Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Event title:

Second annual Conservatory concert

Venue: Platýz

Event type: Art music culture

Date: 14/03/1850 5pm

Season: Lent

Programme comprising, part 1:

General participants:
  • Prague Conservatory: participating institution, orch
GADE, Niels Wilhelm : Overture I højlande [Im Hochland] (In the Highlands), orch, op.7
HEINEMEYER, Carl : Fantasie on a Russian national song, fl, orch, op.6
     • Passak, Johann : fl
ROSSINI, Gioachino Antonio : duet unspecified, from melodrama Bianca e Falliero, 2vv, orch
     • Wagner, Franziska : v Vávrová, Bohumíra : v
KUMMER, Friedrich August : Fantasie on a theme from Bellini's opera Norma, vc, orch
     • Seifert, Jan : vc

Part 2:

GOTTWALD, Heinrich : Symphony, orch, C minor


Prager Zeitung 10/3/1850 announced that the ‘Second Concert of the Conservatory for Music’ was to take place on 14th March in the Platteis-Hall. More detailed advance information about this programme, including a listing of the programme and participants in performance order, was published by Bohemia 12/3/1850. The Tagesanzeiger texts of Bohemia 12/3/1850 and 14/3/1850 listed the date, time and venue for the event.

A review, signed ‘V.’, of the event was published by Bohemia 17/3/1850. A substantial part of this text was devoted to Gottwald and his symphony, including some basic biographical information about the composer and offering a critique of the work itself. The text began by noting that the Conservatory was proud of its achievements in having trained many virtuosi and promising artists of the future, such as Němec and Anger, on different instruments. Gottwald - as represented by his Symphony - was also identified as a promising future talent. After briefly outlining his career, the correspondent remarked that due to a provincial background and avoidance of major cities, Gottwald’s creativity was of significant depth and dimension. Compared with Němec and Anger,
he was perceived as being especially individual. In particular his gift for orchestration and instrumental colour was was thought ‘dramatically and surprisingly to freshen the epic sweep of the polyphonic form and texture.’ Other aspects of the piece received considerable, although not unqualified, praise. Of the four movements the Allegro first was likened in its melodic material to an opera overture, beginning with a strikingly grandiose slow introduction. Following the slow movement the scherzo was noted to be of a highly poetic romantic-woods style [der Komponist eine höchst poetische Waldromantik bringt], was possessed of novel and fresh melody and, as in the first movement, demonstrated interesting textures of resonant writing for the brass instruments. The Trio also sported ingenious orchestration and some ‘notably energetic’ entries for the strings. The Finale with C major ending was ‘magnificently worked’; the ending itself might have been criticized for its ‘commonness’ except that the composer was certainly possessed of melodic ingenuity. Within Gottwald’s symphonic style there was often perceived to be manifest a ‘substantial contrapuntal element’, as in the ‘impeccable Fugato in the development section of the last movement’. After the performance the composer, who was present, was vociferously curtain-called, alongside the ‘splendid director of his work, Mr D. Kittl [J. Kittl]. The performance by the young orchestra was very good. The same can be said of Gade’s Overture “Im Hochland”, which made up the first item of the programme.’ Of the soloists, ‘Johann Seifert [Jan Seifert] caused an unusual sensation with Kummer’s Variation-fantasie from Bellini’s Druid’s chorus [possibly ‘Guerra!’ from act 2]. A certain boldness was combined with accuracy of technique to produce a performance of considerable success.’ The performances of the Fantasie for flute and the duet from the work by Rossini met with similar acclaim.

Summary of sources:

Prager Zeitung (10/03/1850)
Bohemia (12/03/1850)
Bohemia (12/03/1850)
Bohemia (14/03/1850)
Bohemia (17/03/1850)