First Grand Concert by Mr. J.N. Pattison

Event Information

Irving Hall

Theodore Thomas [see also Thomas Orchestra]
Pedro de Abella

Price: $.50; $1 reserved

Event Type:
Chamber (includes Solo), Orchestral

Performance Forces:
Instrumental, Vocal

Record Information


Last Updated:
23 March 2015

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

27 Feb 1864, Evening

Performers and/or Works Performed

Composer(s): Spohr
Participants:  Orchestra, unidentified
Composer(s): Verdi
Participants:  Sherwood C. Campbell
Composer(s): Bach
Participants:  John Nelson Pattison
Composer(s): Mercadante
Text Author: Rossi
Participants:  Jennie Kempton
Composer(s): Fesca
Participants:  Sherwood C. Campbell
aka Grand concerto
Composer(s): Henselt
Participants:  John Nelson Pattison
Composer(s): Bassford
Participants:  Jennie Kempton
Composer(s): Pattison
Participants:  John Nelson Pattison


Announcement: New-York Times, 22 February 1864, 4.

Announcement: New York Post, 24 February 1864, 2.

“J.N. Pattison, the Pianist, announces his first concert for next Saturday evening at Irving Hall, when he will be aided by attractive musical talent, and a full orchestra under Theodore Thomas. Mr. Pattison has often played at concerts given here by others, but this is his first individual challenge to the public.”

Advertisement: New York Herald, 26 February 1864.

"FULL ORCHESTRA, Under the direction of MR. THEODORE THOMAS.”

Announcement: Musical Review and World, 27 February 1864.

Announcement: New-York Times, 27 February 1864, 6.

Gives the program (w/ some typos.)  “He has played frequently at other people’s entertainments, but this is his first personal venture.”

Advertisement: New-York Times, 27 February 1864, 7.

Review: New York Herald, 28 February 1864.

“Mr. J. N. Pattison’s grand concert at Irving Hall last evening was a great success. The performance was unusually attractive, and merited the liberal patronage bestowed upon it. Mr. Pattison, who ranks as one of our most eminent pianists, played on the occasion with even more than his usual skill, and was much applauded. Mrs. Jenny Kempton and Mr. S.C. Campbell ably assisted Mr. Pattison in rendering this one of the most pleasing concerts of the season. The piano used (a Steinway) was certainly one of the finest toned instruments we have ever heard, and merits notice. We regret that lack of space must limit our account of this concert.”

Review: New York Post, 29 February 1864.

“Mr. J.N. Pattison gave on Saturday night a concert at Irving Hall, aided by Mrs. Kempton and Mr. Campbell as vocalists, Theodore Thomas and Abella as conductors and a good orchestra, which should, however, have had further rehearsals. Mr. Pattison played some remarkably difficult music (entirely from memory), including Bach’s prelude and fugue in A minor and Henselt’s concerto in F, a work which is a great favorite of Liszt’s. In his performance of this elaborate work Mr. Pattison has gone a great way towards the very first rank as a pianist, and may be heartily congratulated on his eminent success. In execution and sentiment this piano-forte performance was in every way admirable, and quite eclipses the lighter composition—the fantasia from ‘Martha’—also on the programme.

The concert was otherwise highly satisfactory, and none the less so that it was entirely interpreted by resident New York talent.”

Review: New-York Times, 29 February 1864, 5.

“Mr. J.N. Pattison’s concert, on Saturday evening, was an agreeable deviation from the beaten track of such entertainments. It was truly a grand concert; that is to say, an orchestra was there. The programme displayed a disposition to be brief, but the audience frustrated this amiable intention by encoring almost everything. The vocal soloists were Mrs. Jenny Kempton and Mr. S. C. Campbell, both of whom were in excellent voice, and received the heartiest applause.  Mr. Pattison played Bach’s 'Prelude and Fugue' in A minor, taking the time somewhat fast for a clear perception of the mechanism of this style of composition, but playing it, nevertheless, with brilliancy and effect. The feature of the concert was Henselt’s famous concerto in F minor, a work which taxes the best resources of a pianist. It has not been attempted for many years. The difficulties of execution are of the highest class, and the delicacies concealed beneath them would inevitably be destroyed by any awkwardness on the part of the performer. Properly interpreted, the work is singularly grand and poetical. Mr. Pattison distinguished himself by a very clear, coherent and admirable rendering of it. The Larghetto, in particular, was deliciously conceived and carried out. The opening movement, too, with its tremendous left-hand passages, was powerfully rendered, but in the concluding one the orchestra rather marred than contributed to the effect. We may congratulate Mr. Pattison on his taste in selecting this fine work, and on the great merit of his performance. The Fantasia on 'Martha’ concluded the entertainment. Mr. Theodore Thomas and Signor Abella conducted. There was a good attendance, but Irving Hall should have been crowded to its greatest capacity.”

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

“Mr. J.N. Pattison, the American pianist, gave a first concert, at Irving Hall. It was on a liberal scale, an orchestra and two excellent singers, Mr. Campbell and Miss Jenny Kempton being engaged. Mr. Pattison played a stupendous concerto by Henselt. It was long but not too long for such a composition—so rhymic [sic], melodious, varied, brilliant, and passionate. Mr. Pattison never played so well. He went through his immense task with dauntless force and capital success, and was rewarded with a storm of applause.—Miss Kempton has a rich contralto voice, and sings like an artist. She ought with such an organ and such merits to be frequently heard. Mr. Campbell has the best basso cantante voice in the country, and always receives applause. The orchestra in accompanying the piano was faulty at times, for want of sufficient rehearsal.”

Review: Musical Review and World, 12 March 1864, 84.

“It is always an agreeable task to record progress on the part of an artist. When Mr. Pattison first came to us, after his return from Germany, he lacked several most essential qualities to be called a first-rate pianist. With earnest intelligent application he has conquered most of them; even his touch, which was hard and stiff, has become facile and agreeable, and he must now be considered an able and enjoyable pianist. His technical ability is exceedingly good, in fact, technically we have seldom heard Henselt’s most difficult concerto better. We enjoyed the composition, although its effect was marred by the really wretched orchestra. This was the programme of the concert: [Gives program, which includes the following note after the Bach’s Prelude and Fugue:] The above-named composition was composed between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by Jno. Sebastian Bach, as a grand-piece for the Harpsichord or Piano, and was said to have been the one most admired by him, and which he performed only on particular occasions…

The fugue, by Sebastian Bach, which cannot have been written “between the 15th and 16th century,” considering that Bach was born in 1685 and died in 1750, was not played with that distinctiveness and clearness Mr. Pattison showed on another occasion. The artist concluded by the performance of his fantasia on ‘Martha,’ a composition which ought not to figure so extensively and exclusively on his programmes. Mr. Pattison met with a very honorable success, and will doubtless give in his next concert new proofs of his ability and progress.”