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Inside the archive: Five fascinating objects owned by Anthony Burgess — and what he wrote about them
This Man and Music, Anthony Burgess’s reflections on music, literature and autobiography, references a varied selection of music from the expected, such as Beethoven and Mozart, through the modernist influences on Burgess’s own music such as Stravinsky and Shostakovich, to the more surprising selections from the musicals of Sondheim and Bernstein.
This playlist attempts to offer and overview of Burgess’s musical tastes, and includes compositions that are referenced throughout Burgess’s literary corpus, such as Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune. Where possible, this playlist uses versions played by Manchester’s Hallé Orchestra. While these versions are not contemporary to Burgess, he first heard much of the classical music he grew to love in Manchester’s Free Trade Hall, played by the Hallé.
Below is a Spotify playlist featuring the music from This Man and Music (free account needed):
This Man and Music is not just about the music Burgess heard, but also the music he wrote.
We have put together a selection from the archives at the Burgess Foundation which allows the comparison between Burgess’s influence, above, and his compositions, below. As the conductor, composer and writer Paul Phillips has noted, ‘[Burgess’s] eclectic and ebullient style draws upon classical as well as jazz and popular music. Grounded in the tradition of tonality that spans the Baroque period through late 19th-century Romanticism and early 20th-century French Impressionism, Burgess’s music is strongly influenced by the works of Debussy and the English school of Elgar, Delius, Holst, Walton, and Vaughan Williams’.
Below is a Soundcloud playlist featuring some of Burgess’s own music from This Man and Music: