chapter  6
32 Pages

1890–1914: The Shadow of War

The capital cities of other parts of the British Isles also took up the festival model at differing stages in the nineteenth or early twentieth century. Some mention has been made of the fact that, at the height of the festival movement, London itself relied on a steady supply of new works from the provinces the Birmingham and Leeds festivals being a particularly rich source of novelties. Most of these festival works were written for chorus and orchestra and were in the form of cantatas and large-scale oratorios the latter a genre which, at this stage in its history, was kept alive virtually single-handedly by the provincial festivals. When Mendelssohn participated in the Liverpool and Birmingham festivals during the late 1830s and the 1840s, he was already familiar with the festival tradition. The fact that provincial music festivals still exist in England today is proof of both their durability and the continuing popularity of such events.