24 December 1832

Christmas Eve Gathering 

London: Thomas Massa Alsager’s Residence, Queen Square   


Mass in D major, Missa SolemnisBeethoven
Principal Vocalists: Miss H. Cawse, Miss Novello
Organ: Mr. Vincent Novello; Conductor: Mr. Ignaz Moscheles


Charlotte: ‘Mr. Grimal, a great musical enthusiast, brought him Beethoven’s Mass in D (op. 123), a work hitherto unknown and unheard in London, requesting him to conduct it at the house of Mr. Alsager, the contributor of the city article to the Times, and a complete fanatic in his Beethoven worship. In his large music-room Beethoven’s works were given with full orchestral accompaniments. On the 23[r]d of December, Moscheles first acted there as conductor of a most efficient band, although consisting partly of amateurs, and subsequently his services as conductor were repeatedly called for’.

RMM, 186.

Moscheles: ‘I had become by dint of study, completely absorbed in that colossal work (the Missa Solemnis). Occasionally isolated phrases seemed unequal to the elevation of church music, but these compared with the work in its entirety, are as the details of a broadly conceived picture. The enthusiasm of my English friends also fired my zeal to give an interpretation worthy of the great work.  Miss Novello and Miss H. Cawse did their best. The ‘Benedictus’, with the heavenly violin solo (Mori), enchanted us all’.

RMM, 186.



First Performance in England of

Beethoven’s Mass in D. op. 123.

Decber 24.1832.



Mr. Moscheles

PianoforteMr. W. P. BealeOrganMr. V. Novello
Solo Voices
Soprano.Miss Clara NovelloAltoMiss. H. Cawse
Tenor.Mr. E. Hawkins BassMr. A. Novello
Sopranos.Ms. H. R. BishopAltos.Ms. C. Cowden Clarke
 Ms. Blair Hurt Master Hopkins
Tenors.Mr. T. Cooke   ”  C. Do.
 Mr. Holmes   ”   G. Goodban
 Mr. DruryBassi.Mr. E. Novello
 Mr. Calvert   ”     Hurlock
 Mr. J. Hawkins   ”   W. Street
 Mr. Goodban Jun.   ”   C. Cowden Clarke
Violins.Mr. TolbacqueClarionetsMr. Willman
 ”    Watts  ”    Powell
  ”     RemyBassoons ”    Baumann
  ”     Nadand  ”    Mauser
 ”     A. GriesbachHorns ”    Platt
ViolasMr. Appleby  ”    Rae   
  ”   Laroche  ”    Daniel
V.cellosMr. Banister.  ”     Rousselot
  ”    Grimal  ”     J. Irwin
Contra BassiMr.  Flower ”     Harper Jun.
      ReinagleTrombones ”    Albrecht
FlutesMr. Card & Card Jun.        Smithies
OboesMr.  FlockeDrums           ”   jun.      
  ”     G. Irwin        Alwyn


Presented As a very humble memorial of a most interesting occasion [sic] to the Ladies & Gentlemen who generously gave their assistance to it.

A. Grimal

Sec.ry of the Queen Square



Copy of the original in possession of J. A. Novello sent from Geneva. 1878.

[GB-Lbl ADD 52347 f1 r.]


The Morning Post (December 28, 1832): 3.


A very numerous assemblage of professors and musical amateurs performed BEETHOVEN’S Second Mass on Christmas eve at the residence of a distinguished patron of the art. The execution, says our correspondent, was perfect in all its parts Although the size of the room in which the performance took place and the proportion of voices and stringed instruments were too small for its proper effect, yet a very good estimate of the beauties of the ouvrage was formed by the eminent connoisseurs present, who unanimously pronounced it the most sublime composition of the immortal Beethoven. MOSCHELES conducted with the baton, Mr. NOVELLO presided at the organ, and the principal vocal parts were sustained by Miss NOVELLO, Miss H. CAWSE, &c. 

Whilst it reflects much honour on those who have now brought this great work into notice, it reflects equally much on the want of enthusiasm and admiration of the sublime in art amongst the profession that they should suffer a composition of such transcendent beauty to remain so long in abeyance. If such a class of music comes within the range of that intended to be sung at the New Vocalists’ Concerts it is to be hoped the public will not long remain in ignorance of its effects.