1st Edition

Europe, Empire, and Spectacle in Nineteenth-Century British Music

By Rachel Cowgill, Julian Rushton Copyright 2006

    This volume illuminates musical connections between Britain and the continent of Europe, and Britain and its Empire. The seldom-recognized vitality of musical theatre and other kinds of spectacle in Britain itself, and also the flourishing concert life of the period, indicates a means of defining tradition and identity within nineteenth-century British musical culture. The objective of the volume has been to add significantly to the growing literature on these topics. It benefits not only from new archival research, but also from fresh musicological approaches and interdisciplinary methods that recognize the integral role of music within a wider culture, including religious, political and social life. The essays are by scholars from the USA, Britain, and Europe, covering a wide range of experience. Topics range from the reception of Bach, Mozart, and Liszt in England, a musical response to Shakespeare, Italian opera in Dublin, exoticism, gender, black musical identities, British musicians in Canada, and uses of music in various theatrical genres and state ceremony, and in articulating the politics of the Union and Empire.

    Contents: Introduction, the editors. Part I Europe: Continental Connections: 'Hence, base intruder, hence': rejection and assimilation in the early English reception of Mozart's Requiem, Rachel Cowgill; William Sterndale Bennett and the Bach revival in 19th-century England, Isabel Parrott; 'Le roi est mort, vive le roi': languages and leadership in Niecks's Liszt obituary, Anne Widén; Promotion through performance: Liszt's symphonic poems in the London concerts of Walter Bache, Michael Allis; Henry Hugo Pierson and Shakespearean tragedy, Julian Rushton; 'The Italians are coming': opera in mid-Victorian Dublin, Paul Rodmell. Part II Empire: Britain, Ireland, and Beyond: Sir Frederick Bridge and the musical furtherance of the 1902 imperial project, David Wright; Attwood's St David's Day: music, Wales, and war in 1800, Meirion Hughes; Hamish MacCunn: a Scottish national composer?, Jennifer Oates; For the sake of the union: the nation in Stanford's fourth Irish Rhapsody, Christopher Scheer; 'From ocean to ocean ...': how Harriss and Mackenzie toured British music across Canada in 1903, Duncan Barker; From 'incomprehensibility' to 'meaning': transcription and representation of non-western music in 19th-century British musicology and ethnomusicology, Bennett Zon. Part III Spectacle: Theatre, Opera, and Internationalism: 'Behind thy veil close-drawn': Elgar, The Crown of India, and the feminine 'other', Corissa Gould; Empire and 'Orient' in opera libretti set by Sir Henry Bishop and Edward Solomon, Claire Walsh; Acting with music: Henry Irving's use of the musical score in his production of The Bells, Stephen Cockett; Handel's Acis and Galatea: a Victorian view, Roberta Marvin; Blackface minstrels, black minstrels, and their reception in England, Derek B. Scott. Index.


    Rachel Cowgill is Senior Lecturer and Julian Rushton is Emeritus Professor, both at the University of Leeds, UK.

    ’...an excellent addition to the growing corpus of symposia about musical life in 19th-century Britain.... It is well documented and produced, and it is yet another gratifying example of Ashgate's strong support of British music studies.’ NABMSA Newsletter ’... interesting and wide-ranging, of use to the general scholar of British studies and the music scholar alike... All of the essays [...] are of great interest and well written.’ Journal of British Studies ’Here is another fascinating addition to Ashgate's incrementally rewarding series examining music in 19th-century Britain... enjoyable and enlightening... it is to Cowgill and Rushton's credit that the assembled contributions [...] interlock and cross-fertilise themselves, building a latticework of references and ideas that serve to enlarge and illuminate each other... an informative and stimulating book that has as much to tell us about the here-and-now as about the past.’ Classical Music (4 stars rating) ’This stimulating volume is appropriately dedicated to the memory of the economic and music historian Cyril Ehrlich, whose work and personality inspired the younger generations of scholars engaged in developing the new approaches and topics demonstrated here.’ Victorian Studies ’... this collection is a fine addition to studies of this period and place, and at its best offers fruitful examples of how British music studies can continue to grow while expanding the intellectual hinterland.’ Music and Letters