The Quarterly Musical Review

(Manchester, 1885-1888)

Prepared by Richard Kitson
1 volume* (2003)

The Quarterly Musical Review was published in Manchester from February 1885 until August 1888 by John Heywood, under the direction of Dr. Henry Hiles, editor and proprietor. By means of the journal’s title, Hiles appears to pay tribute to Richard Mackenzie Bacon’s Quarterly Musical Magazine and Review (1818-1828). QMR, a publication closely associated with the Society of Professional Musicians (later, the Incorporated Society of Musicians), deals with the important pedagogical and historical issues of the day. Hiles founded the Society of Professional Musicians in 1882 in an effort to organize musicians “in a manner similar to that which other learned professions are organized.” Although not advertised as such, QMR served as the Society’s main organ of communication.

According to the declarations in his preface, editor Hiles conceived of the journal as a forum of instruction and discussion for British provincial musicians, hitherto indifferently educated and somewhat disorganized. “The topics [treated] … will include all matters appertaining to the art and science of music; and will be so treated as to illustrate a general, rather than a restricted, argument; to interest the musician rather than the specialist.”

Henry Hiles (1826-1904), an organist, composer and educator, received his bachelor and doctoral degrees from Oxford University. Hiles is the author of fourteen major articles published in QMR dealing with aspects of music education—namely harmony, acoustics, rhythm, notation, instrumentation, and music examinations—the often-troubled relationship of organists and choirmasters with the clergy, and the prevailing adulation of Continental musicians by the administrators of British institutions and the general public. In a three-part series article Hiles probes what he considers to be the “absurdities” of contemporary notation, with respect to ornamentation and accidentals.

Frederic Corder, operatic composer and writer on music, discusses contemporary attitudes toward the symphony, the growing interest in the concept of the symphonic poem as practiced by Franz Liszt, and the “misrepresentation” of composers’ intentions created by re-scoring and arranging compositions for performance in venues other than those for which they were originally composed. Samuel Sebastian Wesley explains the various components and requirements of a well-run cathedral choir. Stephen S. Stratton, music critic of the Birmingham Daily Post, introduces readers to the most prominent American composers and performers of the period. Henry Fisher outlines educational plans for teaching music to the young, the lack of methodology in the teaching of elementary music (in a two-part article), and, studies professional and amateur criticism. Arthur Watson also attempts to define “the critic” and to reconcile trade and art. The Scottish composer, Alexander C. Mackenzie deliberates on current conditions and future prospects for British musicians, and compares British government support for the arts with that in France.

*Hard Bound with
The Musical Antiquary (Oxford, 1909-1913)
The New Quarterly Musical Review (London, 1893-1896)