The Quarterly Musical Magazine and Review

(London, 1818-1828)

Prepared by Richard Kitson
2 volumes (1989)

Modeled after the Edinburgh Review and the Leipzig Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, The Quarterly Musical Magazine and Review was the first English music periodical to exceed a publication run of two years. The journal offers remarkable documentation concerning musical life in early nineteenth-century Britain. Fétis considered the journal to be “one of the best periodical collections” dealing with music in England: “one finds little on foreign countries but everything that relates to England is treated there with much care and knowledge.” The journal’s founder and editor-in-chief, Richard Mackenzie Bacon, came from a family active in English public life and journalism. He himself was the author of two educational treatises—the second of which is given in serialized form in QMM (Elements of Vocal Science).

The scope of QMM is unusually broad; it offers articles dealing both with music theory and music history, and covers a wide range of topics from biographical sketches of composers and performers to studies of Anglican church music, acoustics, musical instruments (organs and pianofortes in particular), performance practice, and musical pedagogy. The creation of the Royal Academy of Music (London) is also carefully followed. At least twelve treatises about the mechanics of singing and instrumental performance; and, various theories of composition are reproduced or generously reviewed. There are also many biographical sketches of important early nineteenth-century Britain musicians including John Braham, Henry Bishop, Bochsa, Pio Cianchettini, Clementi, Manuel García, William Horsley, Kiallmark, Latour, Moschele, John Parry, Samuel Webbe and C. M. von Weber.

Numerous publications concerned with music education are reviewed. Among these are volumes by Lanza dealing with the elements of singing; and, by Momigny dealing with the theory of melody and harmony. Reviews of opera, oratorio and concert performances focus on the activities of the three principal theatres—the King’s Theatre, the Covent Garden Theatre and the Drury Lane Theatre—the Concerts spirituels, the Ancient Concerts, the Vocal Concerts, the concerts at Vauxhall, and those of the members of the Philharmonic Society. In most issues there are also extensive reviews of published music written for both professional and amateur musicians.