Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Event title:

Musical entertainment entitled 'Great Musical Contest [großer musikalischer Wettkämpf]'

Venue: Hraba's Restaurant (Garden restaurant)

Event type: Popular social musical and dance events

Date: 31/05/1854

Programme including:

General participants:
  • ensemble of Infantry Regiment of Archduke Albrecht: participating ensemble, orch
  • ensemble of Infantry Regiment of Count Jablonowsky: participating ensemble, orch
  • ensemble of the Royal 24th Rifles Battalion: participating ensemble
VALENTIN, ? : polka Prager Elisabethen-Gruß, orch
HAYDN, Franz Joseph : Austrian national hymn [anthem], vv


Der Tagesbote 28/5/1854 reported that ‘Next Monday (29th) there will take place a ‘Great Musical Contest’ in the Eisenbahngarten [lit. Station-garden, formerly called Hraba’s Restaurant-garden after its owner], in which will participate the 3 musical ensembles of the worthy Royal Infantry Regiments of Archduke Albrecht and Count Jablonowsky, and of the 24th Field-Rifles Batallion. Kapellmeister Valentin has for this occasion composed a polka entitled Prager Elisabethen-Gruß. A signal of a gun being fired would announce that the event was to take place, two hours before it was due to begin. Should the weather be inclement the entertainment would take place instead on the following day. Mercy’s Anzeiger 28/5/1854 relayed the same information, albeit specifying the following day and the fuller description that ‘Next Tuesday (30th May) takes place before the public in the Eisenbahngarten a new Art musical amusement, namely a „musikalischer Wettkampf [musical contest]“.’ On 30/5/1854 the newspaper published news that this event would take place ‘today’ as reported previously, providing that the weather did not present an obstacle. Otherwise it would be postponed until tomorrow.

Der Tagesbote 31/5/1854 reported that the event had had to be postponed due to bad weather and would if possible be given on  that day, Wednesday 31st May. Mercy’s Anzeiger 31/5/1854 also published news of the postponement and that if the ‘wind and weather was better’ the event would be given today.

A brief and unsigned review was published by Mercy’s Anzeiger 1/6/1854. The correspondent reported that ‘In Hraba’s Eisenbahngarten a numerous and distinguished public assembled as a jury for the musical contest between the three ensembles of the worthy Royal Infantry Regiment Archduke Albrecht, Prince Jablonowsky and the 24th Field-Rifles Battalion. It is hard to say which of the three bands could be judged worthy of the laurels [die Palme des Tages], as the performances of each of the pieces drew the most lively applause. Veritably imposing was the finale of the national anthem played by 200 men, which gained unanimous applause.’ From the description by the review of the public ‘judging’ the playing of the ensembles through their applause it was evident that this ‘musical contest’ was informal and not a concrete competition.

Summary of sources:

Tagesbote aus Böhmen (28/05/1854)
Mercy's Anzeiger für Böhmen (28/05/1854)
Mercy's Anzeiger für Böhmen (30/05/1854)
Tagesbote aus Böhmen (31/05/1854)
Mercy's Anzeiger für Böhmen (31/05/1854)
Mercy's Anzeiger für Böhmen (01/06/1854)