Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Event title:

Arrival in Prague of the Emperor Franz Joseph and the Empress Elizabeth

Date: 03/06/1854 4.30pm

Season: Summer

Programme unspecified [see commentary]:

General participants:
  • Orchestra of the Prague Civil Sharpshooters Corps: participating ensemble, orch


A comprehensive report detailing the programme for the impending visit to Prague on 3rd June 1854 of the Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife Elizabeth [they remained in the city until 12th June], was published by Der Tagesbote 31/5/1854. After arrival at the State Railway Station, the royal party would follow a route by carriage along Hibernergasse [Hybernská], Obstgasse [Na Příkopě], through Neue Allee [Nová Alej] to the embankment of the river, over Karlsbrücke [Karlův most] to the Kleinseitner Ring [Malostanská náměstí] and then to the Castle via Spornergasse [Nerudova ulice]. The procession would take three hours and the report related why the route had been chosen and its practicality over other possible routes for the carriage procession. The positioning of selected groups of people, societies and institutions along the path of the procession were related by the Tagesbote 31/5/1854 text. Der Tagesbote 2/6/1854 reported that the bridge across the river by Žofín Island would be closed two hours before the procession, only those with admission cards to the festivities taking place there and military personnel in uniform being allowed access.

Assembled at the exit, the musical ensemble of the Prague Civil Sharpshooters would perform as the royal party left the station. No information about the music to be played by the Sharpshooters at the station was given by the source; the occasion undoubtedly involved their performing the Austrian national anthem. Also present at this venue was to be a deputation comprising city councillors, and members of the local book and apothecary guilds [Buchhandlungs- und Apotheker-Eremium].

In a special supplement Der Tagesbote 5/6/1854 published a full account of the visit. The splendour of the arrival of the royal train was said to have been in no way diminished by the poor weather. Peals of bells and the thunder of canons announced the arrival at 4.15pm. Franz Joseph was welcomed by the Prague Mayor, Vanka, and following a brief greeting to those assembled proceeded with the Empress Elizabeth to their carriage. The order and participants in the procession were listed. No information was given by this source as to the musical content of this part of the visit.

Mercy’s Anzeiger 5/6/1854 also published a detailed account of the arrival of the royal party in Prague and their passage through the city. The arrival of the royal train into the station was accompanied by a musical ensemble of 7 to14 year old boys assembled by the teacher in Weltrus [Veltrusy] and performing the national anthem. The decor of the station hall was described, the important individuals present, and the proceedings noted attending the arrival and disembarkation of the Emperor. The source quoted a welcoming speech by the Prague mayor and the reply of the Emperor Franz Joseph. The progress of the procession along the streets was then described, together the places where the party halted and the decorations and arrangements to be found there, such as the tableau situated at the house ‘at the three carps’ and impressive decoration outside of the Café Braithut and the place of the Žofín Academy. Each of the important palaces that were passed were described for their decorations. The crowds watching the procession were said to have been of a number unseen in the Czech capital for a hundred years. People looked down and cheered from the windows of all the buildings and ‘the balconies of the great palaces were occupied by charming ladies in the most elegant apparel.’ No mention was made by this report of any musical performances taking place en route in association with the visit.

Summary of sources:

Tagesbote aus Böhmen (31/05/1854)
Tagesbote aus Böhmen (02/06/1854)
Tagesbote aus Böhmen (05/06/1854)
Mercy's Anzeiger für Böhmen (05/06/1854)