Musical Opinion

Charles Avison lived from 1709 to 1770 and was a native of Northumberland, spending his musical life in Newcastle upon Tyne, where he was the organist at that city’s Cathedral for over thirty years. Much in demand as a teacher and organiser of musical events he still found time for composition. Had he lived in Bath or London he would have become known as a rival to Handel in the field of orchestral music, but the Concertos here recorded betoken a man of deep contentment, though far from being complacent. They are the first Concertos by Avison to be recorded on historic instruments.

Divine Art is based in South Shields in Tyne and Wear [now of course moved to Yorkshire] and the excellent recording was made in York. The music is well crafted and gets a sympathetic performance from violinists Simon Jones and Rebekah Durston, violist Duncan Druce, violone player Jane McDermott and cellist Rachel Gray with John Green at the organ. There is enough substance in this programme to remind us that for all the exploitation of baroque music in recent years there is still in truth ground well worth exploring.

—Geoffrey Crankshaw