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At this book's core is a critical edition of letters exchanged over 50 years between Anglo-Irish composer Elizabeth Maconchy (1907-1994) and the Welsh composer Grace Williams (1906-1977). These two innovative and talented women are highly regarded for their music, their professional activities and their roles in British musical life. The edition comprises around 200 letters from 1927 to 1977, none of which have been published before, along with scholarly introductions and contextualizations. Interwoven commentaries, in tandem with carefully constructed appendices, frame the letter texts. Moreover, the commentaries and introductory essays highlight and track the development of important themes and issues that characterize the study of twentieth-century British music today. This edition presents a dialogue, through both sides of a unique correspondence, offering an alternative commentary on musical and cultural developments of this period.
Jenny Doctor is a musicologist intrigued by social aspects of British culture in the twentieth century, particularly with respect to the development of sound technologies. After she was awarded a Fulbright Grant to the UK in 1989, she stayed on, rummaging around the BBC archives whenever possible; her investigations led to The BBC and Ultra-Modern Music, 1922–36: Shaping a Nation’s Tastes (1999). With Sir Nicholas Kenyon and David Wright, she co-edited The Proms: A New History (2007), contributing an essay on the interwar period. At the same time, she and Nicky Losseff co-edited Silence, Music, Silent Music (Ashgate, 2007), to which she contributed the essay, 'The Texture of Silence'. Jenny's interest in mid-twentieth-century British composers is evident in essays she's published on Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Britten, as well as in an article that she recently published in Musical Quarterly, 'The Parataxis of British Musical Modernism' (91/1–2 (2008): 89–115).
Sophie Fuller studied music at King’s College, London University and was a lecturer in music at the University of Reading. She is the author of The Pandora Guide to Women Composers: Britain and the United States, 1629-present (1994) and has co-edited a variety of essays around this topic. Sophie’s research interests include many different aspects of music, gender and sexuality but focus in particular on musical life in late 19th- and 20th-century Britain. Her most recent work in this area has been on creative women and exoticism in fin-de-siècle Britain and on the significance of the private musical world in the life and career of Edward Elgar. Other interests include song, together with its composers and singers – from Hildegard of Bingen through Maude Valérie White and Clara Butt to George Michael – and Russian music and music in Russia.
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