Wigmore Hall series in conversation with composers including James McMillan, Mark Anthony Turnage and Nico Muhly

Podcasts from Wolfson College, Oxford

Sir Thomas Allen performing and in conversation with Radio 3 presenter Kate Kennedy and pianist Simon Over:

Sir Thomas has won worldwide acclaim for the many roles he has made his own including Billy Budd, Pelléas, Eugene Onegin, Ulisse and Beckmesser. He has sung no less than 50 roles at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and in recent years, he has added directing to his credits, making an acclaimed US debut with The Marriage of Figaro.

Self/knowledge: Autobiography and Research: Kate Kennedy in conversation with Jonathan Wyatt:

How can you research yourself; and how does the self affect research? Drawing on multiple perspectives from across the humanities and social sciences, from medieval romance to stand-up comedy, speakers will explore the relationship between autobiography and academic research.

Wilfred Owen and Beyond, 26-28 October 2018: the keynote lecture by Kate Kennedy, ‘The Spaces Between: Wilfred Owen and Britten’s War Requiem’ (chair Hermione Lee):

Britten’s War Requiem, written in 1961-2, combines the Latin mass with a selection of Owen’s
poems. The War Requiem is a piece that is driven by the jarring or meshing of different forces. Its power is in the charged spaces between them. Through an exploration of the theme of these spaces, between buildings, texts and orchestral forces, this paper examines the complexity of the work as a pacifist statement, the dialogues and disjunctions that structure and drive it, with Owen’s words at its heart. It traces the decisions Britten made about Owen’s poetry through his manuscript notes, and asks how the reception of Owen since the early 1960s might have been influenced as a result of this hugely powerful work.

Any study of Owen’s life is by definition overshadowed by his death and the bitter irony of its timing, at the very end of the war. Unlike some of his lesser discussed contemporaries, such as Ivor Gurney and Isaac Rosenberg, Owen’s poetry has been appreciated and analysed by many scholars in previous decades. It remains enduringly popular, and has lost little of its capacity to move and shock its readers. It is taught across the country as part of the National Curriculum, and has become the lens through which we view what, with Owen’s help, has been dubbed the most literary war in history.

The conference, and Kate’s keynote paper, was concerned with Owen’s afterlife. How has his work been received, and how has it changed our view of the war? What effect has his verse had on writers, composers and other intellectuals, and how has Owen himself been portrayed, appropriated and discussed posthumously?