Concordia

(London, 1875-1876)

Prepared by Richard Kitson
Online only (2015)

Fifty-two weekly issues of the musical journal Concordia, a Journal of Music and the Sister Arts [CNC] were published in London, England from Saturday May 1, 1875 to Saturday April 22, 1876 by the well-known music publishers Novello, Ewer and Co. The title Concordia, from the Latin meaning “of the same mind,” describes a content dealing with the achievements and problems of the related arts of music, drama and painting chiefly in Great Britain. The issues of 1875 are numbered Vol. 1, Nos. 1 through 35 with consecutively numbered pages 1 to 568; issues of 1876 are numbered Vol. 2, Nos. 36 through 52, with consecutively numbered pages 1 to 272. All pages are given in two-column format with excellent print on high quality paper. Each issue of twenty-four pages is organized in four parts: first and last are one or more pages of advertisements of current music publications; second is the issue’s leading article followed by additional important articles and reviews of newly published music and a regularly appearing column, “Occasional Notes,” which feature comments on contemporary musical and dramatic life. The third part is headed by a repetition of the journal’s title and the issue’s date followed by an editorial column, reviews of operatic performances, concerts, plays and art exhibitions, provincial news about music, drama and paintings, correspondence, foreign news, gossip, and a register of the music to be performed at Anglican church services throughout England for the forthcoming week. A weekly Shakespearean calendar consisting of a chronological list of the events of Shakespeare’s life or remarks found in his plays corresponding to the date of the issue was added in 1876.

Joseph Bennett (1831-1911) served as editor having been selected by the proprietors owing to his extensive experience as a contributor to the leading music journals and newspapers of the era. Messrs. Novello, Ewer and Co., publishers of The Musical Times, wanted a weekly periodical “to attract attention and secure respect for the enterprise of its founders.” Despite their good intentions and excellent content, Concordia failed to attract a readership and was abandoned after one year of publication.

Editor Bennett gathered an outstanding group of British contributors all experienced in matters of criticism, reports and studies for the musical press. Charles K. Salaman writes of his recollections of visits to the singer Angelica Catalani, W. A. Mozart’s widow, Mme Nissen, the history of the London Philharmonic Society 1827-46, and the London pianist Charles Neate. Edward Dannreuther contributes his notions of the editor’s task as a practical commentator and interpreter, and on the art of interpretation without written directions in a musical score. Ebenezer Prout provides analyses of Schubert’s Masses in A flat and E flat major and notes on Handel’s operas and Dussek’s pianoforte sonatas. W. H. Cummings undertakes historical studies of John Bull and “God Save the King” and Mathew Locke’s authorship of incidental music to Shakespeare’s Macbeth. H. Sutherland Edwards studies and reviews performances of Wagner’s Lohengrin and Weber’s Der Freischütz, both sung in Italian at the Royal Italian Opera, and discusses Wagner’s theory on the fitness of Faust and Don Giovanni as operatic subjects. Henry J. Gauntlett contributes a study of Wagner’s compositional method in Lohengrin, proper themes for operatic librettos, the influence of congregational singing on the delivery of choral music, and battle hymns by war poets. William Chappell explains Helmholtz’s new acoustical theories. Edward F. Rimbault discusses the Odes and Welcome Songs of Henry Purcell. Bennett himself provides extensive weekly editorials on many pertinent subjects concerning contemporary musical life and a comparison of the original and revised versions of Mendelssohn’s Elijah. Reviews of musical performances and new music publications are generally unsigned.