Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Event title:

Second annual quartet entertainment [kvartettní zábava / Quartett-Soirée]

Venue: Konvikt

Event type: Art music culture

Date: 12/03/1863 4.30pm

Season: Lent

Programme comprising:

General participants:
  • MILDNER, Mořic: soloist, vl
  • BRÜCKNER, Franz: soloist, vl
  • WEBER, Jan: soloist, va
  • WAGNER, Mořic: soloist, vc
  • SMETANA, Bedřich: soloist, pf
BAGGE, Selmar : String Quartet, 2vl, va, vc, C major, op.12
SCHUMANN, Robert Alexander : Piano Trio, pf, vl, vc, F major, op.80
BEETHOVEN, Ludwig van : String Quartet Razumovsky, 2vl, va, vc, nr.7, F major, op.59/1

Commentary:

Prager Morgenpost 10/3/1863 published advance news of the second in the annual series of quartet entertainments, relating: ‘For the second Quartet Soirée [zweite Quartett-Soirée] that takes place on Thursday 12th March in the Konvikt Hall, the following programme is scheduled: Quartet in C major by Selmar Bagge, op.12 (new). Trio for pianoforte, violin and ’cello by Brahms, op.8 Mr Smetana. Quartet in F major by Beethoven, op.59.’

Lumír
12/3/1863 reported: ‘Second evening quartet entertainment, which takes place today at 4.30pm in the Konvikt Hall, has this programme: 1. Quartet in C major by Selmar Bagge, op.12 (new). 2. Trio for pianoforte, violin and čello [’cello] by Brahms, op.8 (Bedřich Smetana). 3. Quartet in F major by Beethoven, op.59.’

The pre-concert reports published by Národní listy 11/3/1863 and Lumír 12/3/1863 also recorded that Brahms’s Piano Trio op. 8 was to be performed, and not the trio by Schumann that according to the unsigned Dalibor 20/3/1863 and Lumír 19/3/1863 reviews was actually given. Národní listy 11/3/1863 thus wrote in its section of daily news: ‘Second Quartet evening entertainment will be on Thursday 12th March at 4.30pm. Programme: Quartet in C major by Selmar Bagge, op.12 (new). Trio for pianoforte, violin and ’cello by Brahms, op.8. B Smetana. Quartet in F major by Beethoven, op.59.’

The Dalibor 20/3/1863 critic noted that Schumann’s Trio, ‘which originates from Schumann’s happier period [i.e. prior to his mental illness], is very interesting and ingenious, transparent and full of freshness.’ Conversely, the quartet by Bagge, a former pupil of the Prague Conservatory, is ‘a work in which only cold intelligence, never fantasy, dominates[...] The best part is the scherzo which, however, at its opening is reminiscent of [Julius] Schulhoff’s Kvapík (Galop).’ The Lumír 19/3/1863 review also criticized the work, noting that ‘This composition, in which we find so much intellectual elaboration, is empty of spirit and tires the listener. Of all the movements the first half of the Adagio is most successful[... The] decent performance was received very coldly by the audience.’ However, ‘the trio by the gifted Schumann excellently entertained.’ The Lumír critic also noted: ‘Often we have had the opportunity to praise Smetana’s immaculate playing; we only add that[...] he penetrated the spirit of the composition and performed [the work] with splendid results. The particularly touching Adagio he presented masterfully.’

The complete Lumír 19/3/1863 review related: ‘Second Quartet Evening Entertainment [Druhá kvartetní večerní zábava] taking place on 12th March in the Konvikt Hall, was again very interesting in terms of the arrangement of the programme, and more specifically in that besides two classical works, the Trio for piano, violin and ’cello by R. Schumann (op.80) and Beethoven’s Quartet (op.59), a new Quartet in C major (op.12) by Selmar Bagge, former pupil of the local Conservatory, now editor of the newspaper
Leipziger Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung“ was performed. This composition, in which we find so much intellectual elaboration, is empty of spirit and tires the listener. Of all the movements the first half of the Adagio is most successful. The audience received Bagge’s quartet, which had a fair performance, very coldly. The Trio by the genious Schumann excellently entertained. Mr Smetana obliged by playing the piano. Often we have had the opportunity to praise Smetana’s immaculate playing; we will only add so much that even in its details he interpreted the spirit of the composition and performed [the work] with splendid results. The particularly touching Adagio he presented masterfully. The entertainment ended with Beethoven’s deeply expressive Quartet in F major. Not only the beautiful composition but the excellent performance inspired the numerous audience to vociferous applause.


Summary of sources:

Prager Morgenpost (10/03/1863)
Národní listy (11/03/1863)
Lumír (12/03/1863)
Lumír (19/03/1863)
Dalibor, časopis pro hudbu, divadlo a umění vůbec (20/03/1863)