Avison Ensemble at The Late Shows, Newcastle City Library, Saturday 20 May 2017
The Avison Ensemble performs music by Charles Avison in the Charles Avison Building, Newcastle City Library.

As part of this year’s Newcastle and Gateshead ‘Late Shows’ we explored Charles Avison’s music manuscript Workbooks through three showcase performances. Using music contained in Avison’s Workbooks international soprano Mhairi Lawson sang songs by Avison and dancers in period costumes danced a minuet to one of Avison’s Minuets – probably the first time in over 250 years that this music has been accompanied by dancing!

One of Avison's Workbooks was on display throughout the performances allowing the audience to explore the musical heritage for themselves. Autograph manuscripts by Avison were practically unknown until the Avison Ensemble acquired his two autograph music Workbooks in 2002. The Workbooks provide a rare glimpse into how Avison and other 18th century composers devised their music, as well as containing previously unknown pieces by Avison and transcriptions of music by others. These manuscripts are therefore of great importance both to the cultural history and heritage of Newcastle and the North East and to our understanding of the musical world in England in the 18th century.

The Avison Ensemble is highlighting the existence and importance of the Workbooks through a series of events and learning projects in Newcastle and the North East with funding awarded by The Heritage Lottery Fund. www.hlf.org.uk The Workbooks are available to view in Newcastle City Library’s Newcastle Collection.

The Avison Ensemble is the outstanding period instrument orchestra based in Newcastle upon Tyne, which plays and popularises the music of Charles Avison (1709-1770) and other English classical composers of the Baroque period, such as Garth, Arne and Herschel. The Ensemble also performs Purcell, Handel, Vivaldi, Corelli, Geminiani, Pergolesi, Teleman, Rameau, Bach, Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven.

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