Cornysh, Campion, Dowland: England’s sweet songsmiths

STUART MILLSON dives into old English ‘ayrs’ There is a persistent idea that English music only really got going with Parry and Elgar, but four centuries earlier William Cornysh, Thomas Campion and John Dowland had possessed national and European reputations. William Cornysh was one of England’s leading Tudor composers, gaining the attention and then patronage…

The forgotten Levels

FAITH MOULIN helped rewild an overlooked corner of Somerset My part of Somerset hides its age well.  When the Romans came to Yatton and Congresbury, they inherited an Iron Age salt-panning industry, set up the first systematic drainage system, and established an industrial-scale pottery at Congresbury, using the estuarine clay. A Roman temple has been…

Has the National Trust lost its way?

MAURICE GEORGE fears the heritage institution is forgetting its origins and aims The National Trust is 125 years old, has a membership approaching 10% of the population and exists to preserve things. How can such a body lose its way? To answer that question, we have to look at the context within which it operates…

Orpheans of the fringes

STUART MILLSON celebrates Celtic composers We tend to think of British music, and the landscape of the British repertoire, as belonging to English composers such as Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Britten. But it is not just bucolic, visionary southern English landscapes that have inspired great music. The Welsh landscape is just as much a place…

From iconoclasm to ruins

All paintings by the author ALEXANDER ADAMS surveys the story of deliberate destruction We are familiar with the folly and – from the Baroque period onward – the purposefully constructed ruin used to enhance the pathos of a place, most especially a view of a country estate. This would be a view that could be…

Classical Kent

Peter Warlock STUART MILLSON searches for unjustly overlooked Kent composers A recent release on an innovative recording label – with the somewhat obscure title, Heracleitus – brings a mysterious figure from 20th century music in this country into view. The CD from the recording arm of the English Music Festival, an organisation dedicated to the…

Home learning

PETER KING says that houses are not machines, but ‘organisms’ animated by us I was lying in bed one morning, with no plans other than to roll over. It was too early to get out of bed, and I had nothing to get up early for. As planned, at 7.00am the heating system clicked into…