Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Philharmonic Society: Winter Concert Season 1910 – list of works performed.

Myles Birkett Foster’s book, the History of the Philharmonic Society gives an account of virtually every concert given under the auspices of the Society. It can often be interesting to see what was being played a hundred years ago.
Interestingly the emphasis was on Elgar whose Violin Concerto had been commissioned by the Society. It received it first performance on November 10.

First Winter Concert, Thursday November 10
Part I
National Anthem (scored by Edward Elgar)
William Sterndale Bennett, Overture, ‘Naiads’.
Edward Elgar, Concerto for Violin in B minor, Op.61 (First performance) Fritz Kreisler (violin) conducted by the composer
Part II
Edward Elgar Symphony No. 1 in Ab, Op. 55 conducted by the composer.

Second Winter Concert, Wednesday November 30
Part I
Karl Goldmark Overture, ‘Sakuntala’,
Samuel Coleridge Taylor, ‘Sons of the Sea’
Richard Wagner, ‘Les deux Grenadiers’ scored by P. Bastide, Edmund Burke, (baritone)
Edward Elgar, Concerto for Violin in B minor, Op.61 Fritz Kreisler (violin) conducted by the composer.
Part II
Peter Tschaikowsky, Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op.36
Emil Szymon Mlynarski (conductor)

Third Winter Concert, Wednesday December 7
Part I
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Symphony No. 34 in C major
Frederick Delius, Symphonic Poem, ‘Paris’
Vincent D'Indy, Symphonie sur un chant montagnard francais for Pianoforte and Orchestra, Katherine Ruth Heyman (piano)
Thomas Beecham (conductor)
Part II
W. H. Bell, Phantasy-Prelude, ‘The Shepherd’ conducted by the composer.
Luigi Boccherini, Overture in D major
Richard Wagner, Overture, ‘The Flying Dutchman’
Thomas Beecham (conductor)

Naturally all this music is interesting and important; however certain pieces caught my attention.
‘The 1st winter concert (opening the ninety-ninth season), took place on November 10, when Sir Edward Elgar conducted before a house crammed to the doors, many being turned away. This excitement was due to the first performance of his Violin Concerto, played by Kreisler. Elgar's first Symphony was also played.’
And then the Violin Concerto was again performed nearly three weeks later ‘with another similarly packed house, and much enthusiasm...’
It is interesting that Delius’ tone poem ‘Paris was regarded by Foster as being ‘weird’.

Interestingly most of the works performed at the Winter Season have survived. However the British composer W.H. Bell is little represented these days in the concert hall or on CD. Apparently his Phantasy-Prelude, ‘The Shepherd’ was very well received.
Finally, although it is not a British work, this brief analysis amused me - Miss Katherine Ruth Heyman endeavoured to make herself heard in Mr. Vincent D'Indy's Sinfonie Montagnarde, but was badly beaten in the attempt by the percussion! Perhaps D'Indy intended the pianoforte to be on a level with the rest of the orchestra...


Paul Brownsey said...

How interesting! And how long their programmes were!

Actually, I can remember long programmes when I first started going to Proms in the 1960s. I have a hunch (the programmes are more or less inaccessible at the back of the loft) I was once at a Prom that included an overture, Mozart's Clarinet Concerto, Dvorak's Sixth Symphony, and then, AFTER the interval, Belshazzar's Feast. Even if I've misremembered the details, I don't think that's inaccurate in the sort of length it suggests.

As someone who sings in a choral society in Glasgow, I'd be fascinated if someone could uncover some old choral soc programmes from the 19th century so that we can see what was sung in the heyday of British choral socs. Shaw sneered at 'the oratorio market' so I guess there were a lot of pieces we never hear of, let alone hear, now.

John France said...

I used to live in Glasgow - and sang in the Stepps & Distict Choral Society - long gone I guess...
Thanks for the comment.