Lieder Migrations

Lieder Migrations

Laura Turnbridge

Funded by fellowships from the Leverhulme Trust and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, this book project investigates Lieder performance between the World Wars. Migration is a key theme, considered from two perspectives: first, the traffic between continental Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States, and the politics of performing German-language repertoire in the Anglophone world. Second--and this is the aspect of the project on which I will be concentrating at the MPIWG--the "migration" of art song from the concert hall to the recording studio, and its impact on listening practices.

Early twentieth-century Lieder recitals took place on a grander scale than most histories remember and performance styles were geared towards large audiences. The spread of radio and recordings after the First World War encouraged a different, more personal, mode of listening: if you will, it seems to have reintroduced Lieder into the home. My research in the UK and US has revealed that recordings brought to the fore nuances of language, including singers' delivery (pronunciation, diction, accent), with implications for how musicians and audiences expressed their national and/or cosmopolitan identities. Also, the recording industry seems to have brought about shifts in attitude towards repertoire; in particular, there was a move towards collecting and listening to complete works or cycles of songs. My intention is to compare Anglophone attitudes towards listening to Lieder to those expressed in German sources, supported by the expertise of the History of Listening Research group at MPIWG.