Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Event title:

Concert given by violinist Eduard Rappoldi

Venue: Konvikt

Event type: Art music culture

Date: 13/04/1857 12noon

Programme comprising:

General participants:
  • RAPPOLDI, Edouard: soloist, vl
SPOHR, Louis : Concerto for violin and orchestra In modo di scena cantante, vl, orch, nr.8, A minor, op.47
GUMBERT, Ferdinand A. : unspecified Lied, v, pf
     • Kučerová, Marie : v
KÜCKEN, Friedrich Wilhelm : unspecified Lied, v, pf
     • Kučerová, Marie : v
ALARD, Delphin : Fantasie for violin on themes from Donizetti opera Maria Padilla, vl, pf, op.17
CHOPIN, Fryderyck Franciszek : unspecified Nocturne, pf
     • Blodek, Vilém : pf
BAZZINI, Antonio : Scherzo fantastique La ronde des lutins, vl, pf, op.25
KĄTSKI, Antoni : Fantasie for piano on themes from Verdi opera Attila, pf, op.133
     • Blodek, Vilém : pf


News of this concert was published by Tagesbote aus Böhmen 11/4/1857. The report noted: ‘Programme to the Concert of Eduard Rappoldi of the Royal Court Opera Orchestra in Vienna, Monday 13th April at 12 noon in the Konvikt Hall. 1. 8th Concerto by L. Spohr, performed by the concert-giver. 2 Suleika. Lied by Mendelssohn, sung by Miss Ernestin Vaeter [Arnošta Váterová]. 3. Fantasie on the opera „Maria Padilla“ by D. Alard, performed by the concert-giver. 4 Neapolitanisches Lied composed and performed by the concert-giver. 5.a) Nocturne by Chopin, b) Finale from Attila-Fantasie by Kontski, played by Mr Blodek. 6. Rondo des Lutins composed by Mr A. Bazzini performed by the concert-giver.’

A review, signed ‘-h.’, of this concert was published by Tagesbote aus Böhmen 14/4/1857. The critic reported: ‘Yesterday at noon the violinist Mr Ed. Rappoldi from the Vienna Court Opera Orchestra opened up again the flood of concerts that had been forcibly halted by the days of Holy Week. Mr Rappoldi is a violin player of efficient and uniform tone that particularly on the G string has a lot of power and richness, but on the higher strings sometimes has an audible sharpness which was more conspicuous at the beginning of the concert than during the later stages, and therefore may probably be attributed to self-confidence [Befandheit].’ Comment was then levelled at Rappoldi’s playing; his technique was considered ‘clean’ yet suffered from his left arm being held higher than his right, leading to his bowing being short and the arc of his bowing arm being restricted. ‘In his delivery the soft, peculiarly trembling piano, the security and grace of leaps, the sharp accentuations, are most remarkable. The elegance and perfection of his schooling in general was most brilliant in the Rondo, overloaded with the most difficult eccentrities of the Paganini-style Caprice. His presentation of Spohr’s
Gesangscene“ was serious and solid, except in the Recitative where the tuning, as indicated earlier, was brittle and ragged; in minor details – for instance in the alternating staccato and legato passages in the Rondo – a sharper contrast would have been desirable, but this cannot warrant any major rebuke. Mr Rappoldi also played a Fantasie on Maria Padilla“ with a particularly piquant closing Rondo by Alard whose works now strongly dominate violin programmes, and a fairly characteristic Neapolitanisches Lied“ of his own composition, but for which the name Caprice or Impromptu would have better suited far better from the interludes that expanded the closed song form. The concert-giver was flattered by his success; for the audience seemed to compensate for the hall being half-empty hall in [the level of] its approbation.’ The review then proceeded to report how the singer originally programmed to participate in this concert, Miss Vaeter, had been replaced by Miss Kutschera [Kučerová], and vocal part of the programme altered. ‘In place of Miss Ernestine Väter, who the programme named, a Miss Kutschera took over the vocal pieces and sang two Lieder by Gymbert and Kücken with much more natural expression. Mr Wilh. Blodek [Vilém Blodek] demonstrated great facility and mastery of technical difficulties in the final part of the Attila-Fantasie by Kontski; before this he played one of the Chopin Nocturnes, [pieces] which are already at a point of public satiation [Abnützung] that they should only be allowed to be uttered on the 366th day of every leap year.’

Interestingly, between 3pm and 4pm, probably affecting the concertgoers returning from this event, Prague was affected by a particularly heavy thunder and lightening storm which, according to Tagesbote aus Böhmen 14/4/1857 caused those outside to hurry for shelter from the thunder, lightening and hail. It was, the newspaper reported, the fourth such storm this year. Perhaps this also accounted for the poor attendance of the audience.

Summary of sources:

Tagesbote aus Böhmen (11/04/1857)
Tagesbote aus Böhmen (14/04/1857)
Tagesbote aus Böhmen (14/04/1857)