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For some two hundred years following the death of Henry Purcell, England failed to produce a composer of international merit. The German critic Oscar A. H. Schmitz famously derided the nation as Das Land ohne Musik (“The land without music”). But throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, England nevertheless remained fertile creative ground; London in particular attracted many of the continent’s greatest composers—from Handel and Mendelssohn to Edvard Grieg—who in turn helped make that city one of the Western world’s musical capitals. Music@Menlo 2018’s opening program celebrates London’s cosmopolitan musical energy, juxtaposing these expatriate masters with two fresh voices of English music’s early twentieth-century renaissance, Benjamin Britten and Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Read the texts and translations for Vaughan Williams' Songs of Travel in Concert Program I