By John Spitzer
Studies of live performance existence in nineteenth-century the USA have normally been restricted to giant orchestras and the courses we're conversant in at the present time. yet as this publication unearths, audiences of that period loved way more diversified musical reports than this concentration may recommend. to listen to an orchestra, humans have been prone to head to a lager backyard, eating place, or summer season inn than to a live performance corridor. And what they heard weren’t simply symphonic works—programs additionally incorporated opera excerpts and preparations, instrumental showpieces, comedian numbers, and medleys of patriotic tunes.
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Additional info for American Orchestras in the Nineteenth Century
68 · “Death of Mr. Henry Ahner,” Chicago Daily Tribune, February 4, 1858, 1. A retrospective article in Chicago’s Tribune blamed Ahner’s failure on German rivals. Calling Ahner an “excellent musician,” the Tribune reports that “he came to Chicago and gave some orchestral concerts here with local players, but the opposition from the German musicians was too 42 mark clague The ensemble that played in Ahner’s concert series seems to have largely escaped the notice of historians of classical music in Chicago, probably because of its name.
Rather than a personal entrepreneurial venture, this Philharmonic was organized as a “society” made up of the paying members of a large amateur chorus whose members participated to improve their own musical abilities as well as the taste of the community. ” Its choruses in particular were praised in Tribune announcements and seem to have fit the newspaper’s aspirations for community taste. A “Grand Concert” on Monday, March 13, 1853, for example, included vocal compositions primarily by Mozart and Handel plus instrumental selections featuring flute and piano solos.
20 john spitzer In the first half of the nineteenth century, only a few American cities— New York, Philadelphia, and Boston—had enough resident musicians to put together orchestras of any significant size. The musicians of St. 1 Some of the players were professional musicians, others amateurs. 2 By the 1870s and 1880s fifteen or twenty cities had grown large enough to support a thriving entertainment industry and the orchestras that it required. Immigrant musicians, especially from Germany and, by the 1880s, from Italy, arrived to staff the theaters, beer gardens, dance halls, summer resorts, concert halls, and opera houses of Chicago, Cincinnati, Baltimore, St.