Wardourcastlesummerschool

A Blog about the Wardour Castle Summer Schools 1964, 1965

Caroline Mustill (Phillips) and Stephen Pruslin

Given that the WCSSs took place in a school, this post contains important information from the perspective of Caroline Mustill, who was a student at Cranborne Chase for both events. Mustill’s significance to this project, however, goes far further than her teenage years, since, for example, she managed the Pierrot Players, and has also been close to Birtwistle, Davies and many other prominent artists since the 1960s. When I approached Mustill she suggested that I interview Stephen Pruslin too, and I am grateful to her for organising our three-way meeting.

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Filed under: Commentary from Interviews, General details of the Summer Schools, Legacy of the WCSSs, What music was performed?, What was analyzed/discussed?, , , , , , , , , , ,

Northcott’s general comments

I asked Northcott about the motivation for starting the WCSSs, and why they were needed when Dartington and Darmstadt were already running:

(LS100049, 1:05’53”)

(LS100049, 1:12’13”)

Having gone through the concert programme, Northcott moved on to his memories of the other classes and activities from the 1965 school. Maxwell Davies’ analysis classes included Bach Inventions, Pierrot Lunaire and the first movement of Mahler’s Third Symphony, all as advertised.


(LS100049, 1:48’34”)

There are some implications of his teaching of Mahler 3 that will become apparent in my review of Peter Maxwell Davies Studies to be published in Music & Letters.

Filed under: General details of the Summer Schools, ,

Comments by Bayan Northcott on the 1965 WCSS

Speaking with Bayan Northcott uncovered a wealth of information about the WCSSs and the period in which they occurred. This post draws together some clips from the interview. The interview progressed with Northcott going through his diary.

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Filed under: General details of the Summer Schools, Interviews, What music was performed?, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments by Bayan Northcott on the 1964 WCSS

Speaking with Bayan Northcott uncovered a wealth of information about the WCSSs and the period in which they occurred. This post draws together some clips from the interview. The interview progressed with Northcott going through his diary.

He began with some contextual remarks about the scene, and the position of Maxwell Davies, Birtwistle and Goehr.

First a comment about the number of people in attendence:

(LS100049, 1’53”) Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Commentary from Interviews, General details of the Summer Schools, What music was performed?, What was analyzed/discussed?, Who was there?, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1965 budget

The V&A archive (ACGB/51/1265) contains the accounts for the 1964 and 1965 summer schools and a budget for the 1965 event. I have posted the 1964 accounts here.

One of my research questions considers ways in which these summer schools were funded, and how this reflects prestige, as well as indicating the priorities of the events. Here is the budget for the 1965 events.

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Filed under: General details of the Summer Schools, How was it funded?, What music was performed?, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Advertisement for the 1965 WCSS

The following is the text from a flyer/booklet advertising the 1965 WCSS.

[1]

THE WARDOUR CASTLE SUMMER SCHOOL OF MUSIC

14th–22nd AUGUST, 1965

President:

MICHAEL TIPPETT

Musical Directors:

HARRISON BIRTWISTLE

PETER MAXWELL DAVIES

ALEXANDER GOEHR

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Filed under: General details of the Summer Schools, Other information, Who was there?, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dates

Following a visit to the V&A the dates as published in the programmes/flyers are:

  • 15th to 23rd August, 1964 (ACGB/51/1265)
  • 14th to 22nd August, 1965 (ACGB/51/1265)

Filed under: General details of the Summer Schools

Advertisement for the 1964 WCSS

THE WARDOUR CASTLE SUMMER SCHOOL OF MUSIC

15TH TO 23RD AUGUST, 1964

PRESIDENT: MICHAEL TIPPETT

MUSICAL DIRECTOR: HARRISON BIRTWISTLE

The Wardour Summer School of Music is essentially a new venture, which will take place in the elegant Wardour Castle, built for the Arundell family in the latter half of the eighteenth century by James Paine. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: General details of the Summer Schools, Who was there?, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wardour Castle Summer School location

Filed under: General details of the Summer Schools

The end of the WCSSs

The end of the WCSSs

With this second Wardour Castle school the venture came to a somewhat premature end. Premature because this 1965 school ended with a riotous party that went on all night, featured large numbers of people being sick in interesting places, and, most unfortunately, involved a fair amount of minor damage to the Cranborne Chase premises. It is interesting, though, of course, idle, to speculate on how different the course of recent British musical history might have been had the Wardour Castle experiment been able to continue for a few more years. (Seabrook, Mike (1994), Max: The Life and Music of Peter Maxwell Davies (London: Victor Gollancz), 93.).

The end of the WCSSs provided the impetus and the space needed for Gilbert, Lumsdaine and Banks to start the SPNM Composer Weekends, where composers continued to gather and which are of vital significance to understanding British music in the latter years of the 1960s. Although this blog is concerned with the two WCSSs, my wider research project seeks to detail the SPNM Composer Weekends.

Research into the Composer Weekends will also address the significant lack of literature about both series’, the scarcity of which privileges the Manchester-three.

But if the Wardour Castle schools thus saw the first germination of a phase of Max’s life and career, they also signalled the end of another: the 1965 school, with its nauseous and drunken conclusion, was the last time the so-called ‘Manchester School’ of composers did anything of any significance together.

[….]

After the second of the two events, Max, Goehr and Birtwistle had finally taken their places as fully acknowledged new leaders of British music, and were at last taken seriously as such. Max’s own last work on the school was typically generous: ‘This will be remembered’, he said, ‘for the arrival of Harrison Birtwistle.’ (Seabrook, Mike (1994), Max: The Life and Music of Peter Maxwell Davies (London: Victor Gollancz), 94.)

There is a further practical reason for no further Wardour Castle Summer Schools, since Birtwistle left in 1965 for Princeton (where Maxwell Davies had been) on a Harkness, the fellowship during which Punch and Judy was composed. 1 Stephen Pruslin had also been at Princeton until 1963.

Northcott confirms the reasons for the end of the WCSSs:


(LS100049, 1:53’28”)

Filed under: General details of the Summer Schools, , , , ,

Who taught?

Who Taught at the WCSSs?

1964:

  • Birtwistle, Harrison: 1, ACGB/51/1265
  • Carewe, John: ACGB/51/1265 (accounts)
  • Friedman, Leonard: ACGB/51/1265 (accounts)
  • Goehr, Alexander: 1, ACGB/51/1265
  • Gilbert, Anthony: (Wood, Hugh (2003) ‘On music of Conviction… and an enduring friendship’ in Sing, Ariel (Aldershot: Ashgate) 328.)
  • Hurwitz, Emmanuel: ACGB/51/1265
  • Maxwell Davies, Peter: 1, ACGB/51/1265
  • de Peyer, Gervase: ACGB/51/1265
  • Telford, John: ACGB/51/1265
  • Tippett, Michael: (Wood, Hugh (2003) ‘On music of Conviction… and an enduring friendship’ in Sing, Ariel (Aldershot: Ashgate) 328.)
  • Wood Hugh: (Wood, Hugh (2003) ‘On music of Conviction… and an enduring friendship’ in Sing, Ariel (Aldershot: Ashgate) 328.)

1965

  • Tippett, Michael: (Wood, Hugh (2003) ‘On music of Conviction… and an enduring friendship’ in Sing, Ariel (Aldershot: Ashgate) 328.)
  • Wood, Hugh: (Wood, Hugh (2003) ‘On music of Conviction… and an enduring friendship’ in Sing, Ariel (Aldershot: Ashgate) 328.)

Filed under: General details of the Summer Schools, Who was there?, , , , , ,

Hugh Wood

Hugh Wood on the WCSSs:

Perhaps the final manifestation of the Manchester troika was their joint participation in the Wardour Castle Summer Schools of 1964 and 1965. The spectacles through which one views the past often become tinted with rose. Nevertheless (and I think anyone who was there would agree) this succession of frantic days amid idyllic surroundings provided an experience hard to come by anywhere today: its idealism and optimism were entirely typical of the 1960s and have vanished with them. Goehr, whose brainchild it had been, was the guiding spirit for the whole operation. (Wood, Hugh (2003) ‘On music of Conviction… and an enduring friendship’ in Sing, Ariel (Aldershot: Ashgate) 328.)

Hugh Wood is quoted by Edward Venn in his book The Music of Hugh Wood, where he comments that:

The two summer schools held at Wardour Castle in 1964 and 1965 encapsulated the adventurous spirit of the times. Conceived by three Manchester Composers, Goehr, Maxwell Davies and Birtwistle, the school offered what was for the time a broad and unconventional programme of concerts, lectures and teaching. Wood and Tippett were also on the teaching staff; Anthony Gilbert taught in 1964 only. (Venn, Edward (2008) The Music of Hugh Wood (Aldershot: Ashgate) 69.)

It is significant that Wood mentions Gilbert here as one of the teachers. How many teachers were there? Why did he not teach in 1965?

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Early Details

From June 1964:

The Wardour Summer School of Music, a new venture, is the idea of the group of young composers forming the ‘Manchester School’. Alexander Goehr will rehearse the choir and orchestra, take classes in analysis and composition, and lecture on 20th-century music; Peter Maxwell Davies will rehearse the choir, and lecture on early music; Harrison Birtwistle will rehearse the orchestra. Details from The Lodge, Motcombe Park, Shaftesbury, Dorset. 1

Filed under: General details of the Summer Schools, Other information, , ,

Dates

The exact dates for the summer schools are reported differently. My visit to the V&A archives should clear this up, but for now there is some disagreement in the sources:

  • 15-23 August 1964 1,
  • 15-22 August 1964 2
  • 14-22 August 1965 1, 2, 3
  • 14-21 August 1965 1, 2

Filed under: General details of the Summer Schools,