Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/52

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40
PROMENADE CONCERTS.
PROGRAMME-MUSIC.

programme quadrilles of Jullien, and the clever, if vulgar, imitative choruses of Offenbach and his followers, it is certain that every piece of music now derives additional interest from the mere fact of having a distinctive title. Two excellent specimens of the grotesque without vulgarity in modern programme-music are Gounod's 'Funeral March of a Marionette' and Saint-Saëns' 'Danse Macabre.' In neither of these is the mark overstepped. More dignified and poetic are the other 'Poèmes Symphoniques' of the latter composer, the 'Rouet d'Omphale' being a perfect gem in its way. We may include Goldmark's 'Landliche Hochzeit' symphony in our list, and if the Characteristic Studies of Moscheles, Liszt, Henselt and others are omitted, it is because they belong rather to the other large class of character-pieces.

It will be noticed, on regarding this catalogue, how much too extended is the application of the term 'programme-music' in the present day. If every piece which has a distinct character is to be accounted programme-music, then the 'Eroica' Symphony goes side by side with Jullien's 'British Army Quadrille,' Berlioz's 'Episode de la vie d'un Artiste' with Dussek's 'Sufferings of the Queen of France,' or Beethoven's 'Turkish March' with his 'Lebewohl' sonata. It is absurd, therefore, to argue for or against programme-music in general, when it contains as many and diverse classes as does abstract music. As before stated, theorising is useless—the result is everything. A beautiful piece of music defies the critics, and all the really beautiful pieces in the present list survive, independently of the question whether programme-music is a legitimate form of art or not.

[ F. C. ]

PROGRESSION is motion from note to note, or from chord to chord. The term is sometimes used to define the general aspect of a more or less extended group of such motions. It is also used of a group of modulations, with reference to the order of their succession. The expression 'progression of parts' is used with special reference to their relative motion in respect of one another, and of the laws to which such relative motion is subject. [See Motion.]

PROLATION (Lat. Prolatio; Ital. Prolazione). A subdivision of the rhythmic system, which, in Mediæval Music, governed the proportionate duration of the Semibreve and the Minim.

Prolation was of two kinds, the Greater, and the Lesser—called by early English writers, the More, and the Lesse, and by Italians, Prolazione Perfetta, and Imperfetta. In the former—usually indicated by a Circle, or Semicircle, with a Point of Perfection in its centre—the Semibreve was equal to three Minims. In the latter—distinguished by the same signs, without the Point it was equal to two. [See Point.] The signs, however, varied greatly at different periods. In the latter half of the 16th century, for instance, the Circle was constantly either used in connection with, or replaced by, the figure 3, to which circumstance we owe the presence of that figure in our own Time-Signatures, the Time now known as 3-2 being, in fact, the exact modern equivalent of the Greater Prolation, and that commonly called Alla Breve, Allabreve.svg, of the Lesser.

{ \clef alto \override Staff.TimeSignature.style = #'neomensural \time 9/4 s4^"The Greater Prolation." \bar "|" \time 6/4 s \bar "|" \time 3/4 s \bar "|" \once \override Staff.TimeSignature.style = #'numbered \time 3/2 s \bar "||" \time 3/2  s4^"The Lesser Prolation." \bar "|" \time 4/4 s \bar "|" \time 2/2 s \bar "||" }


Prolation was generally intermixed with Mode, and Time, in curiously intricate proportions, which however were greatly simplified by the best Masters of the best Period. [See Mode, Time, Proportion, Notation.]

[ W. S. R. ]

PROMENADE CONCERTS. Although the concerts given at Vauxhall, Ranelagh, Marylebone, and other public gardens, might be placed under this head, the class of entertainment now so well known in this country under the name was introduced into London from Paris. In 1838 some of the leading London instrumentalists gave concerts at the English Opera House (Lyceum) under the title of 'Promenade Concerts à la Musard.' The pit was boarded over and an orchestra erected upon the stage in the manner now familiar to all, though then so strange. The band consisted of 60 performers, including many of the most eminent professors; Mr. J. T. Willy was the leader, and Signor Negri the conductor; the programmes were composed exclusively of instrumental music, each consisting of 4 overtures, 4 quadrilles (principally by Musard), 4 waltzes (by Strauss and Lanner), and a solo, usually for a wind instrument. The first of the concerts was given on Dec. 12, and they were continued, with great success, during the winter. Early in 1839 the band of Valentino, the rival of Musard, came to London, and gave concerts at the Crown and Anchor Tavern; the programmes being composed of music of a higher class, the first part usually including a symphony; but they met with little support. In Oct. 1839 the original speculators resumed operations at the Lyceum. On June 8, 1840, 'Concerts d'Eté' were commenced at Drury Lane under the conductorship of Eliason, the violinist, with Jullien as his assistant, and a band of nearly 100, and a small chorus. Some dissensions among the original managers led to concerts of the same class being given by Mr. Willy in the autumn and winter at the Princess's Theatre, the majority of the band however still performing at the Lyceum. About the same period promenade concerts were given at Drury Lane, and Musard was brought over to conduct them. In Jan. 1841 'Concerts d'Hiver' were given in the same house by Jullien, who soon firmly established himself in public favour and continued to give this class of concerts until 1859. [See Jullien.] In 1851 [App. p.752 "1850"] promenade concerts conducted by Balfe were given at Her Majesty's Theatre under the title of 'National Concerts'; a large band and chorus and some eminent principal singers were engaged, but the speculation proved unsuccessful. Since Jullien's retirement, promenade concerts have been annually given in the autumn at Covent Garden, with Alfred Mellon