Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Event title:

Benefit concert in aid of the Academic Reading Society

Venue: Žofín Island (Žofín Hall)

Event type: Art music culture

Date: 06/03/1861 4pm

Season: Lent

Programme comprising:

General participants:
  • Estates Theatre orchestra: participating orchestra
  • Cecilia Society: participating institution, str, vv

Part 1:

ZVONAŘ, Josef Leopold : unspecified Overture, orch
     • Apt, Antonín :
PROCHÁZKA, Jan Ludevít : chorus Kovářska (Blacksmith's chorus), 2 solo vv, chorus, pf
     • Lukes, Jan Ludevít : v Pivoda, František : v
MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY, Felix : Concerto for piano and orchestra, pf, orch, nr.1, G minor, op.25
     • Čermáková, Vilemína : pf Mildner, Mořic :
PIVODA, František : song Na mou vlast (To my country), v, pf, op.4
     • Appé, August : v
KAVÁN, František : chorus Sláva Čechů (Hail to the Czechs!), double male vv chorus
     • Lukes, Jan Ludevít :

Part 2:

VOJÁČEK, Hynek : unspecified overture, orch
     • Apt, Antonín :
ZVONAŘ, Josef Leopold : Romanza of Bohunka from opera Záboj, v, orch
     • Blažková, Věkoslava Aloisie : v
2 unspecified Czech folksongs, v
     • Blažková, Věkoslava Aloisie : v
MILDNER, Mořic : Variations for violin and orchestra Souvenir de la Bohème, vl, orch[/pf acc.]
     • d'Or, Rosa : vl
2 unspecified Czech folksongs, v
     • Lukes, Jan Ludevít : v
PROCHÁZKA, Jan Ludevít : chorus Kovářska (Blacksmith's chorus), 2 solo vv, chorus, pf
     • Lukes, Jan Ludevít : v Pivoda, František : v


The Národní listy 11/1/1861 report noted only that the Academic Reading Society was ‘arranging also in this year’s Lenten season a great concert, the programme of which will contain many works of Slavonic composers.’ Národní listy 1/2/1861 related that permission had recently been obtained from the state police for the Society to arrange its annual concert, and that three quarters of the profit from the occasion would be spent upon expanding the Society’s library. The concert date was reported to be 7/3/1861. This date was also specified by a brief report published in Dalibor 1/3/1861, but subsequent reports by both Dalibor and Národní listy, as well as by Prager Morgenpost 6/3/1861 confirm that the concert actually took place on 6/3/1861. News of the concert was also published by Národní listy 21/2/1861 which announced that ‘among other novelties we will hear the interesting and energetic song Kovářska by [J.]L. Procházka with an accompaniment of orchestra and gigantic chorus.’

The Dalibor 10/3/1861 review, signed ‘s’, detailed the concert programme, enthusing about each of the Czech items given and favourably commenting upon the performances of the soloists. According to periodical’s correspondent, the audience was ‘very numerous’ and the concert was a ‘splendid success.’ The unsigned Národní listy 7/3/1861 review was less enthusiastic. Hynek Vojáček’s Overture was described as ‘a characteristic work, distinguished by its magnificent orchestration, with interesting leading of the individual voices, and with noble spirit.’ However, the Overture and Romance by J.L. Zvonař inspired the newspaper’s critic to refer to the ‘weak pages’ of these compositions. Both works by Zvonař and the overture by Vojáček were played by the Estates Theatre orchestra, including ‘members of the string quartet of the Cecilia Society’ and were conducted by Antonín Apt. The concertante works by Mendelssohn and Mildner were conducted by Mořic Mildner, and the Prague singer J.L. Lukes directed the choral items. The Národní listy 7/3/1861 review concluded with a long discourse, inspired by unspecified criticism of the concert programme from anti-Czech factions within local society, upon the merits of including folksong items within public concerts.

The concert programme is reproduced in order corresponding with the Národní listy 5/3/1861 report. Originally, the concert was to have included a performance of František Pivoda’s song Na mou vlast (To my country), but according to the Národní listy 7/3/1861 review this had to be left out owing to the singer August Appé being ill. In the Czech newspaper on 14/3/1861 the committee of the Academic Reading Society published its thanks to those who participated, including members of the Cecilia Society and amateur singers in the choir, and also to V. Novotný for use of the venue, and to B. Kohn for lending a piano for the occasion. Národní listy 3/4/1861 reported that receipts from the concert amounted to 1238zl 34kr.

The programme is reproduced in the event record in performance order, and is drawn from the Prager Morgenpost 6/1/1861 listing of the concert.

Summary of sources:

Národní listy (11/01/1861)
Národní listy (01/02/1861)
Národní listy (21/02/1861)
Dalibor, hudební časopis s měsíční notovou přílohou (01/03/1861)
Národní listy (05/03/1861)
Prager Morgenpost (06/03/1861)
Národní listy (07/03/1861)
Dalibor, hudební časopis s měsíční notovou přílohou (10/03/1861)
Národní listy (14/03/1861)
Národní listy (03/04/1861)