience. The (active) club membership is full, and among the 75 voices were never a better array of talent. Mr. Lang’s 28 years’ leadership of this organization bears richer and finer fruit every season.” Clarence Ashenden, a baritone, sang the solo in Lachner’s Abendlied-“never has the solo been given so superbly.” MacDowell’s Midsummer Clouds was given its Boston premier, and “Mr. Lang graciously repeated it. The theme is of weird beauty.” (Advertiser (December 1, 1898): 4, GB) “Mr. E. Cutter, Jr. accompanied on a piano of too muffled a tone.” (Courier, unsigned review of December 4, 1898) Two pieces were by Boston composers. The concert opener, Mr. H. W. Parker’s Blow, thou Winter Wind-words by Shakespeare had “much of the wintry glitter and crackle into his pianoforte score, but caught felicitously the urgent pressure of the opening words of each strophe and gave a lively touch, quite in a good old English manner, to the refrain, the club bringing out clearly his changes of fancy.” (Ibid) After speaking of Arthur Foote’s success more as an instrumental composer rather than as a choral composer, the Courier continued: “But we cannot recall nothing which so touched us with a true and tender pathos and a poetry accordant with that of the words, as this chorus, rising and falling as the pulse of the ages poet swelled and sank through the stanzas, as the great yet gentle thought of death and its mighty outgoing tide grew in his soul.” (Ibid) He was writing about Foote’s setting of Tennyson’s Crossing the Bar. The former Boston composer, Mr. E. A. MacDowell wrote both the words and music for Midsummer Clouds-it was described as “a not particularly interesting study in four and five part harmony, quite ungracious for singers.” (Ibid) This was a first Boston performance and Lang “graciously repeated it.” (Record, December 1, 1898, unsigned review) The Transcript had a short notice that described the choir as “improving from year to year…it could not improve. Certainly it is now at its best. The singing last night was, almost throughout, of a very high order of excellence.” (Transcript, undated and unsigned review)  Short notices begin to be written for the Society Columns. In the Herald Miss Sara Anderson, who had been so successful at the recent Worcester Festival, was described as a “very handsome woman, and her stage presence is charming. She is a tall blonde, with an erect figure and a perfect neck, which her low-cut gown, without ornamentation, showed to perfection.” (Herald, undated and unsigned society notice.) The full particulars of her dress were then described and the final half of the column listed the names of many in attendance.

For the January 18, 1899 concert with E. Cutter, Jr. as accompanist, the main work was Damon and Pythias by the English composer Prout. The soloists were from the choir-all did well-“Mr. Lang conducted inspiringly and Mr. E. Cutter, Jr. accompanied finely at the piano.” (Courier, January 22, 1899, unsigned review) The Courier said no more about the Prout and make sparing comments about the rest of the program. The BSO conductor, Mr. Gericke provided a part-song, O World, thou art so fair a sight called “smooth and pleasant and well laid down for the voices” and the final chorus was from Brambach’s Alcestis “which was as flat as a flounder,” (Ibid)

The March 22, 1899 concert had E. Cutter, Jr. as accompanist and the tenor, Mr. Whitney Mockridge as the assisting artist. This was the third concert of the season and it attracted the usual large crowd. “Mr. Mockridge soon attached to him his audience by reason of a great sweetness of tone and some display of intelligence in phrasing.” (Advertiser, undated)  The reviewer thought that he might have had a cold as his sound was thin, the lower notes lacked color while the “higher notes range from thinly metallic to piercingly sweet…It is but fair to say that he improved steadily during threw evening.” (Ibid) His greatest triumph of the evening came in the aria “Onoway! Awake Beloved” by the English/African composer Coleridge Taylor “which secured a recall and an encore.” (Ibid) The two club soloists, Mr. Ashenden and Mr. Townsend were in excellent voice. The choral highlights included two first performances; Fair Toro, a Norwegian folk-song arrangement by Grieg, and Bonnie Ann by MacDowell. The first “is a beautiful piece, weirdly mystical, Scandinavian in fact,” while MacDowell’s piece was “spritely and tuneful.” (Ibid)  Orlando di Lasso’s Villanelia or Echo Song also secured the choir a recall.

The final concert of the season was sung on May 3, 1899 with Miss Marie Brema, soprano as the assisting artist; her special accompanist was Mr. Isidora Luckstone who had accompanied the Apollo for one concert, January 28, 1896. The choir accompanists were Mr. E. Cutter, Jr., piano, and Mr. B. L. Whelpley, organist. Miss Brema chose to do the Schumann cycle of eight songs, Frauenliebe und Leben, Opus 42, a work of some twenty-five minutes that some thought did not belong in such a large hall as the Music Hall. However, her performance proved the critics wrong. “The audience listened in rapt, unbroken silence to the end, and then applauded and recalled the singer with unmistakable heartiness,” (Transcript, May 4, 1899 unsigned review) Two of the choral pieces were repeats from other concerts; the opening piece was Chadwick’s Song of the Viking (sung February 15, 1886 and April 29 and May 4, 1891) and the final piece was Damrosch’s Danny Deever  (sung May 4, 1898) which the Courier said they sang with “snap and go.” (Courier, undated) Mr. Edward A. Osgood was the baritone soloist in the Damrosch. (Program, Johnston Collection). The Chadwick was described as an “old-fashioned rattler.” (Ibid)


Frances Lang Diary Excerpt.

“June 25th. We went up to Boston because of a nose operation that Malcolm had to under go, the next day. June 26th. Went with Malcolm to the Doctor’s. He was given Cocaine after a long preparation. The bone had to be  sawed through. At the end of the an hour all was over and we returned to the house. “[in Boston. This put Malcolm in Boston for the event of the next day] 



Sometime between 4AM and 6AM on Tuesday June 27, 1899 B. J.’s father killed his second wife [Clara Elena Wardwell, b. April 14, 1844, Andover, MA., Find a Grave] with an ax at their home. As none of the five boarders heard anything, she must have been struck while asleep. She had been planning a  week’s visit “to some friends. The thought that his wife was to be away from the house this length of time, it is now believed, preyed upon the mind of the old man, which of late years has been noticeably weak.” Once he was in his cell he kept repeating the words: “She was going away, was she?” and then would laugh in  “an utterly childish manner.” As B. J. was at he New Boston farm, Malcolm, then aged twenty was sent to the prison. Upon seeing his grandfather his question was, “Why grampa!” A telegram was sent to B. J., and the family met at the prison that night together with their family doctor, Dr. Frank E. Bundy (who had been Lang’s physician for 25 years).” (Herald, (June 29, 1899): 10, GB) When the police had arrived at the scene, Lang Senior had been preparing to kill himself. “Mr. Lang was straddling the window sill, forty feet below was the bricked rear yard. A leap would have meant instant death…The case is looked upon by police as one of the saddest they have ever been called upon to investigate.” (Ibid)

Benjamin lang Sr-crop

Mr. Benjamin Lang.

Mrs. Clara E. Lang-cropMrs. Clara E. Lang.

(Herald, (June 28, 1899): 12, GB). The Herald also had drawings of the house, the bedroom and the servant who found the body.

The house that they shared was a five-story rooming house at 93 Waltham Street.  The the first floor had three rooms-a parlor, a sitting room and a bedroom. “The house was owned by Mrs. Lang, [see next]who was somewhat of a businesswoman, and made a good income by letting the remaining rooms on the upper floors to lodgers.” (Ibid) A servant, Delia Hannan had a room on the top floor. She is the one who first found Mrs. Lang dead. The Journal wrote: “They have lived happily together for years, the property being owned by B. J. Lang. It is a three-story brick building with basement kitchen. The Langs occupied the first floor and the servant girl had a room upstairs two flights. The balance of the house was rented to lodgers.” (Journal (June 28, 1899): 1, GB)] This same article also mentioned that early in “his life he was a shoemaker…Mr. Lang has been in feeble health for a long time, but had made arrangements to visit his sister, Mrs. Sarah A. James of this city, within a few days. She is 85 years old and very feeble.” (Ibid) In fact the house did belong to B. J. On January 6, 1882 he had bought the mortgage, which covered the buildings and the land, for $10,000. (Journal (January 14, 1882): 6, GB)

Two days after the murder the Journal reported that Chief Inspector Watts felt that “after hearing the statement of the accused man, [he] was not satisfied with the theory advances that he is insane.” Supposedly certain information had come into his knowledge that made him think that the case “should be thoroughly looked into.” (Journal (June 29, 1899): 10, GB) It was never revealed what this special knowledge was. An article about Lang’s arraignment noted: “The old man is short so that he had some discomfort in leaning his arms upon the rail….’Poor old man’ said an old friend of the family, who had a seat inside the lawyers’ enclosure. That was probably the feeling of most of those who caught a glimpse of him.” (Advertiser (June 29, 1899): 8, GB)

Some of the Boston papers had published lengthy and lurid stories concerning the event which led The Musical Courier to recount the story in one paragraph of eight lines. “It seems that these details should be sufficient for all purposes, and it was anything but kind in the daily press to have made such sensational articles and scare heads as it did, for a man who has stood as B. J. Lang stands ought to have been shown some consideration in a community where he has lived the length of time that he has. The sympathy of The Musical Courier is herewith extended.”(The Musical Courier (July 5, 1899): 10)

Father Lang was arraigned, committed to the common jail, “there to be held without bail to await the disposition of the Grand Jury in July…Mr. Lang, it is said, is 84 years of age, but is so well preserved that he could readily pass for 70, or even 60.” (All quotes from postings on the Family Tree Maker’s Genealogy Site: Descendants of William Wardwell. 8/9/2011)

Just over a month after his arrest, he was judged insane and thus no trial was needed. (Herald (July 9, 1899): 17, GB) He was sent to the Worcester State Hospital where he spent the remaining ten years of his life, dieing on December 11, 1909, aged 93, (Death Certificate) eight months after the death of his son B. J. on April 4, 1909.

For many years “the elder Lang was the organist at St. James’ Church, Salem. [The parish, a Catholic one, only began in 1850, and B. J.’s Diary of this period make no mention of this church] At one time he kept a music store in Salem. He moved to Boston previous to the civil war. The news of the murder was a great shock to the older people of Salem, who knew Mr. Lang very well and who held him in great esteem.” (Herald (June 28, 1899): 12, GB)


A renewal announcement dated October 1, 1899, sent by the group’s Treasurer, Edward C. Burrage (B. J.’s brother-in-law) to Associate members noted that this season would be the last “in the present Music Hall.” All concerts were to be on Wednesday nights, and the “assessment for the season” was to be $15. The Executive Committee of nine members for this coming season included Arthur Foote as President, and among the at-large members, two choir former presidents, Arthur Astor Carey and George O. G. Coale. (814)  Wednesday, December 6, 1899 saw the Boston premier of Parker’s oratorio Legend of St. Christopher, Opus 43-the world premier had been just the year before.“This work was performed at virtually every festival in America in the decade following its premiere.The unaccompanied chorus ‘Jam sol recedit’ is considered Parker’s finest achievement.” (Johnson, First, 285) The orchestra was members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and B. L. Whelpley was the organist with the composer conducting. The fact that Mr. and Mrs. Lang were in the audience was noted in a society column which also recorded that “to look over the audience one would scarcely imagine than anything else musical of special import was going on.” The piece “met with the triumph it deserved.” Also in the audience were Mr. and Mrs. John F. Winch, Mr. Gericke conductor of the BSO, Prof. Carl Faelten of the New England Conservatory and Mr. and Mrs. Henry M. Rogers (she the former singer Clara Doria). “Mrs. Caroline Shepherd, the soprano, was handsome in white silk, with lace, which was incrusted with crystals, and pale blue velvet on the bodice.” (Anon., undated) Elson in the Advertiser wrote: “A considerable audience listened to the orchestral rehearsal of The Legend of St. Christopher on yesterday afternoon. It is pronounced one of the most remarkable pieces of work yet produced by Mr. Parker, and in his warmest and most melodious vein.” Referring back to the recent Cecilia Perosi performance, Elson gave his opinion that “we need not go to Italy to look for new masters of oratorio.” Of the performance: “The orchestra was kept well in hand by the composer, who conducted the performance, and was enthusiastically greeted by the audience. The chorus sang the difficult work wonderfully well.” Elson then went on to say that he preferred Chadwick, Strong or MacDowell for purely instrumental works,” but he felt that this work by Parker should “make a high place, and at once, in our native repertoire and in the scant list of good contrapuntal works of the modern world.” (Advertiser, undated) Apthorp in the Transcript felt that Parker composed too easily: “He is too often satisfied with saying a thing, without considering whether it might not be said better. His very ease often seems like carelessness…The performance last evening was generally very good, indeed, solo singers and chorus sang capitally, and the orchestra seemed, for once, to have forgotten its determination to play no better than necessary.” (Transcript, undated)

The second concerts were on Monday evening January 22 and Wednesday evening January 24, 1900 at the Music Hall with Mr. Whelpley as organist and Miss Laura Watkins as pianist. On the program were a Bach cantata which the Courier reviewer found boring-“a trying work.” The three soloists were choir members, and the bass of Mr. Weldon Hunt was described as a “fine voice.” Also on the program was the Vision of the Queen by the contemporary French woman composer Augusta Holmes which the reviewer found “contains much graceful writing, the fresh, female voices blending with the harp, violoncello and piano, [to] form a most delightful body of sound.” The accompanist was praised: “Miss Hawkins is to be congratulated on her fine rendering of the sonatina in the Bach cantata, as well as on her able accompaniments.” (Anon., undated)

Major Boston premiers by the Cecilia continued in 1900 with Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast, Op. 30 by Coleridge-Taylor (composed only two years before when the composer was only 23 years old) being sung with orchestra at the Music Hall on March 12 and March 14, 1900. An autograph full score of this work is in the Boston Public Library collection (Johnson, First, 115). The concert opened with the first American performance of the Overture to the Song of Hiawatha, Opus 30 (1899) by Coleridge-Taylor. (Globe (March 15, 1900): 8) The concert also included the Ballad-Cantata Phaudrig Crohoore by Charles Villiers Stanford with the Irish tenor Evan Williams. (Cecilia program) The Globe described the piece as “a rollicking Irish ballad-cantata” set “most melodiously…It is good dialect, good comedy and good music all in one.” The sopranos were singled out for praise, and all in all, “audience, singers and symphony orchestra players alike” shared “in the enthusiam evoked by Mr. B. J. Lang’s spirited conducting.” (Globe (March 15, 1900): 8) Apthorp in the Transcript didn’t like either of the choral works, “but the performance is another matter; it seemed to me that I had never heard the Cecilia sing so utterly superbly at every point before, great and beautiful things though it has done in the past. There was everything there that completely fine choral singing should do, and nothing that it should avoid. The orchestra, too, played far better than usual. In fine, no composer could ask for anything better.” (Transcript, undated) The Courier was mildly positive concerning the choral works, but also praised the performance. “The club sang wonderfully well in every way, attaining often more vigor and determination than they usually show.” (Courier, undated)

The season ended with Monday April 23 and Wednesday April 25, 1900 performances at the Music Hall with Miss Laura Hawkins and Miss Alice Coleman again acting as piano accompanists.

On April 30, 1900 the choir was officially incorporated in the state of Massachusetts, and the word “Society” was added to its name. (Hill, 8)


The November 22, 1899 concert included five Boston premiers: The Autumn Sea by Wilhelm Gericke, Horatio W. Parker’s Three Words, Secret Love arranged by Gustav Wahlgemuth, Jules Massenet’s The Monks and the Pirates and the Song of the Pedlar by C. Lee Williams. Parker’s piece is a setting of two verses; below is the first verse. Even a quick once-over will reveal the extent of technical problems in voice ranges, balance among parts, etc. Certainly the Apollo Club had come very far from its beginnings thirty years before, and all of that time guide by B. J. Lang.


The second verse uses the same musical setting. Library of Congress, American Choral Music Project. Opus 33, published by G. Schimer in 1893.

The Song of the Pedlar “proved a favorite by reason of richness, variety of color and humor…[while The Monks and the Pirates] proved far more melodramatic than brazen and the ‘war and pillage’ was not of even the penzance order…[and] Secret Love [was] a charming romantic bit from the 18th. century.” (Advertiser-Elson (November 23, 1899): no page number) Mrs. Wilson, the guest artist sang Margaret’s An Irish Love Song.

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

In mid January the club sang at the Music Hall and the Herald “Social Life” page wrote: “There was a great audience, and an exceptionally interesting and well rendered programme. The club had the valuable assistance of Mr. David Bishop. His singing aroused real enthusiasm.” A list of “some of those” who attended included: “Mrs. B. J. Lang, Miss Margaret Lang [but no Malcolm or Rosamond], Mr. and Mrs. Tucker, Mrs. Clarence E. Hay and her daughter [wife of the soloist often used by Lang] and twenty-one others. (Herald (January 21, 1900): 31, GB)

On Wednesday March 7, 1900 the club gave its third concert of the season with E. Cutter, Jr., pianist and B. L. Whelpley, organist. “From the moment when the large audience greeted Mr. Lang until the close of the last song, the usual genial Apollo Club atmosphere prevailed, and almost every number on the programme was enthusiastically received.” The reviewer thought that the lighter numbers fared the best. “In contrast to these more serious numbers [by Schumann, Brahms and Wagner], the second group consisted of” pieces by Foote, MacDowell and Van der Stucken. The guest soloist was Miss Gertrude Stein who brought along her own accompanist.  (Advertiser (March 8, 1900): 8 GB)

The fourth and final concert was “in accordance with the time-honored custom, a miscellaneous one.” It was also the group’s farewell to the Music Hall. Three pieces from the club’s early days opened the program; Schubert’s The Lord Is My Shepherd, Schumann’s Gipsy Life and Handel’s Crown With Festal Pomp. Elson felt that the highlight was “Jam sol recedit” from Hora Novissima by Horatio Parker, “a number of which any composer in the world might be proud, and one of the very best achievements of the American muse.” (Advertiser April 26, 1900: 8)


The exterior of the hall some thought severe: “Some wit has suggested that the architecture might be called Puritanin instaed of North Italian Renaissance.” (Advertiser (September 22, 1900): 8) In size, “the dimensions are almost the same as the old hall, the variation being only a foot each way.” (Ibid) The interior of the hall was also one foot longer than the Music Hall which allowed and increase of over 172 seats [2569 instead of 2397]. The acoustics were perfect: “A person in the second balcony, far back, can hear conversation carried on in ordinary tones on the stage.” (Ibid)

The seats for this first season were auctioned off, and two tickets in the first balcony, “on the right-hand side, near the front of the house” had been bought for a premium of $560 each.” (Herald (September 21, 1900): 9) The normal price was $12 for the series of 24 concerts. These seats were well located for hearing by the occupants and for seeing by everyone in the hall. The owner of these tickets had been kept secret, and so everyone, 3,000 sets of eyes, were most interested to see who would sit in them. At the first regular concert of the season Mrs. “Jack” Gardner appeared escorted by the pianist Mr. George Proctor. She had paid just over $47 ($1,343 in 2018’s money) for each of the tickets, and this compared to other concert-goers, some of whom were able to pay 25 cents for the “rush” seats available on the day. Mrs. Gardner’s seats were not too far from those bought by the Lang family.

Postmarked 1906. It looks like the ladies of the Friday afternoon performance arriving. Johnston Collection.

Postmark not readable. This example has both an early auto on the left and a horse-drawn carriage to the right. Johnston Collection.

Postmarked 1935-cars look older. All men in the scene-no women. The two men standing in the street on the right don’t seem to be worried about the traffic. Johnston Collection.

“No more brillant or important event has ever figured in the musical history of Boston, it is quite safe to say, than that which occurred in so eminently successful a manner last evening-the formal inauguration of Symphony Hall.” (Herald (October 16, 1900): 1) After the opening Bach chorale, Mr. Higginson gave a “report.” He noted that the land had been bought back in 1893, and the Directors pondered long over what might be the best design. The “Greek Theatre” design by their architect, Mr. McKim was eventually put aside for the rectanular box design much like the Music Hall and also like the concert hall in Leipzig. They tried to include a smaller hall for chamber music, but this was not possible. The original cost was to be $500,000 of which when $410,700 was subscribed, construction began. In the end the total cost was $750,000 which required the Directors to take out a mortgage for $350,000. (Op. cit., 7) For the first ten years the hall was leased to Mr. Higginson who would “meet [the] costs of administration, taxes and all charges, and to pay to the stockholders the rest of the receipts.” (Ibid)

Between the Cecilia’s 24th. and 25th. Seasons the Missa Solemnis was repeated for the opening of Symphony Hall. One story, written before the concert which was on October 15, 1900, pointed out the honor that was being shown to the choir in being part of this concert, and that “it is also a fully deserved recognition of the society’s rank in the musicianship of Boston. Mr. Lang put it to a vote whether they would undertake the great Mass or a less exacting work. The Mass was chosen unanimously…One hears reminiscences of how Mr. Lang met his singers four and five times a week, when the Mass was sung so successfully several years ago; but all that hard study tells now…Mr. Gericke is much pleased with the work of the club, and in speaking to them of their singing in the Ninth Symphony, said that ”nothing had given him more pleasure.” (Anon., undated) For the choir the work was very difficult, “and its difficulties throw even the trials of the Ninth Symphony into the shade.” (Advertiser (October 16, 1900): 1) “The Cecilia has invited guests, all personal friends, to assist in the dedication, and a large representation from the Apollo Club responded to Mr. Lang’s invitation. Every singer is pledged to attend all rehearsals, which are arranged for May and late September…Mr. Lang is to be congratulated on such a consummation of the work to which he has given himself so steadfastly, so generously for so many years.” (Anon., undated) Another newspaper reported many of the same facts, and ended with: “Mr. Lang receives some of the honor he deserves, not always accorded to prophets, in the honoring of his club.” (Anon., undated) The performers were the BSO, Mr. Kneisl, solo violin; Mr. Goodrich, organ; the Cecilia Society [275 voices]; and Mme. De Vere, Miss Stein, Mr. Williams and Mr. Bornstein. (Advertiser (October 8, 1900): 7)

A non-musical writer asked that “Perhaps a more cheerful work than the Mass might have been chosen for such an occasion…There are long sketches of elaborate effort, than weary rather than delight…The technical difficulties of the whole work are huge; so exacting that it is seldom presented at its possible best, as it was very nearly last evening. It really seems as if the results hardly repaid the trouble…Mr. Gericke achieved a spendid success with the chorus.” (Herald, Op. cit, 7) Then words of praise for Lang; “It was a genuine triumph of chorus drilling…The occasion was a brilliant one, musicially and socially, and a new and interesting page has been turned in the musical history of Boston.” (Ibid)


This was the title of an article in the Globe early in 1900. Lang, at the age of 63 was among the Boston “experts” who were called upon to answer this question. His answer began: “So far as Boston and vicinity is concerned, in view of what Mr. Higginson is doing with his orchestra, the Cecilia Society with its wage-earner concerts, and the public schools in their preliminary way, I am surprised that it is thought necessary to ask the question.” (Globe (February 25, 1900) 28) Lang did have one suggestion: “I will say, however, that improvement in general musical taste might in a measure be reached if the standard of musical material used in the large majority of our Protestant churches were to be greatly raised.” (Ibid) He ended with a rather surprising observation: “The coster, coon and ragtime songs now in vogue are not to be despised. Some of them have merit than an immense amount of more orderly music entirely lacks.” (Ibid)

SUMMER 1900.

The summer trip to Europe for 1900 was enjoyed by B. J. and Malcolm. One bit of excitement was that the ship that they took to Europe, the Cunard liner the Campania, was almost blown up when it struck a bark carrying explosives in the Irish Sea. In a Dispatch printed on page one of the July 23rd. edition, the writer noted: “If the steamer had struck the smaller craft fore or aft, [where the dynamite was stored], the great ocean greyhound would have been destroyed. As it was, 11 of the crew of 18 on the bark were drowned. The sunken vessel was the iron bark Embleton, bound for New Zealand…Within 30 minutes after that horrible catastrophe the passengers of the first and second cabins and the steerage had collected 700 Pounds aid for the wrecked survivors and for those dependent on the dead” (Herald (July 23, 1900): 1, GB) A week later the story seemed less exciting. “Luckily the ocean liner struck the ill-fated bark amidships, so that the damage was slight and a bad fright was the only result of the accident.” (Herald (July 29, 1900): 31, GB)

The rest of the family spent the summer at the Lang farm in New Boston. (Herald, Social Life (July 22, 1900): 31, GB)


On Sunday night, December 16, 1900 Lang led “a concert given by and for the Musicians’ Aid Society” at the recently opened Symphony Hall. The featured soloist was the 22-year-old Russian pianist, Ossip Gabrilowitsch who played the Tschaikowsky First Piano Concerto. The article pointed out that Lang had led the world premier of this piece 25 years before. In 1875, “when the concerto was submitted to Bergman [the conductor from New York who had been conducting the other concertos in Von Bulow’s series], he pronounced it to be impossible in the limited time. In this emergency Von Bulow consulted Mr. Lang, and, with less than 24 hours intervening, Mr. Lang directed the performance of the then new work with such success that Von Bulow cabled the first message from Boston to Moscow telling Tschaikowsky of the hearty greeting which the composition had received from the Boston public.” (Herald (December 16, 1900): 17, GB)


A day after the above concert, Lang’s student, Hiram G. Tucker conducted “the third in a series of concerts” at the People’s Temple, on Columbus Avenue. “Able soloists, a large chorus and full orchestra” presented Horatio Parker’s new piece, A Wanderer’s Psalm, “which was composed for the Hereford festival [Three Choirs Festival] in England, and performed there in September of this year. It was heartily praised by the leading English critics, and the announcement of its presentation here has aroused much interest.” (Herald (December 16, 1900): 17, GB) Here we have Tucker mounting a program that was in direct competition with the programming of the Lang’s Cecilia. Coming just four months after its premier in England, Tucker could probably claim a first Boston performance, if not a first American performance. One wonders what B. J. thought.

Tucker’s selection of this work turned out to be unfortunate. While the reviews of the provincial English press were positive, those in the London papers “were considerably more discerning.” Philip Hale’s review of Tucker’s performance was also unfavorable: “This Psalm was written to order, and I regret to add that it makes the impression of perfunctory labor.” Many saw it as a watered down Hora Novissima which had been performed to great applause at the Worcester Three Choirs Festival the year before. However, The Wanderer’s Psalm “disappeared from the concert stage after the Boston concert of 1900.” (Kearns, Parker, 130)


Among Lang’s duties at King’s Chapel was that of playing for funerals. At the end of December 1900 Lang played this service which included the March from Handel’s Saul as processional music and the first hymn, With Silence as Their Only Benediction had words by Whittier and music by B. J. This would seem to be Lang’s last composition. For this service Lang used “the regular singers from King’s Chapel, with 12 or 14 from other churches.” (Herald (December 23, 1900): 9, GB)                                               Lang was also involved in the Memorial Service held at Symphony Hall the following April. The BSO played Wagner and the Cecilia Society sang two sections from the Brahms Requiem. “The Hon. Henry Cabot Lodge delivered an address,” (Herald (April 19, 1901): 16, GB) which began with Wolcott’s boyhood and covered his full career in public service. There was “a distinguished Massachusetts audience” (Ibid) including Frances who was listed as having a seat in the gallery [second balcony?]


Probably hoping to build on the success of the two Coleridge-Taylor works already presented, next the choir sang the The American premier of his Hiawatha’s Departure, Opus 30 No. 4 (1900). This  was sung with Boston Symphony Orchestra accompaniment at Symphony Hall on Monday December 3 and Wednesday December 5, 1900, B. L. Whelpley was the organist. (Cecilia program) The world premier had been given by the Royal Choral Society at Royal Albert Hall in London less than a year before. Also on the program was Phoenix Expirans by Chadwick with the composer conducting. A note in the program described the Chadwick work: “So fresh and lovely is it in melody, so dignified and consistent in conception, so delicate yet rich in its orchestral coloring, and so churchly yet warm in its harmony.” (824) Chadwick had been appointed conductor of the Worcester Featival and Director of the New England Conservatory three years before, in 1897. The Herald review thought the Coleridge-Taylor to be “the feature of the evening. It is a thoroughly charming work, with a delightful freshness of inspiration…The instrumentation is of great beauty, and the full resources of the modern orchestra are used with skill and knowledge…Mr. Coleridge-Taylor is yet in the early twenties.” Of the Chadwick: “Mr. Chadwick’s strongly effective cantata was heard again with pleasure and interest. The audience was large and very applausive.[?] Both Mr. Lang and Mr. Chadwick were cordially received and the soloists were generously appreciated.” (Herald (December 6, 1900): 3, GB) Hale in The Journal found that after one hearing of the Coleridge-Taylor work showed the composer to be “a man of pronounced individuality, true and deep emotion, and native instinct for rhythm and gorgeous instrumentation. No doubt his sense of rhythm and color is a birthright…for his father was a mulatto physician from Sierra Leone, and his mother was an English woman.” The Herald wrote that the “chorus writing is admirable, and some of the most lovely moments in the cantata are found in this element of the score. The music is never dull, is in perfect sympathy with the spirit of the poem, and the composer sustains his long flight with spirited ease, and ends with it with a large and splendid burst of triumph.” The review continued in this vein for a fulsome six paragraphs-possibly the writer was B. E. Woolf. (Herald (December 6, 1900): 3 or 8, GB) Of the Chadwick, which had been first given by the Handel and Haydn Society with Nordica as one of the soloists: “The cantata is one of great beauty; it is in some respects unique, with exotic flavor permeating sound workmanship…There was a good-sized and applausive [?] audience. ” (828-829) Apthorp in the Transcript wrote: “The performance was one of the best the Cecilia has ever given; chorus, solo singers and orchestra seemed animated with one spirit.” The Chadwick “struck me as still very beautiful, very vital, strong and brilliant. Even coming after Coleridge-Taylor’s more modern and resonant orchestration, it lost nothing by the comparison. Mr. Chadwick’s orchestra fits his idea as nicely as Coleridge-Taylor’s does his. Of the other things on the programme I will say nothing.” (Transcript, undated) The concert had opened with Beethoven’s “Hallelujah Chorus” from the Mount of Olives: “The Hallelujah would not be sung by any chorus today if Beethoven had not signed his name to it. Let us record one more instance of fetish-worship.” (Ibid)

On Sunday evening March 31, 1901 the Cecilia was part of an all-Henschel concert which included three works by the composer; Morning Hymn for chorus and orchestra, Serbisches Liederspiel, a Cycle of [10] Romances for Four Solo Voices and Piano, Op. 32, and the first Boston performance of Stabat Mater for Soli, Chorus and Orchestra, Op. 53. Mr. B. L. Whelpley was the organist and the orchestra of sixty was from the BSO. Mrs. Henschel was the soprano soloist. (Anon., undated)

georg and lillian henschelMrs. Henschel (Lillian Bailey) and Georg Henschel. BSO Archive.

In mid April the choir sang Samson and Delilah “with a fine cast in which Mr. Arthur Beresford as the high priest made the marked success of the evening. The role eminently fitted his wonderful voice, and the audience showed its appreciation by a tremendous demonstration in his favor.” (“Social Life,” Herald (April 14, 1901): 31, GB) Cecilia had sung the Boston premier of this work by St.-Saens on November 28, 1894. This “Social Life” notice also included the names of “a few of those” who attended. These included Mrs. Lang and the “Misses Lang,” but no Malcolm Lang, Arthur Foote and his daughter, the BSO conductor Herr Gericke and his wife, the wife of the President of Cecilia-Mrs. S. Lothrop Thorndike, Mr. and Mrs. George W. Chadwick and Mrs. Charles Marsh. In all 33 names were listed. (Ibid)

The Transcript ran two stories about the choir’s Annual Meeting at the Hotel Vendome in May 1901 which would celebrate the choir’s twenty-five years of existence, “during which B. J. Lang has been the sole conductor.” After the business meeting there was to be music “by several members of the organization and supper will be served, and it is probable that in a purely informal way short congratulatory addresses will follow. (Transcript, undated) The second story noted that Lang had been presented “a handsome silver bowl on which was inscribed the recipient’s name, also that of the society and the dates 1876-1901…The gift emphasizes the general feeling prevalent on the part of the members that in no small measure is the past success of the organization due to Mr. Lang’s faithful service and interest.” (Transcript, undated) The Herald also did a story after the event. It recorded that long-time former President, Mr. Thorndike was present; that Miss Laura Hawkins, accompanist of the choir played; and that Mr. B. L. Whelpley played two of his own compositions. In replying to the presentation of the loving cup, Lang “said that no words could express what the Cecilia’s 25 years have meant to him. He said, however, that it is not to be considered that he has preferred them over the Apollo Club, though he has resigned the latter work while keeping his conductorship of the Cecilia, and he asked a cheer for the Cecilia’s ”elder brother.” which was given with a will. He spoke of future plans for the Cecilia. Mr. Lang was cheered to the echo. As a memento of a memorable occasion, the company was photographed in the supper room by flash light.” (Herald, undated)

Arthur Foote gave the President’s Report at the 1901 meeting-this was the third year that he had held the post. He cited the Wage Earners’ Concerts which Cecilia had begun in 1891. “It is a good thing that no change has been made as regards the “Wage Earners’ concerts. These have continued to be as much desired as ever by the audience for which they were intended. The listeners have been highly appreciative, and would have been greater if the hall could have been made elastic. No one can doubt that in these concerts the Cecilia is doing a good work, one in which it helps itself by helping others.” (quoted by Tawa, Foote, 279)


Lang continued to support his pupils. Tucker emulated his teacher in presenting a series of orchestral concerts. “At the second of the series of Mr. Tucker’s concerts-which are proving so brilliant-on Monday night, the admirers of Mr. Paur [the BSO conductor] had a love feast. The demonstration of the personal enthusiasm and affection when the former conductor of the Symphony orchestra first appeared to take up the baton was remarkable in its intensity. One does not often hear such genuine applause.” Among those listed as attending the concert were Mr. and Mrs. B. J. Lang and Miss Lang, Mrs. Apthorp, Mrs. H. M. Rogers, Mrs. John L. Gardiner, Mr. George Proctor, Mr. Clayton Johns, Mr. and Mrs. H. M. Ticknor, Mr. and Mrs. George Chadwick, Mr. Perabo, and “indeed, all musical Boston. Mr. Tucker received many congratulations upon the evening’s success.” (Herald (December 2, 1900): 31, GB)


Emeline Burrage returned in June 1898 together with Emma Burrage as did Charles S. Homer and his wife Martha. B. L. Whelpley, a Lang piano pupil left a cartoon figure labeled “M. B. L.” and a note: “I never in my life did dream of having twice a day ice-cream until I visited Lang Farm. (It’s done me anything but harm).” Edward [?] Burrage and his wife Julia Severance Burrage visited July 10, 1898 for the day.

Another Burrage, Elsie Aldrich Burrage stayed August 8-10, 1899.  One guest left a four page, typed story with pen an ink illustrations about his visit dated September 4, 1899 – the initials seem to be J. H. B. The title was “An Idle (Idyl) (Uncommon Particular Metre).” The story mentions that “your train leaves shortly, just after noon.” Arthur Foote’s daughter, Katharine was a guest in 1899.

Isabella S. Gardner was an early visitor, June 28, 1900, and she was followed in July by Emma Burrage and then Emeline Burrage. Mrs. Apthorp came on August 17, 1900.

The visit on July 27, 1901 by Frederic Ruthven Galacar, Rosamond Lang’s eventual husband, produced a four stanza poem, “A Soliloquy” in German.


In January 1901 Lang opened this library of c. 500 scores at 153 Tremont Street. “It contains all the orchestral scores that are usually played at Symphony concerts.” The Boston Public Library had a fine collection of such scores, but “these cannot be taken out of the building.” Lang raised the money to buy these scores through two concerts given at Association Hall “about a year ago. Among those who assisted at these concerts were Mme. Hopekirk, Mme. Szumowska and Messrs. Baermann, Foote, Gericke and Proctor.” Ruth Burrage had been a piano pupil of Lang (and his wife’s cousin) who had died at a young age and left money “to be used for musical purposes.” Lang had used the original bequest to establish, 27 years before, a library of music for two pianos, and instruments on which to play this music. This was before the success of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and now he felt a need to provide different material to help young music students. “It is Mr. Lang’s idea to eventually turn over the library for orchestral scores to the Boston Public Library.” (Herald (January 8, 1901): 3, GB)


On March 30, 1901 the daughter of Georg Henschel and his wife, the former Miss Bailey, presented their daughter for her Boston debut. It was a friends and family affair. Miss Henschel was assisted by her mother with whom she sang duets accompanied by her father. “Mr. Henschel played in the duets, as he always does, like a master.” (Herald (March 31, 1901): 8, GB) Old family friends, Arthur Foote and B. J. Lang played the Variations for Two Pianos on a Theme by Beethoven by Saint-Saens. “It was very pleasant to see some of our familiar native artists once again on the concert stage as pianists, and Mr. Lang and Mr. Foote met with a hearty welcome…It is hardly necessary to speak of the well-known ability of the two pianists who are so highly appreciated by our public.” (Ibid)


Among the special Sunday afternoon services that Lang presented at King’s Chapel was Mendelssohn’s Elijah sung by a choir of 30 voices from “various churches.” The soloists were Mrs. Rice, soprano, Miss Little, alto, Mr. Merrill, bass, “all of the King’s Chapel quartet,” and Mr. Walter Hawkins of the Shawmut Congregational Church. “Mr. Lang presided at the organ and had charge of the singing.” The service was so successful, “the chapel being filled 10 minutes before the hour of beginning,” that an additional service was announced for the following Sunday which would present Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise. (Herald (April 1, 1901): 7, GB)


Due to the sale of the Music Hall and its redevelopment, a new site for the concerts needed to be found. “For many years the Club has believed that Music Hall was too large for the production of its best musical effect, and, as Symphony Hall is considerably larger than Music Hall, the Club has voted unanimously to give its concerts the coming season in Copley Hall, on Clarendon Street, near Copley Square…Reserved seats for the season of four concerts are offered at $6.00 each. Tickets for single concerts will not be sold. Applications for reserved seats will be filled in the order received.” (Letter to Associate Members dated September 24, 1900 from the Secretary, Mr. Henry Basford.)

The first concert of Lang’s last year as conductor was given at Copley Hall on November 14, 1900.  Mr. E. Cutter Jr. continued to be the choir’s accompanist and Miss Shannah Cumming was a soloist.  The Boston pieces were Valentine by Horatio W. Parker, O World, Thou art so fair a sight by Gericke, The Rose Leans Over the Pool by Chadwick, My Boy Tammy, an old Scottish song arranged by Arthur Foote and The Lark now leaves his watery nest by Horatio W. Parker. The concert opened with Mendelssohn’s Rhine Wine Song and ended with Schubert’s The Almighty with Mr. Shirley as the soloist.  Often a major Mendelssohn chorus would close the concert, but in this case the double chorus from Antigone, “Fair Semele’s High Born Son” was in the middle-the solo quartet was sung by chorus members, Messrs. Shirley, Faunce, Osgood and Hay. The Transcript review found the new room to be very much like being “locked up inside a Saratoga trunk; then, though small, the hall is rather dead, voices have little brilliancy there.” (Transcript, November 15, 1900 review by W(Iliam) F(oster) A(thorp))  The soloist, Miss Cumming “showed herself as a very intelligent and pleasing singer, she has a good voice and a technique which, if not masterly, is still above the average, but she has an instinct to get at the musical meaning of things, and to show forth the meaning clearly.” (Ibid)  Elson noted that the seats in the new hall might fit the average Bostonian but if “a German of usual size attends, he had better take two seats!” (Advertiser, November 15, 1900 review by Louis C. Elson) Elson described the Gericke part song; “It was of a direct melody and dainty harmony that made it one of the most pleasing numbers on the programme.” (Ibid) This was the third time that the club had sung this piece-January 18, 1899 and November 14, 1900.  He also cited Parker’s Valentine for “especial mention.”

The January 23, 1901 review mentioned no accompanist for the choir; the guest soloist was the contralto Madam Josephine Jacoby. “Miss Jacoby has a remarkable contralto voice, excellently trained, and she sang her numbers with that broad depth of feeling that characterizes the artist that she is.” (Advertiser, undated)  Some choir favorites reappeared; Mendelssohn To the sons of Art, the Gounod-Buck The Grasshopper and the Ant, together with the new Saint-Saens A Song of Ancestry.  “The chorus sang with excellent taste and precision, Mr. Lang’s efficient leadership again showing its supreme effectiveness, and he himself accompanying a few numbers at the pianoforte in masterly style. The concert was a delightful one in every respect, and the club was greeted by a large and fashionable audience of friends.” (Ibid)

After only two concerts at the Copley location, the club decided to move to the new Chickering Hall at 239 Huntington Avenue, just a block away from the new Symphony Hall. This involved reissuing all new tickets, hopefully close to the corresponding sections of the Copley Hall. “Copley Hall tickets will not be good in Chickering Hall.” (Announcement to Associate Members dated March 11, 1801)

The first concert held at Chickering Hall, the third of the season, was given on March 20, 1901 with Mr. C. P. Scott as the accompanist and the violinist, Maud Scott as the guest soloist. New works included The Sailors of Kermor by Saint-Saens translated by J. C. D. Parker and Hush! Hush! by MacDowell. The Transcript review mentioned that finally the choir had found a proper home. “The old Music Hall was ridiculously large, so much so as to be excusable only on the ground of an enormous associate membership-which had somehow to be housed….Copley Hall, its interim lodging place, has been called as much too small as the other was too large…There could have been no thought of an orchestra there…Chickering Hall seems to solve the problem to perfection. It is not too large for the best musical effect, and the acoustics seem wholly favorable; moreover, there will be ample room for an orchestra, whenever the club wishes one. It can seat all the audience needed. Never before has the Apollo Club been so well situated.” (Transcript, undated) Miss Powell’s performance was briefly noticed; “her pieces were “excellently played…and much appreciated by the audience.” (Ibid) No specifics were given.


 In the spring of 1901 an insert in the Wednesday evening May 1, 1901 concert program at Chickering Hall (their 171st. concert) noted that Mr. Lang “positively declines a renomination” as conductor. “Mr. Arthur Brown of the Apollo Club has asked me to give him a suggestion as to what the Club might give to Lel, as the latter has decided not to continue as its conductor (It was a Tiffany lamp).  (Diary 2, Spring 1901)

This final program appropriately opened with Sullivan’s The Long Day Closes followed by two choral pieces by Margaret Ruthven Lang, Alastair MacAllistair (Old Scotch Song) and Here’s a Health to One I lo’e Dear (Old Scotch Song). In the second half, Mr. Clarence E. Hay sang two of Lang’s own solo songs, The Lass of Carlisle and The Chase. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 7)

An article in 1907 updating Apthorp’s article of 1893 included “A Partial List of the Important New Music First Performed in Boston Under Mr. Lang by the…Apollo Club” listed the following: Berlioz: Arrangement of “La Marseillaise” for double chorus and orchestra. Brahms: Rinaldo. Bruch: Frithjof: Roman Song of Triumph; Salamis. Chadwick: The Viking’s Last Voyage. Foote: The Farewell of Hiawatha. Goldmark: The Flower Net. Grieg: Discovery. Hiller: Easter Morning; Hope. Lachner: Evening; Warrior’s Prayer. Mendelssohn: Sons of Art; Antigone; Oedipus. J. C. D. Parker: The Blind King. Raff: Warder Song. Rubinstein: Morning. Schubert: The Almighty; Song of the Spirits Over the Water. Schumann: Forester’s Chorus. Templeton Strong: The Trumpeter; The Haunted Mill; The Knights and the Naiada. A.W. Thayer: Sea Greeting. G.E. Whiting: March of the Monks of Bangor; Free Lances; Henry of Navarre (Gould Collection)

In 1909 Arthur Foote’s evaluation of Lang was that “As a conductor his influence was great in raising the standard of singing here. One of the first things he obtained with the Apollo Club was the clear enunciation which still distinguishes it; musically he believed (as Theodore Thomas did) that the way to educate the public was to coax and not to bully it; so that the Apollo Club pleased its audiences and was trained itself at first with German and other part songs, being thereby later able to give the great compositions for men’s voices and orchestra; in this, as often, his tact prevailed.” (Transcript, May 1, 1909)

Ethel Syford in the “New England Magazine” in April 1910 wrote: “Perhaps no other club has been so constant in its attainment of refined excellence. If I were going to speak sweepingly, I should say without fear that the three essences of American artistic refinement are the Apollo Club of Boston, the Kneisel Quartet and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The latter two by right of the quintessence of masterly achievement; the Apollo Club of Boston by virtue of its achievement and a distinctively Bostonian esprite de corps as well. The spirit of the organization is unmatched. One is conscious instantly that its audience is entirely en rapport with itself. It is a most unusual atmosphere of absolute sympathy, and a distinctive salon-like éclat which marks the Apollo Club of Boston as unique.” This quote was used in 1947 by John O’Connor in an article announcing the appointment of Nicolas Sloninsky as the new conductor of the choir. After the quote he wrote: “The same thing could be written about the club today.” (Herald (September 21, 1947): 27. GB)

The Osborne article on the Apollo Club ends with “Perhaps the spirit of the whole enterprise can be grasped in this quatrain from Oliver Wendell Holmes that concluded the 1884-85 season:

So, with the merry tale and jovial song,                                                                      The jocund evening whirls itself along,                                                                       Till the last chorus shrieks its loud encore,                                                              And the white neckcloths vanish through the door.” (Osborne, 40)

The Apollo Club continues even today under the leadership Florence Dunn who had become the accompanist in 1955 and then the conductor in 1969. Rehearsals are still (2006) held on Tuesday nights in the Harvard Musical Association building concert room, with a repertoire of show tunes and lighter material that is performed for various service groups in the Boston area. (Telephone call with Ms. Dunn, January 2006) The club has established a very interesting site at: which also has aural and video examples of their work.


List complied by James Methuen-Campbell; additional information by Johnston shown in [  ]

Bach            D Minor  BWV 1052 (harpsichord)

Bach            G minor  BWV 1058

Bach            A major  BWV 1055 (harpsichord)

Bach            F major   BWV 1057

Bach            Two keyboard  BWV 1061  (twice)

Bach            Two keyboard  C minor   BWV 1060 (twice)

Bach            Three keyboards  C major  BWV 1064 (ten times)

Bach             Three keyboards  D minor 1063 (twice)

Bach              Four keyboards   A minor  BWV 1065 (twice)

Beethoven     Concerto in C major (four times)

Beethoven     Concerto in B flat major (three times)

Beethoven     Concerto in C minor (three times)

Beethoven     Choral Fantasia (two times)

Beethoven     Triple Concerto (two times)

Sterndale Bennett  Allegro Giojoso or Caprice in E (three times)

Brahms            Second Piano Concerto (once)

Bronsart           Concerto (once)

Hiller                  Piano Concerto  (two times)

Hummel            Piano Concerto (in Salem c. April 1863)

Hummel            Introduction and Rondo on a Russian Theme, Op. 98 (two times)

Mendelssohn  Concerto in G minor (three times?)

Mendelssohn  Concerto in D minor (five times)

Mendelssohn  Capriccio Brillant (three times)

Mozart               Concerto in D minor (once)

Mozart               Concerto in E flat major (once)

Mozart               Concerto for Two Pianos (twice)

Napravnik        Concerto Symphonique (once)

Rubinstein       Third Piano Concerto (four times)

Saint-Saens     First Piano Concerto (once)

Saint-Saens     Second Piano Concerto (four times)

Saint-Saens     Third Piano Concerto (once)

Saint-Saens      Rhapsodie D’Avergne (once)

Schubert/Liszt  Wanderer (twice)

Schumann          Piano Concerto (once)

Schumann          Introduction and Allegro Appass. Op. 92 (two times)

Tchaikovsky      First Piano Concerto (twice)

Weber/Liszt       Polonaise Brillant (three times and sometimes in the solo version)


Thus ended a decade of major importance in Lang’s life-many triumphs and a few bumps, the major one being his two years as conductor of the Handel and Haydn Society. By giving up his conductorship of the Apollo Club, he now had time to explore new musical experiences.




Play the very beginning of the Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto




For this lecture we will be concerned mainly with MARGARET RUTHVEN LANG, born in 1867, just after the end of the Civil War and who died 104 years later in 1972, and her father, BENJAMIN JOHNSON LANG who was born in 1837 and died in 1909, aged 71. Benjamin Johnson Lang was born in Salem, MA. His father, Benjamin Lang, American born, was of Scottish descent; a piano maker or dealer, (Mathews) music teacher and organist of some prominence in the area. Lang senior found his best pupil in his own son, and by the age of twelve, B.J. was already an accomplished enough musician to perform the A flat Ballade of Chopin. His next teacher was Francis G. Hill of Boston (Hubbard, p. 464). In 1850, aged 13, he was given his first organ lesson at a little church in Danvers. An unsigned interview [from probably c. 1908 just before his death] with B. J. stated “I received my first musical instruction from my father, and at the age of fifteen secured my first appointment as organist. But I desired the career of a pianist primarily, and was in Europe about three years, from 1855 to 1858. There I studied with Jaell, Salter, and afterwards with 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. On my return to America, I began teaching and playing in Boston, and for fifty years I have been active. There was absolutely nothing in the way of a musical atmosphere here in those early days. I was successful from the start, perhaps owing to enthusiasm, with a natural aptitude for doing pioneer work at a time when things were ripe for musical development. My enthusiasm led me to carry through projects to which I had set myself.” (Clippings collected by Gould, HMA) Lang was among the first of over 500 Americans who studied in Europe between the 1850s and 1900. His selection of Berlin may have been influenced by the fact that his piano teacher, Frances G. Hill, “was among the first of Boston young men who went to Germany to study music.” (Dwight, June 1, 1872, 247)

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 NATIONAL CYCLOPEDIA OF AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY states that Lang “was so fortunate to have the personal direction of Liszt while studying piano.” (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. This was remembered in 1968 by his daughter Margaret. (Boston Globe 100th year article)

She also revalled 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) 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 premier of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1.

When Lang returned to Boston after his three years of European study, he “made his first public appearance in Boston as a pianist in 1858 at a concert of the Mendelssohn Quintet Club, taking part in Beethoven’s C Minor Trio, Opus 1, No. 3. (its first performance in the city) Thus at his first appearance before a Boston audience, he already gave evidence of a tendency that has since become characteristic of him-a constant desire to introduce new works to the public.” (Apthorp Article in Music, August 1893) John Dwight”s review in his weekly Journal of Music said: “The piano part was played by Mr. B. J. Lang, with a precision, cleanness, and expression that would have done honor to far more experienced artists. We do not remember a more promising debut in this kind.” (Dwight, February 6, 1858, p. 359)

In addition to concert appearances, one of Lang”s main sources of income was piano teaching.”A teacher of incredible activity (when I knew him he was giving regularly lessons from 8.30 to 6).” (Foote, Auto., p. 45) Another source noted that he taught as many as fourteen lessons daily and claimed to have instructed over two hundred concert pianists.” His obituary mentioned that he: “Had Taught 5,000 Pupils.” (Globe, Apr. 5, 1909, p. 1) The building at 6 Newbury St. where he had his studio, is entirely peopled with his former students.” (Ibid) The singer Clara Kathleen Rogers (Clara Doria) wrote that Lang “had an unusually large following of devoted disciples… [His] pupils, one and all, adored him, and only awaited a sign from him to render willing service.” (Rogers, TWO LIVES, p. 146 and 147) As a piano teacher Lang was very well regarded. “His class of private pupils upon the pianoforte belongs to the very elite of Boston.” (Mathews p. 429)

Another important part of Lang’s career was founding and conducting two choral groups which still exist in Boston today. The older of the two, the Apollo Club, a male voice choir, was begun in 1871 with Lang as its first conductor, a post that he held for thirty years, until 1901. “The success of the Apollo, both musically and socially, was so great and so rapid that it soon had imitators all over the country. The general taste of the time was represented by the light part-songs of the lesser German Romantic composers, but B.J. favored larger works with orchestral accompaniment.Lang”s rehearsal methods also were not appreciated by some: Apthorp wrote-“Nothing like such drilling has ever been known before in Boston.His principle was that in chorus singing, as in every sort of musical performance, the indispensable basis is technique; without a solid technique nothing worthwhile can be done, and the technique can only be acquired through severe drilling.That arduous system of drilling to which Gericke subjected the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and which was so much commented on at the time, both favorably and adversely, as something utterly unprecedented by its severity, was really first applied to the Apollo Club and Cecilia by Lang.” (Fox, Lang Papers, p. 7)

In the spring of 1901 an insert in the May 1, 1901 concert program of the Apollo Club (their 171st. concert) noted that Mr. Lang “positively declines a renomination” as conductor. This final program appropriately opened with Sullivan”s The Long Day Closes followed by two choral pieces by Margaret Ruthven Lang, Alastair MacAllistair (Old Scotch Song) and Here”s a Health to One I lo”e Dear (Old Scotch Song) while in the second half, two of Lang”s own solo songs, The Lass of Carlisle and The Chase were sung by Mr. Clarence E. Hay. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 7) Just a short word about Lang as a composer-he regularly preformed his piano pieces in his concerts including concerts in Germany-he also programmed his solo songs and choral pieces with the groups that he conducted. But, except for one short piece, he never allowed his works to be published. In fact, in his will, he instucted his son to destroy all his manuscripts!

The second choral group that Lang founded was a mixed chorus called the Cecilia Society. This was begun in 1874, first as a part of the Harvard Musical Association Orchestral Concerts, but it soon became independent. The music critic Louis Elson wrote “The Cecilia has given more first performances of great works in its own city than any other Boston musical society, and these have extended all the way from Bach’s B minor Mass, to Massenet’s Fall of Jericho and Wagner’s Parsifal”. (Elson: History American Music, p. 82) The group’s internet site states: “It all began when B. J. Lang founded the Cecilia Society. A man of great force of personality, Lang’s boldness set the tone for what Cecilia was to become. He had a passion for ‘firsts,’ and presented the Boston premieres of 105 works that have now become standard choral repertoire, including perennial favorites like Brahms’ Ein deutches Requiem.” ( This represents a massive amount of work: first, getting to know the new works; then deciding when and where they should be programmed; ordering the vocal scores, and then renting the orchestral parts from the individual publishers which would have been spread all over Europe!

Lang also performed as a solo pianist with the Harvard Musical Association and the first seasons of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. In fact “It was he (Lang) who first suggested the great series of Harvard Symphony Concerts; it was he who more than any other held the programmes up to their first high level. It was his influence which brought out in Boston for the first time the pianoforte concertos of Bach, and most of those of Schumann, Mendelssohn, and Beethoven, as well as the works of the newer school of Rubinstein, St. Saens, Bronsart, etc.” (Mus. Ob., 1884)

Another area in which Lang supported these concerts was through pre-concert lectures. Dwight praised him for “assembling a hundred or two of his pupils and their friends on the Thursday preceding that of each concert, and, with the aid of a brother pianist (Mr. Perabo), playing over the entire programme to them with historical and analytic explanations.” December 1868 was the third winter that he had been doing this. (Dwight, December 12, 1868, p. 367)

One of the most notable points in Lang”s career occured when he was asked to conduct the WORLD premier of Tchaikovsky”s First Piano Concerto. The pianist was Hans von Bulow whom Lang had probably met when strudying with Liszt, von Bulow had married Liszts” daughter Cosima (who, incidentally later left him to marry Richard Wagner). The well known New York conductor, Carl Bergmann had been hired to conduct-Dwight had called him the best conductor in America! But von Bulow recorded that “Bergmann had not taken as 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, p. 251) The Tchaikovsky premier was in the fifth of von Bulow”s series of Boston concerts. Von Bulow”s gratefulness to Lang extended to having him also conduct the sixth concert, and he also asked Lang to conduct the same work in Philadelphia. The recent critic Michael Steinberg mused: “I do wonder, though, what it all sounded like with B. J. Lang”s little orchestra with [just] its four first violins (Steinberg, p. 477)

At his death his estate was worth $600,000. What would that be today?

There are many connections between B. J. Lang in his era and Leonard Bernstein in a more recent era. Both were fine pianists; both were composers; both were educators; both were conductors; and both had a major impact on the musical life of their respective times.

Next we consider B. J.”s most famous child, MARGARET RUTHVEN LANG.

We will begin by hearing her most popular song, Irish Love Song for which she probably also wrote the text. This song uses a simple strophic construction well suited to it”s folk style. The text is addressed to ‘Mavoureen,’ which could be the woman being sung about-the word itself is an Irish Gaelic word meaning ‘my darling’. The popularity if this song is reflected in the number of copies sold. The total U. S. press run for was 120,835 copies, almost 20,000 copies more than for Edward MacDowell”s best-loved song, The Beaming Eyes.”(Cipolla, p. 91)

PERFORM IRISH LOVE SONG (No. 4 on George recording)

Margaret Ruthven Lang, eldest of three surviving children, was born in Boston on November 27, 1867. Her first musical instruction was piano lessons with a student of her father. He, himself later took over her instruction. (Downes, “Boston Post,” August 25, 1907) Her non-musical education was at private schools (Saerchinger, p. 356). “Her environment has been most helpful to artistic growth, for the Lang home is the rendezvous for gifted people and the informal ‘at homes’ very stimulating to higher thought and purpose. When a child of twelve, [1880] Miss Lang used to play ensemble with two friends. It occurred to her to write something for this group, so she launched forth her craft. She humorously relates how her father helped her to ‘paw out’ the consecutive fifths and other startling intruders in well-ordered composition. But he wisely saw that her thought was of more value than its expression.”

In a letter dated May 22, 1893 she wrote: “I first studied harmony in Boston with my father, and the pianoforte and violin under various teachers…During a two years sojurn in Munich, I studied counterpoint and fugue and the violin under two different teachers. On returning to America I studied, in Boston, orchestration with Mr. Chadwick and the pianoforte with my father. During these years I wrote many songs, and after my return from Munich I published the first group of six songs at the advice and under the supervision of Mr. MacDowell.”(Scrapbook 1887-1904)

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

The first public performances of Margaret’s pieces were given at the second of “Two Song-Recitals” sung by William J. Winch in Boston’s Chickering Hall on December 14, 1887. The reviews were consistently positive. The “Advertiser” singled out Ghosts,” …Mr. Winch has never sung better than in these fairy-like bits of melody which Miss Lang has made so signal.” The spring of 1889 saw the first of her songs published. A newspaper review of May 4, 1889 had particular praise for Ghosts. “Despite its simple character and musical structure, Ghosts was a song that helped establish Lang’s reputation as a composer. It was well received critically and was popular among Boston audiences, being performed many times from 1887 to 1896. Certainly, the song’s simplicity appealed to both the concert-going audience and the music-buying public. The critical response, however, was guided by gendered views. Reviewers notes its ‘sentiments soft, delicate and sweet.’ Rupert Hughes in AMERICAN COMPOSERS describes it as ‘elfin and dainty as snowflakes.’ In fact, he reprinted Ghosts as the only musical example of Lang’s work as a composer, while describing her music as ‘supremely womanly.’ Ghosts was perhaps the perfect example of what critics believed was an outlet for female composers, and hence they praised the work for its simplicity and unpretentiousness at the same time recognizing it as a legitimate art song.” (Blunsom, p. 218)

PLAY GHOSTS (No. 10 on George recording)

To show the growth of Lang as a composer, we will now hear a late song which also is concerned with SNOW. You will hear a much more sophisticated accompaniment and harmonic pallette.

PLAY SNOWFLAKES (No. 20 on George recording)

Soon after, she had first performances at the Manuscript Club which was “Formed in 1888, this club was founded to offer local composers the opportunity to hear their works performed before an intelligent audience. The date was January 19, 1888, and B. J. accompanied William J. Winch. The Manuscript Club performance was held at the home of Isabel Stuart Gardner at 150-152 Beacon Street.A year later, February 28, 1889, the Manuscript Club gave another performance at Mrs. Gardner’s home which included Ojala, sung by Mr. George F. Parker and accompanied by Margaret. It would seem that Mrs. Gardner became a good friend of the family as she gave to “the composer Margaret Ruthven Lang her much-prized harpsichord. The Guest Book of the Lang farm in New Boston, NH records visits from Mrs. Gardner in 1895, 1902, 1903 and 1907. Another indication of the Gardner-Lang friendship is reflected in the fact the Mrs. Gardner was in charge of arranging the floral offerings at B. J. Lang’s funeral in 1909. Locke also cites many letters from Margaret and B. J. to Mrs. Gardner, and suggests that she may have been “a regular sponsor of his several choral societies. (Locke, pp. 120 and 108)

Also in 1889 Margaret”s song Ojala was performed in Paris at the July 12th. concert in the Trocadero during the Paris World”s Fair Exposition. The American composer Edward MacDowell who played his own Second Piano Concerto in this concert, wrote to Margaret:

Dear Miss Lang,

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

E. A. MacDowell (Scrapbook)

PERFORM OJALA (No. 2 George recording)

This gesture by MacDowell was possibly a thank you to the Lang family for all that B. J. had done for MacDowell. George Chadwick wrote that “MacD really had B. J. to thank for his start, for he produced his Suite (his first work) and his first Pf. Concerto at his concerto concerts and did a lot of talking. Lang also supported MacDowell by teaching his works to his pupils. At the April 3, 1888 ” B. J. Lang Pianoforte Concerto-Concert” where Lang conducted, his pupil B. J. Whelpley played the solo part in MacDowell”s Piano Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 15 which was the first American performance of the complete work. MacDowell was the soloist a year later in a Boston Symphony Orchestra performance led by William Gericke on April 13, 1889.(Johnson, First, pp. 225 and 226) Lang also contibuted to MacDowell”s support by hiring him as a soloist for the December 1888 concerts of the Apollo Club at the Music Hall.
B. J. took advantage of his own connections to benefit Margaret. Within just a few weeks of his arrival in America, Lang had hired Antonin Dvorak to conduct his own Requiem Mass with the Cecilia in November 1892. The composer probably stayed with the Lang family. In Mrs. Lang’s “Diaries” there is also a reference to the composer looking over Margaret’s instrumental compositions. B. J. has wasted no time in making use of Dvorak’s presence in America-he had only just arrived on September 27, 1892!

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

Thus, Margaret was, in 1893, a composer well known in here native Boston, and performed regularly in other parts of America and also in Europe. What would be next? Now aged twenty-five, she had her first large orchestral work was premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra-the Dramatic Overture, Opus 12 conducted by Nikisch on April 7 and 8, 1893. This was the FIRST TIME THAT AN AMERICAN ORCHESTRA HAD PLAYED A PIECE BY AN FEMALE COMPOSER!! A description of the worked noted: “It has some strong contrasts, especially between the chief theme and the subordinate. The first is grim and medieval, the second tender and human. To place these two in juxtaposition in itself gives something of dramatic power, and the development of both is singularly unconventional.”(Elson:History American Music p. 306) Francis H. Jenks in his “Musical Herald” review described the work as “an ingeniously devised and constructed composition with evidences of thought at every turn.” Philip Hale reported that the overture was applauded, but the attempt to call the composer forward was in vain. Seventy-four years later Miss Lang remembered the incident well: “I crept up to the balcony and hid.” Hale’s specific comments were probably a trial for the young composer. He wrote: “Miss Lang’s overture is perhaps a creditable work for a young student. Whether it deserved a place in a Symphony concert is another question. Although Miss Lang in certain songs has shown in the past a pretty melody, the themes of the overture are not of marked originality or striking effect. There are ingenious passages in the detail, but there is a general lack of definite purpose in the conception and in the carrying out. As a result there is occasional piquancy, and there are pleasing measures, but this dramatic overture is a promise rather than a fulfillment.” (Scrapbook, Musical Courier, April 12, 1893)

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

As Margaret destroyed all her instrumental works and all her unpublished works, we only have brief descriptions to help us imagine what the piece sounded like. The critic, William Foster Apthorp, who was also writing the Program Notes for the Boston Symphony, sent a letter to Margaret concerning his study of the score in preparation for writing the note. “Where did you get the idea of reinforcing the effect of those jumps from C major to E minor, and E major to A minor, by that Scharfrichter’s rhythm? I don’t know when I have heard that ‘Meyerbeer’ snap of the two short notes and a long one sound so new, and so little as if Meyerbeer had written it. I have also great hopes for the place where the third horn comes in against the twiddle-twiddle in the violins. And how stunning of you to have kept your trombones and trumpets for the preaching, and made your big crashes without them! I hope Nikisch will follow his native bent, and give the final ‘pa-pa-pum——-PUM!’ as it looks in the score. Ever so many thanks, yrs., &c., &c., &c.” (Scrapbook)

Critical judgement of the piece was generally negative. The Courier review of April 9, 1893 said: “The overture while evidently the work of a skillful and refined musician is nevertheless a very characteristic sample of ‘kapelmeistermusik.’” (Unsigned) Another review devoted 75 per cent of its content to the new piece: “Of the composition itself there is not much to be said that is pleasant in the saying. It is creditable as the result of a laudable ambition to essay an important work, and it may be pronounced a promising first attempt; but it is scarcely of a worth to warrant its performance, unless, indeed, to afford the composer an opportunity to hear it, and to profit by the experience.” (Unsigned) But not all reviews were negative. However, another review devoted one-half of its space to Margaret”s work, all of which was complimentary. “Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang”s new dramatic overture was given for the first time at the Symphony last week, the composition by our talented townswoman proving to be of great merit. In the beginning two themes are developed, one sombre and of an antique character,the other passionate and modern treatment, each played against the other and producing a dramatic effect original but melodic. The work received a most flattering reception, and Mr. Nikisch”s orchestra gave a delightful interpretation of the number.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archive)
There is no record of the work ever being performed again by the BSO or any other orchestra. Still Margaret continued to compose large orchestral works. Her Opus 10, Witichis Overture was played at the Chicago Columbian World”s Fair in the summer of 1893, having been chosen by a noted group of musicians including St. Saens, oh, and yes, Margaret”s father was on the committee. She also wrote another overture, Totila, and an orchestra Ballade that was played in Baltimore in 1901. She composed three Concert Arias with orchestral accompaniment. Sappho’s Prayer to Aphrodite for alto was performed in New York on October 24, 1895. Soon after, on January 29, 1896, it was sung by Mrs. H. E. Sawyer at a concert at 265 Beacon Street where the accompanist was Arthur Foote, one of B. J.s star piano pupils. Another performer who quickly learned this aria was Lena Little who sang it at the “Concert in Aid of the Free Hospital for Women” on March 26th. of that year.
A second aria, Armida for soprano was performed by the BSO on January 13, 1896 with Gertrude Franklin as the soloist and Emil Paur conducting. The critic Louis Elson, who was usually very supportive, wrote: “The setting is by no means as dramatic as its poetic subject, and the composer seems to have missed the majestic power of the great death-scene.” Margaret also wrote a third aria for baritone which was entitled Phoebus’ Denunciation of the Furies At His Delphian Shrine that probably was never performed.
However, Margaret”s success in the solo song and choral material continued. Her father”s programming of her work with his groups the Cecilia Society, a mixed voice choir and the Apollo Club, a male voice choir, certainly helped introduce her works, but many were soon taken up by singers and choirs all over America and in Europe.
In 1905 Schmidt published a set of limericks by Edward Lear set to music by Margaret under the title Nonsense Rhymes and Pictures, Opus 42. Two years later a second set was published, Opus 43. The first set contained twelve songs, while the second had ten. As the texts are only four short lines, often Margaret began each setting with a longish piano introduction that sets the mood. In There was an old Man in a Tree the mood-setting introduction is done by the voice doing the sound of a bee buzzing.
PLAY OLD MAN TREE (No. 18 George recording) (1:46))
The success of these songs led Margaret to set a number of them for SATB, SSAA, or TTBB voices. In 1998 Walton Music republished three SSAA settings; earthsongs republished two for SSAA including Old Man in a Tree; Hildegarde Publishing (Theodore Presser) reprinted Opus 42 in 1997. The Library of Congress has slso free downloads of a number of these settings-they also reproduce Lang”s original manuscript of each piece. At the 2009 National ACDA Convention, the High School Honors Choir sang The Old Man With a Beard.
Margaret”s “Scrapbooks” in the Boston Public Library contain many programs were her works were heard. If these were Boston performances, she would try to attend as many as possible. her Christmas Cantata, The Night of the Star: Opus 52 was published in 1913. The following Boston area churches performed the work:

St Paul”s CathedralDec. 2412:10PM

First Church, UnitarianDec. 244:30PM

Harvard Musical ClubDec. 249:30PM

King”s Chapel (B. J.s last church) Dec. 2511AM

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

The previous Sunday six area churches had performed the work.


Margaret stopped composing c. 1920. The musical world was changing-Stravinsky, Schoenberg and even early Copland where far different from her musical style. When asked why she stopped composing, her answer was: “Why did I stop, I had nothing to say.”

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

From 1927 until 1939 Margaret self-published from her home at 8 Brimmer Street a series of leaflets entitled Messages from God which she distributed at her own expense. In a biographical note written in 1960 she describes the project thus: “My music writing stopped soon after The Heavenly Noel’s many performances in many places; much-involved housekeeping took place during my mother’s last housebound years. At this time I obeyed a very strong spiritual call, and began to write, print, send forth, and reply to wide requests for spiritual religious messages-to which I gave my time and money-my life’s best work-over many years, anonymously [underlined twice], but with deep devotion; taking form in privately printed paper tracts. They were used by churches, far and wide, in the United States, England, Canada, and even one in Egypt.” (Lang Scrapbooks, Vol. 17) Each one was 8-10 pages.

1927 – Intercession1928 – A Gift for Almighty God1928 – The Communion of Silence

1932 – Our Continuing City1934 – Our Father’s House1939 – Christmas and the Cross

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

Miss Lang’s interest in music “as a thankful listener” continued unabated until her death on May 30, 1972 at the age of 104. Members of her family had occupied seat B-1 of the first balcony since Symphony Hall opened in 1900, and she continued to occupy it regularly attending by subway “until three years before her death.” (Fox, Sexual Aesthetics, p. 5) “The woman next to me wants my seat. We chaff about it. But I want to keep the name Lang on the subscriber’s list.”(Miller-Globe article) The Lang”s family friend, Isabella Stewart Gardner had also bought season tickets the first season near to where the Langs sat.
One celebration of her 100th Birthday was on Friday, November 24, 1967 when Erich Leinsdorf conducted the BSO and dedicated some of the pieces to her. Henry B. Cabot, one of the Symphony Trustees, made a personal contribution of $2,500 to the Commemorative Fund so that seat B-1 could be named in her honor. Like a typical Bostonian, even at the age of 100, she used the subway to travel to Symphony Hall. She was described at this time as being “tiny and chipper as a semi-quaver…Dressed in black, with a knotted rope of pearls and rings her adornments.” (Miller-Globe article) The program book for this concert mentioned that “She has a vivacity and alertness that would put many people half her age to shame.” (BSO Program Book for November 24 and 25, p. 455) The Globe Society Editor, Marjorie Sherman wrote that “A brisk figure will emerge from the subway at Symphony Station today with ample time to take her place in a first balcony seat where she has been a familiar sight since the hall was opened in October, 1900…Miss Lang has listened to every conductor since George Henschel in 1881.” (Article courtesy Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives, Boston Globe, November 24, 1967) “At fourteen she attended the first season of the Boston Symphony, in 1881. She has been attending ever since, under all eleven conductors, first in the old Music Hall in downtown Boston, and then in Symphony Hall since 1900. During a recent discussion of future plans for Boston and Symphony Hall, Miss Lang remarked: ”Everything is so interesting. I”d like to live to be 125 so I can see how it all turns out.”” (Scrapbook) An article by John J. Mullins entitled “Composer Margaret Lang, 101, just ‘wants to live forever’ began with quote: “I’d love to see what’s coming. That’s why I want to live forever.” ” Another example of Margaret’s continued interest in the world around her is reflected in Amy DuBois’ remembering that during a visit in 1969, Margaret showed her that she was reading Aldridge Cleaver’s Soul On Ice. (Interview) Another example is that she “was known to correspond with over 60 individuals a month, writing letters in four languages.” (Cline, e-mail July 9, 2008)

With the release of Donald George”s two CDs, both the sounds and the scores for about 50 of her toal of 130 published songs will be available. The first musical CD had a companion CD with all of the scores of the songs so that any interested singer can immediately download the printed music for any piece that they might want to perform. One Doctoral Dissertation has been written about Margaret-“Margaret Ruthven Lang: her life and Songs,” 1993 Washington University, and Margaret is also part of a Brandeis Dissertation completed in 1999 by Laurie K. Blunsom entitled “Gender, Genre and Professionalism: The Songs of Clara Rogers, Helen Hopekirk, Amy Beach, Margaret Lang and Mabel Daniels, 1880-1925.” Another Brandeis work is the a recent Masters Thesis entitled “How to appreciate that which no longer exists: A case study in the life and lost works of Margaret Ruthven Lang.” I also maintain a website on the Lang family which can be found by searching under the name of “Margaret Ruthen Lang.” It is usually the third or fourth entry, and its title is “Margaret Ruthven Lang and Family.” All the information there is available to anyone who might want to use it, and I welcome any enquiries.




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

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

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

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

The information on this site is provided to those interested for 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. It is hoped that those who have done research in this area will be willing to share their findings which will lead to a clear 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 it will be of use.

Copies of her works are available on loan.


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.





First, and foremost to Patricia Minot who has been a continuing help with computer information and acted as an editor, and second, thanks to my sister, Marilee Polmonari for her research efforts; the various librarians over the years in the Music Room of the Boston Public Library and Jean Morrow and Maryalice Perrin-Mohr of the New England Conservatory Library; and Natalie Palme and also the current Librarian of the Harvard Musical Association, Craig W. Hanson. Extensive materials from the BSO Archive were provided by Bridget P. Carr. Thanks are due also to Adrienne Fried Block and Carol Neuls-Bates for their Women In American Music.

Special thanks also to the Inter-Library Loan Division of the Lee County Library and my first point of contact, Sonja Miller. Also thanks to Joyce Crumbo for her research work at the Library of Congress. Many points of information were by family members; primarily these include Fletcher DuBois, Amy DuBois, Anne Hooper Webb and Rozzie Hooper-Hamersley. The research of Pamela Fox, Judith Cline, Laurie K. Blunsom, and most recently Sarah E. Baer amplify what is found on this site (see citations in the Bibliography). Thanks also to Quent and Carolyn Peacock for photos and information about the Lang family farms in New Boston, New Hampshire and Lisa Rothman of the New Boston Historical Society for further information and historical photos. Information about Lang’s early life in Salem has been graciously provided by Meaghan Wright of the Phillips Library.

Please send any additions or corrections by e-mail to: Jim Johnston at




Abel, Ludwig (b. June 14, 1835 – d. August 13, 1895) Pupil of Ferdinand David; member of the Gewandhaus Orchestra at Leipzig, the Weimar Court Orchestra (1835), leader of the Court Orchestra at Munich (1867), teacher in and (1878) Inspector of the Royal Music-School then managed by von Bulow; 1880 Royal Professor; retired on pension, 1894. Violin-virtuoso of high rank, and an excellent orchestra conductor; wrote a good Violin Method, also studies, variations, etc. (Baker-Bio. Dic, p. 2)

Adamowski, Josef. (b. July 4, 1862 in Warsaw, d. Poland-1930) (Bio-Bib, p. 2) He studied first at the Warsaw Conservatory, and then “He went to the Moscow Conservatory and studied ”cello with Fitzenhagen, composition with Tchaikovsky and piano with Pabst. Meanwhile he also entered the University and graduated. In 1883 he began concert-tours in Poland and Germany, and in 1885-87 was professor of ”cello and ensemble playing at the Conservatory of Cracow. Coming to America in 1889, he played in the Boston Symphony orchestra till 1907, and also in the Adamowski Quartet and Adamowski Trio. He had been professor in the New England Conservatory since 1903… In 1896 he married the pianist Antoinette Szumowska.” (Grove”s Am. Sup., 1925, p.109) His finance was “Antoinette Szumowska [1868-1938, Bio-Bib, p. 2], who had come to Boston armed with a letter of introduction from Paderewski to the J. Montgomery Sears”, already devoted friends of his.” (Rogers, Two Lives, p. 191) She “had already begun an international career… She played in Paris in the ”90s… She made no discs, but left some Ampico piano rolls including a [Chopin] Mazurka and three Preludes.” (Methuen-Campbell, p. 102) Josef and his brother joined the BSO during the second season (1885-86) of Gericke”s tenure. The same year Franz Kneisel replaced Listermann as concertmaster and Charles Loeffler replaced Louis Maas. (Ibid, p. 72)

Mathews, p. 293. Also have print with certificate saying published by Theodore Presser in 1900.

Adamowski, Timothie.[Timotheus] (March 24, 1858-?) (Bio-Bib, p. 2) “The artistic violinist of the Boston orchestra is widely known for his beautiful solo playing in various concert organizations, in which he has been a star. His technique is fluent and masterly, and his tone highly musical. His repertoire is very large. Biographical particulars concerning him have not been received. “Mathews, p. 292) Studied at the Warsaw Conservatory and in Paris. Came to America in 1879 “as a violin-virtuoso. He toured with Clara Louise Kellogg, Emma Thursby and Max Strakosch, and finally with his own company. Lang was part of Adamowski”s first Boston concert playing the Sonata for Violin and Piano by Grieg and probably acting as accompanist for the vocal solos by George L. Osgood. Dwight described Adamowski as one “who is fast becoming an established favorite here as a teacher and as virtuoso.” (Dwight, March 26, 1881, p. 53) In 1884-1908 he was a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, resigning to become teacher of the advanced violin-classes at the New England Conservatory. In 1890-94 he conducted popular concerts in the summer.” (Grove”s Am. Sup, 1925, p. 109) Lang played piano at the first concert that the Adamowski Quartet presented in Boston. The work was the Brahms Trio in C Minor Opus 101 and it was given on Monday evening November 26, 1888 at Chickering Hall. (BPL Prog., Vol. 5)

Adams, G. Arthur. In 1869, a “young” piano pupil of Lang”s who shared a concert with Mr. Sumner at Chickering Hall on Thursday afternoon, September 30, 1869. Dwight marveled that “We know not what we are coming to: so many young men and women spring up among us, who in a quiet way have in some sense mastered the highest tasks in classical pianoforte music. Here is a still, pale Massachusetts boy, the first we ever knew of whom was hearing him on this occasion actually play with certainty and good aplomb the greatest Concertos, the “Emperor” of Beethoven.” (Dwight, October 9, 1869) This certainly spoke well of Lang”s teaching ability! Adams was also the soloist in the Schumann Piano Concerto at the first of “Mr. B. J. Lang”s Second Series of Symphony Concerts” on April 11, 1872 at Mechanic”s Hall, Bedford Street. He was also one of the three soloists in Bach”s Concerto in C Major for three Pianofortes given at the fourth concert of the series on May 2, 1872. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 1)

Arlington Club. Conducted by William J. Winch. In July 1881 its President was John D. Long. (Musical Herald, July 1881, p. 162)

Apthorp, Robert E. Member of the HMA committee formed on January 31, 1851 to build a new music hall. The other members were: Charles C. Perkins, J. B. Upham, George Derby and J. S. Dwight. Their report was finished within a month [!], at the February 22, 1851 their “report was made and accepted.” Together with a building plan, an operational plan was also presented which included:

Sources of income:

Concerts &c 100 nights at $50.

Day occupation 50 @ $40

Religious Society (meeting on Sunday nights, led by Rev, Theodore Parker) $1,500

Mercantile Libr. Lectures $500″ (HMA Bulletin No. 6, pp. 3 and 4)

Mrs. Robert E. Apthorp, together with Mrs. Julia Ward Howe organized the “Saturday Morning Club” in 1871, a group, originally of younger women, who met for discussions, had a cooking group, and performed dramatics. Their list of lecturers was quite broad, and among noted musicians included William Foster Apthorp, John Sullivan Dwight, Arthur Foote, Philip Hale, Col. Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Dr. Samuel Langmaid, John Knowles Paine, and Thomas Whitney Surette from a list of hundreds who spoke between 1871 and 1931. (SATURDAY MORNING CLUB, pp. 91-96) In the 1888 “Clark”s Boston Blue Book” Mr. and Mrs. R. E. Apthorp are listed at 158 Mt. Vernon St. (and Mr. and Mrs. W. F. Apthorp at 14 Otis Place) Robert E. Apthorp died on Friday, February 10, 1882. (Methuen Memorial Music Hall website, 11/26/10, p. 3)


Apthorp, William Foster. Home at 2 Otis Place, Boston c. 1857, and still in 1880 (Dwight”s Journal ads). In the 1888 “Clark”s Boston Blue Book” the address is 14 Otis Place. The entry for Apthorp in Theodore Baker”s “A BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF MUSICIANS, SECOND EDITION OF 1905” lists his birth date as Oct. 24, 1848. He was the “son of Robert Apthorp and Eliza Hunt. Since before the American Revolution, Apthorp”s ancestors had participated in the mercantile and intellectual life of Boston.” (Saloman, Am. Nat. Biog., Vol. 13, p. 567) He graduated from Harvard in 1869 having taken musical classes with J. K. Paine. He then took piano from B. J. Lang for 7 or 8 years longer. “Coming from an old Boston family whose efforts in the cause of art have always been most intimately linked with its progress in the city, he has won a career not less worthy than any of his line.” (Elson, Supplement, p. 3) Apthorp”s musical tastes were influeneced in part by Dwight”s “Journal” which began when Apthorp was four years old. “Since it is such a significant chronicle of the music scene in America, it would naturally reflect musical tastes of society, especially in Boston, during Apthorp”s formative years. These tastes and convictions would become a permanent ingredient of Apthorp”s personality and musical sense which, in turn, would be reflected in his own criticisms and commentaries.” (Brian, p. 39) He taught “piano and theory at the National College of Music from 1872 to 1873, then taught piano, theory, counterpoint and fugue at the New England Conservatory from 1873 to 1886. He also held classes in aesthetics and the history of music in the College of Music of Boston University until 1886” (Saloman, op. cit.) He wrote musical criticism being with the Atlantic Monthly from 1872-7. “His most remarkable work, however, was for the Boston Evening Transcript, from 1881-1903.” (Nelson, p. vi) He added the job of drama critic a year later. The Boston Evening Transcript was first published on July 24, 1830, and by the 1880s it had assumed the place of “the tea-table paper of Boston, its principal function consisting in presenting the news of the day in a manner specially acceptable in the quiet and refined homes of Boston.” (Nelson, p. 99 quoting the Boston Daily Advertiser) “Apthorp was praised for his open-mindedness, perception, and common sense, and he successfully balanced progressive and conservative viewpoints in his criticisms. He championed new music and American music. Ever mindful that the public was his true audience, his lucid, instructive writing style appealed to everyone.” (Nelson, p. vi) In all he “served as music critic for twenty-two years, from 1881 to 1903.” (Nelson, p. 99) From 1892 he edited the program books for the BSO. (p. 19) also pen and ink drawing. He died in 1913. (Foote-Auto., p. 139)

Rogers, STORY OF TWO LIVES, facing p. 190

  • Born October 24, 1848 in Boston
  • 1856-60-attended schools in Dresden, Berlin and Rome.
  • 1863 began study piano, harmony and counterpoint with Paine and piano study was continued with Lang.
  • 1869 graduated from Harvard-last year was conductor of the Pierian Sodality.
  • 1872-73 taught piano and harmony at the National College of Music.
  • For 13 years taught piano and various branches of theory at New England Conservatory.
  • 1872 began as music editor for “The Atlantic Monthly.”
  • 1876 became music critic for the “Sunday Courier.”
  • 1878 was both musical and dramatic critic for the “Traveler.”
  • 1881 music critic for the “Evening Transcript.” Also did dramatic criticism. Held both jobs until retired in 1903 and moved to Switzerland.
  • 1892-1901 edited program books for the BSO.
  • Died February 19, 1913 in Vevey, Switzerland. (American Music edited by Pratt, pp. 112 and 113)

The entry for Apthorp in Howe”s A HUNDRED YEARS OF MUSIC IN AMERICA of 1889 states that age 12 he was taken to Europe where he studied during the next four years at schools in Dresden, Berlin, and Rome. During these years he also studied art with the intention of becoming a painter. He returned to Boston in 1860, and after preparing for, entered Harvard, graduating in 1869. He had given up art on his return to American, and began piano studies with John K. Paine in 1863 and continued for four years. He then studied with B. J. Lang for six or eight years more. He taught theoretical subjects at the New England Conservatory beginning in 1874 and continuing until 1886.” The entry in DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY gives his age as 8 (the year 1856) when his parents took him to Europe “for the purpose of giving him the best opportunity for studying languages and art, feeling that his latent talents lay in the latter field. In France he attended a day school” with further time in Dresden, Berlin. And Rome. “He studied art also in Florence and was a fellow student of John Singer Sargent. Returning to Boston in 1860, he fitted for college at the school of E. S. Dixwell and was graduated from Harvard in 1869. In his senior year he was conductor of the Pierian Sodality. Soon after his return from Europe, he became increasingly interested in music and in 1863 he gave up painting and studied piano, harmony, and counterpoint with J. K. Paine until 1867, when Paine went to Europe. He then studied piano with B. J. Lang for several years, but his theoretical work was self-directed. He was fully aware that the dream of his devoted parents-that he would become a great painter or a great pianist-would never be realized and he was quite content to take up teaching as a profession.” (DIC. AM. BIOG., p 335) His career as a music critic began in 1872 (aged 24) when he was hired to edit the newly established musical department of the Atlantic Monthly which he continued until December of 1877 when the department was discontinued. (See above for the next assignments) “For the last seven years or so (i.e. from 1881) he has been engaged upon Scribner”s ”Cyclopedia of Music and Musicians,” in the work of critical editor. During the last seven or eight years of the symphony concerts given in Boston by the Harvard Musical Association, he was a member of the concert and programme committees of that society.

Grant gives more about his family background. “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, p. 69)

“In his criticisms he preferred not to make pronouncements; rather, his aim was to set people thinking.” (Nelson, p. 10)

“Mr. Apthorp is one of the clearest and most satisfactory writers in music that this country has produced. The record above shows, by suggestion at least, how well his work in this capacity has been appreciated by the literary public, for each modification in his way of life has been of the essential nature of a promotion. As he is still comparatively a young man, much may be expected from him in the future.” (Howe, p. 371)

The entry for William Apthorp in the HISTORY OF AMERICAN MUSIC edited by Hubbard states that “William Foster Apthorp is one of the best known of American critics. He was for five years critic of the Atlantic Monthly [beginning in 1872]. In 1876 he became musical critic of the Boston Sunday Courier; in 1878 musical and dramatic editor of the Boston Traveler. And in 1881 he assumed the same position on the Boston Transcript, remaining there until 1903, when he went to live abroad. Mr. Apthorp was for a time the program editor for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He has also lectured at the leading American colleges. He is the author of several books, among which may be remembered the Life of Hector Berlioz, Musicians and Music Lovers, and numerous translations.”(Hubbard, p. 306). “His recent [c.1882] lectures on the history of music, in the Lowell Institute, were scholarly efforts, and were repeated in Baltimore, Brooklyn and other cities.” (Elson, Supplement, p. 3) “From 1892 to 1901 he wrote the program notes for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and was a lexicographer for Scribner”s Cyclopedia of Music and Musicians.” (Grant, p. 69) “Apthorp wrote the concert notes and the entr”acte column for the BSO Programme book from 14 October 1892 to 4 May 1901. (Brian, p. 161)

Early in November 1880 Dwight recorded: “Mr. Wm. F. Apthorp”s course of six lectures on the History of Music, from the days of St. Ambrose down to Wagner, will commence at the Lowell Institute next Monday evening. The topics of the several lectures are given in the advertisement in the daily papers. We fear we only tantalize too many of our readers, for we learn that about all the tickets were at once taken up. But the lectures might be repeated elsewhere.” (Dwight, November 20, 1880, p. 192)

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, p. 206)

The NATIONAL CYCLOPEDIA article describes Apthorp in the following manner: “Mr. Apthorp”s intelligent appreciation of music and years of study under various masters and in different schools made him a singularly scholarly and vivacious oracle on musical matters. His articles were always interesting. He not only had the power to be serious, but could be witty and whimsical, and even fantastic, and he also had the faculty of fitting the mood to the occasion. He was a delightful master of the art of music criticism, refined but not fastidious, catholic and tolerant but discriminating…He died at la Tour-de-Peil, Vevey, near Geneva, Switzerland, Feb. 19, 1913.”(NAT. CYC., pp. 130-131)

Apthorp was an active member of the Harvard Musical Association. For their “special meeting and supper” on May 20, 1886 which was held to celebrate the opening of their new rooms at 11 Park Square, he and Dr. Langmaid and Mr. P. H. Powers sang to the accompaniment of Arthur Foote. (HMA Bulletin No. 11)

“House of W. F. Apthorp” published in the July 5, 1890 issue of the “American Architect and Building News.”
The water to the right of the house is the Charles River, looking west.

Ms. Apthorp


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, p. 280) However, before they bought the 14 Otis Place house, they lived with his parents at 2 Otis Place. The entry in the 1880 Census listed Robert E. Apthorp, aged 69, in Real estate; Elizabeth, aged 68, keeping house; William F., aged 32, pianist; and Octiva, aged 23, at home. The household was supported by three servants. (1880 Census Form) 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, pp. 71 and 72) The singer Clara Kathleen Rogers (Clara Doria) wrote: “The Apthorps” ”Sunday evenings,” though also informal, were different in kind. Music was only incidental, never prearranged nor indispensable. The evening reception was always preceded by a little dinner party, where the distinguished stranger of the occasiion was entertained…Wiliam F. Apthorp”s position as musical and dramatic critic on the ”Boston Evening Transcript” brought him, naturally, together with many interesting and notable people, who were glad to be entertained in so free and easy a way by a genial host and hostess, under whose roof they were also brought into contact with many of the best and most agreeable people that Boston society could offer.” (Rogers, TWO LIVES, p. 189) 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 forbotten.” (Tara, Foote, p. 70) “A connoisseur of culinary delights, he was known to don apron and bonnet de chef and whip up some gourmet cuisine.” (Nelson, p. 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, p. 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, p. 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, p. 3)

In February 1876 Hans von Bulow wrote to his former wife, who was then Cosima Wagner, asking her to use her influence with “the New York Tribune” to hire as their American correspondent at Bayreuth, William Apthorp.” He described him as a “serious-minded and excellent young man (a former pupil of Mr. B. J. Lang), of Boston, who speaks (and writes) French, German, and American equally well and is far superior to the Englishman being considered” whom von Bulow described as “a semi-musician, three parts ignorant, who writes English badly.” (Eckart, p.276) Probably Apthorp first became acquainted with von Bulow through Lang.

The “Harvard Musical Review” of March 1913 printed the following: “William Foster Apthorp, ”69. Born at Boston, MA, Oct. 24, 1848 and died at La Tour de Peilz, near Vevey, Switzerland, Feb. 19, 1913. The death of William Foster Apthorp cannot fail to call forth the regret and sympathy of all Harvard men who care for high standards in Music. From his college days he was keenly interested in everything that concerned the progress of music in America. Of an old Boston family, growing up in an atmosphere of cultivation, he eagerly supplemented his naturally keen tastes by long and serious study in Europe. The distinguishing traits of his personality were his remarkable receptivity to the new and the good of all schools, his truly Latin warmth of appreciation, and the breadth of his perceptions in every line of artistic endeavor. His musical criticism was enriched by his through knowledge of painting, literature and the drama at an epoch when most critics were content to write in the critical idiom of their own craft alone. Belonging to a profession in which the ability to enjoy is too often gradually submerged by a growing passion for destructive analysis, he retained his primitive enthusiasms to a remarkable degree, and was able to infuse them spontaneously into his articles. For this reason his criticisms were inspiring, a source of encouragement to performers because of their wholesome recognition of the good, a force making for optimision in the listener because of their faith in the upward tendencies in musical art. His generous appreciation of Berlioz and Wagner (to name two notable instances) at a time when their position was debatable, was characteristic of his interpretation of the critic”s function. His services as an editor were marked by receptivity and efficient breadth. His translations of Berlioz”s writings, his essays ”Musicians and Music Lovers,” ”By the Way-About Music and Musicians,” collected from the program books of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which he edited for nine years, and more especially his brilliant sketch of dramatic developments, ”Opera, Past and Present,” will remain as classics in the literature of American writings on music. In the annals of achievements by Harvard men in the field of music his name will stand out conspicuously for his breadth of cultivation, genial personality, and his indomitable enthusiasm for musical art.” (Harvard Musical Review, p. 1)

“He was undoubtedly one of the greatest critics America has produced. His work was strikingly individual and independent, and always constructive. His intimate acquaintance with the languages and his deep knowledge of literature and philosophy contributed largely to his success as a writer. He was an incessant worker and ceased his labors only because of failing eyesight. He bore this affliction. However, with the greatest fortitude and never lost his contagious humor. Notwithstanding a certain pride of family and position, he was very democratic, though his exceeding diffidence was often misunderstood by those who did not know his natural shyness. 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, p. 69) “Their spacious arartment, situated high in a hotel of that resort town, overlooked Lake Geneva and the Swiss Alps. It was their intenion to return to Boston some day, 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 burried there.” (Nelson, pp. 281 and 282) In 1911 the Apthorps did return to America. The Journal ran the headline, “APTHORPS TO BE WARMLY WELCOMED-Coming to Nahant Later in Season for First Time in Years.” This was to be “their first appearance here in many seasons since taking up residence in Europe.” (Journal, July 14, 1911, p. 6, GenBank) In the same Society Section written by Dolly Adams, it was mentioned: “Mrs. Oscar Iasigi has arrived at her estate in Stockbridge, ”Clovercliffe,” with her daughter Miss Nora Iasigi, after a trip to Europe, wher Miss Iasigi was presented at court in London” (Ibid)


Dwight recorded: “The readers of the Evening Transcript are to be congratulated on the fact them Mr. William F. Apthorp has undertaken the duties of musical critic in that bright and independent, no longer ”little” paper, succeeding Mr. Clement, who assumes the chair of editor-in-chief. Mr. F. H. Jenks looks after the theatres, etc.” (Dwight, June 18, 1881, p. 1000) “Mr. William F. Apthorp is one of the few young men of active mind and liberal culture who, after graduating at Harvard University, has devoted himself to music as a profession. As a teacher, especially of harmony and composition, and as a critic, he has for some years ranked among the best we have. (Dwight, February 12, 1881, p. 27) Dwight felt that Apthorp”s lectures on the history of music given for the Lowell Institute (and illustrated by a small choir) where worthy of being published. The series of six, first published in The Boston Traveler were offered by Dwight “after a careful revision by the author,” and Dwight felt that it would take at least a dozen numbers of his Journal to present them in full. (Dwight, February 12, 1881, p. 27)

In 1878 The Boston Evening Transcript was described as being “an independent Republican newspaper,” which had been begun in 1830, making it the oldest evening paper in New England. “The present quarters are in a large and handsome building, at the corner of Washington and Milk Streets, erected to replace the office burned by the Great Fire of 1872. It is one of the most commodious and elegant in the city. The Transcript occupies a field practically without a rival. It is the largest daily in New England, is of quarto form, handsomely printed on good paper…It is pre-eminently a family paper, and its circulation is chiefly among the wealthy and intelligent people of Boston and its suburbs. (King, pp. 147 and 148) The terms “quiet and dignified” were used to describes the paper”s comtent and presentation.

During 1886-87 Apthorp delivered a course of six lectures “at the Lowell Institute…repeating four at Hawthorn Rooms.” (MYB 1886-87, p. 50)

An example of Apthorp”s character is found in his letter to Otto Dressel”s widow:

Autograph letter: Collection of J. W. Johnston.

In addition to W. F. Apthorp, the listing for the last monthly social meeting of the Harvard Musical Association on June 7, 1878 also included R. E. Apthorp and H.[Harrison] O.[Otis] Apthorp.

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 remeined in his seat.” (Internet archive source: The New York Times, December 12, 1900) As late as 1919 the law was still on the books, and thus each BSO program book had the following notice printed on the Programme Page: “City of Boston, revised Regulation of August 5, 1898, – Chapter 3, relating to the covering of the head in places of public amusement. Every licensee shall not, in his place of amusement, allow any person to wear upon the head a covering which obstructs the view of the exhibition or performance in such place of any person seated in any seat therein provided for spectators, it being understood that a low head covering without projection, which does not obstruct such view, may be worn. Attest: J. M. Galvin, City Clerk.” (BSO Program for May 2/3, 1919, p. 1293) A further notice was added by the BSO management: “The ladies of the audience are earnestly requested not to put on hats before the end of the number.” (Ibid)

Arlington Club. Male voice choir first conducted by Mr. W. J. Winch and then by George Whitefield Chadwick had given “a series of concerts during each of the past five years.” (Boston Musical Year Book, Vol. 1 1883-84, p. 57) In the 1884-85 edition of the Boston Musical Year Book, it was reported that “the Arlington Club did not reorganize.” (BMYB 1884-85, p. 56)

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Elson, “Musical Boston,” Supplement to “Music and Drama,” June 3, 1882. HMA Collection.

Baermann, Carl. From a long line of musicians; his grandfather, “was one of the most brilliant clarinettists of the world, and was a close friend of Weber and Mendelssohn, both of whom wrote compositions for him.” “Elson, Hist. Am. Mus., p. 287) He 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, p. 245) Born in Bavaria in 1839, he was part of a family that had musical talent passed on for many generations. He began at the Munich Conservatory in 1850, “and in 1857 spent some time with Liszt. A quiet life of teaching followed, and in 1864 he married…In 1867 the Royal School of Music was formed in Munich, and he became one of the teachers of the higher grades of piano playing.” (Elson, Musical Boston, p. 5) Later Elson wrote that Baermann “was one of the pupils of Liszt, not merely in name, but in fact, for he possesses the most laudatory letters from that master, and was literally one of his favorites…In 1881, Professor Baermann received a furlough of two years [from the Royal Music School of Munich] in order that he might visit America. The visit resulted in a permanent residence in this country” (Elson, Hist. Am. Mus., p. 288) In 1882 he had just made an appearance with the Philharmonic Society in Beethoven”s Fourth Piano Concerto which produced the comment that he was “one of the best pianists it [Boston] had recently heard,” and that the concert had been “one of the most notable moments of the last season.” (Elson, Musical Boston, p. 5) From 1881 “and for almost twenty-five years this teacher and pianist has been a leader in classical piano music in the United States. His pupils represent almost every state in the republic, and many of them have become famous in their own right.” (Elson, Hist., p. 288)



Baptist Church of Boston, First. Rollin Heber Neale, D. D. was the minister from 1837 until 1877. His tenure began at the Third Meeting House (1829-1854). He was described as “an earnest and often eloquent preacher. He had a genius for friendships.” (Wood, p. 332) Five years after he was installed he arranged for a series of revival meetings early in 1842 led by the Rev. Jacob Knapp, “one of the most notable evangelists whom this century has produced.” (Ibid) “The whole city was greatly stirred,” (Ibid) and soon over three hundred new members joined the church. But very quickly the spirit died, and Rev. Neale, during the following ten years was not able to stop the decline. The neighborhood also changed from residential to more a business area, and so the church decided to build a new sanctuary on Somerset Street, its fourth meeting house.


This new building was dedicated on January 11, 1855, and was large enough to seat “one thousand persons.” (Wood, p. 334) The interior was in the Gothic Style, and it had a tall steeple, “which, standing on the summit of Beacon Hill, was one of the landmarks of the city. It was visible for many miles. (Ibid, p. 335) “Its steeple became a landmark, a skyline neighbor to the State House dome, both of them clearly visible from the harbor. The peculiar lines of that steeple led to the humorous nickname, the ”church of the holy asparagus.”…The 1850s were shot through with the fierce national debate over slavery. In 1845 the Southern Baptists, because of the slavery issue, had drawn off and organized separately” (Brush, p. 39) Unfortuneately this new location did not help the church grow. “Families were moving away, and new baptist churches were springing up in other sections of the city.” (Wood, p. 335) Through all of this Neale presided in what was to become a pastorate of forty years. It was at this point, early in the 1850s, that B. J. Lang became connected with this church. In 1877 the congregation merged with the Shawmet Avenue Church (corner of Shawmut Avenue and Rutland Street) [originally organized in 1856 as the Thirteenth Baptist Chuirch)], and “The old meeting-house was afterwards remodeled and used as the home of Boston University. The chapel of the University still [1899] retains the former ceiling, windows, and pulpit furniture oif the room in which Dr. Neale preached from 1855 to 1877.” (Ibid, 338) The church still [1899] possed a painted portrait of Dr. Neale which was done soon after he began at the church in 1837. “He received one thousand two hundred and forty-one members into the church.” (Ibid, p. 340)

Beethoven Hall. New in 1874, it was formally opened on Oct. 6, and it was to “supply the want which has been felt ever since the days of the Melodeon, of a music hall of moderate size, somewhere between a room for chamber music and the great Boston Music Hall.” It was located nearly opposite the Globe Theatre in Washington Street, and it was entered from Gibbons Place. The total seating was 1526 with 885 on the floor and 641 in the balconies. These balconies were descibed as “very wide and rather low” which made one observer wonder what the sound was like in those seats. “The stage, which is partly in an arched recess, has a front of forty feet, and is twenty feet deep…Th seats are of the same comfortable style as those in use in Tremont Temple.” (Dwight, October 17, 1874, p. 319) The Handel and Haydn Society rehearsed here, “but they had n”t got the hang of the school-house” as they referred to it. (Perkins/Dwight, p. 352) It was a concert hall for only four years as it was renovated and re-opened as the Park Theatre in 1879. “The building survived until 1990, when it was razed.” (Wikipedia, May 26, 2014)

Bendix, Max (b. Detroit, 1866 and d.) “Having appeared in public as violinist at eight, before twenty gained orchestral experience under conductors like Thomas, Van der Stucken and Seidl. His training as soloist was chiefly with Jacobsohn [Berlin]. In 1886 he was concertmaster at the Metropolitan Opera House and also concertmaster and assistant-conductor of the Thomas Orchestra, remaining with the latter ten years, during which he was assistant and successor to Thomas at the Columbian Exposition at Chicago in 1893. Concertizing alone or with the Bendix Quartet occupied the years 1897-1903. He conducted the orchestra at the World”s Fair at St. Louis in 1904. The next season he was concertmaster for the Wagnerian performances at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York… in 1915 he was conductor of the Exposition Orchestra at the Panama-Pacific Exposition at San Francisco. Since then he has devoted himself to teaching in New York.” (Pratt, p. 129)

Upton, MUSICAL MEMORIES, facing p. 54.

Bergmann, Carl. Conductor who was removed as conductor for the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 thus giving B. J. his chance to conduct this von Bulow world premier performance. “The story of Bergmann”s American career begins with the Germania Musical Society of Berlin. This was an orchestra of twenty-five young Germans who came together in 1848 with the conviction that democracy was ”the most complete principle of human society” and with the motto ”One for all, and all for one.” The private orchestras they had manned, and the nobility that owned and enjoyed them, were jeopardized by political turmoil. The Germanians” constitution stipulated self-government, ”equal rights, equal duties, equal rewards.” Naturally, they resolved to set sail for America. In England, where they stopped first, they proved their mettle. They were urged to stay in London, but were set on reaching the New World. In New York, they established new standards. They toured extensively.” (Horowitz, Wagner, p. 39) After their first conductor decided to stay in Baltimore, Bergmann took over. “Eventually, the Germanians gave over nine hundred concerts in the United States. “(Ibid) William Apthorp writing in 1896 remembered hearing the group in the early 1860s. “I can still remember the Germania concerts under Carl Bergmann”s regime, just before he went to New York and was succeeded by Mr. Zerrahn… At one of the afternoon public rehearsals, -for there were afternoon public rehearsals then, as now, -all the seats on the floor of the Music Hall had been taken up [i.e., removed], and the small audience occupied the galleries. There used to be no printed programs at these rehearsals, but Bergmann would announce the several numbers viva voce – and often in the most remarkable English. One of the numbers on the occasion I speak of was the Railroad Galop (composer unknown), during the playing of which a little steam-engine kept scooting about (by clock-work?) on the floor of the hall, with black cotton-wool smoke coming out of its funnel. I have a vague recollection, too, of another rehearsal, at which something nefarious had happened to the heating apparatus, so that the temperature was somewhere in the forties. Dresel played a concerto with his overcoat on, the sleeves partly rolled up and the bright red satin lining flashing in the faces of the audience. Brignoli sang something too, in a black cape that made him look like Don Ottavio?and persisted in singing with his back to the audience. (Apthorp, “Entr”acte,” March 7 and 8 1896 BSO Program Book, p. 593) When the orchestra disbanded in 1854, Bergmann decided to stay in New York. “There he scored the pivotal success of his career on April 21, 1855. Theodore Eisfeld had fallen ill, and Bergmann was enlisted to replace him for a Philharmonic concert at Niblo”s Garden. His rendition of the Tannhauser Overture took musical New York by storm… The Philharmonic”s directors responded by engaging Bergmann to lead all the orchestra”s concerts in 1855-56, commencing a twenty-year relationship…It was Wagner that Bergmann could not program often enough… On April 4, 1859, Bergmann conducted the whole of Tannhauser?the first American staging of a Wagner opera… By 1873, however, his laziness and lager consumption were topics of loud complaint. His mood dipped, his health decayed, his drinking increased. Only the orchestra”s affection for him prolonged his tenure. On March 17, 1876, he could not rehearse. His resignation was requested six days later. Then his wife died. According to the New York Tribune”s obituary of August 14, 1876: ”From that time he rapidly declined in health and spirits, living a solitary and retired life, and shunning the company of his former associates. About a week ago he was obliged to seek refuge at the German Hospital, where he died on Thursday night at 11 o”clock.””(Horowitz, Wagner, p. 43) In America Bergmann had done much to introduce Wagner. As early as 1853 he had presented in Boston excerpts from Lohengrin, which was just three years after Liszt, had conducted the world premier in Weimar. “His 1866 performance of the Tristan Prelude, with the Philharmonic followed by exactly nine months the Tristan premier in Munich,” but in this instance he was only second as Thomas had “already conducted the same work with his orchestra a month before.” (Horowitz, Wagner, pp. 45 and 46) “By the time that Bergmann dies, Theodore Thomas had eclipsed him as an influential proponent of the Music of the Future. Thomas”s Wagner advocacy would peak after 1880. Meanwhile, another advocates helped sustain Wagner”s lively and controversial presence in American musical affairs. The leading Wagner conductor to visit the United States in these years was Hans von Bulow, who had led the premiers of Tristan and Die Meistersinger.” (Ibid, p. 47)

Boston. In 1878 the population of the city of Boston was 375,000, but “Within twelve miles of the City Hall there is a population of about 625,000.” (King, p. 20)

Boston Daily Advertiser– see Newspapers.

The Boston Choral Union. Dwight wrote of a “new oratorio society, the Boston Choral Union, under the direction of Mr. J. C. D. Parker, has plans, we hear, of more enlarged activity.” (Dwight, August 28, 1869, p. 95) On the same page Dwight made mention of the New St. Cecilia Club that he hoped would grow “to rival the excellence of its prototype, the Caecilen-Verein of Frankfort on the Main!” (Ibid) The Boston Choral Union, Mr. Eugene Thayer, conductor, gave a concert at Wait”s Hall, Jan. 31st. [1872]. (Dexter Smith”s, March 1872, p. 53)

Boston Conservatory of Music. “The name of a new music school on a large scale, which went into operation last Monday, after short notice, in the new white marble building upon Tremont Street, partly occupied by Messrs. Mason and Hamlin. Its founder and director is Mr. Julius Eichberg, which is in itself a good guaranty of thorough, scientific teaching and artistic tone and influence… Scarcely was the above announced, when by a sudden coup d” etat a ”New England Conservatory” dropped down from the clouds, captured the Music Hall, flooded Boston with grandiloquent Circulars, created ”Professors” by the score, and, gathering up pupils fast, is ready to open next Monday. It is under the direction of Mr. Eben Tourjee from Providence, and Mr. Robert Goldbeck from New York. Perhaps the more the merrier. But we must pause, observe and think.” (Dwight, February 16, 1867, p. 399) An ad in 1872 noted the address as 154 Tremont Street (Opposite the Common), and that “The rates of instruction are extremely low and as there are but Four Pupils in a Class the most surprising results are attained.” (Dexter Smith”s magazine, February 1872, p. 46) In May 1872 it was reported, “The Boston Conservatory has instructed, since its inauguration in 1862, more than four thousand pupils.” (Folio, May 1872)

Boston Evening Transcript– see Newspapers.

Boston Globe– see Newspapers.

Boston Journal– see Newspapers.

Boston Museum. Opened in 1841, in July 1842 it advertised in the Boston Transcript that “its picture gallery as the coolest room in the city” was the place to be as the temperature that day was 92 degrees.” (Chamberlin, p. 72) “Mr. Julius Eichberg manages the orchestra at the Boston Museum with artistic skill. He loses no time in ”tuning up,” but plays steadily and faithfully from the going down of the curtain until the rising thereof. This selection of operatic and patriotic pieces, as also of polkas and waltzes are in the best taste, and his medleys are often received with marked applause. His own solos are worth the price of admission, when he chooses to introduce them, but the modesty of the man is not less noteworthy than his extraordinary power and finish of execution upon his favorite violin.” (BMT, December 6, 1862, p. 147) “At the Boston Museum, attractive comedies are nightly offered-Early in January, John Wilkes Booth commences an engagement.” (BMT, January 3, 1863, p. 164) However by 1865 the size of the orchestra had been reduced: “The Museum band has always been too small, but it has this season suffered a reduction. So far as we can learn, the cause of this reduction is, that the musicians, who were last year paid fourteen dollars a week, now ask seventeen and a half, – the regular ”Union” price; – and the manager decides to save the addition to the salaries he must pay by discharging several players. With eight instruments, one first violin only, and that the leader”s, and no violincello or horns, – it is impossible to present such music as the patrons of a theatre which claims to stand in the first rank have a right to demand, and it is absurd to try. Mr. Eichberg deserves the warmest sympathy in the exceedingly laborious and unpleasant predicament in which he has been placed by this unaccountably penurious freak of a manager.” (BMT, October 7, 1865, p. 143) This situation probably led to Eichberg”s move to New York the next year.

Clark”s Boston Blue Book, 1888, p. 314. Seating Capacity, 2,397.

Clark”s Boston Blue Book, 1888, p. 315.

Boston Music Hall. 2,397 seats. Now (2007) called the Orpheum Theatre. “This huge building, 130 feet by 78 feet by 65 feet high, sat in the center of a block that sloped downward from Tremont to Washington Street and was between Winter Street on the south and Bromfield on the North. From alleys off Bromfield, the sharp slope of the hill made the hall”s massive block granite foundation appear to be holding up some great medieval fortress, with only the moat missing. Within the hall, two tiers of galleries on each side held three rows each, and two more on the north end were more commodious. An orchestra and organ platform was at the southern extremity facing a flat main floor… Blue and white moreen upholstered chairs, with white ivory numbered tabs at their tops, held an audience of about 2,500 patrons. The Boston Music Hall had three spacious entrances: Bumstead Place and Hamilton Place were off Tremont Street, while Central or Winter Place (later Music Hall Place) was off Winter Street. Wide connecting corridors ran around the auditorium. All lighting came from above; gaslights were installed at ceiling height on windowed cornices, affording indirect illumination” (King, p. 43) “Opened in [November] 1852, the theatre has hosted everything from vaudeville to symphony to movies and is now a rock concert venue. The original entrance was on Washington Street (just down the street from the old Paramount and RKO Keiths/Opera House), in the heart of Boston”s downtown shopping district, but that entrance was turned into a retail store and patrons now must walk down a back alley to get in… Originally it had 3 entrances, the one mentioned on Washington Street, the current one from the alley called (I think) Hamilton Place, and one off Winter Street via the alley called ”Music Hall Place.” The theatre was first a music hall, then had a mezzanine and balconies added by architect Clarence Blakhall… the area at the Music hall Place entrance is now part of the food court for a conglomeration of retail stores called ”The Corner” which replaced Gilchrist”s department store in the 80s.” (Entry for Orpheum Theatre”). “The Boston Music Hall was built in 1852, after a donation of $100,000 was made by the Harvard Musical Association towards its construction. Ten years later, the members of the Association raised an additional $60,000 to install in the hall an organ built in Germany by Walker. It was regarded as the largest organ in the United States, containing 5,474 pipes and 84 registers… The organ is now in the Methuen Memorial Music Hall, in Methuen, Massachusetts.” (Boston Music Hall” entry in This entry has a picture of the room that shows two balconies in the same configuration as Symphony Hall, Boston. Nutter adds that the $100,000 “was raised in the astonishing period of sixty days. The committee [from the Harvard Musical Association] chose the architect, supervised his plans (the plot was of irregular and curious shape, presenting him with problems), attended to every detail. The building rose quickly, watched by an interested and excited populace. When finally erected it could hold over 2,000 persons.” (Nutter, p. 11) A prosperous coach-maker, John Bumstead, owned the plot. “His house was surrounded by a spacious flower garden and his court would permit a vehicular lane to Bromfield Street and one to Winter Street which could be used as exits for the carriages bringing the gentry to the hall.” (Nutter, pp. 10 and 11) The address was called Bumstead Place, and then later Hamilton Place. John Dwight is credited with most of the work on this project. (Nutter, p. 100)

Boston Music School. This school began the fall 1865 term “under the most favorable auspices.” Located in the Fraternity Hall at 524 Washington Street, “the course of instruction pursued at this institution is very through, and as a consequence its graduates are accomplished, theoretical musicians… The price of tuition per term is $36, and this secures an extent and quality of instruction which is not to be obtained elsewhere. The instructors for the new term will be Messrs. B. F. Baker, J. W. Adams, William Shultze, John W. Tufts, George H. Howard, and Wulf Fries, every one of whom is a musical professor.” (BMT, October 7, 1865, p. 145) Both the New England and Boston Conservatories were to open in February 1867.

Boston Musical Times. Feb. 23, 1860-August 1871. “The first and second volumes were issued fortnightly, then it became a monthly review of music, art, and literature… It contained articles, bulletins of publications, correspondence, some original compositions and advertising.” (Ayars, p. 80)

Boston Oratorio Society. Gave Gounod”s Redemption in 1883 with pianoforte and organ accompaniment. (Boston Musical Year Book, Vol. 1 1883-84, p. 57)

Boston Orchestras. GERMANIA.

PHILHARMONIC. “I am under the impression that they were mainly, if not wholly, a private enterprise of Mr. Zerrahn”s. They were subscription concerts, given in the evening, with (I think) a preliminary public rehearsal in the afternoon. They were given in the Music Hall, for the most part, though at times in the Boston Theatre, and were for years the principal orchestral concerts in the city. The orchestra was somewhat larger than of the Orchestral Union. The concerts foundered during the hardest years of the war, a little later the Wednesday afternoon concerts of the Orchestral Union had struck colours; when they stopped, I think the Orchestral Union plucked up courage again, and continued giving concerts until the H. M. A. began.” (Swan-Apthorp, p. 77) ORCHESTRAL UNION (1860s) “The orchestra of the Orchestral Union… had been miserably small. I doubt if any of my generation, certainly of those whose experience did not extend to New York or the other side of the Atlantic, had ever heard a well-balanced orchestra. Our notions of orchestral effect were derived from what we heard. I remember distinctly how impossible it was for me, at the time I speak of [1860-70], to understand what older musicians meant by calling the strings the ”main power” in an orchestra. In all orchestras I had heard, the wood-wind-let alone the brass and percussion-was more powerful dynamically than the often ridiculously small mass of strings; especially as the then wind-players seldom cultivated the art of playing piano.”(Swan-Apthorp, p. 76). “What a time of it that old Orchestral Union had! Their concerts came on Wednesday afternoons, and were well attended at first… But, with the war, the audiences began to drop off, as times grew harder. The orchestra was an exceedingly variable quantity: there were only two horns, and a second bassoon was not to be thought of. The second bassoon-part had to be played on a ”cello; and uninitiated visitors used sometimes to wonder what that solitary ”cello was doing in the midst of the wood-wind. Hamann, the first horn, had little technique, but a good tone, and was moreover an excellent musician; he had a fad of playing the easier Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven horn-parts on a real plain horn, which he had had made to order, and regarded with unconcealed affection. I think there were hardly ever more than six first violins: I certainly remember one performance of Beethoven”s A major symphony with only three first violins and two second. The solitary bassoonist was conspicuous by his singularity, not by his virtuosity.” (Swan-Apthorp, p. 73) Apthorp goes on to say that the special orchestra of almost 100 players that was arranged for the Handel and Haydn demi-centennial festival of 1865 changed this.

Seating Plan: Boston Theatre. From BOSTON MANUAL of 1888. Johnston Collection.

Boston Post– see Newspapers.

Boston Singers” Society– see Osgood.

Boston Theater. Used by Gottschalk in 1863. “The Dress-circle – that is, all of the first balcony behind the first two rows of seats – was cut up into open boxes, the partitions coming up no higher than the arms of the seats. But I could never discover that people ”took a box;” the seats were sold separately, just as if the partitions did not exist. The entrance to the top gallery was fifty cents, though it was afterwards raised to a dollar. The opera orchestras were pretty small, and not of the best quality; but, as the huge modern opera scores had not come in, the parts were generally well enough filled… there were generally four horns.” (Swan-Apthorp, p. 74) Located in Federal Street, it had been opened on June 30, 1846 “with great ceremony, and with public proceedings including a prize poem by Mrs. Frances S. Osgood.” (Chamberlin, p. 209) The new and second Boston Theatre opened on September 11, 1854… The auditorium was 90 feet in diameter, circular yet slightly flattening toward the stage. The distance from the main curtain to the rear of the parquette was 80 feet; ceiling height was 54 feet. A space of 10 to 12 feet on the edge of the parquette, nearly parallel with the front curve of the first tier, was separated from the main seating and slightly raised. The entire parquette floor was constructed in a dishing form varying several feet. First and second balconies rose in horseshoe shape and were topped by the gallery. Hanging in front and a little below the first or dress circle was a light balcony containing two rows of seats. Each tier had 11 boxes in its center, separate from the remainder of its circle. The gallery extended back over the corridors below, affording a greater number of seats… A large ”digital-like” clock was part of the upper proscenium arch… The stage area was below Mason Street level and was 67 feet in depth from main curtain… The theatre covered 26,149 square feet of land and enjoyed a seating capacity of 3,140 as late as 1901.” (King, p. 45)

Boylston Club. Organized in 1873 (Ritter, p. 393) “This society, composed exclusively of gentlemen, was organized in February, 1872. During the ensuing season several pleasant evening entertainments were given, but not until Feb. 21, 1873, that the first real concert occurred. The second season, which was opened with a public rehearsal at Parker Memorial Hall, Nov. 28, 1873, proved a prosperous one, and soon the Club took its place among the recognized and influential musical organizations of Boston. In 1875 Carlyle Petersilea became its pianist, a post which he still [c. 1883] retains. In 1876 it was voted to invite ladies to assist at the concerts, but the membership is still exclusively male. Eben Phinney was its first director, but was soon succeeded by J. B. Sharland. Mr. Sharland resigned his position in 1875, when George L. Osgood became director, a capacity in which he still (Jan., 1883) acts. Under his able leadership the Club not only continued to prosper but improved its high musical standard, so largely due to the efforts of Mr. Sharland. The performances of the Club are of the highest order.” (Jones, p. 17) “Boston has still another male chorus called the Boylston Club, which comprises excellent material. It is destined to occupy a high position.” (Dexter Smith, April 1873, p. 93) “Formed May 1873… rehearsed for a long time privately under Mr. J. B. Sharland… It took a fresh start when Mr. George L. Osgood took the helm… The choir then numbered about a hundred male voices… In 1877 the club mated itself with an equally large and select choir of female voices.” (Dwight, History of Boston, p. 453) Allen A Brown”s “Index” Vol. I lists repertoire from December 22, 1873 to May 18, 1881, but the first program preserved in this volume is for a “Public Rehearsal” held on Thursday May 29, 1873 with the Beethoven Quintette Club as assisting artists?they performed two movements from the Mendelssohn Quintette, Opus 87 and two movements from Rubinstein”s Quartette Opus 17, No. 3; the players were Messrs. Allen, Heindl, Mullaly, and Wulf Fries; no choral conductor is listed, and at the end of the repertoire list the only conductors mentioned were J.B. Sharland and Geo. L Osgood-B. J. Lang is not mentioned! Dwight referred to this group as the “younger rival” of the Apollo Club in his review of June 28, 1873. He attended their May 29th. concert “on one of the hottest evenings of the season… up endless flights of stairs in the spacious and elegant new Odd Fellows Hall, this company of some forty young, fresh voices, under the very efficient conductorship of Mr. Sharland, sang a selection of part-songs by composers most in vogue, with agreeable ensemble of tone, such unity and precision and such well studied light and shade as to give great pleasure to an appreciative audience.” However, he went on to advocate for mixed voices whose repertoire was vastly greater than that of men”s choirs. Like many other singing groups, variety in the program was provided by instrumental movements?in this case the Beethoven Quintette presented selections from a Quintet by Mendelssohn and an Quartet by Rubinstein.”(Dwight, June 28, 1873, p. 47) Dwight again referred to this group in his review of their December 22, 1873 concert given at the Music Hall as the “younger club” in relation to the Apollo Club. He felt that “In fresh, pure vocal ensemble the young club rivals the Apollo; but it is by no means so rich in solo singers, nor is the musical experience of its members as yet such that it may attempt the same high flights.” (Dwight, January 10, 1874, p. 159) The conductor for this concert was Mr. J. B. Sharland and the Beethoven Quintette Club again assisted this time with the Andante from the Quintette in A by Mendelssohn and the Allegretto, Minuet and Trio from Beethoven”s Eighth Symphony.

On January 15, 1875 the choir sang at the Music Hall again under Mr. Sharland, and Dwight felt that “The quality and balance of the voices, and the precision, style and finish of their execution was highly creditable to the singers and their instructor.” (Dwight, January 23, 1875, p. 375) This concert was the first where a conductors name was listed in the program. Jones lists his time as conductor as from the autumn of 1872 until April 1875. (Jones, p. 153) However, soon there was a change. Less than six months later “The Boylston Club sung this time under their new conductor, M. George L. Osgood, who had been with them only a few weeks, so that the results of his training could hardly yet be very marked. In the repetition of the Concert the improvement was decided. There is a fine body of fresh young voices, and they sing with spirit.” In addition to the choral numbers, five male soloists were used, and the accompanist, Mr. Petersilea contributed a solo. (Dwight, June 26, 1875, p. 47) The program for their May 31, 1875 concert is the first to list the members of the choir: there were 16 First Tenors, 17 Second Tenors, 16 First Basses, and 16 Second Basses. In October 1876 Dwight noted that Mr. George W. Sumner was taking over the post of accompanist from Mr. Petersilea, and that the Club “proposes to give five concerts this season, the first about the middle of November, and the repertoire has been enriched with several new and interesting works.” But, as this group was just beginning its rehearsals, the Apollo had already given its “first public rehearsal to its associate members last Tuesday night at Horticultural Hall.” (Dwight, October 14, 1876, p. 319) The Boylston Club concert of December 1876 caused Dwight to comment: “Never have the voices seemed so well balanced, the ensemble so finely blended, and the harmony so pure” of this group which now numbered “very near 100 voices.” But Dwight did note “there is a limit to the charm of mere men”s voices… and we are glad to learn that the Club is taking the initiative in affiliating with itself a chorus of mixed voices.” (Dwight December 23, 1876, p. 359) This change in direction was indicated when Mr. Osgood wrote to the Globe on February 28, 1877 saying that the choir would continue to be of male voices, but that “a disciplined auxiliary chorus of female voices, all fresh and pure” would be formed. “By uniting these two separately-trained choruses, there results a third and complete chorus of mixed voices, known as the Boylston Vocal Society, also having its own separate drill… Many of the programmers in future will consist of two, three, four to eight, and even twelve voiced part songs for both male, female and mixed chorus, glees, catches, madrigals, and occasionally a larger work… The Boylston Club, nevertheless, will continue its own rehearsals as before, and will also, at proper intervals, give concerts with the male voices alone.” (Dwight, March 17, 1877, p. 407) The Club”s concert the following February began with Mendelssohn”s music from Athalie with piano accompaniment by Mr. Petersilia, and “the effect of the choral mass was frequently enhanced by the judicious Organ accompaniment by Mr. G. W. Sumner.” The concert “was as brilliant a success as any vocal Club has ever had in Boston.” Dwight mentioned the “excellent performance of the same work [Athalie] by the Cecilia,” but noted that this performance included spoken portions, and the “reading was of a superior order.” (Dwight, March 2, 1878, p. 191) A year and one-half later the Boylston Club had nearly two hundred voices-this would seem to be the total of male and female voices, with much of the repertoire for the 1878-79 season being for mixed voices. However, the published intension was to still continue programming the “best” of male voice material: “The club has proved beyond a doubt that male part songs are heard at their best when they have the setting of female part-songs and mixed choral work.” (Dwight, December 7, 1878, p. 351) Elson wrote that “In 1875 he [Osgood] assumed the directorship of the Boylston Club, a promising choral organization then in its third year, and soon refined its singing, aroused its enthusiasm, and gave to Boston one of the most noteworthy clubs in its musical history. Under Mr. Osgood”s direction the perfection of its performances became known throughout America.” (Elson, Hist. Am. Mus., p. 252) Vol. 7 of the Musical Year Book reported: “The Boylston Club dissolved. The Boston Singers Society succeeded it.” (MYB 1889-90, p. 26)

The HMA has programs from sixteen seasons of this choir.

Boylston Hall?corner of Boylston and Washington Streets (Elson, National, p. 279)

Brattle Square Church. Used by Lang for two full orchestra concerts in 1881 where he wanted to reproduce “as 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.” It sat about 600.

Ryan, RECOLLECTIONS plate opposite p. 38.

Brown, Allen Augustus. Donated to the Boston Public Library “the largest musical library in the country, – a historical collection consisting not only of numerous scores and a tremendous amount of general musical literature, but also of arranged and classified data regarding musical performances, criticisms, notices, covering the last twenty years [c. 1880-1900]; in short, a unique collection such as must aid not only the general musician, but the musical historian, at every step.” (Elson, Hist. Am. Music, p. 91) Pratt”s entry included the facts that Brown was a businessman, and that the collection began with 7,000 volumes, but then grew by 1910 to 11,00 items, and later [1920] to 15,000 items. “It is rich in many different directions-in scores of every sort, instrumental and vocal, in standard critical editions of the complete works of great composers, in historical, theoretical and critical works about music, in unique collections of programs, etc.” (Pratt, p. 145) The current (2007) entry on the Boston Public Library Website adds that the first gift was made in 1895, and that the original gift of 6,990 volumes “had nearly tripled in size by his death in 1916. The collection continues to grow through purchases from trust funds, including the Allen A. Brown Fund, and now contains more than 40,000 books, scores, and manuscripts… By the terms of the gift, the original collection is housed in a specially designated area, and the books and other materials included in it are restricted to use in the Music Reading Room.” (BPL Website, March 2007) Barbara Duncan, BPL Music Librarian writing in 1941 began her short notice with: “The life of Allen A. Brown was happy and enviable.” She noted that he had been born in Boston, attended Roxbury Latin, and entered Harvard in the class of 1856. In college he began collecting the scores and books that were to become the nucleus of the collection that he presented to the BPL. He was a musical amateur “of more than ordinary attainments” – he played violin and had a fine tenor voice. He sang in church “and in the Foster, Parker, Chickering, Apollo, and Cecilia Societies for many years,” and he was the secretary and librarian of “these singing societies and did an enormous amount of arranging, copying, and translating for them… The unique feature of the collection is the wealth of material with which he grangerized the volumes.” Reviews, ticket stubs, anything related to the event were all included, and all was carefully indexed. “The Brown music library is an interesting example of what can be done with some money, knowledge of the subject, a love of collecting, and prodigious industry.” (Duncan, pp. 12 and 13) Brown “has been one of the most earnest organizers of the Apollo, and his great musical library has always been at the disposal of the club, and has been of material service in many instances.” (Elson, Musical Boston, p. 3) He joined the St. Botolph Club in June 1889. (E-mail from Roger Howlett)

Paderewski, MEMOIRS facing page 104.

Von Bulow, Hans Guido. “Pupil and son-in-law of Liszt, intimate of Wagner (who rewarded his friendship by stealing his wife), Hans von Bulow was equally celebrated in Europe as conductor and pianist. He was perhaps the first of the modern virtuoso conductors, and both on the podium and at the piano he was one of the earliest to perform without a musical score.” “Most of us are aware that he was among Liszt”s most gifted pupils… Many of us know, too, that he prepared and conducted the world premiers of both Wagner”s Tristan und Isolde and Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg… During childhood he was discovered to have a photographic memory, this later extending to total recall of even the most elaborate orchestral scores… Bulow”s other gift was his ready wit, his capacity for instant response… He never learned to control his tongue,” but he did say “The New World is to be preferred to the Old in every respect.” (Harrison-review of Walker, pp. 30 and 31)

Von Bulow elected to make his American debut in Boston, where John S. Dwight so welcomed his authoritative interpretations of Bach, Beethoven, and Chopin that he forgave von Bulow his identification with Liszt, Wagner, and ”the Music of the Future.” Dwight even managed to tolerate the ”ultra-modern” music of a ”young professor at the Conservatory at Moscow”: Peter Tchaikovsky”s Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor, of which von Bulow”s Boston performances were the first anywhere.” (Sablosky, p. 93) Paderewski describes von Bulow as “very sarcastic, and sometimes even unjust on account of his being so witty?that is a quality which is always rather dangerous. He simply could not abstain from making witty remarks about people. He thoroughly enjoyed it.” He was asked about a certain English conductor, and his response was: “He is a bus conductor! ”Why?” Why… because he is always behind!” (Paderewski, p. 123) Another example of von Bulow”s wit was recorded by the soprano Clara Rogers (Clara Doria). When von Bulow “came to visit me at Ashburton Place we could talk freely together and exchange views on matters musical in America, he let himself go in his old sarcastic vein, slashing some of our leading musical lights without mercy, not hesitating to make use of the term ”pig” when irately dispose.” (Rogers, Memories, p. 448) Rogers had studied piano with von Bulow in the late 1850s after she had graduated from the Leipzig Conservatory after a period of three years of study. “In my lessons with him… he allowed me to play only Chopin and Liszt, the latter an entirely new departure for a Leipzig graduate! He encouraged me to play with a freedom that almost amounted to license, and I soon became expert in the use of ”rubato,” an acquisition, by the way, which has since been invaluable to me as a singer. To be able to toy with rhythm, yet never lose the sense of it, is something which every artist must achieve.” Von Bulow told Rogers: “Let me tell you what a very famous old violin player named Rhodes once said: ”It took me one half of my life to learn to play in time, and the other half to learn how to play out of time.”” (Rogers, Memories, pp. 195 and 196)

“Hans Guido von Bulow was considered to be the foremost pianist of the advanced school of pianoforte playing founded by Chopin, and developed by Liszt. While his repertoire included the master works of all styles and schools, and his technique was prodigious, he was distinguished more particularly for his wonderful memory, and it would be difficult to mention any work of importance which he did not at one time or another play in public, and by heart. He was also a remarkable orchestral conductor, a keen critic, and an excellent editor of musical works.” (Lahee, p. 165) At the age of nine he began piano studies with Clara Schumann”s father, but at 18 he began to study law with music taking a secondary position. Two years later “the turning point in his career came about when he witnessed a performance of Lohengrin… He threw over his career as a lawyer, and sought the guidance of Wagner at Zurich. In 1851 he went to Liszt at Weimar, and studied pianoforte playing with him, and in 1853 he made his first concert tour through Germany.” (Lahee, p. 166) After nine years (beginning in 1855) as the main piano teacher at the Stern Conservatory in Berlin he was appointed the Director of the Munich Conservatory and Conductor of the Royal Opera in 1865. After his time in America in 1875-76 he became the opera conductor in Hanover followed by an appointment as Intendant at the Meiningen Court. After 1885 “he devoted himself to large orchestras in many cities, in which he accomplished wonders. Von Bulow married, in 1857, Liszt”s daughter Cosima, but was divorced from her in 1869. She then married his friend Richard Wagner. Bulow died in 1894.” (Lahee, p. 168) “Following his separation and divorce from Cosima, Bulow spent several years in Florence, recuperating, teaching, and escaping from the Germany of Wagner. By 1872 he returned to an active career as a pianist. He had seriously considered an American tour as early as 1866, when his marriage was at a breaking point and his position in Munich seemed temporarily doomed. By the 1870s, his primary goal in such a tour was to earn enough money ”not to die insolvent” and to provide dowries for his three daughters by Cosima, one of whom he did not yet realize (or at least admit) was fathered by Wagner.” (Lott, p. 235)

“A good anecdote of Bulow is told by Mr. Apthorp apropos of the depressing influence of small audiences upon musicians. At one of von Bulow”s recitals in Music Hall, Boston, an auditorium capable of seating nearly three thousand people, the audience amounted to about forty. There was a driving snowstorm during the day and evening, and the streets were almost impassable. When von Bulow appeared, he stepped to the front of the platform, and declared that it was the most flattering experience of his artistic career, to find so many people willing to come to hear music on such a night. ”If you will all please come and sit close together,” he added, ”we shall be able to keep one another and the music warm.” He never played better, and the small audience had a little touch of selfish satisfaction at feeling that they had a particularly delightful evening all to themselves.” (Lathe, p. 170)

In his book on Liszt, Sacheverell Sitwell describes von Bulow as “one of those agile personalities, small in physique, with an enormous aptitude for work, great fires of conviction, deep loyalties, and a nervous system that gets strained beyond endurance. His musical talent was at once recognized by Liszt, who accepted him as a piano-pupil. Within two years he had developed into a pianist of formidable powers, who was likely to overwork himself by the scope and exactitude of an immense repertory.” (Sitwell, p. 203) Soon after he finished studying with von Bulow he was appointed to the Stern Conservatory in his native Berlin. Liszt”s mistress, the Princess Wittgenstein decided von Bulow would be a good host for Liszt”s daughters, Blandine and Cosima. He lived in Berlin, which would put them close to their father in Weimar, and von Bulow”s household was run by his mother! “Cosima wrought havoc in the household from her first arrival.” (Ibid, p. 203) Von Bulow was reduced to a “state of stupefaction, admiration, and even exaltation” by the genius of the two girls, especially the younger, Cosima. This soon led to von Bulow announcing his engagement to Cosima, and they were married on August 14, 1857. (Ibid, p. 204)

In 1872 Amy Fay recorded her impression of von Bulow: “He has the most forcible style I ever heard, and phrases wonderfully. It is like looking through a stereoscope to hear him. All the points of a piece seem to start out vividly before you. He makes me think of Gottschalk a little, for he is full of his airs. His expression is proud and supercilious to the last degree, and he looks all round at his audience when he is playing. He always has two grands on the stage, one facing one way, and one the other, and he plays alternately on both. His face seems to say to the audience, ”You”re all cats and dogs, and I don”t care what you think of my playing.” Sometimes a look of infinite humour comes over it, when he is playing a rondo or anything gay. It is very funny. He has remarkable magnetic power, and you feel that you are under the sway of a tremendous will. Many persons find fault with his playing, because they say it is pure intellect but I think he has too much passion to be called purely intellectual. Still, it is always passion controlled. Beethoven has been the grand study of his life, and he plays his sonatas as no one else does.” (Fay, pp. 176 and 177) In February 1873 she wrote: “I heard two tremendous concerts of Bulow”s lately. Oh, I do hope you”ll hear him some day. He is a colossal artist. I never heard a pianist I like so well. He has such perfect mastery, and yet comprehension and such sympathy.” (Fay, p. 195) In June 1873 she wrote that Liszt had introduced her to von Bulow: “Bulow had just returned from his grand concert tour, and had been in London for the first time. In a few months he had given one hundred and twenty concerts! He is a fascinating creature, too, like all these master artists, but entirely different from Liszt, being small, quick, and airy in his movements, and having one of the boldest and proudest foreheads I ever saw. He looks like strength of will personified. .” (Fay, p. 225) In November 1873 she wrote: “Bulow”s playing is more many-sides, and is chiefly distinguished by its great vigor; there is no end to his nervous energy, and the more he plays, the more the interest increases… He plays Chopin as well as he does Beethoven, and Schumann, too. Although he is a superlative pianist, though by no means unerring in his performance. I”ve heard him get dreadfully mixed up. I think he trusts too much to his memory, and that he does not prepare sufficiently. He plays everything by heart, and such programmes!” (Fay, pp. 274 and 275) “That American could attract such artists as Rubinstein and Bulow in their prime was surely a sign of its musical progress, or at least an indication that the nation was perceived more positively by Europeans.” (Lott, p. 234)

Verlag Hans Dursthoff, Berlin: Johnston Collection.

Also in 1872 John Orth writing from Berlin for Dexter Smith”s magazine described von Bulow as “below the medium height, rather slight, [he] has a peculiar expression of the eye, and his motions are nervous and active. He is very affable and agreeable.” (Dexter Smith”s January 1872, p. 4) The soprano Clara Rogers (Clara Doria) described von Bulow from whom she had taken piano lessons; “There was nothing in his appearance which could be designated as ”commanding,” for he was below middle height and somewhat slight of frame; neither was there anything notable in his features; but the keen, intelligent and masterful expression of his face labelled him at once as a person of distinction. It was the artist within the frame that at once held your attention and exacted your respectful consideration.” (Rogers, Memories, pp. 196 and 197) The German critic Dr. Ferdinand Hiller also described von Bulow”s personality and technique: “Bulow is one of the Generals who divided among themselves the inheritance of Liszt Alexander the Great. For several hours he has kept our audience in a state of such breathless subjugation of all technical difficulties; his really military strength and power of endurance; his nearly infallible certainty; and his memory, in which all the pieces that he played, and who knows how many more that he did not play, appear to be stored as safely as a collection of classics in an oak book case, caused the audience to forget entirely that they had come to a Beethoven entertainment.” (von Bulow, American, p. 7) Hiller also mentioned his physical atributes: “You are to picture to yourself a small man with a thoroughly Prussian look, and, as all fine orchestra leaders, has a military martinet air. His head is that of a soldier more than that of an artist – small, compact, hard-looking as a hickory nut. His eyes are large – a fleur de tete, as the French say. He wears a heavy brown mustache, a little Vandyke beard, which hides the shape of his mouth; his forehead recedes; the crown of his head is a little bald; the ears incline back, adding to the rather sharp, belligerent expression of his keen little head and face. When he takes his place before the orchestra you expect to see him draw his sword, and every musician is ready to charge to the death. It is impossible not to feel the influence of his magnetic presence. He infuses new vitality into the most familiar compositions. His directions are animated with a knowledge that acts like inspiration. We are in the presence of a master spirit.” (Ibid, p. 8)

In addition to the seven American debut concerts given between October 18 and October 30, 1875, von Bulow returned to Boston for a series on six consecutive nights, January 10 through January 15, 1876, and a final set of six consecutive concerts on April 3 through April 8, 1876. (Lott, p. 301) In the middle of the second set he found time to write to Baroness Romaine von Overbeck, “I imagine that as a child you amused yourself by tormenting flies and butterflies, considering that you excel with virtuosity in making me suffer, me who loves you, me who adores you so-superlatively” – letter dated January 12, 1876 from Boston. (Lott, p. 261) Von Bulow continued to visit Boston. He gave a series of three recitals in the Music Hall on March 24, 27 and 31, 1890. (MYB, 1889-90, p. 25)

“The most notable advocate of Chopin”s music in Germany next to Clara Schumann was Hans Guido von Bulow. His reputation was that of a great intellectual, and by playing much of Chopin he saved the composer from denigration as a salon player; Bulow demonstrated that Chopin”s music was worthy of inclusion in a programme alongside that of Mozart, Bach and Beethoven. Severely academic, remote, peppery and sardonic, he was perhaps the first of the modern ”giants” of the pianoforte. Born in 1830 (eleven years after Clara Wieck), he was not perhaps the type of pianist one would immediately associate with Chopin”s music, but he had the intellectual breadth of a Busoni or a Schnabel. He began playing Chopin when still in his teens, and by 1855, shortly before the composer”s death, was already playing a representative proportion of his works in public. Bulow was totally uninterested in Chopin”s music as a vehicle for pianistic display. There was an element of pedantry in his readings that led Moritz Moszkowski to remark, “Rubinstein plays the piano as if it was his wife, Grunfeld as if it was his finacee, but Bulow as if it was his old grandmother!” Very modest about his attainments, he despised personal adulation and, after a highly successful recital, he threatened to play the complete Bach Preludes and Fugues if they did not cease their applause… But despite his importance, Bulow is not remembered as a great Chopin player, probably because he had to consciously interpret the music” (Campbell-Methuen, pp. 159 and 160)

In February 1881 Liszt wrote a letter to the “Gazette de Hongrie” concerning von Bulow.

“Honored Sir and Friend, -You wish to know what impression yesterday”s Bulow Concert made upon me. He belongs to you, he belongs to us all, to the entire intelligent public of Europe. Stated in two words: it was admiration, enthusiasm. Twenty-five years ago Bulow was my pupil in music, just as twenty-five years previously I was the pupil of my highly-honored and dearly-loved master, Czerny. But it has given to Bulow to strive better and more perseveringly than to me. His edition of Beethoven, which is worthy of all admiration, is dedicated to me as the ”Fruit of my teaching.” But here the teacher had to learn from his pupil, and Bulow continues to instruct-as much by his astonishing virtuosity as a pianist as by his incomparable direction of the Meiningen Orchestra. There! You have an example of the musical progress of our times. Heartily yours, FRANZ LISZT.” (Dwight, May 7, 1881, p. 70)


A. Johnson Carter Burrage. Alvah A. Burrage, younger brother of Johnson C., wrote a history of the family which was published in 1877. In it he gave Johnson”s birth date as January 20, 1816. He was named after two friends of his mother-Jonathan Carter and his wife Mary Johnson. At fifteen, his father found a place for him working in a variety store in the center of leominster. He combined this and schooling during the winter months until he was between eighteen and nineteen. After one ternm at Groton Academy he taught school the following winter. In the spring of 1835 his brothers found him a place in a wholesale/retail woollen goods store in Boston. He did so well, that after eighteen months with the company he was give charge of the retail branch. He decided to take a partner, and so just three months shy of his 21st. birthday, the company of Richardson & Burrage was born in October 1836. Johnson C. Burrage and Emeline Brigham were married Nov. 29, 1838 in Groton. [She was born April 18, 1815 and died August 7, 1903] Between 1836 and 1845 the business prospered, but in 1845 they sold a business that they knew well in order to buy the Burlington Woolen Mills in Burlington Vermont. Within four or five years they had lost all the money that they had made in the previous eight or nine years. The company was closed but “they eventually paid all their debts in full” (Burrage, p. 127) There still appeared in April 1846 newspaper ads listing “Richardson, Burrage & Co., Commission Merchants for the sale of American Wollens-Over Nos. 1, 2 and 3 Sewell Block, Milk St” with the three priciples being A. J. Richardsom, J. C. Burrage and O. B. Dorrance. (April 10, 1846, Boston Post, p. 3, GenBank)

Johnson Carter then returned to buying and selling woolen goods and formed a partnership with James M. Beebe. The 1860 Census listed the value of his Real estate-$11,500, and the value of his Personnal Estate-$75,000. After a successful fifteen or sixteen years, this partnership was dissolved in August 1863, and he, with some junior partners, Mr. Amory Leland and Mr. R. W. Kendall founded J. C. Burrage & Co. which continued his success for another seven or eight years. (August 13, 1863, Traveler, p. 2, GenBank) An ad in 1864 said: “J. C. Burrage & Co. are now opening a full assortment of Staple & Men”s Wear.” (March 25, 1864, p. 3, GenBank) In September 1865 his company was called J. C. Burrage & Co., with offices at No. 3 Winthrop Square (New Granite Building). The office of his former partner, James M. Beebe was next door at Nos. 1 and 2 Winthrop Square! The address for Burrage”s New York City store was 5 College Place. (October 10, 1865, Evening Post, NYC, p. 64, GenBank) In 1870 his other partners were R. W. Kendall, G. E. Johnson, J. W. Gannett and E. C. Burrage and the company office was at 184 Devonshire Street with his home at 112 Boylston Street. (1870 Boston Directory, p. 128) The July 19, 1870 Census entry added: The occupations of Johnson and his sons Edward and Herbert as Woolen Jobber. Even though Edward had married four years before this Census, he is still listed as living with his father and no mention is made of his wife. The household now has four servants, and B. J. Lang, his wife and daughter Mary (Margaret) are listed at this address but with the phrase “In Europe.” In April 1870 J. C. was part of the Standing Committee of the Second Church (Unitarian) of Bedford Street. One had to be a “proprietor” to be on this committee, and one of the items talked about at this April meeting was the possibility of the church moving to Back Bay. (April 28, 1870, Traveler, p. 1, GenBank)

In July 1865 the incomes “of citizens of Boston assessed on an income of $10,000 or upwards for the year 1864″ were published. (Traveler, July 18, 1865, p. 2 GB)  Burrage was the 56th. in the list was of Wards 3 and 5 with an income of $54, 990 which is $824,000 in todays money.[2015] Among the first 56 there was only one income higher. Less than a month later another article listed Burrage”s incomes for 1861-$54,000, and 1863-$120,221. (Cincinnati Daily Enquirer, August 5, 1865, p. 29, GB)

In 1866 an article listed the donors to Harvard”s Alumni Hall (Sanders Theater being part of this building). At that time $177,770 had been collected with $122, 420 coming from Alumni and $52,850 coming from community members who had not attended Harvard. Johnson C. Burrage donated $1,000 as did his brother, Alvah A. Burrage. (Traveler, July 30, 1866, p. 1. GB)

The Boston fire of November 9 and 10, 1872 “destroyed about one half of the business portion of the city.” (Burrage G., p. 131) “All of the Burrages doing business in Boston lost heavily… J. C. Burrage & Co. had a stock of about $190,00, which was entirely destroyed. They received from insurance about $140,00, leaving a loss of about $50,000.” (Ibid., p. 132) An ad appeared two days after the fire stating that even though their entire stock had been burned in their 184 Devonshire location, “they continue business without interruption at 322 Washington Street, and are prepared to fill all orders for the popular styles of WOOLENS AND COTTONADES.” (November 13, 1872, Journal, p. 5, GenBank) The scope of their business is shown in that this same ad appeared a week later in the New York Evening Post. (November 26, 1872, NY Evening Post, p. 5, GenBank) He also responded regularly to various donation appeals. In 1862: “Patriotic Donation. Mr. J. C. Burrage, of the firm of J. M. Beebe & Co., has presented one of Short”s patent knapsacks to each member of Co. C, (Capt. J. H. Lombard) 44th. Regiment, at Readville.” (Salem Register, October 27, 1862, p. 2, reprinted from the Boston Journal, GenBank) In 1863 he donated $100 to the “Committee appointed to aid in the Enlistment of Colored Troops,” in 1864 he gave $100 to support the “Soldiers” Thanksgiving Dinner,” in 1865 $100 was given in support of erecting a “Statue of Edward Everett,” and also in $500 was given to the “Children”s  Mission to the Children of the Destitute in the City of Boston and in 1866 he gave $100 to the New England Branch of the “Freedmen”s Union Commission.” Evening Transcript, November 27, 1866, p. 2 GenBank)

Burrage took an active part in both the business and social fabric of Boston. In 1857 he is listed as a member of the Boston Board of Trade, in 1858 he is a Patron of the English and Classical School in West Newton, in 1865 is is one of five Directors of The American Barrel Machine Company, and in 1866 he is listed as a member of the Company of the New York Life Insurance Co. Also listed are the ex-Governor of Vermont, the Cashier of the U. S. Treasury, lawyers, various businessmen, and B. J. Lang, Organist! Possibly B. J.”s father-in-law was helping his daughter”s new family finacially through this connection. (June 6, 1866, Evening Transcript, p. 4, GenBank)

In 1873 illness forced him to retire, but he did so “possessing an ample competeney.” (Ibid., p. 127) Johnson Carter died on April 6, 1881 aged 65 years, 2 months from consumption-his address then was 112 Boylston Street and he had been born in Leominster, MA. His father was listed as Josiah Burrage, born in Leominster and his mother, Ruth, was born in Lunenburg. (Death Certificate) The June 17, 1900 Census listed Mrs. Johnson C. Burrage, a widower living at 50 Highland St., Newton (same street as son Edward C.) with one unmarried daughter, Emma, aged 49, and Marion B. Morse, a widow (see Minnie, above) with two Irish born servants, Annie O”Toole (b. Feb. 1873, age 27, single) and Mary Tyman, maid (b. May 1869, age 31, single). This entry said Johnson had six children, four still alive. Mrs. J. C. Burrage-Emeline died on August 7, 1903 as a widow at Newton, MA aged 88 years, 3 months, 19 days, and was buried at Mt. Auburn; her birthplace was Groton, MA. He father was George Brigham born in Marlboro, MA and her mother was Betsey Morsealso born in Marlboro, MA. (Death Certificate).

In his will he left $1,000 each to the American Unitarian Associatiion, Second Church, of which Rev. Horton is pastor, the YMCA and the Benevolent Fraternity of Churches. $500 each was left to six other charities who helped children and women. (Journal, May 3, 1881, p. 1, GB)

1. Fanny (Frances) Burrage, age 20. “b. Dec. 18, 1839; m. Oct. 10, 1861, Benjamin J. Lang, of Boston, professor of music.” (Burrage Geneol., p. 181)

  • a. Harry Allston Lang, b. Oct. 5, 1864; d. Aug. 7, 1866. (Burrage G., p. 189)
  • b. Margaret Ruthven Lang, b. Nov. 27, 1867. (Ibid) (Burrage was published in 1877)
  • c. Rosamond Lang Galacar. b. February 6, 1878; d. Aug. 11, 1971 (aged 93)
  • d. Malcolm Burrage Lang, b. June 14, 1881; d. Mar. 7, 1972 (aged 90)

2. Edward C. Burrage, age 18. “b. June 13, 1841; m. Jan. 16, 1866, m. Julia L. Severance, [b. c. March 1844] of West Newton.” (Burrage, Geneol., p, 181) He was 24, she 21. His occupation-Merchant. Julia born in Cleveland; her father, Theodore C. Severage; her mother, Caroline M. (Info from Marriage Certificate). Edward had attended public schools in Boston, “graduated from the Quincy Grammar School, a Franklin Medal scholar, in 1855.” He then had several terms of private instruction, and when he was nineteen “he visited Europe, in company with Mr. James Allen; was absent about two years. Upon his reurn, in the autumn of 1861, he entered his father”s store, J. M. Beebe & Co.”s, and was employed there when the pressing urgency for more troops, in the summer of 1862, induced the government to issue a call for the enlistment of men to serve nine months.” (Burrage, G., pp. 151 and 152) He entered as a corporal and rose to sergeant when he “was mustered out of service in June, 1863. After returning from the war he re-entered the store, and subsequently became a partner in the house of J. C. Burrage & Co. When that firm dissolved he went into the wholesale crockery and glassware store of Abram French & Co., and still [1877] remains in that business.” (Op. Cit., pp. 152 and 153) “He was the Treasurer of and sang tenor in the Cecilia in 1903. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 8) In 1870 he was a partner in his father”s firm J. C. Burrage & Co., and he (and his wife) lived with his father at 112 Boylston Street. (1870 Boston Directory, p. 128) In 1877 he worked for “Abram French & Co., dealers in crockery and glassware,” and “they live in Newton.” (Burrage, op. cit.) The June 15, 1880 census entry adds: Edward was a dealer in Glassware and V., and that they lived on Highland St. in Newton. Also that Julia”s father had been born in MA and her mother born in N. Y. He is not listed in the 1885 Boston Directory. The June 17, 1900 Census entry adds: address of 72 Highland St., that they own their house; have been married 34 years; he was then 58 and she 56; they had two servants-Mary E. Smith (age 44, born MA), a seamstress and Annie J.Grant (age 29, born Canada), servant; this entry says “mother of two children[?]/two alive”

  • a. Severance [His mother”s maiden name] Burrage, son, born MA. Born July 18, 1868 in West Newton. (Birth Certificate)
  • b. Bessie Burrage, daughter, born MA. “b. Aug. 5, 1870.” (Burrage, Geneol., p. 190)
  • c. [Caroline Severance, b. Nov. 5, 1876. Burrage G., p. 190]
  • d. Emeline, daughter, born MA (see above – born Nov. 5, 1879. Info from Birth Certificate)

Three servants, all Irish born – Bridget Kenney, aged 40; Annie Burns, aged 18;and Ellen Joy, aged 24 (probably sister of John Joy who worked for Herbert Burrage, Edward”s brother – see below)

3. Herbert Emory Burrage, age 16. “b. Dec. 18, 1845; m. June 3, 1868, Ruby Moore Childs of Charlestown.” (Burrage Geneol., p. 181) He was 22, she 20. His occupation-Clerk. Her father, Francis Childs; her mother, Juliet W. (Info from Marriage Certificate) In 1870 he was part (but not a partner) of his father”s firm J. C. Johnson & Co. and his home was at 43 West Cedar Street. (1870 Boston Directory, p. 128) In 1877 “They live at Newton. He is in the store of Abram French & Co.” (Burrage, G., Op. Cit) The 1880 Census entry for this family, then living on Highland St., in Newton, included: Herbert Burrage, age 34 Born Mass.; Ruby M. Burrage, age 31 Born Mass.; Francis J. Burrage, age 9 Born Mass. (b. 1871); Harry L. Burrage, age 8 Born Mass. (b. 1872); Alice Burrage, age 5 Born Mass. (b. Nov. 1874) and servants: Bridget Perkins, age 39 Born Ireland and Teresa Farrell, age 18 Born Mass., parents born in Ireland. The 1885 Boston Directory lists his business adddress as 91 Franklin Street and his home at West Newton-p.176. (Death Certificate) The June 6, 1900 Census entry for Herbert E. Burrage added; he was 54, she 51, they had been married 32 years, they had four children/four still alive; his profession was Crockery salesman; their address was 38 Temple St., Newton and they owned their home; two daughters were still at home – Alice, age 25, a Librarian and Eleanor, age 19, b. April 1881 in MA; one servant-MaryTracey, b. Jan. 1879, age 21, born Ireland. Ruby Moore Burrage died on October 2, 1904 in Newton, MA aged 56 years, 3 months, 10 days having been born in Charlestown, MA of Francis Childs and Juliet Deering, both born in Charlestown, MA. She died before her husband.

  • a. Francis Johnson Burrage. Born 43 West Cedar St., Oct. 30, 1870. Father”s occupation was “Salesman.” (Birth Certificate) Married December 2, 1896, age 26, occupation “Banking Business” to Elenora Mullen, age 25 in St. Louis, MO, which was her hometown. (Marriage Certificate)
  • b. Harry Lang Burrage. Born May 25, 1872 at 43 W. Cedar Street, Boston. Father listed as “Merchant”. (Birth Certificate) Married Marguerite Kimberly March 18, 1896 at the West Newton Unitarian Church by Rev. Julian C. Jaynes. His occupation was [Bank Cashier, the number two position] “Cashier” while she was “At home.” His age was 23 and her age was 21. (Marriage Certificate) She was the niece of Rear Admiral Kimberly whose home provided the site for “a small reception…After May 1 they will receive their friends in their new home on Sterling Street, West Newton.” (Herald, March 22, 1896, p. 27, GenBank) In 1908 he is listed in an ad as the President and one 12 Directors of The Eliot National Bank of Boston, located in the John Hancock Building. “Established 1853. Capital $1,000,000. Surplus Earned and Undivided Profits, $1,275,000.” (Globe, April 11, 1908, p. 7)
  • c. Alice Burrage. Born “Nov. 29, 1874.” (Burrage G., p. 190) Married March 1897 in Ipswich./li>
  • d. Eleanor, b. April 1881 (see Census of 1900 above)
  • e. Dorothy. Born 1896 [who is this?]

4. Helen Burrage, age 14. “b. July 10, 1848; m. Jan. 21, 1874, John W. Carter, of Boston, manufacturer and dealer in ink.” (Burrage G., p. 182). He was 30, she 25. His father, Richard B. Carter; his mother, Lucy L. (Info from Marriage Certificate)

5. Emma Burrage, age 12. “b. Dec. 18, 1850.” (Burrage G., p. 182) Still unmarried and living at home, aged 49, for the 1900 census. Born December 8, 1850 at 36 Edinboro Street, Boston. Father listed as a Merchant. (Birth Certificate)

6. Minnie [Marion] Burrage, age 7. “b. Jan. 18, 1853.” (Burrage G., p. 182) Marion B. Morse was listed as a widow and living with her mother in the 1900 Census. She had married Charles T. Morse, age 33, born in New Haven, Conn. The wedding was on January 12, 1887, Rev. Edward A.Horton officiated and her age at this time was 33 – this was the first marriage for both.(Marriage Certificate)

Servants: Alice Joy, age 24, Domestic Born Ireland; John Joy, age 22, Manservant Born Ireland; Ellen Douglas, age 26, Domestic Born Ireland

Another family. Probably living next door: [1870 Boston Directory and 1878 Clark”s Boston Blue Book has his address as 7 Union Park which would be near South Congregational Church.

B. Alvah Augustus Burrage, b. May 30, 1823, a Woolen Goods Merchant, Value Real estate – $8,000 Value of Personnal estate – $50,000. He married May 17, 1849, Elizabeth Amelia Smith, of Groton,” (Burrage G., p. 171) who had been born at Boston, August 11, 1828. (Groton Vital Records) Alvah died on November 6, 1893 at 282 Newbury Street, Boston aged 70 years, 5 months, 6 days having been born in No. Leominister, MA. His father was Josiah Burrage, born in Leominster and his mother was Ruth Kilburn, also born in Leominster. (Death Certificate) His wife”s maiden name had been Elizabeth Smith and she had been born in Boston. (Jeanie”s Death Certificate)

An 1866 as listed his company as BURRAGE BROTHERS & COMPANY, Importers and Dealers in FOREIGN AND AMERICAN WOOLENS, with offices at 35 Franklin Street, corner of Hawley Street. The partners were Alvar A, Burrage, Chas. Burrage, William Peirce and Henry Warren. (February 20, 1866, Traveler, p. 3, GenBank) The 1885 Boston Directory lists his office at as 47 Arch Street and his home at 282 Newbury Street-p. 176. It also lists a firm of woolen merchants at 47 Arch named “Burrage, Cole, and Weeks” with C. H. Burrage, M. B. Cole, H. K Weeks and A.F. Poole as the main partners. Alvah was a brother of C. H. and had a secondary role in the company. (Boston Directory, p. 176) It also list a Walter L. Burrage as a student living at 282 Newbury Street – possibly another cousin.

1. Ruth. She died at home on April 11, 1872-address: 7 Union Park, Boston, aged 22 years from Peritonitis. Her father, Alvah A. Burrage”s birthplace was Leominster, andher mother, Elizabeth A. was born in Boston. (Death Certificate). She had been born on March 16, 1850 at 24 Oak Street, Boston. (Birth Certificate)

2. Jennie. [Jeanie] died, unmarried, in Newton on August 20, 1891, aged 37 years, 8 months, 25 days. (Death Certificate). She [Jennie] had been born on November 25, 1853 at 24 Oak Street, Boston. (Birth Certificate)

3. Mary, age 2.

Mary Shea, age 30, Domestic Born Ireland, and Ann Flynn, age 20 Domestic Born Massachusetts.

In the 1888 Clark”s Boston Blue Book their address is 282 Newbury St., and a Mrs. J. C. Burrage is listed at “The Kensington.”

Another family.

C. Charles H. Burrage, age 34 Woolen Goods Merchant-brother of Alvah and partner in Burrage Brothers & Co.,, in 1870 located at 35 Franklin Street and his house at 22 Newbury Street-other partners were Wm. Peirce, Henry Warren and E. B. Hall. (1870 Boston Directory, p. 128) Wife – Mary G. Burrage, age 33. Value of Personal estate – $25,000

Joshua P. Blanchard (?), age 77 (possibly the wife”s father). Value of Real estate-$7,500 Value of Personnal estate-$1,700.

Mary C. Blanchard, age 72

Mrs. George Hamg (?) age 69

Anne W. Cotton, age 67. Value of Personnal estate-$16,000.

Catherine McCarthy, age 22 Domestic Born in Ireland and Hannah Tinney, age 17 Domestic Born in Ireland

The 1900 Census entry for Harry L. Burrage had an address in Newton, 14 Sewall St., married for five years (1895):/p>

Harry L. Burrage, age 28 b. May 1872, rented home

Marguerite K. Burrage, age 25 b. December 1874 in Illinois

Dorothy K. Burrage, age 3 b. December 1896

Mary Clark, age 21, Servant-Cook, Born Ireland, November 1878

Frances Walker, age 45, Parlor Maid, Born North Carolina, November 1854

Bumstead Hall-formerly the Lecture Room of the Music Hall. Described by Dwight in 1853 as seating about 900 and in 1870 as below the Music Hall, and as having a “platform down in the centre of the amphitheatre.” (Dwight, December 31, 1870, p. 375) A spring issue of the Boston Musical Times recorded: “The platform in Bumstead Hall has been extended, so as to bring the musicians nearer the audience. This is an undoubted improvement, but the hall is still anything but good in its acoustic qualities. We may not understand the architectural reasons for this; but it appears to us that the heavy pilasters, the pitted wall and ceiling, the low gallery with its massive supports, and the concavity behind the performers, combine to produce the result. The music sounds on the lower floor as if the performers were in an adjoining apartment with open doors. There is no resonance to the tones produced by instrument or voice; but they come dry and hard, with no softness of outline. Artists find it laborious to sing, as if their voices were muffled, and even forcing the voice does not apparently produce more volume. It is right to state, however, that these difficulties are less apparent in the galleries, where the sound has freer play and less obstructions.” (BMT, April 7, 1860, p. 57) In a January 16, 1895 review in the Transcript, the comment was made: “It was good to hear chamber music in Bumstead Hall once more: the delight of the ear goes far towards compensating one for the distress of the eye.” (Scrapbook)

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Campbell, Miss Teresa Carreno. Just as Lang had recognized and helped the career of the pianist Teresa Carreno in 1863 (see next article), in 1880 he played the Chopin Scherzo No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 31 at a Complimentary Concert for the sixteen year old violinist, Miss Teresa Carreno Campbell. Other assisting artists were from the Mendelssohn Quintette Club, the singer Mr. Edward Bowditch, and the pianist, “Miss Mary Campbell [her sister? a Lang pupil?] proved herself an accomplished Pianist.” (Dwight, March 13, 1880, p. 47) Dwight gave a very complimentary review noting that “Lang”s rendering of the Chopin Scherzo was masterly,” and that “The young lady has every reason to feel encouraged by her first concert.” (Ibid)

Lahee, FAMOUS PIANISTS, p. 303

Carreno, Teresa. Paderewski described her as a “strong pianist, even too strong for a woman. Carreno was one of the women pianists who had a very big tone, but it was not a beautiful tone because beautiful tone must include tenderness, and she had none of that, just brilliance.” (Paderewski, p. 121) Born on December 22, 1853 at Caracas, Venezuela where her father was the Minister of Finance, “from him she received her first musical instruction.” “Simon Bolivar (1783-1830) was among her forebearers.” (Mann. p. 236) The family moved to New York City when she was eight years old: “She has spent most of her life in America, and always considers herself an American… At the age of nine she appeared in a benefit concert in New York at the Academy of Music… In New York she attracted the attention of Gottschalk, then at the height of his fame. He was not a regular teacher, but, for the love of his art, gave lessons to several talented children… In 1863 she made her first appearance in Boston, where she created a furore by playing pieces of great difficulty at some orchestral concerts… At the age of twelve she went to Rubinstein, and quickly gained the fullest recognition of her talent in all musical circles. Wherever she went she was received as a fellow artist by the greatest musicians.” her father, Manuel Carreno had come “to the United States with a plan of action that he continued to follow as Carreno”s career blossomed.” (Mann, p. 236) In January 1863 the Boston Musical Times reported: “Miss Teresa Carreno, the wonderful child pianist, who was to make her first appearance in Boston Music Hall, last evening, was nine years old on Monday, December 22nd. last [1862]. All the critics accord to her a prominent niche in the temple of fame.” (BMT, January 3, 1863, p. 163)

Gottschalk took an interest in the Venezuela born Teresa Carreno, who, when he heard her play at age nine said he would teach her whenever she was available. In fact Gottschalk only gave “her six or eight lessons, and nevertheless they were enough to conquer the obstacles that for others would have been insuperable barriers. She belongs to the class of those privileged by Providence, and I have not the slightest doubt that she will be one of the greatest artists of our age.” (Milinowski, p. 52 quoting from Gottschalk) Late in 1862 and early in 1863 she gave five concerts, “and then made her Boston debut on January 2, 1863. It was followed by some twenty concerts in the Boston area, whereupon Carl Zerrahn invited her to play Mendelssohn”s Capriccio Brillante with the Boston Philharmonic Society Orchestra. She accepted, although she had never seen the work, and learned it in three days.” After a summer tour to Cuba and playing for President Lincoln at the White House, she returned to Boston. B. J. obviously recognized her talent and supported her by acting as her accompanist for her tenth birthday recital given on December 22, 1863-she included two of her own compositions in the concert! (Ammer, UNSUNG, CENTURY EDITION, p. 64) Lang was at the organ and Carreno at a Chickering grand piano. In spite of various factors working against her success (an influenza epidemic, the small sound of the piano when compared to the organ), “the young maiden made a fine impression, and won plentiful applause.” Even though her choice of pieces was criticized, “they exhibited her remarkable clearness, firmness, brilliancy and grace of execution.” Lang also was lauded: “Mr. Lang”s organ pieces were played in his usual masterly manner, the Pastoral Symphony and Freyschutz overture being loudly and persistently encored, to which he responded in kind, that is by playing again a part of the same, and not something else.” (Dwight, December 26, 1863, p. 159)

From “Gottschalk”s Illustrated Concert Book.”

Carreno also admired Gottschalk. “Many years later [she[ remembered that his playing was like zephyrs sighing on a poet”s harp, that none approached him in his trill. And that was the opiniion of one whose own trilling left whole audiences gasping with unbelief.” (Milinowshi, p. 28)

Dwight reviewed her first Boston concert given on January 2, 1863. He began: “Little Miss Teresa Carreno is indeed a wonder. We do not care much for ”prodigies,” but this one did interest us. A child of nine years, with fine head and face of intelligence… runs upon the stage of the great Music Hall, has a funny deal of diificulty in getting herself upon the seat before the Grand Piano, runs her fingers over the keyboard like a virtuoso, and then plays a difficult Notturno by Doehler, with octave passages and all, not only clearly and correctly, but with true expression. It would charm you even where she not a child. Off she runs again, fast as the eye can follow, till arrested for an encore… there can be no doubt of real talent here.” Miss Matilda Phillipps. sister of Adelaide, was the assisting artist. (Dwight, January 10, 1863) A week later Dwight reviewed Carreno”s second concert of January 8 which was billed as a Soiree d”Adieu. “Rarely have we seen so intelligent an audience so pleased and so moved. She was the sole performer… Here was indeed a task for a little girl of nine years. The mere physical exertion required in playing through so many pieces of great length, and full of all the modern difficulties of execution, made it a wonder that she should succeed at all. But she has great strength of hand and arm, and her execution, although laboring occasionally, was clear, vbrillinat, facile and precise… What catches you at once, and makes it pleasant to listen to her, is that you feel she has a true musical accent; the chords are struck, the passages are phrased, expresively. There is something in it more than could be taught…The child”s face beams with intelligence and genius; these speak too in her touch, in a certain untaught life that there is in her playing. It is a precious gift.” (Dwight, January 17, 1863, p. 335) Dwight also suggested that too much concertizing would be unhealthy and that she be given time in the next few years to further her general education. “Already the arm appears almost unnaturally large.” (Ibid) Then, Carreno had the idea herself to give a concert for children. 1,200 tickets were given out free “among pupils selected from the Latin, English High, Girls High, Normal, and German Schools. The concert was given two days later, on January 10, and Carreno was the sole performer. The mayor of Boston, J. W. Lincoln led the applause. (Milinowski, p. 41) On the following Tuesday Carreno gave another solo concert in Chickering Hall with ticket prices raised to one dollar-“The place was crowded. For two hours Teresita played with but slight intermission…The father had not feared fatigue for his daughter as much as the effect of an entire piano program on the audience. Teresita herself had no qualms.” and ended her program with a waltz of her own composition. The audience “gave way to the most boisterous and fantastic demonstration. Immaculate ladies left with bonnets awry and gloves split open, forgetting umbrellas and purses.” (Milinowski, pp. 42 and 43) Another great opportunity came with the invitation from Carl Zerrahn to play at the second Philharmonic Concert of the season-but the piece requested, Mendelssohn”s Capriccio Brillante was not in her repertoire, and there were only ten days before the concert. Four days before the concert a copy of the music finally arrived from New York?the first rehearsal was set for Friday and the concert for Saturday. “The only one who did not have a desperate case of nerves in the process was Teresita…She found that the martial theme memorized itself, that the passages lay comfortably for her fingers. The melodies she kept singing to herself, when she was not practicing them… The rehearsals went surprisingly well.” Carl Zerrahn hailed her as “the greatest prodigy which the world has known since the days of Mozart,” and he invited her to appear with the Philharmonic again on January 24, 1863. (Ibid, p. 45) Dwight”s review of this concert included these comments: “But how did charming little Miss Teresa play the difficult and classical Cappriccio, and play for the first time with orchestra? Marvellously well for a child, but less well than with the more familiar tasks before her… The full conception of such music must be beyond her…But she kept good time, and brought out the most of it clearly, firmly, and even gracefully.” (Dwight, January 31, 1863, p. ???) On December 22, 1863 she celebrated her 10th. birthday with a concert at the Music Hall which she shared with B. J. at the organ. She had spent the previous twelve months in Cuba practicing and giving concerts, “the result being that she has gained in physical strength, in musical skill and understanding, and has added largely to her repertoire both classical and of the virtuoso kind.” However, in performing a solo piano recital in such a large hall, and alternating with pieces played on the new, large organ, she was putting herself at a great disadvantage. “If therefore under all those drawbacks the young maiden made a fine impression and won plentiful applause, as indeed she did, it was so much the more to her own credit… Mr. Lang”s organ pieces were played in his usual masterly manner, the Pastoral Symphony [Handel] and Freyschutz Overture being loudly and persistently encored, to which he responded in kind, that is by playing again a part of the same, and not something else.” (BMT, January 2, 1864, pp. 6 and 7)

Fisher, p. 45.

“In regard to her playing, it is of the most impassioned nature. Her enthusiastic temperament sweeps everything before it. In the power of her performance she has been compared to Sophie Menter, and it has been said that these two pianists are the only ones who, in spite of the restrictions laid by nature upon their sex, have been able to overcome the most tremendous difficulties of the pianoforte technique.” (Lahee, p. 308 and 309) Hans von Bulow was forced to confess that she was the only pianist of the fair sex he had ever heard play Beethoven in a satisfactory manner. (Lahee, p. 312) When she was about 15 she learned the soprano role in The Huguenots between Thursday and the following Monday for a performance in Edinburgh for the Queen”s Birthday. “Her success was brilliant.” (Lahee, p. 302-306) “During the 1880s, Carreno resumed operatic singing and also began to champion the piano compositions of Edward MacDowell (1860-1908), whom she had come to know during brief periods of residence in new York. As the dedicatee of his Second Piano Concerto (1889), she became the most vigorous proponent of this work during the composer”s lifetime and beyond. (Amy Beach also dedicated her Piano Concerto in C-sharp minor (1900) to Carreno.” (Mann, p. 239) “Described as ”the Valkyrie of the piano,” her playing was described as having an almost superhuman force even when she was a child. She never regarded herself as being limited by the need to adhere to the composer”s marks, and when she was young, her personality usuallly overwhelmed whatever music she played, whether it was Bach, Beethoven or Chopin. Her growing maturity as an artist was linked with her marriage with d”Albert in 1892, and in her later years she was compared as an equal with such pianists as Sauer, Rosenthal, Hofmann and Rachmaninov.” (Methuen-Campbell, p. 215)

“Carreno”s repertoire was large, and she was devoted to Chopin”s music. Unfortunately she made no discs, but she recorded some piano works for the Welte-Mignon piano roll company, including the G minor and A flat major Ballades, and the C minor Nocturne, Op. 48, No. 1. These demonstrate her technical ability, but she used mannerisms such as spread chords which can be irritating to the modern listener. Her touch is very varied, and there is in her playing evidence of a concentrated musical thought that is always compelling. She could execute many of the most taxing passages of the A flat Ballade with an extraordinary deftness that is at times almost eerie… Carreno enjoyed adulation, and played in public until 1917, the year of her death. No other woman pianist has equalled her as a vituoso, and her playing was far more exciting than that of Clara Schumann.” (Methuen-Campbell, p. 216) A CD of some of these rolls had been issued by Pierian: the Caswell Collection, Vol. 6 – Teresa Carreno. In July 2011, Amazon was selling new copies for $110.51, used for $113.49, but the MP3 Download for the entire recording was only $8.99 with eight of the individual tracks available at $.99 each.

One of Carreno”s pupils was Egon Petri, born in 1881, who came to America in the 1930s and died here in 1962. Among his pupils were John Ogdon, Earl Wild and Gunnar Johansen. (Methuen-Campbell, p. 163) “It was Carreno who encouraged him [Petri] to deveop his technique to a level that set him aside from most other artists of his generation…She used to tell him that a pianist should be able to support a glass of water on the back of his hand while playing. Petri”s high intelligence, discernment, and industry led to his acquiring one of the most powerful virtuoso techniques.” (Ibid)

Carreno c. 1900 (according to source – probably later). Johnston Collection.

Carreno was a soloist with the BSO in 30 different programs during eight seasons between 1887 and 1914 – this would be almost four appearances per season which would equal another pianist, Adele Aus Der Ohe who appeared in 51 different programs during 14 seasons! (Howe, BSO, p. 245 and 247) Carreno had contacted Clara Rogers after reading Rogers” book Philosophy of Singing. Rogers wrote: “She [Carreno] declared [that it] was invaluable to her, a pianist, as much so as to any singer… I think that Carreno was one of the most vital personalities I have ever known. Nothing, – no amount of fatigue – ever checked her flow or spirits. She possessed to an unusual degree that element which we call temperament – the habit of coming up to the mark, of filling all expectations regardless of unfavorable conditions.” (Rogers, Two Lives, pp. 221 and 222)

Mentor Association Print dated 1918. In Zellin this pose is listed as c. 1910. In 1910, Chadwick would have been 56 years old. Johnston Collection.

Chadwick, George W. (b. November 13, 1854 in Lowell, d. April 4, 1931 in Boston) After high school, spent three years in the insurance business with his father (taking organ lessons at the same time from Eugene Thayer), then one year (1876-77) as music instructor at Olivet College in Olivet, Michigan, followed by two years of study in Leipzig with Jadassohn and Reineke and another year, 1879-80, with Rheinberger in Munich. Returned to Boston in 1880. Only two years after his return, he was “so well thought of that he was selected for lithographic representation as a member of the pantheon called ”Musical Boston.” His relative youth was emphasized by his clean-shaven face among a score of hirsute dignitaries including B. J. Lang, Carl Zerrahn, John Knowles Paine, Oliver Ditson, and even his erstwhile teacher, Carlyle Patersilea.” (Yellin, p. 43) “He began a career as an organist, teacher, and conductor, and quickly made his mark as a composer in virtually every genre… The presence of such major orchestras as the Boston SO and the Philharmonic Society during the 1880s spurred Chadwick”s contributions to the orchestral medium, in which he was especially at home… By the time the symphony [No. 1] received its first complete performance in 1886, Chadwick was regarded as a masterly composer of lighter movements. But the piece most often performed, the ”overture to an imaginary tragedy” Melpomene (1887), was considered finer simply because the composer was at last writing music deemed entirely ”serious.”… In the Symphony No. 2 he uses in the Scherzo a pentatonic melody resembling Negro songs nine years before Dvorak included the better-known example in his Symphony – From the New World.” (American Grove, 1986, pp. 384 and 387) “As director of the New England Conservatory from 1897 to 1930, Chadwick was crusty, blunt, occasionally mischievous, never the aristocrat. he kept his hair short, was clean shaven save for a modest mustache, and wore wool flannel suits. A colleague once remembered that his most vivid impression of Chadwick was of the eminent composer and pedagogue eating a plate of beans on a tray at the local Hayes-Bickford cafeteria.” (Horowitz, p. 105) “He must have looked like one of those anonymous figures in an Edward Hopper painting, so well did he blend in with the typical American cityscape.” (Yellin, p. 3) Chadwick recorded his being fired from South Congregational Church as Lang had been earlier. “On the 22nd. of March [1892?] I ”resigned” from the So. Congl” Church. The entire choir did the same. For some time I had been suffereing under an incompetent tenor who had been wished on me by John Winch, and under a bass (Gardner Lamson) who sang badly out of tune. This of course I could not help but it did not make our music any better. The bolt which fired me was out of a clear sky as the committee had always professed to admire our music. I had been approached by another church some little while before but had no reason to suspect that a change would be beneficial. Consequently I was rather disgusted to get this jolt, especially as I had the new West Chop house to pay for and the rent of 903 besides. Luckily the other place was still available (it was Dr. Minens Church on Columbus Ave.) and on Apr. 30 I shook off the dust of Hale”s Church for good. I had, at the 2nd. Universalist a better organ, a better quartet, the same salary ($1,000) and no extra services. They were nice old fashioned people, all ready to be pleased. They liked to have me play quite a lot before and after [the] service which I quite enjoyed. Eventually we got together quite a ”star” quartet, in which Mme Louise Homer. the now distinguished artist of the Metropolitan Opera Co. was the (????).”(6466-6467)

On the left hand edge is where West Street enters. That would place the first Chickering Building as the second one on the left. Postcard was printed by the Valentine & Sons of New York and Boston. The postmark was August 19, 1910. Johnston Collection.

Clark”s Boston Blue Book 1888, p. 322.

Section from an 1896 map by Geo. W. Stadlty & Co. Tremont Street is in the lower section (where the word “Subway” is). Th above seating chart was for Chickering Hall as it existed c. 1883-1894 when it was on the second floor of 152 Tremont Street. Previously, 1860-70 Chickering Hall was at 246 Washington Street.

Jonas Chickering from “The Jonas Chickering Centennial Celebration,” 1924.

Chickering Hall. In May 1870, Dwight reported on the closing of Chickering”s Hall at 246 Washington Street after ten years at this location. The building was then leased to Jordan, Marsh & Co. It had been “completed in the fall of 1860 with a formal dedication concert on November 3, 1860.” Lang”s quickly established position within the Boston musical establishment is reflected by his inclusion among the dedicatory musicians. “There was a brilliant audience of musical people present, and Mrs. Harwood, Messrs. Dresel, Lang, Leonhard and Parker, Miss Mary Fay, the Mendelssohn Quintette Club and the Orpheus Club took part in the exercises.” (Dwight, May 21, 1870, p. 247) Three years later Dwight reported on the new hall-“a building beautifully situated, constructed according to their own ideal both of use and taste, and admirable in every way.” Dwight then reprinted specifics from an article in the Advertiser. “It was built on the John Parker estate, next to the Mason and Hamlin building on Tremont Street.” Designed by Peabody & Stearns, it was five stories in height and fronted both on Tremont and Mason Streets.. “In the first story there are two entrances, with a large show window occupying the entire space between them. This window has a single sheet of plate glass, making one of the largest in the city… In the fourth story are three rooms for music teachers, one of which is taken by Mr. B. J. Lang…Chickering & Sons are now turning out nearly three thousand pianos a year.” (Dwight, 1873-75) A later hall was dedicated November 7, 1883, located at 151 and 153 Tremont Street. Had a total of 667 seats on the floor and balcony [above diagram shows 462]. There was an earlier version on Washington Street, near Sumner Street. “The Messrs. Chickering & Sons have moved into their new warerooms, in the elegant building just completed on the corner of Avon Place, Washington St… One of their rooms has been constructed purely for a music room, suitable for choice chamber concerts, music parties, and large enough for three or four hundred persons. It is a very beautiful and attractive hall.” (Dwight, March 31, 1860, p. 7) Later that year Dwight described the room in more detail: “The room itself deserves our first attention by the elegance of its arrangements and decoration, and its general fitness for the purposes for which it is intended. The coloring of the walls and ceiling is of chaste and delicate shades, tastefully and artistically set off and relieved by gilding and some admirably painted panels. The lighting was profuse amd brilliant, giving the finest effect to the details of the architectural decorations. Flowers, too, of the most beautiful, upon the platform, added much to the general effect. The chestnut seats are very comfortable, and graceful in their design. The acoustic properties of this room are excellent, both for the instrumental and vocal music, either losing, so far as we could perceive, any of their due effect.” (Dwight, November 10, 1860, p. 262) The “Boston Musical Times” described the room as having an “admirable acoustic” and decorated with “chaste elegance… Three hundred people can be seated comfortably, and for Chamber Concerts and Soirees, ”Chickering”s Saloon” will again take its position as the most fashionable and beautiful in the city.” (BMT, October 20, 1860, p. 281) In 1872 it was reported: “Chickering”s New Piano Rooms were open to the public April 16th. We venture to say that no rooms, devoted to a similar purpose in the world present a more magnificent appearance. From basement to attic, we find proof of the enterprise and energy of the successful firm.” (Folio, June 1872) The last Chickering Hall was located at 239 Huntington Avenue where the Commemoration of the 80th Birthday of the company was held in 1903.

Chickering Hall, 239 Huntington Avenue, COMMEMORATION, facing p. 88.

Clefs, The. A social club formed on October 31, 1881 which began with sixty members, “(three fourths of that number being professionally connected with music”) who agreed “to spend the third Wednesday evenings of October, November, December, January, February, March and April together… [for] social intercourse, with some refreahmenta and a musical or other entertainment… Each member shall pay a yearly assessment of eight dollars, the same being due October 1, or at the time of election.” (BPL Lang Prog., 6594) At the yearly Annual Meeting eight Masters were elected-their job was to organize the program for each meeting “which should not exceed an hour in length. Said Master shall furnish for our club-room, if we have one, a pianoforte, and such other musical instruments as he may desire for his month; he shall provide such at his own expense, and in every musical detail shall have absolute authority.” Each member was allowed to bring just one guest per meeting at a payment of $1.25. (6595) The Masters chosen for 1882-83 were L. C. Elson, Arthur Foote, John Orth, C. Petersilea, S. B. Whitney and B. J. Lang with two Auxiliaries, William F. Apthorp and Otto Bendix. (6592) The Secretary, Arthur P. Schmidt sent out a printed announcement of the “fifth Social Meeting” of the 1882-83 season to be held at Berkeley Hall, corner of Berkeley and Tremont Streets on Wednesday Evening, March 21, 1883 at 7:30PM. A short article mentioned “an embarrasment of riches at the last meeting” which included performances of which the “most notable morceaux were a Mozart sonata, with accompaniment for a second piano by Grieg” played by Lang and Foote. (Foote Scrapbooks)

Clement, E. H. From 1874-1881 he “had been devoting especial attention, as assistant editor [of the Boston Transcript]… to dramatic and musical subjects.” (Chamberlin, p. 206) In 1881, the paper began a musical and drama department with Apthorp as the head of the department “writing the leading critical articles on both music and the theatre while Mr. Jenks [Francis H. Jenks] did the regular and constructive work of the department, and indeed everything that Mr. Apthorp did not choose to take in hand.” (Ibid)

Cochran, Jessie. She played at the fifth HMA Concert on February 12, 1880 where she was described as “a gifted pupil of Von Bulow and of Mr. Lang.” She played the Piano Concerto by Louis Brassin, never yet heard in this country.” (Dwight, January ??, 1880, p. 4)

Columbian Exposition, Chicago 1893. “Two halls were built, Music Hall, a section of the beautiful architectural composite whose dominating feature was the Peristyle bounding the east side of the Court of Honor, and Festival Hall, situated between the Transportation and Horticultural buildings, fronting an arm of the lagoon west of the Wooded Island; the one cost $132,000, the other $90,000.” Musical Year Book, 1892-93, p. XXIV) For the Festival Hall Farrand and Votey of Detroit a large concert organ in the center of the stage. A total of 197 concerts were given during the Exposition:

Pay Concerts

  • 32 Orchestral, by Exposition Orchestra
  • 2 Orchestral Boston Symphony Orchestra
  • 2 Orchestral New York Symphony Orchestra
  • 27 Choral, Exposition Orchestra used
  • 2 Choral given with Orchestra, but after the Exposition Orchestra had disbanded
  • 7 Choral without Orchestra
  • 3 Chamber Concerts, by Kneisel Quartet
  • 62 Organ concerts

137 Concerts with paid admission

Free Concerts

  • 53 orchestral, by Exposition orchestra in Festival and Music Halls
  • 3 orchestral, by Exposition Orchestra in Woman”s Building
  • 2 orchestral, by Exposition Orchestra in Music Pavilion, Exposition Grounds, east
  • 2 Pianoforte Recitals

60 Free Concerts

“One dollar was the usual charge for all seats (reserved) at concerts given with orchestra; 25 cents was the standard admission price to all organ concerts.” (Musical Year Book, 1892-93, p. XXVI)

Critics. “H-T-P” = Henry Taylor Parker who was the music critic of the “Boston Evening Transcript” for thirty years. Formerly a resident of 132 Bowdoin Street, he was in 1935 living at the Hotel Vendome &ndash” “respectable, Puritan, and the excellent haven of neo-elderly ladies.” (McCord, p. 4) “William Aptorp”s writings appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, the Sunday Courier, the Boston Traveler, and the Boston Evening Trasnscript. Howard Ticknor wrote for the Boston Advertiser, Boston Globe, and Boston Herald, and was assistant editor of the Atlantic Monthly. Louis C. Elson edited the Musical Herald, and appeared in the Boston Courier and Boston Advertiser. Philip Hale contibuted to the Boston Home Journal, Boston Post, the Boston Herald, and Musical Courier, and edited the Musical Record and Musical World. One writer on music, Benjamin Woolf, had been born in England and exercised an extremely retrogressive taste in his writings for the Saturday Evening Gazette and, later, the Herald. He raged at contemporary local American musicians, sometimes including Foote, with ridicule and invective.” (Tara, Foote, p. 112) George H. Wilson, a boyhood friend and schoolmate of George Chadwick, “had been the critic of the Boston Post and for ten years edited the Boston Musical Yearbook.” In 1892 he was the assistant to Theordore Thomas in arranging the music for the 1893 Columbian Exposition. (6462)

Photo from the Orpheus Club of Springfield, MA website. Cutter conducted this male voice choir from 1890-1894.

Cutter, Mr. E. Jr. Listed as the pianist for the Apollo Club concert on Wednesday May 4, 1898 (BPL Prog., Vol. 7) Cutter gave two organ recitals during 1897 and 1898 sponsored by the Twentieth Century Club of Boston who were motivated “by the lack of public appreciation of organ recitals characteristic of that city.” (Elson, p. 274)

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King”s HANDBOOK OF BOSTON, 1878, p. 144.

Daily Advertiser. Daily paper formed in 1813. Described in 1889 as a paper which “has always been the organ of a select constituency among the wealthier and more conservative classes. Its politics are Republican… The afternoon annex of the Advertiser, however, a one-cent paper, The Record, is as frisky and sensational as its parent is sedate, and is a newsy and popular little sheet.” (Grieve, p. 103) . Eleven years earlier, in 1878, The Daily Advertiser on Court Street was described as “the oldest daily in Boston,” and it enjoyed “a substantial prosperity, its circulation being principally among the wealthy and cultivated people of Boston and New England.” It was Republican, and aimed “to represent the advanced and enlightened wing of the party.” The writers gave “to the paper a conservative and cultured tone, which, together with its literary features,” made “it acceptable to a class of readers whose influence was far out of proportion to their numbers.” The Advertiser was “a large folio, well printed on good paper.” (King, p. 144) Louis Elson was the Music Critic from 1886 until his death in 1920.

Daniels, Mabel. b. November 27, 1879 and d. March 10, 1971 [Just over a year before Margaret”s death on May 30, 1972]. Long time friend of Margaret”s who wrote her a letter of introduction to Victor Gluth when she went to Munich in 1903. After returning to America, she “joined the mixed chorus of the Cecilia Society in order to learn more about orchestration and scores, since she herself played no orchestral instrument.” (Ammer, Unsung-Century Edition, p. 108) “Daniels came from a culturally-elite family established by her father in his position as the president of the Handel and Haydn Society.” (Blunsom, p. 33) “Her grandfather, William Daniels, was an organist and member of the Handel and Haydn Society from 1844-1886, and her maternal grandfather was a choir director. Both Daniels” parents sang with the Handel and Haydn Society, and her father was president of that organization from 1899 to 1908 [Just after B. J.”s two years as conductor of that choir]… George Daniels [Mabel”s father] was also a personal friend of B. J. Lang… Aside from [Mabel] Daniels, her parents and grandfather, there were at least eight other members of the Daniels family that belonged to the Handel and Haydn Society.” (Blunsom, p. 65) Margaret, Mrs. Beach and three other women were the judges in a contest for a new Girl Scout Song-a contest that Mabel Daniels won.(Musical America XXVIII/21, 21 Sept. 1918, p. 19 illustrations) Margaret wrote to Mabel on June 27, 1953 that every ten years she reviewed her book collection with the aim of removing items that were no longer of interest. “As always – I fall upon ”American Girl in Munich” saying to myself – ”This must surely go, at last.” Then I sit down to reinforce my decision, after a space of timelessness, I find I have been sitting absorbed in its pages, – & for the subsequent three evenings have read every word from beginning to end, – back it goes on to my shelves with hoarded treasures.” She then mentioned: “This week it has been extremely delightful – because of my mother”s daily journal of our Munich days – dug up by my sister from the past.” (Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, Mabel Daniels Papers, MC 266) It is probable that the Munich music student experiences of both women were somewhat the same.

Dixey, Mr. Richard C. (b. Nov. 11, 1844, MA) Ellen S[turgis] (b. Newburg, NY on February 11, 1849, MA)(1897 Passport Application). They were married on April 16, 1875 at Marblehead, which was listed as his current residence and place of birth, by the Rev. Chandler Robbins. Her full maiden name was Ellen Sturgis Tappan and her place of birth was Boston. His occupation was listed as Musician.(Marriage Certif.) The 1900 census lists his occupation as “Capitalist” who owned his home at 44 Beacon Street which had five servants, and as of that date, he had been married 25 years and had two children: Arthur Sturgis Dixey, born November 21, 1880 and Rosamond Dixey, born June 10, 1887. (1897 Passport Application)

Mr. Dixey had accompanied the Langs on their European trip of late May until late August of 1866. (Excerpts from Frances” Note Book, p. 1) An ad in the Evening Transcript stated: “Mr. R. C. Dixey, Teacher of Piano-Forte and Organ, Rooms 554 Washington Street. Mr. Dixey will be in Boston and ready to resume his lessons on and after Monday, October 1st.” (Evening Transcript, October 3, 1866, p. 4, GenBank) His Passport Application of May 10, 1866 described him as: age-21; stature-5″ 9 and 1/4″; forehead-high; eyes-hazel; nose-straight; mouth-medium; chin-square; hair-dark; complexion-dark; face-regular, and his birthplace-Marblehead, MA., November 9th., 1844. He also went with Langs to Europe in the fall of 1869, and his Passport Application for that year was witnessed by Hiram G. Tucker. He was then 24. As he was the accompanist for the vocalists at a concert Tuesday evening January 12, 1864 where B. J. Lang was the featured artist, it can be assumed that he studied piano with Lang. The vocalists were Miss J. A. Houston soprano and Mr. H. C. Barnabee bass. This was held at the New Bedford Lyceum (BPL Prog., Vol. 1) Dixie also opened the program at a Lang organized concert at Salem”s Mechanic Hall on Monday evening March 10, 1865. (Ibid) He was an assisting artist in a “Soiree Musicale” in Aid of the Fair for “For Dumb Animals,” organized under the patronage of Mrs. W. M. Appleton, Mrs. R. E. Apthorp, and Mrs. G. J. F. Bryant held at Mechanic Hall on Wednesday evening, November 29, 1871. Dr. Langmaid also assisted along with Miss Alice Lang, a vocalist. The program did not list the specific repertoire that Mr. Dixey played although the selections for the other artists were listed (HMA Program Collection). Mr. Richard C. Dixey presented selections from Wagner”s Lohengrin at Mechanic”s Hall on April 27th., 1872. “We noticed eminent musicians, artists, and literateurs.” Dixey was “assisted by able talent, and [the performance] was one of the most enjoyable [events] of the season.” (Folio, June 1872) Another item in the same issue said: “The musical season in Boston may be said to have closed on April 30th.” (Ibid)

Arthur Sturgis Dixey (son of above, b. November 1880) left a colored drawing in the Lang Family Guest Book dated August 3, 1896. (6767) Ellen Sturgis Dixey, Arthur”s mother, did the same dated June 27, 1897, and under the drawing are also the signatures of Richard C. Dixey and Rosamond Dixey (daughter, b. June 10, 1887 at Boston) (1900 Census). (6770) A Passport Application dated July 12, 1897 was for Mr. Dixey, his wife, and son and daughter, and then projected return date was Autumn 1898. At this point he listed homes in Boston and Lenox, MA, and the describtions now included: chin-square, pointed beard; hair-dark, turning gray. In 1909 Mrs. Dixey was a Patroness of a French Play as was Mrs. B. J. Lang. At one of the performances Mr. Dixey organized a party that included his daughter-Miss Rosamond Dixey. Was that name chosen to honor the connection with the Lang family? (Herald, December 26, 1909, p. 24, Gen Bank)

Arthur S. Dixey died in Seoul, Korea on July 26, 1905. The cause was “heart failure, following an illness of a week, during which he received every attention.” (Herald, July 28, 1905, p. 7, GenBank) He had graduated from Harvard in 1902, then entered Harvard Law School and had passed the bar examination. He spoke and wrote in both French and German, and his posting to Korea was as the secretary to Ambassador Edwin D. Morgan which seemed to indicate a career in the foreign service. He had been in Korea less than a year before his illness. Arthur was responsible for the costumes and scenery for the Hasty Pudding Club musical of 1902 for which Malcolm Lang composed the music.

The 1910 census lists Richard C. Dixey as aged 65 with “Own Income” and his wife, Ellen S. Dixey as 61. Rosamond S. was still living at home, aged 22, and Mary A. Tappan, “Sister-in-law,” single, aged 59, also with “Own Income.” This household of four was supported by a staff of six. (1910 Census)

In January 1915 Richard “threw himself from a third-story window of his home at 44 Beacon Street yesterday and was dead when discovered. Dixey had been suffering from a nervous disorder for some time…Richard C. Dixey was retired. He had lived in the Beacon Street house for nearly 40 years. He was born in Marblehead, and was recognized at one time as a most accomplished pianist…Mr. Dixey had a summer place in Lenox he called ”Tanglewood.”” (Herald, January 20, 1915, p. 2, Genbank) This house had been inherited by his wife and her sister, Miss Mary Tappen. It eventually became the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. While at Tanglewood the previous summer Dixey had been “under the treatment of Dr. Bruce Paddock, and he returned to Boston in November in better health and spirits than on his arrival at his country house. Over 40 years Mr. Dixey had been going to Lenox for resort and recreation.” (Springfield Republican, January 20, 1915, p. 11, GenBank) He was described as “an accomplished musician, dilettante of fine arts, linguist, highly accomplished and well read,” and he “drew abouthim and to Lenox musicians and scholars who made up his group of friends. Several of these guests, including Timothee Adamoski, gave concerts at Tanglewood.” (Ibid) His wife had been one of his piano pupils. (Ibid)

The 1920 Census lists Ellen as a widow, her sister Mary is still living with her, but Rosamond is not listed. Rosamond had married Mr. Gorham C. Brooks who was the Assistant Treasurer of Harvard University. (Herald, January 20, 1915, p. 2, GenBank) There are still six servants. (1920 Census). The building at 44 Beacon Street, four floors, 9,752 square-feet, was built in 1806 for the third mayor of Boston, Harrison Gray Otis for his daughter. In 2010 it was bought by the American Meteorological Society whose headquarters was next door at 45 Beacon Street. (BeaconHillPatch, Internet,v iewed February 11, 2011)

Dolmetsch, Arnold. “During the winter of 1905 Dolmetsch signed a contract with Chickering”s of Boston, America”s leading firm of piano makers, to open a department for the manufacture of early keyboard instruments, viols and lutes. Here he would be his own master, completely in charge of staff and the selection of materials. It is not known exactly how much he earned, but there are still visable signs of the prosperity that the family enjoyed at this, the only time in their lives when they were truly free from financial worry… There is no question that some of his best work was produced in the Chickering factory during the six years of his association with the firm.” (Campbell, pp. 168 and 169) Some he formed a viol concort and gave “intimes in his own home… These evenings usually attracted a few notables such as the Longfellows or the notorious Mrs. Jack Gardner, but they also tempted an occasional member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.” (Ibid, p. 170)

Rogers, Story of Two Lives, facing p. 74.

Dresel, Otto. (b. December 20, 1826 in Germany-d. July 26, 1890, Beverly, MA 1890). “He grew up in a progressive, intellectual home, his father being a sympathizer with the German liberal movement of 1848.” (Dic. Am. Biog., p. 449) He studied piano and composition with Hiller in Cologne and then with Mendelssohn in Leipzig. In 1842 “he was sent to Weimar… for instruction with Franz Liszt.” (Urrows, p. 346) He arrived in America, New York City, in 1848 “and was an intimate friend of Robert Franz.” (Howard, p. 223) Moved to Boston as a piano teacher in 1852, and gave piano recitals every year, perhaps because in New York, as in New Orleans, the opera with its social corollaries was more esteemed than concert music, and he felt his talent would more quickly win recognition in a more conservative city. Nor was he mistaken in his choice; his merit was soon recognized, and for more than fifteen years he held his place as Boston”s foremost resident pianist, whose interpretations of the masterpieces of the classic piano repertoire gave evidence of his taste and technique.” (Dic. Am. Biog., p. 459) “A musician of exceptional cultivation, and influential in introducing German music, he became the leading local [Boston] pianists.” (HMA Bulletin No. 16) He spent forty-two of his sixty-four years in America. “His repertoire was composed of the most interesting works of pianoforte literature, while sometimes he varied programmes by the introduction of piano trios, quartets, and quintets.” (Ritter, p. 333) Composer of “string quartets and in many forms for various purposes; distinguished for his transcriptions for the pianoforte or organ of Handel”s and Bach”s scores.” (Jenks, p.483) “He had collaborated with Robert Franz in supplying accompaniments for the vocal scores of Bach and Handel, and he took special pains to make the Franz songs known. His original compositions include piano pieces, songs, chamber music, an ”Army hymn” for solo, chorus, and orchestra (Boston, Jan. 1, 1863), and a setting of Longfellow”s ”In memoriam,” soprano and orchestra, to commemorate the fiftieth birthday of Louis Agassiz.” (Dic. Am. Biog., p. 450) “Arthur Foote, who knew both men well, specifically called Dresel Dwight”s ”counselor.”” (Urrows, p. 345) Julia Ward Howe “noted that he [Dresel] was ”almost idolized by Mr. Dwight.” (Urrows, p. 351) Dwight described Dresel in 1853 as being “nervous, fastidious, self-exacting, critical, anxiously loyal to an artistic ideal…despising all parade of mere performance, somewhat moody… and with a touch of genius in him…All this charms the like-minded and wins upon the thoughtful, but is apt to prepossess unfavoably those who look to externals.” (Urrows, p. 345) “Whereas New Yorkers did not appreciate a “cerebral player, with contempt for popular tastes… [who] could be caustic and abusive at the slightest provocation… Bostonians readily accepted Dresel, and he immediately became the leading pianist and accompanist in the city during the 1850s and 1860s. Musicians and audiences considered him a highly intellectual performer, even from the very beginning. His concerts were held on Tremont Street in a small hall, which was called ”the upper room” by many in his audience..His word, William Foster Apthorp would later write, was law.” (Urrows, p. 351) Dresel could be caustic about his fellow musicians: Carl Zerrahn, or “the big Z” as Dresel called him. was described as a “perfectly unable leader.” (Urrows, p. 355 and 371) In a letter to Dwight, Dresel complained about William Foster Apthorp who was Dwight”s correspondent i