Huddersfield Choral Society.
English choral society. It is the most famous, though not the oldest, of the Yorkshire choral societies. It was founded in 1836 by 16 local musicians, recruiting its members mainly from the mixed choirs of nonconformist churches. The original group of about 70 singers and instrumentalists gave quarterly performances for friends and subscribers. From 1881 the choir gave regular concerts in Huddersfield Town Hall. It employed professional orchestras regularly from 1942 and in 1993 began a collaboration with the BBC PO. It became well known for its performances of Handel’s Messiah. Membership of the choir reached a peak of 400 in the 1930s; the beginning the 21st century it was around 200. It supports the Huddersfield Choral Society Youth Choir and Children’s Choir. Under distinguished conductors including Henry Coward, Malcolm Sargent, John Pritchard, Owain Arwel Hughes, Jane Glover and Martyn Brabbins, the choir developed an international reputation. It made the first of its regular visits to London in 1887; it took part in the Festival of Britain there in 1951 and has appeared in several Promenade concerts. It has performed in many other British cities and participated in festivals at Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and York. Since its first overseas tour, to the Netherlands in 1928, the society has often performed abroad, notably in Vienna, Berlin, Munich, Boston, Brussels, Bratislava and Brno. It has commissioned a number of works, including Vaughan Williams’s Dona nobis pacem (1936), Walton’s Gloria (for the society’s 125th anniversary in 1961), Paul Patterson’s Stabat mater and David Matthews’s Vespers, and has made numerous recordings and broadcasts.
R.A. Edwards: And the Glory: a History in Commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the Huddersfield Choral Society (Leeds, 1985)
Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.
It was established in 1978 on the initative of Yorkshire Arts Association with Richard Steinitz, lecturer (later professor) in the music department of Huddersfield Polytechnic (later University), as artistic director. The major event of its kind in Britain, it attracts composers, performers and audiences from throughout the world to its annual 12-day programme of concerts, theatre performances, workshops and discussions. Its aims have remained the promotion of new music through a balanced policy of providing a platform for major recent works and commissioning new pieces. Its strong educational programme for students and local school children reflects its close links with the university. The opening of, first, the university’s St Paul’s Hall (1981) and later Huddersfield’s Lawrence Batley Theatre (1994) provided additional venues for festival events.
Performance milestones in the festival’s development have included Birtwistle’s Clarinet Quintet (world première, 1981), Ferneyhough’s Carceri d’Invenzione (UK première, 1987), Stockhausen’s Sternklang (UK première, 1988) and three operatic commissions: Saxton’s Caritas (Opera North, 1991), H.K. Gruber’s Gloria (Opera North and Big Bang Theater, Munich, 1994) and Holt's The Nightingale's to Blame (Opera North, 1998). Many other major composers have visited the festival for performances of their works, including Berio (1985), Lutosławski and Holliger (1986), Xenakis (with UPIC computer) and John Adams (1987), Schnittke (1990), Tippett and Birtwistle (1991), Ligeti and Gorecki (1993) and Carter, Pärt and Reich (1998). In 1989 two key figures of the 20th century whose philosophical and aesthetic paths had diverged beyond reach, Boulez and Cage, met at the festival in a historic personal reconciliation (see illustration).
Czech firm of music publishers, active in Prague. It was founded in 1871 at Ludevít Procházka's instigation; its aim was to publish works of Czech composers, especially piano-vocal scores of operas. Its first publication was Smetana's The Bartered Bride (1872), followed by Libuše, Fibich's The Bride of Messina, and Bendl's operas Lejla and The Old Bridegroom. In 1889 the firm disbanded and its assets were taken over by the Umělecká Beseda, which continued to publish operas and piano pieces by Smetana. In 1907 it created a special foundation for its publishing activity under the name of Hudební Matice Umělecké Besedy. Its editorial work expanded to include vocal scores of Dvořák's operas, operas by Foerster, Kovařovic, Ostrčil and Janáček, and the orchestral works of Suk and Novák. It also published non-operatic works by other composers as well as opera librettos and books on music. After World War I Hudební Matice began publishing new works by those Czech composers who until then had had to rely on publishers abroad, particularly encouraging composers of the younger generation such as Ježek. It also published the later works of Suk and many of Janáček's choral and instrumental works. Music literature produced by the firm includes Nejedlý's monograph on Smetana and Šourek's biography of Dvořák. The firm published several periodicals including the Hudební revue (1908–20), Listy Hudební matice (later renamed Tempo; 1922–38, 1946–8) and Hudební noviny (1930–38). From 1942 to 1947 it published the Kalendář českých (československých after World War II) hudebníků. Hudební Matice systematically publicized Czech music abroad by having foreign representatives, exchanging publications with foreign firms and advertising in foreign journals in exchange for space in Tempo; the firm also participated in foreign festivals (including the ISCM festivals at Florence, Geneva and Frankfurt) and opened a shop in Leipzig. It ended its printing and publishing activity on 31 December 1949 but continued in 1950 as the publishing house of the Czechoslovak Composers’ Union. In 1951 it was merged with the firm Národní Hudební Vydavatelství Orbis (see Supraphon).
V. Mikota: ‘Hudební matice Umělecké besedy, její vznik, vývoj a vyhlídky’ [Hudební Matice Umělecké Besedy: its origin, development and outlook], Sedmdesát let Umělecké besedy 1863–1933, ed. F. Skácelík (Prague, 1933), 99–116
Žeň Hudební matice: soupis vydaných publikací k 31. prosinci 1949 [Publications of Hudební Matice to 31 December 1949] (Prague, 1949)
Dějiny české hudební kultury 1890–1945 [The history of Czech musical culture], ii (Prague, 1981), 28
N. Simeone: The First Editions of Leoš Janáček (Tutzing, 1991)