Sunday, November 22, 2009

Music in Devil in the White City

Even though Devil in the White City was not the most literary work, with its use of embarrassingly unconvincing metaphors and its omniscient narrative style, I loved it for its history, its details, and its lists of central, as well as tangential, facts. I knew very little about this specific time in Chicago, and Larsen cast a wide net in gathering information and stories for this book, and I'm grateful for this new awareness that I have of my city. I love it as a book about the architecture of Chicago and about the 1893 World's Fair, but I could have done without Holmes. Frederick Law Olmsted was my favorite "character" of the book. His views on landscape architecture and the anecdotes about his obsessive nature related to his work were a pleasure to read.

One of the things that caught my attention reading this book were the passages regarding the music of the Exposition. Larsen writes about the day George Ferris officially sent the Wheel for its first spin, and the forty-piece Iowa State Marching Band who played "My Country 'Tis of Thee" from aboard one of the ferris wheel cars. What an amazing site that would have been.
Following that, Ferris blew a gold whistle, which his wife had given him, and the Iowa State band began to play "America" setting the wheel in motion again. On the dedication day of the Exposition, a 5,000 person choir singing Handel's "Hallelujah" chorus and accompanied by 500 musicians. I read elsewhere that this was actually a 5,700 person choir. I did some additional research to see what else I might turn up.

One thing I found out was that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed there, which was the culmination of its first major concert tour. Also, the first Indonesian music performance in the United States took place at the Exposition. Finally, the Stoughton Musical Society was the only chorus invited to play American music. The Society gave two concerts in the Music Hall of the World's Columbian Exposition on August 14 & 15, 1893. Below is the complete concert program that they performed:

1a. "Turner" (pub. in 1802)-- Abraham Maxim
1b. "Invitation" (pub. in 1793)--Jacob Kimball
1c. "Contentment" (pub. in 1805)--John Cole

2. Duet: "Arrayed in Golden Light"--Oliver Shaw

3a. "Emmanuel"(pub. in 1790)--William Billings
3b. "New Bethlehem" (pub. about 1800) --Edward French
3c. "Majesty" (pub. about 1790 [1778]) --William Billings

4. Trio: "Omega" --Oliver Holden, pub.about 1793

5a. "Austria"(pub. in 1790)--Nahum Mitchell
5b. "Greenwich"(pub. in 1793)--Daniel Read
5c. "Heavenly Vision" (pub. in 1786)--Jacob French

6a. Solo and Chorus: "Ode to Columbia's Favorite Son" (1789) --Oliver Holden
6b. "Chester" (pub. in 1770)--William Billings
6c. "Ode on Science"(pub. in 1798)--Jezaniah Sumner

7. Song: "There's" Nothing True But Heaven" --Oliver Shaw

8. "Easter Anthem" --William Billings

9. "China"(pub. in 1788)--Timothy Swan

10a. "New Jerusalem" (pub. in 1802)--Jeremiah Ingalls
10b. "David's Invitation [Lamentation]" --William Billings
10c. "Mount Vernon" (pub. in 1803) --John Cole [Oliver Holden]

11. Quartette: "When as Returns This Solemn Day" --Lowell Mason

12. Anthem: "Jehovah's Praise" (pub. about 1837)--Edward L. White

No comments:

Post a Comment