Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/396

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384
CONCERT-PITCH.
CONCENTORES SODALES.

chair by turns, and the chairman for the evening usually produced a new canon which was followed by glees of his own composition, and a madrigal or some vocal work. As an illustration of the programmes may be cited that of Feb. 13, 1824, when Mr. (now Sir) John Goss presided:—new canon, 4 in 2, 'Cantate Domino'; new glees, 'While the shepherds,' 'My days have been,' 'When happy love,' 'There is beauty on the mountain,' 'Kitty Fell,' 'Calm as yon stream,' 'List! for the breeze'; glee by Spofforth, 'Hail, smiling morn.' The society was dissolved in 1847, when it was resolved to present the books belonging to it to Gresham College, the wine to the secretary, T. F. Walmisley, and the money in hand was spent on a piece of plate for Mr. Horsley, the father of the society.

[ C. M. ]

CONCERT. The word was originally 'consort'—as in Ecclus. xxxii. 5, or in Milton's lines, 'At a Solemn Musick'—and meant the union or symphony of various instruments playing in concert to one tune. A 'consort of viols' in the 15th and 16th centuries was a quartet or sestet, or other number of stringed instruments performing in concert—concerted music. From this to the accepted modern meaning of the term, a musical performance of a varied and miscellaneous programme—for an oratorio can hardly be accurately called a concert—the transition is easy. In German the word 'Concert' has two meanings—a concert and a concerto.

The first concerts in London at which there was a regular audience admitted by payment seem to have been those of John Banister, between 1672 and 78. They were held at his house in Whitefriars, Fleet Street, daily at four in the afternoon, and the admission was one shilling. After Banister's death, concerts were given by Thos. Britton, 'the small-coal man,' at his house in Clerkenwell, on Thursdays, subscription 10s. per annum, and continued till his death in 1714.

By the latter part of last century the concerts of London had greatly multiplied, and were given periodically during the season by the 'Academy of Antient Music' (founded 1710), the 'Castle Society' (1724), the 'Concert of Antient Music' (1776), 'The Professional Concerts' (1783), besides occasional concerts of individual artists, amongst which those of Salomon and Haydn were preeminent from 1791 to 95. In 1813 the Philharmonic Society was founded, to give eight concerts a year, and has been followed in our own time by many other enterprises, of which the Musical Society, the New Philharmonic Society, the Crystal Palace Saturday Concerts, and the British Orchestral Society, for orchestral music; the 'Musical Union,' the 'Monday and Saturday Popular Concerts,' and Charles Halle's Recitals, for chamber music; the Sacred Harmonic Society, Leslie's, Barnby's, and the Bach Choir for vocal music, have been most prominent in the metropolis. Mr. Hullah's four historical concerts (1847) must not be forgotten.

At the present date, in addition to the established periodical concerts just named, there were given in the metropolis between March 1 and June 30, 1877, no less than 386 concerts and recitals of individual artists, including the 'Wagner Festival,' Mr. Rubinstein's Recitals, etc., etc.

In Manchester there are the Gentlemen's Concerts and Mr. Charles Halle's Concerts. In Liverpool, the Philharmonic. In Edinburgh, the Reid Concert and the Choral Union; in Glasgow the Choral Union.

In New York the Philharmonic is on the model of our own; Mr. Thomas's orchestra gives periodical concerts of deserved reputation. In Boston the Handel and Haydn Society for Oratorios, and the Harvard Institute for chamber music, are the chief musical bodies.

In Vienna, the concerts of the Tonkünstler-Societät appear to have been the earliest institution for periodical performances. They were founded at the same date with Banister's Concerts in London, 1772. The history of Concerts in Vienna has been thoroughly examined in Hanslick's 'Concert-wesen in Wien' (Vienna 1869).

The first of the famous Gewandhaus Concerts of Leipsic, which through Mendelssohn's exertions reached so high a rank in the music of Europe, was held on Nov. 25, 1781.

In France, the 'Concerts Spirituels' began as far back as 1725, and the concerts of the Conservatoire (Societé des Concerts) in 1828; the Concerts Populaires (Pasdeloup), 1861, etc.

In Amsterdam, the 'Felix Meritis' Concerts (1780 [App. p.596 "1777"]) are celebrated all over the continent.

The programme of a miscellaneous concert is not less important than the execution of it. For fifty-nine seasons the programme of the Philharmonic Society included 2 symphonies and 2 overtures, besides a concerto, and often another piece of full sonata-form, with several vocal pieces and smaller instrumental compositions. In 1872, however, after the removal of the concerts to St. James's Hall, this rule was broken through, and the programmes are now of more reasonable length. A symphony, a concerto, and two overtures, besides less important items, are surely as much as any musical appetite can properly digest. Mendelssohn somewhere proposes to compose an entire programme, in which all the pieces should have due relation to each other, but he never carried out his intention.

[ G. ]

CONCERT-MEISTER, the German term for the leader, i. e. the first of the first violins in an orchestra, who sits next the conductor and transmits his wishes to the band. He is, as far as any one player can be, responsible for the attack, the tempo, the nuances of the playing. Ferdinand David, who was the head of the orchestra at the Gewandhaus concerts during Mendelssohn's reign, and till his own death, was the model concert-meister of our time.

[ G. ]

CONCERT-PITCH. An absurd expression, meaning a pitch slightly higher than the ordinary pitch, used at concerts for the sake of producing brilliancy and effect. Since attention has been given to the subject of pitch the expression is or ought to be obsolete.

[ G. ]