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HomeSearchGetRecordBerkshire Grand Musical Festival (1819-1831)

Collection Description

Collection Title
Berkshire Grand Musical Festival (1819-1831)
Unique Identifier
Case 61.g.3.
A collection of prospectuses, programmes and wordbooks for the morning and evening performances given as the Berkshire Grand Musical Festivals of 1819, 1822 and 1831, held as a single bound volume with MS notes by Sir George Smart.

The morning performances were typically three-act selections of sacred music (consisting largely of oratorio extracts) held at St. Lawrence's Church, Reading. The evening performances were generally two-act miscellaneous concerts, held in the Town Hall, Reading.

Documentation relating to all seasons includes detailed lists of the vocal soloists (see below) and of the instrumental and orchestral performers, led by Franz Cramer and conducted by Sir George Smart, the whole under the direction of Mr Binfield. The choral ensemble was supported by singers from St. George's Chapel, Windsor, the Chapel Royal, St. Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, London and from Oxford. In 1819 and 1831, assistance was also offered by the 'Female Choristers from Lancashire'.

Programmes and word books for all seasons carry annotations in Smart's hand, recording the exact timings for the performances and indicating which works were encored. Smart also provides information about changes to the content or order of the printed programme, the exact deployment of the vocal forces, the extent of the rehearsal provision, and the nature of the performance material used (including supplier of parts). For the 1822 season there is an annotated copy of the prospectus on which Smart has noted who was responsible for providing the parts for each piece: the contributors included Smart himself, Mr Hedgley, Mr Bochsa and Miss Binfield.

Morning performances:
15 September 1819: including Haydn, The Creation Part I, Mozart, Requiem (selection) and a miscellaneous act.
16 September 1819: Handel, The Messiah.
17 September 1819: including a selection from Handel, Redemption.

Evening performances:
15 and 17 September 1819: the first including selections from Handel, Acis and Galatea.

Vocal: Miss Stephens, Miss Goodall, and Signora Corri; Mr Vaughan, Mr Knyvett, Mr Bellamy and Signor Ambrogetti.

Additional material for this season includes handwritten lists entitled 'Orchestra Morning' and 'Orchestra Evening' which detail the number of players required per part.

Morning performances:
22 August 1822: including Haydn, The Creation Part I, Rossini, The Celebrated Prayer from … Moses in Egypt, Beethoven, Mount of Olives (selection) and Mozart, Requiem (selection).
29 August 1822: Handel, The Messiah.
30 August 1822: including Handel, The Redemption (selection), a coronation anthem by Thomas Attwood and Graun, Te Deum, 1st movement.

Evening performances:
28 August 1822: Grand Concert, from the works of Handel, Mozart, Cherubini, etc and a selection from the original music in Macbeth.
29 August 1822: Grand Miscellaneous Concert, from the works of Haydn, Mozart,
30 August 1822: Grand Miscellaneous Concert, from the works of Mozart, Romberg, Rossini etc.

Vocal: Mrs Salmon, Miss Goodall, and Signora Caradori; Mr Vaughan, Mr W. Knyvett, Mr Hawes, Master Gear, Signor Ambrogetti, and Mr Bellamy.
Instrumental: Robert Lindley (cello) and Charles Nicholson (flute).

Morning performance:
19 October 1831: including selections from Handel, The Messiah, Haydn, The Creation and Spohr, The Last Judgement.

Evening performance:
19 October 1831: Grand Concert from the works of Mozart, Rossini, Weber, Paccini, Handel, Neukomm, etc.

Vocal: Madame Stockhausen, Miss Cramer, and Miss Inverarity; Mr E. Taylor and Mr Braham.

This volume also contains a number of handwritten letters exchanged between Smart and Binfield regarding the fixing for the festival.
Date range of collection
1819 - 1831
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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Additional Collection Information

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