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HomeSearchGetRecordBirmingham Musical Festivals (1814-1912)

Collection Description

Collection Title
Birmingham Musical Festivals (1814-1912)
Description
A collection of prospectuses, programmes and wordbooks for the Birmingham Musical Festivals, held triennially between 1814 and 1829, 1834–73 and 1900–12, bound as 24 volumes (one per festival).

Each Festival consisted of both morning and evening performances, conducted by Thomas Greatorex (to 1829), William Knyvett (1934–43), Ignaz Moscheles and Mr Mendelssohn (1846), Mr Costa (1849–73), Hans Richter (1900–09) and Henry Wood (1912).

From 1814 to 1829, all Morning Performances – typically of sacred/oratorio compositions – were held in St. Philip's Church and the evening concerts – generally referred to as miscellaneous concerts – in the Theatre/Theatre Royal. Unless otherwise stated below, all performances from 1834 were given in the [New] Town Hall.

Programmes for each season include words/wordbooks. From 1855, they begin to introduce historical/descriptive notes and, from 1900, these become increasing analytical and include musical examples.

The programmes for 1814 carry a number of handwritten annotations which, among other things, provide information on the identity of the performers. Thereafter, with the exception of 1861, 1900, 1903 and 1912, either the prospectus or the programme for the first morning performance typically includes a list of the principal vocal and instrumental performers (see below), a list of the Patrons of the Festival, and a record of the orchestral and, from 1834, choral ensembles.

Programmes for 1814 include handwritten calculations of the numbers attending each concert and of the 'money received'. Documentation for the remaining Festivals up to 1873 (not 1849 or 1861) include a printed statement of accounts, with those from 1846 including a retrospective of the monies received by the Festival since the late eighteenth century.


Volume 1 ( 5–7 October 1814)
Morning:
5 October: Selection of Sacred Music.
[6 October]: Handel, The Messiah.
7 October: Grand Selection of Sacred Music.

Evening: 5, 6 and 7 October: Grand Miscellaneous Concerts

Annotations to these programmes also record the performance of encores and offer a range of observations on the performances.


Volume 2 ( 1–3 October 1817)
Morning:
1 October:
[2 October]: Handel, The Messiah.
3 October: Grand Selection of Sacred Music.

Evening:
1, 2 and 3 October: Miscellaneous Concerts.

Vocal: Madame Camporese, Mrs Vaughan, Mrs Salomon and Miss Stephens, Mr Bartleman, Mr Bellamy, Mr Knyvett, Mr Vaughan and Mr Braham.


Volume 3 (3–6 October 1820)
Morning:
3 October: Grand Opening Service.
4 October: Haydn, The Seasons/Grand Selection of Sacred Music.
5 October: Handel, The Messiah
6 October: A Grand Selection of Sacred Music.

Evening:
3, 4 and 6 October: Grand Miscellaneous Concerts

Vocal: Mrs Salmon, Miss D. Travis and Madame Vestris; Signora Corri, Miss Symonds, Miss J. Fletcher and Miss Stephens; Mr Vaughan, Mr W. Knyvett, Messrs. Beale, Evans, Whall and Signor Begrez; Mr Bellamy, Messrs King, Goulding and Signor Ambrogetti.


Volume 4 (7–10 October 1823, with prospectus)
Morning:
7 October: Full Cathedral Service.
8 October: Grand Selection of Sacred Music.
9 October: Handel, The Messiah.
10 October: Grand Selection of Sacred Music.

Evening:
7, 8 and 10 October.

Vocal: Madame Catalani, Mrs Salmon and Miss Stephens; Miss Travis, Miss Symonds, Miss Fletcher, Miss Heaton; Mr Braham and Mr Vaughan; Signor Placci, Messrs Evans, Golding, Whall, T. Greatorex, Gattie, Blackbourne and Thorne; Mr Knyvett and Mr Bellamy.


Volume 5 (3–6 October 1826)
Morning:
3 October: Full Cathedral Service.
4 October: Grand Selection of Sacred Music.
5 October: Handel, The Messiah.
6 October: Grand Selection of Sacred Music.

Evening: 3, 4 and 6 October: Grand Miscellaneous Concerts nos. 1-3.

Vocal: Madame Caradori, Miss Stephens, Miss Paton, Miss D. Travis, Miss Bacon, Miss Heaton, Miss S. Travis, Miss Clough and Mrs Wilde; Mr Braham, Mr Knyvett, Mr Bellamy, Mr Phillips, Mr Vaughan, Messrs J. Evans, Goulden, T. Greatorex, Whall, Signor Curioni and Signor de Begnis.
Instrumental: Mr J. B. Cramer (piano), Mr Lindley (cello) and Mr Nicholson (flute).


Volume 6 (6–9 October 1829)
Morning:
6 October: Full Cathedral Service.
7 October: Grand Selection of Sacred Music.
8 October: Handel, Messiah.
9 October: Grand Selection of Sacred Music.

Evening:
6 and 8 October: First and Second Operatic Selections.
7 and 9 October: First and Second Miscellaneous Concerts.

Vocal: Madame Malibran Garcia, Miss Paton, Mrs Knyvett, Miss Fanny Ayton and Mademoiselle Blasis; Mr Braham, Mr Knyvett, Mr Vaughan, Signor Costa, Signor Giubilei, Signor de Begnis, Mr Bellamy and Mr Phillips.
Instrumental: Mon. De Beriot (violin), Mrs Anderson (piano), Mr Lindley (cello) and Mr Nicholson (flute).


Volume 7 (7–10 October 1834, with handbill prospectus inserted)
Morning:
7 October: Grand Selection of Sacred Music.
8 October: including Neukomm, David (composed for the Festival).
9 October: Handel, Messiah.
10 October: Grand Selection of Sacred Music.

Evening:
7 October: First Miscellaneous Concert.
8 October, Theatre Royal: Operatic Selection.
9 October: Second Miscellaneous Concert.

Vocal: Madame Caradori, Madame Stockhausen, Mrs Knyvett and Miss Clara Novello; Mr Braham, Signor Curioni, Mr Vaughan and Mr Horncastle; Mr Hawkins and Mr Terrail; Mr Phillips, Mr Machin, Mr Bellamy and Mr Taylor.
Instrumental: Mr Moscheles (piano), Mr Lindley (cello), The Chevalier Neukomm (organ) and Mr Stockhausen (harp).


Volume 8 (19–22 September 1837, with handbill prospectus inserted)
Morning:
19 September: including Chevalier Neukomm, the Ascension (first English performance, conducted by the composer).
20 September: Mendelssohn, St Paul.
21 September: Handel, The Messiah.
22 September: A. F. Haeser, The Triumph of Faith (first English performance).

Evening:
19 and 21 September: First and Second Miscellaneous Concert. 20 September, Theatre Royal: The Opera of Semiramide and a miscellaneous selection

Vocal: Madame Grisi and Madame Albertazzi; Signor Tamburini, Signor Curioni, Signor Giubilei; Mrs Knyvett, Mrs A. Shaw and Miss C. Novello; Mr Bennett, Mr Hobbs and Mr Vaughan; Mr H. Phillips, Mr Machin, Mr Hawkins and Mr J. A. Novello.
Instrumental: Mon. Mendelssohn (piano/organ), Mr Lindley (cello) and Master Giulio Regondi (concertina).


22–25 September 1840 (with handbill prospectus inserted)
Morning
22 September: [Handel], Israel in Egypt
23 September: [Handel], Joshua (selection); Mendelssohn, Lobgesang
24 September: Handel, The Messiah
25 September: Oratorio of Jeptha

Evening:
22 and 24 September: First and Second Miscellaneous Concert
23 September, Theatre Royal: La Gazza Ladra and La Prova

Vocal: Madame Dorus Gray, Madame Caradori Allan and Mrs Knyvett; Miss Birch and Miss Maria B. Hawes; Signor Lablache, Mr Braham and Mr H. Phillips; Signor Musatti and Mr Vaughan; Mr Machin, Signor F. Lablache, Mr Pearsall and Mr Young.
Instrumental: Signor Emiliani (violin), Dr Mendelssohn (piano and organ) and Mr Lindley (cello).


19 – 22 September 1843
Morning
19 September: Rossini, Stabat Mater and Handel, Deborah
20 September: Dr Croft [Crotch?], Palestine, and a selection of sacred music
21 September: Handel, The Messiah
22 September: Grand Selection of Sacred Music

Evening (all at the Theatre Royal)
19 September: Rossini, The Lady of the Lake, and a miscellaneous selection
20 September: Bellini, Norma and a miscellaneous selection
21 September: Grand Miscellaneous Concert
Vocal: Miss Clara Novello, Miss Rainforth, Mrs Knyvett, Miss Maria B. Hawes, Mrs Alfred Shaw, Signor Mario, Signor Fornasari, Mr Bennett, Mr Manvers, Mr Giubilei, Mr Machin and Mr Phillips.


25–28 August 1846
Morning
25 August: Haydn, The Creation and a Selection of Foreign Music
26 August: Mendelssohn, Elijah
27 August: Handel, The Messiah
28 August: Beethoven, Grand Mass in D

Evening
26 August: Grand Miscellaneous Concert
27 August: Second Miscellaneous Concert

Vocal: Madame Grisi, Madame Caradori Allan, Miss Bassano and Miss A. Williams; Miss Maria B. Hawes, Miss M Williams; Signor Mario, Mr Braham, Mr Hobbs and Mr Lockey; Herr Staudigl, Mr H. Phillips, Signor F. Lablache and Mr Machin.


4–7 September 1849
Morning
4 September: Mendelssohn, Elijah
5 September: Mendelssohn, Athalie; Selection
6 September: Handel, The Messiah
7 September: Handel, Israel in Egypt

Evening
4, 5 and 6 September: Miscellaneous Concerts

Vocal: Madame Sontag, Madame Castellan, Miss A. Williams, Miss Stevens, Mademoiselle Jetty de Treffz and Miss Catherine Hayes; Mademoiselle Alboni, Mademoiselle de Meric and Miss M. Willams; Signor Mario, Signor Calzolari, Mr T. Williams and Mr Sims Reeves, Herr Pischek, Signor F. Lablache, Mr Machin and Signor Lablache.
Instrumental: Monsieur Thalberg (piano) and Messrs Wesley, Stimpson, Simms and E. Chipp (organ).


7–10 September 1852
Morning
7 September: Mendelssohn, Elijah
[8 September]: Mendelssohn, Wesley and Haydn.
[9 September]: Handel, The Messiah
10 September: Handel, Samson

Evening
7 September: Mendelssohn, First Walpurgis Night
8 September: Mendelssohn, Loreley
9 September: Beethoven, Grand Choral Symphony in D minor

Vocal: Madame Viardot Garcia, Madame Castellan, Mademoiselle Anna Zerr, Miss Dolby, Mademoiselle Bertrandi, Miss M. Williams and Madame Clara Novello; Signor Tamberlik, Herr Formes, Mr Lockey, Mr Weiss, Mr T. Williams, Signor Polonini, Mr Simms Reeves and Signor Belletti.
Instrumental: Signor Piatti (cello), Signor Bottesini (double bass), Herr Kuhe (piano) and Mr Stimpson (organ).


28–31 August 1855
Morning
28 August: Mendelssohn, Elijah (with introductory note).
29 August: Costa, Eli
30 August: Handel, The Messiah
31 August, the final performance featuring the following works: Beethoven, Mount of Olives; Mozart, Requiem; and Handel, Israel in Egypt (selection).

Evening
28 August: G. A. Macfarren, Lenora (with introductory note).
29 August: Mendelssohn, Italian Symphony and Loreley
30 August: Beethoven, Pastoral Symphony

Vocal: Madame Grisi, Mademoiselle Angiolina Bosio, Madame Rudersdorkk and Madame Castellan; Miss Dolby and Madame Viardot Garcia; Signor Mario, Signor Gardoni, Herr Reichardt and Mr Sims Reeves; Signor Lablache, Mr Weiss and Herr Formes.

The volume concludes with The Birmingham Festival of 1855, A Series of Papers published in Aris's Birmingham Gazette in the months of June, July and August 1855, by George Hogarth.


31 August–3 September 1858
Morning
31 August: Mendelssohn, Elijah
1 September: Costa, Eli
2 September: Handel, The Messiah
3 September: Henry Leslie, Judith; Mendelssohn, Lauda Sion; Beethoven, Service in C

Evening
31 August: Handel, Acis and Galatea
1 September: Second Grand Miscellaneous Concert, including Mendelssohn, ‘To The Sons of Art’
2 September: Third Miscellaneous Concert, including Costa, The Dream

Vocal: Madame Clara Novello, Mademoiselle Victoire Balfe and Madame Castellan; Madame Alboni, Miss Dolby and Madame Viardot Garcia; Mr Sims Reeves, Mr Montem Smith and Signor Tamberlick; Signor Ronconi, Mr Weiss and Signor Belletti.

The volume concludes with The Birmingham General Hospital and Triennial Musical Festivals. A Series of Papers from Aris's Birmingham Gazette of July and August 1858 with additions (v extended).


27–30 August 1961
Morning
27 August: Mendelssohn, Elijah
28 August: Handel, Samson
29 August: Handel, The Messiah
30 August: Beethoven, Grand Service in D; Hummel, Alma Virgo; Handel, Israel in Egypt

Evening
27 and 29 August, Town Hall: Miscellaneous Concerts
28 August: Haydn, The Creation
30 August: Handel, Judas Maccabeus


6–9 September 1864 (with prospectus)
Morning:
6 September: Mendelssohn, Saint Paul
7 September: Costa, Naaman (composed expressly for the occasion)
8 September: Handel, The Messiah
9 September: Beethoven, Mount of Olives; Handel, Solomon (selection)

Evening:
6 September: Miscellaneous concert including Henry Smart, The Bride of Dunkerron, composed expressly for the occasion.
7 September: Second Grand Concert, including Mendelssohn, Hymn of Praise
8 September: Third Miscellaneous Concert, including a new cantata by Arthur S. Sullivan, Kenilworth (composed expressly for the occasion).
9 September: Mendelssohn, Elijah

Vocal: Mademoiselle Titiens, Madame Rudersdorff, Madame Lemmens Sherrington and Mademoiselle Adelina Patti; Madame Sainton Dolby and Miss Palmer; Mr Sims Reeves, Mr W. H. Cummings and Signor Mario; Mr Santley and Mr Weiss.
Instrumental: Madame Arabella Goddard (piano) and Monsieur Sainton (violin).


27–30 August 1867
Morning
27 August: Mendelssohn, Elijah
28 August: W. S. Bennett, The Woman of Samaria (composed for the Festival); Handel, Judas Maccabeus
29 August: Handel, Messiah
30 August: Gounod, Messe Solennelle; Handel, Israel in Egypt

Evening
27 August: Miscellaneous Concert, inc. Handel, Alexander’s Feast
28 August: Miscellaneous Concert, inc. J. Benedict, The Legend of St. Cecilia
29 August: Miscellaneous Concert, inc. John Francis Barnett, The Ancient Mariner (composed for the Festival).
30 August: Mendelssohn, St. Paul

Vocal: Mademoiselle Titiens, Madame Lemmens Sherrington and Mademoiselle Christine Nilsson; Madame Sainton-Dolby and Madame Patey Whytock; Mr Sims Reeves and Mr W. H. Cummings; Mr Santley and Mr Weiss.
Instrumental: Madame Arabella Goddard (piano) and Monsieur Sainton (violin).


26–29 August 1873 (with prospectus)
Morning
26 August: Mendelssohn, Elijah
27 August: Arthur S. Sullivan, The Light of the World (first performance)
28 August: Handel, The Messiah
29 August: Spohr, God, Thou Art Great; Haydn, Mass No. 3; Handel, Israel in Egypt (selections). Also, first performances of two choral pieces by Rossini

Evening
26 August: F. Schira, The Lord of Burleigh (new cantata, composed for the Festival)
27 August: Beethoven, Symphony in C minor; Rossini, National Hymn (first English performance)
28 August: Alberto Randegger, Fridolin (a dramatic cantata, composed expressly for the Festival)
29 August: Handel, Judas Maccabeus

Vocal: Mademoiselle Titiens, Madame Lemmens Sherrington and Mademoiselle Albani; Madame Patey and Madame Trebelli Bettini; Mr Sims Reeves, Mr Vernon Rigby and Mr W. H. Cummings; Mr Santley and Signor Foli.
Pasted into the back of the volume are various handbills/documents, including the General Instructions and a seating plan.


2 – 5 October 1900
This volume is missing the programme for the 1st morning performance, 2 October.
Morning:
3 October: Elgar, The Dream of Gerontius; Schubert, Symphony ‘Unfinished’; Handel, Israel in Egypt (selections)
4 October: Bach, St. Matthew Passion
5 October: Brahms, A German Requiem; selections

Evening
2 October: Miscellaneous Concert
3 October: S. Coleridge-Taylor, Song of Hiawatha
4 October: Miscellaneous Concert, including Dvorak, The Spectre’s Bride
5 October: Handel, Messiah

13–16 October 1903
Morning
13 October: Mendelssohn, Elijah
14 October: Elgar, The Apostles (first performance, conducted by the composer)
15 October: Handel, Messiah
16 October: Bach, Mass in B minor

Evening:
All miscellaneous concerts, including the extended works cited below
13 September: Stanford, Ballad for Solos, Chorus and Orchestra, ‘The Voyage of Maeldune
14 September: Sullivan, The Golden Legend
15 September:
16 September: Bruckner, Te Deum (first performance in England)


2–5 October 1906 (with prospectus)
Morning
2 October: Mendelssohn, Elijah
3 October: Elgar, The Kingdom (first performance, conducted by the composer)
4 October: Handel, Messiah
5 October: Beethoven, Mass in D; selection including the first English performance of Christian Ritter, Alto Cantata, O amantissime sponse Jesu

Evening
2 October: Elgar, The Apostles (conducted by the composer)
3 October: Miscellaneous, including the first performance of Josef Holbrooke, The Bells and Percy Pitt, Sinfonietta in G minor (composed for the Festival).
4 October: Misc, inc. Granville Bantock, Omar Khayyam (composed expressly for this Festival)
5 October: Miscellaneous

Vocal: Madame Albani, Miss Gleeson-White and Miss Agnes Nicholls, Madame Ada Crossley and Miss Muriel Foster, Mr John Coates, Mr John Harrison and Mr William Green, Mr Ffrangcon Davies, Mr William Higley, Mr Dalton Baker, Mr Charles Clark and Mr Robert Radford.
Instrumental: Mischa Elman (violin).


5–8 October 1909 (with prospectus)
Morning
5 October: Mendelssohn, Elijah
6 October: Elgar, The Dream of Gerontius; selection
7 October: Handel, Judas Maccabaeus
8 October: miscellaneous inc. Cherubini, Mass in C

Evening
5 October: Miscellaneous Concert, including the first performance of Rutland Boughton, Midnight
6 October: Miscellaneous Concert, including Dvorak, Stabat Mater
7 October: Miscellaneous Concert, inc. Granville Bantock, Omar Khayyam
8 October: Berlioz, Faust

Vocal: Miss Agnes Nicholls, Madame Gleeson-White, Miss Perceval Allen and Madame Donalda; Madame Ada Crossley, Miss Phyllis Lett and Madame Kirkby Lunn; Mr John Coates, Mr Walter Hyde and Mr John Harrison; Mr George Henschel, Mr Dalton Baker, Mr Frederic Austin and Mr Robert Radford.


1–4 October 1912
Morning
1 October: Mendelssohn, Elijah.
2 October: Bach, St. Matthew Passion
3 October: Handel, The Messiah
4 October: including Brahms, German Requiem

Evening
1 October: including Sibelius. New Symphony, No. 4 (first performance, conducted by the composer) and Elgar, The Music Makers (composed for the Festival, conducted by the composer).
2 October: including Walford Davies, The Song of St. Francis (first performance, conducted by the composer) and Granville Bantock, Orchestral Drama, 'Fifine at the Fair' (first performance, conducted by the composer).
3 October:
4 October: Elgar, The Apostles (conducted by the composer).
Format
Date range of collection
1814 - 1912
Accumulation Dates
-
Suggested Audience
Not Specific

Location Details

Foundling Museum
40 Brunswick Square Bloomsbury London WC1N 1AZ United Kingdom
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Telephone
020 7841 3600
Fax
020 7841 3601
Visiting Information
The museum is currently open by appointment only.
Collections Overview
The Gerald Coke Handel Collection is an internationally important collection of material relating to Handel and his contemporaries, including manuscripts, printed books and music, libretti, paintings and engravings, memorabilia, art works and ephemera. The Handel collection is open for research Wednesday-Friday, and the display room (with access to recorded music) is open with the rest of the museum Tuesday-Sunday 10-6.
For details of other collections held at the same location: See the location record

Additional Collection Information

Accrual Status
closed
Related Publications
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