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Cockaigne

June 27 2015

To be added to London anthologies: “If you roll a boxful of shoes down some stairs, you will hear the word ‘London’.” Andrew Cover, a friend, c 2000. Elgar, Cockaigne, Elgar conducting BBC Symphony Orchestra, April 11 1933

Finland in London

July 20 2015

What Elgarian, even, knew of this recording of the Finnish National Orchestra, under Georg Schnéevoigt, playing Cockaigne at the Queen’s Hall in 1934? They play as if they mean it. Peroration at 2:37. They get the Edwardian grandeur. The work had been premiered at Queen’s Hall in 1901. Finnish National Orchestra seems to be an old name for […]

Britain and Germany

December 9 2009

One of Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time discussions last year (BBC Radio 4, archive here) was called The Riddle of the Sands, after the novel by Erskine Childers. Panel: Richard Evans, Professor of Modern History, University of Cambridge; Rosemary Ashton, Quain Professor of English Language and Literature, University College, London; Tim Blanning, Professor of Modern […]

The last year of the Horse Age

July 11 2008

1903 was the last year in which there were no motorised buses on London streets. A few motorised taxis appeared in 1903, but here you can see only one car of any kind, at the end in front of Mansion House. I remember animal-crowded urban (not only rural) streets much like this in Pakistan in […]

Enchanted London

December 18 2007

Noël Coward, in his 1941 song London Pride: “Stay, city, smokily enchanted, Cradle of our memories, our hopes and fears.” John Barbirolli, conversation with CB Rees, 1960, included on a pair of EMI discs of a 1969 performance of Mahler’s third symphony with the Hallé Orchestra: “I must say that I have a very vivid […]

List of posts

January 21 2007

North African nihilism Facebook and Amazon double standards Islam The killing ~~~ Tunis-Nefta Uncharted Destruction of Palmyra Brown Uncle Toms They make a desert and they call it Islam Dwellers in the roaring waste Dances of the little crocodile The essential John Julius Norwich Simenon 192 The stones of Anatolia Slavs as slaves Patriarch and Pope The fancy price ~~~ The […]