Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Event title:

Outdoor musical event given as part of Music Festival of the Patriotic Music Society, arranged by F. Svoboda

Venue: Žofín Island (Žofín Gardens)

Parent Event:
Musical entertainment given by ensemble of the Infantry Regiment of Baron Alemann

Event type: Popular social musical and dance events

Date: 25/05/1850 pm

Season: Summer

Programme including:

General participants:
  • ensemble of Imperial First Field Artillery Regiment of Franz Joseph: participating ensemble
  • ensemble of the Royal 16th Rifles Battalion: participating ensemble
  • ensemble of Infantry Regiment of Count Ceccopieri: participating ensemble
  • ensemble of Infantry Regiment of Baron von Wimpffen: participating ensemble
MEYERBEER, Giacomo : Coronation march from act 4 of opera Le prophète, orch
SVOBODA, František Václav : Potpourri über böhmisches Lieder, orch
LIPPERT, ? : potpourri Dresdner Eisenbahnbelustigungen, orch
WHIT, Emil : unspecified works for military music ensemble, orch
HAYDN, Franz Joseph : Austrian national hymn [anthem], vv


Bohemia 21/5/1850 published news that on Saturday 25th May a great Musical Festival [Musikfest] would be given on Žofín Island by the Patriotic Music Society [Väterlandische Musikverein] under the leadership of its music director F.W. Swoboda [Svoboda]. A performance of military bands in the island’s garden would alternate between the singing of male-voice choruses.

On 24/5/1850 Bohemia contained more detailed news of this ‘Musikfest’ being given ‘tomorrow by the Patriotic Music Society under the leadership of its music director Swoboda [Svoboda], with - and which is of great interest - our celebrated [singer] Podhorsky [Kateřina Podhorská] who particularly obligingly has agreed to participate in the concert.’ The festival was then noted to be in two halves, with a concert in the Žofín Hall followed by an outdoor performance comprising four military music ensembles. Programme details for both parts were then outlined, although few works to be given in the outdoor event were specifically identified. Among ‘many new pieces’ was the Krönungsmarsch from Le prophète, ‘Swoboda’s favourite Potpourri on Czech folksongs, then a great Potpourri by Kapellmeister Lippert entitled “Dresdner Eisenbahnbelustigungen [Dresden Railway-merriment]”, together with several compositions by Kapellmeister Whit. ... At the end the Volkshymne will be performed by the massed bands.’

The Tagesanzeiger text published by Bohemia 24/5/1850 stated that on Saturday 25th May at 4pm on the Žofín Island would be the ‘Great Music-Festival of the Patriotic Music Society [Großes Musikfest des vaterländ. Musikvereins].’

A review, signed ‘V.’, of both events making up the ‘Musikfest’ was published by Bohemia 28/5/1850. Of the second event the correspondent spoke very briefly, relating how it included performances in the garden by four specified regimental bands  which ‘played miscellaneous compositions from all genres of music literature. The performance attracted a very splendid and numerous crowd of gentlemen and ladies’, and all were thought to have been delighted and satisfied by the event. None of the works performed was identified by the review. Finally, the critic expressed disappointment that the ‘worthy tendencies of the “Patriotic Music Society”’ demonstrated in its earlier winter production had not been maintained in the arrangement [i.e. the content] of this latest event. Undoubtedly this was a reference to the programme of both the concert and the following event comprising mainly items of popular appeal. The general reaction and outlook of the critic to the whole ‘festival’ was perhaps reflected in the use of the term ‘so-called “great Music Festival [großen Musikfestes]”’.

Prager Zeitung 28/5/1850 published a review of the opening concert and this subsequent outdoor performance, and included descriptive detail about the aims of the Patriotic Music Society. Concerning this outdoor event the text noted that attending was a ‘great crush’ of people, listed the four performing musical ensembles, and noted that the combined rendition of the Volkshymne concluded the event. A full appraisal of the Prager Zeitung review is included in the database record for the concert.

Summary of sources:

Bohemia (21/05/1850)
Bohemia (24/05/1850)
Bohemia (24/05/1850)
Bohemia (28/05/1850)
Prager Zeitung (28/05/1850)