A collection of 93 programmes from the Birmingham Musical Festival, 1817-1912. The collection contains volumes from the following years: 1817, 1849, 1852, 1891, 1894, 1900 (4 copies), 1903, 1909, 1912. The festival was alternatively entitled the “Birmingham Triennial Musical Festival”, a name which appears in the 1894 programmes. The festival usually took place in October – occasionally September – from Wednesday to Saturday (from Wednesday to Friday in the 1817 festival). The collection chiefly contains programmes from two separate concerts per day, thus the total number of programmes per festival is often eight. In addition, later volumes in the collection contain a leaflet summarising the concerts in the festival, and one volume (1817) contains a printed copy of the accounts from the festival at the end of the volume.
Some programmes are annotated, and some have signatures of performers: the volume from 1912 has signatures from, for instance, Edward Elgar. Programmes from 1891 onwards contain analytical programme notes and musical examples.
The festivals were held in aid of the General Hospital, Birmingham. The concerts took place at Town Hall, Birmingham or an unnamed venue. One programme is from St. Philip’s Church, Birmingham.
The festival contained two types of concert, approximately equal in number: large-scale performances of oratorios and miscellaneous concerts that usually alternated orchestral works with solo works and small-scale choral numbers. There are programmes from significant British and world premiers; there is a programme from the British premiere of Sibelius’ Fourth symphony, for instance.
The programmes are arranged chronologically.
The CPH collections now form part of the RCM Library. The majority of the concert programme collections are stored off-site so you need to request items before arriving. Requests for programmes are processed on Thursday for delivery to the library the following week. The Library itself is open Monday to Friday during term times and Tuesday to Friday during vacations. We can advise you about our hours when you contact us.