Music in Birmingham has an inner an d an outer history. The outer is concerned with the Triennial Festivals, which for long h ad a n ational rep u ta t io n-the inner with various efforts towards ma intaining a continuous musical life, which h ad to struggle agains t the paralysing influence of the Festivals. The war of 1914-18 brought a b o u t the suspension of the Festivals an d made o the r forms of musical a c t iv ity difficult to sustain, b u t with the coming of peace, and the absence of an a t tem p t to revive the Festival, the musical life of the city has been able to expand, and now assumes an importance comparable with th a t of Manchester and Glasgow. B irm in g h a m Mu s ic a l F e s t iv a l s . – The Festivals began in 1768, when performances were given in St. P hilip’s Church an d in the the a t re in King Stre e t in aid of the funds of the General Hospital. A chorus of fo r ty an d a band of twenty-five h ad for conductor Capel Bond, of Coventry, an d only Han d e l’s music was performed. The works given included ‘ Messiah,’ ‘ Alexander‘s F e a s t ‘ an d ‘ L ‘ Allegro.’ F or a time the Festivals were held a t irregular intervals, b u t from 1796-1829 the triennial ar rangement obtained. In 1808 Dr. Crotch conducted, an d M ozart’s additional accompaniments to ‘ Messiah ‘ were used in Birmingham for the first time. Samuel Wesley conducted in 1811, and T. Greatorex in 1820. At the 1829 Festival Costa appeared as a singer in a c a n ta ta by Zingarelli. Five years later , in 1834, the completion of the p resent Town Hall lent to the Festivals a dignity an d importance the y had n o t h i the r to had. W. K n y v e t t w as the general conductor, holding the position until 1840. In the chorus of 300 were male voices from Worcester an d Lichfield, with a contingent of female voices from Lancashire. In 1837 Mendelssohn conducted his ‘ St. Pau l ‘ and appeared as organist. Mendelssohn a n d Moscheles sha red the conducting in 1846 ; in th a t ye a r ‘ Elijah ‘ had its first performance. 1849 found Costa installed as conductor, the beginning of a reign lasting u ntil 1882. Notable first performances during the period included Costa’s ‘ Eli ‘ (1855) an d 1 N a aman ‘ (1864), and Gounod’s ‘R e d em p t io n ‘ in 1882. I n 1873 the Festival realised ?7500 for the Hospital. 1855 saw the formation of the Birmingham Amateur Harmonic Association to provide the local contingent of choristers, an office la te r p e r formed by the Festival Choral Society. The ap p o in tmen t of Dr. Rich te r in 1885 added sensibly to the musical importance of the institution. In th a t year ‘ Messiah ‘ was given according to the original score, the novelties including Gounod’s ‘ Mors e t V ita ,’ S tan fo rd ‘s ‘ Three Holy Children,’ Dvorak’s ‘ Spectre’s Bride ‘ an d Cowen’s ‘ Sleeping Be au ty .’ 1888 b rought P a r ry ‘s ‘ J u d i th , ‘ an d 1891 S tan fo rd ‘s ‘ Eden ‘ and Dvorak’s Requiem. I n 1894 the novelties were th re e-P a r ry ‘s 1 K ing Saul,’ Goring Thoma s’s ‘ The Swan an d the S kylark ‘ and Henschel’s S ta b a t Mater. Purc ell’s ‘ King A r th u r ‘ was revived in 1897, and Stan fo rd ‘s Requiem and Somervell’s ‘ Ode to the Sea ‘ had first performances. The tu rn of the c en tu ry in 1900 b rought a p o r te n t-the production of E lga r ‘s ‘The Dream of Gerontius.’ The composer, when a young man, had been a violinist a t a hinder desk in Stockley’e Orchestra, a combination which gave popular concerts in the Town Hall. The poem, by Cardinal Newman, provides an o the r link with Birmingham, for Newman resided for the th i r ty years preceding his d e a th a t the Oratory in Hagley Ro ad ; E lg a r ‘s man u sc r ip t score, also, is deposited there. Gervase Elwes, for so long identified with the ten o r music of the oratorio, was educated a t the Ora tory School. A revival of B y rd ‘s f ive-part Mass also lent distinction to the 1900 Festival. In 1903 E lga r ‘s ‘ The Apostles ‘ had its first per formance, followed in 1906 b y the same composer’s ‘ The Kingdom.’ At the 1906 Fes tival the first p a r t of B an to ck ‘s ‘ Omar K h ay y am ‘ and Holbrooke’s ‘ The Bells ‘ were also given for the first time. The 1909 novelties included the th i rd p a r t of B an to ck ‘s ‘ Omar Kh ay y dm ‘ an d Boughton’s ‘ Midnight.’ Sir H en ry Wood was conductor in 1912, the la s t of a series of Fe stivals covering a period of near ly 150 years. Sibelius, however, conducted a first performance of his A minor S ymphony (No. 4), a n d the o the r new works included E lga r ‘s ‘ The Music-Makers,’ Bantock’s symphonic poem ‘ Eifine a t the F a i r ‘ an d W alford D avies’s ‘ The Song of St. Francis .’ R . H. Wilson concluded a period as chorusmas te r extending over four Festivals. The orchestra numbered 140 an d the chorus 350. Co n c e r t s .-The inner his tory of Birmingham music is a story of enthus ia stic effort f ighting agains t local phlegm an d adverse fortune, a story of many failures a f te r an early promise of success, with a promise in the years since the war of b e t te r times in store. Chief among these must be reckoned the Halford concerts, conducted by George Halford and financed for many years by a group of publicspirited citizens. The Halford Orchestra gave programmes of the highest class, introducing to the city many new works an d a host of eminent solo performers. They fell because the burden became too g re a t to be borne. Another fine enterprise was the series of Promenade Orchestral Concerts given a t the The a tre Roya l for m an y years by Landon Rona ld in association w ith Max Mossel. During the war Sir Thomas Beecham in s t i tu te d a series of orchestral concerts, b u t with dis as trous financial results, largely th ro u g h the commandeering of the Town Hall b y the War Office, with a resulting transference of the concerts to a mission building. Chamber music has had many enthus ia stic promoters, among them Max Mossel, Madame Minadieu an d Oscar Poliak. The p opula r ta s te for choral music has always operated agains t the efforts of ins trumental music to find a secure footing, b u t there are signs of a broader outlook on the art. Through the in s trum en ta lity of Jesse Collings, a Member of Pa r liamen t of more th a n local fame, and others working with him, a number of choral societies, with in some cases an am a te u r orchestra a tta ch ed , sprang into exis tence with a view to providing cheap concerts in the Town Hall on S a tu rd ay evenings. For a long te rm of years they did useful work, b u t the growth of other forms of enter tainment, combined with a reactionary policy, has in recent years militated agains t them, an d their vogue has gone. Their claims to possession of the Town Hall a t present s ta n d in the way of in s t i tu t io n of concerts more in keeping with the spirit of the times. The concerts p romoted by W. C. Stockley, for many years chorusmas te r to the Festival, are also deserving of mention in an y account of earlier efforts to cu ltiv a te musical ta s te in Birmingham. Mid l a n d I n s t i t u t e S c h o o l .-The c ity’s principal educational ins titution is the Midland In s t i tu te School of Music. R a the r casually handled for man y years, the a p p o in tm en t of Granville Bantock as Principal in 1900 was of prime importance, the residence of so eminent a composer in its midst meaning much to the music of the city. The numb e r of s tu d e n ts is large, a to ta l of 1600 having been reached in a single year, an d all branches of music are tau g h t. I t is questionable, however, whe the r the In s t i tu te School is to-d ay ad eq u a te to the c i ty ‘s needs, b u t m an y of its s tu d e n ts have a t ta in e d to eminence in various branches of the a r t . Among these may be mentioned Ju l iu s Harrison, F ra n k Mullings, Appleby Matthews, Clarence Ray b o u ld an d Sydney Grew. R u t la n d Boughton was for man y years a te a ch e r there, an d 1 The Im mo r ta l Ho u r ‘ was composed during his s ta y in the city. Vocal teaching in Birmingham has over a long period of years been s ingularly good ; the n umb e r of G. A. Breeden’s pupils who have found fame is remarkable. I n 1905 Richa rd P e y to n founded a Chair of Music a t the University, Sir E dward E lga r being the first holder. Since 1907 Granville Bantock has been P ey to n Professor. The course for the Un iv e rs ity ‘s musical degree includes an Arts course. T h e Co m p e t i t iv e F e s t iv a l .-I n 1912 the Competitive F estival movement found a footing in Birmingham, largely th ro u g h the efforts of Bantock an d Messrs. Bowker an d S tevens. The biennial Festival is nowamong the largest held in the country. In 1924 over 12,000 competitors appeared, these including 200 children’s choirs drawn from the e lementary schools of the city. The Fes tival was the first in the co u n t ry to abolish the money prize. F e s t i v a l Ch o r a l S o c ie ty .-This society is the principal present-day link with the pas t. Adr ian Boult is conductor and G raham Godfrey chorus-master, the i r predecessors including Sir H en ry Wood, Allen Blackall an d Dr. Sinclair. Fo u r concerts are given a n n u a l ly ; recent productions have included Ra chmaninoff ‘s ‘ The Bells,’ Ba n to c k ‘s ‘ The Great God P a n ‘ an d Dame E the l Sm y th ‘s Mass. T he City Orchestra.-T he founding of the City Orchestra in 1920 has been of incalculable benefit. Two years earlier, Appleby M atthews, a local pianis t an d choir conductor, h ad in s t i tu te d a series of Sunday orchestral concerts a t his own risk, which cau g h t on with the public. Their success gave an impetus to the movement for a City Orchestra. Sponsored before the municipality by Neville Chamberlain, a g r a n t of ?1250 a year from the rates was made, while m an y handsome donations were received from p r iv a te citizens. I t s first conductor was Appleby Matthews, his Sunday concerts being merged in the activities of the civic body. Annually six symphony concerts (later increased to eight) were given, with six S a tu rd a y populars ,twenty- four Sunday concerts an d a series of six on S a tu rd ay af ternoons for school children. Three, an d sometimes four, gues t conductors ap p e a r annually a t the Symphony concerts. Sir E dwa rd E lg a r cond u c ted the Orche s tra ‘s first conc e r t in a p r o g r am m e o f his own works, an d was accorded t h e honour of a civic reception b y the municipality. In 1924 disagreements led to the severance of the o riginal conduc tor ‘s connexion with t h e Orchestra, Adr ian Boult succeeding him. In spite of the g ran t, large deficits have been made on the c o n c e r t s ; the 1924-25 season was entered on with an adverse balance of over ?3000. Nevertheles s the author itie s increased the g r a n t in 1925, and the ar tistic results have justified the ir confidence. Cit y C h o ir .-Formed in 1921, the City of Birmingham Choir was intended to supplement the work of the Orchestra, tho u g h i t is an independent body. I t s work, however, has been carried on separately. I t s conductor, Joseph Lewis, is also d eputy-conduc tor of the City Orchestra. I t has given concert performances of Boughton’s 1 Bethlehem ‘ an d a first public performance of the a cappella Mass of Vaughan Williams. Jo s ep h Lewis is also musical director of the local Broadcasting Station, where he formed the first reper tory organisation of orchestra, choir a n d soloists employed for the broadcas ting of music. O p e r a a t t h e R e p e r t o r y T h e a t r e .-For opera the city h ad been dependent on the visits of touring companies, b u t in 1920 these opportunities began to be supplemented by occasional performances of opera intime a t the Repertory Theatre. In 1916 Ba rry Ja ckson had produced Clarence Raybould’s ‘ The Sumida River .’ In 1920 he gave a series of performances of ‘ Cosi fan tu t te . ‘ A ye a r later Boughton’s ‘ The Im mo r ta l Hour ,’ Cimarosa’s ‘ II matrimonio segreto,’ an d Donizetti’s ‘ Don Pasquale ‘ were added to the repertory. 1922 brought ‘ Don Giovanni,’ a n d 1923 Ethel Smyth’s ‘ The Boatswain’s Mate ‘ an d ‘ Fe te galante ‘-the las t-named a first performance. During these years Appleby Matthews was musical director. I n 1924 ‘ The Seal-Woman,’ by Bantock and Mrs. Kennedy-Fraser, was produced u nder Adrian Boult’s direction. P o p u l a r M u s ic .-The City Police Band, largely through the in s trumen ta lity of C. H. Ra fter , the Chief Constable, plays an im p o r ta n t p a r t in popularising music in the city. I t is a body of s ix ty musicians, mostly drawn from Kneller Hall. I t plays a t the low pitch, and a t special concerts has been conducted by Holst, Holbrooke and Cyril Jenkins. Richa rd Wassell is musical director, succeeding Appleby Matthews in 1922. In 1924 G. W. Cunningham succeeded C. W. Perkins as City Organist, the la t te r retiring a f te r th ir ty -e ig h t years’ service. F o r ty recitals are given annually on the Town Hall ins trument, a Hill organ with 4 manuals an d 68 stops. Recitals are also given on the University organ a t Bournbrook. The Town Hall has for long been found in adequate to the c ity’s needs for concert-giving, and a s c h em e for a large City Hall is on f o o t ; the site has a lready been secured. The carillon a t Boumville should also be included among the m usical amenities of B irmingham. Recitals are given on i t b y n o ted Belgian players, and a resident carillonneur is to be appointed. a . j . s. BIS (Fr.), ‘ tw ic e ‘ ; (1) a cry equivalent to E n c o r e (q.v.). The F rench even have a verb, bisser, to repeat. (2) When wr itten, as i t sometimes is in MS. music, over a phrase or passage, i t signifies th a t the notes are to be r e p e a te d ; the same thing would be effected by dots of repetition a t the beginning an d end of the phrase.

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