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date: 16 October 2019

Alsager, Thomas Massalocked

  • David B. Levy

Extract

(b Alsager, Cheshire, Sept 27, 1779; d London, Nov 15, 1846). English music critic and patron. He was proprietor of and writer for The Times, an association formed in 1817 through his friendship with Thomas Barnes. Alsager reported on financial matters and foreign news, but evidence reveals that both he and Barnes wrote most of the articles on theatre and music in The Times before the appointment in 1846, at Alsager's recommendation, of J.W. Davison as the first full-time music critic on a daily newspaper. Alsager was intimate with Charles Lamb, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Leigh Hunt and Keats, while his passion for music led to friendships with many important figures in London musical life, including Mendelssohn, Spohr, Smart, Moscheles and Ayrton (whose son married Alsager's daughter). Several English premières took place at Alsager's residence, most notably that of Beethoven's Missa solemnis on 24 December 1832. Alsager's desire to proselytize for Beethoven's piano sonatas and quartets, especially the late works, led to the establishment of the Queen Square Select Society (...

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19th Century Music