Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Event title:

First Czech musical and declamatory beseda

Venue: Konvikt

Event type: Art music culture

Date: 14/03/1860

Season: Lent

Programme including:

unspecified Czech folksongs, vv
     • Tiefensee, Charlotte : v
unspecified Polish folksongs, v
     • Tiefensee, Charlotte : v
unspecified Russian folksongs, v
     • Tiefensee, Charlotte :
unspecified Czech folksongs, vv
     • Weishan, D. : v
UNSPECIFIED, ? : unspecified Fantasie on themes from Bellini's opera Norma, vl, [pf?]
     • Schmidt, Franz : vl
ZVONAŘ, Josef Leopold : chorus Svítání (Daybreak), male vv
     • unspecified male vv:
UNSPECIFIED, ? : unspecified choruses, [male vv]

Commentary:

This event received scant coverage by the Prague German-language newspapers, undoubtedly because it was perceived as a specifically Czech-orientated event. Despite the participation of the soprano Tiefensee, who was then appearing to considerable critical and public acclaim in Prague concerts and opera and who was due shortly to leave the city (giving her farewell concert on 17/3/1860), only Prager Morgenpost published news of the production. On 6/3/1860 the source published news that ‘On 14th, 21st, 28th March and 2nd April in the Konvikt Hall with the participation of many of the most important Prague artists will take place musical-declamatory evening entertainments (Besedy). The first Beseda advertised for tomorrow (7th March) will not owing to a misfortune take place.’ Evidently the beseda scheduled for 2/4/1860 did not take place, probably because that was the day of the Easter concert of the Society of Musical Artists concert which utilized most of Prague’s musical resources and was one of the major events of the annual calendar.

An unsigned review was published by Dalibor 20/3/1860. This recounted that ‘On Wednesday 14th took place in the Konvikt the first Czech musical and declamatory academy, in which Miss K. z Tiefensee sang some Czech, Polish and Russian folksongs with unprecedented success.’ The audience ‘blissfully entertained, rewarded this renowned artist with many [curtain-]calls and Miss z Tiefensee celebrated in this faithful circle a true triumph, for thrown to her were garlands and Czech poems [‘byly jí házeny také věnce a báse
ň české’].’ At this point the critic added two stanzas of his own celebrating the singer and her espousal of Czech nationalism. This was followed by a brief summary of content of the remainder of the event, concluding with the observation that the audience was both numerous and select. The programme also included various declamations including an Elegy by J. Kolár performed by J. Barák, and Doktorka nad doktorka by ‘F.D.’ and performed by Mrs E. Pešková.

The terminology used to describe this event by the two specified sources was interesting. Prager Morgenpost described the occasion as a ‘Beseda’, a wholly Czech term denoting in this sense a social entertainment, and one that had only recently been adopted in connection with such Czech-orientated event. Dalibor, however, surprisingly used the Germanic ‘Akademie’, perhaps unwittingly or perhaps aiming to invest the event with an artistic weight through the implicit connotation of the word with a more refined and ‘serious’ type of programme.


Summary of sources:

Prager Morgenpost (06/03/1860)
Prager Morgenpost (14/03/1860)
Dalibor, hudební časopis s měsíční notovou přílohou (20/03/1860)