Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Event title:

Concert given by the violinist Bertha Brousil [Brousilová]

Venue: Konvikt

Event type: Art music culture

Date: 06/05/1854 4.30pm

Programme including:

VEIT, Wenzel Heinrich : String Quartet, 2vl, va, vc, nr.4, G minor, op.16
     • Brousilová, Bertha : vl Mildner, Mořic : vl Paulus, Alfred : va Goltermann, Julius : vc
unspecified song [Lied], v, [pf?]
     • Brachtová, ? : v
PANOFKA, Heinrich : Romance on a theme from Donizetti's opera Dom Sébastien, vl, pf
     • Brousilová, Bertha : vl Brousilová, Antonie : pf
DESSAUER, Josef : song Frühlingslied, v, vl, pf
     • Brachtová, ? : v Brousilová, Bertha : vl
MILDNER, Mořic : Variations on a Czech folksong Sil jsem proso (I reaped corn), 2vl, va, vc
     • Brousilová, Cäcilie : stringed instrument Brousil, Alojs : stringed instrument Brousil, Johann : stringed instrument Brousil, Albín : stringed instrument
MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY, Felix : Concerto for violin and orchestra, vl, orch, E minor, op.64
     • Brousilová, Bertha : vl Brousilová, Antonie : pf


Mercy’s Anzeiger 2/5/1854 reported that ‘The twelve-year old virtuoso Bertha Brausil [Brousil], who recently in one of her public concerts gained the most animated applause ... intends next week to again give a concert and will participate in a Quartet by Veit and perform Mendelssohn’s great Concerto. The concert-giver will be assisted by her siblings. Also Miss Bracht [Brachtová] has promised her participation in the evening and will perform a song by Dessauer with violin accompaniment.’ Further details of the event appeared in this newspaper on 4th May, in a report that noted ‘The concert of the virtuoso Miss Bertha Brousil [Brousilová] takes place on 6th May in the Konvikt Hall at 4.30pm. The programme numbers comprise the following: the Quartet by Veit, in which Professor Goltermann and Mr Paulus will also appear; Lieder performed by Mr Schmidt; the Romanza from Dom Sebastian performed by the concert giver and her sister Antonie; Frühlingslieder sung by Miss von Bracht [Brachtová]; the Concerto by Mendelssohn-Bartholdy performed by the concert-giver and her sister Antonie.’

The supplement 17 to Lumír 1854, published on 2/5/1854 reported that ‘On Saturday there will be in the Konvikt [a] second concert of our young talented countrywoman, the violinist Berta Brousilová. In this concert particularly obligingly will participate the singers Mr Lukes and Miss Brachtová, then the musicians Messrs Professor Mildner, Golterman, Paulus and Panofka. Berta Brousilová will play in a quartet the fourth [String Quartet] of our splendid native composer V.H. Veit, and to end will perform the great Concerto by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. An interesting number will be the quartet on the theme of the Czech folksong „Sil jsem proso na souvrati“ composed by Mr Mildner, a première performance; playing in this will be the younger brothers and sisters of Bertina, Albin (11 years old), Jan (8 years old), Alojs (6 years old) and Cecilie (as little as 4-and-a-half years old).’ No further details were given by this source. Panofka was most likely the violinist Heinrich Panofka. A Romanza on themes from Dom Sebastian was composed by Panofka and may well have been the work of this title noted by the earlier Mercy’s Anzeiger report.

Advance details of this concert were also published by Der Tagesbote 4/5/1854. A report related the date, time and venue of the event and listed the programme and participants. On
2/5/1854 the newspaper had announced that ‘the twelve year old violin virtuoso Bertha Brousil [Brousilová] will in the course of the following week give a concert, in which also Miss von Bracht [Brachtová] and Mr Lukes will participate.’

An unsigned review of this event was published by Der Tagesbote 9/5/1854, reporting that ‘The exceedingly proficient pupil of Prof. Mildner, Miss Bertha Brousil [Brousilová], gave a second numerously attended concert on 6th May and confirmed our already stated view that with continued diligent education the most beautiful promise is justified of the young lady. Particularly beautiful was her playing of Mendelssohn’s Concerto. The programme contained amongst other works the fourth String Quartet of our ingenious W.H. Veit, which in the last movement the well-known folksong „Měla jsem holoubka“ is treated both expressively and spiritedly. Miss von Bracht sang two songs, one of which had to be encored.’

A brief unsigned review was published in the supplement 19 to Lumír 1854 published on 9/5/1854. The correspondent reported: ‘Concert of Berta Brousilová (on Saturday in the Konvikt [Hall]) came off happily; the young artiste obtained much, merited applause. Most liked was Veit’s Quartet, which in the last movement is worked the folksong
Měla jsem holoubka“. Miss Brachtová contributed to the concert with the successful performance of two songs.’

From the various reviews noted above, the works definitely performed in this programme comprised the Concerto by Mendelssohn, Veit’s fourth String Quartet, and two songs performed by Miss von Bracht [Brachtová]. Despite the publication by several periodicals of pre-event reports describing the projected programme in similar detail, it is not possible to ascertain which of those earlier noted works were actually performed. From the reviews, definitely appearing in the event were Bertha Brousilová and Miss Brachtová. The tenor Mr Lukes was noted by previous reports as taking part, but his name was not mentioned by the noted reviews. Given that Lukes was at this time a leading Prague singer, the fact that he did not appear in the review suggests that he did not participate in the concert. Similarly, Miss Schmidt was not recorded by the reviews as having taken part. Of the other performers participating in the concert, it is reasonable to assume Golterman and Paulus participated as violoncellist and violist respectively in the string quartet. The remaining violinist in the quartet besides Miss Brousilová may have been Mildner or Panofka. The pre-concert report of Mercy’s Anzeiger 2/5/1854 reported that Bertha’s sister Antonie accompanied her in the performance of the Mendelssohn Concerto.

The Mercy’s Anzeiger 2/5/1854 and 4/5/1854 reports noted respectively that Miss von Bracht was to perform a song with violin obbligato by Dessauer and that she was to perform a song entitled Frühlingslieder. A song by that title for soprano appears in the output of Dessauer, so it is reasonable to assumer this work was given in the programme.

The database programme record of the event has therefore been assembled from all the works listed by the pre-event reports.

Summary of sources:

Tagesbote aus Böhmen (02/05/1854)
Mercy's Anzeiger für Böhmen (02/05/1854)
Lumír (02/05/1854)
Tagesbote aus Böhmen (04/05/1854)
Mercy's Anzeiger für Böhmen (04/05/1854)
Tagesbote aus Böhmen (09/05/1854)
Lumír (09/05/1854)