Drawing on a range of contemporary performance documentation, including concert programmes, newspaper reviews and periodical reports, this book addresses what it refers to as the Philharmonic 'myth': the notion that London experienced a period of orchestral inactivity between the departure of Haydn in 1795 and the founding of the Philharmonic Society some eighteen years later. The book illustrates that, far from constituting a radical new departure in patterns of London concert life, the Philharmonic Society built on the growing interest in orchestral music evident over the preceding years. At the same time, it suggests that the deliberate adoption of orchestral repertory marked the first institutional articulation of a professional opposition to the traditional dominance of fashionable Italian opera, and that the Philharmonic might therefore be seen to reflect the emergence of important new strands in musical, artistic and cultural leadership.
Ian Taylor is Assistant Director of Music at Downe House School. His work has appeared in Nineteenth-Century Music Review, Brio, and Handbooks for Studies in Eighteenth-Century English Music.
Introduction: 'A period of orchestral starvation'? Perceptions of London concert life, 1795-1813; 1. The makings of a myth: from Haydn to the Philharmonic; 2. The 'rage' for music: West End concert culture and patterns of social change; 3. Continuity and disruption in London concert programming, 1795-1813; 4. Institutional continuity in London concert life, 1795-1813; 5. Musical life outside the West End; 6. Public music in private spheres: domestic music in London, 1795-1813; 7. 'A period of orchestral starvation'?; Bibliography.