Jan 21

Naples 21 January 1774                                                          Lord Clive to Lady Clive


Pray give my Compliments to Miss Ducarrol [Maria Ducarel] and inform her I have

already often heard Lady Hamilton perform upon the Harpsichord and Piano Forte, and

her execution and expression is wonderful but I am not yet made so great a Convert to

Italian Music as to think all other Music pales before it and even that of the great Handel

and Corelli — to a Man of my great ignorance these two great Musicians when compared

with all others appear to me as far superior as Homer and Virgil do to all other Poets.[1]




Feb 17

Mr. Barthelemon begs Leave to acquaint his Friends and the Public, that he is the sole Manager of the Oratorios at the Theatre Royal in the Haymarket, where he hopes for the Honor of their Protection.[2]




Feb 18

For the Public Advertiser. / To the DIRECTORS of the ORATORIOS at Drury-lane Theatre. / GENTLEMEN, / I Was last Friday Night at the Performance of Judas Maccabaeus, where I confess I was much pleased with Mrs. Wrighton [sic], who I do not remember ever to have heard in the Oratorios before.  She has, added to a very pleasing Voice, an exceeding good Manner of speaking the Recitatives, as well as singing the Songs allotted her; and I really think she is an Acquisition to you.  Mrs. Weichsel’s and Mr. Norris’s Merit as Singers, are too well known to need any Encomium; and I think Mr. Parry is very much improved since the last Year; but many who sat near me wished to have heard that very capital Song, “Wise Men flattering,” sung by Mrs. Weichsel or Mrs. Wrighten [sic].  If Judas Maccabaeus should be performed again, and you think proper to take this Hint, it will give Pleasure to many of your Friends, as well as to a Lover of Music in general, and particularly of Oratorios.[3]




Feb 25

It was remarked of the new Oratorio performed last Night at the Hay-Market, that the Music was worthy the Grandeur of the Subject, and bore the strongest Testimony to the unbounded Genius of its incomparable Author: It was received with Applause as seldom heard as it is seldom deserved in modern Productions.[4]




Feb 25


                  The Oratorio performed last night at the Hay-Market, having been declared a production of Handel, new to the public, we expected, as no doubt the managers did, a very crouded house.  We were however mistaken, there was a very genteel company, but not a very numerous one.

                  A report it is said has been spread with much industry that the advertising a new sacred Oratorio of Handel’s was a mere stage trick, and perhaps such a report gaining ground (which wanted not plausible reasons in its favor) might keep away much company.

                  Those however who were present enjoyed a noble luxury.  The performance bore intrinsic marks of its inimitable author, and does honour to the memory of the Composer of Messiah.  The choruses are beyond expresson great; it is difficult to say whether the pleasure or astonishment of the audience exceeded.  Their continued applause and encores prolonged the performance above half an hour after the usual time.

                  The producing this unexpected and admirable entertainment does as much honour to the diligence of the Managers, as to the perfect manner in which it was performed does to their musical abilities; and will no doubt secure to them the public favour which they have taken so much pains to obtain.[5]




Mar 2


                  The Oratorio of Omnipotence was performed the Second time last night, at the Haymarket, to a very numerous audience who received it with universal approbation, superior to that conferred on it on Friday last.  In fact, it was manifestly the better for a second performing: and rose with the audience, as every new production of merit always does, for the experience of the performers.

                  It may not be an unnacceptable [sic] anecdote to our readers to inform them, that the music of this inimitable Oratorio, though new to the public, was composed by Handel in the fullest vigour of his genius, for the use of the great Duke of Chandois, and was never performed before but in his Grace’s Chapel at Cannons.[6]




Mar 3

We hear that the Oratorio this year at the Foundling Hospital, will be superior to any of the former ones, having the most celebrated singer, accompanied by the most capital performer.[7]




Mar 7

Acis and Galatea, and Dryden’s Ode, which were advertised for Wednesday next, and Judas Maccabaeus, intended for Friday, are by particular Desire reversed with Judas Maccabaeus on Wednesday, and Acis and Galatea on Friday.[8]




Mar 8

1785      George Fred. Handell, after Hudson, very fine                [£]0 5 0[9]




Mar 9

Sunday Morning next the 13th inst. a Sermon will be preached in the Chapel of the Foundling Hospital, for the Benefit of that Charity, by the Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Peterborough.  An Hymn by Dr. Hawkesworth, set to Music by Mr. Stanley, and an Anthem taken from Mr. Handel’s Works, will be sung by the Children both Morning and Evening.  Prayers to begin at Eleven o’Clock in the Morning and Five in the Evening.[10]




Mar 12

Foundling Hospital, March 12. / ON Tuesday the 29th Instant, at Twelve o’Clock at Noon precisely, the Sacred Oratorio called / MESSIAH. / Will be performed in the Chapel of the said Hospital.  Miss Davis, Mrs. Wrighten, Mr. Norris and Mr. Reinhold have (for the Benefit of the Charity) generously engaged to sing the principal Parts; Mr. Giordini [sic] to lead the Band and play a Concerto, and Dr. Arnold the Organ.  There will be no Collection FTickets at Half a Guinea each, to be had of the Steward, at the Hospital; at Arthur’s Chocolate House, St. James’s Street; at Batson’s Coffee-house, Cornhill; and at Tom’s Coffee-house, in Devereux Court.[11]




Mar 23



LAST night the new Oratorio, called The Fall of Egypt, written by the late Dr. Hawkesworth, and composed by Mr. Stanley, was performed for the first time at Drury-lane Theatre, and received with great applause.  The Airs were composed with great taste and sweetness, and the Choruses were esteemed inferior to none, in point of sublimity, but Handel’s.  The principal Singers were Messieurs Norris[,] Berry, Blanchard, Mrs. Wheichsell, and Mrs. Wrighten. The two following Songs were particularly admired:



Freedom’s charms alike engage

Blooming youth and hoary age;

Time itself can ne’er destroy

Freedom’s pure and lasting joy:

Love and Friendship never gave

Half their blessings to the Slave;

None are happy but the free,

Bliss is born of Liberty.




Friendship is the joy of Reason,

Dearer yet than that of Love;

Love but lasts a transient season,

Friendship makes the bliss above.


Who would lose the sacred pleasure,

Felt, when soul with soul unites,

Other blessings have their measure,

Friendship, without bound, delights.[12]




Mar 26

PANTHEON / March 26, 1774. / AT the particular Request of many of the Nobility and Gentry, the Ninth Night of the SUBSCRIPTION CONCERT will be on Wednesday next, the 30th Instant; when the Sacred Oratorio of / The RESURRECTION. /Composed by Dr. ARNOLD, / Will be performed. / The Doors will be opened at Seven o’Clock, and the Overture will begin at Eight. / Any Number of Tickets, not less than two, which are transferrable [sic], and may be used on any of the remaining Nights of this Subscription, may be had at the Office every Day, between the Hours of Ten in the Morning and Four in the Afternoon.[13]




Mar 27

[Fanny Burney’s Journal, 30 March recounting events of Sunday 27 March 1774]


[dealing with a rather annoying dinner guest, Mr Twiss]

‘Shall you go to the Lock Hospital Oratorio, Ma’am?’

‘No, Sir.’ answered I.

‘To that at the Foundling?—O!—I hope it!—’

‘No, Sir.  I seldom go out.’[14]




Mar 28

Yesterday the celebrated Oratorio of Ruth, which is to be performed To-morrow Morning in the Lock Hospital Chapel, was rehearsed at Gloucester-house, when their Royal Highnesses and all the Nobility present were pleased to express the highest Approbation of the Composition as well as the Performance.[15]




Mar 29

PANTHEON / March 29, 1774. / APPLICATION having been made from very respectable Authority to the Proprietors of the Pantheon, requesting that they would not perform the sacred Oratorio of The RESURRECTION during Passion Week, that Performance is postponed till Monday next.[16]




Mar 29

We hear that the Oratorio at the Foundling Hospital on Tuesday last was performed to a numerous and polite Company of Nobility and Gentry.  The Performers gave universal Satisfaction, and the whole was conducted with the greatest Decorum.[17]




Mar 31

PANTHEON / March 31, 1774. / THE Nobility and Gentry are acquainted, / That the Ninth Night of the SUBSCRIPTION CONCERT will be on Monday next, the 4th of April, when the Sacred Oratorio of / The RESURRECTION, / Composed by Dr. ARNOLD, / Will be performed. / The Doors will be opened at Seven o’Clock, and the Overture will begin at Eight. / After the First Part[,] a Concerto on the Clarinet by Mr. Mahoon; and after the Second Part, a Solo Concerto on the Violin by Mr. Giardini. / Any Number of Tickets, not less than two, which are transferrable [sic], and may be used on any of the remaining Nights of this Subscription, may be had at the Office every Day, between the Hours of Ten in the Morning and Four in the Afternoon. / N. B. Ladies and Gentlemen coming to the Pantheon are requested to give particular Directions to the Coachmen to set down and take up their Company with their Horses Heads towards Hyde-park. / An additional Number of Staffmen are provided, to render the going away as commodious as possible to the Company. / F The Building cannot be seen for less than 5s. each Person.[18]




Mar 31

A musical festival took place in the Cathedral on the 31st March, 1774, for the benefit of the Infirmary.  During the morning service, to which the admission was free, the performances consisted of “the grand Dettingen Te Deum, a manuscript Anthem, and the Coronation Anthem, all composed by the late Mr. Handel.”  In the evening “The Messiah” was given, “between the parts of which Master Charles Wesley performed a concerto on the organ.”  The vocalists and instrumentalists were ninety-one in number.  “Tickets, 5s. 3d. each”; and the committee promised that the Cathedral should be “well-aired” for the occasion.  The festival realized a profit of £100.[19]




Jul 5

Tuesday 5 [July].

Being the anniversary of the Radcliffe-Infirmary, Oxford, the Governors went in procession to St. Mary’s church.  In the choir service, Handel’s Te Deum, and other pieces of sacred music were performed.  The charity sermon was preached by the Hon. Brownlow North, Lord Bishop of Litchfield and Coventry; and after the service very considerable collections were made at the church-door.[20]




Sep 5

[Mary Delany to Bernard Granville, 16 September 1774, recounting her visit to the Lord Bute’s residence in Luton on 5 September]


I must not omit one part of our entertainment, which was a clock organ, which is an extraordinary piece of mechanism, and plays an hour and a ½ with once [sic] winding up.  There are 30 barrells [sic], of which the principal are Handel, Geminiani, and Corelli; the tone is mellow and [36] pleasant, and has an effect I could not have expected.  It is a vast size, and has a great many stops, and I had rather hear it than any of their modern operas or consorts: many parts are judiciously brought in, and some parts of Handel’s chorus’s tolerably executed.[21]




Nov 21

“Part of a Letter from an Oxford Scholar to his Friend in London


To-night’s Choral-Night—No Miss Linley, for she’s ill;

Ma’am Weichsel’s to sing (or, as some call her, Weasel).

Her voice is so sweet, that I wish her good luck here;

I go, without doubt, in my best bib and tucker.

The college, I think, is gone musical mad;

Though ’tis better, you’ll say, to be so than sad;

With their Handels, their Arnes, and thousands of ini’s;

I’m afraid they’ll turn out but a parcel of ninnies:

Instead of that sing song, that musical art,

Their study shou’d be—Newton, Locke, or Descartes.

Not a word, Sir, of this; for were they to know it,

They’d wreak all their vengeance on me, the poor poet;

Quote Shakespeare, and spout it with fury and passion,

And say, I am plotting a new reformation. [footnote: He that hath not

music in his soul Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils.]

To jesting a truce; for I have but just time

To add what is truth, but nor metre, nor rhime.

Oxford Nov. 21, 1774. JUVENIS[22]




Nov 17

[Richard Brinsley Sheridan to Thomas Linley, 17 November 1774]


Mr. Stanley was with me a day or two ago on the subject of the oratorios.  I find Mr. Smith has declined, and is retiring to Bath.  Mr. Stanley informed me that on his applying to the King for the continuance of his favour, he was [86] desired by His Majesty to make me an offer of Mr. Smith’s situation and partnership in them, and that he should continue his protection, etc.—I declined the matter very civilly and very peremptorily.  I should imagine that Mr. Stanley would apply to you;—I started the subject to him, and said you had twenty Mrs. Sheridans more.  However, he said very little:—if he does, and you wish to make an alteration in your system at once, I should think you may stand in Smith’s place.  I would not listen to him on any other terms, and I should think the King might be made to signify his pleasure for such an arrangement.  On this you will reflect, and if any way strikes you that I can move in it, I need not add how happy I shall be in its success.[23]




[the advertisement page attached to the book features a piano reduction of the first four bars of Zadok the Priest.]



[…] were the present Practitioners [of Music] truly instructed in the right Rules of Harmony, it would be impossible for our modern Professors to impose upon the Ears of the Public their wretched Composition, whose Parts are so poorly united, as neither to soothe Passion, raise Devotion, nor animate the Soul to courageous and daring Exploits.

The immortal HANDEL, in whatever Pieces he composed for the Entertainment of the Public, was extremely cautious not to admit of any thing that might excite either mean or lewd Ideas; because, whenever this happens, it loses its good Effect upon the Audience, and, like bad Plays, becomes a general Evil.  But the Thirst after Novelty in the present Age is so insatiable, that nothing will go down but what is new; to usher which into the World there hath not only been a total Neglect of the melodious Strains of HANDEL, but an indefatigable Industry in our crafty Masters to render the whole Science of Music so difficult and intricate, that scarce one in an hundred ever comes at a competent Knowledge thereof…

[…] Two 8ths, two 5ths, or two Common Cords should never come together; as thus, suppose you play a Common Cord to D, and the next Note to that should be E, you are not to play the Common Cord of E.---All extraordinary sharp Notes naturally require Sixes.  Though these things are laid down as standing maxims by the music masters, yet there is hardly one amongst them, not even HANDEL, or the great CORELLI himself, but what has broke through them.  If this be the case, as it certainly is, there can be no rule given but what will be liable to exception […][24]






But what can all this rambling mean?

Was ever such an hodge-podge seen?

VENUS, CAECILIA, Saints, and Whores,

Thomas, Vertù, Bells, Knockers, Doors,

Lords, Rogues, Relations, Ladies, Cits,

Stars, Flambeaux, Thunderbolts, Horns, Wits,

Vulcan, and Cuckold-maker, Scandal,

Music, and Footmen, Ear of Handel,

Weather, News, Envy, Politicks,

Intrigues, and Women’s Thousand Tricks, [76]

Prudes, Methodists, and Devotees,

Fastings, Feasts, Pray’rs, and Charities,

Ceres, with her mysterious train,

———,———,———, and———,

Flesh, Spirit, Love, Hate, and Religion,

A Quail, a Raven, and a Pigeon,

All jumbled up in one large dish,

Red-Herring, Bread, Fowl, Flesh, and Fish.

Where’s the connection, where’s the plan?


Well, but methinks, it wou’d avail

To know the end of this—A TALE.[25]




A harsh and menacing recitative would as effectually deter me from a naughty trick, as a good whipping.  The sound of a drum, or any other martial music, had such an immediate effect upon my nerves, that I was always obliged to be turned dry before the piece was half over.  The famous March in Saul is too powerful for [3] me even at this day, tho’ I can stand any other, without being offensive.  Indeed, I am so well convinced of the connection between the sound and the sense in all good music, that I will venture to prescribe Handel’s water-piece, and water parted from the sea, as specifics for a strangury.  I know that there is great truth in what Shakespeare says of the bagpipe…


I slept this night at Dr. Hiccup’s house, and borrowed a shirt and pair of stockings of him.  At breakfast I took an opportunity to tell him of the narrowness of my circumstances; but he was suddenly taken with a rapturous fit of devotion, and pulling up his night-gown to his waist, began to sing, and dance, and caper, and kick, to such a degree, that no one in the room was safe: I ran towards the door to save my shins, and the Doctor rising with both feet in the air like a Harlequin, gave me such a horse-kick on my rump, [21] singing at the same time the March in Saul, that I descended into the street down five steps, head foremost, and cracked my bassoon in twenty places.[26]






[Compare with “The GOLDFINCH to CHLOE” (1758)]






TO Handel’s pleasing notes as Chloe sung

The charms of heavenly liberty:

A gentle bird, till then with bondage pleas’d,

With ardour panted to be free,

His prison broke, he seeks the distant plain,

Yet e’re he flies, tunes forth this parting strain.



Whilst to the distant vale I wing,

Nor wait the slow return of spring,

Rather in leafless groves to dwell,

Than in my Chloe’s warmer cell;

Forgive me, mistress, since by thee

I first was taught sweet liberty.

Soon as the welcome spring shall chear,

With genial warmth, the drooping year,

I’ll tell, upon the topmost spray,

Thy sweeter notes improv’d my lay,

And in my prison learn’d from thee

To warble forth sweet liberty.

Waste not on me a useless care,

That kind concern let Strephon share, [68]

Slight are my sorrows, slight my ills,

To those which thy poor captive feels;

Who kept in hopeless bonds by thee,

Yet strives not for his liberty.[27]



[1] Ian Woodfield, “New Light on the Mozarts’ London Visit: A Private Concert with Manzuoli,” Music & Letters 76 (1995), 187-208: 200.

[2] The Public Advertiser, Thursday 17 February 1774, [2].

[3] The Public Advertiser, Wednesday 23 February 1774, [2].

[4] The Public Advertiser, Saturday 26 February 1774, [2].

[5] The Morning Chronicle, and London Advertiser, Saturday 26 February 1774, [2].

[6] The Morning Chronicle, and London Advertiser, Thursday 3 March 1774, [2].

[7] The Morning Chronicle, and London Advertiser, Thursday 3 March 1774, [3]; repr. The Public Advertiser, Friday 4 March 1774, [3].

[8] The Public Advertiser, Monday 7 March 1774, [3].

[9] Walter Shropshire’s Catalogue of Prints, for the Year 1774...The Sale to begin on Tuesday, March the 8th ([London: ?, 1774]), 69.

[10] The Public Advertiser, Wednesday 9 March 1774, [3]; repr., Friday 11 March 1774, [3]; and Saturday 12 March 1774 [3].

[11] The Public Advertiser, Wednesday 16 March 1774, [3].

[12] The London Chronicle 35 ([Tuesday 22-Thursday 24 March] 1774), 288.

[13] The Public Advertiser, Saturday 26 March 1774, [1]; repr. with appendix “N. B. There will be no Ball after the Oratorio,” Monday 28 March 1774, [1].

[14] The Early Journals and Letters of Fanny Burney.  Volume II: 1774-1777, ed. Lars E. Troide (Montreal & Kingston, London, and Buffalo: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1990), 20.

[15] The Public Advertiser, Tuesday 29 March 1774, [3].

[16] The Public Advertiser, Tuesday 29 March 1774, [1].

[17] The Public Advertiser, Thursday 31 March 1774, [2].

[18] The Public Advertiser, Thursday 31 March 1774, [1]; last repr., Monday 4 April 1774, [1].

[19] John Latimer, The Annals of Bristol in the Eighteenth Century (Bristol: the author, 1893; repr., Bath: Kingsmead Reprints, 1970), 407.

[20] The Gentleman’s Magazine 44 (1774): 329.

[21] The Autobiography and Correspondence of Mary Granville, Mrs. Delany, ed. Lady Llanover, second series, 3 vols. (London: Richard Bentley, 1862), 2:35-36; see also, [William Coxe], Anecdotes of George Frederick Handel, And John Christopher Smith (London: W. Bulmer and Co., 1799), 52-53.

[22] The Gentleman’s Magazine 44 (1774): 536.

[23] The Letters of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, ed. Cecil Price, 3 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1966), 1:85-86.

[24] Robert Falkener, Instructions for Playing the Harpsichord.  Wherein is fully explained the Mystery of Thorough Bass…, 2nd edn (London: the author, 1774; original edn 1770), 25.

[25] Robert Lloyd, The Poetical Works of Robert Lloyd, A. M. 2 vols. (London: T. Evans, 1774), 1:75-76.

[26] Joel Collier [=John Bicknell], Musical Travels through England (London: G. Kearsly, 1774), 2-3, 20-21.

[27] The Robin; or, The Ladies Polite Songster (London: R. Snagg, [?1774]), 67-68.