Event Information

Steinway Hall

Frédéric Louis Ritter

Price: $1.50 reserved; $1

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
20 June 2020

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

25 Dec 1869, Evening

Performers and/or Works Performed


Advertisement: New York Herald, 18 December 1869, 2.
Advertisement: New-York Times, 18 December 1869, 9.
Advertisement: New-York Daily Tribune, 18 December 1869, 5 [sic].
Advertisement: New York Herald, 21 December 1869, 12.


Announcement: New York Post, 22 December 1869, 4.
Advertisement: New York Herald, 24 December 1869, 3.
Announcement: New York Post, 24 December 1869, 4.

“To-morrow evening, at eight o’clock, will begin at Steinway Hall, the usual Christmas performance of the ‘Messiah,’ by the Harmonic Society. Miss Brainerd and Mr. Simpson, who take the soprano and tenor solos, are well known as conscientious interpreters of Handel’s music. Miss Sterling, the contralto, and Mr. Rimmertz [sic], the basso, are new to oratorio, but there is every reason that, with their fine vocal resources, they should make a marked success in this line of music.”

Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 24 December 1869, 4.

“The usual Christmas performance of ‘The Messiah,’ by the New York Harmonic Society, offers this year some specially attractive features. Miss Nettie Sterling will take the contralto part, and the music suits her voice and style so well that we may safely predict for her a success. Mr. Remmertz will, for the first time, take the bass, and for the soprano and tenor solos we find the familiar and favorite names of Miss Brainerd and Mr. George Simpson.”

Advertisement: New York Herald, 25 December 1869, 3.
Announcement: New York Sun, 25 December 1869, 1.

Brief. “The Harmonic Society, in pursuance of their time-honored custom, give the oratorio of ‘The Messiah,’ on Christmas night, at Steinway Hall.”

Review: New York Post, 27 December 1869, 2.

“The oratorio performance on Christmas night at Steinway Hall was creditable in itself, but by no means worthy of a metropolis like New York. There should have been contributed from among the musical people of this city a chorus of at least three times the force of that which sung [sic] on Saturday night, and which was especially weak in female voices, the altos being audible only in the passages where that part sings alone. “The sopranos were efficient, as far as their numbers would allow, the bassos were good, and the tenors admirably prompt, ringing and effective. Mr. Ritter, who conducted, took the tempi very slowly throughout.

“The four soloists of the evening were Miss Brainerd, Mr. Simpson, Miss Sterling and Mr. Remmertz. The two former are well known for their frequent performance of the ‘Messiah’ music; and last night—excepting in the high A of the tenor—they fully sustained their reputation. Miss Sterling was specially successful in the noble aria, ‘He was despised,’ where her deep, low notes appeared to great advantage; but in ‘Thou that tellest’ she did not answer to the expectations of the public. This lady imperatively requires more dramatic feeling ere she will take the high position for which her fine voice and real musical intelligence qualify her. Mr. Remmertz, the new basso, has a rich melodious voice, and a marked German pronunciation. The runs and rapid passages which abound in the bass solo music of ‘The Messiah’ he took very slowly—often making them occupy double the original time. He is a baritone rather than a bass, and on his first appearance in oratorio created a decidedly favorable impression, though in artistic finish he does not equal other singers who have heretofore assumed here the part he took last night.

“The attendance on Saturday night was very large, and it is gratifying to observe that the Harmonic Society meets with encouragement in its efforts to keep up the annual custom of a Christmas oratorio.”

Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 27 December 1869, 4.

“The New-York Harmonic Society gave their usual Christmas performance of ‘The Messiah,’ on Saturday evening, at Steinway Hall. That the Society’s efforts are held in some appreciation by the public was shown by the very large audience which filled all the available space. The solo parts have seldom been better filled in this country. Miss Sterling, making her first appearance in an oratorio, acquitted herself as well as her warmest friends could wish, and received a large share of the applause. Miss Brainerd has often been heard in ‘The Messiah.’ Saturday evening she sang with her usual power and excellence. Mr. Remmertz, the bass, has a fine voice, and his German method and slight German accent were not disagreeable. Mr. Simpson, whose sweet tones and not too severe style of execution have made him a great favorite, sustained the tenor role. The chorus, though hardly powerful enough for the orchestra, and perceptibly weak in soprano, was [illeg.] once palpably unequal to the severe demands of the composer. The Society announce that ‘Elijah’ is in active rehearsal, and will be given in February, under the direction of Mr. Ritter.”