Friday, May 16, 2008

A Little Taste Of History (15)

Topic: Important Men of NYC #2

Burchard, Samuel Dickinson: (1812-91). An American Presbyterian clergyman, born in Steuben, N.Y. He graduated at Centre College in 1836, and soon became prominent in Kentucky as an anti-slavery and temperance lecturer. He became pastor of the Houston Street Presbyterian Church in New York City in 1839, and of the Murray Hill Church in 1879, but in 1885 he withdrew from active work, and became pastor emeritus. On October 29, 1884, toward the end of the bitter Blaine-Cleveland Presidential campaign, he was the spokesman of a large party of clergymen of all denominations, who waited upon Blaine at the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York City to assure him of their support. Toward the end of his generally temperate address, he characterized the Democratic Party as the party of "Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion." This unfortunate alliteration, which Blaine did not at the time take the pains to repudiate, was immediately made use of by the Democrats as campaign material. The words were printed on leaflets which were spread broadcast among the voters, flaring placards, ringing endless changes on the letters "R.R.R.," were exhibited in all the large cities, and the Democratic press persistently attributed the sentiment to Blaine himself and charged him with being a rabid anti-Catholic. It is generally believed that the phrase alienated enough Catholic voters in New York State alone, where the Democratic majority was only 1047 votes, to turn the national election, which hinged on the electoral vote of New York, to Cleveland.

Damrosch, Frank: (1859---)A prominent American musician, son of Leopold Damrosch. He was born in Breslau. At first a clerk in a music store in Denver, he later drilled the chorus in the German opera in New York, which his father conducted. In 1892 he organized the People's Singing Classes in New York. Of these, now numbering about 1500 members, the more advanced form the People's Choral Union. They are most important factors in popularizing music, and their annual concerts are of a high artistic order. Damrosch also became conductor of the Oratorio society, Symphony Society, president of the Musical Arts Society, and supervisor of music in the public schools of New York City.

Damrosch, Leopold: (1832-85) A German-American musician, violinist, composer, and conductor, born in Posen, Prussia. His parents chose the profession of medicine for him, and after graduating at the University of Berlin he returned to Posen to practice; but his passionate love of music, which he had continued to study incidentally, prevailed, and in 1854 he abandoned medicine for the study of counterpoint and composition under Hubert, Ries, and Dehn. In 1855 he started out as a concert violinist in Magdeburg; became acquainted with Liszt, and under his influence began to write for the Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik. He was director in Posen and in Breslau, and in 1871 came to New York as director of the Arion Society. The credit of firmly establishing choral organizations in New York belongs entirely to Damrosch. He founded the Oratorio Society (1873) and the Symphony Society (1877), and organized several large musical festivals. All these played a most important part in the musical life of New York City. But the most brilliant achievement of his life was the successful establishment, in 1884, of German opera in New York City, at the Metropolitan Opera House, notwithstanding the obvious difficulties of the undertaking. Among the operas given, Fidelio, Tannhauser, Lohengrin, and Die Walkure were the most important as comparative novelties. He died in New York, and imposing funeral services were held in the Opera House. His works comprise several cantatas, a festival overture, beside violin concertos and songs. (14)

Sources Utilized to Document A Little Taste Of History


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