Anthony Burgess would sometimes claim that his true vocation was to be a composer of classical music, and that writing literature was a secondary activity to his main artistic project. The truth is more complex: music and literature are intertwined throughout his creative work, with novels often featuring composers and musicians as characters, and songs and musical forms and techniques appearing throughout his texts; Burgess also made many musical settings of poems by other writers. Here is part of a series of talks by Burgess on the relationship between music, language and literature, as well as unreleased recordings of one of his earliest surviving pieces, a sonata for cello and piano in G minor; an ambitious setting of TS Eliot’s The Waste Land from 1978; and short pieces for oboe and piano, and guitar quartet.
Rhapsody For Oboe And Piano by Anthony Burgess
Trois Morceaux Irlandais by Anthony Burgess
Sonata For Violoncello And Piano In G Minor by Anthony Burgess
The Waste Land by TS Eliot, music by Anthony Burgess
Anthony Burgess lecture, ‘What did the music say?’, 1980