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Research Seminar: ‘A very clever falla indeed’: The Three-Cornered Hat in 1919 London

Wednesday 21 April 2021, 4.00PM

Speaker(s): Chris Collins (University of Aberdeen; Incorporated Society of Musicians)

The first performance of The Three-Cornered Hat by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in London in July 1919 was met with near-unanimous approval in the popular and serious press alike. Critics recorded theatregoers’ enthusiasm not only for the dancing but also for Manuel de Falla’s music and Pablo Picasso’s designs, despite initial hesitations about their avant-garde qualities. This paper reads between the lines of over 20 press reviews, seeking answers to questions about the demographic composition of the audience and its response to the ballet. I assert that the work had a timely relevance to the British public in the immediate aftermath of the First World War and the ‘Spanish Flu’, standing as an emblem of the spirit of lightness, order and optimism that had begun to pervade the country in the days immediately following the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

Chris Collins

Chris Collins is a musician and musicologist working on early twentieth-century music in western Europe. He has published extensively on the music of the Spanish composer Manuel de Falla (1876-1946) and is currently working on a new edition of Falla’s published writings. Chris was Head of Music at Bangor University for eight years prior to his appointment as Head of the School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture at the University of Aberdeen in 2020. He is a staunch campaigner for music education at all levels and is currently President of the Incorporated Society of Musicians.

Location: Meeting ID: 915 8006 2656 Passcode: 840125