Thursday, 10 January 2013

Sir Arthur Sullivan conducts in Monte Carlo, 1893

I recently came across this syndicated note about a concert held in Monte Carlo on March 19 1893:-
'The Daily News has received some particulars of the English concert given at Monte Carlo a few days since under the direction of Sir Arthur Sullivan. The programme was drawn up by Sir Arthur himself, and, with the exception of the finale from Sterndale Bennett’s Symphony [1], it consisted exclusively of the works of living British composers. It began with the overture written by Dr, Hubert Parry for ‘The Frogs’ of Aristophanes [2], followed by Dr. Mackenzie’s ‘Benedictus’, [3] the ‘Courante’ from the ‘Ravenswood’ music [4] and the scherzo from Professor Stanford’s ‘Irish’ Symphony; all these compositions now being heard for the first time in Monte Carlo. Mr. Cowen’s suite, ‘The Language of Flowers’ [5] which had already been performed at the Concerts Internationaux was repeated, and the concert ended with Sullivan’s own overture, ‘Di Ballo.’'
Leeds Mercury - Tuesday 28 March 1893 (with minor edits)

The Musical News for April 1 1893 adds that ‘there was a first rate orchestra of 75 players under M. Arthur Stock, [6] and the English music was cordially applauded by the audience.’

[1] William Sterndale Bennett (1816-1875) This probably refers to the Symphony in G minor which was composed in 1864 with the ‘romanza’ movement being added in 1867.  However WSB did compose seven other symphonies between 1832 and 1840.
[2] Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848-1918) wrote the incidental music for Aristophanes ‘The Frogs’ in 1892 which was performed at Cambridge in 1892.
[3] Dr Alexander Mackenzie (1847-1935), Scottish composer. Mackenzie wrote a vast amount of music including seven operas, more than a dozen large scale choral works, many tone poems, songs and piano pieces. Yet of all the works that he produced the Benedictus has remained the best known – at least with concertgoers who are aware of his name.  In many ways this piece out ‘Elgars Elgar’ in its elegiac mood.
[4] Mackenzie’s music to Ravenswood was composed to accompany Irving's production of Herman Merivale’s play at the Lyceum during September 1890.
[5] Frederick Hymen Cowen (1852-1935) wrote a considerable range of music, including a number of operas and operettas, oratorios, six symphonies and many songs, piano pieces and chamber works. The Language of Flowers was a romantic ‘Scene du Ballet’ written in 1880. There are six movements: Daisy, Lilac, Fern, Columbine, Yellow Jasmine and Lily of the Valley. The first performance would appear to have been at the St James Hall, London on November 27 1880.
[6] M. Arthur Stock. I cannot trace this gentleman, however, he would appear to be the leader of the orchestra. 

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