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Made in Britain
This patriotic quiz is all about the contribution Britain has made to the world of Classical Music.

Made in Britain

Britain, once (somewhat unfairly!) derided as das Land ohne Musik ~ 'the country with no music' ~ has made plenty of valuable contributions and has thriving traditions in this field. How familiar are you with some of them?

Which British piano manufacturer, trading under the same surname for over 200 years, holds a Royal Warrant in this field?
John Broadwood's company dates back to 1783 in one form or another, and introduced the Square Piano. Many other manufacturers have come and gone, but Broadwood's continues to trade successfully and now has direct links with the instrument museum at Finchcocks
Though subject (quite rightly) to the vagaries of taste and fashion, this much-published and quoted poet had plenty to say around 100 years ago in the heyday of Empire and the Great War. Many of his craftsmanly, ear-catching verses have articulated common moods and experiences, and been set to music, not least (as this Quiz is written, in the summer of 2014) 'Boots' ~ which, in J.P. McCall (alias Peter Dawson)'s 1928 setting is perhaps the marching-song to end them all.
Who was this writer?
Thomas Hardy
Rudyard Kipling
Wilfred Owen
Siegfried Sassoon
Kipling, like many creative artists of ultimate quality, was regarded with some distaste by the second generation after his own heyday, but we seem to be hearing more of him again now. Imperialist and/or jingoist he may have been, but he clearly had pluck, the gift of the creative gab, and a wealth of stimulating experience to inspire him. Don't forget the story of 'my boy Jack', the son whom Kipling had so wanted to enlist (despite multiple health problems) and whom he lost on the battlefields of the Great War; and in whose memory the normally 'rum-ti-tum' Kipling, when invited to provide wording to be carved onto the Cenotaph (national war memorial) in Whitehall, came up with just the three laconic, dignified words 'Our Glorious Dead'.
To hear Dawson's recording of this emblematic work, click here ... the recording itself begins about 45 seconds in. (Accessed 23.6.2014)
Who was the founding conductor of the Promenade Concerts ('the world's largest and most democratic music festival', in the words of one critic), originally held in the Queen's Hall and now at the Royal Albert Hall, where a carved bust of him benignly looks on over the performances?
Sir Henry Wood
Sir Arthur Sullivan
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Sir Charles Stanford
Hence that they are officially known as 'The Henry Wood Promenade Concerts'
Which British monarch is widely believed to have been responsible for composing the folksong Greensleeves?
Henry VIII
Queen Victoria
William III
Queen Anne
' ... And' (as the 20th-century humorist Michael Flanders used to comment) 'the royalties go to Royalty.'
Modern musical scholarship ~ bless it ~ apparently tends to give the lie to this origin, on plausible technical grounds (see Wikipedia and elsewhere), yet the myth persists!
Cyclist, Catholic and composer ... even by the time he had been knighted, and become Master of the King's Music (in 1924), this 'musical voice of the English establishment' regarded himself as an outsider on account of his humble provincial origins. One of his Pomp and Circumstance Marches has become a firm favourite at the Last Night of the Proms; he also wrote symphonies and concerti, songs and oratorio. A grateful nation [?] unceremoniously marked the 150th anniversary of his birth by withdrawing a banknote that bore his portrait.
Who was he?
Sir Hubert Parry
Sir Charles Stanford
Sir Edward Elgar
Sir Henry Wood
This is dear Edward Elgar, he of the musical pen-portraits of his friends in the Enigma Variations, a sublime Piano Quintet and much other wonderful music. He is now rightfully acknowledged as a composer who articulated not only the beauty of the British landscape, but also its moments of public pageantry
Another Catholic composer (and why not?): this one is probably most famous for his theatre work, most notably an aria he set for a show called Alfred in 1740, Rule Britannia! ~ also nowadays a fixture at the Last Night of the Proms. Who was he?
Thomas Augustine Arne
David Garrick
Henry Purcell
George Friderick Handel
This was Arne; Garrick was a dramaturge and lyricist, and the other two offered composers were each Protestants
Though rightly famous for many probably greater works, he was a pioneer composer of film scores including for Night Mail (to a script by the poet WH Auden, for a Post Office Film Unit documentary) and the Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, based on a theme by Purcell ~ with whom this composer shared a birthday on 22 November, feast-day of Saint Cecilia (patroness of music).
Who was he?
Percy Whitlock
Walter Leigh
Benjamin Britten
William Walton
Walter Leigh in fact composed more film scores for the GPO film unit than did Britten; sadly he was killed in action in Africa in 1942, else he might well have gone on to write other splendid and larger works. His Concertino for Harpsichord and Strings is an absolute gem and highly recommended if you haven't come across it (or indeed, even if you have).
Britten's record and reputation meanwhile stand for themselves!
He was a symphonist, composer of cantatas, masques and film scores; he served as a stretcher-bearer in the RAMC during the Great War, where close experience of gunfire may well have hastened the deafness that afflicted him in older age. He was an avid collector, arranger and 'user' of folk music, not least in the tunes he introduced and edited for two hymnbooks, The English Hymnal and Songs of Praise, which ~ directly or indirectly ~ probably had an incalculable effect on people's musical tastes in an age of greater churchgoing and the singing of hymns at obligatory morning assemblies in schools.
Who was he?
Sir Arthur Bliss
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Sir Charles Villiers Stanford
Sir Edward Elgar
This committed and remarkable man was a creative and inspirational stalwart of the British musical scene until his death in 1958, after which he was laid to rest in Westminster Abbey
The first significant English-language opera was Dido and Aeneas (1689) ... by which composer?
John Blow
George Frideric Handel
Thomas Arne
Henry Purcell
This is the illustrious Purcell with whom Britten later shared an auspicious birthday, and one of whose other widely-recognised creations is the hymn-tune Westminster Abbey (where this composer had been Organist)
For well over 50 years now, the BBC's Radio 4 (and its predecessor channel, the Home Service) has broadcast daily episodes on weekdays of its 'everyday story of country folk', The Archers. Its 'rum-ti-tum' signature tune is an aural icon both for devotees, and for detractors or parodists, instantly evoking the rural folk music tradition that someone once referred to as 'cowpat music'. The piece is now regarded as a classic of the British Light Music genre and continues to be broadcast (at least, in truncated form) on a daily basis. Who composed it?
Arthur Wood
Haydn Wood
Ernest Tomlinson
Trevor Duncan
The piece in question, Barwick Green, comes from his suite My Native Heath of 1924. If you are interested in British Light Music, any of the other composers offered as 'distractors' here would be good initial references for some enjoyable further research


Author:  Ian Miles

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