Personalities | Charles Avison | Late Baroque | Classical

English composer

Avison was a teacher, writer, concert promoter and organist of St Nicholas’s Church, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, from 1735. As well as composing several sets of his own concertos, published over a period of some 30 years, he arranged 12 of Domenico Scarlatti’s harpsichord sonatas as concerti grossi (1744), orchestrating them skilfully. Along with almost every English composer of note, Avison subscribed to Thomas Roseingrave’s publication of a selection of Scarlatti’s sonatas (1739). He organized subscription concerts in Newcastle and Durham, where both his own music and that of other composers, including Rameau, was performed. In 1752 he published An Essay on Musical Expression, which deals with both performance practice and emotional responses to music.

Recommended Recording:
Concerti grossi, Brandenburg Consort (dir) Roy Goodman (Hyperion)

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