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HomeSearchGetRecordLeeds Musical Festival (1858-89)

Collection Description

Collection Title
Leeds Musical Festival (1858-89)
Unique Identifier
A History of the Leeds Musical Festivals, 1858-1889, by Fred. R. Spark and Joseph Bennett, published by Fred. R. Spark and Son (Leeds) and Novello, Ewer and Co. (London) in 1892.

This document includes detailed information, with complete programme listings, for the Musical Festivals held in the Town Hall, Leeds in 1858, 1874, 1877, 1880, 1883, 1886 and 1889. There is also a chapter on the failed attempt to hold a Festival in 1861.

The document begins with a List of Subscribers to the publication, followed by an introductory Preface regarding the Leeds Festival. Thereafter, each Festival is allocated a chapter.

Each Festival was made up of a series of four morning and four evening performances, with the final evening performance being referred to as the People’s Festival Concert and being given at a reduced rate of admission.

Unless otherwise stated below, the morning concerts consisted predominantly of sacred choral works (largely from oratorio compositions) whilst the evening performances were two-act concerts of solo and ensemble vocal music, with orchestral works at the beginning of each part and occasional instrumental solos. The People's Festival Concerts were two-part performances of solo and ensemble vocal music, with no orchestral works.

On occasions where a single work dominated all or the majority of an act of an evening performance this work is listed below. Also listed below are those pieces being given for the first time and/or those works commissioned by/written especially for the Festival.

In addition to the programmes, each chapter provides a detailed discussion of the arrangements for the Festival. This includes extensive documentation of the negotiations with and engagement of both composers and performers: there is much quotation from relevant correspondence with a number of reproductions of handwritten letters. There are also lists of the Patrons and Committee members for the Festival and financial summaries for each season. Each chapter concludes with a discussion of the performances themselves, commenting on the success (or otherwise) of the Festival and citing numerous contemporary reviews.

Each chapters provides a complete list of the choral and orchestral ensemble, the latter led by P. Sainton (1858, 1874 and 1877) and Mr J.T. Carrodus (from 1880), with Henry Blagrove as co-leader in 1858. The performances were conducted by William Sterndale Bennett (1858), Sir Michael Costa (1874 and 1877) and Sir Arthur Sullivan (from 1880).

8-11 September 1858
8 September: Mendelssohn, Elijah.
9 September: Rossini, Stabat Mater; J.S. Bach, Grosse Passions Musik (selections from); Beethoven, The Mount of Olives. Also, an organ solo written and performed by Mr Spark.
10 September: Haydn, The Seasons (Spring and Summer); Handel, Israel in Egypt. Also, an organ improvisation by Mr Smart.
11 September: Handel, The Messiah.

The concert on 8 September included the first performance of W. Sterndale Bennett, Pastoral (MS), The May Queen.

Vocal: Madame Clara Novello, Mrs Sunderland, Madame Weiss, Miss Helene Walker and Madame Piccolomini (soprano); Miss Dolby, Miss Palmer, Miss Crossland, Miss Freeman and Madame Alboni (alto); Mr Sims Reeves, Mr Wilbye Cooper, Mr Inkersall and Signor Giuglini (tenor); Mr Weiss, Mr Santley, Mr William Winn, Mr Hinchcliffe, Signor Rossi and Signor Vialetti (bass).
Instrumental: Miss Arabella Goddard (piano), Messrs Sainton and H. Blagrove (violin), Mr Webb (viola), Mr C. Harper (horn), Mr T. Harper (trumpet), Mr Williams (clarinet), Mr Waetzig (bassoon), Mr Lucas (cello), and Mr Howell (double bass), with Mr Henry Smart and Mr William Spark (organ) and Mr R.S. Burton (chorus master).
In addition to the information cited above, the documentation for this Festival contains an extended discussion of the Town Hall organ.

14-17 October 1874
14 October: Mendelssohn, St. Paul.
15 October: Handel, Organ Concerto (No. 1) in G minor; Handel, Israel in Egypt; Mendelssohn, Hymn of Praise.
16 October: G.A. Macfarren, St. John the Baptist; Rossini, Stabat Mater.
17 October: Handel, The Messiah.

Vocal: Mademoiselle Tietjens, Mademoiselle Louise Singelli, Madame Otto Alvsleben, Madame Trebelli-Bettini and Madame Patey; Mr Sims Reeves, Mr E. Lloyd, Mr Bentham, Signor Campanini, Signor Perkins, Signor Agnesi and Mr Santley; with Dr Spark (organ), Mr A. Broughton (chorus pianist) and Mr Broughton (chorus master).

This document includes a photograph of Sir Michael Costa (conductor).

19-22 September 1877
19 September: Mendelssohn, Elijah.
20 September: two-part miscellaneous concert, including Mendelssohn, The First Walpurgis Night.
21 September: G.A. Macfarren, Joseph (composed expressly for the festival and conducted by the composer).
22 September: J.S. Bach, Magnificat in D; Mozart, Requiem Mass; Beethoven, The Mount of Olives.

Evening: the performance on 19 September included William Austin, The Fire King. That on 20 September was a performance of Handel, Solomon.

Vocal: Mademoiselle Albani, Madame Edith Wynne, Mrs Osgood, Madame Sinico, Madame Patey, Mademoiselle Redeker and Mrs Mudie- Bolingbroke; Mr Edward Lloyd, Mr William Shakespeare, Mr Santley, Mr Cecil Tovey and Mr Foli; with Dr Spark (organ) and Mr James Broughton (chorus master).

13-16 October 1880
13 October: Mendelssohn, Elijah.
14 October: Walter Macfarren, Hero and Leander (conducted by the composer); Mendelssohn, When Israel out of Egypt came; Beethoven, Symphony No.9; W.S. Bennett, The May Queen.
15 October: Arthur Sullivan, The Martyr of Antioch (composed expressly for the Festival); Beethoven, Mass in C; Schubert, Song of Miriam.
16 October: Spohr, The Last Judgement; Haydn, The Creation; Handel, Gloria from Utrecht Jubilate.

Evening: the concert on 13 October included John Francis Barnett, The Building of the Ship (composed expressly for the Festival and conducted by the composer). That on 14 October was a performance of Handel, Samson.

Two additional performances were given on the afternoons of 15 and 16 October. These were Organ Recitals by Dr. Spark.

Vocal: Madame Albani, Mrs Osgood, Miss Anna Williams, Madame Patey and Madame Trebelli; Mr Edward Lloyd, Mr Joseph Maas, Mr Henschel, Mr Henry Cross and Mr Frederick King; with Mr James Broughton (chorus master), Mr A. Broughton (chorus pianist) and Dr. Wm Spark (organ).

This chapter includes a photograph of Arthur Sullivan (conductor).

10-13 October 1883
10 October: Mendelssohn, Elijah.
11 October: Joachim Raff, The World’s End – The Judgement – The New World (first English performance); Selections from the works of Handel.
12 October: G.A. Macfarren, King David (written for the Festival).
13 October: Beethoven, Grand Mass in D; Mendelssohn, Hymn of Praise.

10 October: including Alfred Cellier, Gray’s Elegy (written for the Festival and conducted by the composer).
11 October: Joseph Barnby, The Lord is King (97th Psalm), written for the Festival and conducted by the composer; Mozart, Glory, Praise and Honour; Bach, Thou Guide of Israel (first English performance); Rossini, Stabat Mater.
12 October: including Niels Gade, The Crusaders.

Madame Alwina Valleria, Miss Annie Marriott, Miss Anna Williams, Madame Patey, Miss Damian and Miss Hilda Wilson; Mr Edward Lloyd, Mr Joseph Maas, Mr Frederic King, Mr Henry Blower and Mr Santley (vocal), with Dr William Spark and Mr Walter Parratt (organ), Mr James Broughton (chorus master) and Mr Alfred Broughton (accompanist).

13-16 October 1886
13 October: Handel, Israel in Egypt.
14 October: J.S. Bach, Mass in B minor.
15 October: Antonin Dvorak, St. Ludmila (written for the Festival and conducted by the composer).
16 October: Arthur Sullivan, The Golden Legend; Mendelssohn, St. Paul (Part I).

13 October: including A.C. Mackenzie, The Story of Sayid (written for the Festival and conducted by the composer).
14 October: C.V. Stanford, The Revenge, Ballad for chorus and orchestra (first performance, conducted by the composer); Beethoven, Symphony in C minor; Mendelssohn, The First Walpurgis Night.
15 October:
16 October: People’s Festival Concert: Mendelssohn, Elijah.

Madame Albani, Mrs Hutchinson, Miss Anna Williams, Madame Patey, Miss Damian and Miss Hilda Wilson; Mr Edward Lloyd, Mr Barton McGuckin, Mr Iver McKay, Mr Frederic King, Mr Brereton, Mr Watkin Mills, and Mr Santley (vocal), with Dr William Spark and Mr Frederic Cliffe (organ), Mr Alfred Broughton (chorus master) and Mr S. Liddle (accompanist).

9-12 October 1889
9 October: Berlioz, Faust.
10 October: Bach, God’s Time is Best; Schubert, Mass in E flat; Handel, Acis and Galatea.
11 October: C. Hubert H. Parry, St. Cecilia’s Day (written for the Festival and conducted by the composer); Mendelssohn, Violin Concerto; Beethoven, Symphony No.9.
12 October: Brahms, Requiem; Mendelssohn, Hymn of Praise.

9 October: F. Corder, The Sword of Argantyr (written for the Festival and conducted by the composer); Wagner, Tannhauser (Third act).
10 October: including William Creser, The Sacrifice of Freia (written for the Festival and conducted by the composer). Also, the first performance of A. C. Mackenzie, Pibroch for Violin Solo and Orchestra (conducted by the composer).
11 October: including C. Villiers Stanford, The Voyage of Maeldune (first performance, conducted by the composer).
12 October: People’s Festival Concert: Sullivan, Macbeth; Sullivan, The Golden Legend.

Madame Albani, Miss Macintyre, Miss Fillunger, Madame Valleria, Miss Hilda Wilson and Miss Damian; Mr Edward Lloyd, Mr Iver McKay, Mr Henry Piercy, Mr Watkins Mills, Mr Barrington Foote and Mr Brereton (vocal), with Mr Alfred Broughton (chorus master), Senor Sarasate (solo violin), Mr Lawrence (chorus pianist) and Mr A. Benton (organ).

This chapter includes a photograph of W. Sterndale Bennett.
Date range of collection
1858 - 1889
Accumulation Dates
Suggested Audience
Not Specific
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Associated Places

Location Details

British Library
The British Library St Pancras ,96 Euston Road London NW1 2DB
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Associated Collection(s)
Cardif University (Prifysgol Caerdydd)Royal College of Music LondonMuseums, Libraries and Archives Council