Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Event title:

Farewell concert given by the Dulcken sisters

Venue: Estates Theatre

Event type: Art music culture

Date: 10/04/1851

Season: Lent

Programme including:

General participants:
  • DULCKEN, Sophie: soloist, pf
  • DULCKEN, Isabella: soloist, concertina
  • VERSING, Wilhelm: soloist, v
WEBER, Carl Maria von : Koncertstück for piano and orchestra, pf, orch, F-sharp minor, J282
CHOPIN, Fryderyck Franciszek : unspecified Nocturne, pf
VERDI, Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco : aria from unspecified opera, v, orch


This concert was announced by the Tagesanzeiger text of Bohemia 10/4/1851. A performance of Der Schauspielerin preceded their appearance.

Bohemia 13/4/1851 published a review, signed ‘V.’, of the ‘Farewell-concert of the Dulcken sisters.’ This began by relating how the beautiful appearance of the two musicians undoubtedly had a favourable effect upon the success of their concert, and also that they had already won the favour of the audience on the occasion of their very first performance on a Prague stage. Their performances had been received with considerable applause, curtain-calls and the giving of floral wreaths. On this occasion the correspondent noted the daring of Sophie to be competing in Prague with Liszt and Dreyschock through the programming of the Concertstück by Weber [both of whom had given the work there], but remarked that ‘despite an overhasty tempo due to her youthful haste she had mastered the technical difficulties of the piece, [her playing] was clear, distinct and pure in almost all parts and often demonstrated, especially for her delicate age and gender, an admirable strength and stamina.’ Of the other works she gave, the [Chopin] Nocturne alone was described in detail, being noted as a piece ‘although slight ... nevertheless full of poetic enthusiasm and intimacy and very charming; it became known through the intimate performance of the unforgettable Clara Schumann.’ A performance given ‘a day earlier’ by Karl Fischer was by comparison with that of Miss Dulcken more ardent and in tune with the composer’s wishes, but was less successfully received. Her playing was ‘more admirable ... [in the pieces] that aimed at brilliant performance and smooth elegance.’

Concerning the performance of Isabella Dulcken on the melophone, the review text listed the pieces that she played and observed that technically they seemed to be more difficult than the works given in her previous concerts. The character of the instrument in possessing a uniform timbre and limited potential for the composer was thought to give rise to the risk of a certain monotony affecting longer performances, but in the case of Miss Dulcken this was negated by her considerable virtuosity. Following her performances she was noted to have received considerable applause. Mr Versing sang the aria by Verdi with great success. Before the concert the play Die Schauspielerin by Friedrich was given; its performers gained great applause from the audience.

Summary of sources:

Bohemia, ein Unterhaltungsblatt (10/04/1851)
Bohemia (13/04/1851)