Thomas Benefit Concert

Event Information

Steinway Hall

Manager / Director:
Lafayette F. Harrison

Theodore Thomas [see also Thomas Orchestra]

Price: $1; $1.50 reserved

Event Type:

Performance Forces:
Instrumental, Vocal

Record Information


Last Updated:
12 March 2018

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

13 Mar 1867, Evening

Program Details

Parepa was encored and sang “O qual furor” twice.

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Oh qual furor; A qual furor; Ah qual furor; Abscheulicher
Composer(s): Beethoven
Participants:  Euphrosyne Parepa
Composer(s): Schubert
aka Gentle lark; Lo! Here the gentle lark
Composer(s): Bishop
Participants:  Euphrosyne Parepa


Advertisement: New-York Times, 08 March 1867.

Irving Hall, New-York, Feb. 25, 1867. 

Mr. Theo. Thomas: MY DEAR SIR: The concert season for 1866 and 1867 (numbering upwards of 200 orchestral concerts) is rapidly drawing to a close. Before its completion I would most respectfully tender you a benefit concert, as a slight acknowledgment of your valuable services during the season. I am authorized by Mme. Parepa, Mr. Carl Rosa, Mr. S. B. Mills, Mr. Colby, and the gentlemen of the orchestra, to offer their services for the occasion; Messrs. Steinway & Sons have also generously given the use of their hall.

I have arranged Wednesday evening, March 13, 1867, for the concert, which I hope will suit your convenience.         Yours truly,          L. F. Harrison




New-York, Feb. 28, 1867

Mr. L. F. Harrison:

            Dear Sir: I have the pleasure to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of the 25th inst., tendering me a benefit concert on Wednesday, March 13.

            In accepting this token of regard from my artist friends and the gentlemen of the orchestra, it gives me great pleasure to express my appreciation of their kindness, and I beg you to convey to them my sincere thanks.     Yours very truly,

            THEODORE THOMAS.”

Advertisement: New York Herald, 10 March 1867.
Advertisement: New-York Times, 10 March 1867.
Announcement: New York Post, 11 March 1867.

“On Wednesday evening a merited and substantial compliment is to be paid to an artist whom we all admire and love to honor—Mr. Theodore Thomas. Mr. Harrison, with a proper sense of Mr. Thomas’s artistic and personal merits, has tendered to the latter a grand complimentary concert, which is to be given at Steinway Hall on the evening above named. On this occasion Madame Parepa-Rosa, Carl Rosa, Mr. Mollenhauer and Mr. Kopta will lend their assistance. The purpose of the concert, no less than the attractions it will offer, will ensure a very large attendance. Mr. Thomas is about to take a short European tour.”

Announcement: New-York Times, 11 March 1867, 4.

“In one of the early April steamers Mr. Thomas takes passage for Europe where he expects to remain some months. Previously, however, he is to have the compliment of a testimonial concert, which has been appointed to come off on Wednesday evening at Steinway Hall. An interesting correspondence, which has been published [see NYT advertisement of 03/08/67], shows the high esteem in which Mr. Thomas is held, and his own modest appreciation thereof. That Mr. Thomas is the most popular as well as the most accomplished of violinists and conductors has long been admitted without a dissentient voice. Other fine players and clever leaders have their partisans; Mr. Thomas has some, and stands in want of none; for there is no one here to dispute his claim to preëminence. Or, if we please to put it in another light, the whole community of musicians and amateurs are his partisans. No one who did not have his brains in the right place, and the public on the right side, could have maintained the same eminence through nearly 200 orchestral concerts, the number we believe over which Mr. Thomas has presided during the season of 1866-67. This testimonial, therefore, is not so much an act of generosity as it is a tribute of justice.”

Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 11 March 1867, 4.

"--There is an abundance of musical news, but it must perforce be gossiped pertly. The best of it locally is that Theodore Thomas will take a deserved benefit from Manager Harrison on Wednesday evening next, Rosa, Mollenhauer, and Kopta helping him with the bow. [Lists other notable performances.]"

Announcement: New York Post, 13 March 1867.

"The complimentary concert given to-night at Steinway Hall to Mr. Theodore Thomas, should call out an immense audience, if a goodly portion of the friends and admirers of this accomplished artist attend. The concert will be one of the best of a season which has been prolific in first-class musical entertainments, and the occasion is one calculated to call out a large attendance."

Announcement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 13 March 1867, 8.
Review: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 14 March 1867, 8.

The event was very well attended. The program was varied. Maurer’s violin quartet was performed virtuously and received much applause.

Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 15 March 1867, 4.

“Mr. Theodore Thomas’s benefit at Steinway’s, a night or two ago, was creditable to Madame Parepa, Mr. Rosa, and the other artists who volunteered it and to Mr. Harrison, who originated and managed it. The occasion was conspicuous for a concerto in which four of the ablest violinists took art with great effect—Thomas, Mollenhauer, Rosa, and Kopta; and for Madame Parepa’s delivery of ‘O qual furore,’ from Fidelio. In this passage a troubled recitative, accompanied by a half-stormy instrumentation, characteristic of Beethoven, lapses into a beautiful air. Madame Parepa sings it well, though the contrast of voice with the accompaniment is an unusually exacting one. The great feature, and, indeed, the event of the concert was the performance of two interludes by Schubert for the drama of Rosamund. The first is an allegro moderato, conceived in the large mood of Beethoven himself; and the second an andantino, full of ingenious combination and plaintive poetry. To hear these haunting entr’actes once is not enough; they must be heard often and studied; and Mr. Thomas will, of course, rehearse them again in his own good season. They prove that Schubert, once denied his legitimate rank with the largest and highest of musicians, is one of the truest of symphonists, as well as (excepting Beethoven only) the greatest of song-writers.”

Review: New-York Times, 18 March 1867, 5.

“The rush of concerts which take up the evenings in the music halls, just now, indicate an early closing movement, in that direction at least. The last few nights have given work enough to the artists and memories enough to the public to satisfy both for a time. The testimonial to Mr. Theodore Thomas, which took place on Wednesday evening, at Steinway Hall, was one of the finest musical affairs of the year. Mme. Parepa, without whom no concert programme is now considered complete, sang, of course, and sang—as she only, whose facility and endurance are so extraordinary, can sing—the aria from ‘Fidelio,’ ‘O qual furor,’ and ‘Lo, the gentle lark;’ and the former, given as it was, to perfection, was not only much applauded, as it always must be, but also encored. When there is a lack of subjects in the critical world, the ‘encore system’ is a good and a safe thing to denounce; but there are some singers and some songs that an audience will insist upon hearing twice; and (in the case of a detached composition) there is no more reason for not doing so than for not returning to look at a picture that has pleased us at the first glance. It is scarcely necessary to record the genuine enthusiasm which greeted Mr. Thomas as he made his appearance on the platform to lead his orchestra over the confusing movements of Schuberth’s [sic] ‘Entr’ acts to Rosamunde’—the truest novely of the programme, and which was given with an exactness not more perfect in the andantino than in the movement allegro molto moderato—the latter, perhaps, one of the most trying ever given an orchestra to manage or a conductor to rescue from chaos. Maurer’s quartet for four violins, which closed the first part of this concert, was one of the most exciting musical performances of the present season. Messrs. Ed. Mollenhauer, Wenzel, Kopta, Carl Rosa, and the beneficiare were the performers, and the great praise to which they are entitled for the play of each of the three movements of this unfathomable work belongs to them for their loving fidelity to the example before them, and their entire forgetfulness of self while engaged in interpreting it for the advantage of willing hearers. The performance was marvelous from end to end; the first and last movements particularly, with all their seeming eccentricities, fitful changes, apparent diffuseness, and (as Schumann would have termed it) their ‘heavenly length,’ were under such masterly and unanimous treatment, as clear as amber. At the end the applause was simply vociferous.”

Review: New York Musical Gazette, April 1867, 45.

“On Wednesday evening, March 19th [sic], was given a testimonial concert in honor, and we are glad to know, for the pecuniary benefit of Mr. Theodore Thomas, who is to take passage early this month for Europe. If anyone ever deserved a testimonial, it certainly is this enterprising conductor. We use the word ‘enterprising,’ but it really is altogether too mild a term. A combination of synonyms such as indefatigable, unflagging, unremitting, never-tiring, and the like, can alone present anything like a truthful impression. We sometimes hear the expression, ‘the right man in the right place.’ In view of that it would seem as if Mr. Thomas’s place must be everywhere, for he is always there, and is always the right man. In addition to the chamber concerts and miscellaneous entertainments of various descriptions in which he has taken a prominent part, he has, during the season of 1866-67, directly nearly 200 orchestral concerts. He has well earned a few months’ rest, but we presume he will be true to his industrious nature, and take his rest by working about three times as hard as other people, and bringing back with him, on his return, enough novelties to fill the ears of the public for another season.”