Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881


Concert given by the Military Music Society [Militärmusikverein]

Aufführungsort: Žofín Island (Žofín Hall)

Programmsorte: Art music culture

Datum: 20/12/1851 5pm

Spielzeit: Advent

Programme comprising:

  • Military Music Institute: participating institution
KRAMMER, ? : unspecified Concert Overture, orch
ŠLIKOVÁ, Eliška, Hraběnka : song Reiterlied, v, pf
SVOBODA, František Václav : Variations brillante, flügelhorn
     • Kohaut, H.F. : flügelhorn
MÜLLER, ? : Adagio and Polacca, 2flügelhorns, trp, 2hn, euph, tbn
DAUKSCH, W. : Choral song Soldatentreue, solo vv, chorus, military music
DREYSCHOCK, Alexander : piano piece [Klavirstück] Invitation à la Polka, pf, op.73
DONT, ? : Overture, orch


Brief news of this forthcoming concert was published by Bohemia 18/12/1851, which noted that on ‘Saturday 20th December at 5pm the Military Music Society [Militärmusikverein] arranges in the Žofín Hall a concert, the programme to which will be contained in the next Tagesanzeiger’. The Tagesanzeiger text of Bohemia 19/12/1851 then listed the complete programme to the concert in projected performance order.

A review, signed ‘V.’, was published by Bohemia 23/12/1851. The correspondent remarked that the venue was full and that the event attracted a more numerous audience than attended other concerts that were to benefit a charitable cause or involved the participation of notable singers from the opera. However, the response of the audience to the works given ‘was not very great; applause for the seven numbers of the programme was neither warm nor unanimous.’ Best received were the second and sixth numbers of the programme, the ‘beautiful song by Countess Schlik ... already given once before in its arrangement for military music today achieved just as propitious a success. An equally effective arrangement was brought by Mr Swoboda [Svoboda] of Dreyschock’s celebrated piano composition Invitation à la Polka, the performance by the ensemble with all the rubato and delightful nuancing [characteristic of the playing] of the great pianist was praiseworthy.’ The variations [Brillant-Variationen] for flügelhorn were noted to have been well played by F. Kohaupt, ‘beautiful cantilenas brilliantly being executed with a clear tone’ and ‘the highest technical skill’ demonstrated in the passagework. The Septet-Adagio and Polacca for brass instruments was thought to be very interesting on account of the combination of tone colours in its instrumentation, and was ‘with the exception of one inconsequential slip well-performed.’ In the Lied for military music, choir and solo [vocal] quartet Soldatentreue, Deutsch was noted to be making his debut as a composer in the genre. Although the choice of a folk-like melody for the work was thought appropriate, the critic doubted whether the particular poem text was suitable for such an ostentatious and grandiose arrangement. The remaining two works in the programme were overtures by Krammer and Dont. These respectively opened and concluded the concert. Neither gained the approval of the Bohemia correspondent. Krammer’s work repeatedly gave the expectation of effective climax yet lapsed into banal imitation; the overture by Dont was thought cliched in its use of Italianate melodic ideas. However, the two pieces were deemed to demonstrate their composers’ skill in the difficult task of writing for military orchestra. The performances under Swoboda were praised but the power of the ensemble and in particular of the tenor and bass brass instruments was noted to have been excessive for the Žofín Hall. The Estates Theatre was therefore suggested as a more appropriate venue.

The database programme record is reproduced in performance order to the extent of information contained in the Bohemia review. Thus the first and last two works of the programme appear in correct performance order. The three central pieces are noted simply in the order in which they were described by the newspaper text.

Zusammenfassung der Quellen:

Bohemia (18/12/1851)
Bohemia (19/12/1851)
Bohemia (23/12/1851)