Catch and Glee Culture in Eighteenth-Century England

Catch and Glee Culture in Eighteenth-Century England

Brian Robins


Boydell Press



A ground-breaking study of the rise of the catch and glee in Georgian England.
The rise of the catch and glee in Georgian England represents a rare example of indigenous forms establishing themselves within a wide musical and social context. This study examines a phenomenon that has to date been largely overlooked by historians. Taking the 17th-century background as a starting point, it moves on to a detailed account of the clubs formed to propagate the two genres, placing them within the ambiance of the thriving club life of London and the provinces. The success of the London Catch Club and its emulators in encouraging the creation of a large and popular repertoire that would come to assume nationalistic significance is reflected by the incursion of the catch and glee into mainstream concert life and the theatre. The volume concludes with a discussion of the glee in relation to the aesthetics of the period and a brief survey of its subsequent reputation among musicians and historians.


September 2006
188 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843832126
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press
BISAC MUS020000, HIS015000
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Table of Contents

A Thoroughly English Music: The Seventeenth-Century Background and Early Clubs
Club Life in Eighteenth-Century London - The Academy of Vocal Music and The Madrigal Society
The Catch Club
The Expansion of London Catch Club Culture
Provincial Catch and Glee Clubs
The Catch and Glee in Other Performance Contexts
The Glee: Aesthetics, Form and Poetry
Epilogue: Later Reception of the Eighteenth-Century Catch and Glee


The strength of Catch and Glee Culture in Eighteenth-Century England lies in the author's command of the sources, and the thorough, nuanced accounts of so many institutions, repertories, and so on. Future scholars will long be indebted to him for this presentation of material.(...)As such, this carefully documented work cannot fail to help us better understand the socio-historical context behind the catch and glee. At the same time, it is bound to prove to be an invaluable source and important stepping-stone for those who seek a deeper understanding of the curious dynamics of British musical culture. MUSIC AND LETTERS

Recommended. CHOICE

Robins has given an excellent history of the forms and their cultivation in their heyday...a fine account of a uniquely British repertoire. EARLY MUSIC REVIEW

An excellently researched book (which) provides an excellent entree to those who wish to study catch and glee music itself, and it also makes a firm first mark in a hitherto barely explored area of our national culture and heritage. CHOMBEC NEWS