Venue: Žofín Island (Žofín Hall)
Event type: Popular social musical and dance events
Date: 09/01/1851 8pm
A review, signed ‘V.’, of this event was published by Bohemia 12/1/1851. This reported that despite numerous other events and ‘bacchanalia’ taking place at the same time, and despite adverse weather which meant that the hall was not ‘overfull’, the performances by these Hungarian instrumentalists again delighted by their ‘very brilliant’ success. ‘Apart from other new numbers’, unspecified by the source, the programme included the listed march from Meyerbeer’s Le prophète. Of the style and accuracy of playing the critic was still more effusive than his earlier review of their appearance on 4th January. The thrilling ‘power and fullness in an orchestra of only 15 men naturally caused not a little sensation’, proving that unanimity of ensemble and excellent instrumental skill produced better effects than a greater number of average players. As in the earlier review, the correspondent drew attention to the ‘specifically Hungarian’ style of performance with its al fresco rhythmic approach. However, the critic’s previous criticism of this trait was not repeated; instead such a ‘difficult’ manner of playing [while maintaining good ensemble] was thought to be ‘truly admirable’, especially given that the instrumentalists played without music and with little perceptible direction from their Kapellmeister.
Prager Zeitung 12/1/1851 published an equally effusive review, signed ‘Obolus’. The critic remarked upon the striking effect of the ensemble in its ‘power and precision’. Although the band was noted to comprise only 15 members, including the Kapellmeister who played violin, their sonority was thought to be similar to that achieved by a conventional group of between 30-40 musicians. This was attributed to the virtuosity and energy of each individual, the excellence of their instruments, and the precision in all aspects of the performance. Thought to be particularly striking was the uniform bowing of the string players ‘which deserves the highest praise and is quite amazing when we consider that the band plays everything by heart. ... The orchestra consists of 8 strings and 7 wind, the latter who change instruments. In this concert were [played] mainly piston brass, whose extraordinary bravura and wonderful, pithy and yet charming tone we had the opportunity to admire. The ’cellist offered a peculiar sight to musicians in that he [fingered] with the right hand and bowed with the left.’ Limited space for the review prevented the correspondent from describing the 15 pieces given in the programme. All were considered to be successful, with a composition by Kalozdy and the Coronation March [from Le prophète] ‘the tempo of which seemed too quick’ being encored. The Kapellmeister was repeatedly curtain-called. Finally, the ensemble was noted to have received the same enthusiastic reception in Prague as it had in Vienna; the venue was ‘overwhelmingly full.’
The first public appearance in Prague of this touring Hungarian ensemble seems to have taken place on 4/1/1851. The dates of some of their performances prior to this fifth event were not specified by the newspaper Bohemia. A notice published by the ensemble in Bohemia 10/1/1851 announced that their sixth and seventh concerts would take plave on 11th and 12th January in the Žofín Hall.