Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/222

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206 UNIVERSITY SOCIETIES.

II. OXFORD. At the close of the last and the beginning of the present century, Oxford concerts were probably superior to any in England outside London. A performance was given once a week in Term-time, and the programmes in the Bod- leian show that at least one symphony or concerto was played at each. But the old Oxford Musical Society disappeared, and the societies now existing are of comparatively recent date. There has been no Choral Society on a large scale confined to members of the University since the disappear- ance of the ' Mannergesangverein ' some seven years ago ; but there are two important societies largely attended by members of the University, the Oxford Choral Society and the Oxford Phil- harmonic Society. The former was founded in 1819, but in its present shape may be said to date from 1869, when the late Mr. Allchin, Mus. B., St. John's, became conductor, a post which he held till the end of 1881. Under his direction the Society became exceedingly prosperous, and the following works, besides the usual repertoire of Choral Societies, were performed : ' Israel in Egypt/ the ' Reformation Symphony,' Schu- mann's ' Pilgrimage of the Rose,' and Wagner's 'Siegfried-Idyll.' The following English com- positions were performed by it in Oxford almost as soon as they were brought out : Barnett's 'Ancient Mariner,' Macfarren's 'St. John the Baptist' and 'Joseph,' Stainer's 'Daughter of Jairus,' and Sullivan's 'Martyr of Antioch.' Mr. Allchin was succeeded as conductor by Mr. Walter Parratt, Mus. B., organist of Magdalen, and on his departure from Oxford in 1882, Mr. C. H. Lloyd, M.A., Mus. B., organist of Christ Church, assumed the baton. Amongst the most notable works given under their direction may be mentioned Schubert's B minor Symphony, Gounod's 'Redemption,' and Parry's 'Prometheus Unbound.' The president of the Society is Dr. Stainer, who was also the founder of the Phil- harmonic Society in 1865. He, however, con- ducted only one concert, and in October 1866 Mr. James Taylor, organist of New College, Mus. B. (1873), and organist of the University ^1872), accepted the post of conductor, which he has held ever since. The compositions performed under his direction include the following : Bach's ' God's time is the best,' Beethoven's Eb Con- certo and Choral Fantasia, Cherubini's Requiem in C minor, Schubert's ' Song of Miriam,' Spohr's ' Fall of Babylon,' Schumann's 'Paradise and the Peri,' Bennett's 'Woman of Samaria,' Benedict's St. Peter,' and Ouseley's ' Hagar.'

The attempt to establish Symphony Concerts in Oxford has so far proved a failure, but the Orchestral Association, which meets weekly under Mr. C. H. Lloyd's direction, boasts about fifty members, many of them belonging to the Univer- sity. Chamber music owns two strictly academic associations. The older of these, the University Musical Club, originated in the gatherings of eoine musical friends in the rooms of the present Choragus of the University, Dr. Hubert Parry, during his undergraduate days. After him, Mr. C. H. Lloyd, then a Scholar of what is now

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Hertford College, took up the meetings, and in 1871 they developed into a public institution. The number of members rose rapidly, reaching as high as 138 in 1880. In the following year the Club, then under the presidency of Mr. Franklin Harvey, M.A., of Magdalen, celebrated its tenth year by a great reunion of past and present members. During the last few years the tendency of the Club has been to give good per- formances of chamber music by professional players, and it occurred to some, including the writer of this notice, that it would be desirable to esta- blish an association for the development of ama- teur playing. The scheme was floated in the summer of 1884, and the 'University Musical Union ' met with a success far exceeding its pro- moters' hopes. Over a hundred members were speedily enrolled, and regular professional instruc- tion in quartet-playing, etc., has been provided every week, so that any amateur player who will work may, during residence, make himself conver- sant with a large amount of chamber music.

No account of University music in Oxford can be considered complete without some notice of the College concerts. The first college that ventured on the experiment of replacing a miscellaneous programme of part-songs, etc., with a complete cantata was Queen's. In 1873 Bennett's 'May Queen' was given in the College Hall, with a band, and since then the following works have been performed with orchestra : Barnett's ' An- cient Mariner,' Bennett's 'Ajax' music; Mac- farren's 'May Day,' and 'Outward Bound,' Gade's ' Crusaders,' Mendelssohn's ' Walpurgis Nacht,' Handel's ' Acis and Galatea,' Gadsby's ' Lord of the Isles,' Schumann's 'Luck of Edenhall,' Alice Mary Smith's 'Ode to the North-East Wind,' and ' Song of the Little Baltung,' Haydn's Sur- prise Symphony, Mozart's Eb Symphony, and Bennett's F minor Concerto. For its 1885 con- cert the Society has commissioned its conductor, Dr. Iliffe, organist of St. John's College, to com- pose a new work, which will be called ' Lara.' For some years Queen's College stood alone in the high standard of its programmes, but of late its example has been extensively followed, and the following complete works were given in the Summer Term of 1884. Gade's 'Comala' at Wor- cester, and his 'Psyche' (with small band) at Keble ; Barnett's 'Ancient Mariner' at New, and his 'Paradise and the Peri' (with band) at Mer- ton; and Macfarren's 'May Day' at Exeter.

To sum up, we have in Oxford every year four concerts of the highest class, two given by the Philharmonic, and two by the Choral ; we have two concerts of chamber music every week in each Term; any instrumental player has a weekly chance of practising both orchestral and chamber music, and at least six colleges may be depended on to perform a cantata of considerable dimensions every year. The following works will be heard in Oxford with orchestra during the early part of 1885: Beethoven's 'Mount of Olives,' Stainer's ' St. Mary Magdalen,' Mozart's' Twelfth Mass' (so called), Mendelssohn's U4th Psalm and Refor- mation Symphony, Spohr's ' Christian's Prayer,'

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