chapter  1
19 Pages

'Hence, base intruder, hence'

Rejection and Assimilation in the Early English Reception of Mozart's Requiem

The specifically Roman Catholic origins, liturgical function, and doctrinal context of Mozart's Requiem were aspects of the work that problematized its early reception in England. The British State positioned itself in opposition to Catholicism, and under the Hanoverians had relied upon a common investment in Protestantism to foster a sense of shared national identity among English, Welsh, and Scots. The first public performance of Mozart's Requiem in London was given as part of the Lenten oratorio series at the Theatre Royal Covent Garden in 1801, at the instigation of the conductor and bassoonist John Ashley. The harmony of the evening had nearly been changed into discord by the intrusion of a Gentleman into one of the boxes, where another beat time on his head to the tune of 'Hence, base intruder, hence' amid the plaudits of the audience.