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The Crystal Palace Concerts: Canon Formation and the English Musical Renaissance

The Crystal Palace Concerts: Canon Formation and the English Musical Renaissance Abstract This article examines the role of London's Crystal Palace in the popularization of “classical music” in Victorian Britain, and in the creation of the orchestral canon in the nineteenth century. The Crystal Palace was originally built in Hyde Park for the Great Exhibition of 1851 and was reconstructed in the London suburb of Sydenham in 1854. This popular attraction assumed a musical prominence in British culture when the ambitious conductor Augustus Manns established an orchestra there in 1855, and presented a series of Saturday Concerts until 1900. Central to this discussion of the significance of the Crystal Palace concerts are two audience plebiscites that Manns conducted, in 1880 and 1887, which shed much light on Victorian popular taste and musical values. As well, particular attention is given to his involvement in the “English Musical Renaissance” in both of its aspects: as a campaign to raise British composers to canonic stature (to construct a “British Beethoven”); and as an effort to securely embed classical music within British culture. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png 19th-Century Music University of California Press

The Crystal Palace Concerts: Canon Formation and the English Musical Renaissance

19th-Century Music , Volume 34 (1) – Jul 1, 2010

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Publisher
University of California Press
Copyright
Copyright © by the University of California Press
ISSN
0148-2076
eISSN
1533-8606
DOI
10.1525/ncm.2010.34.1.087
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract This article examines the role of London's Crystal Palace in the popularization of “classical music” in Victorian Britain, and in the creation of the orchestral canon in the nineteenth century. The Crystal Palace was originally built in Hyde Park for the Great Exhibition of 1851 and was reconstructed in the London suburb of Sydenham in 1854. This popular attraction assumed a musical prominence in British culture when the ambitious conductor Augustus Manns established an orchestra there in 1855, and presented a series of Saturday Concerts until 1900. Central to this discussion of the significance of the Crystal Palace concerts are two audience plebiscites that Manns conducted, in 1880 and 1887, which shed much light on Victorian popular taste and musical values. As well, particular attention is given to his involvement in the “English Musical Renaissance” in both of its aspects: as a campaign to raise British composers to canonic stature (to construct a “British Beethoven”); and as an effort to securely embed classical music within British culture.

Journal

19th-Century MusicUniversity of California Press

Published: Jul 1, 2010

Keywords: Keywords Crystal Palace , English Musical Renaissance , musical canon , Victorian Britain , Augustus Manns

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