Music, Poetry and the Trauma of War

Music, Poetry and the Trauma of War

LSO St Luke's, Sunday 2 November 2014, 10:00 - 17:30

Throughout recorded history, music has accompanied soldiers marching to war, but it has also mourned their loss and attempted to help survivors come to terms with the devastation that ensues. This study day complements the world premiere of Equal Voices, Sally Beamish's setting of Andrew Motion's poem commemorating the First World War and looks at how poets and composers have responded to conflict.

Speakers: Stephen Johnson, Hugh McManners, Lord Alderdice, Lt Col Bob Meldrum, Andrew Motion and Sally Beamish.

This event includes a ticket to the evening premiere of Equal Voices in the LSO concert at the Barbican.

Musical Brain's Trust

The Musical Brain’s Trust is a new venture, descended, at least so far as its title is concerned, from a BBC radio programme, The Brains Trust, first broadcast in 1941. The programme included such luminaries as A.J.Ayer, Isaiah Berlin, Jacob Bronowski, Kenneth Clark, Bertrand Russell, Will Hay and Malcolm Sargent and an astonishing 29% of the population listened regularly. It transferred to the television in the 1950s.

The Musical Brain has determined to launch its own panel of experts in the fields of science, the humanities and the arts. Presenters of Musical Brain’s Trust events will be selected from The Musical Brain’s list of distinguished conference speakers. Presentations will take the form of discussions and performance around particular chosen topics of both scientific and artistic interest in afternoon, evening or half-day events.

The pilot Musical Brain’s Trust event, entitled The Sun Moves Always West, was held at Dewsall Court, just south of Hereford, over Remembrance Day weekend in November 2012. Stephen Johnson, presenter of Radio 3’s Discovering Music, headed talks and discussions about British composers and poets whose lives were touched by the Great War. Psychologist, Professor John Cox, gave an illustrated talk on the psychology of song with baritone Ross Ramgobin and pianist Anna Tilbrook, and discussed how song, might have helped the composers who survived the Great War to come to terms with the effects of trauma. The Saturday evening concert programme included songs by Butterworth, Gurney, Ireland and Vaughan Williams; Frank Bridge’s Three Improvisations For The Left Hand and Finzi’s Elegy for violin and piano, and concluded with Elgar’s Violin Sonata written in 1918.

The weekend with its mixture of illustrated talks, in depth discussion and performance, proved to be a great success, much enjoyed by the audience, presenters and musicians alike, all of whom have professed their interest in attending and taking part in future Musical Brain’s Trust events.

The Musical Brain ®
Registered Charity Number: 1159843