Conductors in Britain, 1870-1914

Conductors in Britain, 1870-1914

Wielding the Baton at the Height of Empire

Fiona M. Palmer

eBook for Handhelds

Boydell Press



Shows how the work of orchestral conductors was shaped by and enriched cultural life in Britain from the late Victorian era to World War I.
Drawing on many archival findings, this book considers the emerging function and status of orchestral conductors in Britain, and the nature of the opportunities available to them, from the late Victorian era until the outbreak of World War I. It does so by examining and comparing the profiles and impact of eight men whose work supplied the needs of a variety of institutions across the period but whose significant contributions were overshadowed by the emergence of virtuoso interpreters. The conducting activities of Julius Benedict, William Cusins, Joseph Barnby, Arthur Sullivan, Frederic Cowen, Alexander Mackenzie, Dan Godfrey and Landon Ronald provide a lens through which the evolution of conducting as a profession is traced. At the British Empire's height their work was shaped by and enriched the cultural life of the nation. During a period of intense activity and development, their portfolios of engagements and working patterns shed light on the infrastructures within the music business. By focusing on the fortunes and agency of conductors resident within the marketplace, this book deepens our understanding of the internal networks, influences and priorities within musical life in Britain in the late nineteenth century.

FIONA M. PALMER is Professor of Music at the National University of Ireland Maynooth.

An e-book version of this title is available (9781782049395), to libraries through a number of trusted suppliers. See here for a full list of our partners.


17 black and white illustrations
320 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Music in Britain, 1600-2000
Hardback, 9781783271450, March 2017
eBook for Handhelds, 9781782049616, March 2017
Boydell Press
Share on Facebook   Share on Twitter   Pin it   Share by Email

Table of Contents

The Context: Conductors in the British Marketplace [1870-1914]
Conducting the Philharmonic Societies of Liverpool and London [1867-1880s]: Julius Benedict and William Cusins
Conducting the Royal Choral Society and the Leeds Festival [1880s-1890s]: Joseph Barnby and Arthur Sullivan
Conducting the Philharmonic Society of London [1888-1900s]: Frederic Cowen and Alexander Mackenzie
Conducting in Bournemouth, London and Birmingham [1890s-1914]: Dan Godfrey Jr and Landon Ronald
Select Bibliography

Also in Series