Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Event title:

[First] Soirée concertante with music given by ensemble of the Infantry Regiment of Baron von Wimpffen

Venue: Konvikt

Event type: Art music culture

Date: 23/03/1850 7pm

Season: Lent

Beneficiary: Children's Hospital at St Lazarus

Programme in 3 parts, including:

General participants:
  • ensemble of Infantry Regiment of Baron von Wimpffen: participating ensemble, orch
  • WHIT, Emil: director of ensemble
MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY, Felix : Overture to incidental music Ein Sommernachtstraum (A Midsummer Night's Dream), orch, op.21
UNSPECIFIED, ? : Variations concertantes, euphonium, [orch]
     • Krompé, J. : euphonium
UNSPECIFIED, ? : unspecified aria Il Voto, T., orch
     • Cestari, J. : v
DONIZETTI, Gaetano : [tenor aria from] Finale from act 3 of opera Lucia di Lammermoor, T., orch
     • Cestari, J. : v
UNSPECIFIED, ? : unspecified Concertante variations [Concertante variationen], cornet, [? orch]
     • Whit, Emil : cornet
UNSPECIFIED, ? : Overture to [opera ?] Die Teranerin, orch
UNSPECIFIED, ? : Overture to [opera ?] Kassandra, orch


News of this event was published by Bohemia 22/3/1850. The newspaper reported that ‘Mr Emil Whit, Kapellmeister of the Infantry-Regiment Wimpffen, performs with his Orchestra [Kapelle] tomorrow the 23rd [March] at 7pm in the Konvikt Hall a Soirée concertante, the profit from which is destined for the benefit of the local St Lazarus Children’s Hospital. The programme is in three parts and contains many pieces, of which we give only a selection.’

The Tageskalender text of Bohemia 22/3/1850 recorded the date, time and venue of this event.

Bohemia 26/3/1850 published a concise review, signed ‘V.’, which adds only a little more detail to our knowledge of the event as provided by the earlier source. The text reported that ‘To the benefit of the Children’s Hospital at St Lazarus, the band of the Imperial Infantry-Regiment Wimpffen gave a concertante soirée under the leadership of it’s Kapellmeister Mr J. Emil Whit, in which were heard two pieces for the euphonium and one for the Piston [cornet]. Mr Krompé and Mr Whit showed themselves to be masters of these interesting instruments so rarely chosen for concert performance. Mr J. Cestari, also a member of the band, sang two tenor arias with acclaim despite a very perceptible indisposition. As ensemble numbers the very well-rehearsed orchestra gave three overtures and three dance pieces.’ The critic’s general impression of the performance was that an outdoor venue would have been more suitable owing to the volume of the brass instruments. However, the playing was still so ‘precise and fiery’ that the applause of the audience ‘was explicable.’ In their particular field of art the band was described as a ‘sensation [
Die Kapelle erregte in ihrer Art Sensation].’ In terms of attendance the event was ‘certainly not a failure, there assembled a great number of friends and dilettantes.’ Finally the correspondent offered praise for the donation of profits from the event to the St Lazarus Children’s Hospital.

The works listed by the original Bohemia report have been reproduced in the programme record and combined with information from the later review. However, from the limited details given by both sources several of these compositions cannot be precisely identified. Thus ‘“Il Voto”, Tenorarie, und das Finale aus “Lucia”, gesungen von J. Cestari’ is not clear in the description of the first of these two items. Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor contains no aria that can be identified as ‘Il Voto’, although a replacement aria of similar title exists in Verdi’s Ernani. The opera Lucia does however include an important and well-known tenor aria in the Finale to act III, ‘Tu che a Dio spiegasti l’ali’, and this was almost certainly the second of the works referred to here. The review text specified that three Overtures were performed in the event. Only Die Teranerin and Kassandra, neither of which can be fully identified, were listed as Overtures by the earlier newspaper report. However, the Bohemia 22/3/1850 text specified at the head of its list of works being played, ‘Eine Arie aus der Oper “Sommernachtstraum” und “Variations concertantes” für den Euphonion, vord. von J. Krompé’. One item was played on the euphonium according to the later review; it seems likely that the pre-event report should here have read ‘Ouverture’ instead of ‘Eine aria’, and that the work in question was the then well-known overture to Mendelssohn’s incidental music. This amendment has been incorporated into the database record of the event programme.

Two more Soirée concertante events were given by this ensemble following this event. The third was held on 7/4/1850, with information being published in the newspaper Bohemia of that day.
The second soirée, assuming that the three events were given each 7 days apart, would have taken place on 31/3/1850. However, no information of this second event was noted in either Prager Zeitung or Bohemia. 31/3/1850 was also Easter Sunday, and the soirée may have been performed instead on another day. No Tagesanzeiger texts were published by Bohemia that cover the period 27/3/1850 to 1/4/1850 inclusive. The sources describing the later events do not specify that profits from the soirée were destined for a charitable cause.

Summary of sources:

Bohemia (22/03/1850)
Bohemia (22/03/1850)
Bohemia (26/03/1850)