Church of the Holy Cross Choral Concert

Event Information

Church of the Holy Cross

J. E. Gleason [cond.-org]

Event Type:
Choral, Orchestral

Record Information


Last Updated:
19 July 2016

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

20 May 1866, 10:00 AM

Program Details

Sermon by Bishop Lynch of Charleston, S.C.
Grand mass with orchestral accompaniment
Performers include most of the vocalists from the Mendelssohn Union, per NYH review

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Paschal Mass; Easter Mass
Composer(s): Lambillotte
aka Prayer; Ave Maria
Composer(s): Wallace
Composer(s): Hummel


Announcement: New York Herald, 20 May 1866.
Review: New York Herald, 21 May 1866.

“An immense congregation assembled at this handsome church in Forty-second street yesterday, to hear the delightful Paschal Mass of Lambillotte sung with an orchestral accompaniment. [singers identified] Mr. Gleason, organist of the church, conducted the mass and presided at the organ.  The latter instrument is but a sorry affair, and it reflects much credit on the musical abilities of Mr. Gleason that he managed to give such an excellent organ accompaniment to the mass and incidental pieces. The mass is a superb work of orchestration, especially the Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus. The Kyrie commences in D minor, in a largo, plaintive movement changing to a dashing allegro. The Gloria opens with a charming duet for the flute and violin, then for soprano and alto, a theme which would be popular even if sung in a concert hall. The Domine Deus, a soprano solo, preceded by a beautiful air for the flute, and the Quoniam for the bass, with accompanying clarionets, horns, hautboys and flutes, are other striking features in this work. The Credo is somewhat rugged and abrupt as a whole, but it abounds in walls of tender harmony that relieve the rusticity of the vocal and orchestral parts. Nearing the Et Incarnatus the voices are carried along in a rapid rush of bubbling, joyous harmony, like a mountain torrent leaping from a precipice. The Et Incarnatus, sung by Miss Werneke, is a genuine emanation of a dramatic genius and a musical soul. In the Crucifixus a bass solo, the effect of the violoncelli tremolos down in the depths of the orchestra, is particularly beautiful. The bass solos in the Benedictus and Agnus Dei are also remarkable for melody and the coloring of the accompaniment. In fact, the mass belongs to the melodic school of sacred music; for even in the finales Lambillotte persists in introducing some new theme. It is not massive and grand as the Twelfth Mass, or Beethoven’s in C, but it is more like the music of Mendelssohn—light, sparkling and graceful—than that of any other composer we know of. At the sermon the Ave Maria from Lurline, and at the offertory, a rather tedious and trying work by Hummel, Alma Virgo, were sung. Regarding the execution of these works by the double quartet choir, it is only necessary to mention that the vocalists were nearly all from the Mendelssohn Union, to decide on their merits. The orchestra and organ parts were excellent in every respect.”