Berkshire Festival of Chamber Music (1918-38)
A collection of programmes for the first ten seasons of the Berkshire Festival of Chamber Music, given between 1918 and 1938 in South Mountain, Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The first seven seasons were given annually (1918-24). Thereafter, Festivals were held less regularly (1828, 1834 and 1838).
Each Festival consisted of five concerts (two morning and three afternoon) spread over three days in late September. Concerts combined European chamber music with compositions by American composers and included a large number of first performances. The programmes also record that a number of works were either commissioned by the Festival or written for the annual composition competition. The pieces being performed as winners of this competition are marked * below.
The volume begins with a photograph of Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, who is described as ‘the Fairy Godmother of Chamber Music’. There is also a brief historical introduction to the volume (signed by ‘H.S.’) in which Coolidge’s role in the development of chamber music performances is outlined.
The volume concludes with the following appendices: List of the Winners of the Berkshire Chamber-Music Competition; List of Compositions Dedicated to Mrs Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Performed at the Berkshire Festivals; First Performances at the Berkshire Festivals; First American Performances at the Berkshire Festivals; Index to Composers and Compositions; and Index to Artists and Ensembles.
Many of the performances were given by the Berkshire String Quartet, whose membership, unless otherwise stated below consisted of Hugo Kortschak, Jacques Gordon, Clarence Evans and Emmeran Stoeber.
First Festival: 16–18 September 1918
16 September 1918: The Berkshire String Quartet (with Sergei Kotlarsky replacing Jacques Gordon) with Mrs F.S. Coolidge (piano), including the first performance of Alois Reiser, Quartet in E minor.
17 September 1918: The Elshuco Trio, being Samuel Gardner (violin), Willem Willeke, (cello) and Richard Epstein (piano).
17 September 1918: The Longy-Club, being Messrs A. Brooke and A. Battles (flute), G. Longy and C. Lenom (oboe), A. Sand and A. Vannini (clarinet), F. Hain and H. Lorbeer (horn), E. Mueller and B. Piller (bassoon), G. Nappi (trumpet) and A. De Voto (piano).
18 September 1918: The Letz Quartet (Hans Letz, Sandor Harmati, Edward Kreiner and Gerald Maas).
18 September 1918: The Berkshire String Quartet, with Edward Kreiner (viola) and Gerald Maas (cello), including the first performance of Tadeusz Iarecki, Quartet*.
Second Festival: 25–27 September 1919
25 September 1919: Berkshire String quartet (with Louis Bailly replacing Clarence Evans), with Harold Bauer (piano), including the first performance of Rebecca Clarke, Sonata for Violin and Piano and first American performance of Elgar, Quartet in E minor, op. 83.
26 September 1919: Chamber Music with Wind Instruments, given by Harold Bauer, Daniel Gregory Mason and Leo Sowerby (piano), Hugo Kortschak and Jacques Gordon (violin), Louis Bailly (viola), Daniel Maquarre (flute), Gustave Langenus (clarinet) and Leopold de Maré (horn), including the first performance of Leo Sowerby, Trio for Flute, Viola and Piano in E minor (with the composer at the piano).
26 September 1919: Flonzaley Quartet (Adolfo Betti, Alfred Pochon, Ugo Ara and Iwan d’Archambeau).
27 September 1919: Programme of Vocal Chamber Music, arranged and prepared by Frederick A. Stock and given by Florence Hinkle (soprano), Eva Gauthier (mezzo), Merle Alcock (alto), Lambert Murphy (tenor) and Reinald Werrenrath (baritone) with Marx Oberndorfer and Emanuel Balaban (piano), Daniel Macquarre and Nicholas Kouloukis (flute), Edward Langenus and Carl Kuhlman (clarinet) and the Berkshire String Quartet.
27 September 1919: Berkshire String Quartet with Harold Bauer (piano), Gustav Langenus (clarinet), Leopold de Maré (horn), Ugo Savolini (bassoon) and Ludwig Manoly (double bass), including the first performance of Ernest Bloch, Suite for Viola and Piano and the first American performance of Saint-Saens, Quartet in G major, op. 153.
Third Festival: 23–25 September 1920
23 September 1920: Berkshire String Quartet, with Guy Maier and Lee Pattison (piano).
24 September 1920: Efrem Zimbalist (violin) and John Powell (piano).
24 September 1920: London String Quartet (James Levey, Thomas W. Petre, H. Waldo Warner and C. Warwick Evans).
25 September 1920: Chamber Music Concert organized by Carlos Salzedo, with Greta Torpadie (soprano), George Barrère (flute), Georges Longy (oboe), Georges Grisez (clarinet), Abdon Laus (bassoon) and George Wendler (horn). The concert also featured the Berkshire String Quartet, the Salzedo Harp Ensemble and Trio de Lutèce (Georges Barrère, flute, Carlos Salzedo, harp and Paul Kéfer, cello).
25 September 1920: Berkshire String Quartet and the London String Quartet, including the first performance of Francesco Malipiero, ‘Rispetti e Strambotti’ for String Quartet*.
Fourth Festival: 29 September–1 October 1921
29 September 1921: The Letz Quartet (Hans Letz, Edwin Bachmann, Edward Kreiner and Horace Britt), with Hugo Kortschak (viola), including the first performance of David Stanley Smith, Quartet in C, op. 46.
30 September 1921: The Barrère Ensemble of Wind Instruments, featuring Georges Barrère (flute), Pierre Mathieu (oboe), Fred Van Amburgh (clarinet), Santiago Richart (horn) and Louis Letellier (bassoon), with Alfredo Oswald (piano), including the first performance of Domenico Brescia, Dithyrambic Suite, for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn and Bassoon.
30 September 1921: The Elshuco Trio, being Elias Breeskin (violin), Willem Willeke (cello) and Aurelio Giorni (piano), including the first performance of H. Waldo Warner, Suite for Pianoforte, Violin and Violoncello*.
1 October 1921: Composers’ Programme, featuring Percy Grainger, Selim Palmgren and Leo Sowerby (piano), Léon Sametini, Hans Letz, Hugo Kortschak, Amy Neill and Edwin Bachmann (violin), Edward Kreiner (viola), George Barrère (flute), Pierre Mathieu (oboe), Giuseppe Pizzo (harp) and Carl Glassman, Sam Borodkin and Hans Goettich (bells and percussion), including the first performance of Henry Eichheim, Oriental Impressions for Piano, Harp, four Violins, Viola, Flute, Oboe, Bells and Percussion, conducted by the composer.
1 October 1921: The Detroit Symphony String Quartet (Ilya Scholnik, William G. King, Herman Kolodkin and Philipp Abbas) with Ossip Gabrilowitsch (piano) and Gaston Brohan (bass).
Fifth Festival: 28–30 September 1922
28 September 1922: Wendling Quartet (Carl Wendling, Hans Michaelis, Philip Neeter and Alfred Saal), with Georges Grisez (clarinet), including the first American performance of Max Reger, Clarinet Quintet in A major, op. 146.
29 September 1922: Brahms Programme given by Mabel Beddoe (alto), Felix Salmond (cello), Ernest Hutcheson and Francis Moore (piano), Nathan Firestone and Hugo Kortschak (viola) and Georges Grisez (clarinet).
29 September 1922: New York Trio of Clarence Adler (piano), Scipione Guidi (violin) and Cornelius Van Vliet (cello), including the first American performance of Gabriel Pierné, Trio in C minor, op. 45.
30 September 1922: String Quartet of the Chamber Music Society of San Francisco (Louis Persinger, Louis Ford, Nathan Firestone and Walter Ferner) with George Grisez (clarinet), Marcel Tabuteau (oboe), Arthur Lora (flute) George Wendler (horn), August Mesnard (bassoon) and Anselme Fortier (double bass), including the first performance of Brescia, Second Suite (Rhapsodic) for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon and French Horn.
30 September 1922: Wendling Quartet, including the first performance of Leo Weiner, String Quartet in F sharp minor*.
Sixth Festival: 27–29 September 1923
27 September 1923: London String Quartet (James Levey, Thomas Petre, H. Waldo-Warner and C. Warwick Evans) assisted by the Festival Quartet of South Mountain (William Kroll, Karl Kraeuter, Edward Kreiner and Willem Willeke).
28 September 1923: Sonata Recital for Piano and Violin with Myra Hess (piano) and Lionel Tertis (violin), with the assistance of Katharine Goodson (piano), Gustav Langenus (clarinet) and Rebecca Clarke, Hugo Kortschak, Edward Kreiner, Nicolas Moldavan and H. Waldo-Warner (viola), including the first American performances of B.J. Dale, Sextet for Violas, Introduction and Andante and Arnold Bax, Sonata for Piano and Viola.
28 September 1923: Vocal Chamber Music, given by Mabel Garrison (soprano), Elena Gerhardt (mezzo), George Meader (tenor) and Reinald Werrenrath (baritone), with Elizabeth Coolidge, Coenraad V. Bos and Kurt Schindler (piano).
29 September 1923: New Chamber Music, given by the Festival Quartet of South Mountain, with Myra Hess (piano), Lionel Tertis (viola), Albert Spalding, Edouard Dethier and Hugo Kortschak (violin) and May Muklé and Emmeran Stoeber (cello), including the first American performance of Paul Hindemith, String Quartet in F minor, op. 10 and the first performances of Rebecca Clarke, Rhapsody for Piano and Cello and Eugene Goossens, Phantasy Sextet in one movement for three Violins, Violas, and two Cello. There was no competition winner this year; instead, the last two works listed here were commissioned for the Festival.
29 September 1923: Festival Quartet of South Mountain, with Katherine Goodson (piano), including the first performance of G. Francesco Malipiero, ‘Stornelli e Ballate’ for String Quartet.
Seventh Festival: 17–19 September 1924
17 September 1924: Festival Quartet of South Mountain (William Kroll, Karl Kraeuter, Hugo Kortschak and Willem Willeke), with Aurelio Giorni (piano).
18 September 1924: Bach Programme given by Harold Samuel (piano), Georges Enesco (violin) and Fraser Gange (baritone).
18 September 1924: American Programme, given by the Festival Quartet of South Mountain with Carl Friedberg and Leo Sowerby (piano), Jacques Gordon (violin) and Hans Kindler (cello), including the first American performance of Leo Sowerby, Sonata in G Major for Cello and Piano and the first performance of Samuel Gardner, Piano Quintet in F minor, op. 18 ‘To a Soldier’.
19 September 1924: The Rich-Kindler-Hammann Trio and the Rich Quartet of Philadelphia (Thaddeus Rich, Harry Aleinkoff, Romain Verney and Hans Kindler), with Carl Friedberg (piano) and Georges Enesco (violin).
19 September 1924: Vocal Programme given by the Lenox String Quartet of New York (Sandor Harmati, Wolfe Wolfinsohn, Nicholas Moldavan and Emmeran Stoeber) with Dorothy Moulton, Edith Bennett and Ruth Rodgers (soprano), Devora Nadworney (alto), Charles Stratton (tenor), Fraser Gange (baritone), Richard Hageman (piano), Hugo Kortschak (violin), Pierre Henkelman (oboe/cor anglais), Rufus Arey (clarinet), Anton Horner (horn) and Anton Torello (double bass), including the first performance of Wallingford Riegger, ‘La Belle Dame sans Merci’, A Musical Setting to the poem of John Keats for two sopranos, contralto, tenor, violin, viola, cello, double bass, oboe (English horn), clarinet and French horn*.
Eighth festival: 19–21 September 1928
19 September 1928: Berkshire String Quartet with the Gordon String Quartet of Chicago (Jacques Gordon, Walter Hancock, Clarence Evans and Richard Wagner), assisted by Rudolph Reuter (piano).
20 September 1928: South Mountain Quartet of Pittsfield (William Kroll, Karl Kraeuter, Conrad Held and Willem Willeke) and the Elshuco Trio of New York (Aurelio Giorni, William Kroll and Willem Willeke), with Paul Lemay (violin) and Victor de Gomez (cello), including the first American performances of the second and third movements from Malipiero, Sonata a Tre and Reger, Sextet in F major, op. 118.
20 September 1928: Programme of Spanish music, given by Luisa Espinel (Lyric Diseuse), Pasquale Amerena (flute), Lucile Lawrence (harp), Jean Devergie (oboe), Carlos Salzedo (piano and harp), Fred Bettoney (clarinet), Kathryn Kerin (piano), Jacques Gordon (violin) and Jacobus Langendoen (cello), including the first American performance of the piano version of Manuel de Falla, Concerto for Harpsichord or Piano, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Violin and Violoncello and the first performance of Carlos Salzedo, Pentacle, Five Pieces for two Harps.
21 September 1928: Roth Quartet of Budapest (Feri Roth, Jenö Antal, Ferenc Molnár and Albert van Doorn) with Egon Kornstein (viola), including the first American performance of Frank Bridge, Third Quartet and the first performance of Martinu, Quintet.
21 September 1928: Gordon String Quartet of Chicago with the Chamber Orchestra of Boston, conducted by Hugo Kortschak, including the first American performance of Arnold Schonberg, Third Quartet, op. 30.
Ninth Festival: 19–21 September 1934
19 September 1934: South Mountain Quartet of Pittsfield (Louis Persinger, Edwin Ideler, Conrad Held and Willem Willeke) with Alfredo Casella and John Alden Carpenter (piano), including the first performances of Henry Eichheim, Sonata for Violin and Piano and John Alden Carpenter, Quintet for Piano and Strings, with the composer at the piano.
20 September 1934: Casella-Poltronieri-Bonucci Trio of Rome, including the first American performance of a transcription of Bach, Sonata a Tre (from Das Musikalische Opfer) by Alfredo Casella and the first performances of Roy Harris, Trio and Muzio Clementi, Trio in D major, in an arrangement by Casella.
20 September 1934: Laurent Wind Quintet of Boston, featuring Georges Laurent (flute), Victor Polatschek (clarinet), Fernand Gillet (oboe), Raymond Allard (bassoon), George Boettcher (horn) and Jesús María Sanromá (piano), including the first performance of Edward Burlingame Hill, Sextet.
21 September 1934: Kroll Sextet of New York (William Kroll and Nicolai Berezowsky (violin), David Mankowitz and David Sackson (violas), Horace Britt and Paul Kefer (cello) and Frank Sheridan (piano)), including the first American performance of Frank Bridge, Sonata for Piano and Violin.
21 September 1934: Chamber Orchestra (comprising members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra), conducted by Richard Burgin, with Olga Averino (soprano), including the first American performance of Ottorino Respighi, Concerto a cinque, for Oboe, Trumpet, Violin, Double Bass, Piano and String orchestra and the first performance of Cyril B. Tootham, Septet for Viola, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, French Horn and Harp. The concert also included the first American performances of transcriptions and arrangements of music by Bach, Couperin and Lully. The programme provides a list of the orchestral musicians involved.
Tenth festival: 21–23 September 1938
21 September 1938: Berkshire String Quartet, the South Mountain Quartet (Kathleen Parlow, Edwin Ideler, Conrad Held and Willem Willeke) and the Solo Quartet of St. Bartholomen’s Church, New York City (Dorothy Baker, Saida Knox, Lucius Metz and Reed Kennedy, vocal), with Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge and Gunnar Johansen (piano) and Albert Sprague Coolidge (viola).
22 September 1938: Kolisch Quartet (Rudolf Kolisch, Felix Kuhner, Eugen Lehner and Benar Heifetz), with Irene Jacobi (piano), including the first performances of: Anton von Webern, Quartet Opus 28; Louis Gruenberg, Quartet No. 2, op. 40; and Frederick Jacobi, Hagiographa: Three Biblical Narrative for String Quartet and Piano.
22 September 1938: Barrère Ensemble of Wind Instruments, featuring Georges Barrère (flute), Carlos Mullenix (oboe), Fred van Amburgh (clarinet), Rudolph Puletz (horn) and Angel del Busto (bassoon), with the Coolidge String Quartet (William Kroll, Nicolai Berezowsky, Nicolas Moldavan and Victor Gottlieb), Carlos Salzedo and Sylvia Meyer (harp) and Jesús María Sanromá (piano).
23 September 1938: Gordon String Quartet (Jacques Gordon, David Sackson, William Lincer and Naoum Benditzky) and the Coolidge String Quartet, including the first performance of Frank Bridge, Quartet No. 4.
23 September 1938: Roth Quartet (Feri Roth, Jenö Antal, Ferenc Molnár and Janos Scholz) with Ralph Kirkpatrick (harpsichord), Ernst Toch (piano), Georges Barrere and Frances Blaisdell (flute) and string orchestra, conducted by Hugo Kortschak.
1918 - 1938
Associated People and Organisations
Zimbalist, Efrem -
Wendling Quartet -
Weiner, Leo -
Webern, Anton -
Warner, H. Waldo -
Trio de Lutèce -
Tootham, Cyril B. -
Tertis, Lionel -
Sowerby, Leo -
South Mountain Quartet of Pittsfield -
Smith, David Stanley -
Schoenberg, Arnold -
Samuel, Harold 1879 - 1937
Salzedo, Carlos -
Salzedo Harp Ensemble -
Saint-Saens, Camille -
Roth, Feri -
Roth Quartet -
Riegger, Wallingford -
Rich-Kindler-Hammann Trio -
Rich, Thaddeus -
Rich String Quartet -
Respighi, Ottorino -
Reiser, Alois -
Reger, Max -
Powell, John -
Poltronieri, Alberto -
Pierne, Gabriel -
Pattison, Lee -
New York Trio -
Martinu, Bohuslav -
Malipiero, Gian Francesco -
Maier, Guy -
Maas, Gerald -
Lully, Jean-Baptiste -
London String Quartet -
Letz, Hans -
Letz Quartet -
Lennox String Quartet -
Laurent, Georges -
Laurent Wind Quintet -
Kroll, William -
Kroll Sextet -
Kortschak, Hugo -
Kolisch, Rudolf -
Kolisch String Quartet -
Jacobi, Frederick -
Iarecki, Tadeusz -
Hindemith, Paul -
Hill, Edward Burlingame -
Hess, Myra -
Harris, Roy -
Gordon, Jacques -
Gordon String Quartet -
Goossens, Eugène -
Goodson, Katharine -
Gardner, Samuel -
Gange, Fraser -
Gabrilowitsch, Ossip -
Friedberg, Carl -
Flonzaley Quartet -
Festival Quartet of South Mountain -
Falla, Manuel de -
Enesco, Georges -
Elshuco Trio -
Elgar, Edward -
Eichheim, Henry -
Detroit Symphony String Quartet -
Dale, Benjamin James -
Couperin, Francois -
Coolidge, Elizabeth Sprague -
Coolidge String Quartet -
Clementi, Muzio -
Clarke, Rebecca -
Chamber Orchestra of Boston -
Chamber Music Society of San Francisco -
Casella-Poltronieri-Bonucci Trio -
Casella, Alfredo -
Carpenter, John Alden -
Burgin, Richard -
Brohan, Gaston -
Bridge, Frank -
Brescia, Domenico -
Boston Symphony Orchestra -
Bonucci, Arturo -
Bloch, Ernest -
Berkshire String Quartet -
Berkshire Festival of Chamber Music -
Bax, Arnold -
Bauer, Harold -
Barrère, Georges -
Barrère Ensemble of Wind Instruments -
Bailly, Louis -
Bach, Johann Sebastian -
Averino, Olga -
South Mountain, Pittsfield
20th century - early 1900-1930
20th century - mid 1931-1970
List of orchestral players
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