COMPOSER-BJL. SC(G). WC.
Word Count- 5,836. 9/28/2020.
Although Lang composed in many forms, he destroyed all of his manuscripts. Mathews writes: “Mr. Lang’s compositions are mostly in manuscript. His chief work is an oratorio of David. It is of decided interest. The form is essentially original. The story of David is told mainly in recitative, with accompanying orchestral description, and the psalms or parts of them supposed to have been written at the time are then treated as choruses, quartette, or in other appropriate lyric forms. The events thus go on in chronological order, the first part ending with the chant of the old-time church, and the second or last part, with a great chorus set to one of the Messianic psalms. It is not altogether to the credit of Boston that a work of this magnitude, by a local composer, should have been left so long unheard, (this was written in 1889) but this very likely may be due to the composer’s modesty.” (Mathews, 429) B. J.’s wife noted in her Diary in 1871, “Lel has been working on his Oratorio.” (Diary-2, 1871)
In 1904 Louis Elson wrote: “As a composer, we cannot speak of this remarkable musician, for although he has written much, he has not printed anything, and very seldom allows any of his works to be heard. The present writer has, long since, had a few auditions of some of the smaller compositions of Mr. Lang, and they were fluent, graceful, and musicianly. But it is evident that this veteran conductor does not wish to be considered as a composer. Both he and Mr. Thomas have, in letters, declined the composer’s title, yet their work for music in America has gone far beyond the creation of a symphony or an opera, for they have taught the public how to appreciate the best music, and have made it familiar with the modern masterpieces.” (Elson, 261)
The 1921 Groves article stated that B.J. also wrote “symphonies, overtures, chamber music, pieces for the pianoforte, church music, and many songs.” (Grove, 632) This was probably based on an 1889 music dictionary entry: “His works, which are as yet are in MS., comprise an Oratorio, David; several symphonies and overtures for orchestra; and a large number of compositions in almost every form of church, chamber, and pianoforte music, besides many songs. Of these about one hundred and fifty works of church music (Te Deum, Anthems, etc), and a few songs and fugitive pieces have been performed.” (Chaplin/Apthorp, 420 and 421) The list below gives a detailed record of performances-there are no David performances, although Frances made reference to it; no symphonic works at all, and with the various symphonic concerts that Lang organized throughout his career, he certainly the opportunity to program such works if they existed; no chamber works, and again in his chamber music concerts such works could have appeared; and, the number of church works does not relate to reality. Lang’s pupil and friend, William Foster Apthorp was the “Critical Editor” of this musical cyclopedia; it is strange that he allowed so much false information to appear, some of which continues to reappear today. In a letter to Upton dated April 10, 1925, Margaret wrote, “He was never willing to publish anything! So it is now impossible to lay hold upon any of his music whatever.”
Margaret was not quite correct in that last statement. Before he went to study in Europe, Lang “harmonized” a book of Bible Songs written by Marion Dix Sullivan. It was published in Boston with a date of 1856, and Lang is listed as “Mr. J. B. [sic] Lang, Organist, Salem, Mass.” Then, after he had returned from Europe, he again worked with Ms. Sullivan on a new, larger collection of “Hymns and Tunes” called Youthful Voices. This was also published in Boston, but by a larger publishing house, Oliver Ditson & Co. in 1862. One of his male partsongs, HI-FI-LIN-KE-LE was published by the Apollo Club; separate choral scores for T I and II and Bass I and II are in the Boston Public Library Music Division Collection, but the piano accompaniment is missing. Arthur Foote said that “The only thing in his musical career to regret is his steady refusal to bring his compositions before the public; there is no doubt that a genuine loss to American composition was the result.” (Foote quoted in Grove-American-Ledbetter, 10-11)
In 1854, when he was 16, B. J. mentions in his Diary for September 23, 1854: “Wrote more on a piece I am composing.” Thirteen days later: “Finished a Fantasia which I shall play at Adam’s concert.” The next day: “Father and I copied some of my Fantasia.” (Diary 1 entries, September 10, 1854, September 23, 1854 and September 24, 1854) A week later he “saw Hill at 12 and we went to Lange’s [who would this be?] to show him my first composition; he said it was quite good.” (Diary 1, October 4, 1854)
An ad in the Traveler of March 21, 1856, p. 3 showed him as an assisting artist for a performance of “Dramatic Recitations” by William Hawes. This concert, at the Hall of the Mercantile Library Association on Summer Street, had Lang performing solos and duets with the violinist W. H. Schultze. One of Lang’s solos was an original piece, “Fantastic Original.”
The first mention of a mature Lang composition probably is the performance of his song Breath of Spring which was sung by Mrs. J. H. Long at a Mendelssohn Quintette Club concert on Friday, January 28, 1859 where Lang served only as accompanist for two songs. This was Lang’s fourth appearance with the club-his first had been less than a year before, on February 2, 1858. (Dowell, 363 and 371) Dwight devoted about one-quarter of his review to Lang’s song. “Mr. Lang’s setting of the little ”Spring” song which we translated from the German in one of our numbers of last April:
O’er the garden hear the voices!
Birds of passage on their flight!
Spring is coming, earth rejoices,
Grass is springing all the night, etc.,
struck us as very felicitous. Truly a charming song and true to the spirit of the lines; a clear, simple, natural melody, if not marked by any rare individuality. The figures of the accompaniment, lying so natural to the easy play of the pianist composer’s figures [fingers?], were quite suggestive.” (Dwight (February 5, 1850): 358)
In Worcester, on February 7, 1861 he played his own Impromptu at a concert where he acted as accompanist for Giorgio Stignelli. (Program, GB)
At an 1862 concert “In Aid of Sick and Wounded Soldiers” B. J. accompanied, played the works of other composers, and included his own Impromptu–he also played “Concert Variations on America,” and as no composer was listed, one would assume that he was the composer, or he improvised the piece; this piece was also included in his August 29, 1869 concert at Hancock Hall in Ellsworth Maine. 1862 also saw the inclusion of his Impromptu in A Flat in a recital in New Bedford, MA.
In addition to the improvisations that he included in most of his Boston Music Hall organ recitals, on August 13, 1864, he played his own Berceuse. Dwight’s review said that it was “but a breath, fine-drawn and delicate, truly melodious.Such breezy pine-tree murmurs are surpassingly rendered by the Dolce in the Swell of this instrument.” (Dwight (August 20, 1864): 295)
For a concert at South Church, Salem on February 19, 1866, the quartet choir opened the second half with Lang’s Te Deum Laudamus #2 in E flat. He probably accompanied as he played other pieces in this concert. Also in 1866 at an appearance at the New Bedford Lyceum, he played his arrangement of the Slumber Song by Weber and his own Fantasie in A flat, while at performances in Providence and Salem he repeated the Weber and performed his own Fantasie in E flat. At a “Grand organ Concert” at North Church, Haverhill on Friday evening December 14, 1866, Lang played Eichberg’s Romance in F for violin and organ with Mr. Suck, and as a solo, his own Fantasia Upon Danish and Holland Airs. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol 1)
A February 14, 1868 concert at the South Congregational Church, Union Park Street included the Lang song Bow Down Thine Ear sung by Mr. James Whitney. Programs played at Hingham and Milton MA in 1868 included Caprices in C Major and A Flat Major. Three Caprices are listed in a January 1869 New England Conservatory concert held at Chickering Hall, and the Caprices in C and A Flat were repeated at another New England Conservatory Concert in May of the same year. A review of January 30 mentions these three Caprices. “Instead of three as the programme indicated, one caprice of his own [was played]. If the suppressed two are as attractive as the one performed, it was a pity the audience should have been deprived of them.” (Boston Daily Advertiser (Saturday morning, January 30, 1869): 1) At a concert at the Church of the Good Samaritan, Gloucester Place, on Wednesday evening, December 30, 1868, Lang played Chopin’s’ Scherzo in B Flat Opus 31 and Fantasia on Themes by Weber arranged by Liszt. In the same program Lang’s song The Violet was sung by Miss Rametti for whom it was composed. G. W. Sumner was the accompanist for this concert. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 1)
The third Caprice would seem to be one in C Minor that was part of a concert given in March 1869. A June 12, 1869 recital by B. J. at the South Congregational Church, Union Park Street included his song Have Mercy, O Lord. European concerts dating from December 1869 through May of 1870 show an extended period spent abroad. A December 28, 1869 solo piano concert was given at the Hotel de Rome in Berlin with pieces by Beethoven, Chopin, Bach (2), Mendelssohn, and Liszt’s transcription of a work by Weber. Almost the same program was given on March 11, 1870, in Dresden, but also included were the Phantasien in A dur and C dur. A review from a Dresden paper described these works as “cleverly invented and particularly distinguished by enchaining modulation.” (Dwight (April 8. 1870): 224) At the May 13, 1870 concert in Vienna, B. J. had a guest artist [Adams, Diary Excerpts, 5] from the Vienna Opera who sang his Spring, Spinning Song, Love, and The 86th Psalm. A January 1869 New England Conservatory concert program listed that B. J. would play three of his own Caprices; he only played one. “If the suppressed two are as attractive as the one performed, it was a pity the audience should have been deprived of them. (Advertiser (January 30, 1969): 1) On December 9, 1870, Lang included his Christmas Song at another New England Conservatory concert.
The Thursday evening, April 4, 1871 concert at Mechanics Hall, corner of Bedford and Chancey Streets which was in aid of the “Horticultural School for Women” included his Spinning Song in A Major and Caprice in C Major for piano and his vocal solos Christmas Song, The Two Roses, and Her I Love. (BPL Lang Programs, Vol. 1) At a concert to benefit “Robert Collyer and Family” given by the quartet-choir of South Congregational Church on Saturday, October 21, 1871, B. J. improvised and his songs Mary Stood the Cross Beside and Bow Down Thine Ear; the quartet included Mrs. Julia Houston-West-soprano, Mrs. John F. Winch-contralto, Mr. William J. Winch-tenor, and Mr. John F. Winch-bass (William and John Winch were to appear often as soloists with the Handel and Haydn Society).
Among the pieces for the Easter service at South Congregational Church in 1873 were these by Lang: The World Itself Keeps Easter Day, Gloria, Hymn, Easter Carol and Te Deum in E flat.
At an organ concert at the Chapel of the Second Church on February 7, 1874, B. J. included his Spinning Song and Caprice in A Major. The Spinning Song in A Major was repeated at the April 16, 1874 recital at the Essex Institute Hall in Salem, MA together with the Caprice in C Major. The Apollo Club program of March 3, 1874 included two of his solo songs: The Two Roses and Her I Love sung by W. J. Winch and these were repeated at a private concert at the home of Charles Wood of Commonwealth Avenue three days later. During the mid-1870s Lang would often include in his solo recitals two or three of his own compositions spread throughout the program. (BPL Lang Programs, Vol. 2)
The Apollo Club presented his setting of The Sea King (“Come sing, come sing, of the great Sea-King, And the fame that now hang’s o’er him” etc.) at their March 9, 1880 concert; it had also been sung previously at their June 1, 1874 concert. There it was listed as a duet for baritones, and in 1874 it was performed as a duet by the brothers Winch, and Dwight’s review described the piece as “in rather an old English bravura style, full of roulades, which showed their voices and their execution to advantage.” (Dwight (June 13, 1874): 247) Dwight’s review of 1880 commented: “Mr. Lang’s Sea King duet is in the rollicking old English bravura style, with plenty of ”go” in it, and made a lively effect as sung by the two basses [Dr. Bullard and Mr. J. F. Winch].” (Dwight (April 10, 1880): 62) Another part song, Who Comes So Gracefully (“Who comes so gracefully, gliding along, While the blue rivulet sleeps to her song” etc.) was sung by the Apollo Club on June 1, 1874 and again on March 9, 1875. Dwight called it “a romantic, graceful partsong.” (Dwight, Op. cit., 247)
At his self-promoted concerts at Mechanic’s Hall on March 6 and 20, 1879, B. J. included his songs The Two Roses (March 6), Absence, and Here I Love (March 20). Dwight mentioned that “Mr. Lang’s Two Roses, a graceful, dainty fancy, was heartily appreciated.” (Dwight (March ??, 1879): 54) no mention was made of the two songs in the March 20 concert. Mr. J. F. Winch performed Ho! Pretty Page at the May 15, 1879 concert, and the Courier of May 15, 1879 reported: “Mr. Lang’s song created the only genuine enthusiasm of the evening. It fully deserved the heartiness of its reception, being an expressive piece of vocal writing with a stirring accompaniment, the effect of which, however, would be lost if instructed to less skillful hands than Mr. Lang’s. Mr. Winch sang it with evident appreciation of its beauties, but not without his accustomed distinctness of enunciation.” The Transcript said: “A charming new composition by Mr. B. J. Lang was sung by Mr. Winch and warmly encored.” It was the only encore of the evening. (Scrapbook) Dwight’s Journal noted: “Mr. Lang’s setting of Thackeray’s ”Ho, pretty page,” catches and reproduces the fine pathetic humor of the verses, and is a fresh, genial, fascinating bit of music. As sung by Mr. Winch it took the audience almost off their feet, and had to be repeated.” (Dwight (May 24, 1879): 86)
The Sea King, a duet for baritones was included in the March 9, 1880 performance. The Advertiser reported: “Mr. Lang’s The Sea King, a superb song, in which musical form and poetic thought are welded together with intense imaginative heat, was sung by Dr. Ballard and Mr. John F. Winch in an interesting way, though the difficulties of the number demanded the first freshness of their voices and not that modicum which remained after an evening of hard vocal work.” (Scrapbook) At an 1880 concert at the Town Hall in Groton, MA Spinning Song in A Major and Diversion in C Major were included. At the May 1890 concert by the Cecilia, three songs by Lang were performed by Mr. W. J. Winch, tenor to “loud applause.” However, Philip Hale felt that “the first two of which perhaps suffer from exuberant piano accompaniments, though in the setting of Lowell the richness of the piano part seems not out of place.” (BPL, Hale Crit, Vol. 1)
For “An Evening With Prof. Longfellow” in 1881, Lang composed The Hymn of the Moravian Nuns. The Cecilia gave premiere performances of B.J.’s The Chase (Apr. 12, 1882), Sing Maiden, Sing (Feb. 4, 1886), and the first Boston performance of his The King Is Dead. (Hill, 22) John F. Winch sang The Chase, with a two stanza poem by C. Kingsley, and the Sixth Annual Report by the President of Cecilia said that the song “achieved a remarkable success for the brilliancy of the composition, the spirited rendering by Mr. John Winch, and the effective accompaniment by the composer.” “The only encore of the concert was gained by Mr. J. F. Winch in a hunting song by Mr. Lang. It is bright, dashing composition, with the usual empty fifths, etc. Mr. Winch sang it with spirit, but without any especial shading.” Another reviewer noted that “Mr. Lang’s original compositions are so rarely heard, but invariably with such pleasure, that his new song, The Chase, was awaited with an interest that was much more than curiosity. His setting of Kingsley’s exhilarating lines, by its hearty directness of utterance and spontaneity, as well as by the delicate suggestion of its melody, is full of the oxygen of out-door life as intensified and concentrated by exciting sport. The piano accompaniment (played by Mr. Lang) pictures brilliantly the dash and the impetuous rush of the riders to be ”in at the death.” Mr. Winch’s singing of the song was most effective, and he was compelled by the applause to repeat the closing lines.” The Courier reviewer felt that “The chief fault of his work was that there was no lightness in the repetition of the opening phrase.” (Cecilia Program Clippings) It must also be noted that this reviewer found something negative in most everything that was presented. Mr. Winch repeated The Chase during a February 27, 1884 concert given for the Boston Art Club.
The Apollo concerts of February 20 and 25, 1884 included Lang’s setting of the Swedish folk-song, Hi-fe-lin-ke-le. At Miss Elene Buffington Kebow’s Concert at Chickering Hall on May 28, 1885, B. J. included his Nocturne. At the February 4, 1886 concert of the Cecilia, Miss Bockus (a member of the Club) sang Sing, Maiden, Sing. (Yearbook, Vol. 3, p. 52) On May 12 and 17, 1886, the Apollo premiered B. J’s My True Love Hath My Heart (poem by Sir Philip Sidney, 1580)(on May 17 “Supported by violins”- Wilson Yearbook, 1885-86, 51) and repeated his Hi-fe-lin-ke-le; both pieces had been written for the group. Lang composed two solo songs for the Apollo concerts of April 29/May 4, 1885 which included only works of Boston composers. The first was entitled Nocturne (poem by T. B. Aldrich) for tenor, which was premiered by Mr. George J. Parker. This piece was also programmed at the Apollo Club concerts of April 27 and May 2, 1887, and again on April 29 and May 4, 1891. The second solo song was The Lass of Carlisle which was sung by Mr. C. E. Hay. Both of these soloists were members of the Apollo Club, and both appeared as soloist with the Handel and Haydn Society during this period. (Boston Musical Year Book, Vol. 2 1884-85, 45)
From Knickerbocker Magazine, 1851. Researched by Herb Zeller, Historian of the Apollo Club.
At a December 2, 1887 concert, Lang was still playing his Spinning Song and Diversion in C Major, pieces written twenty years earlier. Indeed, the Diversion in C Major was played at a Wheaton Seminary concert on December 14, 1892 and for the Boston Tea Party Chapter of the DAR in late 1895.
For the Cecilia concert on May 22, 1890, Mr. W. J. Winch sang songs by Handel and Raff and three songs by B. J. Lang. Aladdin’s Lamp, Sing, Maiden Sing and Cradle Song were performed to Lang’s accompaniment. (Yearbook, Vol. 8, p. 16)
Aladdin’s Lamp. James Russell Lowell.
When I was a beggarly boy, And lived in a cellar damp, I had not a friend or a toy, But I had Aladdin’s lamp.
When I could not sleep for cold, I had fire enough in my brain; And builded with roof of gold My beautiful castles in Spain.
Since then I have toiled day and night, I have money and power good store, But I’d give all my lamps silver bright For the one that is mine no more.
Take, Fortune, whatever you choose; You gave, and may snatch again; I’ve nothing ‘twould pain me to lose, For I’ve no more castles in Spain.
Sing, Maiden, Sing. Barry Cornwall.
Sing, maiden, sing; mouths were made for singing. Listen! Songs thou’lt hear through the wide world ringing; songs from the birds; songs from seas and streams; even from sweet flowers.
Hearest thou the rain, how it gently falleth? Hearest thou the bird, who from forest calleth? Hearest thou the bee o’er the sunflower ringing? Tell us, maiden, now shouldst thou not be singing?
Hearest thou the breeze round the rose-bud sighing? And the small sweet rose love to love replying? So shouldst thou reply to the prayer we’re bringing: so that bud, thy mouth, should burst forth in singing.
Cradle Song. Words from the German by Charles T. Brooks.
Evening is balmy and cool in the west, lulling the golden bright meadows to rest. Twinkle like silver stars in the skies, greeting the two slumbering eyes. Now all the flowers are gone to repose, all the sweet odor-cups peacefully close. Blossoms rock’d lightly on evening’s mild breeze, drowsily, dreamily swing the trees. Sweetly sleep! Sweetly sleep! Thy watch the good angels in Paradise keep. Sweetly sleep.
Wise little elves by the light of the moon, sing to my darling a lullaby soon. Rise from your cells in the cups of the flowers, weave him a golden dream all the night hours. Sleep till the flowers are opening once more, sleep till the lark in the morning shall soar, sleep till the golden bells” heavenly chime festively welcomes the morning’s prime, Sweetly sleep! Sweetly sleep! Thy watch the good angels in Paradise keep. Sweetly sleep!
A Te Deum Laudamus in F was performed as part of the 165th. Anniversary of the birth of George Washington that was held in King’s Chapel in 1893. A Grand March from David ended his organ recital at Second Church, Copley Square on January 31, 1894, and a Caprice in C Major for piano that he played as early as February 1874 (at six concerts that year) he was still playing on December 9, 1895. Pieces entitled Spinning Song in A Major and Diversion in C Major often appear. The use of generic titles and the extensive use of C Major point to improvisations as the original source of these compositions. That this was also among his talents is reflected in his organ programs where “Improvisation” is often found. In the many concerts that he gave at the Boston Music Hall for the few years after it’s opening, “Improvisation” was included on almost every program and this was notably missing from the other performers’ programs.
Before the Te Deum noted above, Lang wrote another setting in D flat major for the 1896 Easter Service at King’s Chapel. (Herald (April4, 1896): 7, GB) Frances wrote in her Diary for the summer of 1902: “Lel spends the P.M.s mostly at the Crows Nest [at the Farm].” He was possibly composing there, as the second entry later is: “Lel has written 2 Te Deums.” (Diary 2, Summer 1902)
At the April 5, 1897 concert of the Apollo Club B. J. again included his Nocturne. At an April 3, 1899, Chickering Hall recital B. J.’s Easter Carol-The World Itself Keeps Easter Day for contralto and chorus was performed while just a few days later on April 10. 1899 at the first American Guild of Organists Public Service in Boston at the Central Church, corner of Berkeley and Newbury Streets, B. J.’s Prelude was included. At the May 1, 1901 concert of the Apollo Club B. J.’s The Lass of Carlisle and The Chase were programmed.
Lang wrote a hymn for the funeral of ex-Governor Wolcott in December of 1900. The text was: “With Silence as Their Only Benediction.” (Herald (December 23, 1900): 9, GB)
Mr. George Edmund Dwight gave a song recital on April 22, 1903, at 3 PM at “small”(?) Chickering Hall. His program included a new cycle by Atkinson, and new songs by Mr. Foote, Mrs. Beach, Mr. Henschel and Mr. Lang. MISTER Lang! If the song(s) were by Margaret, how did “Miss” get changed into “Mr.”? They got “Mrs.” for Amy Beach correct. As B. J. was no longer doing the Apollo Club, did he now have time to do some composing? (Herald (April 12, 1903): 31, GB)
Only one published work is found, and it is really only a fragment. George Chadwick, in his “Drei Walzer fur das Pianoforte” in f minor, E major, and A flat major, where the Third Waltz has the heading “Motive by B. J. L.” which Hughes described as a “dreamy, tender work on a theme, by ‘B.J.L.’, which refers, I presume to Mr. B. J. Lang.” (Hughes: Contemporary American Composers, 212) Schmidt published this in 1890 and the holograph is at the Library of Congress. Hughes thought well enough of this piece to include it as one of only two examples in his article on Chadwick in the February 1896 issue of Godey’s’ Magazine-he reproduced the full first page of the work. The pianist, Peter Kairoff, who recorded a complete CD of Chadwick’s piano works describes this work as “serenely joyful.” The third also has a fascinating hemiola in the right hand, which much of the time plays in a different meter than the left.” (CD “American Character”-Albany Troy 745 program notes.)
COMPOSITIONS IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER.
ABSENCE. Self-promoted concert at Mechanics Hall on March 20, 1879.
AGATHA AT THE GATE. November 20, 1873, Boston.
ALADDIN’S LAMP. Cecilia concert, May 22, 1890 sung by W. J. Winch. (Yearbook, Vol. 8, 16)
AMERICA-CONCERT VARIATIONS-1862. “Concert In Aid of Sick and Wounded Soldiers.” Also August 29, 1869 at Hancock Hall, Ellsworth, Maine.
BERCEUSE (for organ). Music Hall: August 13, 1864.
BIBLE SONGS, harmonized by “Mr. J. B.[sic] Lang, Organist. Salem, Mass.” Published by Nathan Richardson, at the Musical Exchange, 282 Washington Street, Boston, 1856. The composer of the songs was Marion Dix Sullivan. Copy at the Library of Congress. M 2117. S94B4.
BOW DOWN THINE EAR. Song sung at South Congregational Church, February 14, 1868 and October 21, 1871.
BREATH OF SPRING. Sung on Friday, January 28, 1859 by Mrs. J. H. Long as part of a Mendelssohn Quintette Club concert.
CAPRICES IN C MAJOR AND A FLAT MAJOR. Hingham and Milton, 1868; also at NEC concert January 1869; February 11, 1874, Worcester County Music School (C Major only); February 21, 1874; January 18, 1876 in New Bedford; August 29, 1879 in Hingham.
CAPRICES, THREE. New England Conservatory concert, January 1869-the third one was probably in C Minor which was given at a concert in March 1869.
CAPRICE IN A MAJOR. Organ concert at the Chapel of Second Church, February 7, 1874.
CAPRICE IN C MAJOR. August 24, 1872, Westerly, R. I.; played at six concerts in 1874; April 16, 1874 Salem where it was listed in the program as Opus 46; May 24, 1878 Andover; August 29, 1879 Hingham; November 5, 1879 Newburyport; June 20, 1879 at Springfield, MA; and he was still playing the piece December 9, 1895.
THE CHASE. Solo song, Cecilia concerts April 12, 1882 and February 27, 1884 at the Boston Art Club; Lang’s last concert with the Apollo Club concert May 1, 1901, Mr. Clarence E. Hay, soloist. (Herb Zeller e-mail, October 15, 2012)
CHRISTMAS SONG. Song sung at the New England Conservatory concert on December 9, 1870; April 4, 1871 at Mechanics Hall, corner Bedford and Chancey Streets. Also King’s Chapel, Christmas day 1890 (Advertiser (December 26, 1890): 2, GB)
CHRISTMAS CAROL. Christmas day at King’s Chapel, 1895. (Herald (December 26, 1895) 6, GB)
CRADLE SONG. Cecilia concert May 22, 1890 sung by W. J. Winch. (Yearbook, Vol. 8, 16)
DAVID. An oratorio mentioned by Mathews. B. J. ended his January 31, 1894 concert at Second Church, Copley Square with A GRAND MARCH FROM DAVID. Frances mentioned in a September 1871 entry in her Diary: “Lel has been working on his oratorio.” (Diary 2-Rosamond)
DIVERSION IN C MAJOR. August 7, 1873, Swampscott; April 16, 1874 Salem; October 1874 Lawrence; January 30, 1875 NEC recital; May 17, 1875 at Madame Bishop’s concert; March 4, 1877 Wellesley College; May 31, 1876; December 2, 1887 Boston Art Club; June 25, 1888 Groton; Groton 1880; December 2, 1887; Wheaton Seminary December 14, 1892; DAR 1895.
EASTER CAROL. Easter 1873 at South Congregational Church. Easter Sunday, April 14, 1895, King’s Chapel. (Herald (April 12, 1895): 7, GB) Again on April 5, 1896, King’s Chapel. (Herald (April 4, 1896): 7, GB)
EASTER HYMN. “People who were lucky enough on Easter Sundays in King’s’ Chapel to hear the beauty of his Easter Hymn, never forgot it.” (Robbins, p. 70) A different or earlier version of this Hymn was performed on Easter Sunday, 1873 at South Congregational Church. (Dwight (April 19, 1873): 7 and 8)
FANTASIA. (Called Fantasie in October 9, 1854 Diary entry. The piece may have been a duet as he wrote in this entry: “Played duets with Breed; my Fantasie) Written in 1854 for a concert given by Mr. Adams, a leader of singing classes in the Salem area, for whom B. J. was sometimes the accompanist. There are many entries in B. J.’s Diary about singing classes given by Mr. Adams and also by B. J.’s father.
FANTASIA UPON DANISH AND HOLLAND AIRS. December 14, 1866.
FANTASIE IN A FLAT. New Bedford Lyceum, 1866; Thursday evening January 1, 1866 at Mechanic Hall, Salem.
FANTASIE IN E FLAT. Salem and Providence, 1866. These two were performed by Lang in his German concerts in the spring of 1870.
FANTASTIC ORIGINAL. One of Lang’s solo pieces that was part of a concert of “Dramatic Recitations” given by William Hawes on March 21, 1856. Lang also acted as accompanist for the violinist W. H. Schultze who was also featured at this concert.
FOUR PSALMS. “Lel showed us his music for 4 Psalms.” (June 1870, Diary-2) The Lang’s were in Switzerland.
GLORIA. Easter 1873 at South Congregational Church. (see Easter Hymn)
HAVE MERCY, O LORD. Song sung at South Congregational Church, June 12, 1869.
HER I LOVE. Sung at an 1871 concert; also at Apollo Club concerts on February 21 and March 3, 1874 sung by William J. Winch, tenor; also at self-promoted concert at Mechanics Hall on March 20, 1879, also sung by Winch.
HI–FI-LIN-KE-LE. Choral piece. Apollo concerts in February 1884, May 1886 and May 1897 (Herald (May 16, 1897): 13, GB) with description of the piece. The text is a translation of “a little Swedish song” which appeared in the New York monthly magazine, The Knickerbocker, February 1851. A comment in the magazine said: “It would be a pleasant thing to hear JENNY LIND warble it in some of her forthcoming concerts.”
HO! PRETTY PAGE. Sung by Mr. J. F. Winch May 15, 1879. Program-Johnston Collection.
HYMN. Easter 1873 at South Congregational Church.
HYMN OF THE MORAVIAN NUNS, THE. 1881 concert-“An Evening with Prof. Longfellow.”
HYMNS OF WHITTIER. For the funeral of Ruth Burrage, B. J. “played music he had written to Hymns of Whittier.” (Diary 2, Spring 1872)
HYMN, HALLELUJAH. Easter 1896-King’s Chapel. Choir: Misses Torrey and Little and Messrs. Winch and Heinrich. (Herald (April 4, 1896): 7, GB)
THE KING IS DEAD. Cecilia February 4, 1886.
IMPROMPTU. Concert in Worcester, February 7, 1861.
IMPROMPTU. 1862 “Concert in Aid of Sick and Wounded Soldiers;” also Ellsworth Maine August 29, 1869.
IMPROMPTU IN C MAJOR. August 24, 1872 Westerly, R. I.
IMPROMPTU IN A FLAT. New Bedford piano recital, 1862
IMPROVISATION. B. J. included an improvisation in almost every organ recital that he gave at the Boston Music Hall.
THE LASS OF CARLISLE. Baritone solo. Sung at Apollo concerts on April 29 and May 4, 1885 by Mr.Clarence E. Hay; and at Lang’s last concert with the Apollo Club on May 1, 1901 [also by Mr. Hay. Herb Zeller, e-mail October 15, 2012]
LIED-PSALM 86. Sung Vienna May 13, 1870. Frances wrote in her Diary the reaction of the Vienna audience to this piece: “which everyone was wild over.” Had been sung by Adams. (Diary Excerpts, 5)
A LITTLE CHILD DWELT BY THE FLOWING SEA. November 20, 1873 Boston. Frances mentions in her Diary for 1866 that B. J. had written “a lovely song to the words…..A Little Child.” (Diary 2-Rosamond)
LOVE. Sung at Vienna May 13, 1870.
MARY STOOD THE CROSS BESIDE. Song sung at South Congregational Church October 21, 1871.
MY TRUE LOVE HAS MY HEART. Apollo concerts in May 1886.
NOCTURNE. Solo for tenor. Premiered at the Apollo concerts April 27 and May 4, 1885. Programmed again April 27 and May 2, 1887; April 29 and May 4, 1891; also at Miss Buffington Kebow’s concert on May 28, 1885; Apollo Club April 5, 1897. Text by Aldrich-“Up to her Chamber Window.” “The song is a gem. Its graceful contrasts of major and minor, and its dainty figure treatment, are very effective.” Louis C. Elson-(Advertiser (May 5, 1891): 4, GB)
O MOTHERLAND. Composed by Lang for the “exercises” for the unveiling of the bust of the poet, John Boyle O’Reilly. Lang, then conductor of the Handel and Haydn Society, conducted a full orchestra and a large choir in Mendelssohn’s O Sons of Art and his original piece using words from the dead poet, “O Motherland, there is no cause to doubt thee.”
PRELUDE. AGO service April 10, 1899
PSALM 86. See LIED-PSALM 86.
THE SEA KING. Sung by the Apollo Club June 1, 1874 and again on March 9, 1880. Listed as a duet for baritones, it was sung by the two Winch brothers in 1874. At the Apollo Club March 9, 1880 performance of this piece, it was sung by Dr. Ballard and Mr. John F. Winch.
SING MAIDEN SING. Cecilia February 4, 1886 (Miss Bockus, a member of the Club)(Yearbook, Vol. 3, 52) and May 22, 1890 (Mr. W. J. Winch).
SONG(S)-1903. Recital of George Edmund Dwight on April 22, 1903 at “small” Chickering Hall.
SPINNING SONG. Sung at Vienna May 13, 1870.
SPINNING SONG IN A MAJOR for piano. 1871 concert; August 24, 1872 Westerly, R. I.; April 7, 1873 Swampscott; also at an organ concert at the Chapel of the Second Church on February 7, 1874; April 16, 1874 in Salem, MA; October 1874 Lawrence; NEC January 8, 1876 and April 7, 1876; March 31, 1876 Wellesley College; April 16, 1877 Chickering Hall; January 23, 1878 Bradford; May 24, 1878 Andover; November 5, 1879 Newburyport; NEC July 30, 1879; June 20, 1879 in Springfield, MA; June 25, 1880 Groton; December 17, 1883 Boston; February 1, 1886 Bumstead Hall; December 2, 1887 Boston Art Club.
SPRING. Sung at Vienna May 13, 1870.
TE DEUM LAUDAMUS #2 IN E FLAT. South Church, Salem, February 19, 1866. Miss Houston, Miss Cary, Mr. Rudolphsen and Mr. Downs. Te Deum in E flat with no number was part of the Easter services in 1873 at South Congregational Church.
TE DEUM LAUDAMUS IN F. King’s Chapel, Christmas day, 1890 (Advertiser (December 26, 1890): 2, GB) and 1893 at a service for the 165th. Anniversary of the Birth of George Washington.
TE DEUM IN G FLAT MAJOR. King’s Chapel Easter Service, April 14, 1895. The choir was listed as: Mrs. Josslyn, Miss Lena Little, Mr. W. J. Winch, Mr. Max Heinrich. While “G FLAT MAJOR” is certainly possible, since the “G” key is just above the “B” key, this might be a mis-print. (Herald (April 12, 1895) 7, GB)
TE DEUM IN D MAJOR. King’s Chapel, December 25, 1895. (Herald (December 26, 1895): 6, GB)
TE DEUM IN D FLAT MAJOR. King’s Chapel, Easter 1896. Choir: Misses Torrey and Little and Messrs. Winch and Heinrich. (Herald (April 4, 1896): 7, GB)
TE DEUMS (2). “Lel has written 2 Te Deums.” (Diary 2, Summer 1902)
TEACH ME THY WAYS. Song sung by W. J. Winch, tenor, on October 5, 1890 as part of an organ recital.
THE 86th. PSALM-sung at Vienna May 13, 1870.
THE TWO ROSES. Sung at an 1871 concert; also at an Apollo Club concerts on February 21 and March 3, 1874 by the tenor William J. Winch; also at a self-promoted concert at Mechanic Hall on March 6, 1879, also sung by Winch. Sung at a Lang Concert at Gill’s Hall in Springfield, MA by Miss Louise Homer on Friday, June 20, 1879. She had just returned from Paris where she had studied with Mme. Garcia. (Springfield Republican (June 20, 1879): 6, GB)
THE VIOLET. December 30, 1868.
WHO COMES SO GRACEFULLY (Partsong). Apollo Club on June 1, 1874 and again on March 9, 1875.
WITH SILENCE AS THEIR ONLY BENEDICTION. A hymn sung at Ex. Governor Wolcott’s funeral at King’s Chapel late in December 1900. Words by Whittier. (Herald (December 23, 1900): 9, GB) In 1872 Frances recorded that B. J. had written music for the funeral of Ruth Burrage to “Hymns of Whittier.” (Diary 2-Rosamond) might they be the same piece?
THE WORLD ITSELF KEEPS EASTER DAY for contralto and chorus. April 3, 1899, sung by Miss Lena Little-also on April 27, 1904. Also listed earlier for the Easter services in 1873 at the South Congregational Church.
There also exist compositions by B. J.’s father, “B. Lang.” A Harvest Waltz is in the collection of the Library of Congress. It was “Composed and dedicated to his PUPILS.” It was published by Oliver Ditson in Boston sometime in the 1850s. [Have a copy of the front page only as LC would not allow the music to be opened] The University of California, Berkley also has a copy-a microfilm of its five pages would cost $40 (2010) Another piece, a strophic song with chorus entitled Merry Sailor Boy with words by E. Jocelyn Esq. and music by Benjamin Lang was published by Oliver Ditson in 1852. [Have a copy from “The Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music” at John Hopkins University].