Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Event title:

Concert given by harpist Miss Rosalie Spohr

Venue: Hotel Archduke Stefan

Event type: Art music culture

Date: 08/11/1850 5pm

Programme comprising:

General participants:
  • SAUERMA, Rosalie: soloist, hrp
  • REICHEL, Josef: soloist, v
  • EMMINGER, Josef: soloist, v
  • STRAKATÝ, Karel: soloist, v
  • KUNZ, Eduard: soloist, v
PARISH-ALVARS, Elias : unspecified Fantasie [Phantasie], hrp
arr. Parish-Alvars, Elias: S. Thalberg: Fantasie on themes from Rossini's opera Mosè in Egitto , arr. hrp
PARISH-ALVARS, Elias : unspecified Serenade, hrp
PARISH-ALVARS, Elias : Fantasie on themes from Donizetti's opera Lucia di Lammermoor, hrp
KREUTZER, Conradin : unspecified vocal quartet, 4 vv
KALIVODA, Jan Křtitel Václav : unspecified vocal quartet, 4 male vv
CHERUBINI, Luigi : unspecified vocal quartet, 4 male vv


A pre-concert report was published by Bohemia 8/11/1850. This remarked that the event could be expected to attract a substantial audience, not only on account of Miss Spohr’s name [niece of the composer Spohr, her later married name being Sauerma], but also because she enjoyed considerable renown as a virtuoso. No further details were given by this text. However, the source confusingly specified the date of 8th November for the concert, but also referred to it as taking place ‘tomorrow’. The Tagesanzeiger text of the same issue listed the event as taking place on the 8th November too yet it seems likely that the performance was actually on 9th, not only from the designation ‘tomorrow’ but also on account of the subsequent Bohemia 12/11/1850 review text reporting that the concert occured ‘am 9. November.’

The Bohemia critic, signed ‘V.’, considered that given the ‘splendid harp virtuoso had created such a sensation with her [previous] performance in the Theatre, the strikingly sparse attendance of her second concert seemed ... strange.’ This was perhaps thought a reflection of there being musical soirées taking place in Prague ‘halls and guest houses in an ever increasing quantity’, and that the usual fare of such productions was often of ‘insipid spectacle, in threadbare instrumental music and luxurious dance music.’ Miss Spohr’s performance did not fall into this category. As in her first performance she again gave only compositions by Parish-Alvars, with the critic musing that other works by Louis Spohr and Bochsa may not be best suited to her double harp in C-sharp. However, her playing was highly praised. The ‘extraordinary mastery of the artiste indeed gained such a brilliant success’ and the acoustic of the hall was deemed to be perfectly suited to the occasion; none of the fine nuances of her performance was lost. The positive impression of her ability gained by the critic following her first appearance was confirmed. ‘The surety of her hands was manifest in the immaculate scales and difficult passagework, in the gorgeous successions of 4-part chords, in the magical effect of harmonics in the second movement of the great Phantasie, and in the final [work] in the quite faithful arrangement of Thalberg’s Moses Fantasie’. In addition she performed a Serenade [unspecified] and a Fantasie on Lucia di Lammermoor, the latter which was noted to have been given in her previous concert. Despite the meagre audience the concert-giver received enthusiastic applause. ‘Assisting’ Miss Spohr [appearing alongside her in the programme] were Messrs Reichel, Emminger, Strakatý and Kuntz, who sang three unspecified vocal quartets by Conradin Kreutzer, Kalliwoda and Cherubini ‘with rare perfection.’ The acoustic of the hall was judged to be excellent for their ‘beautiful, artistic voices’. The venue, being used for a musical event for the first time, was thought by the critic to be well-suited to smaller-scale concerts and in particular for chamber music.

Summary of sources:

Bohemia, ein Unterhaltungsblatt (08/11/1850)
Bohemia, ein Unterhaltungsblatt (08/11/1850)
Bohemia, ein Unterhaltungsblatt (12/11/1850)