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Review of a Performance at the Albert Hall from The Times
Tuesday, December 18, 1888.

Persons who declare that English music continues to be despised in England, and that the aggressive foreigner has the only chance among us, should look upon Saturday’s proceedings with some agreeable surprise. On that day two large choral concerts were given, one at Kensington, the other at Sydenham, and both were given up entirely to works by two contemporary English composers.

At the Albert-hall Sir Arthur Sullivan’s Golden Legend once more drew a numerous audience which listened to the music with attention and warmly applauded the artists, among whom Madame Nordica, recently returned from America, was conspicuous. She sang the part of Elsie with the same success as on former occasions, the contralto music being assigned to another American artist, Madame Belle Cole, and Messrs. Lloyd, Henry Pope, and Henschel completing an efficient cast.

At the Crystal Palace, Mr. Parry’s oratorio Judith was given. Here, also, the performance does not call for detailed criticism, being identical in its essential features with that recently given at St. James’s-hall and noticed in The Times. Mr. Manns being absent in Scotland, Mr. Mackenzie conducted chorus and orchestra, and Mr. Barton M’Guckin and Mr. Brereton, both new to their tasks, took part in the performance.

That Judith should ever become popular in the sense that the Golden Legend is popular cannot be supposed for a moment; the composer himself would perhaps scarcely desire it to be so. At the same time it speaks well for the intelligence of English amateurs, that so serious and learned a work should find its way to two London concert rooms within a few months of its production at Birmingham.

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