Montreal Weekly Pilot
24 December 1847
Philharmonic Society- There is certainly no want of musical talent in Montreal, and to cultivate and render attractive that talent requires only the determined action and personal influence of a few of our leading amateurs. We had the pleasure, during the last winter, to be present at one or two private musical soirees given by one of our accomplished military officers, who is well known for his attachment and devotion to the divine art, and particularly for his successful efforts in the department of choral music. We were highly gratified at the exhibition we then witnessed, both in the vocal and instrumental efforts, and with the execution and taste of the various performers.
Can it be possible, we would ask, in a city like Montreal, blessed with the advantages of wealth, rich in refinement, and distinguished for its love of the fine arts, that there does not exist at the present a single musical association, fostered by public patronage, and in which professional merit can be adequately compensated for its labours and acquirements? There is scarcely a town or city in England, or even in the United States, without its Philharmonic Society, its musical Fund Hall, and its Gentleman’s Glee club.
It would really seem that the selfish representatives of ancient Adam desire to banish all recollections of that celestial refinement which in the divine harmony of paradise, once charmed the ear of their great prototype, and have found higher gratifications in the rude sports of the chase, the field games of athletic exercise, and that skilful dexterity which figures on the indurated bosom of a frozen river. Thistle clubs, curling clubs, cricket clubs, trotting clubs, Masonic lodges, and IOOF’s, and other associations, furnish abundant matter for the enjoyments of the Lords of the land. What resources of rational entertainment, however, have they provided for the gentler sex, who are necessarily excluded from such assemblies, and whose susceptible are more readily opened to the refined cultivation of taste and feeling? The body it is true may occasionally be made to throw off its natural tendency to supineness and immobility in a ball room; but the mind in its wonderful predominance over matter, seeks for purer sources of happiness in those pleasurable emotions inspired by the sublime and the beautiful.
It can hardly be doubted that if a few influential gentlemen of Montreal were to propose a meeting for the purpose of establishing a Philharmonic Society, it could be easily accomplished. Our enterprising fellow citizen MJ Hays, Esq., could doubtless be induced to make arrangements in his splendid establishment, now being completed, for a spacious and appropriate Music Hall: the price of membership could readily be fixed; officers chosen, and our accomplished amateurs could soon be embodied in a “Corps Musicale;” and we should have more agreeable “overtures” than those offered by our good friends Compain and Dolly- at least in the early part of the evenings.
If the accomplished officer of whom we have already spoken will proposed the matter to a few of his friends, we shall soon have a meeting, and at least be able to “sound” the public feeling, and endeavour to raise it to “concert pitch.”