"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from 1752-1828 represent one the most important musical and social documents of the period to have hitherto remained unpublished.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 of indispensable value not only to the musical but also thesocial 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.
Born in Cheltenham, England. An early interest in music took him into the record industry, by which time he had realised that he had no future as a performer. This, coupled with an interest in history, led him to undertake the four–year History of Music Diploma as an external student at the University of London. After completing this course with Honours, he became a part–time adult education lecturer, an occupation he found extremely rewarding. By this time he was also working on the extensive manuscript journals of the 18th–century English amateur composer, John Marsh, an undertaking that ultimately resulted in his edited version being published in the United States in 1998. His most recent book is a study of catch and glee culture in 18th–century England. He has also written chapters for two anthologies, essays for scholarly journals and presented papers at academic conferences in addition to contributing entries in the revised New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Aside from academic work, Brian Robins has reviewed early music CDs for a number of major publications, also undertaking editorial work. He is currently a book and record reviewer for Opera (UK). He has broadcast for BBC Radio 3 and was for several years a member of the awards panel of the Stanley Sadie International Handel Recording Prize. An interdisciplinary and contextual approach to the history of the arts is of great importance to him, his wide reading including many aspects of 17th- and 18th-century history.