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HomeSearchGetRecordAmateur Musical Society (1847-60)

Collection Description

Collection Title
Amateur Musical Society (1847-60)
Unique Identifier
Prospectuses, programmes and other material relating to the first fourteen seasons given by the Amateur Musical Society, London (1847-60).

The prospectus for each season includes a list of the Society’s various patrons and committee members, details of the members, and a statement of the rules/regulations of the Society. There is also a list of orchestral players, which distinguishes between member-performers and professional players. The dates of both the rehearsals and the concerts are listed.

The object of the Society is described as the ‘formation of a full Orchestra and Chorus, composed of the Members, assisted by Professors, to meet weekly … for the performance of Classical Compositions’. In the earliest years, the concerts were almost entirely instrumental/orchestral. As is suggested below, an increasingly large amount of vocal repertory (solo and choral) was introduced in later seasons so that by the late 1850s, these concerts had become predominantly vocal, with orchestral works at the start and close of each act. They remained in two acts throughout.

During the first season, the first seven performances were held at the Music Hall in Store Street, with the final concert taking place at Her Majesty’s Theatre. Thereafter, all concerts were held in the Hanover Square Rooms.

From the seventh season onwards, programmes begin to incorporate wordbooks. Material for the eighth season includes correspondence relating to the appointment of Henry Leslie as a permanent conductor and modifications to the organizational structure resulting in the provision of extra rehearsals.

1st season (1847)
5 and 19 February, 5 and 19 March, 9, 16, 23 and 30 April and 7, 14, 21 and 31 May 1847, conducted by Mr M.W. Balfe.
There are no programmes for this season but the volume does include a handwritten list of the works performed at each concert. This typically involved two overtures and two symphonies combined with an operatic ‘selection’.

2nd season (1848)
25 February, 10 and 24 March, 7 and 28 April, 12 and 26 May and 9 June 1848, conducted by Mr Charles Lucas. The concerts of this season included the first performances of Henry Leslie, Symphony (24 March) and Mozart, Sinfonietta in G minor and Mendelssohn, March (both 12 May).

3rd season (1849)
7 and 21 March, 4 and 18 April and 2, 16 and 30 May 1849, conducted by L. Negri. The concerts of this season began to introduce vocal music for the first time, particularly through the inclusion of a pair of glees at the end of the first act. The fifth concert included the first performance of G.A. Osborne, Overture.

4th season (1850)
25 February, 11 and 25 March, 15 and 29 April, 13 and 27 May and 10 June 1850, conducted by L. Negri. The fourth concert of this season included the first performance of G.A. Macfarren, Symphony ‘Thalcen’.

5th season (1851)
3 and 17 February, 3, 17 and 31 March, 14 April and 5 and 19 May 1851, conducted by L. Negri.

6th season (1852)
8 and 22 March, 26 April, 10 and 24 May, 7 and 21 June and 5 July 1852, conducted by G.A. Osborne. This season included first performances of Colley Augustin, Overture (8 March), G.A. Macfarren, Characteristic Movements from ‘The Sleeper awakened’ (22 March), S.W. Waley, Overture (26 April), J.L. Ellerton, Symphony (10 May), Henry Leslie, Dramatic Overture 'The Templar' (24 May), A.C. Wellesley, Concerto Capriccioso for Piano Forte (7 June) and St. Vincent Jervis, March (5 July).

7th season (1853)
7 and 21 March, 11 and 25 April, 9 and 23 May and 6 and 20 June 1853, conducted by Mr G.A. Osborne. The fifth concert of the season saw the first performance of G.A. Osborne, Overture ‘Evelyn’.

8th season (1854)
13 and 27 March, 10 April, 1, 15 and 29 May and 12 and 26 June 1854, conducted by Mr G.A. Osborne. The concerts given this season included the first performances of instrumental pieces by S.W. Waley (13 March and 10 April) and St Vincent-Jervis, Adagio and Rondo for Piano-forte (27 March). During this season the London Deutscher-Männerchor, under the direction of Ernst Paüer, made its first appearance. This group continued to appear regularly throughout the remaining seasons documented here.

9th season (1855)
5 and 19 February, 5 and 19 March, 2 and 23 April and 7 and 21 May 1855. Programmes for this season list vocal and instrumental soloists for the first time. There are also announcements regarding further alternations to the organizational structure which resulted in the provision of two further concerts per season, both of which were to take place before Christmas.

10th season (1855-56)
3 and 17 December 1855, 18 February, 3 and 17 March, 7 and 21 April, 5 and 19 May and 2 June 1856. This season included first performance of S.W. Waley, Concerto in E flat for Piano forte (with the composer at the piano, 3 December) and St. Vincent-Jervis, Concerto, for Pianoforte in A minor (2 June). Programmes for this season continue to cite both vocal and instrumental soloists and the choral pieces were shared between the London Deutscher-Männerchor and Mr Henry Leslie’s Choir.
Also during this season, the Amateur Musical Society gave A Grand Concert, in aid of the funds of the Cambridge Asylum. This took place on 29 January 1856 at the Hanover Square Rooms. This volume includes both a programme and a subsequent vote of thanks from the committee of the beneficiaries.

11th season (1856-57)
1 and 15 December 1856, 9 and 23 February, 6 and 27 April and 11 and 25 May 1857. The concert on 6 April included the first performance of M.W. Balfe, Overture.

12th season (1857-58)
23 November and 13 December 1857, 15 February, 1, 15 and 29 March, 19 April and 3, 17 and 31 May 1858.

13th season (1858-59)
29 November and 13 December 1858, 14 and 28 February, 21 March, 4 and 18 April and 9 May 1859. The programmes for this season are more substantial than previously, including words and a complete list of the orchestral ensemble.

14th season (1859-60)
The prospectus lists performances on 28 November and 12 December 1859, 5 and 19 March, 2, 16 and 30 April and 14 May 1860. Programmes are missing for the concerts on 19 March and 30 April.

This volume includes a certain amount of additional material relating to this Society, including statements of accounts for each season, correspondence/announcements regarding the holding and proceedings of the Society’s Annual General Meeting, and letters requesting outstanding subscription fees. There is also a page containing a number of concert tickets.
Date range of collection
1847 - 1860
Accumulation Dates
Suggested Audience
Not Specific

Location Details

British Library
The British Library St Pancras ,96 Euston Road London NW1 2DB
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+44 (0)870 444
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Additional Collection Information

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Management Information (Type)
Collection Owner(s)
Collection Creator(s)
Collection Collector(s)
Collection Custodians(s)
Associated Collection(s)
Cardif University (Prifysgol Caerdydd)Royal College of Music LondonMuseums, Libraries and Archives Council