Music and its media
Music and its media

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Music and its media

3.2 Examining Walsh’s publications

You are now going to consider a selection of Walsh’s publications to see how he attempted to cater for his London audience.

Activity 5

Look at the catalogue of music publications produced by Walsh in around 1710 (Figure 5). How do you think he was trying to appeal to potential customers? See if you can relate the contents of this catalogue to the factors presented in the previous section about the music that was popular with London society at that time.

Described image
Figure 5 A Catalogue of English and Italian Musick for Violins and Flutes Printed for I Walsh, London, 1710 [?]. The British Library, C.117.g.4.

Discussion

The first thing I noticed here is the title: A Catalogue of English and Italian Musick for Violins and Flutes. This clearly indicates the tastes of the London public, to whom Walsh was hoping to appeal: English and Italian repertory. The Italian and English names of some of the composers of course reflect these tastes.

On closer inspection, though, alongside Italian composers such as Arcangelo Corelli (1653–1713) and Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni (1671–1750/51) and English composers such as Purcell, William Croft (1678–1727) and John Blow (1648/49–1708), we also see some who do not fall into either category – Johann Christoph Pepusch (1667–1752) and Johann Christoph Pez (1664–1716) were both German, and James Paisible (c.1656–1721) and Charles Dieupart (‘Dupar’) (after 1667–c.1740) were French (although Pepusch, Paisible and Dieupart had all settled in England). So what did Walsh mean by ‘English and Italian Musick’? We can only assume that he is referring to repertory in the English or Italian style as here English songs and dances are noted alongside Italian sonatas.

The catalogue primarily lists music for violin or flute and the harpsichord or spinet (a smaller form of harpsichord), in various combinations. The ‘flute’ referred to here was in fact the recorder – the instrument we now call the flute was known to eighteenth-century Londoners as the ‘German flute’. The instruments that dominate Walsh’s catalogue – recorder, violin and harpsichord – were extremely popular with amateur musicians during the early eighteenth century for domestic music-making. It was presumably this kind of clientele whom Walsh hoped to attract with this catalogue.

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