Charles Avison in Context: National and International Musical Links in Eighteenth-Century North-East England

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Roz Southey, Eric Cross
Routledge, Oct 31, 2017 - Music - 236 pages
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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.


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About the author (2017)

Roz Southey, a lecturer at Newcastle University’s International Centre for Music Studies, researches the historical and social contexts of eighteenth century music, particularly in 18th century north-east England; her publications include Music-Making in North-East England during the Eighteenth Century (Ashgate, 2006), and co-authorship of The Ingenious Mr Avison: Making Money and Music in Eighteenth-Century Newcastle (Tyne Bridge Publishing, 2009). She is also a crime novelist and contributor to local history journals.

Eric Cross has lectured for many years at Newcastle University, where he is now Dean of Cultural Affairs. He has published on late baroque Italian opera and has prepared performing editions for concerts, recordings and stage performances of Vivaldi operas throughout the world. He has conducted UK premieres of two Vivaldi operas as part of the Newcastle Early Music Festival, of which he is co-founder, and is musical director of the Newcastle upon Tyne Bach Choir.

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