Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Event title:

Benefit concert given by pianist Alexander Dreyschock

Venue: Konvikt

Event type: Art music culture

Date: 17/04/1854 12noon

Beneficiary: Prague Institute for the Poor [St Bartholomew Poor House]

Programme comprising:

General participants:
  • Estates Theatre orchestra: participating orchestra
  • DREYSCHOCK, Alexander: soloist, pf
  • MILDNER, Mořic: director of ensemble
AMBROS, August Wilhelm : Overture to Tieck's poem Pflazgräfin Genoveva, orch
MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY, Felix : Concerto for piano and orchestra, pf, orch, nr.1, G minor, op.25
SCHUBERT, Franz Peter : song Auflösung, v, pf, D807
     • Meyer, Marie Louise : v Dreyschock, Alexander : pf
SCHUBERT, Franz Peter : song Auf dem Wasser zu Singen, v, pf, D774
     • Meyer, Marie Louise : v Dreyschock, Alexander : pf
DREYSCHOCK, Alexander : unidentified Impromptu Les Adieux, pf
SCHULHOFF, Julius : Étude Le Tournoi, pf, op.12
KITTL, Jan Bedřich : Impromptu Le zephir no.6 of 6 Impromptus, pf, op.18
DREYSCHOCK, Alexander : Toccata no.3 of piano pieces [Klavirstücke], pf, op.141
MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY, Felix : song Der Mond no.5 6 songs [6 Lieder], v, pf, op.86
     • Meyer, Marie Louise : v Dreyschock, Alexander : pf
SCHUBERT, Franz Peter : song Die Post no.13 from Song cycle Winterreise, v, pf, D911
     • Meyer, Marie Louise : v Dreyschock, Alexander : pf
DREYSCHOCK, Alexander : piano piece Spinnerlied aus dem Elisabeth'schen Album, pf, op.128
DREYSCHOCK, Alexander : Nocturne Bluette, pf, F major, op.16
     • Dreyschock, Alexander : pf
DREYSCHOCK, Alexander : Polka Invitation à la Polka, pf, op.73


Tagesbote aus Böhmen 14/4/1854 published advance news of this concert, reporting its date, time, venue, the programme in performance order and the participants.

On 19th April
Tagesbote aus Böhmen published a review, signed ‘J.H.’, of the event, noting first that the concert was given by Dreyschock for the benefit of the Institute for Poor House. The correspondent began by debating whether Dreyschock was more deserving of thanks ‘for applying his enviable talent to the benefit of this noble cause? Or for his tasteful choice of programme executed with the most complete mastery? Or for the friendly willingness with which, in view of the vociferous acclaim, he encored half of a performance that was both eminent and strenuous.’ At the end of the programme Dreyschock was received with applause and recalls [before the audience] that the critic described as unending. The pianist was adjudged to have ‘deserved this triumph... No one could recall Mendelssohn’s G minor Concerto having been performed with a more complete mastery, Kittel’s [Kittl] Zephír more beautifully played, and in Schulhoff’s knightly Turnoi [Le turnoi] the unparalleled heroic octaves better executed. A great and well-deserved share in the laurels of the day was earnt by Miss Mayer [Meyer] through her song performances.’ The singer was praised for her choice of a programme of such consequence and good taste’, a characteristic that she was also noted to have exhibited throughout that year’s concert season. This was contrasted with the choice of works of many of her colleagues, whose programmes were noted to seem more akin to ‘wälscher Salat’. Of the songs she performed on this occasion, Schubert’s Der Post on general demand had to be encored. The piano accompaniments were played by Dreyschock. Finally, the critic reported that the concert commenced with a work given with success in the same hall seven years earlier, Ambros’s Overture ‘Zur Genovesa’ [Plazgräfin Genoveva]. The Overture was performed by the [Estates] Theatre Orchestra, which then excellently provided a splendid, nuanced accompaniment of Mendelssohn’s Concerto under the leadership of Mr Mildner.’

An unsigned review of this event was published by Lumír 20/4/1854. The correspondent related ‘On Easter Monday about 12 [noon] was the great concert of Mr Alexander Dreyschock in the Konvikt Hall, in all parts full [with people]. With concert of this, our virtuoso, the critic has short and light work, needing just to bring to print the list of pieces that he performed and how the whole of Europe knows of him. This time the public enthused over the following numbers: Mendelssohn’s Concerto in G minor, Spinning Song [see below, most probably by Dreyschock] of the same, „Zefír“ [Le zephir] of J.B. Kittl, „Pošta“ [Der Post] of Schubert, étude „Le turnoi“ by Schulhoff, then his own excellent compositions: Nocturno in F [Nocturne Bluette, op.16], and „Invitation à la Polca“ [Invitation
à la Polka]. The most substantial support to this concert devoted to the aid of a good cause [i.e. a benefit concert], was given excellently by Miss Mayerová [Meyer] with her singing. A particular revelation was the ingenious [duchaplný] Overture to Tieck’s Genovefa [Pflazfräfin Genoveva] by Dr Ambros, which for all those familiar with the study of this interesting subject [story] is interesting and also to the public in general is accessible and delicious. I vouch that it is a pity Mr Ambros does not permit himself to be concerned more with the composition of music than with his multifarious magisterial occupation!’

The programme of the event record is compiled from the
Tagesbote aus Böhmen 14/4/1854 report that listed the works to be performed. Both the reviews quoted above did not list all of the works originally programmed in that pre-concert record. This does not necessarily mean that those omitted works were not actually performed in the concert but may have been passed over by the critics. The Lumír review may have confused the Spinning Song [Spinnerlied] it gave as being by Mendelssohn (a widely known and familiar piece in C major dating from 1845) with Dreyschock’s own work with a similar title as noted by the Tagesbote 14/4/1854 report.

Summary of sources:

Tagesbote aus Böhmen (14/04/1854)
Tagesbote aus Böhmen (19/04/1854)
Lumír (20/04/1854)