02 January 2012

Mrs C N Weiss - Professor of the Harp

I wrote ages ago about the Von Holst sisters, and said that I hadn't been able to find any evidence of Benigna Von Holst's musical/artistic/language talents.

I found some today. I am currently working on a biography of Charles Nicholas Weiss, Benigna's husband. I have been spending days and days going through historical newspaper articles for any with "Weiss" in them, most of which are for John Weiss, surgical instrument maker (who I believe is no relation), W. G. Weiss, Liverpool music seller and Charles' brother, plus many for Charles - for concerts he performed in, music he composed and released, and offering his services as a Professor of Flute. There are so many of them that I was probably getting a little snow blind, and almost missed the fact that one newspaper advertisement I was reading was for Mrs. C.N. Weiss rather than Mr., and announced her as a Professor of the Harp.

Since I wrote about the Von Holst sisters I had already discovered that Benigna was a talented artist - I have seen some of her drawings and they are beautiful. However this is the first time I have found anything to suggest that she also had musical talent.

One of the advertisements:

MRS. C.N. WEISS, Professor of the Harp, Pupil of Bochsa and Philip Mayer, begs leave to inform the Gentry that she has received from London a beautiful Ultramarine Double-action HARP, ornamented in the richest and most elegant style, possessing a full and brilliant tone, and expressly chosen for her by Mr Bochsa, which is to be disposed of on reasonable terms.
Mr. C.N. WEISS, from the London Concerts, Professor of the Flute, takes this opportunity of acquainting his Pupils, the Gentry, and his Friends, that he has removed to No. 3, Camden-street, London-road. (One concern.)
Liverpool Mercury, 25 January 1833

Interestingly, the two advertisements I have found so far that mention her were for 1833. By this stage she already had two or three children, but still found the time to teach the harp. Like her sister Constantia she either had help with the children or she juggled work and children well. Also, she was a pupil of Bochsa, as was her sister Carolina. The "Philip Mayer" noted in the advertisement was Philip James Meyer (1779-1849), a harpist and composer, who was a highly respected teacher.

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