It exists now as an instrumental and not as a vocal performance. Its words are never heard, and, I think, would not be acceptable in America for public or private entertainments. And its music must be silent when serious purposes are entertained and men's hearts are moved to high efforts and great sacrifices.'
[ W. B. S. ]
[ W. B. S. ]
YORK MUSICAL FESTIVAL. The first festival was in 1791, and they were continued annually till 1803. [See Festivals, York; vol. i. p. 516 b.] After that no other festival took place until 1823, when the performance was revived for the benefit of the York County Hospital, and the Infirmaries at Leeds, Sheffield and Hull. The scheme consisted of four sacred concerts, including the Messiah in its entirety, held in the Cathedral on the mornings of Sept. 23 to 25, three secular evening concerts, and two balls given in the Assembly Rooms. The vocalists were Mme. Catalani (who usurped 'Comfort ye,' 'Every valley,' and 'Non più andrai'), Mrs. Salmon, Misses Stephens, D. Travis, and Goodall, sopranos; Knyvett and Buggins, altos; Bellamy, Sherwood, and Placci, bass. The band and chorus contained 180 instrumentalists and 285 vocalists; in the former were Cramer and Mori, leaders; Griesbach, Ella, Lindley, Dragonetti, Puzzi, Harper, etc., Greatorex was conductor, Matthew Camidge (who had officiated in 1791) and his son John, Knapton, and White, organists. The festival was rendered noteworthy from the receipts being larger than those at any previous meeting, viz. £16,174 16s. 8d. The sum of £7200 was divided between the charities. A long and voluminous account is given of the above in a 4to. volume by Mr. John Crosse, F.S.A. York, 1825, to which we are indebted for the above information. One of the evening concerts was rendered memorable by the performance of Beethoven's C minor Symphony under unusual circumstances. A parcel with duplicate orchestral parts did not arrive, and in consequence it was proposed to omit the Symphony. No sooner, however, did Miss Travis begin with the ballad, 'Charlie is my darling,' than a general murmur arose, and one of the stewards (F. Maude, Esq., Recorder of Doncaster), with a stentorian voice, to his honour, called out 'Symphony, Symphony, I insist on the Symphony being played!' Apology was in vain, and at last the Symphony was played with six or eight fiddles to a part.' The reader might naturally suppose' says Crosse (p. 353), 'that the performance failed in giving satisfaction: the contrary, however, was the case; every movement was listened to with attention and hailed with prolonged applause.'
A second festival was held in Sept. 1825, on a similar plan and for the same charities. The band and chorus were increased to 600, and among the vocalists who appeared for the first time were Madame Caradori-Allan, Madame Malibran (then Miss Garcia), Braham, Phillips, and De Begnis. The receipts were still larger, viz. £20,876 10s.; but owing to the cost of a concert-hall for the evening concerts, the profits were not in proportion, £1900 only being divided among the charities.
A third festival was held in Sept. 1828. Catalani reappeared, and Miss Paton, Madame Stockhausen, and Mr. Edward Taylor sang for the first time. Beethoven's Symphony in F was a novelty to the audience, and not so successful as the C minor in 1823. It was described in the
- Address delivered before the American Antiquarian Society, Oct. 20, 1872. The writer of the above article is greatly indebted for assistance kindly rendered by the Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, Mr. Clement K. Fay, and Mr. A. W. Thayer.
- The information in this article is chiefly derived from the Registers of St. Michael's, Cornhill, and the Visitation of London, both published by the Harleian Society.
- A satire on his somewhat bombastic style was published in London the same year, by an anonymous writer 'Outia.'
- See Ella's 'Musical Sketches,' p. 143.