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British classical music and the Armistice
Kate Kennedy

The young composer Arthur Bliss served in the trenches from 1914 to 1918. In the early years of the war there had been attempts to ban all German music. Classical music has a far less prominent place in this cultural history. Even some musicologists have contributed to the neglect of First World War music. Bliss's Morning Heroes' eclectic selection of texts, and their strategic order, reflects the chronological progress of the war, from leave-taking and mass-mobilisation to battles and their aftermath. By writing a piece of music both for and about the silent soldiers and their dead, Bliss is giving them a voice. Morning Heroes is their tribute, and, in the first performances, it became quite literally the exsoldiers' collective voice. Silence and noise, gunfire and its absence, are crucial aspects of the soundscape of war. For Bliss, the silence of the Armistice was unbearable.

in The silent morning
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Culture and memory after the Armistice
Editors: Trudi Tate and Kate Kennedy

This book revisits the end of the First World War to ask how that moment of silence was to echo into the following decades. It looks at the history from a different angle, asking how British and German creative artists addressed, questioned and remembered the Armistice and its silence. The book offers a genuinely interdisciplinary study, bringing together contributions from scholars in art history, music, literature and military history. It is unique in its comparison of the creative arts of both sides; assessing responses to the war in Britain, Germany and Austria. Together, the different chapters offer a rich diversity of methodological approaches, including archival research, historical analysis, literary and art criticism, musical analysis and memory studies. The chapters reconsider some well-known writers and artists to offer fresh readings of their works. These sit alongside a wealth of lesser-known material, such as the popular fiction of Philip Gibbs and Warwick Deeping and the music of classical composer Arthur Bliss. The wide-ranging discussions encompass such diverse subjects as infant care, sculpture, returned nurses, war cemeteries, Jewish identity, literary journals, soldiers' diaries and many other topics. Together they provide a new depth to our understanding of the cultural effects of the war and the Armistice. Finally, the book has a recuperative impulse, bringing to light rare and neglected materials, such as the letters of ordinary German and British soldiers, and Alfred Doblin's Armistice novel.

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‘This grave day’
Trudi Tate and Kate Kennedy

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book provides how Britain and Germany re-imagined themselves and the state of peace after 1918. It focuses upon two key journals: the Times Literary Supplement and the Bookman. The book explores how Ford Madox uses representations of noise in his writing about the war experience of his taciturn central character, Tietjens. It examines letters and other writings by German women near the end of the war. These women express courage in the face of hunger and show a willingness to continue to endure suffering for the sake of their homeland. The book discusses different view of Vienna, looking at the composer Ernst Krenek. It looks at the British composer and veteran Arthur Bliss, who was less interested in questions of 'national' music than in questions of bereavement and mourning after the war.

in The silent morning