London, Volume 6

Knight, Charles







The earliest known pieces of English musical composition which present even a semblance of approach to melody and harmony, as we now understand these words, are the song of the battle of Azincour, the offspring, no doubt, of some enthusiastic and patriotic musician of the time, which is preserved in the Pepysian collection, Cambridge; and a canon in unison, in parts, with a free tenor and base added by way of burden, set to the delightful old Anglo-Saxon song-

Summer is y coming in

Loud sing cuckoo ; &c.

neither of these pieces exhibiting any remarkable qualities, from which we might infer that their predecessors must have been either numerous or excellent. How low then must have been the state of English music up to the period in question seems to be a remark naturally suggested by the consideration of such facts. Yet whilst it is sufficiently evident that music, during the middle ages, was not what


it is now, there are many things which seem to show that-such as it was-music was more universally appreciated and enjoyed among our forefathers than it is among ourselves, notwithstanding our concerts, festivals, and oratorios, our monster halls, orchestras, and audiences. The proofs for instances are innumerable, that of the most valuable features of a truly musical people, and which is also of the most indispensable conditions of their existence, the power of playing on instrument at least, was deemed a necessary part of the education of all persons of superior rank and condition, from the very earliest periods. It was by no accident of individual taste, for instance, that Alfred was enabled to assume the disguise of a minstrel, during his dangerous visit to the Danish camp; for we find that several other princes, Saxon and Danish, adopted at different times the same expedient. Bede even tells us that the harp, of which distinct forms will be perceived in the accompanying engravings, was in common
use among his countrymen on festivals, when he adds the custom was for it to be handed round the company, that all might sing and perform in turn. If we look to another class, and a mighty in numbers alone, apart from other


considerations, the clergy, we perceive, at a glance, that the very duties of their , involving a continual study and practice and exhibition of the art, must have made them essentially a musical class; but it was more than a duty, a pleasure also; from the day St. Augustine and his companions sung or chanted before King Ethelbert, down to that when Thomas, archbishop of York, in the century, not content with the ordinary resources of the church, pressed into the service whatever song tunes of the minstrels pleased him, we find the members of our cathedrals and abbeys, and parochial churches, constantly doing something to diffuse, to develop, or to improve the art. We learn from the author before-mentioned that the pope, in , sent John from Rome expressly to teach music to the English clergy; and that, in consequence, they began universally to use singing in their churches. An amusing instance of the value attached to a little musical knowledge, in the following century, is furnished by the appointment of Putna,

a simple man in worldly matters,

but well instructed in ecclesiastical discipline, and especially accomplished in song and music for the church, to the bishopric of Rochester. And, probably, he got on very well while there were no particular difficulties to be surmounted in the performance of the onerous functions attached to his rank; but on the spoliation of his church by the Mercians a few years after, he went contentedly off to Servulf, Bishop of Mercia, and there obtaining of him a small cure and a portion of ground, remained in that country; not once labouring to restore his church of Rochester to the former state, but went about in Mercia to teach song, and instruct such as would learn music, wheresoever he was required or could get entertainment.[n.178.1]  But sterner minds could sympathise with the taste if they would not, under similar circumstances, have followed the example of the simple-minded Putna. Dunstan was almost as famous for his harp-playing as for his peculiar conferences with princes and potentates, natural and supernatural. As to the people, it is not difficult to see what must have been the inevitable effect of the influences thus surrounding them, in the musical tendencies of the great and governing, and in every way, influential classes. Wherever they moved, music met them-now with its mighty voice pealing forth from the organ, as they stepped into the sacred edifice, and now rising upon the simple but sublimely sounding chant of the passing procession as they hurried along to their daily labour; now echoing through the halls of their feudal lord, commemorating the glories of his line, in which they had so material a share, and now rousing them to renewed exertions as he led them forth to fresh fields of warfare. We might almost say music never left them : scarcely had festival passed before another was expected; the minstrel guest of to-day--of all guests the most universally acceptable and welcome, from the battlemented castle to the humblest hut-as he poured forth his collected treasures to the absorbed groups about him, was told of the songs of his predecessor of yesterday; the very watchmen of the neighbouring city walls--the original , made musical the night by their


the long year through.

But we are not left entirely without evidence of a more direct and positive character. The true classical land of Britain, if we believe the Irish historians,


was Isle itself, and certainly the position of that country was as remarkable for its superiority, at a very distant period, as it is now for the reverse. We have before had occasion to show the literary obligations of England to Ireland; its musical appear to be equally signal. And in this it stands but in the same position as Wales and Scotland; the national music of the whole having been traced to Ireland. Nay, there have not been wanting Italian writers to confess their faith in the Hibernian paternity of the Italian school. The state of the instrumental music of such a nation, then, is an interesting subject, and Giraldus Cambrensis gives us a passage, of some importance, relating to it. Having described their instrumental music as, beyond comparison, superior to that of any nation he had known, he says their modulation

is not slow and solemn, as in the instruments of Britain, to which we are accustomed, but the sounds are rapid and precipitate, yet, at the same time, sweet and pleasing. It is wonderful how, in such precipitate rapidity of the fingers, the musical proportions are preserved; and how, by their art, faultless throughout, in the midst of their complicated modulations and most intricate arrangement of notes, by a rapidity so sweet, a regularity so irregular, a concord so discordant,

Ford might have been thinking of this passage when he wrote the following lines, in his exquisite account of the contention of a bird and a musician: Upon his instrument he plays so swiftly, So many voluntaries, and so quick, That there was curiosity and cunning, Concord in discord, lines of different method, Meeting in one full centre of delight.

the melody is rendered harmonious and perfect.

Then, again, in another department, the same writer tells us, the Welsh practised vocal harmony in many parts, and that the people of York, and beyond the Humber, were accustomed to sing in parts, treble and base. Lastly, as to song singing, it should seem that following the Italian scale in the century, the Italian style had crept in by degrees, before the , when John of Salisbury says of the singers in the churches, that they

endeavour to melt the hearts of the admiring multitude

with their effeminate notes and quavers, and with a certain luxuriancy of voice.

Still later, Chaucer, in his

Romaunt of the Rose,

describes a lady's performances in terms that imply no mean style of the art at the period.-

Well could she sing, and lustily,

None half so well and seem-e-ly,

And could make in song such refraining,Refrain, the burden of a song, or return to the first part.

It sate her wonder well to sing.

Her voice full clear was, and full sweet

She was not rude, ne yet unmeet,

But coutheKnew. enough for such doing

As longeth unto carolling.

Some of these notices seem to show that even the art of music can hardly have been so low, in the early ages of our history, as a slight glance at some of the facts we have mentioned would lead us to suppose. Look, for instance, at the number of instruments possessed by the Anglo-Saxons. In some of their illuminations we find the minstrels with the pipe and tabor, violin, base flute, lute or cittern, and treble or old English flute; in the at page , a harp, violin, horn, and a kind of straight trumpet; and in page , a lyre, and a double-flute, which, remarkably enough, are of the exact classical shape. Here we have apparently the parent of the modern trombone. Bells, of course, were common.

The cymbal and drum were also among the Anglo-Saxon instruments. The chief instrument of the church was the organ, the making of which we find the Archbishop of York before mentioned sedulously engaged in teaching to his clergy soon after the Conquest. In the century Chaucer, in

The Flower and the Leaf,

speaks of

Minstrels, many one,

As harpes, pipes, lutes, and sautry,

Alle in green ;

whilst in the band, as we may call it, of Edward III.'s household we find mention made of performers on the oboe, clarion, and tabret; and, lastly, in an illumination of the period, we are presented with the hand-organ, or dulcimer.



How then is it that we have no remains of the music of so musical a people, older than the century? The answer we think must be, that putting aside technical considerations relating to the art, which was, of course, as an art, in a very rude state prior to the invention, by Guido d'Arezzo, of the scale in the century; and of the other improvements that speedily followed,

the fact seems to be that music in ancient times in Greece, and Rome, as well as in England, meant poetry even more than music; that the last, though studied, --and most assiduously studied--was intended rather as a delightful vehicle for the accompanying words, than for its own sake. But in such a view there is nothing opposed to the position with which we set out. On the contrary, the ground-work of all music, even in its loftiest developments, melody, must have flourished under such circumstances. When the minstrel's heart swelled with his theme, and his voice sought to give it adequate expression in song, he was placed under the most favourable influences for the production of essentially good, because characteristic music; and it is hardly too much therefore to say, that could we summon from the shadowy regions of the past a Taillefer, to sing us the song of Roland, as he poured it forth in leading the attack at the battle of Hastings; or could we ourselves be carried back into them, and listen to the song of Blondel as he raised it near the castle where he thought the Lion Heart might be confined, and had the exquisite delight of immediately hearing the continuation sung, by way of answer, from of the windows: could we really know the value and amount of the musical stores of such men,--we should never again think of the paucity of our musical remains with any other sentiment than that of regret at the consideration of how much we must have lost.

In the general invigoration of feeling and intellect produced by the Reformation, our musicians did not fail to participate; from that time we may date the origin of modern English music. Then began to arise, in quick and remarkable succession, a host of men whose works, in many instances, are not merely known but enjoyed at the present day. Tye was the earliest of these; who was


musicpreceptor to Prince, afterwards King, Edward VI. Rowley, the dramatist, makes the Prince thus speak to the doctor in of his plays:

Doctor, I thank you, and commend your cunning.

I oft have heard my father merrily speak

In your high praise; and thus his highness saith--

England one God, one truth, one doctor hath

In music's art, and that is Dr. Tye,

Admir'd for skill in music's harmony.

Surely there is nothing new under the sun: What is this but the original of the famous exclamation,





? This is the musician who, at a later period, was playing somewhat too scientifically before Queen Elizabeth, and caused her to send the verger to tell him that he played out of tune; to which the testy doctor returned, that

her ears were out of tune.

Contemporary with Tye were Tallis and Bride--the latter the author of the glorious

Non nobis, Domine.

These were chiefly distinguished for their church music. But the time of Elizabeth is still more remarkable for its madrigalian composers, who, in number and excellence, almost form to music what the dramatists of the same period are to poetry. Morley was of them; Dowland--the immortalised of Shakspere's poems;

Dowland to thee is dear, whose heavenly touch

Upon the lute doth ravish human sense

was another, whose madrigals are so exquisitely beautiful as to give -fold interest to the lines; Wilbye, a still greater name, was a : to these, among many others, must be added, Ford, Ward, and Gibbons; the last equally illustrious for his cathedral music. Suddenly the growing prosperity of the art was arrested by the civil wars, and the ensuing Commonwealth, when music and musicians were alike proscribed; although it is a noticeable trait in Cromwell's character that he, who had so just an appreciation of what was most valuable in art as to purchase the Cartoons, seems to have been also devotedly attached to music in its sublimest forms. When the great organ of Magdalen College, Oxford, was forcibly removed, the Protector caused it to be carefully taken to his palace at , and placed in the gallery, where it formed of his especial enjoyments, when he could steal an hour from the absorbing cares of the state, to come hither and listen. Hingston was his organist, who gave occasional concerts in his house, and these Cromwell also attended. No doubt musicians yearned for the termination of a period so generally fatal to their pursuit; but when that desire was gratified by the Restoration, the result was anything but what they must have anticipated. It was a pity that the French people did not devise some expedient of attaching permanently to their country a monarch who was so fond of all that belonged to them, and had so little respect for his countrymen. With French manners and French literature, French music also accompanied or followed the returning steps of the long-exiled prince. And although the impulse previously given was too powerful to be suddenly checked, and great British composers still occasionally appeared, fashion did as much as it could to keep down such attempts, and to a certain extent succeeded. But in this reign an event of some novelty and of great importance occurred, the


influence of which in preserving a certain amount of pure taste, and consequently of genuine relish for the excellence of the native school, can hardly be overrated. We allude to the rise of concerts.

Sir John Hawkins gives but a melancholy view of the opportunities furnished to the middle and lower classes of society, in the latter part of the century, for the study and enjoyment of music. The nobility had, of course, private concerts of paid performers, as, to a certain extent, they had, probably, always been accustomed to have; then, for a class lower in position, we find a kind of public concerts gradually growing into use, of which the chief manager was Mr. John Banister; but as to the people generally, it seems the musical portion of them was satisfied with entertainments given in public-houses, and by performers hired by the landlords. Here, says Sir John, there was no variety of parts, no commixture of different instruments;

half a dozen of fiddlers would scrape Sellenger's (or St. Leger's) Round, or John come Kiss me, or Old Simon the King, with divisions, till themselves and their audience were tired; after which as many players on the hautboy would, in the most harsh and discordant tones, grate forth Green Sleeves, Yellow Stockings, Gillian of Croydon, or some such common dance tune, and the people thought it fair music.

[n.183.1]  But a great reformation was at hand, though every was astonished at the quarter from whence it came. There was then to be seen daily, walking through the streets of London, a man distinguished from his rivals in the same trade--that of selling small-coal from a bag carried over his shoulder-by his peculiar musical cry, by his habits of stopping at every book-stall that lay in his way, where, if there happened to be a treasure, it was sure to be caught up and purchased, and by his acquaintances, many of whom, as they paused to speak to him in the street, were evidently members of a very different rank of society to his. Ask any bye-stander you see gazing upon him with a look of mingled respect and wonder, who or what he is, and you are answered-That is the

Small-coal man, who is a lover of learning, a performer in music, and a companion for a gentleman any day of his life.

It is, indeed, Thomas Britton, the founder of modern concerts. Let us follow him home. He has done his day's work, and is thinking, probably, of some interesting speculation that has been started in the course of his usual weekly meeting in , with the dukes and earls, who are, like him, collectors; of more wealth, certainly, but not of greater taste, knowledge, or zeal; or else he is running over in his mind the pieces of music that he thinks of selecting for the evening's amusement. Thus, to his little coal-shed and house in Clerkenwell cheerily he goes, where all traces of the business of the day soon disappear; an hour or elapses, and he is in the midst of a delightful circle of friends and fellow-amateurs, exchanging sincere gratulations, paying his respects to new visitors, opening music books, and tuning his violin. That is indeed a remarkable circle for a small-coal man to draw around him. Know you not the broken German of that last comer who sits down to the harpsichord?-O yes, that is Handel, the great foreign musician; and by his side is Dr. Pepusch, who is also a foreigner, and who has also adopted England for his home. That other pair are Woollaston the painter, and Hughes the poet; the former has just shown a


portrait of Britton he has this day sketched, having called him in as he went his rounds; and the latter, with an exclamation of pleasure, recognises a capital likeness of the host. The poet will not be behind the painter in contributing from the stores of his art to the honour of an excellent man, so a few lines are presently roughly traced with a pencil beneath the sketch; which is then handed round by the pleased artist, who sees how happily the will day preserve the memory of their friend.

Though mean thy rank, yet in thy humble cell

Did gentle peace, and arts, unpurchas'd, dsrell.

Well pleas'd, Apollo thither led his train,

And music warbled in her sweetest strain.

Cyllenius so, as fables tell, and Jove,

Came willing guests to poor Philemon's grove.

Let useless pomp behold, and blush to find

So low a station--such a liberal mind.

But whose delicious silvery-sounding laugh is that on the stairs, produced apparently by the repeated trips of the laugher, as she endeavours to ascend with her usual step stairs to her of a very unusual character? She enters; her face, of the most beautiful in the world, a little flushed with her conquest over the difficulties of the way, but radiant with good-humour; it is no less than the Duchess of Queensberry, who comes this evening to share in the musical hospitalities of the small-coal man. But the music begins, and in the taste with which it has been selected, and in the style in which everything is performed, the duchess finds continual matter of surprise and gratification.



These interesting meetings, which began in , appear to have been continued till the death of Britton, which, it is painful to add, occurred indirectly through them. A justice Robe was among the members, of those greatest of social nuisances, a practical joker. This man introduced into Britton's company a ventriloquist of the name of Honeyman, who, making his voice descend apparently from on high, announced to Britton his immediate decease, and bade him, on his knees, repeat the Lord's Prayer by way of preparation. The command was obeyed; and a few days afterward the subject of it was lying a corpse, overcome by the terrors of his imagination thus recklessly and basely worked upon.

The impulse given by the establishment of the small-coal man's concerts soon extended itself. In direction


of different kinds and different grades arose; whilst in another, societies sprang into existence for the mere enjoyment and promotion of music only, apart from any pecuniary considerations. of these, and therefore the of such societies in England, was the Academy of Ancient Concerts, established in , for the practice of ancient vocal and instrumental music; among the principal founders being Dr. Pepusch and Bernard Gates of the Queen's Chapel. A library was commenced; and, with the assistance of the gentlemen of the chapel, the choir of , and the boys from each, a powerful executive formed. For above years did this society exist (it was dissolved in ), during which many and weighty were the especial services rendered by it to music, apart from the beneficial tendencies of its general course. of these occurred in . Handel, after rising to the summit of popularity, had offended his more aristocratic supporters during his management of the Italian Opera, and, in consequence, been driven into retirement with the loss of , and with a broken constitution. At the time we have mentioned, the quarrel was still raging, and the great musician's position almost desperate. Then it was that during Lent the Academy brought forward the oratorio of Esther (which had been composed by Handel for the Duke of Chandos's chapel at Cannons); and performed it by means of their own members and the children of the chapel only: the boys of having been taken away by Dr. Greene, on the occasion of a schism in the society, who then opened the Apollo room in the Devil Tavern; on hearing of which Handel, who had been indirectly a cause of the schism, remarked wittily,

De toctor Creene is gone to the tefel!

Although thus shorn of its fair proportions, the Academy exhibited Esther with such remarkable success, that Handel thought he might try the same experiment on his own account; hence arose the custom of regularly performing oratorios in Lent. Deborah was produced in , Israel in Egypt in , Saul in , and the Messiah in ; when unable any longer to endure the mortification of finding such works too unpopular even to pay theif expenses, the musician determined to quit the country, and accordingly went to Ireland. Pope's well known lines will not be here out of place. Alluding to the quarrel between Handel and the nobility, the poet, in his appeal to the Goddess of Dullness, writes-

But soon, ah! soon, rebellion will commence,

If music meanly borrow aid from sense.

Strong in new arms, lo! giant Handel stands

Like bold Briareus, with a hundred hands:

To stir, to rouse, to shake the world he comes,

And Jove's own thunders follow Mars's drums.

Arrest him, empress, or you sleep no more-

She heard-and drove him to th' Hibernian shore;

where he was received with a fitting w elcome, and from which he returned with fresh laurels to London, in , to try once more his fate. Samson soon appeared at Covent Garden, and an unbroken career of success commenced at last. Under the management of Handel's friend J. C. Smith, Stanley, Linley, and Dr. Arnold, the oratorio long maintained the popularity given to it by the author of

The Messiah;

but toward the close of the century a person of the name of Ashley started in rivalry to Arnold, and, according to the ordinary rules of managers in opposition, adopted any expedients that promised a temporary success; among them those of partially secularizing and wholly vulgarizing the performances. From that time oratorios, though continued until a comparatively recent period, and with occasional gleams of returning prosperity, produced by occasional gleams of managerial sense and spirit, kept up but a kind of languishing existence that left little to regret when they at last disappeared altogether. The most noticeable events in their history, since Handel's time, were the re-production of

The Messiah

with Mozart's accompaniments, and the performance of Beethoven's

Mount of Olives.

The madrigalians were not idle during this period. There was among the members of the Academy a Mr. John Immyns, a reduced attorney, who satisfied his pecuniary wants and his musical tastes at the same time by becoming amanuensis to Dr. Pepusch, and copyist to the Society. An ardent admirer of the good old days of madrigal singing, he had the good fortune, as no doubt he esteemed it, to light upon some compositions belonging to that class and time. Thenceforth there was nothing for it but to teach the world madrigals. It is a significant fact, that he sought for disciples at the loom and in the workshop; men whom he already knew, or had heard spoken well of, for their musical tastes and their practice in psalmody. Kotzebue says every tries to draw a circle around him, of which he may be the centre; our attorney had now found his circle, and happy enough, no doubt, he was in it; extending the knowledge of its members, improving their tastes, developing their skill. They met in at the appropriate sign of the Bells in ; the expenses of their music, books, paper, and refreshments being all defrayed by a quarterly subscription of ; so that their weekly enjoyments cost them something less than each. And it would have done the hearts good of some of those old composers whose works they revived, to know how they performed them; may judge of the excellence of the Spitalfields' weavers and their companions by seeing what men were attracted to their society as members-Dr. Arne, Sir John Hawkins, Drs. Cooke and Callcott--in short, almost all our great eminent musicians down to the very present time, in which the society looks as vigorous and healthy as ever, though but years ago it celebrated its hundredth year.

In contrast with the Madrigal Society and its plebeian foundation, stands the Catch Club, founded in , says Dr. Burney, by the Earls of Eglintoun and March, and other noblemen and gentlemen, but which Mr. Gardiner carries back


to a more distant and elevated source.

This Society, I believe, originated in the social meetings spent by Charles II. with Purcel and other

bon vivants

of that age, the portraits of whom, painted by the


masters, occupy the walls of the dining-room in that ancient tavern (the Thatched House). These convivial meetings commence on the opening of Parliament, and continue every Tuesday, with a splendid dinner at


o'clock, immediately after which the grace,

Non nobis Domine

, is sung by the whole company. After the cloth is drawn the Chairman recapitulates some of the ancient laws of the Society, namely,

If any honourable member has come to a fortune or estate, he shall pay a per centage upon the same, or he may commute the same for ten pounds. If any nobleman, knight, baronet or esquire, shall have taken unto himself a wife, he shall pay into the treasury a fine of twenty pounds in sterling money!

And it appears from the bank-notes that Mr. Gardiner saw handed in, on the occasion of his visit, that the rules have by no means fallen into desuetude. Music owes much to the early exertions of this Society. The Glee may almost be said to have originated with it. Up to the year gold medal prizes, of the value of guineas each, were annually given for the best glees, canons and catches. And among the successful candidates we find the names of Webbe, Cooke, the Earl of Mornington, Hayes, Danby, Callcott and Stevens. of these aloneWebbe and Callcott, obtained nearly prizes. After this it were needless to expatiate upon the merits of the Catch Club. Webbe became Secretary of the Society, in ; and we may incidentally observe, that on the establishment, years later, of the Glee Club-something on the plan of the Catch Club, but without prizes, and which is still existing, he was appointed its Librarian: for this Society he wrote both the words and the music of

Glorious Apollo,

after its wanderings from member's house to another had ceased--a feature in its early history, which is alluded to in the Glee: Arnold, Linley, Webbe, Callcott, and Bartleman, were members of this Club. But to return. The cessation of the prizes of the Catch Club has, of course, materially diminished the influence and value of the Society, and we regret to see that the original division into subscribing and professional members has been attended with a result which ought not to have been, and, most probably, was not anticipated, namely, a division into ranks: if the fact be, as stated, that the professional members

enter the room on terms of admitted inferiority,

it is certain that music, as well as its professors, will suffer; the divine art knows nothing of social distinctions, and will certainly soon disappear from the place where they are insisted on.

Immediately after the establishment of the Catch Club a new evidence appeared of the rapid progress of music, as regards diffusion, which, after all, was the thing then wanted, since so many admirable composers had appeared within the previous century, that good music was at all times available. Whilst amateur, and mingled professional and amateur societies were flourishing in direction, and the music-shops-including such really useful establishments as and Ranelagh, in a , a something combining the musical character of the and the pecuniary features of the other-subscription-concerts, on a scale of great splendour, appeared in a .

In , Abel, a distinguished German composer and performer, a pupil of the


great Sebastian Bach, and John Christian Bach, the son of the latter, commenced weekly subscription concerts in London, which for many years were highly successful. Abel himself contributed in no slight degree to this result. On that little -stringed violoncello, or viol di gamba of his, an instrument now disused, and with some of his many simple but elegant compositions, he performed such wonders, that the enraptured Dr. Burney says, no musical production or performance with which he was acquainted seemed to approach nearer perfection. We should have been very much surprised if Abel, then, had not highly estimated his instrument, and can fully sympathise with him when he even becomes so enthusiastic about it as he did at the dinner at Lord Sandwich's, according to Dr. Wolcot's story. After the dinner, which took place at the Admiralty, the merits of different musical instruments were canvassed, and his Lordship proposed that each should mention his favourite. after another did so; and harps, pianofortes, organs, clarionets, found numerous admirers; but the indignant Abel heard not a word of the viol di gamba. Other instruments followed, and still no viol di gamba. Abel could no longer restrain himself, but suddenly rose in great emotion, exclaiming, as he left the room,

O dere be brute in` de world; dere be those who no love de king of all de instrument!

Numerous other concerts of the same kind followed the success of Bach and Abel's experiment; the most noticeable are the Pantheon Concerts, held in the beautiful building then standing in , but which was destroyed in by fire; the professional concerts, given in the rooms since so famous in musical history, those of , and Salomon's, by far the most important of the whole. This distinguished foreign violinist, having carefully matured his plans in , set off to Vienna, with the gallant determination of bringing back with him either Haydn or Mozart, to produce in person some of their own compositions. They were so pleased with the scheme that agreed to it, and arranged with Salomon that should come over year, and the other the next. Poor Mozart did not live to fulfil his part of the arrangement; but Haydn arrived in London in , and, in the course of that and the following year, produced of the grand symphonies, that now add so greatly to the illustrious musician's name. In he came again to London, to fulfil a similar engagement with the enterprising Salomon, and the remaining symphonies enriched that and the ensuing season. But Salomon's claims upon the musical world were to be yet incalculably enhanced. In he ventured, at his own entire risk, to bring out at the Opera Concert Room, Haydn's grandest work, the


the only oratorio, it is said, which will bear comparison with Handel. Of the many other subscription concerts that followed those of Salomon, it will be sufficient to mention those conducted by Harrison and Knyvett, from to ; by the same parties, in connection with Bartleman and Greatorex, from to ; and by Mrs. Billington, Mr. Braham, and Signor Naldi, from to , at Willis' Rooms; whilst Madame Catalani, during the same period, opposed them at Rooms.

As to the musical societies of the present day, their name is Legion. We have them for all classes, of all degrees of importance, and embodying the cultivation of all schools. Then again some are for pure instruction, as the Royal Academy


of Music, established in , and the multitudinous classes of Exeter Hall, from which offshoots are fast spreading into every parish of the metropolis; some for the glorification of particular musicians, as the Purcel Club; but generally, of course, enjoyment is aimed at, whether it be in the grand amateur performances of the Sacred Harmonic Society at the hall before mentioned; in Concerts, which give us an artificial garden and Monsieur Jullien's cravat, besides all the music, for a shilling; in the Melodists' Club, of the most agreeable, because the most universal in its plan, of musical assemblages; or in the numerous Septet and Quartet Societies which enliven our domestic circles, and occasionally occupy the concert-room. But pre-eminent above all these, and the older (existing) societies previously noticed, and exercising over most of them an indirect influence through their superiority, are the Ancient Concerts and the Philharmonic. The Ancient Concerts were established in , at a period when the taste of the time promised to banish from the orchestra the works of the mighty masters who had given to it all its true glory, and when the older academy had ceased to exercise any effectual preventive influence. At the Concerts of Ancient Music all lovers of music of the highest order were promised a gratification and an instruction that they could no where else obtain, and upon the whole the institution has redeemed the pledges with which it set out. The original suggester of the society was the Earl of Sandwich, who, with the aid of other noblemen and gentlemen of the rank, also carried it into effect, and with such spirit that royalty itself became a constant visitor; a great honour, no doubt, but attended ultimately with serious inconvenience. George III. admired Handel greatly, and in so doing shared but an almost universal feeling; but George III. admired no else, or if he did care to hear a few notes of Purcel, just by way of relief, now and then, why that was the extent of his toleration; and to this bigotry Greatorex, whilst director, uninterruptedly lent himself. It was out of this society that the famous Handel Commemoration arose in , and which, by the grandeur of the scale upon which it was conducted, gave a new impetus to the study and enjoyment of the great musician's works, the effects of which are still strikingly visible in the grand musical movement now on foot: a movement that promises to restore the old English universality of feeling for the art, with incalculably increased means for study and enjoyment, through the advances that art has made in the last or centuries.

The Philharmonic was established in , and from a somewhat similar motive to that which originated the Ancient Concerts. Grand instrumental compositions of the highest class, by modern musicians, had ceased to have a home, as the more important of the subscription concerts before-mentioned lost their popularity and became gradually extinct.

Never was a society formed in a better spirit and with a more commendable aim than the Philharmonic. It began where it ought; it was governed as it ought. There was no hunting after titled patrons or subscribers; no weak subserviency to mere rank. The most eminent members of the profession took the whole affair into their own hands, and entered upon their duties strong, and justly strong, in their own strength. They merged all claims of rank or precedence in


great object--the love of their art. Men of the highest musical rank were content to occupy subordinate stations

in the orchestra. Every man put his shoulder to the wheel; and this very fact impressed the public with a conviction that they were in concert.

[n.190.1]  Among the early members were John Cramer, Clementi, Crotch, Horsley, Bishop, Attwood, Francois Cramer, Spagnoletti, and Braham. It was fitting that the man who had before done so much in the cause in which they were engaged should preside at the opening meeting. Salomon, then an old man, led the concerts with

a zeal and ability that age had in no degree impaired.

The progress of the Philharmonic was for some years equal to the preparation; and it is impossible to over-estimate the services rendered by it to the art during that period. It has since, it must be confessed, slackened in its exertions; there has not been exhibited the same single-minded enthusiasm. But we would fain hope that it will yet again arise like a giant refreshed from its slumber. The objects for which it was instituted were never more desirable than now; we might say they were never more generally desired. But it is by no petty effort, no absurd appeals to the love of novelty merely, no yielding to the caprices of fashion, that the Philharmonic can recover its once overflowing lists of subscribers. It was formed to lead, and not to follow, and must redouble its exertions, if necessary, in order to place itself once more in a position to fulfil its mission. And if that be grand, what grand instruments are not in its possession to work by? The Philharmonic band is, perhaps, the finest in the world. It is something in a lifetime to remember that visit to the Rooms, on of the Philharmonic nights. Mozart and Haydn, Beethoven, Weber, and Spohr, appear there as we may no where else find them, unless it be at the representations of their operas by their own countrymen, when they occasionally visit us. Mr. Gardiner has given us a picturesque description of a great work of of the men we have named--the by Beethoven--as he heard it performed by the Philharmonic band. And, as it illustrates in an unusually clear manner the mechanism of a grand piece of instrumental music; and incidentally, the demands made by such a work on the skill of the performers, and on the capacity to guide and to hold with an unfailing hand, of the conductor; it may not be uninteresting to our readers to see it here. So let us imagine ourselves seated with the writer amidst the crowded benches of the room shown at the head of our paper, and waiting anxiously the commencement. Hush! there is the slow but sharp tap-tap of the conductor. And the Eroica

opens with


massive shocks, like the firing of cannon; after which springs up, apparently at a great distance, a solemn bewailing melody from the violoncellos, re-echoed by the grave and pensive horn. This strain is taken up in turn by all the instruments, gradually increasing and swelling in sound to an overwhelming degree. The ingenious author keeps the melody constantly in view, playing upon


of harmony, while these steady masses of sound are made to slide through the different keys. At the


bar a collision takes place, reiterated several times, and between every shock the dragon-like wings of the violins dart among the instruments with frightful asperity. The whole scene is wild confusion, in which some of the instruments grow mad with rage. For a moment something like repose takes place, when a running fight is represented by the

violins and basses in


, driving after each other with increased rapidity. Successive crashes of sound depict the battle in close combat; the oboes and bassoons deplore the fate of the wounded, and out of the crowd rise tones of despair and death. Here the orchestra seems exhausted, and discomfited voices try to resume the original melody, but always without success. Wide floods of harmony still undulate in massive waves, upon which the double basses carry the opening subject triumphant to the end. After this most extraordinary movement, the Funeral March is heard at a distance--a strain of solemn beauty and simplicity. This is


by the voices of the wind instruments, while the violins and basses, by soft touches at regular intervals, imitate the muffled drums. The weeping oboe and the solos from the bassoon fill the whole strain with gloom and sorrow. This is followed by a soldier savage-like song that runs into the last movement, expressing tumultuous joy. The blaze of harmony is intense, but agreeably relieved by the flutter of the violins, casting a veil over the loud instruments and mitigating the sound. Near the end is a delicious strain from the wind instruments--a prayer--to the Supreme Being, whom this author, in his inspired moments, always conceived to be at his elbow; a few sublime crashes of sound terminate this wonderful piece.

[n.191.1]  , The was written in honour of Napoleon; but, on his assuming the imperial robe, Beethoven--a determined republican-changed his title of

Sinfonia de Napoleon


Death of a Hero:

suggested, we might fancy, by the reflection that the act in question the death of hero.


[n.178.1] Holinshed.

[n.183.1] History of Music, vol. i. p. 2.

[n.190.1] Spectator newspaper, 1843, p. 759.

[n.191.1] Music and Friends, p. 686.