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OSWESTRY. THE MAEKEIS.—The Town Council have decided to extend the Cross Market in the way recom mended by the committee. MUSICAL FESTIVAL.—A great musical festival was held at Oswestry on Tuesday, having been organised at the suggestion and with the assistance of Mr. Henry Leslie. The choir consisted of nearly 200 picked voices from the town and neighbourhood. The band was a professional one, assisted by mem- bers of the Herefordshire Philharmonic Society and the London Guild of Amateur Musicians. The soloists were Miss Robertson, Miss de Fonbianque, Miss Fanny Robertson, Mr. Joseph Maas, and Mr. Thurley Scale; and pianoforte, Lady Cornewall; the organist and choirmaster being Mr. George Gaffe. Handel's '• Messiah" was given in the morning and a miscellaneous concert in the even- ing, both being conducted by Mr. H. Leslie. Speak- iag of the morning performance the Times says:— The performance of the Messiah" at this morning's concert was accompanied by every mark of success. The hall was crowded to its last seat. by an audience composed of the most distinguished members of town and county society, and presented a spectacle with very little suggestive of its or- dinary destination. But the popular element also was by no means absent, and here again the happy meeting of very different social components on the common ground of art was conspicuous. It is, as I pointed out before, in this feature, perhaps, more than in its artistic significance that the importance of the present meeting must be discovered. The personal interest shown by the whole population in the musical proceedings decidedly partakes of the Celtic character, and in this respect, at least, the present celebration strikinarly resembles an Eis- teddfod, although poetic effusions and prize-sing ings have been abandoned. And the same enthus- iasm was shofvn in the manner in which the chorus attacked its difficult task at this morning's concert. The performance, indeed, was in every way credit- able to all concerned. The orchestra, although less numerous than those generally assembled In our modern concert-halls, was perhaps, on that account all the more in keeping with Handel's original conception; and the accompaniments left upon the whole little to be àesired, especially if the presence of the amateur element is taken into consideration. The chief share of praise is justly due to the chorus, Its components are well balanced, and especially the soprani and oontraiti include voices of remark- ¡ able freshness and power. The precision, moreover, with which the contrapuntal intricacies of Handel's music were attacked sufficiently proved the careful training of the singers by Mr. George Gaffe, the local organist, and, finally, by Mr. Henry Leslie, I who conducted the entire performance with energy and refinement. Although the sacredness of the subject precluded the ordinary signs of applause, the deep impression made on.the hearers was mani- fest beyond a doubt. Handel's great work being unknown to a considerable portion of the audience, it was no matter for surprise that its strains' aided by the religious associations of the subject, should have produced an effect unavoidably weakened by the continual repetition of the work. That this effect will be lasting and of highly beneficial in- fluence in the development of musical taste in these parts there is no reasonable cause to doubt. Of the evening concert the same paper says It would be unnecessary to mention all the items of the long and varied programme, especially as regards the songs, ballads, and airo assigned to the artists already named, suffice it to say that one and all earned, and in most cases well-deserved, applause. Perhaps the most successful piece of the evening was tne celebrated quarrel scene from Cimarosa's Matrimanio Segreto, which was rendered admirably well by the Misses Robertson and Miss De Fon. blanque. Here the virtuous resolves of the public gave way before the impulse of the moment, and an encore became inevitable. In the course of the evening, the Rev. J. B. Meredith, a member of the choir, delivered a short and eloquent address, acknowledging the eminent services rendered by Mr. Leslie to the cause of music in Shropshire, and stated that the choristers intended to present to their conductor a handsome bâton, which, unfor- tunately, had not arrived from London. Mr. Leslie replied in suitable terms, and stated, among other things, that the gross receipts of the two concerts amounted to upwards of £600, which sum, de- ducting the expenses, would* be applied to the formation of an elementary music school at Oswestry. Thus the evening passed to the general satisfaction, and the same may be said of the festival. As a whole, it is a modest but hopeful be- ginning of what may turn out to he a new rise of musical art in this part of England. It is proposed to repeat the meetings at intervals, a teriennial recurrence being at present intended. It would, indeed, be a pity if so splendid a body of singers as the festival choir should be dispersed without further results.


* - REYL.