English Piano Music on a Bösendorfer by an American in Vienna

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.”

From Laurence Binyon's poem, "For the Fallen", which was first published in The Times in September 1914.

It is my experience that the English know how to express patriotic feelings in word or in music and I admire them for it. Be it in a sombre mood on Remembrance Day on the 11th November at the London Cenotaph in the presence of Her Majesty or in a flag waving pomp and circumstance at the “Last Night of the Proms” at the Royal Albert Hall rocking to Sir Edgar Elgar’s “Land of Hope and Glory”, they simply know what to do.

“My son was killed while laughing at some jest. I would I knew
What it was, and it might serve me in a time when jests are few.”

from EPITAPHS OF THE WAR (1914-1918) by Rudyard Kipling

War is never fun. The mood must be serious and sombre when we, particularly in this centennial year of 2018, undertake to remember “The Slaughter of the Times”. And sombre it was.

“The Slaughter of the Times: English Piano Music and the First World War” was the title of this recital of four English composers of that period: Cyril Scott, Lord Berners, William Baines and Arnold Bax, breathtakingly performed by the young American pianist, Eric McElroy, who not only took us through each composer’s biography but also exposed to us the spirit hiding within the music.

For a good hour our members, seated in the splendour of the British Ambassador’s residence, listened spellbound and in total silence to this simply unique performance only to break out at the end in enthusiastic applause!

Our President Dr Kurt Tiroch directed us immediately afterwards to a splendid Buffet, with a multitude of cold starters, a variety of hot dishes and a separate table groaning under the weight of several deserts! I shall not mention the drinks, which seemed to flow endlessly.

I am not ashamed to repeat myself once again: If you had not been here you certainly missed something huge!

Wolfgang Geissler

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