MANCHESTER. The oldest musical association in this city is The Gentlemen's Concerts, which can be traced back to 1749, and probably existed some time previously to that date. The orchestra was formerly composed of amateurs and professional members, but is now entirely professional. Ten monthly orchestral concerts are given each year at the Concert Hall. Mr. Charles Halle has been the Conductor since May 1850.
The Manchester Choral Society was formed about the year 1840, for the purpose of performing the leading oratorios and choral works of Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Mendelssohn, etc. Its members were professional and amateur indiscriminately; the accompaniment was limited to the organ; and the concerts, which became very popular, were held in the Royal Institution.
The Hargreaves Choral Society was founded in 1841, on the bequest of a large sum of money, and an extensive library of choral music, by Mr. Hamer Hargreaves, for the formation of a society for the practice of sacred choral music, with an instrumental band. The concerts were supported by 150 performers, under the direction of Mr. John Waddington, through whose care and skill the performances attained a degree of completeness never before reached in the North of England. The Society had the honour of introducing Elijah to Manchester on April 20, 1847, under the direction of the composer. It was dissolved in 1849, mainly in consequence of a difficulty in obtaining suitable accommodation.
Mr. Charles Halle's Grand Concerts were begun in 1857, and still continue weekly at the Free Trade Hall, from the last week in October to the first week in March. 20 concerts are given each season, 12 miscellaneous, and 8 choral. The programmes embrace the newest and most interesting orchestral works, concertos and solo compositions played by the best artists, and solo vocal works by eminent singers. The concerts are conducted by Mr. Halle, and the chorus, which is 250 strong and remarkably efficient, is under the control of Mr. Edward Hecht. The reputation of the band is great, and they are frequently engaged at Liverpool, Leeds, Bradford, Edinburgh, and other towns in the North.
Classical Chamber Concerts were started about 1840 by Mr. C. A. Seymour and Herr Rudersdorf, but though much appreciated by the cultivated amateurs of Manchester, they were not adequately supported, and have for many years ceased to exist.
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MANDOLINE (Ital. Mandolino) is a small and very beautifully formed stringed instrument of the lute kind, with deeper convexity of back than the lute. It is, as its name implies, less in size than the Mándola or Mandóra, a much scarcer instrument. Mándola, or Mándorla, signifies 'almond,' and it has been supposed that the shape of the instrument has given it the name. But this cannot be accepted, since the almost universal use of the syllable 'Man' unchanged, or changed by phonetic variation to 'Ban,' Tan,' 'Tan,' etc., for the first syllable of names of lute instruments from East to West, removes it to a wider etymological field.
There are two varieties of Mandoline, the Neapolitan and the Milanese; the former having four pairs of strings, the latter usually five. The Milanese 'Mandurina' is tuned
There is one at South Kensington with six pairs, tuned
The Milanese variety, however, is rare in comparison with the Neapolitan, the tuning of which is like that of the violin, in fifths. The lowest pair of strings is of gut, spun over with silver or copper, like a guitar first string; the next of steel also spun over; the second and first pairs are of steel only. The Mandoline is played with a plectrum of tortoise-shell, whalebone,horn, or ostrich-quill, more or less flexible, which is held in the right hand, the left being employed to stop the strings, for which purpose there are seventeen frets across the fingerboard. The scale of the instrument is three octaves and one note, from the G below the treble stave to the octave of A above it. The Serenade in Mozart's Don Giovanni, 'Deh vieni,' was written to be accompanied by the Mandoline:—
The pzzicato of the violins is of a different colour of tone, and offers but a poor substitute.
The Mandoline is not however the correct instrument. Don Juan would have played a Bandurria, a kind of half guitar and truly national Spanish instrument, sometimes incorrectly called a Mandoline. The back of the bandurria is flat; it has only in common with the Mandoline that it is played with a plectrum of tortoiseshell,