The extensive journals of the English gentleman composer John Marsh, which cover the period from 1752-1828, represent one the most important musical and social documents of the period to have hitherto remained unpublished. Drawing on the recently discovered original (now in the Huntington Library, San Marino, California), the selection covers the first fifty years of Marsh's life, a period of intense musical activity in the southern cathedral cities of Salisbury, Canterbury and Chichester. But Marsh was far more than a provincial composer and music director; the journals also cast much valuable light on musical life in London -- his account of the great Handel Commemoration of 1784 is without parallel for its colorful evocation of the huge event. A lively interest in a wide range of topics gives the journals a scope rare in the writings of a musician, and the volume will be indispensable not only to the musical but also the social historian. The unfailingly vital and often witty writing also ensures considerable appeal to the more general reader with an interest in an eventful period of English history.
The volume has been comprehensively annotated and includes illustrations and contemporary maps in addition to the first complete published listing of Marsh's compositions and writings.