Ackermann’s Repository of Arts/Series 1/Volume 1/March 1809/Theatrical Observations
Bishop’s music to the forthcoming opera at Drury-lane Theatre, has been frequently rehearsed. It possesses considerable variety; the overture is elegant and sprightly; the chorusses are sublimely grand and impressive; and the rest of the music, which consists of songs, duets, trios, quartets, quintets, &c. is a combination of excellence which we anticipate will furnish a delicious musical banquet for the cognoscenti.
Much of the effect which is to be produced will depend upon the wind-instruments; and we are sorry to state, that the managers have, perhaps from a principle of economy, refused to engage those performers on whose exertions the interest of Mr. Bishop’s production so essentially depends. We must, however, confess, that we are not without anxiety for the success of this music. The public seem to have an utter distaste for whatever assumes the form of scientific elegance; and to relish nothing but noise and bustle, to which they have been so long accustomed, as substitutes for harmony. Indeed we have often been surprised, that in addition to the melodious notes of drums, triangles, cymbals, &c. we have not been indulged also with the introduction into the bands of the theatres, of the sweet symphonies of the bagpipe or watchman’s rattle, or of that delicious vocal performer who is recorded by the poet Cowper, on a certain memorable occasion, to have “sung most loud and clear.”
A revolution can only be effected by degrees, and it will probably be a considerable time before the present vitiated taste of theatrical audiences, will be supplanted by that judicious discrimination, which characterized them in the time of Linley and Storace.