Monday, May 05, 2008

A stong commitment to the new


'It has been said that William Glock had a greater influence on musical culture in post-war Britain than anybody, and perhaps that is true. He would have been happier, I am sure, with a more modest epitaph: that he helped to make the understanding of music more acute. Inside and outside the BBC, he sought constantly for a repertory that was stimulating, and he made a strong commitment to the new, but one might say he did as much for Haydn and Schubert as for Stravinsky and Boulez. As for his BBC legacy, it needs re-articulating and defending by his successors in the same way as John Reith's does; it cannot be denied. More particularly, at the Proms every summer we take it for granted, and there, surely, there can be no going back' - from Stephen Plaistow's Guardian obituary of Sir William Glock (above) who was born on 3rd May, 1908 and died on 28th June, 2000. His centenary passes without any celebration on BBC Radio 3. But find lots more celebration here.

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4 comments:

Pliable said...

Credit to the Guardian for remembering the anniversary, even if the BBC didn't. But does the leader writer really think Robert Simpson, Edmund Rubbra and Malcolm Arnold exhibit a 'homegrown "cowpat" tendency in British music' -

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/may/05/classicalmusic

I wonder if the leader writer has even heard a Malcolm Arnold symphony? Where are the "cowpats" in this work?

http://www.overgrownpath.com/2005/09/arnolds-9th-neglected-20th-century.html

JW said...

Ken Russell in his apposite ABC's of British Music takes the BBC to task through unforgettable imagery: Russell himself stand in a cemetery surrounded by gravestones, each bearing the name of a great British composer, Bridge and Bax there, Howeels and Scott over there, Ireland, Dyson, Brian here. That ossible said more about Glock's tenure than any obit.

Pliable said...

John, the problem is that since Glock we have had a succession of BBC executives who have managed to marginalise both contemporary music and Bridge, Bax, Howells et al.

People of the calibre of Glock always come with baggage, it's part of the estate. But give me someone with his passion, vision and willingness to take risks anyday over today's faceless mandarins with their Michael Ball evenings, Doctor Who stunts and fixed length programmes.

JW said...

You're correct; next to what came after, Glock is an immortal giant.