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TitleRoyal Albert Hall Choral Society (First Series 1872) - First Concert
Performance Date8 May 1872
Performance DayWednesday
Performance Time16:30
Secondary PerformersDr John Stainer - organ
Orchestra or BandOrchestra
ChoirsRoyal Albert Hall Choral Society (Royal Choral Society)
ConductorsCharles Gounod
Set ListArrival of Royal Party,
'God Save the Queen' (The National Anthem), arr. M Gounod (Royal Choral Society, organ),
'Te DEUM', C Gounod,
'Adoro Te' (Catholic Hymn), harm. C Gounod,
'Kyrie' from Palestrina's Mass, arr. C Gounod,
'O Jesus, My Lord in F Minor' (O Regum Coeli), J S Bach, arr. C Gounod,
'Old Hundredth' (Psalm), harm. C Gounod,
'I Loved a Lass (French, 16th Century), harm. C Gounod,
Departure of Royal Party,
'God Save the Queen' (The National Anthem), arr. M Gonoud (Royal Choral Society, organ)
'O! The Sweet Countenance' (Pastorale, 1650), harm. C Gounod,
'Love Me True, Dear Lassie', J Lefevre (Pastorale, 1613), harm. C Gounod,
'Ave Verum Corpus Natem', Mozart, arr. C Gonoud,
'Sicilian Mariner's Hym', harm. C Gounod,
'O Filii et Filiae', V Leisring, arr. C Gounod,
'Hallelujah Chorus', from Messiah, Handel
Royal PresenceHM Queen Victoria,
HRH Victoria Empress of Germany, the Princess Royal,
HRH Princess Christian,
HRH Princess Beatrice,
HRH The Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh,
HRH Prince Arthur,
HRH Prince Leopold,
HRH Prince Christian
Performance NotesThe first concert by the Royal Albert Hall Choral Society and first appearance at the Hall.

The first performance, in part, of Handel's Messiah by the RCS at at Hall. The first full performance would take place on 26 February 1873.

In 1888 the Society was re-named the Royal Choral Society by HM Queen Victoria in recognition of their outstanding performances.

This was the first concert of the Series of Grand Subscription Concerts, organised by the Royal Albert Hall.

"The same dreadful weather... At ΒΌ past 4 we left in 5 closed carriages for the Albert Hall, the Equerries riding. The Empress [Augusta, German Empress, wife of William I, German Emperor], Lenchen [Princess Helena, Princes Christian of Schleswig-Holtsein] and Beatrice [Princess Beatrice, Princess Henry of Battenburg] drove with me. The 3 Princes [Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Arthur, Prince Christian] received me at the Hall. We went up at once to the Royal Box and were extremely well received. Remained for the first part of the Grand Choral Concert, conducted by Gounod. His Te Deum is extremely fine, as are all his compositions. The Chorus and Choir were all amateurs. As we were going out the Duchess of Buccleuch presented young Lord Aberdeen, a nice looking young man."
(Queen Victoria's Diary, 8 May 1872)

"The first of the promised series of Grand Choral Concerts, with M C Gounod as conductor, was performed yesterday afternoon, by command of the Queen, who honoured the performance with her presence. ...
The hall to all appearances was as full as it could easily be - arena, ampitheatre, great gallery, picture gallery, and balconies on either side of the organ seemingly crowded, while very few boxes in any one of the three tiers, so far as we could observe, were unoccupied. It is computed that some 7,000 people were present; and the spectacle was in the highest degree imposing. The chorus filled the orchestra to the roof. The lady singers were all placed in front - with their variegated costumes, a pretty sight, of course - the gentlemen behind them crowding both sides of the organ. We are informed that the number of singers was 1,134 - 346 sopranos, 194 altos, 235 tenors, and 353 basses, in two equal choirs....
What was done yesterday sounded in the greater number of instances as effectively as coud be desired, and warrants a belief that, in unaccompanied choral part-song especially, a vast deal may yet be achieved at Albert Hall...
...Handel's immortal 'Hallelujah', which though sung with a simple organ accompaniment, in place of an orchestra, and, moreover, while the audience were issuing forth in droves through the many doors of egress with which Albert Hall is furnished, still sounded magnificently. M Gounod conducted throughout with admirable firmness and discrimination, and the duties of organist could hardly have been more ably or diligently performed than by Dr Stainer."
(The Times, 9 May 1872)

There was some criticism that the concert included no works by English or British composers.
Related Archival MaterialIllustration, (RAHE/9/1872/3)
Event Schedule (RAHE/4/4/4),
Concert Agreement Contract (RAHE/4/3/1)

Related Names

Ref NoTitleNumber of PerformancesEvent PromoterSponsor
Work8115Royal Albert Hall Choral Society (First Series 1872)4Royal Albert Hall Choral Society (Royal Choral Society)