Sir Frederick Bridge and the musical furtherance of the 1902 imperial project

Wright, D. C. H. (2006) Sir Frederick Bridge and the musical furtherance of the 1902 imperial project. In: Europe, Empire, and Spectacle in Nineteenth-Century British Music. Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain . Routledge, Abingdon, pp. 115-130. ISBN 9780754652083 (hardback) 9781315094281 (e-book)


This chapter draws upon these models to examine the selection, organization, and presentation of the music for the coronation of King Edward VII on 9 August 1902. The Director of Music for this event was Sir Frederick Bridge, Organist of Westminster Abbey. Bridge was the first Abbey Organist to hold this formal responsibility since Henry Purcell, for, as he states in his autobiography, there was no prerogative automatically entitling the Organist of the Abbey to direct the music for coronation services. Music was an important force in shaping British attitudes to Empire, and interpretative frames proposed by David Cannadine and Jeffrey Richards have emphasized its significance. These striking musical differences between the coronations of Victoria and Edward illustrate the rise of a new professionalism in British music during the last quarter of the nineteenth century, with new and exciting modern repertoires being more innovatively packaged and presented to audiences in better-quality performances.

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