analytical notes

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Donald Tovey (1875—1940) music scholar and composer


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Another name for ‘programme‐notes’, the descriptions of comps. which appear in annotated programmes. Possibly the earliest example is the programme of a Concert of Catches and Glees, given by Arne at Drury Lane Th. in 1768. It has a preface explaining the nature of the catch and the glee, and the various items are provided with historical interest. 15 years later (1783) Frederick the Great's Kapellmeister, J. F. Reichardt, founded in Potsdam a regular Tuesday perf. and provided in his programmes both the words of the songs and ‘historical and aesthetic explanations enabling the audience to gain a more immediate understanding’. John Ella, prominent in London mus. life as dir. of a chamber mus. organization, the Musical Union (1845–80), is often spoken of in Britain as the introducer of annotated programmes: he had been anticipated, but it was probably the utility of his analytical notes over a long period that formally est. the practice which from then on became widespread. Some programme‐notes have had a value beyond the occasion for which they were written, notably those by Sir George Grove for August Manns's orch. concerts at the Crystal Palace and those by Sir Donald Tovey for the Reid concerts in Edinburgh.

Subjects: Music.

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