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Past Exhibition of the Month - May 2019

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Postcard photograph from the Wrench Series. Printed in Saxony, [c.1903].

Postcard photograph from the Wrench Series. Printed in Saxony, [c.1903].

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WOOD, Sir Henry Joseph (b.London, 3 March 1869; d.Hitchin, 19 August 1944)


Sir Henry Wood was born 150 years ago on 3 March.  The anniversary provides an opportunity to show a few relevant images from MOMH's collection.

(Please click the thumbnails below to view larger image)

Programme for The Lady Slavey, Avenue Theatre, Northumberland Avenue, London, October 1894 - January 1895.  Wood conducted this musical comedy (premiered in Northampton in 1893) throughout its three-month London run, later describing its American soprano May Yohe as 'the most extraordinary prima donna I ever met'. Opened as The Royal Avenue Theatre in 1882, the theatre was renamed The Playhouse after internal redesign in 1907.

Queen's Hall, Langham Place. Postcard photograph from The Regent Glossy Series. London, c.1907. Opened in 1893 and leased to Robert Newman (1858-1926), it was the latter who approached Wood with the proposal to start a series of Promenade Concerts.  The first concert was on 10 August 1895. The hall was destroyed by an incendiary bomb during the night of Saturday, 10 May 1941.

Wood and his first wife, the Russian-born soprano Olga Mikhailov (1868-1909).  Postcard photographs by J. Beagles & Co. London, c.1905.

The Gentle Art of Singing. Wood taught singing throughout his career and described this work as his magnum opus. Published in four folio volumes in 1927 it runs to 1,469 exercises and was reissued in an Abridged Edition in 1930.

Prospectus for the fiftieth anniversary season of  Promenade Concerts (Sir Henry Wood's Jubilee Season), 1944. Beginning on Saturday, 10 June, in a London beset by flying bombs, the concerts in the Royal Albert Hall continued only to Thursday, 29 June. Of the remaining concerts those already booked for broadcast were relayed from studio performances in Bedford, including that on Thursday, 13 July in which Wood conducted the first English performance of Shostakovich's Eighth Symphony. His last Prom on 28 July included an outstanding performance of Beethoven's Seventh. He died in Hitchin Hospital less than three weeks later.

Sir Henry's baton and rehearsal bell.  With thanks to Henry Wood Hall, London.