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276 The National Music of America.
on March 30, 1815, a circular was sent out by Gottlieb Graupner, Asa Peabody, and T. S. Webb, inviting cooperation, "for the purpose of forming a correct taste in Sacred Mustek."1 This circular led to the immediate birth of the Handel and Haydn Society. The constitution of the new society followed on April 20, 1815, and Christmas eve, of the same year, brought forth its first concert. General Oliver has personally told the author that it was the most impressive of concerts, the composer of " Federal Street" having been one of the auditors. The programme was a very ambitious one for those days ; it began with seventeen numbers (recitatives, airs, and choruses) from Haydn's " Creation." Then came a number of Handelian selections, and as finale the " Hallelujah Chorus "
1 There had been a musical society established earlier than this, in Stoughton, Mass., Nov. 7, 1786. But the Stoughton Musical Society never exerted the influence of the Handel and Haydn, although it may claim chronological precedence.