The Provincial Music Festival in England, 1784–1914: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Provincial Music Festival in England, 1784–1914

1st Edition

By Pippa Drummond


310 pages

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A history of the English music festival is long overdue. Dr Pippa Drummond argues that these festivals represented the most significant cultural events in provincial England during the nineteenth century and emphasizes their particular importance in the promotion and commissioning of new music. Drawing on material from surviving accounts, committee records, programmes, contemporary pamphlets and reviews, Drummond shows how the festivals responded to and reflected the changing social and economic conditions of their day. Coverage includes a chronological overview documenting the history of individual festivals followed by a detailed exploration of such topics as performers and performance practice, logistics and finance, programmes and commissioning, together with information concerning the composition and provenance of festival choirs and orchestras. Also discussed are the effects of improved transport and new technologies on the festivals, sacred and secular conflicts, gender issues, the role of philanthropy, the nature of patronage and the changing social status of festival audiences. The book will also be of interest to social, economic and local historians.


'Here in Ashgate's 'Music in 19th-Century Britain' series is a fascinating volume that should be of interest to all lovers of Elgar's music… a book that not only provides a succinct musical history of the English provincial musical festival but that places it within the social and economic setting of the 19th century.' Elgar Society Journal 'Those of us who enjoy these festivals today will be fascinated by Drummond’s history.' British Institute of Organ Studies

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Part I Chronological Survey: 1784-1810: a tradition established; 1810-1830: the early 19th century festival; 1830-1850: the Mendelssohn era; 1850-1870: consolidation - the mid-century and beyond; 1870-1890: supporting English composers; 1890-1914: the shadow of war. Part II Themes and Aspects: Performers, performance practice and the press; Ambience, logistics and finance; Programmes and commissioning; The festival orchestra; The festival chorus; Social history; Postscript: the wider picture; Select bibliography; index.

About the Author

Dr Pippa Drummond was educated at St Hugh's College, Oxford, UK, where she took the degrees of MA, BMus and D.Phil. After a number of years as a Junior Research Fellow and Director of Music at St Hugh's, she was appointed to a Lectureship at Sheffield University. After a break from academic life to bring up a family and pursue a professional flute-playing career Drummond spent several years as Head of Woodwind at Trent College. Drummond is the author of The German Concerto: Five Eighteenth-Century Studies (1980).

About the Series

Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain

Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain

So much of our ‘common’ knowledge of music in nineteenth-century Britain is bound up with received ideas. This series disputes their validity through research critically reassessing our perceptions of the period. Volumes in the series cover wide-ranging areas such as composers and composition; conductors, management and entrepreneurship; performers and performing; music criticism and the press; concert venues and promoters; church music and music theology; repertoire, genre, analysis and theory; instruments and technology; music education and pedagogy; publishing, printing and book selling; reception, historiography and biography; women and music; masculinity and music; gender and sexuality; domestic music-making; empire, orientalism and exoticism; and music in literature, poetry, theatre and dance.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Social History