By Heather Wiebe

Analyzing the intersections among musical tradition and a British venture of reconstruction from the Forties to the early Sixties, this examine asks how gestures towards the previous negotiated problems with restoration and renewal. within the wake of the second one global conflict, track turned a privileged web site for re-enchanting notions of historical past and neighborhood, yet musical recourse to the previous additionally raised problems with mourning and loss. How was once sound figured as a old item and as a locus of reminiscence and magic? Wiebe addresses this query utilizing a variety of assets, from making plans records to journalism, public ceremonial and literature. Its vital concentration, despite the fact that, is a collection of works via Benjamin Britten that engaged either with the far away musical prior and with key episodes of postwar reconstruction, together with the pageant of england, the Coronation of Elizabeth II and the rebuilding of Coventry Cathedral.

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Additional info for Britten's Unquiet Pasts: Sound and Memory in Postwar Reconstruction

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Benjamin Britten: A Commentary on his Works from a Group of Specialists, 46–47 (London: Rockcliff, 1952). 20 Britten’s Unquiet Pasts closing with a Chacony); The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra (1945), on a theme by Purcell; Canticle I (1947) and its successors, which were modeled on Purcell’s sacred songs; as well as an arrangement of Dido and Aeneas in 1951. These were years, in other words, of intense contact with English literary, religious, and musical tradition, including both elements fairly new to the twentieth-century musical scene – especially Purcell – and the traditions of folksong and church music that had fed English music in the interwar years.

S. Eliot, see C. F. Pond, “Benjamin Britten and T. S. Eliot: Entre Deux Guerres and After,” in T. S. Eliot’s Orchestra: Critical Essays on Poetry and Music, ed. John Xiros Cooper (New York: Garland, 2000), 217–221. Britten, “England and the Folk-Art Problem,” 75. ”11 This “art of life” had been destroyed by “the machine,” which brought mass-production, standardization, and “levelling-down” (3). For Leavis and Thompson, the next best thing was a literary education, and more broadly an education in taste and in “critical awareness of the cultural environment,” a prominent part of which, the rest of their book suggests, was precisely an appreciation for what was lost.

The Covent Garden ballet company was simply moved from Sadler’s Wells, but the opera company was newly formed, after plans for the Sadler’s Wells opera company to temporarily move to Covent Garden fell through. See Susie Gilbert, Opera for Everybody: The Story of English National Opera (London: Faber & Faber, 2009), 88–95. While Covent Garden had long been used for opera, it had never had a permanent resident company before, and was simply rented out by visiting companies. Amalgamation of the two companies continued to be under serious consideration until the late 1950s (Gilbert, Opera for Everybody, 139–142).

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