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The Reminiscences and Selected Music Criticism of Herbert Thompson

Edited by Michael Allis and Paul Watt

Herbert Thompson (1856-1945) was chief music critic at The Yorkshire Post from 1886 until 1936, as well as being the Yorkshire correspondent for the Musical Times. This volume includes a critical edition of his Reminiscences, and a substantial selection of his published music criticism. Thompson offers a fascinating commentary on the nature of music criticism and the value of programme notes, along with his views on a plethora of composers (including J. S. Bach, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Meyerbeer, Stanford, Sullivan, and Wagner), performers (such as Leonard Borwick, Joachim, Clara Schumann, and Sivori, plus a range of operatic and concert vocalists), and conductors (Buths, Costa, Nikisch, Richter, von Bülow, amongst others). In addition to charting his concert-going in London (with reference to institutions such as the Philharmonic Society, the Bach Choir and the Crystal Palace concerts) and documenting a range of performance timings, Thompson also discusses programming at provincial festivals (including Bridlington, Gloucester and Hovingham, but especially Leeds) and the variety of music-making in Yorkshire. Not only does Thompson highlight the rich detail of British musical life, but his description of his musical tour of Europe in 1889 represents a significant contribution to nineteenth-century travel writing and the nature of music-making abroad.

About the Editors

Michael Allis is Professor of Musicology at the University of Leeds. He has published widely on a range of British composers, including the books Parry’s Creative Process (2003) and Granville Bantock’s Letters to William Wallace and Ernest Newman, 1893-1921 (2017). Often incorporating an interdisciplinary approach, as in his 2012 book British Music and Literary Context, and studies of musical refigurings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Tennyson, Poe, Villon, Southey and Shelley, he has also explored the role of music in the writings of Aldous Huxley, Aleister Crowley and Robertson Davies. He is currently working on a study of Bantock’s literature-inspired orchestral works.

Paul Watt is an Adjunct Professor of Musicology at The University of Adelaide and Director of Research at the Busking Project, Berlin. He is the author of three books, Ernest Newman: A Critical Biography (2017), The Regulation and Reform of Music Criticism in In Nineteenth-Century England (2018), and Music, Morality and Social Reform in Nineteenth-Century Britain (2023). He is currently writing a cultural history of Gregorian chant in Australia.

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Pages: 312 pages

Published: June 2024


ISBN: 978-1-63804-093-4

ISBN: 978-1-63804-094-1