George Smart and Nineteenth-Century London Concert Life

November 2015
10 black and white illustrations
343 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Music in Britain, 1600-2000
ISBN: 9781783270644
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BISAC MUS006000, MUS020000

George Smart and Nineteenth-Century London Concert Life

John Carnelley

The first full length study of Sir George Thomas Smart (1776-1867), musical animateur and early champion of the music of Beethoven
Sir George Thomas Smart (1776-1867) was a significant musical animateur of the early nineteenth century, who earned his living primarily as a conductor but was also significant as an organist, composer and recorder of events. Smart established successful and pioneering London concert series, was a prime mover in the setting up of the Philharmonic Society and the Royal Academy of Music, and taught many of the leading singers of the day, being well versed in the Handelian concert tradition. He also conducted the opera at the Covent Garden Theatre and introduced significant new works to the public - he was most notably an early champion of the music of Beethoven. His journeys to Europe, and his contacts with the leading European musical figures of the day (including Weber, Meyerbeer, Spohr, and Mendelssohn), were crucial to the direction music was to take in nineteenth-century Britain. This detailed account of Smart's life and career presents him within the context of the vibrant concert life of London and wider European musical culture. It is the first full length, critical study of this influential musical figure.

JOHN CARNELLEY is Deputy Director of Music and Head of Academic Music, Dulwich College, London. He holds a PhD in Historical Musicology from the University of London (Goldsmiths College) and has previously published research on the eighteenth-century organ manuscripts of John Reading, held in the Dulwich College Archive.

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Table of Contents

George Smart and the Musical Profession: 1776-1825
London Concert Life 1800-25
George Smart's Concert Activities 1800-25
Interlude - London and the Continent in 1825
New Musical Directions 1826-30
Change and Conflict 1830-44
Retirement and Old Age 1844-1867


This book has been written with warmth and enthusiasm underpinned by exhaustive research. Setting out as a record of the everyday working life of an individual professional musician, it is ultimately and important biography of an exceptional man. NINETEENTH-CENTURY MUSIC REVIEW

Certainly deserves a place on the shelves of every respectable music library. BRIO

Sympathetic and intensively researched volume will do much to restore [Sir George Smart's] reputation. THE MUSICAL TIMES

[A] very rich trove here: the book is an invaluable source of reference for this period and for contemporary research on it. MUSIC & LETTERS

A fascinating glimpse into a little known but immensely influential era of British musical life. AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE

Conductor Sir George Smart dominated musical life in London in the 1820s and 1830s. In this biography, Carnelley . . . details Smart's life and his role in the London concert scene. Though events such as Weber's and Mendelssohn's London visits have been previously documented, Carnelley is the first to place those special occasions in the context of routine musical life . . . and Smart's attempts to broaden musical tastes . . . . Summing Up: Recommended. CHOICE

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