The Ideal World of Mrs. Widder's Soirée Musicale

Social Identity and Musical Life in Nineteenth-Century Ontario

By (author) Kristina Marie Guiguet
Categories: History
Series: Mercury Series (0316-1854)
Publisher: Canadian Museum of History
Paperback : 9780660193441, 154 pages, December 1969

Table of contents

AbstractResumeList of IllustrationsPreface

Overture: Mrs. Widder's Drawing Room, March 12, 18441. The Scrambled Kaleidoscope: Historiography of the Ontario Soiree Musicale2. Programming Politics: Musical and Thematic Structure of Mrs. Widder's Program3. Mr. Widder Sat Silent While Other Men Sang: Musical Genre, Masculinity, and Class4. Mrs. Widder Sang Awfully Well: The Dignified Struggle of the Lady Amateur5. Singing Tight Her Chains: Miss Hagerman, Mrs. Widder's Exceptional Lady AmateurEncore: Turning the Kaleidoscope, Evolving Patterns of Meaning 1844-1907

AcknowledgementsAppendix 1: Lyrics of Mrs. Widder's 1844 ProgramAppendix 2: Lyrics of Mr. Humphrey's 1851 ProgramEndnotesBibliography


The printed program of Mrs. Widder’s 1844 Soire Musicale, a formal concert at her lavish Toronto, lists eleven musicians performing opera, parlour ballards, and glees. This information helped trace the networks which drew a working tenor and leisured Lady and Gentlemen Amateurs into a brilliant program balancing aesthetics with social politics. The widder program reveals how conventions linking class and gender with musical genre and local issues shaped the meaning of musical life both public and private. The Soire Musicale, a concert form transplanted from imperial London, was the embodiment of an idealized hierarchical universe.