Arthur Bliss was one of the most important British musicians of his age. Having served with distinction in the Great War, in which he was both injured and gassed, he subsequently became the most performed British composer abroad. He served as Director of Music at the BBC from 1942-44, and was appointed Master of the Queen’s Music in 1953.
Bliss was a private figure who stated that the only way to get to know him was through his music. Author Paul Spicer took this as his starting point for a pioneering biography which underlines the importance of a reappraisal of the composer’s music.
We had the pleasure of hosting Paul at our store in Leamington Spa, where, in conversation with Andrew Burn, chairman of The Bliss Trust, he not only explained the circumstances behind his writing of the book and how it affected his appreciation of Bliss’s music, but also provided many fascinating insights into the composer’s life, illustrated with excerpts from several of his pieces along the way.
We made an audio recording of their engrossing discussion, which with their permission we are delighted to present here.