The New Aldeburgh Anthology takes its inspiration from Ronald Blythe's classic Aldeburgh Anthology of 1972, which summoned the spirit of Aldeburgh and the Suffolk coast in words and images that resonate still, and has proved enduringly popular. This new volume brings the story up to date and distils the very essence of the place just at the point when its identity might seem diluted by the accelerating pace of change. It speaks for and to the present generation, combining young voices with old, those of writers and musicians with poets and artists, of historians with naturalists, architects and ecologists, and local people.
Britten and Pears' Aldeburgh Festival lies at the heart of the enterprise. Much has changed, but the Festival still owes its unique appeal and character to the remarkable history and the inspiration of its founders, as well as their strong sense of place. Their legacy is re-examined by musicians such as Ian Bostridge, Steven Isserlis and Roger Vignoles, and music writers James Fenton, Paul Kildea, Peter Dickinson and Rupert Christiansen. Aldeburgh and the east coast of Suffolk is about so much more than music, however: the poets Andrew Motion, Blake Morrison, Kevin Crossley-Holland and Lavinia Greenlaw and other writers as diverse as Craig Brown and Wilkie Collins have all been inspired by its bright yet haunting atmosphere, Maggi Hambling and Alison Wilding are sculptors who have left their mark on the landscape, while artists as varied as Sidney Nolan and John Piper, Arthur Boyd and Louise Wilson have all derived rich inspiration from it.
The very landscape and ecology of east Suffolk is on the move, too, the coastline responding to the vagaries of climate change, the traditional ways of life, of farming and of fishing giving way to new. George Ewart Evans, W.G. Sebald and Richard Mabey are among those who respond to the power of the landscape, others to the spell of the sea, and the life that has evolved around both is evoked in words and images, some of them startling in their intensity.
Amongst the many contributions, the new Anthology contains some of the classic articles from the original, including writings by WH Auden, George Crabbe, Eric Crozier, Imogen Holst, Norman Scarfe and of course Ronald Blythe himself.
Published in association with Aldeburgh Music.
The felicities of this anthology are many, with many a precious insight into their subjects. There is charm, wit, melancholy scientific inquiry, musical and psychological interpretation. [...] Even its presentation - the look and feel of the book - is impressive. I cannot praise it enough. AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE
A magisterial companion to the festival and its setting. [...] More than 375 splendid pages confirm how much the annual festival of arts and music owes to the landscape and the sea and to the history of local creativity. EASTERN DAILY PRESS
A fascinating dip-in read and a source book for those wishing to trace the cultural history of the festival. RA (Royal Academy of Arts Magazine)
[A] handsome and valuable volume...The long-term survival and eventual rejuvenation of Aldeburgh as a musical nerve centre post-Britten has...been a triumph of creativity over adversity and this anthology gradually and magically tells exactly how and why. GRAMOPHONE
Highly enjoyable reading... EASTERN DAILY PRESS