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THE MUSICAL INSTITUTIONS
Wounded, feeble, faintingWell the face he knew,
Louder hummed an evil voice : “ Come, leave him in rue,
Your cottage burned, love may be spurned, The gold all will save,
His fate it is, not your hand, digs
Who served well their God,
O'er the gold he trod.
the cliff That looketh out to sea, Since the morning star arose,
That fair maid, is sheKneeling on the tall cliff
Guarding fair Moville, Gazing 'gainst the breezy morn
O’er seas tossing still.
And nearing so slow,
And whither doth it go ?
It grates on the shore, And ah, that last, sweet, dying smile,
She is bending o'er !
The system of musical clubs or associations, which has latterly become so general in Dublin, as well as in most other leading cities of the United Kingdom, is not entirely of such recent growth as some may suppose.
The “Charitable and Musical Society," the origin of which dates from a very early period in the reign of Anne, was founded by a number of amateurs, who were in the habit of meeting at the “Cross Keys” tavern in Christ Church Yard, its object being to organise funds for discharging the liabilities of confined debtors, whose condition in those days, was very pitiable indeed.
It was preceded, however, by a club on a more limited basis, and with a less accurately defined purpose, called the “ Bull's Head Society," from the circumstance of its meetings being held at the “Bull’s Head” tavern in Fishamble Street. The members of the “ Bull's Head” met on every Friday evening, and after the performance of a miscellaneous selection of music, “concluded the night with catch singing, mutual friendship and harmony.” The programme was regularly arranged by a committee, and the members paid a subscription of an English crown each. An annual dinner was held in December, and the season" closed in May, when the funds in the hands of the treasurer were distributed in accordance with the design of the founders.
In some instances they were given to the Dublin Society to be awarded as premiums, but " more frequently,” says the historian of Dublin City, “a committee was appointed to visit the various gaols of the city, and compound for the liberation of the distressed incarcerated debtors, large numbers of whom were thus restored to liberty.” It was in the year 1723, that the club expanded into the “Charitable and Musical Society," with the regularly defined object of procuring the liberation of distressed debtors. The president at this period was John Neal, a music publisher, and the condition of the society wbile under his sway is the subject of some amusing doggrel by one of its members, of which the following is a specimen.
Thus and thus—0 thus by the sea,
'Tearful, smiling, sighing Met there The Three !
Glad to be dying One spirit stole away
He so loved his rival's Great heart that day.
Then, the lovers kissed him On the snowy brow,
O, and on the kind lips, Stilled for ever now,
And all bis soul's loving It came to bind their vow, And nevermore, thereafter,
Love failed their hearts to fillSo living loved, so loving died,
The Lovers of Moville.
“While honest Neal the mallet bore,
Some poets, painters, and musicians, Mechanics and mathematicians,
Some gentlemen, some lords and squires, Some Whigs and Tories and highflyers, Some Papists, Protestants, Dissenters, Sit cheek by jole at all adventures.
benefit of Mercer's Hospital and the Charitable and Jusi.
cal Society, when a sum of nearly four hundred pounds Meanwhile the jug, just like the ocean,
was collected. The audience exceeded seven hundred Was always in perpetual motion.”
persons, and the newspapers of the day contain adverThis confession by one of its members of the convi
tisements, in which the stewards of the charitable and vial character of the society, is borne out by the fact, that
musical society request the ladies to attend withoat their Swift directed his sub-Dean and Chapter, to punish any
hoops, and the gentlemen without their swords, in order member of his choir who should appear at "the club of
to economise space as much as possible. It is but rigtit fiddlers in Fishamble Street ;"—an order which does not
to state, that Mr. Horatio Townsend, in his entertaining appear to have had the desired effect, as the Dean in a
little work, “ Handel's Visit to Dublin," leans to the subsequent manifesto names three members of his “re
opinion that this was the first public performance of the bellious choir,” Taberner, Phipps, and Church, “ who in
“Messiah” ever given. Handel left Ireland on the 13th violation of my sub-Dean's order in December last, at
August, 1742, having given another performance of th: the instance of some obscure persons unknown, presum
“ Messiah” on the 3rd June preceding. In 1743, Dr. ed to sing and fiddle at the club above mentioned,” and
Arne, the composer of the celebrated air, “ Rule Brithen directs the sub-Dean to proceed to the extremity of
tannia,” gave a series of concerts at the Hall, and Hanexpulsion if the said vicars should be found “
del's “Judas Maccabeus” was performed on the 11th
ungovernable, impenitent or self-sufficient.” The members of the
February, 1748, for the benefit of the Lying-in Hospital, society having accumulated sufficient funds for the pur
by the command of the Earl of Harrington, Lord Lied
tenant. The cost of a ticket to the concerts of the pose, decided on erecting a building for their future mu
Charitable and Musical Society itself was half a guinea, sical performances, and on Friday the 2nd October 1741, the new music ball, (now Fishamble Street Theatre),
and some idea of the good which it effected may be was opened for the first time with a concert, "for the
formed from the fact, that from the time of its forma. entertainment of the Charitable and Musical Society."
tion, at the commencement of the century, up to 1750, One of the members of the society has left an elabor
it procured the release of nearly twelve hundred debtors, ate description in verse of the new building, with which
whose accumulated debts exceaded nine thousand pounds, its present dilapidated state contrasts mournfully :
besides which, a sum of money was presented to each
debtor on his enlargement. The “Musical Academy," “ The architect has here displayed his art
founded by the accomplished Lord Mornington, in 1759, By decorations proper for each part;
gave its concerts at the Hall. This society was not, as The cornice, dentills, and the curious mould,
its name would indicate, formed with a view of diffusing The fret work and the vaulted roof behold,
musical education—it was purely charitable; and * in The hollow arches and the bold design In every part with symmetry divine."
four years, by loans of small sums of about four pounds
each, it relieved nearly thirteen hundred distressed fa. Handel, who arrived in Dublin a few weeks after milies.” The Academy reckoned among its members the hall had been publicly opened, hired it for the pur- persons moving in the highest spheres of society," and pose of giving a series of concerts, which proved em- all professors or mercenary teachers of music were esinently successful, as Handel himself states in a letter to cluded. The members met once a week for private Charles Jennens, by whom the words of the Messiah practice, once a month in a more public manner, on were selected. Handel says, “the nobility did me the which occasions a select audience was admitted, by honour to make amongst themselves a subscription for ticket; and once a year a grand public performance took six nights, which did fill a room of six hundred persons, place for the benefit of some charity, and to this all who so that I needed not to sell one ticket at the door. I paid were admitted. The Academy continued its decannot sufficiently express the kind treatment I re- lightful meetings for several years; but eventually, ceived here ; but the politeness of this generous nation through the death of some and the negligence of others, cannot be unknown to you, so I let you judge of the it gradually died out, and "charity lost a powerful and satisfaction I enjoy, passing my time with honour, profit,
profitable advocate.” We have at present an academy and pleasure.” It is still a vexed question as to where of music, also supported by “ persons moving in the the “ Messiah” was first publicly produced, and, like the highest spheres of society,” but constituted for a diffeauthorship of "Juuius," the matter will, in all proba- rent purpose-namely, to bring within the reach of perbility, continue to remain just as it is. The general belief sons in moderate circumstances the advantages of a on the subject is, that it was first heard by a Dublin
first-class musical education. The academy was found. audience; but Mr. Gilbert, in his learned history, is of ed about ten years since, and is supported by the subopinion that no adequate evidence has yet been ad- scriptions of members and the pupils' fees. An amaduced to disprove the contrary assertion of Mainwaring, teur concert is also given for its benefit aunually, in the contemporary and biographer of the composer.' which the ladies and gentlemen of the first rank take There is no doubt, however, that one of the first public part, thus far adopting the principle of the old academy. performances of this sublime work—if not the very All the leading professors, vocal and instrumental, in first-took place under the direction of Handel himself, Dublin, are engaged for the instruction of the pupils, at the Music Hall, on the 13th April, 1742, for the joint whose progress is displayed at an annual concert, to
which the pnblic is admitted at a moderate charge. lings a ticket. Several of the other performers who Public assemblies, balls, and exhibitions were also were brought from England for the occasion, were paid given at the Music Hall, from time to time ; and in for their services, but Mr. Robinson arranged and conthe year 1771, the
Constitutional Free Debating ducted the entire performance without any remuneration. Society” began its meetings there. John Neal, the Mr. Levey also led the orchestra on the same liberal president and treasurer of the old “Bull's Head So- terms. The Anacreontic Society was founded about the ciety," who ultimately became the proprietor of the middle of the eighteenth century, for the practice and Hall, died in the year 1769, at a very advanced encouragement of vocal and instrumental music. It was age.
His son, Surgeon John Neal, was esteemed one supported by all the lovers of the art in the higher ranks of the first amateur violin performers in Europe. In of Irish society, and continued its meetings down to the 1793, the Hall was converted into a private theatre, year 1845-6, when it was dissolved, and merged in the having previously fallen a good deal into disuse, owing new Philharmonic, which, with the Antient Concert to the rise of the Rotunda as a place of public enter- Society, is the principal musical association at pretainment. The company was under the management of sent existing in Dublin. The Philharmonic seems to the Earl of Westmeath and Frederick Jones, afterwards be well managed and successful, and for some years the lessee of the Theatre Royal. A Philharmonic Society Antients continued under the direction of its accomexisted in Dublin from an early period in the eighteenth plished and energetic conductor, Mr. Joseph Robincentury; for in the year 1742, Dr. Arne, his wife, and son, to follow out strictly the career which its Mrs. Cibber, gave a series of concerts at the “ great founders proposed for it. All the great choral works room” of the Philharmonic Society, opposite to St. were produced at its concerts, season after season, in John's Church, in Fishamble-street. The concert of the the most complete and effective manner, sustained by society for the year 1744 comprised in their programme local talent, alone. It is needless to dilate upon the perall the leading classical works then written, with an manently beneficial effects of such performances, conoratorio—" Solomon's Temple”-written by one Broad- ducted in such a style, on the musical taste of the public; way, organist of St. Patrick's Cathedral. This work, that good has resulted from them there can be no queswe may fairly suppose, can have had little merit, as it is tion, but it is, unfortunately, the fact, that latterly the now unknown, save to the musical antiquarian.
Antient Concert Society has been compelled to abanIncorporated Irish Musical Fund Society" was founded don, partially at least, its original vocation, and to in the year 1796, and, like many other successful orga- resort frequently to performances which, for want of nizations, had a very humble beginning. It was origi- any more distinctive appellation, have come to be nated by some half-dozen members of the Crow-street designated “miscellaneous," frequently unaided by theatre orchestra, the object being to afford relief to any orchestra whatever. Can it be that the same distressed musicians, and to provide for destitute widows state of things which drove Handel, in despair, from and orphans. As soon as the funds subscribed amounted London to the “ Hibernian shore,” has now arisen in to a thousand pounds, an Act of Parliament was ob- Dublin- that the tide of refined and elevated taste tained and the society incorporated. In a few years the upon which he was so triumphantly upborne here, committee was enabled to invest £6,000 in bank stock, bas receded from us, or abandoned us altogether? and subsequently a further sum of £4,000 was sunk in It is certain that a positive relapse has occurred in grand canal debentures, which, owing to the gradual our musical taste, of wbich this alteration in the course depreciation in their value, are now worth £1,800 only. of the Antients is, to some extent, a decided indiThe affairs of the society are managed in the most effec- cation. The craving for novelty and variety—the tive and unostentatious manner, and its prosperous con- source of many evils—has, for a time, overmastered dition is in the highest degree creditable to the members the higher intellectual instincts which should have of the musical profession in Ireland. The talented and the principal share in the guidance and formation of zealous secretary, Mr. R. M. Levey, has done much a correct taste, and the result is—what has been advance its interest, omitting no opportunity of bringing stated—a forced abandonment of the regular choral forward its claims where there is any chance of their being performances of the society, and the substitution of practically recognised. Owing mainly to his exertions a a melange of part singing (admirable, no doubt, but grand performance of the “Messiah” was given for its not a fitting test of the Antients' resources,) and benefit, in the year 1857, on which occasion the gifted violin and piano forte soli at its recent concerts. Is Irish songstress, Catherine Hayes, gave her services it possible that there can be no remedy for this? gratuitously, as did also all the leading members of the We scarcely think so.
The Antient Concert Society profession in Dublin, Mr. Joseph Robinson conducting. is, after all, not to be taken as fully representing the Several hundred pounds were realized by this perform existing musical tendencies of the people of Dublin, ance. In the year 1859, the “ Messiah” was again per- being, as it is, a select and rather exclusive body. formed, for the joint benefit of the society and of Mer. If it were reconstructed on more liberal and cer's Hospital, when Madame Lind Goldschmidt
ing extended basis, so as to become possessed of those gratuitously. A very large sum was produced by this expansive principies which would enable it gradually to performance, as there was a full band rehearsal in the assume the proportions of a great national institution, day time, to which the public was admitted, at five shil- instead of a mere local club, there are many reasons to
BY FRANCES CROSBY.
warrant the belief that the experiment would result in complete success. We have an example before us in
THE OLD HOUSE ON THE ESPLANADE. the Sacred Harmonic Society of London, the aim of which is identical with that which the founders of the Antients had in view. This great society is in a healthy and prosperous state, simply, we believe, because in its
(Concluded from our last.) management there is nothing of that narrow and exclu- “Was it a caprice or a presentiment that made me sive spirit, which, if adhered to in the case of the pause as we stood on the threshold, and implore of my Antients, must end in its practical dissolution. The sister not to enter the gloomy pile that had ma Sacred Harmonic Society reckons on its list of members fitly received the name of the Maison Noire ? Whe: peers, merchants, traders, and shop-keepers; in fact, was it that turned my blood cold as the shade of the any person, no matter what his particular trade, calling, overhanging roof fell on us in the darkened doorwat? or occupation, of respectable character, is admissible to Was it fancy that made me hear wailing, mournful voices the society on the payment of the requisite subscription. whispering in the leaves that rustled overhead, warice It is difficult to believe that Dublin, the metropolis of us to return while it was yet time? Would to God a nation whose love of musical art is one of its distinct we had done so, my lost sister! national characteristics, has not within it the materials “ But Estelle only laughed merrily, and told me I was of a great choral society, which instead of dragging on turning coward in broad daylight. She would not rea precarious existence on sufferance (the condition being turn, why should she ? So we entered, leaving the beary apparently, as before observed, the abandonment of the door ajar, and passed out into the neglected court-Fari purpose for which it was constituted), might become a and on to the dwelling-house. permanent national institution. It is right to guard “Allexactly as Estelle had seen it in her strange dreams ourselves from the imputation of supposing or suggest- “ Need I dwell upon our feelings, as, awed and coaing that the present anomalous condition of the society, founded, we passed from room to room, exchanging is in any degree owing to the influence or wishes of its looks of bewilderment and dismay, no longer daring talented conductor. The very reverse is, we believe, to raise our trembling voices above a whisper? Estelle's the case ; persons with little or no capacity for appre- merriment was hushed, and each time I glanced at her ciating the great classical compositions, with which alone face, I could see the shadows deepen into a more solema the Antients has any legitimate concern, have evidently thoughtfulness. And yet, when I whispered an entreaty obtained such a voice in its councils as to lead it gradu- that she would come away, she shook her head, and said ally but steadily away from the right path, in a foolish and she must see all-all. And that with a dreamy fisity profitless competition with other societies of an entirely of purpose most foreign to her usual gentle manner. different character, merely because they seemed to at- At length we had seen every nook and corner of the tract a larger share of public support. That this policy place, and with a feeling of infinite relief I turned to is not a dignified one, it requires no argument to de- leave it. In silence Estelle accompanied me. monstraie—that it has, so far, proved unsuccessful as a passed out on the terrace on which the house stood, & means of securing increased patronage, is a matter of ghastly look came into her face, and clutching my arm notoriety. We ardently trust that an effort will be made tightly, she pointed to the court-yard below, with a to rectify this unfortunate state of things before the wild scared cry of “ Look there !" commencement of the ensuing musical season-if not to “I did look, and this time I saw nothing to alarm me. the full extent suggested in an earlier part of this paper, save indeed the ghastly hue of my sister's face. Stand. at least so far as to bring back the society to its original | ing by the great stone basin in the centre was our father, distinctive purpose, and to keep that purpose continually and with him a stranger of noble and dignified in view in all its future proceedings. Better to have appearance. I was indeed a little surprised that ther only two, nay, even one, concert in the season, such as should be there, but I could see nothing alarming in the the society gave in the earlier and more flourishing
I said a few soothing words to Estelle, wbo period of its existence, than half a dozen of those already began to look more composed, and in obedience * miscellaneous” entertainments which it has latterly to a sign from my father, I descended the terrace stens given, and which were Antient Concerts only in the and advanced towards him, followed more slowly by my
A great choral society, it is to be hoped, sister. We were at once introduced to the stranger, Dublin will have, in any case, before long; the vocal who, it appeared, had come to look at the old mansion, material exists in profusion and only requires ordinary to see if anything might be made of it as a residence. training and organization, to render it equal to the “Don Alonzo de Penalosa, for such was the stranger's highest requirements of art. The disposition to support name, was a handsome man of about twenty-five or sis, an institution of the kind, founded on broad popular tall, and slenderly made, and with the proud ease of principles, we believe also exists, and consequently pro- carriage peculiar to his country. His olive complexion. per exertion only is needed to bring the project, if once dark, brilliant eyes, softened by their drooping lids, and entered upon, to a successful issue.
grave expression, were also Spanish. His hair was H. N. L. black as jet and singularly beautiful, his nose straight,
his dark beard and moustache long and silky. I have
described him thus minutely, because I would not have you imagine that it was from any personal defect or blemish that arose the distrust and vague feeling of aversion with which he from the first inspired me. So atterly groundless was it that I did my best to conceal and overcome it. In the first effort I succeeded; in the second my attempts were vain.
“Strange to say, he seemed almost as much moved at sight of Estelle as she had been on first seeing him. His brown cheek paled perceptibly, and it was with an evident effort that he was able to employ towards her even the customary forms of politeness. His voice was very soft and musical, and even his foreign accent was rather pleasing than otherwise. As he began to speak, Estelle, whose eyes had been fixed on the ground, raised them timidly, and turned on him an earnest, enquiring glance that I could not at all understand, but before which his dark eyes flashed, and his cheek flushed deeply. Then with blushing face she averted her gaze,
and looked no more towards the stranger. “To everyone's surprise, the Spaniard purchased the gloomy old · Maison Noire' from my father. Workmen were at once employed to raze the house to the ground. And then, when people were speculating as to the style of mansion the wealthy Don would construct for his future residence ; lo! he began and rebuilt an exact copy of the house he had just demolished ; the only difference being, that one 'Maison Noire' was new and
myself of the remembrance of the three months during which Estelle's dreams had been of the old house dreams in which she had so wondrously become acquainted with scenes of which she had no other knowledge-dreams leading to the visit to the “ Maison Noire,” in which she had first met with the man who was now her husband. And to end all, the acquaintance commenced in the Old House was to terminate in a residence beneath its gloomy roof. I could not shake off my apprehensions, do what I would.
“How closely I watched my child after her return;! Her words, her actions, her very glances came under my observation, and all were keenly scrutinized. But it ended in my saying to myself, " Thank God! she is happy."
“ But this was not to last. A couple of months had hardly passed when the shadow of the “ Maison Noire” began to fall upon my sister. She could not deceive
I saw too well that something was troubling and grieving her, weighing upon her mind, and rendering her life restless and unhappy. And yet, when I ventured to question her, she evaded my enquiries by asking how a wife could be unhappy, loving and beloved as she was ? or some such light shifting of ground. So I was forced to leave her to herself, and to see her daily growing paler and thinner, and her manner more subdued, and her glance less bright, and her smile less frequent.
"One day in the month of December, a messenger came to summon me to the Maison Noire to spend the day with my sister, who was not very well. I found her in her dressing-room, cowering by the fire, and hardly was I within the room when she threw herself into my arms, and laying her head wearily on my bosom, burst into a perfect passion of tears and sobs. In vain I by turns soothed her and scolded her ; the tears and sobs continued, and it was a full hour before she was again restored to anything like quiet. I now ventured to ask for her husband, whom I had not seen for some days.
6."No,' she said, her face darkening as she spoke, he has been writing in his study every day for a week
Do you know, Camille, that even I have never been within that room since I came here as mis
furnished, the other had been a total ruin.
And my Estelle ? Alas, my Estelle no longer ! She was so changed that I could hardly have believed she was indeed my own merry little sister. Her daydreams were more frequent than ever, and of her night-dreams she shrank from speaking. With me, who loved her so well and truly—God knows how well, my child !--she was silent, reserved, and dull. Only in the presence of the Spaniard, who had become almost domesticated at our house, did she seem fully to exist. But even then she was no longer her former bright, happy self ; she had changed into a timid creature who would tremble and flush if only a gleam of his dark eye rested upon her for a moment. Her love for him was like adoration. Poor child, poor, gentle Estelle !
“For they were lovers from the first; next betrothed; lastly, he took her from me entirely, promising to love and cherish her in all fervour ; although, unaccountably to myself, I would have kept her from him if I could. But of course I was powerless to do so, though it nearly broke my heart to have her leave me.
They were married in April, but it was not until the following October they returned to Courtrai. My heart used to sink whenever I thought of my Estelle being brought to live in the strange house that I at times thought to have exercised an evil influence on her life; A house, connected with which there was certainly some mysterious link that joined a corresponding link in her existence. In vain I tried to shake off my fears, to laugh at myself as superstitious. I could not rid