11 June 1821

Eighth Philharmonic Society Concert

London: New Argyll Rooms—Time: Evening, Eight o’Clock

Subscription Concert: 4 Guineas



Part I  
Symphony No.4 in F major F. Ries
From Gli Orazi e Curiazi: Trio, ‘O dolce e caro istante’Miss F. Corri[1], Miss Stephens, Mr. BegrezCimarosa
Piano Concerto No.2 in E flat major (MS)  Mr. Moscheles  
(first performance in the country)
From Le nozze di Figaro: Aria, ‘Voi che sapete’Miss StephensMozart
Overture in D major B. Romberg
Part II  
Symphony in C major Haydn
Scene, ‘Son Regina’Miss CorriPortugal
Violin ConcertoMr. KiesewetterPollard
From La clemenza di Tito: Duet, ‘Come ti piace imponi’Miss Corri, Mr. BegrezMozart
Overture, Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus Beethoven
Principal Vocalists: Miss F. Corri, Miss Stephens; Mr. Begrez  
Principal Instrumentalists: Messrs. Kiesewetter, Moscheles
Leader: Mr. Nicolas Mori; Conductor: Mr. Ferdinand Ries

[1] The programme by the Philharmonic society refers to Signora Corri, and the review by The Morning Post on April 18 to Miss Corri. The singer was probably Miss France Corri, who was also referred to as Signora Corri.


Programme Notes: Moscheles played for the first time a concerto from his manuscripts. However, he replaced the final movement of the concerto with his Alexander Variations in F major, Op.32.

Salary: £21 for one rehearsal and one performance. [GB-Lbl RPS MS 299, f9 v.]

Moscheles: Wichtiger Tag. Erstes Auftreten im letzten Philharmonischen Concert und mit vielem Glück. Ich spielte mein Es-dur-Concert und die Alexander-Variationen. Dieses Stück bekam wegen der Aehnlichkeit des Thema’s mit der Marseillaise von den Engländern den Beinamen the Fall of Paris, ein Umstand der mir später in Paris unangenehme Auslegungen von den Blättern zuzog Im 2. Theil spielte Kiesewetter mit grossem Beifall. [AML I, 59-60.]

George Hogarth: The season of 1821 was distinguished by the first appearances of the celebrated violinist Kiesewetter; of Tolou, then esteemed the most marvellous flute-player in Europe; and of a still more important person than either, “Mr. Moscheles of Vienna,” who performed a manuscript concerto of his own at the eighth concert on the 11th of June. No first appearance of an instrumental performer ever created a greater sensation than this. Moscheles at that time was the greatest bravura performer that had ever been heard.  His powers of execution excited as much surprise as those of Thalberg did at a later period; which his music, calculated for the fullest display of those powers, possessed a vigorous invention, and the solid and masterly style derived from the profoundest study of his art. This appearance at a Philharmonic Concert was the commencement of a brilliant career of a quarter of century, passed wholly in England, and terminated by his acceptance, in 1846, of a position combining hour with comparative ease, a Professor’s chair in the Conservatoire of Leipzig, which he still holds [1862], to the great advantage of that distinguished school of music.

[George Hogarth, The Philharmonic Society of London: From Its Foundation, 1813, to Its Fiftieth Year, 1862. (London: Bradbury&Evans; Addison, Hollier &Lucas, 1862), 27-28.]


Philharmonic Society Programme


His Majesty.






Sinfonia in F.                            –                   –                  –                 –    Ries.
Terzetto, “O dolce e caro istante,” Signora CORRI, Miss 
    STEPHENS, and Mr. BEGREZ (Gli Orazzi e Curiazzi)               –Cimarosa.
Concerto, MS. Piano-forte—Mr. MOSCHELES, of VIENNA, 
   (his first performance in this country)                          –                –  Moscheles.
Aria, Miss STEPHENS, “Voi che sapete”(Nozze di Figaro)Mozart.
Overture in D.                           –                   –                  –                 –    B. Romberg.


Sinfonia in C.                            –                   –                  –                 –    Haydn.
Scena, Signora CORRI, “Son Regina”                            –                 –              Portogallo.
Concerto Violin, Mr. KEISEWETTER             –              –                 –              Polledro.
Duetto, “Come ti piace,” Signora CORI and Mr. BEGREZ, 
   (Clemenza di Tito)                      –                             –                      –Mozart.
Overture, Prometheus                –                  –                   –                  –                 –Beethoven.


Leader, Mr. MORI.—Conductor, Mr. RIES.


To commence at Eight o’Clock precisely.

The subscribers are most earnestly entreated to observe, that the Tickers are not transferable, and that any violation of this rule will incur a total forfeiture of the subscription.

It is requested that the Coachmen may be directed to set down and take up with their horses’ heads towards Piccadilly.

The door in Little Argyll-street will be open after the Concert for the egress of the Company.


The Morning Post (June 18, 1821): 3.


The Concerts of this Society closed on Monday last, with an eclat that promises to sustain the high character, which, from an early period of their establishment, they have possessed throughout Europe.

KIESEWETTER performed as usual, and drew down universal applause; the Overtures and Symphonies were given in the most finished manner, under the able direction of Mr. MORI. The great star of the evening was Mr. MOSCHELLES, a pianoforte player, from Vienna. This Gentleman’s fame had previously reached this country, and the expectation of something extraordinary, so often, and so cruelly fatal to the reception of even great talent, had risen to an unprecedented height. It is, however, not too much to say of this truly great performer, that he not only reached this perilous height of expectation, but soared far above it. He left his astonished listener in a state of marvel at powers which, to be accredited, require to be witnessed.

We were truly happy to behold the candour and liberality with which this Gentleman’s high eminence was hailed by those distinguished performers on the piano-forte, whom the musical world has been accustomed to regard, and will still regard, as shining ornaments of their profession. Mr. MOSCHELLES was at the Anniversary Dinner of the Royal Society of Musicians, on the 9th instant, as a guest of Mr. J. B. CRAMER. The principal Vocal of the evening were Miss STEPHENS, Miss CORRI and Mr. BEGREZ, and the acquitted themselves with their wonted abilities. BEETHOVEN’S spirited Overture to the Men of Prometheus, was the finale to one of the finest Instrumental Concerts that was ever performed.

The Quarterly Musical Magazine and Review, vol. III (June 1821): 388-391.

THE PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY has this season flourished with extraordinary vigour and the resident members have been supported by the accession of the richest examples of foreign talent, in the persons of MR. KIESEWETTER, the violinist MR. MOSCHELES, a player on the piano forte and M. TULOU a flute player-professors who have earned the highest possible reputation abroad. Our former pages will spare us the necessity of enlarging upon the qualifications of the former gentleman: they will be found to be described in the conjoint memoir of MESSRS. MORI, SPOHR, and KIESEWETTER. Of MR. MOSCHELES it imports the art that we should speak as much at length as possible, for he is, without question, equal in all, and superior in most points, to all his predecessors.

MR. M is about twenty-nine years of age, with a countenance singular, but expressive, and distinguished by strong sensibility and intelligence. Some of his compositions had been known in England, and had prepared the critical class of musicians at least, (together with his fame) for his reception, which, both privately amongst the eminent of the profession, and publicly when he entered the orchestra of the Philharmonic on the last night of the season, was marked, with the most decided tokens of respect, distinction, and applause—the most expressive of which perhaps was the silence, unbroken even by a breath, that waited upon his performance. He played a concerto of his own composition, in E flat; the subject was singular being introduced by three drums; afterwards strengthened by the basses, and then taken up by the whole orchestra. Some agreeable passages, ably constructed for effect, are next introduced, that naturally conduct to the first solo, which is contrived with such ingenuity as to enable the player to display all the great qualifications which constitute a finished performer of the first class. In the second solo, after treating the subject very gracefully, he introduces an episode by way of contrast, which is not only extremely beautiful in itself, but replete with passages calculated to demonstrate his wonderful powers of execution to the highest advantage.

The audience seized every opportunity during this performance of manifesting the delight they felt by repeated Bravos! and by every means which could convey the distinguished approbation to which they felt MR. MOSCHELES to be so justly entitled.

The adagio was in B♭, in 68 time, and written in a style corresponding well with the character of the first movement. The solo was fancifully, graceful, and gave ample scope for the author’s display of all the difficulties and beauties of the shake, and the rapid and distinct execution of octaves. Passages of singular construction, for both hands, which kept the thumb and forefinger of each employed in the shake, whilst the other fingers are busily occupied in accompaniments, had a very striking and unusual effect. In the legato passages he also shewed great mastery over the instrument, and the progress of the performance still went on augmenting the applause of the audience.

Instead of the rondo originally written for the concerto, MR. M. substituted an air with variations, which is published, and which we have seen. The theme is well known on the Continent by the name of The Emperor Alexander’s favourite March, but it so nearly resembles the one known here by the name of “The Fall of Paris,” that it may be considered as the same. As these variations have already been frequently played by MR. MOSCHELES at concerts on the Continent, they have obtained a good deal of celebrity, but their difficulties are so great, that they are not very likely to make their way much into private society. The march is in the key of F: the first variation gives the performer full opportunity of exhibiting his skill in the execution of triplets: the second is a sort of scherzando, with an accompaniment of wind instruments, which has an original and pleasing effect. In the third, the difficulties of execution are divided alternately between the right and left hand, and the effect produced by the right hand on the theme, whilst the left is running a rapid passage of semitones, is very striking. The fourth variation is a bravura, and more difficult than any of the others. A passage of double triplets, in very rapid movement, is kept up by the right hand, whilst the left is occupied with the theme; but during this the hands are constantly crossing each other in so curious a manner that it is extremely difficult to distinguish which hand is employed above and which below. The fifth variation is intended to shew legerity of finger; the subject being heard by distinct touches in the midst of a rapid succession of notes. The sixth variation is an adagio, in the minor key, with an accompaniment of wind instruments, and displays the power of the performer in the legato style very advantageously; the passages of tenths shew that the physical construction of MR. MOSCHELES’S hand is such as to render ordinary difficulties mere amusements to him.

The finale, which is not numbered as a variation, is an allegro of great spirit and effect. The theme is carried on with both hands by skips of great distance and hazard, but which the performer strikes with the same certainty as if they lay within the natural grasp of the hand. The author then works on with increasing vigour to the conclusion, which he arrives at with the utmost brilliancy and effect.

We have enlarged upon the nature of the composition in order to convey more adequately an idea of MR. MOSCHELES’S powers of execution, of which we cannot speak too much or too highly. The public fully estimated his extraordinary talent, for a more spontaneous or more liberal tribute of applause we never recollect to have seen bestowed upon any public performer than MR. M. received.

MR. MOSCHELES’S command of the instrument is truly astonishing, whether considered in relation to force, delicacy, or rapidity. As CATALANI in vocal art, bursts through all the fetters commonly imposed, so MR. M. appears to disdain (because he is thoroughly acquainted with) technical rules. His wrist, his hand, and the joints of his fingers, exhibit a variety of position and a pliability truly wonderful; yet so nicely does he controul [sic] his touch, that when from the elevation of his hand the spectator might expect its descent in thunder, as it were, the ear is never shocked by the slightest harshness : there is too a spring and elasticity in his fingers, when applied to quick arpeggio passages, that bring out the most brilliant tone, while in those touching movements that constitute generally what is termed expression,* his manner is not less affecting. But the most extra ordinary part of MR. M.’s playing is perhaps the velocity and the certainty with which he passes from one distant interval to another. His thumbs seem to act as intermediate points from which his fingers arc directed almost to the most remote parts of the instrument, over which they fly with a rapidity wholly inconceivable; yet the uniformity of touch and tone are so strictly preserved, that an imperfect is never and an unfinished note seldom heard. Every great player has his forte; and in this species of execution MR. MOSCHELES is unrivalled. We think, too, that in genuine force he has never been equalled. Concerning his expression, MR. J. CRAMER, we are told, publicly paid him the highest compliments; yet we know persons of great judgment who estimate his powers in this branch of art at a lower rate. But we are disposed to think this arises rather from the great superiority of his other claims to pre-eminence, from a comparison of the one part with the other, than from any positive falling off. In such a man the very grandeur of one faculty is sometimes the cause of the disparagement of another. As a whole, however, MR. MOSCHELES is universally allowed the supremacy, and it is also as universally admitted, that his talents are accompanied by a most engaging modesty.

Wiener Zeitschrift für Kunst, Literatur, Theater und Mode (June 1, 1822): 533-535.

[German translation of the article from The Quarterly Musical Magazine and Review on June 1821]

Oesterreichisch-Kaiserliche pirivilegirte Wiener Zeitung (July 3, 1821): 597.

Die philharmonische Gesellschaft zu London hatte, wie die dortigen Blätter melden, am 11. Junius Abends in ihrem  Concerte das Vergnügen, die Talente eines Deutschen Künstlers, Hrn. Moscheles aus Wien, zu bewundern, der sich auf  dem Pianoforte hören ließ. Alle Kenner und Musikfreunde stimmen darin überein, daß er mit einer solchen Fertigkeit und mit einem solchen Ausdrucke spielt, die ihres Gleichen suchen Man zollte ihm einen rauschenden und ungetheilten Beyfall.  Er spielte unter Ändern ein Concert von seiner eigenen Composition, Und der Vortrag sowohl als die Originalität seines Geschmackes verriethen den Meister in seiner Kunst. Es ist im Voraus zu bestimmen, daß Hr. Moscheles den hiesigen Musikalischen Vereinen eine freudige Erscheinung seyn, und bey selben ein ehrenvolles Andenken hinterlassen wird.

Brünner Politische Zeitung (July 6, 1821): 764.

Die Londoner philharmonische Gesellschaft hatte am 11. June Abends in ihrem Koncerte das Vergnügen, die Talente eines deutschen Künstlers, Hrn. Moscheles aus Wien zu bemundern, der sich auf dem Fortepiano hören ließ. Alle Kenner und Musikfreunde (sagt ein Londoner Blatt) stimmen darin überein, daß er mit einer selchen Fertigkeit und mit selchem Ausdrucke spielt, die ihres Gleichen suchen. Mon zellte ihm einen rauschenden und ungetheilten Beyfall. Er spielte unter andern ein Koncert von seiner eigenen Komposition, und der Vortrag sowohl, als die Originalität seines Geschmacks, verriethen den Meister in seiner Kunst. Es ist nicht zu bezweifeln, daß Hr. Moscheles von den blesigen musikalischen Vereinen für eine freudige Eischeinung ancikannt, und bey selben ein ehrenvolles Andeuten hinterlassen werde. (Beob.)

The London Magazine, vol. IV (July 1821): 91.

The novelty of the season has however been crowned by the of M. Moschelles from Vienna. M. Moschelles is a piano-forte player and his reputation had preceded him. He played at the last Philharmonic Concert, and his performance greatly exceeded even the most sanguine expectations. He combines expression and execution in a very extraordinary degree, and while he has introduced much novelty in the latter branch of his art, his style has perfectly satisfied the feeling and the judgement of the soundest critics. The concerto itself was also highly esteemed; and professors of the best taste declare, they consider M. Moschelles’ playing “a prodigious performance” in every respect. M. Moschelles is about thirty, and is an exceedingly modest and sensible man.

Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung mit besonderer Rücksicht auf den österreichischen Kaiserstaat (September 8, 1821): 573.

London, in Monath July.


Unter die Neuigkeiten gehört die Ankunft des Herrn Moscheles, von Wien. Er ist ein Fortepiano spieler, dem sein Ruf vorausgegangen war. Er spielte in dem letzten philarmonischen Concerte, und seine Kunst übertraf unsere Erwartungen.

Er verbindet Ausdruck und Fertigkeit in der Execution in einem ausserordentlichen Grade, und da er viel Neues in dem letztern Zweige seiner Kunst eingeführt hat (while he has introduced much novely in the latter branch of his art) so hat sein Styl sowohl das Gefühl als auch das Urtheil der strengsten Kritiker befriedigt.

Das Concert selbst ward ebenfalls sehr geschätzt, und die vorzüglichsten Professoren er klärten, dass sein Spiel etwas ganz Ungewöhnliches sey.

Euterpeiad: or, Musical intelligencer & Ladies’ Gazette, vol. II (September 29, 1821).

The Philharmonic Society,

Is composed of the first performers of the age, who agree to lay aside all party feelings, to co-operate for the promotion and improvement of the art. This concert is for the exclusive study of instrumental music and is the only band in Europe where effect can be given to the Sinfonies of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. The simultaneous effects of forty masters upon the stringed instruments, performing with an identity of taste and expression, is truly astonishing. The force of this combination is ten times that of a common band of equal numbers and the sudden transitions from loud to soft, are as striking upon the ear as the effects of lightning in a dark night upon the eye. But we must hear the performance of Beethoven’s pastoral symphony before we can appreciate the talents of this extraordinary orchestra. This piece exhibits by the power of sounds alone, a picture of the events of a summer day, the sun-rise, the freshness of the morning, the singing of the birds, the buzz of insects, the storm, the calm, the rustic song and dance, and the close of the evening. As it is the first object of this society to exhibit the art and not the performers, no solos are admitted; hut the finest talents are displayed in the most elaborate and scientific compositions.

Mascheles [sic], a German, made his first appearance this season. This performer by the peculiarity of his touch, gives to the piano forte a new language and character, and impresses us with an idea that the powers of instrument are but just developing, and like the harp of Terpander, there still lie in it hidden treasures. The velocity of his execution is more striking than brilliant, as he elicits a new series of effects. Those Arpeggio passages which are common to the instrument, he weaves in a new and beautiful texture, seldom resorting to the ordinary routine of modulation, hut enchants, like Mozart, with the simplicity of nature. But it is the sublime that he excels, “In his left hand lieth [sic] the thunder, and the lightning in his right;” at a blow he will strike the scale of sounds into a thousand pieces, and re-collect them in showers of harmony. This wonderful performer is a young man and a pupil of Beethoven, and his appearance in the waining [sic] light of his master may prove a fortunate thing for the musical world.

The Quarterly Musical Magazine and Review, vol. III (1821): 510.

Few players ever made so strong an impression at once, as MR. MOSCHELES at the Philharmonic Concert last season. So decided indeed was his performance, that the profession assented by acclamation to his extraordinary merit. He arrived so late in the season that he can be yet said to have been but little heard by the English public, whatever may be known of his excellence in the more contracted private circles where he played. At the Philharmonic he naturally selected such a composition as might enable him to bring into view as many of the highest qualities of a finished artist as possible. Neither had his own works been much circulated in this country. From these circumstances it would necessarily happen that his peculiar style—the transcript of his mind and the reflection of his powers— might yet be said to be only partially observed and known. The musical world will therefore turn their regard with more than ordinary curiosity towards the writings of so eminent a performer, in order to discover and appreciate the particular bent and elevation of his genius.