Lute-playing folk singers

In the advertisements, there is nothing to indicate that the concerts of Sven Scholander (1860-1936) and Robert Kothe (1869-1944) were in a different category than the others. But we would not classify their folk songs with lute accompaniment as classical music today. Scholander gave four concerts in 1907 that were in Bechstein Hall, which held about 500 people. He was described as a “Swedish troubadour” who accompanied himself on a lute and chatted with the…

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How affordable were these concerts?

The price of a “popular” ticket was cheap and held remarkably steady. Tickets less than 1 mark could still be found in 1907, and only the premium seats of a popular concert would cost more than 2 M. This held from about 1880 to at least 1907, with a regular ticket usually not more than 5 M. In 1893, for instance, pianist Teresa Carreño gave a concert with the price range of 5 to 1…

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The Berlin Philharmonic’s Popular Concerts, 1882-1934

From the beginning, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra distinguished between their main offerings and their “popular” concerts. Popular was the general term for cheaper concerts, and these were usually priced at 1 M., at least before World War One. Besides being cheap, these concerts were also tremendously popular for over fifty years. The concerts were held concurrently with the subscription concerts during the regular season, from October through April. The first few years had a four…

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The Piano Trio of Hausmann, Barth and de Ahna

Robert Hausmann’s Piano Trio with his Hochschule colleagues Heinrich Barth (piano) and Heinrich de Ahna (violin) started a subscription series in 1878. They lasted for thirty years, with only one change in personnel, when Emanuel Wirth took over after de Ahna died in 1892. In contrast to the Joachim Quartet concerts, the Trio mixed up the program of piano trios with solo piano works and other combinations of instruments. In their first decade there could be…

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Paradoxically Popular Art Music

What made Berlin so special as a city for music? Was it true that art music was appreciated more or better than in other cities? Are there material circumstances that account for it, or was it a self-fulfilling prophecy, part of an ideology of German identity? One aspect of Berlin’s concert life was remarked upon by German and foreign writers alike, which was the broad audience for the concerts designated “popular.” Once the Philharmonic Orchestra…

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