Odd Fellows’ Building. 515 Tremont Street. Eugene Thayer’s organ studio in this building contained “one of the finest Church organs in American. Terms from $40 to $60 per Quarter, with advantages never before offered to Organ Students [?].” Another note in the same issue said that “Organists visiting Boston will always find a pleasant welcome at the elegant studio of Eugene Thayer, Tremont, corner of Berkeley Street.” (Ditson (Musical Record): Fall 1878)
Orchestras – “According to W. S. B. Mathews, the first real symphonic ensemble in America to play great music of European composers regularly was that formed in Boston by the German oboist Gottlieb Graupner in 1810 and lasting to 1824, a ”Philharmonic Society,” (a generic title given to innumerable short-lived groups in various cities during those times). Graupner had played in Haydn’s orchestra in London, and the Bostonians, primarily European emigres like himself, played mostly Haydn symphonies (Beethoven was as yet a more advanced taste)… Graupner, together with Thomas Smith Webb and Asa Peabody, also organized America’s first enduring performing ensemble, the Boston Handel and Haydn Society, founded in 1815, and still going strong.” (Grant, 33 and 34) See The Musical Fund Concerts: Nov. 1847-Apr. 1855. George J. Webb.
SEQUENCE OF ORCHESTRAS – SOURCE: LETTER TO THE EDITOR FROM ELIZA HALL, AND FURTHER INFORMATION PROBABLY BY PHILIP HALE. (Herald (April 22, 1917): 40, GB)
Philharmonic Society gave its first concert on December 9 (or 19), 1843 conducted by J. G. Jones. Two conductors followed until Carl Zerrahn took over on November 24, 1855. The last concert by this group was probably on April 11, 1863.
Boston Musical Fund Society, F. Suck conductor (also C. C. Perkins and J. C. D. Parker), first concert at Tremont Temple on Nov. 27, 1847 conducted by C. H. Mueller, and concerts at the Boston Music Hall as late as April 21, 1855. The orchestra numbered 55 which was all the talent then available in Boston.
Orchestra Union, Carl Zerrahn conductor, first concert Boston Music Hall, Nov. 22, 1854. 30 members. Their last concert seems to have been on March 4, 1868 and George Sumner made his first public appearance playing the Capriccio in B minor for piano and orchestra. Organists often played solos among the orchestra pieces. In January and February 1864 five different local organists played.
Harvard Musical Association Orchestra, Carl Zerrahn was the conductor from December 28, 1865 to March 9, 1882.
The Philharmonic Society of Boston, Bernard Listermann conductor, gave concerts in the Boston Music Hall from October 24, 1879 to May 5, 1881. Then Listermann became the Concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The Philharmonic continued for one season under Dr. Lois Maas from November 10, 1881 until April 13, 1882. They began again with Carl Zerrahn as conductor on November 29, 1882 and ended for good on April 4, 1883.
Boston Philharmonic Orchestra gave concerts at the Boston Theatre and Tremont Temple in the early 1890’s conducted by Mr. Listermann, who, at this point was no longer Concertmaster of the BSO.
Obviously the name of Carl Zerrahn was connected to many of these groups. Orchestral Union: November 22, 1854 until March 4, 1868. Philharmonic Society: November 24, 1855 until April 11, 1863. Harvard Musical Association Orchestra: December 28, 1865 until March 9, 1882. The Philharmonic Society of Boston: November 29, 1882 until April 4, 1883. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Philharmonic Society: 1843+. This group gave its “first concert December 9, 1843, under the leadership of J. G. Jones, presented for several seasons popular music but nothing better.” (HMA Bulletin No. 7, 6)
Philharmonic Orchestra: 1855-1863, 54 members. Carl Zerrahn (flutist with Germania). Dwight says these concerts began in 1857, and that they kept “alive the interest in classical symphony-music, relieved by lighter or more brilliant works, and introducing not a little that was new. To him we were indebted for our best privileges in this kind, almost steadily until the spring of 1863. Then the nation was in the middle of the great war, and subscriptions naturally fell off.” (Dwight, History of Boston, 440) Lang was the soloist in the third concert of the 1860 season playing W. S. Bennett’s Capriccio for piano and orchestra and the piano part in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasia. Dwight wrote that “The Capriccio, which Mr. Lang played, and played so well, is of this character; graceful, fluent, florid, pervaded by a shadowy beauty; much finer as heard now with the orchestra, than last year with quartet accompaniment, but still not greatly impressive; a delicate leaf from the album of an artistic quietest.” (Dwight (February 18, 1860): 374) Of the Beethoven Dwight recorded that the performance “made a most delightful impression; and the choral portion, finely given by the Handel and Haydn, had to be repeated… Mr. Lang acquitted himself of his difficult and delicate task at the piano most successfully; he had remarkable ease and skill of execution already; he has gained greatly in artistic feeling and fine appreciation of his [this] composer.” (Op. cit., 375) In March 1860 Dwight wrote that “this fourth Concert of the season would be Mr. Zerrahn’s last attempt to provide great orchestral music for a so-called ”musical” city, which has so poorly patronized these opportunities for three or four years past… The Symphony [Beethoven’s Seventh] was rendered with the usual excellence by the orchestra of forty-not perfectly, to be sure…but with much verve and spirit; and there was every evidence that it was enjoyed particularly well.” (Dwight (March 10, 1860): 398) However, this was not to be the Philharmonic’s last performance; it was reorganized in June 1860 under the name of “A Boston Philharmonic Society” with Thomas Ryan as President. (Dwight (June 9, 1860): 86) But, by early 1862 the effects of the Civil War had thinned the ranks of the group, and Dwight thanked “Carl Zerrahn for gathering up such forces as were left, and organizing them to such good purpose, so that we still may not altogether lack the refreshment of orchestral music, nor forget the sound of Beethoven and Mozart… Our conductor had collected not so bad an orchestra after all. It numbered thirty-five or forty instruments; with six first and six second violins-the seconds, however, by no means relatively so efficient as the first. There was but one bassoon, and he a new one, with a violoncello for his mate. The other wind parts were reasonably well filled; some of them very well.” (Dwight (January 18, 1862):, 334) In Dwight’s “review of the Season” 1861-62, he mentioned that the Philharmonic “has necessarily been small, though scarcely smaller than during several past years. Forty instruments has been the complement of the Philharmonic band;-too weak in quantity of strings for the full effect of a Beethoven Symphony, but yet so fair in quality as to recall those works to us with no small edification.” (Dwight (June 14, 1862): 86) Dwight was unhappy with a Philharmonic concert early in 1863 that did not include a symphony, but instead featured a “wonder child,” Teresa Carreno. “The accustomed Symphony-about as indispensable to a Philharmonic concert as the altar at the junction of the nave and transept to a cathedral-was pushed out.” However, Dwight did have to admit that this program drew a large audience, and Carreno played “marvellously well for a child.” (Dwight (January 31, 1863): 350)
Harvard Musical Association: Chamber music-1844 until 1849. The HMA sponsored a chamber music series beginning in 1844. R. E. Apthorp was part of the group that “were authorized to ”make such arrangements as they might deem necessary for carrying into effect the proposed plan for a series of Chamber Concerts to be given under the patronage of the Association”… The concerts were given in the ”music room” of Jonas Chickering at 334 Washington Street [provided by him without charge], the dates being November 13, 26, December 10, 31, 1844.” The programs balanced pieces which would appeal to the “popular as well as to cultivated taste.” A string quartet played these four programs for a total cost of $124 (which included extra payments for those who had played solos. 150 sets of tickets (these seating of the concert room) were sold at $2.00 for the series, and they made a profit which led to offering another series in January and February of the next year, 1845. A final series was given in December 1849, this time at Cochituate Hall, opposite Kings Chapel, which seated 300. (HMA Bulletin No. 7, 6 through 10)
Orchestral Union. c. 1861-1873. Ryan wrote: “The orchestral Union was made up from our best musicians – about forty in number – Carl Zerrahn being the director. The concerts were held in the Music Hall on Wednesday afternoons only. The entrance fee was modest. programmes were of mixed music: an overture, symphony, waltz, characteristic pieces, and opera selections. The great organ in Music Hall was built about the time the Union began their concerts. Our best organists were invited in turn to play organ solos at each concert. The Union existed about ten years, then ended its life for lack of support.” (Ryan, Recollections, 102) In 1859 Dwight mentioned that the size of this orchestra “was about one half of the Saturday evenings [Philharmonic-fifty instruments: Dwight, same issue]-but quite an efficient one-four first violins, four second, two bassos, and so on:” both groups were conducted by Zerrahn. (Dwight (February 12, 1859): 366) In April 1860 the Boston Musical Times reported that “The twenty-second of the Afternoon Concerts, by the orchestral Union, was given on Wednesday afternoon. Their success grows greater as the season advances. Why can’t they be continued throughout the summer?” (BMT (April 7, 1860): 55) Also in April 1860 Dwight recorded that the Orchestral Union had just played their “twenty-fourth and last of the Wednesday Afternoon Concerts… These concerts have done us one great service this winter… The audience this time was very large, so that late comers could not drop into seats without some searching. This would seem to show that the ”Union” are leaving off just as the tide is turning in their favor.” (Dwight (April 21, 1860): 31) A typical program is reflected in the selections chosen for the First Concert of their Seventh Season of Concerts at the Music Hall held on February 27, 1861:
Overture Fra Diavolo – Auber Two-Part Song arr. for two cornet-a-pistons – Mendelssohn Symphony No. 1 – Beethoven INTERMISSION. Overture Tannhauser – Wagner New Waltz Forget Me Not – Zerrahn Miserere from Il Trovatore – Verdi Gallop Marseillaise – Lumbye.
“A new and happy feature in these programmes is the place assigned the Symphony-at the end of the first part. We trust this satisfied both those who cavil at playing the Symphony first, on account of the interruption caused by the slamming of doors of late comers, (and late comers are not the only door-slammers), and that other few whose classical ears are offended by a genial, flowing waltz of Strauss, or a clever potpourri of operatic selections, and therefore cannot sit through their performance and wait for the Symphony at the end of the concert. The orchestra is composed of about the same performers as last season, under the direction of Mr. Zerrahn. (BMT (March 9, 1861): 21) Tickets were 25 cents each on the day, or packages of six tickets could be bought for $1 and used “at pleasure.” (BMT (February 23, 1861: 12) On Wednesday, March 27, 1861, “Mr. B. J. Lang, the distinguished Pianist, who will perform a Grand Concerto by Mozart,” the Concerto in E flat which ended the first half of this afternoon concert. (HMA, Program Collection) Later that same year the Union joined with the Germania Band to give Saturday Evening Concerts, but after the second attempt proved to be a “disastrous failure, pecuniarily,” the effort was discontinued. “It is impossible to get the public to listen arrectis auribus to anything of a symphonic character now-a-days, so that our city musicians are compelled to enlist in the regimental bands, if they have not been fortunate enough to lay by something for a rainy day. We hope better times are in store for them.” (BMT (June 15, 1861): 135) However, less than nine months later it was reported that “The ”Union” has been on the crest of the wave of success for nine weeks, and the crest exhibits no signs of breaking yet.” The hall was full; but there was still too much “buzzing of busy tongues” of the young girls; however, “the programmes are unusually excellent;”… “May a Union affording so much happiness [during this time of war], and doing so much musical good, ever be preserved.” (BMT, April 5, 1862) A month later it was reported that the season was drawing to a close. Fourteen performances had been given by this “small but clever orchestra” with two more remaining, but before those last concerts, the Music Hall would be taken over by a “horse tamer… We made some reference to this turning the Music Hall into a stable a year ago, and it is unnecessary to reiterate our sentiments then expressed.” The article ended with a plea to have these concerts held “all the year round.” (BMT (May 3, 1862): 39) A final notice concerning the season of sixteen concerts rated them “all good-hardly a choice between any one or two or three-though the last equalled any earlier one.” The comment was made that several regular players were missing due to visits to the fatherland or having to take part in various military bands-this being the time of the Civil War. “But we are very sure that the familiar faces will return, and that another season will bring the same pleasant concert, (with the increasing quiet, we may hope), and the good instruction and love of good music they inculcate.” (BMT (June 7, 1862): 55) An effort to have summer Promenade Concerts was begun on July 12, 1862 at the Music Hall with Carl Zerrahn conducting an orchestra where the “Germania Band” formed the nucleus. Popular music of the Jullien School will have full exposition, and this with the Operatic Pot-pourris and military music, for which the Germanias are celebrated, cannot fail to attract large and brilliant audiences.” (Ibid) This orchestra must have had a large segment of Orchestral Union players, as a notice from early September referred to the Promenade Concerts of the Orchestral Union. In the end these concerts did not prove to be popular, and the musicians “did not care to ”pipe for nothing” any longer… The orchestra was composed of the best of the musicians now in the city, and the programmes were happily selected.” But few people were willing to promenade – “A few couple would sail round the hall once or twice, and then, as if frightened at their own boldness, relapse into the galleries… But it is one of the unaccountable things of this world why the Germania Band of the Orchestral Union are less successful, pecuniarily, with promenade concerts, than other organizations with more clap-trap and less merit.” (BMT (September 6, 1862): 101 and 102) However, six months later the report was that the Wednesday afternoon concerts at the “Music Hall are more interesting than ever… The orchestra plays with all that delicacy and precision which is a characteristic of their performances, and in which they cannot be excelled by any company of musicians in America.” (BMT (January 3, 1863): 166) The audience was attentive as “the army has absorbed a multitude of the young and thoughtless who, in years gone by, have made themselves so conspicuous, and the passage of the corridors so perilous,” (Ibid) In April the end of the season was reported: the concerts “have provided a delightful series of entertainments, have been liberally patronized and have heightened the musical culture of our city. Inexpensive, admirably planned, judiciously carried out and popularized by a variety of combined influences, it is not strange that a general regret should prevail upon their retirement for the season, and a general desire spring up that they may institute Summer evening entertainments.” (BMT (April 4, 1863): 21) This season of concerts had been given at the Boston Theatre. At the final concert, “the house was crowded from top to bottom, and hundreds were forced to stand in the lobbies and aisles. The occasion being musical, and the price of admission trifling, many who have thought it wrong to go to the theatre embraced their first opportunity for seeing the interior of the building.” (BMT (May 2, 1863): 37)
Early in January 1864 a new season [10th.] was announced for the Music Hall, and as an added feature the new “Great Organ is [to be] employed at each concert, and skillful artists succeed each other in displaying its powers. Owing to the increased cost of all musical material, the price of tickets has been raised to fifty cents.” (BMT, January 2, 1864, 21) In April of that year it was reported: “The Wednesday Afternoon Concerts of the Orchestral Union have succeeded, even at the advanced prices, beyond their most sanguine expectations. Indeed they have always drawn full houses. The programmes are very well selected, though the general public would fancy a trifle more of lighter music. The audiences have been extremely mannerly and quiet this season, the change in the back balcony precluding noisy running, flirting and the like on the part of those who go for other objects beside the enjoyment of good music. Our best organists, Lang, Willcox, Thayer, Tuckerman, Parker, Mrs. Frohock, and the rest, take turns in officiating at these concerts.” (BMT ( April 2, 1864): 3 and 4) On January 20, 1864 Lang’s organ solos were – Fugue on Bach by Schumann and the “Andante” from Mendelssohn’s Third Sonata. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 1) On February 17, 1864 his solos were – Prelude and Fugue by Bach and the “Adagio and Allegretto” from Rink’s Flute Concerto. (Ibid) On March 30, 1864 he played “Let Their Celestial Concerts All Unite“ by Handel and “Selections” from The Hymn of Praise by Mendelssohn. (Ibid) For this concert Dwight felt that “Mr. Lang was especially happy in the treatment of his organ pieces; 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 final chorus of Samson with the Minuet from the overture, charmingly rendered with soft stops.” (Dwight ( April 2, 1864): 215) Dwight listed the major pieces performed that spring noting that the concerts were “Afternoon (Rehearsal) Concerts,” and that the orchestra “rarely exceeded 25 instruments.” Lang was a soloist in the following: Hummel’s Introduction and Rondo in B flat, Op. 98, Mendelssohn’s Concerto in D minor (twice), and Lang and a pupil played Mendelssohn and Moscheles Duo Concertante for two pianos on the March in Preciosa.” (Dwight (June 25, 1864): 263) A report of the Spring 1866 series of Wednesday Afternoon Concerts said that they “are, as usual, well attended by young ladies and gentlemen who like to flirt through the heavy symphonies, and to listen to the light waltzes and redorras, which they play so gracefully well. The programmes are evenly balanced, and the season promises to be very successful.” (BMT (February 3, 1866): 21) But “Mr. Apthorp, reviewing at a much later date… gives a correct and dismal picture of the state of orchestral music. ”…the war had well nigh killed music in Boston. The earnest nut more futile efforts of Mr. Zerrahn and the Orchestral Union to keep music alive… Those were troublous times… a second bassoon was an unheard of luxury… the Seventh Symphony in the Music Hall was given with three first and two second violins… At last things came to such a pass that it was evident that Mr. Zerrahn and the Union could bear their burden no longer and, unless stronger power stepped in, orchestral music in Boston would die outright of sheer inanition.” The stronger power was at hand and ready to step in. It was the Harvard Musical Association.” (HMA Bulletin No. 15) In 1896 Apthorp remembered: “What a time that old Orchestral Union had! Their concerts came on Wednesday afternoons, and were at first very well attended. But, with the war, audiences began to drop off as the times grew harder. The orchestra was a 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 viewed with unconcealed affection. I don’t think there were ever more than six first violins; I certainly remember one performance of the seventh symphony with only three first violins and two second. The solitary bassoonist was conspicuous by his singularity, not by his virtuosity. I remember a benefit concert tendered to Mr. Zerrahn, at which a small picked ”chorus of young ladies” sang the ”Lift thine eyes” terzet from Elijah; the few measures of introductory tenor recitative were played as a bassoon solo, and the hapless bassoonist got most of the notes wrong. I don’t think I have ever heard such a tremulous tone issue from any other wind instrument.” (Apthrop, BSO Program March 6 and 7, 1896, 594 and 595) Lang soloed with this group on “Fast Day Afternoon,” Thursday, April 2, 1868. He played the Liszt orchestration on Weber’s Grand Polonaise in E Major. Julius Eichberg was the Leader of the Orchestra at that time, and the conductor was Carl Zerrahn. Tickets were 50 cents. (BPL Lang Prog.) Lang also appeared with the group as organist for a performance of Mendelssohn’s Saint Paul on April 2, 1868. The choir was a combination of the Worcester Mozart and the Beethoven Choral Union. (Ibid) A program [probably 1880] dated Wednesday January 24 3PM of the “Tenth Afternoon Concert” noted at the bottom of the program that “The Orchestral Union, [is] composed of members of the Germania Musical Society, Musical Fund Society, Mendelssohn Quintette Club, and the Serenade Band.” They gave “concerts every Wednesday at 3 o’clock during the season. Packets of six tickets, $1.00, single tickets, 25 cents.” (BPL Music Hall prog., Vol. 4)
Germania Musical Society: Apr. 1849-1854. Carl Lenschow, then Carl Bergmann. See separate entry.
Small Occasional Orchestra: “was made up by some of the musicians (”the cream of the Musical Fund,” several of the disbanded Germania, and the Mendelssohn Quintette Club), which gave cheap afternoon concerts, combining symphony and lighter things in fair proportions. These concerts, easily given, inexpensive, very moderately remunerative to the musicians, were kept alive through periods when all else failed. Indeed, a series of them was given every year down to the spring of 1868.” (Dwight, History of Boston, 440)
Boston Mozart Club. Dwight recorded the founding of this amateur group in January 1861 noting that the officers were “names well known in the community… The Club meets every Monday evening at the Piano Warerooms of Messrs. Hallett & Cumston, 339 Washington Street.” (Dwight, January 12, 1861, 335) On Monday evening, April 23, 1862 at the “Fourth and Last Social orchestral Entertainment” presented “To the Associate and Honorary Members” at Mercantile Hall on Summer Street, this group, conducted by Carl Zerrahn performed the Symphony in D Major by Mozart together with two vocal solos by “A Lady Amateur.” (HMA Program Collection) This group existed from 1860-1864. (Boston Musical Year Book, Vol. 1, 1883-84, 57)
Harvard Musical Association Orchestra: 1866-1882. Carl Zerrahn. First proposed at the January 1865 annual dinner of the Association.
The Boston Orchestra Club. Through the efforts of Mr. Percival Gassett, this group was organized in October 1884 “to furnish amateurs and young professionals of both sexes opportunity for the practice of orchestral music. Mr. Bernard Listemann conducted the weekly rehearsal and the three concerts given before its associate members.” (BMYB, 1884-85, 56) Mr. Gassett was a member of the First Violin Section.
Philharmonic Orchestra: The Orchestra of 1879 became the Philharmonic Society in 1880. The program for the opening concert on October 24, 1879 had a one-page introduction of this new group. “THE BOSTON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA has been recently organized to meet the wants of a permanent Orchestra in Boston – a want too generally admitted to call for further comment. The new organization has for its conductor Bernard Listemann, and counts among its members the very best performers of the HARVARD SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA. The plans of the new organization for the coming season include a series of five popular Symphony Concerts, at Boston Music Hall, on the evenings of Friday, October 24th, November 7th and 21st, and December 5th, and Saturday afternoon, December 13th. Subscription tickets, with reserved seats for the five concerts, @.50 each; single reserved seats for each concert, 75 cents; admission tickets, 50 cents, and packages of five admission tickets, $2.00. The programme of these concerts, though of a popular character, will be made up with a view of presenting a good variety of compositions, in which modern works of acknowledged ability will find a prominent position… Accomplished Vocal and Instrumental Soloists will contribute to each programme. The Orchestra is open for Concerts, and other engagements, for the coming season, and further particulars can be had upon inquiry at the Music Hall office, where a subscription sheet for the Concerts is now open” (HMA Program Collection). The debut concert on Friday evening, October 24, 1879 presented a group of only “32 instruments-4 first violins, 2 ”cellos and 2 basses.” (Dwight, November 8, 1879, 181) Dwight’s review of the “second of these concerts” [second season] given at the newly opened Tremont Temple on Tuesday, October 12, 1880 mentions an orchestra “of forty instruments.” (Dwight (October 23, 1880): 174) A month later Dwight wrote of “Listerman’s thoroughly drilled and excellent orchestra” who play to an audience that was “large and evidently well pleased.” (Dwight (November 20, 1880): 190) Bernhard Listemann had been the former concertmaster of the Thomas Orchestra.
In April 1881 The Musical Herald reported the formation of the “Philharmonic Society of Boston” which was incorporated to “procure the best performances of orchestral music.” J. K. Paine was the President, Oliver Ames the Treasurer, and there were 12 corporators. (Musical Herald (April 1881): 79) In July 1881 the officers were Luther H. Wightman-Clerk, Oliver Ames-Treasurer, and among the 23 directors were J. K. Paine, George L. Osgood, Julius Eichberg, John Orth, B. E. Woolf, S. A. Emery, W. J. Winch, G. W. Chadwick, in order words many well known men of musical and business background. This new orchestra gave its first concert on March 10, 1881 with a program that was “a rather heavy feast for the general public, but highly interesting for musicians. The orchestra did not differ much from that of the Harvard Association, and was composed of some members of the old Philharmonic, with some notable additions to the strings. The orchestral work was excellent, the effect of the rehearsals being very apparent. (Musical Herald (April 1881): 78) However, “In January 1882, the Boston Philharmonic Society offered its baton to Theodore Thomas, but Thomas elected to relinquish Boston to Higginson: he would no longer tour New England. The Philharmonic Society folded. The Harvard Musical Association terminated its concerts.” (Horowitz, 50) The 1883-84 Boston Musical Year Book noted that “The ”Philharmonic Society” gave three seasons of symphony concerts from 1880-81, under conductors Mr. B. Listermann, Dr. Louis Maas, and Mr. Carl Zerrahn. During the season preceding the establishment of the Philharmonic Society, Mr. Listermann gave a series of Symphony Concerts with an orchestra called the ”Philharmonic.”” (BMYB Vol 1, 58) On December 19, 1882 Lang was the soloist with the Philharmonic Society of Boston, conducted by Carl Zerrahn in the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1. For the 1890-91 Season “The Boston Philharmonic Orchestra (sixty players), Mr. B. Listemann, Conductor; Ch. C. Parkyn, Manager, gave seventeen Sunday-evening concerts at the Boston Theatre.” Ten works were given for the first time in Boston, but only one was by an America composer – Gavotte for Strings by Arthur Bird. (MYB 1890-91, 23 and 24)
Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. In the Boston Daily Advertiser of Saturday Morning, January 10, 1891 both the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra were advertising their concerts. The BSO had Nikisch as its conductor and its concertmaster, Timothie Adamowski as the soloist in Wieniaski’s Concerto in D Minor, while the BPO’s conductor was Bernard Listermann and the soloists were Miss May A. Bosley, contralto and Mr. William Sherman, pianist. The ad said: both “will have solo numbers.” (Johnston Collection) The BSO played on Friday afternoon and Saturday night at the Music Hall while the BPO played Sunday night at the Boston Theatre.
Boston Symphony Orchestra: Feb. 1881. Chadwick wrote: “The new Symphony orchestra under Mr. Henschel was really our same old H. M. A. orchestra with local additions. They had plenty of time to rehearse carefully but had been playing so long in the old domestic, happy go lucky (or unhappy) was without any real standard that no conductor could have made them into anything but a mediocre organization. Certainly not Henschel who, though very enthusiastic, had no idea of orchestral discipline. Further than to get notes right, it did not take long for the old stagers to find this out, with the result that Georg was in hot water most of the time…He was a good a good program maker of the classic type. He drew the line at dance music but played several of the overtures by Auber. There was plenty of Wagner, Liszt and Berlioz, and of course Brahms, but otherwise not many novelties… Tchaikovsky and Franck had not yet made their appearance.” (6357 and 58) Elson in 1900 wrote: “The highest standard, however, which America ever attained, has been achieved by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, an organization which may well compare with any of the orchestras of Europe…It began its labours in 1881. In order not to antagonise the orchestras then existing in Boston, its generous founder, Mr. Henry L. Higginson, took the off-night of the week for his concerts. The old Puritans considered Saturday night as the beginning of the Sabbath; long after this religious idea has passed away, Boston still held Saturday night sacred as regards theatre or public performances; up to the last quarter of the nineteenth century the oldest theatre of the city, the Boston Museum, closed its doors on Saturday night. It was this unused night which the Symphony Orchestra chose for its concerts, and Saturday, Oct. 22, 1881, the Boston Symphony concerts were begun.” (Elson, National Music, 300 and 301) After the first three seasons under Henschel, William Gericke was hired and was given latitude to remold the Symphony. “In the ranks were many old musicians who had passed the zenith of their powers, but were kept on for sentimental reasons…Great was the indignation when the new broom began to sweep! Especially harsh seemed the replacing of the great violinist, the musical pioneer, the leader of the orchestra (concert-meister), Bernhard Listemann,–by a beardless young Roumanian. [Franz Kneisel]” (Op. cit., 304 and 305) However, with the personnel changes made by Gericke, the orchestra became a younger ensemble which then with few changes through 1900 “rehearsed together thousands of times.” (Op. cit. 305 and 306)
Orpheus Club. This choir “was never in so flourishing a condition as at present. its director is Mr. Carl Zerrahn, who conducts the rehearsals with as much precision as if each were the immediate precursor of public performance. The Club is numerous, enterprising, and full of spirit. They are engaged to give concerts in several of the leading cities and towns of Massachusetts during the present winter, and we learn that preparations are making by them [?] for a grand masquerade ball at Music Hall, to be given on a scale of magnificence never surpassed in this city.” (BMT (December 2, 1865): 177) “The Orpheus Musical Society gave a concert to a crowed audience at Tremont Temple, Feb . 9th. Under the baton of Mr. C. Gloggner Castelli, this society is winning new laurels.” (Dexter Smith’s (March 1872): 53)
Elson, “Musical Boston,” Supplement to “Music and Drama,” June 3, 1882. HMA Collection.
Baker, Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, 428.
Osgood, George Laurie. Born April 3, 1844 in Chelsea, Mass., Di-December 12, 1922 in Godalming, England. Elson describes Osgood as “a lineal descendant of John Osgood, the Puritan, who landed in Salem in 1632.” (Elson, Hist. Am. Mus., 252) “A descendant of John Osgood who emigrated to Massachusetts in 1638. As a child he showed an acute sense of pitch, and was given every musical advantage from his earliest years. At Harvard, where he was graduated in 1866, after studying composition and the organ under John Knowles Paine, he directed the college glee club and orchestra for three successive years. After graduation he went to Germany, where he remained three years studying singing in Berlin… German song and choral music with Robert Franz. He then went to Italy for three years of further study at Milan under Francesco Lamperti, after which he made a successful concert tour of Germany. As a result Theodore Thomas engaged him in 1872 for a winter tour of the United States with his orchestra as tenor soloist. One newspaper printed: “Mr. Geo. L. Osgood has been engaged to appear at all of Mr. Theodore Thomas’ concerts next season. This is most welcome news.” (Dexter Smith’s (September 1872): 204) For some thirty years thereafter Osgood played a leading part in Boston’s musical life. He was very popular as a teacher and brought out a number of successful singers. He also directed an annual series of chamber-music concerts of a high quality, and completely transformed the Boylston Club of Boston, of which he was conductor from 1875 to 1893, from a male chorus into a mixed choral organization of two hundred voices. Under the name of the Boston Singers” Society (1890), he established its reputation for brilliant performance of difficult pieces.” (Dic. Am. Bio., 78) In the spring of 1872 it was reported: “Mr. Geo. L. Osgood, of Chelsea, who has been studying in Europe for several years, is now creating a great sensation in Vienna. The Germans pronounce him the most perfect interpreter of the songs of Schubert and Robert Franz. Welcome home, George!” (Folio, May 1872) The next issue announced that he would be sailing home from Liverpool at the last of May. (Folio, June 1872) “Mr. George L. Osgood has returned from Europe to his home in Boston. He has declined several very handsome offers of engagement to sing in opera. He will probably give a series of concerts in the principal cities next season, commencing in Boston. We have a rare treat in store.” (Dexter Smith’s, July 1872) Once he first returned to America, in the Fall of 1872 he was “tendered a complimentary concert” by the citizens of his hometown, Chelsea, on September 19th. Assisting in the program was the Mendelssohn Quintette Club, and also the bass, M. W. Whitney, who had also just returned from Europe. “The Academy of Music was well-nigh filled, and among the audience we noticed the faces of several of our well-known Boston critics… It is noticeable that Mr. M. W. Whitney made this his first appearance since his return from the Continent.” (Folio (November 1872): 132) However, not all of his concerts were so well received. Just three months later a review of Osgood’s appearance with the Thomas Orchestra published in the Rochester, N. Y. Musical Times recorded: “Mr. Osgood disappointed every one. His voice is only an ordinary baritone tenor, tolerably well cultivated. His toilet attracted more attention than his singing, although the latter was pleasing, yet far below many tenors that have sung in this city.” (Folio (December 1872): 170) Composer of “songs and part-songs; many of the latter (including madrigals, glees, carols, and other forms of choral work) have been sung at the Boylston Club concerts.” (Jenks, 483) On Wednesday evening, May 7, 1879 Osgood presented a concert “at Mechanic’s Hall [which] was one of the most interesting and unique that we have had. Indeed, it was full of most charming matter charmingly interpreted.” The pianist was B. J. Lang who not only accompanied the soloist, but also played a Liszt solo, Benediction de Dieu dans la Solitude, and was the pianist in St. Saens’s Quartet in B Flat for piano and strings – “Mr. Lang played the piano part superbly.” (Dwight (May 24, 1879): 85) “After 1903 he made his home in Europe, first in Geneva, and later, in Godalming, England, where he had a large country estate and where he dies.” (Dic. Am. Bio., 78) He seems to have kept some Boston connections-in 1905 he is listed as an “Absent member” of the St. Botolph Club which he had joined on January 3, 1880, being one of the Charter members. (1905 Members List) He published a “Guide in the Art of Singing,” a work of 200 pages which went through eight editions, and he also published “anthems, choruses, part-songs, and over 50 songs.” (Pratt, 428) Over thirty of his published compositions are preserved in the Library of Congress collection, “Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, 1870-1885.” Among his SSAA compositions published by the Boston Music Company are Song of the South (martial hymn), The Rock-A-By-Lady (Eugene Field), and his arrangement of Ethelbert Nevin’s Wynken, Blyken and Nod. It would seem that the Theodore Thomas Orchestra was trying to create a local connection by announcing that “Mr. Geo. L. Osgood has been engaged at all of Mr. Theodore Thomas’ concerts next season. This is most welcome news.” This would seem to be a most unusual artistic decision to have the same soloist for every program throughout the season. Osgood is also credited with being one of the originators of “One of the largest collections of choral music in the world… the Harvard Glee Club Library… There is a wonderful story connected with the largest single addition to this collection. Many years ago, (this was written in 1952) Dr. Davison was poking around in the newspaper files on Floor D of the basement of Widener Library. In the semi-darkness he stumbled upon a stack of choral sheet music which turned out to be the complete private library of George L. Osgood, ”66, Boston choral conductor, member of the Harvard Musical Association and composer. With the volunteer assistance of members of the Harvard Glee Club and the Radcliffe Choral Society, the entire collection was sorted out and catalogued, and now resides permanently in the choral library of the Department of Music.” (HMA Bulletin No. 20, 12 and 13)
Vol. 7 of the Musical Year Book reported: “The Boyston Club dissolved. The Boston Singers Society succeeded it.” (MYB 1889-90, 26)
The first season, 1889-90, of the Boston Singers’ Society opened on December 27 and January 3 with concerts for supporters, and then the program was repeated on January 6 for the general public with an admission fee. The pieces were piano accompanied, or unaccompanied, and were grouped by Mixed Voice, Male Voice and Female Voice selections. A second concert on February 27, 1890 used an orchestra of 44 and programmed four longer works, while the final concerts on April 23 and 25 used an orchestra of 26 but consisted of many shorter pieces, again arranged by Mixed Voice, Male Voice and Female Voice groupings. (MYB 1889-90, 16, 17 and 18) Miss Gertrude Franklin was one of the soloists in the second concert.
The 1890-91 Season of the Boston Singers’ Society with 190 members (its second season) consisted of three concerts. Osgood was the Conductor, F. H. Ratcliffe the Secretary and Clayton Johns, the Accompanist. A miscellaneous program on December 13, 1890 was followed on February 18, 1891 by a concert accompanied by an orchestra of forty-four, and the final program, given on May 6 and 9 was entitled a “Historical Program” which ranged from a Palestrina motet to a madrigal by the Boston critic, B. E. Woolf entitled Hark, the Lark. (MYB 1890-91, 17 and 18)
In the fall of 1891 the Boston Singers’ Society, which Osgood directed, was invited to “consolidate” with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Philip Hale had constantly praised the group the previous season. “Two choral works of large dimensions will be given in the series of concerts.” (Hale Crit., Vol. 1) The question is – did this union only last two years? Hale noted in May 1893 that the Boston Symphony Chorus “is now dead and buried. It dug its own grave and then killed itself, and it thus won loud applause… This unhappy chorus made two appearances in the Ninth Symphony, and in a double bill that included Brahms’ A Song of Destiny and Foote’s Skeleton in Armor.” (Ibid) The Foote was a “First Boston Performance” and the concert dates were February 3-4, 1893. The world performance had been on April 28, 1892 in New York by the American Composers Choral Association conducted by Emilio Agramonte. (Cipolla, 45)
“Ottoman Quartet.” Boston had “for pianoforte playing – what was sometimes jokingly called the ”Ottoman Quartet.” The four leading resident pianists – Otto Dresel, B. J. Lang, Hugo Leonhard, and J. C. D. Parker – were fond of playing pieces for right hands (a otto mani) in public, now and then; hence the nickname.” (Apthorp, “Entr’acte,” March 6 and 7, 1896 BSO Program Book, 594) For the Opening Soiree of Chickering’s New Music Room in 1860, the eight hands opened the concert with Fugue for Two Pianos, Eight Hands by Moscheles. (Dwight (November 10, 1860): 262)
Spy cartoon (Leslie M. Ward) from 1899-part of a strip of three printed in 1915. Johnston Collection.
Paderewski. George Chadwick recorded that Paderewski came to America in the fall of 1891, and after an appearance in New York, he played his own Concerto in A Minor with the BSO “and made a great hit. Probably none of us had heard the piano played with such diabolical recklessness as he put into that last movement.” Chadwick also noted that he had attended an orchestra only rehearsal of the concerto where “not the smallest detail escaped” Nikisch’s notice… Paderewski speedily became very much at home in Boston. He liked the Tavern Club very much (both Adamowskis were then members) and spent a good deal of time there when he was in Boston. Especially he loved to be with us at our Christmas celebrations and sometimes put himself out a good deal to get there! On one memorable occasion he played the piano for Tim and Joe [Adamowski] to dance the Polish sword dance. It was well worth seeing and hearing.”(6456-6457) Arthur Foote’s daughter Katharine recalled that “when Paderewski first came to America [1891-93] he hardly knew anyone. The Footes befriended him. The lonely Paderewski constantly visited the Footes when in Boston: ”I remember the first time he came to dinner he was TWO hours late. He never acquired any sense of time. He was a delightful companion, played endlessly for us and even played Papa’s duets with me! Later he had many friends and we saw little of him. But he always played papa’s Study in 3rds, which he liked very much, wherever he went.” The piece was one of the Nine Pianoforte Studies for Musical Expression and Technical Development, Op. 27 which Foote composed in the summer of 1891 and Arthur P. Schmidt published in 1892.” (Tara, Foote, p. 71) Henry Dunham, organ instructor of the New England Conservatory remembered attending “a recital there [Blumstead Hall, the amphitheater under the Music Hall] by Paderewski, which was the gift solely of Mrs. Jack Gardner to the musicians of Boston, she standing at the door giving out the programs. A remarkable woman was ”Mrs. Jack,” a real live wire in musical Boston. Unfortunately her type is very rare.” (Dunham, p. 49) Helen Henschel described Paderewski: “He had a truly astonishing complexion, a skin of almost transparent whiteness, which heightened the expressiveness of his smoldering and rather melancholy eyes, and a great aureole of bright red-gold hair.” (Henschel, H., p. 87)
Elson, History of American Music, facing 338, Plate XII.
Paine, John Knowles
Born in Portland, Maine on January 9, 1839, Paine was taught piano, organ and composition with Mr. Kotschmar. He gave his first recital on June 25, 1857, and after another year of study he went to Berlin for three years where his main study was organ under the well known virtuoso August Haupt. When he was not practicing the organ, he took lessons in piano and composition. “In 1861 he returned to America, the first concert organist here possessing the complete virtuoso technique, according to German stands.” (Mathews, 675) In 1862 he became the first music instructor at Harvard University and then in 1876, he became a full professor. His first major work, Mass in D was premiered in Berlin to good reviews. Next came St. Peter, premiered in Portland, Maine June 3, 1873; he had written the libretto. The Handel and Haydn Society performed the work in 1874, and the reviews were very positive. Harvard produced Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannis in 1881 in the original Greek; Paine wrote the incidental music of an overture and seven other pieces. He wrote a number of instrumental works, but none were published in his lifetime.
Papyrus Club. Geroge Chadwick mentions c. 1883 that “at that time [the club was] largely made up of St. Botolph men. Their monthly meetings at the Revere House in Bodoin Square were celebrations for the wits and wags that gathered… Great dinners were these, somewhat too convivial at times. One night we had Theo Fordt as a guest with the result that he had to stay in bed all the next day and could hardly get up to sing at the H & H concert in the evening!.” (Chadwick, Unpublished Memoirs)
Parker, George J. A tenor member of the Apollo Club who joined in 1877 and was active in the group through the 1890s, he was also often a soloist with the Handel and Haydn Society. At the Easter Sunday, April 14, 1895 performance, he “carried off the honors of the occasion.” (History-1911, 51) He had sung in the Bach Passion given on Good Friday, April 15, 1892. (Op. cit., 19)
Parker Hall, Boston Blue Book, 1909.
J. C. D. Parker, Elson, History of American Music, 232.
Parker, James Cutler Dunn. Born in Boston on June 2, 1828 and died in Brookline, Massachusetts aged eighty-eight on November 27, 1916 (aged eighty-nine). “His grandfather was successively rector of Trinity Church and bishop of Massachusetts. His father was long senior warden of Trinity. James attended the Boston Latin School and Harvard College. Graduated in 1848, he studied law for three years, but a taste for music, pronounced in boyhood, led him to become as his friend John S. Dwight phrased it, ”the first son of Harvard to forsake a dry profession [the law] and follow the ruling passion of his life.”” (Dic Am Bio, 228) One article phrased it that he was born in Boston “where he spent his early years, and where he had a large family connection.” (NEC Mag-review, Dec 1916-Jan. 1917, 45) He studied music in Leipzig 1851-4 under Moscheles, Richter, and Hauptmann and Plaidy. “Organ playing he studied with Schneider.” (Op. cit., 46) “In September 1854 Parker returned to Boston for a life-time of playing, composing, and teaching for which his through professional training and social standing admirably fitted him. He was always the gentleman, courteous, unassuming, and scholarly. In 1864 he was chosen organist of Trinity Church. He held this position at the old edifice, destroyed by fire in 1872, and for many years at the new church in Copley Square under its
Both unused; the lower card mentions that this is the new High Altar and Chancel dedicated in 1938. Johnston Collection.
celebrated rector, Phillips Brooks, for whose consecration as Bishop and also at whose funeral he played. His church programs were conservative, as were his own compositions.” (Op. cit., 228 and 229) He served Trinity Church as organist and choirmaster until 1891, a total of twenty-seven years, and for many years organist of the Handel and Haydn Society (? – when)… Translated Richter’s Manual of Harmony; published an original Manual of Harmony (1855) and Theoretical and Practical Harmony (1870). (Baker-Bio. Dic., 437-38) He was also a soloist in Harvard Musical Association concerts, and at his death was its oldest member. “Early invited by Dr. Eben Tourjee to teach at the New England Conservatory of Music, Parker was a member of its faculty for thirty-seven years, teaching piano-forte and theory.” (Dic. Am. Bio, 229) “The Blind King, his only secular composition of importance, was written for the Apollo Club.” (Ibid) His Redemption Hymn first was performed by the Handel and Haydn Society in 1877 and was described as a “national property, and is held in universal favor.” [And was programmed by Lang during his second season as conductor of the H and H] Parker “has been long a quiet but active agent in the elevation of musical taste in Boston. The pianoforte, the organ, the church choir, and the choral society have been the means with which he has wrought, employing in their guidance scholarly powers and exquisite taste. Some of us remember gratefully the little club of singers which gave us in Chickering Hall – then on Washington Street, near Summer Street – our first hearings of cantatas of Gade, Mendelssohn, Berlioz, Schumann, and others, through several seasons, beginning in 1862. The Parker Club, as it was called, included nearly every singer of real merit living in the city; indeed, it was a distinction to be a member of this select body.” (Jenks, 480) The Parker Club gave many Boston first performances, although only with piano accompaniment, among which were “Comata of Gade, the Walpurgis Night of Mendelssohn, the Flight into Egypt of Berlioz, Schumann’s Paradise and the Peri and Pilgrimage of the Rose.” In 1867 this mixed choir was being referred to as the “only club of its kind in Boston,” and as such could easily “double the number of concerts” that it might give.” (BMT (May 4, 1867): 42) Lang was not to found the Cecilia Society until 1874.
Parker, Henry Taylor. b. Boston 1867, d. 1934. “A Boston native and Harvard dropout” who spent a number of “vagabond years in Europe… [he was] not even able to read music… He eventually returned to Boston and after several years as a journalist in various jobs succeeded Apthorp as the music and drama critic for the Boston Evening Transcript in 1905… Owlish-looking and bespectacled, short of stature, a life-long bachelor, a man of polymorphous curiosity, he sometimes wrote on politics and world affairs and was also a dance critic and drama critic… A legendary workaholic and eccentric in journalism circles who avoided all social contact with actors and musicians, Parker had some affectations: applauding by the continental method of stamping his cane on the floor… What he lacked in musical booklearning H. T. Parker made up for in intuitive discernment and a sensitive, poetic prose” (Grant, 96) From 1892 a journalist, his “pen often drew blood.” Horowitz noted that “his signatures included a fedora, a huge bamboo walking stick, [and] a German cavalry overcoat… A learned Harvard dropout, he could not read music but keenly adored it. One object of his adoration was Muck and his ”incomparable orchestra of the world,” at ”the apogee of its attainment.”” (Horowitz, 79) Johnson quotes David McCord: “Since late in another century, when he first became an harmonies initial, he has been known, read, feared, damned, and praised as H. T. P. In Boston, these letters as insidious as G. B. S.; and many a New York manager”s complexion has suddenly paled or freshened at what was abundantly said in type above them. It is hardly enough in two fields to call him dean of American critics. One can be dean and intellectually dead. Parker was never more alive.” (Johnson, Hallelujah, 160) Resident in New York at the Murray Hill Hotel; in Boston, first at 132 Bowdoin Street, and later at the Hotel Vendome; and in London at the Hotel Lanham in Portland Place. “Thirty years of the Transcript: A column and a quarter to a two column daily review, a daily page to edit, two pages of magazine material for Saturdays, monthly ventures to New York, and a vast amount of consequent reading have left him, in the season, time for nothing but more work… Friends who are interested once calculated that in these thirty years he has written and printed the equivalent of 300 full sized novels; or close to a novel a month” (McCord, 5, 7 and 8) “If you should dare to address him, he will answer briefly, cigarette in mouth, his head bobbing emphatic emphasis behind a cloud of volcanic ash. His manner does not suggest long interviews,” (Op. cit., 140) “At the symphony his seats are in the first row of the first balcony, just to the right and above the orchestra, where he perches, a small and bitter gargoyle above the Brahmin sea. He has a Continental method, and rather objectionable, of applauding by bringing his cane into sharp contact with the floor. An accurate myth relates that once he brought it down on the toes of Mrs. Jack Gardner, with whom he was sharing a box. The fireworks that followed will likely survive them both.” (Op. cit., 15 and 16) His career included 1899 as the London correspondent of the Globe and Transcript. In 1902 he was the New York correspondent for the Transcript. By 1905 he was at the Boston headquarters of the Transcript. “Every summer he goes to Europe, gives up cigarettes, and smokes a pipe… Festivals of music, a week of ballet, Salzburg, Weimar, and the great art centres, are annual flames to his annual moth.” (Op. cit., 23) His only published book was entitled Eight Notes, and he felt that “impermanence” was the best quality of a newspaper article – “The more daily a paper is, the better.” (Op. cit., 24) From pages 102-111 in “Two Scribes” in Eaton’s The Boston Opera Company. “Parker’s initials were inevitably expanded to ”hell-to-Pay,” which doubtless gratified him in certain moods.” McCord wrote that Parker”s days “were confounded it seems between New England where he was born, England, where he went to school, Harvard, where he ranked with the class of 1890, New York, where he began as a critic, Boston, where he lives, and Germany, where he intends to die.” His professional musical training was slight: “It has been said of H. T. P., even by his stoutest admirers, that he was virtually a musical illiterate, unable, for example, to tell the difference between a major and minor chord and certainly lacking the ability to read notes. Still he knew music ”from the outside, if not from the in,” acquiring a corpulent body of information. Furthermore, his instincts were sound, more so than Hale’, and he labored under fewer blind spots.” “Parker could fill three twenty-inch columns of closely set seven- or eight-point type with an opera review and still count on a column for concerts or theater… McCord estimated that H. T. P. through thirty years had turned out (and seen printed!) the equivalent of three hundred full-sized novels, or close to a novel a month.” Whereas Hale also wrote a separate society column, “Parker’s was the only description of the ”social” side of Boston life the Transcript permitted. This mirror of all that was good, true, pure, and beautiful in Boston never demeaned itself to the ”social column” level, subscribing to-or perhaps having promulgated-the tenet that a real lady”s name appeared in the public press only three times: at birth, on her wedding, and after her death.” Parker “displayed more idiosyncrasies in manner and dress [than Hale]- McCord described him as a ”small, fierce-eyed individual, of graying mustache and adequate age, tweedish clothing, Habig fedora, huge bent bamboo cane, and a German cavalry overcoat made for him with belt and saddle-split by a military tailor in Wiesbaden” who “perched like ”a small and bitter gargoyle above the Brahmin sea”” from his seat in the first row of the first balcony at Symphony Hall where he “almost invariably [sat] alone in one of the conventional pair of critic”s seats.” Whereas Hale did not appreciate much of the modern music, especially upon first hearing, “Parker, on the contrary, appreciated even the exalted intricacies of Bruckner and Mahler, and was one of the first honorary members of the Bruckner Society.” McCord summarized Parker thus: “The bon vivant, the traveler who ”by synthetic accident of foreign clothes, tri-lingual facility, and the Continental manner is assumed in London to be a Frenchman, in Paris a German, and in Berlin an Englishman,” who journeyed alone and the faster for it into legend, Parker remains unique.” McCord predicted: “Not until one tries to fill his shoes will Boston realize the cosmic particle she harbors.” When Apthorp was working for the Boston Evening Transcript, its average size was “ten to twelve pages,” but “by 1913, the tenth anniversary of Parker’s term, the newspaper had mushroomed to three and even four times it’s former size. Where columns had been just that-columns-they were now pages… With space limitation no longer an important factor, his [Parker’s] writings were quite long. Whereas Apthorp utilized a column or two to report on a concert, Parker took a whole page. He did not take advantage of the additional space, unfortunately, to include more detail. He simply was more expansive in his prose…regarding the conductor, Parker seems to have belonged to the ”Admiration Society for Conductors of Esteemed Boston Musical Aggregations,” for he never failed to give conductors of the Boston Symphony orchestra, the Handel and Haydn Society, the Cecilia Club, or the Boston Opera House the highest praise he could muster… regarding content, Parker began his reviews with an introductory paragraph highlighting who did what… Seldom was much said of the music itself; instead, the articles focused on the key figures and the performance. There were few musical terms used, no mention was made of arias, movements, expressive markings, etc. Parker’s writing style was completely different from what the Transcript had witnessed previously. He had a knack for describing the music without really saying very much about it. After reading a paragraph, some readers might still wonder what his point was… Parker was adept at portraying for his readers a general impression of what the music felt like, as had John S. Wright.” (Nelson, 111-115) “There was such a local cult around Parker in Boston that when he died the Transcript ran articles, letters, reminiscences, and photographs of him almost daily for an entire month.” (Grant, 97) Parker, “critic of music and drama for the Boston Transcript from 1905 until his death, March 30, 1934, was crusty and feared, an arrant individualist, full of prejudices explosively announced. He had love and sentiment, but both were hidden. Only those close to him – and they were few – knew his humanity… He prided himself on his knowledge of Rhine wines and smoked cigars which shot out embers like Fourth of July sparklers. His seat was in the first row right of the first balcony, near Mrs. Jack Gardner’s. Sometimes he thumped his walking stick on the floor when sour notes came from the stage. Once, legend says, he brought the bamboo stick down on the toes of Mrs. Gardner and got a look which would have killed the leopard with which she once walked down Tremont Street. Enemies said H. T. P. was tone-deaf – but they could never catch him at it. He died at 66.” (Herald article on the BSO, December 15, 1940)
Horatio W. Parker. Elson-1904, Hist. Am. Mus., 191.
Horatio W. Parker c. 1914. Hughes and Elson, American Composers, facing 174.
Parker, Horatio W. (September 15, 1863-December 18, 1919) Studied theory with Emery, composition with Chadwick, and piano, not with Lang, but instead John Orth. From 1882-1885, just as Margaret had, he studied at the Conservatory in Munich-Rheinberger was his composition teacher. His oratorio Hora Novissima of 1893 was taken up by many choral groups, including at England’s Three Choir Festival held at Worcester in 1899. Parker very quickly became popular with British choral societies and this led to an honorary MusD from Cambridge University in 1902. (Wm. Kearns, New Am. Grove-Vol. 3, 475-479) The work had already been published by the English firm of Novello’s in 1893. In 1893 Parker became organist/choirmaster of Boston’s Trinity Church, a post he held until 1902. A year later he took on the additional responsibility of the Battell Professorship of the Theory of Music at Yale. a post he held until his death in 1919.
Cecilia gave the Boston premier of Parker’s Legend of St. Christopher, Opus 43 on Wednesday, December 6, 1899-Parker conducted. The world premier had been in New York 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) “Jam sol recedit” was performed on April 25, 1900. The orchestra was members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and B. L. Whelpley was the organist. 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)
Paur, Emil. BSO conductor from 1893 to 1898. “Emil Paur programmed too much Richard Strauss for Higginson”s liking, and was not in a class with Gericke and Nikisch in any case. Higginson deposed him after five seasons and in 1898 got Gericke back.” (Horowitz, 73) However Paur then moved to New York as the conductor of the New York Philharmonic, and a year later, in 1899, he succeeded Dvorak as Director of the National Conservatory. He held both positions until 1902, and then he returned to Europe. A year later he was back in American as conductor of the Pittsburgh Orchestra until it disbanded in 1910. (Amer. Grove, III, 490)
Mathews, p. 157.
Elson, “Musical Boston” Supplement to “Music and Drama,” June 3, 1882. HMA Collection.
Perabo, Johann Ernst. November 14, 1845 – October 29, 1920. “Pianist, teacher, and composer, was born in Wiesbaden, Germany… The father was a school teacher and, according to German requirements, also an organist, pianist, and violinist, hence he was well qualified to train his nine children, all of whom became musicians. Ernst… proved to be the most gifted, and he began the study of piano with his father when he was five years old. In 1852 the family emigrated to America, settling first in New York, where they remained for two years. He knew Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavichord by heart at eight years of age.” (Elson, Musical Boston, 5) After short periods in Boston and Chicago, in 1858 [aged 13] Ernst was sent back to Germany for four years, “but he had to struggle against ill health, which prevented serious music study. In 1862 he entered the Leipzig Conservatory,” returning to America in 1865.” In 1864 Dwight gave a different account of Perabo’s time in Germany: “He has been gone nearly six years, the greater part of which time has been wisely spent in laying the foundation of his general education, which had been neglected too much in favor of music. He has only been a couple of years at Leipzig… Many of our readers in Boston will remember Master Perabo, who resided here, with his parents, some seven years ago, and who, at that time, being not twelve years old, used to play (by heart) a score or two of Bach’s fugues, sonatas of Beethoven, etc. Once we heard him play prelude and fugue by Mendelssohn at sight… A subscription was raised among musical persons in New York and Boston, Mr. Scharfenburg taking the lead, to send the boy to Germany for his education.” (Dwight (June 11, 1864): 255) “He established first himself in New York, as a teacher and pianist, and gave a number of concerts that were so successful that he decided to give a series of matinees, at which he performed the sonatas of Schubert… In 1866 he transferred his residence to Boston and remained there until his death. He never gave concerts on a grand scale but devoted himself to teaching, in which he was most successful. For many years he played annually at the Harvard concerts at which he gave many works unknown at that time in America… He was a zealous conservative, but he approached new works in a spirit of open-mindedness.” (Dic. Am. Bio., 457 and 458) “Ernest Perabo, just out of boyhood, returned from study in Leipsic in 1866, and made a brilliant impression in the closing concert of the first symphony season; since which day he has always held his own among the ablest interpreters of great piano music.” (Dwight, History of Boston, 454) “Pianist of a super-sensitive nature who could give expression to a five-finger exercise.” (HMA Bulletin No. 11) he was “one of the foremost musicians and pianists in Boston. Of a retiring and modest nature, an almost super-sensitive musician, an inspiring teacher, and a pianist of unusual skill in execution and interpretation.” (HMA Bulletin No. 16) “After some hesitation, he in March, 1866, settled in Boston. He was invited to play at the last concert of the season given by the Harvard Musical Association, which occurred April 21st.” (Jones, 132) In 1866 Perabo gave two “Matinees” at Chickering Hall: for the second, on Wednesday afternoon, May 9, 1866 at 3:30PM, the Assisting Artists were Miss Clara M. Loring, Soprano (her first appearance in public), Mr. B. J. Lang, Pianist, Mr. Henry Suck, Violinist, and Mr. Howard M. Dow, Accompanist. Lang and Perabo played the Diversions (for four hands) Opus 17 by Bennett, and the Rondo (for two pianos) Opus 73 in C Major by Chopin (HMA Program Collection). Tickets were “One Dollar Each;” rather expensive in light of Wednesday afternoon concerts by the “Orchestral Union” at the Music Hall were offered at 50 cents that same year (HMA Program Collection). Lang was also an Assisting Artist at Perabo’s “Fourth Schubert Piano Matinee” at Chickering’s Hall on Thursday afternoon January 31, 1867 where Lang and Perabo performed the Rondo in E minor Opus 84, No. 2 by Schubert, and the Fantasie in F Minor Opus 103 also by Schubert (HMA Program Collection). Since his arrival in Boston in 1866, “he has regularly appeared at one or more concerts” of the HMA. “He has also given every season a series of recitals and matinees of his own, which are of the highest order. Among other things he has played the whole of Schubert’s piano sonatas in public. His repertoire includes the best works, and he is particularly happy as an interpreter of Beethoven. As a teacher of the piano he is surpassed by few, and he always has a large number of pupils.” (Jones, 132) “He has published several piano compositions both here and in Germany, and is one of the best interpreters of Beethoven that Boston has possessed.” (Elson, Musical Boston, 5)
In 1869 “after a year’s rest from concert playing,” Perabo announced two sets of chamber concerts. The first, of four concerts, was in the fall of 1869 and a highlight was to be “a number of the rarely heard Sonatas of Beethoven”s latest period.” The second series, of eight concerts once a fortnight, began in January 1870 and were “Historical.”(Dwight (September 25, 1869): 111) Not all comments were complimentary: “Mr. Perabo’s Matinee on the 5th was not so good as we had expected. For the hundredth time, we refer to his marked fault in piano-playing. His execution cannot be surpassed. Otherwise, he performs as if a river of ice was drowning every sentiment of sympathy and expression in his soul.” (Folio, February 1872) In the fall of 1879 Dwight reported: “Ernst Perabo has returned, after a second residence in Leipzig, not in such good health as his many friends had hoped to see him.” The report continued that while he was in Germany he “was not idle,” and he published there a number of “brilliant and interesting works of a high order of merit, thoughtful and musicianly in treatment, and of value to students both an artistic and technical point of view.” (Dwight (Nov. 8, 1879, 184)
Elson, “Musical Boston” Supplement to “Music and Drama,” June 3, 1882. HMA Collection.
First published in 1900 by Theodore Presser. Johnston Collection.
Petersilea, Carlyle. “Boston born in 1844, pianist who attained high eminence in music; he studied abroad; established the Petersilea Academy of Music (1871-1886); later joined the faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music.” (HMA Bulletin No. 16) The 1886-87 “Musical Yearbook of the United States” reported: “The Petersilea Academy is dissolved, Mr. Petersilea joining the staff of the New England Conservatory.” (MYB 1886-87, 50) An early (1872) ad for his school promised that “This institution offers to those wishing to acquire a MUSICAL EDUCATION advantages unequalled by any Conservatory or Music School in the world [!]. It is conducted on an entirely new and Original Method, which will advance pupils to a higher degree of perfection with Less Time and Labor than any plan of instruction heretofore employed. Every department, Vocal and Instrumental, is in charge of thoroughly competent Teachers, and all of the pupils are under the direct personal supervision of Mr. Petersilea. All branches are taught at VERY MODERATE TERMS, the rates of tuition for beginners on the Piano-Forte being especially low. The Petersilea System for the Piano-forte, by which such phenomenal results have been attained, will be exclusively in this school… Applications can be made at all times to Carlyle Petersilea, Director, 238 Washington Street, Boston.” (Dexter Smith’s (February 1872): 46) In 1872 B. J. Lang did not advertise in this magazine. In September 1872 the same magazine reported: “Carlyle Petersilea’s popular Music School has been removed from 1 Central Court to 339 [ad said 238] Washington Street, where enlarged and improved accommodations will enable the eminent Principal and his efficient board of teachers to impart the most thorough instruction. The Fall Term commences Sept. 16th.” (Dexter Smith’s (September 1872): 204) Another publication noted: “It gives us pleasure to note the gratifying success attending Mr. Carlyle Petersilea’s Music School. Although but a short time in existence, it has already risen to high rank, and we can recommend it to any one of our friends in search of a thorough, practical musical education.” (Folio, February 1872) Petersilea was born in Boston January 18, 1844 and he inherited his musical gifts from his father who had studied with Hummel. Carlyle entered the Conservatory of Leipzig in 1862 and graduated with honors in 1865. While there he played with orchestra the Concert Fantastique by Moscheles (1863), Chopin’s Concerto in F minor (1864) and Henselt’s Concerto for Pianoforte (1865). After graduation he toured Germany and then returned to Boston where he founded his Academy. The spring of 1884 was spent with Liszt in Weimar, and on April 10 he gave a recital in Berlin that was highly praised by the local critics which included being compared to Rubenstein. His edition of the complete scales and arpeggios was used extensively in America and Europe. His “phenomenal” musical memory was shown in the performance of the complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas. (Mathews, Hundred Years, inter alia 134-137)
Philharmonic Orchestra. The Musical Fund Society, which existed from 1847 until 1855 sponsored a Philharmonic Society that “eventually numbered from fifty to sixty instrumentalists, all of them professionals and committed to playing the best music. The musicians shared in the proceeds from the concerts. The performances started off at the Melodeon, which seated nine hundred. The orchestra got a reputation for rather decent playing, as compared with the previous academy and Philharmonic orchestras, and soon had a sizeable subscription audience. Two years later, the Musical Fund orchestra moved to the Tremont Theater (later renamed the Tremont Temple), which seated fifteen hundred. Directed first by Thomas Comer, an Irish musician, and later by George Webb, the Music Fund Society played symphonies by Pleyel, Haydn, Mozart, Kalliwoda, and early Beethoven. Regrettably for it, after a few years the audience shrank, and despite some small donations and a gift of one thousand dollars from Jenny Lind, it was headed toward extinction. One wintry evening, fate decided the issue. Owing to the freezing rain and dangerous ice conditions of the street, the instrumentalists left their instruments at the Temple building after the Saturday night concert. A fire broke out that night and destroyed music, instruments, and other properties of the society. It never recovered from the disaster.” (Tara, Psalm, 94 and 95). This would have been about 1858. Ryan describes Thomas Comer “as originally an actor. He had a passion for music-could compose a little, played the violin tolerably well, was leader of an orchestra in the Boston Museum for many years, and afterwards in the Boston Theatre. He was just the man for the times-popular on all sides, ”hand and glove” with every one, as the old saying went.” (Ryan, 52) Ryan also said that the “Germania Musical Society, which had been in Boston for two seasons, really gave the coup de grace to the Musical Fund Society by its fine orchestra and its superior performances.” (Ibid) “From 1855 to 1863 a Philharmonic Orchestra under Carl Zerrahn existed.” (Elson, National, 291) Zerrahn had been the first flute of the Germania Orchestra that had folded in September of 1854. This Philharmonic had “fifty-four men,” and Zerrahn “and the orchestra would continue to give regular concerts until 1863, when the Civil War forced a stoppage. Sad to relate, the quality of its playing was not the equal of that of the Germania Society, although it was certainly better than that of the other ensembles previously mentioned. Writing about concerts he had heard around 1860, William Apthorp said: ”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 the solitary ”cello was doing in the midst of the wood-wind. Hamann, the first horn, had little technique, but a good tone… 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.”” (Tara, Psalm, 97) Zerrahn announced in February 1860 that the Fourth Philharmonic Concert would be the last in the series, and “the last subscription series he will ever undertake on his own responsibility in this city. For five years he has labored with unremitting diligence to supply the most refined taste of the community with that entertainment which it craved… For five years he has expended time, disbursed money, and neglected his private interests, to accomplish this noble purpose, each year holding out to him promises of future success which have never been fulfilled.” (BMT (February 25, 1850): 6) The program for this concert described the orchestra as “Perfectly complete in all its details, [and] will consist of FIFTY of the best Boston musicians.” (HMA Program Collection) Just a few weeks later his fellow Boston artists organized a Benefit Concert for April 14, 1860 “in order to repair the losses he has sustained in his effort to provide entertainment for the highest musical tastes of our community.” (BMT, March 24, 1860) The program for this concert said “The Grand Orchestra is composed of FORTY of the best resident musicians. (HMA Program Collection) Early sales at fifty cents per ticket were good, and in addition to the full orchestra volunteering their services, Miss Fay, Mrs. Harwood, and Miss Washburn volunteered their talents also.
Zerrahn kept trying! In June 1860 it was reported that thirty-four “prominent professors of instrumental music” had formed a committee and “signed a truly admirable constitution” which would create the “Boston Philharmonic Society.” Thomas Ryan of the Mendelssohn Quintette Club was the President, and Carl Zerrahn was one of the three Associates. “Concerts will only be given when a sufficient sum shall have been secured to cover all expenses, and guarantee to each of those who may perform at a particular concert (and only those who do perform can receive compensation), the sum of twelve dollars. By way of preparation for each concert, four rehearsals will be given, of which two will be public.” (BMT, (June 2, 1860): 120 and 121) Further details emerged throughout the fall – “They propose to give six concerts to subscribers, for two dollars and a half for the series, a price which will put the entertainments within the means of all who desire to listen to such music as they will produce. Subscription lists are left at all music stores, and one thousand names will be required before the concerts can be given. No runners will be sent round to solicit signatures (a procedure which we heartily commend) for it is thought that those who are ready to support these concerts will be interested enough to apply personally for the means of admission.” (BMT (December 1, 1860): 330) However, almost a year later the goal was reduced to 800 subscribers, and without that number “under no circumstances can the concerts be given… We cannot believe that Boston music lovers will consent to allow two seasons in succession to pass without what has come to be almost a necessity, and have no doubt but that Mr. Zerrahn’s undertaking will prove eminently successful.” (BMT (November 30, 1861): 229) Finally enough support was found so that “Mr. Zerrahn has decided to give a series of Philharmonic Concerts, the first of which will take place Jan. 11th. … The programmes will be more varied than strictly classical concert might admit; but we are willing to leave this matter to Mr. Zerrahn’s discretion. We only wish to bespeak for him a patronage from non-subscribers commensurate with his former efforts to afford them and us a high degree of musical gratification.” (BMT (December 28, 1861): 246) The season began “most auspiciously,” and the second concert, held at the end of January included Miss Mary Fay as a soloist, “Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Wagner’s Overture to Faust, Schindelmeisser’s Overture to Uriel Acosta, and Julius Eichberg (who plays a Concerto of his own).” (BMT (January 25, 1861): 261) The success of these Winter Concerts led to a second series in the Spring, but “the result of the second attempt was a pecuniary failure, which forced him to discontinue the concerts. The truth is that the number of people who really understand, and thoroughly enjoy, the highest grade of orchestral performances is not sufficiently large to repay one for undertaking them.” The reviewer mentioned the Germania ensemble concerts-when they first there were great crowds, but “afterwards this affection faded away… Every season the lovers of orchestral concerts make strenuous efforts to establish them on some permanent basis; but the attempt has never yet succeeded.” It seems that the audience of this era was ready for the “Boston Pops” as reflected in the offerings of the Orchestral Union, but not yet ready for the “Boston Symphony Orchestra” which would appear twenty years later.
In January 1863 it was announced that “Mr. Carl Zerrahn has at length received sufficient encouragement from the musical public to warrant him in commencing a new series of these admirable entertainments [Philharmonic Concerts]. There will be six concerts on alternate Saturday evenings, commencing January 10th. A grand symphony will introduce each performance, and much other new and artistic music will be given. Mr. Zerrahn’s orchestra was never so large or effective, and we anticipate a decided success for this enterprise.” (BMT (January 3, 1863): 166) But, it seems that the series did not go well. In fact “Mr. Carl Zerrahn’s sixth and last Philharmonic Concert will be given at the Boston Theatre on the evening of Saturday April 11th., and will take the form of a benefit to himself… The experience of the last concert, two weeks ago, has taught Mr. Zerrahn, what the Boston press have labored in vain to teach him, that a fearfully heavy selection, unrelieved by anything of a generally attractive nature, may win the applause of half a dozen severe intellects, but will invariably have the effect of frightening away the masses upon whom most dependence must be placed by public servants for support.” (BMT (April 4, 1863): 22) Tickets were advertised at 50 cents, 25 cents for the Family Circle, and Private Boxes at $6. (HMA Program Collection) At the same time that he was presenting his Philharmonic Concert Series, Zerrahn was also conducting the concerts of the Boston Mozart Club. This was a group of “ardent amateurs” who presented “Social Orchestral Entertainments” to “their also ardent friends and associate members.” They performed at Mercantile Hall and the “creditable” program of March 23, 1863 would seem to be typical. (BMT (April 4, 1863): 21)
Overture – Cosi fan tutte – Mozart
Grand Symphony, No. 19 in D major – Haydn
Allegretto from 7th Symphony – Beethoven
Concert March – Kunze
Serenade for select orchestra – Eislodt
Overture – Barber of Seville – Rossini
The Mozart Club gave their “third Social Orchestral Entertainment on Monday, March 14th., at Mercantile Hall which was filled by a refined and cultivated audience of invited listeners. The performance, led by Zerrahn was good.” The program included a Mozart symphony, overtures by Mendelssohn and Mozart, and an orchestral Romance for English horn and flute by Halevy. (BMT (April 2, 1864): 4)
There were few regular orchestral concerts in Boston from 1863 until 1866 when the Harvard Musical Association took up the task-their series lasted until 1882. However, another Philharmonic Orchestra (the third use of this name in Boston) was begun in 1879 and reorganized into a Philharmonic Society in 1880. The successive conductors of this group were Bernhard Listemann, Louis Maas, and Carl Zerrahn. “The Harvard Musical Association represented musical conservatism, the Philharmonic Society was identified with radicalism of the most decided type.” (Elson, National, 293 and 294) A one-page introduction was printed in the opening program of October 24, 1879. “The Boston Philharmonic Orchestra has been recently organized to meet the wants of a permanent Orchestra in Boston-a want too generally admitted to call for further comment. The new organization has for its conductor Bernard Listemann, and counts among its members the very best performers of the Harvard Symphony Orchestra. The plans of the new organization for the coming season include a series of five popular Symphony Concerts, at Boston Music Hall” during November and December 1879. “Subscription tickets, with reserved seats for the five Concerts, $2.50 each; single reserved seats for each concert, 75 cents; admission tickets, 50 cents, and packages of five admission tickets, $2.00. The programmes of these concerts, though of a popular character, will be made up with a view of presenting a good variety of compositions, in which modern works of acknowledged ability will find a prominent position. The great composers will be represented by the following works:”then followed a list of c. 35 works… “Accomplished Vocal and Instrumental Soloists will contribute to each programme.” (HMA Program Collection) Elson remarked that both groups, the HMA Symphony and the new Philharmonic suffered from the lack of patronage, which led to too few rehearsals of musicians whose main income, came from other musical pursuits, and thus “could not give more than a perfunctory attention to the symphonic task.” (Elson, National, 294) Tara’s description was that “Bernard Listemann organized another Philharmonic in 1880, in direct competition with the [Harvard] association orchestra. Previously, Listemann had acted as concertmaster in the Thomas orchestra. The Philharmonic played no better than its rival and succeeded only in dividing the relatively small audience, so that both ensembles operated at a loss. The quietus was given to both ensembles when the Boston Symphony orchestra began life in 1881.” (Tara, Psalm, 99) But, from the Introduction to the first concert, printed above, it would seem that competition between the groups was not seen at that time especially as the new Philharmonic printed that their concerts were of a “popular” style, and the orchestra had among its membership the “very best performers of the Harvard Symphony Orchestra.” This new Philharmonic presented concerts at the Music Hall from October 24, 1879 until May 5, 1881. At that point Listemann became the concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, but the Philharmonic Society was reborn again conducted by Dr. Louis Maas and functioned from November 10, 1881 until April 13, 1882.[see next paragraph about the orchestra that Dwight mentioned in February 1881] They began yet again on November 28, 1882 under Carl Zerrahn, but lasted only until April 4, 1883. In the early 1890s a Boston Philharmonic Orchestra led again by Bernard Listemann gave concerts on Thursday afternoons at 2:30PM at the Boston Theater and the Tremont Theater. (HMA Program Collection). 1891-92 was listed as their Second Season-each program had notes about the pieces and included ads. During this season Edward A. MacDowell played his Piano Concerto No. 2 at their December 31, 1891 concert, and then repeated it at the concert of January 14, 1892. (HMA Program Collection) Lang was the soloist in the Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto on Tuesday afternoon December 19, 1882 at 2:30PM. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 3)
All that changed in 1881 with the founding of the Boston Symphony Orchestra by Henry L. Higginson. Dwight announced yet another “New Orchestral Club” in his February 12, 1881 issue-called a club because its main support would be from a group of supporters and associate members. Controlled by a Board of 25 members with Prof. J. K. Paine as its first President, “over six hundred persons have already signed as associate members, and the secretary reports that twice that number could be obtained if desired. The expense of five concerts proposed for the first year is thus already guaranteed. No tickets will be sold for the evening concerts, each member being entitled to four; rehearsals will, however, probably be given in the afternoon, for which tickets can be purchased.” After giving a long history of other orchestras in Boston, Dwight ended with the thought: “Can a city which hardly sustains one set of concerts [Harvard Musical Association] do any better for two?” (Dwight (February 12, 1881): 28)
Phillipps, Adelaide. B. 1833 in Bristol, England and died in 1882 at Carlsbad, Bohemia [Jones says in southern France, 137]. She was a contralto who grew up in Boston and made her stage debut there at the age of nine. “After studies in London with Manuel Garcia (1852-53) made debut in Italy. Returned to U.S. (1855); made debut at New York’s Academy of Music (1856)… sang with Maretzek company in Havana; returned to Europe; appeared in U.S. with Parepa-Rosa company (1867-71); was heard widely in concert. Oratorio, operetta (1879-81).” (Sablosky, 302) In October 1858 Dwight described her voice: “The rich contralto voice seemed even to have gained in mellowness and fullness, as well as in clear and equal development throughout its compass. She has, in a great measure, overcome what seemed an organic difficulty, a certain thickness in her sounds. There is more of artistic finish; more of sustained purity of artistic finish; more of sustained purity of tone and finished phrasing; more of flexibility-indeed, quite enough for any but a high soprano voice-while good taste and genuine sentiment restrain her from false ornament, from overstrained effect, and keep her within the bounds of chaste, pure style. It is a great pleasure to listen to the singing of Miss Phillipps.” (Dwight (October 30, 1858): 247) In August 1862 Dwight published a number of clippings from her reviews in Belgium: “Her voice, which is a rich contralto, is fresh, sonorous and even in every tone.” Another said: “Her voice, of perfect evenness and of most sympathetic quality, is of great compass; it is an admirable instrument, which she manages with perfect art and exquisite taste.” A paper in Liege wrote: “Miss Phillips is the star of the troupe. She is a skillful singer, possessing a beautiful contralto voice, flexible and of great compass. Her acting is full of energy and feeling… Her reputation is fully established with dilettanti, owing to her triumphs in America, at Les Italiens in Paris, and later, at the Theatre Royal in Madrid.” One final report: “In the name of the Associated Press of the City of Liege; and by a committee chosen for this express purpose, and in which every newspaper was represented, a crown was offered to Miss Phillips, and the audience by its prolonged bravos, signified its approbation of this demonstration by the Press of Liege.” (Dwight (August 2, 1862): 143) In the spring of 1863 it was reported in Boston that “she has been singing for some time in Amsterdam, and seems to have created a grand furore. Her voice and acting are described as most admirable.” (BMT (April 4, 1863): 20) On Saturday evening, April 30, 1864, “Miss Adelaide Phillipps gave her first concert in four years at Music Hall. She is not only recognized as one of the world’s best contraltos, but as an excellent and estimable lady in all social and domestic relations, and her popularity in Boston is immense. She was assisted by Mme. Guerrabella (with whom she has been singing in Havana); by her own sister, Miss M[athilde] Phillipps, a pupil of Bendelari; by Mr. B. J. Lang who played the D Minor Concerto of Mendelssohn; and by Mr. Zerrahn’s orchestra. Of course the house was crowded. Miss Phillipps never looked or sang to better advantage.” (BMT (May 7, 1864): 68) An article in 1865 described her voice as “rich, round and fresh, the supply is always equal to the demands on it. Moreover, she knows how to sing. What nature could not do, art has accomplished. Her style is the purest Italian, her execution exceedingly fine, and her versatility unusual, for she is equally at home in dramatic, comic, and sacred music… And Miss Phillips is a fine actress as well as a singer.” (BMT (June 3, 1865): 86) She was the soloist at the May 1867 concert that B. J. conducted in Salem to raise funds for a new concert hall. “Adelaide Phillipps was as much a regular operatic stand-by in those days as Brignoli himself [one of the few operatic singers who appeared with regularity in Boston-most lasted just 2 or 3 seasons]. She began as a dancer at the Boston Museum, but soon developed a rich, luscious contralto voice, which she had admirably trained… She was a grand singer and one of the best actresses of the day on the lyric boards.” (Swan-Apthorp, 75) Amy Fay wrote: “I am doubt whether indeed the Germans know what the best singing is. They have most wonderful choruses, but when it comes to soloists they have none that are really great-like Parepa and Adelaide Phillips.” (Fay, 34) In the summer of 1868 Miss Phillipps visited Europe, and to raise funds for this a “Complimentary Concert” was given at the Music Hall on Thursday evening June 4th. The assisting artists were Madame Camilla Urso-violin, Mr. Carlyle Petersilea-piano, Mr. Wm. Macdonald-vocalist and a “Full Orchestra” conducted by B. J. Lang. The concert began and ended with orchestral pieces, and Camilla Urso played the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto while Mr. Petersilea played two movements from the Chopin Piano Concerto in E Minor. Miss Phillips sang three different times during the concert. Tickets were $1. After her return from Europe that summer, Miss Phillips presented another major concert on December 12, 1868 at the Music Hall using six assisting artists and a “Grand Orchestra” again conducted by B. J. Lang. Lang’s pupil, Alice Dutton, was one of the guest soloists playing in the first half Mendelssohn’s Serenade and Allegro for Piano and Orchestra and also a Liszt solo in the second half. (HMA Program Collection) Tickets were also $1 for this event. (BPL Lang Prog.,) To open the concert Lang conducted the orchestra in the “Allegro Vivace” movement from Mendelssohn’s Fourth Symphony and to close, Beethoven’s Prometheus Overture. Her voice was described as “a pure, rich contralto with a compass of 21/2 octaves, ranging up to B flat in alt. She was not only a fine artist, but a kind-hearted, noble woman, and her death was lamented by a very large circle of friends.” (Jones, 137)
Phippen, Joshua. Piano pupil of Lang and composer of “pianoforte pieces; sonata for pianoforte and violin.” (Jenks, 483) He was the “Curator of Music” at the Essex Institute of Salem as reflected by a program dated December 26, 1881 which opened with a Trio in E Flat by Mozart played by Chas. N. Allen, Wulf Fries and A. W. Foote. (Program, Foote, Scrapbooks) He was one of the assisting artists in Lang”s series of five recitals of the complete piano works of Schumann in 1883. (BPL Lang Prog., 4) He also served as pianist for the Apollo Club as reflected in their May 12, 1887 (???) program where he played two piano solos, (BPL Lang prog., Vol. 7) and the November 29/December 5 1887 concerts where he also accompanied a horn solo. Philip Hale’s review of Phippen’s early 1890 recital said: “Mr. Phippen was not so fortunate in the selections and arrangement of his program [as Arthur Whiting’s had been]. Our old friend the Bach-Tausig arrangement was heard again, and the eight pieces of D’Albert seemed at one hearing singularly uninteresting. Mr. Phippen showed earnestness and the results of long and patient study.” (BPL Hale Crit., Vol. 1) During the 1889-90 Season Phippen gave a series of three recitals on December 20, 1889, January 17, 1890 and February 14, 1890. (MYB, 1889-90, 24) Phippen won the Piano Concerto section of the competition sponsored by the National Conservatory of Music in NYC in honor of Dvorak being named head of that institution.The piece was played at the Madison Square Garden Concert Hall with the composer as the soloist and the orchestra led by Dvorak. The NY Times felt that the winners in the Symphony, Piano Concerto and Suite sections of the competition were all “extremely crude…Mr. Phippen’s piano concerto was sadly deficient in thematic material, but such melodies as the composer had were fairly well divided between orchestra and solo instrument. There were some passages of good contrapuntal writing also.” The article had noted that Phippen, born in Salem, had studied piano with Lang and harmony with C. J. Capen. “In harmony he is self-taught.” (NY Times (March 31, 1893): 4)
Post, Boston. See Newpapers.
Preston, John Aiken Jr. Pupil of B. J.; (May 31, 1856-1902 Passport Application or May 1855-1900 Census) in Manchester, MA (1900 Census)? – 1914) Editor, teacher, pianist and publisher. (Ellinwood, 302); part of a group “Messrs. G. W. Sumner, G. A. Adams, H. G. Tucker, Arthur Foote, and J. A. Preston, all of whom give concerts and recitals of their own programmes of great interest, and rank as excellent pianists.” (Dwight, History of Boston, 455) Listed among Lang’s pupils who “deserve mention because of musical prominence,” Preston “has appeared in the leading symphony concerts of Boston, and is recognized as a prominent musician.” (Elson, Supplement, 3) In 1875 he was listed as the organist of the Broadway Unitarian Church in South Boston-had he also taken organ lessons from Lang? (Advertiser (February 8, 1875): 2, GB) Preston soloed with the HMA Orchestra in February 1878 in the first Boston performance of Saint-Saens Piano Concerto No. 4 in C Minor. “Mr. Preston, one of the youngest of our concert pianists, a pupil successively of Mr. Parker and of Mr. Lang, proved himself easily equal to all the rare difficulties of the new Concerto by Saint-Saens. He has great aplomb, remarkably sure, firm execution, a good touch, great facility and smoothness in running passages, even rapid ones in sixths and fourths. He plays too with considerable expression, and with good conception of the intentions of the composition and its capabilities of effect. His manner is modest, quiet, and yet resolute. Of the Concerto itself there are various opinions… We found its power and beauty growing on us.” (Dwight (March 2, 1878): 191) In April 1876 Preston played the Chopin Concerto in E Minor with the orchestral reduction at a second piano as part of a pupils’ of J. C. D. Parker concert given at the College of Music of Boston University. (Dwight (April 15, 1876): 214) At a Boylston Club concert in September 1878 given “for the relief of the sufferers at the South,” Preston was the accompanist for the vocal soloist Miss Fanny Kellogg and his performance was described as “well accompanied.” (Dwight (September 28, 1878): 311) In February 1879 he presented a solo recital at Mechanics’ Hall “which was alike remarkable for the ambitious tasks which he essayed and for the success with which he acquitted himself in them… It was Mr. Preston’s second public appearance only before a Boston audience as solo pianist; his first was in a Symphony Concert last year, when he made his mark in a Concerto by Saint-Saens… His look and manner are those of a very serious artist; he takes all in earnest, and never trifles with his work.” (Dwight (March 15, 1879): 46) Over a year later Preston again soloed at Mechanics’ Hall where he played to a “goodly number of appreciative listeners.” In this concert Mr. William J. Winch was an assisting artist. In reviewing his performance of Kreisleriana by Schumann, Dwight was “astonished not only by the technical excellence, the clearness and finish, the sustained poise, ease and freedom of Mr. Preston’s execution, but still more by a mental grasp and an interpretation of the work which left nothing vague or dull, but took strong hold of the attention and held it to the end. It would be hard to name his superior among our young pianists.” (Dwight (June 19, 1880): 102) Lang saved a notice advertising three organ recitals at new organ of the Tremont Temple that Preston gave in October 1880. (BPL Lang prog., Vol. 3) Dwight found the selections of the first concert “interesting” and noted that Mr. George Chadwick would join Preston during the second concert for the Fantasia for Four Hands by Adolf Hesse. (Dwight (November 6, 1880): 176) After the third organ recital, Wednesday noon, October 27, Dwight wrote: “We are glad to see, [that this concert] was better attended than the previous one.” He ended with the comment: “The gifted young pianist has certainly made his mark also as an organist by these three concerts.” (Dwight (November 6, 1880): 182) Preston’s growing importance in the Boston musical world was furthered when he joined the St. Botolph Club on June 1, 1880, just six months after it was founded. (1905 List of Members, 40) In the 1880 Census Preston’s address is listed as 149 Tremont Street: his occupation as music teacher: his age as 24, and that he was single.[see below about children] Preston made just one solo appearance during the first fifteen years of the BSO-it was during the First Season (1881-82: Henschel) (BSO Programs 1881-96) The BPL has three pieces that he edited, all published by B. F. Wood: Arenski: Valse, Op. 36, Liszt: Consolations 1-6 and 3 Liebestraume, and Napravnik: Melancolie. (BPL Music Room Catalog) The 1900 census lists his profession as “Music Publisher,” his address as 311 Fairmount Ave., Hyde Park, MA, two children: Carleton E. Preston (single, aged 21-born November 1878) and daughter, Louise Preston (married, aged 27-born April 1873). John A. Preston’s Passport Application of 1879 described him as: age-22, stature- 5″ 10″; forehead-medium; eyes-hazel; nose-regular; mouth-small; chin-medium; hair-very dark brown; face-oval, and having been born in Dorchester, MA. Another Passport Application of 1887 for John (then aged 30) and his wife, Susan W. Preston (aged 28) and her maid servant Agnes Lynch (aged about 20 years), lists his birthplace as Dorchester, MA. The only additional information was: complexion-dark. A third Passport Application of 1899 added that his father is a native citizen of the United States, and that he, John did “not follow any occupation.”
Proctor, George. One of the musicians that Mrs. Gardner supported. “From the moment she had first seen Proctor, as a boy chorister at the Church of the Messiah, and later when at fifteen he was organist at the Church of the Redeemer in South Boston, Mrs. Jack had been charmed by his Byronesque features and girlish dimples. For the rest of her life, she took the keenest interest in his happiness. Johns thought well of his talent, as did William [sic] Gericke, and when Paderewski endorsed their opinion, she sent Proctor to study under Leschetizsky in Vienna…” (Palffy, 142) His record of fifteen appearances with the Boston Symphony between the 1896 and 1914 compares favorably with William Sherwood’s record of seven appearances during the period 1881 to 1893 or the three appearances during the period of 1883 to 1886 of Arthur Foote. Lang played seven times-once on organ in 1883 and six times on piano between 1883 and 1889. (Howe, BSO, 249, 253, 257 and 258)
Reese, Lizette Woodworth. Poet of many of Margaret’s songs. “A well-respected American poet… Reese’s clear and concise style is believed by many scholars to have had a significant influence on many poets of the early twentieth century.” (Blunsom, 196) Born January 9, 1856 in Waverly, Maryland and died December 17, 1935, she was a schoolteacher from 1873 until 1918. “During the 1920s, she became a prominent literary figure, receiving critical praise and recognition, in particular from H. L. Menchen, himself from Baltimore. She has been cited as an influence on younger women poets and has been compared to Emily Dickinson.” Her earliest collections of poems were A Branch of May (1887), A Handful of Lavender (1891), and A Quiet Road (1896), followed in 1909 by “A Wayside Lute. (Wikipedia article, August 10, 2008) Others have seen that both Teasdale and Millay were deeply indebted to her. The fact that she “was a professional, independent woman from the time that she left high school in 1873” may have resonated with Margaret. (www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/poems/791.html)
Rogers, Clara. Born in Cheltenham, England on January 14, 1844 to the English opera composer John Barnett (1802-1890), her grandfather was the famous English song-writer, Robert Lindley. Her earliest musical instruction was from her parents, and then she attended the Leipzig Conservatory from 1857-1860 (the same time that B. J.Lang was doing his German study). She discovered “upon her arrival that she was too young to attend the conservatory. She was eventually allowed to enroll because of the extraordinary talent she showed in her audition, and because of the director’s sympathy for her family’s situation. When she began to study, Clara was the youngest student ever admitted to the conservatory… At the conservatory, Clara’s first area of concentration was the piano. After three years of lessons with Louis Plaidy and Ignaz Moscheles, she was invited to play Chopin’s Concerto in E Minor in the graduation recital… At the age of fifteen Clara was admitted to vocal study and her progress led to her to choose opera singing as a career.” (Radell and Malitsky, Keyboard, 131 and 132) Further study in Italy led to her operatic debut in Turin, and she sang major roles in various Italian companies from 1863-1867. Her stage name was “Clara Doria.” (Ibid) She then returned to England for four years “before joining the Parepa-Rosa Opera Company on their American tour. This company was “formed by two Leipzig colleagues, Carl Rosa and Euphrosyne Parepa-Rosa. Her Boston performances were enthusiastically reviewed, and she returned to that city the following year with the Max Maretzak Company.” (Ibid) After settling in Boston she sang professionally at Trinity Church and performed frequently at the Harvard Symphony Concerts. “Following her marriage to the prominent attorney Henry Munroe Rogers, Clara gave up public performing but continued to teach and compose… She joined the faculty of the New England Conservatory in 1902… Since she had been denied a place in the composition classes at the Leipzig Conservatory because of her gender, she felt most confident writing in the smaller forms… Between 1882 and 1906 Rogers published fifty-seven songs… Rogers’s first set [of songs] Op. 10, was published in 1882” by Arthur P. Schmidt. (Radell and Matitsky, Vocal, 300) During a “career that spanned nearly sixty years, Rogers collaborated with the successive conductors of the newly formed Boston Symphony Orchestra, taught at the New England Conservatory, and shared manuscripts with her fellow composers, who are known collectively as the Second New England School.” (Radell and Malitsky, Keyboard, 131) “Henry Rogers was a source of support for her, both personally and professionally, and together they shared a circle of friends that included some of the most important people in Boston, as well as artists, actors, and writers of international reputation.” (Radell and Malistsky, Keyboard, 133) Rogers “…claims she was one of the first to hold weekly musical evenings in her home. One of her objectives was to bring together fledgling instrumentalists and vocalists, established composers, other noted musicians, music critics, and patrons. When not listening to music, they could enter into discussions and exchange views. Those who attended included the composers Foote, MacDowell, and Chadwick, conductors of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, B. J. Lang, the music writers Dwight and Apthorp, and friends like Julia Ward Howe.” (Tawa, Foote, 110) The respect shown by the Lang’s is reflected in the letters by both B. J. and Margaret written after the performance of Roger’s Sonata Dramatico at the first concert of the Boston Manuscript Club in 1888 which also included songs by Margaret. (Radell and Malitsky, Keyboard, 133) Roger’s Romanza, op. 31 for piano was published in 1894 in the same volume, Half-Hours with the Best Composers which included two piano pieces by Margaret. (Radell and Malitsky, Keyboard, 134) She also wrote a sonata for cello, a piano scherzo, and “her songs are many in number and excellent in quality. Among them are two sets of Browning Songs, six Folk Songs, and such favorites as The Rose and the Lily, Clover Blossoms, Confession, At Break of Day, and many others.” (Elson, Women’s Work, 203)
Salem, Massachusetts Musical Groups and Businesses
Chickering Piano Dealers. On the front page of the January 9, 1860 issue of the Salem Register was an ad placed by Chickering & Sons originally dated March 16, 1859 announcing that Messers. B & B. J. Lang had been appointed “our sole Agents in Salem and its environs for the sale of our manufacture. All pianos purchased of Messers. LANG will be warrented by us, to be as low in price, and as perfect and satisfactory in every respect, as if obtained directly from our warehouses in Boston.” (Salem Register (January 9, 1860): 1, GenB)
(Salem Register (November 7, 1859): 3, GB). The first paragraph mentions that Benjamin (the father) had been in business for 20 years.
Appearing just under this ad was another announcing that Mr. C. H. Towne was available for piano tuning, just having completed “six months of practice at Brown and Allen’s Piano Manufactory” in Boston. (Ibid) He was to be contacted at D. B. Brooks & Brothers Music Store on Essex Street. Just under this ad was a third where J. Kaula and S. M. Stetson announced the opening of a music store where they were available for lessons on the “piano, organ, &c. [also] Piano Fortes and organs tunes and repaired. Also Music arranged and furnished for Brass and Quadrille Bands, at the shortest notice” (Ibid) They had “taken rooms” at # 11 Cramer’s Block, Essex Street. The partnership of B. Lang and B. J. Lang only lasted until October 1860. At that time Chickering & Sons took an ad saying that the Agency was moved to just Mr. B. J. Lang, and he was described as “a gentleman possessing unusually fine qualifications for the purchasing and selection of Pianos.” (Salem Register (October 29, 1860): 2, GB)
Postmarked 1906. Johnston Collection.
The Essex Institute sponsored concerts. In 1877, the second program was given by a female vocal quartet with Arthur Foote as the accompanist, and as solos he presented the Liszt Fifth Hungarian Rhapsody, Nocturne Op. 32, No. 1 by Chopin and melody by Rubinstein. In the third concert, January 8, 1877, Lang “and his pupil Miss Grace Sampson” played Schumann’s Variations for Two Pianofortes Op. 46, Mozart’s Sonata in D Major for two pianofortes, and the concert ended with the Saint-Saens Concerto in G minor, Op. 22 – the soloist was not named. George Sumner was the pianist in the fourth program given January 22, 1877. (Dwight (February 17, 1877): 391 and 392). The next year the concerts were given “once a fortnight.” In the January 14, 1878 program Arthur Foote and Mr. Tucker shared a program with Wulf Fries and the singer, Mrs. J. W. Weston. Piano duo pieces were Two Marches. Op. 18 by Gade, “Serenade and Scherzo” from Suite in D by Saint-Saens, and the Bridal Music (two numbers) by Adolf Jensen. As solos, Tucker performed Two Ecossaises by Chopin and Liszt’s Study in D Flat Major – Foote gave no solos. (Dwight (February 16, 1878): 183 and 184)
Lyceum as it looks today (2017)
Lyceum. This building was used as a concert hall by Lang and others. The Salem Lyceum Society bought the land in 1831 and built the brick building that still satnds there today. Located on Church Street, the building cost $4,000 and “could accommodate 700 patrons in amphitheater-style seating.” (Website, “Salem Massachusetts, The City Guide,” written by Jim McAllister). It was “built on top of the former site of Bridget Bishop’s apple orchard…The building is reportedly haunted by the ghost of Bridget Bishop, the first victim of the Salem Witch Trials…Stories of ghostly apparitions continue to surround the old Lyceum building since it opened as a restaurant in 1989. numerous people have reported seeing a woman in a long white gown floating above the Lyceum building’s main staircase and her image has been seen in windows and mirrors throughout the building…Many famous writers and public officials of the time spoke at the hall such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Frederick Douglass, John Quincy Adams and Henry David Thoreau. Alexander Graham Bell also conducted the first public demonstration of the telephone at the hall in 1877.” (Website of Rebecca Beatrice Brooks, “Historic Lyceum Building Renovated,” accessed November 11, 2016) “The record for the most appearances unquestionably belonged to Emerson, who spoke nearly 30 times…Like many other authors of the era, Emerson used Lyceum audiences to gauge the popularity of an essay or book before going to the expense oof publishing it. (McAllister, Op. cit)
The Salem Oratorio Society. Begun in the fall of 1868 – Carl Zerrahn, conductor – two hundred singers at the first rehearsal-first concert was Haydn’s Creation on Thursday evening February 11, 1869 with soloists from Boston and the Mendelssohn Quintet Club who “assisted as orchestra” – in June 1869, two hundred and sixty members of the choir took part in the National Peace Jubilee in Boston-John S. Dwight reviewed their Elijah performance of May 1870 very favorably. “There were about 250 fresh voices-nearly all of them young people, at least in the Soprano and Alto,-remarkably well balanced… You knew that there were no dummies… Particularly were we struck by the perfection of the rendering of several of those rapid choruses… The performance as a whole, of course, had not the massiveness of our Handel and Haydn presentation of such works. But, until we shall hear better (which we do not expect to do very soon), we shall have to point to Salem for a model of good, true chorus-singing.” (Dwight (May 21, 1870): 247) By 1871 “there were four hundred and two members.” (Whipple, 124) This group performed Mendelssohn’s St. Paul at Mechanic Hall with Boston soloists, the Germania Orchestra and B. J. Lang playing the “New Concert Organ.” The choir numbered about four-hundred voices for this performance.
For most concerts various Boston soloists were used: among them, Mr. Whitney (bass), Dr. Langmaid (tenor), Miss Houston (soprano, later Mrs. Houston-West); W. J. Winch (tenor) and J. F. Winch (bass). On December 29, 1886 the choir joined with the Lowell Choral Society (another of Zerrahn’s groups) to present a “Second Performance” of Gounod’s Redemption at Mechanic Hall. Geo. W. Sumner was listed as the organist and the Germania Orchestra was listed as the accompaniment. This would be a very late use of the Germania name. At the bottom of the program the audience was advised: “Extra train for Swampscott, Lynn and Boston will leave at 10:40, also Horse-cars to surrounding towns at [the] close of [the] Concert.” (Program offered on Ebay during August 2017 for $36) When Zerahhn retired his place was taken by Emil Mollenhauer. (Ibid) Mollenhauer seemed to collect many of Lang’s and Zerrahn’s positions as they became vacant.
The Salem Schubert Club. Organized May 3, 1878 – number of singing members limited to sixty-associate members limited to one hundred and fifty – Wm. J. Winch first Musical Director, and remained with the group until his departure for Europe in October, 1883 – George W. Chadwick conducted in 1883 and 1884 – followed by Arthur Foote in 1885 and 1886 – repertoire was “cantatas, part-songs and music of like character… The Salem Schubert Club has done some very creditable work and given many admirable performances. It has given the people of Salem an opportunity of hearing the better class of cantatas, part-songs and glees, performed by a well-drilled chorus with the best solo assistance, Mr. and Mrs. George Henschel, Wm. J. Winch, Dr. S. W. Langmaid, Mrs. Humphrey Allen and others.” (Whipple, 127, 128 and 129)
Satter, Gustave. Born February 12, 1832 in Yugoslavia. According to “recurrent statements in the press, Gustave Satter surpassed them all by the quality of his musicianship. He was a fluent technician, imbued with the spirit of the new music by Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, and Chopin. Satter first played in New York on February 20, 1855 at a Quartet soiree of Theodore Eisfeld, beginning in the Schubert Trio, Op. 100.” (Johnson, Satter, 61) Satter then appeared with the New York Philharmonic Society conducted by Henry C. Timm at Niblo’s Rooms on March 10, 1855 in the New York premier of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto (Johnson, 48). Then Boston heard him with the Mendelssohn Quintet Club on April 2, 1855 at Chickering Hall again playing the Schubert Trio. It would seem that Dwight’s personal description of Satter in his April 7, 1855 issue is the only one available. “He is a fresh, youthful-looking person, with an air of decision and at the same time a good-humoured 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, and a zealous student of the real character of Art; but it would be too much to expect of him all that earnest depth of feeling and of inward experience which should leave nothing to be desired.” (Johnson, Satter, 62) Satter’s professional position is reflected by Johnson’s statement – “According to recurrent statements in the press, Gustave Satter surpassed them all [eleven previously cited artists who had come from Europe to America to better their professional lot during the years 1832 through 1852] by the quality of his musicianship. He was a fluent technician, imbued with the spirit of the new music by Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, and Chopin.” Johnson then quotes the New York correspondent of Dwight’s Journal of Music as saying that “His playing is, in my opinion, beyond anything that we have yet heard here… His style is that of Liszt… combining immense force, astonishing fluency, great sweetness and expression where it is needed, and the art of making the notes sing, and often sound out and vibrate like those of an organ.” (Johnson, 62 and 63) Satter assisted the Mendelssohn Quintette Club in their subscription concerts during the springs of 1855 and 1856. (Dowell, 21) Satter stayed in Boston two years [1855-57], teaching and performing, but he felt that he had to defend himself for programming his own fantasias on national airs such as Yankee Doodle and Hail Columbia. After spending the summer and fall of 1858 in Philadelphia, he returned to Boston where he again programmed mainly his own works, but also achieved great success with a performance of Beethoven’s Concerto in G Major on January 25, 1859. The Boston Musical Times (BMT) reported that Satter and S. B. Mills would be playing a concert in Providence “on Tuesday next”, and also that “Mr. Gustav Satter is engaged to be married to Miss Lillie S. McClelan, only daughter of the late Hon. Judge McClelan, of the Supreme Court of Edinburgh, Scotland. Miss McClelan is an American by birth.” (BMT (December 1, 1860): 328) By 1861 Satter was back in Paris and during the next twelve years he traveled throughout Europe, but by 1875 he was back in America. In 1865, while he was in Dresden, the rumors circulating through the city about him led him to write a letter “To my Enemies” in which he threatens to take them to court! The writer in the BMT wrote: “This individual, whose excellence as a musician, and impudence [immodesty-shamelessness] as a man, are well remembered here, has been talked about in Dresden as he was in New York and Boston. Thinking himself ”whiter than snow, and purer than gold,” he objects to” the rumors…Alas, poor Satter.” (BMT (December 2, 1865): 179) “He stayed in the New York vicinity until 1877, when he went South… It is believed he died in 1879 at the age of forty-seven in a place unknown to us.” (Johnson, 69) “A Biographical Sketch” published in Savannah, Georgia in 1879 was probably autobiographical. Baker gives a different birthday: “Gustav Satter (b. Dec. 2, 1832 in Rann, Slovenia and d. (?) Savannah, Georgia, 1879) Pianist; trained as an amateur in Vienna, then in Paris, whither he had gone to study medicine. He threw over the latter profession, toured the United States and Brazil with much success in 1854-60, and returned to Paris, where Berlioz warmly praised his compositions; he resided successively in Vienna, Dresden, Hanover, Gothenburg, and Stockholm, later revisiting America.” (Baker, Bio. Dic. 511) Satter had played the New York premiere of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto with the Philharmonic on March 10, 1855.
Saturday Evening Gazette. Established in 1813. “It is  a large four-page sheet, devoted to the higher walks of literature and education. It is Republican in politics, and is largely read in the old families of Boston.” (Grieve, 105)
Scharwenka, Xaver. b. 1850, and d. 1924. “Played in Boston for the first time on February 6, 1891… This strikingly handsome man of Polish-German extraction was one of the most brilliant virtuosi of his time. Every piano-maltreating miss in America had, of course, played his Polish Dance in E flat minor, one of the most popular pieces of piano literature… Among the mass of piano works published by Scharwenka, his first piano concerto in B flat minor acquired special celebrity and was frequently played by him and by others. He made his Boston debut most impressively with this concerto. At that time Scharwenka had already been conducting the New York branch of his conservatory for two years.” (Leichtentritt, 373 and 374)
Henry M. Dunham, The Life of a Musician, 67.
Schmidt, Arthur Paul. April 1, 1846-May 5 1921. Born at Altona, Germany. Worked for ten years as a clerk for a music store in Boston. “In October 1876 he began a prosperous and valuable career as a publisher and importer of music (chiefly at first as a gent of the well-known Litolff edition), with branches later at Leipzig and New York. The publications listed in the catalogue in 1932 reached the number of nearly fifteen thousand… A chief interest with him from the first was the encouragement of American composers… Most important, he was a pioneer in the publication of works in larger forms (orchestral scores and parts, for example) that had no possibility of being commercially successful. The first score of an important composition of the kind in the United States was the second symphony, im Fruhling, of John Knowles Paine, published in 1880 by subscription.” During the forty years 1880-1920 he published major works by many of the New England School. “The encouragement he thus gave to composers cannot be overestimated; in a period of remarkable development in American music he made a note-worthy contribution.” (A. F., 440) “He was the first to recognize the gifts of Arthur Foote, George Chadwick, Henry Hadley, Mrs. H. H. A. Beach and many other leading American composers. ”He also appreciated the genius of Edward MacDowell when he returned in 1889 from Europe with his reputation entirely European and could find no New York publisher for his manuscripts.”” (Ayars, 39)
Anton Seidl: Elson, History of American Music, 214.
Seidl, Anton. b. May 7, 1850 in Pest, Hungary, d. New York City, March 28, 1898. “His death left a gap in the operatic forces of the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, and Covent Garden, London; robbed the Philharmonic Society of New York of a conductor under whom it enjoyed six seasons of unexampled prosperity; weakened the artistic props of the Wagner Festivals at Bayreuth… orphaned a number of undertakings which looked to the edification and entertainment of the people of the United States and Canada in the course of coming seasons… Mr. Seidl’s activities in New York compassed twelve seasons. He came in the fall of 1885, to be the first conductor of the German opera, then domiciled at the Metropolitan Opera House, and he remained at the head of that notable institution until… 1891. (Krehbiel, 757) “He became an American citizen, believing that this country the best in which to work out his ideals.” (Dic. Am Bio., 311) When Theodore Thomas left the Philharmonic for Chicago in 1891, Seidl became his successor beginning in the fall of that year. “During the entire period of his American residence, he conducted a vast majority of the orchestral concerts given under other auspices than those of the institutions mentioned, and he was extending his activities more and more widely with each year, so that it may correctly be said that, had he lived to carry out the plans which he had laid down for the next season here and abroad, he would have been unique among the world”s conductors in the variety and extent of his labors and the reach of his influence…” (Krehbiel, 758)
“The most important musician ever to visit the United States and stay, he became an American citizen, bought a country house in the Catskills, and would not be addressed as ”Herr.” His ”America-mania” included a fondness for mixed drinks and excited approbation of the prospective Spanish-American War. He befriended Edward MacDowell, and-in an excess of partisanship for the Wagner cause he extolled-called the American composer greater than Brahms.” (Horowitz in Beckerman, 92 and 93)
Seidl began his study at the Leipzig Conservatorium in the fall of 1870, and early “in 1872 he went to Bayreuth, and was employed by Wagner to make the first copy of the score of the Nibelungen trilogy [aged 21]. He also assisted at the festival in 1876. In 1879, through Wagner’s recommendation, he obtained the post of conductor at the Leipzig Opera-House, and remained there until 1882. After touring Europe conducting Angelo Neumann’s “Nibelungen” opera troupe, he was appointed conductor of the Bremen Opera House. In 1885 he married [the singer, Augusta Krauss], and in September of that year he began his work at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.” (Grove, Third Edition, 709) “He conducted many American premieres of Wagner operas, and with his traditions and the years he had spent with Wagner he was able to produce absolutely authentic performances and interpretations. In 1893 he also conducted the American premiere of the ”New World” symphony by Anton Dvorak, who was his intimate friend.” (Howard, 562) Howard’s article also quotes H. T. Finck as the source of the fact that “None of the printed accounts of his life gives the names of his parents, and by some it was supposed that he was the natural son of Franz Liszt.” (Howard, 561)
Sharland, John. B. Conductor of the choir below, which began as the Boylston Club, “but that has been only a small part of his labors. He is an organist of much ability, and as a teacher of music in the public schools is doing great work.” (Elson, Musical Boston, 5 ) Sharland-b. Halifax, 1837-d. Boston, 1909. “Was early in Chickering’s piano-factory, but turned to piano-playing and conducting, led many choral societies in or near Boston, and from 1870 was music-supervisor in the schools.” (Grove, Am. Supp, 27) In 1861 he was organist of the West Church in Boston (built in 1806) whose congregation was “numerous, influential and wealthy, as may be inferred from the fact that during the past season -universally conceded to be the most trying and stringent in financial affairs ever experienced in this country-they have had a new organ erected, at the expense of about $5,000, which is entirely paid for.” The choral music was supplied by a double quartet “arranged somewhat upon the antiphonal plan with four voices on each side.” His wife was one of the altos. For hymn singing each side alternated verses with all eight voices joining for the final verse. “Mr. Sharland, who has been an amateur musician for many years, has now adopted it as a profession… He has considerable experience as an organist, and for the past six or seven years has officiated in this capacity at the West Church.” (Dwight (October 12, 1861): 223)
Sharland Chorus. Another mixed choir in Boston whose membership in 1876 was c. 300 voices. It was part of the first Boston performance of Bach’s Magnificat in D (1723) given at the Music Hall on March 1, 1876 together with the Thomas orchestra. The soloists were Mrs. H. M. Smith, Flora Barry, G. H. Oakes, William J. and John F. Winch with John Knowles Paine as the organist. (Johnson, First, 5)
Elson, “Musical Boston,” Supplement to “Music and Drama,” June 3, 1882. HMA Collection.
Elson, Story of American Music, 285.
Hughes, Contemporary American Composers, 1900, facing 382.
Sherwood, William Hall. Born Lyons, New York, January 31, 1854. First teacher was his father, the Rev. L. H. Sherwood who had established “the Lyons Musical Academy at Lyons, N. Y. in 1854-the year which Mr. Sherwood was born. At an early age young Sherwood commenced the study of music under his father”s instruction. In 1871 Mr. Sherwood went to Europe, where he studied with several eminent teachers, among them the illustrious Liszt.” (Elson, Musical Boston, 5) His second American teacher was Dr. William Mason. Amy Fay wrote in 1872 – “There is a young fellow named Sherwood, who is only seventeen years old, and he not only plays splendidly but composes beautifully, also.” (Fay, 170) “Sherwood is Kullak’s pet and pride, and indeed, since his advent in the conservatory Kullak has shut up entirely on the subject of American want of talent.” (Fay, 187) Fay further recorded: “Sherwood is going ahead like a young giant. Today Kullak said that Sherwood played Beethoven’s E flat major concerto (the hardest of all Beethoven’s concertos) with a perfection that he had rarely heard equalled. So much for being a genius, for he is still under twenty [Feb. 1873], and has only been abroad a year or two. But he studied with our best American master, William Mason, and played like an artist before he came. But, then, Sherwood has one enormous advantage that no master on earth can bestow, and that is, perfect confidence in himself.” (Fay, 192 and 193) Dwight reported: Mr. and Mrs. William Sherwood. “Both Americans, (the latter will be pleasantly remembered in this city as Miss Mary Fay) have lately given a concert in the Sing-Akademie in Berlin, of which the entire press there speaks in terms of highest praise.” (Dwight (April 29, 1876): 223) Fay referred to Mrs. Sherwood as Mrs. Wrisley of Boston saying that she and Mrs. Wrisley left Kullak to study with Deppe at the same time. After successful concerts in Germany, Mr. and Mrs. Sherwood returned to America in 1876. After a “large and brilliant concert tour” of the States, they settled in Boston and began teaching. He “taught for a few years in the New England Conservatory, Boston, and then moved to New York” (Dic. Am. Bio., 103). In 1878 Mr. Sherwood gave ten piano recitals at his music rooms, No. 21 West Street, Boston, on Fridays at 3:30PM. Mrs. Sherwood played the orchestral reductions. These concerts were repeated on Monday evenings at 8PM. (HMA Program Collection) The soloists in the first Boston performance of the Bach’s Concerto for Four Claviers in A Minor were “Mr. and Mrs. Sherwood, J. C. D. Parker, and Benjamin J. Lang.” (Johnson, First, 10) This was presented at Mechanics Hall on April 1, 1880. “Since 1889 his chief work has been in the West, where his teaching… has made Chicago a centre for piano music… His concert tours have extended everywhere, north, southeast, and west. Canada and Mexico have heard him, as well as the United States. Every great symphonic orchestra in the country has had his services at one time or another. All together, it is not too much to say that the first American piano virtuoso is (and has been for many years) William H. Sherwood.” (Elson, Hist. Am. Mus., 285) “He was the first to play the Grieg concerto in America, and was the first soloist to appear with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under George Henschel… he possessed a flawless technique, delicacy and refinement of expression, and through musicianship. He rarely gave a recital without including one American composition… He had a large following as a teacher, especially through his summer courses at Chautauqua, N. Y., where for twenty-two years, from 1899 until his death, he was head of the piano department… He possessed a lovable nature, very affable, simple, and unpretentious. His first wife, Mary [Nielson] Fay, of Williamsburg, N. Y., to whom he was married in 1874 while a student in Berlin, was also a gifted student of Kullak, and they often played together successfully. His second wife, Estelle [Estella] F. Abrams… to whom he was married in 1887, was his student in Boston. He had three daughters by the first marriage, and two by the second” (Dic. Am. Bio., 104). In January and February 1876 Mr. and Mrs. Sherwood presented five piano concerts with assisting artists, George L. Osgood and members of the Boston Philharmonic Club. (HMA Program Collection) Mr. Sherwood played on seven different programs with the BSO during the seasons ’81, ’83, ’84, ’92, and ’93 (which was equal to Lang’s piano and organ appearances with the Symphony). (Howe, BSO, 258) Alfred Hollins mentions that during the 1888 tour of America the Principal of his College, Mr. Campbell discovered “an appliance called the Technicon, used for developing the muscles of the arms, hands, and fingers.” (Hollins, 178) William Sherwood, “one of Boston”s leading pianists and musicians “had been “keenly interested” in this device, and Campbell set Hollins to using it for an hour each day. (Ibid) However, Hollins had no patience for the device.
St. Botolph Club. “St. Botolph was founded in a golden epoch of the City of Boston. Arts, literature, music, architecture, clubs and public affairs, as well as the vast commercial, shipping and professional empires that supported them, were all experiencing a great flowering. Many of the eminent individuals connected with all these were original members of our Club. A ”Committee of Ten” had sent out invitations to several hundred friends and colleagues, and upon receiving an enthusiastic response, founded the Club on January 3rd., 1880.” [Massachusetts Historical says January 10, 1880] First location “at 87 Boylston Street.” (Williams, 32) “Members drawn from Boston’s upper class… John Quincy Adams, Philips Brooks, Francis Parkman,[First President] William Dean Howells and Henry Cabot Lodge, H. H. A. Beach” and among musicians, “William Apthorp, George Chadwick, Philip Hale, and B. J. Lang… The St. Botolph Club, in particular, had artistic intentions from its inception… Concerts were also encouraged, and to that end they bought in 1882 a Chickering grand piano.” (Blunsom, 134 and 135) “The Club was to be inexpensive, with dues of not more than thirty dollars,” (Williams, op. cit.) and there was to be no restaurant. Arthur Foote and George Parker (both members) performed Margaret’s Deserted at a club function. (Blunsom, Op. cit.) B. J. was “a Resident and Founding Member of the St. Botolph Club (January 1880).” (Howlett, e-mail, November 30, 2009) Other members of the Lang circle and their dates of joining include: Arthur Foote-January 1887; Philip Hale-May 1890; William F. Apthorp-1880, but William Foster Apthorp-March 1896 [?]; Allen Augustus Brown-June 1889; George Laurie Osgood was a founding member, January 1880; G. W. Sumner-1880; William Johnson Winch-1883. (Howlett, e-mail, January 4, 2010) In 1889 it was “situated on Newbury Street, and was modelled 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) William Foster Apthorp sang the part of “Prof. J. Bolingbroke Smythe” in the musical farce “The Aesthetic Barber” presented at the Club on December 23, 1881. Dr. S. W. Langmaid sang “Charles Chestnut” and Mr. H. G. Pickering sang “Columbus Bunker. ” (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 5) After a few years the club moved to larger quarters at 4 Newbury Street, “the site which is now the parking lot of the Ritz Carlton Hotel. It was just what they wanted; and they lived in it happily, if with increasing worries about financing it, for fifty-five years.” (Williams, 33) This new location allowed for a new art gallery, and then a kitchen and dining room were added. In 1941 the Club moved to smaller quarters at 115 Commonwealth Avenue, on the “sunny side” of the street. A final move was made to 199 Commonwealth Avenue in 1972. (Club Website) The Club presented “John Singer Sargent’s first one-man show in America in 1888. Works by Claude Monet were displayed in 1892, 1895, and 1899. Monet’s first show in the United States was held in February 1891 at the Union Club in New York.” (St. Botolph Club Records: Guide to the Collection, 1 and 2. Massachusetts Historical Society)
Mathews, A Hundred Years of Music in America, 693.
Frank Van der Stucken was born in Texas Oct.15, 1858 and when he was eight years old (1869 his parents took him to Antwerp where he studies with Peter Benoit in Antwerp; during 1876-78 resided primarily in Leipzig where he studied with Carl Reinecke, Grieg and Langer; later traveled in Europe; was active in Paris 1880-81; 1881-82 was engaged as kapellmeister at the Breslau Stadt Theater; in 1883 met Liszt (to whom he had been introduced by Grieg) at Weimar who arranged for him to present a concert solely of his own works; moved to New York in 1884 where he succeeded Leopold Damrosch as conductor of the Arion Society, a male chorus, which he conducted until 1895; gave a concert with this group during the 1884-85 season devoted exclusively to American works; during the 1887-88 season he gave a series of five concerts devoted entirely to American composers; at the July 12, 1889 concert at the Paris Exposition included songs of Margaret. “Upon the whole, it is not too much to say what (sic) at the present time of writing Mr. Van der Stucken is the most promising young conductor in this country.” (Mathews, One Hundred, 694) He served as conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra from 1895-1907; from 1906-1912 he conducted the biennial Cincinnati Music Festival, returning every two years from Europe where he went to live in 1908. (Mus. Am. Article, Nov. 25, 1922) He then spent most of his time in Europe until his death in Hamburg in 1929. He did return to the United States to conduct the May Festival in 1923 and then served as its Music Director in 1925 and 1927. The Mus. Am. article says that he returned to America in 1917.
Suck, Mr. F. A violinist active in Boston in the 1850s. (Dowell, 22)
Ryan, Recollections, plate opposite 262.
Sumner, George William. Born 1848-Died 1890. In 1876 listed as organist of the Arlington Street Church (Cong. Unit,) (Dwight (May 27, 1876): 240) Sumner was the soloist with the Orchestral Union in Mendelssohn’s Capriccio in B Minor for Piano and Orchestra on Wednesday afternoon March 4, 1868. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 1) However Dwight recorded that Sumner made his debut at the Music Hall organ in the fall of 1869 “winning praise from those who know what organ playing should be.” Sumner and another Lang pupil, Mr. G. Arthur Adams presented a concert at the Chickering Hall on September 30, 1869 where Lang provided a second piano accompaniment to the Concerto No. 5 by Beethoven with Adams as the soloist, and the Chopin Concerto in E minor, Op. 11 with Sumner as the soloist. Adams was described as: “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 power and good aplomb the greatest of Concertos, the ”Emperor” of Beethoven.” Sumner’s performance was “even greater in respect to musical feeling… The whole air of both the young men was quiet, self-possessed, ingenuous and modest.” (Dwight (October 9, 1869): 118) On December 26, 1872 Sumner was the soloist with the HMA Orchestra at the Music Hall in Chopin’s Piano Concerto in F Minor, Op. 21. Even though this day “came with the great snow-storm of the winter….The orchestra was full and well prepared; the programme one to charm away all thought of ”winter and rough weather.”” (Dwight (January 11, 1873): 366) Dwight felt that Sumner was well prepared, but that the work really did not suit him. “The only mistake was in the selection of the work…There is too much good stuff in him, to let this discourage him.” (Ibid) By 1874 Sumner had connected with the Mendelssohn Quintette Club. Dwight recorded that he had accompanied Thomas Ryan in Schumann’s Romances for Piano and Clarinet, Op. 94. At some point Sumner married Ryan’s daughter. (Dwight (March 7, 1874): 191)
Thomas Ryan wrote: “My acquaintance with Mr. Sumner began when I was searching for good pianoforte teachers for the National College of Music. Inquiries made among the older artists usually brought out strong recommendations of ”young Sumner.” He therefore became one of our teachers, and it was not long before he married my oldest daughter.” Ryan then reprinted from the Boston Transcript of August, 1890: “Mr. George W. Sumner was born of a musical family in Spencer, Mass., in 1848. He early showed his musical proclivities, and while still a child displayed enough talent to warrant his exhibition in public.” His father, a music teacher and dealer in Worcester got his son the best teachers, the last being B. J. Lang. He soloed with the Harvard and Boston Symphony orchestras, played in chamber music, was organ/piano accompanist for the Handel and Haydn Society, the Cecilia, Apollo and Boylston clubs, and he served as Director of Music at Arlington Street Church for eighteen years. “Personally, he was a man of genial temperament, unaffected and sincere. He left a widow, the daughter of Mr. Thomas Ryan, and a young daughter.”
Sumner conducted his Orpheus Club on the second evening of the May 1890 Hampden County Musical Association [Springfield, MA]. The main work was “Grieg’s brilliant Discovery, in which Gardner L. Lamsom of Boston” sang the baritone solo. George Chadwick was the “drill-master of the chorus rehearsals,” and also “conductor-in-chief of the concerts.” Victor Herbert was his assistant. The management of the Festival assured the public the “irruption of bad manners and polyglot vocalization” of the previous year would not be part of the 1890 event. (Springfield Republican (March 1, 1890): 4, GB) This was to be his last Festival. “Mr. E. Cutler, Jr., of the Apollo Club has been elected director of the Springfield Orpheus Club.” (Herald (September 21, 1890): 19, GB) Thus Lang’s influence was continued in this group.
Sumner died in August of 1890 and his funeral was held at Arlington Street Church. His Springfield choir sent a floral tribute: “It will be in the form of an antique harp, and it will stand five feet high…and on a scroll attached to the harp will appear four bars of music written in G clef.” (Worcester Spy (August 19, 1890): 8, GB) The church, except for the galleries, was completely filled with friends and pupils. Lang played the organ, “his playing demonstrating rare feeling. He rendered two selections: an improvisation as the church was entered and at the close a solemn march from Beethoven’s Third Symphony.” Lang also sent “a wreath of ivy and wheat.” Three of the bearers were his pianist friends, Arthur Foote, Joshua Phippin and Hiram Tucker, while the other three were members of the Springfield Orpheus Club. “There were also large delegations from musical societies throughout New England.” (Springfield Republican (August 20, 1890): 7, GB) The Worcester Spy published an article drawing from various other papers. The Springfield Republican mentioned that he had published none of his own compositions, and that they were “chiefly settings of hymns and anthems and arrangements for his Boston choir. [Shades of Lang here] The Boston Post mentioned that Sumner had been a member of a quartet of pianists who had studied at about the same time with Lang-W. F. Apthorp, Arthur Foote and Hiram Tucker. Sumner had been a member of the Harvard Musical Association and the St. Botolph Club-probably in both cases his sponsor had been B. J. The Boston Transcript wrote: “Mr. Sumner’s musical tastes, though refined and exacting, were broad and comprehensive. Personally he was a man of genial temperament, unaffected and sincere.” (Worcester Spy (August 18, 1890): 8, GB) A Memorial Vesper Service was given at Arlington Street Church on Sunday, October 19, 1890. Three of his own pieces were included, but the titles were not given. “In one of Mr. Sumner’s compositions was included a beautiful solo for Miss Edmands, and this was reverently and delightfully sung.” The Pastor spoke of how Sumner was really a Minister of music, and that he was willing to practice that calling whenever needed. “If he was needed in the Sunday School, or at a Lenten Service, he was always there, ready for any work that he could be called upon.” (Journal (October 20, 1890): 4, GB)
Dwight wrote for the Transcript about the November 25th. 1890 Memorial Concert for Sumner held at the Music Hall. “The great Hall was at least two-thirds filled with sympathetic, serious listeners. Nearly all the leading singers, pianists, teachers, composers, and high-class musicians of our city, lent their aid most heartily to the carrying out of a significant and worthy programme.” B. J. was among them (Ryan, Recollections, 264-266) Among the 32 musicians listed as giving “their services for this occasion” were Carl Baermann, George W. Chadwick, Arthur Foote, Miss Gertrude Franklin, Edward A. MacDowell, Ethelbert Nevin, Arthur Nikisch, Ernst Perabo, Joshua Phippen, H. G. Tucker, B. L. Whelpley, Arthur Whiting and William J. Winch. Tickets were three dollars. (BPL Lang Prog.) Lang’s contribution to this event was as part of a quartet of pianists at two pianos who played Les Contrastes, Opus 115 by Moscheles; the other three pianists were Baermann, Nikisch and Perabo. The Bach Concerto in C Minor for Two Pianos was played by Mr. Foote and Mr. Tucker with Mr. Whelpley playing Dresel’s arrangement of the string accompaniment. (MYB 1890-91, 24) This great number of performers in the concert reflects on Sumner’s honored position in Boston’s musical life.
In the early 1870s Sumner was the organist for many of the Salem Oratorio Society concerts which was led by Carl Zerrahn, and his contribution was acknowledged in most reviews.
In February 1874 Lang was part of a “Pianoforte recital” at the Worcester County Music School where Sumner was listed as a teacher, playing the solo part in Mendelssohn’s Concerto in G Minor together with two solos, Nocturne in C Minor, Opus 48 by Chopin and Lang’s own Caprice in C Major. Lang finished the concert with Liszt’s transcription of Weber’s Polonaise in E Minor. (6544) In December 1875 Sumner joined “Mr. B. D. Allen of Worcester, one of the teachers” at NEC in performing Schubert’s Divertissement as one of the musical illustrations that Allen gave in a lecture about Schubert. (Dwight (December 11, 1875): 142) Sumner soloed with the HMA Orchestra in the fall of 1877. “Mr. Sumner played the brilliant, piquant, Krakowiak [Op. 14] of Chopin very neatly and distinctly, showing a thorough study and a right conception of it, and bringing out many of its quaint melodic motives and great vividness and fineness. The only failure was of strength of touch; there was a lack of resonance for so large a space [Music Hall].” (Dwight (December 8, 1877): 142) In December 1878 Sumner presented “one of the most delightful of the smaller concerts of the season at Mechanics’ Hall on Monday evening, December 16.” He was assisted by the Mendelssohn Quintette Club, and his piano solos included “Tausig’s extremely difficult arrangement of the Toccata and Fugue in G Minor by Bach, which showed a remarkable development of his powers as a pianist-now taking rank among our foremost ones.” (Dwight (January 18, 1879): 15)
B. J. probably proposed Sumner for membership in the Harvard Musical Association where he seems to have taken an active part as a performer. The report for the March 1, 1878 social meeting has him performing duets with his fellow Lang pupil, Tucker, twice in the program: “Two short 4-hand pieces by Heinrich Hoffman,” and a Grotesque Chinese Overture to Turandot by Weber (HMA Bulletin No. 11). An announcement dated August 1, 1872 listed Sumner as the accompanist for a “Grand Musical Combination” which was formed by the “celebrated English soprano, Madame Erminia Rudersdorff” who had come to Boston the year before as a soloist with the Handel and Haydn Society and then with the “Great Peace Jubilee.” She and her husband, a “barytone,” and a contralto also from England were the vocalists, and the ensemble also included a violinist. “In the case of societies wishing to give Oratorios, and requiring a first-class tenor singer, Mr. G. L. Osgood, who has just returned from Europe, may be engaged upon special additional terms with Madame Rudersdorff’s party.” Mr. Sumner was also listed as the conductor in the various sample programs that were provided: “Ballad Concert, German repertoire, Sacred Selection, and Operatic ” (HMA Program Collection). Listed among the Lang pupils “who deserve mention because of musical prominence,” Sumner was described as “a teacher and pianist of much capability.” (Elson, Supplement, ) Lang may also have sponsored Sumner”s membership in the St. Botolph Club which he joined in 1880, remaining a member until his death in 1890. (1905 membership List, p. 58) Sumner received a very good notice in an article written by Elson in March 1884, probably for the Musical Courier. “At Mr. Sumner’s concert I had barely an opportunity to hear the Rubinstein Sonata, Op. 18, for cello and piano, in which Mr. Giese proved again that he is probably the greatest violoncellist in America, and was ably seconded by the power and breadth of Mr. Sumner’s playing.” (Cecilia Programs, Vol. 2)
Tavern Club. Founded 1884. Musician members included “Frederick Converse, Timothee Adamowski, Arthur Foote and Charles Loeffler.” (Blunsom, 134) “One of Boston’s most novel clubs is the Tavern Club, on Boylston Place. It was started in behalf of good cookery by a few professional men… its members are mostly lawyers, doctors, bankers, and literary men. At its famous dinners all stiffness is put aside, and boyish good humor is the prevailing spirit… This club has a sort of international character, and has entertained some of the leading professional men of Europe… its frolics are never made public, though they are all of a clean and elevated character.” (Grieve, 101) There are two legends concerning the formation of this club. The first is that “the Club owed its formation to a man who ate with his toes” while the second was “that the man who proposed the idea of forming such a club was not himself admitted to membership. There is some truth behind these legends. A group of young men – doctors, painters, and others of like bent – had formed the habit of dining together at restaurants in the neighborhood of Park Square. On one occasion, so it is said, a troupe of vaudeville freaks invaded the place, and the armless wonder fed himself with his toes. This was too much for the founding Taverners and they determined to find themselves their own table in their own private room. The second legend centered around an Italian teacher who proposed the idea of the club but whom the others didn’t especially care for. So when the Tavern was founded this man was left out.” (Williams, p. 39) Another explanation was; “A few clever men found the Somerset Club too smart and the Union Club too dull.” (Ibid) The Somerset Club had the movers and shakers while the Union Club members were those who managed the money of the Somerset members. “The Tavern started, like so many others, as a dining club of youthful and congenial spirits. They soon came to roost in rooms at No. 1 Park Square under the friendly studio of Frederick Porter Vinton… In the first fall months of 1884 they gave dinners in honor of Gericke, conductor of the Boston Symphony, Edmund Gosse, the author, and Henry Irving, the actor. All this was to set the pattern for the future. Within three years they bought and moved into the house at 4 Boylston Place… there, in expanded quarters and despite a severe fire in 1956, they still  hold forth… Mr. Howe records a visiting Englishman saying: ”I had been told that American clubs were rather informal – but my word!” This may have been the same Englishman who is supposed to have reported to a circle at the Somerset Club the spectacle of a half-naked, tattooed member lunching at the Tavern. He is said to have received the reply: ”What, only one?”” (Williams, pp. 40 and 41)
Taylor, Deems. “Was once a vaudeville comic.” (Grant, xx) Also his “first wife later had an affair with Gilbert Seldes, then married a Spanish fascist and became the Nazi counterpoint of Tokyo Rose, making Axis broadcasts from Berlin as the infamous ”Georgia Peach.”” (Grant, xxi)
Thomas Choral Society. In January 1875 a new choir was formed and named in honor of the conductor Theodore Thomas. The aim was to perform major choral works of the highest standard using the Thomas Orchestra. The membership drew from various quartette choirs, some from the Cecilia and the Boylston club and “other musical organizations. The society has adopted a high standard for candidates, and believes that the best results cannot be attained any other way.” (Advertiser (January 21, 1875): 1, GB) The weekly rehearsals were on Monday nights with Mr. Sharland as the conductor and Mr. Petersilea as the pianist. The plan was to give some works never performed in America including “a new work by Wagner, the vocal and orchestral scores of which are now on the way from Europe.” (Ibid) Non-sing associate membership was offered which gave admission”to alternate Monday rehearsals, to all the public exercises and performances of the society, and as most of the latter will probably be given in connection with Mr. Thomas’s orchestra, it is presumed that the list of candidates for associate membership will soon be filled.” (Ibid)
The next month it was announced that the society “will take up a cantata by Bach and one by Mendelssohn, neither of which has ever been performed in this country. The society will give both pieces to the public in a few weeks with the assistance of [the] Thomas orchestra.” (Advertiser (February 22, 1875): 2, GB)
Then, in March the name of the Bach cantata was revealed-My Spirit was in Heaviness. “The celebrated cantata is one of the grandest works of the great master, and has never been brought out in this country.” (Advertiser (March 18, 1875): 1, GB) The performance was projected for April 3, and it was to be the principal number on the program. No mention was made of the Mendelssohn work spoken of in February.
In April 1875 the choir placed an ad in the Advertiser saying that the “Thomas Choral Society will receive a limited number of Tenors and Basses.” (Advertiser (April 1, 1875): 1. GB)
Theodore Thomas, Elson, History of American Music, frontispiece.
Upton, Musical Memories, facing 182.
Thomas, Theodore. “b. Oct. 11, 1835 in Esens, Hanover; d. January 5, 1905 in Chicago. See biography by Charles Edward Russell, The American Orchestra and Theodore Thomas (New York, 1927).” (Sablosky, 304) Thomas conducted Margaret’s Witichis Overture at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago; he also had lent to B. J. from his Chicago orchestra the bells he needed for the 1891 performance of Parsifal.
“Not merely the first American conductor, Theodore Thomas was without doubt the most important pioneer of the symphony orchestra in the United States… Thomas was a dynamo, a born leader, and when he decided in 1862 ”to form an orchestra for concert purposes,” the history of the American symphony orchestra began.”
“Thomas came to New York from Germany at age ten, and in his teens, largely self-taught, was already earning his way as a violinist. He played in Jullien’s orchestra in 1853, gained membership in the New York Philharmonic Society… Impatient with the Philharmonic Society”s narrow scope, Thomas determined, at twenty-seven to organize an orchestra of his own and to devote his energies ”to the cultivation of the public taste for orchestral music.” …His concerts were an immediate and unqualified success. But the hoped-for benefactor did not soon appear. For nearly thirty years Thomas strove to realize his goal of the permanent, independent orchestra; it was a heroic struggle that culminated in the founding of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1891, under Thomas” leadership and according to his plan.” (Sablosky, 71) “He traveled on horseback and carried a pistol… Busy though it was, the Thomas Orchestra could not offer steady employment unless it toured, and so it did. Thomas” core itinerary of twenty-eight cities in twelve states became known as the ”Thomas Highway.” Performing in sundry auditoriums, railroad stations, and churches, Thomas offered overtures and dances as an enticement for symphonic masterworks, doled out one movement at a time… The showman in Theodore Thomas owed something to the examples of Jullien and Gilmore. Thomas had been one of Jullien’s first violins… Beethoven and Wagner were the ”pillars” of Thomas” programs… Thomas” orchestra was a model of Germanic discipline and polish.” Anton Rubinstein said that “I know of but one orchestra that can compare with that of Theodore Thomas, and that is the orchestra of the national conservatory of Paris… In Thomas, the conductor, catholic program-maker, and educator were a unity.” (Horowitz, 34-36) “Thomas organized his own professional orchestra in New York in December of 1864. As a pioneer in the art of building an entire program in which each piece bore some relationship to the others on the concert, Thomas was very successful… Thomas tried to achieve a balance between giving the public popular music and introducing new and difficult works. He was not adverse to programming light music,” but he also championed Wagner, “when that composer was virtually unknown in this country. for example, in 1870, Thomas’s orchestra preformed the Ride of the Valkyies for the first time in the United States. (Tischler, 51) Thomas commissioned Wagner at a fee of $5,000 for a Grand Inaugural March for the concert series he planned for the 1876 Exposition in Philadelphia. These concerts financed privately with Thomas taking much of the risk. The Wagner work was a dud, and Thomas’s concert series “lost so much money… that his entire music library, including scores, books, and arrangements, even his music stand and baton, were sold at a sheriff’s auction.” (Op. cit., 56) However “there was some small help forthcoming. Dr. Franz Zinzer of New York purchased Thomas’s entire collection at the auction for $1,400. In 1878 he presented it to Mrs. Thomas for her husband”s use…Thomas began almost immediately to reorganize his orchestra and to give concerts throughout the United States…” (Ibid) For the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago the funding for concerts was part of the overall budget and Thomas was paid to be the overall Director of Music. Thomas conducted the Exposition Festival orchestra “which ranged in size from 100 to 150 players” in three different concert series during the six months of the event. A “festival Hall Series of twenty-seven concerts between May 22 and August 5 appealed to popular tastes. There were numerous choral concerts… Orchestral music by Richard Wagner occupied an important place on the programs in this series, as, by 1893, the American audience was beginning to develop a fondness for the music of the genius of Bayreuth, thanks in part to the earlier efforts of Theodore Thomas” and also B. J. Lang. “In general, American composers were only modestly represented on this series… But there was considerably more music by American composers on the programs of the Popular orchestra Series of fifty-three concerts between May 3 and August 11.” Margaret’s Overture Witichis was presented on July 29 at this series. (Op. cit., 61) “Performances of Thomas’s orchestra were supplemented by guest appearances by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the New York Symphony Society, and the Cincinnati Festival Orchestra in this thirty-six concert series… On August 4 Thomas and his orchestra presented three compositions that had been submitted to the examining committee chosen to review works in answer to the call for music that Thomas had issued in late 1892 [B. J. Lang was a member of this Committee]. Margaret Ruthven Lang’s Witichis was part of that concert.” (Op. cit., 62)
Thorndike, Samuel Lothrop, 1829-1911. Harvard, Class of 1852; long time resident of Cambridge; lawyer; director of numerous corporations; trustee of the Suffolk Savings Bank, Perkins Institute, etc.; choir master of Christ Church, Cambridge; member of the Handel and Haydn Society; president of the Cecilia Society; president and treasurer of the Harvard Musical Association; treasurer and vice-president of the New England Conservatory. (Boston Athenaeum note attached to his scrapbook of Boston musical programs).
Ticknor, Howard Malcolm. Assistant editor of the Atlantic Monthly under James Russell Lowell, the poet, who was the Atlantic’s first editor. Ticknor doubled at the same time as music critic for three different Boston papers. In January 1866 he “retired from the musical department of the Advertiser, and became the critic of the Saturday Evening Gazette.” (BMT (January 6, 1866): 4)
This postcard was advertised as being c. 1910, and the comment was made that there were no cars in the picture, only horse drawn vehicles. First complete building on the right has the sign “Weber Pianos” on both the two windows at the second floor level. The next building has “Estey Organs” on the two windows at the third level. After the third complete building is the entrance to the Tremont Theater, which is the last building in that block. The buildings to the left foreground are the entrances to the Boylston Station Underground-the intersection of Tremont and Boylston being just behind the back of the viewer as this photo was taken. Johnston Collection.
Another view-the Tremont Theatre is just beyond the pink awning. Weber Pianos awning can be seen, incomplete, in the very lower right. Johnston Collection.
Postmarked 1909. First floor: “Tremont Theatre” facing the street, and Show title: “Klaw & Erlancer, Advanced Vaudeville” facing the side walk. Sign facing the side walk at the third floor advertising “Dance Academy-Social, Classes, Private Lessons Daily.” Sign on the roof repeating the title of the current show. Johnston Collection.
Top half of a postcard showing the same view of Tremont Street in 1843 and 1907. (1843 obviously taken from the painting below) Tremont Temple, on the right is quite different from the 1896 building that stands today. This building was opened September 24, 1827 as the Tremont Theatre, but during its 16 year use for entertainment it never turned a profit. It was designed by the architect Isaiah Rogers in the Greek Revival style. On December 28, 1843 the Free Church Baptists bought the building and renamed the building the Tremont Temple. There were fires in 1852, 1879 and 1893. (Wikipedia, September 8, 2013) Johnston Collection.
“Tremont Temple” c. 1843, Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Painted by Philip Harry, an American, born in England. Note the front of King’s Chapel just two more buildings away. Wikipedia article on the “Tremont Theatre.” September 8, 2013.
Tremont Temple c. 1851. In George Adams, The Boston Directory For the Year 1851, 68. Note the Boston Musical Gazette had an office here.
King’s Handbook of Boston, 1878, 229. This building burned in 1879. “The main hall, 120 feet long, 72 feet wide, and 50 feet high, has deep galleries, and is capable of seating about 2,000 people. Beneath it is a smaller hall, called Meionaon, with seats for 800 people.” (King’s, 229)
Interior, 1874. Boston Public Library, Digital Commonwealth. This organ was the Hook Opus 149, 1853, 4 manuals, 54 speaking stops, burned in 1879. Lang was one of four organists who dedicated this instrument. (Owen e-mail, October 23, 2013)
King’s Handbook of Boston, 4th. Edition, 1881. Wikipedia, August 7, 2013. The instrument above is the 1880 E. & G. G. Hook and Hastings instrument, 4 manuals, 51 speaking stops, Opus 975. Lang played half a program with Whitney for the opening of this instrument. (Owen, e-mail, October 23, 2013) This instrument was destroyed in the fire of 1893. The next instrument was a 40-stop Jesse Woodberry 3-manual organ which was used until 1923 when it was replaced by the current pipe organ (non functioning), a Casavant, Opus 937 4-manual which was installed within the Woodberry case. (illustration below)
Johnston Collection. Postcard postmarked 1910. The organ console is on the right side, in the choir loft.
Johnston Collection. Postcard mailed in 1947. The description on the back states: “The present building, the fourth to be erected upon this site, was dedicated in 1896 and contains one of the largest and most beautiful church auditoriums in New England, having a capacity of more than 2500. Among its attractions is the Casavant organ, so constructed with echoes and attachments that it is possible for a player to duplicate the tones of many instruments.” It looks like there is a grand piano to the left, under the first balcony, and at the same level as the rostrum chairs.
Johnston Collection. No postmark. The description on the back mentions “The famous D. L. Moody described the church ”as the pulpit of America.”” Converse Hall, shown here, is one of the largest and most beautiful auditoriums in New England. The great 96 stop Casavant organ is seen in the center of the picture.
Close view of the very ornate ceiling. Copyright 1898.
1907 magazine picture of the building at 82 Tremont Street that replaced an earlier Temple after its 1893 fire. This building was opened in May 1896. Johnston Collection.
Boston Manual, 1888, 18
This would be the arrangement after the 1872 remodelling and before the 1893 fire.
Clark’s Boston Blue Book, 1888, p. 316. Seating Capacity – 2,528.
Clark’s Boston Blue Book, 1888, 317.
Tremont Temple. The first building at 88 Tremont Street was a playhouse built by a group of wealthy Bostonians. It was designed by Isaiah Rogers in the Greek Revival style, and opened on September 24, 1827. Even though big-name performers appeared, it never was profitable for its 16 years as a theatre. The Free Church Baptists bought the building in late 1843 and renamed it the Tremont Temple, and it was used primarily by the church, but was also let out for other functions. It suffered from fires in 1852, 1879 and 1893 when it was rebuilt in its present form which opened in 1896. “Designed by architect Clarence Blackall, it was intended to be a church with an auditorium suitable for business purposes. The building originally had stores on the ground floor and commercial offices on the upper floors. Revenue from business rents and rental of the auditorium for concerts enabled the church to continue to provide free seats to all worshippers. At various times films were exhibited at Tremont Temple, though commercial leasing ended in 1956.” (These first sentences from the Wikipedia article downloaded on December 28, 2009)
“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.”-Quote from Gottschalk dated February 26, 1864. (Tawa, Psalm, 112) In the fall of 1872 it was noted: “Tremont Temple is being thoroughly remodelled. Opera chairs are being substituted for the settees, and other changes are making it a most elegant and comfortable-as it is commodious-music hall. its fine organ is being put in excellent condition, and will be furnished with the Hydraulic Motor and Meter Association’s improved Organ Blower. T. P. Ryder is the organist…We wish, while the improvements are being made, that the stage could be reconstructed so as to admit of scenery being put in, for operatic performances. The Temple would make an admirable opera-house.” (Dexter Smith (September 1872): 204) “Tremont Temple will be re-opened, Sept. 24th  with a grand concert by the Mendelssohn Quintet Club, assisted by Miss Edith Abell – her first appearance since her return from Europe-; Sig. Vincenzo Cirillo, – his debut in America; Mr. W. Whitney-first appearance since his return from London-; Mr. B. J. Lang; Mr. Charles Hamm and Mr. Rudolph Hennig.” (Dexter Smith (October 1872): 232) In his October 5, 1872 issue Dwight wrote: “Tremont Temple, clean and bright with fresh paint and ornament, casting off its old gloomy aspect, and much more comfortable as to seating, was reopened on Tuesday evening, September 24, with a concert on the part of the new ‘National College of Music,’ just established within the walls of the Temple, Mr. Thomas Ryan, Director.” (Dwight (October 5, 1872): 318) This building replaced an older building that had burned on the night of March 31, 1852. Very soon after the fire, a new hall was begun with “an average of 75 hands or more being constantly employed on it… the new Temple is an immense structure… the building covers an area of 94 feet front by 136 feet deep, and is 75 feet high in the front… The building, as may be supposed from its immense size, contains most extensive accommodations for both public and private uses. In the first place, there is the principal hall, or Temple, which… will have seats for nearly 2,500 persons. Next, there is a smaller hall, or temple, capable of seating from 800 to 1,000 persons; and, adjacent to this, is a third hall, designed for… 300 persons… the grand hall, or temple – This is to be a noble room… 124 feet long, 72 feet wide, and 50 feet high. It has a gallery on three sides of it, but one that projects over the seats only about seven feet; and being entirely supported by trusses, there is nothing to obstruct the view of the platform from any part of the hall… Back of the stage, in a recess, is to be placed a noble organ, one of the largest, if not the largest ever built in the United States. The Messrs, Hooks are the builders… the floor of the main hall is to rise from about the center, so as to afford every person in the hall an unobstructed view of the platform… The seats on the floor are to be placed in a semi-circular form from the front of the platform, so as to bring every face towards the speaker or singer. The seats, which are all to be numbered, are to be the most convenient and comfortable kind, each slip capable of holding ten or twelve persons, with an aisle at each end, and open through from end to end.” (Dwight (February 26, 1853): 162 and 163) Nineteen years later the building was remodeled. “Tremont Temple is being thoroughly remodeled. Opera chairs are being substituted for the settees, and other changes are making it a most elegant and comfortable-as it is commodious-music hall. its fine organ is being put in excellent condition, and will be furnished with the Hydraulic Motor and Meter Association”s improved Organ Blower. T. P. Ryder is the organist… We wish, while the improvements are being made, that the stage could be reconstructed so as to admit of scenery being put in, for operatic performances. The Temple would make an admirable opera-house.” (Dexter Smith’s (September 1872,): 204) “Tremont Temple will be re-opened, Sept. 24th., with a grand concert by the Mendelssohn Quintette, assisted by Miss Edith Abell-her first appearance since her return from Europe-; Sig. Vincenzo Cirillo,-his debut in America; Mr. W. Whitney-first appearance since his return from London; Mr. B. J. Lang; Mr. Charles Hamm and Mr. Rudolph Henning.” (Dexter Smith’s (October 1872): 232) “During the summer of 1879 that hall was destroyed by fire and the Cecilia was driven for the next season to the Music Hall.” (Cecilia Program Clippings) The organ building firm of Hook and Hastings “erected in 1880” an instrument of “4 manuals, 65 stops, and 3,442 pipes, beside 10 pedal movements, including a grand crescendo, like that in the Music Hall organ, Cincinnati. In size it is excelled by several organs in this country, but in artistic completeness and perfection it is second to none.” (Jones, 76) Lang and Mr. S. B. Whitney demonstrated the instrument in a “private exhibition, numerously attended, on Friday evening, October 8, 1880.” Lang opened the concert with “that grand, full-flowing, five-part Fantasia in G Major of Bach, with its sparkling prelude, which Mr. Lang used to play some years ago on the great organ of the Music Hall,” and the “was followed by an exquisitely sweet and tender movement from Bach’s Pastorale in F. The former showed the full organ…the latter was played upon a stop so soft, and delicate, that, with some noise around, we found it difficult to hear parts of it. Then came one of Schumann”s fugues on the letters of Bach’s name.” It was left to Whitney to display the “Stentorphone” and “Tuba Mirabilis” “which he casually let loose,” and whose tones were “of startling solidity and loudness, such as might wake the dead.” (Dwight (October 23, 1880): 174) In an another article in the same issue Dwight mentioned that this new instrument was the fourth built by Messrs. E. & G. G. Hook and Hastings for the Temple. “The two large ones which preceded it in 1846 and 1853 having been burned in 1852 and 1879 respectively… In the matter of size it is exceeded by several in the city”, but “in thoroughness of construction, it is outranked by none… It bears a strong resemblence to the most famous French instruments, and it will be found especially adapted for the performance of transcriptions of orchestral compositions… As for its sound, we can safely say that it gave great satisfaction to those who take most delight in brilliancy.” (Dwight (October 23, 1880): 175)
History of the Handel and Haydn Society, Vol. II, facing 135.
Tucker, Hiram G. November 11, 1851 in Cambridge (Birth certif.)-October 5, 1932. He went with the Langs to Europe in November 1869. 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 at Wesleyan Association Hall in Bromfield Street. (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): 30 and 31) Almost twenty years later he was still presenting recitals. An announcement appeared in the Herald of a recital to be given in Bumstead Hall on Friday evening, February 15 with compositions by Chopin, Liszt, Schumann, Scarlatti, Bach, Dvorak, Rubinstein and Brahms. (Herald (February 3, 1895): 16, GB)
On December 7, 1875 the Rev. Edward E. Hale married Tucker (aged 24) and Jeannie Donaldson (aged 20). (Marriage certif.)
Tucker and Arthur Foote shared a concert at Mechanic’s Hall on May 3, 1876 which 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, p. 231) Mr. and Mrs. Tucker again went to Europe with the Langs in 1876. In a “Benefit Concert for the sufferers from yellow fever at Savannah and other Southern cities” given at the Music Hall on Monday evening, October 16, 1876, Tucker was one of the assisting artists who gave their services for free.” (Dwight, October 14, 1876, p. 319) 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 Harvard Musical Association 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 Tansig’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 “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) Tucker gave two performances at 152 Tremont Street on March 31 and April 7, 1884. Assisting artists were Mr. Wulf Fries, Mr. Edward Schorman and Mr. De Ribas. The programs were all chamber works-Tucker played no piano solos. (Program, Foote Scrapbooks)
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) 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 advanced to being a soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra when he played the Sgambati Concerto for Piano in G Minor, Op. 15 on November 1, 1890 conducted by Arthur Nikisch during the Symphony’s Tenth Season. (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)
Probably Lang proposed him 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) At some point he also soloed with the HMA orchestra. (HMA Bulletin No. 5, 6) In early March 1890 Tucker played the solo part to the Concerto in G Minor Opus 15 by Sgambati in one of Lang’s “Concerto Concerts,” and this led to his appearance with the BSO in late October of the same year playing the same piece. However Hale felt: “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) Tucker was the pianist for the 1895-96 season of the Handel and Haydn Society-Lang’s first year as conductor. (6656-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, but without attempt to reproduce conditions of older times. It is supported by associate memberships, and the sale of tickets, and gives three concerts annually, each preceded by public rehearsals for music students.” (Grove’s, 1921, 369) Louis Elson felt that his solo recital February 1895 in Bumstead Hall was too long. “At all events it served to show the popular pianist in many moods and proved him to be of versatile attainments.” (Advertiser (February 16, 1895): 5, GB) His technique was praised, but Elson felt that poetry was missing. The recital attracted a large audience, and there was much applause throughout the evening.
Tucker’s obituary provides more information. He was head of the music department at Wheaton College for 45 years. He was 71 when he died. His education was at Chauncey Hall School and then with Zerrahn and Lang; no college is mentioned, but among clubs that he belonged to was the Harvard Club. He was survived by his wife, son-Donald, and three grandchildren. “He conducted numerous musical events of high order, and appeared a number of times as soloist with the Boston Symphony orchestra.” (Herald (October 6, 1922): 6, GB)
Union Hall. 18 Boylston Street; but the Boston Blue Book-1909 says the address was 48 Boylston and that the seating capacity was 502. This was a recital hall that was part of the Christian Union Building. The rental rates were: For all day or evening, without scenery – $30. For morning or afternoon, without scenery – $20.
Mathews, A Hundred Years of Music in America, 373.
Upton, George Putnam. 1834-1919. “Celebrated critic of the Chicago Tribune was born at Roxbury, Mass., October 25, 1834. He graduated at Brown University.” Nat. Biog. says he graduated from Brown University in 1854 and taught school for a year in Plymouth, MA. He then moved to Chicago  and began a career in journalism. “From 1856 to 1862 he was city editor of the Evening Journal, and during this period he started the first distinctive musical column that had appeared in any of the Chicago papers… In 1862 Mr. Upton took the post of city editor of the Chicago Tribune, and also performed the duties of musical critic… This latter department he gradually enlarged, and commenced printing musical intelligence from abroad. He remained in this capacity until about 1882.” One of his major works was Women in Music. (Mathews, A Hundred Years, 371 and 372) “In 1862 he went south as war correspondent. He was the first president of the Apollo Musical Club, which was founded after the fire of 1872…Among his writings are…Standard Oratorios, Standard Cantatas, and The Life of Theodore Thomas.” (Nat. Bio., 419) “Upton was a total musical amateur who did not even play an instrument, but he was a booster and activist for local performing ensembles… As a music critic Upton wrote under the pseudonym ”Peregrine Pickle”.” (Grant, 73)
Elson, HISTORY OF AMERICAN MUSIC, p. 308.
Ryan, facing 164.
Urso, Camilla. Born 1842 in Nantes, France; died New York, January 20, 1902; child prodigy; age seven became the first girl admitted to the Paris Conservatoire; came to USA in 1852 at the age of ten; toured with the Germania Musical Society; 1855 stopped concertizing and retired to Nashville to practice; resumed career in 1863 (Am. Grove, Vol. 4, 439). She was the soloist in a Philharmonic concert early in February 1863. “The Music Hall was very nearly filled; the return of the lady violinist, Camilla Urso, for the first time since her child triumphs here in 1853 and 1854, proving as great an attraction to the many, as the Beethoven Symphony was to more than a few.” Dwight noted the “exceeding purity and finesse of Camilla’s playing, which constituted a positive artistic pleasure in itself,” and he described “her pale, serious, intellectual face, beautiful and childlike still when seen in front and at some distance, the melancholy dark eyes, the calm dignity of pose and manner, the beautiful movement of her bow arm, and the perfect truth and purity of every tone, assured you, in the first three or four bars, of a real, finished artist, and from that moment to the end of her playing the whole great audience listened with a silence that is itself a remarkable sensation… It was a great treat to hear Camilla Urso again, and a particular satisfaction to find for once the promise of a ”wonder-child” so finely realized in artist womanhood.” (Dwight (February 14, 1863): 366 and 367) On the following Wednesday Urso appeared with the Orchestral Union playing the same material that she had played with the Philharmonic with the result that “every corner of the house was filled.” (Dwight (February 14, 1863): 367) Lang was one of the assisting artists when Urso gave her Farewell Concert on Saturday, May 16, 1863 before leaving for Europe. “It will certainly be an occasion of great interest, being the last chance we shall have to hear her for at least several years.” (Dwight (May 16, 1863): 31) Dwight’s review of this concert mentioned that “Mr. Lang”s aid was most efficient in the brilliant Duos; and he made admirable choice in the three pieces that he interpreted alone [Prelude in E Minor – Mendelssohn, Fugue in E Minor – Handel and Rondo Capriccio, Op. 44 – Mendelssohn].” Dwight wrote that the purpose of Urso’s European stay was to “hear and learn as much new music as possible for several years to come, and then return to us with a rich repertoire of classical as well as merely concert music. (Dwight (May 30, 1863): 39) It was reported in 1865: “Camilla Urso, the admired violinist, was recently reported in London, and has gone to Germany, intending to study some time with Vieuxtemps in Frankfort and then make the tour of Europe.” (BMT (November 4, 1865): 162) In 1866: “Camilla Urso has won triumphs in Paris surpassing any of her successes here. For her performances of classical music, she has received the congratulations of such great characters as Gounod, Rossini, Auber, Liszt, Sivori, Leopold de Meyer, Vieuxtemps, and others. She has played before the Emperor and Empress at the court concerts.” (BMT (June 2, 1866): 83) The Chicago critic, George Upton recorded: “She began playing the violin in her sixth year. I think when I first met and heard her she was about fourteen, and she appeared on the stage as if born to it. Even as a child Camilla Urso was an extraordinary player, with a remarkable technic as well as purity of tone. I next heard her in 1866, when she played in a Philharmonic concert in Chicago, and again in 1867, when she appeared with the old Boston Mendelssohn Quintet Club, then in all its glory. She was then in her twenty-fourth year, but still had that same pale, serious, inscrutable face, the same dark, lustrous, melancholy eyes, and the same calm but gracious dignity of manner.” (Upton, 71) On January 24, 1869 a testimonial concert was given for Madame Urso by “the Musical Fraternity of Boston” which “was remarkable in many ways, and was peculiar in respect of the programme presented to the audience. It does not often happen that a full orchestra-if not a ”grand orchestra of sixty”-and a brass band, [Hall’s Boston Brass Band-BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 1] and choruses of male voices, and of female voices, and of mixed voices, join in the performance at a single concert. And when to these are added solo singing by a soprano, and piano-forte and violin playing by eminent artists, it is safe to say of the resultant programme both that it will not be homogeneous and that it will be sure to hit the tastes of all in one way or another… The Music Hall was literally packed with auditors, and the performance was generally of a very high order of excellence… The other numbers of most musical interest were Mendelssohn’s B minor Caprice for the piano-forte, performed by Mr. Lang… Mr. Lang rendered the airy and graceful Caprice by Mendelssohn with neatness and delicacy.” (Advertiser (January 25, 1869): 1) Reserved seats were $1.(BPL Lang Prog., 6261) At the second of “Concerts Classiques” presented by Urso at Horticultural Hall dated March 2, 1874, Lang was one of the assisting artists when he played the accompaniment to the Sonata for Violin and Piano, Op. 69, No. 1 by Dussek. Other assisting artists in this concert were three members of the Mendelssohn Quintette Club (Second Violin, Viola, and Cello), and Miss Clara Doria, Soprano. There were four different pianists and four different vocalists at each of the concerts. Tickets were $1 each, or $3 for the series of four (HMA Program Collection). At a March 1875 performance Lang joined Urso in “the great Schumann Quintet” with piano in the second concert of her series that year “for which the audience was very large.” (Dwight (March 7, 1874): 191) In December of that same year Dwight published a short article concerning Urso’s “method of practice. Every day she takes an hour for slow and patient practice in making long-sustained notes. This is to obtain a strong, pure tone. Then she plays scales and finger exercises of all kinds for two or more hours, and then such sonatas and other works as she uses in her concerts. In all this she never hurries, never gives any particular expression to her music, and seldom plays up to full time in which the piece is written. Everything is played slowly and thoughtfully. When the long practice hours are over and she comes upon the stage to play, all thoughtful effort is abandoned, and her emotions control the music. The practicing was mere mental and technical work-the performance the blooming of a great genius in music.” (Dwight (December 12, 1874): 352)
Wesleyan Hall. Bromfield Street. In an 1880 review of a “Piano-forte Matinee” given by Ernst Perabo, Dwight referred to this hall as “that hot, close, gloomy, noisy little hall in Bromfield Street.” (Dwight (April 10, 1880): 62) its southern wall backed onto the Music Hall’s northern wall with just a small alley between them.
Whelpley, Benjamin Lincoln. Whelpley was one of the soloists at Lang’s “Third Pianoforte-Concerto Concert” on March 22, 1887 where he played Chopin’s Grand Fantasie Sur des air Polonais Opus 13. (BPL Lang Prog.,Vol. 5) The following year he and Lang were assisting artists at a “Vocal Duet Concert” on Wednesday evening November 14, 1888 at 8:15PM. They played Dance of the Elfs for two pianos by Templeton-Strong and Reinecke’s Fantasie on a Theme from Schumann’s Manfred also for two pianos. One review called the first work “a light, graceful” work which was played “with great effect,” while the second work was not mentioned. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 5) Phillip Hale’s April 11, 1891 review of a Whelpley recital began: “Mr. Whelpley has good fingers and many excellent musical ideas. He is careful and conscientious in his work, and there are many things to be admired and praised in his playing. He belongs to a certain school of pianists [Lang’s], a prominent school in this city; and this is unfortunate, and it hampers his artistic development. For the members of this family do not pay sufficient attention to tone production and gradation of tone; the legato is so slighted by them, and the use of pedals is so imperfectly understood that song-passages are not sung; and these players are deficient in appreciation of rhythm and rhythmic effects. And when any one of this school plays in public, the hearer is at once aware of the fact that the pianoforte is a percussion instrument.” After getting this off his chest, Hale continued, “Not that Mr. Whelpley pounds.” (BPL Hale Crit., Vol. 1) On Monday April 16, 1894 at 3:30PM Whelpley presented himself in recital at Bumstead Hall, and Lang played the orchestral reduction for the final piece of the program, Russian Fantasie by E. Napravnik. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 6) Whelpley was the organist for the Cecilia concert Wednesday evening April 27, 1898. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 7) He was also the organist for the Monday evening, April 2, 1906 performance by The Cecilia Society of La Vie du Poete (The Life of the Poet) by Gustave Charpentier for solo voices, chorus and three orchestras and organ, and Richard Strauss’s Taillefer, a Ballade for chorus, solo voices and orchestra. (Program, Johnston Collection) Boston Music Co. advertised Seven Piano Pieces, Op. 20, Grade 2c on the back of a composition with a copyright date of 1919.
Mathews, A Hundred Years of Music in America, 249
Whiting, George Elbridge. Born Holliston, Massachusetts September 14, 1842; first public organ performance at age thirteen; at sixteen succeeded Dudley Buck at the North Congregational Church in Hartford; studied in England with Best of Liverpool; moved to Boston, five years organist at King’s Chapel; then further study in Berlin; returned to Boston and taught organ at NEC until 1898; for many years organist and music director at the Church of the Immaculate Conception; “He is the best organ composer of
Church of the Immaculate Conception. Johnston Collection
America”, also composed for choral forces including the March of the Monks of Bangor for the Apollo Club.” (Elson, Hist. Am. Mus., 265 and 266) Probably his best pupil was Henry Morton Dunham, who in turn taught Wallace Goodrich. (Ibid) Lang often took part in special services organized by Whiting at Immaculate Conception. The organ was a E & G. G. Hook three manual, 47 speaking registers (but no 32-foot stop) originally designed by John Henry Willcox. (Dwight (March 5, 1864): 199) Willcox was first at St. Paul’s Church (later Cathedral) from 1850 and then at Immaculate Conception from c. 1863 until 1874. (Mathews, One Hundred, 241)
Myron W. Whitney from Mathews, 215.
Upton, Musical Memories, facing 132.
Photo by G. K. Warren. Philip Hale Collection. BPL, Digitalcommonwealth.
Whitney, Myron W. “Considered by many to be the greatest among American-born basses.” (Baker, 100) “Born in Ashby, Massachusetts, became one of the most famous singers of his time, first in Boston, then in Europe. No festival in America was properly given without Whitney to sing with taste and feeling all the great bass roles of oratorio, often under the direction of Theodore Thomas.” (Johnson, Hallelujah, 102) Sablosky records: “b. 1836 in Ashby, Mass; d. 1910 in Sandwich, Mass. Bass. “At the age of sixteen he went to Boston and studied with E. H. Frost.” (Jones, 174) After his Boston debut in Messiah (1856), sang in oratorio and concert in U.S. for ten years, but was “dissatisfied with his attainments” (Ibid); went to Florence and studied for some time with Luigi Vennucini. He then studied in London oratorio literature with Randegger. After singing successfully in Great Britain, returned to U.S.; appeared prominently in concert, oratorio and opera.” (Sablosky, 305) Dwight reported on a Complimentary Concert given Whitney on his return from Europe. He “has certainly made the most of his short period of study in Milan and London… His tones, always grand and manly, have grown more round and musical throughout their compass, especially in the upper range, and he does all with more artistic certainty and ease.” Miss Alice Dutton’s contribution was the Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody, “which she played even better than before, and on the ”New Orchestral Grand” of Messrs. Hallet, Davis & Co., which is certainly an instrument of great power and richness.” The “brothers Winch contributed a duet… but the most remarkable thing in its perfection, and the most enjoyable, was the male part-singing of the ”Chickering Club,” who came out from their privacy in compliment to Mr. Whitney, who is a fellow member.” (Dwight (May 8, 1869): 30 and 31) Early in 1872 it was reported: “Mr. M. W. Whitney has had very great success thus far; and competent musical critics allege that if Mr. W. will establish himself here, there is no question of his taking the first rank as basso.” (Folio, January 1872), while six months later an additional report stated: “Mr. Whitney, the Boston basso, is meeting with most wonderful success in England. His efforts are widely appreciated.” (Folio, June 1872) Late in 1872 it was reported: “Mr. M. W. Whitney is engaged as basso at Christ Church, New York, at a salary of three thousand dollars per annum. He goes to that city Saturday nights, returning home on Mondays.” (Dexter Smith, November 1872, p. 255) A critic for the Haverhill, Massachusetts Publisher wrote: “Mr. Myron W. Whitney, who has traveled in foreign climes, and who was the pet of St. Petersburg and the envy of Edinburg (sic); Whitney of the herculean frame and the ponderous voice; who delights to be a ”Bold Buccaneer” and ”roam o”er the broad blue sea,” and who can growl among the leger lines below till Gyles Kimball’s double bass viol hangs its head in despair!” (Dexter Smith (April 1873): 94) Late in 1873 Whitney soloed with the Theodore Thomas Orchestra in a series of concerts, “appearing in every concert. His manner is more finished and even, his delivery more impressive and his voice grander and deeper (if possible) than ever.” (Dwight (December 27, 1873): 151) “Since 1876 he has refused all offers from abroad and remained in his native country… As an oratorio singer he has few equals. he is in every way a great artist, and possesses a magnificent bass voice of nearly three octaves compass, extending from B flat below the staff upwards.” (Jones, Op. cit.) In May 1881 he had an impossible schedule: “During the week of the New York Festival, [he] will sing on alternate days at New York and Philadelphia; and the following week, at Brooklyn on Monday evening; Boston, Tuesday evening; Brooklyn, Wednesday; Boston, Thursday; Brooklyn, Friday and Saturday; thus living on trains between times.” (Musical Herald (May 1881): 104) Whitney appeared as soloist with the BSO in four programs during the seasons ’04, ’06, and ’09. (Howe, BSO, 261)
Wilson, George H. First writer of program notes for the BSO. He had sung in the 1872 Second World Peace Jubilee in 1872, “and he was a member of the Apollo Club and the Handel and Haydn Society.” He was also the editor/publisher of “The Musical Year-book of the United States... In 1892 Wilson left Boston for Chicago, where he continued his musical activities. His departure left open the editorship of the program notes for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the task fell to William Foster Apthrop. He passed the work to Philip Hale nine years later.” (Brian, 163 and 164)
Winch, William Johnson (tenor) and John F. Winch (bass). “Boston merchants, whose part-time careers as tenor and bass ranked them only a little lower than the angels.” (Johnson, Hallelujah, 135) “The Winch brothers, tenor and bass, illustrate a difference in temperaments. John F. Winch, the bass, was direct and positive in his acceptance of engagements. William J. took a long time to make up his mind whether or not he was available, whether or not he wanted to sing the role offered, or whether or not the price was acceptable, with or without expenses of hotels and travel. Inasmuch as he was the best tenor for the music of Bach, some patience was needed to obtain a definite commitment.” (Op. cit., 133) Both Winch brothers were just beginning their professional careers in 1866 singing Messiah for the Handel and Haydn Society. Dwight noted: “Mr. Wm. J. Winch, a fresh young tenor, whose voice and style raised high hopes at the rehearsal, and for basso Mr. J. F. Winch, of whom the like may also be said.” (Dwight (December 22, 1866): 367) Dwight’s review of the Winchs’ Messiah noted: “The younger Mr. Winch (Wm. J.) has a beautiful, clear tenor voice, of good power, not yet developed, and sings with so good a method, in so classic a style, and with so much intelligence that it was to us a great pleasure to hear him, [more so] than we find in many more experienced and would-be impassioned tenors. The performance was somewhat cold and dry, but seemed to warrent high hopes. The new basso, Mr. J. F. Winch, has a capital deep voice and sings as if more study and experience would make him a superior oratorio singer.” (Dwight (January 5, 1867): 375)
Easter Sunday 1874 the Handel and Haydn Society presented Mendelssohn’s Elijah. “The new point of interest was the rendering of the Prophet’s part by Mr. J. F. Winch whose rich, elastic quality of voice gave unusual life to all the music. And he improved as he went on; rarely anywhere have we heard the beauty and deep pathos of ”It is enough,” or the emphatic energy of ”Is not the word’ more satisfactorily brought out.” (Dwight (April 18, 1874): 215) W. J. Winch led a performance of Gade’s Crusaders with the Salem Schubert Club December 30, 1879 at Plummer Hall; the soloists were Miss Clara L. Emilio, soprano, Dr. S. W. Langmaid, tenor, and Mr. Clarence E. Hay, baritone. (Dwight (January 31, 1880): 16) Winch appeared as soloist with the BSO on nine programs during the seasons ’85, ’89, ’90, ’91 and ’92. (Howe, BSO, 261) The 1892 appearance was as the tenor soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. (MYB 1892-93, 10) When Chadwick and his wife returned from their summer in Europe (1888) they “went by previous arrangement to Wm. Winch’s in Brookline, to stay until we found a place to settle down. His house was on Longwood Ave. next to the present No. 124 which was then a vacant lot… We had a delightful time at the Winchs, with fun and music every night and we made many new acquaintances among the nice people who live in that neighborhood. One night uncle Joseph, the eldest of the three Winch Bros. was at the house. We coaxed him to sing ‘Every Valley’ which he did in remarkable style for a man of seventy.” (Chadwick, Unpublished Memoirs) Clara Rogers described William Winch: “the ever genial and witty, and who had, happily, remained immune from tenor-itis… overflowing with fun, as usual.” (Rogers, Two Lives, 191) In 1891 he was the tenor soloist in the Handel and Haydn performance of Dvorak’s Stabat Mater, “and he again sustained his enviable reputation…His solo, ‘Fac Me Vere,’ was a vocal gem, and his admirable skill in such work has never been more prominently displayed than in this number, which won him him a grand demonstration of the pleasure it gave to his hearers.” (Herald (February 2, 1891): 2, GB) Winch had sung the part earlier in New York with Theodore Thomas, and he had just returned from Europe “after a study of the work with the composer.” (Journal (February 2, 1891): 4, GB) Of his Handel and Haydn appearance, the Journal said: “Mr. Winch was at his best, and the lines of the tenor are admirably adapted not only to his voice but to his clear, legato singing.” (Ibid)
Photo dated February 4, 1895. Philip Hale Collection. BPL, Digitalcommomwealth.
Photo signed and dated October 1895. Philip Hale collection. BPL, Digitalcommonwealth.
Woolf, Benjamin Edward (London: February 16, 1836 – Boston: February 7, 1901). “Born in London [moved to America aged three], multifaceted, was a composer, violinist, and libretto writer who married an actress, joined the Boston 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 in his memoirs 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 was the leader of the orchestra at the Boston Museum [conducted by Julius Eichberg] from 1859 until 1864. He then lead 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: ‘His labor.’ the Herald observed in its obituary, ‘might have been concentrated upon fewer objects with better effect.'” (Am. Grove, Vol. 4, 561) 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) “He became music critic of the Herald , and for it he wrote reviews notable for their clarity and severity.” (Dic. Am Bio., 514)
Carl Zerrahn from, Elson, 35.
Mathews, A Hundred Years of Music in America, 431.
Grove’s 1921 Vol. T – Z, 594.
Ryan, Recollections, facing 80.
Pratt’s entry includes the following:
“Zerrahn, Carl (July 28, 1826, Malchow, Germany: Dec. 29, 1909, Milton, Mass.). His first lessons, at twelve were in Rostock, and later he studied in Hanover and Berlin… 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. Besides 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 (p. 306) adds that he taught at the New England Conservatory until 1898, and that his tenure with the Worcester Festival was from 1866-1897. Ryan wrote, “Taking Mr. Zerrahn in all points, he was and is still a rare man. He has filled a long life with honor to (of a week long festival) as he was at the first.”(Ryan, 81-82) The 1914 entry in The Art of Music adds that Carl Zerrahn was one of the German musicians “who had come to America during the revolutionary troubles of 1848” (Mason, Art of Music, 189). He was a flute player in “The Germanic” orchestra, a traveling orchestra that gave the majority of its concerts in Boston. He was described at that period as a “tall young flute-player.” (Elson, National Music, 289) The Germain dissolved in 1854. (Op. cit., 290) In 1855 he founded an orchestra which became known as the Philharmonic – this group gave regular concerts in Boston until 1863. In 1866 he began his association with the orchestra of the Harvard Musical Association. “This was really the first permanent orchestra of value that greater Boston possessed, and during the twenty years of its existence it clung with remarkable consistency to the highest musical ideals.” (Mason, 189) However its conservative programming policy led to the formation in 1879 of the Philharmonic Orchestra (a name used htree times in Boston’s musical history) which became the Philharmonic Society in 1880. “The conductorship of this orchestra was held successively by Bernhard Listemann, Louis Maas, and Carl Zerrahn.” (Elson, National Music, 293) That orchestra in turn was superseded by the Boston Symphony begun in 1881 with it’s first conductor, George Henschel.
“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 Meyerbeer’s ”Robert, toi que j’aime” at an afternoon concert. He was accompanied on the pianoforte by his father. 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. I remember another instance of Mr. Zerrahn’s 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 wood-wind 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’s baton came down with a swish, and the orchestra thundered out its D major.” (Apthorp, BSO Program March 6 and 7, 1896, 595-598)
Zerrahn conducted part of the 1872 Jubilee Concert Series, but he had to sue “the Executive Committee for payment for services in conducting the chorus.” (Dexter Smith’s (December 1872): 284)