Charles Avison in Context: National and International Musical Links in Eighteenth-Century North-East England
Roz Southey, Eric Cross
Routledge, Oct 31, 2017 - Music - 222 pages
Despite recent interest in music-making in the so-called ’provinces’, the idea still lingers that music-making outside London was small in scale, second-rate and behind the times. However, in Newcastle upon Tyne, the presence of a nationally known musician, Charles Avison (1709-1770), prompts a reassessment of how far this idea is still tenable. Avison’s life and work illuminates many wider trends. His relationships with his patrons, the commercial imperatives which shaped his activities, the historical and social milieu in which he lived and worked, were influenced by and reflected many contemporary movements: Latitudinarianism, Methodism, the improvement of church music, the aesthetics of the day including new ideas circulating in Europe, discussions of issues such as gentility, and the new commercialism of leisure. He can be considered as the notional centre of a web of connections, both musical and non-musical, extending through every part of Britain and into both Europe and America. This book looks at these connections, exploring the ways in which the musical culture in the north-east region interacted with, and influenced, musical culture elsewhere, and the non-musical influences with which it was involved, including contemporary religious, philosophical and commercial developments, establishing that regional centres such as Newcastle could be as well-informed, influential and vibrant as London.