The process of converting the programmes into a modern-day ‘vertical’ format reveals several ambiguities and pieces with incomplete identification are highlighted.
A certain lack of clarity exists in the grammar and punctuation peculiarities of Harland’s records. The rediscovery of the original small and ‘curious MS book’ on which Harland’s article is based might resolve the ambiguities, but until then the following methodology is used to transform these carefully and scholarly reproduced records into historically plausible and above all attractive programmes.
The programmes are re-written using separate lines for separate pieces, as in a normal modern-day concert programme. The punctuation is retained, whilst the grouping of information is interpreted to give the most likely meaning to Harland’s transcript, as we understand it at present.
The lists of players and financial disbursements assist in pinpointing some of the repertory. Also the numbering of works, for example up to the ‘tweltfh of…’, exclude some collections.
Descriptions such as ‘Lessons for’ or ‘upon’ the harpsichord are not taken as literal quotations from a publication’s or manuscript’s title.
For the scope of these reconstructions, the selection of compositions is limited to printed editions dated before 1744, or before the concert in question.Editions from within the British Isles, especially the better-known ones from London, are given preference. Manuscript versions are used only when the date of composition is known. In general, assumption is made that manuscript copies are identified in the transcript, as with the references ‘MS. Concerto, Humphreys’ (June 25th 1745) and ‘MS. concerto of Felton’ (July 23rd1745). Works advertised in newspapers such as the Daily Advertiser, GeneralAdvertiser, London Gazetteand those in subscription advertisements, are considered only when a publication date is available. Original manuscripts, historic editions and scholarly modern or facsimile editions held in Manchester libraries are favoured.
As a programming concept, we include one Aria from the Opera or Oratorio named in the concert’s Overture; this finds a solution for several of the abbreviated references ‘song’. For the realisation of other incomplete descriptions, we adhere to the above criteria and rely on informed deduction and personal choice.