A Yank's appreciation of British music
with RICHARD KRAUSE
I have felt drawn to the music of the British Isles for many years, though
know only a fraction of its wealth. It has an identity all of its own, and
is not reliant on outside influences. It speaks universally. One reason
why there is not a broad enough spectrum of this music performed in the
USA is because the majority of foreign works which first influenced American
composition was the same Germanic repertoire that formed the cornerstone
across the ocean.
Man has the habit of being too inclusive. Then there are the stereotypes
formed in many minds. Stereotypes are common in all parts of the world,
some, for instance, associated with English culture being stuffy, cold,
understated, and other such idiocies. They are no more true than that all
Americans are ignorant, crass and greedy. We can take certain terminology
and place under a different light. 'Stuffy' becomes 'regal',
'cold' warms to 'objective', and 'understated'
simply means 'subtle'.
If we look at the quintessential Victorian Elgar, one cannot ignore the
broad, leisurely-paced measures of nobility which infuse much of his music.
But there is another Elgar which is found in the ebullience of the Cockaigne
Overture and 'Nursery Suite', the wise humour of Falstaff,
or the ecstacy of The Dream of Gerontius.
Copyright © 2 January 2001
Richard Krause, Fort Worth, USA
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