‘A Vast Speculation’:The Cork Grand Musical Meeting of 1826


  • Susan O’Regan




concerts, British Isles, provincial music-making


The organization of a Grand Musical Meeting in Cork in 1826 was the biggest commercial undertaking in the city’s concert life up to that time, bringing from London four virtuoso instrumentalists and at least six solo singers, in addition to a choir and orchestra. The event was directed by William Forde, a Cork-born musician who had for some years worked as a professional musician in London. The lavish plans for six concerts, an oratorio and an opera were not brought to fruition, and, by the fifth day, events were necessarily curtailed due to poor audience attendance. The scale of the event, its mismatch with the intended audience and a clash with the city’s annual theatre season all contributed to the difficulties which the organisers encountered, although artistic integrity and strong press support were in evidence. The publicity notices for the Grand Musical Meeting also reveal links with London’s newly-established Royal Academy of Music. This article examines the circumstances surrounding the event and questions its unstated aims.

Author Biography

Susan O’Regan

Susan O’Regan is a lecturer at CIT Cork School of Music, where she teaches courses in music history, music education and aural skills. In 2008 she completed her PhD on the musical life of Cork during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Her other research interests are music education and music teacher education.




How to Cite

O’Regan, S. (2010). ‘A Vast Speculation’:The Cork Grand Musical Meeting of 1826. Journal of the Society for Musicology in Ireland, 5, 5–29. https://doi.org/10.35561/JSMI05091