By John Spitzer
Studies of live performance existence in nineteenth-century the US have ordinarily been restricted to giant orchestras and the courses we're acquainted with this day. yet as this booklet unearths, audiences of that period loved way more varied musical reviews than this concentration may recommend. to listen to an orchestra, humans have been likely to head to a lager backyard, eating place, or summer season lodge 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
You first heard a musical pianissimo, and rarest of all rare things, you heard an orchestra play in time and tune. What a superb concert that was last evening! 4 in this volume. 59 · “Amusements,” Chicago Tribune, November 30, 1869, 4. 60 · “Amusements,” Chicago Tribune, December 1, 1869, 4. 61 · As late as 1888, Balatka was still leading a Chicago-based concert society, namely, the Chicago Symphony Society (see “Music and Drama,” Chicago Tribune, November 24, 1888, 5). 2. Chicago Tribune advertisements for Philharmonic and Thomas Orchestras at Farwell Hall, November 1869.
Between April and June, Grau’s company presented two separate seasons (nearly seven weeks) of opera, performing almost nightly. 55 Building on the musical experience, choral repertory, and audience education of Chicago’s Philharmonics, opera soon replaced orchestral music as the primary vehicle for musical art. The end of the war brought prosperity, security, and improved rail transportation to the north, thus facilitating the work of operatic touring companies. Crosby’s Opera House triumphed, but the Philharmonic suffered.
This season exhausted the organization’s financial surplus and put the orchestra in debt, despite a reduction in the number of concerts to four, the return of choral music, and the continuation of the more popular matinee season. 56 The orchestra gave one last concert in the opera house and then cut back its expenditures by using only local soloists and moving to the smaller Music Hall for the remainder of the season. 57 Tribune critic George Upton repeatedly proclaimed the death of the organization.
American Orchestras in the Nineteenth Century by John Spitzer