The Three Choirs

In September 1755 Adcock performed at The Three Choirs Meeting, Worcester:

Berrow’s Worcester Journal 28/08/1755
“Three Choirs Meeting on 10 and 11 September at Worcester
Mr Handel’s New Te Deum and Jubilate, Mr Purcell’s Te Deum and Jubilate with Dr Boyce’s Additions, with a New Anthem composed for the last meeting of the Corporation of the Sons of the Clergy at St Paul’s by Dr Boyce, and Mr Handel’s Coronation Anthem, will be performed in the Cathedral Church.
   “The Oratorio of Sampson by Mr Handel, and Dr Boyce’s Solomon with several other pieces of musick, will, in the Evening of the said Days, be performed in the Great Hall in the College of Worcester… Care has been taken to engage the best Masters that could be procured. – The Vocal Parts (beside the Gentlemen of the Three Choirs) will be performed by Mr Beard, Mr Wasse, Mr Denham, Mr Baildon, Miss Turner and others. The Instrumental Parts by Mr Brown, Mr Miller, Mr Adcock, Mr Messing &c &c – the Musick to be conducted by Dr Boyce.”

On 5 October 1755 Adcock joined the Royal Society of Musicians and on 4 September the following year, he performed again at the Three Choirs, but this time in Hereford:

 Berrow’s Worcester Journal Thursday, 2nd September, 1756
Three Choirs
Worcester, Gloucester, and Hereford,
Poor Clergy of the Three Dioceses,
Will be held at HEREFORD on Wednesday and Thursday,
the 15th and 16th of September.
The SERMON to be preach’d by the Rev. Mr. COTES, Rector of Door, and Chaplain to the Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Bangor.
ON Wednesday will be perform’d, at the Cathedral, in the Morning, Mr. Purcell’s TE DEUM and JUBILATE with Dr. Boyce’s Additions; an ANTHEM of Dr. Boyce’s, and Mr. Handel’s celebrated CORONATION ANTHEM – And, at the College-Hall, in the Evening, the ORATORIO of SAMSON, in which will be introduced, The Dead March in SAUL.
On Thursday will be perform’d, at the Cathedral, in the Morning, Mr. Handel’s New TE DEUM and JUBILATE, a New ANTHEM of Dr. Boyce’s, and the College-Hall, in the Evening, Dr. Boyce’s SOLOMON, with several Instrumental PIECES of MUSICK.
On Friday Evening, at the College Hall, will be perform’d L’ALLEGRO, IL PENSOROSO, and Dryden’s ODE, set to Musick by Mr. Handel.
The Gentlemen of the Three Choirs,
Signora Frasi,
Master Reinhold,
Mr. Wass, – and Others.
Signor Arrigoni, Mr. Adcock, Mr. Thompson, Mr. Messinge, Mr. Millar &c. &c. &c.
There will be a BALL each Night in the College-Hall, Gratis, for the GENTLEMEN and LADIES who favour the CONCERTS with their Company; to which no Person will be admitted without a Concert Ticket.
TICKETS to be had at Mr. Wilde’s, Bookseller; the Swan and Falcon; and the Green Dragon.
Price Five Shillings.

STEWARDS, { Sir John Morgan, Bart.
{ The Rev. Dr. Webber, Dean of Hereford.
*** The Performers are desired to meet together on Monday the 13th, in the Morning, in order to REHEARSE, and to Dine with the Stewards the Day following.
There will be an ORDINARY for the Subscribers and Others, on Wednesday, at the Green Dragon; and on Thursday at the Swan and Falcon.

   Giulia Frasi became a soloist of some note after she first arrived in England in 1743, “young and interesting in person, with a sweet and clear voice; though she never ranked as first woman at the Italian opera, yet, by learning English, she became of much importance at our oratorios, theatres, and public concerts, when singers of higher class, without this qualification, could be of no use”.
   She performed at the Meetings for the next nine years where she made a considerable sum from her employment, but she appears to have lived beyond her means as debts forced her to flee to Calais for fear of being arrested. For some time she existed on hand-outs from friends in England, but apparently died ‘for want of bread’.
   During his tenure in Hereford, Adcock may have made appearances at Hampton Court, seat of the Earls of Coningsby where, according to Noble and Granger’s A biographical history of England, from the revolution to the end of George I’s reign, he performed at the parties of the socialite Margaret, Viscountess Coningsby and is depicted as ‘very old, a sot, and excelled on the violin…[and] was one of the best performers on the trumpet in the Kingdom’.


Margaret, Viscountess Coningsby

Viscountess Coningsby

The Viscountess died in 1761 and if Adcock was thought to be very old whilst performing at her concerts (dates unknown, 1740s-1750s perhaps?), he would have seemed ‘ancient’ by his death in 1773.
   The following year, on the 2 July 1757 Adcock performed The Messiah once again, but this time at Oxford and is listed as subscribing to Poems on several occasions by Samuel Boyce, describing himself as a musician and organ builder. Samuel Boyce – not to be confused with the earlier Irish poet of the same name – was probably a relation of composer William Boyce, who incidentally also subscribed to the volume.
   On the 27 April 1758 Adcock performed The Messiah at the Lock Hospital Chapel and then journeyed to Bath to perform the same oratorio in aid of the Foundling Hospital at a concert in the abbey on 1 May. Later in the year he returned to Worcester for another Three Choirs Meeting, this time the programme consisted of Judas Maccabeus, Alexander’s Feast and The Messiah; the ticket prices for the season were increased to five shillings. The band leader was Mr Pinto who was born in England, but of Italian parents and was an excellent musician according to Burney, who ‘was so careless a player, that he performed the most difficult music better the first time he saw it, than ever after’. Also amongst the principal performers were Giulia Frasi, Mr Beard and Mr Wasse as well as Miller, Thompson and Vincent a hautbois player with more than thirty years as principal performer at Covent Garden.

    During the period of 1758-1763, the poet and friend of Charles Burney, Christopher Smart wrote his long free verse poem, Jubilate Agno whilst incarcerated in a madhouse. The part known as Fragment D includes the names of three famous trumpeters:
‘Let Abington, house of Abington rejoice with Lea a kind of Colewort praise him upon the sound of the trumpet.
Let Adcock, house of Adcock rejoice with Lada a shrub, which has gummy leaves.
Let Snow, house of Snow rejoice with Hysginum a plant dying Scarlet’.

   There were many Abington trumpet players: the Joseph Abingtons (both father and son played trumpet), Leonard Abington whose position Adcock took when he became a Sergeant Trumpeter in 1750 and James Abington who married the actress Frances Barton.
    ‘Let Snow, house of Snow’ must refer to Valentine Snow who had succeeded John Shore as Handel’s primary trumpeter in the 1730s.

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