Classic FM has some wonderful treasures.
One of them is Graham Abbott.
I listen to his Keys to Music program whenever I can.
This weekend his program was about the growth of the orchestra.
In the background notes to the program, Graham observes that:
Orchestras were small groups, barely distinguishable from chamber ensembles, in the 17th and early 18th centuries. But in the hands of composers and performers the orchestra grew into the massive ensembles of 100 or more required by composers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. And the music these ensembles were required to perform is some of the greatest aural art ever.
His discussion of the orchestra led me to think about the growth of high performance sport. I wondered whether investment in high performance departments had produced massive ensembles too in a very short space of time.