Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Event title:

First annual quartet entertainment [kvartettní zábava / Quartett-Soirée]

Venue: Konvikt

Event type: Art music culture

Date: 14/11/1861 4.30pm

Programme comprising:

General participants:
  • MILDNER, Mořic: soloist, vl
  • BRÜCKNER, Franz: soloist, vl
  • SCHMIDT, Heinrich: soloist, vc
  • WEBER, Jan: soloist, va
  • MILDNEROVÁ, Emilie: soloist, pf
HAYDN, Franz Joseph : String Quartet, 2vl, va, vc, B-flat major, op.76/4, Hob.III:79
VOLKMANN, Robert : Piano Trio, pf, vl, vc, nr.1, F major, op.3
MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY, Felix : String Quartet, 2vl, va, vc, nr.3, D major, op.44/1


The first announcement that a series of chamber music entertainments was to take place during the 1860-1861 concert season was published by Dalibor 10/10/1861, which noted that the ‘Meritorious Professor of violin, Mr Mořic Mildner is this year arranging evening entertainments of chamber music.’ The report added that the first such public productions in Prague had been organized by [the brothers F.W. and J.P.] Pixis in 1807. The subsequent report by Národní listy 27/10/1861 included more specific details, reporting that ‘this [... year the quartet entertainments] are particularly interesting, in that not only will they be directed by Professor Mildner and that in them will participate the well-known violinist Professor Schmidt, but also there will be given [in each entertainment] one quartet with piano.’ A programme for the first production was then published by Národní listy 12/11/1861. The reference to ‘Professor Schmidt’ as a ‘violinist’ was erroneous; the individual in question was Heinrich Schmidt who had at the start of the 1862-3 academic year become Professor of ’cello at the Prague Conservatory. The Dalibor 10/10/1861 report wrongly spelt Schmidt’s name as ‘Schmitt’.

Prager Zeitung 13/11/1861 (reporting news dated 12/11/1861) announced that ‘The day after tomorrow at 4.30pm will be in the Konvikt Hall the first Quartet Soirée of this year’s season, taking place with the participation of Messrs Mildner, Brückner, Weber and Professor Schmitt. In the programme are to be found two quartets by Haydn and Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and a Trio by Volkmann.’ This newspaper did not review the concert.

Prager Morgenpost 12/11/1861 was more detailed in reporting in advance the programme to this event. The newspaper noted ‘For the first Quartet Soirée, that takes place on 14th November 1861 in the Konvikt Hall at 4.30pm, is decided the following programme: Quartet in B-flat major op.76 by Hayn. Trio for piano, violin and ’cello op.3 by Volkmamm. Miss Emilie Mildner. Quartet in D major op.44 by Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. A review, signed ‘a.’, appeared in the newspaper on 16/11/1861. The critic reported that ‘The first Quartet Soirée, which was arranged yesterday afternoon in the expensively restored Konvikt Hall, assembled a numerous, distinguished audience, which followed the very successful performances of the three pieces with keen interest.’ The success of the event was considered to have been assured because of the participation of Professors Mildner and Schmitt [Schmidt] and the technical facility, fine nuance and tastefulness of their performance. ‘After the charing Quartet in B-flat major op.76 by Father Haydn [Vater Haydn] there followed a Trio for Pianoforte, Violin and Cello op.3 by Volkmann, in which the Scherzo and the last movement were most pleasing. The piano part was well executed by the young Miss Emilie Mildner. The Finale was the magnificent Quartet in D major op.44 by Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, which made the most satisfying impression upon the listeners. The secon violin was played by Mr Brückner and the viola by Mr Weber, both members of the [Estates] Theatre orchestra.’

The Dalibor 20/11/1861 review, signed ‘-l.’, emphasized the infrequency of local chamber music productions, commenting that ‘from the time when F[erdinand] Laub and [Otto von] Königslow stopped performing these entertainments in our town, quartet productions under Goltermann had degenerated into mere rehearsals [i.e. trials], which generally could not even call themselves that, and for that reason last year we were silent last year about those entertainments. Now, however, that the excellent Professor Mildner has adopted these things, they have developed a quite artistic character. All the works [given at this production] were performed so elegantly, very precisely and with all the dynamics, that they seemed to us to be as if from one source [i.e. sounding as if from a single player]. There breathed from them one feeling, one spirit and one idea. Here there was no prevalence of any single instrument, the ensemble was quite irreproachable.’ The performances received ‘well-deserved applause’ from the ‘select’ audience.

Summary of sources:

Dalibor, hudební časopis s měsíční notovou přílohou (10/10/1861)
Národní listy (27/10/1861)
Národní listy (12/11/1861)
Prager Morgenpost (12/11/1861)
Prager Zeitung (13/11/1861)
Prager Morgenpost (16/11/1861)
Dalibor, hudební časopis s měsíční notovou přílohou (20/11/1861)