Having been a concert reviewer for a while now, I was fascinated to come across One Man’s War, describing the wartime concert-going and writings of Lionel Bradley. Employee of the London Library by day, he was a passionate concert-goer and, thanks to his writings, we have some notion of what wartime concert life was like.
Amongst others, Katie Derham talks to Joan Bailey, who worked with Bradley.
In a time when people worry about the future audience for live classical music, it’s interesting to consider people sufficiently passionate to risk the Blitz for the thrill of live performance.
I found this programme especially interesting on two counts:
- I recently saw (and wrote about) the St. Petersburg Symphony give a 70th anniversary performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No 7 ‘Leningrad’ which was premièred under wartime conditions – specifically the 872-day Siege of Leningrad.
- One of the works which struck Bradley most was Benjamin Britten‘s Peter Grimes, the Four Sea Interludes from which I also experienced live (and wrote about) very recently.