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The National Music of America. 303
the third season this was increased to twenty-six (always with an equal number of public rehearsals), and then the number settled down to twenty-four, which has been the regular number annually ever since.
From the very first, because of the adequate number of rehearsals, the performances went beyond anything that Boston ever possessed save in the occasional concerts of Theodore Thomas's excellently drilled travelling orchestra, and as the years rolled by the standard went far beyond anything that was anticipated at the beginning. In order to make the programmes thoroughly educational, Beethoven's nine symphonies formed the backbone of each of the early seasons, until every music-lover in Boston knew them almost by heart. Mr. Henschel had also a habit of " saying grace " in a musical manner by beginning every season with Beethoven's " Dedication of the House " overture.
Another reform was necessary before the