March 16, 1849 (Friday)

This has been a beautiful day with the exception of a tremendous shower in the morning, after which it cleared.  Went to a concert given by the celebrated band of Josef Gung’l.  Oh, it was a splendid treat.  There were 26 performers, and seldom indeed do we have an opportunity of hearing such exquisite music.

Jozsef Gung’l (1810–1889) was a Hungarian born composer, conductor and bandmaster who composed over three hundred pieces.  He established his orchestra in Berlin in 1843 and, in 1849, made his only tour of the United States. Nathan heard the concert at the Musical Fund Hall and heard pieces by Mendelssohn, Beethoven and several by Gung’l himself.  It was the second performance of the orchestra at the Hall which the Philadelphia Inquirer called “eminently successful.”  The reporter continues, “The Overtures were especially fine. The selection for this [i.e., March 16] evening is rich and comprises choice musical gems. The company consists of twenty-six performers, and they play together with admirable harmony.”

Two months earlier, Jozsef Gung’l and his band performed at Howard Hall in Providence, Rhode Island. An annotated broadside advertising the event is among the American Antiquarian Society’s considerable graphic arts collection. Among the annotations, the word “exquisite” was written, the same adjective Nathan uses.

Josef Gung'l at Howard Hall

Sources:

“Joseph Jozsef Gungl.” Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. New York: Schirmer, 2001. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 12 Mar. 2011.

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