17 JANUARY 1852, Page 10

The Madrigal Society held its hundred-and-eleventh anniversary festi- val on

Thursday, at Freemasons' Hall. Lord Saltoun, the President, was in the chair, and the attendance was numerous both of members and visi- tors. The music of the evening was selected chiefly from the works of Palestrina, Luca Marenzio, Wilbye, Ward, and Orlando Gibbons. The singing was very good on the whole; though the soprano part was some- what weak in proportion to the others, the Cathedral boys being fewer than usual. The Madrigal Society's meetings are a relic of the olden time in England, when, "after supper, the bookes were laid upon the table," and the whole company, sitting round, joined the harmony. The only-change is a nominal one—the comparatively recent substitution of dinner for supper; the modern dinner being, in fact, equivalent to the supper of our ancestors. Madrigal and glee singing was once an entirely social amusement. Those pieces were composed expressly for the convi- vial table, in days when concerts were not; and we still think that they are more agreeable when sung in this way than when performed to an audience by a regular choir collected in an orchestra. This last way has the advantage in point of precision, yet less than might at first be sup- posed; for, at the meetings of this ancient society, the singers, both mem- bers and habitual visitors, are old steady madrigalians, well acquainted with the music, and able to sing it not only with accuracy but in its own peculiar style.