Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Event title:

Second concert given by Miss Marie Mösner

Venue: Konvikt

Event type: Art music culture

Date: 15/01/1861 12noon

Season: Carnival

Programme comprising:

General participants:
  • MÖSNER, Marie: soloist, hrp
SPOHR, Louis : Sonata for violin and harp, vl, hrp, nr.3, E-flat major, op.113
     • Mildner, Mořic : vl
MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY, Felix : song Venetianisches Gondellied no.5 from 6 songs [6 Lieder], v, pf, nr.5, op.57
     • Miková-Bennewitzová, Emilie : v
MÖSNER, Marie : Fantasie on themes from Mozart's opera Don Giovanni, hrp
SCHUBERT, Franz Peter : song Ständchen no.4 from song collection Schwanengesang, v, pf, D957
     • Lucca, Paulina : v
PARISH-ALVARS, Elias : Morceau de salon, harp
arr. unspecified, ?: Felix Mendelssohn: Lied ohne Worte 'Frühlingslied' , arr. hrp
GODEFROID, Félix : Fantasie on themes from Donizetti's opera Lucia di Lammermoor Romance italienne, hrp
TAUBERT, Wilhelm : song Wiegenlied from song collection Kinderliedern, v, pf
     • Miková-Bennewitzová, Emilie : v
MÖSNER, Marie : Fantasie on Czech folksongs Souvenir de la Bohéme, hrp


The unsigned Dalibor 20/1/1861 review remarked that ‘we cannot remember such a [large] attendance [of a concert] for a long time.’ Little comment was made by the Dalibor critic concerning Marie Mösnerová’s playing, the periodical noting that ‘about the celebrated and in all respects masterly playing of the soloist, it would be superfluous to describe.’ Instead, the report outlined the programme and emphasized the positive reception given by the audience to all the works that were performed. The musical content of Mösnerová’s Souvenir de Bohême was described in detail and listed the various Czech national songs contained in the work, namely Fr. Škroup’s aria ‘Kde domov můj?’, the chorales Svatý Václave (St Wenceslas) and My jsme boží bojovníci [We who are God’s warriors], the folksongs Horo, horo vysoká jsi! [Mountain, mountain you are high!], Vyrostla mně bílá růže [synonymous with Vykvětla bílá růže [The White rose bloomed]], and J.Th. Krov’s Těšme se blahou nadějí [Blissfully let us hope]. The last gained ‘stormy applause’ from the audience.

The Národní listy 16/1/1861 review, written by J.L. Zvonař, Mösnerová’s Prague teacher of harmony and composition, concentrated more upon detailing the harpist’s great skill as a performer and musician. Zvonař remarked that ‘the most exquisite passages, the fullest chords, the most delicate but just audible pianissimo and the greatest fortissimo, the most varied tone characteristics [. . .] are encompassed in this playing.’ He commented too about her remarkable command of pedal technique, asserting that one ‘cannot even suppose how dexterously and frequently she can change the pedals, in order in an instant to transfer the strings for this or that key. [. . .] From this derive the many richer modulations in her own compositions than lie in the compositions of other harp virtuosi.’

A review, signed ‘V.’, appeared in the German-language newspaper Bohemia 16/1/1861, reporting: ‘Once more at last, after a long interval, we have a concert to review that is reminiscent, if attendance is anything to go by, of the almost-forgotten golden age of the virtuosi. The second concert of the harp virtuoso Miss Marie Mösner [Mösnerová] yesterday at 12 o’clock drew a public that was as large as it was fashionable, such that every part of the Konvikt Hall appeared over-filled. This time Miss Mösner played two large-scale compositions of her own - a Don Juan Fantasie and a piece entitled Souvenir de la Bohéme. It is self-evident that in pieces which emphasise their employment of the greatest possible dramatic effects of modern technique to astonish the ear, there can be no lack of themes laden with variations and decorations, with brilliant arpeggios and other accompaniment figures that astonish the ear; it is equally the case that in harp compositions of this type one must often encounter the unavoidable glissandos and the dramatic use of the flageolet. For the first of the fantasies mentioned Miss Mösner chose the Geisterklänge from the catastrophe scene, which recalls the Andante [section] of the overture, the duet between Zerline and Don Juan and the serenade as the main motif, making for a arrangement that was as difficult as it was brilliant. Most notably, the soloist used the last[-mentioned] theme for a truly delectable mandolin effect that involuntarily reminds one of how fine the piece must have sounded when given in the opera in the original score and not with the surrogate violin accompaniment. The Czech Fantasie contains, apart from two modern motifs, incidentally chosen with poetic sensitivity, also two based on old Czech chorales (including the prayer to St Wenceslas), and concludes with Krov’s so-called Hussitenlied. These naturally provide some highly suitable material for an exorbitant finale. These choices in themselves, together with the constraints of the harmonisation... of the melody lend the piece a sense of unusual originality and [provide] exotic interest for the public in general. Of salon pieces Miss Mösner played one by Parish-Alvars, Mendelssohn’s Frühlingslied and a Fantasie on Lucia di Lammermoor by Godefroid. As we have already many times discussed her virtuosity and brilliant performance style, it is sufficient here [to mention] that her reception was once again very successful, and enjoyed by the young lady following every piece. After numerous curtain calls Miss Mösner played as an encore the Fantasie on Czech folksongs of her own composition, as already discussed above. The concert opened with Spohr’s sonata for harp and violin, in which Miss Mösner was supported by Prof. Mildner. The filler pieces consisted of Mendelssohn’s Venetianisches Gondellied, Gaubert’s [almost certainly a misprint, most likely Taubert] Wiegenlied, sung by Miss Mik [Miková], and Fr. Schubert’s Ständchen, sung by Miss Lucca.’ 

The programme is reproduced in order corresponding with the Prager Morgenpost 13/1/1861 report, with additional details taken from the Dalibor 20/1/1861 review. Národní listy 13/1/1861 reported that Miss Mösnerová’s time in Prague was limited since she had ‘just received an invitation from Liszt for her to spend some time at Weimar.’

Summary of sources:

Národní listy (13/01/1861)
Prager Morgenpost (13/01/1861)
Národní listy (16/01/1861)
Bohemia (16/01/1861)
Dalibor, hudební časopis s měsíční notovou přílohou (20/01/1861)