Mendelssohn Union: 4th Soiree

Event Information

Dodworth's Hall

Event Type:
Chamber (includes Solo), Choral

Performance Forces:

Record Information


Last Updated:
23 March 2013

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

03 May 1866, Evening

Performers and/or Works Performed

Composer(s): Macfarren [composer]
Composer(s): Meyerbeer
Participants:  L. P. Thatcher [tenor]
aka Rise up, arise; Rise and shine; Arise and shine
Composer(s): Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
aka Prayer; Ave Maria
Composer(s): Wallace
Composer(s): Hummel
Participants:  Ella J. Mayer [alto]
Composer(s): Verdi
Participants:  Libbie Smith [vocal]
Composer(s): Handel
Participants:  Libbie Smith [vocal]


Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 05 May 1866, 8.

 “The Fourth Soiree of this Society was given at Dodworth’s Hall on Thursday evening. A much needed reform has been made in the arrangement of this Hall, by removing the platform from the side to the end. By this change the convenience of the audience is consulted and the music is heard to far better advantage. The programme was of a light and miscellaneous character commencing with Macfarren’s Cantata, The May Queen, with Misses Simms and Hortin and Messrs. Eddy and Walker as Soloists, who performed their parts well, the ladies especially. Miss Simms is always excellent in such music. Miss Hortin is rarely heard in solo, but her voice and performance of the brief solo allotted her were so pleasing and satisfactory that we regret more opportunity is not afforded her of proving how excellent a singer she is. Miss Mayer sang Hummel’s Tyrolienne is a most pleasing and artistic manner. This is a most promising young contralto. Miss Libby Smith exhibits much promise, but her choice of songs is far too ambitious for her present accomplishments. ‘Ernani involami,’ and ‘Let the bright Seraphim,’ are pieces only to be conquered by artists, or by accomplished and thoroughly finished amateurs. She would have effected as much greater success in songs better suited to her capacity.  

    The choral performance was good, some parts very good, although more voices were necessary to make them impressive, with all the strong contrasts of light and shade.  The deficiency was not so apparent in the lighter choruses, but when Mendelssohn’s ‘Rise up, Arise’ came up for execution, the director saw but 10 singers in their seats, and turning round to the audience, called the recreant choristers back to their duty.  Being thus publicly rebuked, most of the absent singers went back from the audience to the orchestra. But the conductor still waited amid general wonder for, as it proved, one unfortunate absentee, who was finally compelled to emerge from the retiring hall, and walk up to his seat on the stage, heralded by shouts of laughter and thunders of applause. The culprit proved to be no less a personage than the President of the Society, who had always been emphatic in condemning those absenting themselves from choral duty. The laugh was against him this time, but he bore it well.

    The most successful choral performance was the ‘Ave Maria’ from Wallace’s ‘Lurline,’ which was charmingly rendered.”

Review: New York Herald, 06 May 1866.

“The last of the old system of concerts given by this excellent vocal society took place at Dodworth Hall on Thursday evening.  The next soiree, June 28, which will close their present season, will introduce orchestral effects instead of a piano accompaniment alone. A light pleasing affair by Mac Farren [sic], called the ‘May Queen,’ comprised the first part of the programme. The second part introduced Mr. Thatcher, a very acceptable tenor, in a solo from the Prophet. It was well sung and favorably received. Misses Simms, Mayer and Smith were the other soloists, and were equally successful. The hall is entirely too small for such a society, and gives them but little opportunity to render any great works as effectively as they would in a larger one.

“When Steinway’s new hall is completed it will be opened by the Mendelssohn Union in some of their most telling pieces. The society will then be more prominently and favorably located, and have a better chance to secure from the music-loving public a recognition of their high worth as vocalists.  Under the direction of Dr. William Berge the Mendelssohn Union have given some of the most difficult and the grandest works of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Reinthaler, Wallace, Rossini, &c.  On the 14th inst. they will assist Theodore Thomas at Irving Hall in the rendering of Beethoven’s ‘Egmont,’ Nicolai’s ‘Overture,’ the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ and the ‘Ruins of Athens.’  Such a treat has been hitherto of rare occurrence in America, and shows what progress has been made in music here.”