L. F. Harrison Benefit

Event Information

Irving Hall

Manager / Director:
Lafayette F. Harrison

Theodore Thomas [see also Thomas Orchestra]
Carl Bergmann

Price: $1

Event Type:
Chamber (includes Solo), Choral, Orchestral

Performance Forces:
Instrumental, Vocal

Record Information


Last Updated:
17 April 2015

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

05 Mar 1864, 8:00 PM

Program Details

The Deutscher Liederkranz was originally scheduled to perform but did not. Mazzoleni replaced Brignoli, who was originally scheduled to participate. Medori and Mazzoleni performed “by the kind permission of Mr. Maretzek.”

The vocal selections were each followed by an encore. Medori sang a “pleasing coquettish little chanson” as her encore.

Mills performed the second and third movements of Chopin's Piano Concerto in E minor, op. 11. He may have also played an etude by Prudent, perhaps as an encore, as it is not listed in the programs in the advertisements and announcements (see CEU review). (It is also possible that the CEU confused Mills's own etude in C-sharp minor, which he performed here before Chopin op. 64 no. 2, with a Prudent etude.)

Fradel’s overture may be a first performance.

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Guglielmo Tell; William Tell; Introduction
Conductor: Bergmann, Carl
Composer(s): Rossini
Composer(s): Mills
Participants:  Sebastian Bach Mills
Composer(s): Mici
aka Fantasia for violin "Otello"
Composer(s): Ernst
Conductor: Bergmann, Carl
Composer(s): Gounod
Conductor: Thomas [see also Thomas Orchestra], Theodore
Composer(s): Fradel
aka Gnaden aria
Composer(s): Meyerbeer
Text Author: Delavigne
Participants:  Giuseppina Medori
Conductor: Bergmann, Carl
Composer(s): Chopin
Participants:  Sebastian Bach Mills
Composer(s): Donizetti
Text Author: Cammarano
Conductor: Thomas [see also Thomas Orchestra], Theodore
Composer(s): Mendelssohn-Bartholdy


Announcement: New York Post, 12 February 1864.
Announced for March 3.
Announcement: New-York Times, 22 February 1864, 4.

“The grand testimonial concert to Mr. Lafayette Harrison has been postponed from Thursday, March 3, to Saturday, March 5. This was rendered necessary in consequence of the scarcity of orchestral players, and the many engagements they have on the first named night. To the public it will make no difference. The programme has been arranged, and is certainly one of the most attractive documents of the kind ever offered to the public. It contains four numbers for grand orchestra; a chorus to be sung by deputations from all the singing societies of the Metropolis; a solo by Mme. Medori; a solo by Signor Brignoli; a duet by these favorite artists; two movements of a concerto and a solo by Mr. Mills; and a violin solo by Mr. Bruno Wollenhaupt. The conductors are Messrs. Bergmann, Theo. Thomas, Abella and Timm.”

Announcement: Musical Review and World, 27 February 1864.

Announcement: New-York Times, 29 February 1864.

Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 29 February 1864.

Announcement: New York Herald, 01 March 1864.

Advertisement: New York Herald, 01 March 1864.

Announcement: New York Post, 03 March 1864.

Announcement: New-York Times, 03 March 1864, 1.

“Harrison’s grand testimonial concert on Saturday night will be the best miscellaneous musical entertainment that has been given in the Metropolis for many years.”

Announcement: Courrier des États-Unis, 03 March 1864.

Announcement: New York Post, 04 March 1864, 2.

Announcement: New-York Times, 04 March 1864, 4.

“In consequence of the continued indisposition of Signor Brignoli, it has been necessary to withdraw his name from the programme of Mr. L. F. Harrison’s testimonial concert on Saturday. The public will be delighted to hear that Signor Mazzoleni has in the kindest way offered to take his place, and with Mme. Medori will sing for the first time at a concert.”

Announcement: Courrier des États-Unis, 04 March 1864.

The program of this grand musical event has changed because of Brignoli’s ill health.

Announcement: New-York Times, 05 March 1864, 6.

Irving Hall.—Mr. L. F. Harrison’s grand Testimonial Concert will take place here to-night. No entertainment of the season can be more deserving of the patronage of an American audience. Mr. Harrison, during the period of his career as a caterer for the public, has done more for young artists than all the other managers in the City. He has given every one a chance, and from these chances many an artist owes, or will owe, his, or her, career in the future. Apart from this fact, the programme offers peculiar inducements to the public. The programme is one of the best ever placed before our concert-goers. We give it:—[Provides program.]”

Advertisement: New-York Times, 05 March 1864, 9.

Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 05 March 1864.
“See advertisement for details.”
Announcement: Courrier des États-Unis, 05 March 1864.
Lists the program. Lists the Fradel as “ínédite”
: 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., 05 March 1864.
“At Harrison’s Concert.  29th Birthday.”
Review: New York Post, 07 March 1864, 2.

“The Harrison testimonial concert at Irving Hall on Saturday night was in every respect a memorable affair, though the bad weather somewhat reduced the pecuniary results. Medori and Mazzoleni, the vocalists of the evening, sang superbly, the latter making a great hit in ‘Ad Ischia,’ an Italian ballad by a composer named Mici, quite new to New York audiences. Bruno Wollenhaupt played a violin arrangement by Ernst, from ‘Otello,’ with unusual effect, and Mills performed on the piano several of Chopin’s exquisite compositions. Besides all this, there was the singing of the soldiers’ chorus in ‘Faust’ by a miscellaneous company of singers, and the orchestral performance of a well-[illeg.] overture by Fradel, hitherto, chiefly known to the public as a composer of light piano music. [Illeg…] altogether a testimonial of which Mr. Harrison might well [illeg.].”

Review: New-York Times, 07 March 1864, 4.

“Mr. L. F. Harrison was not so fortunate in the matter of weather as was his neighbor Mr. Maretzek. It began to rain heavily towards night, and did not leave off until all the mischief had been done; nevertheless, Irving Hall presented a gay and brilliant appearance, and the Testimonial Concert was certainly one of the most admirable affairs of the season. The programme was carried out to the letter, (without the assistance of the members of the Liederkranz, however,) and was warmly and heartily applauded. The orchestral pieces were finely rendered by Messrs. Bergmann and Thomas; the ‘Faust’ march brought down the house, as it always does; Mr. Bruno Wollenhaupt played Ernst’s very difficult ‘Othello’ fantasia with a combination of power and grace that left nothing to be desired, and this, too, in spite of an atmosphere that rendered it almost impossible to keep the violin in tune. We trust that this admirable artist will shorten the intervals of his visits to the Concert-room. Mr. Mills played Chopin’s well known waltz, and a brilliant étude in C sharp minor, by himself; and in the second part, two movements from Chopin’s E minor concerto. We have never heard this superb artist to such advantage as in the Romanza of this work. Nothing could well exceed the clearness, elevation and feeling which he infused into those lovely strains. The Rondo was also most grandly interpreted. We need only add that Mr. Mills was received with tumultuous applause, not merely by the audience, but by the members of the orchestra. The vocal artist were Mad. Medori and Signor Mazzoleni. The lady was in fine voice, and looked charming. She was eminently successful in the air from ‘Robert le Diable,’ and as an encore sang a pleasing coquettish little chanson. In the second part, and with Signor Mazzoleni, she sang the duo from ‘Poliuto,’ receiving, of course, another encore. Signor Mazzoleni opened with an Italian ballad, by Mici, which he sang with astonishing energy and taste. It fairly electrified the audience, and had to be repeated. It is, indeed, a treat to hear such an artist in the concert-room. Mr. Abella presided at the piano, Mr. Timm playing the accompaniments for Mr. Wollenhaupt. An overture by Mr. Charles Fradel opened the second part of the programme. It is written in the old classic vein, and is appropriate for Moliere’s comedy, which it precedes.”

Review: Courrier des États-Unis, 07 March 1864.

“This soirée contained all that its program had promised, and still more. The numerous attendees who had braved the rain to fill the hall didn’t have to regret that act of courage.

The principal honors of the festivity were naturally for Mme Medori and M. Mazzoleni. Both abundantly deserved them, for they showed themselves as excellent concert singers as we already know them to be great artists on the stage. Mme Medori showed, in an aria from Robert, a skill, an expressiveness, a finesse above all expression. Called back at the audience’s insistence, she sang a delightful unpublished piece that wasn’t on the program, with incomparable freshness and vivacity.

Mazzoleni wasn’t any less excellent. Nobody, in listening to him, would have suspected that he had just borne the weight of an entire opera a few hours previously. He was in voice as in his best days, and the ballad by Mici earned him an enthusiastic ovation. Moreover, it would be impossible to push the brio that he put into this piece any further.

After the encores that had been bestowed upon them separately, they two artists obtained another in common, in the duet from Poliuto.

M. Mills played one of the most beautiful and difficult etudes of Prudent in a completely superior fashion.

The overture to Bourgeois Gentilhomme, by M. Fradel, had great success. It’s a remarkable work on more than one count.

M. Harrison, in a word, can flatter himself that the concert organized in his honor will remain as one of the most beautiful and most successful of the season.”

Review: Musical Review and World, 12 March 1864, 85.

The testimonial concert for Mr. Lafayette Harrison, the popular proprietor of Irving Hall, was entirely successful. In fact, we have seldom assisted at a concert, which was in all its features so interesting and commendable as this. It is true, the weather was not favorable, the rain coming down rather freely, but this was the only means to prevent a jam, a fact considerably adding to the comfort of the audience. We have no doubt that the concert, in spite of the really very inclement weather, yielded a very handsome surplus to Mr. Harrison, and we heartily rejoice at it.

The following programme was discussed. [Gives program.]

Mr. Carl Bergmann conducted the instrumental pieces of the first part, and the accompaniment of the two parts of Chopin’s Concerto in E minor, which was superbly played by Mr. Mills; especially did he do full justice to the Romanza. The rendering was not only finished but showed an exquisite taste. The performance of the Rondo was not to our liking, although from a technical point of view the performance was faultless.

We have seldom heard Mr. Bruno Wollenhaupt to such a great advantage as on this occasion. The difficult piece by Ernst was rendered with unexceptional clearness, purity and taste. Mad. Medori and Sig. Mazzoleni created quite a furore by their energetic performances and the Arion Society did ample justice to the ‘Soldiers’ Chorus.’ The Liederkranz, although having promised its assistance, seemed fit not to make its appearance. We suppose the weather was too bad for the members.

Mr. Theodore Thomas conducted the overture, by Charles Fradel, and that of ‘Ruy Blas,’ and Messrs. Timm and Abella presided at the Piano.”

Announcement: New York Post, 23 March 1864.

Concert postponed to March 5 “to secure the services of Carl Bergmann.”


Review: Dwight's Journal of Music, 02 April 1864, 216.

“The testimonial concert to Mr. Harrison, the proprietor of Irving Hall, was successful and contained interesting matter.  Mr. Mills played two movements of Chopin’s Concerto in E minor, Bergmann conducting the orchestra, as he did also in the ‘Tell’ overture.  The orchestra also played the Introduction to Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme and Mendelssohn’s Ruy Blas overture, Theodore Thomas conducting.  Mr. Bruno Wollenhaupt played a violin solo by Ernst; and Medori, Mazzoleni, and members of the Liederkranz, Arion, &c., sang.”