Friday 22 July 2022, 8pm
Pleased to host a launch event for 'Sound Within Sound: Opening Our Ears to the Twentieth Century', a radical new book by journalist and BBC Radio 3 broadcaster Kate Molleson, which fundamentally changes the way we think about classical music and the musicians who made it. As part of this event we're delighted to welcome iconic folk singer, songmaker, activist and bona fide musical legend, Peggy Seeger, for a very special live set.
The twentieth century was the century of modernity; in a world undergoing rapid transformation, musicians drew upon new technologies, social revolution and seismic geopolitical changes to bring forth a truly paradigm-shifting aural catalogue of human existence. Classical music flourished, and yet when we reflect on the genre’s history its central figures seem to share three characteristics: they were white, male and western.
Sound Within Sound is the impassioned and exhilarating story of the composers who dared to challenge the conventional world of classical music in the twentieth century. Traversing the globe from Ethiopia and the Philippines to Mexico, Russia and beyond, who altered the course of musical history, only to be sidelined and denied recognition during an era that systemically favoured certain sounds – and people – over others.
A celebration of radical creativity rooted in ideas of protest, gender, race, ecology and resistance, Sound Within Sound is an energetic reappraisal of twentieth-century classical music that opens up the world far beyond its established centres, challenges stereotypical portrayals of the genre and shatters its traditional canon.
KATE MOLLESON is a journalist and broadcaster who presents BBC Radio 3’s New Music Show and Music Matters. Her documentaries (BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service) have investigated music in Greenland, opera in Mongolia, lost recordings of Arabic classical music and the Ethiopian nun/pianist/composer Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou. Her articles are published in The Guardian, The New Statesman, Prospect, The Herald, BBC Music Magazine, Opera, Gramophone and elsewhere. She grew up in various parts of Scotland and the north of Canada and studied clarinet performance at McGill University (Montreal) and musicology at King’s College London. Her book Sound Within Sound, a global history of radical composers in the 20th century, was published by Faber in 2022. She lives in Edinburgh.
Peggy Seeger is a totally unique artist who has carved a special place in the folk revival of both the UK and the USA. Now in her mid-80s, her light burns as brightly as ever, still touring her legendary live performances that might include an unaccompanied traditional ballad, followed by an anecdote from her remarkable life, before launching into a topical song about drugs, war, hormones, politicians, unions, women, love or ecology.
A multi-instrumentalist (piano, guitar, 5-string banjo, autoharp, English concertina and Appalachian dulcimer), she is lauded for her feminist and political songs. She has made 25 solo recordings and participated in over a hundred more. Her 2021 album ‘First Farewell’ is a collection of 11 new songs written and recorded with family members.
As Ewan MacColl’s partner and muse, she was the inspiration for MacColl’s classic ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ (the title of her much-praised recent memoir) yet this is a woman who has consistently followed her own path with passion and vigour.
“A trailblazer, both in her musical life and in her fiercely independent spirit” – Evening Standard
Jennifer Lucy Allan is a writer and researcher. She is currently working on a PhD at CRiSAP (UAL) on the social and cultural history of the foghorn, and is also a freelance music journalist specialising in underground and experimental music. Previously she was online editor for The Wire, and now freelances for The Wire, The Quietus, The Guardian and others. She runs the reissues label Arc Light Editions with James Ginzburg, and is a core member of Laura Cannell’s Modern Ritual Collective. She has recently guested on BBC3’s Late Junction, and written a series on life living in a lighthouse for Caught By The River.