Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Arts & Leisure

vaughan-williams-young--2-(c)-Lebrecht-Archive

Job: A Masque for Dancing by Ralph Vaughan Williams

Michael Kennedy has described Job as one of Vaughan Williams’s mightiest achievements. It is a work which, in a full production, combines painting (the inspiration for the work came from a scenario drawn up by Geoffrey Keynes based on William Blake’s Illustrations of the Book of Job), literature (the King James Bible), music, and dance.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

The rise of choral jazz

The genre of ‘choral jazz’ has become increasingly prevalent among choirs, with the jazz mass the ultimate form. Settings of the Latin mass by Lalo Schifrin and Scott Stroman have enjoyed popular following, while more recently Bob Chilcott’s A Little Jazz Mass and Nidaros Jazz Mass have established the genre in the wider choral tradition, reaching choirs from across the choral spectrum and audiences young and old.

Read More
Bernstein-Meets-Broadway

The teenage exploits of a future celebrity

Rising to prominence at lightning speed during World War II, Leonard Bernstein quickly became one of the most famous musicians of all time, gaining notice as a conductor and composer of both classical works and musical theater. One day he was a recent Harvard graduate, struggling to earn a living in the music world.

Read More
science-of-cheese

The health benefits of cheese

Lipids (fats and oils) have historically been thought to elevate weight and blood cholesterol and have therefore been considered to have a negative influence on the body. Foods such as full-fat milk and cheese have been avoided by many consumers for this reason. This attitude has been changing in recent years.

Read More
Daniel-Deronda

The Fair Toxophilites and Daniel Deronda

In the England of the past archery was the basis of military and political power, most famously enabling the English to defeat the French at Agincourt. In the later nineteenth century it is now a leisure pursuit for upper-class women.

Read More
virtually-sacred

Gaming the system

2014 is the year of role-playing…November marks the 10th anniversary of World of Warcraft, the first truly global online game, and in January gamers celebrated the 40th anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons, the fantasy game of elves and dwarves, heroes and villains, that changed the world.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Michael Jackson, 10,000 hours, and the roots of creative genius

By Arturo Hernandez
That any person could become an expert in something if they simply spend about 3 hours per day for ten years is an appealing concept. This idea, first championed by Ericsson and brought to prominence by Gladwell, has now taken root in the popular media. It attempts to discuss these differences in terms of the environment. The idea is that practice with the purpose of constantly gathering feedback and improving can lead any person to become an expert.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

The British are coming: the Summer of 1964 (part two)

By Gordon R. Thompson
In the opening months of 1964, The Beatles turned the American popular music world on its head, racking up hits and opening the door for other British musicians. Lennon and McCartney demonstrated that—in the footsteps of Americans like Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry—British performers could be successful songwriters too.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Why you can’t take a pigeon to the movies

By Siu-Lan Tan
Films trick our senses in many ways. Most fundamentally, there’s the illusion of motion as “moving pictures” don’t really move at all. Static images shown at a rate of 24 frames per second can give the semblance of motion. Slower frame rates tend to make movements appear choppy or jittery. But film advancing at about 24 frames per second gives us a sufficient impression of fluid motion.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Musicians with homonymic names

By Matthew Hough
There are many cases of musicians with homonymic names, including jazz performers Bill Evans (pianist, 1929-1980) and Bill Evans (saxophonist, 1958-), and composers John Adams and John Luther Adams. In the following paragraphs, I discuss musical examples by artists comprising three such pairs.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

The Queen whose Soul was Harmony

By James Anderson Winn
In 1701, one year before Princess Anne succeeded to the throne, musicians from London traveled to Windsor to perform a special ode composed for her birthday by the gifted young composer Jeremiah Clarke. The anonymous poet addressed part of his poem to the performers, taking note of Anne’s keen interest in music.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Colostrum, performance, and sports doping

By Martin Luck
A recent edition of BBC Radio 4′s On Your Farm programme spoke to a dairy farmer who supplies colostrum to athletes as a food supplement. Colostrum is the first milk secreted by a mother. Cow colostrum is quite different from normal cow’s milk: it has about four times as much protein, twice as much fat and half as much lactose (sugar).

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Barry, Bond, and music on film

Twenty-seven years ago, on 31 July 1987, James Bond returned to the screen in The Living Daylights, with Timothy Dalton as the new Bond. The film also has a notable departure in the style of music, as composer John Barry decided that the film needed a new sound to match this reinvented Bond, and his love interest — a musician with dangerous ties. To celebrate the anniversary, here is a brief extract from The Music of James Bond by John Burlingame.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

How much do you know about early Hollywood’s leading ladies?

By Sarah Rahman
Clara Bow, whose birthday falls on 29 July, was the “it” girl of her time, making fifty-two films between 1922 and 1930. “Of all the lovely young ladies I’ve met in Hollywood, Clara Bow has ‘It,’” noted novelist Elinor Glyn. According to her entry in American National Biography, “With Cupid’s bow lips, a hoydenish red bob, and nervous, speedy movement, Bow became a national rage, America’s flapper. At the end of 1927 she was making $250,000 a year.”

Read More
Book thumbnail image

How I created the languages of Dothraki and Valyrian for Game of Thrones

By David J. Peterson
My name is David Peterson, and I’m a conlanger. “What’s a conlanger,” you may ask? Thanks to the recent addition of the word “conlang” to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), I can now say, “Look it up!” But to save you the trouble, a conlanger is a constructed language (or conlang) maker—i.e. one who creates languages.

Read More