Over the past few years, Britain has commemorated Shakespeare’s life, works, and death in parallel with an extensive remembrance of the First World War and those who served in it. The elision of Shakespeare’s work with this particular conflict is not a new trend: 100 years ago, similar celebrations of Shakespeare were occurring in the midst of wartime, and both Britain and Germany were employing his image and plays for propaganda and recruitment purposes.
This month we’re spotlighting the unique and beautiful oboe. We asked Heather Calow, lifelong oboe player and now an oboe teacher based in Leicester, UK, what first drew her to the instrument.
Christmas is the busiest time of year by far for the Oxford Music Hire Library. Oxford University Press publishes most of the carols the world knows and loves – the one that has just popped into your head is probably one of ours – with newly-composed Christmas titles added every year. Carol orders come in as early as August and keep rolling in until worryingly close to the big day itself.
In celebration of The BBC Proms 120th anniversary we have created a comprehensive reading list of books, journals, and online resources that celebrate the eight- week British summer season of orchestral music, live performances, and late-night music and poetry.
For ballet rehearsals in theatres around the world the piano has long been the musical instrument of choice. To engage orchestras to do the detailed, volatile work required in routine rehearsals would be impractical and prohibitively costly, and only at the dress rehearsal will dancers and the orchestra finally come together. The music at all earlier rehearsals is provided through a specially written version of the score called a ‘piano reduction’.
Christmas is the busiest time of year by far for the Oxford hire library. Oxford University Press publishes most of the carols the world knows and loves – the one that has just popped into your head is probably one of ours – with newly-composed Christmas titles added every year.
Carols bring Christians together around the Christ Child lying in the manger. During Advent and at Christmas, Christians everywhere sing more or less the same repertoire. Through our carols we share the same deep delight at the birth of a poor child who was to become the Saviour of all human beings.
Each month we will bring you an interview with one of our OUP composers, providing an insight into their music and personalities. Today, we are speaking with the cellist Aaron Minsky about his proudest moment, the challenges of staying relevant, desert-island playlists, and his debt to J. S. Bach.
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.
Compiled by Victoria Davis
It’s been a busy year at OUP Music! Before 2013 comes to a close, we thought we would take a look back at the highlights of another year gone by.
Christmas is big at Oxford University Press and carol-related tasks continue virtually all year. We publish most of the festive music that the world knows and loves, and our editors started working on carols for this Christmas in the summer of 2012. We’re all carolled out every year by August! October, November, and December are particularly frantic for our Music Hire Library.
By Robyn Elton
On Saturday 7 September 2013, lovers of classical music will gather together once again for the final performance in this year’s momentous Proms season. Alongside the traditional pomp and celebration of the Last Night, with Rule, Britannia!, Jerusalem, and the like, we are promised a number of more substantial works, including Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and the overture to Wagner’s The Mastersingers of Nuremberg.
Harriet Cohen (1895-1967) was one of the leading British pianists of her age, but her unusually small hands (“I cannot normally cover more than eight notes with each hand”) led her naturally to specialize in intimate classical and pre-classical works, rather than in any thundering octaves of nineteenth-century piano music.
By Simon Wright
The issue and performance of previously unpublished musical works — juvenilia, early pieces, and even completions by others of music left by composers, for one reason or another, incomplete — always provokes interesting debate. Would the composer have wanted it? Does the newly presented work serve the best interests of the composer’s reputation? Does the music throw new (or even controversial) light on ‘the life and works’?
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.
By Ruth Fielder
At the age of sixteen I was told that I would no longer be able to play my beloved trumpet, due to medical complications. The only alternative, to uphold my county scholarship and commitments to orchestras and brass bands, was to take up the tuba. The arrogant trumpeter that I was back then was horrified at this cumbersome instrument, cuddling a great lump of brass that seemed to prove no merit to my sense of style or popularity.