Jane Austen was a British author whose six novels quietly revolutionized world literature. She is now considered one of the greatest writers of all time (with frequent comparisons to Shakespeare) and hailed as the first woman to earn inclusion in the established canon of English literature. Despite Austen’s current fame, her life is notable for its lack of traditional ‘major’ events. Discover Austen’s world, and its impact on her writing ….
By Bethan Greenaway
On 23 April 2014 we celebrate the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth. Nearly 400 years after his death he is still a source of inspiration for countless authors, composers, and artists all over the world. His plays are performed again and again in hundreds of languages, and have been the inspiration for numerous operas, ballets, and films.
By Anatoly Liberman
The names of musical instruments constitute one of the most intriguing chapters in the science and pseudoscience of etymology. Many such names travel from land to land, and we are surprised when a word with romantic overtones reveals a prosaic origin. For example, lute is from Arabic (al’ud: the definite article followed by a word for “wood, timber”).
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!
By Anwen Greenaway
The twenty-fifth of January is the annual celebration of the Scottish poet Robert Burns. Legend has it that in 1801 a group of men who had known Burns gathered together to mark the fifth anniversary of his death and celebrate his life and work. The event proved a great success, so they agreed to meet again the following January on the poet’s birthday, and thus the tradition of Burns Night Supper was born.
2012 has been an eventful year for the OUP music teams. We’re in reflective mood as the year draws to a close, so we thought we’d share our highlights of 2012.
By Anwen Greenaway
Hearing is clearly the most important sense for a musician, particularly a composer, so the trauma of experiencing difficulties with this sense is hard to imagine. Beethoven famously suffered deteriorating hearing for much of his adult life; an affliction which brought him to despair at times. The cause of his deafness is still unknown, although much speculated upon, but the composer’s feelings about his situation are well-documented.
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!
By Lucy Allen
The clocks have gone back, the days are colder, the evenings are darker, and poppies are starting to appear on everyone’s lapels. As November approaches our thoughts turn to Armistice Day (11th November) and to commemorating the fallen. Orders for the music of Requiem settings keeps the OUP Hire Library busy at this time of year, but with so many different Requiem versions, how does one select which to perform? We asked OUP staff and their families for their favourite; read on to find out which they chose.
Composer Howard Skempton is one of the mainstays of British contemporary classical music. He is an experimental composer who writes in a style completely his own, un-deflected by trends in composition or performance. Having developed, under the tutelage of Cornelius Cardew, a musical style characterised by its elegance and simplicity, Skempton’s catalogue of compositions is now extensive and diverse.
It’s September, which means back-to-school in the world of education, but for classical music it’s a different start, that of the 2012-13 opera season. In the old days opera was a grand affair; the first night of a production meant black tie and opera cloaks. These days its far more relaxed, and you won’t be frowned upon if you’re wearing jeans at the Royal Opera House.
Composer Richard Causton worked with the European Union Youth Orchestra on Twenty-Seven Heavens, premiering in the UK tonight at Usher Hall in Edinburgh as part of the Edinburgh International Festival. Causton composed the work, which he describes as a Concerto for Orchestra, for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad festivities celebrating the UK, London, and the Olympics.
27 July 2012: the day that many Britons have been waiting for, and the day when the attention of the world will be focused on London and the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games. As a nation we have been holding our breath in anticipation of this extravaganza: a showcase of British and world sporting talent, and the spirit of competition. But the Games are more than just sport, they are also an opportunity for the host nation to demonstrate its cultural excellence and achievements.
Every time I turn on the television I am bombarded by advertisements for the new movie, “Arthur and The Invisibles”. It reminds me of “The Borrowers”. Remember them? Small, ingenious creatures that live in our homes and borrow our buttons, socks, thimbles, and other items you thought were misplaced.