Edited by Joanne Swenson-Eldridge
ies for its members and Philadelphians in general.
Programs from the Society's concerts show that the orchestra—including violinist and violist Charles Hommann—performed a wide range of overtures and symphonies by prominent late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century European composers, including Méhul, Romberg, Rossini, Beethoven, Auber, Paer, Vogel, Mozart, Haydn, Boieldieu, and Weber. Hommann's surviving orchestral compositions—two overtures and a symphony—are a fitting response to the musical milieu created by the Society and its members. Although little-remembered today, Hommann was a respected composer in his day: one of his overtures received a gold medal prize from the Philharmonic Society of Philadelphia in 1835. Hommann's two other surviving orchestral works—a Symphony in E-flat Major, and another overture—probably predate the prize overture. None of them were published, and Hommann's work has languished in
This edition of Hommann's three extant orchestral works, accompanied by an essay discussing his cultural and historical milieu, will bring renewed attention to the enterprising Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia and make accessible for study and performance the earliest-known products of an emerging tradition of notable orchestral works by American composers.