Music in Victorian Middlesbrough

WhereGreat Broughton Village HallType of EventTalk
WhenMonday 20th June, 7.30pmTutorPeter Chester

Subtitle – Music matters are looking up in Ironopolis

Considering that it was a beautiful summer evening and there was an important football match on television, there was a surprisingly good turnout to hear Peter Chester talk about music in Victorian Middlesbrough. Peter, a history teacher and accomplished musician had an in depth knowledge of his subject having done much research for his Master’s thesis on the Middlesbrough Philharmonic Society between 1871 and 1882.

He started his talk with a photograph of the stained glass window in Middlesbrough Town Hall which is illustrated with the names of many famous musicians who have performed there, including Edward Elgar, whose ‘Dream of Gerontius’ made only its second public performance there.

Peter discussed music in the late Victorian period in general but then concentrated on the development of philharmonic and choral groups in Middlesbrough. Mention was made of the influence of migrants in the area, particularly German and most importantly, Franz Groening, who was responsible for organising and conducting many concerts all over the Tees Valley.

Much of Peter’s research involved reading local newspapers of the time and the title of his talk was taken from a headline after a particular concert in the town. Music at the time was seen as a way of promoting peace and social harmony. The talk was most entertaining and even included a few bars of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus played by Peter on his trombone.

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