Philharmonic Society of New York Rehearsal: 2nd

Event Information

Academy of Music

Carl Bergmann

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
21 February 2021

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

19 Nov 1869, 2:30 PM

Program Details

Mrs. Moulton (Lillie Greenough) did not appear.

Performers and/or Works Performed

Composer(s): Liszt
Participants:  Alide Topp
aka Midsummer night's dream
Composer(s): Mendelssohn-Bartholdy


Advertisement: New York Herald, 17 November 1869, 12.
Review: New York Sun, 20 November 1869, 2.

“The rehearsals of this Society are such only in name. In reality they are concerts, and wonderfully good ones at that.

“In old times Eisfeld and more recently Bergmann were in the habit of doing much rough drilling on these occasions. The orchestra went over and over a passage till the audience lost in temper all that the musicians gained in correctness. The continuity of every piece was most annoyingly broken up, and but little enjoyment could be had. But now the audiences are so large that it would show a great lack of judgment to persist in this plan, and with a wise discretion it has been laid aside. The Tribune was led into the mistake of supposing that the Society had none but public rehearsals, and in its notice of the first rehearsal was somewhat severe on the crudeness of the work, and suggested that it would be well if at least one private one was had before each concert. It is but justice to the Society to say that this has been its practice for years, and that six private rehearsals had been had before the first public one was given this season.

“It had been announced that Mrs. Charles Moulton was to sing, but that distinguished amateur at a late hour changed her mind, much to the public disappointment. The following notice was appended to the programme:

“‘By advice of friends, Mme. Moulton will not sing at this rehearsal, for fear of frustrating, in part, the success of the concert she has generously offered to give in behalf of the Dramatic Fund next Thursday evening.’

“One would have supposed that the fact of hearing Mrs. Moulton once would possibly lead to the desire of hearing her a second time, but her friends are apparently of a different opinion.

“The step, however advised, was one certainly that none but an amateur would have ventured on, and it may even now well be doubted whether the Philharmonic’s loss will be the Dramatic Fund’s gain.

“Miss Alide Topp played most brilliantly Liszt’s first concerto. A lovely symphony by Mozart and Mendelssohn’s music illustrating the ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ completed the programme. In the latter composition the chorus of female voices was introduced giving a new coloring to this music, so seldom heard with that accessory.  But the chorus was weak and out of tune, and the soprano soloist flattened to such a degree as to make the audience wince.  The reputation of this Society stands so high that it can afford to perform anything as badly as it seems likely this chorus business will be. If the thing is to be done at all, it had best be properly rendered, and not in the weak and cheap way proposed. The chorus should be strengthened and well drilled, and a competent soloist should be obtained; otherwise the society will be certain to miss the effect that Mendelssohn intended, and make the choral part a farce. At Boston, when this music was given complete, Mr. Lang collected an excellent chorus of amateurs from among the best singers of the city, and drilled and led them himself.”