Category Archives: Music

June 05

Robert Docker and the ‘Heavy’ Issue of Light Music

On the 5th of June 1918, English composer, arranger and pianist Robert Docker was born in London. The son of a Paddington gas worker, Docker studied piano, viola and composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London. After serving in the army during World War II, he became a freelance musician, playing the piano, arranging broadcasting […]

June 01

Paco Peña: Flamenco and the Question of National Identity in Spain

On the 1st of June 1942, the Spanish Flamenco composer and guitarist Paco Peña was born in Córdoba, Spain. Regarded as one of the world’s foremost traditional Flamenco players, Peña began his professional career very early in life. He learnt playing the guitar at the age of six, and by twelve he made his first professional appearances. […]

April 13

Anti-Semitism in Handel’s ‘Messiah’?

On the 13th of April 1742, the famous English oratorio Messiah by George Frederic Handel was first performed in the New Music Hall on Fishamble Street in Dublin. Around seven hundred people attended its premiere, which was a charitable event organised in support of the Mercer’s Hospital in Stephen’s Street, and of the Charitable Infirmary […]

April 03

Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya: Love in the Creative Partnership

On the 3rd of April 1950, German composer Kurt Weill died of a heart attack in New York City. His highly innovative and eclectic works for the theatre, such as the Threepenny Opera, Mahagonny, Lady in the Dark, Street Scene, but also numerous popular songs and instrumental music, have secured him lasting fame and a […]

March 31

Skandalkonzert: The Battle for Modernism

On the evening of the 31st of March 1913, the infamous Skandalkonzert at the Great Hall of the Vienna Musikverein took place. Despite the bad press that followed, the event has entered public consciousness as a major breakthrough into the era of modernism in classical music. What could be more symbolic than a riot erupting […]

March 29

Emmett Miller: The Yodelling Minstrel

On the 29th of March 1962, American minstrel show performer, singer and yodelling master, Emmett Miller, died in Macon, Georgia, the US, the city of his birth some sixty two years earlier (although certain sources indicate he was born in 1903). Popular in the mid-1920s and early 1930s for his blues-country-like recordings with the characteristic […]

March 23

John Lennon: James Joyce’s Illegitimate Son?

On the 23rd of March 1964, In His Own Write by John Lennon was first published. The book was the first solo Beatle project in any form that turned out to be an instant success. Printed initially by Jonathan Cape of Great Britain, it sold only in England 50,000 copies on the first day. In […]