Wardourcastlesummerschool

A Blog about the Wardour Castle Summer Schools 1964, 1965

Roger Smalley

I met with Roger Smalley in Glebe, Sydney, 7 April, 2010. I interviewed him partly for his recollections as a participant at the WCSS and partly to find out more about his performance there in 1965. As a member of the Composers’ Ensemble he performed in one of the last concerts on the 1965 programme, which was a substantially different to the other concerts. It consisted of Cage, Feldman, Cardew, Messiaen, Stockhausen and one of Smalley’s compositions, Two Poems of D. H. Lawrence.

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Royal Musical Association

The following paper was given at the Royal Musical Association’s annual conference, 16 July 2010.

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Gilbert and Lumsdaine

It was Anthony Gilbert who in various ways first prompted this research. Gilbert’s interview with Michael Hall that Hall quoted in his book* was the first mention of the WCSSs that I read, and remains one of the most significant passages on the topic in the published literature. Gilbert’s look of incredulity at my lack of knowledge of events from the 1960s spurred me to the particular research of this blog, and he had repeatedly offered to talk to me about the events. When I finally contacted him to make a date for this interview, he suggested including his old friend David Lumsdaine (who Gilbert first met at Wardour) and so the recorded conversation took place in York, with Gilbert travelling there from Manchester. This paragraph is a prolix way of saying that ‘I’m very grateful’.

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Filed under: Commentary from Interviews, How was it funded?, Legacy of the WCSSs, Other information, What music was performed?, What was analyzed/discussed?, Who was there?, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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?, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1964 Programme of Concerts and Lectures

The following is the contents of the 1964 Programme, held by Bayan Northcott and photographed when I visited him.
P1080929

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A concert, but when?

When I visited Hugh Wood, he showed me two typed pages, one of which had the programme for the Nocturnal concert, Friday 21 August 1964. There was also a concert that Wood insists took place, but which isn’t listed in any of the other literature I have for the events. This was the programme:

Music for a film scene [sic] Schoenberg

Canzona II David Ellis

Movement Neville Gambier

Castle Music Anthony Gilbert

Little Music for Strings Michael Tippett

Serenade Op.11 Brahms

This is a fascinating programme, and it includes works by Ellis and Gilbert no longer in their catalogue. Hopefully my meeting with Anthony Gilbert will clear up whether or not this took place, and if it did, its date, location and performers. I still have little idea who Neville Gambier was.

The following clip is Wood’s reaction to this concert, making clear his memory of its occurrence, and on the difficulty of clarifying the details of the programme.

(LS100044: 51’10”)

Further to this post, this list of works is part of the participants’ concert given on the final evening. For more details see this post.

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1964 Concert Programme with comments

1964 Programme of Concerts as given in the publicity leaflet, a copy of which was given to me by Michael Hall. The comments are those by Hugh Wood. As further composers are interviewed their comments will be added alongside those by Wood.

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1964 Programme of Concerts

1964 Programme of Concerts as given in the publicity leaflet, a copy of which was given to me by Michael Hall.

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1964 accounts

The V&A archives contain the accounts for both WCSSs.

(ACGB/51/265; see 1)

The items of expenditure are fairly unremarkable:

Catering, boarding out & gratuities. £573- :- 9
Caretaker, laundry, transport kitchen and domestic wages. 275- 19- 1
Artistes’ and orchestral fees. 432- 5- :
Heating, lighting, hire etc. 155- 8- :
Stationery, printing and advertising. 461- 1- 10
Hon. Secretary’s postages. 15- 13- 3
Hon. Treasurer’s do [H.O. Young] 12- 15- 5
Chairman’s telephone 72- 7- 10
Insurance, postage & sundries 89- 17- 3
2.088- 8- 5

However, it also gives the names of the employed tutors all of whom were offered £50 and all of whom waived their fees to balance the accounts.

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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.)

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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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What was performed?

1964:

  • Messiaen 1 ACGB/51/1265
  • Anthony Gilbert: solo piano Sonata, performed by Margaret Kitchin. 1
  • Peter Maxwell Davies: Five Little Pieces for Piano, perf. Peter Maxwell Davies 1

‘There will be concerts by the Melos Ensemble, which will include along with classical works, the “Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps,” by Oliver [sic] Messiaen.’ ACGB/51/1265

1965

Visiting Artists:

  • Bethany Beardslee: Milton Babbitt’s Philomel for soprano, recorded soprano and electronics. 1, Pierrot Lunaire with the Melos Ensemble cond. Edward Downes. 2, (Seabrook, Mike (1994), Max: The Life and Music of Peter Maxwell Davies (London: Victor Gollancz), 94.), ACGB/51/1265
  • Leonard Stein: Arnold Schoenberg Op.23, Goehr’s Op.18. 1
  • Melos Ensemble: Goehr Little Music for Strings, Bach’s Double Concerto cond. Lawrence Foster. 1, ACGB/51/1265
  • Vocal Quartet: Barbara Elsy, Pauline Stevens, Ian Partridge, Geoffrey Shaw. They performed: Robin Holloway’s score for soprano (Elsy), baritone (Shaw) ensemble (Melos) cond. Goehr. 1

Composers:

  • John Buller 1
  • Harrison Birtwistle: Tragoedia (premiere) commissioned by the Melos Ensemble 1, dir./cond. Lawrence Foster, ‘To Michael Tippett on the occasion of his 60th birthday’ 20 August 1965: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (Hall, Michael (1984), Harrison Birtwistle (London: Robson Books), 32), (Seabrook, Mike (1994), Max: The Life and Music of Peter Maxwell Davies (London: Victor Gollancz), 93.), (Times, Monday August 23 1965, 15.)

‘Those who heard Tragoedia when it was first performed at the 1965 Wardour Castle Summer School have said they will never forget the excitement it generated. With it his career was assured. (Hall, Michael (1984), Harrison Birtwistle (London: Robson Books), 32)

‘the first performance of […] Tragoedia […] caused a tremendous stir of excitement’ (Seabrook, Mike (1994), Max: The Life and Music of Peter Maxwell Davies (London: Victor Gollancz), 93.)

‘Actually, it was a knockout – as that evening’s rave reception of the first performance duly confirmed. And it marked the definitive arrival of Harrison Birtwistle.’ 1

  • Peter Maxwell Davies: Ecce Manus Tradentis 1, 2, (Seabrook, Mike (1994), Max: The Life and Music of Peter Maxwell Davies (London: Victor Gollancz), 93.), (Times, Monday August 23 1965, 15.)

‘The short instrumental first part, Eram Quasi Agnus, was commissioned by the English Bach Festival and was not composed until later ­– it received its first performance in 1969. But the bigger vocal and choral second half was performed on this occasion at Wardour Castle by the Summer School Choir with the Melos Ensemble, and soloists Bethany Beardslee, Pauline Stevens, Ian Partridge and Geoffrey Shaw.’ (Seabrook, Mike (1994), Max: The Life and Music of Peter Maxwell Davies (London: Victor Gollancz), 93.)

  • David Bedford: Dream of the Seven Lost Stars ‘summer school choir under John Alldis’ 1 performed on the last night (21st?) with ‘music by Messiaen and a Bach cantata’. 2, ACGB/51/1265
  • Schoenberg, Arnold: Pierrot Lunaire (Seabrook, Mike (1994), Max: The Life and Music of Peter Maxwell Davies (London: Victor Gollancz), 94.), (Burden, Michael (2000), ‘A foxtrot to the crucifiction’, Perspectives on Peter Maxwell Davies (Aldershot, Ashgate), 52.), ACGB/51/1265
  • Tallis, Thomas: Spem in alium, cond. Michael Tippett. ACGB/51/1265
  • Wood, Hugh: A work for choir and orchestra? ACGB/51/1265

‘Concerts, open to the public, but free to all students, will be given during the course by the Melos Ensemble and other artists. These will include the first performances of works by Birtwistle, Goehr and Maxwell Davies commissioned for the occasion by the Melos Ensemble. The concerts will also include The Musical Offering by J. S. Bach and a performance with Bethany Beardslee, of “Pierrot Lumaire” by Schoeberg. The Summer School is also commissioning other works for these concerts by composers who will be present at the course.’ ACGB/51/1265

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1965

Name: Source

‘some 50 composers’: 1

  • Alldis, John: 1 ‘John Aldis trained the choir at the Wardour Castle Sumer School in 1965’ (Venn, Edward (2008) The Music of Hugh Wood (Aldershot: Ashgate) 69.), ACGB/51/1265
  • Aronowitz, Cecil: 1, ACGB/51/1265
  • Beardslee, Bethany: 1, (Seabrook, Mike (1994), Max: The Life and Music of Peter Maxwell Davies (London: Victor Gollancz), 94.), ACGB/51/1265
  • Bennett, William: 1, ACGB/51/1265
  • Birtwistle, Harrison: 1, 2, 3, (Seabrook, Mike (1994), Max: The Life and Music of Peter Maxwell Davies (London: Victor Gollancz), 100.), ACGB/51/1265
  • Buller, John: 1
  • Crowson, Lamar: ACGB/51/1265
  • Downes, Edward: ACGB/51/1265
  • Friedman, Leonard: ACGB/51/1265
  • Gilbert, Anthony: 1
  • Glanville, Ranulph: 1
  • Goehr, Alexander: 1, 2, (Seabrook, Mike (1994), Max: The Life and Music of Peter Maxwell Davies (London: Victor Gollancz), 100.), ACGB/51/1265
  • Hacker, Alan: (Seabrook, Mike (1994), Max: The Life and Music of Peter Maxwell Davies (London: Victor Gollancz), 100.)
  • Hurwitz, Emmanuel [Emanuel] : 1, ACGB/51/1265
  • Maxwell Davies, Peter: 123, (Seabrook, Mike (1994), Max: The Life and Music of Peter Maxwell Davies (London: Victor Gollancz), 100.), ACGB/51/1265
  • Peyer, Gervase De: 1, ACGB/51/1265
  • Sanders, Neill: 1, ACGB/51/1265
  • Smalley, Roger: 1
  • Thomas, Michael: ACGB/51/1265
  • Tippett, Michael: 1 ACGB/51/1265
  • Weil, Terence: 1, ACGB/51/1265
  • Wood, Hugh: 1, 2, (Wood, Hugh (2003) ‘On music of Conviction… and an enduring friendship’ in Sing, Ariel (Aldershot: Ashgate) 328.), ACGB/51/1265

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Dr Michael Hooper

I am a performer and musicologist.

For details of my activites and to hear recordings please visit: www.hoopermusic.com

This is the blog for my research into the two Wardour Castle Summer Schools, which took place in 1964 and 1965. One of the motivations for this research came from my doctoral studies of the music of David Lumsdaine. Over the period of that study (2004-2008) I became increasingly aware of how little published material exists that details events in the music life of the 1960s. This blog charts some of the research that I am undertaking to contribute to the documentation of that time. It is one part of a research project that also seeks to detail the SPNM Composer Weekends that were founded by Anthony Gilbert, David Lumsdaine and Don Banks and which ran from 1967.

For those who took part in these events, this blog no doubt appears woefully lacking in information – addressing this issue is the motivation for the blog. So, post comments or email me with the information that you think I ought to know.

P1080929

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1964

Name: sources

1964:

  • Birtwistle , Harrison: 1, 2, 3, (Hall, Michael (2003), Between Two Worlds (Todmordon: Arc), 31.), (Seabrook, Mike (1994), Max: The Life and Music of Peter Maxwell Davies (London: Victor Gollancz), 100.), (Roberts, David (2000), ‘Alma Redemptoris Mater’, Perspectives on Peter Maxwell Davies (Aldershot, Ashgate), 13.), (Burden, Michael (2000), ‘A foxtrot to the crucifiction’, Perspectives on Peter Maxwell Davies (Aldershot, Ashgate), 52.), ACGB/51/1265,
  • Carewe, John: ACGB/51/1265 (accounts)
  • Crowson, Lomar: 1, ACGB/51/1265
  • Friedman, Leonard: ACGB/51/1265 (accounts)
  • Gilbert, Anthony: 1, (Hall, Michael (2003), Between Two Worlds (Todmordon: Arc), 31.), (Venn, Edward (2008) The Music of Hugh Wood (Aldershot: Ashgate) 69.)
  • Glanville, Ranulph: 1
  • Goehr, Alexander: 1, 23, 4, (Randel, Don (1996) The Harvard biographical dictionary of music (HUP),  318), (Hall, Michael (2003), Between Two Worlds (Todmordon: Arc), 30.), (Seabrook, Mike (1994), Max: The Life and Music of Peter Maxwell Davies (London: Victor Gollancz), 100.), (Roberts, David (2000), ‘Alma Redemptoris Mater’, Perspectives on Peter Maxwell Davies (Aldershot, Ashgate), 13.), (Burden, Michael (2000), ‘A foxtrot to the crucifiction’, Perspectives on Peter Maxwell Davies (Aldershot, Ashgate), 52.), (Wood, Hugh (2003) ‘On music of Conviction… and an enduring friendship’ in Sing, Ariel(Aldershot: Ashgate) 328.), ACGB/51/1265
  • Hacker, Alan: (Seabrook, Mike (1994), Max: The Life and Music of Peter Maxwell Davies (London: Victor Gollancz), 100.)
  • Hurwitz, Emmanuel: 1, ACGB/51/1265
  • Lumsdaine, David: (Hall, Michael (2003), Between Two Worlds (Todmordon: Arc), 30.)
  • Maxwell Davies, Peter: 12, (Hall, Michael (2003), Between Two Worlds (Todmordon: Arc), 31.), (Seabrook, Mike (1994), Max: The Life and Music of Peter Maxwell Davies (London: Victor Gollancz), 100.), (Roberts, David (2000), ‘Alma Redemptoris Mater’, Perspectives on Peter Maxwell Davies (Aldershot, Ashgate), 13.), (Burden, Michael (2000), ‘A foxtrot to the crucifiction’, Perspectives on Peter Maxwell Davies (Aldershot, Ashgate), 52.), ACGB/51/1265
  • Nyman, Michael: 1,  (Pwyll ap Siôn, The music of Michael Nyman: texts, contexts and intertexts (Aldershot: Ashgate))
  • Peyer, Gervase De: 1, ACGB/51/1265
  • Pritchard, Gwyn: 1
  • Telford, John: ACGB/51/1265
  • Tippett, Michael: 1 , 2, 3, (Hall, Michael (2003), Between Two Worlds (Todmordon: Arc), 30.), ACGB/51/1265
  • Wood, Hugh: 1, (Wood, Hugh (2003) ‘On music of Conviction… and an enduring friendship’ in Sing, Ariel (Aldershot: Ashgate) 328.)

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