Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Event title:

Benefit concert in aid of free meals for students of the three Prague Gymnasia

Venue: Žofín Island (Žofín Hall)

Event type: Art music culture

Date: 02/05/1862 4.30pm

Season: Summer

Beneficiary: Poor students of Prague Gymnasia

Programme comprising:

General participants:
  • Estates Theatre orchestra: participating orchestra
  • TAUWITZ, Eduard: director of ensemble, conductor

Part 1:

BEETHOVEN, Ludwig van : Symphony, orch, nr.1, C major, op.21

Part 2:

UNIDENTIFIED, ? : Czech folksong Za těma černýma očima (Behind those dark eyes), v
     • Blažková, Věkoslava Aloisie : v
UNIDENTIFIED, ? : Czech folksong Pořád mě matička říkávala (My mother always told me), v, [pf acc?]
     • Blažková, Věkoslava Aloisie : v
UNIDENTIFIED, ? : unspecified Czech folksongs, v
     • Blažková, Věkoslava Aloisie : v
BÉRIOT, Charles Auguste de : Concerto for violin and orchestra, vl, orch, nr.7, G major, op.76
     • Kirchner, Hildegard : vl
MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY, Felix : Concerto for piano and orchestra, pf, orch, nr.1, G minor, op.25
     • Sacherová, Rudolfina : pf
SCHULHOFF, Julius : Caprice sur des airs bohémiens, pf, op.10
     • Sacherová, Rudolfina : pf
GLUCK, Christoph Willibald, Ritter von : aria unspecified, from opera Orphée ed Eurydice, solo v, orch
     • anonymous, ? : v
HAUPTMANN, Moritz : song Die Meerfahrt nr.1 from 3 songs [Drei Lieder], v, pf, op.31
     • anonymous, ? : v Kirchner, Hildegard : pf
EILERS, Albert : song Heimweh, v, pf
     • Eilers, Albert : v
TOMÁŠEK, Václav Jan Křtitel : partsong Naše vlast (Our homeland), male vv
     • Srb, Josef : v Korbelář, ? : v Hozák, ? : v Follberger, Bedřich : v

Commentary:

The Czech-language newspaper Národní listy announced as early as 11/3/1862 that a concert for the benefit of students of Prague’s three higher gymnasia would be given in the month of May. On 11/4/1862 Národní listy reported that the event was to have been held on 11/4/1862 but had had to be postponed until the beginning of May. The source then published news on 1/5/1862 announcing: Concert. On Friday at 4.30pm takes place on Žofín the concert for the provision of free lunches to poor students of the higher Prague Gymnasia. 1. Symfonie by Beethoven. 2. Czech folk songs sung by Miss Blažková. 3. Concerto by Beriot performed on the violin by Miss Kirchnerová. 4. Aria from opera „Orpheus“ by Gluck. Concerto for piano by Mendelssohn (G minor) Miss Sacherová. 5. Stesk“, poem by A. Meissner, sung by Mr Eilers. 6 Rybář [Fishermann] by Göthe, song for piano and violin by Hauptmann, performed on the violin by Miss Kirchnerová. 7. Caprice sur des airs bohémiens by Schulhoff, Miss Sacherová. 8. Naše vlast“ quartet by Tomášek, singing Messrs Srb, Korbelář, Hozák and Folberger.’

A day earlier than this last Národní listy report, the German-language Prager Morgenpost 30/4/1862 related in slightly more detail: ‘Concert. The concert for the provision of free meals for the poor students of the 3 Prague Higher Gymnasia, which takes place on Friday 2nd May at 4.30pm, contains the following numbers: 1. Symphonie Nr. 1 by Beethoven; Czech songs, performed by Miss Blažek [Blažková]; Seventh Concerto by Beriot for the violin, performed by Miss Kirchner; Aria from the opera
Orpheus“ by Gluck, Concerto for the pianoforte by Mendelssohn (G minor), performed by Miss Sacher; Heimweh by Meißner, composed and performed by Mr Eilers; Der Fischer by Göthe, Lied with piano and violin by Hauptmann, with violin part performed by Miss Kirchner; Caprice sur des airs bohémiens by Schulhoff, performed by Miss Sacher; Naše vlast“, quartet by Tomášek, performed by Messrs Korbelář, Hozák, Volberger and Srb.’ The concert was not reviewed by the German newspaper. Prager Zeitung 1/5/1862 published an almost identical advance notice of this concert.

A review, signed ‘!!’, of this concert was published by Prager Zeitung 7/5/1862. This noted that the audience was so numerous that before the concert was due to begin the venue was full and those arriving had to stand in the connecting corridor leading to the halls where the sound was obscured by the noise coming through the back door of the ‘Küchenkünstler [lit. Kitchen-artist, a pun on the kitchen staff]’. This situation evidently detracted from the acoustic in the hall, the correspondent then noting that: ‘Hampered by these difficulties we heard Beethoven’s Symphony Nr.1, precisely performed by the Theatre orchestra, directed by Kapellmeister Mr Tauwitz, then Czech songs, sung by Miss Blažek [Blažková] and a violin concerto, played by Miss Kirchner [Kirchnerová]. The pianist Miss Rudolphine Sacher [Sacherová], who chose to perform Mendelssohn’s G minor Concerto with accompaniment of orchestra and Schulhoff’s Kaprize [Caprice] on Czech folksongs, she seemed to have the uninspiring attribute of sullying every rise in the music; this was due primarily to her profligate use of the pedal which blurred each delicate and difficult passage. Of course all of the participants were rewarded with vociferous applause.’ 

A detailed review of this concert, signed ‘a-a.’, was published by Lumír 8/5/1862. The correspondent reported ‘Besides the farewell concerts of Miss Miková and Mr Steinecke, there also took place on 2nd May on Žofín [Island] a concert in aid of free lunches for needy students of the three higher state Gymnasia, which pleasingly enjoyed a creditable success. Making up the first part of the programme was the interesting and youthful [‘svěží’ - lit. youthful, bracing, vivid] Symphony Nr. I by Beethoven, the last movement of which was particularly accurately performed by the orchestra, a credit to the circumspect Kapellmeister Mr Tauwitz. The second part of the concert was dedicated to eight lesser numbers, beginning with Czech folksongs wonderfully performed by Miss Blažková. The young lady offered four hitherto quite unknown songs, very sweet and in the spirit of the folk muse; however particularly pleasing were ‘Za těma černýma očima [Behind those dark eyes]’ and ‘Pořád mě matička říkávala [My dear Mother always told me]’, these two obtaining much vociferous applause. Miss Hildegard Kirchnerová from Berlin, pupil of the celebrated Ferdinand Laub, made a favourable impression upon the audience. She performed the seventh Concerto for violin by Beriot and demonstrated her great ability and confidence in playing. Her tone is quite weak and her execution requires a deeper understanding of the composition, however she aquitted herself honourably and was curtain-called thrice. Next we heard the pianist Miss Sacherová, who performed very accurately the Concerto in G minor with accompanying orchestra by Mendelssohn and the now very well-known ‘Caprice sur des airs bohémiens’ by Schulhoff, but without much elevated inspiration. Singers followed, namely Mrs H. from Hamburg and Mr Vojtěch Eilers. Mrs H. sang an aria from ‘Orpheus’ by Gluck and the German song ‘Die Meerfahrt’ with a text by J. Heine [H. Heine] and accompanying piano and violin [composed] by M. Hauptmann, a song of very meagre quality. Finally, Mr Eilers performed his own harmonically hollow composition
Heimweh on a good text by A. Meissner, more dramatically than the simply lyrical style of the song required. The concert concluded with Tomášek’s vocal quartet Naše vlast which, however, was not accurately rendered since the first tenor was indisposed... A great many people attended, so that all places in the hall and in the gallery were full.’

The singer ‘Folberger’ was undoubtedly Bedřich Follberger who later in 1871 became Kapellmeister at the Prague Strahov monastary.


Summary of sources:

Národní listy (11/03/1862)
Národní listy (11/04/1862)
Prager Morgenpost (30/04/1862)
Bohemia (30/04/1862)
Národní listy (01/05/1862)
Prager Zeitung (01/05/1862)
Bohemia (04/05/1862)
Prager Zeitung (07/05/1862)
Lumír (08/05/1862)