Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Event title:

Concert given by sister Sophie and Isabella Dulcken

Venue: Estates Theatre

Event type: Art music culture

Date: 31/03/1851 pm (evening)

Season: Lent

Programme including:

General participants:
  • DULCKEN, Sophie: soloist, pf
  • DULCKEN, Isabella: soloist, melophone
  • JAKUBSOHN, ?: soloist, v
SCHULHOFF, Julius : variations Variations on Czech national songs, pf
BACH, Johann Sebastian : unspecified Prelude and fugue, keyboard
GOTTSCHALK, Louis Moreau : unspecified piano work Negerlied, pf
REGONDI, Giulio : unspecified Variations, melophone
BLAGSON, ? : Fantasie on theme[s?] from Donizetti's opera Linda di Chamounix, melophone
AUBER, Daniel François Espirit : Variations from act 2 of opera Les diaments de la couronne, S., [pf?]
     • Jakubsohn, ? : v


Advance news appeared in Lumír 13/3/1851 that ‘Žofie [Sophie] and Isabella Dulkenová [Dulcken], outstanding virtuosi on the fortepiano and melophone, are expected in Prague. In Vienna the concerts of these [virtuosi] were immensely enjoyed.’

30/3/1851 noted in its section Lokalzeitung that ‘Wanderer’ [presumably a periodical publication] had reported that the Dulcken siblings had given a concert in Prague with great success. The Prague newspaper corrected this, reporting that they would be heard in the city for the first time tomorrow. This was confirmed by the Tagesanzeiger text of Bohemia 30/3/1851, which specified that on Monday 31st March a concert would be given by the Misses Sophie and Isabella Dulcken in the [Estates] Theatre following an evening performance of Flotow’s comedy
Das Sonntagsräuschchen.

The Theatre section of Bohemia 3/4/1851 included a review of this concert given by the Dulcken sisters ‘from London.’ The works given by the the two performers were reported. The choice of compositions was thought to have been problematic for Prague, in comprising a work by Schulhoff that ‘famously loomed in memory for the intimate, charming performance by the composer’, and an exacting fugue by Bach. Of such a young artiste as was Sophie Dulcken, a successful performance might not be expected, yet her playing greatly surprised the critic for exhibiting great technical skill. She was noted to have a very forceful touch, brilliantly overcame the very numerous difficulties of the first and third pieces, and was many times vociferously [curtain-]called. The ‘Negerlied’ [not a specific title in Gottschalk’s output but often during the period coined as a nickname for one of several works by him] had to be repeated.

A section of the Bohemia review text was concerned with describing in detail the ‘melophone’. Isabella Dulcken’s performance on the instrument was noted to have been met ‘with wild applause and was curtain-called, and she gave a Ländler as an encore.’ Also appearing in the concert was Miss Jakobson, who performed the previously heard ‘Solfeggian-Variations from Auber’s Krondiamenten’, which she had to repeat. The review concluded by noting that the venue was ‘right numerously visited, and the public seemed very satisfied.’

A brief unsigned review of the concert appeared in Lumír 3/4/1851. The text reported that Misses Žofie and Isabella Dulkenová [Sophie and Isabella Dulcken] gave their first concert in the [Estates] Theatre. ‘The younger Dulkenová, Miss Isabella, proved herself to be an accomplished virtuoso on the melophone; Miss Žofie as a pianist of not a little astonishing ability.’ Her performance of Schulhoff’s ‘Fantasie’ [Variations] on Czech folksongs was noted to have particularly impressed, especially in the octave variations on Sil jsem proso [I reaped corn]. Both sisters received enthusiastic applause from the audience.

Summary of sources:

Lumír (13/03/1851)
Bohemia (30/03/1851)
Bohemia (30/03/1851)
Lumír (03/04/1851)