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Erik Chisholm, Scottish Modernist (1904-1965)


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Erik Chisholm was the pre-eminent composer and musician in Scottish classical music in the first half of the twentieth century. As Sir Charles Mackerras put it, 'Chisholm was a musician of rare capabilities. He was a pianist and organist, a conductor, a composer, a lecturer on music, an entrepreneur and administrator, and to all these he brought a unique blend of originality, flair and energy.' As well as his life in Glasgow, Chisholm travelled to the Far East, notably Singapore, for the Entertainments and National Service Association during the Second World War, and subsequently became Professor of Music at the University of Cape Town, where he greatly developed the study and performance of music. He conducted numerous first British performances, including Berlioz's The Trojans in 1935 and Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle in 1957. Accounts of the visits to Glasgow by such composers as Bartók, Casella, Hindemith et al are being presented here. Erik Chisholm. Scottish Modernist will be of general interest to scholars and students of twentieth-century music. In particular, those interested in the development of music, opera and ballet in Scotland, Scottish literature and cultural history will find this book of much value. It will also be of interest to those studying the music of Bartók, Sorabji, Hindemith, Walton, Bax, Casella, and Shostakovich whom Chisholm knew personally and brought to Scotland.


Pursers ausgezeichnet geschriebene Arbeit, die die Musikgeschichte um einen weiteren wichtigen Mosaikstein bereichert, legt den Grund für weiterführende Untersuchungen. DIE MUSIKFORSCHUNG

The book is one of the most readable of its type I've come across in some time. THE DELIAN
Chisholm's contribution has been crying out for this reassessment - that it's as readable as this is a real bonus. SCOTSMAN
Purser's welcome book will help to acquaint contemporary readers with the significant and fascinating musician who was Erik Chisholm. CLASSICAL MUSIC
[A] superb publication. It is a massive investigation into the life and music of one of Scotland's great, but massively underrated composers. It will provide the biographical and musical reference material for all interested parties for years to come. BRITISH MUSIC SOCIETY NEWSLETTER


First Published: 18 Jun 2009
13 Digit ISBN: 9781843834601
Pages: 300
Size: 23.4 x 15.6
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: Boydell Press
BIC Class: AV

Details updated on 09 Mar 2016


  • 1  Foreword by Sir Charles Mackerras
  • 2  
  • 3  Glasgow, Kailyard or Coal Yard?
  • 4  The Active Society - Bringing the Heroes of Modernism to Glasgow
  • 5  Chisholm's Scottish Inheritance
  • 6  Interlude: The Love of Sorabji
  • 7  A Trojan Horse in Glasgow - Berlioz, Mozart and Gluck
  • 8  The Ballet and the Baton as Weapons of War
  • 9  Centrepiece: Pictures from Dante and Night Song of the Bards - A Journey fr om West to East
  • 10  From Italy to India and Singapore
  • 11  Under Table Mountain
  • 12  On Tour in the USA and Europe
  • 13  Soviet Ambassador - Chisholm Behind the Iron Curtain
  • 14  Interlude: The Love of Janacek
  • 15  Chasing a Restless Muse - The Heart's Betrayal
  • 16  Envoi
  • 17  Appendix I: The Active Society for the Propagation of Contemporary Music
  • 18  Appendix II: Patrick Macdonald Sources for Chisholm's Piano Works
  • 19  Select Bibliography
  • 20  Discography
  • 21  Selected Compositions