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Literature and Music Research Group at The Oxford Lieder Festival 2018, Sunday 14 October 2018

Study Day: Reaching Out: European Song Across Borders

Lieder Festival 2018 posterThe history of European song is a history of crossing and ignoring borders. This Study Day will explore some of the ways that song has helped to define the culture of the whole continent by bringing together people and ideas. Composers of song have often been profoundly affected by travel – Mendelssohn for one pursued a literal ‘musical Grand Tour’ – which has exposed them to new literary as well as musical influences. Economic centres such as London and Paris have acted as magnets for artists and patrons, with the result that some songs have had their most welcoming reception far from their land of origin. While it is a commonplace to describe music as a ‘language that crosses borders’, the works of many poets have done so as well, such as Schubert’s settings of Shakespeare, or Schumann’s of Byron and Burns. Further border-crossings emerge, in turn, in the work of writers who allude to European songs in their novels and poems.

In our study day, prominent scholars and writers celebrate the cross-European travels of earlier musicians, and explore questions such as what happens when words are translated, or when composers seek to evoke an alien homeland, or when song is represented in the words of a poet or novelist.

Topics to be presented include Brahms’s and Schumann’s Translated Song-Texts, The International Transmission of French Song, Lieder in London and New York, Cover Versions of Schubert, and the international inspirations for Moscow’s ‘House of Song’. The six talks frame a lunchtime concert in which national and cultural borders are dissolved by song.

The speakers and topics for the day are:

Dr Natasha Loges (Royal College of Music), Brahms the European

Professor Laura Tunbridge (University of Oxford, Music), Transatlantic suspicion of the “amorous Teuton”

Dr Rosamund Bartlett (Russianist, writer, and broadcaster), Musorgsky, Ravel and the International Mission of Moscow’s House of Song, 1908-191

- [LUNCHTIME RECITAL: Poulenc, Prokofiev, Mahler]

Details of this year’s symposium on 14th October can be found in the festival programme. This is a public engagement event organised in partnership with the Oxford Lieder Festival.

Student offer

Student attendance to the talks is free, the recital ticket £5. You can book a recital ticket from the festival website.

Attendance is free to holders of Festival passes.

Full details of the symposium are available from the Festival website. 

Make sure you bring your student ID with you on the day.  


Past events

Follow this link for details of previous events.