Henri Kowalski Concert

Event Information

Steinway Hall

Carl Anschütz

Price: $1.50 reserved; $1

Event Type:

Performance Forces:

Record Information


Last Updated:
12 March 2022

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

20 Apr 1870, Evening

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Concert-Stuck; Konzertstück, J. 282
Composer(s): Weber
Participants:  Henri [pianist] Kowalski
aka Danse des fées; Danse des lutins; Reveil des fees, La, op. 41
Composer(s): Prudent
Participants:  Henri [pianist] Kowalski
Composer(s): Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Participants:  Pablo de Sarasate
aka Isolena
Composer(s): Stigelli
Participants:  Clara [contralto] Perl
Composer(s): Kowalski
Participants:  Eugénie de Lussan
Composer(s): Gottschalk
Participants:  A. Randolfi
Composer(s): Verdi
Participants:  Eugénie de Lussan;  A. Randolfi


Advertisement: New York Herald, 14 April 1870, 8.

List of participants.

Advertisement: New-York Times, 14 April 1870, 7.
Announcement: New York Sun, 14 April 1870, 3.

“Mr. Kowalski, who has won a very excellent reputation during the short time that he has been in this country, as a pianist of merit, gives his first concert at Steinway Hall on Wednesday evening of next week. He is to be assisted by Miss Clara Perl, Madame de Lussan, Sarasate, the violinist, and other eminent artists.”

Advertisement: New York Herald, 15 April 1870, 12.

Partial program.

Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 16 April 1870, 5.

“On Wednesday Mr. Henri Kowalski, who informs us in his circular that he is ‘an old acquaintance’ of ‘Prince Arthur of England,’ and has the promise of that excellent young gentleman’s distinguished patronage in Canada, announces his first concert in America at Steinway Hall. He has appeared as a pianist at Madame Bishop’s concerts, but as yet is really little known in this city, though he brings flattering testimonials from good authorities abroad. He will play with Señor Sarasate the piano and violin duet by Thalberg and De Beriot, on themes from ‘The Huguenots,’ which Thalberg made so popular during his visit to this country.”

Advertisement: New York Herald, 17 April 1870, 9.


Announcement: New-York Times, 17 April 1870, 4.

“Mr. Henri Kowalski, a pianist whose merits we have several times acknowledged, and which are getting to be widely recognized at their just value, announces a grand concert for Wednesday evening next at Steinway Hall. Mr. Kowlaski will be assisted by [provides partial list of performers]. The programme is to be of an extremely brilliant and varied order, including selections from the works of Weber, Auber, Mendelssohn, Verdi, Donnizetti [sic], Thalberg, the lately deceased De Beriot, Rossini, Thomas, Stigelli, Prudent, and Mr. Kowalski himself. This concert should be, and doubtless will be, one of the finest of the season.”

Announcement: New York Herald, 18 April 1870, 7.

“The celebrated pianist Kowalski, whose European reputation is of the very highest standard, announces a concert at Steinway Hall for Wednesday next.” Lists performers.

Announcement: New York Sun, 18 April 1870, 2.

Lists performers. “…That some concertos and works of a higher order may be given to show the extent of Mr. Kowalski’s ability, he will also be assisted by an orchestra under the direction of Carl Anschutz.”

Announcement: New-York Times, 20 April 1870, 5.

“The programme is an extremely comprehensive and varied one.”

Advertisement: New-York Times, 20 April 1870, 7.
Review: New-York Times, 21 April 1870, 4.

“The first grand vocal and instrumental concert of M. Henri Kowalski was given at Steinway Hall, last evening. M. Kowalski had already been listened to in this City; and though he will not rank with the performers continually before us, and whom it were unnecessary to name—albeit Shakespeare’s allusion to comparison as quite pointless when applied to criticism—he must be regarded as a very gifted and pretty talented artist. But the assurance that M. Kowalski is a classical and romantic pianist, is one implying more than the mere look of the words on a programme would indicate. It is equivalent to a declaration that the subject is equally felicitous in all his efforts on the keyboard, and that Bach’s fugues and Chopin’s reveries are in the same degree open to his understanding, and comprehensible through the medium of recitations. To fulfill such a promise demands an exceptional temperament and an exceptional skill, entitling the possessor to a high place of art. The bill of yesterday was hardly severe enough to allow of such a demonstration as the sentence quoted above seemed to announce, unless Weber’s Concert-Stueck is accepted as counterbalancing a number of very light compositions. By the evening’s proof, a lack of breadth and of marked refinement weakened M. Kowalski’s claims. His execution is neat, brilliant and vigorous, but the instrument does not sing under his touch, nor does it fling out the chains of notes of which all the separate elements are as equal in duration and volume as though the whole tone were unbroken, nor does it fill the air with the commingled melody and harmony that Thalberg, by compositions and playing, proved the piano could give birth to. M. Kowalski’s decisive and powerful manipulation of the keys, however, was exceedingly effective in the march movement of the Concert-Stueck, and in his arrangement of the motives of the Rakoczy March. Besides these pieces he rendered a paraphrase on motives from ‘Faust,’ which seemed the work of a delicate fancy if not of a most scientific hand, and also Prudent’s ‘Danse des Lutins’ in the interpretation of which the same fancy did him excellent service. The pianist was much applauded, and so were his associates, Mme. de Lussan, Miss Clara Perl, Señor Sarasate and Messrs. Randolfi and Bartlett. Mme. de Lussan sang an air from an opera called ‘Jeanne D’Arc,’ by M. Kowalski, and endowed with less individuality than the composer’s contributions to the literature of the piano. ‘O Loving Heart, Trust On,’ a pleasing song by Gottschalk, was very well sung by Signor Randolfi. A full orchestra was in attendance, Herr Anschuetz conducting.”

Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 22 April 1870, 4.

“Mr. Henri Kowalski has appeared several times at miscellaneous concerts since his arrival in this country, but always in such a modest way as to give the public no opportunity to judge of his merit as a pianist. An opportunity was afforded, however, on Wednesday evening, when he gave a concert of his own at Steinway Hall, before an audience so small that it embarrassed one to belong to it. The first piece was Weber’s Concertstuek [sic], with accompaniment by an orchestra. It was a very unfortunate selection, for nobody but a pianist of the first order can make an impression with it, and that Mr. Kowalski is not a pianist of the first order was soon apparent. He has a delicate and accurate touch, and his dexterity is admirable; but his style is cold and uninspired, and he lacks both brilliancy and force. His second piece, a paraphrase of his own on ‘Faust,’ showed more of his good qualities than the Concerstück, especially his precision and clearness in rapid passages and his skill with the octave, but it was a ruthless performance, dealing with two themes, the fanfare militaire and the waltz—embellishing one with ingenious variation, but crushing all the poetry and grace out of the other. Any one who will compare Miss Mehlig’s exquisite performance of Liszt’s ‘Faust’ waltz with Mr. Kowalski’s hard rendering of the same subject will see how deficient the gentleman is in that appreciation of a composer’s spirit which is essential to the making of a great artist. Some of the other performers at the Wednesday concert were more pleasing than Mr. Kowalski himself. Sarasate played superbly the andante and finale from Mendelssohn’s violin concerto in D, and joined Mr. Kowalski in the duet by Thalberg and De Beriot on themes from ‘The Huguenots.’ For the effect of this duet the praise is due principally to the violinist. Mr. Randolfi sang Gottschalk’s ‘O loving Heart, trust on,’ with excellent precision, and took part with Madame de Lussan in a duet from ‘Trovatore.’ Miss Clara Perl also sang, and Mr. Frank Bartlett, who is perhaps the most vicious baritone now at large, roared one or two songs with all the voice he could muster. Mr. Dachauer accompanied on the piano, and Mr. Anschütz, who has a peculiar talent for making a picked-up orchestra play as well as one that has regularly rehearsed under the same baton, conducted the band in his usual admirable manner.”

Announcement: New York Clipper, 23 April 1870, 22.

“Henri Kowalski, a pianist of note, is to give a concert in this city on the 20th inst., assisted by Mme. De Lussan, Miss Clara Perl, and others.”

Review: New York Herald, 24 April 1870, 9.

“Henri Kowalski gave his first grand concert at Steinway Hall last week, assisted by Mme. de Lussan, Miss Clara Perl, Sarasate, Randolfi, Werner, Dachauer, Arnold, Bartlett and a grand orchestra. He played Weber’s ‘Concertstuck’ admirably, and fully sustained in the performance of his own works the high reputation he gained in Europe. Miss Perl made a genuine success by her exquisite singing of Stigelli’s waltz song, ‘Isolina.’”