A sense of occasion


By Audrey Duggan, published 8th December 2009

It is appropriate, in this bicentenary year of Mendelssohn's birth, to remember a great day in Birmingham's musical and social calendar. A day when the composer's Oratorio, Elijah, especially commissioned for the city's 1846 Triennial Festival to raise money for the Children's Hospital, was first performed in the newly refurbished Town Hall on Wednesday 26 August at eleven thirty in the morning. In the nineteenth century, there was little distinction made between what, today, we class as "classical" and "popular" music. Compositions by Mendelssohn and his peers, the great virtuosi of the age, were vastly popular, as was the man himself and whose name was guaranteed to attract large audiences. This meant that tickets for...

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