Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Event title:

Farewell musical soirée [Musikalische Abscheds-Soirée] given by T. Pixis and F. Smolař

Venue: Hotel Archduke Stefan

Event type: Art music culture

Date: 26/11/1850 5pm

Programme comprising, part 1:

General participants:
  • PIXIS, Theodor: soloist, vl
  • SMOLAŘ, František: soloist, pf
VIEUXTEMPS, Henri : , WOLFF, E. : Duo concertante on themes from Mozart's Don Giovanni, vl, pf, nr.3, op.20
SMOLAŘ, František : Reminiscences of Donizetti's opera Lucrezia Borgia, pf
LOEWE, Johann Carl Gottfried : song An das Meer, v, pf
     • Strakatý, Karel : v
UNSPECIFIED, ? : unspecified old Slavonic song
     • Strakatý, Karel : v
VIEUXTEMPS, Henri : unspecified Morceau de salon, vl, pf

Part 2:

BEETHOVEN, Ludwig van : Andante and Rondo from Sonata for violin and piano Kreutzer, A minor, op.47
     • Pixis, Theodor : vl Smolař, František : pf
MOLIQUE, Bernhard : unspecified song, v, [pf]
     • Botschon-Soukupová, Cecilie : v
MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY, Felix : unspecified song, v, pf
SCHUMANN, Robert Alexander : song Frühlingsnacht no.12 of song collection Liederkreis, v, pf, op.39
     • Botschon-Soukupová, Cecilie : v
PIXIS, Theodor : Fantasie on Swedish folksongs, vl, [pf]
LISZT, Franz : unspecified Hungarian melodies [Ungarische melodien], pf, S242
BÉRIOT, Charles Auguste de : , OSBORNE, George Alexander : Fantasie [Fantaisie] on themes from Rossini's opera Guillaume Tell, vl, pf, op.16


News was published by Bohemia 22/11/1850 that on Tuesday 26th November Mr Pixis and Mr Smolař would give a farewell evening soirée in the Guesthouse Archduke Stephan at 5pm. No further details of the occasion were given by the text. On the following day Prager Zeitung 23/11/1850 also reported the date, venue and time of their next performance, and that the occasion promised to be ‘highly pleasurable’. Bohemia 24/11/1850 published more full details of this event in the section Lokalzeitung, specifying the date, time, venue, other participating artists and the complete programme of this farewell soirée in projected performance order. The event was also listed in the Tagesanzeiger texts of Bohemia 24/11/1850 and 26/11/1850.

A review, signed ‘V.’, of this event was published by Bohemia 29/11/1850. This began by remarking that Prague had very few halls appropriate for musical productions, and in the event of the ‘Platteyßhause’ or the Žofín Hall being unavailable there were few suitable alternative venues. The salon in the Guest house ‘zum Erzherzog Stephan’ was praised for its good acoustic, but the venue was said to be limited in capacity and unsuited to larger productions. For concerts without orchestra it ‘fulfills its purpose perfectly’; the farewell soirée given by Pixis and Smolař was in this respect successful and was noted to have attracted an excellent attendance. The Bohemia critic then commented upon the violinist Pixis, noting that his performancestrikingly testified to the veracity of what had been already written about him following his first concert. The fourth number of the programme, the ‘Morceau de Salon’, showed him to be a ‘pure singer on the violin [i.e. commanded a lyrical and excellent tone], and the Phantasie on Swedish folksongs to be a tasteful composer and brilliant virtuoso.’ Interestingly, the two joint compositions by Osborne and Bériot and by Wolff and Vieuxtemps were ‘only through the so brilliant performance ... to some extent enjoyable. The concert-giver deserves much greater thanks for his choice of the Andante and Finale from the A-major, well-known Kreutzer Sonata by Beethoven. Pixis was described as an ‘ingenious and magnificent interpreter’ of the work, and the performance was ‘sublime’. Evidently contributing to this success was the ‘delicate and mature’ playing of Smolař that eschewed emphasis on bravura. The pianist also performed his own composition of Reminiscence on Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia as well as Liszt’s Hungarian Melodies [Ungarische Melodien] that he had given in a concert the previous year, and which also on this occasion had been received with great applause and on general demand had to be repeated.
The piano, an instrument by Streicher, was said to have had a very full tone to the extent that sometimes it was too loud for the acoustic of the room. This was not a problem in the works in which Smolař performed ‘with the most delicate and finest nuances’ as an accompanist.

Of the remainder of the concert the Bohemia critic related that Strakatý ‘lyrical singer par excellence’ performed Loewe’s song An das Meer to words by Ferdinand, Prince Schwarzenberg, and an unspecified ‘old Slavonic song’ which had to be encored. Mrs Botschon-Soukup [Soukupová] gave unspecified songs by Molique and Mendelssohn as well as Schumann’s Frühlingsnacht. Her ‘brave’ choice of these works thought
by the correspondent to be particularly deserving of praise; the song by Schumann was ‘particularly gratifying’ on account of the composer ‘not being a favourite of the concert- and salon-[going] public’. The work was received with enthusiasm and was repeated.

The works are listed in the database event record in the order specified by the Bohemia 24/11/1850 report, including further details from the subsequent Bohemia review.

Summary of sources:

Bohemia, ein Unterhaltungsblatt (22/11/1850)
Prager Zeitung (23/11/1850)
Bohemia, ein Unterhaltungsblatt (24/11/1850)
Bohemia, ein Unterhaltungsblatt (26/11/1850)
Bohemia, ein Unterhaltungsblatt (29/11/1850)