The Second Season - Cambridge Concerts 1882-1883

The Second Season - Cambridge Concerts 1882-1883

As true of the first season, no programs are known to survive for the Boston Symphony's second season of concerts at Harvard University's Sanders Theatre in Cambridge. The Harvard Crimson listed all six programs, now performed on Thursday evenings at 7:45, instead of Wednesday evenings the season before.

 

 

1st concert-November 9th, 1882
M. A. DeWolfe Howe, in his book on the Boston Symphony's early years, takes note, not of the concert, but the final rehearsal on the afternoon of November 9th that took place in Boston's Music Hall. It was open to the public "for the benefit of the widow and four children of a German musician and composer of merit..." who died of "the fever" at age 35. Both Georg and Lillian Henschel sang for the benefit, but they do not appear as soloists on the Sanders program of that evening.

Gade: Ossian: Overture
Stradella: Aria de Chiesa (Miss Emily Winant, alto)
Haydn: Symphony No. 97 in C 
Reinecke: Manfred: Entr'acte
Mozart: Marriage of Figaro: Aria: Voi che sapete (Miss Winant)
Wagner: Rienzi: Overture

Unlike the first season, where the vast majority of music was performed first in Boston and later in Cambridge, we have here an instance of a soloist performing first in Cambridge, and repeating the repertoire later in Boston. Thus Miss Winant performed Stradella & Mozart in Boston the following Saturday November 11th. The Wagner Rienzi was undoubtably polished by this point, having already been played in Newport (October 11th) Boston (October 14th) Salem (October 26th) and Worcester (November 2nd).

 

 

2nd concert-December 7th, 1882
Grammann: Melusine: Prelude
Weber: Freischutz: Cavatina (Mrs. Lillian Henschel)
Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 "Eroica"
Volkmann: Serenade No. 2 for Strings
Auber: Acteon: Air (Mrs. Henschel)
Brahms: Academic Festival Overture

The conductor's wife of less than 2 years had quite a number of performances with the Boston Symphony in the 1882-1883 season. She sang the Auber only outside of Boston that season, in Newport and New Bedford as well as Cambridge. The first four items in this program had been played in Boston the previous November 25th. That the Academic Overture closes the program is perhaps indicative of Brahms not being the 19th Century controversy he was painted to be during the 20th. The Brahms opened the Boston program of November 18.

 

 

3rd concert-January 11th, 1883
Mendelssohn: Hebrides Overture
Wagner: Meistersinger: Act One: Pogner's Address (Georg Henschel)
Schumann: Symphony No. 4
Bruch: Loreley: Prelude
Schumann: The Two Grenadiers
Rubinstein: Feramors: Ballet Music

This is an example where the originally scheduled soloist (William Winch) cancelled, so the conductor acted as soloist "to the delight of the audience" according to the Crimson. What Henschel sang from Meistersinger isn't entirely clear from the Crimson, listing merely Recitative and Air. The BSO Performance card file lists Pogner's address, which he repeated at the Wagner memorial concert in Boston the following month.

 

 

4th concert February 1st, 1883
Sterndale Bennett: The Naiads: Overture
Beethoven: Concerto No. 4 (Carl Baermann)
Frederick Cowen: Symphony in C "Scandanavian" Liszt: Don Juan Fantasie (Carl Baermann)
Wagner: Tannhauser: Overture

Though not obvious to the 21st Century music-lover, this program is a look at English music of the period. William Sterndale Bennett was the best known English composer of the time, and Frederick Cowen's Scandanavian Symphony, his third of six he was to write, was probably the most successful composition of his life. Carl Baermann also appeared in Providence that season, as well as four appearances in Boston.

 


5th concert February 22nd, 1883
Beethoven: Fidelio: Overture
Mozart: Figaro: Aria  (Miss Henrietta Beebe)
Schubert: Symphony No. 5 in B flat
Wagner: Siegfried Idyll
Barnby: The Rose and the Nightengale (Beebe, Henschel, piano)
Rubinstein: The Lark (Beebe, Henschel, piano) Weber: Jubilee Overture

Miss Henrietta Beebe sang in Boston the previous October, in a completely different program. The Siegfried Idyll was on the Wagner memorial concert in Boston earlier that month. The Schubert was listed as "First time" in Boston twelve days earlier.

 

 

6th concert March 22nd, 1883

Schumann Genoveva: Overture
Henschel: Piano Concerto (Henschel, soloist)
Paine: The Tempest: Overture (composer conducting)
Wagner: Lohengrin: Legend and Farewell (Charles Adams, tenor)
Weber, orch. Berlioz: Invitation to the Dance

Once again, as he had at the final Sanders concert of the previous season, Harvard Professor John Knowles Paine was invited to conduct a work of his. Carl Baermann was the soloist for the first performance of the Henschel Piano Concerto in Boston, subsequent performances in Salem, New Bedford, as well as this performance in Cambridge featured the composer as soloist. Contemporary documentation states that Henschel later destroyed the score and parts to this work.