Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Event title:

Second annual Conservatory concert

Venue: Konvikt

Event type: Art music culture

Date: 10/03/1861 12 noon

Season: Lent

Programme comprising:

General participants:
  • Prague Conservatory: participating institution, orch
  • MILDNER, Mořic: director of ensemble

Part 1:

KITTL, Jan Bedřich : Symphony, orch, nr.4, C major

Part 2:

HRABĚ, Josef : Divertimento for contrabasso and orchestra, db, orch
     • Blumentritt, Ferdinand : db
MOZART, Wolfgang Amadeus : aria Parto, parto of Sextus from act 1 of opera La Clemenza di Tito, v, orch [pf], K621
     • Pisařovicová, Marie : v
UNIDENTIFIED, ? : Sinfonia concertante, solo ob, cl, hn, bn, orch, E-flat major, K297b
     • Bauer, Johann Friedrich : ob Mayer, Joseph : cl Marschner, Josef : hn Müller, Josef : bn
MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY, Felix : Concert Overture Schöne Melusine, orch, op.32


Prager Morgenpost 8/3/1861 published details of this concert, noting its date, time, venue and listing the participating soloists and programme in performance order.

The unsigned Dalibor 20/3/1861 review enthused about the standards of performance of both the orchestra and the soloists. The programme followed the usual practice of the Prague Conservatory during this period in being divided into two parts, the first of which comprised a symphony, the second part including concertante performances given by student soloists, followed by a closing overture. Kittl’s C major Symphony, arguably his most substantial and forward-looking symphonic work, was composed in 1859 for the fiftieth anniversary of the Prague Conservatory. This 1861 concert marked the second public performance of the work, but the occasion drew little comment upon the work from the Dalibor correspondent, who reported only that the piece was mainly distinguished by its ‘refined lyricism, and in the scherzo by its originality.’ Concerning the performance itself, the review noted that the conductor, ‘Professor Mildner deserved great recognition for a nuanced performance of this not at all easy composition.’ Dalibor praised the performances of the various soloists, in particular that of the bassist Ferdinand Blumentritt whose ‘tone is considerable and technical ability great.’ However, more measured criticism was made of the singer Miss Marie Pisařovicová, whose voice, although ‘always sonorous and prettily balanced’ and whose coloratura was ‘correct and on the whole successful,’ was noted to suffer often from faulty enunciation. The cause of this deficiency was though to stem from the inadequate and ‘one-sided’ [i.e. biased] teaching method used by Gordigiani, the Professor of singing at the Conservatory. The soloists who participated in this concert were Conservatory students who graduated in 1861, excepting Miss Pisařovicová, who graduated the following year, 1862. Pisařovicová was the daughter of the Conservatory’s then Professor of clarinet, Julius Pisařovic. The programme is reproduced in performance order according to both Dalibor reports.

The unsigned Národní listy 15/3/1861 review included brief comment upon Kittl’s C major Symphony, drawing attention to the ‘delightful melodies’ and to ‘the complexity of the individual ideas, the quality of which the listener often misses with other [composers]. The individual instruments are liberally provided for, they get so many piquant and interesting little věcičky (snippets) that it seems as though one stands before a Christmas tree. [. . .] In the scherzo is reflected to a certain measure gruffness, anger, discontent, in our opinion it is the most original part of this symphony. In the last movement [our] attention turns immediately in the first part to the daring modulations, then to the place where con sordino is used. Among other instrumental effects is the use of light flute figurations in the [lusingando] section.’ Of the other items performed in this concert, the correspondent criticized Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante, perceiving in this work only the spirit of the ‘pretty burlesque.’ The review noted that ‘The orchestra acquitted itself gallantly under the direction of Professor Mildner.’

Summary of sources:

Dalibor, hudební časopis s měsíční notovou přílohou (01/03/1861)
Prager Morgenpost (08/03/1861)
Národní listy (15/03/1861)
Dalibor, hudební časopis s měsíční notovou přílohou (20/03/1861)