CHAPTER NINE: MARGARET RUTHVEN LANG-1893-1925. SC. (G) Word Count: 15,881 07/20/2021.



  • Topics:                                                                                                                             Dramatic Overture and Witichis.                                                                              Dramatic Overture and Witichis Reviews.
  • Specific Characteristics: Dramatic Overture                                                                    1883 World Columbian Exposition.                                                                             Song Performances.                                                                                                    Missing Pieces.                                                                                                                        Irish Love Song.                                                                                                                        Missing Symphony.                                                                                                     Concert Arias, Three.
  • Chaminade of America.
  • Performances c. 1899.
  • Frances’ Stand. “Opposing Electrocution.”                                                               Brimmer Street House Described.
  • Royalties: Margaret Contacts Her Publisher.                                                         More MRL Song Performances.                                                                                       House Warming: Harvard Musical Association.                                                      Heavenly Noel, The.  

       In reviewing her career to this point (1893) Margaret wrote that since returning from studying in Europe in 1887 she had written “30 or 40 songs and also part-songs for male and for female chorus and for mixed voices” which had been published and performed. “My part-songs have been sung by the Apollo and Cecilia Societies of Boston,” and she reports having heard of performances “in England, France, and Canada.” But, she goes on to say that “All my songs have been the expression of my musical thought and with the exception of the above-mentioned orchestra compositions [two orchestral overtures], yet my desire is to write for orchestra and until I have accomplished something of real worth in that direction, I shall not be content.” (Autobiographical reply May 22, 1893 to Mr. Krehbiel)


When Margaret was twenty-five the Boston Symphony Orchestra premiered her first large orchestral work-the Dramatic Overture, Opus 12 conducted by Nikisch which opened the concert on April 8, 1893 (and 21st. rehearsal April 7 at 2:30 PM) which was the 23rd. Rehearsal/Concert of its 12th.. Season. This was the first time since its founding twelve years before that the BSO had played a work by a woman composer.

Photo below-Niksich in 1890 (New England Magazine, February 1890), probably as he looked when he conducted Margaret’s Overture.

Niksich in 1890 (New England Magazine, February 1890), probably as he looked when he conducted Margaret’s Overture.

Arthur NikischArthur Nikisch from Elson, 1904, 57

The Dramatic Overture was finished in November 1892 and sent to Nikisch for his opinion. Nothing was heard until the spring of 1893 when he sent word that he would “have the orchestra perform the piece in rehearsal so that Lang would be able to hear the full scale of her work.” (Baer, 20) If Nikisch was working under his usual system of never opening a new score until the rehearsal, he, the orchestra and the composer were hearing the work for the first time. Based on that hearing, he asked to perform the piece at a regular BSO concert (Ibid, based on a letter MRL sent to Chadwick)  Margaret asked to attend the orchestral rehearsals during concert week and his reply was that there was a rule against that. But, he then said exceptions prove the rule. “therefore, if you wish to come to our rehearsals tomorrow and Thursday you will be admitted with the greatest pleasure. The piece will be played on both mornings at about 10 o’clock. Most sincerely yours, Arthur Nikisch.” (Note in the collection of the Boston Athenaeum) Frances wrote: “Nickish [sic] played Maidie’s 2d Overture at eleven o’clock this A.M. by appointment. Lel couldn’t be there but I went and was disappointed. I thought it sounded better on the piano. Nickish told Maidie that he would perform it perhaps at the next but one concert.” (Diary 2, Winter 1893) And, so he did. “That Mr. Nikisch considers this second overture of music in any way worthy of performance at a symphony concert makes me of course wildly happy and I can hardly wait for next Saturday evening.” (Lang to Chadwick, Baer, 26)

It seems that Margaret had not shown the Dramatic Overture to Chadwick, who, after all, was her composition teacher, while she was composing it. His first knowledge of the piece came after Nikisch agreed to perform the work with the BSO. Lang wrote to Chadwick: “[Nikisch] did not acknowledge it for so long that I dared not tell you of it lest you should jeer at my temerity but now that it has won its way this far I want your good wishes and I want above all to thank you.” This event was obviously a very important one for Margaret, and she wanted Chadwick’s approval. “It is a very little thing for me to make so much of and I suppose you will laugh at me, but a symphony concert has been a mile-stone I have longed to reach. I am afraid that when Saturday comes you will say that I do not deserve it. Will you please tell me frankly after the concert. I shall be very downcast and humble and this effusion is joy, not pride.” (Baer, 21)


music hall programm margaretCourtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archive.

Her work was described as having strong contrasts between the principal and subordinate themes. “It has some strong contrasts, especially between the chief theme and the subordinate. The first is grim and medieval, the second tender and human. To place these two in juxtaposition in itself gives something of dramatic power, and the development of both is singularly unconventional.” (Elson, History American Music, 306) Francis H. Jenks in his Musical Herald review described the work as “an ingeniously devised and constructed composition with evidences of thought at every turn.” Philip Hale reported that the overture was applauded, but the attempt to call the composer forward was in vain. Seventy-four years later Miss Lang remembered the incident well: “I crept up to the balcony and hid.” Hale’s specific comments were probably a trial for the young composer. After listing the program, he wrote: “Miss Lang’s overture is perhaps a creditable work for a young student. Whether it deserved a place in a Symphony concert is another question. Although Miss Lang in certain songs has shown in the past a pretty melody, the themes of the overture are not of marked originality or striking effect. There are ingenious passages in the detail, but there is a general lack of definite purpose in the conception and in the carrying out. The composer seems to be pricked by the desire of extracting ideas from the orchestral instruments in turn. As a result, there is occasional piquancy, and there are pleasing measures, but this dramatic overture is a promise rather than a fulfillment. It is as though the composer deliberately set about to see what she could do in this line; there was nothing musical within that forced its way irresistibly and assumed orchestral shape and color.” (Scrapbook, Musical Courier, April 12, 1893) Hugo Leichtentritt attended this concert-he was a junior at Harvard. Mark DeVoto has translated his Diary entry, originally written in German. “Symphony Concert…At the beginning there was a Dramatic Overture by Miss Lang, a young Boston lady. The beginning is very grandiose and I was already worried that a woman might have written something significant, but let it be said to my shame that I soon discovered that the work lacked spiritual content: short-winded phrases instead of broadly dramatic development. The whole thing skillfully worked out, not at all student-like. +++ ++++++ [two words illegible-possibly “The piece”] succeeded melodiously, even dramatically, but not entirely, nothing sublime in it.” (Letter to Johnston, January 14, 2012) Chadwick made the most specific comments in a letter to Margaret written just after the concert. “I like your main motif extremely, – it is grim, and the cantilena that leads over into G major is lovely. That broken chord for the first horn is a great success. The brass is [sic] very discreet, perhaps a little too discreet. I would like to see the score very much. Please write me another lovely letter and tell me when I can see it. G. W. Chadwick.” (150th. Birthday Exhibit curated by Fletcher DuBois,

Elson wrote in 1925, 32 years after the work’s premiere: “It has some strong contrasts, especially between the chief theme and the subordinate. The first is grim and medieval, the second tender and human. To place these two in juxtaposition in itself gives something of dramatic power and the development of both is singularly unconventional.” (Amer. Music, 306)

William F. Apthorp’s program note began with a short biographical note:

Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archive.

On April 2, 1893 Apthorp typed a letter to Margaret at 12.43 A.M. [working late?] “Dear Maidie: If you find in the programme-books that I have made a botch of your overture, it is really not my fault. I am a poor score-reader, at best-although I can get at the inwardness of anything you please, if I only have time-and manuscript is just the point where the worm in my brain turns! A MS. score is to me like a MS. Story; I have to read it three times, where I should have to read it once in print. The Expiring Phoenix (Chadwick) always laughed at me for my helplessness in this matter, saying that a good MS. was just as good as engraving. But his laughing did not help me. There is something in handwriting that seems to kill all consecutive perception in me; it is just as bad in words as in music. But I must say that I really and thoroughly enjoyed reading your score-in an incoherent sort of way, letting each measure tell for the moment, just as any idiot listens to music at a concert-and look forward to finding my impression strengthened at the hearing. Where did you get the idea of reinforcing the effect of those jumps from C major to E minor, and E major to A minor, by that Scharfrichter’s rhythm? I don’t know when I have heard that ‘Meyerbeer’ snap of the two short notes and a long one sound so new, and so little as if Meyerbeer had written it. I have also great hopes for the place where the third horn comes in against the twiddle-twiddle in the violins. And how stunning of you to have kept your trombones and trumpets for the preaching, and made your big crashes without them! I hope Nikisch will follow his native bent and give the final ‘pa-pa-pum——-pum!’ as it looks in the score. Ever so many thanks, yrs., &c., &c., &c.” (Scrapbook)


One review began: “This is, we believe, the first time that an orchestral composition by a woman has been played at one of our symphony concerts. It is rather odd how exceedingly little women have done in music-save in the way as singing and playing.” The review continues in the same vein, finishing the idea with, “Upon the whole, the record is not brilliant.” But then the attitude changed, and the author wrote that “Miss Lang now comes forward with a work which must certainly stand very high indeed among compositions by women; indeed, there is no special need of bringing her sex into the question at all, for this overture of hers does not need to be ranked in a special class in order to have good said about it. The beginning is particularly impressive-a grim phrase is given out by the trumpets and trombones in octaves, interrupted by syncopated thuds on the kettledrums, and is followed by a most effective piece of harmony in the strings-a chord of C-major is struck, and then merges into a passing harmony, which you expect to lead, by a half cadence, directly to the dominant chord of B-major; but no! instead of leading to the dominant, it leads to the tonic chord of E-minor. The effect of this sudden appearance of the chord of E-minor is startling, the chord seems to come from a hundred miles away, the effect is as unearthly as on ”et lux” in Verdi’s ”Manzoni” Requiem. If there is perhaps no other stroke in the overture that equals this in originality and force, what follows it has nonetheless conspicuous merit of its own. The thematic material is natural and unforced, the treatment coherent, often strikingly ingenious. Only once towards the latter part of the overture does the composer seem to lose her way for a moment in the maze of working-out; but she soon finds it again and pushes on to the end with a very sure step. The general character of the work is passionate, with a warmth that seems wholly genuine and unsought-for, and now and then with more idyllic moments of much beauty. The instrumentation is brilliant, always skillfully managed, if not precisely what one would call masterly…Miss Lang’s varied play of color seems at moments more fitful and fantastic than her musical form and thematic development. Yet, in one respect, her scoring shows a very fine instinct; unlike most young composers, she is singularly thrifty in her use of orchestral material and does not waste her heavy artillery on effects of sheer dynamic force where it can be more wisely spent on effects of contrast. Upon the whole, she in no wise lays herself open to the criticism once passed on Augusta Holmes by a Paris musician: that,” like most women, she tries to prove her own virility by making a tremendous noise,” The overture was admirably played and most enthusiastically received. Mr. Nikisch being called out three times after it.” (Anonymous, undated review, courtesy Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

Another review devoted 75 percent of its content to the new piece: “Of the composition itself there is not much be said that is pleasant in the saying. It is creditable as the result of a laudable ambition to essay an important work, and it may be pronounced a promising first attempt; but it is scarcely of worth to warrant its performance, unless, indeed, to afford the composer an opportunity to hear it, and to profit by the experience. In the first place, it is hardly an overture, as the term is generally understood, and it is not dramatic in any sense. It has more the character of an orchestral fantasie. Nothing is clearly defined, nothing is completed. It is one long effort to say something, without any very clear idea of what is to be said. The general effect is spasmodic and fragmentary; and the work does not hang well together. The orchestration is vigorous but is without richness or character. It has strong color here and there, but is never closely knit, and is often foggy. The pervading fault of the work, however, is that its meaning is not made apparent…As an evidence of its composer’s serious study and its application, it is very commendable, but it is immature, and should not have been submitted to public criticisms. It is not gratifying to be compelled to write thus discouragingly of the work of a young composer, but no good is to be accomplished by glossing over the truth, and we are sure that it is wiser and kinder to point out the shortcomings of the composition than to indulge in insincerity and to damn it with faint praise. The audience received it in a very kind spirit and applauded heartily. An effort was made to call the composer forward, but it was unsuccessful.” (Unsigned review, courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

A review of April 9, 1893 credited to the Courier began with a paragraph about Margaret’s background and education and then followed that with a second paragraph of 14 lines concerning the work performed. This formed less than one-fourth of the complete review-quite a contrast to the review cited above. The reviewer wrote: “The overture while evidently the work of a skillful, and refined musician is nevertheless a very characteristic sample of kapelmeistermusik. There is a certain benign composure and nobility of intent in the writing of it, that is all too conspicuous, but the work appears to contain but a single well-defined theme which is very reminiscent of the oriental music in Verdi’s Aida. This theme is so tautologically treated and so frequently repeated that the prevailing impression created by it is one of monotony and languor. Perhaps the most praiseworthy feature of the overture is in the orchestral coloring of its harmonic development which is altogether excellent.” (Unsigned review, courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

Philip Hale: New York Public Library Digital Library.

Philip Hale in the April 12, 1893 Musical Courier wrote: “Miss Lang’s overture is perhaps a creditable work for a young student. Whether it deserved a place in a Symphony concert is another question. Although Miss Lang in certain songs has shown in the past a pretty melody, the themes of the overture are not of marked originality or striking effect. There are ingenious passages in the detail, but there is a general lack of definite purpose in the conception and in the carrying out. The composer seems to be pricked by the desire of extracting ideas from the orchestral instruments in turn. As a result, there is occasional piquancy, and there are pleasing measures, but this dramatic overture is a promise rather than a fulfillment. It is as though the composer deliberately set about to see what she could do in this line, there was nothing musical within that forces its was irresistibly and assumed orchestral shape and color.” (Scrapbook, Musical Courier, April 12, 1893)

Hale also wrote in the Boston Home Journal: “The phrase Place aux dames should be without meaning on the concert stage. The conductor of an orchestra should judge the fitness of a composition proposed for performance without consideration of the sex of the composer. Sex is here an accident.” (Fox, Sexual, 10) Hale spent two-thirds for his review damning the work in every way that he could: “Her themes are neither of marked originality nor of musical importance…there is not one dramatic stroke in the whole work, nor is there a climax. As a fantastic tone poem, it is vague. Miss Lang finds at her disposal the orchestral paint box, and she colors her themes with this instrumental tablet and with that one; thus she gains, occasionally, a piquant effect, a pleasing passage, but the whole lacks coherency and, is diffuse. In a word, this composition might well please the eye of a prudent and skilled teacher. He might look kindly at the pupil.” (Unsigned, but by Hale, review attributed to the Journal, courtesy Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

Louis C. Elson wrote in the Advertiser wrote that: “It is the reviewer’s task to state that this work was not up to the level of these concerts. Miss Lang has won some deserved successes at the Apollo Club concerts in the field of chorus composition and has written some graceful bits of instrumental music which have achieved the dignity of publication, but it is a long stride from this to orchestral work in a large form, and to make the first public attempt in a concert course which is supposed to present the finest music that the world affords, to enter a programme which presented selections by Haydn, Dvorak and Moszkowski, was little less than rash…One may pay tribute to an evident tact in the matter of orchestral coloring that holds forth good promise for the future, but it may be at once added that these concerts are not supposed to be devoted to the presentation of incipient greatness. As the work was entitled a ”dramatic overture,” one need not quarrel with the fact that its form was not powerful enough to sustain interest, nothing was carried to a logical conclusion, much was spasmodic, and at times the whole case could only be diagnosed as orchestral hysteria.” This represented one-fourth of the total review. (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

Warren Davenport in the Globe wrote that: “It would be a pleasant task to speak in praise of Miss Lang’s orchestral piece but the results gained would not warrant such a course. Miss Lang has written many pretty songs and has shown talent in the pieces written for male voices and sung by the Apollo Club, but the step from this grade of material to the writing of a dramatic overture of sufficient worth to claim a place upon a symphonic concert programme is quite a long one. The effort of this ”dramatic overture” was a purposeless one, and it could as well be called the ”Babes in the Wood,” as far as any dramatic significance is concerned. Any capable student can make such music as this who has a little invention at hand, and to write similarly for the orchestra is not so difficult either, with the hundreds of stereotyped formulas that are available in the works of modern composers and student-writers. The first thing to be considered is what is the musical value of a composition? Has it form; has it a defined purpose? Miss Lang should not be discouraged because of this failure to compose a dramatic overture. Through the ill advice of her friends and the lack of discrimination upon the part of the person who arranges the programmes for the Symphony concerts, this youthful composer has had her inability to reach certain heights made plain, and the lesson should be a profitable one. It should not dampen her ambition, however. Her case is not an isolated one. The audience applauded the playing loudly.” These comments took up about one-third of the review. (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archive)

Another review devoted one-half of its space to Margaret’s work, all of which was complimentary. “Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang’s new dramatic overture was given for the first time at the Symphony last week, the composition by our talented townswoman proving to be of great merit. In the beginning, two themes are developed, one somber and of an antique character, the other passionate and modern treatment, each played against the other and producing a dramatic effect original but melodic. The working out is concise and beautifully harmonizes, and the return to the first part is gradual and regular, without harsh cdences or Wagnerian style of orchestration. The young composer has treated the stronger instruments of the orchestra very effectively, utilizing them for special themes in several instances, which gives a marked tonal color and contrast to the gentler fortissimo passages. The work received a most flattering reception, and Mr. Nikisch’s orchestra gave a delightful interpretation of the number.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archive)

The American Biographical Library entry quotes an unnamed critic as saying: “The general character of the work is passionate, with a warmth that seems wholly genuine and unsought; and now and then with more idyllic moments of much beauty; and the orchestration is brilliant.” Levy quotes from a letter from Edward MacDowell to his wife: “Wasn’t Apthorpe [sic] shameless about Miss Lang’s overture? And he didn’t say a word about Chadwick. He ought to be kicked.” Another letter said: “Apthorpe, after his slobber act over Miss Lang’s overture (had to) even it up by doing at least likewise with his friend Arthur Foote’s work. I aunt patient.” (Levy, p. 90) However, MacDowell’s judgment may be questioned as the critic of the Boston Beacon, Howard Ticknor wrote that MacDowell “so hates Apthorpe that Apthorpe’s good criticism would be sufficient to make him take the opposite side.” (Levy, 91) Apthorp had also made an error in Margaret’s biography saying that she had studied with MacDowell. She wrote a stiff note to him correcting this, and also asked her father to write a note to Chadwick on this same subject: “Maidie is troubled by an error in Apthorp’s programme today.” B. J. continued that should the work be a failure, Chadwick would not mind being left out as Margaret’s teacher, but if it were a success, “it will take but a few hours to” correct the matter. B. J. ended by saying that “A misstatement corrected is usually more fully noted than if it were correct from the start.” (Chadwick Archive, NEC) The Monday before the performance Margaret had written to Chadwick telling him of her “good news,” and saying: “I have wanted to tell you about it because I feel so grateful to you for the lessons that helped me so far as even this point.” There is a note from Chadwick to Margaret suggesting a time for her lesson, it seems that this lesson was her first with him; “I shall hope to see many pretty compositions from your pen as well as (?) strict counterpoint.” (Boston Athenaeum) The rest of the letter mentions that she wrote it during November of the previous year, sent it to Nikisch, but then did not hear anything for a long time. “I dared not tell you of it lest you should jeer at my temerity.” It would seem that her lessons were not concerned with this specific work. She ended with: “I want your good wishes, and I want above all to thank you.” She then asked for his comments after the concert. (Chadwick Archive, NEC) Chadwick seems to have replied in a positive manner. In another letter to him, she began: “Your very kind and most charitable letter was an inexpressible relief and pleasure to me, for I had imagined all kinds of horrible things going on in your mind until it came. I want very much to show you the score and hear a sermon.” She then invited Mr. and Mrs. Chadwick to an evening of billiards, “and then you will talk to me about it. Indeed, I have so much to say to you that I shall not know how to begin or when to finish.” (Chadwick Archive, NEC)

Margaret’s friend, Amy Beach, sent a note dated April 9th. “I wish to send you my heartiest congratulations upon your success, last evening of your interesting overture, as a woman I cannot help feeling gratified that all your hard work should be so fully recognized and appreciated, and your composition given a place on our symphony program. Its superb performance must have gladdened your heart, while it gave great pleasure to the audience. With all good wishes for your future success, believe me.) (Baer, 26)

SPECIFIC CHARACTERISTICS: DRAMATIC OVERTURE. “I like your main motif extremely, – it is grim, and the cantilena that leads over into G major is lovely. That broken chord for the first horn is a great success. The brass is [sic] very discreet, perhaps a little too discreet.” (Chadwick note to Margaret)                                                                                                                                 Her work was described as having strong contrasts between the principal and subordinate themes. “It has some strong contrasts, especially between the chief theme and the subordinate. The first is grim and medieval, the second tender and human. To place these two in juxtaposition in itself gives something of dramatic power, and the development of both is singularly unconventional.” (Elson, History American Music, 306) 

                                        Apthorp BSO Program Book.

Where did you get the idea of reinforcing the effect of those jumps from C major to E minor, and E major to A minor, by that Scharfrichter’s rhythm? I don’t know when I have heard that ‘Meyerbeer’ snap of the two short notes and a long one sound so new, and so little as if Meyerbeer had written it. I have also great hopes for the place where the third horn comes in against the twiddle-twiddle in the violins. And how stunning of you to have kept your trombones and trumpets for the preaching, and made your big crashes without them! I hope Nikisch will follow his native bent and give the final ‘pa-pa-pum——-pum!’ as it looks in the score. Ever so many thanks, yrs., &c., &c., &c.” (Scrapbook)  Apthorp note to Margaret.

The beginning is particularly impressive-a grim phrase is given out by the trumpets and trombones in octaves, interrupted by syncopated thuds on the kettledrums, and is followed by a most effective piece of harmony in the strings-a chord of C-major is struck, and then merges into a passing harmony, which you expect to lead, by a half cadence, directly to the dominant chord of B-major; but no! instead of leading to the dominant, it leads to the tonic chord of E-minor. The effect of this sudden appearance of the chord of E-minor is startling, the chord seems to come from a hundred miles away, the effect is as unearthly as on ”et lux” in Verdi’s ”Manzoni” Requiem. If there is perhaps no other stroke in the overture that equals this in originality and force, what follows it has nonetheless conspicuous merit of its own. The thematic material is natural and unforced, the treatment coherent, often strikingly ingenious. Only once towards the latter part of the overture does the composer seem to lose her way for a moment in the maze of working-out; but she soon finds it again and pushes on to the end with a very sure step. The general character of the work is passionate, with a warmth that seems wholly genuine and unsought-for, and now and then with more idyllic moments of much beauty. The instrumentation is brilliant, always skillfully managed, if not precisely what one would call masterly…Miss Lang’s varied play of color seems at moments more fitful and fantastic than her musical form and thematic development. Yet, in one respect, her scoring shows a very fine instinct; unlike most young composers, she is singularly thrifty in her use of orchestral material and does not waste her heavy artillery on effects of sheer dynamic force where it can be more wisely spent on effects of contrast. Upon the whole, she in no wise lays herself open to the criticism once passed on Augusta Holmes by a Paris musician: that,” like most women, she tries to prove her own virility by making a tremendous noise,”(Unsigned review)

Perhaps the most praiseworthy feature of the overture is in the orchestral coloring of its harmonic development which is altogether excellent.” (Unsigned review, courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

In the beginning, two themes are developed, one somber and of an antique character, the other passionate and modern treatment, each played against the other and producing a dramatic effect original but melodic. The working out is concise and beautifully harmonizes, and the return to the first part is gradual and regular, without harsh cadences or Wagnerian style of orchestration. The young composer has treated the stronger instruments of the orchestra very effectively, utilizing them for special themes in several instances, which gives a marked tonal color and contrast to the gentler fortissimo passages. (Unsigned review)

Theme A (grim: trombones and trumpets in octaves, interrupted by timpani thuds; C major string chord; then instead of B major, surprise, go to E minor-this probably best bit; jumps from C major to E minor and then E major to A minor in the Scharfrichter’s rhythm.) Theme B (Antique) played against each other. Beautiful harmonies, fine scoring, orchestral coloring,  trumpets and trombones often not used in forte passages-saved for special effects.

MargaretfromHalfHoursetcRyan, 179. Probably from the mid-1890s.



Music Hall. Theodore Thomas, Autobiography, Vol. II, facing 282.

The exposition in honor of Columbus’ discovery of the New World ran six months from May 1 until October 30, 1893. Over 28 million tickets were sold (the population of the United States was 63 million at that time), and this was even during an economic depression. The goal of the organizers was to outdo the Paris Exposition of 1889 which featured the Eiffel Tower. Chicago’s answer was to create a city-within-a-city that hosted 65,000 exhibits. On view were  “The world’s first Ferris Wheel-with cars the size of buses” and full-size replicas of Columbus” three ships which had been sailed from Spain to Chicago. (Bolotin and Laing, vii) At the end of the event, it was found that a profit of $1,000,000 dollars had been achieved! Margaret’s overture Witichis was selected for performance at the Chicago World’s Fair. George H. Wilson who was the Secretary of the Bureau of Music and thus the person making all the decisions on anything musical that was to appear at the Exposition had been a tenor in B. J.’s Apollo Club. (Herald (April 23, 1893): 20, GB)

There seems to be no record of Theodore Thomas seeing the Dramatic Overture, Opus 12 but her overture Witichis, Opus 10 was chosen (along with two others-one of which was by the fellow Boston composer, Coerne) from among twenty-one works presented for consideration to be performed at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. One interesting aspect was that B.J. Lang was a member of the reviewing committee!

This article from the November 1893 issue of Music-A Monthly Magazine summarizes “American Music at the Exposition.”

The reviewer for the American Art Journal stated that it was the largest crowd that he had seen yet in Music Hall and praised Powell’s playing of the Mendelssohn. He credited Lang’s work with ”originality and earnestness of purpose” as well as ”considerable continuity and sustained power. ”He went on to state that the orchestration showed lack of experience but pointed out that even Brahms had similar problems with some of his orchestrations. This review was unusual in that the critic treated an orchestral composition by a woman seriously, without any comments reflecting gender bias.” (Bomberger,  138-139) “A prominent Chicago critic, writing of Margaret Ruthven Lang’s contribution to the American compositions heard at the exposition concerts, says Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang’s overture to Witichis is a real work, a great deal to say of a young woman’s composition…Taste predominates Miss Lang’s overture. At times the meaning is not easy to follow; there is a good deal of ambitious striving for effect rather than for embodiment of idea. But throughout the music is noble and pure in conception, if the conception is not always concrete.” (Herald (August 13, 1893): 18, GB)   From the Fourteenth Columbian Letter: “This program [July 29] is worthy of passing mention, as it brought the overture Witichitis [sic] by Miss Lang, who is certainly developing in a perfectly logical and satisfactory manner. She began with the smaller forms and is ambitiously working her way into the larger forms. The Opus 10 of Miss Lang is more than we had expected of this lady, and I should not be surprised to hear a symphony from her pen ere a year is over our head.” The second performance of Witichis was July 29, 1893 at a Pops Concert held not in the Women’s Building, but in the main concert hall of the Exposition. (Feldman, 7) The overture was included at the third concert under Max Bendix: Wednesday, August 30, 12 noon. “Popular Orchestral Concerts,” Exposition Orchestra of 100.  Max Bendix had been the concertmaster of the Festival Orchestra, but after Theodore Thomas resigned, Bendix was selected to conduct the rest of the concerts at the Exposition. A third overture entitled Totila, Opus 23 was composed in 1901 and premiered in Baltimore. (Theodore Thomas, Autobiography, Vol. II, facing page 282)


Among performances during 1894 was the song for baritone Hjarlis sung by Mr. Grant Odell on Monday, February 5 at the 29th. Private Meeting of the “Manuscript Society of New York” held in Room 8 of Carnegie (Music) Hall (this may have been its premier). “A very charming reception was given to Mr. B. J. Lang and the altos of ”The Cecilia” last Monday evening, at the home of Mrs. Cilley, 175 Beacon Street, Mrs. Dimick of ”The Cecilia;” being hostess.” (Herald (April 8, 1894): 27, GB) Part of the musical program included Bedtime Song by Margaret sung by Miss Griggs. A concert in Boston on Saturday, December 1 at 11 AM presented by Miss Orvis as part of her “Concerts for Young People” (five per season) included B. J. Lang playing Petit Roman followed by six of the Nonsense Rhymes (Filey, Man Cape Horn, Man Skye, When Little, Said well, and Riga) sung by Mrs. Henrietta Hassall. The concert ended with the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto played by Franz Kneisel with the orchestral accompaniment played by B. J. on the piano. The Nonsense Rhymes must have been well received as they were repeated at the concert on Saturday, February 23, 1895. The same six Nonsense Rhymes were sung by Mrs. Hassall a year later (December 7, 1895) as part of the series of “Concerts for Young People” given in Newton Center by Mrs. Bird-B. J. also played his Caprice as part of the concert. This December 1st. performance of Petit Roman was less than a month after its premiere which was given by Mrs. Edward Dudley Marsh at the November 6, 1894 meeting of the “Tuesday Musicale” of Rochester, N. Y. -a note in the program mentions that Margaret wrote both the music and the story. (Scrapbook) Others quickly learned the work-Miss Mary Black included it in her program at Chickering Hall on December 18, 1894.

A short article that was probably a “filler” appeared in a California newspaper early in 1894, having been originated by the Boston Herald. With a heading of “Young Women Composers,” it began: “Two charming and talented young women composers who are making their mark are Helen Hood and Margaret Ruthven Lang. Both of whom have for some years been known as writers of songs of far above musical qualities.” The article then notes their New England connections and finishes with: “It is not a little remarkable that both of these talented girls, whose gifts bear so close a resemblance to each other, can look back not only to a New England ancestry, but to ancestors whose lives touched closely in the same little Massachusetts town of Lynnfield three-quarters of a century ago, and it is not uninteresting to note that the first musical instruction which the grandfather of Margaret Lang received was given to him by the grandfather of Helen Hood.” (Riverside Daily Press, Riverside, CA (February 9, 1894): 1, GB) Another interesting connection with Lynnfield is that some sources state that B. J.’s first organ position was in a small church in Lynnfield-is it possible that Helen Hood’s grandfather had something to do with this?

The piano suite, Petit Roman was also part of a June concert given in Worcester, MA at the “pretty studio of Mrs. Carrie King Hunt [which] was the scene of one of the most delightful entertainments that has been heard in Worcester for very many days.” The society writer gave the full story of the sections of the piece which she probably took from the program book or copied quickly from the performer’s score. She began: “This tells a story-a medieval kind of tale in six chapters, each written in an appropriate and peculiar tempo. The first tells how the chevalier goes to call upon the princess and makes love.” (Worcester Daily Spy (June 20, 1895): 1, GB) No need for five more chapters in this version. In the program notes of the recent CD recording, it reads: “The first piece tells of the knight’s initial visit to the princess, during which he ”speaks of love.”” (Delos DE 3433, notes by Lindsay Koob) Mrs. Hunt learned the piece at the request of B. J. with whom she had been studying for the past year. (Spy, Op. cit.)

In 1895 The Cecilia performed Love Plumes His Wings at the January 16 and 17 concerts while at the Apollo Club concert of May 8, 1895 Margaret’s Boatman’s Hymn was heard. This piece had been first performed by the club in January 1893, and for this second appearance, Apthorp in the Transcript wrote: Miss Lang’s Boatman’s Hymn shows all the young composer’s habitual poetry of feeling and imaginative coloring; from a purely musical point of view, too, it shows itself as one of the best things she has done in this line.” (Scrapbook)

Not all critics were as favorable. Philip Hale in the Musical Courier of January 23, 1895 wrote- “I confess I am amazed at the daring of Mrs. Richard Blackmore Jr. who will give a song recital in a fortnight. She will sing songs by Bizet, Massenet, Cornelius, Mozart, Mascagni, and others; but, mirabile dictu, she announces no song by Miss Lang or Mr. Clayton Jones. You should live here to fully realize the courage of this singer.” (Scrapbook-review destroyed, but written in pen on the scrapbook page.) This attitude had been reflected earlier in the month by Hale’s review in the Journal of January 16, 1895 commenting on Lena Little’s performance of the Norman Songs, Opus 19. “Miss Lang’s songs seemed all of a familiar piece, with the exception of The Grief of Love, which has stuff in it. She is too fertile. She is young and art is long. Why be in such a hurry, even though singers and publishers knock at the door. Study and write, Miss Lang, for you have talent. But practice the Horatian maxim. You will find it in ”The Art of Poetry.” “However the reviewer in the Transcript wrote: “The group of songs by Miss Lang contain much that is charming, and are admirably effective for the singer; there are much vitality and poetry of sentiment in them too. Miss Lang is beginning to show more and more of distinct individuality in her writing, in spite of a sometimes treacherous memory which at moments leads her to make use of material not entirely her own. But she recasts it in her own mold, and the writing bears her stamp. Miss Little sang the songs capitally.”(Scrapbook) The Herald did not mention the Norman Songs by title, but did say that “the songs by Miss Lang seemed far more congenial to the conceptive intuitions of the artist, and were very creditably interpreted.” Miss Little’s performance was part of a series of concerts organized by Mr. Arthur Whiting. (Herald (January 16, 1895): 4, GB)


In 1893 Frances writes in her Diary: “Maidie is writing out a Fugue she has just composed.” (Diary 2, Summer 1893) At the “Ladies’ Musical Club” on Saturday, April 25, 1895, Mrs. Emma K. Von Seggern performed two pieces for violin, Andante and Allegro Moderato. (Scrapbook 1887-1906) Another missing piece is the song, She Is False that was presented at the Cambridge Art Conference, October 31, 1897. An article (c. 1895) in the Winchester Star (MA) mentioned that at a “Women Composers” program presented to the Fortnightly Club, “One of the best numbers of the programme was an unpublished Andante for violin and piano composed by Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang, daughter of Mr. B. J. Lang of Boston, and loaned to Mrs. Bryant in manuscript.” Possibly this is the same andante that was performed above. Margaret “completed a Mass, which was performed at least once at King’s Chapel under the direction of B. J. Lang in November 1898.” (Baer, 28 and 29)


1895 saw the publishing of Margaret’s most successful song-Irish Love Song, Op. 22. The song was sung and recorded by the very best singers of its day. The first recording was in 1908 by Ernestine Schumann-Heink followed by Dan Beddoe a year later. Both Alma Gluck and Mary Garden recorded the song c. 1912 while Richard Crooks’ in 1924 was possibly his first record! An article in the Detroit News said: “These American ditties have a charm all their own when sung by Schumann-Heink, with her explosive Germanized dentals and her z-ified final s’s. It was droll, but pleasant still, to hear the German-American version of Margaret Lang’s Irish Love Song with ”Ma – foor – r -r- neen” trolling from the singer’s tongue.” (Scrapbook 1887-1907) “Musically, Lang’s Irish Love Song is set in the simple style of most popular songs. Though it has no refrain, it consists of three verses set strophically. It is quite short, 34 measures in total, but because it is strophic there are actually only 14 measures of music. The phrases are symmetrical and balanced, with essentially two four-bar melodic phrases. The range of the vocal line is essentially an octave. The accompaniment is simple and doubles the vocal line. As in most popular song, the melodic line stands out as the most important musical feature. It is, of course, a love song and, like the popular type, has an intense emotional content. A song of longing, the musical climaxes come at the end of each verse as the melody rises to the last statement of ‘Mavourneen,’ as in mm. 11-12 (‘Mavourneen’ is an Irish Gaelic word meaning ‘my darling’). The climactic drive is to the end of each phrase and ultimately the end of the song, thus emphasizing not only the longing of the thematic content but the heightened emotional state.” (Blunsom, 210) Cipolla noted that “the total U. S. press run for Margaret Ruthven Lang’s Irish Love Song was 120,835 copies, almost 20,000 copies more than for MacDowell’s best-loved song, The Beaming Eyes.”(Cipolla, 91)

Mrs. Crosby Adams reported in 1896 that Margaret found it difficult to work at home without interruption, so she rented a room near her home to use as a studio. It held a shelf full of rejected manuscripts. The Musical Courier reported that this room was at 90 Pinckney Street, just around the corner and three blocks away from the family home at 8 Brimmer Street. (Musical Courier, January 1895) During this time she also went to see various members of the BSO to discuss the capabilities of their instruments so that she might write better for them. The Musical Courier article of January 1895 had reported “Miss Lang spends the morning until one o’clock in work and study, having a studio where no one can interrupt her.” Frances noted: “Maidie has engaged a room at 90 Pinckney St. at $2.50 per week where she can work.” (Diary 2, Fall 1893)

In 1939, out of the blue Margaret received a letter from Irving Berlin Inc. “with regard to your renewal rights to your song.” The song listed was An Irish Mother’s Lullaby, not an Irish Love Song. The letter continues with copyright information in Europe and America, and then becomes rather self-righteous about how other publishers try to steal songs at the renewal point and how their company never does this. However, the next paragraph begins: “We are interested in acquiring your renewal copyright.” They do acknowledge the original publisher’s rights, but push for their company. “The prestige, character and reputation of our firm…are well known.” Margaret forwarded this letter to Schmidt who replied: “As the renewals on the various numbers become due we make the necessary entries at Washington in your name.” Margaret then forwarded the Schmidt letter to Irwing Berlin Inc. and nothing more was heard of the matter. This does speak to the continued popularity of even a less well-known song by Margaret, even just before 1940.

                                                                                     Below: 90 Pinckney Street.

January 29, 1896 saw a performance of the piano Rhapsody at the Rhode Island Women’s Club while on February 5th. at the Matinee Musicale of Indianapolis Indiana, Ghosts was sung by Miss Schrader, and the Maiden and the Butterfly was performed by four solo voices and piano. (Scrapbook) At the February 12, 1896 concert of the Cecilia, Mrs. Jeannie Crocker Follett performed the Irish Love Song, and at their April 29 and 30, 1896 concerts In a Garden was sung by Mrs. Alice Bates Rice.  Margaret also served as a translator; at the March 19, 1896 concert of The Cecilia, The Shepherds Decked Him For the Dance (scene from Goethe’s Faust) by Moszkowski was presented as translated by Margaret. As part of the 25th. Anniversary Concert of the Apollo Club on May 6, 1896, Mrs. A. Sophia Marlee sang Betrayed. By 1896 Margaret’s songs were well enough known and thought of that Ghosts, first published in 1889, was included in the January 1896 issue of Godey’s Magazine, the monthly women’s publication. (Cook, 175) For the Third Concert of Miss Orvis’s “Five Concerts for Young People” presented in Chickering Hall on Saturday morning, December 1, 1896, B. J. played Margaret’s Petit Roman sur le Piano en Six Chapitres: also included was her Six Nonsense Rhymes. At the May 7, 1897 concert of The Cecilia Bonnie Run the Burnie Down was programmed. For the January 25 and 26, 1899 concerts of The Cecilia, Love Blumes His Wings for women’s voices and The King Is Dead were performed.


An article in the Globe of March 15, 1896 with the headline “Tuneful Minds” was an interview with Margaret Lang and Mrs. H. H. A. Beach. Lang was asked how she composed a piece. “Little songs and smaller compositions generally take definite and permanent shape in my mind before I touch my pencil. In greater works, I often find it necessary to deviate somewhat from my original idea when it comes to the actual scoring.” The reporter asked what part the piano had in composing. “I think very few composers work at the piano, and often the idea is as spontaneous as a smile or a sigh. I remember once when MacDowell was staying with us, he suddenly learned that it was the anniversary of my mother’s wedding day. He immediately turned to me and said: ‘Let us play them a triumphal march at dinner,’ and, seating himself at the desk, wrote out in about ten minutes a march that had all the fire, color, balance and poise of a work of art. We played it at dinner to the great delight of the family.” (Globe (March 15, 1896): 31) In the same article Lang was asked how often she changed a piece after hearing it, and in her answer reference is made to her SYMPHONY. “I have an absurd prejudice against working a composition over which I have once considered finished…After the Boston orchestra rehearsed my symphony for the first time, the conductor requested me to make a considerable cut in one of the movements. Very much against my wishes, I did so,” and after the concert one of the violinists in the orchestra told her that she should not have allowed the cut. “I knew how true this was, and if I had been a little older, I should have refused to submit to the cutting process, even if it meant the withdrawing of the symphony.” (Op. cit.) The first paragraphs of the article had all been about Margaret Lang, and the next paragraph after the quote cited above began with: “The reporter next called on Mrs. H. A. Beach,” and he asked the same general questions of Mrs. Beach as he had asked of Miss Lang. (Op. cit.) therefore, one would assume that the reporter got his notes confused, mingly some of his notes about Beach with those of Lang. Is there any other explanation? But, Beach’s Gaelic Symphony was not premiered until October of 1896, and this article was from March 1896 and so the story about allowing the cut and having an orchestra player mention it after the concert can not apply. Lang’s Dramatic Overture had been premiered by the BSO on April 7, 1893, Nikisch conducting, but I know of no references to that work having been cut. Also, she mentioned “symphony” twice and also said “one of the movements.” therefore, it would not seem that the work being spoken about was not the Dramatic Overture. We are left with a mystery!


Sappho’s Prayer to Aphrodite: Three concert arias were composed in the mid-1890s. The first, Sappho’s Prayer to Aphrodite for contralto was performed in New York on October 24, 1895  at a concert by the Manuscript Society at Chickering Hall on October 24, 1895.  Miss Zora G. Horlocker was the soloist and Adolph Neuendorff the conductor of an orchestra of fifty men. The Herald began: “Miss Zora G. Horlocker, who is gifted with a rich alto voice sang “Margaret’s composition. “The orchestra overpowered the singer. The composition was uninteresting.” However, the review had begun with “several [works] deserving of high praise, none of them without merit.” (Herald (October 25, 1895); 7, GB) A review by Reginald de Koven said “ It was a pity that Miss Lang wrote her song ‘Sappho’ for a contralto voice and scored it for a soprano, for on this account it was ineffective.” The review continued that the soloist was “submerged in the orchestra wave. And yet the song is written in a musicianly way, and has color and both poetic and dramatic feelings.” The New York Times review of October 25, 1895 commended her, and suggested that she fell short as she used Sir Edwin Arnold’s translation rather than John Addington Symonds, “and even that falls far short of the original, which’s simply majestic.” The review ended by saying that the piece was badly sung! it would seem that the piano reduction was destroyed along with the orchestral parts! (Scrapbook)                                                                                                                            Soon after, on January 29, 1896, it was sung by Mrs. H. E. Sawyer at a concert at 265 Beacon Street where the accompanist was Arthur Foote; it would seem that the piano reduction was also destroyed along with the full score and parts. A Musical Courier article of January 1895 said that this piece had been written for Lena Little who had done earlier songs by Margaret [i.e. Norman Songs] (Scrapbook). She sang the piece at the “Concert in Aid of the Free Hospital for Women” on March 26th. at 104 Beacon Street.

Armida: The BSO performed the second aria, Armida for soprano on January 13, 1896 with Gertrude Franklin as the soloist and Emil Paur conducting. Elson felt that this was “made from aversion that deals rather too freely with Tasso. The setting is by no means as dramatic as its poetic subject, and the composer seems to have missed the majestic power of the great death-scene.” Margaret also wrote a third aria for baritone which was entitled Phoebus’ Denunciation of the Furies At His Delphian Shrine.

Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archive.

Also on the program were:

Tchaikovsky-Symphony #6

Bruch-Fantasia on Scotch folk-melodies, for Violin, Opus 46

Berlioz-Corsair Overture, Opus 21 (to end the concert)

The order of the concert was: Tchaikovsky, Bruch, Lang, and Berlioz. This was the first time for Lang and Berlioz. Margaret’s composition was listed as Opus 24 and called a Concert Aria. Miss Franklin had an ad in the program book as a soprano soloist and vocal instructor at 149A Tremont Street. Miss Franklin seems to have been a favorite BSO soloist, appearing eight times during the first fifteen seasons – she sang under Henschel, Gericke, Nikisch and Paur. The previous December Frances had written in her Diary: “Maidie has shortened her Armida aria, which Miss Franklin will sing in January.” (Diary 2, Fall 1895)

The review in the Gazette said: “Miss Lang’s concert aria is, in a sense, creditable to the young composer; it is scored with taste and knowledge. There is no trace of the old masters in the work, which is modern in idea and treatment, and hints that Miss Lang is an earnest and enthusiastic student of Wagner. She has entirely misunderstood the portion of the poem she set to music, and no skill in orchestration will hide the paucity of ideas. The cleverness is misplaced, and it is a pity that so much good work should be wasted on a subject in which there is not a trace of imagination or any of the qualities that go to the making of an enduring work of art. Miss Lang is clever, but it is impossible for even genius to say anything when it has nothing to say.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

The Journal review by Philip Hale said: “The chief trouble with Miss Lang’s concert aria is that while it deals with a dramatic subject, the thing itself is undramatic. Even in the orchestral accompaniment, which recalls the remark of Saint-Saens that when women write for orchestra they wish to prove their masculine mind by being noisier then men, there is no genuine dramatic feeling or accentuation of the text. There is neither a pivotal point nor a climax.  Miss Lang took her verses from Tasso, but it seems, that poor Whiffen’s English translation was at times too ‘anti-musical.’ Miss Lang substituted then her own prose, and the singer was obliged last evening to declaim such intensely musical phrases as ‘persecution’s thrall’ and ‘great Chieftain.’ Inasmuch as this aria is without a point, without climax, without dramatic declamation, without appealing melody, I wonder at the causes that led Mr. Paur to welcome it to a Symphony concert in the Music hall. Miss Franklin displayed the purity of her voice and art; in other words, she made as much out of the aria as was in all possible. The audience appreciated her earnestness and her art and she was loudly applauded.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

The review in the Standard said: “Miss Franklin gave Miss Lang’s concert aria, and did the best she could with it. She was in excellent voice, but the orchestration was so vigorous that it at times destroyed the effect of what would otherwise have been a very enjoyable number. It cannot be said that the aria was musically strong.  Miss Franklin’s efforts were rewarded with liberal applause, and she was twice recalled. ” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

Another review took a more positive view: “Miss Lang’s new aria is a work to be considered very seriously. Without being in the least French in feeling, it is very much in the contemporary French dramatic style-a style in which, if the truth be told, we personally are just beginning to find our bearings. It seemed to us that, in her setting of this excerpt from Tasso’s ‘Gerusalemme liberata,’ Miss Lang had struck a very true note of dramatic musical expression; more so perhaps in the arioso portions than in the passages of recitative. Much of the melodic writing is very broad and noble, and the whole treatment of the orchestra admirable; it shows that Miss Lang appreciates well what the true gist of “modern orchestration” is, and that it means something far finer and more subtle than the mere massing together of numerous instruments. Miss Franklin sang the aria with devotion and sincerity; it seemed to us that the composition was conceived for a heavier voice and a larger, more heroic style of singing. But it is ill quarreling with an artist’s physique; let it be enough to say that Miss Franklin sang like an artist.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

Louis C. Elson in the Advertiser said: “Miss Lang’s new concert aria is by no means great enough for its subject, in spite of an easy leading of the parts, a fluency of orchestration. There is a lack of dramatic power in the work, certainly an absence of what sustained breadth which one might demand in a great aria. There were impressive moments but not an impressive whole. The beginning was striking enough and the monotony of sorrow which followed was at least permissible; there was a degree of melody at “Ask me no more” which was enhanced by the skill displayed in the imitations of the vocal part upon the violoncello, and there was enough of dissonance to satisfy the musical radicals; but sustained dramatic power there was not, and the great scene from Torquato Tasso’s ‘Jerusalem Delivered’ demands as mighty treatment as the abandonment of Dido (which it in some degree resembles) and the burning of the palace and the rushing to death in combat cannot be portrayed even by the most respectable music, for true dramatic instinct is here imperative. Of the queer alterations in the words, the contrast of earnest poetry and prose sentimentality we prefer not to speak. It must be added that Miss Lang’s work was placed in a position that would try any composer; it came after the most expressive and dramatic symphony of the modern repertoire and a most warlike and heroic fantasie, and it was followed by a very fiery overture. It is quite possible that heard with less trying surroundings, the work would make a more favorable impression.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

The Herald reviewer wrote: “The concert aria by Miss Lang is the most ambitious effort that the composer has placed before the public. While the composition is not without force and vigor, it is musically uninteresting and unimpressive by reason of the absence of any discoverable central point on which the whole should pivot. It is mainly florid recitative, interrupted once or twice by a brief moment of forced melody, but it all leads to nowhere in particular, and wanders about wildly and vaguely. It is carefully made, and the instrumentation is clever and effective in its way, but, as a rule, it is overheavy for the voice and frequently obliterates it by solid masses of tone that it piles up against it, especially, and, curiously enough, when the vocal part is written in the weaker of the middle register. Miss Lang will do better when she has outgrown the familiar propensity of the young musician to give way to the temptation of overloading a score. ” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives) This was possibly written by Benjamin Woolf.

Another reviewer took the position that “The Armida aria, by Margaret Ruthven Lang, is not likely to become very popular. The scoring is rather elaborate, and in certain portions is dramatically effective, but there is much monotonous repetition on heavy, colorless themes.”

The reviewer of the Globe said: “The ‘eterna femina’ is so rare in her incursions upon the realms of music that a warm welcome was all in readiness for Margaret Ruthven Lang, whose new Armida aria was sung by Miss Gertrude Franklin.  The orchestration is clean-cut, and once or twice rises to real dramatic force. Such ability as she certainly has will someday bear fruit of rarer sort. Miss Franklin did all that was possible with the aria, and almost raised its dry recitative to the point of interest.” (Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives)

However, Thomas Ryan in a letter to the Transcript printed January 13, 1896 wrote: “I think that every good musician who heard the concert aria entitled Armida by Miss Lang, at the last Symphony Concert, will agree with me that she has by that composition done the extraordinary. I can find no other word but that to fit the act. When listening to it last Friday afternoon, I had no programme. I did not know the words. I simply listened to the music, and it was my first hearing of any composition by the young lady, though I had often heard of her ability. I was delighted with the music from the beginning to the end. Its noble introduction and recitative was so elevated in style and character-and the cantabile part, from about the middle of the piece to the end, so perfectly beautiful and melodious-that I must confess to being deeply affected by it. I could not help saying to myself:‘Just listen to that lovely, warm melody-that perfect-sounding orchestration-it is quite astonishing.’  I deem it a pleasure as well as a duty to encourage the composer by public praise.  And certainly, gallantry will help me to do homage to the ‘coming woman’ of genuine musical talent, our Boston girl, Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang.” (Scrapbook)

Phoebus’ Denunciation of the Furies at His Delphian Shrine for baritone was the third concert aria. No information has been found about this piece.


An article in a paper from Philadelphia dated December 26, 1897 began by calling Margaret “The Chaminade of America,” and described her as “an attractive and educated young woman [who] has already attained a position which puts her among the four leading women composers of the time, they being Holmes and Chaminade of Paris, Mrs. Beach and Miss Lang of Boston…In appearance Miss Lang is slight and rather under medium height, but bears a very intelligent forehead, well rounded by thought, and her eye discloses a dream of imagination which reflects the gentle tenderness with which she treats the greater number of her compositions. She is at present engaged in the preparation of several important works, the performance of which in the near future will gain her much additional and well-deserved fame.” (Scrapbook 1887-1906)


Performances around the end of the century included Mrs. Stella Hadde-Alexander playing the Rhapsody on Wednesday, January 4, 1899 at the Transportation Club (of NYC?) On Wednesday, November 20, 1901, during the 12th. season of the “National Arts Club” (of Washington, DC?) the tenor Mr. Hobart Smock sang Orpheus. During the spring of 1903 Mavourneen and The Garden of Roses were sung by the soprano Mrs. Wardwell at the Carnegie Chamber Music Hall; while on Monday, March 28, 1904 at the Siegel-Cooper Auditorium the Irish Love Song was sung by the baritone Mr. John Perry Boruff.

In 1899 Ryan stated that Margaret had “attained a position which places her among the four foremost female composers of the world, the other three being Chaminade and Holmes of Paris and Mrs. Beach of Boston.” (Ryan,  86) Her orchestral Ballade in D minor, Opus 36 won much success at its premiere in the concert entitled “Women in Music Grand Concert” given by the Baltimore Symphony March 14, 1901. (New Grove, 2001)

Frances wrote: “Maidie has shown me a piano composition she has just finished which I like very much.” (Diary 2, Summer 1900) Possibly this was the Rhapsody in E minor that Miss Alice Coleman performed at Chickering Hall on February 19, 1901. On Easter Eve and Easter Day services at the Church of the Advent, the Te Deum in E flat major was sung. Frances proudly noted in her Diary: “Maidie’s Te Deum is to be sung at the Advent tomorrow.” (Diary 2, Spring 1901) November 20, 1901 saw the performance of Orpheus sung by Mr. Hobart Smock at the first meeting of the 12th. Season (1901-1902) of the Manuscript Society of New York, which was held at the National Arts Club. A singing teacher presented a recital where seven of her pupils each sang a different Lang song after an introductory “paper on the life and compositions of Margaret Ruthven Lang, the sweet songwriter” was presented by the teacher. Well-known songs were mixed with less well-known: Arcadie, I Knew the Flowers That Dreamed of You, Out of the Past, Hills O’Skye, Irish Love song, Northward Bound and A Thought were performed. (Times of Richmond, Virginia (December 16, 1902): 4, GB)

Frances makes note of a very interesting bit of history concerning concert performances. The question is if this concert included material by Margaret. “Maidie and Lel have gone to Buffalo…Letter from Maidie in Buffalo says that there were 3000 in the audience at the concert.” (Diary 2, Summer 1901) But, certainly Margaret’s pieces must have been included; why would both father and daughter have made the trip? Now, what was the occasion, and what were the compositions?

“Mrs. S. B. Field had a large and representative audience at the first of her three musicales, which she gave on Monday morning in the ballroom of the Somerset…Miss Alice Robbins Cole, contralto, was in splendid voice and looked charming in a white silk bodice, done in black velvet ribbons, and wore a large picture hat.” The article continued with a nineteen line list of important people who attended which included the wife of the BSO conductor, Mrs. Wilhelm Gericke, and “Mrs. B. J. Lang and her daughter Miss Rosamond Lang (whose sister, Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang, by the way, was among the composers represented on the program in Miss Cole’s list of songs).” (Boston Journal (March 8, 1903): 7, GB) Where was Margaret herself?

Margaret’s main publisher, Arthur Schmidt, publisher of a  house magazine called the Musical World. This was monthly that included articles, reviews and usually five pieces of music, each for a different type of performer. The vocal solo composition for the August 1903 issue was An Irish Mother’s Lullaby which had just been published in 1900.

An article in the Saturday, January 16, 1904 issue of the Boston Evening News” entitled “ Boston’s Women Composers Take High Rank” began “Hers is a striking individuality and soon after talking with her one decides that Miss Lang is not quite like anyone else that one has ever met before. She has an original way of expressing herself, she is frank, sincere, yet very reserved, and {yet} there is a broad undercurrent of sympathy which makes one feel that she divines your intentions and thought.” The interviewer then asked her opinion of the state of music-“Music is decidedly on the wing in America. At the theaters, the best music is beginning to be appreciated.” Margaret then mentioned her dog “Mr. Dooley” whom she had trained to play the piano. “At dinner every night when the finger-bowls are brought on the table, ‘Mr. Dooley’ runs to the piano in the library or up to the music room and plays, then runs back again for his reward-a cracker. If I had space I would like to own sixty dogs…Cats I do not care so much for.”Bowler“Bowler,” a beloved pet, painted c. 1895 by Margaret’s “very dear and close friend Catherine A. Codman, a well known artist. Photo by Justin Reinking.   Bowler was still alive when this was painted in 1895, and there are several brief entries about him in the excerpts done by Rosamond Lang Galacar (MRL’s younger sister) from their mother Frances Morse Burrage Lang’s diaries. These excerpts include much fascinating family history including a few anecdotes about Bowler. Bowler’s eyes follow you when you walk past the picture.” Collection of Fletcher DuBois.


The Massachusetts Anti-Capital Punishment League had submitted petitions in opposition to death by the electric chair in previous years to the legislature, and this was done again in 1904. Frances signed the petition that year and her name joined those of two ex-Governors, many judges, many clergy, and many prominent people. This was but one of many events/causes that she supported. (Herald (January 19, 1904): 11)


One article described the house: “The rows upon rows of books in the library were chiefly titled about music. There were pictures of Beethoven and other great musicians, hung about. Upstairs in the music room is a piano which belonged to Mendelssohn, which to Miss Lang of course is invaluable.” The section on Margaret ended with-“I am sorry not to tell you a great deal about myself. I like to read about others, but when it comes to me I get selfish and become a pig or a turtle though I do not want to appear picknickity, odd, or eccentric.” A later (1911) description of the house mentioned that “the reception room on the ground floor is a cozy study, lined with books. The bound volumes of the Century and of the Symphony programs crowding a heterogeneous mass of great music masters. Portraits of Mr. Lang abound on the walls and one of Lincoln reminds those who knew of the musician’s love for a great man. Open on the piano are Granville Bantock’s Jester songs and the score of the Girl of the Golden West. These things are a reminder of how this house with its story of musical Boston during its splendid period of progress, written in a hundred ways-in photographs, letters, records, collected programs and heaped piles of music-is yet a radiating center for the most modern thinking in music. No home in this country has more associations with the best and most honored and honorable past of music, with artists whose very name epitomizes all there is of the most conservative, most of an ancient regime, composition that stands on the white heights of classic art and faithful adherence everywhere to noble models; and yet no home in the world today speaks more for the progress or gives, in its mental outlook, on fresher woods and newer pastures for composer and artist alike.” (Christian Science Monitor ( March 25, 1911): 3). At the bottom of the article is a photo of the summer home in New Boston showing the house and the music shed by the river.  A third article mentions: “In the little reception-room where ‘Bowler’ [Margaret’s dog] growls a salutation…the master greets you. How many great ones have been welcomed! Memorials of them cover its walls…Upstairs the grand piano is, of course, the special feature of the connecting drawing-rooms, though there are pianos all over the place almost, except in the billiard-room in the upper story. Here the pleasant Sunday afternoons [Open Houses] are held, where so informally and delightfully such good music is interspersed with such good talk.” (Gould Archival Book, HMA)


Margaret was of course aware of her success and all these performances. She “diligently tracked the public consumption of her songs, gathering data with which she could measure their commercial successes, as revealed in a letter to Schmidt of March 16, 1905:

I have been feeling considerable wonder this winter, concerning the irregularity of my songs which-to judge by programmes of private & public performances-must have had moderate success. For instance-Tryste Noel which has been sung considerably in church and in recitals-has apparently retired-having brought no returns since Feb. ’03, & since its publication in 1902-only on 290 copies.                            Of the set of four songs op. 40-published in the late winter of 1904-a year ago, three of which have had considerable use in public performance-there have been no returns on any of these at any time since their publication, except on Day is Gone which brought returns immediately (in May ’04) on 215 copies-but nothing since then; & yet it has been sung in various places of the U.S.                                       Whereas the Song of the Lilac op. 41 (which has only just appeared) & has been sung less often in public, is more difficult & less pleasing, has brought already returns on twice as many copies, in a fourth less time.                                                                                                                      Perhaps these facts have surprised you as they have me; or can you account for it?                                                                                                                  I am especially struck by the comparison between the Song of the Lilac (new) & the comparatively popular Tryste Noel & Day is Gone.” (Copy of the letter provided by Fletcher DuBois.)

The situation eventually improved. Two royalty statements exist for 1924 and 1915 concerning the same song and the same edition. The song was the Medium Edition of An Irish Love Song which had sold 1,777 copies for the year ending 12/20/ 1924 paying her $88.85 at the standard rate of five cents per copy. A year later she received a statement dated 12/21/1925 for the same song, same edition reporting 1,015 copies sold during those twelve months creating a royalty of $50.75. In today’s money (2020) the first payment would be worth $1,352.95 and the second, $755.13. This was for one edition of one song-the popular songs were done in “high,” “medium,” and “low, and at this point, Margaret was receiving royalties on c. 130 songs-plus the choral works and piano works. Someone at her publisher, Arthur P. Schmidt recorded sales over a twenty-year period of a song that sold well-Tryste Noel. The “low” edition had sold 7134 copies, the “medium” 5567, and the “high” 7133, for a total of 19,834 copies. At the rate of five cents, her total royalty was $991.17 or $15,092.91 in 2020. Not a huge amount, but these were art songs, not popular ballads. They were sung by the important artists of the time: Ernestine Schumann-Heink, Alma Gluck, Mary Garden, Dan Beddoe, Richard Crooks and many others known well enough to have Victor, Columbia or Edison record them. In all, 20 recordings were made between 1907 and 1924, 19 out of 20 being of the Irish Love Song. (DAHR List-see Discography) Other royalty fees are listed in Addendum Two.


Another All-Lang recital was given on April 28, 1904 at the home of Mrs. Josiah Millet’s at 150 Charles Street, Boston for which Margaret served as the accompanist.

The Hills o’ Skye, An Irish Mother’s Lullaby, The Sea Sobs Low (Ms.), The Dead Ship                                                                                                        Miss Lucie Tucker

The Bird, Song in the Songless, Arcadie, Day is Gone          Mrs. Alice Bates Rice

Tryste Noel, Summer Noon, Chinese Song, A Thought                     Miss Tucker

Somewhere, A Song of May, The Lilac (Ms.), Love is Everywhere     Mrs. Rice

Mrs. Bertha Cushing Child and Miss Edith Chapman gave another all-Lang recital on August 26, 1905 at “The Ark.”

A note to Margaret dated February 26, 1906 from Philip Hale shows a different attitude from that which he had expressed in his January 23, 1895 Musical Courier column.

Dear Miss Lang,

I was very sorry not to hear your songs, but Monday and Tuesday are disgustingly busy days with me. I hear that the songs were beautiful and original and the Nonsense Songs very clever; that Miss Chapman – whom I have never heard – sang well. I should like to have been able to congratulate you personally.

Yours very truly,

Philip Hale

This refers to a concert given at Mr. Lang’s Studio, 6 Newbury Street on February 26, 1906 by Miss Edith Chapman. The program was:

The Bird, Song in the Songless, Day is Gone, The Lilac, Somewhere, Poplar Leaves – (ms.), A Thought Song of the Spanish Gypsies – (ms.).

Intermission.____Lear Nonsense Songs: The Man Who Said “well,” The Young Lady of Lucca, The Lady of Parma – (ms.), The Person of Cassel, 

The Young Lady in White – (ms.), The Bee, The Man Who Said “Hush!” The Man With a Gong, The Lady of Riga – (Anon) (Scrapbook)

At the February 22, 1906 meeting of the Rossini Club of Portland Maine, Mrs. Morong sang Seven Nonsense Songs while at their March 15th. meeting/concert Miss Johnston sang The Hills O’ Skye. The April 2nd. and 10th. concerts by the Wellesley Hills Glee Club included Margaret’s cantata The Lonely Rose with Miss Sanborn as the soloist. April 1906 also saw Mabel L. Hastings including Lang material in her recital in Florence, Italy to benefit “Missione Medica”-the accompanist was Alberto Bimboni. May 1st. saw Mrs. Mary Montgomery Brackett include Poplar Leaves (ms.) at her 18 Saint Botolph Street studio recital-the singer sent Margaret a note saying that several people said it was “the gem of the program.” (Scrapbook)

The February ? 1907 issue of the Musical Courier reported that Margaret was suffering from a serious illness. The same column mentioned that Malcolm was to play on February at his studio a concert including Debussy’s Prelude in A-L’ Apres midi d’un Faune arranged for piano by Margaret. He also included this piece in his Concord Lyceum concert on December 18, 1907. This interest in French music reflects that of her father. At the Waltham Woman’s Club Music Lecture-Recital on March 8, 1907 her Meditation, Opus 26 was performed, and on April 7th the Vesper Service at the Church of the New Jerusalem on Bowdoin Street opened with Praise the Lord O My Soul, called an Antiphonal Anthem for Male Quartette and Chorus-a work that had just been published in 1905. [Was it published?]

MargaretRLangElson (1909), 296, and as late as in a newspaper in 1911.

The year 1908 included a number of different Lang performances. On January 13th. The Concord Woman’s Club presented Mrs. Edith Chapman Gould, accompanied by B. J. in a program, which ended with nine Nonsense Songs-the words for all nine were printed in the program. B. J. also included his own Spinning Song between two Chopin pieces, the Nocturne in C minor and the Scherzo in D flat major. The Tuesday Club concert on January 21st. was all-Lang- songs and piano pieces. On February 19th. Stephen Townsend included The Sea Sobs Low and Spring in his recital at Steinert Hall-this first song, also performed from manuscript in 1904, may not have ever been published. On March 8th. The Thursday Morning Musical Club sang at their Scholarship Concert in Jordan Hall NEC The Lonely Rose, Opus 43. The soprano soloist was Mrs. Marguerite Dietrick Quincy, and a note in the program said that this piece had been written for the club. The Cecilia performed Love Plumes His Wings, Opus 15 for women’s voices on March 31st., and a note in the program mentioned that this piece had been first published in 1892. John Philip Sousa’s sixty-five piece band included Irish Love Song, soloist Miss Lucy Allen, in their October 9th. concert “Devoted to Boston Composers.” Miss Katharine Foote [Arthur Foote’s daughter] sang The Bird at Chickering Hall on November 17, accompanied by Alfred DeVoto. (Scrapbook) Alfred DeVoto was also the accompanist for Mary Desmond “The English Contralto” who included My Turtle Dove and Summer Noon at her Steinert Hall recital. The year ended with a December 7, 1908 letter from the Manager of the “Bijou Dream” [a theater] which told Margaret that three of her Nonsense Songs would be sung on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons of that week.  There was a Person of Filey, The Old Man in the Kettle, and The Old Man Who Said ”well” were sung three times each afternoon at c. 2:45, 4:10, and 5:20. Margaret had loaned three slides for use during the songs. (Scrapbook)

In 1908 Arthur Elson, son of the critic Louis Elson, was to write that Margaret was “another of Boston’s gifted musical women…Miss Lang has published a number of successful part-songs for men’s, women’s, and mixed voices…her piano music is also excellent.”He then goes on to ask: “Who is the greatest woman composer? It is hard to say, for not all have worked in the same direction. In our country, Mrs. Beach holds the foremost position at present, with Miss Lang a good second.” (Elson, A., 202 and 239) A short filler piece had appeared late in 1905 in such varied papers as the Evening Post of Charleston, SC and the Tampa Tribune of Tampa, Florida. “Malcolm Burrage Lang, who wrote the new Harvard song, has a sister, Margaret Ruthven Lang, who is one of the two foremost women composers of the United States today. Her Dramatic Overture [sic] has been played by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Thomas Orchestra.” (Evening Post (December 15, 1908): 7, GB)

Late in March of 1908, Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Goodrich of “Carvel Court” presented a concert that included pieces by 27(!) women composers. Mr. Goodrich was the pianist and he also gave short introductions to each piece. Margaret’s Rhapsody was included in the program. “The guests were highly pleased by this novel recital.” (The Musical Courier, March 28, 18)

In 1909 she joined St. Cecilia and seven other women composers who were

well known at that time, on the cover of Etude magazine. With its national distribution, Etude was THE music magazine of its time. There were 20 different articles in this issue, none about any of the specific composers pictured on the cover. Instead, the titles covered general topics (except for an interview of Edward Grieg on Liszt’s piano playing!). In fact, looking at these general titles, I would suspect that you would not find any of the composers pictured mentioned at all, or, at least, in any depth.

The February 17, 1909 concert of the Apollo Club, then conducted by Emil Mollenhauer, included some of her Nonsense Songs that inspired the Treasurer of the choir, Thomas H. Hall to compose a special invitation to Margaret to attend this concert:

“Two Apollo men jogging along,                                                                                 After singing The Man With a Gong,                                                                              Said ‘Miss Lang must hear us,                                                                                         For she surely will cheer us,’                                                                                           And they hoped she would be in the throng.”

He finished his note by saying “for I know you will laugh and laugh and laugh again.”(Scrapbook) At this concert, there were forty-three tenors and thirty-six basses with only one original member left, George C. Wiswell. In another Lang gesture, the concert ended with a piece that B. J. had programmed so often, the Double Chorus from Mendelssohn’s Antigone.

The Harvard Glee Club sang The Old Man In a Tree and The Old Person from Ware at their December 2, 1910 concert.

On January 23, 1911 The Cecilia Society included The Wild Brier for women’s voices. At that time Max Fiedler was the conductor and Malcolm Lang the assistant conductor. The January 24, 1911 review in the Transcript said: “The old finess, the old transparency, the old delicate variations of volume and emphasis-the old beauty and the old suggestion in short-returned in the singing of Miss Lang’s little piece. The voices were as luminous or as shadowed as the music.”(Scrapbook) The group repeated this piece on March 18, 1915 at Jordan Hall with Arthur Mees as the conductor. The Transcript and Herald reviews were generally negative about the choir’s performance standards. The Transcript review said that there was “No clear definition of the colorful harmony and polyphony of Miss Lang’s Wild Brier.” (Scrapbook) The group performed the piece again on January 13, 1916. The year 1914 saw two groups performing the work: on February 25, 1914 the MacDowell Club sang the work with Malcolm Lang as accompanist, and two days later the Musical Art Club conducted by Arthur Shepard performed the piece at a concert at the Copley Plaza Hotel. (Scrapbook)

The Cecilia Society’s retirement gift to B. J. Lang had been a concert of Pierne’s Children’s Crusade to benefit the Industrial School for Crippled and Deformed Children on St. Botolph Street. Margaret had a similar interest. In February 1911 she wrote a letter to the Editor of the Herald in which she suggested that subscribers to the Boston Opera who were not going to use their tickets for the upcoming [Humperdink] Hansel and Gretel matinee should donate them to the School. She felt that the children would receive “great pleasure” from attending. (Herald (February 14, 1911): 6, GB) Another interest of Margaret’s was the National League of Women Workers. She was among ten women who sold tickets for a home concert in April 1915 to benefit the League. The performers were “Miss Nina Fletcher, violinist, and Miss Leila Holterhoff, the blind singer, lately returned from 10 years’ study in Europe.” (Herald (April 11, 1915): 28, GB) The family had known Edward MacDowell and his wife since their return from Europe in the late 1880s, and so it was natural that Margaret and other members of the family should be members of the Boston MacDowell Club. An article in January 1932 announcing the next concert by the group listed “many prominent members of the club.” (Herald (January 3, 1932): 42, GB) Included were Margaret, Mrs. Malcolm Lang, and listed among the officers was Miss Helen M. Ranney, Malcolm’s wife’s sister (?)

In November 1911 the Boston Chapter of the DAR gave a reception and musicale honoring four Boston women composers: Margaret, Mabel Daniels, Florence Spaulding and Grace Conant. “The composers were invited to play the accompaniments for their own songs,” but no vocal soloists were named. “A sketch on ‘The Progress of Music in New England’ by Miss Alice Warren Pope, was a feature.” (Journal (November 9, 1911): 7, GB)forty years-langphotoPhoto from an article in Music of March 9, 1912 by C. M. Hoover.          Courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library/Rare Books.

Early in 1912 the Musical Art Club MCMXII included as part of their Fourth Season Song in the Songless, Day is Gone, A Song of the Lilac, and Snowflakes (ms.) in their January 4th. concert at Steinert Hall-Margaret accompanied Mrs. Laura Comstock Littlefield. Then on March 28, 1912 the Steinert Hall song recital by Mrs. Littlefield (accompanist-Arthur Shepherd) included Day is Gone which prompted Philip Hale to report that the “Simpler songs were better done…She sang, for example, the songs of Mrs. Beach and Miss Lang with appropriate sentiment, and so effectively that the audience redemanded Day is Gone.” However, Hale’s first paragraph was a critique of her technique-his last paragraph a critique of her French songs. And, his final line was: “The audience applauded heartily.” (Scrapbook) Day is Gone became Margaret’s second best seller at 14,660 copies printed. (Cipolla 3/5/09 e-mail) The Chicago Mendelssohn Club opened the second half of their April 25, 1912 concert with Alastair MacAlastair. The next season they included three Nonsense Songs-The Old Person of Ware, The Old Man With a Gong, and The Young Lady of Parma at their December 11, 1913 concert. This choir of 62 singers was well balanced [at least on paper] with eighteen singers for each of the four parts-TTBB. 1913 also saw “The Greatest Italian Lyric Tenor” Signor Bonci include Day is Gone in his Symphony Hall concert on March 2nd. Another Italian performance was that given by Madame Linda Giorni who included Three Ships in her concert in aid of the Victoria Orphanage in Rome-Mr. Aurelio Giorni [husband?] was the accompanist. On November 27, 1911 Margaret was the “Guest of Honor” at the Manuscript Society of New York concert where the final two sections featured her songs. She accompanied soprano Edith Watkins Griswold in Song of [in] the Songless, Day is Gone, A Song of the Lilac, and contralto Adah Hussey in A Garden is a Lonesome Thing (ms.), Summer Noon, A Song of the Spanish Gypsies (ms.), An Even Psalm, and Spring. (Copy of program)   The Daily Mail review of November 28, 1911 was very complimentary.

On May 2, 1913, The New York Manuscript Society presented a concert entirely of women composers at the National Arts Club. While this event, which “offered musical recognition to American composers” was being presented, the Suffragists were presenting a pageant at the Metropolitan Opera House. Four of Margaret’s songs were sung “with much expression” by the Armenian-American soprano, A. Angel Chopourian. “Snowflakes was a favorite in this group.” (Musical America (May 10, 1913): 32)


In 1913  the HMA received a bequest of $75,000 from the will of Julia M. Marsh. Her husband’s business partner, Eben Jordan, was a HMA member and Julia was probably a piano student of HMA member, B. J. Lang. This seems to be the connection that prompted the original gift of the house in 1892. This bequest required that the Association would “display and maintain her paintings and objects d’art and make her two pianos available to musicians for practicing.”  (Program of the 2003 Concert) To celebrate the completion of the 1913 renovations, a “House Warming” was presented on Christmas Eve, 1913. Margaret’s The Night of the Star was part of the program, and ninety years later the HMA recreated that event on Friday, December 5, 2003. The Serbisches Liederspiel, Opus 32 by Georg Henschel was added to the original program, and Margaret’s piece was again performed as it had been in 1913. (Ibid) Paintings of Charles Marsh (painted by Herbert Herkomer who had also painted B. J.’s portrait) and Julia Marsh (painted by Benoni Irwin) watch over the Association’s activities. (Ibid)

Wind Opus 53 for double chorus of women’s voices with a text by John Galsworthy was commissioned and performed by the St. Cecilia Club of New York in 1914 and 1915 at the New York Philharmonic concerts (Musical America, Aug. 2, 1919). On April 27, 1915 Mrs. Rice gave a recital at her studio at 6 Newbury Street [where B. J. had his last teaching studio] devoted solely to Margaret’s songs with Margaret as the accompanist.The program included:

Somewhere, A Song of the Lilac, April Winter, Into My heart (ms.), The Bird–———-Song in the Songless, Candlemas, Poplar Leaves (ms.),

There Would I Be, Snowflakes, Chimes (ms.) (Scrapbook)

The Impromptu Club gave another all-Lang concert on January 19, 1916. Margaret conducted the chorus and accompanied. Singers throughout the country were performing her songs-the Irish Mother’s Lullaby was sung in Charles City, Iowa, while the Irish Love Song appeared in Aldie, Virginia, and Day Is Gone was programmed in Los Angeles.

             Early in the 1900s Musical America ran a series of short biographies called “Contemporary American Musicians,” one in each issue. By 1919 the series had reached Number 77 which was “Margaret Ruthven Lang.” After her early years and education were covered, the article spent most of its space listing the titles of the instrumental works and the two late choral works which had been performed in New York by the St. Cecilia Club in 1914 and 1915, and at the New York Philharmonic.[?] Also listed were the fact that “She is a composing member of the New York Manuscript Society, an Honorary Member of the Musical Art Club of Boston, and Honorary Vice-President of the American Music Society. (Musical America, 1919) A certain New York perspective seems to be present.


The Heavenly Noel (1916) Opus 57 with words by Richard Lawson Gales was performed by the Choral Music Society of Boston in 1917; this was a work for mezzo-soprano, women’s chorus, organ, piano, harp, and string quartet. The Thursday Morning Musicale gave another performance on February 15, 1917 with Margaret at the piano- In Praesepio and the Cradle Song of the War (Mrs. Frederick Foote, soloist) were also included. The Heavenly Noel was also sung by the MacDowell Club on March 7, 1917 by a chorus of thirteen with Margaret at the piano and acting as conductor; In the Manger was also on this program. Pittsburgh heard The Heavenly Noel on January 29, 1919 sung by the Tuesday Musical Club. The conductor, Charles Boyd, sent Margaret a copy of the program and a note saying: “So well received that we shall probably repeat it later this season.” The repeat was performed on January 27, 1920 with a note in that program: “Repeated by general desire of the Choral.” (Scrapbook) The Heavenly Noel was part of a concert given by the MacDowell Club of Boston at Jordan Hall on January 28, 1920. Margaret was the pianist, Malcolm played the organ, and Mrs. M. N. Foote was the alto soloist. (Herald (January 18, 1920): 34, GB)

“A formal portrait done by Bachrach Studios. [1920] This has been in our home at least since the early seventies, and it still has a very old frame.” Fletcher DuBois Collection. Original of the image above.

1921 saw a January 26th. performance of The Wild-brier by the MacDowell Club. This work and Song of the Three Sisters has been described as “a pair of settings for women’s voices on poems of John Vance Cheney, [which] evoke with wonderful success the dark, brooding nature of their language. In addition, they reveal to the fullest the immense range of her colorful harmonic palette, a late romantic chromaticism so slippery that analysts would often be hard-pressed to define tonal centers with absolute certainty. Her notational landscape is often littered with accidentals signifying a sense of almost perpetual transition.” (Osborne, 64)

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

In 1923 Charles Boyd continued to champion The Heavenly Noel by including it in the program for the June 11th. concert of the Festival Chorus of Asheville. Mabel Daniels sent the notice of this concert that she had seen in the Bulletin of the National Federation of Music Clubs-she wrote: “I have missed not seeing you at the Symphonies.” (Scrapbook) Four years later Mr. Boyd again programmed The Heavenly Noel at the National Federation of Music Clubs Fifteen National Convention on April 22, 1927.

Appreciation for Margaret’s works continued through the 1930s. In a letter dated March 13, 1936, Wallace Goodrich, Director of the New England Conservatory and organist of the Church of the Advent wrote to tell her “how much pleasure the singing of your anthem [Grant, We beseech Thee] gave me recently at the Church of the Advent. “The work inspired the choir to sing better than usual,” and he asked her to consider writing a setting of the mass for that church. (Scrapbook)

image042From Hughes, Contemporary American Composers, 520 published in 1900, and Mathews, The Great In Music.

The 1920 Census listed Margaret, aged 52 as daughter with Frances, aged 80 as the head of the household. Also listed as members of the household were three unmarried servants-Helen O’Brien, aged 32 born in Boston; Catherine McNulty, aged 55 from Ireland in 1889; and Margaret Magwil, aged 34, also from Ireland, but in 1906.

image044                         This pose is very much like the 1935 “Etude” photo.

In 1925 Margaret was asked by the General Federation of Music Clubs to prepare a concert of her own works; the Federation would then make available on loan the music for this program to its members. It is interesting to see what she selected:

This copy provided by Fletcher DuBois. Schmidt noted their edition number after all the choral compositions, and the fact that Love Plumes His Wings was not one of their publications. One set of this material was donated to the Boston Public Library on October 8, 1924, and each piece has the handwritten notation, “Gift of the composer through Mass. Federation of Music Clubs.”

1925 saw performances by the MacDowell Club [of Boston] on January 14 of the Song of the Three Sisters and Heavenly Noel. Charles Manney conducted both works, and Margaret played the piano in the piano, organ, harp and strings accompaniment of The Heavenly Noel. The same performers also performed The Heavenly Noel at the St. Botolph Club on March 29, 1925. In New York City the St. Cecilia Club programmed The Heavenly Noel for concerts on January 16th. and 20th. A letter from the group’s conductor, Victor Harris said: “It would interest you to know that we did the Heavenly Noel with an accompaniment of organ, piano, harp, and even chime. I introduced the latter into the section where St. Julian rings the bells, and also again at the end of the Sanctus.” (Scrapbook)



001   WELCOME. WC-919  SC(G)





MRL_SnowflakesSnowflakes, Opus 50, No. 3, 1912.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

             Always interested in the new compositions of his time, as ”An ardent Wagnerian, Lang visited Wagner in 1871 and offered his assistance in publicizing the Bayreuth Festival in America. The Saloon Passenger List of the RMS Parthia sailing from Boston to Liverpool listed B. J. Lang as departing on August 7, 1875. An entry in Cosima Wagner’s Diary for August 26, 1875 mentions that she showed B. J. the Bayreuth Theater. In 1876 Lang and his wife were honored guests at the first performance of the Ring in Bayreuth.” (Ledbetter, Amer. Grove, 10) Arthur Foote also attended (Cipolla, Amer. Grove, 150) Frances’ Diary recorded that they sailed from Philadelphia on June 24, 1876 together with Mr. and Mrs. Tucker (she=Jeanie). They were in London from July 4-14, then Paris July 14-23 during which they heard High mass at St. Sulpice where Mr. Widor’s “improvisations were delightful.” The Wagner festival was August 6-23, and a letter from Frances dated August 9, 1876, from Bayreuth tells about the Festival. Apparently only the parents went on this journey as the letter is addressed to the children (?) She mentioned that they saw four operas, three times each! On the return journey, after another stay in London of August 30-September 5, they set sail from Queenstown, Ireland on the Steamer “Celtic” on September 6th. She noted that Mr. Foote was also on board. (Frances Lang Diary, 1876) Margaret, then aged eight, probably spent the time with Frances’ mother. “There were several other groups of Bostonians who went over chiefly on account of the Bayreuth production” including Arthur Foote who was introduced to the London music publishers Schott and Company by Lang. (Foote-Auto., 61).

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

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

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

     Margaret was well acquainted with the Wagners. “She was present, as a child, in the home of Richard Wagner, and knew the Wagner children as playmates. As she grew older and more aware of her musical surroundings she undoubtedly listened with interest to the music performed at the evening gatherings at Wagner’s home.” (Cline, 11)

      During the summer of 1885, the Lang family and nurse Ellen Sheehan spent time in Europe. They left Boston on June 13, 1885, on the S. S. Catalonia, and visited Brussels, Cologne, Wurtzburg and “then Munich 48 Brienner Strauss where we lived 2 winters.” While they were in Munich they visited with Cosima Wagner who was at the Marienbad Hotel. Two of her daughters, Eva and Isolda were also there. Mrs. Lang and Margaret stood outside the Odeon Salle as the “Vorspiel” from Lohengrin was being played by a full orchestra with an audience of one, Cosima Wagner. “A great experience.” (Excerpts from Francis M. Lang’s Note Book, 7)

                                               Lawton, Schumann-Heink, 261)
Ryan felt that “One of the most notable accomplishments of Mr. Lang was the bringing of the Passion-Play of Parsifal by Richard Wagner.[Lang was 53] For a concert presentation on April 14, 1891,[MYB says April 15, and that “Mr. H. E. Krehbiel and Mr. Anton Seidl were associated in a lecture-recital on Wagner’s Parsifal at the Meionaon on April 14″ and that “Dr. L. Kelterborn gave a lecture-recital on Wagner’s Parsifal in Chickering Hall on April 13; stereopticon views were presented.”(MYB 1890-91, 25)] at great expense Lang brought from New York the entire Seidl Orchestra (New York Metropolitan Opera House Orchestra of 75 players together with “a remarkable corps of solo singers including several of the Bayreuth performers”) (Nat. Bio., 430), who had recently played the work in that city. It was a bold and brilliant stroke. No other performance of the great composition has been vouchsafed Boston.” (Ryan, 85) However, in April of 1884, Theodore Thomas directed a Wagner Festival of six concerts that presented scenes from Der Ring des Nibelungen which Apthorp covered (and explained in great detail) in a series of articles for the Boston Evening Transcript. (Nelson, 138)

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

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

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

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

Anton Seidl,  Elson, 215.

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Overture-Jessonda Weber

Grand Concerto in B-flat (sic) Tschaikowski

Sonata, Opus 27 (Moonlight Sonata) Beethoven

Overture-Prometheus Beethoven

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

Wedding March Mendelssohn

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

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

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


HMA Program Collection

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


Nicolai Rubinstein. Wikipedia, January 10, 2019.

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

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

HMA Program Collection.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Symphony # 5 – Beethoven

Song – Donizetti

Overture: A Midsummer Night’s Dream –  Mendelssohn

Cuban Song

Waltz –  J. Strauss


Wedding March: Midsummer Night’s Dream –  Mendelssohn

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

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



Various ships that the Langs used for their European visits.


RMS ETRURIA. Wikipedia, accessed March 10, 2019.

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

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

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



WC-2,302.      9/28/2020.

       Margaret’s sister Rosamond, the second child, was born on February 6, 1878, at 3 Otis Place, Boston (Birth Certificate), and died at Newburyport, MA on August 11, 1971 (Social Security 020-40-3710). In an article about her father at his death in 1909, she is described as one who “plays brilliantly and is a favorite member of the Vincent Club.” (Transcript, April 5, 1909) This EXACT same wording had been used by the Boston Globe in an article two years earlier which was about Lang’s 70th. birthday. (Globe Archive (December 22, 1907) The Globe article printed the day after his death mentioned that Rosamond “is a member of the Vincent Club and composed the music for their recent show.” (Globe (April 5, 1909)

       Rosamond composed the music for the 1906 Vincent Show, The Merry Marquis. The words were by Georgette Parks, the orchestration was by Mr. Kanrich, and the score was published by C. W. Thompson-“Ushers will take orders for [the] music.” (Program, 15) The Music Library at Eastman School of Music has this score available for as a download. There were eight separate musical numbers in the score. The orchestra consisted of four First Violins, three Second Violins, two Violas, one Bass, two Flutes, two Clarinets, two Horns, two Cornets, one Trombone, one percussion and piano; Rosamond and Elizabeth S. Porter were the Leaders. A footnote said that the orchestra was “assisted by members of the Bostonia Orchestra.” (Program,  21) Rosamond Dixey, daughter of B. J.’s longtime pupil, Richard C. Dixey, was the Property Manager.


Below-After the Opening Chorus (no Overture it seems) the Marquis sings a patter song in the best Gilbert and Sullivan manner with the Chorus echoing the last words of each couplet




Below- The patter song becomes a ballad as shown below. In the Second Act, the Marquis sings the same music but with the words “is, is you” instead of “not you, not you” as sung in the First Act.

Below-Sybil sings of “simple Peggy” in a simple folk-like melody.

Below-Second page of the Second Act Minuet. This is the second instrumental work in the show; the first is the Postillion March.

Thanks to Gail Wetherby from The Vincent Club for this material.

Rosamond had been part of previous Vincent Club shows.  In 1903 she was one of  21 “Priests of Vishnu” in The Rajah’s Daughter, an Operetta in Four Acts by Susan B. Howe and L. C. Lawrence. In 1904 she appeared as a  “Girl of the Haymakers’ Chorus” in The Tomboy, an Operetta in Two Acts by Constance Tippett and Susan B. Howe which use a cast of just under 100. In 1905 she was one of nine “Schoolgirls” managed by Miss Alice Gardiner in Alice In Wonderland, an Operetta in Two Acts. In 1907 the show took a different direction-a series of short skits and plays. For the first play, only 13 cast members were required, but one of those, “Susan Youngmuther,” was played by Miss Ethel Ranney, Malcolm’s future wife. The fourth item was a “Skit” for a solo artist, Miss Elizabeth S. Porter, with the verses and music written by Rosamond. The phrase “verses and Music” was handwritten in the program, but an article before the opening night said: “Miss Elizabeth Porter is again to lead the orchestra, which she does with an immense amount of dash and spirit, and also is to give an original monologue which cannot but be exceedingly funny.” (“Millet and Batt”-from Vincent Club Library) Miss Rosamond Dixey did the costumes for the show and danced, Miss Helen Apthorp did a solo dance, and “Miss Phillis Robbins, [who owned the farm near the Lang farm in New Boston] who has one of the most captivating voices in the company, is to sing several songs.” (Ibid) Johnston Collection. Complete work available.

       In 1909 Rosamond applied for a Passport. On that document she was described as unmarried: Age-31 years; Stature- 5 feet 5 inches; Forehead-High; Eyes-Blue; Nose-Straight; Mouth-medium; Chin-Short; Hair-Light; Complexion-Light; face-Oval. (Passport Application)

     Rosamond was married at King’s Chapel on Wednesday, May 3, 1911 at Noon in a very simple ceremony; there were no bridesmaids nor ushers. The engagement had been announced in early January. “Only members of the two families were at the church. Mr. Malcolm Lang gave his sister away. A number of Mr. Galacar’s relatives came from their home in Springfield, Mass.” (Herald (May 7, 1911): 22, GB) The Society Writer of the Herald wrote, Rosamond “wore the conventional white satin gown, trimmed with lace, a tulle veil fastened with orange blossoms and carried a bouquet of lilies of the valley. She wore a pearl brooch, the gift of the bridegroom. (Herald (May 4, 1911): 7, GB) “Mr. Galacar is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles E. Galacar of Springfield, a graduate of Yale, class of ’95, and a member of the Puritan, Eastern Yacht, St. Botolph and Yale clubs…The wedding march as the bride entered the church was played by John A. Loud of Beachmont and Mr. Lang, the bride’s brother, played the recessional music,” [Mendessohn’s Wedding March] (Herald, Op. cit., GB) The reception was at the Lang family home on Brimmer Street. “Among the guests were many Vincent Club girls, of which organization the bride is a member.” (Herald, Op. cit.) The couple had known each other a number of years. He signed his name in the Guest Book of the Lang farm on January 29, 1901, and also wrote a four stanza “Soliloquy” in German.

       On September 2, 1913, Rosamond and her husband sailed from Liverpool back to Boston on the “Laconia” from their belated honeymoon in Europe-their home at this time was 74 Mount Vernon Street, Boston which had been done over during their absence. He was aged 40 and she was 34. ( S. S. Laconia Manifest) This trip may have been a way to deal with the death of their first child, Rosamond, on March 26, 1913. Just after they returned home Frederic was taken seriously ill with pneumonia which developed after a serious operation; there was little hope that he would survive. He did survive and was soon moved from Dr. Codman’s private hospital to his home on Mt. Vernon Street. (Springfield Union (October 12, 1913): 24, GB)

       Frederic Ruthven Galacar, after his graduation from Yale in 1895, spent the next two years in Germany studying political economy. The Herald wrote that he graduated from the University of Goettingen. (Herald (January 3, 1911): 7, GB) After his return to the States in 1897 he began a career in insurance which was also his father’s career. On his father’s side, his “ancestors came from Scotland about 1780 and settled at Provincetown.”  Among Frederic’s club memberships were the Museum of Fine Arts, Harvard Musical Association-he became a member on October 7, 1904-aged c. 33, he as a shareholder in the Boston Opera House (as were B. J. Lang, Alice H. Burrage and Harry L Burrage), Unitarian Laymen’s League and King’s Chapel-Boston. “During the war [he] did considerable work for the Secret Service.” He also was the author of Historic Boston (1916). This was a 40 page “keepsake” for the delegates of the Springfield Fire and Marine Insurance Company of Springfield, Mass, Frederic’s company, who were attending the 21st. National Convention of Insurance Agents in Boston that year. It contained 21 black and white photos and brief descriptions and histories of historic places in Boston. Frederic died of heart disease after an illness of several weeks. He was survived by his wife and two sisters. (All information in this paragraph from his Yale obituary-available on line, except for Historic Boston details which came from the OCLC entry) As seen above, Frederic’s main occupation had been in insurance; he followed in his father’s footsteps. In 1899 Frederic was appointed special agent and adjuster for New England of the Union Fire Assurance Company of England. “Mr Galacar will in the future make Boston his headquarters.” (Springfield Republican (August 16, 1899): 8, GB) In December 1924 that he was made Vice-President and Director of the John Paulding Meade Company, one of the larger Boston insurance corporations. He was described as “one of the best-equipped insurance men of this city.” (Herald (December 1, 1924): 15, GB)

       The Galacars lost their first two children, a girl, and a boy. The first child was Rosamond Lang (September 13, 1912-March 26, 1913: from a photo of a gravestone at Mt. Auburn Cemetery which is beside a stone for Frederic Galacar with only one date, June 27, 1915) Their second child was born and died on the same day. The Herald listed under “Died: Galacar-At Boston, June 27, 1915, infant son of Frederic R. and Rosamond Lang Galacar.” (Herald (June 29, 1915): 12, GB) Their third child, Charles, survived into adulthood.

       In addition to her work as a Vincent Girl with their charitable works, Rosamond was also active in the Boston social scene. In February 1912 she was a Patron for a series of three lectures on Brahms. There were roughly 86 other Patrons among which were the Cabots, Mrs. John L. Gardner (Isabella Stuart Gardner), Mrs. Henry L. Higginson, and Mrs. Montgomery Sears.  (Herald (November 24, 1912): 27, GB) In 1915 Rosamond supported four performances of two French plays that had been translated by the poet Amy Lowell. These were presented at Jordan Hall and were to benefit the Women’s Municipal League. Families represented were the Abbotts, the Agassizes, the Saltonstalls, the Parkmans, the Jordans, Amy Lowell’s brother, the President of Harvard, Mr. A Lawrence Lowell, and many others. Also listed as attending were Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm Lang, Miss Margaret Lang, and Mrs. B. J. Lang. The dresses of some of the more prominent women were described: “Mrs. Lang’s was of black satin and chiffon over white, the girdle of old rose.” (Herald (February 7, 1915): 26, GB) In 1922 it had become “quite the fashionable thing to pour at one of the weekly teas of the Repertory Club which has sprung like magic into a membership of some 3,000.” (Herald (January 4, 1922): 15, GB) Rosamond was one of the four who presided at the tea table. After a talk on “The American Flag,” the members moved next door to the Copley Theatre for a performance of G. B. Shaw’s The Dark Lady of the Sonnet.

       The 1920 census address was 74 Mt. Vernon Street and listed Frederic as aged 46, Rosamond as 41 and their son, Charles as 3 and 1/2 together with three servants: Lillian MacKensie-cook, aged 49, Hilda H. Mansen-waitress, aged 21 and Jennie M. Campbell-nurse, aged 38. A summer home was on Argilla Road in Ipswich (1926); other homes had been at Locust Hill, Ipswich (1925-possibly another way to describe the Angilla Road property); Valleyside Cottage at Beverly Farms-they were described as being new to the North Shore (1914-the summer of 1913 they had spent in Europe on their honeymoon) (Herald, April 19, 1914, p. 26, GB) For the summer of 1918 they rented the “Owl” Cottage at Beverly Farms. (Herald (May 26, 1918): 26, GB)

       Frederic died on May 5, 1926, aged 53 (or 54). “He had taken a southern trip in March and appeared in much better health when he returned, but he had not been home long when heart trouble developed.” (Herald (May 6, 1926): 3, GB)  His service was held at King’s Chapel. “A special musical program arranged by the family was played by Raymond C. Robinson, organist of the church.” (Herald (May 8, 1926): 5, GB)

        Rosamond was the first of B. J. Lang’s children to die, August 11, 1971, followed by Malcolm on March 7, 1972, and Margaret on May 30, 1972. As the oldest child, Margaret seemed to feel that it was her responsibility to look after her two younger siblings, just as she had cared for her own mother for so many years.

       The four generations are:

FIRST:   Frederick Ruthven Galacar   +    Rosamond Lang Galacar

           (b. Oct. 1, 1872, Manhattan,               (b. Feb. 5, 1878, at 3 Otis Place)           (d. May 6, 1925 – from gravestone)           (d. Aug. 11, 1971)                                    They had one son, Charles.

SECOND:    Charles Galacar  +   Marguerite* (Margo nee Houle) Galacar                                   (b. 1916, d. 1988)                    (b. 1916, d. May 3, 2003)

Marguerite’s mother was Pamelia Paquette Houle: 1877-1952 (Mrs. Houle’s name was Madame Arsene P. Houle in the Engagement announcement). Marguerite’s Engagement (with photo) was announced in the Sunday Herald on March 17, 1940.

Marguerite was the long time Curator of the Heard House in Ipswich. She sold the Winslow Homer pencil portrait of B. J., now in the Portland, ME Art Museum when her son, Charles David Galacar was out of work because of a heart attack.                                                                                                                      They had two sons, Frederick and Charles.

 THIRD:   Frederic Lang Galacar + Katherine Wick (Kitty) Galacar                                  b. 1942                                           b. ?                                                         They had one daughter, Sophie.

     Charles David Galacar   +   Leslie Galacar                                                                    (b. Apr. 24, 1943, d. Aug. 13, 2009)  (b. May 5, 1950)                                                  They had two sons, Joshua and Christian.

Charles David Galacar. He “was a health aide professional who specialized in helping elderly patients. In his youth, he departed Boston University to sail before the mast on the barkentine ‘Cutty Sark’ as well as other vessels in the Caribbean Sea and in Hawaii.” (Gloucester Daily Times, August 15, After Charles’s death, the family sold a tea set engraved with the name “B. J. Lang” on December 12, 2009 at Landry’s Auctions in Essex for $1,150. (E-mail August 12, 2010 from Robert E. Landry)

FOURTH:                                                                                                                                   Daughter of Frederick and Katherine:                                                                       Sophie Lang Galacar.       b. c. 1988, graduated North Shore Community College, Danvers Ma., May 2008

                                                                                                                                                           Sons of Charles and Leslie:                                                                                             Joshua Hezekiah Galacar                   b. May 26, 1982                                               Christian Lang Galacar                       b. May 27, 1984

Information from an e-mail dated  September 28, 2009 from Christian Lang Galacar.

The “Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage Book Vol. 46” published in 1918, and available online through Google Books, has the following entry on pages 333 and 334:

Miss Rosamond Lang 45788

Born Boston, MA

Descendent of Daniel Harrington:

Daughter of B. J. Lang and Frances Morse Burrage

Granddaughter of Johnson Carter Burrage and Emeline Brigham, his wife

Gr-granddaughter of George Brigham and Betsy Morse, his wife

Gr-gr-granddaughter of Daniel Brigham and Thankful Brigham, his wife

Gr-gr-gr-granddaughter of Winslow Brigham and Elizabeth Harrington, his wife Gr-gr-gr-gr-granddaughter of Daniel Harrington and Mary (1706-93), his wife Daniel Harrington (1707-95) was a member of the Committee of Correspondence of Marlboro 1775, and a minute man at Lexington. He was born in Marlboro.

Also Nos. 3405, 8903, 12794, 19271, 23806, 28083.


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

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


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

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

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

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

Total: 3.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Boston)       Gade: Comala. January 21, 1876. (first Boston performance with orchestra). The first Boston performance was given on March 21, 1862 at Chickering Hall by J. C. D. Parker leading a “Club of Amateurs” of 30 singers. (Johnson, First Performances, 144.

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

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

(    ??     )         Gade: Spring Fantasy, Opus 23, March 22, 1888.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Total: 116.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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


              PIANO SOLO/CONCERTO ARTISTS TAUGHT BY B. J. LANG.                       WORD COUNT-13,891.  July 30, 2023.

LANG’S PUPILS: CONCERT ARTISTS.                                                        NEVIN.                                                                                                                                   RUTH BURRAGE.                                                                                                    ELIZABETH GOULD POEM.

G. A. Adams: Schumann Piano Concerto. April 11, 1872 (BPL Lang Prog.),  Bach Concerto for Three Pianos. May 2, 1872 (Dwight (May 18, 1872): 239) and September 24, 1872. (Dwight (October 5, 1872): 318) He was one of five Lang pupils hired to teach at the National College of Music in 1872. Lang was the head of the Piano Department and selected teachers who “would naturally teach according to the Lang method, and that certainly was a commendable system.” Ryan lists his name as “Mr. J. A. Adams.” (Ryan, 172 and 173.)

J. Warren Andrews. Mentioned in Hamilton C. MacDougall’s column “The Free Lance,” July 1943. (Diapason (July 1, 1943): 13).

William F. Apthorp: “Barcarole” Bennett’s Concerto No. 4. April 18, 1872. (Dwight ???) At the 1000th. concert (1867-1882) presented by NEC on Wednesday, May 27, 1882 at 2 PM the Bach Concerto in C Major for Three Pianos was played by Lang, Otto Bendix, J. C. D. Parker with William F. Apthorp playing the orchestral reduction. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 3)

Miss Mertena Louise Bancroft: On Tuesday evening May 6, 1902 Lang played the orchestral part for Miss Bancroft’s performance of the Saint- Saens Concerto No. 1 in D Major at the Small Chickering Hall, 153 Tremont Street. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 8)

Miss Barton: Schumann-Piano Concerto. Dwight reported on the National College of Music’s first “Exhibition Concert of Pupils” held on April 15, 1873, “The solo singing all gave evidence of talent and of excellent instruction,” but “The most remarkable performance of the afternoon was that of the difficult Schumann Concerto by Miss Barton, a young pupil of Mr. Lang, whose rendering of the first movement was highly satisfactory…It was a most arduous undertaking for a young girl, and such a measure of success seems full of promise.” (Dwight (May 3, 1873): 14)

Arthur J. Bassett. From the Worcester area, he studied with Hiram G. Tucker in Boston and then with B. J. “whose recent lectures in Boston on ‘piano touch’ have caused such widespread comment in the different music journals all over the country. Mr. Lang chose Mr. Bassett from a wide field of musicians to be the regular pianist of the ‘Apollo Club,’ a male chorus of great reputation and merit, second to none in the United States. He has also been prominently connected with the ‘Cecilia,’ also an organization of much renown.” (Worcester Daily Spy (September 4, 1894): 8, GB)

Miss Brainard, the popular lady teacher of St. Louis is in Boston, taking lessons of Mr. Z. W. Wheeler and Mr. B. J. Lang.” (Folio, February 1872)

Miss Jesse Cochrane: Beethoven-Sonata Opus 81. March 6, 1879. (Dwight (March 29, 1879): 54) Cochrane had studied with Lang and then in Europe with von Bulow.

Miss Alice Coleman. Was one of two female accompanists for the Cecilia in the 1898-99 Season. Cecilia usually had Lang’s advanced students for their pianist(s).

E. Cutter, Jr. see “People and Places.” As he was used by Lang as a choral accompanist in the 1890s, we can assume that he was a Lang pupil.

R. C. Dixey: Reinecke-Concertstuck, Op. 33. April 18, 1872. (Dwight ??) See extensive entry in “People and Places.”

Alice Dutton-see own entry under “People and Places.”

Miss Alma L. Faunce presented a recital at the Wesleyan Hall on Thursday evening May 18, 1883 playing the solo part of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with Lang providing the orchestral accompaniment. (BPL Prog., Vol. 4) On March 8, 1887 she played Chopin’s Concerto in E Minor Op. 11 at LANG’S “Pianoforte-Concerto Concert (Second of the series).” She was now married-Mrs. Alma Faunce Smith. (BPL Prog., Vol. 5)

Harry Fay: Sterndale Bennett-Allegro Giojozo. (Globe (April 2, 1890): 2) The next year, during April 1888, Lang followed the same plan of “Four Pianoforte-Concerto Concerts” given on Tuesday afternoons at 2:30 PM at Chickering Hall.  Mr. Harry Fay played Chopin’s Andante Spianato and Polonaise, Opus 22. A “Third Series (not consecutive)” of “Mr. B. J. LANG’S Piano-Forte-Concerto-Concerts” with an orchestra of thirty-six (MYB, 1889-90, 13) at Chickering Hall at 2:30 PM.  A third concert in the “Fourth Series” was given on Tuesday afternoon April 1, 1890 at 2:30 PM with the Allegro Giojoso in E Major Opus 22 by Sterndale Bennett played by Mr. Harry Fay.

Miss Annie Fisher played Mendelssohn’s Concerto in D Minor, No. 2 on Tuesday, March 22, 1887 at LANG’S Third Pianoforte-Concerto Concert at Chickering Hall 2:30 PM. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 5) The Herald noted only that her performance “showed evidence of a very conscientious study of the score.”  (Herald (March 23, 1887): 3, GB)

Arthur Foote: The fourth concert of the 1888 series was held on April 24 and included Hiller’s Concerto Opus 69 in F Sharp Minor played by Foote.  A “Third Series (not consecutive)” of “Mr. B. J. LANG’S Piano-Forte-Concerto-Concerts” with an orchestra of thirty-six (MYB, 1889-90, 13) at Chickering Hall at 2:30 PM.  The second concert on Tuesday, March 25, 1890 included Mozart’s Concerto No. 3 in D Minor played by Mr. Arthur Foote.

Mr. S. H. Gerrish. “Two years before MacDowell arrived in Boston, on January 18, 1886, Lang played the orchestra part of MacDowell’s Piano Concerto in A Minor Opus 15 with his student, Mr. S. H. Gerrish as the soloist. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 4.) The concert was held on Tuesday afternoon March 1, 1887 2:30 PM at Chickering Hall.

Miss Ann Gilbreth: Mozart-Concerto for Three Pianos. April 2, 1890. (Globe (April 2, 1890): 2)  A third concert in the “Fourth Series” [or Third Series] was given on Tuesday afternoon April 1, 1890 at 2:30 PM with the Mozart Concerto No. 7 in F Major for three pianofortes being played by Miss Ann Gilbreth, Mr. G. W. Tucker and Mr. Ethelbert Nevin.

Mr. Hiram Hall was one of two organists at the Cecilia concert on March 28, 1889 of the Dvorak Stabat Mater.

Miss Laura Hawkins: Was one of two female accompanists for the Cecilia during the 1898-99 Season. Lang usually used his advanced pupils for this position. On February 26, 1904 at 8:15 PM at Potter Hall, 177 Huntington Avenue, Lang played the orchestral reduction of the Saint- Saens Concerto No. 5 with Miss Hawkins as the soloist. This was billed as a first performance. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 8) (Johnson, First, 303) has the Boston premiere given by Madeline Schiller with the Thomas Orchestra on January 26, 1876 at the Boston Music Hall.

On Tuesday, April 27, 1897 at 3:30 PM Lang played the orchestral part for Beethoven’s Concerto Opus 58 at Chickering Hall with Edward B[urlingame] Hill as the soloist. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 7) Hill had graduated from Harvard in 1894, spent the next two years studying piano in New York City with Arthur Whiting, and then spent the summer of 1898 in Paris studying composition with Widor. Based on this Boston appearance, he seems to have spent 1897-98 in Boston. (Kaufman-Am. Grove, Vol. 2, 385) Hill was a guest at LANG’S summer home in New Boston, New Hampshire.

Mrs. J. M. Hernandez: On March 31, 1881 Lang played the orchestral part of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 Hernandez as the soloist. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 3)

Mr. Alfred Hollins: During April 1888, Lang followed the same plan of “Four Pianoforte-Concerto Concerts” given on Tuesday afternoons at 2:30 PM at Chickering Hall. The third concert on April 17 included Beethoven’s Concerto No. 5 Opus 73 in E Flat Major (Emperor) Hollins. (Lang Prog.)  Another connection between Lang and Hollins was that Hollins had studied piano with Hans von Bulow in Berlin. “While in Germany Hollins gave a series of concerts – at one time playing three concerti in the one evening – The Liszt Eb, the Schumann A minor and the Emperor.” (Wikipedia article 9/16/2010)

Helen Hood. Born in Chelsea, MA, “she pursued her piano studies under Benjamin J. Lang, and subsequently under Moszkowski in Berlin. Her teacher of composition was George W. Chadwick. (Elson, 306) Her career emphasis was composition.

On Monday evening April 23, 1883 Lang played the orchestra part of Schumann’s Piano Concerto at the Chickering Hall, 156 Tremont Street with Mr. S. W. Jamieson as the soloist. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 4) Two years later, on March 4, 1885, Lang opened a concert of Jamieson’s with the Mendelssohn Piano Trio in D Minor. (Ibid) Then on Friday, March 5, 1886 Lang played the orchestra part for Jamieson’s performance of Chopin’s  Concerto Opus 11. (Ibid) Jamieson was one of the soloists in LANG’S “Pianoforte-Concerto Concert” held on March 8, 1887 playing Weber’s Concertstuck in F Minor Opus 78. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 5) Back in 1881 he was engaged to be the pianist “for the season of Mortimer’s Mysteries” which began at the Boston Museum on June 6. In the announcement, it was mentioned that he was a pupil of Mr. B. J. Lang. (Journal (May 25, 1881): 4, GB)

Miss Clara F. Joy performed Chopin’s Andante Spianato and Polonaise at a concert given by the Orchestral Union on April 10, 1867. Dwight wrote that she played “in a really artistic manner, at least for a pupil.” (Dwight (April 13, 1867): 15). This was Miss Joy’s debut, and the Journal felt that she played “with most excellent effect. To an easy and graceful execution, she unites power and distinctness, together with an intelligent rendering that marks the true artist. Her performance made a splendid impression and was greatly applauded.” (Journal (April 11, 1867): 4, GB) Miss Joy was one of 13 artists taking part at Mr. A. P. Peck’s ANNUAL BENEFIT CONCERT on Saturday evening, May 25, 1867 at the Music Hall. In the ad for this concert, she is listed as “a pupil of Mr. B. J. Lang.” (Traveler (May 25, 1867): 3. GB)

Frederick H. Lewis (Lang pupil?) played the Schumann Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54 with the HMA Orchestra in late January 1881. (Program, Foote Scrapbooks) Elson (History Am.) states that he studied with J. C. D. Parker ( 230), and Mathews (100 Years, 700) repeats this.

Hamilton C. MacDougall studied for two seasons and acted as accompanist for the Apollo Club for one season. (Diapason (July 1, 1943): 13)

Mrs. Elizabeth May Marsh On Saturday evening April 25, 1885 at 8 PM Lang played the orchestral reduction to Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 Opus 37 at Chickering Hall with Marsh as the soloist. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 4). On Tuesday afternoon March 1, 1887 2:30 PM at Chickering Hall Lang conducted the first of a series of “Pianoforte-Concerto Concerts,” Mrs. Elizabeth Marsh played Chopin’s Krakowiak. Mrs. E. M. Marsh of Boston was the dedicatee of Chadwick’s Drie Walzer, published in 1890, the third of which is based on a “Motive by B. J. L.” The next year, during April 1888, Lang followed the same plan of “Four Pianoforte-Concerto Concerts” given on Tuesday afternoons at 2:30 PM at Chickering Hall. On April 3 Mrs. Elizabeth Marsh played Mozart’s Concerto No. 4 in B Flat major. Mrs. Marsh appeared at the April 30, 1890 concert of the Apollo Club as the accompanist for the assisting artist, the violinist Miss Maud Powell. (Program-Johnston Collection) A “Third Series (not consecutive)” of “Mr. B. J. LANG’S Piano-Forte-Concerto-Concerts” with an orchestra of thirty-six (MYB, 1889-90,  13) at Chickering Hall was begun on March 10 [1890] at 2:30 PM. Mrs. Elizabeth Marsh played Mendelssohn’s Capriccio Brillant in B Major Opus 22. In 1895 Mrs. Marsh presented two concerts at Chickering Hall that were “the most brilliant of similar affairs this season…Mrs. Marsh, who is one of Mr. LANG’S most promising pupils [after ten years of instruction, she should be] was very attractive in black and green silk, with [a] broad collar of white lace…In the large and fashionable audience were noticed…Mr. and Mrs. B. J. Lang,” etc., etc. (Herald (December 15, 1895): 9, GB) She became a friend of the family-the New Boston Farm Guestbook shows that she stayed from September 17-22, 1902 and signed: “twice blest.”(6809)

Miss Louise May played Beethoven’s Concerto No. 3 on May 9, 1889 at Apollo Hall with Lang playing the orchestra part. (BPL  Lang Prog., Vol. 5) A “Third Series (not consecutive)” of “Mr. B. J. LANG’S Piano-Forte-Concerto-Concerts” with an orchestra of thirty-six (MYB, 1889-90, 13) at Chickering Hall at 2:30 PM.  The second concert on Tuesday, March 25, 1890 included Beethoven’s Concerto No. 3 in C Minor Opus 37 (Allegro and Cadenza) played by Miss Louise May.

Arthur D. Mayo was the soloist in Mendelssohn’s Concerto No. 2 in D Minor Opus 40 with Lang providing the orchestral accompaniment on Friday, April 29, 1887 at 8 PM at Chickering Hall. Mayo was again the soloist on Wednesday evening December 10, 1890 playing Mozart’s Concerto in D Minor, again with Lang providing the orchestra accompaniment. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 5) He repeated the Mendelssohn in 1890-Mendelssohn-Concerto No. 2. (Globe (April 2, 1890): 2) A “Third Series (not consecutive)” of “Mr. B. J. LANG’S Piano-Forte-Concerto-Concerts” with an orchestra of thirty-six (MYB, 1889-90, 13) at Chickering Hall at 2:30 PM.  A third concert in the “Fourth Series” [or Third Series] was given on Tuesday afternoon April 1, 1890 at 2:30 PM with  Mendelssohn’s Concerto No. 2 in D Minor Opus 40 played by Mayo.

For a concert with Marion Arletta Mitchell as the soloist, Lang played the orchestral reduction of Weber’s Concert-stuck Opus 79 on Wednesday, January 28, 1903. The soloist had opened the program with the Rhapsody in E Minor by Margaret Ruthven Lang. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 8)

Miss Marion Ward Mosher: On Wednesday evening April 16, 1879 Lang played the orchestral reduction for Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto in G Opus 25 Minor with Mosher as the soloist in a concert she presented in Providence, R. I. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 2) The fourth concert of the 1888 series was held on April 24 and included the Rhapsodie d’Auvergne Opus 73 by Saint-Saens played by Miss Marian [or Marion] Mosher.

Ethelbert Nevin: Mozart-Concerto for Three Pianos. April 2, 1890. (Globe (April 2, 1890): 2) A third concert in the “Fourth Series” [or Third Series] was given on Tuesday afternoon April 1, 1890 at 2:30 PM with the Mozart Concerto No. 7 in F Major for three pianofortes being played by Miss Ann Gilbreth, Mr. G. W. Tucker and Mr. Ethelbert Nevin.

On Thursday, April 17, 1879 Lang played the orchestral part for Lottie A. Pearson’s performance of Schumann’s Piano Concerto Opus 54 in A Minor at the Apollo Hall, 151 Tremont Street. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 2)

Joshua Phippen: During April 1888, Lang followed the same plan of “Four Pianoforte-Concerto Concerts” given on Tuesday afternoons at 2:30 PM at Chickering Hall. The second program on April 10 included  Mr. Joshua Phippen playing Saint-Saens Concerto in D Minor Opus 17 Chopin. (Lang Prog.) Also, Concerto No. 2 in F Minor, March 1890 (Hale Crit., Vol. 1)A “Third Series (not consecutive)” of “Mr. B. J. LANG’S Piano-Forte-Concerto-Concerts” with an orchestra of thirty-six (MYB, 1889-90, 13) at Chickering Hall was begun on March 10 [1890] at 2:30 PM. Mr. Joshua Phippen played Chopin’s Concerto No. 2 in F Minor Opus 22. 

Miss Caroline L. Pond: On Wednesday evening April 22, 1885 Lang played the orchestra part of the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 Opus 58 Pond as the soloist. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 4) During April 1888, Lang followed the same plan of “Four Pianoforte-Concerto Concerts” given on Tuesday afternoons at 2:30 PM at Chickering Hall. The third concert on April 17 was Brassin’s Concerto in C Major played by Miss Caroline Pond. (BPL Lang Prog.)

Mr. R. F. Raymond: One of LANG’S early students, he was advertising himself as a piano instructor in 1864 and listing as his references Rev. C. D. Bradlee and Mr. B. J. Lang. (Herald (November 2, 1864): 2)

Miss Fanny Richter: Bach-Italian Concerto, May 11, 1893. (Globe (May 12, 1893): 8)

The next year, during April 1888, Lang followed the same plan of “Four Pianoforte-Concerto Concerts” given on Tuesday afternoons at 2:30 PM at Chickering Hall,  The second program on April 10 included Madame Eugenie de Roode playing Rubinstein’s Concerto No. 4 in D Minor. (BPL Lang Prog.)

Miss Mary H. Russell was the soloist in the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 2 Opus 19 with Lang playing the orchestra part on Wednesday evening April 1, 1885. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 4)

Miss Grace Sampson: Mozart-Sonata in D for Two Pianos. April 22 and 29, 1875. (Dwight (May 1, 1875): 15 and (May 29, 1875): 30). At a concert at the Essex Institute in Salem on Monday evening January 8, 1877, Lang and Grace Simpson played the Schumann Variations for Two Pianos Opus 46 to open the concert and the Saint-Saens Concerto in G Opus 22 to close. In the middle, they played the Mozart Sonata in D Major for Two Pianos. A vocalist was also part of the concert. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 2) See below:

Mrs. Chas. W. Scott listed herself as a Lang pupil. (Springfield Republican (June 17, 1902): 11, GB)

Miss May Shepard played the solo part of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 on Friday evening May 27, 1887 8 PM with Lang playing the orchestral accompaniment. This concert was at Chickering Hall. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 5)

Mr. G. W. Steele: played orchestral reduction of a Hummel Piano Concerto with Lang as soloist in Salem, May 1863. (Dwight (May 16, 1863): 32). Steele had been a student at Oberlin College, and after a period of German study and his time in Boston, he returned there to be one of the first piano instructors (c. 1865). (Mathews, 100 Years, 517)

Miss Minnie A. Stowell:  A “Third Series (not consecutive)” of “Mr. B. J. LANG’S Piano-Forte-Concerto-Concerts” with an orchestra of thirty-six (MYB, 1889-90, 13) at Chickering Hall at 2:30 PM.  A third concert in the “Fourth Series” [or Third Series] was given on Tuesday afternoon April 1, 1890 at 2:30 PM with Schumann’s Concerto in A Minor played by Miss Minnie A. Stowell. (BPL Lang Prog.)(Globe (April 2, 1890): 2)

G. W. Sumner: Bach-Concerto for Three Pianos. May 2, 1872 and September 24, 1872. (Dwight ??) During April 1888, Lang followed the same plan of “Four Pianoforte-Concerto Concerts” given on Tuesday afternoons at 2:30 PM at Chickering Hall. The second program on April 10 included Mr. G. W. Sumner playing Introduction and Allegro Opus 49 by Godard. (BPL Lang Prog.) This program shows another Sumner performance.

Harvard Musical Association via digitalcommonwealth.

Dwight began his review by describing the difficulties of the Chopin, and then said that “Mr. Sumner’s rendering was well conceived, clear, firm, carefully elaborated…But it was Chopin, and required a kindred inspiration, which was not very manifest in the performance…Listeners, who have been transported more than once to the third heavens by this rare poetic work, appeared to wonder where the charm had vanished to, seeing that the whole thing lay before them in photographic accuracy. Yet there was so much of excellent musicianship in the performance, that the confession of this disappointment is almost an injustice to the young pianist. The only mistake was in the selection of the work…In some other work we feel sure the performer would have done himself, as well as the author, much more justice. There is too much good stuff in him, to let this discourage him.” (Dwight ( January 11, 1893): 366)

Miss Georgie T. Towne advertised in the Beverly MA Saturday Morning Citizen that she was a teacher of Piano and Singing, and among her three references was B. J. Lang. She charged $12 for 24 lessons. This would have made her an early pupil. (Saturday Morning Citizen (April 1, 1865): 1, GB)

Mr. Hiram G. Tucker: Beethoven-Concerto No. 5. April 25, 1873. (BPL Lang Prog.) Bach-Concerto for Three Pianos. May 2, 1872 and September 24, 1872. (Dwight ??) On April 1, 1881 Tucker presented a concert at Chickering Hall, 156 Tremont Street with Mrs. E. Humphrey Allen as the assisting artist-she sang four songs. Tickets were one dollar from A. P. Schmidt at 146 Tremont Street. He played seven pieces, beginning with the Schubert Sonata in D Major and ending with the Bach-Saint-Saens Largo and the Rubinstein Etude in C Major. (Program from Foote Scrapbooks) On March 31 and April 7, 1884 Tucker gave two recitals at 152 Tremont Street with Wulf Fries, Edward Schorman and De Ribas as the assisting artists. All the works were chamber pieces except for two Schubert Piano Sonatas: Sonata in A Major, Op. 120 in the first program and Sonata In A Minor, Op. 143 in the second. (Program Foote Scrapbooks) During April 1888, Lang followed the same plan of “Four Pianoforte-Concerto Concerts” given on Tuesday afternoons at 2:30 PM at Chickering Hall. The third concert on April 17 included Bronsart’s Concerto in F Sharp Minor played by Mr. H. G. Tucker. (Lang Prog.) Tucker played the Sgambati-Concerto in G Minor, Opus 15, March 1890 (Hale Crit, Vol. 1) at a “Third Series (not consecutive)” of “Mr. B. J. LANG’S Piano-Forte-Concerto-Concerts” with an orchestra of thirty-six (MYB, 1889-90, 13) at Chickering Hall on March 10 [1890] at 2:30 PM. A third concert in the “Fourth Series” [or Third Series] was given on Tuesday afternoon April 1, 1890 at 2:30 PM with the Mozart Concerto No. 7 in F Major for three pianofortes being played by Miss Ann Gilbreth, Mr. G. W. Tucker and Mr. Ethelbert Nevin. (Globe (April 2, 1890): 2)

Mary B. Webster: (Fox, Papers, p. 4) On Tuesday, March 22, 1887 Miss Mary Webster playing Schumann’s Concerto in A Minor Opus 54 at LANG’S Third Pianoforte-Concerto Concert at Chickering Hall 2:30 PM. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 5) “She displayed a full appreciation of its many beauties, and her clear limpid touch and the musical feeling shown in her playing gave just the effect demanded for an enjoyable performance of this composition.” (Herald (March 23, 1887): 3, GB)

James T. Whelen: On Tuesday afternoon March 1, 1887 2:30 PM at Chickering Hall Lang conducted the first of a series of “Pianoforte-Concerto Concerts.” For this concert, Whelan played Beethoven’s Concerto No. 4, Opus 58 in G major. The fourth concert of the 1888 series was held on April 24 and included Grieg’s Concerto Opus 16 in A Minor played by Whelan. Whelen presented a concert at Chickering Hall on March 12, 1894 where he was the soloist in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with Lang providing the orchestra part. Whelen was able to get an “announcement” of this concert in the Journal which wrote: “The program is of an interesting nature.” As was usual in this period, a singer also took part, in this case,”Frederick L. Benjamin, barytone.” (Journal (March 12, 1894): 4, GB)

Benjamin Lincoln Whelpley: Dvorak-Concerto No. 2 in B Minor, March 1890 (Hale Crit., Vol. 1) On Tuesday, March 22, 1887 Chopin’s Grand Fantasie Opus 13 “Sur des airs Polonais” was played by Mr. B. L. Whelpley at LANG’S Third Pianoforte-Concerto Concert at Chickering Hall 2:30 PM. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 5) Whelpley played the Grand Fantasie on Polish Airs, Op. 13 by Chopin. It was “the most notable number of the afternoon, the brilliant interpretation of the pianoforte score creating quite a sensation, and winning for the pianist an enthusiastic recognition of his thoroughly good artistic work.” (Herald (March 23, 1887): 3, GB) The next year, during April 1888, Lang followed the same plan of “Four Pianoforte-Concerto Concerts” given on Tuesday afternoons at 2:30 PM at Chickering Hall,  Whelpley played MacDowell’s Concerto in A Minor Opus 15. (Lang Prog., 34) A “Third Series (not consecutive)” of “Mr. B. J. LANG’S Piano-Forte-Concerto-Concerts” with an orchestra of thirty-six (MYB, 1889-90, 13) at Chickering Hall at 2:30 PM.  The second concert on Tuesday, March 25, 1890 included Dvorak’s Concerto No. 2 in G Minor Opus 33 played by  Whelpley.


“Had Taught 5,000 Pupils” was part of the headline on the front page of the Boston Globe of April 5, 1909.

“Mr. LANG’S reputation as a teacher is national, and perhaps few instructors have so many pupils before the public today in concert work as he. He began with full classes and his days are always crowded. When a mere boy in Salem, his father being taken suddenly ill, young Lang was at a moment’s notice obliged to take so many pupils that every day and every hour were devoted to teaching.” (Globe (December 22, 1907):. ??)

“A teacher of incredible activity (when I knew him he was giving regularly lessons from 8.30 to 6).” (Foote, Auto., 45)

In 1877 LANG’S normal week was outlined in the Diary of his wife, Frances. “Mr. LANG’S regular weekly schedule was as follows;-he taught at his studio from 9-6 daily. His lunch brought to him from the house. Sunday A.M.s he always played the organ at church, and for many years had to undertake afternoon services also. Two evenings a week he regularly had rehearsals of the Cecilia Chorus and the Apollo Club (a male chorus). These groups each gave 3 concerts a season. Until the early 90s, Mr. Lang was preparing for, and giving pianoforte concerts, also occasionally organ recitals. He was constantly being asked to play at one affair or another. His interest in young musicians as well as many of the great ones who came to this country was inexhaustible. Every day was a full one.” (Diary 2, Fall 1877)

Lang “considered teaching to be one of the great professions.” (Cecilia Program, December 2, 1909)

The singer Clara Kathleen Rogers (Clara Doria) wrote that Lang “had an unusually large following of devoted disciples… [His] pupils, one and all, adored him, and only awaited a sign from him to render willing service. One sometimes wondered what was the secret of his magnetism. I fancy, however, that it lay largely in the subtle, inferential admiration which his manner conveyed. (Rogers, Two Lives, 146 and 147)

As a piano teacher, Lang was very well regarded. “His class of private pupils upon the pianoforte belongs to the very elite of Boston, and is as distinguished for talent as for style-a combination peculiarly Bostonian.” (Mathews, 100 Years, 429) Another source from c.1886 said that “He is highly esteemed as a teacher, and of his many pupils over sixty are concert soloists. Though not a virtuoso in the strictest sense of the word, he is a fine player, and above all, a thoroughly educated and sound musician.” (Jones) Fox states that his “pedagogical dedication was indeed remarkable since he taught as many as fourteen lessons daily and claimed to have instructed over two hundred concert pianists.” (Fox, Papers, 4) His obituary in the Globe was headlined: “B. J. Lang Dies of Pneumonia-Half a Century One of Boston’s Foremost Musicians-Noted as Conductor and Organist and Had Taught 5,000 Pupils.” (Globe (Apr. 5, 1909): 1) The article listed among his most well-known pupils, “Arthur Foote, J. A. Preston, H. G. Tucker, and the late G. W. Sumner. The building at 6 Newbury St. where he had his studio, is entirely peopled with his former students.” (Ibid) The musical press even reported on his more important pupils: “Miss Brainard, the popular lady teacher of St. Louis is in Boston, [is] taking lessons of Mr. Z. W. Wheeler and Mr. B. J. Lang.” (Folio, February 1872)

With so many pupils, a lesson change by one would require the rescheduling of many others. LANG’S note below to Miss Kimball is an example of this change-of course at this time all the notes would have to be handwritten. LANG’S handwriting had changed quite a bit. His hand as shown by the Diary of his teenage years has a very clear hand. But most of the examples of LANG’S adult years are like the example below.

Dear Miss Kimball

An orchestral rehearsal                                                                                                 comes against our ___day lesson.                                                                             This is to ask if Tuesday at 2:30 would                                                                           do for you instead. I hope so,                                                                                         Yours truly                                                                                                                                    BJLang.                                                                                                                                              Friday

Johnston Collection.

He had quickly established himself among his peers, for in late December 1860 his name was used in an ad for the “New Modern School for the Piano-Forte” published by the Boston firm of Russell & Tolman. “We give the names of a few among the many hundreds of artists and professors of music who have given the highest testimonials of the intrinsic merits of the ”Modern School.”” Other names listed included B. J’s teacher, Francis G. Hill; S. Thalberg; Alfred Jaell; Lowell Mason; J. C. D. Parker; Otto Dresel; and thirty-three others. (BMT (December 15, 1860): 355) Russell & Tolman were also the publishers of the magazine, the “Boston Musical Times.” Each issue contained at least one page of small two or three-line “Teacher Cards.” Francis G. Hill, J. C. D. Parker, Hugo Leonard, Otto Dresel, and John K. Paine all had ads in the issues of 1862-but B. J. Lang never seems to have advertised in this publication. However, in the January 1872 issue of the Folio under the section called “Cards,” is the listing: “B. J. Lang, 635 Washington Street .” No description-just the name!

Rather than placing ads in the local musical publications, Lang used the daily newspapers. This first one is from 1861, and his address is Bulfinch Street, which is to the left of the Statehouse as you face the building. This was his bachelor’s address, and his fee was $36 per quarter for which he was willing to come to the pupil’s home; many beginning teachers remember having to do this service. The second one is from about three years later.

He is now established with the Chickering Piano Company, and his name is being used as a reference-see Miss Cragin’s ad two below Lang’s. She probably was just starting out as her fee was only $15 per quarter while Mr. Wetherbee, with his English training and experience, was charging $30 to $50. If you wanted to study with Lang, the fee was of no importance.


Early in his teaching career, he was connected with the “National College of Music” which had been established by the Mendelssohn Quintette Club with its clarinetist, Thomas Ryan as the Director in September of 1872. But, at the same time, it was printed that: “Mr. B. J. Lang, the eminent musician, says: ”I am happy to recommend the New England Conservatory Method for the Piano-forte.” This popular work is published by Messrs. G. D. Russell & Company, 126 Tremont St., Boston, who will freely send full particulars to any address.” (Dexter Smith’s (November 1872): 255) Dwight had announced in his June 15, 1872 issue that, “The Mendelssohn Quintette, with Mr. B. J. Lang, and other good musicians and teachers, will open in September, here in Boston a new ‘National College of Music.'” The article mentioned that the Directors would be present “at their rooms in Tremont Temple, every day, from 11 to 1 o’clock, to answer inquires.”(Dwight (June 15, 1872): 255) “The assistant piano teachers were all brilliant young men whom Lang had taught and developed, namely: Mr. Geo. W. Sumner, well known and beloved organist for seventeen years at the Arlington Street Church, Mr. Hiram Tucker, Mr. W. F. Apthorp, Mr. Dixie, and Mr. J. Q. Adams. All these men would naturally teach according to the Lang method, and that certainly was a commendable system…Our plans were all right, and we started off with goodly numbers, -not far from two hundred pupils. In October, just one month later, the great Boston fire occurred; and it made everybody poor. The majority of the pupils were from the city or neighborhood, and over one half of them were forced to notify us that they could not continue their attendance another term. The fire really killed our school. We worried along to the end of the year, met our losses as best we could and returned to our old system of traveling.” (Ryan, 172 and 173)   Dwight reported on the school’s first “Exhibition Concert of Pupils” held on April 15, 1873, “The solo singing all gave evidence of talent and of excellent instruction,” but “The most remarkable performance of the afternoon was that of the difficult Schumann Concerto by Miss Barton, a young pupil of Mr. Lang, whose rendering of the first movement was highly satisfactory…It was a most arduous undertaking for a young girl, and such a measure of success seems full of promise.” (Dwight (May 3, 1873): 14)

Lang’s association with the National School of Music lasted just the one year of its existence. In the summer of 1873, he published a notice to his students saying that he was resuming his “connection with New England Conservatory of Music (Music Hall) and that all class teaching he may do in the future, will be in that institution. ” He then recommended that school to his students as he had been connected “with the school during its entire existence, excepting last year.” [i.e. 1872-1873 when he taught at the National School of Music] (BPL, Lang Prog., Vol. 1)

His best-known pupils were Arthur Foote, Ethelbert Nevin (a pupil for two years: Hughes-Contemporary American Composers), William F. Apthorp, and own children, Margaret and Malcolm. Arthur Foote had graduated from Harvard in 1874 and decided that during the summer he would study the organ with Lang. This was not the first time that Foote and Lang had met as Foote, at age fourteen, had been taken by his teacher, Miss Fanny Paine (herself a Lang pupil) to play for Lang.” Foote had begun his piano studies with Miss Paine two years before when he was twelve. (Cipolla (Am. Nat. Bio, Vol 13): 190) After performing the Chopin A-flat Ballade to her and my satisfaction, I remember Lang asking what those curved lines (slurs) above the notes meant. Lang sent me to Stephen A. Emery at the New England Conservatory for harmony lessons.” (Foote-Auto., 21) Foote had heard Lang play in his hometown of Salem, and as a result his favorite pieces were “the Mendelssohn Songs Without Words, of which Lang had played for the first time the posthumous work (No. 7) in a concert at Salem a little while before [1869].” (Foote, Auto., 22)

It also was Lang who persuaded Foote to continue in music and take his A.M. at Harvard, the first one given at Harvard in the area of music. In an article in the Musical Quarterly of January 1937 entitled “A Bostonian Remembers” Foote said “Meanwhile, in the summer of 1874, having a desire to know something of the organ, I took some lessons with Lang. This was the turning point in my life, for he spoke with such encouragement of the probability of success as a professional musician that I began serious work at the piano. Lang was an exceptionally fine organist, a pianist to whom Boston owed most of the first performances of the newer piano concertos and chamber music. He also conducted the Apollo Club and Cecelia Society. While my work at the piano was progressing without definite aim, my organ lessons led to the very practical result of my engagement as organist at the First (Unitarian) Church in Boston, in 1878; I occupied that post until 1910, for thirty-two years.” This had not been the original plan-“When Foote graduated from college in June 1874, he returned to Salem. He considered teaching Latin and playing the organ at St. Mark’s School in Southboro for a year, then perhaps entering law school. He also debated joining his father at the Salem Gazette.” (Tara, 41) In Foote’s Autobiography, he wrote: “Lang was a musician of great gifts and very versatile; a composer of originality, who would have been considered one of the leading men had he published, and a teacher of incredible activity (when I knew him he was giving regularly lessons from 8:30 to 6).” (Foote, Auto., 45)

Earlier, in 1909 Foote remembered Lang thus: “It was in the summer of 1874 (just after graduating at Harvard) that began for me a long and close companionship with B.J. Lang. That summer, as sometimes in subsequent years, he came into town once or twice a week, and gave a few lessons. We used to meet for organ lessons at Dr. Hale’s church on Union Park Street…When any of us younger people went to him with our manuscripts, we never came away without keen and sympathetic criticism that had to be heeded. He had a remarkable feeling for perfection of detail (the absence of which is the great defect of most of our music here); for him, there were no trifles, for they make perfection…

In his lessons, it was not only the music and the playing but other things quite as important, that we got. He was willing to take the trouble and the risk of giving advice and direction about outside things: about manners, habits, business questions…so that we felt the friend as well as the teacher…He was by nature an optimist, and he taught us…that encouragement is better than fault-finding, and that achievement comes partly from a belief that the thing can be done” (Tawa (Arthur Foote: A Musician in the Frame of Time and Place): 41-42) Tara further states -“Lang made a far stronger impression on Foote than Paine did. His contribution to Foote’s technical training in keyboard performance was limited, but he gave his student invaluable advice on starting and strengthening his career. Lang introduced him to influential cultural leaders, helped him obtain church positions, and gave him exposure as a performer in public concerts. The older man’s support was crucial when Foote was first gaining his sea legs in the musical world. (Tara, 42)

Another of B. J.’s students “Mary P. Webster, confirms Foote’s observation that Lang was an insightful, devoted teacher, offering a mode of study individually tailored to the state of intellectual and musical development of each student.” (Fox, Papers, 4)

                                    Arthur FooteArthur Foote, from Elson,  History of American Music(1904), 188, and Hughes Contemporary American Composers (1900), 221.

“In going to Lang in 1874 for organ lessons, I had no intention of more than just that. Little did I think that I was to find in them later the happiest of pursuits. But as I grew more interested that summer, and was much encouraged as to a musical career by Lang, I changed my plans entirely in October, and decided to begin piano lessons with Lang seriously.”

Later, in 1909, Foote wrote a long article about many aspects of his acquaintance with Lang. The following speaks to Lang’s teaching methods:” Transcript, May 1, 1909 for both.

Foote also had specific ideas in the technique of organ playing. Lang’s points are still stressed today.

Lang helped his students in many ways.” Lang had such vogue and influence as to be able to help his pupils by recommending them as teachers so that I was soon busy with lessons. (Foote, Auto., 43) Foote’s first organ position also came through his teacher: “ In 1876, through Lang (whose influence in the way of putting pupils ahead, having then play in public, and in finding them church positions, etc., was remarkable, and today could not be duplicated, even by as clever a person as he), I got the organ position at the Church of the Disciples, then on Warren Avenue.” (Foote, Auto., 35)

From July 13 until August 10, 1875, Lang taught piano at the “New England Normal Musical Institute” in East Greenwich, R. I. Lang, J. C. D. Parker (Boston University) and H. G. Tucker (NEC) joined the local staff instructor, Mr. J. Hastings. Carl Zerrahn and George L. Osgood taught voice. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol 1)

In 1876 a new piano teacher in Boston who had most recently taught at Oberlin College and before that at Boston Conservatory announced his fee for one-hour lessons as $30 for twenty lessons (thus earning $1.50 per hour) or $20 for twenty half-hour lessons (thus earning a better rate of $2 per hour). (BPL, Music Hall Prog., Vol. 3) Eugene Thayer, in 1878 was offering private lessons at $40 to $60 per term while a Mrs. J. S. Bailey’s rates were $18 for 24 lessons. (Ditson, Musical Record, Fall 1878)

In a November 1880 issue of Dwight’s Journal Lang has a small ad stating that he was available “for piano-forte lessons, concert engagements, etc.,” and that he can be contacted through “Messrs. Chickering & Sons, Boston, Mass.” Another ad placed by Miss Helen D. Orvis, “Teacher of Pianoforte,” lists as references: “B. J. Lang, J. S. Dwight.” Other ads reveal that a number of teachers taught at 179A Tremont Street, the Lawrence Building: George L. Osgood, G. W. Chadwick, J. C. D. Parker, John A. Preston, T. P. Currier, G. W. Sumner, and William J. Winch, while nearby was William H. Sherwood at 157 Tremont, Eugene Thayer at 146 Tremont near West Street, and H. L. Whitney at 125 Tremont Street in Room 8, over Russell’s Music Store. C. L. Capen was at 156 Tremont Street at Messrs. Chickering & Sons which would seem to be where Lang taught at this time. (Dwight (November 29, 1880): iii)

About a month after Lang’s death in 1909, Foote elaborated on the Sunday Vesper services at King’s Chapel.” Many will remember the beautiful Sunday evenings at King’s Chapel; he would play in the dark church for an hour or so, before each piece leaning over the edge of the choir and telling us what it was to be. In those evenings was seen a characteristic trait, -the keen perception of how surroundings and conditions affect our enjoyment of music. The dark church, with only a spot of light at the organ desk, the absolute quiet, the churchly feeling, all helped to create a mental picture that made the listener doubly sensitive. A curious manifestation of this feeling for fitness was shown in his various experiments in programmes that should not rattle, or rustle, or require leaves should be turned over at inopportune times (Transcript (May 1, 1909). Another source describes these recitals as follows: “Mr. Lang has provided many musical treats of his own motion for the musical people of Boston. Among the chiefs of these are the Sunday evening organ recitals at the Chapel. Here his dusky neophyte inspects your card of invitation at the door, and you enter the dim interior, only lit by the veiled burners of the organ-loft, the pews peopled with shadowy, silent forms which might be Dr. Caner, Vassal, and the other departed worthies who once filled them in the flesh. You find your way to some quiet corner and become one of the ghostly, expectant company. All at once the air quivers and throbs with the opening of a mighty fugue of the greatest contrapuntal master, and, whether in the body or out of the body you cannot tell, you are swept up into the heavens, passing from circle to circle at the will of one and another of the Immortals as they appeal or soothe or thrill through the commanding interpretation of those skillful fingers. Such an hour is scarcely possible elsewhere on this side of the Atlantic. The hearers melt away in the gloom when it is over, and as they pass into familiar Sunday evening streets of loiterers and shopgirls, smug churchgoers and holiday-makers, they seem to themselves ghosts again in a sordid, unfamiliar world.” (Gould Collection)

Another Lang pupil added his recollections. “At King’s Chapel, where Lang was organist, one could hear masterly improvisations on the hymn-tunes just before the sermon; these were ten or twelve minutes in length and carried a sympathetic listener from the emotion of the hymn-tune to that of the sermon. I heard E. J. Hopkins do that same thing in the service of the old Temple Church, London, in 1885-1886.” (The Diapason (July 1, 1943): 13)


Ethelbert Nevin arrived in Boston in 1881 at the age of eighteen, and immediately “sought out the man who stood at the top of his profession in the Boston of that day, B. J. Lang, a pupil of Von Bulow and Liszt.” (Thompson-Life of Nevin, 23) Nevin wrote to his mother “Mr. Lang was busy in his room. I went and sat outside, as I was too early.

Soon he came out, welcomed me, took me into his room and asked me to play in this manner: ‘Now I want you to amuse me, not as if I were to be your instructor, but as if I were some fellow you were entertaining.’ I played that little Album Leaf of Kirchner’s. He said: ‘Very interesting: now play me something else.’ So I played that Romance of Schumann’s. He said: “Very interesting indeed. Now play me something frivolous.’ I suggested Olivette, but he said: ‘No, not quite so frivolous. ’So I played Winklemann’s Schottische-a scale two or three times: then he remarked: ‘You are very interesting’ (His favorite expression, I presume.) ‘Very, indeed, and you play with an immense amount of expression. Your manner of playing is graceful, light and rippling, but you lack aplomb and firmness. I am going to take an interest in you –you have inspired it and if you will be patient and bear with me for six lessons, I will make you feel satisfied with yourself.’

Ethelbert NevinEthelbert Nevin from Hughes, 92.

So he gave me some of the stupidest, meanest exercises by Cramer. The ones I took in Dresden were simply paradise to these. Mr. Lang said: ‘Now practice this one (marking one) for two hours every day and this scale I have written for you an hour and a half if you get time.’ well, his writing looks more like hieroglyphics than anything else I have ever seen, so it took me a long time to figure it out. I am to go back again on Monday. He invited me to go to the St. Cecilia Club tonight. He wields the baton there, you know.” (Thompson, 24)

Lang had translated into English Hans von Bulow’s edition of the Fifty Selected Piano-Studies by J. B. Cramer (1771-1858) which was published in 1877 by Oliver Ditson in Boston and went through many printings; possibly Lang and von Bulow had discussed this project two years earlier when they had collaborated on the world premiere of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto. Obviously other teachers thought highly of this work-as late as 1927 G. Schirmer in New York City published another edition translated by Albert R. Parsons and B. Boekelman and “newly revised by Dr. Theodore Baker.” The  World Catalog shows new editions of this work dated as late as 1989!

Lang also took a personal interest in Nevin and introduced him to another pianist his own age, and encouraged him to make use of “a room in the upper part of this building full of the choicest and finest music ever published. A legacy left by a wealthy person for the use of students. You could practice there, (in the Burrage Room). Here are two Chickering grands. You and Mr. Smith could play duets for two pianos.” (Thompson, 25) Nevin continues his letter with a description of Lang’s studio. “Mr. Lang’s room is a curiosity. It is very small…In it are two pianos and a dumb keyboard. He sits at the piano back of mine, the keyboard not quite so high. Then he has a high bookcase filled with music, two writing desks, a sofa and a hundred and one beautiful things lying about the room. A great many fine engravings and music manuscripts of great composers and so forth.” (Thompson, 25-26) By the middle of September Nevin is writing that Lang “is very nice but he gets angry sometimes: however I expect to get along very well with him.” (Thompson, 26) After the first six lessons, mainly concerned with exercises, Lang then gave Nevin a song by Rubinstein, transcribed with variations by Liszt. Nevin can soon report that in addition to his good progress in harmony with Stephen A. Emery, “Mr. Lang also told me that I am doing well.” (Thompson, 27) After only six weeks he had become Lang’s favorite pupil, but in November he writes that “Am still at five-finger exercises – eight weeks of them.” (Thompson, 29)

e nevin

Hughes, editor- Songs By Thirty Americans, for High Voice, p. xvii. Published 1904-Nevin had died in 1901.

The devotion of both teacher and pupil is reflected in the fact that Nevin’s lesson on Thanksgiving Day lasted from twelve until one-fifteen. By December, after various etudes had been mastered, Mendelssohn’s Concerto in B Flat as studied, and after only one week of practice on this piece, Nevin received his first genuine compliment from his teacher: “After I had finished playing, he said: ‘When did I give you that?’ My last lesson,’ I replied. ‘I thought so,’ he answered, ‘but fancied I must be mistaken, as you played it so well! ’” (Thompson, 30) The next repertoire assigned was Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, and the usual practice period was eight hours a day. Nevin also was asked to play the cymbals in the orchestra at the Cecilia performance of the Berlioz Requiem given on Sunday, February 12th. at the Music Hall (Lang used three other piano pupils for bass drum, triangle, and tenor drum).

Howard quotes from one of Nevin’s November letters: “Mr. Lang asked me if I cared to hear him practice, so I met him this evening at Chickering’s after the Handel and Haydn. He played until ten o’clock on a Rubinstein Concerto, which he is going to play at one of the Philharmonic Concerts. I am going to have the second piano part with him! Just think of playing with such an artist! He is without exception the cleanest, broadest and most truly artistic (in every sense of the word) pianist I have yet heard. He does not stoop to any of the little tricks that are effective but not artistic. He is too much of a man for that.” (Howard, Nevin, 35)

Leaving Boston in April, Nevin returned the following September and following Lang’s advice advertised for pupils. He wrote home that “It is very hard to get pupils when there are 275 teachers who have been here at least five years, and twenty-eight of Mr. Lang’s pupils also give lessons; and then there are Mr. Lang and Mr. Sherwood who teach, not counting hundreds of pupils at the Conservatory. All Mr. Lang’s pupils play as well, and many of them better than I.” (Thompson, 33)

Even in his second year of study, the hateful five-finger exercises were continued for building technique, but this led to an invitation to play at a Cecilia concert, “and this morning Mr. Lang told me I had done splendidly and that I had played much better MY first time, than did many of his ‘brag’ pupils.” (Thompson, 36)

After two years with Lang, Nevin spent the next two winters in Pittsburgh, teaching piano, composing, and giving concerts. Lang came to Pittsburgh to play the Saint-Saens Concerto in G Minor with his former pupil who was now twenty-one years old! He went to Europe in August 1884, settling in Berlin; the summer of 1885 was spent back at Vineacre, near Pittsburgh, and then he returned to Berlin for another year of study. In November of 1886 he returned to America settling again in Pittsburgh, but by early 1887 he was back in Boston, and by March he was playing “at the second of Mr. Lang’s concerts in Chickering Hall, playing the Liszt Concerto in E flat major, with orchestra.” (Thompson, p. 79 ) No orchestra was mentioned in the program, and this was the final piece on Lang’s “Second Pianoforte-Concerto Concert” which was held at Chickering Hall Tuesday afternoon 2:30 PM on March 8, 1887. (BPL, Lang Prog., Vol. 5) This concert was a great success as was a concert that included some of his own works given a few days later on March 11.


Ethelbert NevinFrom Elson, 249 and Thompson p. 83 where it mentions that this photo was from 1887 when Nevin would have been 24 or 25.

At a concert at the Essex Institute in Salem on Monday evening January 8, 1877, Lang and Grace Simpson played the Schumann Variations for Two Pianos Opus 46 to open the concert and the St. Saens Concerto in G Opus 22 to close. In the middle, they played the Mozart Sonata in D Major for Two Pianos. A vocalist was also part of the concert. (BPL Lang prog., Vol. 2)

On Thursday, April 17, 1879 Lang played the orchestral part for Lottie A. Pearson’s performance of Schumann’s Piano Concerto Opus 54 in A Minor at the Apollo Hall, 151 Tremont Street. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 2)

On March 31, 1881 Lang played the orchestral part of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with Mrs. J. M. Hernandez as the soloist. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 3)

At the 1000th. concert (1867-1882) presented by NEC on Wednesday, May 27, 1882 at 2 PM the Bach Concerto in C Major for Three Pianos was played by Lang, Otto Bendix, J. C. D. Parker with William F. Apthorp playing the orchestral reduction. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 3)

In an undated announcement (probably 1883) Lang proposed giving “Two Lectures on teaching the Art of Playing the Piano-forte, with an explanation of his system of Modern Piano-forte Technique, together with comprehensive illustrations, at Chickering Hall on Friday and Tuesday mornings, November 16, and 20, at half-past eleven o’clock. Tickets admitting a person to both Lectures are for sale at Three Dollars each, at the Music Store of A. P. Schmidt & Co, There will be no tickets for one lecture only.” (BPL Lang Prog., 6591)

On Monday evening April 23, 1883 Lang played the orchestra part of Schumann”s Piano Concerto at the Chickering Hall, 156 Tremont Street with Mr. S. W. Jamieson as the soloist. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 4) Two years later, on March 4, 1885, Lang opened a concert of Jamieson’s with the Mendelssohn Piano Trio in D Minor. (Ibid) Then on Friday, March 5, 1886 Lang played the orchestra part for Jamieson’s performance of Chopin’s Concerto Opus 11. (Ibid) Jamieson was one of the soloists in LANG’S “Pianoforte-Concerto Concert” held on March 8, 1887 playing Weber’s Concertstuck in F Minor Opus 78. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 5)

Miss Alma L. Faunce presented a recital at the Wesleyan Hall on Thursday evening May 18, 1883 playing the solo part of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with Lang providing the orchestral accompaniment. (BPL Prog., Vol. 4) On March 8, 1887 she played Chopin’s Concerto in E Minor Op. 11 at LANG’S “Pianoforte-Concerto Concert (Second of the series).” She was now married-Mrs. Alma Faunce Smith. (BPL Prog., Vol. 5)

In May 1885 Lang send out invitation cards to a “Short lecture on pianoforte technique,” and during which would be “shown two small mechanical contrivances of mine for pianoforte practice.” This was held at Chickering Hall on Thursday, May 21 at 2:30 PM, and “This card will admit you if presented before 2:30 o’clock. Your presence is required for one hour.” (BPL Lang Prog., 6615)

There were various generations among Lang’s students. On April 20, 1883 Lang was listed as an assisting artist at a concert given at Chickering Hall by Ella F. Backus. One assumes that she was a Lang pupil as he kept a copy of the program. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 4) Miss Mary H. Russell was the soloist in the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 2 Opus 19 with Lang playing the orchestra part on Wednesday evening April 1, 1885. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 4) On Wednesday evening April 22, 1885 Lang played the orchestra part to the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 Opus 58 with Miss Caroline L. Pond as the soloist. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 4)

Two years before MacDowell arrived in Boston, on January 18, 1886, Lang played the orchestra part of MacDowell’s Piano Concerto in A Minor Opus 15 with his student, Mr. S. H. Gerrish as the soloist. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 4) On Saturday evening April 25, 1885 at 8 PM Lang played the orchestral reduction to Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 Opus 37 at Chickering Hall with Mrs. Elizabeth May Marsh as the soloist. (BPL Lang prog., Vol. 4) This made three different Beethoven concerti accompaniments that he played that month! Mrs. Marsh was to play at LANG’S “Pianoforte-Concerto Concert” on March 1, 1887.

Arthur D. Mayo was the soloist in Mendelssohn’s Concerto No. 2 in D Minor Opus 40 with Lang providing the orchestral accompaniment on Friday, April 29, 1887 at 8 PM at Chickering Hall. Mayo was again the soloist on Wednesday evening December 10, 1890 playing Mozart’s Concerto in D Minor, again with Lang providing the orchestra accompaniment. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 5)

Instead of praying in individual concerts given by his pupils, in 1887 Lang organized a series of concerts featuring his advanced students playing major works. On Tuesday afternoon March 1, 1887 2:30PM at Chickering Hall Lang conducted the first of a series of “Pianoforte-Concerto Concerts.” For this concert Mr. James T. Whelan played Beethoven’s Concerto No. 4, Opus 58 in G major, Mrs. Elizabeth Marsh played Chopin’s Krakowiak, and Mr. S. H. Gerrish soloed in Raff’s Concerto Opus 185: Andante-Allegro. The vocalist Miss Jennie Vorn Holz also presented two groups of songs. Mrs. E. M. Marsh of Boston was the dedicatee of Chadwick’s Drie Walzer, published in 1890, the third of which is based on a “Motive by B. J. L.” A second concert was advertised for March 8 to include concertos by Chopin, Weber and Liszt, and two groups of songs. (BPL Lang Prog.) The third concert was held on Tuesday March 22, and the soloists were Miss Mary Webster playing Schumann’s Concerto in A Minor Opus 54, Chopin’s Grand Fantasie Opus 13 “Sur des airs Polonais” was played by Mr. B. L. Whelpley, Miss Annie Fisher played Mendelssohn’s Concerto in D Minor, No. 2 and two groups of songs were performed by Mr. J. H. Ricketson. The fourth concert for March 29 was advertised to include concertos by Beethoven, Mendelssohn and St. Saens and two groups of songs. (BPL Lang Prog.) Whereas the first program listed Lang as the conductor, the third program did not-neither program made any mention of who the orchestra might be. On March 22, 1887 at 2:30 PM Miss Annie Fisher played Mendelssohn’s Concerto No. 2 in D Minor at LANG’S Third Pianoforte-Concerto Concert at Chickering Hall 2:30 PM. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 5) Miss Mary Webster played Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A Minor Opus 54 in the same concert. (Ibid) Also on the program was B. L. Whelpley playing Chopin’s Grand Fantasie Sur des air Polonais Opus 13. (Ibid)

Miss May Shepard played the solo part of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 on Friday evening May 27, 1887 8 PM with Lang playing the orchestral accompaniment. This concert was at Chickering Hall. (BPL Prog., Vol. 5)

The next year, during April 1888, Lang followed the same plan of “Four Pianoforte-Concerto Concerts” given on Tuesday afternoons at 2:30 PM at Chickering Hall. On April 3 Mrs. Elizabeth Marsh played Mozart’s Concerto No. 4 in B Flat major, Mr. Harry Fay played Chopin’s Andante Spianato and Polonaise, Opus 22, Mr. B. L. Whelpley played MacDowell’s Concerto in A Minor Opus 15 and Mr. J. C. Bartlett sang two groups of songs. (BPL Lang Prog.) The second program on April 10 included Madame Eugenie de Roode playing Rubinstein’s Concerto No. 4 in D Minor, Mr. G. W. Sumner playing Introduction and Allegro Opus 49 by Godard, Mr. Joshua Phippen playing St. Saens Concerto in D Minor Opus 17, and two groups of songs by Mrs. G. W. Galvin (including two songs by Arthur Foote). The third concert on April 17 included Bronsart’s Concerto in F Sharp Minor played by Mr. H. G. Tucker, Brassin’s Concerto in C Major played by Miss Caroline Pond, Beethoven’s Concerto No. 5 Opus 73 in E Flat Major (Emperor) by Mr. Alfred Hollins and two groups of songs by Mrs. Norton. A most interesting reference was made to this concert in a book about the life and career of Anna Steiniger Clark. She mentions that her husband, Frederic Horace Clark, a Boston pianist whom she had married in 1882 “was now interested greatly in teaching…Mr. Long [i.e. B. J. Lang] was then the most popular and superficial teacher of ”piano” in Boston, and he had instituted some concerts in which his pupils played concertos with an orchestra led by their teacher. I had attended some of these Concerto Concerts, to find them overcrowded, rank with careless playing and the results of inadequate teaching and rushing with the noise of boisterous applause! Mr. Long had sent me a condescending invitation to play in one of these, his pupils’ concerts, little knowing, of course, the grave nature of such an insult. Mr. Long had no more idea of purism in art-activity, to say nothing whatever of organizing, unified activity, than had Mr. Twister [Otto Dresel] and Mr. Barking [maybe J. C. D. Parker]. But to them was not given the opportunity of expressing their ignorance in so unconsciously grotesque a manner of insult as this which Mr. Long stumbles! […] First had played Mr. Lucker [probably Hiram Tucker], one of the most brusque and graceless of Mr. Long”s followers; then came the frantic applause which was enough to offset, with its chaos, the confusion which Mr. Lucher had displayed. Then Mr. Long accompanied (on the pianoforte) some songs, displaying eccentric and detached thrusts of efforts and scattered acts, with bland arrogance, blissful in ignorance of the musical spirit of art-act! These pretty little deceits of Mr. Long his admirers never tired of lauding. After the songs, a blind man from London played Beethoven’s Fifth Concerto [Alfred Hollins].”(von Styne,  344-347, provided by James Methuen-Campbell) Other Boston musicians who felt their critical barbs were the BSO conductors, Gericke and Nikisch, and the pianist, Ernst Perabo. Mr. Methuen-Campbell mentioned that “Clark and his wife had hardly a good word to say about any of the musicians they met.” (E-mail May 22, 2011) Anna Steiniger had been born in Magdeburg, Prussia and studied with Deppe-a classmate had been Miss Amy Fay. Her first European tour was in 1878, and several tours followed. During a German tour, she met her husband who was then a student in Berlin. (Jones, 160) “In 1882 she married Frederic Clark of Boston, an accomplished musician and teacher and the discoverer of many educational principles. The two together carry on a music school in Cambridge, Mass. Mrs. Steiniger-Clark has played in concerts extensively throughout this country and in Europe, and being still young is likely to be heard much more in the future. Their public work at the present time consists mainly of Literary Institutions, and private recitals before audiences of from one to four persons, for educational purposes. Mr. Clark is a very graceful, intelligent and artistic pianist. His work has been praised by the most careful critics in Boston and in other parts of the World.” (Howe, 705) In 1885 she played Beethoven’s Concerto in G Minor with the BSO under Gericke, and the next season she toured the mid-West with the BSO, again conducted by Gericke. (Jones, Op. cit.) Mr. Methuen-Campbell’s comment that they “were perhaps a bit crazy, though she was a very talented and accomplished pianist” seems an appropriate summary. (Ibid)

The Herald had an extensive review of this third concert. Of the Bronsart in F Sharp Minor played by Mr. H. G. Tucker, the reviewer noted: “Mr. Tucker has never had a greater success than in his playing on this occasion, and the applause which rewarded him at the close of the concerto was worthily bestowed.” (Herald (April 18, 1888): 5, GB) Miss Caroline Pond played the C Major Concerto by Brassin, and her performance revealed her “abilities to excellent advantage and showed her to be a player of exceptionally good taste…The performance of this tuneful work gained Miss Pond an enthusiastic recognition of her skill and intelligence.” (Ibid) The high point of the concert was the playing by Mr. Alfred Hollins, the blind pianist from London, of the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5  “which caused quite a sensation, and gained him a grand ovation upon its conclusion.” (Ibid)

The fourth concert of the 1888 series was held on April 24 and included Hiller’s Concerto Opus 69 in F Sharp Minor played by Arthur Foote, the Rhapsodie d’Auvergne Opus 73 by St. Saens played by Miss Marian Mosher, Grieg’s Concerto Opus 16 in A Minor played by Mr. Jas. T. Whelan and Mendelssohn”s Concerto Opus 64 in E Minor for violin played by Miss Edith Christie. It would seem that Lang continued to support his pupils by using them whenever appropriate. Two years later Mrs. Marsh appeared at the April 30, 1890 concert of the Apollo Club as the accompanist for the assisting artist, the violinist Miss Maud Powell. (Program-Johnston Collection)

The Alfred Hollins who played Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto in the April 17th., 1888 concert also mentions in his autobiography of playing in Boston twice during 1886, he would have been about 20 years old. In addition to Hollins, Miss Amelia Campbell, Miss Jenny Gilbert and Mr. John Moncur (tenor) were on the tour. The first concert where they all took part was on January 20th. at the Music Hall: “An orchestra was engaged, and B. J. Lang, an old friend of Campbell’s, [who headed the College for the Blind] conducted. He was a man of few words, a good musician, and a fine character. Campbell told me that one word of commendation from Lang meant more than a dozen from most people, and I Had my full share both of his few words and his more ready kindness.” (Hollins, 156) Hollins then related his impression of Boston: “Boston has always had the name of being the intellectual city of America, and certainly it seemed to me that there was more culture, more friendliness, and less hustle in the people of Boston than in those of New York.” (Ibid) The final concert of the 1886 tour returned Hollins to Boston and the Music Hall on February 8. Again Lang conducted, and Hollins followed this appearance with a “farewell organ recital in the New Old-South Church a few days later.” (Hollins, 160) The Mr. Campbell (Francis Joseph Campbell, later Sir) mentioned above, was the Principal of College For the Blind, Norwood, South London, where Hollins was educated from January 1878. Campbell, originally an American, was blind himself, and the purpose of the American tour was “to let his countrymen see what he was doing for the higher education of the blind in England.” (Hollins, 154) Another connection between Lang and Hollins was that Hollins had studied piano with Hans von Bulow in Berlin. “While in Germany Hollins gave a series of concerts – at one time playing three concerti in the one evening – The Liszt Eb, the Schumann A minor and the ”Emperor.”” (Wikipedia article 9/16/2010)

Lang not only provided performance opportunities for his own pupils, but he was willing to help any musician within his circle. On November 14, 1888 “The Misses Dunton and How, Soprano and Alto” presented a concert where Lang, and his pupil B. L. Whelpley played two pieces for two pianos: Dance of the Elves by Templeton Strong and Reinecke’s Fantasie on a Theme from Manfred [Impromptu on a Motiv from Robert Schumann’s Manfred, Op. 66]. Miss How was a member of The Cecilia and often used as a soloist as probably was Miss Dunton. (MYB, 1888-89, 22) Three months later Lang was one of the assisting artists in a recital given by Miss Gertrude Franklin. (Op. cit., 23) It would be interesting to know the first time that Lang and Franklin worked together in light of Franklin’s programming of Margaret’s songs and her performance of Margaret’s Aria with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Lang possibly first became aware of Franklin during her solo appearances with the Handel and Haydn Society; she was one of the soloists Tuesday, February 26 performance of Gounod’s Redemption.

On May 9, 1889 at Apollo Hall Lang played the orchestra part of Beethoven’s Concerto No. 3 with Miss Louise May as the soloist. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 5)

A “Third Series (not consecutive)” of “Mr. B. J. LANG’S Piano-Forte-Concerto-Concerts” with an orchestra of thirty-six (MYB,1889-90, p. 13) at Chickering Hall was begun on March 10 [1890] at 2:30 PM. Mr. H. G. Tucker played the Concerto in G Minor Opus 15 by Sgambati, Mrs. Elizabeth Marsh played Mendelssohn”s Capriccio Brillant in B Major Opus 22, Mr. Joshua Phippen played Chopin’s Concerto No. 2 in F Minor Opus 22 and Mr. Gardner S. Lamson [was also one of the soloists in Handel and Haydn’s Handel Samson on April 2, 1893-Easter (BMYB)] offered a group of three songs by Schumann. The second concert on Tuesday, March 25, 1890 included Dvorak’s Concerto No. 2 in G Minor Opus 33 played by Mr. B. L. Whelpley, Beethoven’s Concerto No. 3 in C Minor Opus 37 (Allegro and Cadenza) played by Miss Louise May, Mozart’s Concerto No. 3 in D Minor played by Mr. Arthur Foote and a group of five songs by MacDowell sung by Miss Harriet Whittier. However this concert was referred to as the “Second” concert in the “Fourth Series. The confusion comes from the fact that Lang seems not to have presented concerts in 1889 which would have been the third year of this type of concerts. So, in fact the series should all have been called the “third series,” but it was given in the fourth year after the first series. Until other programs can be found, this seems to be the logical answer. (BPL Lang Prog.) A third concert in the “Fourth Series” was given on Tuesday afternoon April 1 at 2:30 PM with the Mozart Concerto No. 7 in F Major for three pianofortes being played by Miss Ann Gilbreth, Mr. G. W. Tucker and Mr. Ethelbert Nevin, Mendelssohn’s Concerto No. 2 in D Minor Opus 40 played by Mr. Arthur Mayo, the Allegro Giojoso in E Major Opus 22 by Sterndale Bennett played by Mr. Harry Fay and Schumann’s Concerto in A Minor played by Miss Minnie A. Stowell. (BPL Lang Prog., 6641)

Lang not only looked after the professional growth of his own pupils, but he also helped others advance their careers. During the period that Edward Mac Dowell was in Wiesbaden (1885-88) Lang made his acquaintance (probably during a summer tour of Europe). “Several colleagues from the United States-composers Arthur Foote and Otto Floersheim and critic and teacher Benjamin Lang-came to Germany and met with MacDowell, encouraging him to return to America and take part in the shaping of the emerging musical life of the nation…Lang was particularly persuasive. He convinced MacDowell of the fame he had already achieved back in Boston and of the quality of musical life that had been established there…In September 1888, for reasons of patriotism and of the desire for new challenges, MacDowell sold the cottage, at a $200 profit, and moved to Boston.” (Levy, p.?) Another source said that Lang convinced Mac Dowell to move to Boston in order to expand “his career as a composer, performer, and teacher”. Lang had conducted the Boston premiere of MacDowell’s Piano Concerto No. 1 that spring at Chickering Hall on April 3, 1888 with an unnamed orchestra and B. L. Whelpley as the soloist; the composer himself played the work with the BSO on November 18, 1892 conducted by Nikisch. (Johnson, First, 225)

MacDowell made his American debut in Boston as composer-pianist at a Kneisel Quartet concert at Chickering Hall, November 19, 1888 playing three movements from his First Modern Suite and assisting in Goldmark’s Piano Quintet in B-flat. On Lang’s recommendation, Wilhelm Gericke invited Mac Dowell to play his new Second Piano Concerto, Op. 23, with the Boston Symphony in the spring of 1889, but he actually played the work with an orchestra under Theodore Thomas in New York’s Chickering Hall on March 5, 1889, a month before the Boston concerto (performance on) April 12. The conductor Frank van der Stucken invited MacDowell to play the concerto in a concert of American music at the Paris Exposition Universelle on July 12 (Margaret’s songs were also part of this concert)” (Phoenix CD note)

The critic Philip Hale took time during a review of one of Lang’s students, Benjamin Lincoln Whelpley, to outline what he felt were the problems with LANG’S teaching. His 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)

James T. Whelen presented a concert at Chickering Hall on March 12, 1894 where he was the soloist in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with Lang providing the orchestra part. Whelen had played this same work in 1887 at one of LANG’S “Pianoforte-Concerto Concerts.” (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 6)

A description of Lang’s own piano technique was part of a review of a concert by the Cecilia on February 12, 1896. Mr. Fay accompanied the choir that evening, but Lang accompanied the soloist, Mrs. Follett, who sang Chadwick’s La Danza. “Mr. LANG’S accompaniments gave genuine delight. We venture to suggest to Mr. Fay that he profit by the lesson given him by Mr. Lang. Where the latter’s touch was delicate and subdued, Mr. Fay’s seemed harsh and noisy. Mr. LANG’S pianoforte work was a treat in itself.” (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 8)

On Tuesday, April 27, 1897 3:30 PM Lang played the orchestral part for Beethoven’s Concerto Opus 58 at Chickering Hall with Edward B[urlingame] Hill as the soloist. In the same program, four songs composed by Hill were sung by Stephen Townsend. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 7) Hill had graduated from Harvard in 1894, spent the next two years studying piano in New York City with Arthur Whiting, and then spent part of 1898 in Paris studying composition with Widor. Based on this Boston appearance, he seems to have spent 1897-98 in Boston.(Kaufman-Am. Grove, Vol. 2, 385) Hill was a guest at Lang’s summer home in New Boston, New Hampshire.

Mrs. C. W. Scott listed herself as a teacher of piano and voice and included that she was a “pupil of B. J. Lang” in her ad in the Springfield Republican. (Springfield Republican (June 2, 1899): 5, GB)

Lang continued to assist his pupils. On Tuesday evening May 6, 1902 Lang played the orchestral part for Miss Mertena Louise Bancroft’s performance of the St. Saens Concerto No. 1 in D Major at the Small Chickering Hall, 153 Tremont Street. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 8) For a concert with Marion Arletta Mitchell as the soloist, Lang played the orchestral reduction of Weber’s Concert-stuck Opus 79 on Wednesday, January 28, 1903. The soloist had opened the program with the Rhapsody in E Minor by Margaret Ruthven Lang. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 8) On February 26, 1904 at 8:15 PM at Potter Hall, 177 Huntington Avenue, Lang played the orchestral reduction of the St. Saens Concerto No. 5 with Miss Laura Hawkins as the soloist. This was billed as a first performance. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 8)

Hamilton C. MacDougall recalled the first Lang studio where he had his lessons. “The studio had two intercommunicating rooms, one of good size, the other a bit smaller and more like a business office; the larger room had a Chickering grand piano and a small two-manual pipe organ. “B. J.” divided his working days into hour periods and was always on duty; I never knew a businessman more satisfactory to deal with; when he was “in residence,” so to speak, a card hung under the bell-pull which read: ”Ring. Mr. Lang will answer as soon as he is at liberty.”. A comfortable sofa in the corridor could be used by callers from every part of the U. S. A., and on every kind of musical business, who came to 149a Tremont Street, Boston.” (Diapason (July 1, 1943): 13)

Lang taught at various places during his career; his home, at the studios in the Chickering Building at 153 Tremont Street (as late as 1903) and at 6 Newbury Street where he “and a colony of his pupils occupied rooms at the Lang Studios.” (Foote-Auto., 49) A Jan. 9, 1910 newspaper clipping entitled “Notes of the Studio” described the Newbury Street location: “In the great front studio on the second floor, with its high windows with large globular colored spots, the fine old marble fireplace, its big pipe organ and grand piano works the son of B. J. Lang, founder of the Lang studios…Just outside the door is the Ruth Burrage library of orchestral scores…To this rich reservoir may come the student of music to take away for four days’ study and practice famous scores of orchestral music.” The Globe “Table gossip” of April 30, 1905 had reported that “Mrs. Whiteside had sold her house, numbered 6 Newbury St. adjoining the St. Botolph Club, near the corner of Arlington St. to Mr. B. J. Lang, who will make extensive improvements and occupy.It is one of the very few Back Bay estates on Newbury St. that has an extensive frontage, being a four-story octagon brownstone front brick house. It was thought at one time that the St. Botolph Club would buy this estate.” (Globe (April 30, 1905): 46) Amy DuBois related that this building was the last in Boston to have gas lighting, as “My grandfather [Malcolm] didn’t think things were getting better.” (Amy Interview)

Foote describes Lang as “a teacher of incredible activity (when I knew him he was giving regularly lessons from 8:30 to 6).”(Foote-Auto., 45) His teaching at the New England Conservatory came to an end in the early 1890s when Carl Faelten (successor to founder Eben Tourjee) decreed that only full-time teachers would be on the staff (also affected by this were Carl Zerrahn and Eugene Thayer). (Measure By Measure, 50) Among the first teachers hired by Tourjee were Zerrahn and Lang when the Conservatory first opened in 1867. The school was housed in seven small rooms in The Music Hall-the first graduating class of 1870 had thirteen students (Johnson, Hallelujah, Amen. 99)(HMA Bulletin No. 16) The ad for the Summer Term of 1867 also listed Otto Dresel, Ernst Perabo, S. P. Tuckerman, Carlyle Petersilea, George E. Whiting, Wulf Fries, and S. A. Emery among a total faculty of twenty instructors. The terms per quarter were $10, $15, $20, and $25- “For particulars, see circulars in music stores, or address E. Tourjee at the Music Hall.” (BMT (May 4, 1867): 43)


Lang was also very concerned that his pupils should have access to musical scores, and he was responsible for founding a special library. In 1897 he gave the details of it’s founding in an article for the New York Music Trade review which was then republished in Dwight’s issue of August 2, 1879.” In the upper story of Chickering & Sons building, accessible by an elevator, there exists a tastefully furnished room, containing two concert grand piano-fortes and a beautiful mahogany case containing every piece of music that exists for two piano-fortes, two players, and for two piano-fortes, four players (eight hands). Every symphony, concerto, overture, suite, etc., to the extent in value of about three thousand dollars, is there, conveniently bound, with catalogues complete. Under appropriate rules for the convenience of the beneficiaries, this room is absolutely free to all, even without asking. That this wonderful place is in constant use from morning until night and has been from the moment it was inaugurated until now (nearly two years), is a matter of course.

From whence came all this?

A few years since [1872] there died in Boston a lovely girl of twenty-two (a fine pianist herself), a daughter of the Hon. A[lvah]. A. Burrage, who, on her death-bed expressed the wish that the little property of which she was possessed should be given, under the guidance of Mr. B. J. Lang, to deserving musical students. The before-mentioned collection of music was purchased with Miss Ruth Burrage’s [b. 1850 d. 1872] money. The Messrs. Chickering & Sons allowed Mr. Lang to construct the room, and to retain it free of rent for the purpose, so long as they (the Messrs, Chickering) occupy the building; and, furthermore, do generously supply, free of cost, the two grand piano-fortes.

Consider what delight one can get from this place. Have you two grand piano-fortes? Have you a hundred and fifty volumes of music for those two piano-fortes? This is a very expensive sort of music, while it is not just what one cares to own year in and year out. This attractive place is called the ”Ruth Burrage Room.” May this little description lead some generous mortal to carry out the same idea in some other of our musical centers.”(Dwight (August 2, 1879): 127) Ten rules for the use of the room were then listed including #7-“Parties are to assemble on the lower floor, in order that the elevator may be used once only to reach the room. They are expected to use the stairs in descending.” (Dwight, ibid)

No doubt Arthur Foote often made use of the Burrage Room. In 1909 he remembered “For thirty years there has been a library in Boston of music for the piano (four and eight hands) to which everyone has access; it was housed in the Chickering Building for a long time, and lately has been at 162 Boylston Street. The money that established it came from a legacy of Miss Ruth Burrage [B. J.’s wife’s family], and it has been called by her name: some years ago Mr. Lang gave a series of concerts of Bach concertos, etc., to raise money for an extension of this library, by which orchestra scores should be added, and lent to any who apply, under certain conditions. This library of scores is at 6 Newbury Street, and both of them have been of great use to many students. It was a wise man that thought of these two things, and was willing constantly to supervise them and look after their details.” (Arthur Foote in the Transcript, May 1, 1909) The Bach Concerto Concerts referred to were given at 3 PM on December 1, 1898 and January 12, 1899. Lang played an Erard and Co. harpsichord at each concert. (BPL Lang Prog., Vol. 7)

An 1897 article gave more details: “Some of our music-loving readers may have forgotten the existence of the Ruth Burrage Room in the building, 153 Tremont Street, though others have good cause to remember it. A brief account of this unique institution will not be without its interest here. Some twenty-five years ago, by the will of Miss Ruth Burrage, a sum of money was left in trust to B. J. Lang of this city, to constitute a fund, the income of which was to be devoted to some musical purpose, left to the trustee’s discretion. After considerable thought as to the way in which the money would do the most good, Mr. Lang determined to lay it out as follows: He collected a library of four and eight hand music for two pianofortes, and set it up in a room furnished with two concert grands, kept constantly in tune and in unison. Free use of this music and of these instruments was given to such music-lovers as could play well enough at sight to make four and eight hands playing together an object.

Any two or four persons able so to play at sight could put their names down for an hour, and, at the expiration of that hour could have their names retained on the list for the same day and hour of the following week. But no party could register for more than a week ahead. It was also specified that the room be used only for playing on two pianofortes, four-hand playing on a single instrument being strictly forbidden -indeed, there was no four-hand music for a single pianoforte in the library. The idea at the bottom of this was that enough people owned a pianoforte to make it easy for any two persons to indulge themselves in four-hand playing upon a single instrument at home; whereas few ever had the chance of finding two pianofortes in unison whereupon they could play together.

The room and the instruments were given, rent-free, by the generosity of Messrs. Chickering and Sons, so that Mr. Lang could apply the whole income of his fund to enlarging the library and keeping it in order. The library consists mostly of arrangements of standard classical and modern orchestral works, although it also contains more original four and eight hand music for two pianofortes than most musicians would think existed. It has lately been largely augmented by the addition of many works by Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Chaminade and others of the newer schools. In fact, there is exceedingly little two-pianoforte music now published that cannot be found there; the collection is almost complete.

The success of the Ruth Burrage Room – that is, the well-nigh unintermittent use that has been made for it for a quarter of a century, is good earnest of the wisdom of Mr. Lang’s plan. Almost countless pianoforte-playing music-lovers, who would otherwise have had no little difficulty in finding two instruments in tune together in a place where they would be free from interruption, have here found two admirable grands, always in good order, together with a collection of music to select from such is probably not duplicated in this country. Since the room was first thrown open to the public the pianofortes have been renewed a dozen times at least. In a word, the room has found a public want, and well filled it.”(Newspaper article, 1897)

It would seem that B. J’s suggestion for the establishment of this library was somewhat self-serving as he was part of an ensemble that “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 two pianofortes, eight hands (a otto mani), in public now and then; hence the nickname, with which Dresel’s Christian name may also have had something to do.” (Swan-Apthorp, 73)

       Once Lang bought the brownstone at 6 Newbury Street, just a few steps from the Public Garden, he had to rent out all the rooms that he was not going to use for his own teaching. It was rumored that all the teachers who then rented studios were former Lang pupils-6 Newbury became the Conservatory of Lang! Two books published in 1907 and 1908 listed the music teachers active in Boston together with the address of their teaching studio. For 6 Newbury we find: George A. Burdett (Organ and Piano), E. Cutter, Jr. (Voice)(He was accompanist for the Apollo Club from 1888 until Lang’s retirement from the group in 1901), George Deane (Voice)(He was B. J.’s tenor at King’s Chapel), J. F. Driscoll (Piano and Organ), Arthur Foote (Piano), Mrs. Alice A. Hilliard (Piano), Miss M. B. H. Ingraham (Organ), Charles Johnson (Organ), J. A. Loud (Organ), Bernhard Listemann (Violin)(Obviously not a Lang pupil), Stephen Townsend (Voice)(Used by B. J. as a soloist), Hiram G. Tucker (Piano), and B. J. Whelpley (Piano)(He was listed both at 6 Newbury and 4 Newbury which was the site of the St. Botolph Club). Strangely B. J. was not listed as having a teaching studio at 6 Newbury, but instead gave his home address of 8 Brimmer. One pupil not listed was Joshua Phippen. He taught at the Pierce Building in Copley Square. Other musicians also taught at the Pierce Building including Arthur Thayer, who taught Voice and Organ. and who had composed pieces for the Apollo Club. (Boston Church Directory for 1906-07 and 1907-08)

       In 1897 one of B. J’s many pupils wrote this poem:

“To B. J. Lang

They say there are ministering spirits,                                                                      Who come out of God’s loving heart                                                                               To show us the wisdom and beauty                                                                                 Of action, of thought, and of art.

Now I love to call such our ‘teachers’-                                                                             A name that the ages have blest;                                                                                   And to such cast a wreath of remembrance                                                                Ere they are called back to their rest.

So here’s to my true music-teacher,                                                                             Who lighted a torch in my youth                                                                                      By which I have always had Music                                                                                    To gladden each new path of Truth.

Elizabeth Porter Gould, Boston 1897.”

(Gould Scrapbook HMA, first page)



SC(G).    Word Count-1175. 10/10/2020.


” This is MRL as a young teenager (probably 1882 or 1883), namely after the Homers gave her the Irish Setter as a present. “Maidie” loved dogs and continued to do so throughout her life. The Homers were the elder brother and sister-in-law of the famous painter Winslow Homer, who drew a portrait of MRL’s father B.J. Lang at the organ. Maidie’s first trip alone was at the age of 13 to visit the Homers in West Townsend, Massachusetts.” Fletcher DuBois Collection.


“Merrie Christmas. Munchen, November 1885,” Provided by Charles Spencer.

 #1 Margaret   Ladies Home Companion, October 1896. The Century Magazine, March 1898 (facing left). Home Journal, May 7, 1898. Same as #4, but looking right.


                                                                              #2MRLang_newspaper           Newspaper article: “Composers of Note” No source or date.
Courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library/Rare Books. Is taken from photo #4.

                                                                           #3MRLang_PhiladelphiaPaper                        Philadelphia paper, December 26, 1897.
Courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library/Rare Books.

                                                     #4MargaretfromHalfHoursetcUsed in Hughes’ 1898 article “Women Composers” in The Century Magazine (775) where the photographer is listed as A. Marshall. Also in an article in the Home Journal dated Saturday, May 7. 1898, and, with a somewhat different signature, in the 1894 Half Hours With the Best Composers. In Article-Reviews.


New England Home Magazine, January 22, 1898.
Minneapolis Journal, July 30, 1898.
The Puritan, August 1898, Vol. III, No. 5, 177. (Have original)
Hughes, Contemporary American Composers, 1900, facing 432.
Elson, Women’s Work In Music, 1903, facing 202.
Hughes and Elson, American Composers, New revised Edition. 1914, facing 520.
A slightly different pose featuring hands held together was used in Mathews, The Great In Music, 1900, 278.

                                                                                                                                                                              #6MRLang_GroupofAmericanComposersFrom “A Group of American Composers” including D. M. Levett (upper left), Mrs. H. H. A. Beach (upper right), Homer N. Bartlett (middle), Louis E. Dressler (lower right), and MRL (lower left). No source.

Used in the book “Women in Music and Law” by Florence E. Sutro, 1895. Courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library/Rare Books.

                                                                    #7       MRLang_WomensWorkinMusic

Arthur Schmidt Catalog entitled “Women’s Work in Music” (c. 1901) which gave a short biography, and listed her piano pieces and songs available together with their prices. Courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library/Rare Books.


  • Elson, History of American Music, 1904, 296. Boston Evening News, Saturday, January 16, 1904.
    Lewiston Maine Journal, February 11, 1905.
    Musical America, June 19, 1909 (has autograph).
    Etude, July 1909 cover. Other photos were of St. Cecilia, Clara Schumann,Mrs. Beach, Lisa Lehmann, Teresa Carreno, Mathilde Marchese, Cecile Chaminade, Mme. Bloomfield-Zeisler, and Mme. Guy D’Hardelot.
    Christian Science Monitor, March 25, 1911.
    Western Musical Herald, May 1911.
  • In the article More MRL Song Performances.

                                                                       #9MRLang_BostonPostBoston Post, August 25, 1907.
Courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library/Rare Books.

                                                                             #10      MRLang_SongsandDuets This pose is the same as the one used in Musical America, August 2, 1919. Courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library/Rare Books.

                                                                               #11MRLang_MusicPhoto from an article in Music of March 9, 1912 by C. M. Hoover.
Courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library/Rare Books.

                                                                              #12forty years-langphoto

 From “The Universal Library of Music” published in 1913. This is a reprint of “Half Hours With the Best Composers” published in 1894: both were edited by Karl Klauser. The 1894 edition used an earlier photo. Discovered by Dr. Lucy Mauro. In More MRL Song Performances.


Photo from the article “Criticism of Noted Father Moulded Musical Art of Margaret Ruthven Lang” in the Boston Evening Record of March 9, 1915. Courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library/Rare Books.

                                                                             #14MRLang_BostonHeraldBoston Herald, Sunday, April 4. 1920.
Courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library/Rare Books.


“A formal portrait done by Bachrach Studios. [1920] This has been in our home at least since the early seventies, and it still has a very old frame.” Fletcher DuBois Collection. Original of the image above.


From the same period as #14. Johnston Collection.


                                Drawing from the Washington, D. C. Star of August 26, 1923.
Courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library/Rare Books.

                                                                            #17                                    etude 2Etude, June 1935. One of 44 photos on a page entitled “The Etude Historical Musical Portrait Series.” B. J.’s photo also appeared. This pose had also been used on page 42 of  Two Centuries of American Musical Composition, an Etude Music Magazine Souvenir of the Sesqui-Centennial in 1926 of American Independence; she is third row, second from left and B. J. is in second row, first on the right. Thanks to John D. Howard for this information. (Oct. 2018)

                                                                            #18                          BJLang_ChildhoodB. J. as a youth- (Scrapbooks)
Courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library/Rare Books.


#19 and 1/2

Historic New England. c. 1862, making B. J. about 25 years old.



This image appears in a chapter covering the years 1891-92. However, the darker beard and more hair would seem to place it much earlier. Bradbury, History of the Handel and Haydn Society, 1890-1897, between pages 24 and 25.


About the same age as the photo above. BPL Scrapbook.

                                                                            #20                      BJLang_2

                                                              #21                               BJLang_SoloistWithSymphony                               Collection of Amy DuBois.

                                                                  #22                             BJLang_sketchTheodore Baker, A Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, 1900, 339.

                                                      #23                                                  BJLang_3Mathews, A Hundred Years of Music In America, 1889, 427.

                                                                              #24                               bj signedApproximately actual size. Hardy Artist Photographer, 493 Washington Street. Autographed: Yours truly, B. J. Lang.  Johnston Collection.

                                                                           #25BJLang_4Scribner’s Magazine, July 1893-“Musical Societies at the World’s Fair,” 71


B. J. reading a score at the keyboard. Amy DuBois Collection.

                                                                       #27Portrait of Benjamin Johnson Lang

Winslow Homer (United States, 1836-1910)

Benjamin Johnson Lang (1837-1909), April 19, 1895.

Graphite on paper, 16 x 13 3/8 inches

Portland Museum of Art, Maine. Gift of William D. Hamill, 1991.19.3. Reproduced by permission. Can not be downloaded without a fee to the Portland Museum.

                                                                            #28                        BJLang_ApolloClub

Apollo Club-25th. Anniversary Concert, May 6, 1896.

Courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public    Library/Rare Books.

In a June 16, 1891 passport application, Lang is described as: height-5″ 8″, Forehead-medium, Eyes-blue, Nose-straight, Mouth-medium, Chin-full beard, Hair-partly bald, Complexion-fair, and Face-oval.. Rufus A, Bullock signed as the witness. On this document, Lang swore that he was born on December 28, 1840 (instead of 1837!).
                                                                     #28 1/2
Journal, May 27, 1896. Article about Lang’s renewal as conductor of the Handel and Haydn Society.

                                         #29                                                 BJLang_5

Elson, The History of American Music, 1904, 258.
I have a print saying this was first published by The Macmillan Company in 1904.

                                                                    #30                      BJLang_fromNevinLife

Thompson, Life of Ethelbert Nevin, 1913, 27.


Better reproduction of photo above. Johnston Collection (Repro.)


                                                          #31  (Placed)

Provided by Charles Spencer.                   BJLang_newspaper                                        Collection of Amy DuBois.

# 31A

Source not known. Like # 30.

# 32

Photo used for the article “Lang’s Last Concert In Aid of Children.” (Herald (April 18, 1907): 9, GB. The photo was credited to Odin Fritz, cop. 1907.

Better copy of the above. From the Elizabeth Porter Gould archival material at the HMA. Used with permission.


FRANCES MORSE (BURRAGE) LANG. December 18, 1839-October 15, 1934.

In an application for a passport dated May 5, 1866, Frances is described as Height-5 feet, Forehead-medium, Eyes-gray, Nose-regular, Mouth-medium, Chin-round, Hair-brown, Complexion-light, and Face-regular. Frances signed her name as “Mrs. Fanny M. Lang.” Her friend, Annie B. Keep signed as the witness.

                                                         #32                       EthelandMalcolmatFarmEthel and Malcolm at the farm with Frances seated behind. Collection of Amy DuBois.

                                                     #33                       FrancesBurrageLang Frances Burrage Lang (“Gammy”). Collection of Amy DuBois. On the back: “1922. Summers she wore white with black or violet accents; in winter all black.”


Frances, c. 1922.   Amy DuBois Collection.






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

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

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

Songs: Vol. 2. “New Love Must Rise.”

Donald George-Potsdam recordings.

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

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

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

Springtime, Opus 30.

Revery, Opus 31

Spring Idyl, Opus 33

Elegy: The Spirit of the Old House


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