Charles Burney and the History of Music
June 19, 2005 9:37 AM Subscribe
The Doctor of Music. "A General History of Music From the Earliest Ages to the Present Period, Volume IV", written by the English musician and historian Dr. Charles Burney (1726-1814) was published in 1789. Its first volume, completed in 1776, was the first History of music ever published. The fourth volume is of particular interest as it discusses the state of music in Burney's own lifetime. He observed the music, and musicians that he wrote about first hand. In fact, Burney was close friends with composers such as Haydn and Handel, he even played violin in Handel's orchestra, and lived with Dr. Thomas Arne for two years in London, as his apprentice. The fourth volume, to Dr. Charles Burney, was the most interesting as he preferred the music of the current time, finding no interest in "antiquarianism." In the main link, the entire volume -- in facsimile -- is available to readers. Burney also translated Pietro Metastasio's Memoirs. Also: The Burney Collection of Newspapers at the British Library. More inside.
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