Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Event title:

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

Venue: Konvikt

Event type: Art music culture

Date: 28/11/1861 4.30pm

Season: Advent

Programme comprising:

General participants:
  • MILDNER, Mořic: soloist, vl
  • BRÜCKNER, Franz: soloist, vl
  • WEBER, Jan: soloist, va
  • SCHMIDT, Heinrich: soloist, vc
BEETHOVEN, Ludwig van : String Trio, vl, va, vc, nr.3, G major, op.9/1
VEIT, Wenzel Heinrich : Piano Trio, pf, vl, vc, D minor, op.53
     • Prokšová, Marie : pf


Prager Zeitung 27/11/1861 reported that ‘On 28th November at 4.30pm will take place in the Konvikt Hall the third Quartet Soirée. In the programme is to be found two Trios by Beethoven and Veit and a Double-Quintet by Göbel [Göbl].’ A review, signed ‘!!’, was published in Prager Zeitung 1/12/1861. This remarked that ‘The third and final Quartet-Soirée of Messrs Prof. Mildner, Brückner, Weber and Prof. Schmidt was so called although no quartets were in fact performed. The trio we suffered previously as a filler between two quartets here gained the upper hand so completely over the titled heroes of the event as to elbow these other completely out of the spotlight. Thus two trios were given - one or strings, op.9 in G [major] by Beethoven and one for piano, violin and ’cello by Veit - [which] were then joined by a double quintet by Göbel. In Beethoven’s work the influence of Mozart’s muse upon the great master cannot be denied, although particularly in the tumultuous Finale his epoch-making individual art is greatly manifest. The Piano Trio was always in the musical circles so little nurtured, that we must greet with delight each new manifestation, especially when it flows from the pen of an established composer. Veit’s Trio is arresting with its genial themes, and its pleasing mixture of a chamber- and concert-style. Despite the retention of earlier [i.e. outdated] form, surely because of the beauty of the ideas that it contains, it has none of the stiffness of then former [chamber music style]; on the other hand, no instrument has precedence over the others and when one comes to the fore it does so without the pretentious bombast of the concert-style. Its phrases are in themselves rhetorical, with being oratorical. We would say that therein the style is in the good sense of the word a salon-style, that it is cast for a room and too modest for a concert hall. What astonishes us in this, however, and certainly contrasts sharply with the other movements, is the unique construction of the second movement. We believe that an innovation has been incovered - a genial amalgamation of Adagio with the Scherzo such as that the movement becomes a kind of capricious rhapsody. As the final number of the series of soirées, Göbel’s double quintet appeared to be strange and rather ominous; what is more, its name derives solely from the fact that ten performers were engaged in it, for with the exception of a few places it is nothing other than a unison, and at most a duet reinforced by a factor of five. A mechanically assembly of a conglomeration of recitative phrases accompanied merely by a tremolando, and this altogether a travesty of any kind of conventional piece of music, it surely must have appealed to a particular patron in order to have been accepted into the company of Beethoven and Veit. We hope, that the gentlemen-arrangers will be more choosy in newly arranged soirées. Miss Proksch [Prokš] performed the piano part in the Veit Trio with great assurance. The string players strove to play to the best of their abilities.’ Veit’s amalgamation of slow movement and scherzo characteristics and form would later be echoed by Dvořák, notably in his Piano Quartet in D major.

Bohemia 27/11/1861 announced that ‘(The third Quartet-Soirée), that takes place tomorrow afternoon in the Konvikt Hall, has the following programme: Trio for Strings op.9 in G major by Beethoven; Trio for Piano (Miss Proksch [Prokšová], Violin and Cello by Veit (manuscript); Double Quintet by Göbl (manuscript).’

The ‘Double Quintet’ by an unspecified composer named Göbl cannot be identified. None of the cited periodical reports listed the additional performers in this quintet. The brief Dalibor 10/12/1861 review noted that each of the works was performed ‘with all precision and pertinent nuance.’

Summary of sources:

Dalibor, hudební časopis s měsíční notovou přílohou (20/11/1861)
Národní listy (27/11/1861)
Prager Zeitung (27/11/1861)
Prager Zeitung (01/12/1861)
Dalibor, hudební časopis s měsíční notovou přílohou (10/12/1861)