Immediately beside the self-congratulatory column in the issue of 31 July 1802 is an advertisement. At 7 p.m. on 19 August 'A Grand Miscellaneous Concert' will take place at Wynn's Hotel (tickets 3/6). Nine years of war had produced Falmouth's most prosperous and vibrant period to date. Plays and concerts were growing in popularity; the range and number of visitors meant a flowering of the performing arts.
The Grand Miscellaneous Concert was led by a single musician, only a couple of years resident in Falmouth, and one of the most remarkable men ever to step ashore at its quays. Joseph Emidy would be playing pieces by Stamitz, Eichner and Martini, as well as his own compositions: a violin concerto and pieces for guitar and mandolin (which instruments he also 'teaches in a most easy and elegant stile')... His playing of the violin, wrote one admirer, reached 'a degree of perfection never before heard in Cornwall'. Another reckoned him to be 'the most finished musician [he had] ever heard of'. This was an impressive transformation for a man who had just spent four years playing hornpipes on the decks of a naval frigate, still more for one whose first music was more likely to have been Mande jeliya than Bach, played on kora and ngoni rather than on a church organ. As a boy, some fifteen years earlier, Joseph Emidy had been taken from his home in West Africa, and led in chains onto a Portuguese slave ship bound for Brazil....
The rest of the story...which is remarkable... can be found here:
None of his compositions survive.
I'd never heard of him until reading the chapter in this book from which the quote above is taken:
Edited by A Lark Ascending, 23 June 2012 - 06:44 AM.