Music and the benefit performance in eighteenth-century Britain

Publication Type:



Cambridge ; New York, NY : Cambridge University Press,, United Kingdom, p.1 online resource (xvi, 286 pages) (2020)

Call Number:




18th century, 18th century., Benefit performances, Great Britain, History, History and criticism., Music, Theater


Includes bibliographical references and index."In the early eighteenth century, the benefit performance became an essential component of commercial music-making in Britain. Benefits, adapted from the spoken theatre, provided a new model from which instrumentalists, singers, and composers could reap financial and professional rewards. Benefits could be given as theatre pieces, concerts, or opera performances for the benefit of individual performers, or in aid of specific organizations. The benefit changed Britain's musico-theatrical landscape during this time, and these special performances became a prototype for similar types of events in other European and American cities. Indeed, the charity benefit became a musical phenomenon in its own right, leading, for example, to the lasting success of Handel's Messiah. By examining benefits from a musical perspective - including performers, audiences, and institutions - the twelve chapters in this collection present the first study of the various ways in which music became associated with the benefit system in eighteenth-century Britain."--Cover; Half-title page; Title page; Copyright page; Contents; List of Figures; List of Tables; List of Music Examples; Notes on Contributors; Acknowledgements; List of Abbreviations; Introduction; Part I Musical Benefits in the London Theatre: Networks and Repertories; 1 Risks and Rewards: Benefits and Their Financial Impact on Actors, Authors, Singers, and Other Musicians in London, c. 1690-1730; 2 With Several Entertainments of Singing and Dancing: London Theatre Benefits, 1700-1725; 3 Concertos 'upon the Stage' in Early Hanoverian London: The Instrumental Counterpart to Opera Seria4 Cobblers, Country Fairs, and Cross-Dressing: Benefits and the Development of Ballad OperaPart II Beyond London: Mimicry or Originality?; 5 Benefit Concerts in the North of England: More Than Just Musical Entertainment; 6 Amateur Music-Making, Theatre Performances, and Benefit Concerts in Edinburgh; Part III Benefits and Public Image; 7 English Music in Benefit Concerts: Henry Purcell and the Next Generation; 8 Strategies of Performance: Benefits, Professional Singers, and Italian Opera in the Early Eighteenth Century; Part IV Charity Benefits9 The Mercer's Hospital Charity Services: Music and Charity in Eighteenth-Century Dublin10 English Oratorio and Charity Benefits in Mid-Eighteenth-Century London; Part V The Role of the Audience; 11 Encountering 'The Most Extraordinary Prodigy': Meeting Master Mozart in Georgian London; 12 Benefits: cui bono?; Select Bibliography; Index of Musical Works; General IndexOnline resource; title from digital title page (viewed on November 21, 2019).