Commercial music-making in eighteenth century North-East England : a pale reflection of London?
Musical life in the North-East of England during the eighteenth century is known almost exclusively for the work of Charles Avison, composer of a large number of concertos and writer of a notable book on music — An Essay on Musical Expression. But Avison was only one of a large number of musicians based in the region during the century; this thesis aims to reconstruct a more comprehensive picture of commercial musical activities — including concert-promotion, teaching, tuning and composition — in the three main centres of Newcastle, Durham and York and in some smaller local towns. It examines the links between musicians both within the region and outside it, and the extent to which those links affected the repertoire composed and performed in the area. Moreover, it looks at the connections between the region and London and seeks to establish the degree to which musical activity in the region was 'provincial'. Was North-Eastern musical life during the eighteenth century merely a pale reflection of musical life in the capital or did it have a character of its own? Using principally contemporary primary sources such as newspapers, diaries, Corporation records, ecclesiastical records, theatre and Assembly Room account books and parish registers, this thesis demonstrates that the North-East region of England was, throughout the century, an area of considerable activity, involving both professional musicians and so-called Gentlemen Amateurs, and was by no means a backwater.