The Birmingham Festivals
(“Festivals de Birmingham”, Harmonie et mélodie, Calmann-Lévy, 1899, 141–154)
Due to their grandness of scale and the importance they have in the sight of the English and their ancient origin, the Birmingham Music Festivals deserve to be noticed. There, as on the banks of the Rhine, a festival consists of a series of concerts lasting several days. The Birmingham Festival is a philanthropic institution. Its purpose is to support the city's general hospital, which was founded in 1765. The city found it was unable to meet the growing costs of the hospital and so, in 1768, it had the idea of putting on a festival in St Paul's Chapel, which raised 800 pounds. The concert included the Handel oratorios L’Allegro, Il Penseroso, Alexander's Feast and Messiah. The Birmingham Town Hall is one of the best large halls in existence. The Festival orchestra is made up of 28 first violins, 26 seconds, 20 violas, 17 cellos and 17 double basses.
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