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England's glory and the celebrations at court for queen Anne's birthday in 1706.

Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson have written extensively on English stage music and singers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and have edited facsimile editions of the complete songs of Richard Leveridge and of The Monthly Mask of Vocal Music, 1702-1711.

The text of England's Glory, a musical entertainment performed before Queen Anne on her birthday, was published in 1706. (1) The composer of the work, James Kremberg, signed its dedication to the queen, but there is no mention in the text of the librettist. The music is lost, which is perhaps why England's Glow has escaped the attention of music historians and writers on the theatre of the period, but there is much of interest in the piece and in the part it played in the queen's birthday celebrations. Contemporary accounts of these celebrations, however, are patchy and sometimes contradictory.

The theatre prompter John Downes remembered that in the year when Queen Anne's birthday celebrations took place on Shrove Tuesday, Edward Ravenscroft's farce The Anatomist was 'done by the Actors of both Houses, and perfectly Perform'd; there being an Additional Entertainment in't of the best Singers and Dancers, Foreign and English ... Twas very well lik'd by the whole Court'. (2) This fixes the year as 1706, for in that year the celebrations were held a day early, on Tuesday 5 February, because the queen's birthday fell on Ash Wednesday. In their revised on-line version of The London Stage for the 1705-6 season, (3) Judith Milhous and Robert Hume comment that the musical entertainment, The Loves of Mars and Venus, which had been integrated into The Anatomist for its 1696 premiere, does not seem particularly suitable for the queen's birthday. Indeed, Downes's statement appears to imply a new musical entertainment and the singers he names, 'Margarita D'elpine, Maria Gallia, Mrs. Lindsey, Mrs. Hudson and Mr. Leveridge, and others', would not make an ideal cast for Mars and Venus.

The Post Boy for 5-7 February 1706 gives an account of the celebrations at court on 5 February:
 Most of the Nobility and Gentry, and Foreign Ministers in Town,
 went, in the Morning, to her Majesty's Palace at St. James's, where
 the Court was very numerous, and extremely magnificent. About
 Eleven on the Clock a fine Ode was Sung, in Consort, before her
 Majesty; At One of the Clock in the Afternoon the great Guns of the
 Tower, and those of St. James's Park, were fired; At Night there
 was a fine Ball, and a Play acted at Court, and the Evening
 concluded with Ringing of Bells, Bonefires, and other
 Demonstrations of publick Joy.

The Newdigate Newsletter dated 5 February 1706 differs in some details, but gives us a clue as to the identity of Downes's 'Additional Entertainment' with Tile Anatomist:
 This day most of the Nobility and Knights of the Garter appeared at
 Court to compliment the Queen (this being Observed as her birthday)
 at noon a song proper for the occasion being sett by Mr. James
 Kremberg a German was sung before her Majesty: in the evening was
 acted a new Play called Brittania's glory, and at night was a
 splendid Ball. (4)

No play called Brittania's Glory exists, but in the dedication to the queen of England's Glory: A Poem. Perform'd in a Musical Entertainment before her Majesty, on her Happy Birth-Day Kremberg wrote that he 'tho' a Foreigner' had 'compos'd the Musical Parts to the following Poem (made in Form of an OPERA) to celebrate Your MAJESTY'S Glory and happy Birth-Day'. There can be little doubt that this piece was the entertainment performed with The Anatomist. The mistake over the title is understandable, for Britannia was the central figure in England's Glory and The Britannia, with music by James Paisible, was the display dance of that year's birth night ball. (5)

The Newdigate Newsletter is clearly mistaken in giving Kremberg as the composer of the ode performed in the morning, because that duty was the preserve of John Eccles, the Master of the Queen's Musick. On 1 March 1706 a warrant was issued to pay Eccles 19 [pounds sterling]. 18s. 6d. for 'pricking and fair writing compositions for her Majesty's Birthday and New Year's Day, 1706'. (6) He received similar payments in other years, (7) including 1703, 1704 and 1707, when we know he composed the customary birthday odes because music from them was published. 1706 is one of the years for which no music from his Birthday Ode survives.

James (Jakob) Kremberg (c. 1650-1715) was not at this time a member of the royal musical establishment. He was born in Warsaw, and worked in Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands before coming to England in 1697, when, 'lately come out of Italy', he advertised a series of weekly concerts 'of all sorts of Instruments; with fine Singing, in Italian, French, English, Spanish, German, Dutch, and Latin, after the newest Italian and French manner ... always with New Compositions'. (8) It seems likely that he composed his piece for the queen's birthday as a way of recommending himself for a court appointment, which indeed he obtained when, on 18 April 1706, a warrant was issued for his admission as a Musician in Ordinary in the Private Musick. (9)

It is interesting that Kremberg claimed that his piece was 'made in Form of an Opera'. In 1705, the birthday celebrations had included a performance at court of the first English opera in the Italian style, Thomas Clayton's Arsinoe, Queen of Cyprus, which had been premiered at Drury Lane that January. In 1707, the court was to enjoy a performance, again from Christopher Rich's Drury Lane company, of the even more successful Camilla, an English version of Giovanni Bononcini's Italian opera. However, in 1706 The Anatomist was a production from Thomas Betterton's company, now based at the new Queen's Theatre in the Haymarket. No cast lists survive for the revivals of The Anatomist in the early 1700s, but the members of the original cast who were still acting--George Bright, William Bowen, Cave Underhill, Elinor Leigh and Elizabeth Bowman--would have retained their roles. The queen, as Princess Anne, had seen this light-weight but very entertaining farce at the Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre in its first season, for the 1697 edition of the play includes a 'Prologue to Her Royal Highness. Spoken by Mrs. Barry. Written by Mr. Motteux'.

The Anatomist consisted of only three acts and was designed to be performed with Peter Motteux's 'Play Set to Music', The Loves of Mars and Venus. This had music by John Eccles and Gottfried Finger and was inserted into Tile Anatomist as four musical scenes performed as entertainments for the characters in the play. For the 1706 court performance it would have been very easy to cut the dialogue introducing the musical scenes and play the farce uninterruptedly, or with only short entr'acte entertainments of singing or dancing, before the performance of England's Glory as the grand finale. It is, of course, just possible that it was performed as a long and elaborate sung and danced prologue, the Newdigate Newsletter 'play', before the performance of the farce.

The annual royal birthday celebration was an ostentatious display of loyalty to the sovereign, when courtiers presented themselves in new and ruinously expensive clothes, their 'birthday suits'. Back in King William's reign, William Congreve had made Lady Wishfort inveigh against Mirabell: 'I warrant the Spendthrift Prodigal's in Debt as much as the Million Lottery, or the whole Court upon a Birth day'. (10) The celebrations appear to have intensified in the early years of Queen Anne's reign, presumably because of the war with France, fears of a Jacobite invasion and the problems caused by the lack of a Stuart Protestant heir. Britannia, the key figure in Kremberg's entertainment, had emerged as a national symbol during the reign of Charles II, when she featured on medals celebrating English naval victories, iconography drawing on the myth that Neptune had surrendered to her the sovereignty of the sea. When the Bank of England was founded in 1694, Britannia's image appeared on its seal and notes. (11) In 1706, when the negotiations for a political union of England and Scotland were about to enter their final stages, Britannia was taking on a wider resonance as the symbol of Great Britain. The queen had been a strong supporter of the union since the beginning of her reign and commissioners to negotiate the terms were appointed a few weeks after her birthday.

Kremberg's fervently patriotic masque presented a united and prosperous island, triumphant in the War of Spanish Succession and enriched by ever-growing trade with the whole world. It was operatic in that it was sung throughout and gave opportunities for scenic effects and for dancing as well as singing. It opens with Bellona, goddess of war, appearing in a celestial machine and joining with Ceres, goddess of harvest, to sing to Britannia of the riches of this 'Happy Clime the Seat of Plenty':
 Bright ANNA bids your Troubles cease,
 And now in War procures you Peace.
 Arts and Arms Her Favours nourish;
 Musick, Wit, and Learning flourish.
 Tides of Wealth by Her are flowing;
 Virtue, Trade, and Empire growing;
 Fame abroad our Triumphs sounding,
 And Content at Home abounding.

The four continents, represented by female singers with their attendants, then enter in turn to pay homage to Britannia. Europe, with 'a pompous Train', lays down her sword at Britannia's feet, in gratitude for freedom from French domination:
 Hail, Britannia! Hail to Thee!
 Sent from Heav'n to set us free
 From dragooning Slavery.

Asia, with a 'magnificent Train', presents spices, pearls and gums to Britannia and then Africa, accompanied by a 'splendid Train', brings
 all her Slaves in Chains.
 A kneeling Captive prostrate falls, [All kneel down.
 And for gen'rous Mercy calls;

(The irony of trading in African slaves while claiming to protect Europe from the 'dragooning Slavery' of Louis XIV was clearly not apparent to an audience in 1706.)

Finally America, the 'new discover'd World', with her 'stately Train', presents silver and gold, offering:
 Her rich Plantations,
 Where Sugar, Drugs and Cotton,
 In Quantities are gotten,
 To furnish Northern Nations.

Each presentation ends with a dance of the continent's attendants.

Two male soloists then make their appearance in turn. 'Neptune arises in a Chariot, drawn by Sea-Horses, where a rentote View of the Brittish Fleet terminates the Sight. His Machine is surrounded with Tritons and Mermaids.' Neptune surrenders his trident and mace and sings of the triumphs of the British navy. A 'Dance of Neptune' follows, presumably given by the tritons and mermaids, before Atlas enters, carrying the globe 'to lay at Royal ANNA's Feet'. After a 'Dance of Atlas', all join in chorus to praise the queen:
 In Dances and Songs let Obedience be shown,
 Since all the whole Earth now submits to Her Throne

After a 'Dance of Britannia and Ceres' there is a spectacular transformation, which is described in 14 lines of text and which Kremberg was to have engraved as the frontispiece for the published libretto (see Plate 1). Atlas's globe changes into a be-laurelled obelisk supported by the lion and unicorn and opens to reveal representations of three recent British victories, at Barcelona, Blenheim and Gibraltar. Bellona and Britannia join in praise of the queen, leading to the final Grand Chorus to sing and to dance:
 Long live our Queen ANNA in glorious State,
 Surrounded with Triumph and Fortunate Fate;
 Kind Heav'n on Her all Virtue bestows:
 The Delight of Her People, and Dread of Her Foes.

We do not know who wrote the libretto, but it could be the work of either Nahum Tate, who as Poet Laureate would have provided the words for the Eccles birthday ode performed that morning, or Peter Motteux, an experienced and skilful librettist who had written the words of The Loves of Mars and Venus, the musical piece originally performed with Tire Anatomist. However, one would expect such professional writers to be acknowledged in the printed text, so it may have been the work of a gentleman amateur who had made a careful study of the precedents for such a work. There are clear echoes of John Dryden's final masque to King Arthur (1691), where Merlin's vision of the future 'Glories of our Isle' includes a tableau of 'Britannia seated in the Island, with Fishermen at her Feet, &c.' and Pan and a Nereid sing of British fish and British wool. In Dryden's earlier monarchist extravaganza, Albion and Albanius (1685), Act 1 concludes with a dance: 'Representing the Four Parts of the World, rejoycing at the Restauration of Albion [Charles II].' The clearest parallels, however, are with another work designed for court performance, John Crowne's masque Calisto, given before Charles II and his queen in 1675. (The 10-year-old Princess Anne acted the role of Nyphe 'a chaste young Nymph', while her sister Mary took the lead as Calisto.) In the sung and danced prologue to Calisto, Peace and Plenty appear, like Kremberg's Bellona and Ceres, and the four continents make offerings of the arts (Europe), jewels (Asia), gold (America) and slaves (Africa). It is noticeable that the importance of world-wide trade to the prosperity of Britain is much less marked here than it was to be 30 years later in England's Glory. In Calisto the Genius of England summons up a naval hero and a military hero (representing James Duke of York and the Duke of Monmouth) and the naval hero is accompanied by sea gods and tritons, like Neptune's tritons and mermaids in England's Glory. A 'Temple of Fame' appears and all pay homage to the king and queen as the god and goddess of 'this bless'd Isle'. In 1675 the four continents were sung by male singers, three of them members of the Chapel Royal choir, but Anne did not like her chapel singers taking part in theatrical entertainments and in 1706 there were more leading female than male singers in the theatre to take the roles of the continents. Eleanor Boswell's The Restoration Court Stage 1660-1702 (1932) includes fascinating details from the tailors" bills for many of the elaborate and expensive costumes needed for Calisto. These were surely not still available 30 years later, and Queen Anne's expenditure at court seems to have been carefully controlled. England's Glory must have been mounted less extravagantly than Calisto, with as many of the costumes as possible drawn from the wardrobes of the two London theatre companies.


There was no permanent court theatre at St James's Palace, as there had been at Whitehall before it was destroyed when the palace burned down in January 1698. However, Lord Chamberlain's documents concerning the three plays performed at St James's in 1704 show that there was a room which could be set up as a theatre. This must have included a stage with sets of grooves for scenery, but not facilities for a celestial machine for Bellona or a rising chariot for Neptune. England's Glory must have relied on painted scenes for these effects.

John Downes listed the principal dancers as well as the chief singers for this performance: L'Abbe and Mrs Elford, who were both working at the Queen's Theatre, and Cherrier, Du Ruel, Madam Du Ruel, and the Devonshire Girl (Mrs Mosse), all from Drury Lane. (12) There was plenty for them all to do, since eight dances were called for before the final danced chorus. The dances were probably arranged by Cherrier and L'Abbe, the leading male dancers of the two theatre companies. Mr Isaac, (13) the court dancing master, was responsible for The Britannia, the display dance for the evening's ball (see Plate 2). Queen Anne, who had been taught to dance by Isaac, had been a skilful dancer and in the early years of her reign she had opened the ball. However, she was suffering from gout and had grown fat, so that the last year in which she danced at her birth night ball was 1704. After this, the high point of the evening appears to have been an elaborate and symbolically named display dance choreographed by Isaac. In 1705 this was entitled The Marlborough, in honour of the Duke and his great victory at Blenheim in the summer of 1704, which had united the country in support of the war. In 1707 it was to be The Union, for union with Scotland had been ratified by the Scottish parliament in mid January and was to receive the approval of the English parliament in March. We know that the performers in 1707 were the latest dance stars from the theatre, Desbarques and Hester Santlow, Cherrier's most famous pupil, (14) and it is likely that professionals performed Isaac's display dances in 1705 and 1706.


Since no scrap of the music for England's Glory appears to survive, it is impossible to allocate parts to singers with any confidence, but it seems likely that Francesca Margherita de l'Epine, as the leading Italian soprano resident in London, would have sung Bellona, with Maria Gallia in the somewhat smaller role of Ceres. Both had been singing in English as well as Italian on the London stage and in concerts. Britannia must surely have been English, and the most likely singer among those named by Downes is the experienced Mary Hodgson, from the Queen's Theatre, whose career seems to have begun with Henry Purcell's The Fairy Queen in 1692. The prima donna Catherine Tofts would have seemed the obvious choice for Britannia, but she had been in dispute with Christopher Rich over her salary and had left the Drury Lane company in January 1706, giving her costumes back after removing her own lace from them. (15) Another possible singer for the role, although not listed by Downes, is Anne Bracegirdle. She was primarily an actress, but her singing was admired and a month after the birthday celebration she was to sing in Giuseppe Saggione's opera The Temple of Love at the Queen's Theatre. The other female singer listed by Downes, Mary Lindsey, was Hodgson's opposite number at Drury Lane. Other singers available for the various continents include Mary Baldwin and Elizabeth Willis, who were both also to sing in The Temple of Love, and the actress, singer and dancer Letitia Cross from Drury Lane. The bass Richard Leveridge, who had sung in the birthday celebrations in 1704 and 1705 and was to do so again in 1707, must surely have sung Atlas. Downes listed no other male singer, but the leading English tenor Francis Hughes, from Drury Lane, is a strong possibility for Neptune.

The whole day was a very demanding one for the queen and her consort, George of Denmark, with the reception of ambassadors and leading nobility in the morning, as well as the customary ode sung by Chapel Royal singers. Later came the theatrical entertainment and the ball and there was presumably also the 'magnificent feast' listed by the London Post (5-9 February) for the 1705 celebrations. On the day after the performance of England's Glory the Queen was suffering from an attack of gout and Prince George was seriously ill. The singers and dancers from Drury Lane, too, had a very full day. There must have been a run-through in the morning and, in addition to the performance before the court, these singers and dancers had to appear at their theatre, where Macbeth was advertised with 'All the Musick, Vocal and Instrumental, compos'd by Mr. Leveridge, and perform'd by him and others, and Dancing by Monsieur Cherrier, Mrs. Cross, and others,' (16) (No performance was advertised at the Queen's Theatre.) This Macbeth performance raises the question of when the theatrical entertainment at St James's Palace took place. England's Glory could just possibly have been performed late enough for the singers to have appeared at Drury Lane first, but this would seem to be an extremely risky procedure, particularly in view of the traffic jam of coaches around St James's Palace. (The evening service at the Chapel Royal was cancelled on royal birthdays, 'it being difficult for the Gentlemen and Officers of the Chapel to come to the Gate of the Court by reason of the great Concourse of People on those Publick Days'. (17)) We know from the Newdigate Newsletter dated 1 February 1707 (18) that the performance of Camilla for that year's birthday celebrations took place in the afternoon and it seems likely that this was the general pattern, as the queen and court would then have had time after the performance to prepare for the ball. Theatre performances at this time seem to have begun at about 6 pm, and the singing and dancing witches were not required in Macbeth until the last scene of Act 2. An afternoon performance at St James's Palace could have given the singers and dancers time to dash to the theatre for this scene, or, if substitutes were used in Act 2, by the end of Act 3, when the audience would be expecting Leveridge to sing Hecate. (It would have been much easier, of course, if England's Glory was performed before The Anatomist.) Nevertheless, it seems strange that Rich should have chosen a play that required so much singing and dancing. Perhaps he was annoyed that much of the payment for the birthday performance that year was going to the other theatre company for Tile Anatomist. The Queen's management would doubtless have thought the arrangement very fair, since Rich's opera production had made tip the main part of the royal entertainment in 1705.

Another interesting yet puzzling element of the 1706 performance is that a completely new and quite elaborate musical piece was chosen, rather than an existing production from one of the theatres, with just the addition of extra singing and dancing from star soloists. For England's Glory, sets would have needed to be painted, costumes acquired and musicians rehearsed. The orchestra could have been drawn from the Royal Private Musick, but a chorus would have had to be assembled. For the performance of John Weldon's setting of The Judgment of Paris at Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre financed by the Duke of Bedford in 1702, a chorus of 25 (7 women and 18 men) was employed, so there were singers available in London to provide a suitably impressive effect. The arrangements for England's Glory could well have been made by Kremberg himself, who was experienced in organising vocal and instrumental concerts in London and had been the manager of the Hamburg Opera between 1693 and 1695. However, there is also the possibility that Thomas Betterton, who did not have an acting role in The Anatomist, had a hand in the production of England's Glory. Betterton had been fully involved in the production of Henry Purcell's dramatic operas in the early 1690s and was about to mount three major operatic productions at the Queen's Theatre in the course of six weeks, The British Enchanters (21 February 1706), The Temple of Love (7 March) and The Wonders in the Sun (5 April). (19)

It is unlikely that Kremberg gained much, if any, immediate financial benefit from England's Glory, but he must have been gratified by its reception, since Downes remembered 'Twas very well lik'd by the whole Court'. The handsome folio edition of the text appears to have been published at Kremberg's expense, for the imprint is merely 'Sold by RICHARD HARRISON at New-Inn Gate in Witchstreet without Temple-Bar' (See Plate 1). Most importantly, England's Glory must have led to his appointment to the Private Musick two months later. (20) That he was proud of this appointment is shown by the publication in August 1706 of A Collection of Easy and Familiar Aires ... Compos'd by Mr Iames Kremberg one of the Gentlemen of Her Majestys Musick. (21) Kremberg was also a skitful music copyist and wrote out the abbreviated score of Camilla used for the queen's birthday celebration in 1707. (22) There were no court entertainments on the queen's birthday for the three years after 1707, because of her ill health and her husband's death. By 1711, the fashion for opera sung in Italian had almost destroyed English theatre music and from that year the queen was entertained on her birthday by Italian singers and music by Handel. Kremberg's England's Glory was thus the only specially composed English dramatic piece to be heard at one of Queen Anne's birthday celebrations.

(1) Copies survive at the British Library (11626.k.7) and at the Bodleian Library (Vet A4.c.55 (10).

(2) John Downes, Roscius Anglicanus, ed. Judith Milhous and Robert D. Hume, London, 1987, 98.

(3) All the London theatre seasons 1700-11 are freely available on line.

(4) John Harold Wilson, 'Theatre notes from the Newdigate Newsletters', Theatre Notebook 15, 1961, 82-3.

(5) The Post-Man, 9-12 February 1706, carried John Walsh's advertisement for 'The Britannia. Mr. Isack's new Dance, performed before her Majesty on her Birth-day, 1706. The Tune by Mr. Paisible. To which is added all the new Minuets, Riggadoons and French Dances, danced at Balls and publick Entertainments, engraven, pr. 6d.' (This publication would have contained just the music, not the dance notation shown in Plate 2.)

(6) Andrew Ashbee, Records of English Court Music, ii, Snodland, 1987, 87.

(7) Donald Burrows, Handel and the English Chapel Royal, Oxford, 2005, 105-6.

(8) Post Boy, 20 November 1697.

(9) Andrew Ashbee, Records of English Court Music, ii, Snodland, 1987, 87.

(10) William Congreve, The Way of the World, London, 1700, 35.

(11) See Virginia Hewitt, 'Britannia (fl. 1st-21st cent.), allegory of a nation, emblem of empire, and patriotic icon' in The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford, 2004.

(12) He also named Miss Campion but she had left the stage in 1704 to become the kept mistress of the Duke of Devonshire. Mary Ann Campion died in May 1706, a few weeks after giving birth to their daughter.

(13) His first name may have been Edward. See Jennifer Thorp, 'So Great a Master as Mr Isaac: an exemplary dancing-master of late Stuart London', Early Music, 35, 2007, 435-46.

(14) Daily Courant, 3 April 1707: 'With several new Entertainments of Dancing by Monsieur du Ruel, Monsieur Cherrier, Monsieur du Bargues and Miss Santlow; particularly, the Union Dance, as 'twas perform'd before her Majesty at St. James's, by Mrs. Santlow and Monsieur du Bargues.'

(15) Judith Milhous and Robert D. Hume, eds, A Register of English Theatrical Documents 1660-1737, Carbondale and Edwardsville, 1991, i, document 1835.

(16) Daily Courant, 5 February 1706. Unusually, too, the advertisement for the 4 February Drury Lane play concluded with: 'And to Morrow, being Tuesday, will be presented the Tragedy of Mackbeth.'

(17) See Donald Burrows, Handel and tire English Chapel Royal, Oxford, 2005, 105-6.

(18) John Harold Wilson, 'Theatre notes from the Newdigate Newsletters', Theatre Notebook 15, 1961, 83.

(19) See Judith Milhous, Thomas Betterton and tire Management of Lincoln's Inn Fields 1695-1708, Carbondale and Edwardsville, 1979, 205-6.

(20) James Moore was sworn into Kremberg's place in the Private Musick on 23 September 1715, so our composer was probably the James Cranbrook who was buried at St Anne, Soho on 20 September 1715. (Andrew Ashbee and David Lasocki, A Biographical Dictionary of English Court Musicians, 1485-1714, Aldershot, 1998, ii, 6557).

(21) William C. Smith, A Bibliography of the Musical Works published by John Walsh during the years 1695-1720, London, 1968, 68.

(22) The manuscript is in the Royal College of Music, London (MS 779).
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Author:Baldwin, Olive; Wilson, Thelma
Publication:Theatre Notebook
Article Type:Opera review
Date:Feb 1, 2008
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