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Musical Culture and Empire in Eighteenth-Century Britain: a digital concert series

Tuesday 4th August 2020

Music by Handel, Abel, and J.C. Bach with Christopher Bucknall and Jon Rees

Tuesday 11th August 2020

Music by Giornovich and Sancho with Christopher Bucknall and Bojan Cicic

Tuesday 18th August 2020

Music for flutes, oboes, trumpets, and trombones with Mark Baigent, Jonathan Slade, Robert Vanryne, and Emily White

Tuesday 25th August 2020

Music by Handel, Park, Boyce, Linley, and Giardini with Gabriel Amherst, Christopher Bucknall, Rachel Byrt, Bojan Cicic, Florence Cooke, Judith Evans, and Jean Paterson

The videos are all available on Youtube via the links above.

This digital concert series...

...connects eighteenth-century London, Europe’s greatest metropolis, as a European cultural centre to the city as a centre of empire. Britain’s empire by the early eighteenth century was not on the model of the territorial empires of her European neighbours, ranging from the Roman Empire to the Habsburg, French and Russian Empires. It was a maritime empire or an ‘empire of the sea'. By the 1760s the British Empire had come to mean Great Britain, Ireland as well as numerous British colonies and settlements across the world. Themes of global encounters, the exotic and empire formed some of the background for the reception and development of British musical culture during a period defined by Enlightenment, modernity and economic development. A culturally diverse musical society included composers and performers, audiences and benefactors connecting with Europe, the Atlantic world and Asia. The Warwick History Department currently has two interdisciplinary research centres where many of its participants are pursuing themes of empire, trade, global encounter, and enslavement. ‘Musical Culture and Empire’ brings musical culture to our histories, and this digital concert series supports today’s musical cultural sector during this period of Covid-19.

London, empire and luxury

By 1700, London was already Europe's largest city, and held 11% of Britain’s population. It grew from 500,000 inhabitants in 1700 to 675,00 in 1750 and reached 959,000 in 1800. 4,000 aristocratic and gentry families had homes in the city by 1700, stimulating the “London season”. The London season, coinciding with the sitting of Parliament from November to June, brought the aristocracy and gentry from their country to their London residences. It marked the cycle of cultural events and polite entertainment in the capital. It brought not just elite families to London, but migrations of professional and service classes, including musical and theatrical performers.


For the full PDF text on musical culture and empire by Maxine Berg, please see here.

This digital concert series is a University of Warwick Global History and Culture Centre and Early Modern and Eighteenth-Century Centre collaboration with the Oxford-based baroque orchestra, Instruments of Time and Truth.

Instruments of Time and Truth, described on BBC Record Review as 'an absolutely superb band of instrumental soloists', was founded in 2014 by musicians Gabriel Amherst and Judith Evans to provide a platform for international performers resident in and around Oxford. Established on a community-driven model, the ensemble has both put on a series of innovative explorations of Baroque repertoire, and assumed a significant role in underpinning the tradition of collegiate and community choral excellence in Oxford. IT&T has also performed further afield, putting on performances of Handel’s little-known oratorio “The Triumph of Time and Truth” in London and Tetbury, as well as giving regular concerts in Spain and Malta. In 2019 IT&T's ground-breaking 'InSpires' education project, with its extensive programme of courses, coaching, and individual tuition, was awarded the OMEP Music Partnership Cup at the Music Hub Gala Awards.

Funded by the Humanities Research Fund in collaboration with the Connecting Cultures GRP

IT&T in front of Sheldonian

The IT&T orchestra in front of the Sheldonian in Oxford.

This series of events has been made possible by funding from the Humanities Research Fund in collaboration with the Connecting Cultures GRP.