On November 6, 1872 the St. Petersburg Horn Quartet,
comprising Adolph Belz, Ludwig Lippoldt,
Carl Schumann, and Bernhard Kohser
boarded the steamship North Star at Hamburg Germany
for the voyage to New York by way of Glasgow. They had
been colleagues in the orchestra of the Imperial
Opera, St. Petersburg, Russia. Of the public rehearsal
on January 8, 1873 for their appearance with the
Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The novelty at yesterday's rehearsal was
the Russian brass. ... Messrs. Belz, Lippoldt,
Schumann and Kohser constitute a remarkably
excellent quartet of French horns. Their playing
secured the applause not only of the audience but of
the members of the orchestra - commonly chary of
expressions of approval.
The reception of the concert itself was even more
The popular success of the evening was
unquestionably the French Horn quartet. The eveness
of tone of the several instruments was remarkable. A
French horn is like an ill trained race horse - apt
to break badly. The result is often painful to the
last degree, the mellow richness of the brass
becoming a gasping choking incoherency. Messrs.
Belz, Lippoldt, Schumann, and Kohser escape this,
and beside developing individual excellence have
attained to a very rare degree that sympathetic
unity without which a concerted surely falls. They
played selections from Marschner and Mendelssohn,
and, on a very hearty recall, a capriccio by Lorenz.
On January 24, the New York Herald announced:
An unusual addition is to be made to the
orchestra of the Fifth Avenue Theatre, a quartet of
performers on the French Horn, who have just
arrived from Europe, having been procured for a
protracted engagement. They were attached to the
Russian Court at St. Petersburg, where they were
known as the "Imperial Chamber Quartet." They are
said to be singularly excellent musicians, and their
performances are expected to prove and attractive
feature at the new theatre.
Four days later the Herald followed up with:
At Daly's Fifth Avenue Theatre last night
a feature of interest was added to the entertainment
by the introduction of the "Imperial Quartet of Horn
Players from St. Petersburg." The four players
performed in the first entr'acte, and were a great
relief from the usual orchestra. Their playing was
characterized by much taste and feeling, and the
harmony produced was very pleasing. Marschner's
"Awakening of Spring" a very breezy composition, was
Their next appearance was on January 30, 1873 in a
"Grand Concert for the benefit of the Germany Ladies'
Society for Widows and Orphans, at Steinway Hall. Also
on the program were Mlle. Anna Drasdil, contralto, Dr.
Leopold Damrosch, violin, Mr. Albert Meyer, piano, and
the Arion Vocal Society. On March 15 the quartet
appeared in Philadelphia on Carl Wolfsohn's second
Saturday night concert of the season, once again with
Mlle. Drasdil. Music critic "Eustace" writing in
Dwight's Journal reported:
The "St. Petersburg French Horn Quartet"
performed two quartets. It is impossible to describe
the perfection to which these men have wrought this
ungainly instrument; the pianissimo effects are
No further performances have been found.
Belz joined the New York Philharmonic for the
1873 - 1874 season appearing as fourth horn for the
November concert then moving to third horn. The
following year a new "Philharmonic Club" was formed in
Boston and Mr. Belz became its solo horn.
Ludwig (or Louis) Lippoldt appeared as fourth horn
with the New York Philharmonic for its 1874-1875
season starting with the second concert. He then moved
to Boston and taught at the Conservatory of Music. He
was also a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra
from 1881 to 1886. On September 23, 1877 he
married Marie Schneider in Boston. He became a
naturalized citizen of the United States on October
18, 1882. Mr. Lippoldt died on June 1, 1910 in Boston.
Carl Schumann also moved to Boston and was a member of
the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1881 to 1912 and
also the Boston Instrumental Club. He became a
naturalized citizen in 1887. He married Valerie M.
Pernaux and their son, Victor Carl Schumann, was born
on March 6, 1889.
Fourth horn Bernhard Kohser was hired by Theodore
Thomas in that role for both the Thomas Orchestra and
the Brooklyn Philharmonic. He was featured with his
new colleagues, Henry
Schmitz, Carl Pieper, and Herrmann
Küstenmacher, in horn quartet performances on
progams by both orchestras in 1874. Unfortunately, Mr.
Kohser died on January 5, 1875 in the thirty-third
year of his life.