Anthony Burgess’s literary output is well known, and his work includes over thirty pieces of fiction, twenty-five works of non-fiction, volumes of journalism, screenplays, poems, lectures and interviews. But what about Burgess’s equally active musical life? Did you know that his shelves were filled with vinyl and cassettes as well as books? Or that he wrote a musical autobiography and hundreds of varied compositions?
This new exhibition highlights the ways in which music influenced Burgess’s literary work and informed many aspects of his writing, from the creation of his characters, to content and structure within his novels, to his attempts to fuse the two artforms together by setting literary texts to music.
As part of the display there’s also the chance to hear Burgess’s Desert Island Discs alongside recordings of the music that inspired him, and to listen to some of his own compositions which range from symphonic works, a ballet suite, an operetta, Sonata for Cello and Piano, chamber works and solo piano pieces.
Also on show are items which illustrate how a love of music and composition was constant throughout Burgess’s life, from his early years in Manchester prior to becoming a writer and during his later literary career.
The exhibition is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 2pm, and in the evenings during events.
A concert featuring the repertoire of some of Burgess’s favourite composers will take place in the Engine House on Friday 28th March with The Gildas Quartet at 7.30 pm. To find out more and to book tickets click here.