Formes Brothers Concert: 2nd

Event Information

Irving Hall

Price: $1; $1.50 reserved

Performance Forces:
Instrumental, Vocal

Record Information


Last Updated:
20 April 2012

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

03 Nov 1865, Evening

Program Details

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka grand trio
Composer(s): Rossini
Composer(s): Meyerbeer
aka Merry Wives of Windsor; Merry Wives of Windsor, The
Composer(s): Nicolai
Composer(s): Chopin
Participants:  Sebastian Bach Mills
aka Tarantella
Composer(s): Mills
Participants:  Sebastian Bach Mills
aka Rákóczy March, LW A60B; Rakoczy march; Magyar rhapsodiak, no. 15; Ungarische Rhapsodien, no. 15
Composer(s): Liszt
Participants:  Sebastian Bach Mills


Advertisement: New York Herald, 25 October 1865.

Announcement: New-York Times, 31 October 1865, 6.

Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 31 October 1865.

“The second concert of the Formes brothers will take place at Irving Hall Friday evening next.”

Announcement: New York Herald, 02 November 1865, 4.

Advertisement: New-York Daily Tribune, 02 November 1865, 3.

Advertisement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 02 November 1865.

Review: Courrier des États-Unis, 02 November 1865.

“As for concerts, those of MM. Formes, above all the second, have been entirely successful. Theodore Formes possesses a truly magnificent tenor voice, but we have ascertained fatigue and unsteadiness in Karl’s organ.”

Advertisement: New-York Times, 03 November 1865, 7.

Review: New-York Times, 04 November 1865, 6.

Irving Hall. —The brothers Formes, assisted by our great resident pianist, Mr. S. B. Mills, gave a very agreeable concert here last evening. We have rarely heard Herr Carl Formes to better advantage. His voice has gained prodigiously in strength and quality. Herr Wilhelm Formes achieved a positive success in his very agreeable ballad singing. Of Herr Theodore Formes we can scarcely speak. The gentleman evidently has not recovered from his recent indisposition. The trio from ‘Wm. Tell,’ although given with fine dramatic breadth, was almost spoilt by the false intonation of the tenor.”

Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 04 November 1865, 7.

“At length we have heard the three brothers together, and we are compelled to say that the results were far from satisfactory.  Reputations may last forever, but voices will not. Two, at least, of these gentlemen have held a prominent position in the musical world, and deservedly so, but they are no longer what they were. Carl Formes is as great in conception of music as when he was in his prime; we still recognize in all  he does the well graded artist, the intelligent musician, but nature has been overtaxed in many ways, and his once rich, sonorous, and powerful voice, is no longer to be depended upon.  As a general thing it is unsteady and very faulty in intonation; it will not bear forcing and cannot be trusted in mezzo voce. Still there are times when he seems to recover his old vitality and power, and then it is a luxury to listen to such an artist.

            Theodore Formes has been a strong tenor robust; even now he does not lack strength, his deficiency being the want of power to control his voice. The  middle voice retains much of its large quality, and even the higher notes, when carefully prepared, are attacked well and sustained bravely; but too often he has to drag them up to pitch, which, when reached, seems to be the limit of his power, and too great an effort to be pleasant to his hearers.  The want of control is evidenced in his inability to produce the finer shadings.  All is strength, strength and sometimes shout, shout—no repose, nothing of the fine, tender coloring which prove the true artist. We are heartily tired of this physical force singing it is a fashion to be deplored and to be reprobated, and should be condemned by every writer for the press. Of course, Theodore Formes makes some good and telling points, but only, on this occasion, by mere strength of lungs. His recent illness may have affected his voice in some degree, but it could not have been so serious as to affect his artistic feeling. We must conclude that, in his best days, he was a dramatic singer of great power, and highly effective where the robust quality was the necessity; but we doubt if he ever ranked among refined and cultivated artists.

            Wilhelm Formes is a pleasant singer, and his voice is fresh and of good quality.  He also sings with much taste and feeling, and is effective with the public. Mr. Mills played an etude by Chopin, his own Tarantelle and Liszt’s Racoczy March, all very finely. 

            We think the experiment of giving concerts without a lady will prove a poor one, and if the Formes brothers would succeed in their proposed tour, they should secure the services of some popular lady artist at once.”

Review: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 04 November 1865, 8.

"The circumstances for this concert were better than for the last. Although Theodore was not fully recovered yet, the beauty of his voice is still present despite the vanishing of the youthful freshness and sweetness. We will not need to emphasize what a sophisticated and artistic singer he is. Mr. Mills, Karl and Wilhelm Formes performed as well at the well-attended event."