Philharmonic Society of New-York Concert: 1st

Event Information

Irving Hall

Theodore Eisfeld

Price: $1.50 at the door on evening of the concert

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
28 May 2013

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

08 Nov 1862, 8:00 PM

Program Details

U.S. Premiere of F. Hiller: Traum in der Christnacht, overture. [A Christmas Night’s Dream]

Mason's Chopin: Ballade, A-flat, op.47 was encored. He performed his own “Silver-spring” as the encore.

Performers and/or Works Performed

Composer(s): Beethoven
aka Fantasie, op. 115, C major; Wanderer fantasy; Grosse Fantasie
Composer(s): Schubert
Participants:  William Mason (piano)
Composer(s): Chopin
Participants:  William Mason (piano)
aka Silverspring
Composer(s): Mason
Participants:  William Mason (piano)
Composer(s): Schumann
aka Christmas night’s dream
Composer(s): Hiller
Composer(s): Mendelssohn-Bartholdy


: Strong, George Templeton. New-York Historical Society. The Diaries of George Templeton Strong, 1863-1869: Musical Excerpts from the MSs, transcribed by Mary Simonson. ed. by Christopher Bruhn., 0000.
R: GTS 11/08/62 – “Heard Beethoven symphony no. 4 twice that day [ 3rd rehearsal and concert]. . . . [I]t is very great. . . . Certainly Beethoven’s orchestral work differs from all others . . . in that it possesses a virulence [sic] –intensity–emphasis –pungency– or something–to be found nowhere else.” COMMENT: Schubert/Liszt Fantasia previously introduced last fall at concert by Theodore Thomas.
Advertisement: New York Herald, 03 November 1862, 7.
Advertisement: New-York Times, 05 November 1862, 7.
Works, time, prices, performers.
Advertisement: New York Herald, 07 November 1862, 7.
Advertisement: New-York Times, 08 November 1862, 7.
Review: New-York Times, 11 November 1862, 5.

     “If at any period of the year the Philharmonic Society may reasonably expect to 'dodge' the weather, it is surely at the first concert--when that mythical period known as the Indian Summer has scarcely expired, and fine weather is not so scarce that its occurrence should excite remark. This expectation was sadly disappointed on Saturday, when the Society gave its opening entertainment to subscribers, who had to face the bitter wind, and trudge through a continual pond of snow and slush to Irving Hall. The wholesome discipline of former years is of value on these occasions. A philharmonic audience is never rendered uncomfortable by trivial meteorological causes. In the roughest weather some of the subscribers may be seen struggling through the streets, their togal garments projecting like vanes of churches, with piano-forte scores of the symphony under their arms, showing that there is nothing too severe for them. The attendance on Saturday was excellent, not overcrowded, but as it should be, with seats for all. We take the opportunity of congratulation the Society on having so charming a place for their concerts. The eye rests with pleasure on the classic decorations of Signor Guidicini, as the ear drinks in the majestic strains of Beethoven. It is something to sit in a place where one can see and hear with equal ease, and these conditions are insured the moment the portals of Irving Hall have been past. Mr. Eisfeld’s programme for the first concert (twenty-first season) was as varied and excellent as those documents are apt to be when intrusted [sic] to the well-cultured taste of this experienced musician. It opened with Beethoven's superb 4th Symphony, (opus 60, in B flat,) which was steadily played throughout, and especially well in the brilliant finale. The adagio did not impress us favorably, the wood instruments, which take a leading part in it, being overlaid with the accompaniment, and the tempo becoming toward the end a little uncertain and broken. These trifling exceptions barely detract from the merit of a fine performance, and one sufficient to maintain, in all important aspects, the preeminence of the New-York Philharmonic Society’s orchestra over that of any other in America. After the Symphony, Mr. Wm. Mason introduced Schubert’s Fantasia for the piano, in C, 9opus 15,) a singular but fresh and vigorous work, which was played for the first time at Mr. Theodore Thomas’ classical concert in September last. Full of eccentric changes of harmony and quaint suggestions of melody, it requires for its just performance an artist who sees his way beyond the mere measure in hand. We have rarely heard Mr. Wm. Mason to such advantage. The shapeliness with which the themes were presented, the nice feeling and artist-like use of the pedal in passing from one key to another, were such as we have a right to expect, but not always the good fortune to enjoy, at the hands of the leader of the modern school of German chamber-music. In the matter of mere difficulty such a piece does not impose a heavy task on so fine an artist … he performed it admirably. The work, in its original form, is a duet for two pianos; the irrepressible Liszt has changed it into a solo, with a very elaborate accompaniment for the full orchestra. A task of such difficulty has rarely been accomplished with so much success, for the character of the composition is in no ways changed the additional color which it thus obtains. The orchestra, under Mr. Eisfeld, was unusually prompt and good, and furthered Mr. Mason’s efforts in the best possible way.  Later in the evening the same gentleman played Chopin's Ballade in A flat major, and being encored effused the audience with the delicious droppings of his ‘Silver Spring.’ In the second part of the programme there were Schumann's overture to 'Manfred' and a new overture by F. Hiller, called 'A Christmas Night's Dream.' The latter is a showy, ambitious and rather faulty composition, which gained most of its importance from the excellence of the band. Last but not least, Mr. Ed. Mollerhauer executed with great skill Mendelssohn's concerto for the violin in E. The concert in all respects was a complete success.”

Announcement: Dwight's Journal of Music, 15 November 1862, 261.