Benjamin Blake's Opus 2

A Second Sett of 6 Duetts for a violin and tenor

Historical Notes

Benjamin Blake (born 22 February 1751, in Hackney (London), Died in London 1827) was an English violinist, viola player and composer. Most of what is known about him comes from information he supplied for Sainsbury’s dictionary in 1824. As a boy he was taught the violin by Antonín Kammel, and later by Wilhelm Cramer, leader of the Italian Opera orchestra at the King’s Theatre. Blake himself played the violin in this orchestra from about 1775, and also at the Concert of Ancient Music. He came into public prominence however as a viola player. He was principal and soloist at the Professional Concert from 1785 to 1793, appearing regularly in string quartets with Cramer. He also played the viola at the Prince of Wales’s musical evenings, and his unusual interest in this instrument led to his publishing 18 duos for violin and viola in the 1780s. After the 1793 season Blake resigned from public performance. He was already studying the piano under Clementi to equip himself as a teacher, and though he continued to play the viola for the Prince of Wales he lived almost entirely by teaching until 1820 when he retired. Some of his duos merit revival, as also his sonatas for violin and piano, which were published in score and show an interesting taste for minor keys; the violin parts are called ‘accompaniments’ on the title page, but wrongly.

Available as a PDF Book

A PDF book for the complete Opus 2 is available in A4 or letter format.

Blake's published works:

Additional information may be found on the Benjamin Blake wiki page.

Huw Richards, July 2013