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Catch and Glee Culture in Eighteenth-Century England


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The rise of the catch and glee in Georgian England represents a rare example of indigenous forms establishing themselves within a wide musical and social context. This study examines a phenomenon that has to date been largely overlooked by historians. Taking the 17th-century background as a starting point, it moves on to a detailed account of the clubs formed to propagate the two genres, placing them within the ambiance of the thriving club life of London and the provinces. The success of the London Catch Club and its emulators in encouraging the creation of a large and popular repertoire that would come to assume nationalistic significance is reflected by the incursion of the catch and glee into mainstream concert life and the theatre. The volume concludes with a discussion of the glee in relation to the aesthetics of the period and a brief survey of its subsequent reputation among musicians and historians.


The strength of Catch and Glee Culture in Eighteenth-Century England lies in the author's command of the sources, and the thorough, nuanced accounts of so many institutions, repertories, and so on. Future scholars will long be indebted to him for this presentation of material.[...]As such, this carefully documented work cannot fail to help us better understand the socio-historical context behind the catch and glee. At the same time, it is bound to prove to be an invaluable source and important stepping-stone for those who seek a deeper understanding of the curious dynamics of British musical culture. MUSIC AND LETTERS

Recommended. CHOICE

Robins has given an excellent history of the forms and their cultivation in their heyday...a fine account of a uniquely British repertoire. EARLY MUSIC REVIEW

An excellently researched book [which] provides an excellent entree to those who wish to study catch and glee music itself, and it also makes a firm first mark in a hitherto barely explored area of our national culture and heritage. CHOMBEC NEWS


First Published: 21 Sep 2006
13 Digit ISBN: 9781843832126
Pages: 188
Size: 23.4 x 15.6
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: Boydell Press
BIC Class: AV

Details updated on 05 Oct 2015


  • 1  A Thoroughly English Music: The Seventeenth-Century Background and Early Clubs
  • 2  Club Life in Eighteenth-Century London - The Academy of Vocal Music and The Madrigal Society
  • 3  The Catch Club
  • 4  The Expansion of London Catch Club Culture
  • 5  Provincial Catch and Glee Clubs
  • 6  The Catch and Glee in Other Performance Contexts
  • 7  The Glee: Aesthetics, Form and Poetry
  • 8  Epilogue: Later Reception of the Eighteenth-Century Catch and Glee
  • 9  Appendices
  • 10  Bibliography
  • 11  Index