Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Event title:

Celebration of mass

Venue: Cathedral church of St Vitus [sv Vít]

Event type: Church music events

Date: 10/08/1851 11am

Season: Summer

Programme unspecified:

UNSPECIFIED, ? : unspecified Mass, vv, [org / orch?]
     • Mountain-singers from the Pyrenees: vv

Commentary:

Brief details of this event appeared in the Tagesanzeiger text of Bohemia 10/8/1851. This noted the date, time, venue and participation of the French Mountain-singers who were then visiting Prague. No further information was given by the source.

An article, signed ‘V.’, was published in Bohemia 15/8/1851 responding to criticism by J.N. Škroup, then the choirmaster of Prague’s principal church St Vitus, that the performance of mass by this ensemble was disappointing and that the enthusiastic coverage by the correspondent ‘V.’ was inaccurate and misplaced. The Bohemia correspondent emphasized that his judgements had been based upon first hearing the singers [in the concert hall]. The expressive and aesthetic intentions behind ‘worldly and church music’, as well as these different types of music were performed in different locations should ‘not have to be explained to a person as highly ranked as the opponent [i.e. Škroup]... Therefore, there is no reason for any dispute, especially as I must admit that I was unable to attend the concert of the singers at the church. Whether the performance of the singers in church was really as bad as “Herr Reporter” portrays, has to be left open... If the mass as a composition was really as trivial as the Master of the Choristers portrays: so their performance in God’s temple gives a new perspective on the old principle: Mulier taceat in ecclesia, quality of voice, precision, accuracy and clarity of the performance can vary due to unfaourable circumstances, but it could not be supposed that the character of these voices as we heard in their first concert in the Žofín Island Hall could have changed. Everything that I said about the singers I have to repeat even now, and I cannot take it back in defiance of the disagreement and authority of the reporter, especially as my praises to the unbiased reader were only conditional and nothing that had to be criticised was skated over. To the strangely petulant criticsm that as a musical reporter I am too strict towards local artists in comparison, this could only be answered if the honourable Mr Opponent [Herr Gegner] would not disdain from connecting his assertion with the example of a real and specific case.’


Summary of sources:

Bohemia, ein Unterhaltungsblatt (10/08/1851)
Bohemia (15/08/1851)