Concert life in Dublin in the age of revolution

  • Derek Collins

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis assesses the decline and revival of concert activity in Dublin in the period 1792 to 1814. The social, economic and political influence on musical life of landmark domestic events, the 1798 Rebellion and the 1800 Act of Union, is examined together with that of the wider European context of the Napoleonic Wars. Dublin was the capital city of Ireland, the fiscal, administrative and social centre of Irish life, and also the second largest city of the British Isles. Many aspects of concert life in Dublin, like those of other important provincial towns and cities, were drawn from the British capital. Patterns of concert promotion, repertoire and musicians, reveal aspects of cultural dependence on London, while other aspects illustrate distinctive regional characteristics. The inclusion of military music and Irish national music expressed the bi-cultural patriotism of Dublin's Anglo-Irish heritage.

The thesis is structured in three sections. Section one (1792 to 1806) contains eight chapters. The first five discuss contextual issues: the uncertain political background; its effect on concerts; the characteristics of the city and potential audience; the resources for concert promotion; and the background of private music-making. The following three chapters discuss the main forms of public concert-giving: subscription series; sacred concerts; and benefit concerts. Section two (1807 to 1814) focuses on the revival of concert activity after the re-establishment of order. Three chapters discuss the consolidation of sacred concerts, the expansion of the musical profession, and innovations in concert promotion. Section three contains a survey of repertoire throughout the period of the thesis, and concluding comments briefly highlight the influence of this period on the development of concert life through to the mid-nineteenth century. Appendices, illustrations and a select bibliography are included. An additional volume contains a chronology of concert programmes, previews and reviews, and a list of patrons.
Date of AwardDec 2001
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorIan Woodfield (Supervisor)

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