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This article examines the links between the music of Anglo-Jamaican organist and composer Samuel Felsted (1743–1802) and his environment of late eighteenth-century Kingston, building on research published since the 1980s. Although Felsted, a person of English-American heritage who was born in Jamaica, was part of the island's European-origin community, most of his local contemporaries were people of African descent. Like many of his friends, family members and acquaintances, Felsted was a slave owner, and, as I argue here, his various literary and artistic outputs demonstrate how he was influenced by the kinds of issues – such as slavery, servitude, sovereignty and nationhood – that surfaced in the public and private discourses of his time. Considering what Felsted's cultural legacy might mean today, I turn to his undated and virtually unknown oratorio The Dedication, for which he wrote both the text and the music. The Dedication contains literary themes that allow its connections to Felsted's world and its setting of ancient Babylon to be explored. I also suggest the early 1790s as a possible time of composition for this work.
First-hand accounts explaining how a young British virtuosa went about establishing an international career in the later eighteenth century are scant. However, a previously unstudied handwritten page contained within the Rackett Family of Spettisbury Archive at the Dorset History Centre provides new insights into this underexplored area. In this article, I examine an anonymous 1769 document entitled ‘a Vienne’ from which the guiding voices of eminent musicians at the Vienna court, including Johann Adolf Hasse, Faustina Bordoni, Marianna Martines and their circle, emerge. I argue that this item is in fact an aide-mémoire memorializing intimate glimpses of private conversations, career-shaping advice and impressions that helped mould its author into a virtuosa. Further, by means of palaeographical and biographical evidence I identify the author as the young British glass-armonica player Marianne Davies and assert that her recollections, preserved in this hitherto overlooked piece of ephemera, reconstruct how the educational process of becoming a virtuosa took place.