It’s been a full day: morning and afternoon at the British Library, evening at the opening events of the conference I’m attending here. Highlights included:
– Looked at letters written to Walter Leigh, an English composer who died fighting the Germans in Libya in 1942. Specifically I was interested in a Milhaud postcard from 1934, which didn’t turn out to say much of anything.
– Looked at letters to Edward Clark, a conductor and producer for the BBC (and apparently someone I should know more about, since he worked hard to promote contemporary music in Britain). His collection included lots of Milhaud letters (can you tell I’m interested in Milhaud?), including one in which demanded 50 guineas for a proposed London concert. Cheeky!
– Looked at more letters, this time to conductor Eugene Goosens, who led the English premiere of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps and who famously commissioned Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man. I was briefly distracted by some letters from Daniel Gregory Mason – an American composer and critic who wrote some mean stuff about jazz – but was mainly looking for a few more Milhaud letters. I can’t get enough!
– Finally, I spent time at a listening station, going through interviews Milhaud gave in English and consuming several of Roger Nichols’s radio programs for the BBC (one of which resulted in his book The Harlequin Years, which is the closest thing this CURI project has to a textbook).
Unfortunately, some kind of technical glitch prevented the music periodical I had ordered from being delivered, so now I have to wait until Friday to see that. But it was a fruitful day anyway, and I’m excited to present my research tomorrow morning at the conference – hopefully I’ll get some helpful feedback!