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‘Curious sola’s’ The solo sonata in Restoration Britain

Williams, Annika 2020. ‘Curious sola’s’ The solo sonata in Restoration Britain. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This dissertation explores the arrival and circulation of the solo sonata for a single melody instrument with basso continuo in Britain from the 1670s, when the tradition starts, until 1716, the publication date of Francesco Geminiani’s Sonate a Violino, Violone, e Cembalo, Op. 1. It provides the first detailed survey of this repertoire which was disseminated in manuscripts and prints in England, Scotland and Ireland, particularly for the violin and recorder, but also for the bass viol, transverse flute and oboe. A pivotal moment for the solo sonata in Britain was the publication of Arcangelo Corelli’s Sonate a Violino e Violone o Cimbalo, Op. 5 in 1700. Accordingly, the discussion of the music is divided into works composed before and after this date in order to examine chronology, musical features and national style. While Corelli’s importance for the solo sonata is generally known, other key landmarks are presented in this dissertation, notably the influence of the Moravian viol player Gottfried Finger, who arrived in London during the 1680s. Another important factor was a surge in music printing with the opening of John Walsh and Estienne Roger’s publishing houses in the 1690s. ‘Solos or sonatas’ rapidly became a novelty for virtuosic display, going hand in hand with the rise of a flourishing concert scene and the arrival of immigrant musicians. Over eighty British-born and immigrant composers and performers (professional and amateur) are considered, as well as British composers working abroad. Little or unknown works and performers are brought to light, including British composers who began writing solo sonatas during the 1680s, such as Edward Finch and Thomas Farmer. Instrumentation and performance practice are addressed, as well as the musical, social and cultural roles and reception of the solo sonata. This social history is revealed through the works themselves, including their composers, patrons and publishers, as well as contemporaneous writings on music, newspaper advertisements, diaries and Restoration plays. It is hoped that the results of this research fill a notable gap in our understanding of musical life in Britain during this period, to complement already established areas such as church and theatre music.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Music
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature of music
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 18 December 2020
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2021 02:30

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