Thomas Sunday Concert: 1st

Event Information

Steinway Hall

Theodore Thomas [see also Thomas Orchestra]

Price: $.50; .75 reserved seats

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
23 June 2019

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

29 Nov 1868, 8:00 PM

Program Details

Mr. Thomas takes pleasure in announcing that he will give during the winter a series of Sunday concerts, in which he will introduce a number of distinguished artists, both vocal and instrumental, together with his grand orchestra.

Performers and/or Works Performed

Composer(s): Weber
aka Surprise symphony
Composer(s): Haydn
Composer(s): Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Composer(s): Mozart
aka Traumerei
Composer(s): Schumann
aka Tannhauser overture
Composer(s): Wagner
aka Schiller fest march
Composer(s): Meyerbeer
aka Fantasie sur une danse Cosaque; Cosatchoque; Gosatichoque; Cassischoque
Composer(s): Dargomïzhsky
Composer(s): Rizzo
Participants:  Marietta Gazzaniga
aka Prayer
Composer(s): Lucantoni
aka Fantasie on La petite tambour; Little tambour
Composer(s): David [composer]
Participants:  Willie [violinist] Hess


Advertisement: New York Herald, 23 November 1868.
Announcement: New York Post, 23 November 1868.
Advertisement: New-York Times, 26 November 1868, 7.
Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 26 November 1868, 5.
Announcement: New York Post, 28 November 1868.
Review: New York Herald, 30 November 1868, 5.

“The initiatory concert of the proposed series of Sunday evening concerts during the winter season, under the directorship of that popular maestro, Theodore Thomas, given at this place last evening, drew out a large and brilliant assemblage. A varied and select programme comprised the evening’s entertainment. First came the overture ‘Euryanthe,’ from Weber, and ‘Andante,’ from a symphony by Haydn, by the orchestra, and both pieces were executed with the brilliant effect characteristic of this fine corps of musical performers. Next came Madame Gazzaniga in the song of ‘Salve Maria,’ in which the exquisite melody of her rich, powerful voice had the freest, fullest compass and expression.  She sang with all her old grand power, and of course would not be let off without an encore. Sandwiched between two selections from Mendelssohn and Mozart by the orchestra, Master Willie Hess performed a solo on the violin, “Le Petit Tambour.” For a boy of ten years old he shows wonderful precocity of genius on this instrument. He plays with the ease, exactness, and almost the masterly touch and skill of Ole Bull or Paganini. He was interupted with frequent applause. After ‘Tannhauser’ from Wagner and ‘Traeumerei’ from Scanmann [sic], by the orchestra, Mme. Gazzaniga sang “Preghiera” from Lucantoni, with violoncello obligato by F. Bergner. She sang as delightfully as before, and, as the penalty of her fine singing, was obliged to appear a second time responsive to the appreciative acclamations of the audience. A delightful feature of the evening and perhaps the most delightful feature to many, was the appearance of Miss Joanna (nine years old) and Willie Hess in a duo for piano and violin on ‘Themes from La Favorita.’ If his performances on the violin betrayed high musical genius, so did his playing on the piano. His touch had all the delicacy of the maturest cultivation. They were most enthusiastically applauded, as they richly deserved.  Closing the evening’s entertainment was the ‘Marche Triomphale—Schiller’ from Meyerbeer, by the orchestra. Nothing more triumphantly grand in the way of orchestral music can be imagined.”

Review: New York Post, 30 November 1868.

“Last night Theodore Thomas gave the first of a series of sacred concerts at Steinway Hall, and as his skill in forming attractive programmes is well known, the list of selections was, of course entertaining. The andante of Haydn’s surprise symphony was most charmingly rendered by the orchestra, and among the other orchestral selections were overtures by Weber and Wagner, and extracts from Mozart, Schumann, Mendelssohn and the Russian composer Dargomijsky. Two precocious children, Joanna and Willie Hess, showed their skill on the piano and violin respectively. The little girl has a neat, clean touch, and will develop into an excellent pianist. The little boy plays the violin with grace and tenderness, and is an artist in embryo. Gazzaniga was the vocalist, and sang superbly.”

Review: New-York Times, 30 November 1868, 4.

“Mr. THEODORE THOMAS resumed last evening his agreeable Sunday concerts. Besides his full orchestra he had the cooperation of Mme. GAZZANIGA, a singer who is dramatically grand at all times. Two remarkable children, Miss JOANNA and Master WILLIE HESS, also made their appearance for the second time, on the occasion. The little lady is ten years old, and the gentleman has reached the ripe old age of nine. The first plays the piano, and the second is quite proficient on the violin. Both are prodigies, and doubtless will attract much public admiration. Their attainments are singularly advanced. The orchestra performed in eight numbers and with the precision for which it is famous.”

Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 30 November 1868, 8.

“Decidedly the best concert that we have attended this season was the one given at Steinway Hall last evening, it being the first of the regular series of Sunday evening concerts that Mr. Theodore Thomas intends giving during the Winter. Mr. Thomas has the talent, possessed by so few, of accomplishing great results with comparatively small means. This fact was evident, in a marked degree, last evening. The orchestra, though numbering scarcely 40 performers, played with precision and finish and produced effects that will go far toward enhancing their own reputation as artists, as well as that of Mr. Thomas as an energetic and talented leader. The orchestral works performed were the ‘Euryanthe’ and ‘Tannhauser’ overtures, the Scherzo from the ‘Reformation Symphony,’ the finale to the second act of ‘Don Giovanni,’ Schumann’s ‘Traumerei,’ Dargomijsky’s ‘Cosatschoque,’ Meyerbeer’s ‘Schiller March,’ and the beautiful Andante from Haydn’s ‘Surprise Symphony.’ This last named selection and the finale from ‘Don Giovanni’ were the gems of the evening’s performance, if we may make exception where all was excellent. Madame Gazzaniga—whose more frequent appearance upon the concert stage would benefit the cause of music as much as it would give pleasure to her hearers—sang, in a delicious manner, Rizzo’s ‘Salve Maria,’ and Lucantobi’s ‘Preghiera,’ the latter with violoncello obligato accompaniment, played by Mr. F. Bergner. The ease of manner, finished style, and still fresh voice of Mad. Gazzaniga was as soothing to the nerves, after the mental excitement consequent upon trying to discover the divine spark in some one of the yearly displayed array of mediocre talent, as the sight of an oasis would be to the weary traveler o’er the parched desert. Mr. Thomas introduced to the public two bright little stars in the musical firmament, named Joanna and Willie Hess, aged respectively 9 and 13. We do not hold it advisable to bring children in contact with public applause at this tender age; but when, as in this case, they are simply announced as talented children, and not as finished artists, and when they are not allowed to attempt pieces beyond their powers, we cannot but give our meed of praise. Master Willie Hess played, with orchestral accompaniment, David’s ‘Le petit Tambour,’ with his sister, Osborn and De Beriot’s ‘Favorita’ fantasie for piano and violin. Of the two, the boy appears to have the most talent, although, as the piano is an instrument that requires longer practice for its effective treatment than does the violin. Miss Joanna may, in the end, prove the same finished performer. We sincerely hope, however, for the future success of these two second little Mozarts, that they will be withdrawn from before the public gaze until they have become masters of their instruments. The audience, not large for a Sunday evening concert, was lavish, and justly so, in its applause. Mr. Otto Singer accompanied, neatly and artistically, though somewhat too delicately, in the louder passages. We trust that these concerts will be kept up to the excellent standard of the initial one.”

Review: New York Clipper, 05 December 1868, 278, 2d col., middle.

“A Sunday evening concert, under the direction of Mr. Theodore Thomas, was given last evening at Steinway Hall, before a large audience, nearly all the seats being occupied. The programme embodied selections from the most eminent composers, performed by Mr. Thomas’ splendid orchestra; a couple of pieces by Mme. Gazzaniga, sung in capital style; a violin solo by Master Willie Hess, and a duet for piano and violin by Miss Joanna and Willie Hess. These little ones, who look no older than six or eight years, are musical prodigies, their performances eliciting the most enthusiastic applause. The opening concert of this promised series was a marked success.”

Review: Dwight's Journal of Music, 05 December 1868, 358.

“Theo. Thomas commenced—last evening—a series of Sunday evening Concerts, to be given in Steinway Hall. I append a portion of the first programme [see above]

“Mme Gazzaniga sang twice, and the little Hess children—who made their début at the Remack concert—played their duo quite prettily, while Master Willie also executed a violin solo in promising style.

“The instrumental selections were—as will be seen—very attractive and were played with the vigor, earnestness, and perfection of detail so eminently characteristic of Mr. Thomas’s well trained orchestra.”