Theodore Thomas Benefit Concert

Event Information

Irving Hall

Theodore Thomas [see also Thomas Orchestra]

Price: $1

Event Type:
Chamber (includes Solo), Orchestral

Performance Forces:
Instrumental, Vocal

Record Information


Last Updated:
4 March 2024

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

18 May 1865, Evening

Program Details

The concert was performed in two parts.

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Tannhauser overture
Composer(s): Wagner
Composer(s): Schubert
aka Dearest name
Composer(s): Verdi
Participants:  Jennie R. Van Zandt
aka Invitation to the dance; Invitation a la valse
Composer(s): Weber
Composer(s): Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
aka Grande valse; Valse de concert; Bird of the forest
Composer(s): Venzano
Participants:  Jennie R. Van Zandt
Composer(s): Spohr
aka Rákóczy March, LW A60B; Rakoczy march; Magyar rhapsodiak, no. 15; Ungarische Rhapsodien, no. 15
Composer(s): Liszt


Announcement: New-York Times, 08 May 1865, 4.
Advertisement: New-York Times, 10 May 1865, 7.

      The concert is erroneously advertised for Wednesday evening.

Advertisement: New York Herald, 15 May 1865, 7.
Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 15 May 1865, 4.

     “A list of the most influential names among private individuals, musicians and the press is appended to the call for this testimonial concert to Mr. Theo. Thomas.  His labors in the cause of classical music deserve this, and we have no doubt that the call will be liberally responded to.  The concert comes off on Thursday evening next, on which occasion he will be assisted by Mrs. Jennie Van Zandt, Carl Formes, Mr. B. Mills, Mr. Wm. Mason, Mr. Terllmin [sic] and an orchestra of over sixty performers.”

Announcement: New-York Times, 16 May 1865, 4.

     Includes a list of the full program.

Announcement: New-Yorker Musik-Zeitung, 17 May 1865, 114.
Announcement: New York Herald, 18 May 1865, 4.
: 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., 18 May 1865.

     “With Ellie to night to ‘Testimonial Concert’ to Theo. Thomas at Irving Hall.  Uncommonly well flavored programme.  It included the Tannhauser and Midsummer Night’s Dream overtures, Weber’s Invitation to the Waltz ‘instrumented’ for orchestra by Berlioz (and for a wonder not flashy and flagrant).  Two movements from a piano and violin sonata by Beethoven and the delightful little Allegretto of his VIIIth Symphony.  There was also a movement from one of Schumann’s symphonies, handsome elaborate and artistic in form, but without a trace of life or genius that I could discover, tho [sic] I conscientiously tried to find it.  People who know more of the matter than I, give his works high rank, but not one of them has ever interested me, nor have I carried away from them the memory of a single phrase—save one, a scrap of jig tune (not at all fresh or original) that he has worked into a laborious scherzo.

     The Allegretto of the 8th Symphony is matchless. Its sentiment is unlike that of any orchestral work of Beethoven’s I know.  A grave quiet genial comfortable serio-comic feeling pervades it.  It seems to me the musical expression of one of Grimm’s best Kinder-mährchen [sic].  Its opening phrase seems to indicate the formula ‘Once upon a time there was a King or a Woodcutter or a Soldier’ and another passage, about midway in the movement, comes just near enough being exalted rhetoric to suggest the passage of Thrumbling or of the True Prince—through his final ordeal of peril among dragons of false principles.  But it’s idle to try putting the meaning of music into words.”

Review: New York Herald, 20 May 1865.

     “There has been rarely, if ever, given in this city so complete and enjoyable a concert as the testimonial to Theodore Thomas at Irving Hall on Thursday evening.  The interpretation of the German composers by the orchestra, under the direction of Mr. Thomas, was perfect, and received a tribute of approbation unmistakable.  Mrs. Van Zandt never sang better, nor exhibited more command of her voice.  The applause, which was not sparingly given to both of her songs, was, we must say, well merited.  Formes’ rendition of Schubert’s difficult ballad, The Wanderer, was admirable, and was greatly assisted by Carl Anshutz’s [sic] skillful accompaniment.  Mr. Mills played the Rakoczy March, by Liszt, with splendid execution.  Irving Hall was, perhaps, never more crowded than on this occasion, and by a critical, refined and highly pleased audience.”