Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Event title:

First quartet soirée [Quartetsoirée] of Ferd. Laub

Venue: Konvikt

Event type: Art music culture

Date: 05/12/1851 4.30pm

Season: Advent

Programme comprising:

General participants:
  • LAUB, Ferdinand: soloist, vl
  • WEBER, Jan: soloist, vl
  • PAULUS, Alfred: soloist, va
  • GOLTERMANN, Julius: soloist, vc
  • PFEIFFER, ?: soloist, va
HAYDN, Franz Joseph : unspecified String Quartet, 2vl, va, vc, G major
MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY, Felix : String Quartet, 2vl, va, vc, nr.3, D major, op.44/1
MOZART, Wolfgang Amadeus : String Quintet, 2vl, 2va, vc, E-flat major, K614


Advance news of this event was published by Lumír 4/12/1851 which noted that ‘tomorrow at 4.30pm will be in the Konvikt [Hall] the first quartet soirée which Mr Ferdinand Laub arranges together with Messrs Goltermann, Paulus and Weber. Quartets by Haydn and Mendelssohn and a quintet by Mozart will be performed.’ After noting the dates of two such further entertainments, the report stated that ‘Every lover of so-called chamber music, of which there number many in Prague, will be sincerely greatful for after the departure of our Král and Messrs Köckert [Röckert] and Träg, we had no hope that so soon we would have any further such entertainments. The name of Laub, who has just gain has just returned to his homeland from London where he became a great favourite, guarantees us a rare musical treat.’

Brief details of this event, its date, time and venue appeared in the Tagesanzeiger texts of
Bohemia 4/12/1851 and 5/2/1851.

A review, signed ‘V.’, of this event was published by Bohemia 7/12/1851. After relating the date of the event and works performed, the text focussed upon the violinist Laub.
With specific reference to his recent appearance in London, his enthusiastic reception by critics and audiences was reported. The programme of this event was noted to include three works that well-demonstrated his ability and talent as a violinist. ‘The friendly humour of the cozy genius of the first master [Haydn], the noble pathos of the modern tone-poet [Mendelssohn], the rich musical ardour of the magnificent Mozart [ each of these] was Laub’s violin well-suited as a spririted and richly expressive singer. The mastery of his playing, the energetic fire of his performance, the ease with which these disparate elements combined within one single artistic personality!’ After remarking upon the particular success of the soirée through the participation of Laub, the correspondent noted that the virtuoso’s fellow players were considered to be worthy of appearing alongside him. The ensemble was considered to have been ‘very accurate and finely nuanced.’ The Konvikt Hall was noted to have proved an excellent venue for the event, being well organized and possessing a good acoustic for chamber music productions. The soirée was very numerously attended and the performances were greeted with warm and repeated applause. Finally, the critic expressed a wish to hear Laub performing ‘in a concert with full orchestral accompaniment.’

Lumír 11/12/1851 published a review, signed ‘S.K. [most likely Sigmund Kolešovský]’. The critic reported that the event was a splendid success. The ‘performance, especially of the first violinist Mr Laub and the violoncellist Mr Goltermann, was masterly’. Laub’s playing was characterized not only by its ‘sweetness, but also its resolute and individual excellence.’ He succeeded in reproducing the finest details of each of the compositions. Only the coda of Mendelssohn’s Quartet was thought to have been hurried. ‘Mr Goltermann demonstrated his rare ability and full tone in the Quartet in G major by Haydn.’ The last number, Mozart’s G minor Quartet, was given ‘with consumate perfection’, attention being drawn to the expressive performance of the Andante and to the masterful first violin playing in the finale. The works to be performed in the second and third soirées in this series were related, along with the note that ‘It is strange that we will hear nothing by Onslow or Spohr.’

The second viola player in Mozart’s Quintet was Pfeiffer.

Summary of sources:

Bohemia (04/12/1851)
Lumír (04/12/1851)
Bohemia (05/12/1851)
Bohemia (07/12/1851)
Lumír (11/12/1851)