First Gottschalk Concert

Event Information

Irving Hall

Price: $.50; $1 reserved

Event Type:
Chamber (includes Solo)

Performance Forces:
Instrumental, Vocal

Record Information


Last Updated:
10 February 2014

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

19 Oct 1863, Evening

Program Details

Lucy Simons, soprano - pupil of Muzio (début)

The concert was originally scheduled for September 28, 1863, but was postponed due to the illness and subsequent death of Gottschalk’s brother.

Performers and/or Works Performed

Composer(s): Donizetti
Composer(s): Bellini
Participants:  Emanuele Muzio;  Lucy Simons
aka Faust, redowa
Composer(s): Gounod
Participants:  Emanuele Muzio;  Lucy Simons
Composer(s): Unknown composer
Participants:  Felice J. Eben


Announcement: New-York Times, 07 September 1863.
“Mr. Gottschalk (who has been reengaged by Max Strakosch for one hundred nights, and for $12,000) will give several concerts at Irving Hall, and play several new composition, during the next month.”
Announcement: New York Herald, 09 September 1863, 6.

Advertisement: New York Herald, 14 September 1863.

Announcement: New-York Times, 14 September 1863.

“Several new compositions will be played for the first time.”

Advertisement: New-York Times, 14 September 1863, 7.

Announcement: New-York Times, 26 September 1863, 7.

“In consequence of severe sickness in Mr. Gottschalk’s family, his concerts are for the present postponed.”

Announcement: New-York Times, 28 September 1863, 4.

Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 28 September 1863, 8.

“The concerts of M. Gottschalk, under the direction of Mr. Max Strakosch, are postponed until further notice, owing to the extreme illness of a brother of the pianist.”

Announcement: Courrier des États-Unis, 28 September 1863, 2.
The concert season should have started today with Gottshalk’s concert, but the sickness of a brother has forced the postponement.
Announcement: New-York Times, 01 October 1863, 4.

“Mr. George Edward Gottschalk – This estimable and talented young gentleman, brother of the celebrated pianist L.M. Gottschalk, died at the residence of the latter on Monday last, and the funeral ceremonies took place yesterday, at St. Stephen’s Church (Dr. Cummings’).”

Announcement: New York Clipper, 03 October 1863, 195.

“’In consequence of severe sickness in Mr. Gottschalk’s family,’ Mr. Strakosch announces a postponement of the Gottschalk concerts at Irving Hall.  Wonder if anybody is sick.”

COMMENT:  George Gottschalk died the day this was written.

Announcement: New York Post, 12 October 1863, 2.

Announcement: New-York Times, 12 October 1863.

“The Gottschalk concerts commence at the same establishment on Monday next, the 19th.  The manager, Mr. Max Strakosch, has had the good fortune to engage Signor Brignoli, who will appear at all these entertainments. That excellent tenor will receive a warm welcome on his return to the City.  We hear, with much pleasure, that he is likely to appear in opera at the Academy of Music.”

Announcement: Courrier des États-Unis, 12 October 1863, 2.

Note this was written several days before the concert. The reprise of Gottschalk’s concerts is still uncertain.  Meanwhile, Mm. William Hall & Sons, Gottschalk’s editors, have released two pieces by the composer, a serenade and a villanelle, both of a delicious effect.

Advertisement: New-York Times, 14 October 1863, 7.

“Mr. Gottschalk has prepared several new compositions for this series of Concerts, and will be assisted by a number of Distinguished Artists. . . . Special Notice: Each purchaser of a reserved seat for the evening concerts will be presented with a ticket of admission for the First Popular Saturday Afternoon Concert, Oct. 24, under the direction of Mr. Theodore Thomas, and at which Mr. Gottschalk will perform, together, with a powerful array of talent.”

Announcement: New-York Times, 15 October 1863.

“Several new morceaux will be introduced by Mr. Gottschalk, and the patrons of the first concert will receive a bonus in the shape of a free admission to Mr. Theodore Thomas’ first grand popular concert on the following Saturday.”

Announcement: New York Post, 16 October 1863, 2.
“[A] young and promising soprano of this city, a pupil of Signor Muzio, will make her first appearance.”
Announcement: New York Herald, 19 October 1863.

Gottschalk will play new compositions.

Announcement: New-York Times, 19 October 1863.

“These admirable entertainments will commence to-night at Irving Hall.  The programme is made up of morceaux that are almost entirely new—Mr. Gottschalk contributing several of his latest compositions.”

Announcement: Courrier des États-Unis, 19 October 1863, 2.

Gottschalk is responsible for the success and popularity of performers such as Barnetche, Castle, and Campbell, for having given them the opportunity of debuting in his recitals. This time is Simons’ opportunity. The critic also points out that Gottschalk will play seven concerts in six days. Announces the participation of Mlle. Cordier (soprano from French theater) in the upcoming national tour by Gottschalk.

Review: New York Herald, 20 October 1863.

“We doubt whether a more successful entertainment ever took place in New York than the first of the concerts announced as the Gottschalk series. Irving Hall was crowded to excess by a most fashionable audience. We have seldom seen a more brilliant display of toilettes. The aspect of the hall was really most brilliant. We lack space to notice at length the whole of the admirable performance. That Gottschalk played in his usual exquisite style was a matter of course. We say no more of this artist, whom we consider as quite out of the pale of criticism. All he did was admirable. He was applauded to the echo—in fact he was received, as he ever is, with every mark of favor.

The debut of Miss Lucy Simons was an interesting event. The fame of the lady’s professor was a guarantee for a certain excellence in the pupil. Expectation was raised, to some extent, from the fact that Miss Simons was the pupil of Signor Muzio, the popular composer and conductor.

Miss Simons sang three times—the first, with Mr. Castle, the duetto from ‘Roberto Devereux.’ This was very successful. She next sang the aria from ‘Puritani,’ ‘Qui la voce.’ The applause which was showered upon the young debutante was enthusiastic, and she became a favorite with the public at once. Her last and most applauded effort was the Valtz [sic] from ‘Faust.’ This Miss Simons sang with so much entrain and expression as to prove her an artiste of undoubted merit. She was recalled, applauded, covered with bouquets—in short, made one of the most successful debuts ever witnessed in New York.

Miss Simons has a most pleasing soprano voice; she has considerable power; she sings with great expression, her countenance lighting up, showing that the artiste has feeling and sentiment. Her execution is really fine, and her voice shows that it has been carefully cultivated.

The other artists, Mr. Sanderson, Theodore Thomas and Mr. Eben, who played a fantasia upon the flute admirably, added by their talented efforts to the success of one of the most brilliant concerts we ever attended here.”

Review: New York Post, 20 October 1863.

“Gottschalk’s first concert was given last evening, and Irving Hall was crowded with an appreciative audience, whose frequent plaudits reflected as much credit on their own discernment and good taste as on the acknowledged powers of this well-known pianist. One of the chief novelties of the entertainment was a brilliant duetto on airs from Verdi’s opera ‘Un Ballo in Maschera.’ This was given with immense power, and is likely to prove as great a favorite as the famous ‘Trovatore’ duetto. The débutante, Miss Lucy Simons, achieved a distinguished success, and is destined to rise to a very high place among our American prima donnas. Her voice is soprano, remarkable for its sweetness and the extent of its compass rather than for its extraordinary power or fullness. Her execution of the waltz from Gounod’s opera of ‘Faust’ was certainly a very brilliant effort, as also the duetto from ‘Roberto Devereaux’ and the aria from ‘Puritani.’”

Review: New-York Times, 20 October 1863, 8.

“Mr. Gottschalk’s opening concert last night attracted a large and brilliant audience—such, indeed, as we only see at these fashionable and well-esteemed entertainments.  The programme was unusually interesting.  Mr. Gottschalk himself, whose regular repertoire is inexhaustible, provided a novelty for the occasion in the shape of a brilliant duo on airs from Verdi’s opera, ‘Un Ballo in Maschera.’  In this piece he was assisted by Mr. H. Sanderson—a young pianist whose progress is extraordinary, and who, in certain specialties of playing, is already without an equal.  The opening piano piece—a polka, was by this gentleman, and we may state briefly that it contained a graceful and vivacious thought, prettily and even powerfully elaborated.  Mr. Gottschalk’s duo is one of the best pieces he has yet contributed to the piano.  It is full of ingenious treatment, whilst the three leading themes are presented with immense power—more so even than in his famous ‘Trovatore’ duet.  With two such players as Gottschalk and Sanderson, nothing whatever was lost, and the result was a tremendous burst of applause.  Mr. Gottschalk’s own pieces were played with that delicate perception of sentiment which he only, of modern pianists, knows how to combine with absolute technical facility and extraordinary power. 

Mr. Gottschalk was assisted by Mr. Wm. Castle (tenor), Mr. Theodore Thomas (violinst) and Mr. Eben (flutist.)  Of these artists it is almost unnecessary to speak: they are always good, and last evening were quite ‘up’ to their several reputations.  A young prima donna, who also took part in the entertainment, claims our warmest appreciation.  Miss Lucy Simons, who sang for the first time before our public, posses so many requisites for the profession she has espoused that there can hardly be doubt about her future.  The lady is a pupil of Signor Muzio (who accompanied her on the piano,) and we will content ourselves with stating briefly that she knows sufficient already to justify her in assuming a position before our public than no other concert singer can claim.  Her voice is a soprano, of unimpeachable quality, and of admirable extent.  She possesses the vocal facility of Carlotta Patti, without that young lady’s unhappy facility of deflecting from the just intonation.  In the Waltz from Gounod’s opera, ‘Faust,’ (introduced for the first time in America,) the rich quality of her voice and her admirable powers of vocalisation were equally illustrated.  We know of no one who could have sung the piece so well, and we are perfectly sure that there is no established artist who could have rendered it better.  The audience was completely electrified by the effort, and the lady was overwhelmed with bouquets.  It remains only to be said that Miss Simons is yet in her teens.  We venture to predict that her future will eclipse even the brilliancy of her début.”

Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 21 October 1863, 7.

Part of article: “Article on Aspiring Debutantes,” 10/21/65, NYTr.

“[Simons] exhibits rare intelligence, much cultivation and has a voice of excellent extent and quality, including the uppermost notes of the ultra regions. She has been carefully taught by her noted professor, and has rewarded his care. She was much applauded—it was at Mr. Gottschalk’s crowded and brilliant concert. Miss Simons intends to go on the stage, which is a judicious resolve; for, we think, she has the facial mobility due the profession.—At that concert of Mr. Gottschalk, there was the usual piano bravuraism, in which Mr. Sanderson assisted—so it was quite an American affair. Mr. Eben, on the Flute; Mr. Thomas, on the Violin; and Mr. Castle, vocalist, were also among the attractions in the bill.”

Review: Courrier des États-Unis, 26 October 1863, 2.

Gottschalk’s rentree a huge success. The review is more about his facet as composer than as pianist. Gottschalk’s compositional career is divided into three periods: he is now in the beginning of the third one. These latest works are deemed superior to the previous ones, for they possess neither the seductive, yet effeminate morbidity of the first period of his music nor the exuberant masculinity of the period that followed. The composer seems to have now successfully blended these qualities of his earlier periods. Lucy Simons and Motte are praised, while Louise Vivier is not.

Review: New York Clipper, 31 October 1863, 229.

“There were several first appearances last week, among the debutantes being Miss Simons, who made a strike at a concert given on the 19th.”

Review: Dwight's Journal of Music, 31 October 1863, 128.

“The first and second concert were immensely thronged.”