Every year, around mid-April, music lovers await the news that the BBC proms schedule has been announced. We look forward to the old favourites, the new commissions, the excited atmosphere, and some of the best performers in the world. When summer arrives, scores of people—young and old alike—travel to London to visit the Royal Albert Hall and be part of this great British tradition.
To celebrate the imminent release of Oral History Review (OHR)’s latest issue, 40.1, on oral history in the digital age, we’re delighted to share a chat between managing editor Troy Reeves and contributor Lindsey Barnes. Barnes and her colleague Kim Guise are co-authors of “World War Words: The Creation of a World War II–Specific Vocabulary for the Oral History Collection at The National WWII Museum,” a case study of developing controlled vocabulary for the oral history collections at the National WWII Museum.
The songwriting business offered few opportunities to women in the early 20th century. And jazz bandleaders, despite their own experiences with discrimination, were hardly more tolerant of female talent. Although audiences expected the leading orchestras to showcase a ‘girl singer’, women were rarely allowed to serve in other capacities, either on the bandstand or writing arrangements and compositions.
This Sunday, if you give (or receive) cards, flowers, and gifts for Mothering Sunday, spare a thought forConstance Adelaide Smith. In 1913 Constance read an article in a local newspaper which described plans to introduce to Britain an American ‘Mother’s Day’ celebration. The aim, as devised by the Philadelphian Anna Jarvis, was to establish a celebration to be held annually on the second Sunday in May
Love is in the air at Oxford University Press! As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, we’ve asked staff members from our offices in New York, Oxford, and Cary, NC, to share their favorite love songs. Read on for their selections, and be sure to tell us what your favorites are too. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Today, 11 February 2013, marks the 50th anniversary of the death of the poet Sylvia Plath (1932-1963). It is an event that has significantly shaped biographies and critical studies of her work — particularly following the publication of Ariel (1965), her posthumous collection edited and prepared by Ted Hughes. Then, as now, many reviewers regarded these poems as foretelling the circumstances of her death. Plath’s biography in the Oxford DNB offers an alternative perspective.
From the 1920s to the 1950s, Ira B. Arnstein was the unrivaled king of music copyright litigants. He spent the better part of those 30 years trying to prove that many of the biggest hits of the Golden Age of American Popular Song were plagiarized from his turn-of-the-century parlor piano pieces and Yiddish songs. “I suppose we have to take the bad with the good in our system which gives everyone their day in court,” Irving Berlin once said, but “Arnstein is stretching his day into a lifetime.”
Could it be that we are on track to bequeath to our children and their children not only a far hotter world, but also a more geologically fractious one? Already there are signs that the effects of climbing global temperatures are causing the sleeping giant to stir once again.
Happy New Year, everyone! The Oral History Review is ringing in 2013 with a second oral history podcast. This week, managing editor Troy Reeves speaks with Roger Davis Gatchet about his Oral History Review article, “‘I’ve Got Some Antique in Me’: The Discourse of Authenticity and Identity in the African American Blues Community in Austin, Texas.” (Vol 39, issue 2). And if that isn’t enough to entice you, there’s also (what Troy assures me is) a really hilarious Weird Al Yankovic joke.
Christmas is, almost inescapably, a time of music. A lot of it is familiar and much-loved, but for those who might be looking for some more adventurous listening this year – beyond Slade, the Messiah, and Victorian carols – here are some pointers to alternative Christmas music from down the ages.
By Philip Carter
Published in 1937 The Hobbit was Tolkien’s first published work of fiction, though he had been writing on legends since at least 1915. His creation — a mythological race of ‘hobbits’, in which Bilbo Baggins takes the lead — had originally been intended for children. But from the outset Tolkien’s saga also proved popular with adults, perhaps appreciative of the hobbits’ curiously English blend of resourcefulness and respectability.
By David Sugarman
This recording of my lengthy interview with H.L.A. Hart (1907–1992) has been resurrected from my audio tapes and given new life. Dusted and digitalized, the result is something quite beautiful. Here is Hart in his own words recorded in 1988, reviewing his life, his work, and his significance. The interview presents Hart as three individuals: legal philosopher, interviewee, and critic. The recording adds another dimension to our understanding of Hart that must be incorporated into our collective memory.
Perhaps Dickens’s best-loved work, Great Expectations tells the story of young Pip, who lives with his sister and her husband the blacksmith. He has few prospects for advancement until a mysterious benefaction takes him from the Kent marshes to London. Pip is haunted by figures from his past — the escaped convict Magwitch, the time-withered Miss Havisham and her proud and beautiful ward, Estella — and in time uncovers not just the origins of his great expectations but the mystery of his own heart. Here is a sequence of podcasts with Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, editor of the Oxford World’s Classics edition of Great Expectations.
For this week’s contribution to OUPblog, we’ve gone audio — we are the Oral History Review, after all. In our first podcast, our guest Stephen Sloan elaborates on “On the Other Foot: Oral History Students as Narrators,” a piece he wrote for the most recent issue of the OHR (volume 39, issue 2). This post represents another first: an effort to give current and future OHR contributors room to discuss their articles further.
There is an urgent argument for the need to rethink animal welfare, untinged by anthropomorphism and claims of animal consciousness, which lack firm empirical evidence and are often freighted with controversy and high emotions. With growing concern over such issues as climate change and food shortages, how we treat those animals on which we depend for survival needs to be put squarely on the public agenda. Marian Stamp Dawkins seeks to do this by offering a more complete understanding of how animals help us.
Thanksgiving is upon us in the US. Before the OUP Music team headed home for some turkey and stuffing, we compiled a list of what we are most thankful for, musically speaking. Read on for our thoughts, and leave your own in the comments. Happy Thanksgiving!