'To Entertain the Fancy': The Orchestral Concert song in England, 1740-1800

Foster, Stephen Charles. 2014. 'To Entertain the Fancy': The Orchestral Concert song in England, 1740-1800. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

Text ('To Entertain the Fancy': The Orchestral Concert song in England, 1740-1800)
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Abstract or Description

The orchestral concert song is a genre of solo song with instrumental accompaniment written or adapted for concert performance. In eighteenth-century England it formed a major part of the output of many composers, both native and foreign, with the London pleasure gardens being the principal venue of performance.

However, this genre has not received much scholarly attention, and such literature as exists is largely concerned with the secular cantata, which was very much in a minority in terms of the overall output. Furthermore, this literature has focussed on the music itself, giving little attention to the surrounding issues that caused the genre to come into being, to grow and eventually to decline.

This study therefore endeavours to build on existing scholarship by not only discussing the other parts of the repertoire – namely the strophic song, the rondo and the aria – but also by examining the social and cultural influences upon the concert song as a whole. This examination precedes the historical account, which is in three parts: the early years (1740-1762); the period in which J.C. Bach and Arne were the predominant composers (1762-82); finally the later years of the century (1782-1800), during which the genre declined. The concluding chapter assesses current knowledge of the concert song, with a view to further investigation and potential revival.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):



Song, England, eighteenth century, Orchestra, Music History

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3 October 2014

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

03 Oct 2014 13:02

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 09:04



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