Beethoven Centennial Festival: Concert: 3rd

Event Information

American Institute Coliseum

James Pech

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
1 November 2021

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

14 Jun 1870, 8:00 PM

Program Details

“First Grand Oratorio.”

Music in Gotham lists programs and performers based solely on the reviews, as most of the announcements and advertisements published in advance of the festival are riddled with errors. (The anonymous, overly ambitious, and disorganized management failed to deliver on its promises, a shortcoming heavily criticized in the reviews.)

For general press and reviews about the festival, see separate event entries of June 13, 1870. See also separate event entries between June 1, 1870 and June 17, 1870 for rehearsals (fourteen in total).

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Schopfung; Creation
Composer(s): Haydn
Text Author: Swieten


Advertisement: New York Herald, 10 June 1870, 9.
Advertisement: New York Herald, 14 June 1870, 9.

List of participating choral societies, including the number of voices in each.

Advertisement: New-York Times, 14 June 1870, 7.

Lists all participating soloists and ensembles. “Grand combined total, THREE THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY-FIVE VOICES…This great force will enable the Conductors to give THE MOST PERFECT RENDITION of the SUBLIME ORATORIO EVER ACHIVED IN ANY COUNTRY.”

Review: New York Herald, 15 June 1870, 6.

The Beethoven Festival.—This monster musical treat has, so far, turned out a great success. In the vast volume of music required to fill the ambitious programme everything may not be in all perfection, but the general effect is certainly superb. In an affair so hastily gotten up connoisseurs and delicate critics may find something to complain of, but that the performance is popular and gives great pleasure to the masses of the people there can be no doubt. Therefore we call it a decided success. It affords a grand attraction for our country cousins, especially as there is a performance by day as well as by night. Great affairs of this kind leave a good deal of benefit behind them, apart from the large amount of money which they bring into the city. There are expansive ideas about them, pleasant social intercourse springs from them, and art gathers friends, admirers and students out of them. Monster musical festivals, therefore, are not all noise nor all sensation. There is a great store of good at the bottom of them. We are glad that this commemoration of Beethoven has all the elements of success in it.”

Review: New York Herald, 15 June 1870, 7.

Second Day—Opera and Oratorio.

The Coliseum was crowded yesterday afternoon and only partially filled in the evening, on occasion of the second day of the Beethoven Festival. The receipts for the day amounted to $25,000, and popular enthusiasm, especially in the afternoon, seemed unabated. It is, indeed, highly creditable to the management, and especially to Messrs. Grover, Miller and Morton, who have spared no pains in their several departments to make the festival a success, to find such satisfactory results from such a gigantic undertaking. Got up in a very short space of time, and in face of formidable obstacles, the jubilee so far has proved an artistic and pecuniary success. [Reviews afternoon performance.]

In the evening

the creation

was sung by a chorus of 3,165 voices with Madame Parepa-Rosa, Nordblom and Whitney as soloists. Dr. James Pech conducted admirably, and the performance was in general very satisfactory and in many instances deserving of the highest praise.”

Review: New-York Times, 15 June 1870, 5.

“The audience assembled to enjoy the evening concert, though scarcely as numerous as the City ought to have done itself the credit of supplying, was nevertheless large. It was, however, the most appreciative yet gotten together at the Coliseum, a distinction to which a sustained attention to the oratorio, given, be it noted without an intermission, clearly entitled it. As usual, the dollar promenade was crowded. This persistent gravitation of a mass of intelligent spectators toward a part of the house where standing is compulsory, shows that if the higher rates for the reserved seats are objected to, the confidence in the worth of the entertainment furnished is potent enough to dispel all thoughts of fatigue. The merit of yesterday’s programme, indeed, was of the most decided kind. It is needless here to dwell upon the claims of Haydn's Oratorio, ‘The Creation.’ No more tuneful work exists than this mighty composition, mighty alike in its subject and its treatment, and yet so generally appreciable. The masterpiece of this genial composer was rendered with great precision, sentiment and impressiveness last evening. Dr. James Pech was at the conductor’s desk, and he directed the performance with the fervor of an enthusiast and the skill of a scholar in thorough possession of the traditions that have clustered about each memorable rendering of the score. The voices under the baton numbered, we learn, 3,000, and included, with the Handel and Haydn Society and a strong assemblage of vocalists, representing all the operatic troupes ever known to local lovers of song, the Brooklyn Choral Union, the Mendelssohn Union, Brooklyn, E.D.; the Jersey Harmonic, the Plainfield Union, the Newark Harmonic, the Orange Society, the New-Haven Harmonic, the Harford Beethoven, the Bridgeport Handel and Haydn Society, the Springfield Harmonic, the Worcester Oratorio Society, the New-York Mendelssohn Union, the Orpheon Society, and the New-York Society and choirs. The vocalists were Mme. Parepa-Rosa, Mr. Nordblom, and Mr. W. M. Whitney. The work of all was done with interest and talent, and the result was proportionately satisfying. Mme. Rosa, whose good fortune it has been to delight in all the pathways of art she has trodden, is especially welcome in an oratorio entertainment, to which her noble voice and her grand style, no less than her early experience in the land where Handel and Haydn's melodies are the burden of all music, impart an attractiveness in the gift of no other singer in this country. The cordiality of her reception last night denoted a knowledge of the fact, and the pleasant anticipation the greeting showed was soon proven to be well founded. The air, ‘The Marvelous Work,’ so full of a gratitude the expression of which soars upward and upward again with every repetition of the words of praise; the exquisite floridity of the aria commencing ‘With Verdure Clad;’ and the sweet imitative effects in passage of the air ‘On Mighty Pens,’ as well as the more sustained portions of the concerted movements, were interpreted by this artist with all the variety of which they were susceptible, and with the unfailing charm of a voice we shall not speedily hear excelled in quality, volume and suppleness. Mr. Nordblom, whose partially successful first appearance in New-York is not so distant as to be out of our memory, had already been listened to with so much pleasure in English opera as to make one doubt anew the value of early impressions. He is heard, however, to larger advantage even in oratorio, and he contributed materially, on the occasion we write of, to the sum total of the excellence of the recitation of ‘The Creation.’ The basso was Mr. W. Whitney, whose merits have already been alluded to in these columns in connexion with representations of a similar order. The choruses, we have only to add, were grandly sung, the finale of the first part, ‘The Heavens are telling,’ being rendered with so much nicety of shading, precision of time and vigor of delivery, as to produce an impression likely to rank with the deepest wrought during the Festival. The performance of ‘Achieved is the Glorious Work’ was equally notable.”

Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 15 June 1870, 4.

Black bar on right-side of column makes portions difficult to read. “The evening performance of ‘The Creation’ calls for very little criticism and very little enthusiasm. Madame Parepa Rosa of course was excellent in the soprano solos—she never is otherwise than excellent—and sang ‘With Verdure Clad,’ the terzetto, and the other famous numbers with a sweetness that compensated for any of the weariness that evening. Mr. Whitney, the Boston basso, made an excellent impression. He has a rich and strong voice, and since we last heard him [has?] greatly improved in style. Mr. Nordblom did well with the tenor solos. He will probably be a greater favor in oratorio than opera music. The chorus under charge of Dr. Pech was reënforced [sic] by the Boston Handel and Haydn Society—or at least a large portion of it—distributed among the others. How much of the increasing effect was attributable to their presence, how much a better classification of the singers, and how much to a better acquaintance with the conductor we cannot tell, but they were much stronger than on Monday night, and much more steady. Two or three times they went astray, but it was only for a little while. We must say, however, that with all, the [illeg.] points we have mentioned, this was a singularly [illeg.] and uninteresting performance. The solos [illeg.] felt the blight. There was no enthusiasm on the stage, and none in the audience. Moreover there were some tiresome delays and some curious exhibitions of independence on the part of the performers which certainly took us by surprise. At 8½ the orchestra began a violent demonstration of hurry, rapping fiercely on the backs of their [illeg.] for the singers to begin! At 10 o’clock, when an intermission occurred between the second and third parts, at least a quarter of the singers went home! What other marvels of [illeg.] the next week has in store for us, we are anxious to know. We should not omit to say that a certain or uncertain period in the course of each entertainment the people standing about the lobbies are allowed to rush into the unsold seats, and last night barriers were opportunely taken down in the midst of a piece of music.

This is Mr. Gilmore’s day, when if there is any [illeg.] for a Jubilee in New-York, the Coliseum will be crowned. To-night we shall have our first opportunity hearing the famous Boston Society alone.”

Review: New York Post, 15 June 1870, 3.

“A solemn truth is beginning to force itself on the musical as well as on the managerial mind. The New York Public does not care for oratorio. To be sure, this highest class of musical composition will interest the public of Boston and of London; but beyond the members of choral societies and a few clergymen and choir singers, but few delight in Haydn and Handel and Mendelssohn. The large audience at the Coliseum last night would have been immense in any other place, but it was not what had been expected. The restrictions as to seats as at present arranged are vexations, and should be modified.

Artistically speaking the ‘Creation’ was well performed. The leading choruses were given in superb style, with all the gorgeous swing and power they so fully deserve. Towards the close of the evening the chorus ranks had somewhat thinned out, and the concluding chorus was therefore less effective.

Madame Parepa Rosa’s rendering of the soprano music of Haydn’s great work is well known here, and was last night fully up to her usual standard; but such exquisite melodies as ‘With verdure clad’ are scarcely suited to the vast spaces of the Coliseum. This is why Parepa was rewarded last night with courteous rather than enthusiastic applause.

Mr. Nordblom, the tenor, proved an agreeable surprise. Young and necessarily inexperienced, his assumption of tenor music was viewed by outsiders as a rather bold experiment. But Mr. Nordblom soon relieved his auditors of all anxiety, for he sang with fluency and power. His enunciation was poor, but otherwise this young singer did himself very great credit.

Mr. Whitney, the Boston basso, at once took a first-class position as an oratorio singer. He has a noble, strong and melodious voice, and is thoroughly familiar with the music. He is to-day the best oratorio basso in the country.”