Beauty for Ashes. Selected Prose and Related Documents

Beauty for Ashes. Selected Prose and Related Documents


Selected Prose & Related Documents

336 pp. 23.4 x 13.5 cm illus. in colour and monochrome

Poet of the Second World War and peacetime dramatist, Francis Warner was 75 this year (2012). This, the first selection from his prose, gives readers of his work some indication of the historical and intellectual background from which his poetry has sprung: of 'the giant race before the flood' who lived on to help shape Britain's post-war imagination.

Starting with memories of the Blitz and his poem 'Blitz Requiem', Warner recalls his schooldays at Christ's Hospital, Horsham, recovering from six years of war, and the role played by music.

He writes of his friends: 'Henry Chadwick: Musician', Kathleen Raine as fellow poet, C. S. Lewis and the Psalms, Henry Moore, Francis Bacon, Edmond Blunden, and Samuel Beckett, reproducing the manuscripts off two short plays Beckett discussed with and gave to him. Other subjects include W. B. Yeats, Benjamin Britten and the Japanese Noh plays, Samuel Palmer as poet, and Hugh Wybrew's Liturgical Texts of the Orthodox Church.

The book concludes with 'Francis Warner as Musician in Performance' an illustrative CD with music by Honegger, Vaughan Williams, and Warner's collaborator the composer and organist David Goode: and Stephen Cleobury conducting the Choir of King's College Cambridge singing one of their anthems.

Francis Warner DLitt, Hon. DMus, is Emeritus Fellow of St Peter's College, Oxford, and Honorary Fellow of St Catharine's College, Cambridge.


Armageddon and Faith: a Survivor's Meditation on the Blitz, 1940-45
Blitz Requiem
Remembrance Sunday Sermon, King's College Chapel, Cambridge, 2011
Four War Sonnets
Christ's Hospital Three and Sixty Years Ago
Henry Chadwick: Musician
The Song that is Christmas
A Cambridge Friendship: Kathleen Raine and Francis Warner
C. S. Lewis and the Revision of the Psalter
A Blessing on C. S. Lewis's home in Oxford, The Kilns
Foreword to Hugh Wybrew: Liturgical Texts of the Orthodox Church
The Bones and the Flesh: Henry Moore and Francis Bacon
Samuel Palmer's Poem 'The Sorceress'
James Joyce's Poetry
J. M. Synge's Poetry
Edmund Blunden's Pastoral Poetry
Richard Wall's rondeau cycle In Aliquot Parts
Japanese Noh plays and W. B. Yeats, Benjamin Britten and Samuel Beckett
Manuscript of Beckett's Breath
The Absence of Nationalism in the Work of Samuel Beckett
Manuscript of Beckett's Sans, and covering Letter
A Cup of Coffee in Paris, by Penelope Warner
Francis Warner as a Musician in the1950s, by Bernard Martin
Compact disc: Francis Warner as Musician in Performance
Anthem for Christ the King

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My Life and Music

My Life and Music


Widely regarded as one of the 20th century’s finest pianists, Artur Schnabel (1882-1951) was especially renowned as an interpreter of Beethoven. In the words of his friend Edward Crankshaw, his performance of the Diabelli Variations in his last years was ‘like looking at the sun without dark glasses’. However, Schnabel also earned high praise for his playing of Schubert, Mozart, and Brahms. Indeed, his later concert repertoire was largely devoted to great composers in the Austro-German tradition. In explanation, Schnabel contended that he wished to play only ‘music that was better than it could be performed’.

His uncompromising, passionate commitment to penetrating the mysteries of the greatest music is clearly revealed in this absorbing, highly readable combination of personal reminiscence and musical manifesto. Not a conventional autobiography, it includes a transcript of 12 autobiographical lectures Schnabel gave to music students at the University of Chicago in 1945. The lectures were followed by informal sessions in which the pianist answered questions from the audience on a wide variety of musical topics. These questions and Schnabel’s revealing, unrehearsed replies comprise the second part of this book, offering rich insight into the pianist’s personality and musical philosophy. The final section, ‘Reflections on Music’, is a talk Schnabel gave on the occasion of receiving an honorary degree from the University of Manchester.

While his approach to music was highly intellectual, and his demeanour on the concert stage formidably serious (he seldom smiled and never played an encore), Schnabel in person was a warm, animated, and stimulating companion. Much of that personal appeal comes across in this book, as the pianist recalls his experiences as a child prodigy in turn-of-the-century Vienna, his family and social background, pianistic training and preferences in the repertoire, his attitude toward the great conductors and composers of the day, thoughts on the teaching of music, and many more topics.

Enhanced by 20 illustrations, including many photographs from the collection of Schnabel’s son, My Life and Music offers an in-depth portrait — in his own words — of one of the twentieth century’s greatest musicians. It will especially appeal to music lovers, but offers a rich reading experience to anyone fascinated by the passion, power and insight of a musician of genius.

Unabridged, this slightly corrected republication of My Life and Music and Reflections on Music was first published by Colin Smythe Ltd in 1970. The present edition has the joint imprint of Dover Publications and Colin Smythe Ltd. It has a Foreword by Sir Robert Mayer and an Introduction by Edward Crankshaw. There are 20 black-and-white illustrations.

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