St. Petersburg Horn Quartet
(1872 - 1873)


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 wrote:
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 enthusiastic:
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 finely rendered.
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 indeed wonderful.
No further performances have been found.

Adolph 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.




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