Strakosch Chamber Concert: 5th

Event Information

Niblo's Concert Saloon

Manager / Director:
Max Strakosch

Carl Rosa

Price: $1

Performance Forces:
Instrumental, Vocal

Record Information


Last Updated:
18 March 2019

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

25 Feb 1865, 1:00 PM

Program Details

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Fantasy on Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor
Composer(s): Wehli
Participants:  James M. Wehli
Composer(s): Perring
Participants:  James Ernest Perring


Advertisement: New York Herald, 19 February 1865.

Announcement: New York Post, 21 February 1865.

Announcement: New York Post, 25 February 1865.
Advertisement: New-York Times, 25 February 1865.

Advertisement: Courrier des États-Unis, 25 February 1865.

Review: New York Herald, 26 February 1865, 1.
“The house was very well filled, and almost entirely with ladies. Mlle. De Katow played four pieces with her accustomed grace and power, and had to undergo a warm encore to each. Mr. Wehli’s performance was, we think, more brilliant than on previous occasions. He completely carried away the audience with his wonderful left hand execution in the piece from Lucia. The audience was inexorable in its encores. He had to repeat every piece. We must not fail to mention the excellent singing of Mr. Ernest Perring, the English tenor, who is well known here by his chaste composition of favorite English ballads. His voice is pure and sweet, rather than powerful, and affords a perfect adaptability for rendering ballads. His ‘Mary May,’ one of his own songs, was as delightful a piece of vocalization in its simplicity and beauty as we have heard for a long time. It made a decided impression upon the fair portion of the audience. Miss Laura Harris sang well and was very warmly applauded.”
Review: New-York Times, 27 February 1865, 5.
“Mr. MAX   STRAKOSCH gave two concerts at Niblo’s Saloon last week. The performers were Mlle. De KATOW, Miss LAURA HARRIS, Mr. JAMES M. WEHLI, and Mr. ERNEST PEERING [sic]. The last-named gentleman is the well known song composer. Several years ago he sang in concerts with Herr FORMES and we are glad to welcome him back to our City. He has a pleasing voice and is a thorough musician. Mlle. De KATOW, the Russian violoncellist, played several solos with a remarkable degree of execution. She is a mistress of the instrument in all that relates to womanly feeling and precise singing effect.  Mr. WEHLI is certainly the most remarkable pianist ever heard in this country. His technical facility appears to be unlimited, and his range of style extends from the colossal Fantasi [sic] on operatic themes to the tremulous reiterations of the Idylle. Mr. WEHLI’S touch is exquisite, his power enormous, and his execution with the left hand something that cannot be described.  He is a bravura player of the highest class, and as such will undoubtedly create a profound sensation wherever he goes. Mr. WEHLI plays upon CHICKERING’S pianos.  We refer to the fact in justice to an eminent American firm, and to add that the piano used on Saturday was certainly one of the most brilliantly toned and evenly regulated instruments we have ever heard. The scale was perfect from beginning to end, the power inexhaustible, and the pedal nuances delicate, and free from the wheeziness which usually attends them. Miss LAURA HARRIS sang with acceptance to the audience.”
Review: Courrier des États-Unis, 27 February 1865.

“The concerts of the celebrated Russian violoncellist, Mlle. De Katow, have also obtained a legitimate success. Saturday’s matinee . . . had assembled a dense crowd principally composed of ladies, like musical matinees in general. Each piece of the virtuoso was heartily encored, and Mr. Wehli, the excellent pianist . . . skillfully attained his place in the first rank.”

Review: Courrier des États-Unis, 06 March 1865.

" . . . . As for Mlle de Katow, I believe I can say that she has surmounted the difficulties of her instrument as much as a woman can; sadly, that's not all, and she's far from perfect. The violoncello, which this young woman has not feared to attempt, is a redoubtable instrument, for which even all the qualities that make an artist of the first order aren't enough; to assiduous labor, exquisite taste, and musical sensitivity must be joined a muscular force which, if one encountered it in a woman,would be almost unquestionably a seduction. This is not the case, fortunately, for Mlle Katow. She is charming, and refined and graceful, but she doesn't have the strength of the other sex; her fingers have too much delicacy to bend with a steady precision, like a steel screw; the strong strings; only a pressure as firm as it is rapid can control the vibrations. One must also speak about the bow, which doesn't draw all the accent, all the sonority from the strings in situations where they should be stroked, in certain passages, with more energy than a feminine hand can exert. It results, in Mlle de Katow's case, in a certain lack of clarity, or rather a sort of indecision which is like a veil over the whole of her playing; even the expressiveness feels its effects; there is warmth and feeling, but there is a certain point where passion is suppressed without being expressed, because the instrument doesn't exactly give all its style. Mlle de Katowis assuredly an artist of great merit, and I doubt that another woman could displace her; but she isn't at the level of the foremost masters of her art, as Mlle Urso is, who is regarded as one of the greatest violinists.

Now, I hasten to say that, if Mlle de Katow is the pearl of the duo that M. Strakosh [sic] has brought to America, her partner, M. Wehli, is surely the diamond. M. Wehli is a complete pianist; he's one of those artists for whom their art has neither difficulties nor secrets, and who can do everything well enough--not following their talent, but following circumstances--to be placed in the first rank rather than the second or third. The piano has created, in the past 25 years, a constellation of artists like this among who reputation, milieu, success, and this nuance or that predilection, establish a difference rather than a distance. Some are named Litz [sic], others Thalberg, or Shopin [sic], or Prudent, or Gottshalk [sic]--or perhaps Vehli [sic]--without which one could say precisely who is the first and who is the last, or why this one rather than that one. It would be foolhardy, doubtless, to place M. Wehli, right away and without having examined more deeply, in this legion of honor; nevertheless I am convinced that his place is there, and that if he doesn't take it, it will be because luck, not talent, is lacking. He still has to prove himself in certain areas; he hasn't yet shown all the delicacy, passion, originality and bravura of Gottschalk; but he has perfect technique, a pure style, and a feeling for nuances which are the fundamental bases of his art. He will become more known every day, and already each of the siz concerts he has given has added something to the legitimate reputation that he is in the process of acquiring.

One also heard, at Mlle de Katow's concerts, a young American singer, Miss Laura Harris, who has only one fault: she's a little young . . . . Miss Harris has a pretty voice, fresh, vibrant, supple and congenial, but she asks more of herself sometimes than she can give; the exertion isn't a virtue "--Don't force your talent, says the moralist, you will not accomplish anything graceful".