18 AUGUST 1832, Page 16


OUR retrospect of the Italian Opera last week ended with the fol- lowing passage- " To the art, some good will arise from the experience of the past season. The English singer and the English composer will feel that quiet and undis- puted submission to the sovereignty of Italy will, henceforth, be cowardice and folly. We have now artists of all kinds able to dispute it. As long as we had to contend with giants, the strife was honourable, even when ending in defeat ; but to submit to the domination of pigmies, cannot and will not be borne." If we are correctly informed, this prediction is already in the course of fulfilment; and we may congratulate the English singers on the formation of a Society which contains more power and greater promise of good to the art than any that ever existed in this kingdom. It is an association of the principal English vo- calists, for the practice and cultivation of Classical Vocal Music, both English and Foreign. We have frequently urged the forma- tion of such a society, and we rejoice at its birth. There never was a time in which it was so much wanted, or started with so fair a prospect of success. No concert now exists in which the selection of vocal music is committed to those who know or care aught about it. The Directors of the Ancient Concerts will not, perhaps dare not, travel beyond their old books. Lords Spiritual and Temporal are useful in their proper places, but they are sorry managers of a concert. Of the ability or inclination displayed by the Philharmonic Directors to take charge of this department of their selections, the schemes of the last• season form a tolerably accurate test. Perhaps it is expecting too much from a set of in- strumentalists, to look for much zeal or knowledge beyond their own department of the art. By the constitution of the Society, all unaccompanied vocal music is excluded ; by its practice, all English music, and all choral music. Here is a large track of fertile and unoccupied ground, which has, most unaccountably, re- mained unexplored and uncultivated for years. If the principal English singers have really been brought to understand the importance, to themselves and to the best interests of their art, of co-operation, they have it in their power to bring into action a stronger phalanx of talent than the metropolis ever presented. Such a union, we learn, has taken place: but in the absence of any official document, we are unable to vouch for the correctness of a list which has been repeated to us. If it be cor- rect, the Society will realize our most sanguine hopes and wishes on the subject, and will be able to effect as much for classical vocal music as the Philharmonic has achieved for instrumental.