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Proof through the NightMusic and the Great War$
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Glenn Watkins

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520231580

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520231580.001.0001

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Pomp and Circumstance

Pomp and Circumstance

(p.33) 2 Pomp and Circumstance
Proof through the Night

Glenn Watkins

University of California Press

When the Great War broke out in August 1914, a number of British composers, some of whom had been vacationing or attending the Wagner festival at Bayreuth, found themselves in Germany. The oratorios of George Frideric Handel and Felix Mendelssohn, the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and evenings dedicated to Richard Wagner comprised a series of concerts that openly emphasized German music, although later concerts included a variety of works by William Byrd, Claude Debussy, Gustav Holst, and Ralph Vaughan Williams as well. Back home, the London music critic Ernest Newman began to speak of the current state of affairs, including the appeal of the Straussian dialect and the challenge he felt the war would pose. While England and other countries were struggling to define themselves musically in light of Germany's commanding presence, other sovereign states faced the even more fundamental problems of geographical and cultural identity, including Poland and Belgium.

Keywords:   Great War, composers, Germany, music, Ernest Newman, England, Poland, Belgium

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