The First Season - Cambridge Concerts

The First Season - Cambridge Concerts

No programs survive for these first concerts at Harvard University's Sanders Theatre in Cambridge, what is below is assembled from newspaper reviews found in the Cambridge Chronicle, the Harvard Daily Echo and the Harvard Crimson. All the concerts the first season took place on Wednesday evenings at 7:45.



Concert Listing

1st concert-December 7th, 1881

The Harvard Daily Echo said that "the attendance was very good, and the concert was enjoyed by all. The programme was such as to please both the lovers of classical music and those whose tastes are lighter."

The Cambridge Chronicle of December 10th gave a significant notice, from which we can glean the following program, not necessarily in this order:

Beethoven: Consecration of the House Overture
Handel: Julius Caesar: aria (Mrs. Lillian Henschel)
Mozart: Symphony #40 in G minor K. 550
Henschel: Hymn au Createur (Mrs. Henschel)
Schubert: Rosamunde: Ballet Music

The Handel, Mozart & Henschel were performed (same soloist) in Boston November 5th. The Beethoven opened all 3 seasons of Henschel's BSO concerts, the Schubert was also on the opening program of October 22nd 1881. The Chronicle opined "In spite of his critics, Mr. Henschel is  a master, his only superior as a leader is Theodore Thomas."



2nd concert-December 21st, 1881

The Cambridge Chronicle is our only source for this concert. The program is cited, and we can ascertain the order with no more confidence than the first concert, though the Brahms opened and the Nicolai closed:

Brahms: Tragic Overture
Mozart: Don Giovanni: Aria (Mr. Jules Jordan)
Beethoven: Symphony #2 in D major
Dvorak: Slavonic Dances Opus 46 #4; #1
Grieg: Two Songs (Jordan; Henschel piano)
Nicolai: Merry Wives of Windsor: Overture

The Dvorak and Nicolai were performed in Boston November 5th, the Beethoven November 12th. The Brahms was given on both October 29th, and November 5th. I see no other documentation of a Jules Jordan having performed with the Boston Symphony.The review gives no indication of aria or role, much less voice type. The review was quite positive.



3rd concert-January 11th, 1882

For this we are joined by the Harvard Crimson, who listed the concert:

Mozart: Magic Flute Overture
Mendelssohn: Concert Aria: Infelice! Opus 94 (Mrs. E. Humphrey-Allen)
Haydn: Symphony #102 in B flat
Gluck: Ballet Music
Reinecke: Two songs with violin obbligato (CW Allen, violin; Mrs. Humphrey-Allen, Georg Henschel, piano)
Lachner: Suite #1: March in B flat

The Cambridge Chronicle reported that this was the largest audience of the season, and was effusive in its praise. CW Allen was the soprano's husband, and I see no other appearance by him.  The Haydn was on the first Boston concert (October 22, 1881), the Lachner on the second (October 29), the Mozart & Gluck on December 3rd.


4th concert January 25th, 1882

The Crimson listed as follows:

Weber: Oberon: Overture
Beethoven: Triple Concerto (Terese Liebe, violin; Theodore Liebe, 'cello; Georg Henschel, piano)
Mendelssohn: Symphony #5 Reformation
Henschel: Serenade in Canon Form for Violin and 'Cello: Andante (Terese Liebe, violin; Theodore Liebe, 'cello)
Auber: La Part du Diable: Overture

The Chronicle was as enthusiastic as ever, which makes their disappearance for the final two programs of the season rather mysterious. They opined: "by the time they are finished many Cambridge people will find out what a rich treat they have lost." The Weber was performed in Boston on January 14, the balance of the program on January 21.



5th concert February 8th, 1882

The Crimson reported the largest audience of the season but was not enthusiastic. There is little more than a program listing:

Gade: Scottish Overture "In the Highlands"
Mehul: Joseph: Recit. & Air (Theodore Toedt, tenor)
Beethoven: Symphony #5
Two Songs with piano & violin obbligato:
Rubinstein: The Dream (Theodore Toedt, tenor; Bernhard Listemann, violin; Georg Henschel, piano)
Henschel: Gypsy Serenade (Theodore Toedt, tenor; Bernhard Listemann, violin; Georg Henschel, piano)
Wagner: Die Meistersinger: Prelude

This replicates Mr. Toedt's Boston appearance of November 19th. The Beethoven was first performed on December 17th; the Wagner November 12th; the Gade the previous Saturday February 4th.



6th concert March 1st, 1882

Paine: Oedipus tyrannus: Prelude (composer conducting)
Berlioz: La Captive (Miss Mary How, contralto)
Schubert: Symphony in b minor D. 759 (Unfinished)
Henschel: There was an Ancient King (Mary How)
Beethoven: Symphony No. 7

John Knowles Paine was the first-ever BSO guest conductor on this occasion, and he later directed his same work on the final Boston concert of March 11th. The Berlioz and Schubert were done in Boston on February 11th, which also marked the American premiere of the Alto Rhapsody. The Beethoven was performed in Boston on February 4th. The Henschel may have been scored just for voice and piano.