An annotated critical edition of twelve lectures by William Sterndale Bennett [1816-75], the foremost English musician of the mid-Victorian period, principal of the Royal Academy, and conductor of the Philharmonic Society. Delivered at the London Institution and Cambridge University between 1858 and 1871, they are valuable both as representative of the Victorian understanding of musical history, and for Bennett's astute comments on the state of music and musical life at the time. They include admonishments to the British government for failing to offer adequate financial support to the art; interesting and often surprising views on many contemporary composers; and discourses on his own experiences as a professional musician.
The lectures are presented with annotations which identify the persons, institutions and compositions referred to in the text. An extensive introduction sets the lectures in context and reflects on their significance to English musical history and to Bennett's personal career.
NICHOLAS TEMPERLEY is Professor of Music Emeritus at the University of Illinois.