B1225. (HENSCHEL) HELEN HENSCHEL. When Soft Voices Die – A Musical Biography. London, Methuen, 1949. 180pp. Index; Photos; DJ.
“Biography of the author's father, Sir George Henschel, singer, conductor and founder of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1881 (he used the name 'Georg Henschel').
Sir George Henschel (Isidor Georg Henschel) was a German-born British baritone, pianist, conductor, and composer. Henschel was born at Breslau, then part of Germany, of Polish-Jewish parentage and educated as a pianist, making his first public appearance in Berlin in 1862. He subsequently took up singing, initially and briefly as a basso profundo but developing a fine baritone voice. In 1868, he sang the part of Hans Sachs in a concert performance of DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG at Munich. With one minor and unplanned exception, he never sang on stage, confining himself to concert appearances.
He was a close friend of Johannes Brahms, whom he met in May 1874 at the Lower Rhenish Music Festival in Cologne, where Henschel sang the rôle of Harapha in Handel's oratorio SAMSON. The friendship lasted until Brahms' death; their last meeting had been at a restaurant in Leipzig in 1896, where they were joined by Edvard Grieg and Arthur Nikisch.
Henschel's very highly developed sense of interpretation and style made him an ideal concert singer, while he was no less distinguished as accompanist. In fact he sometimes combined both functions; he can be heard on records made as late as 1928 for Columbia singing Lieder by Schubert and Schumann to his own accompaniment.
Henschel was also a prominent conductor, in America and England. He became the first conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1881.”
- Zillah D. Akron