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Music by the Few for the Many: Chamber Music in Colonial Queensland

  • Peter Roennfeldt

Extract

The early development of Queensland's musical culture has only been partly documented. Despite a number of general surveys and a few specialist publications in recent decades, the largest body of research, dating mostly from the 1970s and 1980s in the form of academic dissertations, remains unpublished. As I demonstrated in a recent article for this journal, the narrative of Queensland's music can be traced in various ways, including focusing either on a specific organisation or ‘cause’ – phenomena that in turn interface with the efforts of countless individuals. An alternative strategy is to survey a specific genre of music-making, where likewise a diverse range of performers, repertoire, venues and events are part of the mix. This article endeavours to trace the development of chamber music in colonial Queensland as an important subset of an active concert life that included numerous popular entertainers, touring artists and musical-theatrical troupes. Support of chamber music, a so-called ‘high-class’ genre, was also viewed by some colonists as an emblem or barometer of increasing cultural self-worth, particularly in the two decades leading up to Federation.

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Endnotes

1 For example, McKay, Belinda, ‘A state of harmony? Music in the deep north’, Queensland Review 5.1 (1998), 116. I have identified at least fourteen theses on aspects of Queensland's local musical history that were completed during the 1970s and 1980s at the University of Queensland alone.

2 Roennfeldt, Peter, ‘The power of persistence: Musical advocates north of the Tweed’, Queensland Review 18.1 (2011), 4253.

3 Brisbane Courier [hereafter cited as BC], 28 October 1867, 1.

4 For the purposes of this discussion, chamber music denotes works composed usually in three or four movements, both for smaller combinations including duo sonatas and trios with piano, as well as larger ensembles from quartets, quintets to octets for either strings alone or with piano and/or wind instruments.

5 BC, 13 July 1866, 1.

6 ‘Concert at South Brisbane’, BC, 19 July 1866, 4.

7 ‘Events of the month’, BC, 19 November 1867, 7.

8 ‘Brisbane Philharmonic Society’, 24 May 1867, 2.

9 BC, 23 April 1870, 1.

10 BC, 25 August 1871, 2–3.

11 BC, 25 October 1871, 2.

12 BC, 1 February 1872, 1.

13 BC, 6 February 1872, 3.

14 Shaw, Bernard, London music in 1888–89 as heard by Corno di Bassetto (New York: Vienna House, 1973), 311.

15 BC, 28 May 1872, 2.

16 BC, 12 December 1872, 2.

17 BC, 13 July 1872, 4.

18 ‘The Monday Popular Concerts’, BC, 15 September 1873, 3.

19 R.T. Jefferies, ‘The Monday Popular Concerts’, BC, 16 September 1873, 3.

20 BC, 3 March 1874, 2–3.

21 BC, 2 December 1873, 2.

22 BC, 21 July 1874, 1.

23 BC, 7 December 1875, 3.

24 ‘Madame Mendelssohn and Mr. Jeffries’ [sic] Concert’, BC, 24 February 1876, 3.

25 ‘Concert’, BC, 13 September 1877, 3.

26 BC, 20 November 1876, 2.

27 BC, 23 September, 1879, 2.

28 BC, 26 June, 1880, 5.

29 Euterpe, ‘Music’, BC, 4 June 1879, 3.

30 BC, 6 May 1880, 2.

31 ‘The Carandini Concert’, BC, 6 May 1881, 3.

32 BC, 24 November 1880, 1.

33 ‘Entertainments: The Mendelssohn Quintette concerts’, BC, 24 October 1881, 3.

34 ‘Entertainments: The Mendelssohn Quintette concerts’, BC, 25 October 1881, 3.

35 ‘Entertainments: The Mendelssohn Quintette concerts’, BC, 27 October 1881, 3.

36 ‘The Mendelssohn Quintette concerts’, Queenslander, 5 November 1881, 591.

37 ‘Amusements: The Mendelssohn Quintette concerts’, BC, 31 October 1881, 3.

38 Queenslander, 26 November 1881, 687.

39 ‘Musical echoes’, BC, 10 December 1889, 7.

40 ‘Dr Walters’ Promenade Concerts’, BC, 8 August 1887, 5.

41 BC, 16 December 1890, 4.

42 ‘Amusements: Monday Popular Concerts’, BC, 13 January 1891, 5.

43 ‘Concert at the Centennial Hall’, BC, 5 February 1891, 5.

44 BC, 17 February 1891, 4–5.

45 BC, 4 May 1891, 2.

46 ‘Amusements: Mr. Frank Fowler's concert’, BC, 5 May 1891, 5.

47 ‘Amusements: Concert at the Protestant Hall’, BC, 5 May 1891, 5.

48 BC, 31 August 1891, 4.

49 ‘Amusements: Concert at Protestant Hall’, BC, 2 June 1891, 5.

50 ‘Musical Echoes’, The Queenslander, 16 May 1891, 930.

51 R.T. Jefferies, ‘The Monday Popular Concerts’, BC, 16 September 1873, 3.

52 ‘Albert Street Wesleyan Church’, BC, 16 April 1894, 6.

53 ‘Mr Jefferies’ concert’, BC, 13 October 1892, 6.

54 ‘Breakfast Creek concert’, BC, 15 December 1891, 6.

55 BC, 12 March 1898, 2.

56 ‘Evening entertainments: Miss Elsie Hall's concert’, BC, 18 July 1898, 6.

57 ‘Amusements: Organ recital’, BC, 17 May 1897, 7.

58 BC, 27 June 1898, 1.

59 BC, 20 May 1892, 5.

60 BC, 17 July 1895, 6.

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