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Title: The musical festival and the choral society in England in the 18th and 19th Centuries : a social history
Author: Pritchard, Brian
Awarding Body: Birmingham University
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 1966
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This dissertation concentrates on the history of the festival and choral society in England from 1750 to 1900, seeking (i) to relate the development of each to the contemporary social environment, and (ii) to outline the changing relationship between them and the reasons for the dominance of first one and then the other at various points in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In Section A (1750 to 1795) the festival dominates England's musical life. From their beginnings as efforts designed to assist local charities, we watch several provincial festivals become, through increased attention to musical considerations, important social events and symbols of the cultural standing of their respective towns. The effects of the changed social environment brought about by the Industrial Revolution dominate Section B. The small and exclusive eighteenth-century festival of the nobility and gentry is eclipsed and replaced, in the 1820s, by a more exciting festival controlled and patronised by the new middle classes. The need for a permanent choral society as the mainstay of the festival chorus is recognised; early attempts to achieve this, and the gradual displacement of the earlier "assembly" chorus, are detailed. Music as a means to effect the moral improvement of the lower classes is advocated after 1830, and in Section C we see the various efforts thus inspired resulting in an increase of better qualified singers and an ever multiplying number of choral societies. The choral society becomes the national musical activity and the centre of attraction for the remainder of the century (Section D), while the festival becomes a more occasional event. Charity motives recede; and the thesis shows how a "civic" festival, principally designed for prestige and boasting massive forces and a formidable number of specially commissioned works, emerges.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available