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288 The National Music of America.
the greatest factors in the musical advancement of America.
From 1841 the academy devoted itself more exclusively to instrumental music, and through its efforts Boston received its first large orchestra, an organisation which lasted during the last seven years of the existence of the academy. The Musical Fund Society carried on intermittent, light orchestral concerts until 1855, under Tom Comer's (no one ever called him "Thomas" Comer) direction. Mr. Comer was succeeded by Mr. George J. Webb, who gave some very ambitious programmes.
But now a foreign yeast was in the meal and the orchestral music of America began to draw inspiration from the fount of Germany. The year 1848 was a very trying epoch for the fine arts in Europe; revolution was lifting its head on every side; thrones were tottering and dynasties crumbling; freedom was in the air in almost every monarchy of