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|‘Let the people sing!’ : aspects of choir culture from Tyne to Tweed, 1852-1989
|Large, William Roy
|This study traces the history of choral singing in Newcastle and its environs from 1852 to 1989. Following the Music Festival of 1842 there was a lull in the musical life of Newcastle until the arrival of William Rea, appointed as organist to the town corporation. Galvanizing musical activity, Rea was at the centre of a vigorous, if sometimes turbulent, choral scene in the last decades of the century. In the 20th century Armstrong College, then part of Durham University, afforded the scholarly environment for the establishment of the Newcastle Bach Choir, espousing the music of Bach and contemporary British composers. Traditional ‘oratorio’ choirs also flourished until waning interest in their basic repertory saw their demise in the 1970s and 1980s. The two World Wars had meanwhile caused some choirs to cease their activities, either temporarily or permanently, while others strengthened their presence, ensuring the continuity of choral music performance. The second half of the century saw the founding of new choirs, including the Cappella Novocastriensis, strongly linked to the University, and two choirs formed to support orchestras wishing to perform choral works. Alongside this mainstream choral activity, male-voice choirs developed, a number rooted in their works communities or nonconformist and temperance environments. Their repertory, aims and organisation contrasted strongly with the established mixed-voice choirs. The choral life of Northumberland centred on one or two regional ‘clusters’; the comparative isolation of Berwick upon Tweed, the most northerly Northumbrian town, encouraged strong indigenous musical activity. A survey of the venues used for concerts and rehearsals underlines the want of suitable halls in the area, while an account of the orchestras used shows the challenges imposed by the lack of an accommodating local professional orchestra and the increasing use of period instruments for performances of baroque music.
|Ph. D. Thesis.
|Appears in Collections:
|School of Arts and Cultures
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|Large W R 2020.pdf
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