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The Harmonicon

(London, 1823-1833)

Prepared by Diana Snigurowicz

The monthly Harmonicon was among the first British music journals to prosper for a fairly extended period, and is an invaluable source of information about British and continental musicians of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Feature articles focus on contemporary, historical and biographical matters including accounts of music of different countries and cultures, music theory, acoustics and the physics of sound, music competitions, and instruments and their manufacture. Specifically British phenomena such as the meetings of Welsh bards and minstrels, music festivals, as well as the regulation, reform and student concerts of the Royal Academy of Music are frequently treated.

Each issue contains detailed notices about the concert season of London’s important musical institutions: the Philharmonic Society, the Ancient Concerts, The Madrigal Society, the Vocal Concerts, the Festival of the Sons of the Clergy, the British Concerts and the City Amateur Concerts. Italian, French and English operas performed in the principal London theaters are also treated. Notices about British singers of this early period—John Braham, Miss Hughes, Miss Stephens, Anna Bishop, William Knyvett, Henry Phillips, to name a few—are found in both opera and concert reviews. London was host to many continental pianists and stringed instrument performers, among them J. B. Cramer, T. Latour, I. Moscheles, Ries, members of the Kontski family and Bériot, and to foreign singers active in London and the provinces include Giulia Grisi, Guiditta Pasta, Maria Malibran, Henriette Sontag, Tamburini and Luigi Lablache. All are reviewed extensively.