Three Reid commemoration concert anniversaries in 2019

 

By the terms of Reid's will, the University of Edinburgh received in 1839, 32 years after his death, a benefaction of approximately £68,000 intended, primarily, to found and endow a chair of Music and to fund an annual concert in his memory.  It was Reid's wish that his birthday be marked by a concert, presented by the Professor of Music, that would include some compositions of his own — 'in order to shew the taste of music about the middle of the last century'.  [Reid] Professors of Music at the University of Edinburgh have included John Thomson, Sir Henry Bishop, John Donaldson, Herbert Stanley Oakeley, Frederick Niecks, Sir Donald Tovey, Kenneth Leighton and Nigel Osborne.  Funds from the bequest were also used to build a School of Music in 1858-1859, the building known at the time as the University Music Class Room and more recently as the Reid Concert Hall.  

150th anniversary of the first Reid Concert given by the Hallé Orchestra in 1869

Professor Herbert Stanley Oakeley was appointed Professor of Music at the University of Edinburgh in 1865 and took on the responsibility for the annual Reid commemoration concerts from 1866.  In his ambition to broaden the appeal and repertoire of the Reid concerts, he invited Hallé and his Manchester orchestra to give the annual concert in February 1869 and gave it the name ‘Reid Concert’.   Beginning in 1857, Hallé and his orchestra had established a regular winter series of concerts in Manchester and, as a full-time band, Hallé’s orchestra had time and opportunity to work on a range of orchestral material and introduce new works to their Manchester audiences.  Oakeley was keen to bring these high standards of orchestral playing and variety of repertoire to the Edinburgh audiences at the annual commemoration concerts.

Oakeley’s arrangement with Hallé for the Reid commemoration concert in 1869 was a fixed fee of £300—his full allocation for the concert from the Reid Bequest—for an orchestra, conductor, and soloists, inclusive of return rail fares from Manchester, confident of meeting other concert costs from ticket and programme sales.  Hallé’s first Reid concert in 1869 featured one symphony, one concerto and three overtures, one further orchestral work, plus a selection of songs and pianoforte solos with the singers Edith Wynne (1842–1897) and Sims Reeves (1818–1900).  On this occasion, Hallé doubled as conductor and pianoforte soloist in Mendelssohn’s Pianoforte Concerto no. 2 in D minor, op. 40, and a selection of pianoforte solos by Bach, Schumann and Chopin. The success of the 1869 Reid Concert and the public interest in the quality playing of Hallé’s orchestra encouraged Oakeley to invite Hallé and his orchestra to return in 1870 and they continued to give the annual Reid Concert each year until 1891.

125th anniversary of the first concert under the auspices of
the new Faculty of Music in 1894

The decision by the Scottish Universities Commissioners in 1893 to establish a Faculty of Music in the University of Edinburgh and to confer on the Professor of Music and Dean of the new Faculty of Music the title of ‘Reid Professor of Music’ gave additional significance to the profile of the professorship and the status of the new Faculty.  Perhaps the only clear aspect of the role unchanged from 1841, was the requirement for the Professor of Music to organise an annual commemoration concert.  Frederick Niecks had been appointed to the post in 1891 and he must have been pleased to see scope for changes to the concert arrangements, stated in the terms of his new appointment.  This afforded Niecks the opportunity to increase the number of concerts under his supervision and he elected to develop a series of Historical concerts in support of, and to complement, his lectures on harmony, counterpoint, form and aesthetics—although the allocation from the Reid Bequest remained at £300. 

With the establishment of the Faculty of Music, the commemoration concert remained important but, as the number of concerts increased, the annual concert became a more routine event.  From 1894 Niecks chose not to continue with large-scale orchestral concerts but instead to offer a series of Historical concerts given by small ensembles and to move away from the Music Hall to the University Music Class Room (now the Reid Concert Hall) where he had control over the use of the building, the dates and the programme of concerts.  By doing this he was able to reduce the price of admission, but he also limited the number of people who could attend the events as the capacity of the Music Class Room at the time (c.500) was approximately one-third that of the Music Hall.  These concerts were intended for the benefit of the students taking formal degree classes in music, classes that included ladies from 1893. They were also open to the wider University and the public for a small fee, and by invitation of the Reid Professor to members of the music profession. 

The newly named ‘Reid Professor of Music’ stopped using the title ‘Reid Concert’ on the printed commemoration concert programmes after 1893, preferring instead ‘in memory of General Reid, Founder of the Chair of Music in the University of Edinburgh’.  For the annual commemoration concert in February 1894, the first given under the auspices of the new Faculty of Music and the first in the University Music Class Room, Niecks presented the first in a series of ‘Six Historical Concerts Illustrative of the Development of Dramatic music’.  The concert, directed by Niecks, was entitled ‘German opera composers of the 18th Century’ and featured local soloists with a local choir of 30 voices, accompanied on pianoforte and organ by Andrew Scott Jupp.  It was later reported in the press that Reid’s ‘Introduction, pastorale and march’ was played on the organ by Niecks. 

25th anniversary of the Faculty of Music Centenary Concert – 13 February 1994

The 1993-1994 season marked the Centenary of the Faculty of Music in the University of Edinburgh and celebratory events were planned.  The highlight of the celebrations was a special centenary concert given in the Reid Concert Hall on Sunday 13 February 1994, that also commemorated the 273rd anniversary of the birth of General Reid. The concert was given by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Matthias Bamert and featured music by Edward Harper, Nigel Osborne, Kenneth Leighton and a special set of variations by composers associated with the Faculty of Music.  

In 1865 Professor Herbert Oakeley had closed his Inaugural Address in the ‘University Music Classroom' as it was then known, with an extemporisation on the organ based on General Reid's March 'In the Garb of Old Gaul' — "with specimens of varied harmony, followed by a fugue" as reported in the 'Edinburgh Courant' of the day. Taking a cue from this in 1994, the four current composing members of the Faculty teaching staff, Professor Nigel Osborne, Edward Harper, Peter Nelson and Leon Coates were invited to compose a variation for chamber orchestra on the theme which Oakeley had used. The Faculty also invited composers closely associated with the Faculty (Lyell Cresswell, Peter Inness, Neil Mackay, James MacMillan and Alasdair Nicolson), to contribute a variation for this occasion, creating a set of variations to form the second half of the concert.  The new work was entitled “Variations on General Reid's March of the 42nd or Old Highland Regiment: 'In the Garb of Old Gaul'”.

By the terms of Reid's will, the University of Edinburgh received in 1839, 32 years after his death, a benefaction of approximately £68,000 intended, primarily, to found and endow a chair of Music and to fund an annual concert in his memory.  It was Reid's wish that his birthday be marked by a concert, presented by the Professor of Music, that would include some compositions of his own — 'in order to shew the taste of music about the middle of the last century'.  [Reid] Professors of Music at the University of Edinburgh have included John Thomson, Sir Henry Bishop, John Donaldson, Herbert Stanley Oakeley, Frederick Niecks, Sir Donald Tovey, Kenneth Leighton and Nigel Osborne.  Funds from the bequest were also used to build a School of Music in 1858-1859, the building known at the time as the University Music Class Room and more recently as the Reid Concert Hall.  

150th anniversary of the first Reid Concert given by the Hallé Orchestra in 1869

Professor Herbert Stanley Oakeley was appointed Professor of Music at the University of Edinburgh in 1865 and took on the responsibility for the annual Reid commemoration concerts from 1866.  In his ambition to broaden the appeal and repertoire of the Reid concerts, he invited Hallé and his Manchester orchestra to give the annual concert in February 1869 and gave it the name ‘Reid Concert’.   Beginning in 1857, Hallé and his orchestra had established a regular winter series of concerts in Manchester and, as a full-time band, Hallé’s orchestra had time and opportunity to work on a range of orchestral material and introduce new works to their Manchester audiences.  Oakeley was keen to bring these high standards of orchestral playing and variety of repertoire to the Edinburgh audiences at the annual commemoration concerts.

Oakeley’s arrangement with Hallé for the Reid commemoration concert in 1869 was a fixed fee of £300—his full allocation for the concert from the Reid Bequest—for an orchestra, conductor, and soloists, inclusive of return rail fares from Manchester, confident of meeting other concert costs from ticket and programme sales.  Hallé’s first Reid concert in 1869 featured one symphony, one concerto and three overtures, one further orchestral work, plus a selection of songs and pianoforte solos with the singers Edith Wynne (1842–1897) and Sims Reeves (1818–1900).  On this occasion, Hallé doubled as conductor and pianoforte soloist in Mendelssohn’s Pianoforte Concerto no. 2 in D minor, op. 40, and a selection of pianoforte solos by Bach, Schumann and Chopin. The success of the 1869 Reid Concert and the public interest in the quality playing of Hallé’s orchestra encouraged Oakeley to invite Hallé and his orchestra to return in 1870 and they continued to give the annual Reid Concert each year until 1891.

125th anniversary of the first concert under the auspices of
the new Faculty of Music in 1894

The decision by the Scottish Universities Commissioners in 1893 to establish a Faculty of Music in the University of Edinburgh and to confer on the Professor of Music and Dean of the new Faculty of Music the title of ‘Reid Professor of Music’ gave additional significance to the profile of the professorship and the status of the new Faculty.  Perhaps the only clear aspect of the role unchanged from 1841, was the requirement for the Professor of Music to organise an annual commemoration concert.  Frederick Niecks had been appointed to the post in 1891 and he must have been pleased to see scope for changes to the concert arrangements, stated in the terms of his new appointment.  This afforded Niecks the opportunity to increase the number of concerts under his supervision and he elected to develop a series of Historical concerts in support of, and to complement, his lectures on harmony, counterpoint, form and aesthetics—although the allocation from the Reid Bequest remained at £300. 

With the establishment of the Faculty of Music, the commemoration concert remained important but, as the number of concerts increased, the annual concert became a more routine event.  From 1894 Niecks chose not to continue with large-scale orchestral concerts but instead to offer a series of Historical concerts given by small ensembles and to move away from the Music Hall to the University Music Class Room (now the Reid Concert Hall) where he had control over the use of the building, the dates and the programme of concerts.  By doing this he was able to reduce the price of admission, but he also limited the number of people who could attend the events as the capacity of the Music Class Room at the time (c.500) was approximately one-third that of the Music Hall.  These concerts were intended for the benefit of the students taking formal degree classes in music, classes that included ladies from 1893. They were also open to the wider University and the public for a small fee, and by invitation of the Reid Professor to members of the music profession. 

The newly named ‘Reid Professor of Music’ stopped using the title ‘Reid Concert’ on the printed commemoration concert programmes after 1893, preferring instead ‘in memory of General Reid, Founder of the Chair of Music in the University of Edinburgh’.  For the annual commemoration concert in February 1894, the first given under the auspices of the new Faculty of Music and the first in the University Music Class Room, Niecks presented the first in a series of ‘Six Historical Concerts Illustrative of the Development of Dramatic music’.  The concert, directed by Niecks, was entitled ‘German opera composers of the 18th Century’ and featured local soloists with a local choir of 30 voices, accompanied on pianoforte and organ by Andrew Scott Jupp.  It was later reported in the press that Reid’s ‘Introduction, pastorale and march’ was played on the organ by Niecks. 

25th anniversary of the Faculty of Music Centenary Concert – 13 February 1994

The 1993-1994 season marked the Centenary of the Faculty of Music in the University of Edinburgh and celebratory events were planned.  The highlight of the celebrations was a special centenary concert given in the Reid Concert Hall on Sunday 13 February 1994, that also commemorated the 273rd anniversary of the birth of General Reid. The concert was given by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Matthias Bamert and featured music by Edward Harper, Nigel Osborne, Kenneth Leighton and a special set of variations by composers associated with the Faculty of Music.  

In 1865 Professor Herbert Oakeley had closed his Inaugural Address in the ‘University Music Classroom' as it was then known, with an extemporisation on the organ based on General Reid's March 'In the Garb of Old Gaul' — "with specimens of varied harmony, followed by a fugue" as reported in the 'Edinburgh Courant' of the day. Taking a cue from this in 1994, the four current composing members of the Faculty teaching staff, Professor Nigel Osborne, Edward Harper, Peter Nelson and Leon Coates were invited to compose a variation for chamber orchestra on the theme which Oakeley had used. The Faculty also invited composers closely associated with the Faculty (Lyell Cresswell, Peter Inness, Neil Mackay, James MacMillan and Alasdair Nicolson), to contribute a variation for this occasion, creating a set of variations to form the second half of the concert.  The new work was entitled “Variations on General Reid's March of the 42nd or Old Highland Regiment: 'In the Garb of Old Gaul'”.