Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church
26 October 2011
“This energetic association is giving to its subscribers a series of concerts at its room—Dr. Crosby’s Chapel . . . One of these concerts took place last night before a larger audience than the neat and comfortable little chapel would seat. Mr. Bergé conducted and played the accompaniment on a Knabe piano, and in fact was the motive power of the whole affair.
The programme was varied, opening with Mendelssohn’ ‘Athalie’ in its seven long numbers—the admired ‘Priest’s March’ being played by Mrs. Boardman and C. Bergé. This performance of ‘Athalie’ was not entirely satisfactory. The singers formed really one of the best, if not the largest, chorus ever heard in this city, but sang the music as if from a sense of duty rather than a feeling of love. The room was also too small for the full, clear body of sound which they gave forth, and the same performance, if in a larger room, would have a much finer effect. As it was the selection and fair performance of so elaborate a work shows what this admirable society is capable of.
The second part of the programme was devoted to the lighter works of modern composers. The final quartet of the last act of ‘Atilla’ [sic] a highly dramatic composition; the Prayer and two choruses from ‘Moses in Egypt’; and the Liberty duet from ‘Puritani’ were all well sung and well received, the list of solo performers including Mrs. Cooper, a charming vocalist, who ought to be brought more prominently before the public, Miss Mayer, Mr. Duclos, Mr. Eddy, Mr. Lewis and Mr. Werneke. The solo singers in ‘Athalie’ were Miss Sims, Mrs. Holbrook and Miss Mayer.The Mendelssohn Union is now in the eleventh year of its existence; and among the musical works it has produced are [illeg.], St. Paul, Last Judgment, Moses in Egypt, Athalie, Lobgesang, Antigone, The First Walpurgis Night, The May Queen, Jeptha and his Daughter, Mozart’s Requiem, Bergé’s Magnificat and Wallace’s opera, ‘Lurline’—the latter perhaps their most successful production. The expenses of the society are paid by the members. Only good voices and sight readers are admitted as singers, and in this way the best chorus in New York has been gathered—a chorus which, could it only be added to the operatic company at the Academy of Music (as is occasionally done with the Arion Society would give new and enhanced (?) ideas to our opera-goers. Subscribing members who may wish to attend the Mendelssohn’s concerts and rehearsals, can do so at an annual charge of five dollars, giving two admissions on all occasions. The regular weekly rehearsals are on Thursday evenings.”