‘As Much by Force of Circumstances as by Ambition’: The Programming Practices of the Melbourne Liedertafel Societies, 1880–1905
Source TitleNineteenth-Century Music Review
PublisherCambridge University Press (CUP)
University of Melbourne Author/sCole, Suzanne
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsCole, S. (2005). ‘As Much by Force of Circumstances as by Ambition’: The Programming Practices of the Melbourne Liedertafel Societies, 1880–1905. Nineteenth-Century Music Review, 2 (2), pp.107-132. https://doi.org/10.1017/s1479409800002226.
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C1 - Journal Articles Refereed
<jats:p>Two male-voice singing societies – the Metropolitan Liedertafel and the Melbourne Liedertafel – occupied prominent positions in the concert life of Melbourne during the prosperous 1880s. At this time the Metropolitan Liedertafel, formed in 1870, had between 80 and 100 performing members and regularly attracted audiences of over two thousand to its ‘Social Evenings for Ladies and Gentlemen’. A concert described as the ‘greatest gathering of its kind every [<jats:italic>sic</jats:italic>] seen in this city’, given at the recently completed Exhibition Buildings on 7 July 1881 and attended by the Princes Albert Victor and George, drew a crowd of between five and six thousand. The farewell concert given on 13 February 1882 for the Mendelssohn Quintette Club, visiting from Boston, had an audience of approximately two thousand, even though as one of the society's ‘smoke nights’, attendance was limited to men. The Metropolitan Liedertafel played host to a number of other visiting international musicians, including Henri Kowalski, August Wilhelmj, Carlotta Patti, Ernest de Munck, and, somewhat later, Sir Charles and Lady Hallé. In the early 1880s, the Metropolitan was identified as the city's leading musical society; an 1881 review in the <jats:italic>Argus</jats:italic> made so bold as to suggest that it was ‘the most successful association of its kind ever established here – or probably anywhere else’! This sentiment is reflected in a satirical piece in <jats:italic>Town Talk</jats:italic> in October 1881 in which the Metropolitan's conductor, Julius Herz, refers to himself, in a mock German accent, as ‘the subreme conductor of the greatest musical organisation in the vorld“.</jats:p>
KeywordsMusic; The Performing Arts (incl. Music; Theatre and Dance)
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