Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Event title:

Benefit Academy [Akademie] given in aid of students of the two higher Gymnasium classes

Venue: Žofín Island (Žofín Hall)

Event type: Art music culture

Date: 21/04/1854 4pm

Beneficiary: Poor students of Prague Gymnasia

Programme comprising:

General participants:
  • Estates Theatre orchestra: participating orchestra
  • Žofín Academy: participating institution, chorus
TAUWITZ, Eduard : Festival Overture, orch
     • Tauwitz, Eduard :
KREUTZER, Conradin : recitative and aria [from unspecified opera], v, orch
     • Heichenwalder, Caroline : v
KRÁL, Jan : Fantasie for viola d'amore, va d'amore, [orch / pf?]
     • Paulus, Alfred : va d'amore
SPEIER, Wilhelm : song [Lied] Der Trompeter, v, pf, op.31
     • Schmidt, ? : v
HELLER, Josef August : Elegy [Elegie] Elegie an die für das Vaterland gefallen Helden, orch
     • Tauwitz, Eduard : conductor
SPOHR, Louis : song Wiegenlied no.4 from 6 songs [Sechs deutsche Lieder], v, cl, pf, op.103
     • Meyer, Marie Louise : v Pisařovic, Julius : cl
SPOHR, Louis : song Wach' auf! no.6 from 6 songs [Sechs deutsche Lieder], v, cl, pf, op.103
     • Meyer, Marie Louise : v Pisařovic, Julius : cl
CHOPIN, Fryderyck Franciszek : unspecified Nocturne, pf, op.55
     • Krausová, Johanna : pf
MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY, Felix : Andante and rondo capriccioso, pf, op.14
     • Krausová, Johanna : pf
VIEUXTEMPS, Henri : Fantasie slave, vl, orch, op.27
     • Bennewitz, Antonín : vl
MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY, Felix : chorus Türkisches Schenkenlied no.1 from 6 Lieder for male voices, male vv, op.50
     • Vogl, František Arnold : conductor


Mercy’s Anzeiger 16/4/1854 and 18/4/1854 published an advertisement in both Czech and German noting ‘Invitation to the Academy that is taking place on 21st April at 4pm for the benefit of needy students of the two higher classes of the Gymnasium in the Žofín Hall.’

Tagesbote aus Böhmen
20/4/1854 published news that the Academy to benefit students of the two higher Gymnasium classes would take place on 21st April at 4pm instead of on 26th April. The reason for the change was not known. Lumír 20/4/1854 also noted that this concert was to take place at that time on that date.

On 21/4/184 Mercy’s Anzeiger contained an advertisement announcing the date, venue and programme for this concert in performance order, and noted the participating soloists.

A review, signed J.H., of this concert, was published by Tagesbote aus Böhmen 23/4/1854. The correspondent felt that the programme contained too many works, yet noted that the ‘very numerous and animated audience’ had appreciated the ‘for the best part splendidly successful performance of the proffered compositions’. The performances of the various participants were then described. The singing by Miss Heichenwalder [Heichenwalderová], a pupil of the flautist Mr Spanner, of a recitative and aria by Kreutzer was thought to have illustrated the quality of her voice and of her performance technique. However, the critic hoped that on subsequent appearances her intonation would be less unsteady. Miss Meyer ‘accompanied on the clarinet by Mr Pisařowitz, inspired stormy approbation with the expressive (almost too dramatic) performance of both Spohr songs, and had to encore the second’. Following a token acknowledgement of Spohr’s prowess as a composer, the songs themselves were then criticized for their ‘tasteless’ clarinet obbligati. ‘In Miss Kraus [Krausová] we found a very proficient, highly promising pianist, [giving] a very decent performance of Chopin’s charming Notturno and an excellent one of Mendelssohn’s elfen [elfenhastes] Rondo. In the arabesque first composition we would only have desired a little more ethereal delicacy. Dr Schmidt received the most animated applause,
as always through the fullness and power of his rare voice, despite his choice of a not very grateful song (the „Trumpeter“, poem by Kopisch, composed by Speier). Not inferior were the concertante solo performances of Mr Benneowitz [Bennewitz] (Fantasie on Slavonic folksongs by Vieuxtemps), and Paulus (Fantasie for the viola d’amore by Klar) who with accuracy scaled the vertiginous heights [registers] of his instrument. Each of the above-mentioned [soloists] was curtain-called. As concerns the two orchestral items that were played by the Theatre Orchestra under the leadership of Kapellmeister Tauwitz, the Festival Overture on the Austrian and Bavarian National Anthem by Tauwitz, and the Elegie on the Fallen Heroes of the Fatherland by J. Heller (new), so we note that the first of these, which was performed with great success at the opening of the Prague to Dresden railway, is very easy on the ear. Its dignified scoring and the fine contrapuntal combination of the two themes contrasting so greatly in rhythm testified to the hand of a master, but a composer who is unfortunately so little appreciated here. As concerns the Elegie, so we must refer the well-disposed reader to the report of another newspaper, or to that which was published in this paper after the performance of this composition in 1849 in the Waldstein Hall and in the Theatre. The members of the Žofín Academy under the leadership of their Director Vogl ended the concert with an impeccable performance of Mendelssohn’s „Turkish Drinking-song [turkischen Schenkenliedes]“.’

The Czech-language periodical Lumír published in its supplement 14 dated 22/4/1854 a review of this concert.

Summary of sources:

Mercy's Anzeiger für Böhmen (16/04/1854)
Mercy's Anzeiger für Böhmen (18/04/1854)
Tagesbote aus Böhmen (20/04/1854)
Lumír (20/04/1854)
Mercy's Anzeiger für Böhmen (21/04/1854)
Lumír (22/04/1854)
Tagesbote aus Böhmen (23/04/1854)