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The University of Southampton
MusicPart of Humanities

Simon McVeigh Hartley Residency Seminar

15 - 16 November 2016
Building 6, Room 1077 (Lecture Theatre A)

For more information regarding this seminar, please email David Bretherton at .

Event details

We are delighted that Prof. Simon McVeigh (Goldsmiths, University of London) will join us for the first Hartley Residency of the 2016-17 academic year.


Day 1: Tuesday 15 November 2016

9:15–11:00, Room 2/2061: Simon McVeigh will attend Laurie Stras's 'Research Skills 1' (MUSI6031) MMus seminar.

11:00–12:30, Room 6/1077: Introductory seminar for postgraduates. Material that students should read in advance will be circulated on or shortly after Tuesday 1 November 2016.

14:00–15:30: One-to-one meetings between Simon McVeigh and PhD students (appointments should be arranged through Laurie Stras,

16:00–17:30, Room 6/1077: Formal presentation: Simon McVeigh, 'Out of the box, into the fire: Writing about Edwardian musical culture from multiple perspectives' (abstract below). Chair: Jeanice Brooks.

Followed by Reception

Day 2: Wednesday 16 November 2016

10:00–13:00, Room 6/1077: Training Session for PGR students.

10:00–13:00: One-to-one meetings between Simon McVeigh and PhD students (appointments should be arranged through Laurie Stras,

14:00-15:30, Room 6/1077: Formal presentation: Thomas Irvine, 'Anglo-German musical relations around 1900: After the transnational turn' (abstract below). Chair: David Bretherton.

16:00–17:30, Room 6/1077: Closing roundtable: 'Big Data, Small Data and the Challenges for Musicology'. Chair: Jeanice Brooks. Panellists: David Bretherton, Mark Everist, Simon McVeigh and Richard Polfreman.


Simon McVeigh (Goldsmiths, University of London), 'Out of the box, into the fire: Writing about Edwardian musical culture from multiple perspectives'. 

Drawing primarily on research into London concert life in the years around 1900, in particular my current project on Edwardian recitals, the paper will interrogate what it means to study concert life as we weave our way through the cultural turn into the 'big data' landscape of the digital age. In particular, I will question whether traditional modes of argument, via the multi-chapter monograph, are best suited to exploring the multi-faceted perspectives that are opening up in this field.

Concert histories have typically been organized around either institutions or individuals, often geographically delineated: such studies tend to emphasise supply over reception and are usually linear in their chronological structure. Yet some recent studies have adopted a more conceptual approach, addressing current themes of history, sociology, philosophy and the other arts – cosmopolitanism and nationalism, liberalism and governmentality, professionalism and domesticity, consumerism and technology – thereby bringing music out of the side-show to which it often seems relegated. At a still more abstract level, different ways of thinking about time and space suggest intriguing new avenues for exploration. 

How does such theorizing interact with the explosion of data about concert programmes and reception that the digital revolution has spawned? The bottom-up approach adopted by digital historians has immediately offered a much less clear but nevertheless richer picture of the constant flux and diversity of music-making across London (from the West End to the suburbs), and of the myriad ways in which repertoires intersect – including a boundless supply of new music, and far more early music than is normally recognized. I will suggest that only by more flexible non-linear modes of publishing, combining printed and electronic modes, can we hope to capture a matrix of such complexity; and thereby encourage scholarly interaction and dialogue across the many boundaries that currently constrain us.

Thomas Irvine (University of Southampton), 'Anglo-German musical relations around 1900: After the transnational turn'. 

Both traditional and critical accounts of the 'English Music Renaissance' frame British musical life around 1900 with growing Anglo-German antagonism. Recent musical scholarship remains substantially wedded to a pessimistic view of Anglo-German relations in this era. Many observers dwell on a low point on the way to the outbreak of war in 1914: Oskar Schmitz's much-quoted barb in 1904 that England was 'the land without music'. Twenty-five years of research in other fields paints a far different picture. Around 1900 Britain and Germany were, to quote the title of an essay by the historian David Blackbourn, 'as dependent upon each other as man and wife'. In addition, the transnational and global turns in history have cast doubt on the utility of national frameworks. In this talk I will outline why I think musicologists – not for the first time – are 'late' compared to 'proper' historians, and what I think needs to be done to 'catch up'.

Speaker information

Simon McVeigh, Goldsmiths, University of London. Professor of Music.

Thomas Irvine,Senior Lecturer in Music.

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