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 Charles Avison

Charles Avison

Birth
Death 10 May 1770 (aged 61)
Burial Body lost or destroyed, Specifically: Church of St. Andrew's Newgate Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Memorial ID 21517635 · View Source
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Composer, Organist, Theorist. One of the few 18th Century British composers of consequence to work in the Italian Baroque style. His survey "An Essay on Musical Expression" (1752) is believed to be the first book of music criticism in English. The son of musicians, Avison was born in Newcastle upon Tyne. After completing his studies in London with Francesco Geminiani, he returned to Newcastle and served as organist of St. Nicholas' Church and St. John's Church from 1736 until his death. He was also active as a teacher and journalist, and organized some of the earliest subscription concerts in the country. Although he was respected by his colleagues, it was "An Essay in Musical Expression" that first brought Avison widespread attention. In it he championed Italian practice, as represented by Geminiani (and himself), and fiercely attacked Handel, who was then immensely popular. The ensuing controversy had London critics calling for Avison's head while eminent musicologist Charles Burney rushed to his defence. It also boosted sales of his compositions and cemented his importance in England's music scene. The bulk of his output consists of some 50 Concerti Grossi for various instruments, published in six volumes between 1747 and 1769, as well as 12 Concerti Grossi (1744) arranged from keyboard works of Domenico Scarlatti. Curiously, for a man so long associated with the church, he wrote almost no religious music. Over a century after Avison's death, poet Robert Browning paid him tribute in his book "Parleyings with Certain People of Importance In Their Day" (1887).

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
  • Added: 12 Sep 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 21517635
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Charles Avison (Feb 1709–10 May 1770), Find A Grave Memorial no. 21517635, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Body lost or destroyed, who reports a Church of St. Andrew's Newgate Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, England.