Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hilary Burrage: 'The information about the VW circle is however new to me, and also very interesting!'

[Call Mr. Robeson: A Life, With Songs]

Earlier today, Nov. 1, 2011, AfriClassical posted: “OvergrownPath.com: 'The moderate man is contemptible.'” We published this excerpt from the OvergrownPath.com post:

"It will surprise many to learn that my headline is supplied by Ralph Vaughan Williams. He was one of a group of composers, which included Gustav Holst, John Ireland and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, who met in the late 1890s to discuss William Morris' brand of socialism, and Vaughan-Williams' proposition that 'the moderate man is contemptible' was the subject of one of their debates. Vaughan Williams was a leading figure in the English folk music revival and the pentatonic scale, which is the common foundation of folk music around the world, links the English rural tradition to African American spirituals. The presence of the Afro-English Samuel Coleridge-Taylor in Vaughan Williams' circle indicates that at the time racial prejudice was less virulent in Britain than in America, which is why that peerless exponent of the African-American spiritual Paul Robeson chose to live in England from 1928 to 1939 where he was able both to perform and pursue his radical politics.”

We forwarded our post to the attention of Hilary Burrage of the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Foundation, http://www.SCTF.org.uk/, in the U.K. She promptly replied:

“Many thanks as ever Bill.
We of course know Tayo Aluko quite well, having first invited him about a decade ago now to perform, sometimes in works by SCT [Samuel Coleridge-Taylor] or related others, in our local charity ‘Hotfoot on Hope Street’ annual concerts, which were promoted by HOPES in Liverpool. (Tayo was at that time a local architect.)

“The information about the VW [Vaughan Williams] circle is however new to me, and also very interesting! Hopefully we can discover more about this before too long.
Best wishes to all,

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) is featured at AfriClassical.com. His participation with Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) in a circle of composers who discussed political issues in the late 1890s was also new to AfriClassical.

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