Pushing the limit in 1907: Berlin concerts by the numbers

6,000 SEATS IN A NEW HALL
A new giant concert space: the Zoological Garden Exhibition Hall has 6000 seats; can fit in 8000 if necessary.

8 CONCERTS IN ONE DAY
So many venues, which allow so many concerts: the 29th of October was “blessed” with no fewer than eight concerts that night:1Signale (1907): 1144.

  • 1. Klingler-Quartet, Bechstein Hall
  • 2. Dessau Quartet, Singakademie
  • 3. Lieder recital by Mary Münchhoff, Mozart Hall
  • 4. Lieder recital by Marie Blanck-Peters, Klindworth-Scharwenka Hall
  • 5. Piano recital by Louise Clemens, Concert Hall of the Hochschule
  • 6. Court Gross, violin, Philharmonie
  • 7. Double bass recital, Koussevitzsky, Beethoven Hall
  • 8. Concert conducted by Max Schillings, Blüthner Hall

8 VIOLINISTS IN 6 DAYS
23 October Carl Flesch (with Georges Enesco, another violinist, on piano)
24 October: Henri Marteau
25 October: Willy Burmester
26 October: Emile Sauret and Jacques Thibaud (each played a concert of three concertos)
27 October: Ossip Schnirlin and Vivien Chartres (11 years old)
28 October: Franz von Vecsey (Premiere of Hubay Concerto No. 3)

7 CONCERTS BY THE SAME PERSON
One reason there were too many concerts was that, in order to get the critics’ attention, individuals would give a series of concerts rather than just one. The violinist Florizel von Reuter, for example, gave seven concerts in Berlin in 1907. But there were also famous stars who put on multiple concerts year after year, who didn’t need the critics’ attention, only the proceeds from the ticket sales.

7 SONATAS ON ONE RECITAL
On February 7, Ansorge presented a “Beethoven Abend” of five sonatas:
1. Op. 109
2. “Waldstein” Op. 53
3. Op. 27, no. 2 in C# minor “Moonlight”
4. Op. 2, no. 1 in f minor
5. Liszt’s arrangement of the song “Adelaide.”
6. Op. 111

But in January, Eugen d’Albert had played a program of seven Beethoven sonatas, including the last three:
Op 31 #3, Op. 53, Op. 57, Op. 90, Op. 109, Op. 110, Op. 111.

4 CONCERTOS ON ONE CONCERT
Not only were there too many concerts, there was too much music on a given concert. Three concertos somehow became the norm for a while for the concerts of a virtuoso. But when there was a concert of four concertos, the critics balked. On 30 October, Conrad Ansorge played the Brahms D minor Concerto, the Beethoven “Emperor” Concerto, the Schubert “Wanderer” Fantasy in Liszt’s orchestral arrangement, and Liszt’s A major Concerto. The Signale found the length of the concert “barbaric”; it was inconceivable that the receptivity of a listener could last that long and so much music could be enjoyed in one sitting. “A musical hunger of this kind doesn’t exist. And if it did exist, one shouldn’t encourage such a voraciousness. At banquets in Berlin the guests are overfed much too often; is this what it’s going to be like in concerts as well?”

TOO MUCH BEETHOVEN
In case you haven’t noticed it by now, there was too much Beethoven. Besides the piano sonatas, the symphonies, concertos and chamber works were performed over and over. Could it be good to have three performances of the Fifth Symphony in one week? Or two performances of the Fourth Piano Concerto within a few days of each other? Or two cycles of all the Beethoven violin sonatas practically overlapping each other?

The Fifth Symphony was conducted by Fritz Steinbach, Max Fiedler, and Felix Weingartner in January. The G major Piano Concerto was played by Godowsky and then Dohnányi in December. The three-concert series of the Violin Sonatas was given by Frederic Lamond and Bernhard Dessau in November, then in December by Ernst von Dohnányi and Henri Marteau. Lamond gave four all-Beethoven recitals. Too many Ninth Symphony concerts: four; all prefaced by an additional work: Liszt’s “Graner” Mass (2/4), Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony (12/9), Brahms First Symphony (Nikisch, 5/2) (Weingartner, 3/30).

Print Friendly, PDF & Email