Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Event title:

First Garden Concert [Gartenkoncert] and Soirée musicale given by the Military Music Society

Venue: Waldstein Garden

Event type: Art music culture

Date: 25/06/1851 5pm

Season: Summer

Programme comprising, part 1:

General participants:
  • Military Music Institute: participating institution, orch
  • SVOBODA, František Václav: director of institute, conductor
  • MÜLLER, Celestin: soloist, ob
  • WAGNER, Franziska: soloist, v
  • WEBER, Jan: soloist, vl
arr. unspecified, ?: Beethoven: Overture to Goethe's play Egmont , military music
PROCH, Heinrich : song Stiller Trost, v, [pf?]
     • Wagner, Franziska : v
DREYSCHOCK, Alexander : march with chorus Radetzky-Siegesmarsch [Hommage à Radetzky] , chorus, wind insts
BÉRIOT, Charles Auguste de : movement 1 from Concerto for violin and orchestra, nr.3, E major, op.44
     • Weber, Jan : vl
unspecified Czech folksong, v
     • Wagner, Franziska : v
FOGLAR, ? : unspecified Concertino for oboe and orchestra, ob, orch
     • Müller, Celestin : ob
arr. unspecified, ?: Berlioz, H.: Overture Le Carnaval romain , arr. military music

Part 2 'conversation':

ERKEL, Ferencz : Overure to opera Hunyádý László, orch
SVOBODA, František Václav : march [Marsch] Vorwärts, orch
STRAUSS, Johann Baptist : quadrille Attaque, orch, op.76, RV76
SVOBODA, František Václav : polka Masupolka, orch
STRAUSS, Johann Baptist : waltz Johannis-Käferln, orch, op.82, RV82
SVOBODA, František Václav : march Kolben hoch, orch
arr. Svoboda, František Václav: Karneval von Venedig , military music ensemble


Advance news of this event was published by Bohemia 22/5/1851, which reported that ‘The first great Garden Concert of the Military Music Society under the leadership of its Director, F.W. Swoboda, currently Kapellmeister of the Imperial Prince von Wasa Infantry Regiment, takes place on 4th June in the Garden Salon of Count Waldstein’s Garden. It will furnish us with unusual artistic pleasure, in the first part will be performed Beethoven’s Overture to Egmont and Berlioz’s Carnival of Rome, both compositions arranged for military orchestra, then Dreyschock’s Siegesmarsch, which in the first concert of the Society received unanimous applause. It delights us too that this Society on every Wednesday from 4th June throughout the summer season will give musical entertainments.’

Over successive weeks this event was then postponed, eventually taking place on 25th June.

A week before the concert was originally to have taken place Bohemia 28/5/1851 announced  that due to the inherently cool weather the event was postponed from 4th June to 11th June. The same issue of the newspaper also reported the postponement of the annual May Festival [Maifest] held in the Little Quarter cemetery.

Further information about the projected was published by Bohemia 8/6/1851. The Lokalzeitung section of the newspaper reported that on ‘Wednesday 11th June the Military Music Society under the personal leadership of its untiring director Mr F.W. Swoboda and with the participation of the band of the Imperial Infantry Regiment of Prince Gustav von Wasa arranges a Summer Assembly [Sommer-Assemblée] in Count Waldstein’s Garden. It commences with a concert in the Garden-Salon, in which will participate the oboe virtuoso Mr Cölestin Müller, our celebrated singer Miss Wagner and the violinist Mr Weber. After the concert will take place in the Garden a Soirée musicale. The interest of the whole programme of this Sommer-Assembly we will disclose later.’ The Tagesanzeiger text of Bohemia 8/6/1851 confirmed that on Wednesday 11th June ‘4pm in Waldstein Garden: Concert of the Military Music Society.’ No further details were given by this source.

No report appeared in Bohemia confirming that the concert did take place on 11th June. The Tagesanzeiger text published by Bohemia 12/6/1851 which listed events for 11th June did not specify that the Military Music Institute gave a performance on that day. The Tagesanzeiger text of Bohemia 17/6/1851 then announced for Wednesday 18th June ‘4.30 pm in Count Waldstein’s Garden: Concert of the Military Music Society.’ Full details of the programme and participating soloists followed, with the proviso that the event would be postponed if the weather were poor. E
vidently the event was again cancelled. No information appeared in the subsequent Tagesanzeiger text detailing 18th June that the concert took place on that day. On 24th June the Lokalzeitung section of the newspaper Bohemia carried the following report:

‘Wednesday, 25th June will take place in Count Waldstein’s Garden the Summer Assembly [Sommer-Assemblée] of the Military Music Society, which from the excellent arrangements promises to be very interesting. With this entertainment this beautiful garden will be opened to the public for the first time.’

A review, signed ‘V.’, of the event was published by Bohemia 27/6/1851. This confirmed that the concert eventually took place on 25th June, and that it had previously fallen victim many times to bad weather. Noted to be gathering in the ‘Friedlandshalle’ and at the ‘Conversation’ - evidently the name given to the social-musical entertainment - taking place afterwards in the garden of the venue, was ‘a qute numerous public’. The correspondent then commented in detail upon the difficulties of arranging works that were originally cast for full orchestra instead for a military music ensemble, as was the performing body at this event. This entailed attempting to ensure that effects intended for string ensemble - such as accompaniment figures - were adequately reproduced for the wind resources. In this case the arrangements of Beethoven’s Egmont Overture and Berlioz’s King Lear were deemed to have been very successful, both in terms of their working and actual performance. The Kapellmeister, Mr Swoboda [Svoboda], was praised for his success in having just taken over the directorship of this band and having within such a short time fashioned a most effective ensemble. The review then commented briefly upon the other works given in the concert. The ‘great’ Siegesmarsch for military music and choir Hommage à Radetzky was reported to have been given during the previous winter season and its success had already been outlined. Müller ‘the splendid oboist, contributed an exceedingly difficult Concertino by Fengler with well-practised virtuosity and gained great applause.’ Similar approbation was gained by Miss Wagner for the two songs and also by Weber for his performance of the first movement of Bériot’s concerto. This was given with piano accompaniment. Finally, the correspondent reported that the programme of the ‘Conversation’ - undoubtedly open air and informal performances - included in addition to the overture by Erkel and the ‘favourite “Errinerung am Ernst”, only marches and dance compositions’. The last-named work referred to Svoboda’s arrangement of the violinist composer’s well-known Burlesque.

Summary of sources:

Bohemia (22/05/1851)
Bohemia (28/05/1851)
Bohemia, ein Unterhaltungsblatt (08/06/1851)
Bohemia, ein Unterhaltungsblatt (08/06/1851)
Bohemia, ein Unterhaltungsblatt (17/06/1851)
Bohemia, ein Unterhaltungsblatt (24/06/1851)
Bohemia (27/06/1851)