The Organ

Owain Tudor Edward: English Eighteenth-Century Concertos: an Inventory and Thematic Catalogue

Owain Tudor Edward: English Eighteenth-Century Concertos: an Inventory and Thematic Catalogues
Pendragon Press (Thematic Catalogues; 28)
ISBN 1-57647-098-9

This book provides ‘access to English concertos published in the eighteenth century…an unknown repertory of music written by equally unknown composers in the mid-and late eighteenth century; only a handful of the 51 men and one woman whose concertos are included in the catalogue enjoyed more than local recognition… the foreign was fashionable; native talent was frequently underrated.’

Despite – or actually because of – Edwards’ opening statement, quoted above, the catalogue is fascinating for the light that it sheds on English music of the period and of the concerto form, ‘until it was eclipsed, though never completely superseded, by the symphony or ‘overture’.’ There is a splendid introduction that provides both a historical and a stylistic context for the catalogue: the section on music making in 18th century England is particularly enlightening. The main catalogue itself is simply arranged in alphabetical order by composer, with a number of facsimile reproductions from the original printed scores and parts. A number of the pieces listed have solo organ parts. The work is completed by: ‘an aid to identification of English concertos’ with the movement sorted by tonality, tempo, time signature, etc; a section about concertos thought to have existed but now missing and a final section on two prolific concerto composers – Charles Avison and William Corbett; and a brief but useful bibliography.

This is musicology of a high standard, well presented. The work should be on the shelves of all major music libraries and those individuals who have a scholarly interest in this type and period of music.