Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Event title:

Concert given by violoncellist David Popper

Venue: Konvikt

Event type: Art music culture

Date: 09/03/1862 12 noon

Programme including:

General participants:
  • POPPER, David: soloist, vc
MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY, Felix : Sonata for violoncello and piano, vc, pf, nr.2, D major, op.58
     • Čermáková, Vilemína : pf
GOLTERMANN, Georg Eduard : unspecified Concerto for violoncello and piano, vc, pf
     • Slanský, ? : pf
CHOPIN, Fryderyck Franciszek : Scherzo for piano, pf, nr.2, B-flat minor, op.31
SERVAIS, Adrien François : Fantasie for violoncello, vc, [pf acc.]
     • Slanský, ? : pf
SCHUBERT, Franz Peter : song Der Neugierige no.6 from song cycle Die schöne Müllerin, v, pf, B major, op.25/6, D795/6
     • Bachmann, Eduard : v
SCHUBERT, Franz Peter : song Auf dem Wasser zu Singen, v, pf, D774
     • Ehrenbergů, Eleonora z : v
SCHUMANN, Robert Alexander : song Waldesgespräch no.3 from song collection Liederkreis, v, pf, op.39
     • Ehrenbergů, Eleonora z : v
SCHUBERT, Franz Peter : song unspecified, from song cycle Die schöne Müllerin, v, pf, op.25, D795
     • Bachmann, Eduard : v

Commentary:

Prager Morgenpost 28/2/1862 reported that ‘The violoncellist Mr D. Popper gives a concert on 9th March at 12 noon in the Konvikt Hall.’ Advance news of the concert was also published Národní listy 28/2/1862 and Dalibor 1/3/1862. Bohemia 9/3/1862 reported that ‘In today’s concert by the violoncellist Mr Popper (12 noon in the Konvikt Hall) Miss Wilhelmine Czermak [Vilemína Čermáková] will play the piano and Miss von Ehrenberg [z Ehrenbergů] and Mr Bachmann will perform songs.’ The Czech-language arts periodical Lumír 6/3/1862 announced that ‘Of pupils of the local Conservatory during recent years especially excelled the young ’cellist Mr D. Popper as the best of [Julius] Goltermann’s pupils. For some time he has taken himself off into the world and for certain friends of music will particularly gladly welcome the concert by D. Popper which will take place on Sunday 9th March 1862 at 12 noon in the Konvikt Hall, and will be still more interesting from the participation of the pianist Vilemína Čermáková.’ Details of the programme were then listed by this source.

The Dalibor 20/3/1862 review, signed ‘r-r’, noted that the concert was a ‘splendid success’. The ‘young and talented’ violoncellist David Popper, a former pupil of the Prague Conservatory, demonstrated an excellent knowledge of the instrument ‘overcoming with apparent ease the most awkward passages and [surmounting] heaps of difficulties. In cantilena his tone is sweet and strong and, where necessary, pithy.’ Vilemína Čermáková performed Chopin’s Scherzo ‘with pertinent expression and laudable precision.’ The audience was ‘numerous.’

An unsigned review of this concert was published by Prager Morgenpost 11/3/1862. The correspondent reported that ‘The violoncellist Dr. [David] Popper, a graduate of the local Conservatory, gained through his first concert, which he gave last Sunday in the Konvikt Hall, a very creditable success. The audience was extremely numerous and... extended a very friendly welcome to the hopeful young disciple of art. In performing Mr Popper demonstrated a quite proficient [tüchtig] musical education; his performance of the compositions exhibited serious study and good schooling. The public recognized these merits through vigorous cheers and applause. This was particularly the case with the performance of the “Concertes for Violoncello by G. Goltermann.” Mr Popper also gave with Miss Wilhelmine Czermak [Vilemína Čermáková] a Sonata in D major for piano and violoncello by F. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, then a Fantasie on Slavic songs for violoncello by Servais. Miss Cermak [Čermák], whom we are always pleased to see in the concert hall, with her customary magnificent technique a Scherzo for piano by Chopin. Mr Bachmann sang Müllerlieder [songs from Die schöne Müllerin] by Schubert to great approbation and Miss Ehrenberg gained applause for her performance of the songs “Auf dem Wasser zu singen” by Schubert and “Waldesgespräch” by Schumann. At the end of the concert the concert-giver was vigorously curtain-called.’ Detailed reviews of this concert were also published in Bohemia 11/3/1862 and Prager Zeitung 11/3/1862. The latter described in most depth Popper’s style and attributes as a ’cellist.

The programme is given here in performance order according to information given by the Národní listy 28/2/1862, Dalibor 1/3/1862 and Lumír 6/3/1862 reports. However, the vocal items in the programme as the second and fifth numbers were noted each as ‘song’. Which songs were performed in which part of the programme and by which of the two singers cannot be identified from the pre-concert reports or from the subsequent reviews. That four songs were performed in total was noted by the Bohemia 11/3/1862 review and by Prager Zeitung 11/3/1862, the latter noting that two “Müllerlieder” were given. Only one of the two Die schöne Müllerin songs can be identified from the various sources. The Dalibor 1/3/1862 report attributed the concerto for violoncello to ‘J. Goltermann’, the correspondent perhaps having in mind Popper’s Conservatory teacher, Julius. This is almost certainly a mistake, the sources Prager Morgenpost 11/3/1862, Bohemia 11/3/1862, Lumír 6/3/1862 and Národní listy 28/2/1862 each note the work was by ‘G. Goltermann’. Julius Goltermann seems not to have composed a concerto for his instrument. Georg Eduard Goltermann was a European-renown violoncellist who during his lifetime produced four ’cello concerti, the first of which was widely performed. Bohemia 11/3/1862 reported that Slansky accompanied the two concertante works with Popper and Čermáková the sonata. The first name of Slanský was not reported by the specified sources but was most likely the pianist Julius rather than the composer Ludevít Slanský. Slanský also probably accompanied the song performances.


Summary of sources:

Prager Morgenpost (28/02/1862)
Národní listy (28/02/1862)
Dalibor, časopis pro hudbu, divadlo a umění vůbec (01/03/1862)
Lumír (06/03/1862)
Bohemia (09/03/1862)
Prager Zeitung (11/03/1862)
Prager Morgenpost (11/03/1862)
Bohemia (11/03/1862)
Dalibor, časopis pro hudbu, divadlo a umění vůbec (20/03/1862)