A perf. of mus. in public by a fairly substantial no. of performers (but not a stage performance or as part of a religious service). A perf. by 1 or 2 performers is usually called a recital. A pre‐requisite of concerts, except on certain special occasions, is that people should pay to attend them, and this seems to have begun in England in the middle of the 17th cent. Historians point to the Whitefriars concerts arr. by John Banister in 1672 as the ‘first’ in Eng., but perhaps that is only because we have a printed record of them. Thomas Britton also financed concerts in Clerkenwell 1678–1714. More important were the Bach–Abel concerts which began in Spring Gardens, London, in 1764. With the opening of the Hanover Square Rooms in 1775 the way was open for such major events as Haydn's concerts on his 2 visits to London. Thereafter concerts became an accepted way of life. The Phil. Soc. was founded 1813, and in several provincial cities concert socs. were formed. Other developments incl. the Promenade Concerts, so called because people could stand or walk about at them, which originated in the 18th‐cent. pleasure gardens, but found their most abiding form in 1895 when Henry Wood began his famous series at Queen's Hall and which, under BBC sponsorship, are still held from mid‐July to mid‐Sept. in the Royal Albert Hall, London.
Public concerts for an audience of subscribers began in Frankfurt, Ger., in 1712 and in Hamburg in 1721. What were to become the Leipzig Gewandhaus concerts were founded by 16 businessmen meeting in an inn in 1743 (much as Manchester's concerts began in the 1770s when a group of flautists met regularly in a tavern, hence the ‘Gentlemen's Concerts’). The Concert Spirituel was founded in Paris, 1725, but ‘progressive’ works were given at the Concert des Amateurs, cond. Gossec, which in 1780 became the Concert de la Loge Olympique (because the venue was also a Masonic Lodge). In 1786 this organization commissioned 6 syms.—the ‘Paris’ syms.—from Haydn. In Vienna there was so much mus. in private houses or in the ths. that no regular concerts were given until 1782 (in the open air: Mozart played at them).