Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Event title:

Performance of new polkas submitted as entries to composition competition

Venue: Konvikt

Event type: Popular social musical and dance events

Date: 30/11/1850 pm (evening)

Beneficiary: Children's Hospital at St Lazarus

Programme of 24 unspecified polkas:

General participants:
  • ensemble of Infantry Regiment of Baron von Wimpffen: participating ensemble
  • WHIT, Emil: director of ensemble


Information about this event, and of two subsequent events in this series was published by Bohemia 14/11/1850. This text relayed details of a competition for the composition of new dances, submitted works for which would be performed on 30th November, 7th and 14th December in the Konvikt Hall. Entries and prizes fell into three categories: polkas; françaises [polka français]; waltzes. The wining polkas would receive prizes of 3, 2 and 1 ducats, and winners of the second two categories of 2 and 1 ducats each. Entrants were required to hand over their works in piano arrangement to the art and music shop of Mr Hoffmann (then managed by Hoffmann’s widow, Jan Hoffmann having died in 1849). A committee under the chairmanship of Kapellmeister Em. Whit would judge the entries and selected works were to be performed on the three dates outlined above. The final arbiter would be the public attending each event. The dances would be played through, and the public asked to tear off the name of a chosen work from the programme and drop it into a vase in the centre of the hall. Although the method of deciding the result was not reported by the Bohemia text, the winning dances were presumably those with most votes. The profits from the three events and from the sales of the new compositions during the forthcoming Carnival season were to be donated to the Children’s Hospital at St Lazarus.

Further news of this competition and the associated performances was published by Bohemia 28/11/1850. A report announced that the trial for the most successful and best three polkas would take place in the Konvikt Hall on 30th November. Already over 60 compositions had been submitted at the art and music shop of J. Hoffmann, of which 24 would be performed. Similar trials of 24 ‘Française’ and Waltzes would be given on 7th and 14th December. Admission tickets cost 10kr and were obtainable from the said music shop. Finally the text related that a greater part of the composers had agreed to donate profits from their works to the Children’s Hospital. The event on Saturday 30th November was listed in the Tagesanzeiger texts of the newspapers Bohemia 28/11/1850 and 29/11/1850.

Summary of sources:

Bohemia, ein Unterhaltungsblatt (14/11/1850)
Bohemia, ein Unterhaltungsblatt (28/11/1850)
Bohemia, ein Unterhaltungsblatt (28/11/1850)
Bohemia, ein Unterhaltungsblatt (29/11/1850)