Britain’s Sonic Therapy: listening to birdsong during and after the First World War
17 junio, 2015 Deja un comentario
by Michael Guida
It was a quarter to eleven in the evening on Monday 19th of May 1924 when the pacey dance music of the BBC’s Savoy Orchestra was interrupted on the wireless by a duet between a human and bird. What radio listeners heard was Elgar’s favorite cellist, Beatrice Harrison, in her wooded Surrey garden playing The Londonderry Air to prompt a nightingale to pour forth its song. This live broadcast experiment was sanctioned by John Reith, the Managing Director of the BBC, and nobody was more relieved than him when the transmission crackled into homes across Britain. But what was Reith up to?
He had certainly pulled off a broadcasting coup with the BBC’s very first live outdoor broadcast. But this was no mere technical triumph. For Reith, this was art coaxing Britain’s natural heritage into…
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