1st Edition

The Correspondence of Alan Bush and John Ireland

ISBN 9781138251762
Published November 24, 2016 by Routledge
408 Pages

USD $59.95

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Book Description

John Ireland (1879-1962) had a long and close friendship with Alan Bush (1900-1995) which lasted forty years, from 1922, when John Ireland was already fifty years old, until Ireland's death in 1962. It was the relationship of master and pupil and this was clearly reflected in their letters. The two men came to know each other well once Bush had left the Royal Academy of Music in 1922 and became a student of composition with Ireland until 1927. 160 letters are published here for the first time and they provide not only a compelling and engaging narrative, but also a unique insight into the musical and day-to-day lives of the two men. The letters were written during a most interesting and turbulent period in British history: the inter-war period of the 1920s and 30s, the situation during the Second World War and the post-war era. The volume will therefore appeal to those interested in wider aspects of British musical life and social and political history, as well as followers of Ireland and Bush.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Editorial note; Chronology. The Correspondence: The inter-war years, 1927-38; The gathering storm and war, 1939-45; The post-war years, 1946-61; Appendices: A, Letters from John Ireland to Nancy Bush, 1938-49; B, Alan Bush, 'These things shall be' from John Longmire, John Ireland : portrait of a friend, pp 149-151; C, John Ireland, 'The Student' from a Tribute to Alan Bush on his 50th bithday - a symposium,pp 15-16; List of Alan Bush's compositions referred to in the main text; List of John Ireland's compositions referred to in the main text; Biographical notes; Select bibliography; Index.

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Dr Rachel O'Higgins is the elder daughter of Alan Bush, and over the past seven years has organized and copied many thousands of letters that make up the Alan Bush Archive (the originals of which are now deposited in the British Library).


'The Correspondence of Alan Bush and John Ireland 1927-1961 charts the complex and fascinating relationship between the two men; one based on mutual respect but complicated by Ireland’s financial dependency on his former pupil. From these letters the reader gains unique insights into each composers’ views of their own works, each others' works and those of their contemporaries. The book is essential reading for devotees of Ireland and Bush and, beyond that, it gives a vivid picture of British musical life during the period concerned. Rachel O’Higgins provides scholarly footnotes and an illuminating commentary which highlights the professional and ideological undercurrents of this fascinating and ultimately endearing relationship'. Timothy Bowers, Royal Academy of Music, University of London ’Recommended for specialists.’ The Delian ’This volume is a monument to the skill, industry and dedication of its editor, Alan Bush's daughter, Rachel O'Higgins. It will be of lasting utility to historians of English music.’ English Historical Review