War, Impression, Sound and Memory. British Music and the First World War

Vortrag, DHI London

The First World War occurred at a critical juncture in Britain’s musical history. It led to mass casualties among younger talent, whose cohort had been enjoying a new, more highly respected status as composers and performers, and further marginalized the declining influence of the Victorian pedagogues. The war’s end helped define a musical aftermath of cathartic memory from which the country’s musical institutions had to rebuild. Against this backdrop, British composers not only adopted a new cultural nationalism, but also attempted, in different ways, to represent the sights and sounds of the war in their works. The lecture will analyse how the guns of the Somme, the evocations of the dreadnought battleships, the spectre of mechanized warfare and the sounds of military signals were incorporated into British music of the time.  

Jeremy Dibble is Professor of Music at the University of Durham. His research covers a wide range of topics including historiography, Irish music, opera and church music in Britain during the Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian eras. His recent book publications include John Stainer: A Life in Music (2007); Michele Esposito (2010); and Hamilton Harty: Musical Polymath (2013).