An intriguing sketch of the interior of an old

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1 Vanessa L. Rogers Orchestras on stage in the Georgian-era playhouse: unravelling the origin of the Winston sketch An intriguing sketch of the interior of an old English theatre and, if we look closely, a rare English theatre orchestra arrangement is held in the archives of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC (see illus.1, and for a detail from the same sketch, illus.2). The unusual drawing places the orchestra on an annexe projecting out from the front of the stage and over the pit, seemingly necessitating the removal of some of the audience benches. The extension raises the theatre s orchestra to the height of the stage in order to showcase a large number of musicians in what was clearly an extraordinary musical event. The unique drawing is folded into a book of theatrical memorabilia relating to London s Drury Lane theatre that was originally compiled by the actormanager James Winston ( ). Winston, who managed Drury Lane from 1819 to about 1826, was also an author and an artist, and he presumably drew the sketch himself. His detailed drawings of Georgian-era theatres are known to us mainly through the publication of his Theatric Tourist (1804 5), a periodical comprised of Winston s 24 hand-coloured plates of Georgian-era playhouses along with 72 pages of text. 1 The catalogue of the Folger Library identifies the sketch simply as the interior of the old Drury Lane theatre, but this imprecise description is confusing. There were three Drury Lane theatres before the present building (built in 1812), and a number of remodels after this date so which Drury Lane playhouse did Winston portray in this drawing? Further questions present themselves. Despite the scarcity of orchestral seating plans in Britain during this period, the sketch has been almost completely ignored perhaps because the event it depicts has remained a mystery. Why would Winston have sketched this orchestral arrangement? And if it was for a special performance, what was the extraordinary occasion? London s Drury Lane Theatre and the Folger Library s Winston sketch The Royal Patent for Drury Lane dates from 1662, when Charles II granted it to Thomas Killigrew in the early years of the English Restoration. In 1663 Killigrew opened his theatre, which held one of two patents for spoken drama in London; when it was destroyed by fire in 1672, Killigrew went on to build a larger theatre on the same site. Designed by Christopher Wren, this second building was renamed the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane and opened in The structure stood for nearly 120 years, but it deteriorated and was demolished in The third building opened in 1794, and the sudden destruction of this newer Drury Lane by fire only 15 years later in 1809 nearly ruined theatre manager Richard Brinsley Sheridan. 3 The building that stands today, the fourth and final theatre, opened in 1812 but has been remodelled several times since most recently in 2013, when the front of house areas were restored according to the plans of the 1812 Benjamin Wyatt design. 4 As a young man, James Winston toured the provinces as a strolling actor and aspiring playwright, and by 1799 he was proprietor at the Richmond Theatre in Surrey. Winston later acquired an interest in other theatres, but his most prominent position was as manager of Drury Lane under Ralph W. Elliston from 1819 to Winston was also an artist and an antiquary, and spent his final years as Early Music, Vol. xliv, No. 4 The Author Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. doi: /em/caw081, available online at Advance Access publication January 5,

2 1 The Winston sketch, w.b.479, fol.161 (scrapbook catalogued as History of the English stage, Garrick and his contemporaries ) (Used by permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library) secretary of the Garrick Club, a post he held from its inception in 1831 until he died. 5 He kept a series of theatrical journals ( ) that are very useful today for understanding the business of theatre management in the early 19th century. Winston also planned an ambitious history of the English theatre that never came to fruition, although he collected an enormous amount of material: newspaper clippings, records, sketches and architectural plans, today all scattered around the world in various libraries. 6 Winston was interested in old theatres and architectural plans, and within his collection we can find drawings of many lost theatres. Because of his historical interests, it seems difficult at first to determine which of the four Drury Lane theatres might be represented in Winston s sketch. A clue to the date of the theatre might be found in Winston s label Garrick Box on one of the expensive theatre boxes on the right-hand side of the sketch (see illus.1). Although previous theatre manager David Garrick would have been dead by the time that both the third and fourth theatres were built, Mrs Garrick (who lived to 98 years of age) would have been alive even after the fourth theatre opened in 1812 and she had a family box in the Drury Lane Theatre for life. A manuscript inventory of Drury Lane dated 27 August 1819 confirms this by detailing the property in Mrs Garrick s Anti Room and Mrs Garrick s Box ; another inventory taken in 1826, four years after her death, demonstrated that these sections of 608 Early Music November 2016

3 2 Detail from the Winston sketch the theatre were still referred to as Mrs Garrick s. 7 The Garrick Box, then, could refer to a location in the second, third or fourth theatres. There is other information to be found in Winston s sketch that might help to date this rare orchestra arrangement: the number of benches in the pit. The second theatre was much too small to be the auditorium pictured in the sketch, as it had room for only about ten benches. 8 As for the third Drury Lane Theatre, we know that the architectural plan of 1794 depicted the pit furnished with twenty-four straight rows of backless benches, nine inches wide and 1 foot apart... Supplemented by five short benches on either side of the orchestra. 9 Additional changes to the interior of this theatre were noted in September 1797: The Pit... is rendered more commodious as to ingress and regress; there is a passage down the middle... The Orchestra extends from one side of the Pit to the other. 10 From this description it is clear that the third theatre is also unlikely to have been the theatre in the sketch, as Winston s drawing shows 20 rows, not 24. In addition, although Winston drew a passage down the middle, as in the description, the orchestra does not reach across the entire pit of the theatre. From these discrepancies we can more definitively reject the third theatre as a possibility. Following this process of elimination, we must surmise that the theatre depicted by Winston in his sketch was the fourth incarnation of the Drury Lane Theatre. But this assumption is also problematic. In the plans for the fourth theatre published in 1811 by the architect Benjamin Dean Wyatt, one passage is depicted straight down the middle of only 18 benches. 11 The remaining conclusion is that the Winston sketch portrays a version of Drury Lane that dates from some time after Wyatt s original design. The fourth theatre underwent a number of major alterations between 1818 and 1825, some of them supervised by Winston, and it seems most likely that the sketch details some of the renovations made to the auditorium during that time. Further evidence for dating Winston s sketch to after the fourth theatre was built in 1812 can be found in the orchestra plan, as we shall see but we still do not know why this seating arrangement was documented. Can the orchestra arrangement tell us anything about Winston s reasons for creating this sketch? Composition and arrangement of the English playhouse orchestra In England in the late 18th and early 19th centuries the orchestra commonly referred to the place for the orchestra, not the band itself. 12 At least in larger or more prestigious London theatres, about 20 to 25 players were usual, and this did not change much during the Georgian period. 13 At Drury Lane in Early Music November

4 1775 we have details of the 24 musicians who were employed to play in the orchestra, and the number at the end of the 18th century seems to have stayed constant at around 20 to 30 players, though not all instrumentalists were regular members. 14 There are 23 players listed in the Drury Lane treasurer s books during the season: five first violins (two of them doubled on clarinets), four second violins (two of these doubled on clarinets), three violas (one doubled on trumpet), two oboes, two bassoons, two cornu (French horns), four cellos, two double basses, one contrabassoon (he also played the tabor and pipe), a large harpsichord, an auxiliary harpsichord and an organ. 15 In 1791 we can count about 18 orchestral players on the roster. 16 By the second decade of the 19th century, two trumpets were standard in orchestra arrangements, as was the presence of the trombone. 17 The core number of musicians on a London theatre s payroll remained about the same for the remainder of the Georgian era. This can be verified in iconography: an anonymous sketch of 1812 shows the fourth and final Drury Lane Theatre when brand new. In this image we find about 27 musicians (obscured by the pillars and spectators), each with their own music desk, playing from individual parts (see illus.3). Pit orchestras were different from those used for special musical performances in the theatre such as oratorios and choral events. 18 Extra instruments appear in the treasurer s lists at Drury Lane, including drums (both kettle and side), French horns, bagpipes, German flutes, guitar and various harps. 19 Additional instruments listed in actor-manager Charles Kemble s memorandum later in the 18th century include the tabor and pipe and trumpets (in 1789); in the 1790s the extras included a trumpeter who became a regular member in the season, and a trombonist who was engaged for 25 performances. 20 Winston s drawing probably only shows part of the ensemble needed for the performance; the remaining musicians (probably the singers and soloists) were likely taking up the stage. The positions for each musician in Winston s sketch are numbered except for the two keyboards, an organ and a pianoforte 1 to 29 positions (see illus.2). In the centre of the arrangement, in front of the keyboards, Winston draws desks for the Leader (the first violinist), a second violinist, a double bass, a flute and two kettledrums. In the row behind them, Winston noted three additional violins, two clarinets, two Tenors (violas), two oboes and a further three violins. The last row has two more double basses (one on each end of the row), two cellos (in the inside position next to the two double basses), two (French) horns, two trumpets, two bassoons, a trombone and a serpent. Thus the size of the orchestra including keyboards, according to the sketch, totals 31 players. 21 The instruments in Winston s sketch bear out what we know about common orchestral instruments in the theatre. Conductors were not usual in English orchestras until the middle of the 19th century; the responsibility for the musical direction of the performance was shared by the keyboardist and the leader on violin. The organ was mainly used for doubling the choral parts in oratorios, and assisting the solo singers, while continuo support was otherwise provided by the harpsichord or pianoforte. 22 The existence of two keyboards in a Georgianera London theatre was not particularly unusual; in the 18th century, we know that there were two harpsichords used in opera performances one to accompany the voices and one to play during the instrumental sections. 23 During Handel s oratorios, the composer was able to play both harpsichord in the recitatives and arias and organ in the choruses, by means of a long mechanism connecting the harpsichord manuals to the organ. 24 None of the other instruments labelled in Winston s sketch are surprising, and the numbers of each correspond to what we already know about the usual make-up of the theatre s orchestra. Customary instruments in English orchestras of this period are strings in four parts (the cellos doubled in places by the double bass), flutes, oboes, bassoons, clarinets, French horns and a trombone. The percussion section consisted of two kettledrums (there were different sticks used on English drums, an aspect much commented upon by foreign critics). 25 The English serpent was popular in military bands and often used instead of the organ in rural parish churches in England, and it seems that they were common in English orchestral performances throughout the 19th century. For instance, Sir George Smart s performances of Handel s Messiah at Westminster 610 Early Music November 2016

5 3 Interior view of the fourth Drury Lane Theatre, after Nicolaus Heideloff, engraved William Hopwood, published London, 1813 ( Trustees of the British Museum) Abbey in 1834 had two serpents. 26 In his memoirs, Joseph Bennett vividly recalled the two serpents in the concerts of the Sacred Harmonic Society in Exeter Hall under Sir Michael Costa in the middle of the 19th century. 27 Costa made radical changes to the seating plans of the orchestras he conducted in the 1840s, including those of the Philharmonic Society and the Sacred Harmonic Society. 28 Henry Phillips, who sang at Drury Lane, recalled the Sacred Harmonic Society concerts before Costa s reforms, and commented on the arrangement of the bass strings: I can remember very well when the principal double bass and violoncello were placed together at the same desk, and others of less note, in a totally different part of the orchestra, with perhaps half-a-dozen violins between them and the audience. How could they hear, see, or understand the precision required to create a perfect whole? 29 Some general observations can be made about English orchestral arrangements in the Georgian era. The violins are usually separated for an antiphonal effect, and violas are placed away from the violins and cellos. Trombones are often on top of the risers, perhaps because of their long slides, but also Early Music November

6 because many of the bass instruments are placed behind other instruments. Double basses, usually in the background in most of Europe, are found on the sides and in the front of the orchestra in England. 30 The Belgian musician and writer François-Joseph Fétis remarked on this peculiarity in his Curiosités, which, doubtless, will excite the astonishment of French musicians; and that is, the custom of placing all the basses in front of the orchestra, and lower down than the other instruments. 31 Orchestras on stage In the sketch held by the Folger Library, Winston depicts the orchestra in a half-circle arrangement of desks occupying a platform projecting out from the front of the stage, probably raised to the height of the stage on a piece of stage construction. Putting orchestras on stage was not a new notion in the Georgian era; evidence of elevated orchestras can be found in the 17th century, especially for celebrations outdoors. Corelli s orchestra sometimes played outdoors on tiers, as did Sammartini s in Milan and other early orchestras in France and Spain. 32 In Britain there were Permanent Bandstands, most famously that at Vauxhall, where musicians were raised above the crowd in specially constructed pavilions or music galleries. 33 (See illus.4.) A raised orchestra allowed an audience to hear the music better, and to see the players perform not possible when they were below the front of the stage, where they were usually placed in a theatre. 34 In England, theatre-goers might have seen orchestras on theatrical stages from the time of Handel s oratorios, and by the 1780s and 90s it was usual for special occasions. 35 In the middle of the 19th century, a special platform was built extending from the stage for the popular Jullien s Promenade Concerts at Covent Garden so that audiences could promenade along the sides and in front. 36 A theatre s orchestra section might be changed in order to increase the amount of room in the pit for paying seats. In William Wilkins s 1799 survey of the Theatre Royal in Norwich we find that due to the high demand for tickets an alteration was made in front of the stage, and the orchestra, which was before too cramped for the performers, is now become almost intolerable; there is so little room for the violincello [sic] players that they are obliged to 4 Orchestra gallery at Vauxhall Gardens; aquatint by Augustus Pugin after Thomas Rowlandson, published in R. Ackerman, Microcosm of London, ii (London, 1809) be raised so high as to intercept the sight of numbers in the pit. 37 It is possible, then, that the musicians in our sketch might have been raised in order to make more room for the audience, or for extra instruments. Nevertheless, in an English playhouse, there were quite a few occasions in which the orchestra might have been put on the stage, and all of these featured the music prominently. Musical concerts Iconography depicting 18th-century concerts such as the Ancient Music concerts, for instance, or the concert series at Hickford s Rooms often depicts the orchestra (and singers) raised on a platform. The idea that this arrangement might be used for public concerts in the theatre makes sense when we also consider their use of the organ, as employed in public concerts elsewhere. The celebrated Hickford s Rooms in Brewer Street had a platform for the performers, floor-space and gallery for the audience, and an organ Early Music November 2016

7 The entire orchestra was not always up on stage when concerts were held in theatres usually it was only the soloists. John Marsh attended a concert for the Musicians Fund in February of 1774 at the opera house, writing in his journal that The music at this concert was all perform d in the common orchestra, except those that played solo concertos, who mounted the stage just above themselves. 39 In February of 1785, the Whitehall Evening Post described the new alterations to the concert room for the Ancient Concert, including the arrangement of the orchestra: Within it is entirely a new Room the dimensions in length and heighth [sic] are much encreased At the West end, where the band used to be, but without any fixed arrangement, there is now to be a regular series of enclosed fittings for the musicians, much in the manner of the Oratorio disposition at Drury-lane, with the organ and harpsichord in the centre Fétis described a similar stage platform for the Philharmonic Concerts in London in the early 19th century: The part of the room occupied by the orchestra is in the form of an amphitheatre, as in the Concerts Spirituel, or at the Conservatoire de Paris; but this amphitheatre is of a much more sudden elevation, and more approaching the perpendicular. A semi-circular gallery contains a part of the performers, who are placed nearly above the heads of the rest. 41 Susan Burney recounted the details of a benefit concert in the King s Theatre (the opera house) in 1780 in her journals; according to Burney, this extraordinary concert was also performed on the stage. 42 In addition to public concerts, the London theatres also hosted balls, which suggest another possibility. Balls and masquerades The Swiss-born impresario John James Heidegger is often credited with having introduced the Venetian fashion of a semi-public masquerade ball to London; by 1716, he was promoting his balls at the Queen s (later King s) Theatre at the Haymarket, where he had been involved in Italian opera productions. 43 When operas were suspended in the season, it left room for the new masquerades to bring in much-needed income. Heidegger s ridottos were grand affairs, with music, dancing, raffle drawings, unlimited wine, and suppers, and they were enormously popular with the upper class. 44 The orchestra was situated on stage so that the newly planked floor could hold the masqueraders and the sides the buffet and wine. 45 (See illus.5.) Heidegger s masquerades ended around February 1743, but the fashion for ridottos lived on, especially at the opera house. 46 The Pantheon and Covent Garden both hosted masquerade balls during the Georgian era. 47 By the end of the 18th century there was a gossipy MASQUERADE INTELLIGENCE section in the St. James s Chronicle or the British Evening Post. Although Drury Lane was not the conventional place for a ball the opera house was the usual venue, as its fittings and environment were considered more elegant there are accounts of such events occasionally taking place there, particularly in the 19th century. 48 However, the orchestra at a masked ball did not typically involve an organ (or a serpent, for that matter), so we should search for another type of event that would regularly have included these instruments. Oratorios Because of the presence of an organ and the serpent, there is a strong possibility that the arrangement Winston depicts is for an oratorio performance at the theatre. In the 18th century London s oratorio series was held at the theatres during Lent. There were usually two such performances per week, on Wednesdays and Fridays. Oratorios in England were not restricted to Lent they also appeared in the summer at Vauxhall Gardens and at other similar venues when the theatres were closed, and for benefit performances in aid of many charities (for example the Foundling Hospital). Nevertheless, from the beginnings of the genre, English oratorios were mainly designed for the theatres. Some specific early examples are Handel s Esther (London revision 1732), Willem de Fesch s Judith (for Lincoln s Inn Fields, 1733) and Thomas Arne s The Death of Abel (for Dublin s Smock Alley, 1744). Count Friedrich Kielmansegge, who visited London during the season and recorded theatrical events in his diary, described what was probably the common stage setup for a Georgian-era oratorio: On the stage an amphitheatre is erected with a platform, on which all the musicians and singers have Early Music November

8 5 Masquerade at the Pantheon Theatre; aquatint after Thomas Rowlandson, published in R. Ackerman, Microcosm of London, ii (London, 1809) their seats, whilst the public sit in the same places as during the plays. 49 The organ was the centrepiece of such an arrangement (illus.6), as it had been since the time of Handel. 50 Indeed, John Marsh refers obliquely to this arrangement of the orchestra in his diary, when he attended the oratorio of Sampson [sic] at Drury Lane then conducted by Stanley, whose back as he sat at the organ was present as conspicuously to the audience as his predecessor Mr Handel s used to be upon the same occasion, the space in front being not then filled as at present by a numerous group of chorus singers besides the principals. 51 The orchestral platform was considered part of the stage decorations. Covent Garden hired scene painter Nicholas Thomas Dall in 1760 to paint scenes of oratorios for their oratorio series, led by John Christopher Smith and John Stanley; in 1770, Dall was engaged again when Samuel Arnold s oratorio series moved to Covent Garden, and for this new commission he designed a platform for the orchestra. 52 A review in The Public Advertiser on 3 March 1770 mentions Dall s contribution: Last night was perform d at the Theatre Royal, Covent- Garden, to a numerous and brilliant Audience, the Oratorio of the Messiah, under the direction of Messrs. Toms and Arnold. The elegant new Building for the Orchestra on the Stage was design d and painted by Mr. Dall. Theatres increasingly attempted to outdo each other with stage decorations, including the orchestra gallery. A critic who called himself Phil-Harmonicus 614 Early Music November 2016

9 6 Oratorio at Covent Garden Theatre, with the organ and orchestral platform in the centre of the stage; aquatint after Thomas Rowlandson, published in R. Ackerman, Microcosm of London, i (London, 1808) wrote in to The Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser on 24 February 1768, applauding Drury Lane s stage arrangement for an oratorio with a numerous and well chosen Orchestra of instrumental performers, arranged in a more picturesque manner than had yet been seen. In 1794, enthusiastic reviewers gave details of William Capon s spectacular stage design for that season s oratorio series at Drury Lane, one in which the Orchestra represented the inside of a Gothic Cathedral. 53 There were even illuminated stained glass windows, the reviewer for The Thespian Magazine reported. The flies being carved like the fretted roof of an antique pile, and the wings to the side scenes, are removed for a complete screen, like those in use at the foreign theatres, thereby perfecting the deception of the scene. 54 Unfortunately, these elaborate constructions were not always solidly built. William Parke recounted an alarming accident between two acts of an oratorio in 1786, when owing to the negligence of the carpenters of the theatre, who erected the orchestra on the stage The upper tier, on which were stationed the trumpets, French-horns, bassoons, and kettle-drums, suddenly gave way, and the performers who were on it were precipitated down a descent of fourteen feet; but fortunately no one was seriously injured. 55 A miracle after a plunge of 14 feet! Special musical events Lest the presence of the organ causes us to think only of oratorios, we must remember that the Early Music November

10 instrument was used in the theatre for other types of special performances as well. David Garrick s famous Shakespeare Jubilee celebrations, which took place during the Drury Lane oratorio series in 1776, included a performance of Thomas Linley the Younger s so-called Shakespeare Ode (A lyric ode on the fairies, aerial beings, and witches of Shakespeare). The orchestra, co-directed by Thomas Linley the Elder and John Stanley, was on the stage for this notable event (see illus.7). 56 Thomas Linley the Elder s A monody on the death of Garrick (a musical interlude with words by Sheridan), performed 11 March 1779, was another special performance with an orchestra on the stage (see illus.8): In the early part of this year, 1779, Garrick died, and shortly afterwards Mr. Sheridan, the principal proprietor of Drury Lane, produced his beautiful monody on the death of that great actor, Parke tells us: This poem was partly set to music by Mr. Linley; and it was performed with great applause for many nights between the play and farce. It was forcibly recited by Mrs. Yates, the great tragic actress of that day; and some of the verses were responded by the principal vocalists, accompanied by the band, who occupied an orchestra built on the stage, as at the oratorios. 57 Both of these special performances took place in the 1770s, before Winston ever arrived at Drury Lane. Although it is possible that his sketch is a copy of an old drawing (Winston often made copies of significant drawings for his collection), the details of the theatre do not line up; we have already narrowed down our possibilities to the fourth theatre, which 7 Mr Garrick delivering his Ode, at Drury Lane Theatre, on dedicating a Building & erecting a Stature, to Shakespeare ; engraving by John Lodge (1769), ART File g241 no.106 (Used by permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library) 616 Early Music November 2016

11 8 Garrick memorial concert at Drury Lane Theatre; watercolour by Edward Frances Burney, 1779 ( Trustees of the British Museum) was built in Were there other special occasions at Drury Lane in the early 19th century, perhaps that could have used an orchestra on stage? There must be more information contained in the drawing that we can use to untangle the mystery. The puzzle solved? A decisive piece of evidence is Winston s label in his sketch for a Proposed new Entrance to the Theatre, which can be seen on the top right-hand side of his drawing (see illus.1 above). According to Marcus Risdell, former Curator of the Garrick Club Library, this suggests that Winston made his working sketch in the 1820s, at the time of Samuel Beazley, Jr. s renovations to the auditorium of the fourth theatre. 58 Beazley also a playwright and opera librettist was the leading architect of the day; he produced designs for the English Opera House, the Royalty Theatre and other playhouses around the world. 59 Plate XV from Daniel Havell s 1826 Historical and descriptive accounts of the theatres of London depicts Drury Lane with these recent alterations in the form of the auditory by Mr S Beazley (illus.9). Early Music November

12 9 Daniel Havell s plan of Drury Lane Theatre in 1826, showing the recent additions to the theatre. Havell, Historical and descriptive accounts of the theatres of London (1826), pl.xv (Used by permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library) Havell s 1826 plan clearly shows the pit after the creation of the second entrance made by Beazley; it also shows that Drury Lane kept the existing entrance as well. This Havell engraving is the only plan of any of the four Drury Lane theatres that has a path running through the stalls as seen in Winston s sketch and it shows the new second entrance that Winston proposes through the side box on the righthand side of his drawing. Winston made a number of architectural drawings (now held in the Victoria and Albert Museum s Theatre and Performance Collections, and in the Folger Library) for these renovations, indicating that he was involved in the alteration process along with Beazley. Beazley s renovations to Drury Lane were undertaken during the summer of 1822, and so it is likely the sketch can be dated to around that year. Dating Winston s sketch around the summer of 1822 also gives us a very good explanation for the platform for the musicians extending out over the orchestra and into the front rows. Concerts of Ancient and Modern Music were held in the spring of the season at Drury Lane, on Wednesdays and Fridays during Lent (the usual dates for the oratorio season in the London theatres). The Garrick Club in London holds playbills for these semi-oratorio performances; each was advertised as a Grand Performance of Ancient & Modern Music (see illus.10). According to the bills, the performances were under the direction of Mr [Nicholas] Bochsa (that is, the concerts were organized by Bochsa), the notorious French harp virtuoso and composer. 60 The oratorio performances began in late January and were also held in February and March. On 30 January 1823, Handel s Messiah ( With the additional Accompaniments by MOZART ) opened the series, along with Rossini s oratorio Cyrus in Babylon ( First Time in this Country, exhorts the playbill) and A Grand Miscellaneous Act to be announced on the day. A number of famous performers were involved, including the celebrated singers Madame Vestris, the young Maria Tree and Mary Ann Paton, John Braham, and Italian imports Violante Camporese and Alberico Curioni; principal instrumental performers advertised included the virtuoso Nicolas Mori on the violin, Charles Nicholson on the flute, Robert Lindley on the cello and Giovanni Puzzi on the French horn. In addition to these illustrious names, the playbill tells us that An Engagement is pending with Mr. [Ignaz] MOSCHELES, Who is daily expected from the Continent. A second playbill released on the day of the 30 January performance gives further details: the Grand Miscellaneous Act turns out to be a hodge-podge of arias and choruses 618 Early Music November 2016

13 10 Playbill for a Grand Performance of Ancient & Modern Music, Friday, 21 February 1823 (By permission of the Garrick Club of London) from Handel oratorios, Haydn s Creation, Italian and English operas, and Pepusch s cantata Alexis. On 14 February, selections from Handel s Acis and Galatea and Rossini s Cyrus in Babylon were announced on a playbill, along with a duet by Mozart, a concertante for two harps on a Scots air, a fantasia on the French horn played by Puzzi, and excerpts from Bochsa s Requiem ( Accompanied on Thirteen Harps, forming three Orchestras! the bill excitedly proclaims). Also, In the course of the Performance will be introduced for the first time in this Country, the CALM of the SEA and the RISING BREEZE; A DESCRIPTIVE CHORUS, composed by BEETHOVEN; translated and adapted from the original German of the eminent poet GOETHE. (This Piece is one of the latest productions of the above celebrated Composer.) This is Beethoven s Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage cantata op.112 (1815) for chorus and orchestra in an English translation; it was soon a popular piece at choral festivals across Britain. 61 On the programme for Friday, 21 February were selections from Handel s Redemption (actually a pastiche of works from various Handel oratorios, with new recitatives composed by Samuel Arnold). Beethoven s Calm of the Sea cantata is also announced for a second time, as well as the usual miscellaneous concert but it was the addition of an adaptation of Rossini s La Donna del Lago ( in this Piece an Additional Orchestra of Wind Instruments will be employed ) that would receive the most press. La Donna del Lago, composed for Naples in 1819 on a text taken from Sir Walter Scott s narrative poem Lady of the Lake, was the first of three new serious operas by Rossini to be performed in London in It had already premiered at the opera house, with scenery, costumes and singing stars from the Continent, only days earlier. This unexpected rivalry for the King s Theatre s usual audience would prove to affect the Rossini performances at Drury Lane, as we shall see. Later bills for plays and operas at Drury Lane in the following weeks have information about the remainder of the oratorio concerts; from them we learn that Cyrus in Babylon was performed once more, as was The Lady of the Lake, and William Crotch s oratorio Palestine (the most popular oratorio besides those of Handel) was added along with other miscellaneous pieces. There was an all-star cast that corresponds to the orchestral layout in Winston s sketch. Sir George Smart conducted the performances from the organ, and he was joined by Moscheles on the Grand Piano Forte. Moscheles, who was engaged for three weeks by Drury Lane for these performances, recorded his memories in his diaries and correspondence: I was at a so-called Oratorio Concert, he wrote, where one part consisted of sacred, another of secular music. He added that The public may have found the former part rather longer than they liked, for the people stormed and stamped because certain pieces Early Music November

14 of the Donna del Lago, which had been promised in the programme, were left out. 63 In the next performance, Moscheles tells us that the audience was in a good humor, for not only had the recently omitted numbers from the Donna del Lago been dished up, but the entire opera was given. 64 The position of the pianoforte in the middle of Winston s Folger sketch would have put Moscheles centre stage for the performance of his piano solos during the concert series. 65 All of the playbills for this season tout A NEW AND SUPERB ORCHESTRA which has been designed and decorated by Mr Marinari for these performances. Gaetano Marinari was one of Drury Lane s architectural scene painters and machinists. Since The Band will be numerous and complete in every department and the choruses were numerous (including boys from the Chapel Royal, St Paul s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey), there was an obvious need for Marinari s stage construction. Reviews for Drury Lane s experimental entertainments for Lent were mixed. While the Theatrical Observer was on the side of Drury Lane, declaring that the Donna del Lago adaptation was in a far superior style to the Opera itself, other critics were derisive of Bochsa s so-called oratorio nights, disparaging the small number of players in the orchestra, the feebleness of the band, and the mixed-bag approach to programming. Handel and Rossini, Pious Orgies, and Cherries ripe, Hallelujah, and Blue bonnets, are mingled in such admired disorder, that the occasional performance of music of a sacred and elevated character, gives rather pain than pleasure, one critic declared. 66 The Harmonicon reported that the oratorio season was financially unsuccessful despite good audiences, due to the expence of paying for both Drury Lane and Covent Garden, in order to keep one shut up, and the high prices given to the singers. 67 An uncatalogued correspondence book from Drury Lane for these years held in the Garrick Club Library tells us that the Italian Opera felt these concerts to be an infringement of their licence, not being technically oratorios. They complained to the Lord Chamberlain, who issued a warning to Drury Lane s theatre managers on 7 March The King s Theatre felt that Drury Lane s present practice of performing parts of the most Popular Italian Operas was to the great detriment of the Kings Theatre, since the performances usually chosen for the Purpose, are either those announced for representation at the Opera-House or such as have already become favourites by being Perform d at that Theatre. In addition, the opera house grumbled about the Italian singers, brought over from Distant Parts of the Continent at Immense risk and expence, who were being stolen away from their rehearsal obligations at the Italian Opera. Drury Lane s answer is recorded. The managers tried sticking to only sacred oratorios, they replied, but The number of Oratorios which may be Termed Sacred Music are so few, that with the exception of the Messiah, there is not one, which Perform d as a whole, would attract an audience. They claimed that the King s Theatre had never complained about the Italian singers in Drury Lane s oratorios in the past. Furthermore, they argued that La Donna del Lago fell under the patent for English drama held by Drury Lane, as it was taken from an English Poem and an English Drama. Finally, the Drury Lane managers contested the Italian Opera s rights to the music: the King s Theatre Does not Possess the Copyright of Rossinis Music, argued the managers, and if so, has not Mr Bochsa, or any other Person an equal right to obtain the Score?. Unfortunately for Drury Lane, the managers protests fell on deaf ears, and Bochsa s Italian opera arrangements were discontinued. Though he tried again with another oratorio season at Drury Lane in the following year, Bochsa was forced to declare bankruptcy in All of the publicity surrounding La Donna del Lago proved beneficial for Rossini, however: in the following season he was appointed director and composer at the King s Theatre, and his wife principal singer. A second Winston orchestra sketch comes to light This evidence for dating Winston s sketch to Drury Lane s season is bolstered by the appearance of a second pen-and-ink drawing by Winston that also depicts the Drury Lane orchestra during the same period, and that likewise appears to have remained unknown to musicologists (illus.11). 69 This second architectural drawing, which is held in the Victoria and Albert Museum s Theatre and 620 Early Music November 2016

15 11 Another orchestral plan by James Winston. Victoria and Albert Museum Theatre and Performance Collections, Winston Collection, s (dated 1823) ( Victoria and Albert Museum, London) Performance Collection in London, is likely to be related to the Folger sketch as the paper is from the same stock (both are watermarked IVY MILL 1823 with Britannia in a crowned shield). The drawings are roughly the same size and depict similar arrangements containing approximately the same number of players (the Folger sketch depicts 31 desks, and the V&A sketch 32). The connection between these two drawings is unclear, although they are both certainly meant for Drury Lane s orchestra. One notable addition to this new sketch is the substitution of surnames for many of the performers next to each instrument, instead of the numbers represented in the Folger drawing. 70 The arrangement of the orchestra is nearly the same in both sketches. In the centre is the organ, and around it we see the drums, the Leader & ripetature, a flute ( Price ), a double bass ( Haggard or Haggart ) and a violoncello ( Bupells ), as in the Folger sketch; the back row contains the bass instruments, including double basses on each side. The middle row has eight violins (along with two oboes and violas), instead of the six violins and two clarinets of the Folger sketch the clarinets were moved to the back row in the V&A sketch. The drawing in the V&A also shows two instruments along the edge of the stage (one on each side); the first few letters of the word trombone on stage right (and the t in the serpent on stage left) have been sliced off, leaving us to wonder whether there were perhaps more instruments next to them on the sides of the stage. There are two fewer violinists in the Folger seating plan, and there is no pianoforte depicted in the V&A plan, but otherwise the composition of the two orchestras is virtually identical. Perhaps this drawing depicts another performance of Bochsa s entertainments for Lent? There were several types of occasion for which orchestras were placed on stage, and Bochsa s Concerts of Ancient and Modern Music wrapped many of them (concert, oratorio and special performance) into one entertainment full of novelties. The large number of performers especially the numerous band and addition of several choirs meant that the music was front and centre, and that Marinari s decorated orchestra construction was necessary. It was the sort of event in which Winston Early Music November

16 would have been involved, and one that he is likely to have wanted to document. 71 Seating plans for English orchestras in the Georgian period are exceedingly rare, so Winston s two sketches are particularly valuable for those who seek iconographical evidence of how an orchestra of this period might have been arranged. These sketches can tell us much about orchestral performances in English theatres, specifically which instruments were present in the playhouse, prevailing ideas about seating and layout, how the stage might have accommodated the orchestra, and other related matters. Winston s detailed drawings contain some excellent clues, giving us a substantive start at understanding how orchestral music in the late Georgian-era theatre might have worked on the stage. Vanessa L. Rogers is Associate Professor of Music and holder of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Professorship at Rhodes College. She is also one of the Associate Editors of the international London Stage database at the University of Oxford and the Principal Researcher for Ballad operas online: an electronic catalogue. Her primary area of research is 18thcentury and early 19th-century English stage music, and her current project is a book entitled Ballad operas, burlettas, and burlesques: comic opera in eighteenth-century Britain. I would like to express my warm thanks to the staff of the Folger Shakespeare Library especially Erin Blake in the Library, Carol Brobeck at the Folger Institute, and Sarah Weiner (former assistant to the Director) for help identifying the Winston image and for the short-term Research Fellowship (2007), without which this research would not have been possible. 1 J. Winston, The theatric tourist, ed. I. Mackintosh, with an introduction by M. Risdell (London, 2008), pp.[iii iv]. 2 The theatre was regularly called the Theatre Royal Drury Lane after See J. Earl and M. Sell (eds.), Guide to British theatres (London, 2000), p Sheridan had been in financial trouble for a long time; it was his defeat in the parliamentary elections of 1812 that would seal his fate, as he was now without parliamentary privilege and therefore fair game for the creditors suits. See A. N. Jeffares, Sheridan, Richard Brinsley ( ), ODNB Online, article/25367 (accessed 10 August 2014). 4 See the website for The Really Useful Theatre Group, which owns and operates the Drury Lane theatre today: theatres/theatre-royal-drury-lane/ history (accessed 23 August 2013). 5 A. L. Nelson and G. B. Cross (eds.), Drury lane journal: selections from James Winston s diaries (London, 1974); Winston, Theatric tourist. 6 Pieces of Winston s collection can be found at the Folger, in the V&A Theatre and Performance Collections in London, in the Harvard Theatre Collection, the Garrick Club Library, and in libraries in Birmingham (UK), Johannesburg (South Africa) and Sydney, Australia. 7 P. H. Highfill, Jr., K. A. Burnim and E. A. Langhans, A biographical dictionary of actors, actresses, musicians, dancers, managers, and other stage personnel in London, (Carbondale, ), vi, pp D. Kennedy, The Oxford companion to theatre and performance (Oxford, 2010), p.177. Although the auditorium was remodelled by Robert Adam in 1775 (and a new tier of boxes added), the pit area was not much enlarged. 9 Survey of London, Vol. XXXV, The Theatre Royal Drury Lane and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden (London, 1970), p Survey of London, p.57, quoting James Winston s memoranda relating to Drury Lane Theatre now held in the British Library, c.120.h Benjamin Dean Wyatt, Observations on the Principles of the Design for the Theatre now Building in Drury Lane (London, 1811). 12 ORCHESTRA, is a part of the theatre between the scenes and the audience, wherein the musicians are disposed to play the overture, &c. of a play, be it tragedy or comedy, of the opera, oratorio, serenata, &c. Sébastien de Brossard, A musical dictionary (London, 1769), p R. Fiske, English theatre music in the eighteenth century (Oxford and New York, 2/1986), pp V. L. Rogers, English caricature and the playhouse orchestra at London s Drury Lane Theatre, , Music images instruments, Vol. XII: Orchestres aux XVIIIe et XIXe siècles: composition, disposition, direction, représentation, ed. F. Gétreau (Paris, 2011), pp In 1826, The principals, regularly engaged, (exclusive of the performers,) are as follows: Director of the musical department, leader of the band, six or eight 1 st violins, ditto 2d, two tenors, two violincellos, three or four double basses, oboe and flageolet, 1 st and 2d flutes, 1 st and 2d clarionets, 1 st and 2d horns, 1 st and 2d bassoons, trombone, trumpet and bugle, piano-forte, bells, carillons or small bells, (the three latter not always used,) and kettle-drums, (other instruments are occasionally introduced); music copyist, (he has several assistants,) and an attendant 622 Early Music November 2016

17 upon the orchestra to lay out the music. See Charles Dibdin, Jr., History and Illustrations of the London Theatres (London, 1826), p The London stage, : a calendar of plays, entertainments and afterpieces, together with casts, boxreceipts and contemporary comment, ed. C. B. Hogan (Carbondale, 1968), Part V, i, p Fiske, English theatre music, pp.280 1, and the London Stage, Part V, ii, p See also J. Spitzer and N. Zaslaw, The birth of the orchestra: history of an institution, (Oxford, 2004), pp : there was one harpsichord, 16 strings, four woodwinds and two horns. With the 16 strings ( ), one or more of the cellists played bass, two violinists doubled on clarinet, and one violist doubled on trumpet; for the four woodwinds ( ), the oboes all doubled on flutes; and there was an occasional trumpet, executed by the violist. 17 See S. Wills, Brass in the modern orchestra, in The Cambridge companion to brass instruments, ed. T. Herbert and J. Wallace (Cambridge, 2012) pp , at pp Charles Dibdin tells us that On particular occasions, such as during the performances of grand spectacles, &c., there are many supernumerary performers engaged by the night. Dibdin, History and illustrations, p London stage, Part IV, i, pp.cxxxiii xccciv. 20 Drury Lane Paybook , Folger Ms. w.b.422, fol.115. Quoted in J. Girdham, English opera in late eighteenth-century London: Stephen Storace at Drury Lane (Oxford, 1997), p If this is indeed the number of players in the entire orchestra, it would have been one of the smallest orchestras in early 19th-century Europe; see Part III ( Size, Numbers, and Proportions in the Nineteenth- Century Orchestra ) of D. J. Koury, Orchestral performance practices in the nineteenth century: size, proportions, and seating (Ann Arbor, 1986). 22 E. Zöllner, English oratorio after Handel: the London oratorio series and its repertory, (Marburg, 2002), pp See also P. Holman, The conductor at the organ, or how choral and orchestral music was directed in Georgian England, in Music and performance culture in nineteenth-century Britain: essays in honour of Nicholas Temperley, ed. B. Zon (Farnham, 2012), pp , at p.254 and pp , and R. Stowell, Good execution and other necessary skills: the role of the concertmaster in the late 18th century, Early Music, xvi/1 (1988), pp.21 33, at p Most of the oratorios require two continuo instruments, sometimes more. Deborah (1733) calls for two harpsichords and two organs (and includes a rare obbligato organ part in the aria In the battle ), Esther (revised version 1731) for two harpsichords plus one or two organs, and Solomon (1749) for two harpsichords and organ. M. J. Wilson, The chamber organ in Britain, (Aldershot, 2001), p.33. It may be noted that in French theatrical practice the basso continuo only played during the singing and was omitted during the overture and dances (see G. Sadler, The role of the keyboard continuo in French opera , Early Music, viii/2 (1980), pp , at p.149); in addition, Judith Milhous and Curtis Price have shown that two harpsichords were used (probably utilized in the same way) in early 18th-century English opera as well (see their Harpsichords in the London theatres, , Early Music, xviii/1 (1990), pp.38 46). Milhous and Price uncovered a lawsuit between Christopher Rich s sons and a harpsichord-maker named Stephen Heming in 1708, demonstrating that Drury Lane retained a string band for act-tunes and overtures, and harpsichords (one for Italian opera, and two for English entertainments) used exclusively for accompanying the voices. 24 See Holman, The conductor at the organ, p.261, and G. Cummings, Handel s organ concertos (hwv ) and operatic rivalry, in the GFH Journal, i (2007), online at: www. gfhandel.org/research/gfhjournal/ gfhjournal_1.html (accessed 15 September 2016). Later theatres would use a piano rather than a harpsichord as part of the same setup. 25 See Fétis, in The Harmonicon (September 1829), i, p.216: The kettledrums are played here with sticks both stronger and more fully rounded at the head, than those used in France; the effect produced appeared excellent. 26 GB-Lbl c.61.g.17 (programme books annotated by George Smart), quoted by Graydon Beeks in a presentation ( Sir George Smart s performances of Messiah ) for the 18th-Century Music Study Day at the Foundling Museum, London, 24 November J. Bennett, Forty years of music, (London, 1908), p See Illustrated London News, 21 May 1846, in which the double basses were (finally) moved to the back in the Philharmonic Society s orchestra. 29 Costa s first reform was to dispense with the leader, so that the whole responsibility devolved on the conductor. H. Phillips, Musical and personal recollections during half a century (London, 1864), ii, pp They are also on the sides in Paris and in Berlioz s plan; see Koury, Orchestral performance practices, p Fétis, Curiosités, Deuxième Lettre, Société Philharmonique, Londres, 1er Mai 1829, pp.186 8, which is reprinted in English in The Harmonicon (September 1829), i, p Spitzer and Zaslaw, The birth of the orchestra, pp Wilson lists the organs at the pleasure gardens in The chamber organ in Britain, pp In addition to the visual display, Spitzer and Zaslaw also stress formality and distance as reasons to elevate an orchestra (The birth of the orchestra, pp ). 35 D. J. Burrows, Handel s oratorio performances, in The Cambridge companion to Handel (Cambridge, 1997), pp , at pp A curved amphitheatre arrangement was proposed by Ignaz Ferdinand Cajetan Arnold in his Der angehende Musikdirektor, and was used for Haydn s concerts in London in 1791 and Early Music November

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