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The Rest Is Noise: The rise of nationalism

Updated Tuesday, 15th January 2013

2/3 Feb: Folk roots and new nations. The Rest Is Noise tackles national identity in its second weekend.

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Bela Bartok Creative commons image Icon Work found at Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 3.0 under Creative-Commons license Bela Bartok, one of the most important composers of the 20th century This is the second weekend in a series of events at the Southbank Centre exploring 20th Century music.

With the collapse of Imperial domination, new nations were emerging, keen to promote their national culture and history, and old ones were looking anew at their rich heritage.

Frequently, they wished to escape the shadow of German influence – the Franco-Prussian War had signalled that the German Empire’s rise as a world power throughout the 19th century carried desires of supremacy.

The Slavic nations, furthermore, had been denied a voice under the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and indicated a desire for cultural self-determination.

A return to nationalist and folk cultures was one way of emerging nations to assert their identity.

Meanwhile, British composers rediscover their roots by gathering folk songs and turning them into symphonies.

Since the invention of the recording cylinder, all the inflections, nuance and character of folk songs and singers could be recorded faithfully, and many composers found new inspiration in their native music.

Melodies followed the patterns of speech and rhythms matched the energy of dancing bodies as a group of composers wrested music from its lofty romantic perch and returned it to the hard-edged physical world.

Special OU presentation on Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf Creative commons image Icon Work found at / CC BY-SA 3.0 under Creative-Commons license The writer Virginia Woolf Sunday 3rd February sees the first in a series of presentations and talks by staff from The Open University as part of The Rest Is Noise festival.

The OU's Delia da Sousa Correa joins authors Kirsty Gunn and Gabriel Josipovici to present Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf: Writing, Music and Modernity.

The presentation discusses how music might have affected the writing of Modernists Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf.

Mansfield was a trained cellist; Woolf attended concerts throughout her writing life. Composers from Wagner to Debussy influenced both of their writing. 

The presentation will discuss the relationship between music and writing in Mansfield and Woolf and in their own work.

The talk takes place at Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall, between 12 and 1pm.

It is included as part of a full day of events and talks and is accessed by purchasing a Day or Weekend Pass—for more details, follow the 'learn more' link below.

Bites: 15 minute talks by OU experts

The following talks are part of the Festival’s Bites presentations—a collection of 15 minute talks which provide the audience with an intense, whistle-stop tour through the needs-to-know of the topic.

These short presentations are included in the Day or Weekend Passes. For more details of other talks across all the weekend events, follow the 'learn more' link below.

On Saturday 2nd February at 3:30pm the OU's Professor Robert Fraser delivered a short talk titled "W.B. Yeats and the Myth of Ireland", describing Yeats's involvement with the nationalist politics of the day.

On Sunday 3rd February at 12pm the OU’s Dr Sara Haslam, Senior Lecturer in English Literature and Chair of the Ford Madox Ford Society, presented "Refracting the age: Ford Madox Ford 1890-1919".

Also on Sunday at 12pm, Prof Fraser delivered another short talk: "D.H. Lawrence, Dialect and the Mining of Memory", discussing the uses of Nottinghamshire speech in Lawrence's work from his early plays up to 'Lady Chatterley's Lover'.

On Sunday at 3:30pm, Dr Aarón Alzola Romero presented "Old wine in new bottles: Political uses of archaelogical heritage in the forging of a Catalan national identity".

Listen to a selection of recordings across the weekend

The League of Nations and the grandfather of the CD. While they don’t appear to have anything in common, they both helped to forge the identities of new nations.

This weekend explored the scientific, cultural and historical themes that changed the political and musical map of Europe.

Catch up with the weekend using the media player below. Visit the Southbank Centre to learn more and to read about future weekend events.

Explore nationalism on OpenLearn





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