Lang, Margaret Ruthven


One of our most famous composers; born in Boston, and thoroughly American. Her father is the celebrated B. J. Lang, who for so many years has been prominent in the musical life of Boston. Her mother obtained quite a reputation as a singer, though she never became a professional. Both parents watched over the musical development of their gifted daughter and she has well repaid their care. Her first instruction on the piano was given her by one of her father's pupils, and later she continued with her father himself. She also took up the study of violin, first with Louis Schmidt in Boston, continuing for the season of 1886-1887 with Drechsler and Abel in Munich. While there she also studied composition under Victor Gluth. She had already showed her natural ability for composition, for at the age of twelve she had written a quintet of one movement for strings and piano and several songs. Miss Lang possesses a great capacity for work and her own efforts have enabled her to derive the greatest benefit from her studies. Upon her return to America she continued her study of composition with George W. Chadwick, also studying orchestration under him. Miss Lang is an active member of the New York Manuscript Society. She has that artistic temperament and intelligent comprehension of her work which insures success. Her first large work of note was the Dramatic Overture performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Nikisch in 1893. An overture, Witichis, was performed the same year by Theodore Thomas in Chicago. These compositions, also an overture, Totila, are still in manuscript. Of three arias two were performed in 1896, Sappho's Prayer to Aphrodite, for contralto and orchestra, performed in New York, and Armida, for soprano and orchestra,  performed at the Boston Symphony concerts. The third is Phoebus, for barytone and orchestra. Among other large compositions are a cantata for chorus, solos and orchestra; a string quartet, and several compositions for violin and piano. Her songs, which number about one hundred and twenty-five, are mostly well known, among them the popular Day is Gone; Somewhere; The Hills o' Skye; A Thought; Irish Love Song; and two volumes of Nonsense Songs. She has also written part-songs for women's, men's and mixed voices. Many excellent piano numbers are among her works, some of which are a rhapsody in E minor; Meditation; Petit Roman; a Revery; and Spring Idyll; the last two new and particularly charming.