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Over Here, Over ThereTransatlantic Conversations on the Music of World War I$
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William Brooks, Christina Bashford, and Gayle Magee

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042706

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042706.001.0001

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Medium and Message

Medium and Message

Frank Bridge’s Lament for String Orchestra and the Sinking of the Lusitania (1915)

(p.15) Chapter 1 Medium and Message
Over Here, Over There

Christina Bashford

University of Illinois Press

Musical responses to the sinking of the Lusitania (1915)—a watershed in World War 1—appeared on both sides of the Atlantic. In Britain, Frank Bridge composed his Lament for string orchestra, dedicated to Catherine Crompton, a child who had perished along with her entire family. The piece, performed professionally in London, was written for a type of ensemble that was popular with wealthy amateur women string players. Since strings were associated with the expressivity of the human voice and were becoming understood as having therapeutic properties, Bridge’s music may be considered a “lullament” for its combination of elements of lullaby and lament. This hybrid genre of grief further carried gendered and class-ridden meanings. The work reinforced and transcended British cultural and musical norms and boundaries.

Keywords:   World War I, Britain, musical response, Frank Bridge, Lament, string orchestra, lullament, Lusitania, Catherine Crompton, women, grief

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