[Beethoven, Ludwig van (1770-1827)] [Smart, Sir George. (1776-1867)]
1841 Buckingham Palace Concert Program - THE COPY OF GEORGE SMART
Original program from an orchestral concert given at Buckingham Palace on May 21, 1841, featuring an early performance of Beethoven's Wellington's Victory (Grand Battle Sinfonia) and addressed by hand to the important English conductor of Beethoven's works, George Smart. The program lists works by Beethoven, Cimarosa, Mendelssohn, Strauss, and Spohr, concluding with the Grand Battle Sinfonia, which commemorates Wellington's victory at the battle of Vitoria in 1813. Sir George Smart, a guest at this occasion, had been the first to conduct the work in England about 20 years earlier. Printed on p. 1 of a bifolium and addressed to Smart on p. 3. With a significant tear at the fold, a few other small tears, chips, and overall wear, but with the inscription intact; overall in good condition. 5 x 7.5 inches (12.4 x 19.4 cm).
According to the contemporary publication The World of Fashion, and Continental Feuilletons, the concert's program was selected by Prince Albert, and "[the] novelty of the evening was the performance of Beethoven's 'Grand Battle Sinfonia,' upon a scale hitherto unattempted in this country...The music announcing the 'approach of the British army' was performed by the band of the Coldstream Guards, and that of the 'approach of the French army' by the Royal Horse Guards. The effect of distance of sound was well secured by closing the doors of the two drawing-rooms, in which the bands were separately placed, and by marching each party gradually towards the centre room between, in which the Queen and her guests were assembled..."
In 1813, conductor George Smart became an original member of the London Philharmonic Society and principal conductor of the city concerts and the Lent oratorios, at which in 1814 he produced for the first time in England, Beethoven's ‘Mount of Olives’ in his own arrangement, as well as Beethoven's 'Battle Symphony.' He was later joint organist of the Chapel Royal, St. James's and was musical director of Covent Garden under Charles Kemble. In 1826, he led the first English performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.