The cultural year was dominated by the Festival of Britain and the opening of The Royal Festival Hall, the first dedicated concert hall of its size to be built in London since 1893: located on the south bank of the Thames, this was to host concerts by major orchestras from Britain and abroad.[1] The Festival itself was a celebration of music, art and theatre. It notably provided an opportunity for the staging of many events seen during the first Folk music Festival held in Edinburgh, organised with the help of such talents as the American Alan Lomax, the Irish traditional musician Seamus Ennis and the political theatre director Ewan MacColl, who would go on to form the Ballad and Blues Club.[2]

List of years in British music
See also 1951 in the United Kingdom

Opera and other forms of classical music, while mainly attractive to a middle class audience, were popular in concert and on the radio. Operas sung in English struck a note of patriotism in a nation still recovering from the Second World War and then engaged in the Korea.

The biggest selling artists on both sides of the Atlantic were Bing Crosby and Doris Day but British singers such as Gracie Fields and Vera Lynn were also very popular, receiving radio play and performing in many live venues.

A style of jazz known as Trad or Traditional Jazz, or sometimes called the Dixieland sound was emerging, drawing for its inspiration the old New Orleans Jazz of an earlier period. The luminaries of this music were people like Ken Colyer who had formed the Crane River Jazz Band which included Chris Barber and later a banjo player called Lonnie Donegan who would introduce a musical style from America called skiffle which would influence the musical career of a young John Lennon. However, the seeds of rock and roll could not even be glimpsed in the UK of 1951.

Trad jazz was a reaction to the big band jazz of the previous decade with its 20 or sometimes even 40 member orchestras named after the band leaders such as Joe Loss and Kenny Baker. The latter were still popular in 1951 and played a form of jazz called Swing. Paramount among the band leaders of this time was Ted Heath whose Orchestra regularly featured on BBC radio programmes. They were an essential part of the nightclub scene in the big cities of the time and were heavily influenced by their American counterparts such as Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington. The smaller Trad Jazz groups in contrast included such then unknowns as George Melly and Acker Bilk, who had recently moved to London to play with Ken Colyer's band.[3]

Events Edit

Popular music Edit

Classical music: new works Edit

Opera Edit

Film and Incidental music Edit

Musical theatre Edit

Births Edit

Deaths Edit

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ Foreman, Lewis & Foreman, Susan. London: A Musical Gazetteer. Yale University Press, 2005: pp. 67–68.
  2. ^ Peggy SeegerEwan MacColl: his life and works
  3. ^ "Biography". Ackers Music Agency. Archived from the original on 2015-02-15. Retrieved 3 April 2009.
  4. ^ Foreman, Lewis & Foreman, Susan. (2005): p. 67.
  5. ^ Mitchell, Donald, Reed, Philip & Cooke, Mervyn (eds) (2004). Letters from a Life: Selected Letters of Benjamin Britten, Vol 3, 1946–1951. London: Faber and Faber. p. 534
  6. ^ Carpenter, Humphrey. (1992) Benjamin Britten: A Biography. London: Faber and Faber. p. 296
  7. ^ A. J., "Cheltenham Festival", The Musical Times 92, no. 1303 (September 1951): 416–17.
  8. ^ Anon., "The Haslemere Festival", The Musical Times 92, no. 1301 (July 1951): 312.
  9. ^ Margaret Reece-Evans, "The Swansea Festival", Musical Times 92, no. 1305 (November): 516.
  10. ^ Anonymous, 'Royal Opera House: "Turandot"', The Times, issue 52139 (Tuesday, October 23, 1951): p. 6, col F.
  11. ^ Mitchell, Donald (ed) (2004). Letters From A Life: Selected Letters of Benjamin Britten, Vol. 3 1946–51. London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 0-571-22282-X. p. 534
  12. ^ Grogan, Christopher; Strode, Rosamund (2010). "Part II: 1931–52". Imogen Holst: A Life in Music (revised ed.). Woodbridge, Suffolk: The Boydell Press. ISBN 978-1-84383-599-8. p162-165
  13. ^ Banfield S. George Lloyd. In: The New Grove Dictionary of Opera. Macmillan, London & New York, 1997.
  14. ^ "THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE, Leppard, The Cambridge Review, Volume LXXIII, 13 October 1951". Peter Tranchell, Composer. Archived from the original on 5 September 2017. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  15. ^ Wilfrid H. Mellers, "Current Chronicle:London" (Subscription Access), The Musical Quarterly 37, no. 4 (October): 580–8.
  16. ^ "David Coverdale: Still rocking after all these years". Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  17. ^ Obituary, The Times, 7 March 1951, p. 6
  18. ^ Brad Hill (2005). Classical. Infobase Publishing. p. 292. ISBN 978-0-8160-6976-7.
  19. ^ Stephen Lloyd (2001). William Walton: Muse of Fire. Boydell & Brewer. p. 54. ISBN 978-0-85115-803-7.
  20. ^ David Pierce (1995). Yeats's Worlds: Ireland, England and the Poetic Imagination. Yale University Press. p. 332. ISBN 978-0-300-06323-3.

External links Edit