Henrietta Markstein Debut Concert

Event Information

Steinway Hall

Carl Bergmann

Price: $1; 1.50 reserved seats

Event Type:
Chamber (includes Solo), Orchestral

Performance Forces:

Record Information


Last Updated:
1 June 2019

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

18 Nov 1868, 8:00 PM

Program Details

Kopta also played two unidentified violin morceaux.

Performers and/or Works Performed

Composer(s): Weber
Composer(s): Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Participants:  Henrietta Markstein
Composer(s): Liszt
Participants:  Henrietta Markstein
Composer(s): Mills
Participants:  Henrietta Markstein
aka Mexican nightingale, The; Nightingale polka
Composer(s): Giorza
Participants:  Eugénie de Lussan
Composer(s): Donizetti
Participants:  Eugénie de Lussan
Composer(s): Bellini
Participants:  Eugénie de Lussan
aka Sing, smile, sleep; Chantez, riez, dormez; Canti, ridi, dormi; Serenade; Berceuse
Composer(s): Gounod
Participants:  Eugénie de Lussan
Composer(s): Mendelssohn-Bartholdy


Announcement: New-York Times, 09 November 1868, 5.
Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 10 November 1868, 2.
Announcement: New York Post, 12 November 1868.
Announcement: New-Yorker Musik-Zeitung, 14 November 1868, 232.

The young female pianist Henriette Markstein, who we have mentioned several times before, will perform at Steinway Hall for the first time with the support of other performing guests. We wish the young artist much success as it is deserved due to her rare talent.

Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 15 November 1868, 2.
Advertisement: New York Herald, 16 November 1868.
Announcement: New York Post, 16 November 1868.
Advertisement: New-York Times, 16 November 1868, 7.
Announcement: New-York Times, 18 November 1868, 4.

“A new aspirant to public favor will make her debut to-night at this establishment. Miss MARKSTEM [sic], the young lady in question, is a pianiste of unusual capacity. She is but 14 years of age, but is said to play with singular clearness and power. An orchestra will assist Miss MARKSTEM, and as soloists the lady has secured the services of Mme. DE LUSAN [sic] and Herr WENZEL KOPTA. Mr. BERGMANN presides in the orchestra.”

Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 18 November 1868, 5.
Review: New York Herald, 19 November 1868, 7.

“Last evening Miss Henrietta Markstein, a native of New York, and who will celebrate her thirteenth birthday next Monday, appeared before a New York audience as a pianist. Venturesome the undertaking certainly was, for metropolitan audiences are known to be exacting and critical, and for a girl of Miss Henrietta’s tender years to appear before it required moral as well as physical courage, and more than that, an unwavering confidence in her ability to achieve success. Were we to judge only by the applause and the persistent encores with which her performance was received by the audience her debut from that alone could be pronounced a complete success, but it was more than that, in an artistic point of view this wonderful child—for she is nothing more—astonished all. True, she is as yet neither a Liszt nor a Thalberg; but at the time when these Nestors of pianists were as young as Henrietta neither of them had been heard of, and time, continued study and increasing experience will prove the best masters for her as they have for them. Her play is melodious, her touch tender and sweet, her ensemble correct, even admirable, while the force she occasionally develops is truly wonderful in one so young in years. Not to go too much into details, it is but just to mention the ‘Hungarian Rhapsody No. 11,’ by Liszt, which is one of the most difficult and intricate compositions, of that rhapsodical composer, and which many a pianist of long years of experience and much greater pretensions would fail to render better than she did, if he could do it as well. Being rapturously called out again the little pianist gave Miles’ ‘Recollections of Home’ with a sweetness of melody and delicacy of rhythm which was perfectly charming. Miss Henrietta was assisted by Mme. De Lussan, who sang two arias delightfully. Mr. Wenzel Kopta gave two solos on the violin with his usual perfection, and the philharmonic orchestra of Prof. Carl Bergmann fully maintained their high reputation. The house was filled better than usual at the first appearance of an unknown artist. It is to be hoped that Miss Henrietta may soon favor the public with a second exhibition of her skill, so extraordinary and wonderful in a girl of her age.”

Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 20 November 1868, 5.

“Ever since the time that Mozart went (under the guidance of his respected father) upon his starring tour, in pants and a jacket, it has been the fortune or misfortune, as the case may be, of every child of talent to be made the object of public inspection long before it has become aware of the true position that it occupies in the world of art. Where a definite, unequivocal success is obtained, the aspirant for fame is safe, so long as perseverance and care hold the reins. But cases of this kind are rare. When, on the other hand, only a quasi success is made, the one chance of future honor lies in hearing and abiding by the truth, even should it prove less sweet and agreeable than the hasty and ill-advised compliments of friends and clacquers. To be just to Miss Henrietta Markstein we must say that, although for a young lady of thirteen Summers she displays a remarkable degree of accurateness and originality in phrasing, she lacks that ease of execution which makes the artist, and without which it is impossible to give a satisfactory rendering of even the simplest work. In other words, if she had waited two or three years longer before appearing in the capacity of a pianist she would undoubtedly have stood on surer ground, and the aspirations of her friends in regard to her excellence as a performer would have been more fully realized. The pieces she essayed at Steinway Hall, on Wednesday evening, were far beyond her technics. Her study and conception of these pieces have evidently been forced and abnormal. To become a pianist it is necessary to do more than practice on a piano, or even to write for it. Frequent hearings of orchestral works and operas, a knowledge of the character and timbre of the different kinds of instruments, a cultivated ear in regard to the human voice, an intimate acquaintance with the rules of harmony and composition, and above all an exhaustive study of the forms of composition and of phrasing, are as absolutely requisite for arriving at even a mediocre position, as is the exercise of the fingers. Now, it must be evident to any person of common sense that it is impossible to obtain sufficient experience in the above-mentioned point much before 20 years of age. It denotes, therefore, a lack of judgment on the part of older persons to force open the bud of talent ere its petals are full grown. Miss Markstein appears to be an amiable and sensible young lady, and if she can but be placed under an instructor who will teach her how to play octaves from the wrist instead of from the arm, and chords from the arm instead of from the shoulders, and who will strengthen her fingers at the same time that he adds to her already good phrasing the finishing touches, she will, in course of time, be enabled to occupy a very distinguished position in the ranks of American artists; otherwise she will never execute more rapidly than she does now, she will never play any more artistically, and her general style will remain what it is, forced, and—to use the only term that gives the exact idea—‘splashy.’ But let us hope for the best.

“The compositions that the young pianist performed at her concert were ‘Capriccio Brillante,’ by Mendelssohn; ‘Lucia,’ fantasia, by Prudent; and Liszt’s ‘Rhapsodie Hongroise,’ No. II. Madame De Lussan sang an ornithological aria, by Giorza, called ‘The Mexican Nightingale,’ and also extracts from ‘Lucrezia,’ ‘Sonnambula,’ and Gounod’s ‘Serenade,’ although the three ladies’ selections were claimed to be by Offenbach. Mr. Wenzel Kopta displayed his fine execution, purity of tone, and lack of fire in several interesting morceaux. A miniature orchestra under Mr. Bergman attempted the ‘Oberon’ and ‘Midsummer Night’s’ overtures. The audience was large and enthusiastic.”

Announcement: Dwight's Journal of Music, 21 November 1868, 352.

 “…a little girl pianist of whose precocious skill marvelous stories are told. She will be supported by other performers of ability.”

Review: New-Yorker Musik-Zeitung, 21 November 1868, 248.

The concert was very well-attended. The 13 year-old clearly has the potential to be a piano virtuoso. Her performance showed a good sense for exact time, for strength, and she has skill. 

Review: Dwight's Journal of Music, 05 December 1868, 357.

“On Wednesday evening, 18th, Miss Henrietta Markstein, a young pianist of some sixteen years, made her debut in Stein way Hall. She was assisted by Mr. Wenzel Kopta (violin), Mme. De Lussan, and an orchestra of 25, under the direction of Carl Bergmann.

“Miss Markstein, who exhibited a commendable self-possession and nonchalance, belongs to the long list of prodigies, and they are to be deprecated. The system of forcing immature talent upon public attention is unwise, in that it is unsatisfactory to the listeners and very injurious to the performer. This young lady, however, showed some ability in execution, which future application will of course develop more fully.This was a portion of her programme: [see above]

“Miss Markstein’s strong point is force, her weaknesses are elbow playing, and an indiscriminate use of the pedals. In the Capriccio—which was of course her most ambitious solo—she displayed a remarkable accuracy in keeping with the orchestra, and her self-computer was of great service to her. Each of her selections was heartily encored by the large audience.

“Mr. Kopta played two solos with his usual excellence. One of them ‘The Witches’ Dance,’ seems to be revived as a concert attraction, for Mr. Mollenhauer was to play it at a concert in Irving Hall on Saturday evening, and Camilla Urso was to do likewise on Sunday evening. This may—I suppose—be regarded as a legitimate result of the Ole Bull mania which raged so fiercely last winter.”

Review: New York Musical Gazette, January 1869, 21.

“Considerable interest has been felt in the debut of a young pianist of thirteen; Miss Henrietta Markstein. The announcement that a child of that age was to play Liszt’s Hungarian Fantasia and Mendelssohn’s Capriccio, was sufficient, of itself, to attract attention. Her performance was, on the whole, quite satisfactory. To say nothing of the necessity of tiem for technical development, it would be unreasonable to expect at thirteen the judgment which can only come with years and experience. But the young debutante has marked talent, and being received with great kindness and no little appreciation by the audience on this occasion, it is to be hoped she will be stimulated to that zeal and faithfulness in her future studies so necessary to her final success.”