Thomas Popular Musical Matinee: 10th

Event Information

Irving Hall

Theodore Thomas [see also Thomas Orchestra]

Price: $.50; $2 for family or season tickets

Event Type:
Chamber (includes Solo), Orchestral

Performance Forces:
Instrumental, Vocal

Record Information


Last Updated:
2 October 2017

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

26 Dec 1863, 1:30 PM

Program Details

The start time is 1:30pm, even though the other concerts in this series began at 1pm (as per advertisements in the New York Times).

The family or season tickets for $2 admitted one person six times or six people once.

Orchestra of more than fifty members.

Program from Upton, p. 81 (see full citation below): only movements I and II of Harold in Italy were played.

Fradel's Christmas Polka was encored.

Abella was the accompanist for Campbell, Borchard, and Castle.

Performers and/or Works Performed

Composer(s): Beethoven
Composer(s): Fesca
Composer(s): Fradel
Composer(s): Verdi
Composer(s): Meyerbeer
aka Marche des pélerins;
Composer(s): Berlioz
Composer(s): Donizetti
Composer(s): Mills
aka Quadrille on melodies from Gounod’s Faust
Composer(s): Fradel
Composer(s): Verdi
Composer(s): Wagner


: Theodore Thomas, vol 2 [eds. Upton and Stein], 0000, 81.
Program included.
Announcement: New-York Times, 21 December 1863, 4.

Advertisement: New York Herald, 22 December 1863.

Advertisement: New-York Times, 22 December 1863, 7.

Advertisement: New-York Times, 25 December 1863, 7.

Advertisement: New York Herald, 26 December 1863.

Announcement: New York Post, 26 December 1863.
“[C]oncert-goers have found a superb entertainment in Theodore Thomas’s popular concert. . . . No city in the world—not even London or Paris—can offer such a variety of amusement as the New York public can have to-day and to-night.”
Announcement: New-York Times, 26 December 1863, 4.

Review: New York Herald, 28 December 1863, 4.

“Mr. Theodore Thomas’ popular matinee at Irving Hall was a great success last Saturday. The programme was most attractive. [Lists participants.] The orchestra played with admirable [illeg.], under the direction of Mr. Thomas, symphonies, overtures and the Christmas Polka, and Faust Quadrilles, composed and arranged by Mr. Charles Fradel. We may take the opportunity here of praising the Christmas Polka. It is a lively, pleasant piece of music, reflecting credit upon the taste and skill of the composer, and will surely become very popular. The quadrilles are very cleverly arranged. these pieces were much applauded. The artists were, one and all, very successful, and the concert was certainly one of the most brilliant of the season.”

Review: New-York Times, 28 December 1863, 4.

“The tenth popular matinée of Mr. Theodore Thomas took place at Irving Hall on Saturday afternoon. The programme, in a high musical point of view, was unexceptionable. A better one has rarely been offered by the Philharmonic Society. But the question suggests itself naturally--was it not too good for an entertainment professedly popular in its character? Mr. Thomas in these matinées is endeavoring, with great skill and some success to do a good work. But we would warn him against the danger of making them too classical. The overture to ‘Struensee,’ by Meyerbeer, and the ‘Introduction to Lohengrin,’ by Wagner, are not strictly speaking classical. But on the other hand they are not in any way popular, except with those who are classical in their tastes. With the heartiest appreciation of Mr. Thomas’ efforts, and the greatest desire to see him succeed, we must say that material of a lighter character would be more appropriate for a morning concert attended mostly by ladies. Turning to the programme we find that there were but two light pieces for the orchestra--both of them, as it happened, by Mr. Charles Fradel--a polka and a quadrille. These, in themselves, were excellent. Mr. Fradel is the best composer of dance music in the country; his themes are always piquante, his harmonies are fresh and varied, his culminations--even in small piano-forte trifles--effective, emphatic and interesting. But why both pieces by Mr. Fradel? It seems to us that some other dance composer should have been introduced, if only for the sake of ‘showing off’ this talented resident composer to advantage. Mr. Thomas’ position as a conductor of the highest kind of music is no longer in jeopardy. He can afford--like Mr. Bergmann--to gratify the common desire for something light. It seems to us, too, that in these entertainments--and we speak only for their good and in the hope that they may be long continued--there is an undue prominence given to vocal music. It is to be sure of the very best kind, but vocal music, even of the very best kind, can always be heard in New-York, whilst orchestral music--except of that poor sort which the theatres supply--is singularly scarce. The classical feature of a popular concert should begin and end with the symphony; after that, let overtures, dance music, and operatic selections, played with the greatest clearness and absolute spirit. Taken from another point of view, the programme on Saturday was excellent. Beethoven’s immortal symphony in C minor (No. 5) was played deliciously. Meyerbeer’s ‘Struensee’ overture--quaint and luscious--left nothing in the way of execution to be desired. For this and the second movement of the ‘Harold’ symphony by Berlioz, the orchestra was liberally reëncored--numbering upward of fifty players. Mr. Thomas is entitled to the credit of having introduced this work to the public. We must now award him the additional credit of playing a single movement from it. The classic theory is that a symphony cannot be played in sections--that the whole work must be played or none. Mr. Thomas has acted boldly and judiciously in throwing this old fogyism overboard. There is no internal reason why any one movement of any known symphony should not be played in detached form. The success of the ‘Harold’ experiment will, we trust, lead to its repetition. Wagner’s ‘Introduction to the third act of Lohengrin,’ with its wearisome Bridesmaid’s chorus, and its truly grand peroration, was the last instrumental item. The tempo, it seemed to us, was rather fast, and impaired the brass vehemencies which the composer has introduced with such prodigious effect. Mr. Chas. Fradel’s sparkling Christmas Polka was played with spirit, and subsequently a new Quadrille, on melodies from ‘Faust,’ by the same composer. The latter is a very brilliant and happy molding of some of Gounod’s best themes. It was excellently instrumented, and deserved the encore which was not conceded to it. Mr. S.B. Mills (piano) played an admirable polonaise, by himself, and a fantasie, by Liszt, on ‘Somnambula’ [sic]--both with the greatest ability and the grandest effect. The vocalists, and we can only name them, for they were alike good--were Mlle. Borchard, Mr. Castle, and Mr. Campbell. Signor Abella played the accompaniments. The attendance was good.”

Review: Musical Review and World, 02 January 1864, 8.

“The last Matinees of Mr. Theodore Thomas at Irving Hall offered a veryinterseting programme, which, we are happy to say, found a good many more appreciators than we have been used to see in these Matinees. [Gives program.] Mr. S.B. Mills played a Polonaise of his own, a very creditable composition, and Mme. Borchardt and Messrs. Castle and Campbell sang with their usual success. The Christmas Polka had to be encored.”