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REVIEW OF MUSIC.
“ The Spectre Knight,” A Glee for Three Voices, composed and respectfully dedicated to the
Honourable Miss Eden, by W. Hawes, Gent. of his Majesty's chapel Royul. Birchall. Price 1s. 6d.
The herd of fire kings, water kings, erl kings and the like, who have made their appearance within the last few years, have never afforded much pleasure, we must therefore candidly confess that we sat down to the Spectre Knight" with no very strong prepossession in its favour. Neither did the words (we will not call them poetry) excite in us any feelings of approbation. We are presented with " a spectre kuight, with look of fright, array'd in black, &c.”. a weeping maid” is the attendant on the knight.
“ Near a yew by lightning blasted,
Back again they soon return." Mr. Hawes will tell us perhaps that he is not the author of this precious nonsense, but upon his head most assuredly will lie the crime of setting it to music, and not bad music either. The Glee has soine good points, and as a composition is hy no means destitute of merit, but if Mr. Hawes has any regard to his reputation as a man of taste, he will never again attach his music to such stuff as he has now selected.
The furourite air of " Ah vous dirai je Maman,” with twelve variations for the harp, composed and dedicated to Miss Satis, by Count St. Pierre de Newbourg Birchall. Price 2s. 6d.
The air is simple, the variations ingenious, and well adapted to the instrument for which they were written.
New Glee, for three voices, the words translated from the twenty seventh
Ode of Anacreon, by Thos. Moore, Esq. composed, presented and performed at the Society of Harmonists, on Thursday, Deo. 18, 1806, und respectfully inscribed to the translator, by Samuel Wesley. Turnbull. Price 2s. 6d.
Mr Wesley's compositions have invariably shewn him to be a sound musician, and from this character his present glee will in no wise derogate. In its construction there is much of originality, of fancy and of judgment, the movements are several, and they are contrasted with considerable effect : we consider it on the whole as a valuable addition to our stock of glees.
Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales welcome to Britain, a Loyal
Hymn, composed and sung at several private concerts, by Nr.
confess that the music is rather dull. If it were harmonized the effect would be much improved, at present it is certainly but an insipid performance.
• He's dear dear to me tho' he's far far away," A favourite ancient ballad, as sung by Miss Duncan, the music by J.
Watlen. Price Is.
This is as good a hanad as half the compositions which are pab. lished under that title at present. We dare say that nine young ladies out of ten will pronounce it to be “
very pretty indeed."
“ Come Jockey, sweet Jockey," Sung by Mrs. Bland at Vauxhall Gardens, composed by Mr. Hook.
Purday and Button. Price 1s.
We are really sorry that the first publication which we have to notice of Mr Hook's should be so very contemptible as that now before us. Mr. Hook has for many years furnished Vauxhall with a fresh collectiou of songs for each season, but from some cause or other scarcely ten out of the long list which he has produced have lived more than the season out. Mr. Hook is certainly no despicable musician, but when we see him thus sacrificing reputation for the sake of profit, and publishing a composition, the greatest merit of which is that it would make a decent country dance, it cannot be expected that we should entirely withhold our censure. An ordinary composition from the pen of a bad composer is exactly what we ought to expect, but we expect not, neither onglit we to find an old and sound musician presuming upon the credit of his name, and descending to such stuff as “ Come Jockey, sweet Jockey."
“ The Squeeze of the land,,” Sung with unbounded applause by Mrs. Bland, at Vauxhall Gardens,
composed by Mr. Hook, the words by Mr. E. Button. Purday and Button. Price ls.
If the last song was tolerated at Vauxhall, we doubt not the truth of what the title to the one before us asserts that it was sling with unbounded applause." It is certainly equal to many of Mr. Hook's former productions.
“ The Distressed Cottagers," Written by Mr. Il". Bazing, the music composed by Mr John Purkis,
Organist of St. Olave, Southwark, and St. Clement Danes, London, dedicated with great respect to Miss Porch. Longman. Price 13. 6d.
There is not much invention displayed in this song, but the passages thongh frequently borrowed, are borrowed with judgement. It sings well, and the general effect is heightened by a good accompaniment.
ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE.
THE EMOLUMENTS OF ACTORS IN THE TIME OF
It is not easy to ascertain what were the emoluments of a successful actor in the time of Skakspeare. They had not then annual benefits, as at present.* The clear emoluments of the theatre, after deducting the nightly expences for lights, men occasionally hired for the evening, &c. which in Shakspeare's house was but forty-five shillings, were divided into shares, of which part belonged to the proprietors, who were called housekeepers, and the remainder was divided among the actors, according to their rank and merit. I suspect that the whole clear receipt was divided into forty shares, of which haps the housekeepers or proprietors had fifteen, the actors twenty-two, and three were devoted to the purchase of new plays, dresses, &c. From Ben Jonson's Poetaster, it should seem that one of the performers
* Cibber says in his Apology, P. 96: Mrs. Berry was the first per. son whose inerit was distinguished by the indulgence of having an annual benefit-play, which was granted to her alone, if I mistake not, first in King James's time; and which became not common to others, till the division of this company, after the death of King William's Queen Mary.”
But in this as in many other facts he is inaccurate; for it appears from an agreement entered into by Dr. D'Avenant, Charles Hart, Thomas Betterton, and others, dated October 14, 1681, that the actors had then benefits. By this agreement, five shillings, apiece, were to be paid to Hart and Kynaston the players, “ for every day there shall be any tragedies or comedies or other representations acted at the Duke's theatre in Salisbury-court, or wherever the company shall act, during the respective lives of the said Charles Hart and Edward Kynaston, excepting the days the
young men or young women play for their own profit only. Gildon's Life of Betterton, p. 8.
had seven shares and a half; * but of what integral sum is not mentioned. The person alluded to, (if any person was alluded to, which is not certain,) must, I think, have been a proprietor, as well as a principal actor. Our poet in his Hanlet speaks of a whole share, as no contemptible emolument; and from the same play we learn that some of the performers had only half a share. bably had still less.
It appears from a deed executed by Thomas Killigrew and others, that in the year 1666, the whole profit arising from acting plays, masques, &c. at the king's theatre, was divided into twelve shares and three quarters, of which Mr. Killigrew, the manager, had two shares and three quarters ; and if we may trust to another statement, each share produced, at the lowest calculation, about 2501. per ann: net; and the total clear profits consequently were about 31871. 10s. Od.
These shares were then distributed among the proprietors of the theatre, who at that time were not actors, the performers, and the dramatic poets, who were retained in the service of the theatre, and received a part of the annual produce as compensation for the pieces which they produced. +
In a paper delivered by Sir Henry Herbert to Lord Clarendon and the Lord Chamberlain, July 11, 1662, he states the emolument which Mr. Thomas Killigrew then derived (from his two shares and three quarters,) at 191. 6s. Od. per week ; according to which statement each share in the king's company produced but two hundred and ten pounds ten shillings a year. In Sir William D'Avenant's company, from the time their new theatre, was opened in Portugal Row, near Lincoln's Inn Fields, (April 1662,) the total receipt (after deducting the nightly charges of " men hirelings and other customary expenoes,' was divided into fifteen shares, of which it was agreed by articles previously entered into, that ten should belong
*“ Tucca. Fare thee well, my honest penny-biter: commend me to seven shares and a half, and remember to-morrow.-If you lack a service, you shall play in my name, rascals; (ailuding to the custom of actors calling themselves the servants of certain noblemen,] but
you shall buy your own cloth, and I'll have two shares for my counte. • nance." Poetaster, 1602.
+ Gildon in his Laws of Poetry, 8vo. 1721. observes, that " after VOL. II.
to D'Avenant; viz. two "towards the house-rent, building, scaffolding, and making of frames for scenes one for a provision of habits, properties, and scenes, for a supplement of the said theatre ; and seven to maintain all the women that are to perform or represent women's parts, in tragedies, comedies, &c. and in consideration of erecting and establishing his actors to be a company, and his pains and expences for that purpose for many years.”. The other five shares were divided in various proportions among the rest of the troop.
In the paper above referred to it is stated by Sir Henry Herbert, that D'Avenant “drew from these ten shares two hundred pounds a week ;” and if that statement was correct, each share in his play-house then produced annually six hundred pounds, supposing the acting season to have then lasted for thirty weeks.
Such were the emoluments of the theatre soon after the Restoration ; which I have stated here, from authentic documents, because they may assist us in our conjectures concerning the profits derived from stageexhibitions at a more remote and darker period.
From the prices of admission into our ancient theatres in the time of Shakspeare, which have been already noticed, I formerly conjectured that about twenty pounds was a considerable receipt at the Blackfriars and Globe theatre, on any one day, and my conjecture is now confirmed by indisputable evidence. In Sir Henry Herbert's Office-book I find the following curious notices on this subject, under the year 1628 :
• The kinges company with a generall consent and alacritye have given mee the benefitt of too dayes in the yeare, the one in summer, thother in winter, to bee taken out of the second daye of a revived playe, att my own choyse. The house-keepers have likewyse given their shares, their dayly charge only deducted, which comes to some 21, 5s, this 25 May, 1623.
“ The benefitt of the first day, being a very unseasonable one in respect of the weather, comes but unto 41. 155. Od.”.
the Restoration, when the two houses strugg'ed for the favour of the town, the taking poets were secured to either house by a sort of re, taining fee, which seldom or never amounted to more than forty shilJings a week, nor was that of any long continuance.".