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Camille Saint-SaënsOn Music and Musicians$
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Roger Nichols

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195320169

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195320169.001.0001

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The Birmingham Festivals

The Birmingham Festivals

(“Festivals de Birmingham”, Harmonie et mélodie, Calmann-Lévy, 1899, 141–154)

4 The Birmingham Festivals
Camille Saint-Saëns

Roger Nichols

Oxford University Press

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.

Keywords:   Birmingham Festivals, England, Handel, Messiah, Alexander's Feast, Handel oratorios

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