17 October 1832

Ignaz Moscheles’ Concert

Berlin: Königliches Opernhaus


Free Piano Fantasia, incl. ‘Che farò senza Euridice’,
‘Voi che sapete’ and ‘O namenlose freude’
Mr. Moscheles 
Piano Concerto No.5 in C majorMr. MoschelesMoscheles
Piano Fantasia, Souvenirs de DenmarkMr. MoschelesMoscheles
Principal Instrumentalists: Mr. Moscheles


Programme Notes: The piano brand was Érard owned by F. Mendelssohn.

Profit: 301 Thalers

Moscheles: My third of the receipts amounts to 301 thalers net. Graf Redern, Intendant of the Royal Opera, met me in a very friendly manner, and the public so heartily applauded my C major Concerto, the Danish Fantasia, and an improvisation upon Che farò, Voi che sapete, and Namenlose Freude, that I was in great delight, especially as my mother and my wife were both present at my triumph. Felix supped with us at Jagor’s. He was in high spirits. [RMM, 183.]

Moscheles: I practice daily on Felix’s magnificent Erard, and he is going to lend it to me for the concert. [RMM, 182.]

Letter: F. Mendelssohn to I. Moscheles.

Berlin, 3 September 1832

Concerning the concert, I have made inquiries of those in a position to know, and, taking the lowest average, it seems to me you can rely on taking at least one hundred Louis d’or, as I am told that even a tolerably well-attended concert produces that amount, and you can reckon on the presence of the Court, which usually sends twenty Louis d’or to artists of high standing. The time when you ought to give your concert coincides with our Art Exhibition, when Berlin is fullest; it would be the first grand concert of the year, and they say that receipts amounting to one hundred Louis d’or may be expected, and even guaranteed. The cost of the large hall of the theatre is forty Louis d’or, all included (bills, porterage, etc.).  The room in the Sing-Akademie is little more than half that sum, but it seems that the Court does not care to go there. The concert-room of the theatre ranks highest, and is considered the most aristocratic; so, at any rate, it would be more advisable for you to take that. All agree on that point. If you deduct forty Louis d’or from the total receipts, there remain, say, sixty Louis d’or. There is no doubt that this is amply sufficient to cover the expenses of posting from Hamburg to Berlin and back, and of making a fortnight’ s stay with your whole family at the hotel here; and I would not enter into so much detail had not Neukomm mentioned yesterday that when he told you he estimated the net receipts at sixty Friedrich d’or, you thought there would be a risk in undertaking the journey. Let me show you, then, that two post-horses, including fee to post-boy, make one thaler per German mile; so the journey there and back, a distance of thirty-nine miles, and a night’s quarters, would come to a little more than one hundred thalers. How you could manage to spend the balance, namely, two hundred thalers, in a fortnight, I cannot see, unless you organized a popular fête on a small scale; that, however, probably not forming part of your programme, and your hotel expenses certainly not amounting to more than eight to ten thalers per day, your outlay would surely be covered. According to my estimate, you would have a surplus. To be sure, I admit, unforeseen circumstances might interfere with my calculations; but on the other hand the receipts may be far greater than I have assumed, and at any rate I, for one, have no doubt that your travelling and hotel expenses will be amply covered. I need not tell you that I give the Berliners credit for sufficient musical taste to expect a crowded concert-room, nor need I say what my wishes on the subject are. The time to come would be between the end of this month and the end of October. The Art Exhibition is then open, and that draws many people to Berlin, and altogether it is the height of our season and the pleasantest time coming.

Now, whatever you decide, let me know without delay, so that in case you do not come, I may leave off rejoicing at the prospect, and that if you choose the better course,—better for us,—I may prepare everything  for you to the best  of my abilities. In that case I should beg of you to let me know the day of your arrival, date of the concert, etc., and I could get through all the preliminaries, the engagements to singers, and so on, before you were here. But all this is quite understood’.

[Felix Moscheles, ed., Letters of Felix Mendelssohn to Ignaz and Charlotte Moscheles, trans. Felix Moscheles (Boston: Ticknor and Company, 1888), 32-35.]

Letter: F. Mendelssohn to I. Moscheles.

Berlin, 17 September 1832

‘I gave him [Count Redern, the Director and Autocrat of all dramas and operas in Berlin] to understand that you were not disinclined to take Berlin on your way, and to arrange a concert with the authorities of the Opera House, but that you could only remain for a few days. He seemed greatly pleased, as well he might be, and no thanks to him. He said that during your former stay you had given a concert with the Directors of the Opera, and requested me to ask in his name whether the same terms as those stipulated on that occasion, namely, one third of the total receipts, would meet your views. He also proposed one half of the net receipts; but as these much depend on the expenses incurred, which can be made to attain a considerable figure, I advised the other arrangement, especially as the Opera House holds nearly two thousand persons. I begged him to ascertain from the books the exact terms of the former arrangement and let me have them in writing. This document was not completed until last night, and I forward it to you now. It is certain that you can expect good receipts, these however depending more or less on the piece to be acted, and on the general support given by the managers of the theatre. The authorities are always ready with the finest promises; but until the day of your concert is actually fixed, you can expect nothing definite from them.

[Letters of Felix Mendelssohn to Ignaz and Charlotte Moscheles, 39-40.]

Letter: F. Mendelssohn to I. Moscheles.

Berlin, 26 September 1832


That’s a flourish of trumpets joyfully announcing that you have at last consented to come. It is too delightful to think that we are going to see you and have you here; and what spirits the bare thoughts puts me in, I need not say.

In fact, I only write that you may answer and let me know exactly what I am to do for you here. First, have you quite decided to stay in a hotel (my offer does not seem acceptable to you), and should I not rather take rooms for you by the week? To do so, I ought to know the day of your arrival, and what accommodation you require. Secondly, you speak of putting yourself on good terms with the singers. Have you any special wish that I can communicate to Count Redern in reference to performers or programme? What do you say to having your Symphony performed? But then the whole orchestra should be on the stage, and you should conduct. Thirdly, I will see Count Redern to-day and let him know the good news that you have decided on coming. He must have the newspaper advertisements inserted, and I shall recall to his memory the “appropriate and interesting piece” to be performed. Fourthly, you say “What piano? that is the question!” I answer: “There be none of Beauty’s daughters with a magic like Erard’s.” Now, my instrument left Hamburg a week ago. I expect it every minute; and as you have already played upon it at your concert in London, I should take it as a great kindness and a good omen if you would inaugurate it here in public. That the instrument is good, you know; so pray say, “Yes.” But if perchance you would rather not, then there is my youngest sister’s new piano that is to arrive tomorrow or the day after,—a “Graf” which they write wonders about from Vienna. She sends you word that it would be conferring the greatest favour on her, on the piano, and on Mr. Graf, if you would be the first to play upon it in public here. In addition to this, I know for a certainty that all the Berlin pianoforte-makers will besiege your door and go down on their knees to you. There are pear-shaped instruments; there are some with three legs; some with a pedal for transposing and with a small writing-desk inside; some with four strings, others with only one; giraffe or pocket size; black, white, and green. You will have the trouble and toil of selection, so you will have full scope for reflection. Where then is the question?


Die Bayerische Landbötin (October 16, 1832): 1001.

Clavierspieler Moscheles ist aus London in Berlin angekommen.


Allgemeiner Musikalischer Anzeiger (November 8, 1832): 179.

Moscheles hat am 17. October ein Concert im königl. Opernhause zu Berlin gegeben. Er spielte sein fünftes Concert, eine Phantasie, worin Motive dänischer Lieder vorkamen, und eine freye Phantasie.  Daß den großen Virtuosen der ausgezeichnetste Beyfall lohnte, brauchen wir nicht erst zu sagen.

The Harmonicon, vol. 10 (November 1832): 281.



SIR,                                                                                                                             Nov. 22, 1832

HAVING been in communication with the Continent during the time Mr. Moscheles was making his tour, I am enabled to send you a sketch of his operations; and as all matters tending to advance the respectability of the art, and give éclat to its professors, ever find a worthy place in your publication, I am inclined to hope that this may contribute in aid of your known views.

On the 17th of October, Mr. Moscheles gave his first concert at the Opera House in Berlin, where he performed his last concerto before a numerous and splendid audience with complete success. His other performances were Recollections of Denmark and an extemporaneous fantasia.

I am, Sir, yours, &c.

C. F. W.

The Harmonicon, vol. 10 (November 22, 1832): 283.


…. M. Moscheles gave a concert at the Opera House here on the 17th October, in which he played a new concerto of his own composition and an extemporaneous fantasia, which were received in the most flattering manner.

Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung (November 28, 1832): 800-801

Berlin, den 5ten November…Moscheles erfreute uns durch sein ausdrucksvolles, ungemein fertiges Pianofortespiel, indem dieser berühmte Virtuos sich am 17ten v. M. im Königl. Opernhause auf einem englischen Flügel-Pianoforte von mehr intensiv vollem, als hell ausgebendem Tone, mit einem neuen Concerte von seiner Composition in C dur, einer Phantasie über dänische Volkslieder, mit Orchesterbegleitung, und in einer freyen Phantasie allein hören liess. Es scheint, dass der geachtete Künstler in seinem Spiele die Bahn des Auffallenden, Bizarren und nach Effect strebenden verlassen hat, und mehr seinen Vortrag auf Tiefe des Ausdrucks, schönen Ton und gleichmässige Fertigkeit beyder Hände richtet. In seinen Compositionen wechselt gründliche Kenntniss der Harmonie und feiner Geschmack mit einiger Neigung zum Sonderbaren und Elegischen. Das wirksam instrumentirte und sorgsam nüancirte Concert sprach erst im glänzendem Rondo allgemeiner an, wenn auch für den Kenner das erste Allegro reich an originellen Zügen des Genie’s, auch das Adagio in E moll tief gefühlt erschien. Die dänischen (uns unbekannten) National-Melodieen waren, mit vortheilhafter Wirkung für das Pianoforte, zu einem Ganzen sehr geschickt an einander gereiht. In der freyen Phantasie zeigte sich der schaffende Künstler am ungebundensten, wenn wir gleich Hummel’s Phantasieen den Vorzug der mehr geordneten Gedankenfolge und seinem Vortrage mehr Eleganz einräumen müssen. Themata aus Orpheus von Gluck: „J’ai perdu mon Euridice,“ Mozart’s Figaro und des schönen Duetts im zweyten Acte von Fidelio wurden von Hrn. Moscheles wohl benutzt und kunstmässig durch geführt. Im Allgemeinen fand der ausgezeichnete Virtuos indess weniger Anerkennung als früher; wir glauben, dass das ungünstige Local des grossen Opernhauses und der dadurch zu sehr gedämpfte Klang des im Proscenio dicht vor der heruntergelassenen Gardine aufgestellten, noch wenig ausgespielten Erard’schen Flügels daran Schuld war. Im Saale der Singakademie hatten wir kürzlich Gelegenheit, dasselbe Instrument sehr vorlheilhaft klingend zu hören.