Musical Visitors to Britain
By Peter Gordon
Routledge – 2005 – 259 pages
Series: Woburn Education Series
Britain has attracted many musical visitors to its shores. A varied and often eccentric collection of individuals, some were invited by royalty with musical tastes, some were refugees from religious or political oppression, some were spies, and others came to escape debt or even charges of murder.
This book paints a broad picture of the changing nature of musical life in Britain over the centuries, through the eyes and ears of foreign musicians. After considering three of the eighteenth century’s greatest musical figures, the authors consider the rise of the celebrity composer in the nineteenth century, and go on to consider the influence of new forms of transport which allowed travel more freely from the Continent and the USA.
Musical Visitors to Britain also charts the new opportunities presented by the opening of public halls, the growth of music festivals, and the regular influx of composers in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, ending with the impact of new musical forms such as jazz.
As much a social as a musical history of Britain, this book will be of interest to anyone studying or working in these fields, as well as to general readers who want to discover more about our musical heritage.
'This is a lively and enlightening book on how Britain has attracted and even stimulated many of the greatest composers over the past 500 years…The use of telling quotations from diaries, letters and other records not only offer insights to the various distinguished composers, but also gives vivid portraits of the England they visited.' - BBC Music Magazine, December 2005