Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Název události:

Second concert given by the Prage Concert Orchestra [Prager Koncert-Orchesters]

Místo konání: Platýz

Typ akce: Art music culture

Datum: 16/06/1851 5pm

Sézona: Summer

Programme comprising:

  • Prague Concert Orchestra [Prager Koncert Orchesters]: participating orchestra
  • MINKUS, Ludwig: leader of orchestra
WEBER, Carl Maria von : Overture Jubel-Ouvertüre, E major, op.59, J245
MINKUS, Ludwig : Burleske Carnaval hongrois, vl, orch
     • Minkus, Ludwig : vl
FÜRSTENAU, Anton Bernhard : Adagio and Rondo for flute and orchestra, fl, orch
     • Weber, ? : fl
LOEWE, Johann Carl Gottfried : song Gruss am Meere no.1 of 3 Lieder, v, pf, op.103
     • Strakatý, Karel : v
UNSPECIFIED, ? : Czech [folk]song Bože můj, otče můj (My Lord, my Father), v, [pf / orch?]
     • Strakatý, Karel : v
MOZART, Wolfgang Amadeus : Overture to opera Così fan Tutte, orch, K588
BEETHOVEN, Ludwig van : Symphony, orch, nr.5, C minor, op.67


The Lokalzeitung section of Bohemia 12/6/1851 reported that the Prague Concert Orchestra [Prager Koncert-Orchesters] would give its second concert on Saturday 14th June at 5pm in the Platteyßsaale [Platýz]. On 13/6/1851 the newspaper then reported that owing to unforseen circumastances this event would take place instead on 16th June.

The Tagesanzeiger text of Bohemia 15/6/1851 listed the date, time and venue of this event taking place on 16th July.

A review, signed ‘V.’, of this event was published by Bohemia 22/6/1851. The correspondent remarked that the programme of this concert complemented that of the first concert given recently by the orchestra, with the choice of works - in their not constituting examples of ‘modern instrumental music’ - being more suited to demonstrating the efficiency of the orchestra. Of the performances of the purely orchestral works, the tuning of the whole ensemble in Weber’s Overture was deemed to have been not wholly accurate, although the performance was ‘very fervent’ and surprised the audience with the virtuosity and with the rapid tempi. Equally impressive was the playing of Mozart’s ‘as charmingly lovely as ingenious’ Overture. The performance of the symphony was ‘brilliant ... as to the choice of tempi, the nuance of ritardando and accelerando, in the emphasis of the prevailing tone colours, in piano and forte, the energy of the dynamic ... tutti, all left little to be desired. The players seemed here to be as one, and if one or other has to be given particular mention, that honour the critic must relate above all to the Scherzo ... the laurels indisputably [given] to the contrabassi. Their performance was so proficient, precise and together that the appearence to the eye of there being actually two players seemed an illusion.’ Also singled out for especial praise in performance was the coda of the Finale; after which the ‘Koncertmeister’ Mr Minkus was thrice stormily curtain-called. Summarizing the achievement of the performance the critic remarked that such excellent playing he had hitherto not heard from an ‘ambulatory [ambulanten]’ orchestra. The assembly of the ‘Prager Koncertorchesters proves what energy and good will can bring about’, and that sufficient resources existed within the city to bring together within a short space of time a splendid ensemble.

Of the soloists, the review remarked that as in his appearance in Löschner’s Akademie, Mr Minkus showed himself not only to be a violinist of the first rank but also ‘an ingenious and proficient composer.’ His ‘Burleske “Carneval hongrois”’ exhibited a similarity of title and of form - diverse variations on a popular theme - with another famous work [probably Ernst’s Carneval di Venise]. Its particular merits lay in a ‘very ingenious harmonic and instrumental introduction’ providing great suspense before the entry of the allegro theme, the use of pizzicatto [evidently left hand] simultaneously with bowing, flageolet, and interesting orchestration as in the variation with obbligato flute and oboe. The work received extraordinary applause and Minkus was many times [curtain-]called. The orchestra’s flautist, Mr Weber, performed an Adagio and Rondo by Fürstenau to great approval. The ‘favourite Lieder-singer Mr Strakatý’ gave a very pleasing performance of ‘the splendid composition “Gruß am Meere” by C. Löwe and the original song [originellen Liede] “Bože můj”, which he had to encore.’

Finally, the Bohemia review related that the event attracted a very numerous attendance, and that there were no empty spaces to be seen in the hall even though the audience were for the greater part not composed of the regular concert-going public. Following the concert critic remarked that it had been heard from the Director of the Society [Direktion des Vereines - presumably referring to the management of the orchestra] that a further concert would be given by the ensemble before their departure from Prague.

The reference
to Minkus as ‘Koncertmeister’ by the Bohemia review, and not director, suggests that this violin virtuoso led the concert from his instrument rather than through his appearing solely as a conductor.   

Přehled zdrojů:

Bohemia (21/06/1850)
Bohemia, ein Unterhaltungsblatt (12/06/1851)
Bohemia, ein Unterhaltungsblatt (13/06/1851)
Bohemia, ein Unterhaltungsblatt (15/06/1851)