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VI.

MANCHESTER MUSICAL FESTIVAL-MALIBRAN'S

DEATH.

Having always heard of Manchester as one of the great manufacturing centres of England, I had associated with it foul streets, dingy and smoke-capped houses, and a population bustling and mechanical. I hardly expected likewise to find its chief thoroughfares crowded, like the Italian Boulevart at Paris, or the Regent street of London, with splendor, rank, and beauty, and fashion. Such nevertheless was the fact, when this morning I entered it, passing onwards up through Market street to my hotel, the Albion.

I was evidently here upon some great occasion. The shop windows were crowded with strange and gorgeous dresses, and prying through them were multitudes of inquisitive eyes.

Here was a personage in large moustaches and fantastic, foreign garment, walking leisurely up and down, bearing upon his shoulder an immense cross, whereon was written, Continental Novelties-Magnificent Spanish and French Costumes, at Newall's Buildings, for the grand Fancy Ball.' Here was another, his hat surmounted by an announce. ment in huge letters, Song on the Festival.' Behind him came another shouting out, ' Answer to the Song on the Festival ;' and he himself was followed by still a third, whose hat likewise proclaimed, ‘Answer to the Rival Song,' and they all three sang out continually, 'a penny, gentlemen, only a penny.' On one side the way was written, “The Floral and Horticultural Exhibition is now open,' and upon another, 'The Gallery of Modern Paintings may here be seen.' Before me was a little fat man, round as the machine of which he spoke, proclaiming that the balloon would certainly go up this afternoon ; and on my right was a shabbily-genteel lean one, reading an advertisement pasted up in large letters, informing the citizens that the police had been trebled, and advising them, by all means, not to carry about them large sums of money during the coming festival. Through the streets rushed vehicles richly ornamented, and evidently filled with the Ton. Gentlemen were on horseback, and trymen were on foot, and ladies were joined with them, and all was talk, and laughter, and frolic and joy. Surely, said I, this people cannot be thinking of cotton-spinning now, and whatever may be their general, sober, manufacturing, industrious character, at present, another and a gayer spirit has usurped its place. My eye soon read an explanation of all.

Before me was a vast placard at least fifteen feet high, upon whose top were the words, ? Manchester Grand Musical Festival, under the patronage of his most gracious Majesty the King, Duke of Lancaster; her most gracious Majesty the Queen, Duchess of Lancaster ; and their Royal Highnesses the Duchess

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of Kent, and the Princess Victoria. Then followed the names of about sixty vice-patrons, including some of the most distinguished gentlemen of the kingdom, among whom was Sir Robert Peel. Then came a list of the instrumental and vocal performers, among the latter of whom, the chief were Braham and Madame Malibran. A few moments were sufficient to satisfy me, that here was a combination of musical talent which perhaps had never been paralleled in Europe. I now read a list of the performances. Two mornings were to be occupied in performing the entire Sacred Oratorios by Haydn and Handel ;-the Creation and the Messiah ;-two more in performing selected portions of other famed compositions. There were to be three evening miscellaneous concerts, and the festival was to conclude with a grand fancy ball. The price of tickets to the different performances, varied from half a guinea to a guinea, and the surplus proceeds of the festival were to be given to the public charities of the city. A noble programme this, said I, nobly patronized, and its object nobler than all.

Seven years ago, Manchester got up a similar festival, and after paying about fifty thousand dollars for expenses, a surplus still remained of some twenty thousand dollars, which went to relieve the sick and the poor. In Birmingham, such festivals are triennial. In Liverpool a similar one for similar worthy objects, is to be held next month, and in Norwich and Worces. ter, and many other provincial towns, the same agent is to be set to work for the same charitable purposes. Music, thought I, should be more cultivated in my own country, if for no other object, at least for this. If not cherished for itself, might it not be more cherished for that charitable good which it can achieve? If not regard it as an end, why not more worthily regard it as a means ? Leave out of consideration its elevating, refining, sobering, bettering influence upon the heart. Look upon it only as a mighty agent in relieving human suffering. Take the practical view of it which here seems, very wisely, to be taken by the working men of England. In that view even, does it not present strong claims upon our encouragement? In this country, it has admirably subserved such noble end, and it seems to me that here is a reason for cultivating the delightful art, which the most material, practical, common-place leveller amongst us cannot for a moment gainsay.

Whether the English have a taste for music, national or otherwise, is to me matter of little concern. This I know, that besides all their operas and thousands of private concerts, these great festivals flourish and yearly increase in public favor. And while the performers are generally foreigners, and the pieces performed are from German and Italian genius, the Eng. lish of all ranks and ages are the listeners, and they pay well and willingly for listening.

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Wednesday.—I have just returned from hearing the Messiah of Handel. It is the first entire oratorio that I have ever listened to. I have not been disappointed.

The composition is perhaps the finest of its kind in the world. But what would that composition be, were there not adequate powers of voice and instrument, to embody and exhibit it? Such, it seems to me, have been here to-day engaged. Consider only their vast number. Here were one hundred and two instruments alone ; whereof fifty were violins, and twenty violoncellos and double-basses. Joined to the instruments, was a chorus of two hundred and twenty-four voices, whereof sixty were female. But this enumeration does not include the masters ; Braham, and Phillips, and Bennet, and Machin, and Nicholson on the flute, and Harper on the trumpet, and Lindley on the violoncello, and Mori and De Beriot on the violin. Nor does it include those other fair names known to the musical world ;-Bishop, Knyvett, Novello, and Shaw, and Madame Caradori Allan. Malibran, from illness could not appear.

Braham opened with the strain, Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, saith your God.' I was seated far away in that part of the great church, called for the present the patron's gallery. I must have been at least three hundred feet from the singer, and yet up came his full voice to me, through arches and the vaulted ceiling, swelling and fading away like some organ tones.

• He sings as well as when I heard him forty years ago,' said a gentleman at my side. In a few moments the chorus, accompanied by all the instruments, joined him in the words, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed.' The mighty volume of sound

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