Philharmonic Society of New York Rehearsal: 1st

Event Information

Academy of Music

Carl Bergmann

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
6 February 2021

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

12 Nov 1869, 2:30 PM

Program Details

The orchestra consisted of 100 men.

Performers and/or Works Performed

Composer(s): Liszt
Participants:  Alide Topp
Composer(s): Mozart
Participants:  Lillie Greenough
aka Erlkonig; Erlkoenig; Erlking; Erl-king; Erl king; Elf King, The
Composer(s): Schubert
Participants:  Lillie Greenough
aka Midsummer night's dream
Composer(s): Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Composer(s): Weber


Announcement: Dwight's Journal of Music, 06 November 1869, 133.

Prospectus for the forthcoming season.

Advertisement: New York Herald, 10 November 1869, 9.
Article: New York Herald, 12 November 1869, 3.

“TO THE EDITOR OF THE HERALD:—As an offset to the almost universal denunciation with which the press has favored the president and directors of the Philharmonic Society for their course in the late sale of Academy boxes, I have been requested by many persons to make the following statement:— “The plan for the sale of boxes was only adopted after mature deliberation and by the advice of several of our most experienced managers. Moreover, it was by them considered to be the only one through which to avoid placing the public in the hands of the speculators. The parties who obtained more than one box were not speculators, but were merely friendly agents of persons who had already paid their subscriptions, and whose names and addresses were taken down at the moment as a guarantee of good faith of those who could not attend the sale in person.

“It may not be known to all of your musical readers, but it is none the less true, that Dr. Doremus only accepted the office of president of the Philharmonic Society after repeated solicitation from the members of the society themselves. In the short space of one year he has infused new vigor and strength into a society which scarcely more than tottered during twenty-six years previously, and such a reformation has been brought about only by the sacrifice of much time, labor and anxiety of mind. The musical world are at this moment great debtors to the society for having placed the finest concerts of this Continent within the reach of all poor persons.”

Review: New York Herald, 13 November 1869, 6.

“No more signal proof of the growing taste in New York for music can be afforded than by the fact that within two years, under the presidency of Dr. Doremus, so much life and vigor has been infused into the Philharmonic Society as to have made its rehearsals and concerts at the Academy equally fashionable and popular. The eagerness with which the boxes were secured last Saturday has been wrongly attributed to the ‘speculators,’ while in reality every possible precaution was taken to prevent their monopolizing the opportunities offered to all. The plan for disposing of the boxes was adopted after mature deliberation, and the complaints which have been ignorantly, if not maliciously, made on this head are altogether unfounded. There are but ninety-seven boxes in the house, and a few proscenium boxes still remain unsold, while about two thousand seats are always open to the public. The success of the last winter entertainments was so decided that there was no necessity to distribute hundreds of complimentary tickets, according to the practice of former years, and it was ‘a paying audience’ which filled the Academy yesterday afternoon at the opening of the twenty-eighth season. The programme consisted of ‘Symphony, Eb,’ Mozart; Aria, Voi che Sapete, from Mozart; Nozze di Figaro, with orchestral accompaniment; ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ Mendelssohn; Lied, Erlkoenig, Schubert, with piano accompaniment, and overture, ‘Oberon,’ Weber. Madame Charles Moulton very kindly consented to postpone her return to Paris in order to assist on this occasion. The fine quality of her sympathetic voice was shown to advantage in the aria from the Nozze di Figaro, although she ventured to embellish it with fiorituri, which classical music does not require. In the Erlkoenig she interpreted admirably both Goethe’s poetry and Schubert’s music, and Mr. Mills played the piano accompaniment in his usual exquisite style. Unquestionably the six concerts and eighteen public rehearsals to be presented this season with such a complete and powerful orchestra, comprising one hundred members, will afford to professional and amateur musicians a privilege unobtainable in any other city in this country or in Europe. New York may well be proud of her Philharmonic Society.”

Review: New York Sun, 13 November 1869, 2.

“The first rehearsal of the Philharmonic Society took place yesterday afternoon. It was an occasion of unusual interest. Mrs. Charles Moulton (formerly Miss Greenough), one of the best known ladies and one of the most distinguished of amateur vocalists, had consented to sing. Society was on tip-toe with expectation, and the lady became the great centre of interest.  A gentle patter of kids heralded her entrance upon the stage, but a storm of applause marked her exit. Her manner as she came forward was calm, composed, and full of quiet assurance of her own power. Her singing was characterized by repose, a marvellous sweetness, mellowness, and purity of voice, great facility of execution and power of diminishing the tone, and pervading all the refinement and culture of the perfect lady.  She sang Mozart’s ‘Voi che Sapete’ and Schubert’s ‘Ecl [sic] King.’ A sense of reserved power accompanies all she does. In this lady society gains a fine amateur, but the stage loses an admirable artist.”

Review: New-York Times, 13 November 1869, 7.

“The first rehearsal of the Philharmonic Society yesterday was attended by a large audience. The principal attraction undoubtedly was the appearance of Mrs. MOULTON a lady who possesses a fine soprano voice of great power and flexibility, sings with great ease and has, undoubtedly, a perfect control of her vocal resources. She was deservedly encored in the ‘Voi che Lapete’ [sic] from ‘Nozze di Figaro.’”

Review: New York Post, 15 November 1869, 4.

“A marked feature of the last Philharmonic rehearsal was the singing of Mrs. Moulton, whose clear fresh voice, with its excellent method, was then heard for the first time in public here. We understand, moreover, that this was the first time that an amateur singer ever appeared at a Philharmonic rehearsal or concert.

“Mrs. Moulton sang an air from Mozart’s ‘Nozze de Figaro’ and Schubert’s ‘Erl King.’ The Philharmonic orchestra rehearsed on Friday afternoon Mozart’s flat symphony, and the Oberon and Midsummer-Night’s Dream’ overure.”

Review: Dwight's Journal of Music, 20 November 1869, 142.

“On Friday afternoon the first ‘Rehearsal’ of our Philharmonic Society took place. Why it was called a rehearsal it would perhaps he difficult to tell; for out of the five programme numbers but two are to be performed at the concert. Mozart's Symphony and the Midsummer Night's Dream music were in rehearsal, while Weber's Oberon Overture and two vocal solos were thrown in to attract the general public. Mrs. Moulton, the soloist upon this occasion, sang Mozart's ‘Voi che sapete,’ in a very enjoyable way. The lady is an amateur of acknowledged musical ability, is well known in social circles in this city, as well as in Boston and in Paris; and has a very rich, round, deliciously smooth mezzo soprano voice, which has been very highly cultivated. Her middle and upper notes are much better and stronger than her lower ones. She received much applause and evidently created quite a sensation. She is not to sing at the concert.”